Friday, 16 February 2018

Portugal "Obsession"

     After a few days of rest, I've thought it would be a pity not to share some thoughts about my latest chess trip to Lisbon, Portugal.
     I participated in the "Portugal Open", a much stronger open than I had expected it to be. My starting rank was 37, so I was very eager to try to "take some scalps". The schedule of the tournament was very specific- first 2 days- double rounds (2.30 pm/ 7.30 pm), while the other days- only one round- each at 7.30 pm. I must say that I have played a few games which lasted after midnight!
     Otherwise, it was quite enjoyable- to have a late breakfast and to explore the city afterwards. Lisbon has impressed me lots with its architecture, unique style and charm. The narrow streets, the beautiful buildings, the kind people... The "eating experience" was really fantastic! So many tasty dishes! It was the first time in years I came home with 2 extra kg after a chess tournament! (it was usually the other way around)))

     As about the tournament, the balance is: no GM scalps, winning vs lower rated, losing vs higher rated... Not my best performance, but enough for taking 1st place amongst women, both in the classic part of the event and the rapid one. I had some very entertaining games and here are some moments from them:

Cruz-Bulmaga, black to move
 26... Bxf2! 27. Kxf2- Qc5 28. Kf1- f4 29. Nxe4- Bxc4 30. Re2- Qe3! 31. Rb2- f3!

There was a lovely variation here: 32. Qd5+- Kh8! -+ , but not 32... Bxd5?? 33.Rxe3 +-
My opponent preferred to continue with: 32.gxf3- Qxf3 33.Ke1- Qf1+ 34.Kd2- Qxe2+ 35.Kc3- Qd3+ 36. Kb4- Bd5 0:1

Paiva-Bulmaga, black to move
20...Bxg3! 21.fxg3- Rxg3! 22.Kxg3-Qg5+ 23.Qg4- Qxe3+ 24.Kh4- Rf4 25. Rcd1

An esthetic mate followed: 25...Rxg4 26.Kxg4- Nf6+ 27.Kf5- Bc8+ 28.Ke5- Qg5#

As a conclusion: I recommend everyone to take the chance of visiting the beautiful city of Lisbon and (why not) play in the "Portugal Open 2019"!

Have a nice end of week!