Whoah! We're Going To Ibiza

11/3/2011 – Ibiza (or Eivissa) is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea, 79 km off the coast of the city of Valencia in Spain. It is known as the Party Capital of the world, but also for its beautiful Mediterranean scenery and climate. The Eivissa Chess Festival, which was held there, was comfortably won by Dutch GM Erwin l'Ami (7.5/8 points). His wife, WGM Alina l'Ami, sent us this lovely pictorial report.

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Tournament report by

Whoah! We're Going To Ibiza
Whoah! Back To The Island
Whoah! We're Gonna Have A Party
Whoah! In The Mediterranean Sea

Strangely enough, I just couldn’t stop myself singing the famous Vengaboys hit, while flying from Amsterdam to Ibiza. Erwin’s malicious comments didn’t stop me either, I was in a good mood and I’ll stick to it! And we haven’t even arrived yet – this is the well known effect on your endorphins, caused by none other than the worldwide well-known clubbing paradise: Ibiza?

Nevertheless, the tourist season ends at the end of September beginning of October, so we could focus on chess (the main reason we came to this beautiful island), instead of partying 25 hours a day, which is not uncommon here. After all, the island is renowned for its free spirit and for being the undisputed Party Capital of the world! You would have to be blind to miss the countless bars and clubs, able to host thousands and thousands of adrenaline seekers, where the best DJ’s on the planet turn the party scene of Ibiza into a huge business. We had to skip all that, but I cannot say I feel sorry. On the contrary, we had the chance to experience the real Ibiza, the one so long seemingly neglected or hidden behind the dominant clubbing culture.

Therefore, we could peacefully enjoy the chess festival, which was organized between 28th of October and 1st of November, and to trick winter once again? We had great weather, around 20 degrees or more, although the organizers even apologized for it. I see nothing to feel sorry for, but let’s say this is the only detail which might have caused some indisposition. All the other organizational aspects which could have been kept under control, were done in almost exemplary fashion. There is of course always room for improvement, but even on its second edition, the Eivissa (Catalan name for Ibiza) Chess Festival had the ability to satisfy the requirements of any fastidious player.

The opening of the festival took shape with a simul given by my husband, Dutch GM Erwin l’Ami, followed by lectures and a rapid tournament. We started the first round almost right on time, which honestly I didn’t expect, considering some of my prejudices regarding Latin culture. Also, quite common for Spanish tournaments is to have eight rounds, which gave the same odds to all 85 participants: four whites and four blacks. The time control was 25 minutes for the whole game, without increment, giving us the opportunity to watch and enjoy some very interesting time troubles.

Starting with seven out of seven, followed by a swift draw in the last round, Erwin l’Ami was the undeniable winner, probably another reason of my happiness on the island? Plus, we were welcomed with open arms, in a typical warm and friendly hospitality that such a vibrant Spanish culture can offer! And thanks to the wonderful people we met, we had the chance to feel the other side of this Balearic beat-box, the one beyond the club land, where an intellectual struggle like chess is perfectly integrated.

Ibiza is easy to love but I have difficulties to describe it – too many revelations to adequately unfold. For that, you should come here next year, for the third Festival de Ajedrez Eivissa!

Final top standings (after eight rounds)

Rk.
Title
Player
Nat
Rtng
Pts.
 TB1 
 TB2 
TB3 
1
GM
L'ami Erwin
NED
2592
7.5
40.0
45.0
0.0
2
IM
Martinez Martin David
ESP
2401
6.5
39.5
43.0
0.0
3
GM
Cramling Pia
SWE
2489
6.5
38.0
41.5
0.0
4
IM
Minzer Claudio Javier
ARG
2452
6.0
41.0
44.5
0.0
5
IM
Estremera Panos Sergio
ESP
2379
6.0
38.0
42.0
0.0
6
GM
Bellon Lopez Juan Manuel
ESP
2420
6.0
36.5
40.5
0.0
7
IM
Karim Ismael
MAR
2405
6.0
35.5
39.0
0.0
8
IM
Larino Nieto David
ESP
2455
6.0
34.0
37.5
0.0
9
Sanchez Garcia Julio
ESP
2007
6.0
29.0
32.0
0.0
10
Shen Yue
ESP
2080
5.5
36.5
39.5
0.0
11
GM
Cabrera Alexis
ESP
2504
5.5
32.5
36.0
0.0
12
WGM 
L'ami Alina
ROU
2368
5.5
31.5
35.5
0.0
13
Costa Ferrer Alexandre
ESP
2045
5.0
36.5
38.5
0.0
14
El Hachemi Abdelhaq Oueld
MAR
0
5.0
35.5
39.5
0.0
15
Valentin Pascual Cesar
ESP
2083
5.0
35.0
38.0
0.0
16
Subirachs Mancebo Guillem
ESP
2101
5.0
34.5
38.0
0.0
17
WGM
Calzetta Ruiz Monica
ESP
2301
5.0
34.0
37.5
0.0
18
Mayans Calvo Mariano
ESP
2225
5.0
34.0
37.0
0.0
19
Pont Mulet Antonio
ESP
2219
5.0
33.5
37.0
0.0
20
IM
Toledano Llinares Juan A
ESP
2304
5.0
33.5
37.0
0.0
21
Ruiz Ruiz Luis
ESP
0
5.0
33.0
35.5
0.0
22
Monmeneu Chulia Vicente Juan  
ESP
1953
5.0
33.0
34.5
0.0
23
Quero Forero Justino
ESP
2023
5.0
32.0
35.0
0.0
24
Vich Ramirez Carles
ESP
2104
5.0
29.5
32.5
0.0
25
FM
Suarez Roa Jose Francisco
ESP
2153
4.5
37.0
40.5
0.0
26
Boulan Laura
FRA
2007
4.5
32.5
35.5
0.0
27
Adell Corts Francisco
ESP
2202
4.5
31.5
34.5
0.0
28
FM
Pena Riasco Alexander
COL
2178
4.5
30.5
33.5
0.0
29
Ponce Cano Adrian
ESP
1767
4.5
29.5
32.5
0.0
30
Martinez Colomar Alejandro
ESP
1833
4.5
29.5
31.0
0.0
31
Rodriguez Diaz Javier
ESP
1831
4.5
28.5
31.0
0.0

