What can possibly be better than a chess tournament in a nice place with excellent beaches and beautiful sun? With easy access, excellent prize fund, and cheap accommodation?
This is precisely what the Black-sea resort Albena offered to the 274 players from fourty countries who took part in the event. Albena lies in the North-East part of Bulgaria, near Romania and is some fourty kilometers away from the airport of Varna.
At the Olympiad in Khanty Mansiysk, Albena bid to host the Olympiad in 2014. The bid came late, and they lost but Tromsoe (which won) have started their a organization long time ago, and had at least three years of preparation in advance.
Luckily, Albena stayed in the game, and keeps on organizing chess events. For the last two years both the Bulgarian team championships took place here, as well as two opens. The European Youth Championships are also scheduled to be played here, in the middle of September.
I would like to show you some of the most interesting moments in the Open that was played from 25 June to 3 July.
The following combination took place in round seven:
The Moldavian GM escaped with a slight scare; however, a strong colleague of his was not that happy:
The seventy-two years old Radulov scored a convenient 7/9, by taking one more GM scalp, that of Momchil Nikolov. As a whole the seniors played quite well, and this is something that makes chess such a nice game. Can you for a minute imagine that a man of this age can compete on equal terms say in athletics with his younger opponents?!
Round eight proved that Grandmasters are also human with this short game:
That same Bulgarian GM Atanas Kolev played a decisive role in the distribution of the prize money:
Had White won, or even drawn this game, he would have claimed the title thanks to his better tie-break criteria (in Bulgaria prizes are usually given in accordance with the placement, and are not shared). Kolev secured a tie for the first place, but was edged out on tie-break by Ivan Cheparinov. Topalov's second took home a juicy part of the prize fund (approximately 6000 euro).
Here is one of his best efforts: