Grigoriyan wins Sant Marti Open

by Sagar Shah
7/25/2014 – The Sant Marti Open was the third tournament in the Catalonian circuit for our reporter – who fulfilled the final requirements for his IM titel in this event. It was won by a lively young GM from Armenia, 19-year-old Karen Grigoriyan (2592). The atmosphere is as pleasant as could be, with the Spaniards showing everyone how to properly stage a chess open. Big illustrated report by IM Sagar Shah.

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Karen Grigoriyan wins XVI Sant Marti Open

Report by Sagar Shah

The XVI Sant Marti Open was the third tournament on trot in the Catalonian circuit for me. It was held from the 13th-21st of July 2014 in Sant Marti, which is a district of Barcelona.

This tournament holds special significance for me as I completed my IM title formalities in this tournament by crossing the 2400 Elo mark. So technically this is the first report I am writing for ChessBase after becoming an International Master.

The tournament had two sections: Group A was for players who had an Elo of 2000 and above, and Group B for the others. Group A was extremely strong with the participation of twelve grandmasters and 22 International Masters. With almost 60 players out of the 110 above 2200, the Elo average was 2206. The tournament round started every day at 16.30 hours and the time control of the event was one hour 30 minutes plus 30 second increment from move one.

The first real change for the players was to travel in the metro. While the Montcada and Barbera Opens could be reached only by Renfe (train), the best way to get to the Sant Marti playing hall was by underground. But there was huge difference between the Renfe and the Metro. While people in the Renfe looked pretty cheerful and happy, in the metro everyone looked dull and sad. I tried to figure out the reason for the same: maybe it was because the metro travelled only underground with no scenery to be seen outside the window played its part. Also the time at which a station would come after another was quite short. Life is fast paced in the metro. Doors remain open only for a short while and people have to be constantly alert not to miss their stop!

But once you came out of the metro and walked a few metres you were greeted with
smiling faces all around the tournament hall

Players enjoying a nice analytical session before the game, with a drink from the cafeteria

And a really novel chess shop – guess what they sold

Chess key chains are normal, but this was the first time I saw ...

... chess earrings and similar chess related accessories!

In such a light and lively “chessic” atmosphere it was fitting that the first place was won by a lively young and energetic GM from Armenia, 19-year-old Karen Grigoriyan (2592). Karen scored 7.5/9 and had an impressive Elo performance of 2677. After finishing 11th at Montcada and second at Barbera, he keeps improving his play and performing better and better in this Catalonian circuit.

The thoroughly elated winner with his fans and friends!

This beautiful trophy and €1200 was what Karen won

Karen usually likes to play complicated and exciting chess. However his game against GM Perez Mitjans Orelvis was a fine positional effort by the young Armenian.

[Event "XVI Obert Internacional Sant Martí 2014"] [Site "Barcelona. Carrer Selva de Mar"] [Date "2014.07.18"] [Round "6.2"] [White "Grigoryan, Karen H"] [Black "Perez Mitjans, Orelvis"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A00"] [WhiteElo "2592"] [BlackElo "2414"] [PlyCount "101"] [EventDate "2014.07.13"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "ESP"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qb3 g6 5. Bf4 Bg7 6. e3 O-O 7. Nc3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 Nbd7 9. h3 Nb6 10. Be2 Be6 11. Qc2 Nbd5 12. Be5 Bf5 13. Qb3 Qb6 14. Nd2 Qxb3 15. Nxb3 Nd7 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Nxd5 cxd5 18. Kd2 Rfc8 19. Rhc1 Nf6 20. f3 b6 21. Ba6 Rxc1 22. Rxc1 Ne8 23. Bb7 Rd8 24. e4 Be6 25. e5 Kf8 26. g4 g5 27. Ke3 Rb8 28. Bc6 Rc8 29. Rc3 Ng7 30. Nc1 f5 31. Nd3 f4+ 32. Kd2 Bf7 33. Nb4 e6 34. Bb5 Rxc3 35. Kxc3 a5 36. Na6 Ke7 37. Nc7 Kd8 38. Na8 Be8 39. Bxe8 Nxe8 40. Nxb6 Nc7 41. Na4 Na6 42. a3 h6 43. Nc5 Nxc5 44. dxc5 Kc7 45. b4 Kc6 46. a4 axb4+ 47. Kxb4 Kc7 48. Kb5 Kb7 49. a5 d4 50. a6+ Ka7 51. c6 1-0

