Insider tip: A trip to the Strasbourg Open

by Manfred Menacher
9/20/2018 – As we count down the last days of (Northern) summer, we take a look at another highlight from the open season that was. Think of the Strasbourg Open as a real insider tip for all chess fans: Take the road to picturesque Alsace. MANFRED MENACHER did and was enthusiastic about the organization of the Roos brothers as well as the beautiful scenery. | Photos: M. Menacher

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Chess with European flair

The invitation join the Strasbourg Open, which was held back in July (11th-15th,) is not easy to find on the Internet, but by accident, I came across it and decided to attend. For the first time since 1990, when I visited the World Cup match between Kasparov and Karpov in Lyon, I had the opportunity to return to France! Back then the language barrier was enormous because hardly anyone in France was willing to speak English and unfortunately that remains more or less the case. And so, my school days spent stupidly studying Latin instead of French as my second foreign language once again had their revenge. Thankfully it turned out that the chess-playing French population today are an exception.

The outskirts of the city of Strasbourg basically begin just 1 kilometre beyond the border with Germany. It turned out to be ideal to have packed my folding e-bike. The city with its 280,000 inhabitants is beautiful and has in addition to the European Parliament, the huge 142-meter-high cathedral (Notre-Dame de Strasbourg) many beautiful views and places to visit. Bookshops, markets, cafes, restaurants and green oases are plentiful. On the beautiful river Ill you can also explore the city by boat.

Google Street View

Excursion boat on the Ill

In one of these oases, in fact, is the beautiful venue — the Josephine Pavilion in the Parc de l'Orangerie. The park not only attracted chess players but also was an inviting place to picnic, jog, go for a walk and sunbathe.

A park view

The tournament itself (with A, B and C-opens) was ideal for up-and-coming youngsters and other strong amateurs because the tournament was not too strong. Nominal Elo favourites were IM Janos Scabolcsi from Hungary, FM Sebastien Pucher and myself, but I didn't think of myself as such, and in turned out I was right. Rather, the energetic youngsters who could calculate justifiably opened opportunities for the prize money. For me it was a special challenge after several years to play a tiring double-round tournament again and in the end, I really did not have the strength, as was reflected in two decisive blackouts, against the tournament winner, among others. After four rounds, the tactically well-versed young players Florian Daeschler (Mundolsheim, France, 21 years old) and the just 14-year-old Azerbaijani Ughur Ilyasli were at the top without loss. They would go on to each suffer a loss but in the end they were again in 1st and 2nd place with excellent 6 points from the 7 rounds. Third place went to FM Sebastien Pucher.

Tournament winner Florian Daeschler

Ughur Ilyasli was second

I can highly recommend this tournament, not only as an insider tip for strong amateurs who want to have the chance to win a first prize of at least €1,000 euros, but also a tip for chess fans who want to combine a nice city break with a serious tournament. The organizers, especially the nice (and German-speaking) Mr. Daniel Roos, the brother of one of the players IM Jean-Luc Roos, were very hard-working and provided good food and a pleasant tournament. For the eternally chess hungry, Mr. Roos and his team even hosted a Rapid tournament on the afternoon off.

The Roos brothers

In round six, I managed a nice game with a spectacular final move against the just 16-year-old Niklas Schmider (Elo 2162).

 

Final standings (top 10)

Pl   Nom Elo Cat. Pts Bu. Cu. Perf
1   DAESCHLER Florian 2228 F SenM 6 30 26 2454
2   ILYASLI Ughur 2183 F BenM 6 29 25 2445
3 f PUCHER Sebastien 2308 F SenM 5 30 20 2230
4 m ROOS Jean-Luc 2260 F SepM 5 28½ 21 2254
5   WAHLUND Max 2073 F SenM 5 28½ 20 2197
6   MALTEZEANU Stefan 2068 F JunM 5 27½ 18 2199
7   BABAEV Eldeniz 2020 F SenM 5 25 18 2154
8   SCHMIDER Niklas 2162 F MinM 30 20½ 2242
9 f MENACHER Manfred 2273 F SepM 30 20½ 2182
10   GEHER Koppany 2207 F MinM 28 18 2099

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson

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Manfred (born 1965 in Deggendorf) attended a chess club for the first time at the age of 17. His personal career highlights were winning the Bavarian Championship in 1993, 1994 and 1997 and 1999 the tournament victory at the International Open Tournament (OIS) in Munich.
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