Pictorial impressions by Alina L'ami

Ibiza (or Eivissa) is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea, 79 km off the coast of the city of Valencia in Spain. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community of Spain.

The island is well known for its summer club parties which attract large numbers of tourists, but the island and the Spanish Tourist Office have been working in order to promote more family-oriented tourism.


The old town of Eivissa has medieval fortifications, which are protected by...


... canons strategically placed along the walls


The Cathedral of Santa Maria d'Eivissa, which crowns the town, was built in the Gothic
style between the 14th and 15th centuries on the site of a former Arab mosque.


It looks like the houses are built on top of each other, in a maze difficult to solve...


Walking in the old part of the town I almost broke my neck a few times because
of the steep and narrow streets – and
still enjoyed it tremendously


The harbour seen from the old town on the hill

Given its strategic position in the Meditarranean, the island was subject to various incursions by Arab forces. Thus, in 902-903 it was finally anexed by the califate of Cordoba under emir Abd Alla, and the city came to be known as Iabissa (Madina Yabisah).


The playing hall, lit up by the bright Mediterranean sun


Trophies waiting for the winner – in the front the one for best veteran


Swedish GM Pia Cramling with her daughter Ana


Ana Cramling Bellon playing in the event, following on her mother's footsteps


Erwin l’Ami, right, finished the tournament with 7.5/8, a full point ahead of the field


Time trouble...


What could be better than relaxing on a terrace by the sea?


Albondingas or meatballs with rice – a typical dish in Spain


Paella! An absolute must when you are in a Spanish restaurant

Paella is a rice dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain's national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. There are three widely known types of paella: Valencian paella consists of white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), land snails, beans and seasoning; seafood paella, replaces meat and snails with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables; mixed paella is a free-style combination of meat, seafood, vegetables, and sometimes beans. Other key ingredients include saffron and olive oil.


Typical coastline in Ibiza


One of the gateways to the Old Town, where you can easily get lost if you are not
careful enough – everything looks so similar and yet different.


This is my favourite picture, which made me believe I am somewhere else, but not on
Spanish soil. Maybe somewhere in Morocco, Egypt, in any case an Arab destination.


Pia Cramling with her daughter Ana, waiting for the simul to start


Erwin given a simul to 34 enthusiastic chess players, with no loss and five draws against some very tricky players


Ana receiving her trophy for the best player under ten! Is this the beginning of a new champion?


Erwin with his first place trophy: a beautiful piece of art, done by a famous local artist.


I am still amazed by the beauty of the trophy, and every time I look at it, I discover
new hidden messages. If you look at it carefully, you can spot all the chess pieces!


Pia with her family


Group picture with all winners


Pia and Erwin being interviewed by the local media

This is the oasis I am writing from – atypical rural traditional Spanish house, called 'finca'; charging the batteries in my camera, getting ready for the European Team Championship, where I will be by the time you'll read this.


A farewell picture I made on the last day on Ibiza Island. It shows the Es Vedra, the famous landmark
and mysterious rock island two km off the coast of Ibiza. It is a nature reserve and is uninhabited.


Our reporter WGM Alina l'Amim whose web site you should visit

Alina was born in Romania, but now lives with her husband GM Erwin l'Ami in Holland. She graduated cum laude from the Al. I. Cuza University Lasi, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences. As a chess player she won the world champion under 10 in Sao Laurenco, Brazil, the European Championship under 18 in Peniscola, Spain, the Women's Balkan Chess Championship in Istanbul, Turkey, and many other similar events. The Woman International Grandmaster title came in 2005. Alina speaks Romanian, English (fluently – it is the language she uses to communicate with her husband, "and we understand each other quite well!"), French, Dutch ("my husband's language – very beautiful, but so difficult at the moment"), Spanish and Italian.

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