Continental-2024 Medellin (Colombia) May 24 - Jun 2

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  • Continental-2024 Medellin (Colombia) May 24 - Jun 2

    Major details:

    1. Open to everyone, no rating floor
    2. 1 official player from CFC. This right goes to the runner-up of the Zonal. The highest rated player is next in the line if the runner-up is not interested.
    3. Registration until Apr 24.
    4. Hotel Dorado. Price for 10 nights (9 days): Single room = 900 USD. Double room = 1350 USD.
    5. 11 rounds. 2 days with double rounds
    6. Blitz (May 29) and Rapid (Jun 1)
    7. TC 90 min + 30 sec/move
    Last edited by Victor Plotkin; Friday, 5th April, 2024, 03:47 PM.

  • #2
    This one looks interesting. By the way, single room is 900, Double is 1350.


    • #3
      If you stay in single, you pay 1350. If you share double, you pay 900. Your roommate pays 900 as well.


      • #4
        I could be wrong on this, their flyer seems to indicate otherwise: XVII-ABSOLUTE-CONTINENTAL-CHESS-CHAMPIONSHIP-OF-THE-AMERICAS-2024-–-JORGE-VEGA-IN-MEMORIAM-MEDELLIN-modi.pdf (


        • #5
          Yes, I was wrong. Usually organizers use a different wording. It's even less expensive now...



          • #6
            The deadline for the official player is Apr 24 - just 7 days from now.

            Runner-up from the last Zonal Anthony Atanasov is not interested. Highest FIDE-rated player would be Canadian official player (free meal and accommodation and likely some bursary from the CFC).


            • #7

              Colombia is a country worth the visit – my first time in South America, just prior to the pandemic. I did not play chess in Colombia nor do I know the chess scene there at all. My post here is for anyone who may consider visiting Colombia, perhaps play in this tournament as an amateur since it’s open to all, and people who also enjoy traveling in general. The deadline for the general public is apparently just prior to the start of the tournament. If you’re just interested in chess and are the type of person who travels across the world to stay in a hotel room studying chess, or choose to eat McDonalds in a foreign country, you might as well go to any boring suburb near you. Stop wasting your time reading further, you’re not worthy.



              If you don’t know Spanish, and are not traveling with anyone who does, you will not get the full experience. Apart from in Cartagena (north coastal city on the ocean), which is a very touristy city, Colombians will not speak English. Even in places where you might expect them to: 4 star hotel in Bogota, bus terminals, tourist locations, etc etc. In my experience, I did get a sense, from the moment we got to Colombia, the vast majority of tourism is from other parts of Latin-America. Some Colombians, especially the younger generations, will understand some English, but won’t speak it comfortably. I got by with limited, basic Spanish, but my traveling companion was quite dependent on me, not speaking any. Learn some basics.


              Traveling Bits:

