Tiviakov wins First Panama Chess Open

11/9/2011 – Do not ask us how he does it – we have no idea! But Dutch GM Sergei Tiviakov somehow manages to (1) travel to the most exotic places in the world, (2) win the tournaments staged there, and (3) send us a huge batch of photos he has taken during his stay. Here are his pictorial impressions of a rare Middle American event, and the solution to our Panama Canal quiz question.

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Panama Chess Open 2011

This event was staged by the National Chess Federation of Panama from November 3–7 in the Great Hall Portobello Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City. It was the first large international tournament since the 70s. It is the intention of the organisers to make this an annual event. The tournament was a nine round Swiss with over 130 players. Time controls: 90 minutes per player for the entire game, with the addition of 30 seconds per move from move one. First prize was US $2000, second $1300, third $1000, etc., with special prizes for the best players under Elo 2200, best players from Panama, etc.

Panamá City is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama, with a total population of around one million. The city has a dense skyline of mostly highrise buildings, and it is surrounded by a large belt of tropical rainforest. It has an advanced communications system; and Tocumen International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Central America.

Naturally Panama is most famous for the Panama Canal (Canal de Panamá), a 77 kilometre (48 mile) ship canal that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. The canal was built from 1904 to 1914 in one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken (it has been named one of the seven modern wonders of the world by the American Society of Civil Engineers). It had an enormous impact on shipping between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, replacing the long and treacherous route via either the Strait of Magellan or Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 9,500 km (5,900 miles), well under half the 22,500 km (14,000 miles) route around Cape Horn.

Panoramic view of the Panama Canal from the top of Ancon Hill – scroll to the right for a full breath-taking view.
[Source: Wikipedia, where you will find a full 10,557 x 1248 stitched image]

Panama Canal Puzzle

We have a little puzzle for our readers: when you travel through the Panama Canal from east to west, i.e. from its eastern-most entrance to its western-most exit, which ocean do you end up in? The answer is given at the end of this report – but do think about the problem before you jump to it.

Top final standings of the Panama Chess Open 2011

No.
Title
Player
Nat
Rtng
Pts
 TB11 
 TB2 
 TB3 
Perf
+/-
1
GM
Tiviakov Sergei
NED
2650
7.5
38.0
52.5
41.0
2704
8.4
2
GM
Arencibia R. Walter
CUB
2511
7.0
36.0
53.0
41.0
2618
14.6
3
GM
Alvarez Pedraza Aramis
CUB
2565
7.0
36.0
50.0
39.0
2604
6.4
4
GM
Perez R. Luis Manuel
CUB
2475
7.0
35.0
50.5
38.5
2616
18.7
5
IM
Shoker Samy
EGY
2512
7.0
33.5
45.0
35.0
2427
-2.6
6
GM
Ortiz S. Isan Reynaldo
CUB
2553
6.5
38.0
54.0
42.5
2584
7.3
7
GM
Abreu Delgado Aryam
CUB
2481
6.5
35.0
50.0
39.5
2491
5.4
8
IM
Gomez Garrido Camilo
CUB
2537
6.5
34.5
50.0
39.0
2536
1.1
9
GM
Corrales Jimenez Fidel
CUB
2578
6.5
33.5
48.5
38.0
2513
-3.6
10
WGM
Linares Napoles Oleiny
CUB
2335
6.5
33.0
50.0
39.5
2426
39.6
11
FM
Espinosa Veloz Ermes
CUB
2452
6.5
32.0
45.0
35.0
2346
2.3
12
IM
Lammers Markus
GER
2392
6.5
29.0
42.0
33.0
2265
-7.7
13
GM
Ramirez Alejandro
USA
2595
6.0
35.0
53.0
41.0
2526
-4.0
14
GM
Barrientos Sergio E
COL
2517
6.0
33.5
51.0
40.0
2475
-2.2
15
WGM
Ordaz V. Lisandra Teresa
CUB
2358
6.0
33.5
50.5
40.5
2430
19.6
16
IM
Prasca Sosa Rafael
VEN
2431
6.0
32.5
50.0
39.0
2455
6.1
17
IM
Gongora Reyes Maikel
CUB
2428
6.0
31.0
47.5
37.5
2396
-0.7
18
Martinez Romero Martin
COL
2343
6.0
31.0
47.0
37.0
2364
11.6
19
IM
Vitoux Colomban
FRA
2415
6.0
29.5
45.0
34.5
2285
-10.9
20
Fernandez R. Angel Luis
CUB
2117
6.0
29.0
46.5
37.5
2219
75.0
21
WGM
Pina Vega Sulennis
CUB
2315
6.0
29.0
45.0
35.5
2257
5.3
22
CM
Valdes Rances
PAN
2125
6.0
26.5
38.0
31.0
2021
17.7

Photo impressions by GM Sergei Tiviakov

Do not ask us how he does it – we have no idea. But the Dutch grandmaster somehow manages to (1) travel to the most exotic places, (2) win the tournament, and (3) send us a huge batch of photos he has taken during his stay. Here are his impressions of the Panama Chess Open and of Panama City.


Our GM reporter in front of the modern high-rise skyline of Panama City

While we are at it we might as well give you a panoramic view of Panama City [Source: Wikipedia]


The modern city with its skyscrapers, many still being built, contrasts with...


... the older parts of town, built in the 19th and 20th centuries, currently being restored


Houses decorated with pelicans and lizzards


The real thing: pelicans (and a turkey vulture) perched on a street light


Our GM reporter befriends a denizen of Panama City


It's a raccoon, Procyon lotor to biologists, a common mammal in these parts


A street vendor with colourful souvenirs for the locals and tourists


A typical street corner and street life in the older part of Panama City


The beautiful Gothic Church Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen


The "Metropolitan Cathedral" (Catedral Metropolitan) built in the 17th Century


The main altar inside the cathedral


The "Golden Altar", a testimony to Roman Catholic opulence


A visit to the famous, strategically vital Panama Canal is a must


A cargo ship in the locks

The maximum size of vessel that can use the canal, the "Panamax", is 65,000–80,000 tonnes DWT (deadweight tonnage), but its actual cargo is restricted to about 52,500 tonnes because of draft restrictions in the canal.


The tournament site – playing hall and hotel for the players


The tournament venue before the start of a round...


... and with play under way


It is inspiring to see a large number of female participants


Best female prize for WGM Oleiny Linares Napoles of Cuba, 6.5/9 with a 2426 performance


Second female prize for WGM Lisandra Teresa Ordaz of Cuba, 6.0/9, performance 2430


Third prize in the Open went to GM Aramis Alvarez Pedraza of Cuba with 7.0/9 points


Second prize for GM Walter Arencibia (checkered shirt), Cuba, with 7.0/9 points


First prize to the tournament photographer GM Sergei Tiviakov, with 7.5/9 points


A big payday for Sergei, as the Mayor of Panama City indicates


Official tournament site

Copyright Tiviakov/ChessBase


Solution to our Panama Canal Quiz

Our question was: when you travel through the Panama Canal from east to west, i.e. from its eastern-most entrance to its western-most exit, which ocean do you end up in? Here's the correct answer:

Take a look at the above map of Panama with its neighboring countries and seas: Now let us zoom in to see where exactly the canal is located:

So this means that when you travel in a westerly direction, i.e. from the eastern-most entrance (at Balboa) to exit at the western-most part (Cristóbal) you end up in the Caribbean Sea, which is part of the Atlantic Ocean. You do not find yourself in the Pacific, as people would naturally assume. Tricky, right? You can explore it on the following Google map:


View Larger Map

Please note that you have to pay us a royalty if you use this puzzle in bars and at parties.


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