The 5th Marathon International Rapid Chess Tournamentwas held on 7th-8th June, 2014 at Mega Mall Rabat in Rabat, the capital and the fifth largest city of Morocco, situated on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regrer.
The Morocco Chess Festival was opened by the former World Champion GM Viswanathan Anand and started with a 21 round Swiss Blitz Open with a time control 5 minutes per player.
Dutch GM Loek Van Wely grabbed the trophy with 17,5/21 points, leaving the nearest followers a full point behind.
The best placed Moroccan player is IM Ali Sebbar, who played the World Cup in Norway 2013 and lost to Karjakin 0,5-1,5 in the first round. Sebbar came eighth with 13,5/21 points.
The top 4 boards in the Blitz Tournament were streamed on a big screen so that players could follow it live. The games were also broadcasted in the internet. Replay the games with triple engine analysis here.
On the 8th June GM Vishy Anand and the 2012 World Junior Champion GM Alexander Ipatov gave a simultaneous exhibition on 25 boards each. Anand performed 23,5, losing only against Clement Stahl and drawing with Michael Bon. Ipatov was very efficient and gave away only one draw.
The second day of the festival continued with an exhibition blitz match between Anand and Ipatov. The final result was 1,5-0,5 in favor of the ex World champion.
Q&A session with Vishy Anand attracted many Chess fans and players. The national chess scene and participants gave Vishy their support for his next steps, insisting they were very sensitive to his great, humble, down-to-earth attitude.
Anand reassured that he is also looking forward to regain the World Champion crown. The champion discussed the possible ways of developing chess on a country level, for example Chess in Schools. He was enchanted by Morocco and admitted that he would be glad to come back for the next edition of the Rabat Marathon International Chess Tournament.
Special thanks to the Tournament Director Mr Youssef Iraqui and GM Alex Ipatov for the detailed information and picturesque report, that you may see below!
GM Alexander Ipatov
Alex shared with Chessdom his short feedback about the 5th Rapid Rabat Marathon:
“I had never been to Morocco before and my main impression about this country is that people are full of hospitality and always ready to help. Concerning the tournament, it has been organized on top level, however, chess in Morocco is not so popular and developed yet. Despite being just a blitz tournament, four top boards were broadcasted live on world’s leading chess platforms and also there was a video coverage on a big screen in the playing hall. Many thanks to Youssef Iraqui and team of his assistants for their efforts and self-dedication. I really hope, this event and especially a visit of Vishy Anand would inspire Moroccan children to start playing chess 🙂 Until next time!”
Final standings (top finishers):
1 GM Van Wely Loek 2647 NED 17½
2 GM Van Kampen Robin 2478 NED 16½
3 GM Hansen Eric 2576 CAN 16½
4 GM Fridman Daniel 2640 GER 16
5 GM Ipatov Alexander 2629 TUR 15
6 GM Bauer Christian 2670 FRA 14
7 GM Czebe Attila 2419 HUN 13½
8 IM Sebbar Ali 2388 MAR 13½
9 IM Shoker Samy 2575 EGY 13½
10 GM Movsisyan Karen 2477 ARM 13½
11 GM Tregubov Pavel 2515 RUS 13
12 GM Peralta Fernando 2602 ARG 12½
13 GM Horvath Adam 2541 HUN 12½
14 GM Romero Holmes Alfonso 2479 ESP 12½
15 GM Garcia Palermo Carlos 2426 ITA 12½
16 FM Bon Michel 2353 FRA 12½
17 El Bekkali Kamal 1940 MAR 12½
18 Choukri Adel 2207 MAR 12½
19 Tachafine Anouar 0 MAR 12½
20 Kholti Achraf 2100 MAR 12½
21 Ben Ammor Akram 1995 MAR 12½
22 GM Rausis Igor 2511 LAT 12
23 IM El Adnani Mokhliss 2414 MAR 12
24 GM Haddouche Amine 2441 ALG 12
25 IM Onkoud Abdelaziz 2387 MAR 12