Star Wars and the mystery guest

5/5/2004 – After failing in the first qualifier America's strongest junior, Hikaru Nakamura, scored a cool 11/13 under his server nickname "Star Wars" in the second qualifier. But another player, a chess legend from the past, was the center of attention. You can watch and compete yourself in the Canarias en Red Internet Chess Festival.

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Tournament home page

The Canarias en Red Internet Chess Festival

The winner of second qualification tournament was Star Wars, in real life America's most talented junior player Hikaru Nakamura (picture right). This unassuming 16-year-old from White Plains, New York, who loves spaghetti, tennis and pingpong, broke Bobby Fischer's 1958 record a year ago, becoming the youngest American grandmaster ever.

On the Playchess.com server Hikaru is a popular guest. In blitz he has played over 2000 games and achieved a rating just below the 2900 mark. His top rating, he tells us, was 3023 on November 14, 2003, and his top bullet rating in bullet (one minute per game) was 3174 on January 26, 2004.

After narrowly failing to qualify on Monday Hikaru came back with a vengence on Tuesday, leading the field practically from the start. In the end he had the undivided first place with 11 points from 13 rounds. It is remarkable that 9.5/13 was the minimum required to qualify for the final on Sunday. Here are the eight qualifiers: Star Wars (GM Hikaru Nakamura, USA), GM Sergey Volkov (Russia), SFrancisco (the mystery player – see below), GM Jan Gustafsson (Germany), TigerTAD (former Bulgarian boy's champion Tihomir Dovramadjiev, pictured on the right, who's web site you might want to visit), maximr (Maxim Rodshtein, a 15-year-old player from Israel), IM Emanuel Berg (22 years old, Sweden) and Vovchik (FM Vladimir Grebionkin from Russia).

Ukraine IM Mikhail Podgaets was very unlucky to lose out on secondary tie-break points. But like all the other players who did not qualify he can try again tonight and on Thursday and Friday.

The two best Spanish players, who also qualify, were Andres Gallardo Garcia (Osiris) and Victor Ramos (deepvitolo7). The player "sapinunc" who had a Spanish flag, could not be considered since there was no proper data attached to his or her account.

The Mystery player

During the tournament last night one player attracted our attention: SFrancisco, who only had a pawn ranking, was doing extremely well, playing at top GM level. We also noticed that his board always had a group of Brazilian visitors watching. So we investigated.

One good way to do this is to click on the "World" tab at the top of the screen. That shows you the globe, with day and night shadow, and even the moon, which was yesterday in the process of going into full eclipse.

On the globe you see a red dot for each visitor who is logged on in the current room.

You can click on any part of the globe and then use the buttons at the bottom of the screen (or the mouse wheel) to zoom in or out of the maps.

If you right-click an entry in the players list and select "Show on map", the Playchess client will locate that player on the map and point to him or her on an enlarged image.

If you right-click the red dot to get information on the player in question.

Looking at the personal ID card we could only see the name "Henrique C. Mecking", without a picture or additional personal data. Could it be the legendary Brazilian GM Henrique da Costa Mecking, born in 1952, who won the national championship at the age or 13? And won the zonals at 15, and proceeded to occuply a top ten place in the world rankings at the end of the 70s? In the 80s Mecking became very seriously ill, but recovered miraculously, and, at 50, started playing in tournaments again.


Henrique Mecking in the Linares picture gallery

The player SFrancisco played extremely well and ended up in third place, easily qualifying for the final on Sunday. After the tournament we spoke to him and confirmed that it was genuinely the great Brazilian player, whom we welcome with great pleasure to the server. Naturally we have switched the account to King. Don't miss the finals, where Henrique Mecking may have a surprise in store for our young Internet turks.

Communications lag

Tournament director Martin Fischer would like us to draw attention to the subject of communication lags. It is a nuisance when your opponent has lengthy lags, with his clock running down and then jumping up again (our client software records the times on each player's PC and ignores the time spent in communication). However, it would be quite unfair to penalize players purely on the basis of the quality of their Internet connections. Not every participant from every country has DSL broadband. On the other hand it completely disrupts toournaments when a player is causing individual games to run considerably longer than the others. Our tournament directors have years of experience in handling these problems, and we ask you to trust their judgement when they take sometimes unpopular decisions.

Below it the cross table for the top 40 players. A total of 216 players participated.

1 Star Wars 2868 11.0 / 13
2 Sergey Volkov 2628 10.5 / 13
3 SFrancisco   10.0 / 13
4 Jan Gustafsson 2640 10.0 / 13
5 TigerTAD 2656 9.5 / 13
6 maximr 2514 9.5 / 13
7 Emanuel Berg 2541 9.5 / 13
8 Vovchik 2540 9.5 / 13
9 Podgaets 2504 9.5 / 13
10 Mikhail Golubev 2597 9.0 / 13
11 lion`   9.0 / 13
12 topotun 2667 9.0 / 13
13 MilanBj 2245 9.0 / 13
14 rpolaczek 2358 9.0 / 13
15 zeama 2355 8.5 / 13
16 totus 2500 8.5 / 13
17 samogon 2328 8.5 / 13
18 Vladimir Belov 2664 8.5 / 13
19 david333 2498 8.5 / 13
20 Klosterfrau 2636 8.5 / 13
 
21 karpow-2 2156 8.5 / 13
22 E-Shaposhnikov 2822 8.5 / 12
23 karpov_fan 2200 8.5 / 12
24 Deadmold 2252 8.0 / 13
25 XChess1971 2240 8.0 / 13
26 Violator 2164 8.0 / 13
27 amateur6 2236 8.0 / 13
28 Osiris 2100 8.0 / 13
29 Aruminos 2015 8.0 / 13
30 jonquille 2398 8.0 / 12
31 djok 2281 8.0 / 12
32 FightingDragon18 2090 8.0 / 12
33 Gata94 1992 8.0 / 13
34 profesorius 1907 8.0 / 11
35 frauHelga 2210 8.0 / 10
36 giul 2207 7.5 / 13
37 bodhi 2513 7.5 / 13
38 Dahli 2514 7.5 / 12
39 sapinunc   7.5 / 13
40 schoeni 2238 7.5 / 12

The Canarias en Red Internet Chess Festival will be held from Monday May 3rd until Sunday May 9th, 2004 on the Playchess.com server, in the special Canarias en Red tournament rooms.

To play in this tournament you can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

The qualifiers will be held from Monday May 3rd to Friday May 7th at 20:00h server time (=CET, GMT +2). You do not need to book a place in advance, simply go to the tournament room at the specified time and click "Join". It is possible to play in more than one qualifier. The final will be held on Sunday, May 9, at 12:00h server time (=CET, GMT +2). This is the time for registering, not the start of the games. Qualifiers and the finals are 13 round Swiss tournament with a rate of play of three minutes for each side plus one second increment per move. The total prize sum is $5,600 (€4,800), the winner takes $1575 = €1,350.


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