Sethuraman wins Cappelle-la-Grande Open on his 30th birthday

by Shahid Ahmed
3/2/2023 – GM Sethuraman S P gave himself the best gift on his 30th birthday, as he won the 2023 Cappelle-la-Grande Open. He and GM Harsha Bharathakoti scored an unbeaten 7½/9 each. Sethuraman won the tournament on tie-breaks. The game between them in the penultimate round ended in a draw. WIM Mounika Akshaya Bommini won the Best Woman prize. | Photo: L'Echiquier Cappellois

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A first triumph since August 2021

The last rating tournament GM Sethuraman S P had won before last week was the 2021 Barcelona Open. Last year, he did finish second in his debut at the Chess960 tournament in Biel, Switzerland. On his 30th birthday, the man from Chennai won a tournament again, as he grabbed first place at the traditional Cappelle-la-Grand Open in France.

Five players were at 6½/8 heading into the final round. They were GM K Sasikiran (2619), GM Sergey Fedorchuk (UKR, 2637), GM Sethuraman S P (2635), IM Koen Leenhouts (NED, 2438) and GM Harsha Bharathakoti (2599). Sasikiran drew with Fedorchuk, while Sethuraman and Harsha won their respective games against Koen and IM Nico Zwirs (NED, 2460).


When push comes to shove, Sethuraman is not someone who will defend passively: he will instead fight back with double force. Koen went for an all-out attack by exposing his king, and Sethuraman took advantage of his opponent’s adventurous approach.

28.f4 makes use of the fact that the black king is much weaker than its white counterpart. After 28...exf3 29.Qg6+ Qg7 30.Rxg5 Black was forced to trade queens: Qxg6 31.Rxg6+ Kf7 32.Rxb6 fxe2 33.Kxe2 and the resultant double rook endgame is winning for White.


Trading one rook made it easier. Sethuraman went on to win the game and the tournament on tie-breaks.


Harsha Bharathakoti

Runner-up: GM Harsha Bharathakoti - 7½/9 points | Photo: L’Echiquier Cappellois

Mounika Akshaya Bommini

Best woman: WIM Mounika Akshaya Bommini - 5½/9 points | Photo: L’Echiquier Cappellois

In case you missed this edition and wish to play the next edition, mark your calendars for the 40th edition of the Cappelle-la-Grande Open, which was announced to take place on March 2-9 next year.

A total of 382 players, including 10 GMs, 21 IMs, a WGM and a WIM, participated from 20 countries across the world. The nine-round Swiss tournament took place on February 18-24. It was organized by L’Echiquier Cappellois at the Palace of Arts Bernard Gouvart. The time control was 40 moves in 90 minutes + 30 minutes with 30-second increments per move.

Final standings

Cappelle-la-Grande Open

...382 players

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Shahid Ahmed is the senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India. He enjoys covering chess tournaments and also likes to play in chess events from time to time.