Hungary abounds with chess tournaments of all kind – for amateurs, professionals, closed ones specifically designed for norms and many other forms of chess promotion.
The Budapest Open, accompanied with GM and IM tournaments, since its inception, five years ago, is getting in popularity and international acclaim.
As IM Eric Kislik (USA) says: ‘I like to play in the Sarkany GM tournament every year because it is one of the strongest events in Hungary.’
This chess event, which run from 17 – 25 August 2014, is called Sarkany- Aranytiz and is a collaborative effort between the Sárkány DSE Chess Club, the Aranytíz House of Culture and the Budapest Chess Federation (BCF).
It is organised under the patronage of Mr István Tarlós, Lord Mayor of Budapest, Mr Antal Rogán, MP, Mayor of Budapest’s V. district and Mr Máriusz Révész, MP and President of the Budapest Chess Federation.
The same team behind the Budapest Spring Festival http://en.chessbase.com/post/spring-starts-with-chess-in-budapest , IO Balazs Nadasi and MP Marius Revesz, are continuing their spree of successful chess tournaments in the Hungarian capital.
Photo report by Diana Mihajlova
Mr Mariusz Revesz (on the right), a member of the Hungarian Parliament, next to the organiser, Mr Balazs Nadasi, addresses the audience at the Opening Ceremony
Photo: Miklos Istvan Czabo
The round-robin GM and IM tournaments that offer the opportunity to achieve a coveted norm, attracted ambitious chess players from England, the USA, Israel, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Romania and, of course, a home grown talent.
The analysis room, with the floor mosaic ornamentation of the Zodiac in the beautiful venue, the Cultural Centre ‘Aranytiz’
19 year old Daniel won the GM tournament and, with 6.5/9, scored his first GM norm. He lives currently in Manchester in the UK but hails from Singapore and plays under the Singaporean flag, having represented the country at World Junior championships and the Olympiad.
Last year’s winner, Imre this year shared second (with Romanian GM Szabo, Gergely-Andras-Gyula). Among his diverse chess activities – active player, coach, trainer, commentator and writer, since recently Imre is also a newly published book author. His book ‘A Cutting-Edge Gambit against the Queen’s Indian’, has been published at the beginning of this year (NIC) to a great acclaim. The book treats a rare Nimzowitsch Variation with 6.d5!, which has not been explored extensively before.
GM Gergely Szabo lives in Bucharest and plays under Romanian flag. Being of Hungarian ethnic origin, he frequently plays in Hungarian chess events. He has a rich experience as a national team coach heaving headed the Romanian Olympic women team in the 2012 Olympiad and this year ending up as a coach of both Surinam’s teams at the latest Olympiad in Tromso.
A few years ago, Erik left his native Hillsborough, California, to pursue his chess career in Europe. At the beginning of 2012, he got confirmed his IM title. Now living in Budapest, he is in pursuit of the grandmaster title.
In the meantime, he is teaching chess and seconding grandmasters. Last year he was the trainer and coach of the 2013 Danish champion GM Davor Palo. More about his teaching activities can be found on his website http://erikthekid.wix.com/ek-chess-school
Once the UK’s youngest master, Yang-Fan followed immediately after junior talents Gawain Jones and David Howell to achieve the International Master title, ranking among the English most promising hopes.
He has already one GM norm, but the second one eluded him in Budapest. He is simultaneously pursuing a degree in chemical engineering and the Churchill College in Cambridge and a GM title.
Oliver, supported by his girlfriend Barbara, missed out on a GM norm this time. A former European Union U12 champion, he is participating at international opens whenever possible while carrying on with his studies in Economics.
The IM tournament was won by Hungarian FM Kristof Juhasz who made an IM norm. With his younger brother Armin, who also played in the IM group (5/9), they share the love of chess and make together a steady progress.
An ice-cream proved a well deserved refreshment after a tough game for Hungarian players Peter Zentai (on the left) who played in the Open (6.5/9), IM Sandor Farago (center) who shared second place with IM Miklos Galyas (on the right) in the IM tournament .
Budapest 5th district
Budapest is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, often nicknamed ‘Paris of the East’. Just like Paris, it is composed of ‘arrondissments’ or districts, 23 of them spread in widening circles. The 1st and 5th districts occupy the most central area directly opposing each other on the banks of the Danube – the district I on the Buda side and the district V on the Pest side; Buda and Pest, divided by the Danube, were two separate cities until their unification in 1873.
The Chain Bridge connects the district I, Buda and district V, Pest
Beauty spots, historical and architectural masterpieces abound in Budapest, however, on this occasion we will present just a few, found specifically in the 5th district, which was the host of our chess event.
The 5th district, also called a Down Town (Belváros), is the heart of Budapest. It is where the city’s commercial, business and administrative life is concentrated, but also the most famous tourist spots including some of the most upscale hotels in the world.
The Hungarian Parliament House is the ‘star’ of the 5th district and an icon of Budapest. After extensive recent renovations, the building is now revealed to its full glory standing on an equally newly landscaped garden-square with an added fountain-lake. This neo-Gothic building, completed in 1904 by Hungarian architect Imre Steindl (1839, Pest – 1902 Budapest), has been further enhanced by a state-of-the-art lighting system.
