The XXXIV International Open Barbera del Valles is currently underway in Barbera del Valles, Spain. The event runs three opens for different rating groups.
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Report and photos by Alina L'Ami
I love travelling, I am a true-born traveller if I may say so, and I am always excited to discover new places, new people, cultures etc. But somehow, coming back to the same place, same tournament which I played 4 years ago, meeting the same organizers, staying in the same hotel...gives me a very nice feeling! This might sound a bit strange, but it's really comforting! It's like time has stopped and you have the chance to go back in time and see the same things with different eyes. Very interesting. Plus, the tournament is now in its 34th edition, a lot of experience for the organizers and it is visible. The only drawback is the website, which is only in Spanish, like everything else in Spain by the way: TV channels, people speak only their language and so on.
The good thing is that there are no double rounds, of which I am sure every player is grateful for. Also the hotel and people are very nice, it's in their culture and blood to be very expressive, warm and kind. The playing hall has air-conditioning, very important for our heads!
The Hotel Campanile where we are staying
There is also a huge shopping mall next to our hotel and the discount season has
started. Although, there aren't many women playing in the tournament and I doubt
the men will take advantage of it.
Many players, locals, arrive by train and leave by train after the round's end
For us, reaching the playing hall is an adventure in itself, and requires crossing a
highway with no pedestrian pathway. "Frogger" in real life!
The entrance to the tournament hall
A side entrance
As usual for any tournament, there is a last-minute rush to register
The opening ceremony with Victor Pont, the organizer, at the microphone
The playing hall for the A Group
GM Kiril Georgiev standing in front of the tournament poster
Brazilian IM Herman Claudius Van Riemsdijk gives a friendly wave
An overview of the playing hall
Standings information and board projections of the live games are also available
The lovely Anna Matnadze tragically lost in the 3rd round before
the game even started when her phone rang. Incredibly, Herman
C. Van Riemsdijk actually joked this would happen when he saw
her texting before the round's start.
Emilia Georgieva, wife of Kiril Georgiev, is also playing
Amrutha Mokal from India
Aranaz Murillo Amalia
Always on duty, always at work
Your reporter, Alina L'Ami
GM Peralta Fernando
Parallel to the tournament, a three-day celebration is being held called Festa Major
I am not sure what it is about, but much of it is being held near or in front of City Hall
Many activities and events are held
Dances can be enjoyed with the dancers dressed in traditional costumery
There are also parades to be seen with giant historic figures
Due to the sweltering summer heat, the streets are often quite bare in the afternoons
A typical scene at siesta time
The city itself is a typical mix of greenery, low houses, and blissful quiet
A street market where good deals can be found
An elevated view of Barbera del Valles
Standings of Group A after five rounds