The joys of OTB chess: Nisipeanu wins the Benasque Open

by André Schulz
7/19/2021 – Online chess helped a lot of players to cope with the corona lockdown. But some players simply do not like to play online and they particularly enjoy the return to over-the-board chess. The German top player Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu is such a player, and he recently won the Benasque Open with the sensational result of 9 points from 10 games. Jesper Sondergaard Thybo (Denmark) and Gergely Kandor (Hungary) finished with one point less and shared places two and three. | Photo: Raluca Scircea (Tournament page)

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Back to OTB chess

The German top player Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu is not particularly fond on online chess and the corona lockdown forced him to take a long break from tournament chess. But now over-the-board chess is coming back to life and the German-Romanian Grandmaster's visibly enjoys it. That's the only way to explain his outstanding result at the Open in Benasque.

In 2021, the tournament in the small Spanish Pyrenean village, which was held for the first time in 1981, celebrates its 40th anniversary. Tourism is important for Benasque, a village which has long been difficult to reach, but is picturesquely embedded in the mountain ranges of the Pyrenees, and the Open contributes to tourism. Despite the remote location, the event has always attracted a lot of players.

This year, almost 300 players took part, most from Spain, some from the nearby mini-state of Andorra. Two players started under the flag of Venezuela though they probably did not travel to the Pyrenees especially for this tournament. With 18 Grandmasters and 20 International Masters the field was also strong.

Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu won the ten round Swiss with the sensational score of 9.0/10 and achieved a performance rating of 2771. On his way to winning the tournament, Nisipeanu played against five grandmasters and scored 4 points against them.

In the following nice and brutal win against a fellow Grandmaster Nisipeanu showed his attacking skills:


The two young grandmasters Jesper Sondergaard Thybo from Denmark and Gergely Kandor from Hungary, both born in 1999, also had a good tournament. They both scored 8.0/10 shared the second and third prize.

Final standings

Rk. SNo     Name FED RtgI Pts.  TB1 
1 1
GM NISIPEANU Liviu-Dieter GER 2656 9,0 2405
2 5
GM THYBO Jesper Sondergaard DEN 2575 8,0 2397
3 11
GM KANTOR Gergely HUN 2527 8,0 2320
4 9
IM SOSA Tomas ARG 2541 7,5 2363
5 7
GM PERALTA Fernando ARG 2566 7,5 2361
6 12
GM NARCISO DUBLAN Marc ESP 2519 7,5 2347
7 41
IM SUAREZ URIEL Adrian ESP 2355 7,5 2344
8 26
IM GOMEZ LEDO Roberto Carlos CUB 2446 7,5 2307
9 16
IM SOCHACKI Christophe FRA 2494 7,5 2272
10 14
GM MARIN Mihail ROU 2502 7,5 2269
11 13
GM ALSINA LEAL Daniel ESP 2514 7,5 2269
12 39
FM ALONSO GARCIA Aaron ESP 2363 7,5 2264
13 10
GM KORPA Bence HUN 2536 7,0 2409
14 6
GM FORCEN ESTEBAN Daniel ESP 2566 7,0 2358
15 24
IM LOISEAU Quentin FRA 2459 7,0 2343
16 20
IM PULVETT MARIN Daniel Eduardo ESP 2476 7,0 2335
17 21
GM MOVSZISZIAN Karen ARM 2474 7,0 2316
18 2
GM LAGARDE Maxime FRA 2648 7,0 2311
19 23
IM FLUVIA POYATOS Jordi AND 2461 7,0 2299
20 25
GM UBILAVA Elizbar ESP 2447 7,0 2272
21 38
IM ROEDER Matthias GER 2367 7,0 2227
22 42
IM SONG Julien FRA 2328 7,0 2143
23 62
FM ACOR Corey USA 2223 7,0 2113
24 19



Translation from German: Johannes Fischer


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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