The tournament in Toluca was a big success for me. It was a “light” trip for me and my first tournament away from Europe in a long time. There was no real adjustment to time difference.

The organization of the event was not perfect but everybody did their best. The late start of the first, second and fourth rounds was irritating for the players. It was difficult to avoid considering 1300 players took part in the event and registration took place on the first two days. The Mexican Youth Championships and the Women’s Championships took place in the same playing hall, as well as other sections by rating. The players agreed that the time control for the event, at 120min/40moves + 30min for the rest of the game and 30sec added from move one, was too long when playing two games a day. Long morning games would take too much out of the players and potentially delay the start of the evening round.

Outside of that the organization of the event was pretty good. The hotel was five stars. I went swimming several times during the tournament. The organizers addressed the players’ concerns. They even ordered (and paid) for a taxi for me to the airport at the end of the tournament.

The atmosphere created by Mexican spectators was great. There is real love for chess in Mexico. In the last few days of the tournament the GMs were asked to sign many autographs for kids as well as adults. There was clear appreciation for the chess players. Many spectators came to watch the games throughout the event.

As for myself, I feel like I played energetic chess at the end of the event. My 6th, 7th and 9th round games showed good wins. I came out on top during those sharp struggles.

Time to get to some photos!

The playing hall

A garden just outside of the playing hall

Spectators climbing chairs to see GM Cori blitzing after the last round. The pile later got bigger

Left to right: GMs Corrales, Leon Hoyos and Kovalyov

The Americans (l-r): FM Betanelli, GM Lenderman and Erik Santarius

You can see the three logos of my sponsors on the shirt

Lineup of officials at the closing ceremony

GM Fidel Corrales receiving his prize

Myself doing the rounds

A chess fan and GM Bruzon

The view from my room, another garden

Big thanks to Janeth for the photos below

Pitterson-Bluvshtein. I guess that’s what I look like when I play


Left to right: Janeth, myself and Estefania

A short break awaits me. I will be leaving for Havana on in just over a week. More to come on that later.


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