Li Chao is champion at Cappelle

by Alina l'Ami
3/9/2015 – Whatever its secret, there is little doubt Cappelle La Grande is the envy of many tournament organizers around the world, and for one simple reason: 555 players. The traditional open is in its 31st edition and still going strong, very strong. This year the winner was Chinese Li Chao, in front of a platoon of GMs and an army of enthusiasts. A pictorial by Alina L'Ami.

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Within a stone's throw from our hotel in Dunkerque; I felt like a child again, drawing a typical
scene (for me at least) with water, boats, some houses and, of course, the usual sun in the
top left corner. Just that this time I didn't use crayons but Nikon tools.

For more than 30 years, Cappelle and its playing hall stand still! The thought of stability,
traditions, a system that works, gives me the comfortable feeling of durability and strength
in a world that is constantly changing. I believe we will, hopefully, celebrate 100 years of
the Cappelle la Grande event!

Federico Perez Ponsa having troubles to acclimatize with the European weather in February,
but his South American colleague seems to have adjusted; even more than that...

...with Alexander Fier: one of a kind! Just imagine a hot-blooded Brazilian
walking on the windy streets of Dunkerque and Cappelle in...what you
see him wearing in this photo - only a t-shirt! No doubt living in Georgia
helps. I will check again once I reach Iceland, where he will also be playing.

A real winner will always stand up after falling. Li Chao didn't fall but
had a "slow start", just like in Reykjavik last year: a draw in the first
round. This strategy seems to work as he won both tournaments in style!

Great tournament for Vladimir Onischuk, who shared 1st with Li Chao, scoring 7.5/9 and
a magnificent performance of 2840!

Andreea Navrotescu, the talented junior player of France happens to be the
daughter of my former coach: Catalin Navrotescu. The family moved to France
some years ago but I do remember when she was a little girl. Time flies!

A heroic tournament for the Romanian GM Vladislav Nevednichy. Vladik,
as we all call him, won his last four games against tough opposition,
finishing on the podium in third place.

Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian had a good tournament, finishing sixth with 6.5/9

The top boards in action

Igor Kovalenko had a very good start but the second half of the tournament didn't go his way

Chess players will always have something to bring along, to make them
feel comfortable and more energetic, such as mysterious Chinese elixirs

Tension in the air

Vasilios Kotronias did well and came in fifth place

Sharing third with 7.0/9, Marcin Tazbir from Poland, much like Vladik, also won his last four games!

The French GM Tigran Gharamian

After a flawless tournament, the deserved first place finisher Li Chao

Winning the top female prize was Ekaterina Atalik

The winners take all

Together with his friend and top GM, Wang Yue, Li Chao opened a chess school in Chengdu,
which is already giving the chess world new talents! His students played in Cappelle as well
but this didn't stop Li Chao from taking the first place.

The city hall in Dunkerque

The final standings

Pl Ti. Nom Elo Fed Pts TB Perf
1 g LI Chao 2728 F CHN 45½ 2792
2 g ONISCHUK Vladimir 2629 F UKR 44½ 2840
3 g NEVEDNICHY Vladislav 2557 F ROU 7 41½ 2717
4 g TAZBIR Marcin 2518 F POL 7 41½ 2672
5 g KOTRONIAS Vasilios 2565 F GRE 45½ 2662
6 g MEKHITARIAN Krikor Sevag 2556 F BRA 44½ 2647
7 g VOVK Andrey 2642 F UKR 44 2687
8 g KULAOTS Kaido 2558 F EST 43 2690
9 g LANDA Konstantin 2650 F RUS 42½ 2670
10 g ULYBIN Mikhail 2502 F RUS 42½ 2649
11 g FIER Alexandr 2612 F BRA 42 2667
12 g DRAGUN Kamil 2558 F POL 41½ 2662
13 g KURAJICA Bojan 2492 F BIH 41 2643
14 g GABRIELIAN Artur 2551 F RUS 41 2601
15 g RYCHAGOV Andrey 2550 F RUS 40½ 2641
16 g VIDIT Santosh Gujrathi 2617 F IND 40 2664
17 g SANDIPAN Chanda 2574 F IND 40 2646
18 m BLUEBAUM Matthias 2571 F GER 40 2596
19 g GOPAL G.N. 2575 F IND 40 2554
20 g SZABO Gergely-Andras-Gyula 2543 F ROU 39½ 2594

Click for complete standings

Photos by Alina L'Ami


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Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.


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