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Pack your bags! It's time for the ChessBase India Power Tour to Spain

by Sagar Shah - 16/03/2019

In 2018 we came up with the bold idea of a ChessBase India Power Group Tour - the idea was go to the Catalan circuit in Barcelona, Spain for nearly 50 days with a tour manager and play in five back to back tournaments. Having a tour manager ensured the youngsters whose parents were not able to travel were also able to send their kids. The results were phenomenal. The youngsters learnt how to handle their finances, plan their day, make their own decisions, but more importantly the entire group of 20 players gained 4359 Elo points! This year we are back with the ChessBase India Power Group Tour to the Catalan circuit from 24th of June to 10th of August. You can find all the information about this tour in the article below.

Play 5 tournaments with ChessBase India Power Group Tour to Spain

At ChessBase India for every decision we take, we have a litmus test - "Does it help to power chess in India?" If the answer is yes, this is something we go ahead with all our energy. Travelling to International tournaments is one of the best ways in which a youngster can improve. Not just as a player but also as a human being. New country, new environment, new opponents and new conditions force you to bring out the best within you. To all the people who want to play 4-5 international tournaments in a row, there is nothing better to begin with than the Catalan circuit. In 2018, we organized the first ChessBase India Power Group Tour. Nearly 20 people travelled with us to Barcelona (10 in group tour and 10 as normal participants). Here are some pictures that give you an idea of what happened there!

Youngsters from all across India stayed together sharing and caring for each other. From left to right (Kavisha Shah, Hriday Bhuta, Aagam Aditya, Kartavya Anadkat, Om Kadam, Dhairya Ghelani)

Going to the tournament hall together!

Everyone became an amateur chef!

In the absence of your parents, it's you who has to do your daily work! By the way does your performance suffer because of this? Ask Hriday! He gained a whopping 617 Elo points and reached an Elo of 2127 from 1560!

10-year-old Om Kadam comes from a humble background. Seeing his talent, many individuals came together and made Om's trip to Spain possible. It was bravery not just from the boy but also his parents as he travelled all alone from Mumbai to Barcelona. The trip was worth the effort because Om gained nearly 250 Elo points. After his game against GM Eugene Torre, the first GM from Asia said to Om, "You will be the youngest GM in the world! I am watching your journey!"

Seeing a new place with your friends is always refreshing! Dhairya, Kavisha and Hriday in front of the famous Sagrada Familia structure in Spain!

Bigger, better and more organized:

Like a chess player analyzes his games and improves from his mistakes, we at ChessBase India Power too are learning from our experience of the Group Tour in 2018. This year we have already expanded our staff so that you will be served better with regards to your pre-tournament preparations and arrangements. The most important improvement that we have brought about is the introduction of food cooked by experts and chefs in this trip. You can read more about it in the article later. The 2019 Group Tour promises to be bigger and better than what we were able to achieve in 2018.

Performance:

While it's great that the group tour gives you an opportunity to grow as an individual and make new friends, what really counts is whether you were able to improve as a chess player. It is simply amazing that each and every player who travelled to Barcelona with ChessBase India Power gained rating. The biggest gainers were Hriday Bhuta (617), Aagam Aditya (438), Kartavya Anadkat (363), Kavisha Shah (308).

The total rating gain for all the players from the trip

One thing which has to be noted is that in a rating period your k-factor x no. of games cannot exceed 700. Hence, even though some players gained higher number of points in an individual event, at the end of the rating period their change was different. For eg. Om Kadam played at the Commonwealth Championships 2018 before coming to Barcelona. He played in both under-10 and open section and hence had 16 games there already. He played 8 games in Barbera and 9 in Sant Marti. His total games had gone to 33 in a rating period, which is the reason why his K was reduced from 40 to 21 (700/33).

It's not just about players below the rating of 2000. Harikrishnan A.Ra became an IM in the Catalan circuit 2018. From a rating of around 2204, he crossed 2400! 

