Mar del Plata 2012 : A midnight football mob

by Albert Silver
10/21/2012 – It started with a classic game of football being organized by the players. Usually, this sort of informal affair is lightly attended, but it bears remembering this is South America where football is as much religion as it is sport. As a result, two fields were required to fit the 30-40 players who turned up and played from ten at night until two in the morning.

7th Continental Chess Tournament / Mar del Plata 2012

Tourney type: Eleven-round swiss open
Time control: 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game and a 30 second increment as of move one.
Location: Mar del Plata, Argentina
Dates: October 12-21, 2012
Prizes: 1st - US$5000, 2nd - US$3400, 3rd - US$2400, 20 prizes in all, not including prizes per category.

Special: Event is considered a world championship qualifier thus all norms earned are worth double.

Mar del Plata 2012 : A midnight football mob

Report and pictures by Albert Silver

The title might sound like hyperbole at its worst, but it is in fact quite accurate. It started with a classic game of football being organized by the players. In most events this takes place on a rest day, but with eleven rounds of non-stop action, there was no rest day to speak of, so they made do.


The teams are organized


Football fan supreme: Peruvian GM Granda Zuniga

The game was setup by the king of football nuts: Grandmaster Julio Granda Zuniga, and the time set was 10:30 PM. Since the games started at 4PM, and no one wanted to tire themselves before the matches, this was the only choice. Usually, this sort of informal affair is lightly attended, but it bears remembering this is South America, and here football is as much religion as it is sport. As a result, two fields were required to allow the 30-40 players who turned up.


And the game starts!


The action soon gets underway...


... where energy and legs go a long way.

This bore some consequences the next day, and I do not mean sore legs and bruised bodies. The football games, which had teams alternating every 20 mins or so, went on until roughly 2 AM! This is not an exagerration.


GM Krikor Mekhitarian (yellow) joined the second leg when the players first alternated teams


This is not going to end well


While the players ran and played, others waited on the sidelines for their turn. Even
though two fields were being used!


It wasn't just guys though


And the girls weren't there to cheerlead...


...They were there to score!


WFM Vanessa Feliciano


Don't think they were given a break either. It was very competitive.


Tournament organizer GM Andrés Rodriguez played his heart out, despite being a bit
out of form...


...nevertheless he scored the best goal of the night with a spectacular juggle and then
spinning mid-volley kick.


IM Robert Hungarski has some near misses, though not in the
event where it counts the most. He also won the blitz event with
120 players.


Finally, the players are swapped and they rest


Some friendly banter while they wait their next turn


Brazilian GM Rafael Leitão


GM Flores (left), Bacallao, and Iturrizaga in the foreground


IM Roberto Molino gets ready to shoot


A fearless goalie!


15-year-old FM Arthur Chiari celebrates his goal

Copyright ChessBase


Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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