Sunway Sitges Chess Festival: Cheparinov Wins, Niemann Clinches GM Title

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GM Ivan Cheparinov has won the Sunway Sitges Chess Festival in Sitges, Spain. The Bulgarian grandmaster won 5,000 euros as the only player to finish on 8/10. The American IM Hans Niemann broke the 2500 Elo threshold, the last hurdle for him to become a grandmaster.

We pick up the tournament from the sixth round when the Czech grandmaster Vojtech Plat was leading with 4.5/5. Don’t miss our big pictorial report on the first half of the tournament where you can find more background on how this tournament could be held during the pandemic as well as a collection of different face masks in the playing hall.

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Plat didn’t play a major role in the remainder of the tournament as he scored 1.5/5 in the second half. After eight rounds, Cheparinov was tied for first place with the French grandmaster Jules Moussard. The two drew in round nine, which allowed the Spanish GM Jaime Santos Latasa to catch them as he defeated the 2019 champion GM Anton Korobov:

Jaime Santos Latasa
Jaime Santos Latasa. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Sunway Sitges.

In the final round, Moussard and Santos drew their game on board one. Cheparinov became the big winner as he won his game as Black against another French GM, Matthieu Cornette:

American IM Niemann had a good tournament and got what he came for: getting his (virtual) rating over 2500. He already had the three norms and together with earlier results, he now has fulfilled the requirements to become a grandmaster.

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Here’s his win in round seven:

Niemann said he was happy but remained down to earth as well: “I’ve never cared too much about titles. I’m just happy with the way I played in this event, despite a few games. In general, I’m just very happy that my hard work has paid off, more than the title itself.”


Niemann interviewed by the “many hats wearing” tournament organizer Oskar Stober.

The French IM Marc-Andria Maurizzi had to win in the ninth round for his first GM norm and did:

Marc'Andria Maurizzi chess
Marc-Andria Maurizzi. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Sunway Sitges.

7th Sunway Sitges | Final Standings (Top 20)
























Rk. SNo Fed Title Name RtgI Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 2 GM Cheparinov, Ivan 2660 8,0 60,0 64,0 50,25
2 5 GM Moussard, Jules 2626 7,5 62,5 68,0 49,75
3 6 GM Santos Latasa, Jaime 2588 7,5 62,0 67,0 49,00
4 12 GM Fier, Alexandr 2549 7,5 59,0 62,5 45,25
5 13 GM Nevednichy, Vladislav 2546 7,5 53,5 57,5 41,75
6 18 GM Checa, Nicolas 2527 7,0 61,5 67,0 45,75
7 1 GM Korobov, Anton 2693 7,0 56,5 62,0 42,00
8 3 GM Grigoryan, Karen H. 2651 7,0 56,0 61,0 41,50
9 7 GM Santos Ruiz, Miguel 2581 7,0 53,5 57,0 39,00
10 16 IM Mendonca Leon, Luke 2530 7,0 53,5 57,0 38,75
11 4 GM Lagarde, Maxime 2651 7,0 52,0 57,0 39,00
12 23 IM Dardha, Daniel 2485 7,0 52,0 55,5 35,75
13 24 IM Niemann, Hans Moke 2478 6,5 60,0 65,0 38,75
14 11 GM Plat, Vojtech 2552 6,5 57,0 62,0 37,75
15 9 GM Cornette, Matthieu 2558 6,5 57,0 61,0 37,50
16 30 IM Maurizzi, Marc Andria 2445 6,5 56,5 59,5 35,75
17 26 IM Sochacki, Christophe 2469 6,5 55,0 59,5 36,50
18 27 GM Batsiashvili, Nino 2466 6,5 54,5 58,5 35,00
19 31 IM Gines Esteo, Pedro Antonio 2437 6,5 54,0 58,5 35,75
20 59

Souhardo, Basak 2276 6,5 53,0 54,5 31,50

(Full standings here.)

One more game should be included here. In this last-round encounter, White sacrificed his queen for just two minor pieces but proved it was enough:

The Sunway Sitges Chess Festival was one of the few open tournaments held during the pandemic. It took place December 12-23 at the Hotel Sunway Playa Golf in Sitges, Catalonia, Spain.


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