El Llobregat Chess Open: Sara Khadem debuts as Spanish champion in an open with 286 players from 50 countries | Chess

El Llobregat Chess Open: Sara Khadem debuts as Spanish champion in an open with 286 players from 50 countries |  Chess

Eleven months after taking refuge in Spain after playing the World Rapid Championship in Kazakhstan without a veil, Saradasat Khademalsharieh (better known as Sara Khadem, pronounced Jadem), the Iranian is already Spanish by nature and national champion. In addition, she has returned to training intensely, and from today she will pass a tough test to measure her fitness. It is the 4th edition of an open tournament, El Llobregat, in Sant Boi (Barcelona), which has become the most important of the hundreds that are held every year in Spain.

Khadem will not be able to compete with the women’s national team until 2024 due to the internal rules of the Spanish Chess Federation (FEDA) regarding new naturalized players. But her dedication to training is already daily, once settled in a place on the Andalusian coast, which she keeps secret for security reasons, along with her husband, the filmmaker Ardeshir Ahmadi, and their son (Sam , 20 months). Her performance in the Spanish Championship already indicated that she can get among the top ten in the world, which is also agreed by those who have worked technically with her, such as the Spanish coach David Martínez, her Divis.

And Sant Boi, very close to the Barcelona airport, is a good place to confirm that growing dedication. Because among the 210 participants in the main tournament (there are 76 more in B), there are 188 with international titles (of them, 41 grandmasters), which means that none of their nine rivals until the 8th will be easy.

The open El Llobregat includes many more elements of high interest. For example, another player who has recently competed with the Spanish flag, the Argentine Alan Pichot, runner-up in Spain for a month. Or one nationalized many years ago, Alexei Shirov, who at 51 continues to shine. Or Paco Vallejo, 41, undisputed best Spaniard until a few months ago, in crisis after the death of his father this summer. The three are among the favorites for the first prize along with two ex-Russians who have lived in Spain since the invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Fedoseiev (now playing with the flag of Slovenia) and Kiril Alexeyenko (Austria).

The list of the top eight seeds is completed with three Indians because, as always for more than five years, India is the second country in number of players (18) as a consequence of the great boom of chess in that immense country due to the enormous popularity of five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand. They are Narayanan (winner this Wednesday of the previous tournament in the lightning mode), Aravindh and Puranik.

Another great attraction of the tournament is an Indian woman, Rameshbabu Vaishali, who has just qualified against the odds for the Candidates Tournament, which will be held next April in Toronto (Canada). There she will meet her brother, the prodigious Praggnanandhaa, qualified for the Candidates Tournament at 18 years old. Vaishali is the 2nd strongest woman in theory in El Llobregat, after Khadem.

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2023-11-30 16:21:43
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