Four representatives of Uzbekistan completed their participation at the main tournament of the year — 2023 FIDE Grand Swiss, which took place from October 25 to November 5 in the Isle of Man. Chess coach, Georgy Shvanov, shared the turnout of the tournament for the Uzbek players.
About the tournament
FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament is a Swiss-system tournament that occurs every two years and determines two participants to proceed to the Candidates Tournament in the following year. The top-100 world chess players and several ones meeting additional selection criteria can get this chance. This makes the tournament the strongest and most “dense” of competitions of this kind — even a player from the second half of the starting players list can provide decent resistance to the favorites or even claim prizes.
In particular, the current winner Alireza Firouzja, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Anish Giri, Richard Rapport, Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Vladislav Artemiev and others played in the Swiss tournament.
The Grand Swiss format follows 11 rounds in the Swiss system. Time control — 100 minutes for the first 40 moves + 50 minutes after the 40th move + 15 minutes after the 60th move + 30 seconds added per move, starting from the first one.
The prize fund constitutes 460 thousand dollars. The winner will receive $80 thousand. In addition, the first two winners will advance to the Candidates Tournament, which will take place on April 3−25, 2024 in Toronto.
Performances of the Uzbekistani chess players
This year, Uzbekistan was represented at the tournament by Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Javokhir Sindarov, Nodirbek Yakubboev and Shamsiddin Vokhidov.
After the impressive triumph in Qatar, the best result could be expected from either Abdusattorov or Yakubboyev. But, apparently, the game in Doha took too much energy from Abdusattorov. After winning the opening game, he found himself mired in draws with lower-ranked players. Victories in the 9th and 11th rounds helped turn the situation around. The final score is 7 points out of 11, 12th place with 13th starter, an increase of 4.5 rating points. He will also receive $8,000 in prize money.
Nodirbek Yakubboev started with a defeat from grandmaster Martirosyan, but later got three victories in a row. After the fifth and sixth rounds he was in the top ten. Unfortunately, the loss in the seventh round deprived him of any practical chance to fight for medals, but the final result — 6.5 points and 14th place with a starting score of 81 — should be considered outstandingly successful. He will also receive $8,000 in prize money.
Previously, in Qatar, Javokhir Sindarov took fourth place. This time he showed the best result among the Uzbek chess players. After the sixth round, he even got to second place. In the seventh round, Javokhir lost to the future winner of the tournament, Santosh Vidit, but the victory over Vladislav Artemiev in the last round allowed him to rise to 8th place with seven points. Javokhir’s rating performance — 2793 Elo — corresponds to the level of a super grandmaster. This result, together with the success in Qatar, pushed Javohir to reach a rating of 2700 (and rise to 35th place), which defines a player of the chess elite. He will receive $18,000 in prize money too.
Sindarov became the third chess player in the history of Uzbekistan to overcome the 2700 mark after Nodirbek Abdusattorov and the 17th world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov.
Shamsiddin Vokhidov lost two games but defeated Alexander Donchenko from Germany. The Uzbek chess player brought all other games to a draw — including with former FIDE world champion, Ruslan Ponomarev, and one of the strongest chess players in the world in the 90s and 2000s, Vasily Ivanchuk. In total, Shamsiddin scored five points and took 75th place with a starting 97.
To properly evaluate the progress of the Uzbek chess players, we can refer to the results of the same competition in 2021. Yakubboev, Abdusattorov, Sindarov and Vokhidov then took 54th, 56th, 62nd and 89th places, respectively. This year, three entered the top 15 at the end of the tournament.
The winner of this year, as already mentioned, was the Indian grandmaster Santosh Vidit, who scored 8.5 points. American Hikaru Nakamura won the second pass to the Candidates Tournament with 8 points.
The FIDE Grand Swiss hosted a female group that ran alongside to male group. Vaishali Rameshbabu led the board. Her brother, Praggnananda Rameshbabu, previously qualified for the men’s Candidates Tournament from the World Cup. Thus, this is the first time in the history of chess that a brother and sister will both play in this tournament but in separate gender groups.