14-years old Illya Nyzhnyk becomes the youngest Grandmaster in the world
The Groningen Chess Festival was played from 21st to 30th December at the Sportcentrum Rijksuniversiteit & Hanzehogeschool in Groningen, Netherlands. The Festival is traditionally organized around Christmas and runs for 47 consecutive years.
The Festival consisted of Open A with the prize fund of 6500 EUR, Open B (1700-2200 elo, 2000 EUR), Open C (U1800 elo, 1000 EUR) and Groningen Compact, a five-round swiss event from 26th to 30th December.
The Open A was particularly interesting because, in addition to high rated and seasoned Grandmasters, a number of the young stars also took participation. 56 players entered this group.
The six winners
In the curious points’ distribution, six players shared the first place with 6.5 points each, leaving the remainder of the field a full point behind. GM Dejan Bozhkov from Bulgaria was declared winner on best tiebreak score.
Ukrainian prodigy Illya Nyzhnyk fulfilled his third and final Grandmaster norm with a round to spare. The 14-years old Nyzhnyk will now be the youngest Grandmaster in the world. Dutch IM Daan Brandenburg also scored a GM norm in the penultimate round, this being his second. Daan is already rated above 2500 elo.
Finally, the last round victory against the former World Junior Champion Zaven Andriasian netted the 2nd GM norm for Robin Van Kampen. Early next year he will have a shot at the third norm in Tata Steel Group C, where he will also match many familiar faces from Groningen Open, including Illya Nyzhnyk and GM Mark Bluvshtein.
FM Daniel Naroditsky (USA), Shiven Khosla (India) and Vahe Baghdasaryan (Armenia) have earned IM norms.
Bruno Jelic won the Open B and Fred Steggink won the C Group.
Open A final standings (9 rounds):
1-6. GM Bojkov Dejan BUL 2542, IM Nyzhnyk Illya UKR 2535, GM Bluvshtein Mark CAN 2587, IM Brandenburg Daan NED 2515, GM Ernst Sipke NED 2590 and IM Van Kampen Robin NED 2454 – 6.5
7-16. GM Andriasian Zaven ARM 2585, GM Prohaszka Peter HUN 2536, GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2600, GM Rotstein Arkadij GER 2538, IM Lobzhanidze Davit GEO 2496, IM Grover Sahaj IND 2432, IM Bok Benjamin NED 2458, GM Baklan Vladimir UKR 2613, FM Naroditsky Daniel USA 2425 and IM Van Oosterom Chiel NED 2426 – 5.5 etc (56 players)