Volokitin wins the Donostia Chess Festival

Andrei Volokitin
Eleventh seed Andrei Volokitin won a strong event in Donostia (the Basque name for San Sebastian, in the Spanish Basque country) and took home the 20,000 Euros first prize. The event from the 28th of December to the 5th of January celebrated the centenary of the famous San Sebastian tournaments of 2011 and 2012 won by Capablanca and Rubinstein.

In 1911, the super-GM tournament was won by Capblanca ahead of Rubinstein and Vidmar. A year later it was Rubinstein who triumphed with Nimzowitsch and Spielmann in equal second.

The largest chess club in the city (Gros Xake Taldea) wanted to celebrate these events with something special and organized the event at their impressive club in Anoeta, a sports-orientated suburb, just across the road from the ground of the famous Real Sociedad football team.

The particularity of the San Sebastian event in 2001/2 was that each match involved two games played simultaneously. If these games finished 1-1, then the first tie-breaks were two simultaneous games played at 15' (+10"). If necessary, then two further simultaneous games at 5' (+ 3") were played, and then finally two Armageddon (again simultaneous!) games where one player has two Whites (and six minutes against five), with Black having draw odds (so if the Amaggedon games ended 1-1 Black is declared the winner).

An original way of playing a knock-out event!

The high prizes led to a strong field of ten 2700s, twenty-one 2600s, thirty-one 2500s and forty-nine players rated over 2400.

Here were the top seeds:

Seed Player Country ELO (1/11/2011) Result
1 Vugar Gashimov AZE 2757 Quarter-Finals
2 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov AZE 2733 Last sixteen against Granda Zuniga
3 Ruslan Ponomariov UKR 2723 Quarter-Finals
4 Alexander Moiseenko UKR 2715 Semi-Final
5 Etienne Bacrot FRA 2714 Quarter-Finals
6 Arkadij Naiditsch GER 2712 Last sixteen against Volokitin
7 Leinier Dominguez Perez CUB 2712 Semi-Final
8 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2710 Last 16 against Laznicka
9 Viktor Laznicka CZE 2703 Final
10 Laurent Fressinet FRA 2700 Last sixteen against Dominguez Perez.

Here are the results of the final stages with the prizes.


The Semi-Finals:

The Final:

The winner also won a motor-bike worth 5,000 Euros!

The last sixteen losers took 2,000 Euros, with total prizes (including other lesser events) close to 100,000 Euros.

More on the official site:


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