The massive rating gains:

A lot of people argue that gaining rating points in Spain doesn't make sense because many times your rating overshoots your strength and when you come back and play in India you start losing rating points. While it's 100% certain that Indian events are stronger as compared to Spain, gaining Elo points in the Catalan circuit opens up new horizons. Imagine your rating is in the 1800 zone since many years and are able to reach 2150 in the Catalan circuit, the first thing that happens is your confidence shoots up. You start believing that you are a stronger player. This 350 rating gain will boost you in the right direction. The important thing to remember here is not to get attached to the rating. Rating after all is just a number. My favourite example of how this works is the very talented Indian youngster Leon Mendonca.

Somewhere in July 2017, Leon hit the peak rating of 2286. He was not as strong as that number, and so in March 2018 he was down to an Elo of 1993! That's a massive rating loss. Nearly 300 Elo points! But the boy was unperturbed. He knew deep within that he had reached 2286 and why he had lost 300 Elo points. He worked on his weaknesses and within a year in March 2019 he has now reached an Elo of 2446! That's 450 Elo points in a year! The players who gain massively in International events and never improve are the ones who have got attached to their rating number and are not ready to experiment, lose and learn from their mistakes!

The Tournaments included in the 2019 Group Tour:

The playing hall of Barbera Del Valles Open

Platja D'Aro - 24th June to 1st July 2019

Barbera Open - 4th July to 12th July 2019

Sant Marti Open - 13th to 21st July 2019

Sitges Open - 22nd to 30th July 2019

Badalona Open - 2nd to 10th August 2019

(Click on the name of the tournaments to see the players list and the strength of the tournament in 2018)

 

These are the five tournaments in our group tour. If you are interested there are two more events - Figueres from 13th to 20th of August and Sants Open from 23rd August to 1st of September. If you are keen to play these events, we can help you to plan them as well. The circulars of all the above tournaments are yet to be published, but the schedule is confirmed.

 

Let's have a look at where all of these tournaments are situated on a map:

You get down at the El Prat airport in Barcelona and play the first tournament in Platja D'Aro. Platja D'Aro is around 120 kilometres away from the airport. From Platja D'Aro you come back to the Barcelona city and stay in a central location from where Barbera Del Valles (2nd tournament), Sant Marti (3rd tournament) and Badalona (5th tournament) are near. Sitges (4th tournament) is around 45 kilometres away from the centre of Barcelona city. It takes around one to one and a half hours to travel to the tournament, but a lot of players have done that in the past and the fact that there is only one round in a day makes it feasible. 

Why did we choose Platja D'Aro tournament?

Platja D'Aro is the only tournament which has a different accommodation. It is 120 kilometres away from Barcelona and you cannot travel back and forth. Of course, the stay there is more expensive than other four events, but there a couple of reasons why we have decided to choose the tournament.

In 2018 there was a Legends tournament held at Platja D'Aro. Torre, Karpov, Ljubojevic and Vaisser battled each other like the good old days when they were the best players in the world. We have confirmed with the organizers that this year as well, the 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov will be back in Platja D'Aro. It will be a unique opportunity to interact with him and the other greats.

Another reason which made us choose Platja D'Aro is the natural beauty. It is a coastal town with a beautiful beach. One shouldn't miss out to play a tournament in such a picturesque location.

The Tour Manager

ChessBase India Power head Ankit Dalal, with the members of the ChessBase India Power Group Tour

The Tour Manager for the Catalan Circuit 2019 will be the ChessBase India Power head Ankit Dalal. Ankit is a National Instructor (NI) and National Arbiter (NA) and has an Elo of 1680. Ankit was also the group tour manager in 2018. Judging from the performance of the players, it is clear that his presence helped the players to unleash their full potential.

First of all ChessBase India Power will take care of your accommodation, flight tickets, visa and insurance like it always does. If you are a part of the ChessBase India Power tour then Ankit Dalal will guide you with:

1. Airport transfers

2. Finding the best way for internal travel

3. Entry for the tournaments

4. Sight seeing, in case you would like to

5. Constant motivation and guidance for your tournaments.

He would be doing everything that a guardian does! In this way, parents who usually have to travel with their kids will be saved from spending nearly two months in Spain, away from their work, while the kids will be taken perfect care of! Also it is cost effective. Only the first 20 applicants will be a part of the ChessBase India Power Tour. Of course, the rest can do all the bookings with us but you won't receive personal attention from Ankit during the tour.

