Summer in San Salvador (part two)

by Alina l'Ami
12/21/2015 – Finishing the vivid illustrated report on the San Salvador Open, the photographing/reporting/globetrotting player headed off to bright sunny Mexico, but instead of a plane hop, took a bus that took her through Guatemala, where she took some time off to enjoy it and share her impressions. Here are the further photographic impressions by Alina L' Ami.

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The usual walks around the tournament hall, killing time or getting into the chess zone.

The usual view from our walks between the games

Third place for Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Suarez from Cuba, who was always energetic and in a good
mood, in spite of the backbreaking timetable

Lemnys Arias - Isan Ortiz

[Event "Open 2015"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.12.08"] [Round "6"] [White "Arias, Lemnys"] [Black "Ortiz, Isan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B80"] [WhiteElo "2318"] [BlackElo "2318"] [Annotator "Alina L'Ami"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r3k2r/1b2qpp1/p2pp2p/1p5P/2nNP1P1/P1NQ1P2/1PP5/2KRR3 w kq - 0 20"] [PlyCount "10"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] {Coming from a closer geographical area, the third prize winner Isan Ortiz played a few full-blooded games, without fearing any possible dangers. White has a space advantage and a nice centralized position, but this frequently proves an illusion in the Sicilian. White decided he has enough positional trumps to kick the irritating knight away with:} 20. b3 $2 {relying on 20... Nxa3 21.Nf5! Qg5+ 22.Kb2 when the d6-pawn and the a3-knight are hanging. But he overlooked the Zwischenzug} ({All pieces forward would have been, perhaps, a better way to proceed:} 20. f4) 20... Qg5+ $1 {winning an essential tempo and turning the tables around completely.} 21. Kb1 Nxa3+ 22. Ka2 b4 23. Na4 O-O 24. c4 Qa5 {Black has won a pawn and later the game.} 0-1

The event was thoroughly enjoyed by ladies...


...future talents...

...and experienced alike.

Chess requires maximum concentration; one wrong move and everything collapses like a house of cards

Last game of the tournament finished in a well-fought draw; a massive gain
of 108 rating points plus Mauro’s third IM norm!

A tough but wonderful event thanks to the diligent organizers

Time for a city break and feel the pulse of San Salvador, together with paparazzi

Fresh tortillas are heaven!

When made by the locals, obviously. Thanks Sergey for the image!

Chess life is a never ending carrousel and after the last round the players started resuming their globetrotting ways in their never ceasing search for new challenges, rating points and not least: prizes.

Just a few days after the 2nd San Salvador Open I will take part in another tournament in Merida, Mexico, and in order to reach that...I thought the best way was via Guatemala. After all, it is a new country, new experience and easier travel to my final destination. That said, the night before leaving Salvador I got the alarming news that Guatemala City was really dangerous...which somehow I never thought would be the case, given its Mayan vestiges that makes it a popular tourist destination. My fears calmed down soon after I occupied my seat in the incredibly luxurious bus, by far the best I traveled with in my whole life!

Who would have thought? Best and most luxurious bus ride ever, from San Salvador to Guatemala!
Never be afraid of taking such buses in Central America, you can live in one, as they give you food,
drinks, pillows, blankets, headphones to watch tv or listen to music...absolutely amazing experience!

And here I am, in Guatemala, writing these words for you and looking forward to coming back with more from Mexico!

No earrings or wedding ring, just to avoid being any kind of target on the
hazardous Guatemalan streets; but leaving the camera in the hotel...I just
couldn't, as I wanted to share with you all these experiences. And I am
happy I dared, since the capital turned out to be friendly to Sergey and me.

Sergey experiencing life in a true Guatemalan style → Christmas gifts under a 30 degrees sun!

Another highlight in this trip: experiencing life as a...”chicken”, traveling with the chicken bus.
You can't imagine what a cultural shock I got, being sandwiched in an overly packed bus, with
kids on my lap, bags falling down, dangerous turns when I was sure the bus will simply roll over
...thrilling experience which you should try it once, at least.

Mission accomplished: arrived in one piece in Antigua Guatemala, a famous tourist and UNESCO World Heritage Site

The views are mesmerizing, with the well preserved Spanish Baroque influenced architecture and volcanoes in the backdrop

What are the odds of being recognized on the streets in the middle of nowhere? Chess fans can
be found all over this “small” World!

Street performance seen from the bus

One with the locals...

...and an incredible coincidence: religious procession in Guatemala, celebrating Our Lady of
Guadalupe on 12 December – a very important day for the Catholic Mexicans, which prepared
me for the upcoming trip. Off to Mexico!

Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.


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