SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The 28th annual Metz International Chess tournament took place between April 10 and April 16. This year there were two sections (instead of the usual 1 section), and as a result the top section was very strong. Already in the 1st round I was paired against a 2300 player! (I will write a more extensive report on this tournament later on this blog).
The tournament winner was Andrei Sokolov (above) with 7 points in 9 games. Sokolov has been residing in France for the past 15 years and is a French citizen. You can visit his personal site at: http://a.sokolov.free.fr/
Two players finished just a half point back (at 6.5 points): Abbasov and Feller. This writer finished with 5.5 points, and was never in contention for first prize: still suffering from a cold, I could only make 7 draws (!) and 2 victories. However, I am told I was only one of 4 players who went thru the tournament undefeated!
Twenty nationalities participated in this traditional tournament, one of the best in France each year. Ex-Montrealer Leon Piasetski also participated, finishing with 4.5 points.
Kamran Shirazi already has 3 GM norms and awaits FIDE to award him his GM title. He has resided in France for a long time now, and is one of the top backgammon players in the world.
American GM Bhat started very strongly in the tournament and was leading at one point, until he accidentally lost his last two games. The tournament , however, was an excellent warm up for next month’s US championship.
Leon Piasetski, trying to convert an extra pawn in a complex ending (he succeeded!)
My good friend John Spoone, originally from Texas and living in Europe for a long time now, including 6 years in Metz! A talented and dedicated amateur, John is on the road to becoming a chess master. Good luck, John!
The prize giving ceremony.
GMs Feller (middle) and Nijboer (right)
Organizer Centonze (right) with a journalist
At the opening ceremony, awaiting the mayor
Opening ceremony at the Hotel du Ville
Hard at play
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The recent eruption of a volcano in Iceland is creating chaos for those who trying to take flights to and from Europe. Most of the foreign GMs at the tournament now have to make alternative plans to return home. In my own case, I usually go to Metz by train, so I am not being inconvenienced so much, but on the return to my home in Guarda (Portugal) I was shocked to see how the TGV were over crowded with hundreds of standing room only tourists and business people! Even though I had bought my return ticket on Wednesday, I found that I had to stand the entire trip from Paris to Hendaye (a 5 hour trip)….along with hundreds of other passengers.