Grigoryan wins Badalona Open

by Sagar Shah
8/19/2014 – The Badalona Open 2014 was held from 2nd to 10th August 2014. It was a fairly strong tournament with an average rating of 2160. There were 85 participants and among them six GMs and 15 IMs. It was won by GM Karen Grigoryan (2595) from Armenia, who took home his prize money and a beautiful painting. Big pictorial report by Sagar Shah from his last tournament in the Catalan circuit.

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My odyssey in the Catalan circuit reached its final destination. After playing the Montcada Open, Barbera Open and Sant Marti Open, it was now time for the last tournament on Spanish soil, the Badalona Open 2014. In fact there was Sitges Open in between Sant Marti and Badalona but I decided to skip it. Playing five tournaments in a row can be detrimental to a chess player’s health.

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Badalona is a city in eastern Catalonia, Spain, located in the comarca of the Barcelonès, joined to Barcelona and part of its metropolitan area. It is situated on the left bank of the small Besòs River and on the Mediterranean Sea, backed by the Serra de la Marina mountain range.

There is both an upside and a downside in playing continuous tournaments in the Catalan circuit. The flipside is that you see the same players again and again and often get paired with them in different tournaments. But on the positive side you make many new friends. One of the persons who became my pretty good friend, won the tournament in a crushing manner with a one point difference.

GM Karen Grigoryan (2595) from Armenia scored 7.5/9 with a rating performance of 2654 to win the tournament. You might be a little surprised as to what Karen is holding in his hand as a winner.

This was the first time I saw the winner being given a painting! That’s a wonderful tradition followed by the Badalona Open organizers. The painting shows the house of a common man where the father is playing chess with his friend, as his son learns the game. Every time I look at this picture I find something inexplicably beautiful.

Karen with his good friend Galust Tadevosyan who is a decent chess player
and accompanied him to all the tournaments in the Catalanion cricuit

Karen Grigoryan was quite ecstatic about his victory. After the tournament he told me that there was one game which he was extremely proud of and which gave him the belief that he could win the tournament.

[Event "40th Badalona Open 2014"] [Site "Badalona ESP"] [Date "2014.08.06"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Oliva, Kevel"] [Black "Grigoryan, Karen"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E98"] [WhiteElo "2446"] [BlackElo "2595"] [Annotator "Shah,Sagar"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2014.08.02"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "ESP"] [Source "Mark Crowther"] [SourceDate "2014.08.11"] 1. Nf3 g6 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 O-O 5. e4 d6 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Ne1 Nd7 10. Be3 f5 11. f3 f4 12. Bf2 g5 13. Nd3 Nf6 14. c5 Ng6 15. a4 h5 16. a5 g4 {The Classical Kings' Indian Defence. Seen in so many games with exciting battles of Black's king side attack vs White's queen side play. This position has been reached in nearly 30 games and the players blitzed out their moves at lightning speed. I was playing on the board next to them and the speed at which they were playing really made me curious to know what was going on.} 17. Qe1 {This seems like Oliva's move. He played it against Cori Jorge in June 2014 in Montcada Open and now against Karen Grigoryan. Karen had come prepared, it seemed, as he played his next move instantly.} h4 {This was also Cori's choice. sacrificing the h4 pawn.} 18. Bxh4 g3 19. Bg5 $5 {Played almost instantly. Oliva had also done his homework. He had come prepared for the game with an improvement.} (19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. hxg3 Kg7 $5 21. gxf4 exf4 {was seen in Oliva-Cori when Black has a good position with the open h-file and went on to win the game.}) 19... gxh2+ 20. Kh1 Qe8 {Karen played this move after some thought, but his opponent just kept blitzing his moves.} 21. g4 {Such a committal move and played with absolutely no time taken. It can be assumed that the White player was still within his preparation.} fxg3 22. Qxg3 Nh5 23. Qxh2 {Oliva had now reached 1 hr 36 minutes. He had barely stopped to think. Karen was down to almost an hour. By picking the h2 pawn, the white king has lost almost all of his cover.} Nhf4 24. Rf2 {Finally played after 20 minutes of thought.} Nh3 25. Rg2 Kf7 $1 {Clearing the h-fle for the rook. Such positions are very difficult for the computer to understand. Objectively white must be better but over the board, the threat of Rh8 looked simply crushing.} 26. f4 $1 {The right way to play. Only if the f-file is opened will the black king be in trouble.} Rh8 27. f5 $5 (27. fxe5 {was another option} dxe5 (27... Nxe5 28. Rf1+ Kg8 29. Bf6 $18) (27... Kg8 28. Be3 $18) 28. Rf1+ (28. Be3 {is maybe stronger according to the computer but I am not so sure.}) 28... Kg8 29. Bf6 Nhf4 30. Nxf4 Rxh2+ 31. Rxh2 exf4 32. Bxg7 Kxg7 33. Rg1 $44 {is clear cut compensation for White. Just an idea of how complicated the position is.}) 27... Nxg5 28. Bh5 Qe7 29. Bxg6+ $6 (29. fxg6+ Kg8 {Such a pin on h-file is very worrisome for any player to try it. But maybe it was better than what happened in the game.} 30. cxd6 cxd6 31. Rg3 $13 {Stopping Nh3} (31. Rf1 Nh3 $19)) 29... Kf8 30. Bh5 Bd7 $1 {The threat is Be8.} 31. f6 Bxf6 32. Rf1 Kg7 $1 {On the dark squares nothing can disturb Black.} 33. Rxf6 Qxf6 34. Qh4 Rxh5 { An excellent game by Karen Grigoryan. What was nice to see was that even though his opponent played confidently and looked extremely well prepared in the opening, Karen maintained his cool and was able to win the game based on his superior understanding of the position.} 0-1

