Reports | December 13, 2011 15:05

Abhijeet Gupta wins FIDE Open in London

Abhijeet Gupta wins FIDE Open in London

In the FIDE Open held alongside the London Chess Classic Abhijeet Gupta emerged as sole winner. The Indian grandmaster finished on a splendid 8/9 and a 2785 performance rating. His compatriot IM Sahaj Grover couldn't complain either with a clear second place ahead of several grandmasters.

Abhijeet Gupta first in the FIDE Open, part of the London Chess Classic | All photos © John Saunders for the official website

Event London Chess Classic 2011 | FIDE Open PGN via TWIC
Dates December 3rd-11th, 2011
Location London, UK
System 9-round Swiss
Players Top seeds were Abhijeet Gupta, Gawain Jones, Hans Tikkanen, Emanuel Berg, Nicholas Pert, Matthieu Cornette, Tiger Hillarp Persson, Mark Hebden, Sahaj Grover and Peter Wells
Rate of play 2 hours for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 1
Prizes Guaranteed - 1st prize £2500, 2nd prize £1500, 3rd prize £750, 4th prize £500, 5th prize £500, 6th prize £500 Rating Prizes: <2000: £250 £150 £100 2000-2200: £250, £150, £100. 2201-2300: £250, £150, £100.

The London Chess Classic was not 'just' a super tournament, but in fact a whole festival with many side events. Arguably the most important one was the FIDE Open, held in a different are of the Olympia Conference Centre. It was a 9-round Swiss with one round per day at a time control of 90 minutes for 40 moves + 30 minutes for all remaining moves, with a 30 second increment starting at move 1.

By John Saunders

The two top seeds, Abhijeet Gupta and Gawain Jones, were among the five players in the lead after seven rounds. The other three on 6 points were Peter Wells, IM Bjorn Thorfinsson and IM Jovanka Houska, with the latter two having very good GM norm chance.

In the showdown between the leaders and top seeds, Gupta defeated Jones to move into the sole lead with 7/8. Four players were on 6,5: Keith Arkell, Peter Wells, Sahaj Grover and Jovanka Houska. The latter needed a draw with IM Arghyadip Das in the final round to secure a GM norm.

The last round proved fruitful for India but barren for the home nation. Top seed GM Abhijeet Gupta beat Keith Arkell to secure the £2500 first prize with 8/9.

Last round, board 1: Arkell-Gupta 0-1

IM Sahaj Grover, also of India, finished second on his own with 7½ after beating Peter Wells. Completing the English misery, IM Arghyadip Das beat Jovanka Houska and thus deprived her of a GM norm.

PGN string

After many adventures, this position was reached, with Black needing a draw to secure a full GM norm:

61 Re8 Ba5 62 Ra8 Bb6??

After 62...Bc7, it is hard to see how White can chase the bishop from the a5-d8 diagonal. And 63 d8Q Bxd8 64 Rxd8 is a drawn endgame. But sadly the text move is a losing blunder.

63 Nc4! Bc7 64 Rc8

There is nothing to be done.

64...Rc6 65 d8Q 1–0

Das - Houska

Third place was shared by Gawain Jones, Tiger Hillarp Persson, Arghyadip Das, Aaron Summerscale and Lorin D’Costa with 7. Tom Weber of Luxembourg achieved an IM norm.

