Dreev wins in Barcelona

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Alexei DreevThe original mixture of generations and nationalities (Bulgaria, Cuba, Georgia, Israel, Russia, USA and of course Spain) made the Chess Tournament Magistral Casino de Barcelona 2008 quite an interesting event, which was eventually won by Alexei Dreev. This 10-player round-robin took place October 30th - November 7th in Barcelona. It was organized by the Catalonia Chess Federation and sponsored by the Casino de Barcelona (the venue) and SB Hotels (Hotel Icaria Barcelona), the Barcelona City Hall and the Government of Catalonia. The rate of play was 90 minutes + 30 seconds increment per move for the first 40 moves and then 30 minutes + 30 seconds increment per move to finish the games. Draw offers were not allowed before the first time control.


This is what the field of participants looked like:

DreevAlexey Dreev (Russia). The highest ranked player of the tournament and so one of the top favorites. The great Russian earned his well-deserved place among the super-GMs by breaking the 2700 ELO barrier back in 2003. In 2004 he became 3rd at the Russian Championships which was won by Kasparov. Dreev has been representing Russia at several Chess Olympiads. However, his best international tournament achievement was in 1995, at Biel, where he scored +5=8-0.

JobavaBaadur Jobava (Georgia) has already won plenty of strong tournaments, among them the prestigious Dubai Open in 2003. His playing style is sharp and pacey, and he scored a big number of victories through beautiful material sacrifices.

GeorgievKiril Georgiev (Bulgaria) won the World Junior Championship in 1983, which was followed by his convincing victories in the Bulgarian Champioships in 1984, 1986 and 1989. At that time he also qualified for the candidates tournaments for the world championship in 1990.

HoldenHolden Hern?ɬ°ndez is nowadays one of the best players of Cuba. He plays regularly in tournaments in Catalonia, and has won three times the prestigious Open International of Montcada.

KoganArthur Kogan from Israel is a strong GM who lives in Catalonia where he dedicates his life to professional chess as player and coach. His credo: Olalachess!

GulkoBoris Gulko is one of the few players in the history of the game who keeps a favourable score against Garry Kasparov, whom he defeated three times. Apart from that, he is the only chess player who succeeded in winning both the Soviet and US Championships.

CorralesFidel Corrales from Cuba had qualified for the tournament by winning the 5th Catalan Circuit, which is composed of more than thirty strong open international tournaments and offers a huge variety of opportunities to players from different countries.

StefanovaFor the first time in the history of the tournament, a woman ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú former World Women's Champion (2004), Bulgaria's Antoaneta Stefanova, participated. This year she won the North Urals Cup, probably the strongest women-only event ever held.
NarcisoLopezGrandmasters Marc Narciso (left) - two-times winner of the Catalan Circuit, and Jos?ɬ© Manuel L?ɬ?pez (right) are the two strongest professional chess players of Catalonia, with great perspectives in the future.

The tournament reached category 14 which made it the strongest tournament in Catalonia this year, and one of the strongest in Spain. It was won by ELO favourite Dreev, who had a "normal", solid start with four draws and two (Black) wins, and then, in the decisive phase of the tournament, finished off with three victories, against Hernandez, Lopez Martinez and Stefanova.


Here's a selection of ten interesting games from the tournament. At this level, the Caro-Kann, but more surprisingly, also the Richter-Rauzer Sicilian, is quite popular. These days Dreev is the strongest player who still regularly employs this line and it would be interesting to see whether he'd still play it if he'd manage to get back into the top 10. He won twelve rating points in Bar?ɬßa, so hopefully we'll find out soon!

Thanks to Ana Matnadze for providing us excellent press material


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

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