Movsziszian perfect in Alicante

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
4/3/2021 – A 9-round over-the-board tournament is taking place in La Nucía, a municipality in the comarca of Marina Baixa, Alicante in Spain. No fewer than 180 players registered to participate, 11 of which have a 2400+ Elo rating. After 5 rounds, 58-year-old Armenian grandmaster Karen Movsziszian is the sole leader. | All photos: Patricia Claros Aguilar

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A 5-day Easter tournament

The “Semana Santa” over-the-board tournament is taking place in La Nucía, Alicante. Organized by Patricia Claros Aguilar with the support of the Valencian Chess Federation, the event is a 9-round Swiss open with a time control of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game plus 30-second increments from move 1. 

Miguel Santos is the top seed, followed by Russian GM Daniil Yuffa and a trio of experienced Spanish grandmasters — Marc Narciso, Salvador del Río and José Cuenca. Former world senior chess champion Karen Movsziszian arrived in La Nucía as the sixth seed and is currently the only player to have won all five of his games.

With four rounds to go (two will be played each day over the weekend), six players are chasing the leader on 4½/5 points. Movsziszian will face his highest challenge so far in round 6, when he will have the black pieces against Narciso. Cuenca v Del Río and Santos v Yuffa are key encounters that will also take place on Saturday morning.

In the following video report, Movsziszian says: “It’s been a year since I last played a tournament, it’s the first game I’ve played in a year. I’m very happy”.

Movsizian, who won the Armenian Championship 30 years ago (in 1981), defeated Cristian Aranda in round 5. The experienced grandmaster played an Anti-Sicilian with g3, and the following position was reached after 14 moves:


Aranda did not sense the danger and played the developing move 14...Rac8. In hindsight, it’s clear that Black should go for either 14...h6 or 14...Qc7/14...Qe8, removing the queen from the d-file. The point is that White now has 15.c4


At this point, Black should cut his losses and give up a pawn with 15...Nf6 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nxc5. Instead, going for 15...Nb6 allows 16.cxb5 axb5 and yet another strong central pawn break — 17.d4


Again, the best alternative was to give up material with 17...cxd4 18.Qxb5 and the d-pawn will fall soon — of course, a sad continuation as White gets two connected passers on the queenside. Aranda instead opted for 17...c4, to which White responded with the forceful 18.Nc5


Now we see why removing the queen from the d-file was necessary a few moves ago. The game continued 18...Qc7 19.Bf4 Bd6


Black has kept the material balance, but his pieces are cramped and unable to deal with White’s attack after 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.Qxe6 Kf8 22.Ng5


White threatens mate with Nxh7, while after 22...g6 he has 23.Qf6+ Kg8 24.Bh3, and the light-squared bishop is set to join the attack. Black resigned.

La Nucía, Alicante, chess

The playing hall

Standings after round 5

Pos. Tit. Name Fed. Pts. FIDE
1 GM Movsziszian, Karen ARM 5.0 2471
2 GM Narciso Dublan, Marc ESP 4.5 2521
3 GM Cuenca Jimenez, Jose Fernando ESP 4.5 2506
4 GM Yuffa, Daniil RUS 4.5 2584
5 FM Serarols Mabras, Bernat ESP 4.5 2358
6 GM Del Rio De Angelis, Salvador G. ESP 4.5 2510
7 FM Ibanez Aullana, Ramon ESP 4.5 2276
8   Lopez Varela, Pablo ESP 4.0 2209
9 IM Camacho Collados, Marcos ESP 4.0 2400
10 GM Plaskett, H James ENG 4.0 2382
11 IM Ladron De Guevara Pinto, Paolo ESP 4.0 2440
12 FM Moral Garcia, Serafin ESP 4.0 2239
13 FM Garcia Gimenez, Santiago ESP 4.0 2266
14   Vilanova Corbi, Jorge ESP 4.0 2200
15 GM Santos Ruiz, Miguel ESP 4.0 2592
16   Donado-Mazarron Gomez, Miguel ESP 4.0 2184
17   Motos Abellan, Daniel ESP 4.0 2166

...180 players

All available games



Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


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