Five-star chess tournament in Marrakech

7/2/2010 – The 1st International Tournament of Marrakech took place from June 25th to July 1st, and with a generous prize-fund, held in a five-star hotel, 140 players came from 25 countries to enjoy chess in utopic conditions. GM Andrei Shchekachev took home 4000 Euros after edging GM Georg Meier by tiebreak. Complete illustrated report.

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First International Chess Tournament of Marrakech 2010

by Stéphane Mouchel

From June 25th to July 1st, 140 players from 25 different countries, with no less than 35 grandmasters, came to the Kenzi Farah Hotel’s lounge, one of Marrakech’s finest palaces, to play in the First International Tournament of Marrakech. This event was organized by Larbi Houari, CEO of Callson Group, a businessman in love with chess. According to him, this was merely the first step of the « rebirth » of chess in Morocco – since for many years, the country has suffered from a critical lack of large chess events.    

The time control, 75 minutes KO, and the schedule were especially designed to allow the players and their families to discover and enjoy this beautiful city, also known as « the Pearl of Atlas ». Everyone had plenty of free time to relax along the swimming pool, so as to prepare their next game in the cool shade under a palm tree. When not enduring these terrible hardships, they could visit the famous Medina and the Souks to taste wonderful typical Moroccan dishes such as Tajines, accompanied by a refreshing glass of orange juice.  
 
After the visit of Kasparov and Carlsen for a training session, followed by another by Karpov last December, Marrakech now stands as a new chess center for players from all nations! Judit Polgar is actually there as a special guest and will play a simul on the 2nd of July.

The tournament was won by GM Andrei Shchekachev with 7.5/9, who trailed the leader GM Georg Meier in the last round, but took it on tiebreak with his decisive win against GM Victor Mikhalevski.

Below is a wonderful gallery of pictures from the event.


The action-packed poster of the event
.


The five-star Kenzi Farah Hotel where the tournament took place.


GM Kiril Georgiev


Morrocan Grandmaster Hicham Hamdouchi with Bachar Kouatly from Europe Echecs.


Second place winner, GM Georg Meier.


Organizer Larbi Houari and French IM Benitah from the club "Lyon Olympique Echecs".


The tireless Christophe Leroy who was essential to making the event happen.


The organizer, Larbi Houari, with his team.


The hotel's café where even the waiters cannot take their eyes off the board.


Grandmaster Luther in the playing hall.


The Egyptian International Master Samy Shoker


Ali Sebbar, a Morrocan player who proudly won against GM Luther.


GM Alberto David - The Don King of chess.


Victor Milkhalevsky, Anna Zozulia and Vadim Malakhtko.


Onkoud (2381), Ismael (2346), GM Hicham Hamdouchi (2609) with his wife Adina
Hamdouchi (2329), and Morrocan IM Tissir (2480), enjoying lunch at the hotel's café.


Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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