Michael Adams wins Second Ruy López International in Mérida

4/13/2008 – He led all the way, and top English GM Michael Adams never let it slip. He won the eight player round robin event with 5.5/7 and a 2822 performance. Second was Chinese GM Zhang Pengxiang, third and fourth were shared by GM Gabriel Sargissian, Armenia, and Indian GM Koneru Humpy. A special guest at the tournament was Spanish playwright and chess aficionado Fernando Arrabal.

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Second Ruy Lopez Chess Festival

The Second Ruy López International Chess Festival took place in Mérida, Spain, from April 4th-13th, 2008. The main event was a category XV round robin with eight players.

Final Standings

The tournament has a low (39%) drawing rate, with 29% of the games won by White and, remarkably, 32% (nine games) by Black. A link to all the games can be found at the end of this report.

Picture gallery


The winner, with a 2822 performance: top seed Michael Adams of the UK


Clear second with a 2768 performance: Chinese GM Zhang Pengxiang


Equal third-fourth: Armenian GM Gabriel Sargissian performed at 2706


Equal third-fourth: GM Koneru Humpy of India played at a 2715 level


Guest of honour Fernando Arrabal

Fernando Arrabal Terán, 75, is a Spanish playwright, screenwriter, film director, novelist and poet, living in France since 1955. His father, who was opposed to the right-wing movement of General Francisco Franco, disappeared in 1941, which traumatised the young Arrabal. At the age of ten the lad was awarded a National Prize for “Gifted Children” and went on to study at the university in Madrid.


Arrabal in his trademark chess pose

Arrabal has directed seven full-length feature films, published over one hundred plays, fourteen novels, seven poetry collections, many essays, and his celebrated “Letter to General Franco” during the dictator’s lifetime. His complete plays, which run to over two thousand pages, have been published in a number of languages. The Dictionary of Literatures in the French Language writes: "Arrabal’s theatre is a wild, brutal, cacophonous, and joyously provocative world. It is a dramatic carnival in which the carcass of our 'advanced' civilizations is barbecued over the spits of a permanent revolution. He is the artistic heir of Kafka’s lucidity and Jarry’s humor; in his violence, Arrabal is related to Sade and Artaud. Yet he is doubtless the only writer to have pushed derision as far as he did. Deeply political and merrily playful, both revolutionary and bohemian, his work is the syndrome of our century of barbed wire and Gulags, a manner of finding a reprieve."


During a lecture in Mérida

The playwright Arrabal is passionately interested in chess and has turned up a numerous events. He has close relations to the Gata Kamsky and recently published the entire correspondence between the Kamsky camp and FIDE with regard the upcoming Kamsky-Topalov match in his chess blog Chess Express Arrabal. Here are excerpts from the latest (April 1st 2008) missive by "Bella Kamskaya, Esq., Counsel for Gata Kamsky".

  • "GM Kamsky’s personal experience at the 1996 World Chess Championship Kamsky – Karpov match organized in Elista, Russia the homeland of then Russian champion Karpov, shows that FIDE was not able to provide neither fairness, equality nor anti-cheating measures. Since the 1996 World Chess Championship match where a newly elected FIDE president Ilyumzhinov was assisted by Mr. Makropoulos, no radical changes has occured within FIDE to address the faireness and impartiality. The recent 'Toilet War’ at the 2006 Topalov-Kramnik World Championship match is a perfect example of FIDE’s inability to handle these issues."

  • "GM Ponomariev, GM Kasimdzhanov, GM Khalifman did not have a re-match opportunity after the loss of a championship title unlike GM Topalov and GM Kramnik."

  • "For the second time in GM Kamsky’s chess career since 1996, FIDE and its leadership: Mr. Ilyumzhinov, Mr. Makropoulos and Mr. Campomanes are trying to destroy GM Kamsky’s chess career and purpose in life by creating an irresolvable conflict over the World Championship match. It appears that FIDE does not fully understand the gravity of the situation. While having numerous alternatives FIDE escalates the situation that may require courts intervention to protect GM Kamsky’s rights."

  • "It is unclear why Topalov insists on Bulgaria as the venue for this match especially if he is planning to play a fair chess game. Accordingly GM Topalov who became the challenger to the 2007 World Cup winner thru a FIDE nomination, bypassing a formal qualification process, should agree to play anywhere."

The above was in reply to FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos, who on March 28, 2008 had written:

The FIDE Presidential Board confirmed in Istanbul that the bidding procedure for the Challengers Match 2008 continues as announced, without any other changes. FIDE is looking forward to receiving alternative offers for this match by the deadline of 11 April. The FIDE Presidential board has also confirmed the qualifying procedure if any of the two participants fail to participate:

  1. if GM Kamsky refuses to participate, GM Shirov will be asked to participate as the runner-up of the World Cup; if GM Shirov also refuses, GM Topalov will automatically qualify for the World Championship match 2009.
  2. if GM Topalov refuses to participate, GM Kamsky will automatically qualify for the World Championship match 2009.


Arrabal, playwright and chess aficionado


In a playful mood during his visit to the museum


Confronting a bust in marble in the production department of the museum

Chess photos by Jorge Armestar Marroquin
Arrabal photos in Mérida by Molina for the official web site

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