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Almasi and Gashimov lead in Reggio Emilia

1/5/2008 – This prestigious tournament in Italy is being held for the 50th time. Its strongest edition was in 1991/92, when for the first time in history a category 18 was achieved. The participants included World Champions Kasparov, Karpov and all the top players of the day. With four other ex World Champions watching it was the only non-Soviet player who won the tournament. Guess who it was.
 


    50th Torneo di Capodanno in Reggio Emilia, Italy

The 50th Torneo di Capodanno in Reggio Emilia, Italy is taking place from December 29th, 2007, to January 6th, 2008. The standings after seven rounds is as follows:

Statistics: 68% draws, 26% white wins, 6% black wins.


Read the name-plates. This sixth-round game ended after 44 moves in a draw


Viktor vs Hari, round seven, draw in 21. Chess legend Korchnoi, USSR Champion four times, had been a candidate for the World Chess Championship eight times, and played for the title against Karpov three times, all before Harikrishna was born (1986). The Indian GM is 21, in March Korchnoi will turn 77.


Ni vs Almasi in round seven. The game ended in a draw after 32 moves


Can't anyone spell Michael? Michele Godena vs Mihail Marin, round 7, draw in 34


Landa vs Navara, round seven, draw in 39


The only decided game in the last two rounds: Gashimov won in 31 moves


GM Miso GM Misho Cebalo of Croatia doing commentary for the public

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Reggio Emilia

By Adolivio Capece

Reggio Emilia is a little town in the center of Italy. Little, but for many reasons very important. For example in the neighbourhood of the town, in a village named Scandiano, the current Prime Minister of the Italian Government, Romano Prodi, was born. And it was in Reggio Emilia, at the end of 1700, that the Italian national flag, the “tricolore” (so called for its three colours: green, white and red), was created.

Moreover, in Reggio Emilia, in 1474, the famous writer and poet Ludovico Ariosto was born – the author of the epic novel “Orlando Furioso”. Maybe some of you will remember the famous starting words: “Le donne, i cavallier, l’arme, gli amori, le cortesie, le audaci imprese io canto” (Of wives and ladies, knights and arms, I sing, of courtesies and many a daring feat).

At that time the town was the property of an important family, the Este. Almost all the members of this family were fond of chess, especially Isabella, Duchess of Mantova (Mantua), who is said to have hosted in her court many important chess players of the time, in particular from Spain. We can say that the tradition of chess in Reggio Emilia is older that five centuries!


The Teatro Municipale Valli in Reggio Emilia

In these days, in the little town of Reggio Emilia, the 50th edition of the international chess tournament named “Torneo di Capodanno” is being held, up to January 6th 2008. Fifty editions in a row for a FIDE closed tournament is probably the absolute record, even if Hastings has been running for 60 years in a row.

The “Torneo di Capodanno” was created in 1958, and built on the enthusiasm of Enrico Paoli (1908-2005), GM honoris causa. The name was due to the fact that it starts immediately after Christmas to end in the day of Epiphany (January 6th). It was conducted thanks the sponsorship of the local Tourist Office and of the company “Motori Slanzi Novellara”.


The Piazza Prampolini in the heart of the town

The winner of the first edition was Otto Marthaler (Switzerland). Among the winners of the following editions were Forintos, Bertok, Parma (twice) Matulovic, Soltys, Pachman and (only) two Italians: Alberto Giustolisi and Sergio Mariotti. In 1976/77, edition number 19, for the first time a player from the USSR, Kuzmin, participated and won. For edition number 25, 1982/83, the tournament found a new important sponsor, the “Banco di San Geminiano e San Prospero”. In that year the winner was the women's world champion Nona Gaprindashvili (URSS, Georgia). Among the winners of the following editions we find Portisch, Andersson, Ribli, Tukmakov, V.Gurevich, Ehlvest and Anatolij Karpov (1990/91).


The Crostolo statue in Reggio Emilia’s Piazza del Duomo

But the high point was the 34th edition (December 27 1991 – January 6 1992): among the players in the main group played the world champions Kasparov and Karpov. It was the strongest tournament ever played, the first in the world to reach category XVIII. Please note at that time Category 18 was considered an "abstract" goal, because it seemed


Anand in 1991

almost impossible to gather together all the best players at the same time. But it became possible thanks to the great love for chess of Nicola Palladino – at that time President of the Italian Chess Federation – and obviously of Enrico Paoli, very well known and valued by all the most important players in the world, among them Kasparov himself.

There was also a B group, with the most eminent Italian players, and a tournament for blind players, an unofficial ‘braille chess’ world championship. And, last but not least, a meeting of all the living world champions was organized: for this the following players travelled to Reggio Emilia: Mikhail Botvinnik, Mikhail Tal, Vasily Smyslov and Boris Spassky (who joined Kasparov and Karpov). The only living world champion who was absent was Bobby Fischer. For some days Reggio Emilia was really the “navel” of the chess world!

The final standing of the tournament was a surprise: the winner was an ‘outsider’, a young Indian lad, just 22 years old. His name was Vishy Anand! We can say that the wonderful career of Anand started from this event! Anand was so happy at his victory that as soon as it became clear he sent a fax (at the time there was no Internet or mobile phones!) to his family and to a journalist friend in Germany: "I won the tournament! I won the tournament! I won the tournament!" the fax read. It was signed “Anand”.

Kasparov was (only) second with the same number of points as Boris Gelfand.

Unfortunately after this edition the main chief of the sponsor changed and the tournament went back to "normal" standard, and was in fact cancelled when the bank “Banco di S. Geminiano” was sold to another group. But the event went on and thanks to some local supporters it made it to this important Jubileé, which has reached cat. XVI.

We can add that from the great edition of 1991/92 three persons are present also this year: GM Michele Godena, who at that time played the B group and now is the only Italian player in the A group; GM Misho Cebalo from Croatia, who at that time also played the B group and now is the official commentator of the games (daily in the analysis room and every other day for a local TV station, Telereggio). And Franca Dapiran, the international arbiter, director of that great edition and of this one.

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