Tournament report by
Whoah! We're Going To Ibiza
Whoah! Back To The Island
Whoah! We're Gonna Have A Party
Whoah! In The Mediterranean Sea
Strangely enough, I just couldn’t stop myself singing the famous Vengaboys
hit, while flying from Amsterdam to Ibiza. Erwin’s malicious comments
didn’t stop me either, I was in a good mood and I’ll stick to it!
And we haven’t even arrived yet – this is the well known effect
on your endorphins, caused by none other than the worldwide well-known clubbing
Nevertheless, the tourist season ends at the end of September beginning of
October, so we could focus on chess (the main reason we came to this beautiful
island), instead of partying 25 hours a day, which is not uncommon here. After
all, the island is renowned for its free spirit and for being the undisputed
Party Capital of the world! You would have to be blind to miss the countless
bars and clubs, able to host thousands and thousands of adrenaline seekers,
where the best DJ’s on the planet turn the party scene of Ibiza into a
huge business. We had to skip all that, but I cannot say I feel sorry. On the
contrary, we had the chance to experience the real Ibiza, the one so long seemingly
neglected or hidden behind the dominant clubbing culture.
Therefore, we could peacefully enjoy the chess festival, which was organized
between 28th of October and 1st of November, and to trick winter once again?
We had great weather, around 20 degrees or more, although the organizers even
apologized for it. I see nothing to feel sorry for, but let’s say this
is the only detail which might have caused some indisposition. All the other
organizational aspects which could have been kept under control, were done in
almost exemplary fashion. There is of course always room for improvement, but
even on its second edition, the Eivissa (Catalan name for Ibiza) Chess Festival
had the ability to satisfy the requirements of any fastidious player.
The opening of the festival took shape with a simul given by my husband, Dutch
GM Erwin l’Ami, followed by lectures and a rapid tournament. We started
the first round almost right on time, which honestly I didn’t expect,
considering some of my prejudices regarding Latin culture. Also, quite common
for Spanish tournaments is to have eight rounds, which gave the same odds to
all 85 participants: four whites and four blacks. The time control was 25 minutes
for the whole game, without increment, giving us the opportunity to watch and
enjoy some very interesting time troubles.
Starting with seven out of seven, followed by a swift draw in the last round,
Erwin l’Ami was the undeniable winner, probably another reason of my happiness
on the island? Plus, we were welcomed with open arms, in a typical warm and
friendly hospitality that such a vibrant Spanish culture can offer! And thanks
to the wonderful people we met, we had the chance to feel the other side of
this Balearic beat-box, the one beyond the club land, where an intellectual
struggle like chess is perfectly integrated.
Ibiza is easy to love but I have difficulties to describe it – too many
revelations to adequately unfold. For that, you should come here next year,
for the third Festival de Ajedrez Eivissa!
Final top standings (after eight rounds)
Pictorial impressions by Alina L'ami
Ibiza (or Eivissa) is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea, 79 km off
the coast of the city of Valencia in Spain. It is the third largest of the Balearic
Islands, an autonomous community of Spain.
The island is well known for its summer club parties which attract large numbers
of tourists, but the island and the Spanish Tourist Office have been working
in order to promote more family-oriented tourism.
The old town of Eivissa has medieval fortifications, which are protected
... canons strategically placed along the walls
The Cathedral of Santa Maria d'Eivissa, which crowns the town, was built in
style between the 14th and 15th centuries on the site of a former Arab mosque.
It looks like the houses are built on top of each other, in a maze difficult
Walking in the old part of the town I almost broke my neck a few times because
of the steep and narrow streets – and still enjoyed it tremendously
The harbour seen from the old town on the hill
Given its strategic position in the Meditarranean, the island was subject to
various incursions by Arab forces. Thus, in 902-903 it was finally anexed by
the califate of Cordoba under emir Abd Alla, and the city came to be known as
Iabissa (Madina Yabisah).
The playing hall, lit up by the bright Mediterranean sun
Trophies waiting for the winner – in the front the one for best
Swedish GM Pia Cramling with her daughter Ana
Ana Cramling Bellon playing in the event, following on her mother's footsteps
Erwin l’Ami, right, finished the tournament with 7.5/8, a full point
ahead of the field
What could be better than relaxing on a terrace by the sea?
Albondingas or meatballs with rice – a typical dish in Spain
Paella! An absolute must when you are in a Spanish restaurant
Paella is a rice dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century
in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain's
national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish.
There are three widely known types of paella: Valencian paella consists of white
rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), land snails, beans and
seasoning; seafood paella, replaces meat and snails with seafood and omits beans
and green vegetables; mixed paella is a free-style combination of meat, seafood,
vegetables, and sometimes beans. Other key ingredients include saffron and olive
Typical coastline in Ibiza
One of the gateways to the Old Town, where you can easily get lost if you
careful enough – everything looks so similar and yet different.
This is my favourite picture, which made me believe I am somewhere
else, but not on
Spanish soil. Maybe somewhere in Morocco, Egypt, in any case an Arab destination.
Pia Cramling with her daughter Ana, waiting for the simul to start
Erwin given a simul to 34 enthusiastic chess players, with no loss and five
draws against some very tricky players
Ana receiving her trophy for the best player under ten! Is this the beginning
of a new champion?
Erwin with his first place trophy: a beautiful piece of art, done by a
famous local artist.
I am still amazed by the beauty of the trophy, and every time I look at
it, I discover
new hidden messages. If you look at it carefully, you can spot all the chess
Pia with her family
Group picture with all winners
Pia and Erwin being interviewed by the local media
This is the oasis I am writing from – atypical rural traditional Spanish
house, called 'finca'; charging the batteries in my camera, getting ready for
the European Team Championship, where I will be by the time you'll read this.
A farewell picture I made on the last day on Ibiza Island. It shows the
Es Vedra, the famous landmark
and mysterious rock island two km off the coast of Ibiza. It is a nature reserve
and is uninhabited.
Our reporter WGM Alina l'Amim whose web
site you should visit
Alina was born in Romania, but now lives with her husband GM Erwin l'Ami in
Holland. She graduated cum laude from the Al. I. Cuza University Lasi,
Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences. As a chess player she won the
world champion under 10 in Sao Laurenco, Brazil, the European Championship under
18 in Peniscola, Spain, the Women's Balkan Chess Championship in Istanbul, Turkey,
and many other similar events. The Woman International Grandmaster title came
in 2005. Alina speaks Romanian, English (fluently – it is the language she uses
to communicate with her husband, "and we understand each other quite well!"),
French, Dutch ("my husband's language – very beautiful, but so difficult at
the moment"), Spanish and Italian.