Benefits of playing the Catalan circuit

Why do we choose the Catalan circuit and not some other place in the world? Here are the reasons.

Four/five tournaments in a row:

The biggest advantage of playing in the Catalan circuit was that you get to play five tournaments in a row.

Same accommodation:

The most boring part for chess players is to pack their bags after every tournament and move to the next location. Playing in Catalan Circuit helps you avoid that because all the events are in the same city. So you can have a central place to stay and travel to each of these tournaments without having to change your accommodation. This year the Montcada Open has been cancelled and hence we have replaced it by Platja D'Aro. The Platja D'Aro (the first event in the trip) is the only tournament where there will be separate accommodation. For the next four events, you can stay in the same apartment in Barcelona.

One round a day:

There is only one round taking place each day. Every day at 4.30 or 5 p.m. This helps you to plan your day in a perfect manner. What time do you want to wake up, what time do you want to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, what is the ideal time to prepare for the games and so on. A good schedule often helps you to conserve energy and keep your focus for the entire trip.

Beautiful city:

The city of Barcelona is one which people visit as a part of their vacations. We as chess players are lucky that we get to stay in the city for more than a month to do something more meaningful (playing chess) than just sight seeing!

Making new friends:

I know of many people who have made good friendships with people from different countries at the Catalan circuit. In fact some of them have gone beyond mere friendship and have found the love of their life! As people from many countries visit the Catalan circuit you get to make new friends and know the culture of people from different countries.

Niklesh and Angela who are now happily married and live in Katni, met for the first time in Barcelona, Spain in 2017! | Photo: David Llada

Cost of the Group Tour

The best way to know about the costs is to give a call to the ChessBase India Power Hotline number (details at the end of the article) and speak to our representative. This is because the number of tournaments that one might want to play differs from person to person. However, to give you a rough idea of what you would be facing:

Package cost: Starting Cost of Rs 1,70,000 for 5 tournaments

Inclusions

* Flights

* Accomodation

* Visa

* Insurance

* Entry fees

* Airport transfer

* Transportation to Platja D'aro and back

* Management of all Candidates

 Exclusions

* Food

* Internal Metro and travel charges (Rs. 12000)

Note:- In this package rates we have considered Flight basic rate as Rs 45,000 if any fare difference that will be additional to the cost.

The package cost for titled players will reduce because they do not have to pay entry fees.

Food arrangement:

Food prepared in 2018! 

In 2018 we hadn't made any food arrangements. Players had to have their food in the restaurants or cook themselves at home. Ankit, who was the group tour manager, cooked on many of the days although it was not in the part of his list of duties. Being there in Barcelona with the players for nearly 50 days Ankit realized that it was important to provide good food to the players. The food that you intake affects your mood and your results on the chess board. This is the reason why we are going to make special arrangement for food this year with lunch and dinner provided to the participants. Experts will take care of this job, so that the players will have more time to focus on their preparation.

 

The total cost of the group tour along with food is Rs 2,10,000 (which includes only lunch and dinner)

Customization and not being a part of the group tour:

It is always possible that you just want to play in all the tournaments and not be part of the group tour. In that case, you will not receive personal attention during the tour from Ankit and we will not charge you with the group tour management charges. In order to know the cost of it, please reach us on the hotline numbers given below or mail us at chessbaseindiapower@gmail.com 

 

Suppose you want to play only three or four events and not all five of them. Customization is always possible and the cost of your package will accordingly reduce. You must call us on the helpline number to get an accurate quote after we understand the cusomization you require.

Special early bird and Loyalty discount

If you confirm and pay the full amount by 20th of March, we will be giving you a special discount of Rs 7,500 and if you confirm your seat by paying 50% advance by 20th of March, you will receive 4,000 discount. For all the people who were part of the ChessBase India group tour in Barcelona 2018 or Sharjah - Dubai 2019 get Rs.5,000 off as loyalty discount.

