Andorra Open, Tania in Hamburg

8/6/2013 – It's a tiny landlocked European country, renown for its scenic beauty (and tax-free status). The 2013 Andorra Open attraced 178 participants, including 16 GMs and 13 IMs. It was dominated by the strongest players, with top places going to the top seeds. But we were especially interested in an IM who finished equal 9-17. After the event Tania Sachdev flew to Hamburg to record her first DVD for ChessBase.

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Andorra is a landlocked micro-state located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. Created under a charter in 988, the present Principality was formed in 1278. Today Andorra, which is not a member of the European Union, has a population of 85,000, but services an estimated 10.2 million visitors annually. The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, Portuguese, and French are also commonly spoken. The people of Andorra have the seventh highest human life expectancy in the world – 82 years at birth.

The town of Encamp, Andorra, as seen from the Vall dels Cortals [photo Wiki]

Casa de la Vall, the Andorran Parliament – seriously! [photo Wiki]

Andorra is a parliamentary co-principality, with the President of France acting as "Prince of Andorra" – together with the Bishop of Urgell (Catalonia, Spain). The politics of the country take place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, whereby the Head of Government is the chief executive, and of a pluriform multi-party system. The Parliament of Andorra is known as the General Council and consists of between 28 and 42 Councillors who serve four-year terms.

31 Open Internacional d'Andorra

The Andorra Open took place from July 20-28 in the Hotel St. Gothard ...

... which incidentally is a great place to be, even in the snowy Andorran winter

The population of Andorra was around 5,000 in 1900, but has grown to 85,000 today, mainly due to the country's duty-free status and the tax haven status of its banking sector. Two-thirds of the population is made up of citizens without Andorran nationality, who do not have the right to vote in communal elections, and are not allowed to own more than 33% of the capital stock of a privately held company. In recent years Andorra is beginning to bow to EU pressure to introduce income tax, as part of a process of Andorra "bringing its taxation in line with international standards", as the French President and Prince of Andorra, François Hollande, put it.

GM David Norwood is an affluent businessman living in Andorra

Group photo – scroll to find your friends in this picture

The Andorra Open had 178 participants, including 16 grandmasters, 13 International Masters and nine other titled players. They came from 20 different countries, with Spain dominating (75 players), followed by France (33) and Scotland (19).

There were three GMs rated over 2600 in the Open: Eduardo Iturrizaga (VEN, 2643) ...

... Israeli GM Maxim Rodshtein, rated 2641 ...

... and Fernando Peralta from Argentine, rated 2622

Renier Vazquez of Spain (third) and Andrey Vovk of Ukraine (winner)

The sole winner of the 31è Open Internacional d’Andorra: GM Andrey Vovk

Final standings (after nine rounds)

Rg. Name Nat. Rtng Pts  TB1   TB2  Perf.
1 Vovk Andrey GM UKR 2567 7.5 44.0 56.0 2696
2 Rodshtein Maxim GM ISR 2641 7.0 45.0 57.0 2678
3 Vazquez Igarza Renier GM ESP 2571 7.0 44.0 56.0 2662
4 Iturrizaga Eduardo GM VEN 2643 7.0 43.0 55.5 2609
5 Norwood David R GM AND 2491 7.0 41.5 53.5 2609
6 Narciso Dublan Marc GM ESP 2536 7.0 40.0 51.5 2555
7 Gozzoli Yannick GM FRA 2523 7.0 39.5 50.0 2539
8 Hamitevici Vladimir IM MDA 2482 7.0 38.0 48.5 2528
9 Gaudineau Eric FRA 2358 6.5 43.5 55.0 2606
10 Lopez Martinez Josep GM ESP 2547 6.5 42.0 54.0 2514
11 Demuth Adrien IM FRA 2463 6.5 36.5 46.0 2436
12 Tania Sachdev IM IND 2430 6.5 38.0 49.0 2469
13 Steingrimsson Hedinn GM ISL 2557 6.5 37.5 47.5 2457
14 Massoni Michael IM FRA 2373 6.5 36.5 47.0 2424
15 Peralta Fernando GM ARG 2622 6.5 37.0 47.0 2466
16 Wegerle Joerg IM GER 2445 6.5 36.0 46.5 2357
17 Macias Murillo Bryan IM ECU 2298 6.5 36.5 47.0 2408

GM Yannick Gozzoli of France, rated 2523

Fifth prize for David Norwood, here with his daughter...

... and playing blitz with Lawrence Trent

Indian IM (and multiple National Women's Champion) Tania Sachdev,
who came equal 9-17 with 6.5/9 and an rating gain of ten points


Tania in Hamburg

After her participation in Andorra – a tournament she clearly enjoyed tremendously – Tania Sachdev paid us a visit in Hamburg, to get to know our company and staff, and to record her first ChessBase DVD. She felt a bit insecure about the recording, since she had never done anything like it before. And we too have occasionally encountered strong players who simply freeze in front of the camera in our recording studio.

Tania, it turned out, was not the "butterfly" some had expected, but a highly intelligent and talented young lady who is a natural in front of the camera. It did take her many minutes to master our recording system, but then she started to record and store the segments independently, producing almost six hours of material in three days spent at the office.

Preparing the material with GM Rainer Knaak

One important factor was that Tania clearly enjoyed what she was doing. Her first DVD will be aimed at amateurs – between 1000 and 2150 approximately – and is intended to teach you how to improve your game. This involves general strategic principles, tactical alertness, long-range planning – all elements she illustrates mainly with examples from her own games. We predict that people are going to love this DVD, which you can expect to appear in a month or so.

So Tania in Hamburg was a great success – she was universally liked, by the host family that put her up, the ChessBase editorial staff, taxi drivers, waiters – everyone. She will return in October to record a second DVD, using some new technology we have developed. And then again early next year. If it were up to us she would move to Hamburg permanently.


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