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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chess in the country of Our Lady of Meritxell!

Alexandra Kosteniuk's Chess News & Trivia (c) 2010

Footloose in Andorra

Hello Everyone,

There is a small country between France and Spain whose patron saint is Our Lady of Meritxell (Mare de Déu de Meritxell in Catalan). There's a Roman Catholic statue depicting an apparition of the Virgin Mary.

Our Lady of Meritxell is the patron saint of Andorra. The original statue dates from the late 12th century. However, the chapel in which it was housed burned down on September 8 and 9, 1972, and the statue was destroyed. A replica can be found in the new Meritxell Chapel, designed in 1976 by Ricardo Bofill.

We just received an email stating that Andorra is bidding for the European Team Chess Championship of 2013. You can check the Andorra chess federation website here. If Andorra gets to host the championships then it would become the first of the small states in Europe to host such a big event. That's nice.

The Andorra la Vella Congress Centre

The Government of Andorra is directly backing the event, which counts as well with the unwavering support from the Comú (City Council) of Andorra la Vella. The Plaza Hotels and the playing hall, the Congress Centre, will be located in the capital of the state.

Andorra la Vella Congress Centre is a modern building. Five-star hotels to accommodate players - Carlton Plaza, Crowne Plaza and Plaza - and a modern shopping centre are just nearby.

Imagining chess variations by the mountains.

If Andorra gets to host the event then players would be able to enjoy the nice weather in June, 2013. Andorra does not have an airport but you could go their via Barcelona International Airport. The Organising Committee will provide all tournament participants with shuttle buses for transfer from Barcelona to Andorra. It's an initiative like in 2009 during the Small European Countries Chess Olympics.
The bid will be officially presented during the Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad.


IM Dan Zoeler had won the XXVIII Obert Internacional d'Escacs d'Andorra earlier this year in July. It was one of the strongest Opens in Europe.

You can find some nice photos of the tournament here.

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