Rabat Blitz Marathon won by L'Ami (2/2)

by Alina l'Ami
5/24/2015 – Concluding the report on the Rabat Blitz Marathon, Alina L'Ami brings more impressions of a place and people so colorful, they practically demand to be photographed. The tournament was a huge success, and is now a major fixture on the international blitz calendar. This year included even live commentary by Nigel Short and Dirk Jan ten Gezeundam. Large pictorial and analysis.

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I must admit that the success of the tournament in Rabat didn't come as a surprise to me, judging from the enthusiasm and efforts of the team of young organizers, animated by the sincere desire to promote chess, ready to adapt their own views on-the-go to those of the participants.

After the long walk in the harsh sun...

... a break is more than welcome.

The stalls are all incredibly colorful...

... and the people no less.

The organizers call the tournament "an independent event", detaching themselves from political pressure and influences, aspiring and succeeding in promoting the Rabat Blitz Marathon as one of the world’s main blitz events. They believe the faster time control is one of the best ways to promote chess, make it cool and spectacular, and bring it to the masses.

Credits: François-Alexandre Léonard

Two l'Amis on the first two boards: Thanks Lennart Ootes!

L'Ami, Erwin - Larino Nieto, David

[Event "Rabat Blitz 2015"] [Site ""] [Date "2015.05.16"] [Round "4.4"] [White "L'Ami, Erwin"] [Black "Larino Nieto, David"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2635"] [BlackElo "2451"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/3n1k2/1p1Bp3/3pPp1p/P1bP1Pp1/2K3P1/7P/3B4 b - - 0 38"] [PlyCount "18"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] {Another example taken from the winner's tournament-CV is the one from round four, where it seemed that Black's break with} 38... h4 $6 {is the smart way to continue; but...White found an even "smarter" way} 39. gxh4 $1 {accepting the offer and counting after} Kg6 {on} 40. a5 $1 {From the same series - "How can they see such deep moves, being basically in time trouble the entire game?!"} bxa5 41. Ba4 Nb6 42. Be8+ Kg7 43. h5 Nc8 44. Bc5 Ba6 45. Kb3 Bc4+ 46. Ka4 Kg8 47. Kxa5 {this was the point of the move a5, played decades earlier! Domination and another point for Erwin.} 1-0

Erwin l'Ami contemplating his massive score on the tournament table

Is that a phone in your hands, Loek?!

The marathon in action

First move on Mamedyarov's board played by Short, assisted by the tournament director, Youssef Iraqui

The top-rated player in the tournament, Mamedyarov

Blitz games will always attract a large number of fans

By holding it in an appealing and exotic place, organizers are trying to make it a memorable experience for players with a full schedule of social activities. There was absolutely no way one could get bored, especially in such a short amount of time.

Three minutes is more than enough to play your moves and take a selfie!

Carried away by my other big passion, photography, I was at first disappointed that local people (or at least those I met in Medina, the old market) didn't look too enthusiastic about being immortalized by my camera. Still, just when I started asking myself whether it was something personal or just a closure of character, I received proof none of my fears were true.

When the giants clash

Romero Holmes, Alfonso - L'Ami, Erwin

[Event "Rabat Blitz 2015"] [Site ""] [Date "2015.05.16"] [Round "14.1"] [White "Romero Holmes, Alfonso"] [Black "L'Ami, Erwin"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2469"] [BlackElo "2635"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3b1k2/2q2ppb/7p/1ppQN2P/p4P2/P1P3N1/1P3PP1/2K5 w - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "46"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] {Small exercise: what would you play with White?} 30. Qxc5+ $6 {If this was your first candidate move, don't worry. It is the most natural one but it just doesn't work, as Erwin proved further on.} ({Instead,} 30. Ne4 $1 {would have been the right way to proceed} Bxe4 31. Qxe4 $16) (30. Nd7+ $6 {also doesn't work} Ke7 31. Nxc5 Qxf4+ $1) 30... Qxc5 31. Nd7+ Ke7 32. Nxc5 Bc7 $1 33. Ne2 Bb6 $44 34. Na6 Bxf2 {Once again, the Dutch GM defeated his opponent in an endgame...it looks as if this was his tournament strategy and fully worked out! } 35. Kd2 Be4 36. Nc7 Bc6 37. Nd4 Bxd4 38. cxd4 Kd6 39. Na6 Bxg2 40. Ke3 Bh3 41. Kf3 f5 $1 $19 42. Nc5 Bg4+ 43. Ke3 Bxh5 44. Nd3 g5 45. Ne5 g4 46. Nd3 Be8 47. Nb4 h5 48. Kf2 h4 49. Nc2 Kd5 50. Ne3+ Ke4 51. d5 g3+ 52. Ke2 h3 0-1

I was finishing lunch together with other chess players on a terrace, when at the neighboring table I saw a family enjoying a huge plate of couscous, their traditional meal. I just couldn't help sharking around their table, trying to get the courage of asking if there would be anything wrong with taking a picture of their dish. Cutting the story short, I suddenly found myself, a total stranger, sitting next to them! Time was too short to allow me to clear up this contradiction of evidence, but who said this was my last visit?!

