Chess Tournament at Los Alcázares
May 15, 2017, 1:17 PM 0
- This semester I studied abroad in Madrid for the Spring Semester.While I had been dying to play some chess during my Study Abroad experience, I thought it would also be a great way to practice to Spanish. So on February 17th, I set off on a 4 hour train ride to a little coastal Spanish town by the name of Los Alcázares (spanish for "The fortresses." The tournament took place next to a salty lagoon next to the Mediterranean called " del Mar Menor" or The Minor sea (with the major sea being the Mediterranean). Anyway, while it was a struggle finding the right train, I got to Los Alcázares without much trouble. After arriving at the tournament hall, I got to meet and catch up with a friend I had played against at a blitz tournament in Madrid. Unfortunately, to begin the tournament I got a bye, since my rating was reported as 0 (I had never played a tournament in Europe before). While I was disappointed at not getting to play, I did get the town a little bit. When the 2nd round finally arrived, I found I was paired against a 2050. As an aside, during this game, I learned for myself what I had been told about European players before: they are far more well rounded than players from the U.S. So while their tactical game was certainly not as strong as I would expect from players in the U.S., their endgame technique compensated. That being said, in my second round game I found a nice tactic to go up a a bishop for a pawn, unfortunately, while I was objectively winning, I was unable to maintain my advantage and, after simplifying to avoid a chance at a perpetual, I ended up losing. While I was able to come back the next round and win, I was never able to get anything going and ended up finishing up with 2 wins and 4 losses. Overall, it was a fun experience and definitely helped improve my Spanish. Plus, I got to see a part of Spain that I would have never seen before. I have posted my round 3 win, which sort of illustrates how I was able to take advantage of having studied tactics.