First International Carinthian Chess Festival

7/10/2007 – The Carinthian (German: Kärnten) town of Velden has 2000 inhabitants and is famous for its mountains and lakes. And swans. And sports car festivals. And a chess tournament, which will hopefully become an annual event. This year it was equipped with eight GMs, one WGM, ten IMs, two WIMs, ten FMs and one WFM. Big photo report by Meri Grigoryan.

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First International Carinthian Chess Festival, Austria

Pictorial report by Meri Grigoryan

If you wish to combine your holiday and chess activity then Velden is the right place for you. In fact the holiday part was so right for me, that I decided not to play in the tournament but follow the games and prepare a pictorial report for you.

A little bit about the geographical orientation of Velden: the Carinthian town of Velden has 2000 inhabitants and 7000 within its suburbs. Carinthia (German: Kärnten) is one of Austira’s nine provinces, and its capital is Klagenfurt. It is a southern province and is chiefly famous for its mountains and lakes. The Karawanken and Carnian Alps making up the border between Italy and Slovenia.


Carnian Alps: south-west border with Italy


Carinthia’s next important town is Villach and of course Pörtschach for its celebrity guests.

Apparently, Princess Diana and The Iron Lady (Margaret Thatcher) stayed at this hotel, which is in Pörtschach and 15 minutes away by ferry from Velden. You may be pleased to know that you can take as many ferry trips as you like and go to the lakeside for a swim free of charge with your Carinthia card, providing you stay for three or more nights at any hotel, pension or guest house in a Carinthian town.


Can you spot the ferry in this picture? No? Then let us zoom in closer...


The pleasures of a 72x zoom lens. Okay, it's on a Panasonic DMC-FZ8

Velden hosted two candidate matches in the past; in 1980 when Korchnoi beat Petrosian and in 1983 when Smyslov beat Hübner in a tie-break by the spin of a roulette wheel at Casino Velden.


The venue of the chess festival

Extracts from my diary

The weather was not so promising when we arrived in Velden, but I knew that wherever I’d go the sunny weather should follow me (apart from London). While trying to find our lodgings we saw a huge crowd in the centre of the town, to be more precise in front of the Casino Velden. To our great surprise there was a sport’s car festival!


A Morgen Aero 8, I believe


A Lambor genie? Well, genies can surely fly!


Pleased to make your acquaintance. Ferrari, I assume?


Well assumed!


A town of parks and fountains


Always a great attraction: the floating marble ball


How the Italians love chess – they name their cafés after their favourite player!

Actually the nickname for Morozevich is "Moroz", which aptly means "frost" in Russian. The above café sold mainly ice-cream. All simply a coincidence.


The beautiful façade of another restaurant in Velden


Hotel Schloss Velden on the banks of Lake Wörthersee


The playing hall, where the International Carinthian Chess Festival was staged

Now let’s focus on Velden’s brief chess news! The International Carinthian Chess Festival was held from June 24 to July 1st. The field of the main tournament was equipped with eight GMs, one WGM, ten IMs, two WIMs, ten FMs and one WFM. Austrian IM Markus Rager (Elo 2498) scored 6.5 points out of 7 and looked like a potential winner. But in round eight Slovenian GM Dusko Povasovic (Elo 2567) and Austiran IM Georg Danner (Elo 2421) caught up with him and at the end and all three scored 7.0/9.

Final standings for top 16

Rk.   Name Rtg FED Pts.
1 IM Ragger Markus 2498 AUT 7,0
2 GM Pavasovic Dusko 2567 SLO 7,0
3 IM Danner Georg 2421 AUT 7,0
4 GM Stanec Nikolaus 2504 AUT 6,5
5 GM Ermenkov Evgenij 2500 PLE 6,5
6 GM Jedynak Radoslaw 2538 POL 6,5
7 IM Sebenik Matej 2483 SLO 6,5
8 IM Szabolcsi Janos 2351 HUN 6,5
9 GM Horvath Jozsef 2539 HUN 6,5
10 IM Belouadah Saad 2292 ALG 6,5
11 GM Buhmann Rainer 2581 GER 6,0
12 IM Dziuba Marcin 2525 POL 6,0
13 FM Praznik Niko 2341 SLO 6,0
14 IM Henni Mohamed 2302 ALG 6,0
15   Kavcic Zan 2249 SLO 6,0
16 FM Praznik Anton 2292 SLO 6,0


192 players took part in the tournament

I must say that I was disappointed not being able to take any picture of the winner Markus Rager as he drew his last four games so swiftly, while others had spent just about five minutes on their clock. And I didn’t even know what he looked like, so I could not track him down in the playing hall…


Second place: Slovenian GM Dusko Povasovic


Polish GM Radoslaw Jedynak (Elo 2538) and next to him Hungarian GM Jozsef Horvath (2539)


WGM Anya Corke (Elo 2154) from Hong-Kong shared women’s 1st prize


The youngest competitor, nine-year-old Alexandra Kogler of Austria, playing in group C


Doodling while waiting for my pizza!

And now enjoy some more scenic pictures from Velden…


A view from a ferry trip


Beautiful houses on the waterfront


Peninsula Maria-Wörth am Wörthersee


A family of swans on the lake


That's me, posing on the ferry


The full moon "hanging over the Velden" on June 30, 2007 (the DMC-FZ8 has excellent image stabilisation)

The organisers told me that they were thinking of making this tournament an annual event, but it would be either in June or in September. If it is in June 2008 then see you all there!


About the author

Born on 02.09.77 in Yerevan, Armenia, Meri Grigoryan was taught chess by her father and only coach. She became:

  • Woman Champion of Yerevan at the age of 12½ years
  • Yerevan boys under 21 champion at the age of 15
  • Armenian girls champion in all age groups
  • Girls U18 Olympiad of the USSR, 6th place (Spartakiada Narodov SSSR, Leningrad, 1990)
  • Left Armenia in the mid 90s and moved to London
  • UK British Grand Prixette 2002-2003
  • British Ladies Blitz Champion in 2004
  • Education: BA in Russian and Scandinavian Studies, Diploma in Translation. Spoken languages: Armenian, Russian, English, Danish, Czech, Polish, French.
  • Work: Chess teacher and interpreter.
  • Hobbies: Painting, photography, opera, taking guitar lessons, travelling, and above all writing.

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