Nearby the Kossuth Square on which the Parliament is situated, another famous square is Liberty (Szabadság tér), on which notable historical and architectural buildings are found including the Hungarian National Bank, The Hungarian National Television headquarters and the American Embassy. They are built in the Art Nouveau style by the Hungarian architect Ignac Alpar (1855, Pest – 1928, Zürich). The Liberty Square is marked by an imposing monument dedicated to the Soviet liberation of Hungary in the WW2 from Nazi Germany. It is the only remaining memorial to the Soviet Union, since the last statue in the city (of Lenin), was torn down in 1989.
This Secession period building with decorative Hungarian folk motives is by Ödön Lechner (1845, Pest – 1914, Budapest) known as ‘Hungarian Gaudi’.
Another recently restored architectural treasure, the Vigado House, completed in 1864 by Frigyes Feszl (1821 – 1884) in a mixture of architecture styles, is a representative of the Hungarian Romantic movement.
This neoclassical cathedral is dedicated to Stephen I, the first King of Hungary (c. 975 – 1038). The canonised king founded Hungary and is considered ‘father of the nation’.
The Basilica is Budapest’s tallest building; together with the Hungarian Parliament, they both are 96m to the top of the spire.
The Gerbeau Café on the Vörösmarty square, est. 1858, is among the oldest confectionery houses in Europe, preserving until today its Parisian, turn-of-the-century style and atmosphere.
The Open tournament is usually in the sign of youngsters, either unrated ones, aiming to get an official international rating, or just boosting their number of rating points by taking scalps of the grown-ups.
A number of foreign players participated, but naturally, the Budapest Open gathers mainly Hungarian talented and chess crazed crowds.
As Daniel King-wai Lam from Hong-Kong noted: ‘You don’t come to Hungary to make rating points. These players are so well versed in their chess craft, you are more likely to lose points; they are even underrated considering their skills.’
Daniel King-wai Lam (HKG) and Judit Kovacs (HUN) at the post-mortem of their game, which had ended in a draw.
Daniel, a number 1 active player in Hong-Kong followed a trend of other chess players who switch to investment banking as a way of overcoming the low financial prospects in chess. After securing some well needed funds, he now intends to play more international tournaments, Budapest being his starting point.
Not 10, Downing Street http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10_Downing_Street, but 10 Arany János street!
WFM Meri Grigoryan (ENG) is pointing to the street number of the tournament’s venue. Meri made 6/9, best result among the female participants and in the rating group below 2000.
Kata is a Hungarian champion U-8 – in the open section, beating the boys
Brian James Alkire came from the USA as an unrated player. A writer, now based in Budapest, after his first official rating gained at the Budapest Open, Brian will be participating at many tournaments while awaiting publication of his first completed novel.
The Budapest Open was Ashley’s last tournament of her extended European chess adventure – about five months studying and playing chess, mainly in Hungary and Greece. This was Ashley’s time of learning and exploring, in big part made possible by her chess sponsor.
She won the Best Woman prize. After a valuable life experience and some 30 rating points richer, the 14-year old Chess Girl is returning to her native Vancouver in Canada. Her explorations are beautifully chronicled in her website http://ashleychessgirl.com/
Ashley’s younger brother, 11-year old Jacob Tapp is determined to follow in the steps of his big sister. He could be caught entertaining himself stacking up ‘castles’ of chess pieces, but by the board he showed a concentrated seriousness making enough points to earn his first international rating.
While in Budapest, Jacob also joined the Budapest Soccer Club and played in local matches.
Dominic is number 1 in the U-12 age category in Austria. His parents accompanied him the whole summer to tournaments.
Dominik did not disappoint – he made 240 points, bringing his rating to 2034. Not enough for the World Youth Championship this year, but, as the father, resolutely put it: ‘Definitely next year!’ Dominik proudly confirms. His trainers are IM Miklos Galyas (HUN) and GM Igor Stohl (SVK).
20th August – the national holiday
During the tournament, the most important Hungarian national holiday fell – 20th August, the day of Hungary’s foundation under the reign of St. Stephen, the nation’s first king.
It is actually a triple celebration: the birth of the Hungarian constitution and foundation of the kingdom of Hungary, the saint day of St Stephen, and the consecration of bread, which is a pagan tradition giving thanks for the new summer wheat and bread.
A millennium old tradition, it is celebrated across the country, but it is particularly spectacular in Budapest.
During the day, the festivities are marked with a long procession starting in Buda, crossing over the Chain Bridge and ending at the Basilica, carrying various relics and symbols.
Children carry ‘the new consecrated bread’ at the head of a long procession walking over the Chain Bridge
The procession carry the Saint King’s symbolic crown (this shot is right by the door of the tournament’s playing venue)
The celebrations culminate with a spectacular fireworks display. While generally, all over the world, the fireworks are associated with the New Year’s eve, in Hungary, 20th August is given a precedence; well over 20 minutes the sky above the Danube is lit with rich fireworks accompanied with powerful, classical music and large crowds cheering to the glory of the Hungarian nation.
Tournament website: http://tournament.sarkanydse.hu/
GM Tournament final rankings: http://tournament.sarkanydse.hu/index.php/verseny-allasa
IM Tournament final rankings: http://tournament.sarkanydse.hu/index.php/verseny-allasa-mester
Open final rankings: http://tournament.sarkanydse.hu/index.php/verseny-allasa-open