Double-game tournament in Donostia/San Sebastián

12/31/2011 – This event, which is taking place from December 28th 2011 to January 5th 2012 in northern Spain, is unusual in that, following an idea by David Bronstein, the participants play two classical games against each other – simultaneously. It is a knock-out tournament, with the eliminated players continuing in a parallel group. Here's a nicely illustrated report by WGM Anastasiya Karlovich.

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Donostia (the Basque name – in Spanish it is San Sebastián) is a city located in the north of Spain, in the coast of the Bay of Biscay, close to the French border. It is one of the most famous tourism destinations in Spain

Panorama picture of Donostia/San Sebastián by Keta for Wikipedia

The Donostia Chess Festival, a knock-out which is taking place from December 28th 2011 to January 5th 2012, is held in commemoration of the event won by Jose Raul Capablanca a century ago. Top seeds are the Azeri players Vugar Gashimov, who was originally slated to play in Reggio, but was replaced by Morozevich, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Ukrainian Alexander Moiseenko, French GM Etienne Bacrot, and Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany. In this event players who have been knocked out keep playing in a parallel group. But the main novelty is one that follows a proposal by David Bronstein: the matches consist of two games of classical chess, played simultaneously.

In the third round of A-tournament 32 players were fighting for the right to stay in A-group – players who lost their games were redirected to B-tournament. 16 players, including all GMs rated over 2700, remained in the A-group till the end of the tournament. Four matches were decided on tie-breaks (rapid chess): Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sebastian Maze, Sebastien Feller, Kamil Milton defeated Fabian Libiszewski, Loek Van Wely, Sergey Fedorchuk, Tigran Gharamian respectively. All 16 players in the A-group are already guaranteed their first tournament prizes in the New Year.

The top players shared their impressions about the tournament and games.


French GM Etienne Bacrot

GM Etienne Bacrot: Yesterday it was quite an easy match because I played against opponent with 1700 Elo. Today the match was complicated. In the end I had a slightly better positions in both games, and had more time, but before it was unclear. I was trying to play fast, but let's see how it will be in the next games. I don't have any special preparation for this tournament because I didn't have time. I think it's not a bad idea to play here – one game can be boring but with two games we'll always have some fun (laughing). It's also nice to have New Year Eve here.


Ukrainian GMs Alexander Moiseenko and Ruslan Ponomariov

GM Alexander Moiseenko: In the first match against Darovin Komljenovic I got a comfortable position with black and a slightly better position with white. Normally I would try to play for victory in such position with the black pieces. But when the position with the white pieces became winning I preferred to secure the draw in the second game in order to nail the general victory in the match. The system of the tournament is unusual but interesting. It's difficult to adapt to those matches because on the one hand you have time to think deeply over positions, but on the other hand your attention switches between games. I think that at some moment one game becomes more important. Probably I will face the clearest test in time troubles, or during the blitz match, but until now I haven't had that possibility because I won both matches easily. It happened to me twice that I started to write moves on the wrong scoresheet, but in general I don't feel confused during the games. I think that the top-rated players will show good results here because this Basque system doesn't look too different compare to the “normal” one. I cannot say that I came here because of the new system. The main reason to participate in the event was an impressive prize fund, of course (laughing)! I don't think that so many strong players will come only because they like the new system. Still, I don't regret having had the chance to try out this format. I can also say only good things about the tournament organization.


Video impressions from Donostia


Daniel Alsina Leal vs top French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave


GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov from Azerbaijan


Dutch GM Loek van Wely


Peruvian GM Julio Ernesto Granda Zúñiga


Former women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova


Your reporter in Donostia, WGM Anastasiya Karlovich

Pictures by David Llada and Anastasiya Karlovich

Lastest results and winners (December 30th)

1 Gashimov, Vugar
1
1
2
35 Izeta Txabarri, Felix
0
0
0
2 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
½
½
1
1
3
31 Libiszewski, Fabien
½
½
0
0
1
3 Ponomariov, Ruslan
1
½
1.5
33 Franco Alonso, Alejandro
0
½
0.5
4 Moiseenko, Alexander
1
½
1.5
29 Khamrakulov, Ibragim S.
0
½
0.5
5 Bacrot, Etienne
1
1
2
28 San Segundo Carrillo, Pablo
0
0
0
6 Naiditsch, Arkadij
1
½
1.5
27 Shchekachev, Andrei
0
½
0.5
7 Dominguez Perez, Leinier
½
1
1.5
26 Stefanova, Antoaneta
½
0
0.5
8 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
½
1
1.5
25 Alsina Leal, Daniel
½
0
0.5
9 Laznicka, Viktor
1
1
2
52 Mullon, Jean-Baptiste
0
0
0
10 Fressinet, Laurent
1
½
1.5
23 Kunin, Vitaly
0
½
0.5
11 Volokitin, Andrei
½
1
1.5
22 Strikovic, Aleksa
½
0
0.5
12 Van Wely, Loek
½
½
½
0
1.5
21 Maze, Sebastien
½
½
½
1
2.5
13 Gharamian, Tigran
1
0
½
0
1.5
20 Miton, Kamil
0
1
½
1
2.5
14 Feller, Sebastien
½
½
½
1
1.5
19 Fedorchuk, Sergey A.
½
½
½
0
2.5
15 Cheparinov, Ivan
½
0
0.5
18 Granda Zuniga, Julio E
½
1
1.5
16 Bauer, Christian
0
½
0.5
17 Landa, Konstantin
1
½
1.5

The next games of A-tournament will be held on 2nd of January 2012 at 3 p.m. local time. Happy New Year and our best wishes for everyone!


Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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