The 19-year-old Peruvian Jorge Cori (2608) played great chess to finish second with a score of 7.0/9. He is playing fantastic chess and gains rating in such open events in spite of having such a high Elo.

The tense game between the two 19-year-olds ended in a draw in round seven

What particularly impressed me were his endgame skills. After seeing this game and a few others you might be convinced that playing the exchange Slav from the white side against Jorge might not be such a good idea!

[Event "Barcelona. Carrer Selva de Ma"] [Site "Barcelona. Carrer Selva de Ma"] [Date "2014.07.20"] [Round "8.3"] [White "Matsenko, Sergei"] [Black "Cori, Jorge"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A00"] [WhiteElo "2474"] [BlackElo "2608"] [PlyCount "146"] [EventDate "2014.07.13"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "ESP"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. e3 a6 5. d4 b5 6. b3 Bg4 7. Be2 e6 8. O-O Bd6 9. Bb2 O-O 10. h3 Bh5 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. Ne5 Bxe2 13. Nxe2 Nbd7 14. Rc1 Rc8 15. Qd3 Qa5 16. Rc2 Qb6 17. Rfc1 Qb7 18. Qd1 Nb6 19. Nd3 Rxc2 20. Rxc2 Rc8 21. Bc3 Nfd7 22. Ba5 Rxc2 23. Qxc2 Qc8 24. Qxc8+ Nxc8 25. Bb4 Bxb4 26. Nxb4 Nb8 27. Nc1 a5 28. Nc2 Kf8 29. b4 a4 30. Ne2 Nd6 31. Nc3 Na6 32. f3 f6 33. Kf2 Ke7 34. g4 Kd7 35. Ke2 Kc6 36. Kd3 Nc4 37. e4 Nc7 38. Ne3 Nxe3 39. Kxe3 a3 40. Kd3 Na6 41. exd5+ exd5 42. Kc2 Nxb4+ 43. Kb3 Nd3 44. Ne2 b4 45. Ka4 g6 46. Ng3 Kd6 47. Nf1 Nc1 48. Kxb4 Nxa2+ 49. Kxa3 Nc3 50. Ng3 Nb5+ 51. Kb2 Nxd4 52. f4 g5 53. Nh5 Ke6 54. Ng7+ Kf7 55. Nh5 Ne2 56. fxg5 fxg5 57. Kc2 Nf4 58. Ng3 Nxh3 59. Kd3 Nf2+ 60. Kd4 Ke6 61. Nf5 Nxg4 62. Ng7+ Kf7 63. Nf5 Kf6 64. Nd6 Ke6 65. Ne8 Nf6 66. Ng7+ Kf7 67. Nf5 h5 68. Ke5 h4 69. Ne3 Kg6 70. Nf1 Ng4+ 71. Kxd5 Kf5 72. Kd4 Kf4 73. Kd3 h3 0-1

While Karen Grigoriyan and Cori Jorge did play well, it was quite expected of them to be amongst the top. What was really surprising was the phenomenal performance by the 15-year-old FM Jose Eduardo Martinez Alacantara (2295).

The young boy from Peru played the tournament of his life scoring 7.0/9 (five wins and four draws) with a rating performance of 2654 and gaining 84 Elo points in the process. He is surely one of those talents that you have to watch out for!

