And there's Cappelle too

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
You're not paying attention and suddenly five big events are taking place. This weekend the big festival of the little town of Capelle la Grande started too.

Two years ago, Cappelle la Grande was one of the first tournaments I wrote about, back then only in Dutch. It went something like

It sounds like a coastal town in South France, where Hollywood stars and other souls with too much money are nipping at cocktails, whenever they're not wachting other people. Cappelle la Grande is indeed located in France, but actually close to Belgium, at the northwestern coast, right below Dunkerque. These days, like every year in February, Cappelle hosts chess players who are nipping at small or bigger successes, whenever they're not dropping pieces.

In the meantime, I've started to realize that the chess calendar is full of events that have been organized for ages at exactly the same time of the year. Rituals such as setting the pieces or filling out the notation form give the amateur some mental support, and a life full of repetition is what gives the chess professional some extra guidance.

To some extend, this also holds true for tournament organizers, but they can at least invite different players each year. In 2007, it was the Chinese player Wang Yue who clinched first place in Cappelle la Grande, but at this year's edition he's not there. First seed is the Azeri Vugar Gasimov (2665), who actually finished on 7 out of 9 in 2007, just like Wang Yue.

With 612 participants the festival is huge. 106 GMs and 70 IMs attract many fans, and if not, the relatively high percentage of female participants (15%) might do the trick.

The strength of this Swiss tournament becomes clear when you see that GMs are paired to IMs already in the first round. Not surprisingly, this led to some early upsets: Vassilios Kotronias (2628) lost to Jon Ludvig Hammer (2441), Chanda Sandipan (2593) to Michal Olszewski (2430), Erwin l'Ami (2581) to Yelena Dembo (2427) and Kevin Spraggett (2588) to Mohamed Tissir (2428).

Here are some photos taken by Jan Lagrain of De Schaakfabriek (highly recommended if you can read Dutch). Jan is playing himself and we wish him good luck.

The playing hall, which is similar to the one in Pardubice

It seems Kotronias got seriously distracted during the first round

First seed Vugar Gashimov

Anna Rudolf from Canada Hungary, who was in the news recently when some GMs accused her of cheating. She was said to have been using her lipstick for external help during her games. An interesting detail of that story is that the players already announced beforehand that they would complain to the arbiters again at Cappelle.

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