Ni Hua wins XXII Montcada Open

by Sagar Shah
7/6/2014 – 17 grandmasters and players from nearly 20 countries participated in this Spanish open, which was won by the Chinese GM. If you wonder why so many strong players were there, in spite of the meagre first prize of €1,200 – there are a number of reasons, not the least of which is a series of four or five events that take place in the same local and temporal vicinity. Big pictorial report.

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The XXII Montcada Open was held from the 25th of June to 3rd July 2014 in the town of Montcada, which is situated very close to the northernmost neighbourhoods of the city of Barcelona and is in fact a part of the metropolitan area of the Spanish metropolis.

The tournament witnessed 17 grandmasters and players from nearly 20 countries participating in a contest that lasted nine rounds. The total prize fund was €6,410, with the first place being €1,200. The time control was 1 hr 30 mins + 30 sec increment. The round started every day at five p.m.

I visited the playing hall one day prior to the tournament and they had a drama scheduled.
No signs of any chess...

The next day, the drama theatre was wonderfully transformed into a chess playing hall

The tournament was nothing short of a drama, saving the climax for the last round. The top two seeds Ni Hua (2653) of China and Yaroslav Zherebukh (2618) of Ukraine, both on 6.5/8, faced off against each other on the final day.

Zherebukh (left) was a pawn up in the rook ending but Ni Hua had no troubles to hold the draw.
Thus the Chinese player, who was the top seed, eventually finished first thanks to a better tie-break.

With 7.0/9 and with a performance of 2693 Ni Hua deserved first place

Quite a unique prize linup: the top three seeds finished in their rating order:

Rk. SNo Title Name FED RtgI Pts.  TB1   TB2  +/-
1 1 GM Ni Hua CHN 2653 7.0 53.5 42.0 4.9
2 2 GM Zherebukh Yaroslav UKR 2618 7.0 47.5 36.5 3.8
3 3 GM Cori Jorge PER 2608 6.5 49.0 38.0 4.5

GM Daniel Naroditsky (2559) receiving the prize for fourth place. Daniel holds the
unique distinction of being the youngest author of a chess book, at the age of 14.

Narciso Marc Dublan (2538) finished fifth. After losing in the first round, the Spanish GM
staged a great comeback by scoring five wins and three draws to end with 6.5/9.

IM Diptayan Ghosh (2487) from India finished sixth. He missed his second GM norm by a whisker
when he let Naroditsky off the hook in a completely winning position in the last round.

Experienced GM Vladimir Burmakin finished seventh

The author of this report (left) maintains a special book in which he asks the top players: what is the most important quality to become a world class GM? According to Burmakin it is energy and fighting spirit.

IM Sayantan Das (2387) from India had a wonderful tournament
as he made his maiden GM norm with a score of 6.0/9

There were also a lot of strong GMs playing in the tournament who couldn’t make it to the prize list.
One of the most talented and upcoming youngsters from Armenia: GM Karen Grigoryan (2577).

GM Levan Aroshidze (2565) from Armenia

GM Fernando Peralta (2596) from Argentina

You might be wondering why so many top players are playing in the tournament even though the first prize is a meagre €1,200? The reason is simple. The playing conditions are good. Every day you have a single round. Even the last round begins at the same time of 17.00 hours, which doesn’t break the routine of the players. And most importantly you get to play nearly four to five tournaments on a trot in and around Barcelona. All you need to do is rent a centralized apartment for two months and play the tournaments. You save a lot of money on accommodation. That's the reason why the Spanish circuit is so popular.

