Alina l'Ami in Lund, Sweden

by Alina l'Ami
8/18/2016 – Alina l'Ami has played tournaments all over the world but admits that "whenever I am asked the nearly-impossible-to-answer question: 'which tournament would you recommend?', my brain turns blank and my eyes start blinking. Besides the fact that we are all different, with a different set of needs and priorities, I'm afraid the perfect tournament doesn't exist at all." But Alina l'Ami liked the tournament in Lund, Sweden, she recently played in. In fact, she liked it a lot. And sent an illustrated report.

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Whenever I get the evergreen yet nearly-impossible-to-answer question: “which tournament would you recommend?”, my brain turns blank and my eyes start blinking. I do have a chess map encrypted in my DNA but I am not yet a sorceress to read people's minds. Besides the mere fact that we are all different, with a different set of needs and priorities, I'm afraid  the perfect tournament doesn't exist at all.

But if the perfect tournament exists, it should have a library like that,
for professional readers like yours truly (click on the photo for a high-resolution version)

Could one design a chess event to meet the thinking requirements of both the adrenaline seekers and tortoises like myself? A tournament that fits like a glove in the hands of nature lovers and of those craving for cityscapes? How about those who must score their family points, while still keeping the boss happy, the job intact and the love for chess satisfied as well?! Is there anything out there that is neither fish, flesh nor fowl, but could fit within one weekend, be FIDE rated, have plenty of rounds and still make you stronger rather than break your back? Organizing such a chameleonic competition feels like herding cats if you ask me.

Or as extravagant, yet challenging, as the extreme sports (click on the photo for a high-resolution version)

No matter how you look at it and as annoying as it sounds, you just can't have everything at once, you can't say yes to one thing without saying no to something else and therefore, the word 'compromise' comes to life.

Summer in Sweden is not really matching the Romanian definition for the season
(click on the photo for a high-resolution version)

But I would most probably face some difficulties if trying to
be at home and walk on those streets at the same time

There is this sagacious English saying - “you can't have your cake and eat it too”, or if I am to use chess terms, one must decide between having a peaceful or rather buzzing setting, between Rapid or Classical, rated or unrated, long or short etc etc. “You can't sit on two chairs or dance at two weddings”, as the Russians or the Germans would wisely put it. Unless... someone had a vision.

In anticipation: Lund's streets in Black & White

And the colorful chess characters under one roof

At its second edition, the CellaVision tournament held in Lund, Sweden, proved that with the right planning, a chess event can surely make you wanna jump out of bed every morning and use those brain cells like never before. No more needless frustration from choosing one thing and then regret not having the other, as this Swedish weekend competition gathered all the elements mentioned above:

1. It was fun yet serious, since the first four rounds were Rapid and the final four used the classical time control;

2nd place with 6.5/8 for Hans Tikkanen and some cliff-hanging moments too


2. It was a short yet long event compressed in just one weekend, 5-7 August, which made the tournament friendly for hobbyists and pros alike;

Every Grandmaster was once a...

… beginner

Clear first with 7.0/8 – the Russian GM Sergey Volkov


Every time I see such dynamic chess and knowing how much energy is required to play like that, it does make me compare chess with:

Physically hazardous activities – not for the fainthearted
(click on the photo for a high-resolution version)

But the quieter moves can be as surprising and just as beautiful!

I am a big fan of taking such decisions in the middlegame - improving the king's position! (Volkov's signature)

3. The tournament was FIDE rated, very much to all the participants' liking, which made some of us burn the candles at both ends due to the schedule and the merciless alarms; I can assure you however, it didn't feel like a Sisyphean task thanks to the smart mixture of time controls.

Well, maybe just at times

But the 'hardships' were over before we knew it...
(click on the photo for a high-resolution version)

Witnessing and commenting the ups and downs on the chess boards:
the Swedish GMs Ulf Andersson & Stellan Brynell.
Btw: how often do you see live commentary of such caliber during a weekend event?!

Pia Cramling

A good tournament for Pia (6.0/8), who is going to play the Olympiad in Baku together with her daughter, Anna, while her husband GM Juan Bellon Lopez will be the team captain. Noteworthy is the family relay chess race, where Pia's record of playing her first Olympiad at the age of 15 is now broken by Anna's 14!


4. With regards to the location: for those that search for more tranquility, the hotel was placed in the middle of nowhere, but within a stone's throw from the city center. And for the more restless ones, another country and its beautiful capital are just one hour away: Copenhagen, Denmark.

The “Elite Ideon” Hotel for elite chess players

Lund's center was not too far (click on the photo for a high-resolution version)

And Copenhagen was also close

But who has time for all of that when there is...


Test your visualization abilities with the following examples:


No one is too old for (chess)games and fairy tales

The colors in Lund prepared me for...

… Copenhagen, where I nearly missed my flight
(click on the photo for a high-resolution version)

Got a little bit distracted (click on the photo for a high-resolution version)

While writing all these I suddenly remembered an old idea I had: what if we partner up to create our own ChessAdvisor (obviously the chess version of TripAdvisor), thus easing up the sometimes bothersome procedure of deciding which tournament to play? I am quite confident the Cellavision event would have a lot of boxes ticked and, perhaps, the Chess Players' certificate for the “Weekend tournament Winner 201(?)”!

My sources tell me the CellaVision Chess Cup has Mihail Marin's vote too

Results and standings

Tournament page

Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.


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