The strong "Ciutat de Barcelona" now open to all

by Antonio Pereira
8/28/2019 – Soon after summer comes to an end, the traditional "Ciutat de Barcelona" tournament will take place in the beautiful Mediterranean metropolis. For the first time, however, it will be open to all, after having organized a Schveningen match in 2018 and a round-robin from 2004 until 2017. The nine-round Swiss begins on September 27th, and Gata Kamsky is the highest-rated player registered so far. | Pictured: Barcelona seen from the Tibidabo mountain. | Photo: Jorge Franganillo, via Wikimedia Commons

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A chess hub near the coast

Ciutat de Barcelona Open 2019The Catalan Chess Federation prides itself in having created a successful yearly tournament cycle that attracts strong masters and an abundance of ambitious players. The "Circuit Català" kicks off in April and comes to an end in September. In 2019, no less than 28 tournaments took place, which meant around 3,500 players from over 50 different countries made their way to the coastal Spanish city.

When the party is over for those competing to improve their ratings, the Sports Council of the Generalitat traditionally organizes the stellar event of the season, the "Ciutat de Barcelona" tournament. From 2004 up to 2017, the competition was a single round-robin with the number of participants varying from six to ten. Some of the past winners illustrate the strength of the tournament — Vassily Ivanchuk (2005), Leinier Dominguez (2006), Hikaru Nakamura (2007), Alexander Morozevich (2015) are some of the names in the record book.

In 2018, the organizers tried something new, as they put together a team match between Argentina and Catalunya, taking advantage of the fact that many Argentine masters reside in Barcelona, where they get to face strong opposition more frequently. The South Americans were the favourites and ended up winning both the classical and the rapid Schveningen match-ups.

All classical games from the 2018 edition


You can download the games from the rapid section from Chess-Results

Ciutat de Barcelona Chess Match 2018

Argentina versus Catalonia | Photo: Consulate General of Argentina in Barcelona

Come 2019, the Catalan Federation went for a different approach, as they have now proposed an open tournament, which will take place from September 27th until October 5th. Two nine-round Swiss events will be played concurrently, with Group B open to those with an Elo rating below 2000. The rather speedy classical time control of 90 minutes for the whole game plus a 30-second increment per move will be in use. 

An eight-round blitz tournament will take place on September 29th starting at 9:00 a.m., before round three of the classical tournament (like all other rounds) begins at 16:30.

Round 1: September 27th Round 6: October 2nd 
Round 2: September 28th  Round 7: October 2nd 
Round 3: September 29th  Round 8: October 3rd 
Round 4: September 30th Round 9: October 4th 
Round 5: October 1st   

The venue will be the "Espai Bota, Recinte Fabra i Coats", a historic building of the Sant Andreu district. A textile factory built back in 1837, it became a symbol of the beginning of the industrial era in the region. The premises were bought by the local municipality and now caters to a host of "creative and knowledge-production processes".

A video presentation produced by

The strongest player registered so far is Gata Kamsky. The Soviet-born American grandmaster was the runner-up at the 1996 FIDE World Chess Championship and won the 2007 World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk. The five-time US champion recently finished shared second at the strong Biel Masters tournament.  

Kamsky will be competing for a €4,000 first prize, with the total prize fund exceeding €17,000.

Registered players (top 10)

No.   Name FideID FED RtgI
1 GM Kamsky Gata 2000024 USA 2673
2 GM Ivanisevic Ivan 912417 SRB 2618
3 GM Perunovic Milos 921629 SRB 2569
4 GM Aroshidze Levan 13601865 ESP 2517
5 GM Munoz Miguel 3800229 ESP 2514
6 IM Sosa Tomas 121576 ARG 2508
7 GM Gascon Del Nogal Jose Rafael 3902463 VEN 2481
8 IM Vogel Roven 12908088 GER 2456
9 IM Alshameary Puente Ismael 2225166 ESP 2444
10 IM Parvanyan Ashot 13307550 GER 2433

...44 players

If you are interested in participating at a traditional event in one of the most picturesque cities in Europe you can fill this registration form. You can also read the full regulations in English here.


Antonio is a freelance writer and a philologist. He is mainly interested in the links between chess and culture, primarily literature. In chess games, he skews towards endgames and positional play.


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