              On arrival in (likely) Bogota, capital city, you will probably be separated in two lines when approaching customs: North American passports, or “the rest”. The rest is a far longer line, but it moves much quicker. It comprises of locals, other South Americans, and it applied to me. I traveled from Canada with an European passport and my friend had a Canadian passport. We were on the same Toronto-Bogota flight. I was pooled with “the rest”, went through customs without any issue, and still had to wait for my friend, who was in a much shorter line. It turned out that my friend had to pay some nonsensical $100 fee / tax, as someone entering Colombia with a Canadian passport. “The rest” paid no such fee.
              There are no trains in Colombia, really. Travel is done by bus, over many hours if through the mountains, or via domestic flight. Domestic flights cost 2-3 times the price if you’re not Colombian, comparable to prices for locals. We did the bus thing. If the bus offers first-class and second-class, and is a long-ride, consider coughing up the extra $20. We did this on our longest trek, from Medellin to Cartagena and it was worth it. From Bogota to Medellin, you’re looking at a full day of travel, from 8-12 hours, all downhill through the mountains. Our bus had a flat tire halfway, and with no mechanic shop around, it wobbled its way down slowly the road for over an hour, at which point there was a shack on the side-of-the-road, which served as a snack-stand and mechanic, on a not-so-wide shoulder of the road. Just enough to have the bus parked, evacuated, lifted and have the tired replaced.
              Uber / Colombian equivalent in 2018 was illegal, but functional. My friend downloaded the local Uber App and our first three rides there (from airport to low-key hotel, next morning to bus terminal in Bogota, then one more in Medellin somewhere) were through their local Uber. The driver would ask (one of) you to sit in the front seat, so it would not look like taxi / uber service, since there were fines for people illegally doing this. It was a cheap way to get around, but just like here, the Uber drivers will use GPS and not really talk to you. When I discovered that taxi-rides were only about 20% more expensive (on what was already very affordable fees), we did the taxi thing. Toronto is not a good example of this but, generally speaking, nobody knows the city better than taxi drivers. They were a fountain of very useful information, and not a single driver tried to stiff us. Medellin taxis have the best meters, similar to the ones we have here. In Bogota the meters are flat-rates by zone (higher fee for X number of city blocks for example), Cartagena didn’t even have meters, so Colombia taxis is all a bit… all-over-the-place.

              One of the three questions most of my friends asked me when I returned to Canada was: “Was it safe, how was crime in Colombia?” – The other two questions are less appropriate for forum blog discussion. The answer is simple, as one taxi-driver told us: “Don’t be a complete idiot, you’ll be fine. If you go around with fancy clothes, flashing your jewelry and taking photos of… everything, you’re setting yourself up” - and quite probably deserve to be robbed or mugged in most of the world. This isn’t specific or different when in Colombia. Police and security presence is very visible in many places, government or private. Of course there Is some crime, inequality, homelessness, as in any world city, but we didn’t witness any violence. The truth is, my friend and I walking together did not look like locals, and nobody treated us any differently. Again, in coastal resort cities like Cartagena and Santa Marta, popular tourist destinations, this is a bit different, you do get approached and solicited. But in the rest of Colombia’s urban centres, there didn’t seem to be any culture of harassing tourists. In Colombia we never felt any concerns, a clear contrast from Sofia, Bulgaria, where one does feel everyone is “out to get you”.



              We stayed at an AirBnB in Envigado, south edge of the city. Alongside Poblado, they’re probably considered the safest / most relaxed or upscale neighbourhoods. Pleasant walking around these neighbourhoods, buildings and homes surrounded by a ton of nature. Slightly out of the way from the core, but they are serviced by the Medellin Metro, a must way of traveling.
              One can do the “travel guide” thing. Plaza Botero, some museums, Botanical Gardens (relaxing place), all fine, you can search that yourself.
              Do ride the Metro across the city and the neighbourhoods, even if you ride back without getting off, it’s worth it. Medellin is a city on a valley, the Metro is elevated well-above ground, and this is a way to see the whole place in a semi-aerial view, in ways no other city really can be seen. Look out for some awesome bits of graffiti art on some murals as you walk through the streets of Medellin. Supposedly this city is the fashion capital of Colombia and holds much repute across South America as well, so for those into clothes shopping, this is a place for it. Several neighbourhoods are totally worth exploring on foot. Check out Plaza Minorista if you’re at all into marketplaces. This place sells mostly produce but its size and volume and affluence was quite spectacular. Somewhere in its centre there are food stands where you can have a meal at very affordable prices. On the other side of this market, across the street there’s a smaller market. It sells some live animals, furniture, appliances, and a good chunk of this smaller plaza can be best described as a giant repair shop. Not literally, but dozens of small booths where you can go get things fixed. It does put things into perspective. We here throw out perfectly good things, or with a minor malfunction, and at this plaza you will see people picking up the fragments of a shattered TV or computer, something we’d consider completely irreparable, and here they are doing just that, salvaging, gluing, welding, reconstructing it, whatever “it” is.

