Ortisei: strong chess in idyllic surroundings

by ChessBase
6/20/2016 – Ortisei is a small village in the Italian Dolomites. At the beginning of June the idyllic village was host to the 3rd Ortisei Open, which attracted 140 participants, among them several strong grandmasters. After nine rounds GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu first with 7.0/9. Dutch GM Jan Werle also had 7.0/9 but Nisipeanu had the better tie-break.

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International Chess Festival "ad Gredine" – Ortisei Open

By Dutch GM Jan Werle

The third edition of the Ortisei Open took place from 4th to 11th of June 2016 in the Dolomites. It was a great event, perfect for chess fanatics who wanted to play serious chess but also perfect for the chess fans who like to hike and who like to combine chess and holidays.

Just before the start of the Ortisei Open when I was preparing for the tournament, I happened to check my Facebook account and saw strangely familiar pictures which some of my ‘Facebook-friends’ had posted. When I went to the balcony of my room – chess variations still occupying my thoughts – my memory came back and I realized that the green meadows of the Alps, the mountains, the ‘Milka-cows’ and the cable cars as well the picturesque and stylish village of Ortisei were views which I could relish the upcoming week while playing in a strong chess tournament.

Idyllic Ortisei (Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli)

The Dolomites (Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli)

There was a limited number of places in the tournament as the organization was striving for quality instead of quantity and in the end 140 players had the pleasure to fight each other on the chessboard.

The playing hall (Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli)

The top three players were GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, GM Tamir Nabaty and GM Robert Markus and they didn’t drop any points during the first round of the tournament. Nisipeanu and Markus won their games easily, but the opponent of Nabaty, Henrik Bolding Pedersen, managed to make life difficult for the Israeli Grandmaster.

Serbian GM Robert Markus (Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli)


Among the 2500-GMs Stefan Kindermann and the author himself slipped at an early stage. Organizer Ruben Bernardi achieved a well-deserved draw against Kindermann, while I lost against local hero Corvi, a creative player who is not afraid to play against higher rated opponents.

GM Kindermann (left) and organizer Ruben Bernardi (right)
sitting side-by-side (Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli)


In round 4 Nabaty and Neverov faced each other. In a Queen’s Indian Defense Neverov, who played with White, seized the initiative, but on the edge of the abyss Nabaty could disentangle himself and in Neverov’s severe time-trouble Nabaty could even win.


In round 4 Swiss GM Bogner was posing GM Nisipeanu problems in the Kings Indian. The day before a double round was scheduled and when looking at his position Nisipeanu perhaps thought that he was hallucinating – and seeing two pawns instead of one.


IM Jan Sprenger from Germany and IM Arthur Pijpers from the Netherlands came from the Salento Open near Gallipoli in South Italy to the north in the Dolomites. Jan Sprenger plays non-conventional, creative and aggressive chess and is - just as Pijpers - very close to becoming a GM. He finished the tournament with 6.5/9 and had he not drawn his last round game against IM Ledger from England he would have won a medal. However, when Sprenger had to play against the Serbian number 1, Robert Markus, the doctor wasn’t as well prepared as his opponent. In a razor sharp opening battle, Sprenger finally had to give in.


Arthur Pijpers finished with 6.0/9. He is an International Master and a dangerous opponent, even for strong Grandmasters. He is an excellent theoretician and tactician, and in many lines he is able to reel off the first 25 moves instantly. A good example is this intriguing game in which he beat GM Neverov.


Jonas Bjerre showed splendid endgame technique (Photo: Gerhard Bertagnolli)

Jonas Bjerre is only 12 years old but already boast of a 2400+ rating. However, in Ortisei things did not go so well for him and he finished with 4.5/9. But his game against Krühlich was impressive. After extinguishing the attacking potential of his opponent, the young talent set his sights on the weak c3-pawn, and then converted his extra pawn with splendid endgame technique.


