Peralta wins XXXVII Barbera del Valles Open

by Sagar Shah
7/14/2014 – When preparing his second report from the Spanish summer circuit Sagar Shah discovered that his colleague WGM Alina l'Ami had reported for ChessBase from Barbera del Valles three year ago. Both had played in the event, scored 6.0/9 points and made norms – Alina her maiden for GM, Sagar his final for IM. And gained around 50 rating points each. Enjoy this big pictorial report.

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Peralta wins XXXVII Barbera del Valles Open 2014

By Sagar Shah

Whenever I play a tournament in a foreign country I have the habit of entering the tournament’s name in the search bar of the website to see if any articles have been written about the previous editions of the event I am participating in. When I decided to play the XXXVII edition of the Internacional Barbera del Valles in Spain, I was happy to find an article written by the globe trotter IM (back then WGM) Alina L’Ami on the XXXIV edition of the same tournament in the year 2011.

In her article entitled Sun, Fun and a GM norm, WGM Alina L’Ami explains how she was able to give the best performance of her life by scoring her maiden GM norm with rating performance of 2612 and gaining 48 Elo points in the process. Reading this article before the start of my tournament made me believe that I too could do something special here! After all Alina was rated 2312 back then and my rating was 2314 on July 2014.

Alina l'Ami
Sagar Shah
Participated in the year:
Elo rating:
Points scored:
Norm achieved:
GM norm
IM norm
Rating performance:
Rating increase:
Final standing:

Of course, she played much stronger opposition than me and that explains why she made a GM norm. But still the similarity of our performance is quite astounding. And last but not the least we have both written reports for ChessBase after our excellent performance!

If you are a ChessBase reporter, then Barbera is the place to be!
Yours truly, Sagar Shah before the final round of the tournament.

Coming back to the XXXVII Barbera Del Valles Open 2014. The tournament starting list was quite deceptive. While out of the 87 participants there were only five grandmasters, the tournament boasted of an average Elo of 2208. It didn’t have a very strong representation at the top, but in terms of middle order depth it was really quite formidable. Add to that the fact that no draws were allowed before 30 moves and we had a real fighting event.

Just like I reported about the Montcada Open around ten days ago, the last round at the Barbera Open too witnessed the top two seeds locking horns with each other to take the top honours in the final round.

Top seed GM Fernando Peralta (2596) on the right takes on second seeded
GM GM Karen Grigoriyan (2592) in the crucial last round encounter

Karen was a half point ahead of the field and a draw would have worked out just fine for him to win the title. But Fernando took full advantage of having the white pieces, as little by little he built up a great position. What happened between move thirty to fifty was simply a spectator’s delight: Peralta sacrificed a knight, then his queen, made a new queen and then in a winning position moved his queen to a wrong square where it could have been trapped. But Karen missed the opportunity and lost a few moves later! A nerve-racking last round which is a must watch.

[Event "Barbera Open 2014"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.07.12"] [Round "9"] [White "Fernando, Peralta"] [Black "Karen, Grigoriyan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A65"] [WhiteElo "2596"] [BlackElo "2592"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. Nc3 Bf5 5. Nh4 Bc8 6. e4 Bg7 7. Nf3 O-O 8. h3 c5 9. d5 e6 10. Bd3 Na6 11. Bg5 exd5 12. cxd5 h6 13. Be3 b5 14. O-O c4 15. Bc2 b4 16. Ne2 Re8 17. Ng3 Bd7 18. Rc1 Qa5 19. Bb1 Rac8 20. Nd4 Bb5 21. Qf3 Bd7 22. Rfd1 Rc7 23. Nc6 Qb5 24. Bd4 Nh7 25. Bxg7 Kxg7 26. Ne2 Bxc6 27. Nd4 Qc5 28. Nxc6 Nb8 29. Nd4 Nf6 30. Qg3 {We pick up this game from a position where it is all quite well balanced. Karen Grigoriyan, who was Black, made a mistake here by playing:} Kh7 $2 31. Ne6 $5 (31. e5 $1 {was the more precise way to take advantage of the mistake.} Rxe5 (31... Nh5 32. Qg4 Rxe5 33. Ne6 Nf6 34. Qg3 $1 Nh5 35. Qxe5 $18) 32. Ne6 $3 $18 {with a deadly fork!} Nh5 33. Qxe5 dxe5 34. Nxc5 $18) 31... fxe6 $2 (31... Nh5 {was a better defensive try.} 32. Qg4 Nf6 33. Nxc5 Nxg4 34. Nd3 $1 Nf6 35. Nxb4 Nxe4 36. Nc6 Nf6 37. Rxc4 Rec8 $14 { White maintains a slight edge, but Black should be able to fight on.}) 32. e5 $3 $18 {[%cal Gb1h7,Gg3g6]} Rg8 33. exf6 {White has a rollicking attack now as his bishop is really strong on b1.} e5 34. Qg4 (34. h4 $1 {with the idea of h5 would have been very strong.}) 34... Nd7 35. f7 Rg7 36. Qxd7 $5 {A queen sacrifice in order to make a new queen. But the excitement is still not over.} Rxd7 37. f8=Q Rdf7 {Black is a piece down but has some counterplay against the white king.} 38. Qb8 $4 {Truly a disastrous square for the queen.} (38. Qe8 $1 {would have ensured White's victory.} Qxf2+ 39. Kh2 Qf4+ 40. Kh1 $18) 38... Rxf2 $2 (38... Rg8 $1 $19 {and the white queen is simply trapped!}) 39. Kh1 c3 40. bxc3 Qe3 41. Rg1 $18 {Things are back on track. White is a piece up and goes on to wins without any more adventures.} Rxg2 42. Kxg2 Qe2+ 43. Kh1 Qf3+ 44. Kh2 Qf4+ 45. Kh1 Qf3+ 46. Kh2 Qf2+ 47. Rg2 Qf4+ 48. Kh1 Qxc1+ 49. Rg1 Qxc3 50. Bxg6+ Rxg6 51. Qxa7+ Kh8 52. Rxg6 Qf3+ 53. Rg2 Qd1+ 54. Kh2 {Such games make the game of chess truly entertaining and a spectator friendly sport.} 1-0

