Second Ruy Lopez Chess Festival
The Second Ruy López International Chess Festival took place in Mérida,
Spain, from April 4th-13th, 2008. The main event was a category XV round robin
with eight players.
The tournament has a low (39%) drawing rate, with 29% of the games won by White
and, remarkably, 32% (nine games) by Black. A link to all the games can be found
at the end of this report.
The winner, with a 2822 performance: top seed Michael Adams of the UK
Clear second with a 2768 performance: Chinese GM Zhang Pengxiang
Equal third-fourth: Armenian GM Gabriel Sargissian performed at 2706
Equal third-fourth: GM Koneru Humpy of India played at a 2715 level
Guest of honour Fernando Arrabal
Fernando Arrabal Terán, 75, is a Spanish playwright, screenwriter, film
director, novelist and poet, living in France since 1955. His father, who was
opposed to the right-wing movement of General Francisco Franco, disappeared
in 1941, which traumatised the young Arrabal. At the age of ten the lad was
awarded a National Prize for “Gifted Children” and went on to study
at the university in Madrid.
Arrabal in his trademark chess pose
Arrabal has directed seven full-length feature films, published over one hundred
plays, fourteen novels, seven poetry collections, many essays, and his celebrated
“Letter to General Franco” during the dictator’s lifetime.
His complete plays, which run to over two thousand pages, have been published
in a number of languages. The Dictionary of Literatures in the French Language
writes: "Arrabal’s theatre is a wild, brutal, cacophonous, and joyously
provocative world. It is a dramatic carnival in which the carcass of our 'advanced'
civilizations is barbecued over the spits of a permanent revolution. He is the
artistic heir of Kafka’s lucidity and Jarry’s humor; in his violence,
Arrabal is related to Sade and Artaud. Yet he is doubtless the only writer to
have pushed derision as far as he did. Deeply political and merrily playful,
both revolutionary and bohemian, his work is the syndrome of our century of
barbed wire and Gulags, a manner of finding a reprieve."
During a lecture in Mérida
The playwright Arrabal is passionately interested in chess and has turned up
a numerous events. He has close relations to the Gata Kamsky and recently published
the entire correspondence between the Kamsky camp and FIDE with regard the upcoming
Kamsky-Topalov match in his chess blog Chess
Express Arrabal. Here are excerpts from the latest (April 1st 2008) missive
by "Bella Kamskaya, Esq., Counsel for Gata Kamsky".
"GM Kamsky’s personal experience at the 1996 World Chess Championship
Kamsky – Karpov match organized in Elista, Russia the homeland of
then Russian champion Karpov, shows that FIDE was not able to provide neither
fairness, equality nor anti-cheating measures. Since the 1996 World Chess
Championship match where a newly elected FIDE president Ilyumzhinov was
assisted by Mr. Makropoulos, no radical changes has occured within FIDE
to address the faireness and impartiality. The recent 'Toilet War’
at the 2006 Topalov-Kramnik World Championship match is a perfect example
of FIDE’s inability to handle these issues."
"GM Ponomariev, GM Kasimdzhanov, GM Khalifman did not have a re-match
opportunity after the loss of a championship title unlike GM Topalov and
"For the second time in GM Kamsky’s chess career since 1996,
FIDE and its leadership: Mr. Ilyumzhinov, Mr. Makropoulos and Mr. Campomanes
are trying to destroy GM Kamsky’s chess career and purpose in life
by creating an irresolvable conflict over the World Championship match.
It appears that FIDE does not fully understand the gravity of the situation.
While having numerous alternatives FIDE escalates the situation that may
require courts intervention to protect GM Kamsky’s rights."
- "It is unclear why Topalov insists on Bulgaria as the venue for this
match especially if he is planning to play a fair chess game. Accordingly
GM Topalov who became the challenger to the 2007 World Cup winner thru a FIDE
nomination, bypassing a formal qualification process, should agree to play
The above was in reply to FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos, who on
March 28, 2008 had written:
The FIDE Presidential Board confirmed in Istanbul that the bidding procedure
for the Challengers Match 2008 continues as announced, without any other changes.
FIDE is looking forward to receiving alternative offers for this match by
the deadline of 11 April. The FIDE Presidential board has also confirmed the
qualifying procedure if any of the two participants fail to participate:
- if GM Kamsky refuses to participate, GM Shirov will be asked to participate
as the runner-up of the World Cup; if GM Shirov also refuses, GM Topalov
will automatically qualify for the World Championship match 2009.
- if GM Topalov refuses to participate, GM Kamsky will automatically qualify
for the World Championship match 2009.
Arrabal, playwright and chess aficionado
In a playful mood during his visit to the museum
Confronting a bust in marble in the production department of the museum
Chess photos by Jorge Armestar Marroquin
Arrabal photos in Mérida by Molina for the official web site