Kings Tournament celebrates Romania's Centenary

by Antonio Pereira
11/28/2018 – In honour of the Centenary of Romania's Unification Day, the ROMGAZ Kings Tournament organised an event that included some of the strongest players from the country and the country's diaspora. Viorel Iordachescu and Alina l'Ami won the men's and women's tournaments, respectively. Each event combined rapid and blitz formats with four players in each category. In both cases, there was a close fight for first place. | Photos: Official site

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A national celebration

Romania is placed in the crossroads of Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe, and had a long history of territorial and political changes. In 2018, the country is celebrating the Centenary of the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom.  

The Turneil Regilor had its first edition in 2007, with an 11-player single round-robin tournament won by Alexander Khalifman. The event became a yearly elite competition that constantly looked for ways to raise the interest through the use of fresh formats. Some renowned winners include Nigel Short, Vassily Ivanchuk, Veselin Topalov, Wang Yue and both contenders for this year's World Championship match, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana.

In this year's edition, two tournaments, one for men and one for women, were organised, with four players from Romania or from the Romanian diaspora participating in each. A rather unique system was used to decide the winners — they first played a double round robin with a rapid time control of 15+10, followed by a quadruple round robin with a blitz time control of 3+2. The winner of the rapid got 4 points, the runner-up 3 points, and so on. The same scoring system was applied to the blitz portion, and then the scores were added.

The playing hall at the Politehnica University of Bucharest

The event took place on 19-21 November at the Politehnica University of Bucharest, with two days allocated for the rapid stage and one day for the blitz. Each player was introduced in the official website, as follows:

  • GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu played six times for Romania at Chess Olympiads. In 2005, he won the European Championship, which represents the biggest success ever achieved by a Romanian player. In 2014, Liviu-Dieter changed federations to Germany.
  • GM Mircea Emilian Pârligras is a two-time national champion. He represented Romania at eight Chess Olympiads.
  • GM Andrei Istratescu is also a two-time national champion. He played for Romania at seven Olympiads.
  • GM Viorel Iordachescu is a leading player from the Republic of Moldova. He played at multiple Olympiads for his country.

The rapid tournament was won by Viorel Iordachescu, who actually arrived as the rating favourite at this time control. His 4/6 netted him the four points allocated to first place at this stage. Meanwhile, Istratescu edged Nisipeanu for second place after both finished on 3½/6 — the criterion that broke the tie was the amount of wins each player had scored.

Rapid final results - Men

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Iordachescu Viorel 4,0 0,0
2 Istratescu Andrei 3,5 1,0
3 Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter 3,5 1,0
4 Parligras Mircea-Emilian 1,0 0,0

Iordachescu and Nisipeanu about to begin their game

In the blitz portion of the tournament, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu took clear first place thanks to his 7½/12, after remarkably beating tail-ender Parligras in all four of their encounters. Istratesctu finished second and Iordachescu was third.

Blitz final results - Men

1 1
GM Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter GER 2627 7,5 0,0 6 35,75
2 2
GM Istratescu Andrei ROU 2617 7,0 0,0 5 38,75
3 4
GM Iordachescu Viorel MDA 2536 6,5 0,0 5 36,75
4 3
GM Parligras Mircea-Emilian ROU 2542 3,0 0,0 2 20,25

The final tournament score was finally decided by the players' placements in each stage. Curiously, three players tied on six points, but the organisers had foreseen this scenario and created a tiebreak system — the rapid results were taken as prevalent. Therefore, Viorel Iordachescu was declared winner, followed by Istratescu and Nisipeanu.

Overall results - Men

Rank Name FED Rapid Blitz Final
1 Viorel Iordachescu MDA 4 2 6
2 Andrei Istratescu ROU 3 3 6
3 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu GER 2 4 6
4 Mircea-Emilian Parligras ROU 1 1 2

Viorel Iordachescu took first place

Alina l'Ami takes clear first amongst the women

The women's event also included some of the strongest national players in its line-up. Two International Masters and two Women Grandmasters participated in Bucharest:

  • IM Irina Bulmaga, born in the Republic of Moldova, represented Romania at four Chess Olympiads. She is the current Woman National Champion.
  • IM Alina l’Ami played at four Chess Olympiads for Romania. Nowadays she lives in the Netherlands.
  • WGM Iozefina Paulet represented Romania at the 2008 Chess Olympiad. She also lives in the Netherlands and represented her new federation in this year's Batumi Olympiad.
  • WGM Sabina Francesca Foisor lives in the United States. She played at five Chess Olympiads for the U.S. and won the U.S. Women's Championship in 2017.

The rapid portion was completely dominated by Sabina Foisor, who won all six games to easily add four points to her tournament tally. Chessbase correspondent and exceptional photographer Alina l'Ami finished second on 2½/6, while Irina Bulmaga took third on 2/6 points.

Rapid final results - Women

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Foisor Sabina-Francesca 6,0 0,0
2 L'ami Alina 2,5 0,0
3 Bulmaga Irina 2,0 0,0
4 Paulet Iozefina 1,5 0,0

Iozefina Paulet and Irina Bulmaga smiling before kicking off their game

After this outstanding performance, it perhaps was expected for Foisor to have a strong showing at the blitz. However, the quicker time control did not favour the American, who actually finished in last place. Nonetheless, we saw another clear winner in Irina Bulmaga, who managed an impressive 9/12 score. L'Ami repeated her second place from the rapid and Iozefina Paulet finished third.

Blitz final results - Women

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Bulmaga Irina 9,0 0,0
2 L'ami Alina 5,5 0,0
3 Paulet Iozefina 5,0 0,0
4 Foisor Sabina-Francesca 4,5 0,0

Consistency was the key factor that gave Alina l'Ami overall first place, after getting the same amount of points as her colleague Irina Bulmaga. Once again, the rapid score served as the tiebreaker to decide the winner.

Overall results - Women

Rank Name FED Rapid Blitz Final
1 Alina l'Ami ROU 3 3 6
2 Irina Bulmaga ROU 2 4 6
3 Sabina-Francesca Foisor USA 4 1 5
4 Iozefina Paulet NED 1 2 3

The winners, with Alina l'Ami in the centre

Selection of highlights by GM Dorian Rogozenco


Connecting Bucharest with Medias

Medias is the second largest city in the county of Sibiu, located in Central Romania. Known for its historical centres, well-preserved medieval fortifications and its wine, it has hosted the Turneil Regilor more than once in the past.

In order to keep the connection with the Transylvanian city, the organisers put together an online match between kids from Bucharest and kids from Medias, using the PlayChess platform. The success of the initiative provoked them to consider enlarging this idea in the future, connecting Romanian kids with kids from other countries.

In the midst of an online match

A final group picture


Antonio is a freelance writer and a philologist. He is mainly interested in the links between chess and culture, primarily literature. In chess games, he skews towards endgames and positional play.


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