Sunny Crete

It has been a while since I wrote a blog post. My last tournament was in Roquetas in early January. Since I am having two weeks off at the end of April/beginning of May, this is the ideal time to combine a holiday with a chess tournament. After some research, I found a tournament in Chania, a city on the beautiful island of Crete, where the weather is great. What more could you wish for?

The tournament is called after Mikis Theodorakis, a Greek composer who died in September 2021. He wrote the music for the movie Zorba the Greek and he was head of the Chania music school. Quite some events are taking place in Chania in his remembrance. As you can see above, the playing conditions are quite spectacular. We are playing in an old building which is called the Arsenali and it stems from the Venetian era in Crete. I have never had such a splendid view while playing a game!

The tournament is not extremely strong. I am seeded 6th and there are two grandmasters playing. In the first three rounds I won quite easily against lower rated opposition. My game in round 3 was the best, although I got quite some help from my opponent. After 17 moves this was the position:

Koen Leenhouts (2417) – Manoli Verikakis (2042)

Here, it is my move and I really wanted to play 18. Qxf6+ to get a beautiful mate after 18…Rxf6 19.Ng5+ Kg8 20.Nxf6+ Kh8 21.Nf7++. However, I was a bit ‘afraid’ of 18.Qxf6+ Ke8 when I will be winning of course, but this didn’t seemed to be the clearest solution. Therefore, I played. 18.Nxf6 which was simple and strong and my opponent resigned.

In round 4 I had to play the top seed, GM Martin Petrov (2554) from Bulgaria with Black and I comfortably made a draw. In round 5 I quickly got a big advantage after the opening against IM Vladyslav Larkin (2424) from Ukraine, but I played a bit too carefully and my advantage evaporated. Hence, a draw was the result.

Still, the tournament is going quite well and I am all set up for the last four rounds.