Argentinian Fernando Peralta (2596) won the tournament with
a score of 7.5/9 and picking up the winner’s purse of €1300

Minutes after winning the tournament, Fernando Peralta enjoys a victory drink with his friends

The ever smiling and happy-go-lucky Karen Grigoriyan from Armenia finished second with 7.0/9, winning €900. The 1995 born lad always seems to be enjoying in the present moment – even after the heart-breaking last round loss he was all smiles. Karen will surely go a long way ahead!

The various moods of the champion...

… and of the runner-up

GM Marc Narciso Dublan (2523) finished third. He is surely
one of the most consistent performers in the Spanish circuit.

16-year-old IM Diptayan Ghosh (2468) from India finished fourth. Just like in his previous tournament the Montcada Open, he missed his GM norm by half a point. He keeps knocking on the doors of the GM title, and soon enough he is going to be India’s newest GM.

IM Saptarshi Roy (2449) from India finished fifth. After his successful
trip in Bulgaria, Saptarshi continues his exploits in the Spanish circuit.

Sixth: IM Ernesto Gomez Garrido Camilo (2495), one of the strongest IMs of Cuba

Seventh place: FM Oliva Kevel (2417) is waiting for his
IM title to be confirmed in the next FIDE congress.

Eighth place: GM Levan Aroshidze (2565) from Georgia

Ninth Place: The author of these lines, Sagar Shah (2314), man in red

Tenth: IM Jonathon Cruz (2470) from Peru.

IM Akshat Khamparia, who finished twelfth, enjoys a light moment during the first day of the tournament. After arriving 20 minutes late (he caught the wrong train) Akshat built up a great position, only to realize that he was playing against the wrong player. The above picture was taken when he had to restart his game against the right opponent! He won that game too, but for all his extra work he received only one point!

IM Ana Matnadze (2389) from Spain was the best female player of the event

Final rankings (after nine rounds)

Rk. SNo Ti. Name FED Rtng Pts.  TB1   TB2 
1 1 GM Peralta Fernando ARG 2596 7.5 54.0 42.0
2 2 GM Grigoryan Karen H. ARM 2592 7.0 53.0 41.5
3 4 GM Narciso Dublan Marc ESP 2523 7.0 51.5 40.0
4 8 IM Ghosh Diptayan IND 2468 6.5 53.5 41.5
5 10 IM Saptarshi Roy IND 2449 6.5 51.0 39.5
6 5 IM Gomez Garrido Camilo Ernesto CUB 2495 6.5 47.0 36.5
7 13 FM Oliva Castaneda Kevel CUB 2419 6.5 45.0 35.0
8 3 GM Aroshidze Levan GEO 2565 6.0 53.0 41.5
9 32   Sagar Shah IND 2314 6.0 48.5 38.0
10 7 IM Cruz Jonathan PER 2471 6.0 48.0 38.0
11 17 IM Aloma Vidal Robert ESP 2406 6.0 46.5 36.5
12 23 IM Akshat Khamparia IND 2367 6.0 45.5 36.5
13 18 FM Sanchez Enriquez Oscar Gerard MEX 2401 6.0 45.0 35.0
14 16 IM Palit Somak IND 2411 6.0 44.5 34.5
15 21 IM Ruiz C Joshua D COL 2374 6.0 41.5 32.5
16 44 MK Garriga Cazorla Pere ESP 2222 5.5 48.5 37.5
17 19 IM Matnadze Ana ESP 2389 5.5 47.5 36.0
18 9 GM Munoz Pantoja Miguel ESP 2457 5.5 47.0 37.0
19 24   Sardana Rishi AUS 2363 5.5 46.5 35.5
20 15 IM Cruz Filemon PER 2412 5.5 46.5 35.5
21 20 IM Das Sayantan IND 2381 5.5 44.0 34.0
22 41   Herrera Reyes Jose Antonio ESP 2239 5.5 44.0 34.0
23 33 IM Vehi Bach Victor Manuel ESP 2313 5.5 42.0 33.0
24 31 FM Gurevich Daniel USA 2317 5.5 41.5 32.0
25 37   Bas Mas Jose Joaquin ESP 2278 5.5 35.5 29.0

Norm winners: Oliva Kevel, IM norm; WFM Coimbra Margarida, WIM norm; Sagar Shah, IM norm

Aguilar Jordi Ritter (2065) won the B category tournament with a score of 7.5/9. While receiving the prize he gave a touching speech in which he dedicated this victory to his son, who died a few months ago.

Diana Ruth Lopez Atay (2076) was the best female player in the B category, scoring 6.5/9

Very innovatively designed trophies were given to the age category winners

Smiling and friendly arbiters!

An overview of the tournament hall

One fine day the weather is sunny warm and beautiful…

… and on the next day it’s raining cats and dogs

And sometimes the sun and the rain combine to produce a great scene!

The Spanish Circuit keeps on growing more and more intriguing. After the excellently organized tournaments at Montcada and Barbera Del Valles, the focus now shifts to Sant Marti Open, which will be held from 13th to 21st of July. Stay tuned for the coverage of that tournament in ten days from now!

A small three minute video to give an idea on the environment in which this tournament was played!

All the pictures in this report have been made by Amruta Mokal, who is a not only an enthusiastic photographer but also a professional chess player with an Elo of 2046 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.

Topics: Spain

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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