Chronicle of Round 1 of the IV El Llobregat Open Chess Tournament

Can Massallera, Sant Boi de Llobregat. It was 4 p.m. Today, Thursday, November 30, when, with the strictest punctuality, the main referee Hernán Siludakis made his inaugural speech. He was accompanied by José Ángel Carcelén, first deputy mayor of Sant Boi, and two representatives of the company Aigües de Barcelona: Felipe Campos, CEO, and the director of institutional relations, Manel Giraldo Vera. A blanket of silence followed.

José Ángel Carcelén, first deputy mayor of Sant Boi, Felipe Campos and Manel Giraldo Vera, managing director and director of institutional relations of Aigües de Barcelona, respectively, have honored us with their visit.

The arbitration corps held its breath. The chess players were expectant. Then, like the mischievous waters of the river, the ringing of a bell announced the beginning of the round of play. The white pieces took the initiative and the black pieces, as has been the case since the three previous editions of the Llobregat Open Chess, came out to meet them. It may be a coincidence that the flag of Sant Boi features a large bell (or it may not be a coincidence, we leave it up to you), but the new icon of the tournament is here to stay.

Surprises do not take long to appear in this type of event, in which the participants have to take risks in order to excel, as the list of international graduates is extensive. An example of this was the draw obtained by the young talent from Navarra, Javier Habans Aguerrea (2345) against the eighth ranked player, the Indian Abhimanyu Puranik (2627). It is a tough setback for the top seed, as the first rounds should serve as a springboard for these players to strengthen their chances of victory, but the Spaniard seems destined to get good results in their private matches: in the 2022 edition he beat him.

Alexei Shirov and Paco Vallejo were also held to a draw in their debut, but we would not be surprised if they soon find themselves back to their best chess. And we would not want to leave the competitive section without highlighting the meritorious draws of the young Spanish FM Jaime Rey Martínez (2344) with the two-time Turkish champion Vahap Sanal (2608).

As for group B, there was a surprise on the first board. Kazakhstan’s Anel Muratova (1720) won with the white pieces against the favorite Joachim Beisteiner (2097), from Austria. The Asian is off to a strong start! There are still many rounds of play to come, of course, but the intense emotions have begun.

Another major attraction of this year’s edition is taking place onlinebringing the art of the heroes of the chessboard to fans around the world: GM José Carlos Ibarra Jerez (@GmSpiderIbarra) and Venezuelan WMI Tilsia Varela (@tilsiava), both renowned commentators, are the spearhead of the daring broadcasting team of the IV El Llobregat Open Chess Tournament. In a coordinated effort with the contributions of the Catalan, Andorran and Valencian federations, as well as the Gijón 64 club and the organization itself, the tournament has 55 relay boards. It is worth mentioning that Ibarra, besides being part of the Top 100 in Blitz, has recently launched a space in the Marca newspaper, “Jaqueando”, a very valuable contribution to continue popularizing chess.

We also wish to highlight the honor of having received the visit, for the first time, of a large expedition of chess players from Uzbekistan, to whom we wish a happy and profitable stay in Catalan lands. These formidable chess players, as well as the traditional representation of Indian talents, are a good example of the international vocation of the Llobregat Open Chess Tournament.

Our kind sponsors show their logos at the Llobregat Open Chess Tournament. Photo: Patricia Claros Aguilar (@Patriciaajedrez).

By Jorge I. Aguadero Casado, Editor-in-Chief of Peón de Rey

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