SIMPLECHESS

Marrakech gets Morocco in motion!

Africa is in the news at the moment due to the World Cup (in football, of course!) but things are also moving at the other end of the continent in the chess world. In Morocco the first Marrakech festival has just finished (25th of June to the 2nd of July) and this will be followed by another important international open in Chefchaouen.

The main feature of the event was a 9 round swiss tournament with an experimental time limit of 75 minutes per player. The fact that the tournament was not-rated, may have encouraged some to come and enjoy themsleves, or it may have been good prizes (4000 euros for the winner with a minimum total prize fund of 15000 euros) or generous conditions that induced large numbers of Europeans to cross the Mediterranean.

Apart from the delights of Marrakech which to Europeans has an exotic feel, here are the prizes that got so many interested:

1st : 4,000€

2nd : 3,000€

3rd : 2,000€

4th : 1,500€

5th : 1,000€

6th : 700€

7th : 500€

8th : 350€

9th : 250€

10th : 200€

Plus a variety of handy special prizes that also boosted the prize fund to beyond the advertised 15k euros.

In Africa there aren't many open tournaments, but in Marrakech the local organizing team certainly didn't do things by halves! For instance the event took place in an air conditioned five star hotel where many of the titled players were invited to stay. The fact that 35 grandmasters (and 23 nationalities) with an average rating of the top ten players of 2627, demonstrates that many were tempted.

The rate of play led to massive time scrambles, which meant that in some games towards the end all hell broke loose!!

The atmosphere was convivial and the organisation was excellent, due to a large number of people helping out who normally work for the main sponsor CALLSON which has a dedicated chess player at the helm Larbi Houari.

The organizer Larbi Houari playing against GM Michal Krasenkow.

The event finished with a simultaneous display from the strongest female chess player of all time (Judit Polgar, if you didn't know!) who played against 20 women for the promotion of women's chess in Morocco, a magic moment for them!

Judit Polgar as viewed by artist Hamza.

The eventual winner in the open was the tough fighter Andrei Shchekachev who is used to the rough and tumble of quicker time limits from his longtime residence in the Paris area.

Georg Meier the 'cool, calm and collected' German was second.

Here are the final standings for the first 20 players:

SeedTitle,NameRatingCountryPoints
1GM SCHEKACHEV Andrei2549FRA7,5
2GM MEIER Georg2638GER7,5
3GM EVDOKIMOV Alexander2551RUS7
4GM KUNIN Vitaly2535GER7
5IM ANTONIEWSKI Rafal2607POL7
6GM GEORGIEV Kiril2662BUL7
7GM GUSEINOV Gadir2602AZE7
8GM ROMANOV Evgeny2594RUS7
9GM BERELOWITSCH Alexander2566GER6,5
10GM KRASENKOW Michal2628POL6,5
11GM DEL RIO DE ANGELIS Salvador G2521ESP6,5
12GM TESKE Henrik2542GER6,5
13GM HAMDOUCHI Hicham2609FRA6,5
14GM LUTHER Thomas2541GER6
15IM ARNAUDOV G. Petar2416BUL6
16GM MAZE Sebastien2564FRA6
17GM MIKHALEVSKI Victor2614USA6
18GM MILADINOVIC Igor2559SRB6
19CHOUKRI Adel2105MAR6
20GM IOTOV Valentin2569BUL6

Note the excellent result by local junior player Adel Choukri up amongst the big guys.

If you fancy coming yourself to future editions it might be worth having a look at the following

Official site

One of the best results of Andrei Schekachev's career

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