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XXX International Open 'Villa de Benasque'

7/18/2010 – In the heart of the Spanish Pyrenees, in the Benasque Valley, a small town has been the source of a magnificent chess festival, now celebrating its 30th edition. This picturesque town attracted more than 500 players and 26 grandmasters from all corners of the globe to its open, as well as hosting a special champions' tournament for previous winners. Pictures and report.
 

XXX International Open "Villa de Benasque"

From July 8 to July 17, the XXX edition of the "Villa de Benasque" International Chess Open was held in Benasque, Spain. This classic chess festival, now celebrating its 30th edition, comprised a large open, a special Champions' Tournament, as well as the Spanish Veterans' Championship and the Spanish Rapid Chess Championship. Altogether, the festival enjoyed a rich prize fund exceeding 20,000 Euros, with idyllic conditions for all.

Benasque is a town in Huesca province in Spain, located in the Benasque Valley in the heart of the Pyrenees. Its beautiful location makes for postcard pictures whichever direction you look and whatever the season.


View of Benasque in the Summer.


Benasque in the Winter.

The Open brought together 505 players, including 26 grandmasters, 36 international masters, and 23 FIDE masters. The main open was won by the top-rated Bulgarian GM Kiril Georgiev (2675), who led throughout the event, and was only caught in the last round by Azerbaijan GM Eltak Safarli. Nevertheless, his superior tie-break gave him the 3,000 Euro first prize.


The spacious playing hall of the XXX "Villa de Benasque" International Chess Open.

Here is a flashy finish by the Brazilian GM Alexandre Fier in the sixth round.

Fier,Alexandre (2570) - Melkumyan,Hrant (2606) [E15]
XXX Open Internacional de Ajedrez Benasque (Huesca) (6)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 c6 8.Bc3 d5 9.Ne5 Nfd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.Nd2 0-0 12.0-0 Rc8 13.e4 c5 14.exd5 exd5 15.dxc5 dxc4 16.cxb6 Nxb6 17.Re1 cxb3 18.Qxb3 Re8 19.Rad1 Bf8 20.Nf1 Qc7 21.Rxe8 Rxe8 22.Ne3 Bb7 23.Bxb7 Qxb7 24.Qb5 Rc8 25.Bd4 Rd8 26.Qg5 f6 27.Qg4 Qf7 28.h4 Qxa2 29.h5 Qf7 30.Rb1 Nd5 31.Nf5 Kh8 32.Ra1 Rd7 33.Ra6 Nb4

34.Nh6! Qe7 [34...gxh6 35.Bxf6+ Bg7 36.Bxg7+ Qxg7 37.Qxb4+-] 35.Bxf6!! Qe1+ [35...gxf6?? 36.Qg8#] 36.Kg2 Nxa6 [36...Qd1 37.Bxg7+ Bxg7 38.Qxb4+-; 36...Qe8 37.Re6 Qc8 (37...Qa8+ 38.f3 Rd2+ 39.Kh3) 38.Ba1] 37.Qc4! and mate cannot be prevented. 1-0

Parallel to the open was a special event called the Champions' Tournament (Torneo de Campeones), which was a double round-robin played by six players, all of whom were previous winners of the Open. The Peruvian GM Julio Granda Zuniga, winner of the 2008 Open, won the event with a solid 6.5/10.


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