Bratto, the green chess heart of Italy

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0 | Chess Event Coverage
Bratto, the green chess heart of ItalySummer is back and it's time to look for a place to play chess, possibly without sacrificing the vacation side. In your annual quest to combine 'work and pleasure', chess and holiday fun, you might well consider the open tournament in Bratto, Italy.

Most likely some of you will remember the Porto Mannu tournament in Sardinia, where the lucky players who made it there in its three-year life term enjoyed the best of two worlds: chess and the sea. Well, while hoping for the tournament to be back some day (one never knows...), the Caissa Italia people have dramatically changed their setting. In a strategic alliance with the new-born Italian chess company "Punto Esclamativo" (no less that "Exclamation mark" in English) they took over one of Italy's most traditional and important Open tournaments - Bratto della Presolana, in the Orobian Prealps. Now, you call that some change!

In the past decade, Bratto had an outstanding record as the meeting point of the Italian top chess community, and virtually every Italian top-player has spent his traditional 10-day period in the greens of this enchanting mountain resort. As if this were not in itself important, the organizers always made it a point of honour to invite many strong Grandmasters from all over the world, to add up for a compelling Open tournament.

Now that Punto Esclamativo and Caissa Italia have taken over (this first happened in 2009), things possibly changed for the better. Everyone is now playing on a green baize, with wooden chess sets and chessboards and top-quality digital clocks. DGT boards are provided for the upper part of the tournament and every player is granted a generous playing space. The spacious playing room is cornered by four big LCD screens showing all required information to the players and, during the rounds, a selection of the best pictures shot during the event. Also, a colour daily bulletin is provided for free to all players and there are so many arbiters you would actually think you are playing an Olympiad!

Bratto, 2010

Side events are not missing (among them, a historical chess quiz, football matches, Risiko! and a wild bughouse tournament) but Punto Esclamativo's pride is the attention for families and accompanying persons. If you were ever wondering about matching your chess fantasies and family duties, then Bratto might well be the solution you were looking for! Punto Esclamativo will take care of your loved ones, be they adults or children (aged 5 or more). For the former, quite a few cultural and recreational activities will make up for the lost time during the rounds, with guided tours to the beauties of the surrounding area (such as Bergamo Alta or the Iseo Lake), the latter are welcome - together with those willing adults - in the special "Chess Village", where professional entertainers will show them the bright side of the mountain with a sport-oriented recreational programme.

Over the chessboard, this 2010 edition, the 30th in the series scheduled from August 20 to August 28, promises to be one of the greatest ever. Endowed with a € 20,000+ prize fund, the tournament also boasts a top-notch field. Apart from GM Erwin L'Ami (and his girlfriend WGM Alina Motoc), the organizers packed a very interesting list of players: Kostantin Landa (RUS), Anton Kovalyov (ARG), Mihail Marin (ROU), Arthur Kogan (ISR), Boris Chatalbashev (BLG), Viorel Iordachescu (MLD), Michal Olszewski (POL), Marcin Dziuba (POL), Igor Efimov (MNC), George-Gabriel Grigore (ROU), and Axel Delorme (FRA).

Bratto, 2010

Add, in the tournament's tradition, Italy's best chess sons: the legendary GM Michele Godena, the young sensation GM Daniele Vocaturo along with two other 1989-breeds, IMs Sabino Brunello and Denis Rombaldoni, former Italian Champion and now manager of the national teams IM Fabio Bruno, 18-yr old IM Axel Rombaldoni and more worthy players such as IMs Fernando Braga and Duilio Collutiis (both former Italian champions), Daniele Genocchio, and Pierluigi Piscopo.

But what if all this should still prove too little for your insatiable desire for chess? Well, then enter GM Alexei Shirov! On August 19, on the day before the Open gets under way, the top Spanish GM will have an interesting public chat with Caissa Italia's Yuri Garrett (who is not really new to these shows having interviewed, among others, such chess legends as Viktor Korchnoi, Vassily Smyslov, Boris Gelfand, David Bronstein, Gata Kamsky, Bent Larsen, Levon Aronian, Yuri Averbakh and Vassily Ivanchuk) on the subject of his outstanding chess career. The event, of course, is free and open to all!

Still not convinced? Then try beating a top gun: immediately after dinner, Shirov and his team-mates of Scavolini Pesaro Punto Esclamativo (runner ups at the recent 2010 Italian league) will face no less than 75 opponents in a fundraising simul in favour of the Emergency ONG.

Made up your mind? Then it's time to book your flight to Bergamo (Orio al Serio). You are likely to find a cheap one as this is a Ryanair airport, but you are advised to do so in due time. You know, these low-cost companies can become pretty expensive as time passes by...

Next you need to pick a hotel. There are plenty to choose from, from the traditional Hotel Milano (with its renowned beauty center and lounge bar, the true heart of the tournament's nights) to a friendly B&B.

Bratto, 2010

Almost all are within walking distance from the playing hall (you will find a list in the flyer, available here). And if you are a true gourmet, why don't you give Ristorante Museo a try? One of Lombardy's finest restaurants is a few steps away from the playing hall, in an ancient mill by a brook in a small valley, almost hidden to the rest of the world... Trust the organizers: it's worth a visit!

Bratto, 2010

If they haven't convinced you yet, they never will, so it's time to give up. Punto Esclamativo and Caissa Italia will be glad to welcome you to Italy for an unforgettable chess & mountain experience. If not, see you somewhere else, some other time... :)

Text provided by the organizers

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