Permission to only play in Spain
Gukesh won three tournaments in a row in Spain without conceding a single game. His unbeaten streak, which started on April 12, is now at 26 games. He won three events — first the La Roda Open and then the Menorca Open — and moved up to world number 66 in the live ratings list. Certainly an incredible feat!
The youngest GM from India collected six wins and four draws to claim clear first place on 8/10 points. Top seed Jaime Santos from Spain and third seed Shant Sargsyan from Armenia both scored 7½ points to finish in second and third place respectively.
Top 3 (L to R) – GM Shant Sargsyan, GM D Gukesh and GM Jaime Santos Latasa
The Chessable Sunway Formentera Open took place from April 29 to May 8 in Formentera, the smallest and most southerly island of the Pityusic Islands in the Spanish Balearic Islands autonomous community.
The main event was a 10-round Swiss open, played with a time control of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds from the first move. The total prize fund of the tournament was €14.500. The top three prizes were €3.000, €2.000 and €1.000 along with a trophy each.
Two crucial wins
On his way to overall victory, Gukesh scored two key wins over a couple of experienced grandmasters — José ‘Pepe’ Cuenca and Krishnan Sasikiran. The youngster had the black pieces in both games.
36.bxc6 bxc6 would have been fine for White when the pawn was on f2. However, after 36.f3 Nd6 37.bxc6 bxc6 it is not the same. In fact, it is much worse for White.
Now the threat of f4 is devastating as there are too many ideas for Black, including Nc4-e3 — if Bd2 is played, Nxd2 Qxd2 and the white king will be in deep trouble.
Black’s pawns on the queenside became a menace after White declined the queen exchange in this position. 35.Qxb7 Rxb7 would have probably not affected the outcome of the game, but it would have given some fighting chances.
Instead, 35.Qc2 suffocated White’s own pieces. There followed 35…b3 36.Qc1 a4 and the white pieces are cramped due to the lack of space. Earlier, Gukesh had declined a threefold repetition, making his intentions clear: he was playing for a win.
Video analysis by IM Sagar Shah
Final standings (top 15)
|GM||Santos Latasa Jaime||2656||7,5||58,0|
|GM||Martirosyan Haik M.||2633||7,0||57,0|
|GM||Cuenca Jimenez Jose Fernando||2558||6,5||58,0|
|GM||Santos Ruiz Miguel||2597||6,5||57,0|
|GM||Romanishin Oleg M||2415||6,5||50,0|
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