First day. Who will seize chess power in Tsaghkadzor?2023-09-21
For the third year in a row Tsaghkadzor Open is rapidly gaining popularity in the region, attracting stronger chess players from different countries each year. While in the first two tournaments the majority of participants were from Armenia, now the main favorites include guests from India and Iran.
The Elo-favorite of the tournament «A» is the young Indian grandmaster (do they have any other kind?) Abhimanyu Puranik with a rating of 2611. In addition to him two more «six-thousanders» are local player Manuel Petrosyan and another representative from India Sethuraman S.P. In total there are 21 GM’s and 17 IM’s in the, one female GM (Indian Varshini V), and 5 female IM’s. In total chess players from 11 countries are participating. 40 players represent the Armenia, but... only six fewer than the ambassadors of the chess homeland, with 12 players coming from neighboring Iran and Kazakhstan.
Over a hundred participants took part in the tournament «B» which will undoubtedly showcase young talent. The overwhelming majority of its 111 participants are regulars of various children's and youth tournaments ranging from 8 to 18 years old. This cheerful company is spiced up by several local distinguished veterans: Mamikon Martirosyan, Gevorg Tadevosyan, Eduard Gyulumyan etc. Another good way to demonstrate that chess knows no age!
Interestingly many titled chess players and daring young players took part in the blitz tournament held right after the grand opening of Tsaghkadzor Open 2023! No one wanted to miss the chance to measure their strength against grandmasters. Some of them had a tough time. No one escaped losses and only one player Shant Sargsyan reached the finish line without a single defeat. In the decisive game of the 9th round he kill the sole leader Indian player Puranik Abhimanyu with the black pieces and finished the tournament with 8 out of 9 points. Zaven Andriasian also scored as many points as Puranik; the same 7.5 points were achieved by Mitrabha Guha.
By the way the most titled guest of Tsaghkadzor Open 42-year-old Krishnan Sasikiran did not play in blitz... The comrade of world champion Anand and a long-time member of the Indian national team preferred to meet with the organizers and sponsors of the tournament and did not hide his admiration for the level of organization and the enormous work done in recent years in Armenia to popularize chess worldwide.
He didn't win in the 1st round. Other favorites passed the first test without losses. This includes 31-year-old Baskaran Adhiban who joined a quartet of young Indian prodigies (Gukesh D, Nihal Sarin, Praggnanandhaa R etc.) who sensationally almost won the 2022 Chess Olympiad in Chennai.
In the coming days the main tournament should see the emergence of a group of favorites who will compete for victory in Tsaghkadzor Open. Who will be the first to claim the crown?