Good start for Nakamura and Van Wely in San Sebastián

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San SebastiánAfter his shared win at the World Open Hikaru Nakamura continues to do well. The U.S. Champion is the only player on 2/2 in the top group of the Donostia Chess Festival in San Sebastián, Spain. In the second group Dutch GM Loek van Wely started with two wins. Big pictorial report including the games of all four groups.

The brand new Donostia Chess Festival takes place July 6-16 in the Basque town of San Sebastián, Spain, not far away from Bilbao, home of the Grand Slam Masters Final. The festival consists of four different, 10-player round-robins.




The top group is called "San Sebastian European Cultural City 2016". It's a XVIII category tournament with five players above 2700: Ponomariov, Svidler, Movsesian, Nakamura and Vachier-Lagrave. And, not to forget, former World Champion Anatoly Karpov is playing, as well as FIDE World Champions Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov. This tournament, with an average FIDE rating of 2682, is sponsored by the office which is promoting San Sebastián to be the European Cultural City in 2016.

The second group is the category XI "Kutxa Tournament". Kutxa is the the local savings bank which promotes sports in Gipuzkoa (a province of the Basque Country). The strongest participants are Loek Van Wely, Christian Bauer and Hicham Hamdouchi. This tournament has 2524 of FIDE rating average.

A combination of strong international players and some local players can be found in the third group, the "Euskal Xake Eskola Tournament". The top seed is IM Llaneza Vega Marcos but GMs Eric Prie and Glenn Flear will be strong competitors for first prize. The tournament has 2417 of rating average and thus it’s a Category VII Tournament. Euskal Xake Eskola is a reference chess academy in the Basque Country both for kids and teachers. Many schools have joined their project for introducing chess at schools at many levels.

The Gipuzkoa Regional Government or Diputacion sponsors the women event “Diputaci??n Foral de Gipuzkoa” Tournament. The tournament has a 2318 average in a women category 11 and category 3 tournament.

town hall

San Sebastián Town Hall | Photo Carlos Matilla | Licensed under Creative Commons



The players play in the Plenary Hall of the San Sebastián Town Hall, the same venue where the famous 1911 San Sebastián tournament took place. That tournament was won by a 23-year-old Capablanca who only lost to Rubinstein, who was six years older, and the only player to finish undefeated. (It's still a pity that the two never played a World Championship match.)

[TABLE=777]

Back to 2009. Hikaru Nakamura, who came to Spain right after his golden, two-day warm-up at the World Open, continues to do well. The U.S. Champion first defeated former World Champion Anatoly Karpov and then the American also won his second game, a theoretical Najdorf/Scheveningen (English Attack) against Vachier-Lagrave.

In the seccond group there's also just one player left with a 100% score: top seed Loek van Wely. The Dutch grandmaster first beat a familiar name for the older Dutch chess fans: GM Cifuentes, who used to play lots of tournaments in The Netherlands. In the second round Van Wely defeated GM Antonio Fernandes.

All games of the first two rounds of all groups can be replayed below!

[TABLE=773] [TABLE=774] [TABLE=775] [TABLE=776]




cathedral

The cathedral and the city center of San Sebastián, seen from Urgull mountain



beach

The La Concha beach at night with Hotel Londres



balconies

Balconies at the main square



chillida

"The comb of the winds", the sculpture by artist Chillida which has become a symbol of the city



nakamura

An excellent start for Hikaru Nakamura



pono

Does he call himself a Basque already? Ruslan Ponomariov posing artistically...



ruslan_with_3.jpg

...or hanging out with girlfriend Ines Go?±i, Tania Sachdev and Vesna Rozic



karpov

Anatoly Karpov, back behind the chess board



granda

Julio Granda Zuniga, the experienced GM from Peru back in an elite tournament



vallejo

Spanish top GM Francisco "Paco" Vallejo Pons



movsesian

Slovak GM Sergei Movsesian



vachier

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave from France



kasim

Rustam Kasimdzhanov from Uzbekistan...



firuza

...came with his wife Firuza Kasimdzhanova



naka-karpov

A glimpse of the playing hall with Nakamura vs Karpov



flear

Theoretician and GM Glenn Flear



hamdouchi

Hichem Hamdouchi, now playing for France



pokorna

WGM Regina Pokorna (2381, Slovakia)



karlovich

WGM Anastasia Karlovich (2211, Ukraine)



millet

IM Sophie Millet (2388, France)



All photos © David Llada, republished with permission

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