The two Indian IMs Akshat Khamparia and Somak Palit and played excellently, scoring 6.5/9 and finishing second and fourth respectively. They both played five tournaments in a row, but have performed exceptionally well in the last two events. Too bad their visa expires soon and they have to return to India, otherwise they would have loved to stay and win more Elo points and prize money in Barcelona!

Moving at lightining speed?!! GM Perez Mitjans Orelvis had a fine tournament,
scoring 6.5/9 and finishing third. [Photo by Pau Pascual]

The Cubans have the same language as the Spanish people. It doesn’t come as a surprise that players from Cuba come and play in the Catalan circuit. From Left to right IM Garrido Camilo Ernesto Gomez, IM Oscar Gerard Sanchez Enriquez (Mexico), IM Casillas Rolando Alarcon and FM Kevel Oliva.

IM Camilo Ernesto Gomez Garrido (2496) finished seventh. He has two GM norms
to his credit and most probably will soon become Cuba’s latest GM.

FM Kevel Oliva finished ninth. This 20-year-old lad from Cuba is particularly impressive. In all the five tournaments he played in the Catalan circuit, he made IM norms – in fact a GM norm in Sant Marti. He even won the Sitges Open. He plays extremely fast, relying quite a lot on his intuition. The time on his clock bears witness to this. A chat with him after the tournament revealed that he has only played 300 tournament games in his life. That is why he has come to Spain, so that he can play more games and gain more experience. He came with a rating of 2427, and is now well above 2500. Cubans are really very strong chess players!

A smiling and affable GM from Spain: Marc Narciso Dublan. He usually wins his important games and finishes in the prize list of almost every tournament in the Catalan circuit. In Badalona he finished sixth after he scored an important victory in the last round over IM Bernd Kohlweyer.

Two IMs from different continents: Leon Piasetski (left) from Canada, who won the
senior’s prize, with IM Bernd Kohlweyer from Germany

IM Filemon Cruz (2439) had a great tournament, scoring 6.5/9 and finished fifth.
The Cruz family is quite unique: Filemon has two sons, one of them is…

... GM Cristhian Cruz (2553), who is currently representing Peru in the Olympiad

... and IM Jonathon Cruz (2455) who finished eighth in this tournament. Amongst them they have
a rating average of almost 2482. Maybe one of the strongest chess playing families in the world?!

