Showing posts with label Tournaments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tournaments. Show all posts

June 13, 2012

Sun and chess on the Bulgarian coast!

The Golden Sands tournament, held between 4th - 12th of June on Bulgarian seacoast, finished yeasterday, having as a sole winner the Chinese GM: Lu Shanglei, (born in '95)! The 7.5 points which the winner squeezed out of 9 games are even more impressive if we think about the rather tough starting list of the event: I could count more than 45 GM's and plenty of IM's, all fighting for the 6000 Euro first prize! I forgot since an Open tournament was as rough as this one but I guess it's fully justified by the generous prize fund which the organizers put at stake: more than 50000 Euro! 224 players attended the tournament, trying to get a prize or/and as much sun as the Bulgarian seaside resort had to offer:)
As for our family, it could have been better, it could have been worse. But we did enjoy the whole experience! While we are now waiting for our bus to come and bring us back to Romania, I decided to  choose some pictures for you, to make a general impression on the tournament we just had.

July 15, 2011

34th International Open Barbera del Valles

Back to my Dutch home: it's time to draw a few conclusions after the tournament which just finished. From 4th of July until 12th, I've been playing in Barbera del Valles, Spain, and, for the first time, I can say: was not bad at all:) A GM norm and a plus of 48 elo points, is more than I could have dreamed of.

July 7, 2011

Dutch National Championship

The Dutch Championship, held in Boxtel, from June 25th to 5th July, came to an end. Remarkable is the 2849 performance of the champion, your favourite: Anish Giri, with no less than 5 wins in a row, including the last round! In the women section, Zhaoqin Peng won convincingly, scoring 9 out of 10, 3 points ahead of the second place. Only Martine Middelveld, third place, managed to stop Zhaoqin's series of victories, with a win in the 7th round.
Smaranda, our 'spy', has sent us more photos!

July 2, 2011

Dutch National Championship - Photo impressions

The Dutch Championship is already on its second half, soon the sixth round will start later on today. Wouter Spoelman is leading with 4 out of 5 and, in the women section, Zhaoqin Peng is undefetead, with 6 out of 6! Women play a double round-robin tournament, so no rest day for them. But for men, yesterday, 1st of July, relaxation time was in the schedule.
Smaranda Padurariu, WIM, Jan Smeets' girlfriend and my friend, has sent us a big pictorial report from the competition. Thanks Sma!

June 7, 2011

Romanian Rapid Cup

Quite often we travel day and night, for hours and hours, to reach a beautiful place, to see with our own eyes a new country, to meet new people...the more difficult it gets, the higher the pleasure we experience:) Might sound a bit strange, but psychologically speaking, it's completely normal. What we achieve easily, doesn't bring us an incredible amount of joy; instead, if we have to fight, to sweat, to spend a lot of money, than we might come somewhere, our pride will be satisfied that no matter how big the barriers were, we managed!

I have been travelling thanks to chess since I was 6, but somehow, I never really took time to explore my own country. I have always said and knew that Romania is an incredibly beautiful place, after all, it's my home! Subcounsciously though, my brain was undermining the idea of going for a holiday in Romania, I can travel around here basically at any time, so why should I do it now?!
Luckily, last weekend I played, together with my husband, the Romanian rapid team cup, which took place in Brasov.

May 30, 2011

Cuca Chess Tournament

Africa...I've always dreamed to put my foot on African red soil, to discover unknown places, to understand the people's life and their history, to eat crocodiles (this idea was given by Sergey Tiviakov:) or just to stare around, absorbing as much as possible.

Many chess players don't realize what a great opportunity they have thanks to the activity we practice. Without chess, probably it wouldn't have even crossed my mind to visit Angola!

April 4, 2011

European Championship

After two weeks of tough fights, the 12th European Championship has come to an end. The 11th round tournament has left behind a sweet taste of victory, for some of the players, or a more bitter one for many others. Congratulations to the winners and for those who didn’t qualify, there will always be another chance: next year in Plovdiv!

March 2, 2011

Cotroceni International Women Tournament

As a woman player, I am very happy to see that more and more tournaments are being organized for us. While strong players are fighting right now in the Grand Prix from Doha, Qatar, I am proud to say that here, in Roumania, a similar event will start today!

The tournament is a closed women competition, held between 1st and 11th of March, in Bucharest, and it reached its second edition. 

February 21, 2011

Roumanian National Chess Championship

Sărata Monteoru

Roumania's National Chess Championship was hosted this year by Sărata Monteoru, a well-known spa, placed at 86 m high and 105 km far away from Bucharest. Despite my performance, which I am trying to forget, I still enjoyed the tournament, the place and the entire organization. If I am saying this, me, a player with only 5 points out of 9, without having faced the strongest opponents, it means that something was special there, something was done right, so that even the most unfortunate ones would feel great:)

December 14, 2010

Benidorm - Final Impressions

Back to my Dutch home...snow, cold, strong wind, completely different than Benidorm. And yet, both locations have their own particular beauty. Because I've just returned from Spain and the memories are fresh, I will try to show you why I enjoyed it, besides that I played a Closed Women Tournament:)

All the players!
The final standings are published on Chess-Results. 