FM Jose Martinez has an extremely solid repertoire from the white side, playing the super solid English systems advocated by Mihail Marin in his books on English Opening. He did the heavy hitting with the white pieces, scoring 3.5/4, beating IM Huerga Leache Mikel (2454), FM Perez Arian Gonzalez (2494) and IM Saptarshi Roy (2449) in the process. With black his games were much more fighting as he employed interesting variations like the King’s Indian and Dutch. He was able to beat GM Peralta Fernando (2592) in a game where he won by a knight promotion on the last move!

[Event "XVI Obert Internacional Sant Martí 201"] [Site "Barcelona. Carrer Selva de Ma"] [Date "2014.07.19"] [Round "7.3"] [White "Peralta, Fernando"] [Black "Martinez Alcantara, Jose Eduardo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A00"] [WhiteElo "2596"] [BlackElo "2295"] [PlyCount "166"] [EventDate "2014.07.13"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "ESP"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e3 Nf6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qb3 e6 9. Bb5 Bg7 10. O-O O-O 11. Bg5 Nxd4 12. Nxd4 Qxg5 13. Nf3 Qh5 14. Rfd1 Nxc3 15. bxc3 Qc5 16. Rac1 a6 17. Bd7 Qc7 18. Bxc8 Raxc8 19. h3 b5 20. a4 bxa4 21. Qxa4 Qc4 22. Ra1 Qxc3 23. Qxa6 Qc2 24. Rab1 Rfd8 25. Qf1 Bf6 26. Rxd8+ Rxd8 27. Qc1 Qf5 28. Rb7 h5 29. Qc7 Rd1+ 30. Kh2 Be7 31. Qc8+ Kh7 32. Qc3 Qd5 33. Ra7 h4 34. Ne5 Qd6 35. Rd7 Qxe5+ 36. Qxe5 Rxd7 37. Qe4 Rd5 38. Qf3 Rf5 39. Qe2 Bd6+ 40. Kh1 Bc5 41. f3 Bd6 42. g4 hxg3 43. Kg2 Bf4 44. Qc4 g5 45. Qe4 Kh6 46. Qd4 Kg6 47. Qe4 Kg7 48. Qd4+ Kg8 49. Qd8+ Kh7 50. Qd3 Kh6 51. Qd4 Re5 52. Kf1 Kg6 53. Qd3+ Kf6 54. Qd8+ Kg7 55. Qd4 Kg6 56. Qd3+ Rf5 57. Kg2 Kg7 58. Qd4+ e5 59. Qd7 Rf6 60. h4 gxh4 61. Qg4+ Kh7 62. Qh5+ Kg7 63. Qg4+ Rg6 64. Qxh4 Rd6 65. Qg4+ Kf6 66. Qh4+ Ke6 67. Qg4+ Ke7 68. Qh4+ Kd7 69. Qg4+ Kc7 70. Qg7 Rd2+ 71. Kh3 g2 72. Qxf7+ Kd6 73. Qf8+ Kd5 74. Qa8+ Kc4 75. Qe4+ Kc3 76. Qe1 Kb2 77. Qg1 Re2 78. Qd1 Kc3 79. Qa1+ Kd2 80. Qa5+ Ke3 81. Qc5+ Kxf3 82. Qd5+ e4 83. Qg8 g1=N+ 0-1

Jose Martinez with his mother Violeta Alacantra, who was justifiably proud of her son’s play

Jose Eduardo has already finished his IM title requirements when he tied for the first place in the under-20 South American championships held in Bolivia in April 2014. He only needs to apply to the FIDE for the title. He has already been world Under-13 schools champion in 2012 and is two-time Pan American Junior Champion. This boy has great talent and is bound to become a GM soon.

The experienced GM Vladimir Burmakin (2590) finished fourth

FM Oliva Kevel (2419) had already performed excellently when he had scored an IM norm in both Montcada Open and also in Barbera. He went one step further in the Sant Marti Open scoring a GM norm with a performance of 2615. On his way to the GM norm he beat strong players like IM Asis Gargatagli Hipolito(2460), GM Cristhian Cruz (2563) and GM Perez Mitjans Orelvis (2414). He is waiting for his IM title to be confirmed at the next FIDE congress. At the age of 20 he is surely of the brightest hopes of Cuba, having scored two IM and on GM norm in just 27 days.

