Chess takes us to magnificent places, and we can only be grateful for the opportunity. This time, we traveled to a place that looked like it it just came out from a book of fairy-tales. It probably suffices to say that we’re talking about Italy, already known for its rich history and beauty. However, this time we discovered an unknown side (for us) of this magnificent country – the northeast, with its imposing Alps.
We started out Italian chess tour in Ortisei, a town situated in Val Gardena, within the Dolomites. This is a mountain range that is part of the Alps and creates spectacular views. It hosts numerous natural parks and was included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2009.
As you can probably guess, the area is also a perfect destination for ski and nature lovers. The skiing season was obviously over, but the cable railways were still available for those who like to explore the nature and discover its beauty. We didn’t want to miss any of this, so we tried to be both tourists and chess players – a bit of sightseeing in the morning followed by an intense game in the afternoon.
Not far away from Ortisei is Kastelruth (Castelrotto), the biggest village in the Alpe di Siusi holiday area that dates as far back as Roman times.
But let’s get back to the chess aspect of our trip. The festival comprised two tournaments – tournament A for players rated above 1900 and tournament B for those rated under 2000. Overall, about 150 players from 23 countries gathered at start, determined to show good chess and grab some prizes and norms. In tournament A, 14 players out of the 86 were rated above 2400 and 46 were titled. Starting as the top seed was the strong Grandmaster Dieter Nisipeanu, followed by Grandmasters Robert Markus and Tamir Nabaty.
After nine rounds, first was GM Dieter Nisipeanu, with 7 points. Second, with a last round win over GM Tamir Nabaty, also with 7 points, but worse tie-break was Dutch GM Jan Werle, while third was Italian GM Daniele Vocaturo with 6,5 points.
Needless to say that we had a great time in Ortisei and that we’ll be back here for a next edition of this wonderful tournament. Congratulations to the winners for the good chess they showed and to the organizers for the great coordination of this event!