Off the coast of Spain, in the Mediterranean, there are a group of islands well known to tourists one of which is the small and peaceful island of Menorca. It now hosts a newly established international chess tournament.
We played in the very first “Menorca Open Chess” tournament from the 20th to 24th April. The tournament was organised by the president of the local club Santi Gomila. Successfully setting up such a major tournament was a major challenge and it was a great success.
The tournament took place in the Princesa Playa **** at Son Xoriguer, some 12 kms from Ciutadella de Menorca. The hotel opened a little earlier than usual for the beginning of the tourist season and was completely reserved for the tournament and to accommodate the participants, organisers and persons accompanying on full board with very reasonable prices. Meals were self service and the hotel had full facilities in particular a swimming pool, a small shop, and sports room and outdoor sporting facilities. The package proposed by the organisers even included a bus service for the tournament participants between the airport and the hotel.
The hotel provided two rooms for the tournament, also 10-12 games were broadcasted and commented live in Spanish on chess24. (See the decisive game for first place).
The chess boards were well spaced, one placing card for each player, a bottle of water for each game, in short really excellent conditions.
There were 71 participants in the Open B which was reserved for players below 2000 and 137 participants in the Open A which was open to all but had many very strong players, the average ELO rating being 2110. There were 50 titled players including some world class players in particular very strong Indian contingent (Adhiban B, Erigaisi A, Gukesh D. Nihal S. and many others, the Armenian players Sarsyan Shant and Martirosyan Haik M, the Spanish Grand Master Santas Latasa Jaime as well as Oleg Ramanishin, a world class player from the 70’s and 80’s.
In total there were 26 nationalities represented for a total of 208 participants resulting in a real international and multicultural open. Note the Spanish timing of the evening games which did not start until 5pm even when the game was the only one of the day.
The tournament consisted of seven rounds with 1h30mn per player and a 30 second increment.
Gukesh D. the 15 year old Indian prodigy won the tournament playing the last round against his compatriot Adhiban to finish with 6/7.
The podium was completed by Aryan Chopra and Sargsyan Shant.
OPEN B, 4/7 points, 23rd/71, third women’s prize, Open B
A satisfactory tournament. I was not really hoping to do much better although at the last round I failed to find the winning moves on several occasions, no doubt due to the accumulation of fatigue and I had to be satisfied with a draw. An idea for improvement in future tournaments would be more physical activity to increase endurance and to sleep better.
OPEN A, 4/7 points, 46th/137
A good tournament with in particular draws obtained against GM Grzegorz NASUTA (Poland) saved by giving up the exchange in the zeitnot and Oscar DE LA RIVA AGUADO (Andorra) against whom I was able to build a fortress.
Nevertheless, and in spite of the results I note that my games are not as clean as they should be and I was fortunate in draws against GMs as well as in my round 6 game against a weaker player.
We much appreciated the work of the organisers and the hotel who spared no effort, often invisibly, to ensure that the tournament was a success. We will keep very good memories of our first major tournament of our chess journey. Perhaps this will be a classic of the international circuit within a few years.
Tournament fun fact
After the closing ceremony the players who had winnings were in a line to get their prizes and young Spanish and Catalans players were asking for autographs. A small child asked Zoe to sign his T-shirt but she did not know how to reply not speaking either Spanish nor Catalan. The beginning of fame for our chief blogger !
What we liked
What liked less
As a plus we attach some photos taken after the tournament: