Chess in style on the Italian Riviera

by Diana Mihajlova
10/13/2015 – Malcolm Pein is the organiser of the London Chess Classic but in his holidays he decided to switch sides and to play a tournament. He picked the open in Gabicce at the Italian Riviera in Gabicce - a tournament that had a lot to offer. Right after Gabicce players had a chance to play more chess at the Riviera - in Fano. Diana Mihajlova reports.

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For the last four years organiser Dario Pedini and the Fano Chess Club 1988 have been organising a successful tournament in Fano, Italy. This year they went a bit further: the week before the tournament in Fano started they organised another tournament in Gabicce, a town close to Fano. From 25. to 30. July people could play a seven round swiss in Gabicce, hosted by the luxurious 4-star Hotel Michelacci. After that, from 1. to 8. August followed the traditional nine round Mare di Fano open1-8 August. Thus people had a chance to play in two consecutive, international tournaments with chances for title norms while enjoying fine long beaches and a rich cultural life.

The private beach - outside of the Hotel Gabicce

Inside of the hotel

The area has beautiful natural sites and because of its long history is also full of art and culture.

San Bartolo Park

The San Bartolo Park, which is close to the hotel, is a national park with rich flora and fauna and spectacular cliffs.     

The cliffs of San Bartolo Park

Other famous tourist attractions such as Cattolica, Riccione and San Marino, the unique republic within a republic, are not far away.

San Marino, the independent small republic in Italian territory

The underwater world in Cattolica is a great tourist attraction

Gradara castle

The medieval town Gradara is only a few kilometres away. This site appears in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy (Inferno, canto V). It is the place where the tragic love story of Francesca da Rimini, a contemporary of Dante, takes place ( The motif of this love story was later used in paintings, music, and literature, particularly in the the 19th century.

This painting by the Dutch-French Romantic artist Ari Scheffer is title The Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca Appear to Dante and Virgil’ is from 1835 and part of the Wallace Collection in London. 

The famous British painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted several
versions of this historic love affair. The most famous is the one above, from 1855.

Organisers of chess tournaments organise tournaments but rarely play in them. Things were different in Gabicce. IM Malcolm Pein, the director of the London Chess Classic, decided to spend part of his holiday at a nice chess tournament. It speaks for Gabicce that he chose this tournament. But it also proved to a good choice for Pein - he won with 6.0/7. And his son Jonathan added to the honour of the family by winning the B-group with 5.5/7 gaining 104 rating points in the process.

IM Malcolm Pein (2357) won the open with 6.0/7. IM Daniel Sadzikowski is kibitzing.

The Polish IM Daniel Sadzikowski (2480) also had 6.0/7 and became second on tiebreak. His compatriot IM Oskar Wieczorek (2416) finished third with 5.0/7.

A lot of young players, mainly from Italy, came to Gabicce to play in
the U-16 open. Gramellini and Antonelli both scored 6.0/7
and finished first but Gramellini won on tiebreak.

The garden of the hotel invited to post-game analyses or some chess for pleasure.

The arbiter Renzo Renier

Timur Tolibayev from Kazakhstan played in the Gabicce and the Fano open.

Giorgio Palma comes from Pesaro and is a painter, poet, and chess aficionado.

Pecci Thomas collects hourglasses

Neri Angelo, an engineer from Milan is almost 90 years old. He once was senior champion of Italy.

Emma de Nicolo

Emma de Nicolo was the youngest participant - she won a prize in the U-16 open.

From 2. to 6.  January 2016 the Hotel Michelacci will host the Gabicce Winter Delux which promises to be another fine chess tournament in marvellous surroundings.

Organiser Dario Pedini tries the waters before his tournaments start.

The 4th Mare Di Fano Chess Festival

After the seven round Gabicce open followed the nine round Mare Di Fano Chess Festival - which also offered splendid surroundings, a good organisation, and a mix of holidays and chess but also gave players a chance to make norms.

Large posters drew attention to the tournament.

Fano is a city with a long and rich history and the tournament venue was the Memo-Mediateque Montanari in the historic center of town

The Fano Mediateque houses antique relics and items.
Under the building are well preserved walls and streets
dating back to the time of Emperor Augustus.

The playing hall with traces of the past. The organiser Dario Pedini watches the action on the boards.

Fano beach

Apart from the A-Open (for players with a rating of >1900) there were other events too: a B-Open, a C-Open, an U-16 open, and a rapid tournament. Plus several events such as ’Blitz Under the Stars’, simultaneous exhibitions, chess training and analysis, guided visits and promotions of chess books.

The brothers Yuri and Andrey Vovk from Ukraine who are both
strong grandmasters gave a simultaneous exhibition at the
medieval convent St Agostino.

The convent St Agostino contains frescoes from the 13th century.

The Balì Museum of Astronomy in the town of Saltara, which is close to Fano,
is definitely worth a visit:

Another pride of Fano is the church and Pinacoteque St.Domenico with important works from the Early Renaissance. Many tournament parciticipants used the chance to visit a free concert of music by Italian composers, sung by the local Choir Malatesta, which took place in the Pinacoteque.

The Pinacoteque also hosted the prize giving ceremony.

The winners of the U-16 open

The winners of the C-open: 1st - Seth D Talyanski (USA), 2nd - Denis Marcantognini, 3rd – Jacopo Serafini

The winners of the B-open: 1st – Alesandro Cireli, 2nd – Matteo Cristicchia, 3rd – Alesio Trovato

The A-open was won by the Hungarian GM Peter Prohaszka with 7.0/9 (5 wins, 4 draws, no losses). Prohaszka had also won the tournament in 2014. (The first two editions, 2012 and 2013 were won by the Ukrainian GM Solodovnichenko).

Second place went to the Polish IM Daniel Sadzikowski. The new rising Italian star, 16-year old IM Francesco Rambaldi, won bronze.

Andrey and Yuri Vovk followed on 4th and 5th place while the Norwegians IM Frode Urkedal and FM Erlend Mikalsen (team members of Carlsen!), finished on 6th and 7th place. The podium was completed with IM Oskar Wieczorek (POL), 8th, GM Matthew J Turner (SCO), 9th, and IM Nikolai Getz (NOR), 10th.

The winners of the A-open with the organiser Dario Pedini (far left). On the right hand side are Caterina del Bianco, the Councillor for sport and Alberto Paccapelo, the president of CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) for Pesaro.  

GM Peter Prohaszka also won the rapid tournament ahead of GM Vladimir Petkov (BUL) and IM Francesco Rambaldi (ITA)

The woman's prize went to Hungarian WIM Bianka Havanecz who scored 4.0/9.

Polish IM Daniel Sadzikovski failed to become first but made his first GM norm.

FM Luca Moroni, Andrey Vovk, and IM Francesco Rambaldi. Moroni and Rambaldi are the rising Italian hopes

Paolo Fiorelli, author of the crime novel ’Worst Move, Master Petrosi’,
(Pessima mossa, maestro Petrosi), in which chess plays a prominent role.
The author presented his novel, which was well received in Italy, during the tournament.  

The Norwegian IM Frode Urkedal offered a spontaneous rendition of a classical piano piece in the Convent St Agostino  

Official website:

A former university lecturer in Romance philology, she is currently a painter as well as a chess journalist, and reports regularly from the international tournament scene.


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