On Wednesday, 18 months after playing his last classical chess tournament, GM Peter Svidler won the 28th edition of the TePe Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament in Malmo, Sweden. The 46-year-old Russian GM drew his final round game and no tiebreak was needed as GM Boris Gelfand defeated co-leader GM Abhmanyu Mishra.
You can find all the games of the TePe Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament on our Events Page.
Since participating in the 2021 FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss in Riga, Svidler had only played in online events, with one exception: a Chess960 (Fischer Random) tournament in St. Louis, last September. In Malmo, his solid plus-two score (two wins, five draws) was enough for a clear first place in a mixed field brimming with talent and ambition.
At 54, only Gelfand was older than Svidler in this event. The two, both absolute top GMs in the early 2000s, often had breakfast together in the mornings while bringing a wealth of experience to the table in the afternoons. While Gelfand, a former world championship contender, was having a bad tournament, he ended up helping Svidler, an eight-time Russian champion, tremendously in the final round.
Since day four, Svidler had been sharing the lead with Mishra, now 14 years old but still the youngest grandmaster in the world. The rather strong field in Malmo was a bit of a litmus test for the New Jersey prodigy, who did surprisingly well and only lost in that final round, in the clash between the youngest and oldest participant.
Gelfand played spoiler as he managed to win a theoretically drawn queen endgame after 125 moves. This way, the tournament didn’t get to see a tiebreak and Svidler won the title at his first attempt.
The tournament, held since 1993, has had winners with illustrious names: GMs Viktor Korchnoi, Judit Polgar, Vasily Ivanchuk, Jan Timman, Nigel Short, and Anish Giri, to name a few. In the early years it was always a 10-player round robin but it shrank to just six players in 2014 and 2017, with no editions in between.
The main sponsor was always Johan Sigeman’s law firm but since a few years, the dental products producer TePe has strongly supported the tournament, which has now grown back to eight players. Joel Eklund, Chairman of the Board at TePe, is a chess-lover with a 2252 rating who visited the tournament daily to enjoy the commentary by GMs Stellan Brynell (a four-time participant) and Erwin l’Ami (who played himself once).
As said, the field of players was particularly interesting this year because of the many young talents. Besides Mishra there were also GMs Gukesh D. (16), Vincent Keymer (18), and Arjun Erigaisi (19). Two players were in their twenties: Jorden van Foreest (24), and Nils Grandelius (29), the only Swedish participant this year.
Gukesh had shown impressive progress at the WR Masters in Dusseldorf in February, scoring 6.5/9 in an even stronger field. After a 2.5/3 start in Malmo, he seemed the main contender for tournament victory but then it went wrong in the fourth round. He lost against his compatriot, a fascinating game that is analyzed by GM Rafael Leitao.
Gukesh tried hard for more, but could only score half points in each of the remaining three rounds. In a tournament where just about anyone could beat anyone, Svidler’s plus-two ended up being a winning score. He defeated Gelfand in the second round, and Erigaisi in the third.
In the latter game, the Indian GM sacrificed an exchange in the opening, just as GM Fabiano Caruana had done against Svidler. After the game, Caruana contacted Svidler on Discord to ask what happened, because how it went, Erigaisi could have reached the same position but with an extra tempo! Without that tempo, Caruana still drew comfortably, but Erigaisi played it worse and lost.
Before his loss to Gelfand, Mishra had drawn four games and beaten Van Foreest and Keymer. It will be interesting to see how the career of the youngest-ever grandmaster will transpire. One thing is clear: he works hard on the game. After every round, when he had finished analyzing with his opponent, he and his father would take one of the chess sets from the analysis area to their hotel room to go through the game together one more time—a tradition they’ve had from the earliest tournaments he played.
At the board, Mishra often takes a pose preferred only by the very youngest proponents of the game: taking off his shoes and folding his legs to sit on his feet. At the same time, his Chessable-sponsored jacket as well as his mature moves on the board make him appear as a seasoned player.
His win against Keymer involved some luck as the German player had his worst moment in the tournament in terms of calculation. After spending 10 minutes on the clock, he put his rook on the wrong square:
The Dutch author of this report was obviously rooting for Van Foreest, who ended on a mildly disappointing 50 percent score. During the rounds, his second GM Sipke Ernst was spending a lot of time in the commentary room, suggesting many ideas to Brynell and l’Ami.
In the fifth round, Van Foreest seemed to be spoiling a promising double rook ending as Erigaisi was defending stubbornly. When I noticed the moment where White could trade the remaining rooks, I asked Ernst: “But what about the pawn ending?” After a five-second calculation, he replied: “No, that’s a draw.” Luckily, Van Foreest had more than five seconds left on his clock as he swapped all rooks and demonstrated it was a win after all.
TePe Sigeman & Co 2023 | Final Standings
Although Peter won the @tepesigeman tournament outright, a tiebreak game was in the air until Boris won against Abhimanyu after more than 120 moves. Of course both players wanted to play their blitz match anyway – Peter gambled and won! pic.twitter.com/RAjIBl9ADi
— Arno Eliëns ♟ (@aeliens) May 10, 2023