Chess.com Isle of Man: Anand silences the Naysayers

All Photos by Maria Emelianova

Game Analysis by Shailesh Dravid 

2017 Chess.com Isle of Man held in Villa Marina Hall, Douglas from 23rd September to 1st October concluded yesterday. This event had a total cash prize of 133,000 GBP (Rs.1,15,92,842/-). This 9-day event started off with the highest number of Indian contingent–thirty! Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand was heading the Indian charge.

 

World Champion Magnus Carlsen finished clear first with 7.5 points, drawing his games against GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Indian number 3 Vidit Gujrathi, and GM Hikaru Nakamura. Magnus finished with a performance rating of more than 2900. He went home richer with a cheque for £50,000. Interestingly, this is his first classical tournament win in 435 days.

GM Viswanathan Anand vs. GM Hou Yifan in the final round.

Not too long ago, his 2nd round exit from World Cup caused a splutter among chess players. A few critics have broached the topic of his retirement.

After three rounds, Anand was with 2.5 points and in the later rounds, he showed his class with a steady performance. Silencing his critics with his pieces, he scored 7 points out of 9 rounds and finished second ahead of GM Hikaru Nakamura due to the better tiebreak score.

The final round game against GM Hou Yifan was a true master class. Anand clearly knows how to close a tournament on a high note. And most of the times, he clearly can play chess much better than any Indian, alive or dead.

GM Vidit Gujrathi

Just a half-point behind Anand, GM Vidit Gujrathi had a great tournament. He drew his final round game against GM Richard Rapport and settled at the 8th spot. Notably, he held World Champion Magnus Carlsen to a draw in the 7th round. Due to his performance, Vidit’s live rating soared to Elo 2721!

GM Swapnil Dhopade was the find of the tournament scoring 6.5/9 to finish twelfth on the tiebreak for the third place. He scored a mind-boggling 2768 and was clearly in the form of his life. There was a joke being passed around in the middle of the event that Swapnil Swaps his pieces quickly but he showed that he can be merciless if given a chance.
IM Harsha Bharatakoti (left) surprised everyone with his magnificent performance. With a rating performance of 2693, he deservedly scored a Grandmaster norm. He played 9 Grandmasters, scoring three wins, four draws and only two losses
GM Harika Dronvalli ended her tournament with 5 points.
IM Praggnanandhaa R. scored 5.5/9 points. His most notable victory was against British GM David Howell. rated 2701, which brought him great chances to score his first GM norm. However, he could not continue the momentum and we have to wait for another day for history to occur.
IM Nihal Sarin missed his second GM norm by a whisker. He had to win the final round against GM Gabriel Sargissian (2652) of Armenia and pushed hard with a blistering attack, even though unsound. Unfortunately for him, the Armenian liquidated into a better opposite colored bishop ending a pawn up that should have been a draw, but a tired Nihal ended up losing.

Our annotator Shailesh Dravid analyses two more games of note.

Final Standings

Image source: Chess.com

Full final standings are here.