A chess holiday

by Georgios Souleidis
6/7/2019 – S´Arenal in Mallorca. A place where others spend their holidays was the venue for the 8th edition of the Llucmajor Open. ChessBase author Georgios Souleidis travelled from Hamburg to Llucmajor, hoping to enjoy sunny days and win rating points. A travel report. | Photo: Tournament Organisation

ChessBase 15 - Starter Package ChessBase 15 - Starter Package

The entry into the chess cosmos. ChessBase 15 program + new Big Database 2019 (7.6 million uncommented games). Plus 3 issues ChessBase Magazine and CB Premium membership for 6 months!


Tourism and chess

Sebastia Nadal is a restless organiser of chess tournaments, and he is well-known in Spain and abroad. His highlight as an organiser was the FIDE Grand Prix 2017 in Mallorca and getting Magnus Carlsen to play a simul.

But Nadal's great love is the Llucmajor Open, which is played every year in May. The tournament is part of Nadal's organisation "WinterChess Mallorca Chess & Tourism" and is financed by the local tourism office. It is designed to attract chess players to visit Mallorca outside of the main season.

Sebastia Nadal (left) with Grandmaster Alexander Raetsky | Photo: Tournament Organisation

The 8th edition of the Llucmajor Open was played from 19th to 26th of May. The venue is the Club Nautico Arenal, directly at the beach. The prize-fund of about 5000 Euros is rather moderate, but the conditions for titled players are fine. However, the main reason why so many players come again and again is the nice weather and the atmosphere of the island. This year I came to play my fourth Llucmajor Open.

Traditionally, the event starts with a blitz tournament, which is played on the day before the open begins. However, I decided to skip the blitz because I wanted to follow an even more important event live: the German Football Championship which was decided during the blitz tournament. Like hundreds of other tourists I watched the crucial matches in the Nova Beach Lounge while the chess pros had to sweat at the boards.

Final Standings Blitz Tournament

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Bernadskiy Vitaliy 8,0 40,5
2 Santos Latasa Jaime 7,0 42,5
3 Fier Alexandr 7,0 41,0
4 Hnydiuk Aleksander 7,0 38,5
5 Sumets Andrey 6,5 41,0
6 Naumkin Igor 6,5 39,0
7 Barcelo Pujadas Pedro Jose 6,5 33,0
8 Movsziszian Karen 6,0 43,0
9 Rasmussen Allan Stig 6,0 42,0
10 Gonzalez Perez Arian 6,0 38,5
11 Galiana Salom Juan Ramon 6,0 38,0
12 Herrera Reyes Jose Antonio 6,0 37,0
13 Medarde Santiago Luis Marcos 6,0 34,5
14 Akhayan Ruben 6,0 33,5
15 Hill Alistair 6,0 30,0

66 participants...

left to right.: A member of the organisation, GM Alexander Fier, GM Vitaliy Bernadskiy, Sebastia Nadal, GM Jaime Santos Latasa | Photo: Tournament Organisation

The organisers are serious about tourism, and the rounds of the open started late, at 8:30 pm, though the first and the last rounds began earlier. Thus, the participants had plenty of time for the beach or for cycling tours.

And with a time control of 90 minutes for the whole game plus 30 seconds increment from move one nobody really gets too busy with chess. The quality of the games sufferered a bit but you had time for a beer after the game.

For "fast-movers" like Alexander Fier the time control is no problem anyway. The Brazilian grandmaster is married to a Georgian chess player and lives Georgia. He told me that he was once invited by the consul because there are not many Brazilians who live in Georgia. Alexander is fun to be around with and though we enjoyed some merry evenings in S´Arenal, our game in round three was a bitter disappointment for me.


Alexander Fier finished third with 7.0/9 | Photo: Tournament Organisation

Usually, I do not like to write too much about my chess hustles because I tend to be quite critical about my play, but after the loss against Alexander I managed to recover - and despite sunburn in the hollow of my knees! - I had an absolute highlight in round seven, which I want to share with you.


The Open Games - A detailed overview

The Open Games begin after the moves 1.e4 e5. The name results from the fact that the position often opens quickly which might lead to an early clash of the enemy pieces. Typical examples are the Scotch Opening, the Two Knights Defence or the venerable King’s Gambit. But the most important openings after 1.e4 e5 are the Italian Game and the Ruy Lopez, and here the game often develops more slowly. On this DVD the International Master Georgios Souleidis presents these and all other relevant openings arising after 1.e4 e5 in 36 videos.

After this win I had 5.5/7 and found myself at the top of the table. In round 8 I played against GM Allan Stig Rasmussen from Denmark and after my dismal play I found it hard to still enjoy my nice win of round 7.

At the start of the game against Rasmussen the world was still alright. (Left: G. Souleidis) | Photo: Tournament Organisation

Rasmussen had always had good chances to win the tournament and his main rival was Vitaliy Bernadskiy from Ukraine – a "fast mover" like Fier. In round 6 Bernadskiy won the direct encounter against Rasmussen but then lost in the last round against Alexander (Fier). Meanwhile, Rasmussen came to an easy win against Joshua Daniel Ruiz Castillo from Colombia. In fact, Rasmussen did not have to make a single move because his young opponent had forgotten that the last round started at 9.30 in the morning!

Nikita Petrov, the number one seed, suffered a similar accident. He started with 5.0/6 but then lost a much better position against Bernadskiy in round 7. But things got even worse for the young Russian grandmaster: he failed to notice that round 8 began at 4.30 pm and lost by default and after drawing in the final round he did not even win a prize.

Back to Rasmussen. The Danish Drandmaster deservedly won the tournament with 8.0/9. He was always striving for the maximum and had a couple of good games. His win against GM Alexander Zubov is a good mix of strategy and tactics.


If you think about combining chess with travelling I can heartily recommend this tournament. In May, the hotel prices are moderate and the beach, the weather, and the nice atmosphere of the hotel are inviting and make you relaxed. Moreover, as most of the rounds start late there is a lot of time for tourism.



Final standings after 9 rounds

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Rasmussen Allan Stig 8,0 54,0
2 Bernadskiy Vitaliy 7,0 54,5
3 Fier Alexandr 7,0 52,0
4 Girish A. Koushik 7,0 51,0
5 Santos Latasa Jaime 7,0 50,0
6 Zubov Alexander 6,5 54,0
7 Andreev Eduard 6,5 48,5
8 Gonzalez Perez Arian 6,5 48,5
9 Karpatchev Aleksandr 6,5 48,0
10 Arizmendi Martinez Julen Luis 6,0 53,0
11 Nasuta Grzegorz 6,0 52,5
12 Raetsky Alexander 6,0 50,5
13 Ruiz Castillo Joshua Daniel 6,0 50,0
14 Souleidis Georgios 6,0 49,0
15 Golubka Petro 6,0 48,5
16 Herrera Reyes Jose Antonio 6,0 48,0
17 Sylvan Jacob 6,0 47,5
18 Hnydiuk Aleksander 6,0 46,5
19 Gritsak Orest 6,0 46,0
20 Kantans Toms 6,0 45,5
21 Colpe Malte 6,0 43,0

...126 players

Official website
Statistics at chessresults

Georgios Souleidis is an International Master with a degree in media and communication studies. He is an experienced journalist, author, photographer, chess trainer, editor-in-chief for the German Bundesliga, YouTuber, a regular contributor to the chessbase website, German chess magazine SCHACH, and previously blogged on his own site entwicklungsvorsprung.de.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register