Graz Open Final: Li Chao triumphs

The Graz International Chess Open 2016 was held from 12th February to 19th February. The field of this 9-round event consisted of a total of 15 Grandmasters, spearheaded by Chinese Super-GM Li Chao (2751). Maintaining his top position throughout the event, Li Chao emerged victorious in this strong event.

Li Chao’s performance was nothing but dominant. The Chinese GM aced the field by scoring a total of 8 points and remaining unbeaten throughout the course of the event. The only draws that he conceded were against 2600+ GMs Ragger and Banusz. With this result, Li Chao has climbed up to the World No. 13 spot in the live ratings.

Meanwhile, GM Tamas Banusz’s excellent performance helped him finish as the runner-up. Banusz notched up a total of 7.5 points, gaining an impressive 18 rating points on the way. GM Ragger Markus finished third with 7 points.

Final Standings

Tehran Women’s GP 08: Pogonina loses, Dzagnidze in sole lead

Joint leaders GM Nana Dzagnidze and WGM Natalija Pogonina experienced contrasting results in the 8th round of the Tehran FIDE Women’s Grand Prix 2016. While Dzagnidze outclassed GM Harika Dronavalli, Pogonina went down against GM Antoaneta Stefanova. With these results, GM Dzagnidze has shoot into sole lead after Round 8 of this 11-round event. The Georgian Grandmaster has notched up an impressive 6.5 points so far and goes into the second rest day with a healthy one point lead over her nearest rivals.

Meanwhile, top-seed GM Koneru Humpy could only manage a draw against IM Khademalsharieh Sarasadat with the White pieces.


IM Batsiashvili 0 – 1 GM Gunina
GM Koneru ½ – ½ IM Khademalsharieh
GM Stefanova 1 – 0 WGM Pogonina
GM Zhao Xue ½ – ½ GM Ju Wenjun
GM Zhukova 0 – 1 GM Cramling
GM Dzagnidze 1 – 0 GM Harika

Tehran Women’s GP 06: Dzagnidze, Pogonina in lead

Georgian GM Nana Dzagnidze and Russian WGM Natalija Pogonina are in joint lead after the 6th round of the Tehran Women’s Grand Prix 2016 with 4.5 points each.

In the 6th round, Dzagnidze overcame GM Natalia Zhukova from the black side of a Queen’s Indian Defence. The Zhukova – Dzagnidze game turned out to be an interesting affair, with the Georgian player possessing the better chances for the greater part of the game. Ultimately, it was Zhukova’s mistake on the 49th move that helped Dzagnidze clinch the matters. On the other hand, the all-Russian battle between Gunina and Pogonina ended in a draw.

For Indian fans, it was quite a forgettable day. First, GM Koneru Humpy messed up her opening preparation and went down quickly to GM Ju Wenjun. Later, GM Harika Dronavalli was unable to survive GM Zhao Xue’s powerful onslaught. Koneru and Harika are currently on 3 and 2.5 points respectively.


IM Batsiashvili 0 – 1 IM Khademalsharieh
GM Gunina ½ – ½ WGM Pogonina
GM Koneru 0 – 1 GM Ju Wenjun
GM Stefanova ½ – ½ GM Cramling
GM Zhao Xue 1 – 0 GM Harika
GM Zhukova 0 – 1 GM Dzagnidze

Zurich Final: It’s Nakamura again!

American GM Hikaru Nakamura won the prestigious Zurich Chess Challenge 2016 for the second time on the trot. Despite scoring the same combined points as GM Viswanathan Anand, Nakamura’s better tie-break score enabled him to clinch the title.

Zurich Rapid

The Rapid event featured a unique time control of 40 mins + 10 seconds increment, which was dubbed as the ‘New Classical’ by the organizers. The scoring system was unique as well – 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw and none for a loss. After 5 rounds of interesting chess, Nakamura and Anand emerged on the top with 7 points each. Kramnik finished a close second with 6 points.

Zurich Blitz

In the Blitz event, a threefold tie was witnessed for the top spot. Nakamura, Anand and Kramnik notched up 3.5 points each.

As a result, both Nakamura and Anand emerged with a total of 10.5 points. It was Nakamura’s better ‘Sonneborn-Berger’ score that helped him edge out Anand in the final standings. Interestingly, the same players had tied for the top spot in the 2015 edition as well.

Teheran Women’s GP 01: An Exciting Start

The opening round of the Teheran FIDE Women’s Grand Prix 2016 witnessed as many as four decisive games.

Top-seed GM Koneru Humpy of India started off her campaign with a fantastic victory over GM Zhao Xue of China. Playing the black side of a Queen’s Gambit Declined, Koneru exploited her opponent’s slow play on the Queen-side with a devastating offensive on the other flank. Koneru’s bold play brought her a well-deserved victory on move 41.

However, GM Harika Dronavalli, the only other Indian in the fray, suffered a defeat against WGM Natalia Pogonina of Russia.

Apart from Koneru and Pogonina, GM Ju Wenjun and GM Zhukova also won their first round games.


GM Stefanova 2509 ½ – ½ IM Batsiashvili 2485
GM Zhao Xue 2506 0 – 1 GM Koneru 2583
GM Zhukova 2484 1 – 0 GM Gunina 2496
GM Dzagnidze 2529 ½ – ½ IM Khademalsharieh 2403
GM Harika 2511 0 – 1 WGM Pogonina 2454
GM Cramling 2521 0 – 1 GM Ju Wenjun 2558

IIFLW Open Final: Swapnil Dhopade triumphs

Second seed IM Swapnil Dhopade won the 1st edition of the IIFL Wealth International Open Chess Championship in a convincing fashion. The Indian IM, who recently completed all his requirements for the GM title, finished with an impressive tally of 8 points from 9 rounds.

In the 9th and final round, Dhopade drew against Amardeep Bartakke to move on to 8/9. The only player who could catch up with Dhopade on 8 points was IM Stany. However, the latter was held to a draw by Himal Gusain. As a result, Dhopade managed to finish sole first while Stany had to content himself with the second spot. Himal Gusain secured the third place.

Tournament winner Dhopade went home richer by a whooping 1.5 Lacs INR.

Final Standings

IIFLW Juniors Final: Raunak Sadhwani clinches the title

11 year old CM Raunak Sadhwani of Maharashtra, India emerged victorious at the 1st IIFL Wealth International Junior U-13 Chess Championship. Raunak, who started the event as the second seed, scored 7.5/9 and remained unbeaten throughout the course of the event.

The 9th and final round of the event turned out to be a massively exciting one. While CM Raunak Sadhwani and FM Mohammad Fahad Rahman won their games convincingly, the top-board clash between CM Gukesh and CM Aditya Mittal (the sole leader after round 8) went all the way down to the wire. Just when Aditya seemed to be coasting away to victory, he was unable to find the exact moves and the game ended in a draw. In the end, as many as 3 players viz. Raunak Sadhwani, Aditya Mittal and Mohammad Fahad Rahman finished with 7.5/9. Thanks to his better tie-break score, Raunak clinched the coveted title while Mohammad Fahad Rahman and Aditya finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The chief attraction of the event was a never-seen-before prize fund for a junior tournament of 7.5 Lacs INR. The winner – Raunak Sadhwani – went home richer by 1.5 Lacs INR.

Final Standings