Super siblings from Peru: WGM Cori Deysi (2414) who made an
IM norm in the tournament, and her brother GM Cori Jorge (2608)

FM Oliva Kevel (2427) made an eight game IM norm –
his opponent didn’t turn up for one of the games

IM Lluis Maria Perpinya Rofes (2400) made an eight game GM norm

Top final rankings (after nine rounds)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED RtgI Pts.  TB1   TB2  +/-
1 1 GM Ni Hua CHN 2653 7.0 53.5 42.0 4.9
2 2 GM Zherebukh Yaroslav UKR 2618 7.0 47.5 36.5 3.8
3 3 GM Cori Jorge PER 2608 6.5 49.0 38.0 4.5
4 9 GM Naroditsky Daniel USA 2559 6.5 49.0 37.5 7.1
5 11 GM Narciso Dublan Marc ESP 2538 6.5 48.0 36.5 7.2
6 15 IM Ghosh Diptayan IND 2487 6.5 47.0 36.0 7.9
7 5 GM Burmakin Vladimir RUS 2592 6.5 46.5 36.5 -5.3
8 10 GM Vasquez Schroeder Rodrigo CHI 2551 6.5 40.0 31.5 -7.8
9 37 IM Das Sayantan IND 2352 6.0 53.0 41.5 46.0
10 13 IM Gomez Garrido Camilo Ernesto CUB 2495 6.0 51.5 40.5 9.7
11 6 GM Grigoryan Karen H. ARM 2577 6.0 48.0 38.0 -6.3
12 35 IM Sanchez Sebastian Felipe COL 2375 6.0 48.0 38.0 35.1
13 12 GM Movsziszian Karen ARM 2520 6.0 46.5 36.5 -6.1
14 19 GM Vishnu Prasanna. V IND 2459 6.0 44.0 35.5 2.9
15 21 IM Panelo Marcelo ARG 2448 6.0 41.0 33.0 1.4
16 28 IM Cruz Filemon PER 2412 5.5 52.0 41.0 22.0
17 23 IM Escobar Forero Alder COL 2445 5.5 50.0 40.0 3.7
18 8 GM Cruz Cristhian PER 2563 5.5 49.5 38.5 -10.9
19 32 IM Perpinya Rofes Lluis Maria ESP 2400 5.5 49.0 39.0 21.3
20 27 WGM Cori T. Deysi PER 2414 5.5 48.0 39.5 14.9
21 25 FM Oliva Castaneda Kevel CUB 2427 5.5 47.5 37.0 3.7
22 20 GM Munoz Pantoja Miguel ESP 2457 5.5 47.0 35.5 -4.0
23 16 IM Moreno Ruiz Javier ESP 2486 5.5 46.0 35.5 -4.8
24 4 GM Peralta Fernando ARG 2596 5.5 45.0 35.0 -14.7
25 34 IM Alarcon Casellas Rolando CUB 2378 5.5 42.5 33.5 3.6
26 18 GM Arun Prasad S. IND 2472 5.5 42.0 32.5 -10.2
27 30 IM Martinez Romero Martin COL 2401 5.5 41.0 31.5 -7.3

IM Arturo Vidarte Morales (right) with the young Quirhuayo Gonzalo from Peru. Arturo is the tournament director of the Montcada Open and the chief reason why this tournament is such a successful event.

Arbiters at work: IA Roger Rodriguez Font (left) and FA Noemi Martinez Hernandez.
Roger is a graduate in Mathematics while Noemi is a graduate in Biology

FM Teh Eu Wen Aron with his mother. The young lad from Malaysia played very well
and needed a half point in the last round for an IM norm. He couldn’t achieve it.

Doesn’t he look like Magnus? IM Romero Martin Martinez from Colombia

This video will give you an idea about playing hall of the tournament

A beautiful winding lane

A wide variety of fruits are available at really very reasonable rates throughout Barcelona

Spain’s early exit from the FIFA world Cup 2014 hasn’t affected their enthusiasm for
the game. Children playing football is an extremely common sight here!

It was a joy not only to write about this tournament but also to be present and play in this wonderful event. Maybe it is one of the best tournaments in the Spanish circuit, but we have a few more to play before I can say this with hundred percent confidence!

Sagar Shah with his better half Amruta Mokal had a pretty good
tournament with a cumulative increase of fifty Elo points!

All pictures for these reports were taken by Amruta Mokal, who is a not only an enthusiastic photographer but also a professional chess player with an Elo of 2043 and four WIM norms. Photography is her passion and she loves to cover tournaments, capturing various expressions and emotions of 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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