Aeroflot Open Final: GM Sethuraman finishes second on tie-break

Top three winners: S.P Sethuraman, Vladislav Kovalev, and Dmitry Gordievsky

Photos: Niklesh Jain

The Aeroflot Open 2018 international chess festival held between 19 February to 1 March at the Cosmos Hotel, Moscow, Russia. The competition is one of the world’s oldest and most popular and is traditionally held with support from Aeroflot. While GM Kovalev Vladislav clinched the first place, India’s S.P Sethuraman made the country proud by finishing joint-second.

As a part of the exposure trip, the selected Indian team consisting of 39 members (18 men + 17 women + 4 coaches) were sponsored at full cost by the Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports. Here you can find the team list.

GM S.P Sethuraman began his campaign as 15th seeded player and concluded the tournament with a remarkable performance. He registered five victories and three draws to finish with 6.5 points along with Dmitry Gordievsky but took the silver thanks to a better tie-break score. He commented,”Glad to finish second in one of the strongest opens considering my start which was not so well. I had superior positions in most of my games, my conversion was not so precise but nevertheless, I had fighting and long games and was able to win most of it. The last round win with the black pieces was very smooth and special.”

He defeated GM Victor Bologan with black pieces in the final round.

GM Sasikiran Krishnan had a fine run until the 6th round. He was in contention for a top-five finish but an unexpected loss to IM Tabatabaei M.Amino of Iran in the seventh round proved costlier. He drew the penultimate round against Russian GM Predke Alexandr but the final round loss to GM Xu Xiangyuhe pushed him to 25th place.

Next to Sasikiran, GM Aravindh Chidambaram had to be content with 26th place. He lost final round game against GM Mamedov Rauf of Azerbaijan.

GM Karthikeyan Murali delivered a solid performance by scoring 5.0/9 points.

GM Vidit Gujrathi had a forgettable tournament. He played out eight draws and managed just one win to finish 35th on five points from a possible nine.

IM Praggnanandhaa R. cannot break GM Sergey Karjakin’s record of World’s youngest Grandmaster anymore. Nevertheless, he had a good run in this tournament—drawing eight and losing only one game.

 Arjun Erigaisi successfully scored his second IM norm.

IM Nihal Sarin was the only Indian player to have a chance for a GM norm in the final round after drawing 6 2600+ players. However, he lost the final round game to miss the chance.

Fenil Shah played in the B-category and scored an IM norm.

Final Ranking after 9 Rounds

Rk. SNo Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1  TB2 Rp K rtg+/-
1 16 GM Kovalev Vladislav BLR 2641 7,0 4 2580 2791 10 16,8
2 15 GM Sethuraman S.P. IND 2646 6,5 5 2573 2734 10 10,6
3 19 GM Gordievsky Dmitry RUS 2630 6,5 5 2558 2725 10 11,4
4 54 GM Xu Xiangyu CHN 2545 6,0 4 2654 2780 10 28,5
5 40 GM Petrosian Tigran L. ARM 2589 6,0 4 2645 2757 10 20,4
6 6 GM Artemiev Vladislav RUS 2697 6,0 4 2606 2732 10 3,9
7 24 GM Lysyj Igor RUS 2618 6,0 4 2594 2719 10 12,1
8 10 GM Sargissian Gabriel ARM 2677 6,0 4 2573 2699 10 2,5
12 GM Korobov Anton UKR 2664 6,0 4 2573 2702 10 4,5
10 4 GM Mamedov Rauf AZE 2709 6,0 4 2555 2676 10 -3,7
11 32 GM Paravyan David RUS 2603 5,5 5 2572 2655 10 6,6
12 9 GM Kamsky Gata USA 2677 5,5 5 2568 2645 10 -3,6
13 29 GM Alekseenko Kirill RUS 2609 5,5 5 2557 2646 10 4,7
14 27 GM Khalifman Alexander RUS 2614 5,5 4 2658 2727 10 14,1
15 33 GM Bologan Victor MDA 2600 5,5 4 2635 2707 10 13,2
16 5 GM Matlakov Maxim RUS 2709 5,5 4 2599 2639 10 -7,4
17 46 IM Tabatabaei M.Amin IRI 2577 5,5 4 2578 2653 10 9,7
18 18 GM Mareco Sandro ARG 2632 5,5 4 2524 2606 10 -2,8
19 20 GM Zvjaginsev Vadim RUS 2629 5,5 4 2520 2591 10 -4,1
20 26 GM Jumabayev Rinat KAZ 2614 5,5 4 2499 2590 10 -2,3