As you might know, usually the chess players have no time to see something else, besides the playing hall. I got lucky, I had a free day at the beginning of the tournament and half a day at the end:) To be honest, I didn't expect Benidorm to be so beautiful and now I am looking forward to come back! 
Due to the unique skyline formed by its numerous tall hotels and apartment buildings it is sometimes referred to as the "Manhattan of Spain" or "Beniyork", which is unlike any other on the Costa Blanca (White Coast). Benidorm's initial growth in popularity can be attributed to the package holiday explosion, and continues year round, due to the night-life based around the central concentration of bars and clubs. The large number of free cabaret acts that start around 21 hours and continue into the early hours set Benidorm apart from other similar resorts. The city has a special micro-climate all year round thanks to the mountains which surround the town, no wonder it was so warm in December! (we had 25 degrees!) 
The following video gives you an insight of the Benidorm's atmosphere:

And a few more pictures:

As I said before, spanish people are open, friendly and ready to help you. Thanks to my friend (helloes from Holland!!), I had the chance to try for the first time a special coffee called: "cafe bonbon". Probably we all heard about their famous recipes: paella, gazpacho, horchata, but, as a coffee lover, I never tasted cafe bonbon...always great to experience something new:)

A delicious drink - strong coffee on top of condensed milk!
Although, I am not sure it's on everyone's taste.
It's very sweet but very efficient against a heavy head during your game:)
After a terrible loss against Nicolas Zapata Irene in round 3 (she made an WIM norm, congratulations!), I managed to come back in the tournament and shared the 2nd place. This is the trophy:

Our Hotel: Gran Bali in miniature and my artistic skills:)

Closing Ceremony

In round 4, against Cerrato Torrijos Maria.
And, for the chess lovers, my last game against Deimante Daulyte from Lithuania. An interesting Najdorf battle, which finally ended in a draw.

A tournament has finished...soon the next one will come:)

December 10, 2010

International Women Tournament - Benidorm

There is always a first time for everything. I have played in churches, highschools, parks, but never in a hotel's reception:) Now, in Benidorm, this is exactly what we are doing: playing at the reception. You might say it can be noisy, difficult to concentrate because of the people who are passing by, but it's really not the case. When you focus on your game, you forget about anything else. Of course, if we play badly, we tend to put the blame on external factors, never ever we think about questioning our abilities:)) 
In any case, the tournament gets a lot of attention here, from locals, chess players, even from the hotel's staff! It's great to see that a tournament is not being played without being unnoticed.
For more information visit the official website where you can also watch the live games.

Playing hall: upper view

Our tournament is played in the hallway, at the reception.
Chess fans can easily watch the games, thus the competition is more popular:)

So many chess enthusiasts!

The games can also be seen live, on a big screen.
Last but not least: spanish hospitality is famous, now i know why:) 

December 6, 2010

Benidorm Chess Festival

Benidorm, Hotel Bali:

Sitting on the pool, with a coffee next to me, enjoying the sun and the beautiful weather. It's December and once again, I tricked winter for a while:)
I am here thanks to the organizers of the IX International Chess Festival, who invited me for a closed women tournament. We were supposed to start today, but some problems occured: strikes in the spanish airports and not all the players managed to arrive, which means we have a free day, but more days with double rounds afterwards.
The size of the Festival is absolutely incredible: 845 players spread in different tournaments! Hotel Bali is the great host of these events, which started on 3rd December and will end on 12. Chess players everywhere, different languages, kids, veterans, parents, coaches, sun, sea and a lot of chess - for 10 days, this is the atmosphere in Benidorm:) If only the chess scene will experience more festivals like this one...with such enthusiastic people, working 24 hours a day to keep everything under control!
For more information, you can check the official website. And, if you were thinking about a holiday, coming here is not such a bad idea:)

Photo report:

The view from my room:)

Behind the pool you can see one of the playing halls,
where children are playing.

Usually I am always unlucky with the view...not this time:)

Only the Gran Hotel Bali could offer accommodation for so many people!

At the reception: chess is the official language for 10 days:)

In between the games, the reception is always crowded, noisy,
but so much alive! Even if you are not a chess fan, it's impossible

not to be attracted by this intriguing world.
The tournament hall for children

The tournament hall for the Open Groups:
under 2300 and under 2000 elo rating.

