Chess in an Italian Paradise

8/25/2005 – Bratto is a beautiful mountain town, close to one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy. It is the venue of the 25th International Chess Tournament, with 383 players of all ages and nationalities. Currently GM Vladimir Epishin leads the main event with 5/5. We bring you a spectacular pictorial report.

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Chess in an Italian Paradise

By Adolivio Capece

Bratto is a nice little mountain town, ideal for the holidays both in summer and in winter. It is very close to Monte Pora, where in winter you can go skiing. But it is not far also from the Lake of Iseo.

The first edition of the tournament started in 1978. The one of this year is edition number 25, because for a couple of years they did not organize the event. Now the tournament in Bratto is the most important in Italy, considering the number of players (this time 383) and the level of play. The other important event is the tournament in Porto San Giorgio, sea-side town, that is played almost at the same time (August 22–20, and this year has about 290 players).


Prepared for the participants: the playing venue

In Bratto the Italian Women's Championship (24 players) and the Under 20 Championship (70 players) are also being staged. But many women and many young players preferred to take part in the Open A (= Master Group) and try to get international norms. Both these tournaments will give to the Italian Federation ideas for the teams that will play in the Olympiad in Turin next year.


The venue filled with almost four hundred chess players

The tournament is divided into six groups: the Open A, three other groups with admission according to the Elo rating, the women's and the under 20 championships. In the women's championship we find the winner of last year, Maria Vincenza Santurbano, the winner of two years ago, Maria De Rosa, and the girl, now 17 years old, who in both the previous championships came second, Eleonora Ambrosi. The youngest participant is Marina Brunello (Italian champion Under 12) who is only 11 years old.

In the Under 20 there are many Italian masters, some already with IM norms, for example Niccolò Ronchetti and Sabino Brunello. It is possible that one of these young boys will be included in the Olympic teams.

The Open A has 13 GMs, who (according to the ratings) are Khenkin, Iordachescu, Epishin, Sax, Palac, Atalik, Groszpeter, Godena, Drasko, Cebalo, Drazic, Lalic and Dervishi. There is also a WGM, Elena Sedina.


The youngest participants in the tournament

The tournament is a very social affair. For example there is a family named Piemonti, four people, all playing in the event: father, mother, a 10-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl (Alice, the youngest player of the tournament). Or Olivari, father and two children. The Borsato family has four players (two brothers, each with one child) and four "seconds" (wives and other children). There are plenty of siblings, for example the Brunellos (Marina,11, Roberta 14, Sabino 16), or Vocaturos (Ilaria 12, Daniele 15) or D’Apa (Matteo 13, Massimo 9) or Rombaldoni (Denis 16, Axel 14). The oldest player is Mr Giuseppe Guido (77 years old); his son Flavio is IM.


GM Suat Atalik (right) against GM Viorel Iordachescu in round four

In round one Suat Atalik, who is originally from Turkey but now lives in (and plays for) Bosnia, pulled off what must surely go down as the swindle of the year.

Atalik,S (2561) - Buono,M (2133)
Open A 6 (1), 21.14.0023
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.b3 Bd6 6.Bb2 Nbd7 7.Nf3 0-0 8.Bd3 Re8 9.Qc2 b6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.0-0 Bb7 12.Rfe1 Rc8 13.Rad1 Bb8 14.Bf5 Qc7 15.g3 Rcd8 16.b4 a6 17.a4 b5 18.a5 Qd6 19.Ba3 Bc7 20.Ra1 Re7 21.Nd2 h5 22.e4 dxe4 23.Ncxe4 Nxe4 24.Nxe4 Qxd4 25.Rad1 Qe5 26.Rxd7 Rdxd7 27.Bxd7 c5 28.Qxc5 Qxc5 29.bxc5 Rxd7 30.Bb4 Rd4 31.Ng5 Bc6 32.Rb1 Bd8 33.f4 Be7 34.Kf1 Rc4 35.Ke2 f6 36.Nh3 Bxc5 37.Bxc5 Rxc5 38.Nf2 Rc2+ 39.Ke3 Ra2 40.Rc1 Bd7 41.Ne4 Rxa5 42.Nd6 Ra2 43.f5 b4 44.Rc7 Ba4 45.Rc8+ Kh7 46.h4 b3 47.g4.

