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Georgia Chess Association

GM Alonso Zapata Ramirez - HOF Class of 2024


5-time Georgia State Champion, winning in 2014, 2016,, 2020, 2021 (Co-Champion), and 2022

• 3-time FIDE Interzonals qualifier

• Sportsman of the Year award, Colombia, 1977

• Colombian National Championship winner in 1980, 1981, 1995 (Co-Champion), 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2008

• represented Colombia 12 times in the Chess Olympiads: 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984,1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2002, and 2012

• chess instructor and coach

• chess book author


GM Alonso Zapata was born in Pereira, Colombia in 1958. He learned how to play chess when he was five and started playing rated chess games when he was ten. Zapata can play any kind of position, but he especially enjoys endgames and positions where he can calculate.

GM Zapata received his FIDE IM title in 1978 and the GM title in 1984. Zapata’s peak FIDE rating was 2580 and ranked among the world’s top 50 players. He qualified for the FIDE Interzonals three times, playing in 1985, 1987, and 1990.Zapata won clear 2nd place out of 48 in the 1977 World Junior Chess Championship in 1977. That year he was voted Sportsman of the Year in Colombia.He won the Colombian National Championship in 1980, 1981, 1995 (Co-Champion), 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2008.Zapata represented Colombia 12 times in Chess Olympiads between 1978 and 2012.

In 1988, GM Zapata achieved notoriety by beating future World Champion GM Viswanathan Anand in Biel, Switzerland in only six moves—a tribute to Alonso’s opening preparation.

GM Zapata changed his residence to the USA in 2013, and he immediately made his presence known in Georgia after moving. He won the Georgia Open in 2013 (Co-Champion), 2016, and 2017 (Co-Champion).He was 2013 Atlanta City Champion.He was Georgia Senior Open Champion in 2016, 2019, and 2021. He was 2018 Co-Champion in the Irwin National Championship of State Senior Champions.

He has been the Georgia State Champion five times -- in 2014, 2016, 2020, 2021 (Co-Champion), and 2022. He won the Georgia State Championship tournament in 2013 as well, but had not yet lived in Georgia long enough to qualify as a Georgia resident.

GM Zapata is well known for his teaching abilities. He received his FIDE Senior Trainer award in 2004. GM Zapata still plays competitive tournament chess, but he now spends much of his time teaching his many chess students. He has trained both Olympic and National teams. He has conducted multiple seminars for instructors and trainers. One of his students is GM Arthur Guo of Georgia, who was Denker National High School Co-Champion in 2022 and Denker Champion outright in 2023. Another is IM Sanjay Ghatti. GM Zapata has been an Instructor/Coach at “Kid Chess” Atlanta from 2017 to present. He has taught at “Kid Chess Summer Advance Camps” (two camps) every year from 2017 to present. He also conducted “Zapata Summer Advance Camps” in 2016 and 2017.

GM Zapata has published two chess books: Ajedrez para la Vida (Chess for Life) in 2012 and Jaque Mate en San Juan (Checkmate in San Juan) in 2022.

GM Alonso Zapata is known for his well-mannered, friendly, easy-going nature and warm smile. He is also known for his extremely competitive nature and chessboard brilliance. His endearing personality has won the friendship of all who know him. He has made significant contributions to Georgia chess in competition (over-the-board), teaching, coaching, and journalism. He has bettered chess in the State of Georgia.


Alonso Zapata, personal interview.

Alonso Zapata, personal resume.

Georgia Chess magazine electronic collection. (Alonso Zapata, Arthur Guo tournament history).

Wikipedia. (Alonso Zapata).

Chess Life magazine.

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