1st Quadrangular Amistós Team Tournament: Andorra la Vella 2004

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Basic data

The Quadrangular Amistós Team Tournament
(the only edition until today)
Date: 29th - 30th May 2004
City: Andorra la Vella, capital city of Andorra
Venue: Hotel Màgic Andorra
Tournament Director: N/A
Chief Arbiter: IA Juan Escribano and IA Agustín Santos Etxepare (ESP)
Teams participating: 6
Players participating: 25 (incl. 3 GMs, 4 IMs and 6 FMs)
Games played: 36
Competition format: Six board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points
Time control: 90 minutes per game + 30 sec. increment per move starting from move 1
Website: 1er. Cuadrangular Amistosos ANDBANC
Other websites: FIDE rating calculation
Downloadable game file: 04quadr.zip

Tournament review

by Gerardo Fernández Hdez (bd 5 of Euskadi team)

The four nations tournament was played during the last weekend of May 2004 in Andorra la Valle in the Pyrenees. The event was sponsored by the Andorran private bank ANDBANK. The Basque teamThe team of The Basque Country was formed by players from the Basque Gros Xake Taldea, Euskadi team champion, by myself and Nicola Lococo, the delegate. After long journey, including long struggle to locate the then under construction Hotel Magic in Andorra la Vella, we arrived at our destination on Friday night, without even time to dine at the hotel. Upon arrival we learned the composition of the arbiters board: Juanjo Escribano and Agustín Santos. Too bad there is no penalty for appointing referees from the home country... The time control was 90 minutes per game and 30 seconds increment per move, the latest fashion. It usually means that the ending converts into instant blitz. Whatever strange it may sound, no less than three players were flagged during this tournament. The first 4 boards of each game, that is 8 games per round were transmitted live on the Website and on the outdoor screen in the spectators room.

First round:
In the first round, played on Saturday morning, we (Euskadi team) faced the theoretically weakest team of the quadrangular, Luxembourg. We won by 4 to 2 with victories from Santi Gonzalez, Argandoña, Ivan Munoz and myself. There was an interesting position in my game against Luxembourg player Christian Jeitz. I was already two pawns up but the following position appeared on the board after 50 moves:

Jeitz-Fernandez Hdez 0-1
Jeitz (LUX) - Fernandez Hdez (EUS)

Black has still advantage, but Black might have found himself in danger of losing, had only White managed to sacrifice the Knight for 'c' file pawn and then win the 'h' file pawn. Covering the King with the Knight is a very attractive idea, but during the game, under time pressure, I figured that after 50 ... Nc7 51. Ne8 Rd7 52. Rxc7 Rxc7 53. Nxc7 Kxc7 54. Kd3 the white King captures the pawn (+-). In the game analysis Nicola Lococo found that Black shoud rather play 53...c2! and not capture the Knight and the pawn gets promoted. Also after 52. Nxc7 Kb7! Black wins. But chess is very complicated and this analysis is wrong too, because White may play "spite" move 51. Ke3! winning a tempo necessary to catch the pawn: 51... Rd1 52. Ne8 Td7 53. Rxc7 Rxc7 54. Nxc7 Kxc7+- (now required because white King takes the pawn) 55. g4! The idea is to play 56. h5 and the black King cannot take e5 pawn because of winning g4-g5 breakthrough threat.

Too bad that Olaizola, after conducting excellent winning attack failied to find the proper finish. On the diagram position, under time pressure, he chose bad piece to give the check: 28. Ra8+? Rc7-+. Instead, 28. Qa8+ would win for White.

Olaizola Ortega-Monell Camarasa 0-1
Olaizola Ortega (EUS) - Monell Camarasa (AND)

In the match between Andorra and Catalonia, the latter scored identical result to ours: 2 to 4. The most significant mistake was that made by the Andorran Marc Simonet in his game vs GM Jordi Magema (white).

Magem Badals-Simonet Pons 1-0
Magem Badals (CAT) - Simonet Pons (AND)

The not so obvious 33... Rxd3! would leave black with two Rooks and the piece against the Queen, which would change the result of the match.

After the first round Catalonia and Euskadi were joint leaders.

Second round:
In the afternoon session we lost to Andorra by the minimum margin, but it could have been much worse, hadn't only Patxi Gallego and myself saved a couple of dubious positions. Only Santi Gonzalez beat IM Josep Oms and Ivan Muñoz was another one to draw his game. Patxi Gallego saved draw agains IM Oscar and the Riva, who overlooked simple winning chance:

De la Riva Aguado-Gallego Eraso 1/2-1/2
De la Riva Aguado (AND) - Gallego Eraso (EUS)

Patxi has just played 15... Nf5?? and the Andorran defended the pawn playing 16. N3e2??, being unaware that simple 16. Qxf5 wins a piece. The lady is untouchable because of 16... Qxf5 17. Bxd6 Kg8 18. Re8#

In the other match Catalonia defeated Luxembourg by 4½ to 1½, the biggest margin throughout the tournament. After two rounds we are second, Catalonia are safe leaders.

Third round:
On Sunday morning, in the final round, we faced Catalonia, a team with three GMs and one IM, including two promising juniors with great prospects for future. We lost by the minimum margin, which is not bad, given opponents' strength. Game Patxi Gallego-Alfonso Romero was very interesting, where Patxi first sacrificed minor piece and later exchange, and got perpetual check being a Rook down. Team AndorraMarc Narciso beat Santi González. After strong 24. g6! (which Nicola predicted while watching the game on the screen) there is no salvaion for Black. On the third board Iñigo Arganoña won very well v GM Jordi Magem, demonstrating his excellent home preparation in a complicated line of Philidor Defence, having courage to reject draw offer at move 12, and the serenity to avoid all the complications created by Black. Ivan Muñoz scored the full point vs IM Manuel Granados too. On the fifth board I was the first one to resign the game losing unquestionably to Jordi Fluvià. Needless to say, with Queens, Rooks and other pieces on the board my King arrived at sixth rank... almost the crown. On the sixth board Olaizola suffered the consequences of having bad French Bishop facing super white Knight on d4.

We were also waiting for the result of the other match, because we were going shoulder to shoulder with Andorra and we wanted to finish ahead of them, but their 4-2 vs Luxembourg relegated us to the third place.

Shortly speaking, our performance as a whole met the expectations. As far as individual results are concerned, Patxi Gallego had to "dance with the worst" and took two draws with two strongest players of the tournament. Santi González scored two points, a valuable result not only because he was just sick while playing, but because he beat a 2500. Iñigo Argandoña played well too, with 2 points scored and yet another 2500 scalp in his cabinet. Ivan Muñoz scored good 2½/3 and gained many Elo points in this very short tournament. I got 50% of the points and Luis Olaizola was simply off form.

Finally, a curiosity, had it been 4 board event, as the Olympiad, we would have won: Basque Country 7½, Catalonia and Andorra 6½, Luxembourg 3½.

1º Translated from Spanish original version by olimpbase.org
2º Photos were taken from Basque Chess Federation site and remain its property