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A surprise from India at the scenic Sitges in Barcelona

by Niklesh Jain - 13/08/2017

Our Spanish trip is coming to an end. Nearing its close, this 53-day-long journey of ours took us to Sitges, a coastal town south-west of Barcelona which is renowned for its beauty across the globe. Besides enjoying the town’s sandy beaches, our aim here was to make it big at the 43rd Sitges International Chess Open. As the tournament concluded, the young Peruvian GM Cori Jorge etched his name on the title prize. Unfortunately for the Indian contingent, none of the players was able to finish among the top 10. 50-year-old IM Anup Deshmukh’s scintillating performance outshined all young stars as he finished as the best Indian performer at the event. Anyway, seeing our motherland make its presence felt in a foreign land filled our hearts with respect and pride. In this article, Niklesh Jain takes you on a Spanish journey.

The fourth stop of our journey that began on the 22nd of June in India was the picturesque coastal town of Sitges. We were here as the participants of the 43rd International Chess Open Vila De Sitges 

Sitges is one of the biggest tourist attractions of Spain...

 ...and as far as the eye can see, there's the deep blue sea!

The tournament hall was just as colourful as the town itself. Such things really inspire you to play!  

And as the games began, the place emanated festive vibes  

Truly, chess is miniature life!  

No player from the Indian posse was able to finish on the podium. Peruvian GM Cori Jorge took the top spot with an outstanding performance of 8.5/9. A point behind him was GM Sergey Volkov who finished second with a score of 7.5/9. Cuba’s IM Kevel Oliva not only bagged the third spot but also finished with a GM norm.

Here's what the tournament's winner GM Cori Jorge had to say 
[Event "43 Open Internacional d'Escacs Vila de S"]
[Site "Sitges (Barcelona)"]
[Date "2017.07.26"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Volkov, Sergey"]
[Black "Cori, Jorge"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D10"]
[WhiteElo "2627"]
[BlackElo "2636"]
[PlyCount "70"]
[EventDate "2017.07.22"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:54"]
[BlackClock "0:04:05"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Bf4 Nc6 5. e3 Nf6 6. Nc3 a6 7. Bd3 e6 8. Rc1
Bd6 9. Bxd6 Qxd6 10. f4 O-O 11. Nf3 Bd7 12. Ne5 Rfc8 13. O-O Be8 14. g4 Nd7 15.
g5 Ne7 16. Qf3 b5 17. a3 Rc7 18. Ne4 dxe4 19. Qxe4 Rxc1 20. Rxc1 Qd5 21. Qxh7+
Kf8 22. Be4 Qb3 23. Qh8+ Ng8 24. Rc3 Qd1+ 25. Kf2 Qd2+ 26. Kg3 Qe1+ 27. Kg2 b4
28. axb4 Nxe5 29. fxe5 Rb8 30. Bh7 Ke7 31. Qxg7 Rxb4 32. Rc2 Qxe3 33. Qxg8 Rxd4
34. Rf2 Rg4+ 35. Kf1 Bb5+ 0-1

In this fourth event of the Catalan Circuit, veteran IM Anup Deshmukh proved his mettle yet again and was the best Indian performer at the event. IM Deshmukh was the country’s best sub-junior player in his heydey and was considered just as talented as the Madras Tiger, Vishy Anand. Not to mention, he had beaten the five-time World Champion twice at the National Championship back then. Even today, at the age of 50, his spirited play over this 53-day-long trip serves as an inspiration to all. 
[Event "43 Open Internacional d'Escacs Vila de S"]
[Site "Sitges (Barcelona)"]
[Date "2017.07.23"]
[Round "2.3"]
[White "Grigoryan, Karen H"]
[Black "Deshmukh, Anup"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B27"]
[WhiteElo "2555"]
[BlackElo "2241"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2017.07.22"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[WhiteClock "0:38:52"]
[BlackClock "0:40:04"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. d5 d6 5. Nc3 a6 6. a4 Nd7 7. Bc4 Ne5 8. Nxe5
Bxe5 9. f4 Bd4 10. Ne2 Bg7 11. O-O Nh6 12. h3 Bd7 13. Qd3 Qc7 14. c3 O-O 15. g4
b5 16. axb5 axb5 17. Rxa8 Rxa8 18. Bxb5 Bxb5 19. Qxb5 Kf8 20. f5 Ng8 21. Qd3
Qb6 22. Qf3 g5 23. h4 h6 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. Kg2 Qb3 26. Ng3 Ra1 27. Qe2 Rb1 28.
Qd3 Ra1 29. Kh3 Be5 30. Bxg5 Qxb2 31. Rxa1 1/2-1/2

Scoring a total of 6.0/9, he finished joint 12th and won the prize for the best performer in the U-2250 category. Interestingly enough, this is the third out of the four tournaments he has played in the Catalan Circuit where he has won this prize. 