The talented 25 year Alexander Bachmann (2652) of Paraguay was
the top seed of the event but he could only manage to finish eighth

The tournament organizers would usually be quite happy if two players made GM norms in their tournament. However, Sant Marti Open witnessed totally three GM norm winners!

Rolando Alarcon Casellas finished tenth by scoring 6.0/9, one point less than the other two GM norm winners. But he played fantastic chess to beat four GMs in the tournament: GM Cristhian Cruz (2563), GM Vasquez Schroeder Rodrigo (2551), GM Movsziszian Karen (2520) and GM Vladimir Burmakin (2590). He made his GM norm with two rounds to spare. Now that’s really awesome!

IM Peter Dukaczewski (2303) of Poland, though visually impaired, maintains a very high level of play and has some amazing achievements to his credit. He has been four times blind world champion and ten times Polish National Blind champion. He has won Poland a medal at the Olympiad on four occasions – a Gold in the year 2004. Apart from that he serves as president of the Association of Physical Culture Sports and Tourism of the Blind and Partially Sighted, "Cross", and Vice President of the International Chess Federation of the Blind. He is also a board member of Polish Paralympic Committee. This man is truly a versatile personality and has achieved so much in his career.

Larsson Anders made an IM norm in the tournament scoring 5.5/9

Amigo Vilalta Jordi (2231) played fascinating chess to score
5.5/9 and make an IM norm, thereby gaining 48 Elo points

The chief arbiter of the event Miquel Fernandez Diaz

Vladimir Zaiats, one of the arbiters at the tournament, is an extremely cheerful person – and fluent in English. He was the saviour for foreign players who had any doubts during, after or before the game. Vladimir has a Ph.D in Mathematics.

Four top level games on one screen! That’s the best kind of entertainment for a chess fan!

The organizers and arbiters did a wonderful job of entering all the games and publishing
each and every one of them during the rounds. That gives a lot of credibility to an event.

There is just so much experience in this picture

Analyzing his game all alone – that is true chess passion!

Who exactly am I playing?

The Matsenko family from Russia are true chess lovers. Sergei Matsenko (2474), mother Elena Matsenko (1929) and the father Vadim Matsenko (2108) all played in Group A. Sergei's brother Andrei Matsenko (2294) did not turn up for the last game and this picture, as he was ill.

The two players who reached 2400 in this tournament and thus completed their IM titles: yours truly Sagar Shah on the right and Australian Rishi Sardana who incidentally made his fourth IM norm in this tournament.

These were the small placards made by the organizers for each and every player. Look at the little things they have taken care of. There is a FIDE rating with FIDE symbol above it. As both the players are not from Spain they do not have a national Elo. On the right are the flags of the country they represent and above that are the logos of the players' national federations! So much information in such a small space!

Storm clouds gathering over the playing hall!

Some of the pictures in this report have been taken by Amruta Mokal,
who was playing the tournament very seriously ...

A majority of the photos were taken by Pau Pascual Duran, who is an extremely enthusiastic photographer and produced quite a lot of unconventional and exciting pictures in this tournament. He is also a player and played in the B category of the tournament scoring 4.0/9. You can read the articles written by him on chess in Libro de Notas.

The Sant Marti Open has ended, and next in line is the Sitges Open from 22nd July to 30th July. However, playing three tournaments in a row has taken a toll on me and my wife Amruta and hence we will take a ten-day break, enjoying the beautiful city of Barcelona. We will be back to playing chess and reporting for ChessBase in the Badalona Open from the 2nd to 10th August 2014. Until then, Adios Amigos!


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Topics: Catalonia, Spain

Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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