Club d’Escacs Granollers checkmates Nairobi Chess Club
Club d’Escacs Granollers (Granollers Chess Club) crushed Nairobi Chess Club 11-7 during their historic online match on 14th March 2021. For Nairobi Chess Club, it was a painful encounter coming so soon after their decisive 14-6 victory over Crewe Chess Club in early February 2021.
Club d’Escacs Granollers had a formidable lineup, with six veterans and three others making their debut.
Valenti Soler,aged 57, is a farmer from the region. He is a tenacious player and a regular in the top team.
Valenti is an ardent of yoga and tai-chi. He played board one against the veteran Kenyan player Aslam Adam. In the first game, a miscalculation from Aslam handed a quick victory for Valenti. In the second game, Valenti faced more difficulties but eventually won after 59 moves.
It is interesting to note that Aslam Adam was an ex-official of Nairobi Chess Club in the 1980s and has represented Kenya in two Olympiads.
José M Paniagua, aged 58, joined Granollers Chess Club as a teenager following his father’s love for the game. Paniagua has a degree in Engineering and is a resilient and resourceful chess player. Besides chess, he is interested in Philosophy and Astronomy.
He played against Peter Gilruth, one of Kenya’s top players, with the score ending 1.5-0.5 in Gilruth’s favour.
Peter Gilruth v Jose M Paniagua
Jordi Gardela, aged 55, had a similar beginning in chess as José M Paniagua. After moving to live near Granollers, he joined the Granollers Chess Club, following his father’s passion for chess.
Jordi Gardela played against Vasanth Ramesh but lost in the first game and missed the second game. The final score was 2-0 in Vasanth’s favour.
Jordi Herms is aged 54. Apart from playing in the top team, Jordi has many chess activities in Granollers and the region. He is a chess teacher, coach and Chairman of the Granollers Chess Club. He has vast experience in international tournaments, having played in several countries. Jordi Herms is also an experienced mountain climber and has a passion for astronomy.
Jordi Herms played against Jean B Domelevo, contributing decisively with a double point to his team’s victory.
José M Parra, aged 57, has a job as a receptionist in a local hotel. Like most of his veteran team fellows, he started playing chess as a teenager and has a Catalan chess license of more than 40 years old! He loves reading and travelling and does not discard the idea of visiting Kenya soon. Besides chess, football is his second passion, and FC Barcelona is his favourite team!
José M Parra played against Willy Simons and got a rather convincingly double point.
José M Parra v Willy Simons
Joan Soler aged 54, like his brother Valenti Soler is a farmer as well. Joan specialises in organic farming. He joined the chess club some years ago thanks to his brother, and since then, he remains loyal to club activities. Like many people in the region, football is also one of his passions, and FC Barcelona is his beloved team.
Joan played two games against Veniamin Negru, with the first one being the most exciting of them, which ended in a draw after 61 moves! He lost to Veniamin Negru in the second game.
Joan Soler v Neniamin Negru
Players making their debut
Dani Abreu, aged 31, works as a technician in the carpentry industry. He discovered the love for chess as a child and he keeps fit by playing football and is a science fiction fan.
He played against Roberto Villuela, with each winning one game and hence sharing the spoils.
Dr Albert Bonillo, aged 46, is a professor and researcher in Psychology at a Catalan university. He has written and published several articles in international journals related to his main activity.
Apart from chess, his other hobbies include cats and gardening. Both his children Adrià and his daughter Judith are talented chess players.
Dr Bonillo played against Jay Naker and, after an intense fight, won with a score of 1.5 to 0.5.
Jordi Vallverdú, aged 28, is the youngest in the team but with a promising chess future. He works in the pharmaceutical sector. Like most of his friends, he loves playing football and puzzles.
Jordi played against Ian Masaa, finishing with a particular score of 1.5 to 0.5 in Jordi’s favour.
History of Club d’Escacs Granollers
With a population of 62,000 inhabitants, Granollers is a dynamic center of trade activities and a deeply rooted light industry.
Canovelles, meanwhile, has about 17,000 inhabitants with a rich industrial fabric forged from emigrations that took place in the 60s and 70s.
Club d’Escacs Granollers (Granollers Chess Club) was registered on 2nd October 1931, making it one of the region’s pioneers.
The two towns’ clubs joined up to form Club d’Escacs Granollers-Canovelles (Granollers- Canovelles Chess Club). The club plays in the Catalana d’Escacs (Catalan Chess League). It has won the 2nd division on several occasions and has also been promoted to the first divisions a few times.
The Catalan Chess League (Catalana d’Escacs ) features many top teams like Escola d’Escacs de Barcelona and Club d’Escacs Barcelona, boasting several GMs and IMs. I was in Barcelona in early 2020 and was lucky to attend the match between these two chess giants.
The Catalan Chess Federation organises the Catalan Chess League.
Club d’Escacs Granollers-Canovelles has devoted considerable effort to introductory chess courses in the public schools in both the towns.