Popular walking route in Benidorm, along the sea:)

City center

It is clear to me that the hotel has adapted to fit everyone's taste:)
There is no 13th floor nor a room to contain the dangerous number 13:)

There are many different stories that have evolved to give this date its notoriety, among them:
* The biblical reference to the Last Supper, with Judas betraying Jesus. He was the 13th guest at the table. Jesus was reportedly crucified on Friday.
* In ancient Rome a witch's coven comprised 12, with the 13th member being the devil.
* A Norse myth tells of 12 gods dining at Valhallah, their heaven. A 13th uninvited guest, Loki, arrived, persuading the god of darkness to slay the god of happiness.
Numerologists consider the number 12 a complete number for several reasons: the number of apostles, the total number of tribes in Israel, the number of months in a year, the number of Olympian gods, the zodiac signs and Hercules' labours. 13's association with bad luck is the simple, unavoidable fact that it exceeds a complete number by just one.
In any case, let's hope that we have more luck than badluck:)

November 30, 2010

Remco Heite - Final Round

The winner in the Remco Heite Tournament, Wolvega, was decided just in the very last moment, in the critical final round. There were 3 players with the same number of points: Anish Giri, Erwin l'Ami and Luke McShane. Since Erwin and Anish drew in their last encounter, McShane would be clear first, in case of a win against Loek van Wely. Playing with Black, McShane got a slight edge in the middlegame, which resulted in a clear better endgame. Van Wely, however, continued to defend stubbornly, and in the diagrammed position, he has a clear way to defend (In Loek's defence, he hardly had any time on the clock and after 66.Kf3 Rxf2+ 67.Rxf2 exf2 68.gxf5+ Kxf5 69.Kxf2 Kf4, he resigned). How can White's play be improved? 

White to play and draw

November 27, 2010

Remco Heite

Second Round for the GM's Group and First Round for the School tournament

The second round has started...tough day today: double round:)

Children enjoying chess! They seem to be very happy:)

174 kids in the School Tournament! Amazing!
I like to see the parents in the background...watching their children from close:)

November 26, 2010

Remco Heite - First round

GM's playing hall: 3 demonstration boards are present here as well,
besides the ones from the commentary room.

Calm and happy players at the beginning of the round...
How will they be after 4 hours?!

Zoom on Loek's rating...hope it will bring him luck!


Remco Heite Chess Tournament

Opening ceremony:

As I expected, considering my experience from the previous edition, from 2008, the Remco Heite Tournament is a very well organized event, which you can immediately see right from the start.
What makes this tournament special, besides the people involved to make it a great event and their hard work for that, is the attention for making this event different from the others. It's unique not only for the unusual first prize in the Grandmasters group: a horse, or for the fact that it's not counted for elo: which will surely help making the games more interesting for the public. This tournament has it's special flavour because it succeeds in making you feel at home, but also it brings the chess players closer to the general public, thus transforming the game itself into an exciting competition. This is what happened yesterday evening.
After a nice dinner with the sponsors and the organizers, the drawing of lots followed. was not a common one:) A band was performing live a song composed especially for this event, a big screen with movies, pictures was displayed to our delight, speeches, stories, interviews with the GM's, they all completed the picture. It was obvious they worked very hard for that, especially when I was invited as well to come next to Erwin, when he had to draw his number for the tournament. They checked my blog, they new the stories behind the scenes, pictures from our wedding were rolling on the big screen...we were suddenly actors in our own play:)
After I recovered from this surprise, I realized that for the first time the chess players were presented not only as chess players, but also as intellectuals, family persons, students and so on. For the first time an opening ceremony got my attention from the very beginning and kept it until the end.
A professional organized event and yet, a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. The games can be followed live on the official website
Unfortunately, the internet connection is very slow and I cannot upload the pictures:( I succeeded with 3 for now!

Right before the drawing of lots:) GM's enjoying a cup of tea.

The live band

GM's Group

You can see 6 bottles in the background: each player had to choose one,
to see the tournament's number. It's a local drink, 30% alcohol...
I am curious about the taste:)

The screen which made me blush:) But also the other players had a similar experience:)

October 31, 2010

Hoogeveen - Closing Ceremony

Today the tournament in Hoogeveen couldn't have finished nicer for the l'Ami family! We both won our games and Erwin shared the first place with a beautiful win with Black against Robert Kempinski!
I managed to make some final impressions; enjoy!

Anish's lovely family!

Prizes: ready for distribution

Alexei Shirov received the beauty prize for his win against Sergei Tiviakov

Vyacheslav Ikonnikov - had the best tiebreak and was declared the tournament winner.

The beautiful glass chess set goes to: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave for winning the Crown Group.

Press gathers around the winner.

Tournament Director Jeroen van den Berg happily announced that the tournament is secured for at least one more edition!