Steingrimsson wins! (Big pictorial report Porto Mannu)

0 | Chess Event Coverage
Many were of the opinion that during the last week I was situated in some sort of paradise, where sun, sea, beach and fine food were enjoyed in between some nice games of chess. Nothing could be further from the truth.The Porto Mannu Resort was sheer torture. Especially the monotony was truely unbearable. Never a decent cloud in the sky, never a less than perfect salad, it made me sick. And I haven't even started mentioning the missing internet connection. Never before the ChessVibes audience had to do without articles for several days, while they were worrying about their editor-in-chief who's hands started trembling a little without a keyboard and a mouse.

But in all honesty I must say that I recommend this tournament to everyone. The organizers can be satisfied about his first tournament in Porto Mannu, which run quite smoothly. (The fact that at the end of the tourney an evalutation form was given to everyone, actually says enough.) It almost seemed that he also had is share of resposibility for the beatiful weather. As could be read in advance in the neat brochure and advertisement in New in Chess Magazine, the tournament was held in beautiful surroundings in the northern part of Sardinia and players were using "digital clocks on every board in a air-conditioned tournament hall". (Whoever played in tournaments close to the Meditteranean sea knows that this is no luxuory at all.) One could book a double room full board for one week for a reasonable price and this is what most participants did. You got a decent accommodation and three excellent meals a day and the use of the beach benches were included. The Dutch couple Herman Grooten and Petra Schuurman chose to book only an appartment, and had to convince the slightly disappointed organizers that the tournament website was actually offering this alternative for full board!

Right at the start of the first round I got a certain degree of sympathy for the tournament. Firstly, it wasn't only the DGTs that struck me, but also the chess sets. Wooden boards everywhere, as well as well-crafted, heavy wooden pieces, with soft textile at the bottom. You don't often see such high-quality material, even on the lower boards, and to me it signifies a high level of respect for the game of chess and its players.

At 15.00 CET, after the opening speech, as usual the chief arbiter had his say. He explained the rate of play (fourty moves in one hundred minutes plus twenty minutes to end the game plus thirty secones increment each move. And instead of telling the Black players to start the clock, or something similar, he said: "Now I'd like to have two minutes of silence and concentration, before we start the round." A kind of ritual that most chess trainers will encourage! And then of course there's always a few chess players who simply continue talking loudly with each other, and I seemed to recognize a sort of Italian Epishin in one of them, IM Fabio Bruno.

Every day a number of games were broadcast live on the internet, with a mobile connection. I had the impression this must have costed a lot of money here on Sardinia but perhaps it wasn't that bad. These games were also shown in the playing hall by means of a beamer and screen, something they also do at for example the Aeroflot tournament in Moscow and a suggestion from me to all tournament organizers who are reading this!

As I wrote before, almost every day at the resort there were chess lectures by some titled Italian players and also by the well-known authors/trainers Jonathan Rowson, Mihail Marin and Jacob Aagaard. All three lectures were quite good and I was surprised there weren't more spectators (every time perhaps 25 people). Soon I will publish interviews with these three grandmasters in which you can also see fragments of their lectures.

So let's speak about the tournament. Besides Aagaard, Marin and Rowson there were the GMs Matamoros, Naumkin, Djuric, Efimov, Godena and lots of strong IMs. One of those dominated the whole tournament. International Master Hedinn Steingrimsson from Iceland was the player you would see playing on board one every day, clinching victories round after round, and always in the same physical position. For now, I will consider Steingrimsson the synonym for concentration. I've never seen a player so focussed as he was, day after day, hour after hour, all alone with the board, the pieces and his opponent. His face would be almost invicible, resting within his hands, leaving the spectators wondering whether he could see the board at all. But he could, of course. He almost collapsed in the last round, when Rowson had a possibly winning advantage with White against the Iceman. A victory by the Scotchman would, by the way, have assured the incredibly talented Italian IM Fabiano Caruana (just 14 years old) the sole victory! But Steingrimsson held the draw and of course he was declared the winner of the tournament on tiebreak. Third became Marin and fourth Jacob Aagaard, whose game against Djuric won the brilliancy prize. Top-seed Rowson started badly with 1 out of 3 but then made with a reasonable score, finishing 7th.

Top final standings:
                               Rtg   Prtg   Pts
 1. IM Hedinn Steingrimsson   2482   2615   7.5
 2. IM Fabiano Caruana        2513   2534   7.5
 3. GM Mihail Marin           2533   2561   7.0
 4. IM Jacob Aagaard          2477   2502   7.0
 5. IM Luca Shytaj            2451   2488   6.5
 6. GM Carlos Matamoros       2523   2473   6.5
 7. GM Jonathan Rowson        2594   2466   6.5
 8. GM Igor Efimov            2433   2444   6.5
 9. IM Fabio Bruno            2428   2441   6.5
10. IM Andrei Orlov           2447   2422   6.5

The Porto Mannu Resort... the Mediterranean Sea

A smal island close to Sardinia

The father is probably playing inside

The playing hall

Inside the playing hall

Jonathan Rowson doing a morning lecture

Hedinn Steingrimsson

Fabiano Caruana

Mihail Marin

Jacob Aagaard

Luca Shytaj

Carlos Matamoros

Jonathan Rowson

Igor Efimov

Fabio Bruno

Andrei Orlov

Stefan Djuric

Igor Naumkin

Lexy Orgeta

Michele Godena

Ari Ziegler

Claude Adrian

Herman Grooten

Petra Schuurman

Luis Busquets

Martha Fierro Baquero

Yours truly

The decisive game

The first three

Almost all photos ?Ǭ© Giorgio Gozzi
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