Chess in Guadeloupe: the butterfly effect (part two)

by Alina l'Ami
7/30/2017 – In this second part of the report on the Guadeloupe Open, you will be treated to more gorgeous scenery, all captured in large high-res imagery, together with instructive chess analysis, including one game that brought up memories of.... Bogoljubow against Lasker. It is just one more example of why knowing one's classics can never be repeated enough. Enjoy this scenic chess lesson!

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Continued from part one

Change one thing
Change everything

It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world - Chaos Theory.

It might be said that something as small as the flutter of a chess board in Guadeloupe can ultimately cause a chess revolution halfway around the world - Chess Theory?!

Quite a lucky coincidence: Cynthia is wearing a dress with butterflies motifs

Maybe a small event in the 'middle of nowhere' will not rock your world, but it is the little details that are vital, both on and off the board. Little things make big things happen.

The hardships a player must endure: walking around the hotel premises, sipping a cocktail and thinking about...how great life is?

This tournament and how it was organized deserves no less ovations than some of the most prominent chess events out there. What it meant for the community and how everyone got involved is remarkable. And they should take credit for that.

People were given a chance to:

...give it all on the chess board.

The GM Darko Anic always on duty: when not teaching or pointing out the errors – awarding the prizes. (it is refreshing to see that not only the winners attended the closing ceremony)

A small example which could go straight into Darko's (or yours, dear reader) next lecture:

Jean Marie Molia – Alina l'Ami

[Event "Guadeloupe"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.07.08"] [Round "?"] [White "Jean Marie Molia"] [Black "Alina l'Ami"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E97"] [WhiteElo "1858"] [BlackElo "2304"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5r2/pp4bk/3p2pp/4p3/1P2B3/6KP/P3R1P1/8 b - - 0 36"] [PlyCount "13"] [SourceDate "2017.07.17"] [SourceVersionDate "2017.07.17"] {A long day in the office: it was the 2nd round of the day and having two pawns up, I thought I should automatically win this. But the final result appears only when the scoresheets are signed...} 36... Rc8 $2 {is what I played and right after pressing my clock I realized I took a terrible decision} (36... h5 $142 {preventing} 37. Rf2 h4+) 37. Re3 $2 {returning the favour} ({ The best chances that White has is to enter in an opposite color bishops endgame, where the two extra pawns will lose a bit from their powers.} 37. Rc2 {I remembered I fell into a classical trap, but couldn't recall the players' names. Here they are though: Efim Bogoljubov vs Edward Lasker, a game that I will present you shortly after.} Rxc2 {not trading the rooks allows White to enter on the 7th rank} 38. Bxc2 d5 39. Bb3 d4 40. Bc2 Bf6 41. Kf3 {I don't think this is actually winning for Black as White has a firm grip on the light squares. You can give it a try and let us all know if you discovered something. }) 37... b6 38. a3 Bf6 39. h4 Kg7 40. Bd5 Rc1 41. a4 Rd1 42. Be6 Rd4 0-1

Now compare that with the well-known classic:

Bogoljubow – Lasker

[Event "New York"] [Site "New York"] [Date "1924.04.05"] [Round "14"] [White "Bogoljubow, Efim"] [Black "Lasker, Edward"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C60"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/pb2r1kp/6p1/1p6/4PB2/P2P4/6PP/2R3K1 w - - 0 36"] [PlyCount "43"] [EventDate "1924.03.16"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "22"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceTitle "HCL"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "1999.07.01"] [SourceVersion "2"] [SourceVersionDate "1999.07.01"] [SourceQuality "1"] 36. Rc7 {believing, just like me in my own game, that the two extra pawns in the middle of the board will unobstructedly morph into a queen.} (36. Kf2 $142 {keeping the rooks on the board and the winning advantage.}) 36... Kf7 { just like my opponent, returning the favour} ({The safety belt would have been } 36... Rxc7 37. Bxc7 b4 $1 {sacrificing one pawn for more control over the light squares} 38. axb4 Ba6 39. d4 Bd3 40. e5 Bc4 41. Kf2 Kf7 {Once again, White is two pawns up but I doubt it is winning. Feel free to contradict me!}) 37. Rxe7+ Kxe7 38. Bd2 {just in time to prevent that b4 break} Ke6 39. Kf2 Kd6 40. Ke3 Kc5 41. Ba5 Bc8 42. Bd8 Bd7 43. Ba5 g5 44. Bc3 h5 45. Bd4+ Kd6 46. Bxa7 h4 47. Bd4 Ke6 48. Bc3 Kf7 49. d4 Kg6 50. d5 Bc8 51. Ba5 Bd7 52. Bd8 h3 53. gxh3 Bxh3 54. Kd4 Bd7 55. e5 Kf5 56. e6 Be8 57. Bxg5 1-0

In addition, the organizers immediately got me hooked with just one gesture: a fully packed fridge and dinner on the commode, even though they knew I would arrive past midnight. May sound trivial but a can of soft drink does wonders when you are thirsty (and not when you are not).

