The playing venue
The 18th Chess Festival Basel took place from 1st to 5th January 2016 in the Hotel Landgasthof in Riehen. 58 participants started in Basel, among them GM Arkadij Naiditsch, who had won the tournament in 2015, and players such as GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (Iran), GM Adrien Demuth (France), GM Mihajlo Stojanovic (Serbia) and GM Vlastimil Hort (Germany).
Naiditsch, who currently plays for Azerbaijan, suffered a surprising loss against the number eight seed Dutch IM Arthur Pijpers in round two, but still managed to finish the tournament as sole winner with 5.5/7.
Eight players finished half-a-point behind Naiditsch and of this group Adrien Demuth and IM Bilel Bellahcene had the best tie-break and finished on places two and three. The best Swiss player was Nicolas Curien from Bern. He started as number 25, scored 4.0/7 and finished on place 21.
The generally peaceful atmosphere of the tournament was marred by an unpleasant incident when the Iranian Grandmaster Ehsan Maghami refused to play against Yuliya Shvayger because she is from Israel. Shvayger would have liked to play.
After his win in 2014 Daniel Kopylov from Germany won the Amateur Tournament for the second time. Place two went to the Australian Christopher Skulte while Michael Bonath (Germany) finished third. The local junior Lucas Pao became fourth.
A premiere in Basel was the tournament for school children up to 16 years of age. This was won by the Indian Aman Chokshi from Mumbai, the brothers Domenico and Valerio Job from Therwil in Switzerland finished second and third.
The blitz tournament, in which 33 players started, was won by IM Bilel Bellacahane. Places two and three went to GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami and GM Mihajlo Stojanovic. Andrea Huber (Elo 1348) was the only woman player in the field and won first prize in the rating-group of players with a rating of less than 1700!
In the Hotel Hilton 44 children from 5 to 13 years of age played in the junior tournament. Noah Sesia from Huningue won the U13, Christian Ninomina from Wintherthur won the U10. But no one had to leave the tournament empty-handed because every junior player was awarded with a medal or a cup.
The tournament also attracted some media interest. The Swiss newspaper "Tageswoche" published regular reports and "Radio Basilisk" conducted interviews with the players. The games on the top eight boards were transmitted live on the internet and could be followed all over the world.
|6.||Heimann, Andreas||IM||2552||M||Riehen Schachge||GER||4||2||1||5.0||20.5||29.5|
|9.||Stojanovic,Mihajl||GM||2507||M||Zürich Réti ASK||SRB||4||2||1||5.0||19.5||26.5|
|12.||Ghaem Maghami, Eh||GM||2594||M||Gonzen||IRI||4||1||2||4.5||19.0||27.5|
|20.||Metz, Hartmut||FM||2323||M||Chess Tigers Sc||GER||2||4||1||4.0||16.0||25.5|
... 58 players
Bruno Zanetti (Organiser) - Arkadji Naiditsch - Adrien Demuth
Christopher Skulte - Daniel Kopylov - Michael Bonath