              There are some day-trips probably worth taking, just outside of Medellin. If you’re into hiking / stairs then La Piedra Penol is worth the views. Find this on some travel guide or search “Medellin top 10… whatever” and you’ll find it.


              ... continued ...


              • #8
                ... continued...


                It’s somewhat a blur as to what I ate where, however, some of my impressions revolve around carts with tons of fresh fruit, including in Medellin. Lots of awesome tropical fruits everywhere, totally worth trying, some of them I don’t even know the name of anymore. From the two typical foods I tried, mixed experiences. Arepas are well known, some type of flour dough with cheese, forgive my ignorant foreigner explanation. On the infamous Bogota-Medellin bus ride, a vendor walked onto the bus selling arepas, freshly made (in the middle of nowhere in the mountains). He was on the bus (which continued its journey) for about 10 minutes selling arepas, got off several kilometres down the road when he was done, and I guess walked back up or hopped on a ride back up. These arepas we had from the random mountain vendor on the bus, were absolutely delicious. I tried arepas two more times later on the trip and they were very different, underwhelming. One common Colombian dish that even the locals recommended was the Paisa Platter. It doesn’t look so different from a heavy English breakfast really, add avocado and plantain. You could find it anywhere in Colombia. I tried it three times, at a food court, at a side-of-the-road restaurant, and at busy street restaurant. Rubbish. I thought, just like the arepas, maybe some places make it well and others don’t, plus the food-court at the mall attempt had to be dismissed on principle, but it was all the same. Very meh, maybe I just had bad luck. I still do not understand how or why this was “the recommended meal”.
                Street foods (vendor carts) vary, I didn’t have any problems with these. They were all cheap and some were good, others meh. Prior to my trip, on a visit to my Family Doctor I mentioned that I was going to Colombia and asked him if I needed any precautions. At the Colombian Consulate they had told me that vaccines for Malaria, Yellow Fever, and something else similarly insane were highly recommended. My doctor confirmed this and also mentioned Hepatitis A vaccine. I asked him if taking these was really necessary. He confirmed with me that I wasn’t going on an Amazon Jungle Excursion and then prioritized Hep A over the others. I asked him again if I really had to take these and he told me, as his doctor he could not advise me not to, but shared this story: “Last year my son graduated High School and wanted to go to Dominican Republic with his friends. I told him OK but you’ll have to take these vaccines. During the trip, only my son got sick and none of his five friends, who did not take the shots, got sick.” – Good enough for me. I didn’t take any vaccine. None of the street foods played a number on me. Funny enough, in Bucaramanga, a local took me to a fancy ice cream parlour. Later that day, and for the next 3 days, everything would run through me. I was fine before the end of the trip.
                At Plaza Minorista at a dingy food stand with only a couple of tables in front of it, I tried the pig-foot stew, something I had never tried before. My friend had grilled fish. It was a very modest, yet our best meal in Medellin.
                Overall Medellin was the most interesting and complete city in Colombia, for me. However, the diversity and quality of food on the coastal cities was slightly preferable.


                My trip to Colombia was overall, very urban. Apart from a couple of short nature trips, or going to the beach, we were going from city to city, traveling by bus in between. Visited six cities over 20 days and felt like I got a decent grasp of some of what was happening there. Colombia is a lot more than that, from what I gathered, especially for those who want to have more of a nature experience. But it was still totally worth it. Be mindful that, if for whatever reason you decide to take “When in Colombia…” to unrecommendable levels, the sniffing dogs at Colombian airports are at the Departures, not at Arrivals.

                Alex Ferreira


                • #9
                  Thanks Alex!

                  Great post...Travel is the spice of life...I will add Colombia to my bucket list.

                  Last edited by Larry Bevand; Tuesday, 7th May, 2024, 08:40 PM.


                  • #10
                    Very descriptive and enjoyable reading Alex! I will keep it in mind. Maybe Columbia will be the first country I visit in South America.