Guadeloupe is a wild discovery

I got this travel bug long before I can remember and no cure has yet been found. Lucky me:) But when on the butterfly island...I had to play by its volatile rules.

Guess where the BBC series “Death in Paradise” was filmed?

Right here, in the Guadeloupean Deshaies! I had to trespass private properties to bring you this view though. Fortunately, I didn't end up in the murder mystery tv show mentioned above.

Living on the edge continues: strong winds, giant abyss, no fences – there is not much that can stop me from taking the shot I need.

But all that comes with a price. Energy got out of stock and then this is what happens:

Alina l'Ami – Romain Cristophe Hayot

[Event "Guadeloupe"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.07.09"] [Round "?"] [White "Alina l'Ami"] [Black "Romain Cristophe Hayot"] [Result "*"] [ECO "D90"] [WhiteElo "2304"] [BlackElo "1783"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1bqkb1r/pp1n1p1p/4pnp1/3p2B1/Q2P4/2N2N2/PP2PPPP/R3KB1R w KQkq - 0 8"] [PlyCount "12"] [SourceDate "2017.07.17"] [SourceVersionDate "2017.07.17"] {An Alina classic: How would you continue with White?} 8. Bxf6 {Is what I chose but it was clearly not the best} ({The first move that entered my head was} 8. e4 $1 {It is perfectly within the spirit of the position so why didn't I play it? Laziness. I thought I didn't need to calculate this if I had the slow and safe alternative of Bxf6...} dxe4 9. Nxe4 Be7 10. Nxf6+ Bxf6 11. Bh6 b6 12. Be2 Bb7 13. O-O $16 {Black will never be allowed to castle, not in good circumstances anyway.}) (8. Nb5 {was another good option} Be7 (8... a6 { is only a storm in a teacup. The knight is taboo.} 9. Rc1 $18) 9. Bh6 Ng4 10. Bf4 O-O 11. Bc7 Qe8 12. Nd6 Bxd6 13. Bxd6 Ndf6 14. Qa3 {winning an exchange}) 8... Qxf6 9. Nb5 Nb6 {and I was suddenly faced with a difficult decision: go back or calculate my way through?} 10. Qb3 $6 {This was the last round in the tournament, so maybe I can find a good excuse with lack of energy?!} (10. Nd6+ {would have still brought White an edge} Ke7 11. Qb4 {looks good but after} Kd8 $1 12. e3 {is what I missed} ({I calculated only the most aggressive continuation, which doesn't work} 12. Ne5 Bxd6 13. Qxd6+ Bd7 14. e3 Qe7 $13) 12... Bxd6 13. Qxd6+ Bd7 14. Bd3 Qe7 15. Qf4 {and White still has the upper hand.}) 10... Qd8 11. Rc1 Nc4 12. e3 a6 13. Nc3 b5 {Sad but true. The only one that can be better is Black. Fortunately, I managed to emerge victorious...} *

Being a city person doesn't automatically make me an expert on the tropics either. So one day I opened a pack of biscuits, took one out, sealed it back to what I thought would be watertight and went to sleep. Next day in the morning...surprise surprise: hundreds (or was it thousands?!) of little ants marching down my luggage, including camera, lenses and laptop. Oooops! To complete the picture, when I was fighting the unleashed mother nature in my own room, lizards started showing their tails:)) Unfortunately, I met only some little ones and not the iguanas I was hoping for... maybe next time.

But the mosquitoes were always on duty

The Caribbean butterfly...

...is like an attractive girl: pretty to see, hard to catch.

The less touristy and relatively untouched land was a true joy to discover but also a tough nut to crack. Going from A to B looks rather easy on the paper. Then why did I spend a whole day, hoping on and off, from one village to another, from one bus and ferry to another, just to bring you one single photo?!

It was worth the effort though

Causing geographical confusion to my brain as well: the westerly wing, Basse-Terre (low land) region actually rises to 1,500m topped by a dormant volcano, while the easterly one, Grande-Terre (high land) is basically flat! Not to mention that the neighbouring 'Saints' are far too pretty to be saintly. Maybe here is the moment to mention the Guadeloupean unique rums?!

If you are not into intoxicating liquids, the bottles alone will make for great souvenirs.

Everything was different in Guadeloupe:

The weather

The mentality

And the tournament too. The island's chess ambitions - awaken and stimulated.

I can only wish that more events will follow the lepidoptera course and have a metamorphosis. This little tournament made a beautiful difference.

At least to me.

Final standings



Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.
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