Selection of games

PGN file

Round 9 (final) standings

Rank Name Score Fed. M/F Rating TPR W-We
1 GM Gupta, Abhijeet 8.0 IND M 2640 2785 +1.24
2 IM Grover, Sahaj 7.5 IND M 2515 2651 +1.50
3 GM Jones, Gawain C B 7.0 ENG M 2635 2632 +0.08
4 GM Hillarp Persson, Tiger 7.0 SWE M 2530 2530 +0.08
5 IM Das, Arghyadip 7.0 IND M 2470 2535 +0.79
6 GM Summerscale, Aaron P 7.0 ENG M 2422 2434 +0.15
7 IM D`Costa, Lorin A R 7.0 ENG M 2409 2601 +1.95
8 GM Cornette, Matthieu 6.5 FRA M 2548 2476 -0.62
9 GM Wells, Peter K 6.5 ENG M 2492 2543 +0.75
10 IM Smith, Axel 6.5 SWE M 2480 2412 -0.52
11 IM Hunt, Adam C 6.5 ENG M 2458 2475 +0.35
12 IM Pert, Richard G 6.5 ENG M 2455 2477 +0.38
13 GM Arkell, Keith C 6.5 ENG M 2418 2429 +0.37
14 IM Houska, Jovanka 6.5 ENG F 2415 2573 +2.03
15 IM Slavin, Alexei 6.5 RUS M 2400 2529 +1.46
16 IM Bates, Richard A 6.5 ENG M 2386 2365 -0.05
17 IM Mikkelsen, Nikolaj 6.5 DEN M 2381 2379 +0.13
18 FM Weber, Tom 6.5 LUX M 2355 2486 +1.68
19 Stoma, Pawel 6.5 POL M 2316 2294 -0.02
20 GM Tikkanen, Hans 6.0 SWE M 2586 2389 -1.81
21 GM Pert, Nicholas 6.0 ENG M 2563 2452 -1.08
22 GM Hebden, Mark L 6.0 ENG M 2515 2395 -1.12
23 IM Roy Chowdhury, Saptarshi 6.0 IND M 2411 2383 -0.21
24 IM Thorfinnsson, Bjorn 6.0 ISL M 2402 2460 +0.82
25 IM Rendle, Thomas E 6.0 ENG M 2389 2410 +0.34
26 IM Buckley, Graeme N 6.0 ENG M 2383 2395 +0.25
27 IM Ferguson, Mark 6.0 ENG M 2374 2451 +0.96
28 IM Getz, Nicolai 6.0 NOR M 2369 2420 +0.67
29 IM Crouch, Colin S 6.0 ENG M 2366 2424 +0.78
30 Gislason, Gudmundur 6.0 ISL M 2318 2393 +0.94
31 FM Alfred, Nathan S W 6.0 ENG M 2294 2302 +0.22
32 CM Coleman, David J 6.0 ENG M 2244 2170 -0.41
33 FM Smith, Andrew Philip 6.0 IRL M 2167 2404 +2.50
34 Tozer, Philip A A 6.0 ENG M 2159 2199 +0.44
35 GM Berg, Emanuel 5.5 SWE M 2566 2405 -1.61
36 IM Cox, John J 5.5 ENG M 2423 2260 -1.60
37 IM Ansell, Simon T 5.5 ENG M 2389 2234 -1.57
38 FM Richardson, John R 5.5 ENG M 2331 2314 -0.05
39 FM Berry, Neil 5.5 SCO M 2312 2277 -0.27
40 FM Radovanovic, Jovica 5.5 ENG M 2309 2306 +0.05

GM Gawain Jones (England) shared third place

IM Sahaj Grover (India), an excellent second place

The winner: Abhijeet Gupta

Women's Invitational

Like last year there was a Women's Invitational where a WGM norm was at stake. The participants were Ciuksyte, Dagne (2327, ENG); Lalic, Susan (2279, ENG); Mirzoeva, Elmira (2244, RUS); Daulyte, Deimante (2238, LTU); Nakhbayeva, Guliskhan (2227, KAZ); Srebrnic, Ana (2219, SLO); Vovk, Oxsana (2213, DEN); Steil-Antoni, Fiona (2104, LUX); Lauterbach, Ingrid (2075, ENG) and Grigoryan, Meri (2026, ENG). (Strangely, last year's convincing winner WIM Arlette van Weersel wasn't offered serious conditions to make an attempt to retain her title attractive enough. )

Eventually IM Dagne Ciuksyte of England and WIM Guliskhan Nakhbayeva of Kazakhstan both scored 7.5/9 and share first place. For the Kazakh player it brought a WGM norm.

WIM Guliskhan Nakhbayeva of Kazakhstan

IM Dagne Ciuksyte of England

WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni of Luxemburg

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Thomas Richter's picture

In Das-Houska, doesn't 62.-Bc7 come down to the same thing after 63.Rc8 Bb6/a5 64. Nc4 ? Am I missing something??

RM's picture

One could still play Rf7 and take on d7.
With the bishop/knight on b6, the knight covers the pawn.

Peter Doggers's picture

Indeed, the line being 1. Re8 Ba5 2. Ra8 Bc7 3. Rc8 Ba5! (only move) 4. Nc4 Rf7! =

Thomas Richter's picture

Yep thanks. So while white can chase or remove the bishop from the a5-d8 diagonal (that's the phrase in John Saunders' report that confused me) he will then lose his only pawn. Nor can he remove the rook from the f-file, and if he blocks this file with Nf3 to activate the king, the pawn will also be lost. Finally, the other try 62.Re7+ seems to run into 62.-Kf8 63.Rh7 Kg8 repeating.

Houska may have gotten her GM norm if the open had the same time control as the main event, i.e. 15 additional minutes on move 60 !?

Abhi's picture

Game 4 - Amazingly trapped queen

Sergio's picture

Indeed, most beautifull about it is that usually a trapped queen is going to be captured but in this case it just stand useless in the corner.

(always handy those comments to see which games to view if you don't have enough time to view them all)

Jhoravi's picture

That Lady from Kazakhstan is HOT!! I'll forget chess for now :)

litmus's picture

Arkell went downhill very fast in his 9th round game against Gupta after 66. Rb4+. Instead, the obvious 66. Rxf5 appears to hold the draw comfortably. Maybe time trouble was a factor.

Here's a sample line: 66. Rxf5 Ra2+ 67. Kf1 a3 68. Rxh5 Rd2 69. Ra5 a2 70. Kg2 and now White must at least be equal.

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