Playing against an opponent who has 428 points less then himself, Atalik has managed to go two pawns down in a hopelessly lost position. His last move is a trap, easily refuted with 47...hxg4. But Buono cannot resist and walks into straight into it: 47...b2? 48.g5. The threat is g6+ Kh6 Rh8#. 48...Ra3+ 49.Kf2. Same mating threat. 49...g6 50.Rc7+ Kh8 51.Nf7+ Kg7 52.Nh6+ Kf8 53.fxg6 (threatening g7+ and g8Q#. 53...Ke8 54.Rb7 Rb3 55.g7 Rxb7 56.g8Q+ Kd7 57.Qh7+ Kc6 58.Qb1 fxg5 59.hxg5 Kd6 60.Nf5+ Kd5 61.g6 Bd7 1-0. An astonishing outcome.


Leader Vladimir Epishin, who has won all five games so far

After five rounds the score is as follows:

  1.    3  Epishin, Vladimir     2600   5.0 
2. 1 Khenkin, Igor 2610 4.0
6 Atalik, Suat 2561 4.0
8 Godena, Michele 2522 4.0
9 Drasko, Milan 2516 4.0
10 Cebalo, Miso 2511 4.0
12 Lalic, Bogdan 2491 4.0
13 Dervishi, Erald 2482 4.0
14 Ranola, Yves 2466 4.0
15 Maiorov, Nikita 2453 4.0
16 Sanchez, Joseph 2452 4.0
17 Jones, Gawain C. 2442 4.0
19 Salvador, Roland 2416 4.0
26 Bellia, Fabrizio 2375 4.0
15. 2 Iordachescu, Viorel 2606 3.5
7 Groszpeter, Attila 2525 3.5
11 Drazic, Sinisa 2497 3.5
18 Hunt, Adam 2427 3.5
21 Shytaj, Luca 2395 3.5
22 Contin, Daniel 2393 3.5
23 Brunner, Nicolas 2386 3.5
24 Borgo, Giulio 2380 3.5
30 Tatai, Stefano 2370 3.5
33 Qendro, Llambi 2357 3.5
35 Castaldo, Folco 2352 3.5
36 Mazzilli, Piero 2341 3.5
40 Corvi, Marco 2317 3.5
62 Baldazzi, Stefano 2165 3.5

Russian GM Vladimir Epishin, who now lives in Germany, has won all games so far, including a fifth-round encounter with Suat Atalik. You can find an incomplete and not very well-maintained PGN file of the games at the official web site.


Picture Gallery


The beautiful mountain landscape in Bratto


Hills and mountains in every direction


The main street of the resort


The Hotel Milano, in the Val Seriana, at the foot of the towering Presolana mountain.


Enjoying a cocktail in the water recreational area


Relaxing in the "grotta dei sogni", with aroma therapy in a soft flowers-pool


Chakra stone massage with heated lava stones


Other recreational facilities


Mountains in the evening light


At night the almost full moon


The hotel lit up for the evening

All pictures above from Fabio Iannotta

Lake Iseo

On a recent trip to Turin, where the 2006 Olympiad is taking place, we had a chance to look around the region. Very close to Bratto there is one of the most beautiful and interesting lakes in Italy, which visitors to the tournament should definitely take time off to visit. Lake Iseo doesn’t feature in most tourist brochures and has some breathtaking Jurassic formations, consisting of pinnacles of rock, with sheets of limestone that plunge into the lake.


A walkway along Lake Iseo takes you through a tunnel in the rock formations


Giant pinnacles of rock, reaching many tens of meters high


Former coastal sea beds have been tilted 90° by plate tectonics


100-Million-year-old imprints on the now vertical rock surface

If anyone knows more about these incredible formations and Jurassic tracks, which are not marked or guarded, we would be glad to receive further information (use the "Feedback" button on the left of this page).

Frederic Friedel


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