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.

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.… Read more

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Chess life in Puerto Rico

                                                                                                  Written by (WIM) Raluca Sgircea

Chess is slowly gaining popularity in the small island of Puerto Rico. More and more kids are attracted by the game and start taking it seriously. The growing interest and competitiveness is probably the reason why Puerto Rico has so many young talented chess players. For almost two months, we have been lucky enough to be part of the chess community here and we can say that there is always some chess event going on!

The reigning national champion (in every possible category – women, open and juniors), (WIM) Danitza Vazquez, aged 15, is doing a great job promoting chess in Puerto Rico. For the holidays, she held a simultaneous exhibition where players of all ages tried to make a good result against the talented youngster.

In January, all chess enthusiasts were invited by Renier to a two-hour training session followed by a simultaneous in a very popular place: Le Petit Bistro, located in the mall Plaza Las Americas of San Juan.… Read more

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Winter in Puerto Rico (2)

Written by (WIM) Raluca Sgircea and (IM) Renier Castellanos

Our stay in Puerto Rico is almost coming to an end and it will soon be time to face the European cold. Until then, we will try to make the most of the days left here. As tourists, we didn’t miss the chance to visit San Juan and we already told you in our previous post a few things about the history of the city and El Morro, one of the most important historical monuments here. Another important site is Castillo San Cristobal, a fort that was built by the Spanish with the same purpose as El Morro, defense. This time, however, we are talking about protection against land based attacks on the city.

The fortress is built on a hill and it was initially the largest fortification established by the Spanish. Later on, after peace settled over the area, about a third of the building was demolished in order to ease the traffic in and out of the city.… Read more

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Winter in Puerto Rico


Written by (WIM) Raluca Sgircea and (IM) Renier Castellanos 

It’s been two weeks since we ditched the European cold for the warm Caribbean winter and we’re most definitely loving our time spent here! The beauty of the island, the always smiling people, the amount of “fiestas”, the tropical fruits, the local cuisine and the popularity of chess here make this a great way to spend what’s left of this year.

For those of you not familiar with this place, Puerto Rico is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of other small islands. Although it currently has the status of an unincorporated territory of the US, it used to belong to Spain thanks to the man who discovered it, Cristopher Columbus. On August 3 1492, three ships – the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María – were leaving Spain to discover new land in the Indies.… Read more

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