Have your chess and eat it too!

by Gerhard Bertagnolli
1/7/2019 – About halfway between Milan and Venice lies Lake Garda, with the town of Arco at its northern end, once again the venue of a small but festive amateur tournament between the Christmas and New Year celebrations. The 9th edition of this tournament ended in a dead heat between four players but FM Alessio de Santis from Italy was the lucky winner in the end. Gerhard Bertagnolli sends these highlights — suitable for beginners — and photos from an attractive winter holiday destination.

ChessBase 16 - Mega package Edition 2021 ChessBase 16 - Mega package Edition 2021

Your key to fresh ideas, precise analyses and targeted training!
Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.

More...

Winter chess fun in northern Italy

The time between Christmas and New Years is surprisingly one of the busiest weeks on the chess calendar. In northern Italy — in Arco, to be precise 5 km north of Lake Garda — a small and friendly tournament took place for the ninth time from December 26th to 30th.

In the four-star hotel "Palace Hotel Città", the 72 participants could, depending on their mood, enjoy a peppy espresso or a soothing tea directly in the spacious tournament hall for the seven-round tournament. There were two tournaments, in fact: an A-Open with 32 players and a B-Open with 40 players.

The combination of a hotel and tournament hall has many advantages, which are particularly important in double-round events: lunch and a break is still easily possible between rounds! The time control was 90 minutes plus 30 seconds per move.

playing hall

A glimpse of the playing hall

Arco castle and the winner DeSantis

Left: A look into the old town and behind it the castle of Arco (click or tap to enlarge);
Right: The winner on tiebreak, FM Alessio De Santis

An IM and three FMs were the favourites

As usual in such tournaments, exciting and sometimes back-and-forth games were the norm, including some oversights and blunders, which can be most instructive.

Here are some examples:

 

White is on move with a dominant position — he's in no hurry.

 

Black was surprised by White's last move of Rf8. Has he given up his edge? Stay calm and calculate: ... Qd8, Rf6+ Qxf6, gxf6 Bf7 and on the next move, Black gets the queen back with (b1=Q)! Mate can't be far behind.

And next a small test:

 

How could Black win?

After White's last move — Nxe5 — Black quickly recaptured the knight back with his queen, overlooking the chance to mate in two: Rxd1+ and Qxd1# — tragic!

Final standings

It was all Italians at the top!

1. FM Alessio De Santis 5
2. FM Giulio Calavalle 5
3. Alex Dobboletta 5
4. Andrea Difronzo 5
5. Marco Lezzerini 4½

prize giving

The podium: Arbiter Mirko Trasciatti, organizer Cristina Pernici Rigo, FM Giulio Calavalle (2nd), FM Alessio De Santis (winner), Alex Dobboletta (3rd), Ciprian Lupu (hotel director)

old centre

A small Christmas market decorates the cityscape in December

chess mural

In the castle of Arco are frescoes by chess players from another generation

To close there was a gala evening with a specially created chess cake (shown above), a blitz tournament and to top it all off, a raffle with a nice gift. Mark your calendars for the 10th-anniversary tournament next December!

The hotel looks nice at Christmas

All available games

 

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson

Links



Gerhard Bertagnolli, born in 1976, international arbiter from South Tyrol / Italy with assignments south and north of the Alps, is also available to German-speaking chess fans for questions about tournaments in Italy.

Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register