African chess stars begin their campaign in the 2021 FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss Tournament
African chess stars have begun their campaign in the 2021 FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss Tournament, and the Women’s Grand Swiss are taking place in Riga, the historic capital city in Latvia. The events run from 25th October to 8th November 2021.
Both tournaments are part of the qualifications for the 2021-23 World Championship Cycle. The top two players in the Open event will qualify for the 2022 Candidates Tournament, and the following six will secure spots in the Grand Prix.
The Women’s Grand Swiss winner will qualify directly for the Women Candidates, and the four best players will be eligible for the following year’s Women’s Grand Prix.
African chess stars including IM Fy Antenaina Rakotomaharo of Madagascar, GM Adly Ahmed of Egypt & WIM Jesse February of South Africa who are the continent’s representatives in these two notable events.
Round 1 & 2 results
Fy Antenaina Rakotomaharo lost to D Gukesh of India in round 1 and then to GM Alan Pichot of Argentina.
GM Adly Ahmed squeezed a draw from GM Aleksandr Rakhmanov of Russia before crashing to GM Alexei Shirov of Spain. An interesting observation is that GM Alexei Shirov was born in Riga, Latvia, before moving to Spain.
GM Adly Ahmed v GM Aleksandr Rakhamov
GM Alexei Shirov v GM Adly Ahmed
87654321abcdefghShirov, Alexei2659Adly, Ahmed26022021 FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss2October 28, 2021Riga1.e4c52.Nf3d63.d4cxd44.Nxd4Nf65.Nc3Nc66.Bg5e67.Qd2a68.O-O-OBd79.f4Be710.Nf3b511.Bxf6gxf612.Bd3Qb613.Kb1O-O-O14.a4b415.Nd5exd516.exd5Nb817.Rhe1Rde818.a5Qxa519.Re4Bd820.Rxb4Bc721.Nd4Qxd522.Qc3Qxg223.Nf5Re624.Be4Qg425.Nxd6+Rxd626.Rxd6Bb527.Qc5Nd728.Rxd7Bxd729.Rc4Qxf430.Bb7+Kxb731.Rxf4Bxf432.Qb4+Kc833.Qxf4Be634.Qxf6Rd835.b3h536.Qc3+Kb737.Qf3+1–0
Women’s Grand Swiss
WIM Jesse February who is the 2021 Africa Individual Chess Champion found the going tough with losses to WGM Vaishali R of India in round one and WGM Monika Socko of Poland in round two. Both of these Grandmasters had a rating of over 500 Elo points above WIM Jesse February.
WIM Jesse February – R Vaishali
87654321abcdefghFebruary, Jesse Nikki1857Vaishali, R24192021 FIDE Chess.com Women’s Grand Swiss1October 27, 2021Riga1.e4c52.Nf3Nc63.Nc3e64.d4cxd45.Nxd4Nf66.Nxc6bxc67.e5Nd58.Nxd5cxd59.Bd3d610.Bb5+Bd711.Bxd7+Qxd712.Qe2Rc813.c3Rc414.f3Qc715.exd6Bxd616.Be3Bxh217.Bxa7Qxa718.b3Rc619.Qb5Bg3+20.Kd1Kd70–1
Facts about Riga
The city of Riga is the birthplace of the 8th World Chess Champion Mikhail Tal.
Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member.
The Daugava River separates the Riga city into Vecriga (Old Riga) and Pardaugava.
Since antiquity, the Daugava River has been a trade route, part of the Vikings’ Dvina-Dnieper navigation route to Byzantium.
Other event details
The event has eleven rounds under the Swiss System, with 164 players participating from all continents. The Grand Swiss has 114 and the Women’s Grand Swiss has 50 players.
The average rating of the players in the Grand Swiss is 2647, making this the strongest Swiss-system chess tournament in the world.
The total prize fund is USD 550,000, with USD 425,000 for the Grand Swiss and USD 125,000 for the Women’s Grand Swiss.
All Photo credits – Anna Shtourman and Mark Livshitz.