Portugal Chess Summer - good beach and nice chess!

Portugal Chess Summer - good beach and nice chess!

Jul 22, 2016, 10:56 PM |

If you want something different for your vacation, try Portugal Chess Festival this summer! A number of consecutive tournaments around the country with the emphasis on both chess and familly holidays - heartily recommended!

Portugal Chess Festival (Facebook link here) was recently opened in Caparica, where I was ranked as no 17 out of around 40 participants, including a host of talented youngsters using this 7 round tournament as a warm-up ahead of the national championships.

I am a pretty ordinary 1600+ player, but this was my fourth international tournament. Over the last years my wife (who does not play chess, but enjoys travelling to new places) and I have spent some of our vacation days (we do get a lot of them in Norway, probably why it is one of the happiest countries in the world, despite up to six months of freezing every year) visiting new places where I play chess for some hours a day, and we spend the rest of the day exploring.

I did well in Caparica, making it funnier to write about! My 5th place (5/7) was mainly in jeopardy thanks to our exploring; in round 6 I beat the deadline for showing up by a mere 90 seconds...

The tournament is well organised by Carlos Carneiro (POR 2209), who also speaks good English if your Portugese is like mine - way below passable.

I will not tire the reader with loads of games, but some interesting positions. None more so than this one, where I overlooked a great opportunity and most likely missed my best chance so far in my chess carreer to actually be paired with a GM in the next round:


 So, I had to settle for playing on the lower boards until a good finish saw me end 5th, top of the U2000 section with 5/7. 

I did get to play NM Victor Morais (POR 1903), who in his prime was close to 2200, and scoffed a good chance of seizing the initative:

This game was another lesson in missed chances. It doesn't matter if you get into good positions, if you are unable to convert them to points on the scoreboard!
In the final round, I played a young and very talented boy who gave me trouble. However, at some point in the game he made what I thought was some strategic errors that cost him eventually.
Later in that game, another pawn push (24...e5?) was the decisive mistake that gave White a clear advantage to later win the game.
The tournament was 90 + 30 sec increment per move, giving just enough time to think things through fairly well, but also leaving a lot of time for other acitivities than chess. So you can't go much wrong if you set sail for Portugal later this summer and team up with Carlos and company!