The winner in the commentary booth with Dirk Jan ten Gezeundam and Nigel Short

Shirov, Alexei - Fridman, Daniel

[Event "Rabat Blitz 2015"] [Site ""] [Date "2015.05.16"] [Round "16.3"] [White "Shirov, Alexei"] [Black "Fridman, Daniel"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2696"] [BlackElo "2637"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r2q1rk1/pp4p1/2n1p2p/8/5B2/3BP3/Pb4PP/2RQ1RK1 w - - 0 19"] [PlyCount "10"] {What do you think? Does} 19. Qb3 {work?} Bxc1 20. Qxe6+ Kh8 21. Qe4 {this is what the super master of complicated and messy positions thought, but Fridman saw one move deeper...in case you haven't seen it at the beginning, after 19. Qb3, can you find it now?} Bxe3+ $1 22. Bxe3 (22. Kh1 Qxd3 23. Qxd3 Rxf4 $19) 22... Rxf1+ 23. Kxf1 Qg8 {defending against mate and keeping the massive number of pieces. Not the best tournament for Shirov but a good one for the German, as he finished on the 3rd place.} 0-1

The beautiful hostesses

Erwin and Loek: influenced by the Moroccan warmth?!

The winner, his trophy and the tournament poster

Returning to the tournament and its roller-coaster speed: live stream with Nigel Short and Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam was provided, who were commentating right from the middle of the events - the playing hall. The show was completed by the unusual game between Short and Libiszewski, during which both opponents were commenting over their moves and plans, reviving the spirit of the famous TV show from the UK - “The Master Game”. Talking with both players on their feelings about this peculiar type of game, they admitted it is much harder to play, as there is a sort of race between the mind and tongue, making it difficult to focus on both simultaneously.

The Short vs Libiszewski duel

The French GM Fabien Libiszewski

Nigel Short sharing his thoughts on his game against Fabien

Libiszewski, Fabien - Short, Nigel

[Event "Rabat Blitz 2015"] [Site ""] [Date "2015.05.17"] [Round "22.1"] [White "Libiszewski, Fabien"] [Black "Short, Nigel"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2531"] [BlackElo "2683"] [PlyCount "90"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 1. g3 d5 2. Bg2 c6 3. d3 e5 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. e4 Nf6 6. Nc3 dxe4 7. Nxe4 Nxe4 8. dxe4 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. a4 a5 11. b3 Na6 12. Bb2 Qe7 13. h3 Bh5 14. Qc1 Bxf3 15. Bxf3 Rfd8 16. Rd1 Bc5 17. Kg2 Qf6 18. Rd2 Bd4 19. c3 Bb6 20. Ba3 Nc5 21. Bxc5 Bxc5 22. Raa2 g6 23. Rxd8+ Rxd8 24. Rd2 h5 25. h4 b5 26. Rxd8+ Qxd8 27. Qc2 Qb6 28. Bd1 Kg7 29. Kf1 b4 30. cxb4 Qxb4 31. Be2 Qd4 32. Bc4 Kf8 33. Kg2 Ke7 34. Kf1 f6 35. Kg2 g5 36. Qe2 gxh4 37. gxh4 f5 38. exf5 Kf6 39. Qf3 Qxh4 40. Qxc6+ Kg5 {Black's position was hanging by a hair but at this point became just lost, as Nigel pointed out once the game was over. Can you find it?} 41. Qxc5 {was played by Fabien but the extra piece was not enough for a win...} ( 41. f4+ $1 {was the key move, allowing the white king escape from the unpleasant checks.} Qxf4 42. Qxc5 Qg4+ 43. Kf2 $18) 41... Qg4+ 42. Kf1 Qd1+ { perpetual check and draw.} 43. Kg2 Qg4+ 44. Kf1 Qd1+ 45. Kg2 Qg4+ 1/2-1/2

The future of Moroccan chess

Anand came here in 2014 and promised to come back: "Rabat Blitz is very well-organized and I am always happy to play. Hope to see you all next year. Wishing Youssef (the tournament organizer) and his team a successful event in 2015."
Since it surely was, could we reiterate Anand's message, with only one correction: “2016”?!

Final standings

Rk SNr Ti. Name
Rtg
FED
Pts
TB
Perf
1 6 GM L'Ami Erwin
2635
NED
18.5
247
2690
2 1 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar
2735
AZE
18
248.5
2649
3 5 GM Fridman Daniel
2637
GER
16
248.5
2561
4 4 GM Van Wely Loek
2653
NED
15
249.5
2508
5 2 GM Shirov Alexei
2696
LAT
14.5
253.5
2513
6 7 GM Heberla Bartlomiej
2556
POL
14.5
250
2498
7 3 GM Fedorchuk Sergey
2657
UKR
14
252
2423
8 11 GM Larino Nieto David
2451
ESP
14
242
2301
9 12 IM Dourerassou Jonathan
2414
FRA
13
252.5
2344
10 8 GM Peralta Fernando
2556
ARG
13
251.5
2374
11 9 GM Libiszewski Fabien
2531
FRA
13
247.5
2354
12 18   Le Huec Marc
2236
FRA
13
234.5
2163
13 98   Salaka Youssef
0
MOR
13
214.5
1946
14 90   Mounib Adil
0
MOR
13
212
1994
15 10 GM Romero Holmes Alfonso
2469
ESP
12.5
249.5
2281

Click for complete standings


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 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



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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Philip Feeley Philip Feeley 5/25/2015 12:56
It would have been nice to know about this in advance so I could watch it and the commentary. As it was, I missed everything.
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