Although there have been just three editions, the International Livigno Chess Open has already its traditions. One of them is… apples.
In 2010 the Organizing Committee decided to offer a bunch of this fruit to the players who gathered in Plaza Plachéda conference centre, in the beautiful alpine resort of Livigno, Italy.
Therefore a supplier was chosen, from nearby Valtellina, a valley which is famous – among other things – for excellent wines, but where also a small quantity of first choice apples is cultivated. It turned out that apples were very appreciated by chess enthusiasts and professionals alike – and so the same thing was repeated in the following years.
In August 2012, cold weather and heavy rains damaged many of the apple trees in Valtellina, ruining a part of the production. What has survived, though, has been harvested now. Its of excellent quality – to the joy of all chess players, who eat plenty of apples as snacks before, during and after the games. And so some spectators who see all this keep on asking the organizers whether chess players eat apples in order to get some advantage on concentration or if this fruit makes them smarter…
The tournament has now arrived to its turning point, the 5th round having finished yesterday, Thursday. Four players (two IMs and two GMs) are at the top of the ranking: IM Renier Castellanos Rodriguez (Hotel Piccolo Tibet – Spain), GM Alberto David (Hotel Livigno – Italy), IM Satyapragyan Swayang (Appartamenti Li Mina – India) and the Croatian GM Ognjen Jovanic (Hotel Astoria).
They are followed by GM Andrey Vovk (Hotel Concordia – Ukraine), Russian GM Sergey Volkov (Hotel Lac Salin, winner of last year’s edition), GM Nikita Maiorov (Hotel Compagnoni – Belarus) and Italy’s IM Fabio Bruno (Hotel Residence Adele).
These are just some of the big names participating at the International Livigno Chess Open. In total there are 36 Fide titled players (14 GMs, 14 Ims, 7 FMs and 1 WFM). They are all fighting for 9,000 euro total prize money as well as a prestigious Baume & Mercier watch and other local prizes.
But that is not all. Tonight, Friday, there will be a Gala Dinner reserved to GMs, authorities and sponsors at the Hotel Livigno. After that, at 10pm, the “Grand Prix Distillati Mazzetti d’Altavilla” will take place.
The winner of this invitational blitz tournament will get a prestigious trophy – a crystal chessboard, whose hand-blown glass pieces contain excellent liqueurs. The chessboard – which was offered by the Distillati Mazzetti d’Altavilla company (www.mazzetti.it) – has been on display in the playing room, raising the curiosity of all players.
The evening blitz tournament will start at 10pm at the Hotel St. Michael (Via Dala Gesa 678), where everybody will be able to watch the Grand Masters in action and taste delicious drinks.
Today’s 6th round, instead, will begin at 2pm CET. You can follow it live on www.livignoscacchi.it.
The tournament is also on social networks, with regular updates and pictures: Facebook (www.facebook.com/LivignoChess), Twitter (@LivignoChess – hashtag #LivignoChess12 ) and Google Plus ( +LivignoChess #LivignoChess12).
And, if you were wondering about Valtellina apples (and all the other excellent products coming from this valley…), just check on: http://www.valtellinachegusto.eu/nuovo/en/index.html
Photos by Adriano Pedrana and Mick Veznik