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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Sun, fun, and a GM norm
Report and photos by Alina L'Ami
The tournament poster
It is very late so I will briefly share my thoughts on the final last day: I am happy! Very very tired but happy. I am enjoying this moment, of having a great performance: 2612, my first GM norm and a plus of 48 elo points! Usually, I was a "specialist" in losing them, but it seems that sun is shining on my street as well.
What a tough tournament...playing GM after GM, all hungry for points. I still can't believe how well everything went, simply wonderful! And when I had my chances against Kiril Georgiev but sent them away...it was not easy either.
A key game against Kiril Georgiev that went sour
Kiril Georgiev and his charming wife Emilia Georgieva
Calculated the draw and finally playing something else...Although, I had no other choice but to forget and focus on the last round. A draw was enough to get the GM norm (I already had the IM norm - my second, even if I were to lose both games in the last two rounds) and despite the fatigue, pressure and so on, I somehow managed. The organizers were extremely nice with me and set my board, number nine, on the stage!
Lights! Stage! Action!
Getting ready for a crucial last round
Normally only six boards are broadcast live. This time though, an exception was made, most probably to protect me from the noise, public, and to help me focus and make the most of my chance.
The trophy table for the fortunate ones
The spectators kibitz the live games, and Emilia Georgieva follows avidly in the rear
All is well when it ends well, and I surely take back home a lot of nice memories. But the most important thing, which makes me very happy: I re-discovered the joy of playing chess. It is such a wonderful feeling when you realize that you just enjoy the game. Of course...the fact that I took some points helped this process too. Not to mention that I didn't have the pressure of being a favourite. And still...I was going to my games to have a decent fight, not to make a draw. I also got a lot of support from the locals, from the organizers, from the other players, it's quite nice when someone is cheering for you. All in all, I am still swimming in euphoria, but on 19th of July I'll have the first round in Dieren, Holland, so time to calm down.
Brazilian IM Herman Riemsdijk presents and signs his book on pawn endgames,
"Peões Magicos" (Magic Pawns)
The three top prize winners with their trophies
There I am in the middle with my first GM norm certificate after a 2612 performance!
A visit to Barcelona
Barcelona is home to many beautiful places such as this open café on the square
There is no lack of originality in the designs
The Sagrada Familia, or Holy Family cathedral, has been in construction for over 100 years!
The famous La Rambla during the day
La Rambla is a street in the center of town, famed for the many merchants of all kinds
Even in the evening, it will thrive on
One can buy art, clothing and even produce
Naturally the beach is another attraction of the city
Slightly overdressed for the sun and sand
Spain is no less famous for some of its wonderful food, and a visit would not be
complete without the timeless Paella.
Part of what makes it so special is the warmth of small business owners, treating all
guests as if they were close friends or family.
Another specialty is the ice cold drink 'Horchata', which has specialized
Horchatarias spread all over, and resembles a milkshake slightly.
This drink is common throughout Latin America and Spain, though varies slightly from
place to place. In Spain it is commonly made from tigernuts, sugar and water, and is
In the evening of course, a nice jar of sangria is full appreciated
The Spanish believe in generous servings of sangria
Another local specialty is the Jamón Ibérico, a special cured ham, which whilst delicious
also one of the most expensive hams in the world. Yes, those signs say 89 Euros.
A serving of Jamón Ibérico with peppers and bread to accompany
Final standings of Group A