The 50th chess festival in a small Estonian town Viljandi was dedicated to the memory of a local chess hero Ilmar Raud. He was one of the members of Estonian Olympic team in Buenos Aires 1939. The team headed by Paul Keres won bronze medal. However Ilmar Raud did not return to Estonia and died shortly afterwards at age of 28. The first memorial tournament was held on 1966 and only on 1985 somehow the festival did not take place.
Many famous players from the past were among winners of the tournament. World famous coach Mark Dvoretski in 1972, now US grandmaster Dmitri Gurevits in 1977, Gata Kamsky in 1986 and late Lembit Oll in 1981. I managed to win the tournament twice in 1979 and in 2012. The full list of past winners you may find on http://www.eestimale.ee/raud2016/varasemad-voitjad
Despite relatively small prize fund this year there were nine grandmasters among participants. All of them were familiar faces in Viljandi. Once you pay a visit to this small picturesque town you a hooked. Chess players could have a sunbath on the Viljandi lake or play volleyball or tennis. The constant winner in tennis was the only sponsor of the event local businessman and chess player himself Toomas Valgmäe. Recently he won silver medal in the World Amatuer’s Championship, but did not play in Viljandi. According to him you can not combine the duties of the organizer and play chess at the same time. He was little bit pessimistic about the future of the festival. We still hope that the festival is going to take place next year as well.
The grandmasters took the first places with confidence. Ottomar Ladva the Estonian hope took too many risks against the Elo favorites Aleksandrov and Neiksans and lost both games. Neiksans could hope to repeat his last year’s success, but in the following game he missed a golden opportunity. He was complaining after the game that he probably never has a chance to execute such a beautiful combination again.
There were other nice combinations which were actually executed, in the following game Estonian experienced IM Olav Sepp found nice intermezzo.
I got a good start, but then slowed down and in penultimate round missed a win against Majorov. In next game however I managed to outplay Krupenski who winning in the last round against Kveinis achieved a IM norm.