Youth rules at the Budapest Spring Festival

4/16/2010 – Like most of Europe, Budapest had a very persistent winter, and blocks of ice could still be seen floating down the Danube. However, Spring is well and truly there, and is celebrated in Budapest with its traditional Spring Festival of Arts with outstanding theatre, music, dance, and art exhibitions. And the Spring Chess Festival marked by a large number of boys and girls. Pictorial report.

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Budapest Spring Festival

By Diana Mihajlova


The Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Well into April, and the bare branches in front of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences seem unaware. However, despite appearances to the contrary, Spring is well and truly upon us, celebrated in Budapest with its traditional Spring Festival of Arts with outstanding theatre, music, dance, and art exhibitions.

Chess in Budapest has its own Spring Festival, organised by Laszlo Nagy, the famed organiser of the First Saturday tournaments. It is a yearly event and this year it ran from March 19 to 28. That the youngsters are filling the chess playing halls is no longer a surprise, but this year’s Budapest Spring Festival was especially marked by a large number of boys and girls. Could it they have been inspired by their compatriot, 14-year-old Richard Rapport – the newest and youngest Hungarian GM?

Youngsters rule the chess world. A few of the junior players with organiser Laszlo Nagy seen behind. Almost one third of the participants were under 14.

Warming up before a round – Csaba Tesik (2159), Melinda Varga (1840), Boglarka Bea (2012) and Zsuzsana Kabai (2086). And on the opposite end of the spectrum, let’s not forget the tireless seniors such as:


Lajos Borda (2076), a very active player in the Hungarian chess circuit


Dr Lajos Kelemen, 84, sets the example for his younger counterparts,
while regularly playing in national tournaments as well as the First Saturdays.

WIM Lili Toth (HUN 2198) found some time to fit a chess tournament in her busy schedule while she studies and trains to become a lawyer. Her result of 5.0/9 was not bad, considering the little time she has to dedicate to chess training.

Although the Spring Festival is mainly a ‘local affair’, it also attracts quite a number of players from abroad.


An Irishman and an Englishman in Budapest: Antony Breen (IRL, 1719) and Tristan Cox (ENG, 2106).


Glen Charleshouse (ENG, 2203), with his 6.0/9 should take back fond memories of the Spring Festival.


Janjaadorj Munkhbayar, international arbiter from Mongolia

Janjaadorj Munkhbayar is an international arbiter from Mongolia, but had somehow eluded a FIDE rating. He arrived at the tournament as an unrated player, but his 4.5/9 means he will return home with a handsome 2252 rating points.

Michael Yip (CAN, 2017) temporarily residing in Budapest; scored 5.0/9 and a 2240 performance, which is good for a further +30 rating points. His smile says it all.

Halis Altin, Cem Altin and Halit Dogan, in the photo with organizer, Laszlo Nagy, came from Istanbul, Turkey. They sampled Budapest for the first time on the occasion of the Spring Festival and hope to return for some of the First Saturday tournaments as well.

FM Louis Sanchez (FRA, 2234) and IM Ismael Karim (MOR, 2368) are friends travel to many tournaments as well as share a flat in Malaga, Spain. Louis won third place with 7.0/9 and Ismael trailed just a few places behind with 6.0/9. Ismael is currently involved in the final stages of the organisation of a big international tournament in Marrakech, Morocco – 26 June – 1 July 2010. In one of the most picturesque locations, with a 4000 Euro first prize and a number of invited titled players, it promises to be a tournament worth considering in your chess calendar.

IM Nhat Minh To (2422) is Vietnamese but plays under Hungarian flag. With 2422 he was the highest seed, but this time had to be content with fifth place.

The winners: 1st place IM Emil Szalanczy (HUN 2280) (on the right), 7.5/9 and 2nd place IM Dr Evarth Kahn (HUN 2231), 7.0/9.

WFM Thi Mai Hung Nguyen (VIE, 2224), came in seventh and won the women’s prize with 6/9. She plays regularly in the First Saturday tournaments where she is making great progress. Last month she made her first WIM norm.


Balasz Csonka (HUN, 2163) with his prize money for sixth place; 6.0/9 and a 2290 performance.

The Spring Festival ended just a couple of days before the start of the regular First Saturday tournament of April. Among the new chess arrivals in Budapest were IM Iweta Rajlich and her husband IM Vasik Rajlich, the creator of Rybka. They are expecting their first baby and Iweta thought that the First Saturday would be a good chance for a last tournament before a chess break. They marked their visit to Budapest, where they lived for several years before returning to Iweta’s native Poland, by throwing a generous party for participants and friends.

From left, sitting: Nick Adams (USA), FM Takashi Iwamoto (USA), FM Erik Kislik (USA), FM Mark Lyell (ENG); standing: Thomas Heyl (GER), IM Endre Vegh (HUN), Agnes Hollo (HUN), IO Laszlo Nagy (HUN), FM Juergen Brustkern (GER), IM Iweta Rajlich (POL) and IM Vasik Rajlich (USA).


The hosts, and future parents, IMs Iweta and Vasik Rajlich

To the obvious question by guests: ‘When is Rybka 4 arriving?’, Vasik would only give a mysterious: ‘Soon’. Hoping to get more, I asked: ‘Before or after the baby?’. ‘Oh, much before the baby.’

Well then, since the baby is due in July...

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