IV Torneo Internacional Abierto de Ajedrez “Alajuela 2008”

by ChessBase
7/14/2008 – We ask you: is it polite to belch sulfurous steam, smoke and ash behind a strong grandmaster? Well that is what Volcan Poaz, just a few meters higher than Sergey Tiviakov's Elo rating, did in Costa Rica, where the the Alajuela chess event was held. We don't have all the games, but we did get some spectacular images, including GM Tiviakov's impressions of tropical Central America.

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The IV Torneo Internacional Abierto de Ajedrez “Alajuela 2008” – the Fourth International Chess Tournament – took place in Alajuela, Costa Rica. It lasted from July 9th to 1th and was played at the rate of 90 minutes for all the moves plus 30 seconds increment per move. The prize fund was US $2000 for first place, $1500 for second, $1000 for third, etc.

Top participants

SNo. Ti. Nombre EloInt FED
1 GM Tiviakov Sergei 2645 NED
2 GM Mikhalevski Victor 2592 ISR
3 GM Mitkov Nikola 2556 MKD
4 GM Georgiev Vladimir 2531 MKD
5 GM Ramirez Alejandro 2531 CRC
6 IM Cordova Emilio 2519 PER
7 IM Perez Luis Manuel 2495 CUB
8 GM Vera Reynaldo 2493 CUB
9 GM Sagalchik Gennadij 2424 USA
10 IM Valdes Leonardo 2408 CRC
11 IM Fernandez Daniel 2401 USA
12 IM Leyva Hector 2380 ESA
13 IM Alonso Garcia Rene 2368 CUB
14 FM Arias Lemmys A 2342 ESA
15 IM Murillo Alexis 2319 CRC
16 IM Arias Mauricio 2310 CRC

Final standings

SNo. Ti. Nombre EloInt FED



Emilio Córdoba





Tiviakov Sergei





Sagalchik Gennadij





Luis Manuel Pérez





Reinaldo Vera





Mitkov Nicola





Héctor Leiva

El Salvador




Arias Mauricio

Costa Rica




Lemmis Arias

El Salvador



Sebastian Ruiz

Costa Rica


Photo report from Costa Rica

By GM Sergey Tiviakov

Alajuela is a city in the heart of Costa Rica, a republic in Central America, the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army.

The district of Alajuela covers an area of nine km², at an elevation of 952 meters above sea level in the Central Valley (Valle Central), 19 kilometers northwest of the national capital city of San José. The city serves as the marketplace for sugar and coffee that are grown in the surrounding area.

In pre-Columbian times Alajuela was a part of the so-called Kingdom Huetar of Occident and was inhabited by natives. In 1650 was come by the first Spanish settlers, who occupied the uncultivated grounds of the region. In 1813 the first Town Hall was built and the town constituted, under the name of Saint Juan Nepomuceno de Alajuela. Today Alajuela is the hometown of one of the most popular soccer teams of the country.

San José and Alajuela are located on a central plateau, which is of volcanic origin. Volcan Poaz (2700 meters) and Volcan Barva (2900 meters) are located very near the capital, the former being more famous because of its volcanic activity. In 1953 Volcan Poaz had a huge eruption, and another in 1969. The last major eruption was in 2006. The volcano has a road to near the crater rim, and there is a bluish-green lake in the active crater.

Wooden stairs leading to the platform where you can view the crater

Both volcanoes are covered in lush rainforest with a rich variety of wildlife. The summits are usually obscured by clouds, and you need some luck to be able to see the crater on a clear day.

We were lucky, the clouds parted for a while and we had a clear view.

The volcano and the grandmaster: Sergey Tiviakov poses on the viewing platform, while Volcan Poaz belches sulfurous steam, smoke and ash in the background. No large explosions during the visit, we are glad to report.

Did we mention lush vegetation on the slopes? Well, this is what we meant.

Hotel Martino, where the players were quartered

Second seed GM Mikhalevski in the city with a newly acquired female friend

The playing venue, with GM Mikhalevski (2592, ISR) posing in front

The playing hall

IM Emilio Cordova (right) from Peru, rated 2519, won the event

GM Alejandro Ramirez, 2531, the strongest player ever in Costa Rica

IM Leonardo Valdes, rated 2408, of Costa Rica

GM Nikola Mitkov, 2556, from the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

WIM Lorena Zepeda, rated 2161, from El Salvador

Sister Sonia Zepeda, WIM, rated 2122

Young talent: Shirley Trejos, rated 2060, from Costa Rica

Sun-burnt GM Tiviakov in the Museum of Alajuela

Golden ornaments from pre-Colombian times

Golden figures in all shapes and sizes fill the museum

A reconstruction of how these golden figures were made

For many more pictures from the museum and the churches of the city
visit our Spanish language news page (second half of the report)

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