Young Indian player Leon Mendonca wins in Hungary and gets second GM standard

Young Indian international master Leon Luke Mendonca won a GM tournament in Hungary with one round to lose to move closer to the coveted Grandmaster title. The 14-year-old from Goa won the November 2020 First Saturday GM event in Budapest on Monday evening to land his second Grandmaster standard in the span of 21 days. He needs one more standard to earn the GM title.

Mendonca (Elo 2516) finished with 7.5 points and won the title with one round to lose. He remained undefeated in the event and claimed victories over two Grandmasters. He recorded six wins and three draws in the nine-round championship.

At the end of October, he won the Grand Masters tournament at the Rigochess International Chess Festival in Hungary, where he obtained his first GM standard.

“Extremely happy with my performance after winning the tournament and the standard with one lap to lose,” he told PTI from Budapest.

In the first round, he drew against the top-rated GM Plat Vojtech of the Czech Republic (Elo 2562). In the next round, Leon beat the Hungarian Fogarasi Tibor, a Grandmaster, whom he called the best of the tournament.

The 14-year-old, absent from home for nine months, with his father Lyndon, disputes events in Europe. The duo don’t seem in a rush to get home with an eye on Leon’s latest GM standard.

Leon will play an invitational tournament to be held near Budapest from November 21 as the push for the (GM) final continues, Mendonca said.

“We had planned (to play) the GMRR event in Rigo but the organizers canceled it. So we decided to play this event (Kumania Mestervernseny). It was difficult to stay in Europe and for him to participate in events. We have stayed in Airbnb rooms. In addition, it was difficult to plan the tournaments due to the uncertainty. But it was gratifying … ”, added the senior Mendonca.

The two plan to return to India for Christmas, but hope Leon can reach the third and final GM standard and become a Grandmaster.

“We hope to be back (in India) for Christmas. But we take it one day at a time, ”he said.

Leon interacts regularly with his trainer Vishnu Prasanna in Chennai with extended sessions on non-match days, Lyndon Mendonca said.

Leon Mendonca had left for Moscow in February with his father to play the Aeroflot Open which included several other Indian players and traveled to Budapest after an event in Vietnam was postponed due to the coronavirus and was blocked there due to travel restrictions.

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