US champion Hikaru Nakamura and 12th world champion Anatoly Karpov at the opening party in San Sebastian. They meet in round one. Photos from David Llada's Donostia 2009 Flickr set.
The Donostia Chess Festival begins today in Spain. The main event is a 10-player round-robin with a 2682 average rating. The games begin at 1700 local, 11am EDT. Live link on official site is here, should crash at 1710 local, 11:10am EDT. Buena suerte, David!
The pairings are up and they start with a bang: Nakamura-Karpov! Nakamura handled the former world champ, now 58, at a rapid event last year. We'll see how well the legend is holding up without much in the way of practice. I'm pretty sure losing a blitz match to Ghaem Maghami in February doesn't count as Botvinnik-style training for an elite tournament. The other pairings: Vachier-Lagrave-Kasimjanov, Svidler-Movsesian, Vallejo Pons-Granda, San Segundo-Ponomariov.
There is also a GM B event, a GM norm event, and a women's event in this inaugural festival. They are prepping for what is hoped to be an even mightier event in 2011 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the famous 1911 San Sebastian tournament won by Capablanca over Rubinstein, Vidmar, Marshall, Tarrasch, et al. Time control is the speedy 90'+30". And at least we'll have something else to tune in to should the Dortmund crowd slip back into a coma. I assume there's a rest day in there somewhere, but the site doesn't seem to say when it might be. [It's on Friday the 10th, no doubt to coincide with my daughter's first birthday.]
UPDATE: After dominating Karpov for the entire game and then missing a forced mate, Nakamura finally won when Karpov apparently flagged in a losing but still potentially tricky R vs N+B endgame. (Well, tricky when you're blitzing. The final position is just a mere mate in 67!) The 90'+30" time control is a torture chamber. No confirmation on exactly what happened yet. Vachier-Lagrave won a wild game against Kasimjanov and Vallejo beat Granda. Svidler decided he'd rather watch cricket than play Movsesian. That's just not cricket, old chap, but I guess it was.