Big Scores For Granda (Andorra), Howell (Leiden)

Big Scores For Granda (Andorra), Howell (Leiden)

| 2 | Chess Event Coverage

On Sunday, GM Julio Granda Zuniga won the Andorra Open with 8.0/9, while 1100 km up north GM David Howell did even better, scoring 8.5/9 in Leiden, The Netherlands.

Andorra Open

The 33rd Andorra Open took place July 18-26 in the St Gothard Hotel in Andorra, the microstate located in the Pyrenees between Spain and France. It was a nine-round Swiss with a total prize fund of 10,500 euros.

Besides Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand there is another player who's continuously showing that it's possible to maintain a high level of play well into your forties: 48-year-old Peruvian GM Julio Granda Zuniga. He repeated last year's success and won the tournament, this time with the fantastic score of 8.0/9, good for a 2814 performance rating.

“It's always good to win a tournament but in this case I was feeling well, I played creatively and with fighting spirit,” said Granda in an interview. “I deserved to win this tournament, maybe more than at other occasions!”

Granda drew two games and won the other seven. Among his victims was the top seed, GM Vlad Tkachiev. The Peruvian grandmaster played a remarkable opening: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 and now 4.e3 Be7 5.a3!? 0-0 6.b4!?.

It seems like something you would encounter in a Tuesday night club game instead of a battle between two 2650+ players! Tkachiev was fine out of the opening, but after that he was simply outplayed:

Granda with this trophy. | Photo courtesy of the Andorra Open.

Also in the final round Granda played something offbeat — although maybe the time has come that we should consider 1.b3 a main opening! It was the same story: Black was OK after the opening but played some inaccurate moves (and then gave away a piece in one move).

2015 Andorra Open | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Name Rtg Pts.
1 2 Granda Zuniga Julio E GM 2652 8
2 5 Vovk Andrey GM 2621 7,5
3 3 Vovk Yuri GM 2632 7
4 11 Kogan Artur GM 2526 7
5 4 Iturrizaga Bonelli Eduardo GM 2625 7
6 13 Riff Jean-Noel GM 2502 7
7 1 Tkachiev Vladislav GM 2661 6,5
8 8 Lagarde Maxime GM 2544 6,5
9 9 Demuth Adrien GM 2531 6,5
10 19 Abergel Thal GM 2440 6,5
11 10 Arizmendi Martinez Julen Luis GM 2529 6,5
12 12 Narciso Dublan Marc GM 2521 6,5
13 15 Aloma Vidal Robert IM 2451 6,5
14 16 Pulvett Marin Daniel IM 2446 6,5
15 34 Jolly Jean-Francois IM 2345 6
16 33 Trepat Herranz Joan FM 2351 6
17 7 Gozzoli Yannick GM 2567 6
18 6 Vazquez Igarza Renier GM 2581 6
19 21 Antoli Royo Joaquin Miguel IM 2430 6
20 14 Asis Gargatagli Hipolito IM 2472 6

(Full final standings here.)

Leiden Chess Tournament

The Leiden Chess Tournament was held July 17-26 in the Denksportcentrum (Mind Sports Center) in Leiden, The Netherlands. It was a nine-round Swiss with a total prize fund of 5,500 euros.

Leiden is the city where Rembrandt lived, and has the oldest Dutch university, founded in 1575. It's also a place where English GM David Howell likes to play chess.

In 1970 Leiden hosted a group of four with Mikhail Botvinnik, Bent Larsen, Boris Spassky and Hein Donner, and in recent years it's been the location of one of the summer tournaments in The Netherlands — where Howell has now participated four times already.

“I don't know, it's just a pleasant atmosphere. And for me it's a good way to prepare for the British Championship,” Howell told Well, he can hardly complain about that preparation!

Even before Leiden Howell was the clear favorite at the British, but now even more. He won the tournament with 8.5/9 and a 2895 performance rating, and took his rating well over 2700 for the first time in his career.

Howell's strongest opponent, GM Evgeny Postny from Israel, was the only one who held a draw, and he finished second. Third came former top player GM Predrag Nikolic, who went down to the tournament winner in a long and tough battle:

Howell receiving his first 1,750-euro first prize. | Photo courtesy of the Leiden Chess Tournament.

A very interesting game, which deserves to be studied deeply, was Howell's fight with IM Arghyadip Das in round seven. The exchange sacrifice in the opening is known, and played by e.g. Romain Edouard and Hikaru Nakamura. What happened after the opening was crazy.

2015 Leiden Chess Tournament | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rank Name Score Fed. Rtg Perf
1 GM Howell, David W L 8.5 ENG 2698 2895
2 GM Postny, Evgeny 7.0 ISR 2642 2675
3 GM Nikolic, Predrag 6.5 BIH 2601 2621
4 GM Chatalbashev, Boris 6.0 BUL 2516 2543
5 GM Tiviakov, Sergei 6.0 NED 2639 2512
6 GM Milov, Leonid 6.0 GER 2462 2491
7 IM De Jong, Jan-Willem 6.0 NED 2448 2478
8 IM Das, Arghyadip 6.0 IND 2457 2526
9 Pijpers, Arthur 6.0 NED 2433 2431
10 GM Petrov, Marian 5.5 BUL 2487 2383
11 Van Overdam, Julian 5.5 NED 2367 2351
12 FM Erwich, Frank 5.5 NED 2361 2319
13 Johansson, Gunnar 5.5 SWE 2223 2236
14 Wallgren, Ulf 5.5 SWE 2141 2160
15 Oosterom, Erik 5.5 NED 2043 2221
16 Van der Marel, Bert 5.0 NED 2161 2411
17 IM Van Delft, Merijn 5.0 NED 2428 2241
18 FM Gindi, Shachar 5.0 ISR 2336 2256
19 Wilschut, Peter 5.0 NED 2238 2205
20 Van der Raaf, Erik 5.0 NED 2110 2164

(Full final standings here.)

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