Sandro Mareco wins Chess Festival Arica (Chile)

by André Schulz
1/31/2023 – In the middle of the Chilean summer, at the end of December, the 8th International Chess Festival was held in Arica. Over 100 players from 11 countries participated. The Argentine GM Sandro Mareco won the Open in the "City of Eternal Spring" on tiebreak, GM Cristobal Henriquez from Chile finished second. Read more about town and tournament... | Photos: Organiser

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GM Sandro Mareco won the 8th International Festival of Arica

At the end of December (16th to 21st), Arica organised its 8th International Chess Festival. Arica, the "City of Eternal Spring", is located on the edge of the Atacama Desert in the very north of Chile's Pacific coast and is known for its particularly mild climate.

Arica lies in the area of the ancient "Chinchorro" culture (around 7000-1500 BC), a nomadic people who lived in the Atacama Desert and practiced a special cult of the dead. A number of mummies, particularly child mummies, have been preserved from their culture. Archeologists believe that the Chinchorro had a very high child mortality rate, which may have been due to the high arsenic concentration in the drinking water in northern Chile. The first mummies of the Chinchorro culture were discovered by German Andes archaeologist Max Uhle in 1910.

A mummy image of the Chinchorro culture was the special prize

The festival consisted of an Open tournament, the 8th International Arica 2022, and a Blitz tournament, the 5th International Blitz Arica. Over 100 chess enthusiasts, mostly from South and Central America, but also some Europeans, participated. The organizers were happy to have players from 11 countries, namely Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay, Spain, Italy, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, and from 22 cities in Chile. Among the players were numerous titleholders, including eight Grandmasters.

The festival lasted for 6 days, with prizes worth more than 7,500 dollars and 40 prize categories. The tournaments were 10 rounds Swiss events, the time control in the Open was 90'+30", while the blitz tournament was played with a time control of 3'+2".

After ten rounds GM Sandro Mareco from Argentina and GM Cristobal Henriquez from Chile shared first place with 8.0/10 each, but as Mareco had the better tiebreak he won the tournament. Third place went to Mexican GM Gilberto Hernandez who had 7.5/10.

Sandro Mareco

The winner with the special prize

Christobal Hernandez

The blitz tournament was won by IM Fernando Fernandez from Peru, with GM Axel Bachmann from Paraguay taking second place, and IM Gianmarco Leiva from Peru coming in third.

The prize for the best female player in the Open tournament went to WIM Javiera Gomez from Chile. In the Blitz tournament, WIM Ann Chumpitaz from Peru took home this special award. Chilean chess enthusiasts were also delighted by the third master norm achieved by Hugo Lopez from Osorno.

WIM Chumpitaz and WIM Gomez

The side program of the festival offered a range of activities, including paragliding and stargazing at night. The beaches with their cafes and bars also provided a lovely place to relax and spend time.

Paragliding over beach and sea

A telescope at the beach


Final standings Open

Rk. Name  TB1 
1 MARECO Sandro 8
4 LOPEZ SILVA Hugo Andres 7,5
5 BARBOSA Evandro Amorim 7
6 OBREGON Carlos Andres 7
7 LEIVA Gianmarco 7
8 FERNANDEZ Fernando 7
9 HOFFMAN Alejandro 7
10 PEREZ GORMAZ Matias 7
11 BACHMANN Axel 6,5
12 ROMERO BARRETO Jaime Jose 6,5
13 SALINAS HERRERA Pablo Patricio 6,5
14 VASQUEZ TOLEDO Cristian 6,5
15 GOMEZ BARRERA Javiera Belen 6,5
16 GEMY VARGAS Jose Daniel 6,5
17 CHUMPITAZ Ann 6,5
18 CUEVAS ARAYA Walter 6,5
19 VERGARA JOFRE Felipe Andres 6,5
21 CORO Lucas 6
22 DUARTE MICELI Leonardo 6
24 CARUSO Tomas 6
25 MESIAS ROJAS Rabindranath 6

100 players



Live video of round 8


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.