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Harikrishna tops 74 GMs in Cappelle-La-Grande

3/12/2012 – The 28th edition of the International Open of Cappelle-La-Grande, France was as successful as ever. The event boasted 169 titled players, of whom 74 were Grandmasters, and it attracted players from as far away as Japan and Peru. In the end, the Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna topped the field. Find out why so many players consider this event unmissable in this report by GM Alejandro Ramirez.
 

Harikrishna tops 74 GMs in Cappelle-La-Grande

By Alejandro Ramirez

The 28th edition of the International Open of Cappelle-La-Grande, France was as successful as ever.  The event boasted 169 titled players, of which 74 were Grandmasters, and it attracted players from as far away as Japan and Peru.  In the end, the Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna topped the field.


Pentala Harikrishna scores another important victory in 2012

When a chess player talks about a “good” or “successful” open tournament, what exactly are they referring to? Maybe they are talking about the strength of the event – as in how many Grandmasters are participating. Sometimes they might be referring to a different type of strength, such as how high is the rating of the top seeds. Or they look in different directions, such as how well organized the event is, how many players it attracts, how likely it is to achieve a norm. It truly doesn't matter which angle you use to define a “good” open: Cappelle-La-Grande fulfills them all. 

The tournament is hosted in the Palais des Arts et des Loisirs in the village of Cappelle-la-Grande which is about fifteen minutes away from where most foreign players stay: Dunkerque. The organizers do a fantastic job ensuring that players will have transportation between their hotels and the playing site. The city also helps out, as any player playing in the event can use the public bus transportation for free during their stay. Even though Cappelle itself is extremely small, with only about 8000 habitants, Dunkerque provides more than enough entertainment and food choices for the players. 

Speaking of food, this tournament is unique in that all of the invited players can eat for free at the Palais des Arts both before and after their rounds. With wine being included at both lunch at dinner, this is an attractive option for many of the players. 

The event had nearly 500 players. To avoid a nauseating amount of “easy” games that would happen if the event was paired normally under Swiss rules, this event is typically played with double accelerated pairings. This ensures that even from the beginning strong players will be matched against strong players, and allows norm hunters to get their average rating of opponents up there from the get go.

The tournament was lead from start to finish by GM Harikrishna. Although it is only March, he has had a great 2012 having won the B group of Tata Steel and qualifying to the A group of the 75th Wijk Aan Zee super Grandmaster tournament.

Due to the huge number of players, there is constant pressure to score as much as possible, as any draw, even with black, could prove to have decisive consequences on your final standings. This created a wonderful scenario for fighting chess.

Personally I had a lot of fun in this tournament.  The players are always brought together by the common eating place and the proximity of all the hotels in Dunkerque.  Although sometimes they are slightly annoyed at the waiting times between buses and meals, the truth is there is a great deal of bonding at this event. 


Many people came up to me during the event and asked why I
was using a somewhat unique hat, thinking I had lost a bet. The
truth is this was a gift from my good friend Tatev Abrahamyan,
and it was the warmest hat I had!

I'll be very happy to be returning to France next year for this event!

Final standings

Rk Name
Elo
Fed
Pts
Perf
1 HARIKRISHNA Pentala
2678
IND
7
2783
2 NEGI Parimarjan
2639
IND
7
2699
3 SANIKIDZE Tornike
2549
GEO
7
2670
4 GHARAMIAN Tigran
2671
FRA
7
2715
5 KRAVTSIV Martyn
2588
UKR
7
2669
6 PETROSIAN Tigran
2643
ARM
6.5
2709
7 LYSYJ Igor
2656
RUS
6.5
2652
8 ROMANOV Evgeny
2625
RUS
6.5
2672
9 BANUSZ Tamas
2583
HUN
6.5
2642
10 RAMIREZ Alejandro
2591
USA
6.5
2644
11 CORNETTE Matthieu
2545
FRA
6.5
2624
12 NYZHNYK Illya
2585
UKR
6.5
2610
13 NAUMKIN Igor
2452
RUS
6.5
2606
14 BRODSKY Michail
2558
UKR
6.5
2603
15 ARUTINIAN David
2553
GEO
6.5
2599
16 MAIOROV Nikita
2552
BLR
6.5
2592
17 KURNOSOV Igor
2657
RUS
6.5
2633
18 TOMCZAK Jacek
2555
POL
6.5
2599
19 LAGARDE Maxime
2488
FRA
6.5
2594
20 FIER Alexandr
2599
BRA
6.5
2617
21 KANEP Meelis
2516
EST
6.5
2557

Also it is important to mention the players who achieved norms.  Congratulations to:

Maxime Lagarde – GM Norm
Marcin Tazbir – GM Norm
Etienne Goudriaan – IM Norm
Sarah Hoolt – WGM Norm
Ewa Prezedziecka – WIM Norm (her second in two Cappelles!)
Aleksandra Lach – WIM Norm

The huge amount of players allowed for some great portraits.  Here are some of the players that made this tournament so exciting:


GM Krisztian Szabo sported his unique look


WGM Melissa Greeff scored 50% and played well above her rating


WGM Andjelija Stojanovic from Serbia shoots the photographer
a deadly look before starting her round.


Young super star Ilya Nyzhnyk focuses before a round


Charming GM Parijmarjan Negi recovered from a tough first round
loss to finish among the winners
.


Brazilian GM Krikor Mekhitarian traveled a long way for a
European chess tour.


Krikor's partner in crime in the European adventures: Strong
GM Alexander Fier. Don't ask for his full name though!


Newly crowned Turkish Champion GM Dragan Solak


Strong IM Dennis Rombaldoni from Italy was a constant guest
at the top boards.


WGM Tatev Abrahamyan showed great resilience and won the
best female prize.


WGM Adriana Nikolova suffered a tough loss in the last round
– a draw would've secured her top woman.


French favorite and top seed Bauer was unable to make it to the
first two rounds, which left him no chance to win the event.


It's a lynx, if you were wondering...


FM Arcadio Cieza, from Peru, plays this tournament every year without fail!


Tree lover WGM Evgenia Doluhanova, who recently switched
federations to Armenia.


French GM Anthony Wirig's hairstyle has always been something
to talk about. This might be one of his more mild looks.


GM Amin Basem was incredibly unlucky in his penultimate round
against Gharamian, and despite always leading the tournament
had to be satisfied with only 6.0/9.


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