IM Lazaro Lorenzo De La Riva (2409) from Spain finished tenth

Final Ranking after nine rounds

Ti. Name FED RtgI Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
GM Grigoryan Karen H. ARM 2595 7.5 40.0 41.0 47.5
IM Palit Somak IND 2397 6.5 35.0 38.0 45.5
GM Perez Mitjans Orelvis ESP 2435 6.5 34.0 38.5 45.0
IM Akshat Khamparia IND 2362 6.5 33.5 38.5 46.0
IM Cruz Filemon PER 2439 6.5 31.5 36.0 43.5
GM Narciso Dublan Marc ESP 2515 6.5 31.0 37.0 43.5
IM Gomez Garrido Camilo Ernesto CUB 2496 6.5 31.0 34.5 40.5
IM Cruz Jonathan PER 2459 6.5 31.0 34.5 40.0
FM Oliva Castaneda Kevel CUB 2446 6.0 34.0 40.0 47.5
IM Lorenzo De La Riva Lazaro ESP 2415 6.0 29.0 34.5 41.0
IM Perpinya Rofes Lluis Maria ESP 2391 6.0 28.5 33.0 39.5
IM Panelo Marcelo ARG 2445 6.0 28.0 32.5 38.0
IM Alarcon Casellas Rolando CUB 2411 6.0 28.0 32.0 37.5
FM Martinez A. Jose Eduardo PER 2379 5.5 34.0 38.5 46.0
IM Kohlweyer Bernd GER 2422 5.5 33.5 39.0 46.5
  Sagar Shah IND 2339 5.5 31.5 35.5 41.5
GM Munoz Pantoja Miguel ESP 2451 5.5 31.0 37.0 43.5
GM Lopez Martinez Josep Manuel ESP 2549 5.5 30.5 38.0 45.5
IM Huerga Leache Mikel ESP 2457 5.5 30.5 37.0 43.5
  Silva Rodriguez Julio ESP 2210 5.5 29.5 39.5 46.0
IM Vehi Bach Victor Manuel ESP 2316 5.5 28.5 36.0 43.5
FM Hernando Rodrigo Julio Antoni ESP 2342 5.5 28.5 35.0 41.5
FM Buchenau Frank GER 2250 5.5 28.5 35.0 41.5

The playing hall was quite spacious, with both the A and B categories in the same hall. The
top boards of the A group were on the podium, and the games shown live on a huge screen.

The excellent team of arbiters who ensured that the tournament was conducted in a smooth fashion

K.S. Raghunandan with his grandmother

This talented young kid from India had an excellent tournament and in general a great time in Spain. He has a rating of 2106 as on 1st August 2014. In the next list he is expect to be 2366! Yes you read it correctly. With the K factor up to 40 now for players below the age of 16, you can expect such huge leaps from young talents. Raghunandan gained around 130 points in the Sitges Open, 45 in Barbera and 85 in Badalona. That’s 260 points in one list!

Another huge talent: FM Gonzalo Quirhayo from Peru. He had a rating of 1837
on 1st July 2014. His new rating will be around 2210 on 1st September!

Amruta Mokal (center) with a wonderful chess couple:
Diana Ruth Lopez (2076) and Josue Exposito (2357)

Men in Yellow: Aryan Chopra (2246) with his father

IM Marcelo Panelo (2445) from Argentina

Players from Argentina quite regularly play in the Spanish circuit. Most notable amongst them is definitely GM Fernando Peralta who is playing on board one for the Argentinian team in Olympiad.

Aguilar Jordi Ritter continued his dream run in the B section. After winning
the Barbera Open, he won the B section of Badalona with a score of 7.5/9.

Pilar Ramos Fernandez is the owner of the chess accessories shop. She was herself playing in the Group B. After her game ended she would set up her beautiful shop which sold chess earrings, chess key chains and lot of such stuffs. A very kind, smiling and warm lady.

If you read all of those you would never lose in the opening! It was nice to see books
in English (and not just Spanish) available at the tournament.

Some tournaments in Spain have a nice tradition.
At the end there are free snacks and drinks for all the players to enjoy!

Time to celebrate! The Spanish trip was excellent for the author of these lines. I not only made my final IM norm but also gained 85 Elo points, thereby completing all the requirements for becoming an IM.

It’s always sad when the chess pieces go inside the box at the end of the tournament. But all good things come to an end and so does my journey in Spain! Next stop is Dresden Open in Germany! Stay tuned as I write my next report from the land of ChessBase!

All the above pictures were taken by Amruta Mokal, who is a not only an enthusiastic photographer but also a professional chess player with an Elo of 2056 and four WIM norms. Photography is her passion and she loves to cover tournaments, capturing various expressions and emotions of the chess players so engrossed in the game. She is also the wife of the author of this article, Sagar Shah.



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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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