Cappelle la Grande


February 2001

The Cappelle la Grande Open in northern France has developed into one of the largest events on the world chess circuit. Apart from a planetarium and a constellation of chess stars this modest suburb of Dunkirk has few obvious tourist attractions. The 17th edition of the tournament finished last weekend and boasted 712 players headed by 93 Grandmasters and 72 International masters. GMs Vladimir Chuchelov of Belgium and Einar Gausel of Norway shared first place.

Scottish champion IM John Shaw of Kilmarnock was in line for grandmaster norm until an 8th round loss put him out of the running. IM Steve Mannion of Cathcart and Alan Minnican of Edinburgh both picked up grading prizes. Mike Shepherd of Aberdeen recorded a snappy win in round 2.

17th Cappelle la Grande Open, White: M. Shepherd (Scotland), Black: A.Mevel (France), Opening: Benko Gambit. 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 b5 4 cxb5 a6 5 b6 a5 6 Nc3 Ba6 7 f4 Qxb6 8 Nf3 d6 9 e4 Bxf1 10 Rxf1 g6 11 e5 Nfd7 12 Qe2 Bg7 13 e6 fxe6 14 Ng5 Nf8 This is too passive, it was better to try 14...Bxc3+ 15 bxc3 exd5 but Black was obviously worried about 16 Qe6. One possible line is 16...Nc6 17 Nf7 Rf8 18 Nxd6+ Kd8 19 Nf7+ Ke8 draw?

15 dxe6 Nc6 16 Nd5 Qb7 17 Nf7 Rg8 If 17...Nd4 18 Qe4 creates a threat of Nf6+ winning the loose queen on b7.

18 f5 Rb8 Or 18...Nd4 19 Qe4 Rb8 20 f6!

19 f6 Nd4

20 Nxd6+ and Black resigns before 20...exd6 21 f7+ Kd8 22 e7+ Kd7 23 e8=Q+ Rxe8 24 Qxe8 mate.

Photos below by Mike Shepherd (click to enlarge)

Goldin v Shaw Burmakin v Upton Shaw on Board 1
GM Colin McNab Alan Minnican