Second Ruy López International Chess Festival in Mérida

4/10/2008 – After five rounds of this annual tournament Spain the eight players are lined up almost exactly according to their Elo ratings. A coincidence? Well take a look at the drawing of colours, where things were strangely synchronous as well. In Mérida, with two top female players, Koneru Humpy and Hou Yifan, present, Michael Adams is in the lead. Big photo report.

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Second Ruy Lopez Chess Festival

The Second Ruy López International Chess Festival is taking place in Mérida, Spain, from April 4th-13th, 2008. The main event is a category XV round robin with eight players.

Standings after five rounds

After five rounds of play top seed Michael Adams of England is in the lead, having won three games and drawn two. He is followed by second seed Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia, who is followed by third seed Zhang Penxiang from China. In fourth places is fourth seed Koneru Humpy from India, and in fifth place fifth seed Fabiano Caruana. 14-year-old Hou Yifan spoilt the perfect Elo alignment of the standings by overtaking sixth seed Julio Granda Zuniga. There are more coincidences to come – material for study by our quirky friend GM James Plaskett.

Picture gallery


The venue during the openings ceremony


The musical part of the festivities


The number one seed, Michael Adams, picks the number one starting number


The second-strongest femal player of all time, Koneru Humpy, gets the two


The world's third-strongest female player, Hou Yifan, gets the three (talk about coincidences!)


Fabiano Caruana is the fifth seed and the seventh oldest player – sorry, we couldn't find anything here


"Manolo" Perez Candelario, second of Alexei Shirov and intrepid ice explorer


It grew back! Gabriel Sargissian, Armenian GM and second of
Levon Aronian, who had shaved his head in Morelia, Mexico


GM Julio Granda Zuniga of Peru


Third seed: Chinese GM Zhang Pengxiang


The world's second-youngest grandmaster (at 15) Fabiano Caruana


14-year-old Chinese WGM Hou Yifan, watched by her main rival Koneru Humpy of India


A reception with the Mayor of Mérida in the Town Hall


The players in front of the town hall (Sargissian, Perez, Humpy, Hou, Zhao, Caruana, Granda)


Chief commentator in Mérida and on Playchess: Spanish journalist Leontxo Garcia

All photos by Jorge Armestar Marroquin for the official web site

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