Terms & Conditions

• Package rate depends on the flight fare which may vary at the time of Booking
• We will provide all support regarding visa and but the decision is of Visa Consulate and we will not be hold to account for the same. All the documents which are required will have to be presented and should be authentic.
• As granting or rejecting the visas and immigration clearance is the sole prerogative of the concerned sovereign governments we shall neither be responsible in case of non-granting of such documents nor liable for any delay, denial or other related act /omission or any loss, expense damage or cost resulting there from.
• If it’s advised to book the flight tickets prior to Visa then the cancellation charges will be borne by the players.
• Normal Visa Process is about 10-15 Working days.
• Any damage to the property will be borne by the one who has damaged and for the same the personal guide will be the decision maker.
• Payment Rules 50% to confirm the seat and rest 50% as soon as Visa is granted.
• Cancellation of the tour is Non refundable and  in emergency circumstances Insurance will take care of the same.
• Sightseeing Cost will be extra.
• Only Veg Food will be provided to kids which will be home cooked. Any consumables extra.

Articles from 2018 Catalan trip on ChessBase India:

5+ tournaments in Spain. Make ChessBase India Power your personal tour guide

Overwhelming response for the Catalan group tour 2018

A strong beginning in Montcada

Barbera Del Valles 2018: Iniyan finishes clear second, CBIP groups gains 1355 Elo points!

Sant Marti Open 2018: Mitrabha Guha earns his maiden GM norm!

Vila de Sitges 2018: Anuj Shrivatri finishes joint third!

My experience of spending 50 days in Spain by Kavisha Shah

How a bunch of Indians went to Spain and gained 4359 Elo points

Videos from Catalan circuit 2018 on ChessBase India YouTube Channel

2018 Catalan circuit in Hindi by Niklesh Jain:

स्पैनिश डायरी 01- श्याम सुंदर फिर बने मोंटकाड़ा किंग

स्पैनिश डायरी 02 - बारबेरा - भारत का दबदबा कायम

स्पैनिश डायरी 03 :बारबेरा ::इन्यान रहे उपविजेता !

स्पैनिश डायरी 04 संत मार्टी - मित्रभा को जीएम नार्म

स्पैनिश डायरी 05 - अनुज श्रीवात्रि के नाम रहा सिटजस

Entire Catalan circuit 2017 covered by ChessBase India:

Shyam Sundar wins XXV Montcada Open, Iniyan scores a GM norm!

GM Himanshu Sharma bags top prize at the Barbera Del Valles Open

Sant Marti Open 2017: An event of glorious achievements and missed opportunities

A surprise from India at the scenic Sitges in Barcelona

Badalona - The Final Destination in Catalan circuit!

Over 580 photos from the 2017 Catalan circuit by Niklesh Jain 

2017 article in Hindi by Niklesh Jain:

स्पैनिश डायरी -01- यहाँ शतरंज सिर्फ खेल नहीं !!

स्पैनिश डायरी -02 - फिर छा गया भारत ! श्याम रहे श्रेष्ठ !

स्पैनिश डायरी -03- हिमांशु के कमाल से भारत गुलजार !

स्पैनिश डायरी -04 - शतरंज और हौसलों का सफर ! जारी है !

स्पैनिश डायरी 05- खूबसूरत सिट्जस ! भारत यहाँ भी है मौजूद !

स्पैनिश डायरी 06 - ये दोस्ती हम नहीं तोड़ेंगे !!

2014 Catalan circuit on ChessBase:

Ni Hua wins XXII Montcada Open

Peralta wins XXXVII Barbera del Valles Open

Grigoriyan wins Sant Marti Open

Grigoryan wins Badalona Open

Contact ChessBase India Power:

Hotline and Whatsapp: 09106908500/ 07878860008 (10 a.m to 8 p.m.)

Email: chessbaseindiapower@gmail.com

Because chess players must play chess!