32nd Cappelle la Grande Open

The Cappelle la Grande Open is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and attracts hundreds of chess players every year. Besides being a very strong competition, the organizers do their best to make the players feel welcome and maintain a friendly and professional atmosphere.

Cappelle la Grande is a small village situated in the North of France, but with great love for chess. The tournament has reached its 32nd edition and the officials promise that there are many more to come. The playing venue is the spacious Palais des Arts that is adapted to the players’ needs by the team of volunteers who help throughout the whole event.

The playing hall

The playing venue

Monument to the heroes in Cappelle la Grande

Monument to the heroes in Cappelle la Grande

While all the action takes place in Cappelle, most of the players stay about 15 minutes away in Dunkerque, the main city in the region and third-largest harbor in France. The distance is nothing to worry about, as the organizers have thought about everything. Everyday, there is a bus that takes players to and from the playing venue. And for those who don’t like to be on a schedule, there is the option of using the city buses that connect Dunkerque to Cappelle la Grande.

Sunny day in Dunkirk

Sunny day in Dunkerque

The city hall of Dunkerque

The city hall

The streets of Dunkerque

The streets of Dunkerque

Gothic influence: Church St-Eloi

Gothic influence: Church St-Eloi

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

Duchess Anne ship, part of the port museum of Dunkerque

Duchess Anne ship, part of the port museum of Dunkerque

La Halle, the fish market

La Halle, the fish market

This year, the tournament saw 537 participants out of which almost 200 titled. Starting as top seed was American Grandmaster Gata Kamsy, followed by super-strong players such as Ferenc Berkes, Tigran Gharamian, Martyn Kravtsiv, Andrey Vovk, Krishnan Sasikiran and many others.

Gata Kamsky playing against French IM Joules Moussard

Gata Kamsky (2667) playing against French IM Joules Moussard (2487)

Indian Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran (2632)

Indian Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran (2632)

Chess gives headaches even to the most experienced - legendary Grandmaster and famous book author Artur Yusupov

Chess gives headaches even to the most experienced – legendary Grandmaster and famous book author Artur Yusupov (2578)

Familiar habits: GMs Lu Shanglei and Gata Kamsky before the start of the game

Familiar habits: GMs Lu Shanglei (2617) and Gata Kamsky (2667) before the start of the game

Ukrainian Grandmaster Andrey Vovk having a moment of meditation before the start of the rounf

Ukrainian Grandmaster Andrey Vovk (2632) having a moment of meditation before the start of the round

IM Renier Castellanos

IM Renier Castellanos (2478)

Early leader of the tournament: French GM Christian Bauer (2631)

Early leader of the tournament: French GM Christian Bauer (2631)

As always, Cappelle la Grande isn’t only about strong, experienced players showing their class. It is also a tournament for young talents to make their debut. This year all eyes were on India’s Nihal Sarin, of only 11 years, who made his first IM norm.

Nihal Sarin (2259)

Nihal Sarin (2259)

Who cares about the other games when this kid is so much fun to watch? GM Kevin Spraggett - Nihal Sarin 1/2

Who cares about the other games when this kid is so much fun to watch?
GM Kevin Spraggett – Nihal Sarin 1/2

Proud winner of the U12 category

Proud winner of the U12 category

Best female player: IM/ WGM Deimante Daulyte

Best female player: IM/ WGM Deimante Daulyte

Top three finishers together with the mayor of Cappelle la Grande. From right to left: Gata Kamsky (7,5/9), Eduardo Iturizaga (7/9) and Christian Bauer (7/9)

Top three finishers together with the mayor of Cappelle la Grande. From right to left: Gata Kamsky (7,5/9), Eduardo Iturizaga (7/9) and Christian Bauer (7/9)

Chess Highlights:

Gata Kamsky on fire. What can we say about Kamsky that hasn’t been said before? The top class Grandmaster showed an excellent form and it was an absolute delight to follow his games day by day. Here we have selected some positions that we consider worth watching a few times. Have a look!

Gata Kamsky (2667) – D’Costa, L (2408)

White to play and win!

Gata Kamsky (2667) – Gopal, GN (2525)

 White to play

Gata Kamsky (2667) – Kazhgaleyev,M (2580)

White to play
This whole game was very nice. In the above position white is clearly winning but the finish chosen by Kamsky was spectacular. Can you see it?

Solutions: 

Gata Kamsky (2667) – D’Costa, L (2408) : 25.Rxf7! Bxf7 26.Rxf7 Kxf7 27.Qxh7+ Ke8 28.Qxg6+ Kf8 29.Qh6+ Ke8 30.Bb5+ Qd7 31.Qg6+ Kd8 32.Bb6+ 1-0

Gata Kamsky (2667) – Gopal, GN (2525) : 25.Nxd6! exd6 26.Bxd6 Nxb6 27.c4 Bxb2 28.Rab1 with a clear advantage.

Gata Kamsky (2667) – Kazhgaleyev,M (2580) : 37.Rh8! Kg6 (if 37…Kxh8 38.Qe8+ and Qxe4+) 38.Qe8+ Kf5 39.Qxe4+! Nice finish!

In the end, we’d like to thank the organizers and all the volunteers who, year after year, make great efforts in coordinating this fantastic event.

A special thanks to the volunteers and organizers of Cappelle la Grande Open

A special thanks to the volunteers and organizers of Cappelle la Grande Open

Hope to see you next year!

Hope to see you next year!

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