Two identical games

In round five a peculiar situation arose. The Italian Corvi played against Paulet and after a few moves had a position on the board that was identical to the game between Nisipeanu and Vocaturo that was shown on the big screen in the tournament hall displaying the live games. So Corvi waited for Nisipeanu to play his move and then copied it immediately. However, on move 13 his opponent Paulet deviated from the Nisipeanu game – but in both games Black lost eventually. Nisipeanu found an ingenious set-up with Rac1 and h3 which proved to be very effective and helped Nisipeanu to win. With this set-up White wants to defend the pawn c4 against attacks with …Be6 and …Nd7. After the Corvi claimed that he would have found this idea easily.


An interesting case. In my opinion it cannot be compared to games, in which one player copies moves from a book or an engine phone, but nevertheless Corvi was copying moves from another player and did not play himself. Maybe one should stop broadcasting games live in the tournament hall? Which would definitely be a loss for the audience.

In round 7 Italian star GM Vocaturo defeated top seed Markus convincingly. However, Markus gave up hope too fast.


Before the last round the standing was as follows. Nisipeanu and Nabaty were leading with 6.5/8, Vocaturo, Markus, Sprenger, the Indian IM Prasanna and Werle followed with 6.0/8. On board one Nisipeanu and Markus made a draw and now the players with 6.0/8 had to win to catch Nisipeanu. But Vocaturo and Prasanna still played a quick draw while Sprenger was trying in vain to break the English defenses of IM Ledger for 87 moves. But your author managed to win against Nabaty, despite an inaccuracy in the pawn ending.


After the game Nisipeanu told me that he wanted to ‘kill’ me when he saw me playing 38.Ke3. But as I am still alive he obviously didn’t let deeds follow his words. After Nabaty played 38..h5? I didn’t refrain from the second opportunity to play a4-a5.

Final standings

Rg. Snr   Name Land Elo Pkt.  Wtg1 
1 1 GM Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter GER 2668 7,0 48,5
2 5 GM Werle Jan NED 2563 7,0 45,0
3 4 GM Vocaturo Daniele ITA 2576 6,5 50,0
4 2 GM Markus Robert SRB 2662 6,5 49,5
5 6 GM Bogner Sebastian SUI 2527 6,5 48,0
6 3 GM Nabaty Tamir ISR 2610 6,5 48,0
7 9 IM Sprenger Jan Michael Dr. GER 2506 6,5 45,0
8 12 IM Prasanna Raghuram Rao IND 2466 6,5 43,5
9 13 IM Codenotti Marco ITA 2451 6,5 40,0
10 11 IM Pijpers Arthur NED 2471 6,0 44,0
11 28 FM Corvi Marco ITA 2305 6,0 42,5
12 19 FM Gaehwiler Gabriel SUI 2363 6,0 42,0
13 15 IM Ledger Andrew J ENG 2380 6,0 40,0
14 7 GM Kindermann Stefan AUT 2515 6,0 40,0
15 17 IM Bertagnolli Alexander ITA 2376 6,0 36,5
16 51 WGM Paulet Iozefina NED 2187 5,5 42,5
17 53   Addison Bret C ENG 2180 5,5 37,0
18 31 FM De Santis Alessio ITA 2275 5,5 36,5
19 18 FM Kristensen Kaare Hove DEN 2367 5,0 48,0
20 8 GM Neverov Valeriy UKR 2507 5,0 47,5
21 10 IM Castellanos Rodriguez Renier ESP 2484 5,0 46,0
22 16 FM Lodici Lorenzo ITA 2379 5,0 43,0
23 30   Dappiano Andrea ITA 2288 5,0 40,5
24 68   Olivetti Davide ITA 2063 5,0 40,0
25 20 FM Herzog Adolf AUT 2358 5,0 39,0

The winners and organiser Ruben Bernardi: Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (centre) won gold,
Jan Werle (right) won silver and Daniele Vocaturo (left) won bronze.

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