The young Indian WIM Vantika Agrawal won both the Best Woman and Best Junior prize at the event 
[Event "43 Open Internacional d'Escacs Vila de S"]
[Site "Sitges (Barcelona)"]
[Date "2017.07.28"]
[Round "7.18"]
[White "Gonzales, Jayson"]
[Black "Vantika, Agrawal"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A48"]
[WhiteElo "2399"]
[BlackElo "2230"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[EventDate "2017.07.22"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. e3 Bg7 4. Nf3 O-O 5. Be2 d6 6. h3 c5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4
Nc6 9. Nc3 Bf5 10. Bd3 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 Rc8 12. Rad1 d5 13. Qb5 Na5 14. Qe2 Nc4
15. Bc1 e6 16. b3 Nd6 17. Bb2 Qa5 18. Qe1 b6 19. a4 Rfd8 20. Ne5 Rc7 21. f3
Rdc8 22. Rd3 Nd7 23. b4 Qxb4 24. Ba3 Qxa3 25. Nb5 Nxb5 0-1

Although Indians didn’t fare too well in the main event, two out of the top three in Group B of the Sitges Open. While Samrat Ghorai took the title prize, Atul Kumar finished third. 

Anjali Sagar had come to Spain as a parent but in the last tournament of the circuit, she was able to clinch the Best Woman prize in Group B

This wasn't the best tournament for GM Himanshu Sharma. He was only able to score 6.0/9 and finished 19th. Let's hope he does well in future events.
[Event "43 Open Internacional d'Escacs Vila de S"]
[Site "Sitges (Barcelona)"]
[Date "2017.07.27"]
[Round "6.8"]
[White "Himanshu, Sharma"]
[Black "Martinez, Ayelen"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A05"]
[WhiteElo "2498"]
[BlackElo "2279"]
[PlyCount "99"]
[EventDate "2017.07.22"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[WhiteClock "0:36:36"]
[BlackClock "0:18:33"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. b3 Bg7 4. Bb2 O-O 5. e3 c5 6. Be2 b6 7. O-O Bb7 8. d4
cxd4 9. Nxd4 Nc6 10. Bf3 Rc8 11. Nc3 Ba8 12. Nc2 Qc7 13. g3 Rfd8 14. e4 Qe5 15.
Re1 e6 16. Qe2 Qb8 17. Rad1 d6 18. Bg2 a6 19. Ne3 h5 20. Rd2 Rd7 21. Red1 Rcd8
22. h3 Bb7 23. f4 Qa8 24. Kh2 Ne7 25. Nf1 Bc6 26. a4 Bb7 27. Ba3 Nc8 28. Rd3
Qb8 29. Nd2 Na7 30. Nf3 Nc6 31. Ng5 Na5 32. Nb1 Qc7 33. Nd2 Nh7 34. Ndf3 Nxg5
35. Nxg5 h4 36. Bb2 hxg3+ 37. Rxg3 d5 38. Bxg7 Kxg7 39. Qg4 Re8 40. cxd5 exd5
41. e5 Rdd8 42. Qh4 Rc8 43. Qh7+ Kf8 44. Qh8+ Ke7 45. Qf6+ Kd7 46. Qxf7+ Re7
47. Rxd5+ Bxd5 48. Qxd5+ Ke8 49. Qg8+ Kd7 50. Rd3+ 1-0

 Life in Sitges!!

In a town as beautiful as Sitges, playing chess is so much more pleasurable. After a hard fought round at the tournament, there’s the cool breeze of the sea to rejuvenate! If you would like to get a taste of this experience, I must tell you that the town will be hosting yet another chess festival – the Sunway Chess Festival – in December this year. Don’t forget to write to ChessBase India if you’d like to participate.  

All your chess needs – be it participation, accommodation, ticket booking or visa assistance – can be taken care of by ChessBase India Power.

To know more about the Sunway International Chess Festival, we reached the festival’s venue, Hotel Sunway Playa Golf and Spa. But little did we know what a huge surprise we were in for!

This century old teak wood door from east India was kept very respectfully as an exhibit at the hotel. Needless to say, this left us filled with pride and joy!

Along with the engraved image of Lord Krishna, the door had an inscription on it which stated that it was made in 1916 by Mr Ramati Pattedalal and probably, it got its final touches on October 5, 1916. What’s intriguing is that even after so many years since its making, the door’s workmanship is being appreciated in an entirely different corner of the world!


The hotel’s manager has also been to India and he told us that the door was possibly brought to the hotel on a ship from India by the ancestors of the hotel owners.

When you see something from India kept so lovingly and respectfully, you automatically feel a sense of pride within you.

On the request of the organisers, we stayed in Sitges for three days. They even arranged bicycles for us to explore the city! 

And I think nobody should miss the chance of bicycling through such a beautiful town set by the sea

 The sun and the sea breeze! You need nothing more to unwind.

Oh well... almost nothing!

The scenic Sitges!

Life, they say, is a journey... 

and this journey keeps me going... 

Beholding this tranquil blue, I couldn't help wondering where the sea ends and sky begins!

I hope you liked this part of the Spanish Diary. I'll see you again in the next part.  


Other Articles from the Spanish Diary


1-स्पैनिश डायरी -01- यहाँ शतरंज सिर्फ खेल नहीं !!

2-स्पैनिश डायरी -02 - फिर छा गया भारत ! श्याम रहे श्रेष्ठ !

3-स्पैनिश डायरी -03- हिमांशु के कमाल से भारत गुलजार !

4-स्पैनिश डायरी -04 - शतरंज और हौसलों का सफर ! जारी है !

5-स्पैनिश डायरी 05- खूबसूरत सिट्जस ! भारत यहाँ भी है मौजूद !



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