Vive la Victoire in Vin

by Evi Zickelbein
7/17/2017 – The Médoc Wine Open already has a 20 year tradition of meting out prizes in wine, as a fraction of winners' weights. This year the top honors went to FM Pablo Ollier who received 60 bottles for his victory. Evi Zickelbein participated for the 10th time, finished in fourth and brought home 14 bottles to Hamburg, as well as this report.

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20th Wine Open in Médoc

From July 1st to July 8th the 20th edition of the legendary Wine Open took place in Hourtin. The tournament moved in 2015, after organizers Rike and Jules Armas sold the campsite "La Rochade" in Naujac, and now takes place in neighboring Hourtin. The new venue is much bigger and more comfortable and numerous restaurants and bars at the harbor of the gigantic Lac d'Hourtin-Carcans beckon. What's more the coast is not far away and the beautiful Atlantic awaits!

Lac d'Hourtin-Carcans, in southwest France | Source: Google Maps

At the beach in Hourtin, with crashing Atlantic surf, you swim at your own risk! Don't worry, the weather was not always so topsy-turvy, and sometimes it was almost too hot! Ah, chess, sun, beach and sea! And for camping guests, special conditions are available at the Village Western, a four-star campsite!

Caution when swimming | Photo: Evi Zickelbein

This year the attendence was somewhat thinner than usual, due to a lack of promotion and some complications in the run-up, but next year it should be back on track, so you should already save the dates: June 30 to July 7, 2018. As an added plus, there will be World Cup football preliminaries in Russia included!

Ollier Undefeated

This year's edition was solidly won by FM Pablo Ollier (2378), who was also the top ranked at the outset. He yielded just one draw in the fifth round against the second place Miguel Saenz Narciso and won all the other games, for a fantastic score of 8.5 out of 9! His prize at weigh-in: 60 bottles of Médoc, which Pablo packed safely in his small car even with three passengers for the 500 kilometer drive to Clermont-Ferrand!

The Spaniard Saenz Narciso has been coming back to the event for seven years, and he usually brings a group of friendly compatriots from his club in Logrono. Another attraction: the near-legendary football matches on the square in Naujac with international squads from Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and France! This year Miguel collected 7.5 points but finished a full point behind the winner. He was delighted to edge ahead on tiebreaks over the only IM of the tournament, Vincent Colin, since as a result he could bring his father a huge number of wine bottles (42 in all) to the province of La Rioja. There the opinion is that the Rioja is the best wine region in the world...but the Médoc varieties are not exactly despised.

Winners from left-to-right: Jean-Pierre Le Meur (6th), Jules Armas (organizer), Eva Maria Zickelbein (4th), Vincent Colin (3rd), Miguel Saenz Narciso (2nd), Pablo Ollier (1st), Rike Armas (organizer), Jean-Luc Feit (arbiter)

Colin in third place had some close calls en route to his 7.5 points! In some games (for instance against your reporter), he was nearer to the loss than the draw, and yet he usually managed to hold on. Therefore, of course, a deserved third place (and 22 bottles).

In fourth place and still quite content: Eva Maria Zickelbein making her tenth visit to the Wine Open! At the first chance in 2006, Alexei Shirov was the star guest and yet he took home just nine bottles for sixth place (1/6th of his weight). Well, this year Eva's fourth place (and 1/4 of her weight) netted 14 bottles to beat that score, albeit with a little help from two friendly ladies who tipped the scales just a little farther:

Rike Armas und Amélia Vital add a few bottles in my favor!

Top finishers

Click or tap the table to enlarge

The Korchnoi Gambit against the French

The French Defence is one of Black's most popular and uncompromising responses to 1.e4, and it's important to have a viable weapon prepared. In this presentation, IM Sam Collins explains the Korchnoi Gambit, which is characterised by White placing his king's knight on f3 in the Tarrasch variation.

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Topics wine

Eva Maria Zickelbein has been playing chess for many years and, as a daughter of Christan Zickelbein, has been firmly attached to the Hamburg chess club, where she plays for the Women's Bundesliga.
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