Cappelle la Grande Open

February, 2000

The Cappelle La Grande Open (Feb 18-26) is held annually in a small suburb of Dunkirk at a cost of £1/4m under the auspices of the Communist mayor. This year there were 643 competitors from 50 countries, including 105 grandmasters.

IM John Shaw from Kilmarnock was in top form and scored 5.5/9 to finish just one point below a grandmaster level performance. Shaw, the 1998 Scottish champion, played six GMs in successive rounds and recorded a fine endgame victory against Simen Adgestein, the top Norwegian player. John suggested the following tactical melee as more reader friendly fare - notes based on JS comments.

Cappelle la Grande round 3, White: Mert Erdogdu (Turkey), Black: John Shaw (Scotland), Opening: French Defence.

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7 7 Qg4 0-0 7...Qc7 is the main line but theory can be minimised with the unusual 7...Kf8 when it is not obvious how White gets an advantage.

8 Nf3 This move has been replaced by 8 Bd3 with the idea 8...Nbc6 9 Qh5 and now Ng6 is the only move since 9...h6 10 Bxh6! is a winning sacrifice. Black's soundest defence is probably 8...f5 9 exf6 Rxf6 10 Bg5 Rf7 11 Nf3 Nbc6. 10...e5?, as in the game, is not good 11 Qh4 e4 12 Bxf6 gxf6 13 Be2 and White should win after 13...Nf5 14 Qf4 cxd4 15 Bg4!

8...Nbc6 9 Bd3 f5 10 exf6 Rxf6 11 Bg5 e5! This sharp move is much better than the routine 11...Rf7.

12 Qg3 12 Bxh7+ Kxh7 13 Qh5+ Kg8 14 Bxf6 gxf6 15 dxe5 Qf8 16 exf6 Qxf6 or 12 Qh4 e4 are both fine for Black.

12...Rxf3! 13 gxf3 c4 14 Be2 Qa5 15 Bd2 Nf5 16 Qg5 exd4 17 cxd4 c3 18 Be3 Ncxd4 19 Bxd4 Nxd4 20 Qe5? A tempting double attack on the Nd4 which also threatens Qe8 mate but White should have preferred 20 Rg1! first. Only after forcing the weakness 20...g6 play 21 Qe5 eg Nxc2+ 22 Kd1 Bd7 (22...Nxa1 23 Qe8+ is a draw) 23 Bd3 (Not 23 Kxc2? Re8) 23...Re8 24 Qd6! Qa4 and White can draw with 25 Rxg6+ hxg6 26 Qxg6+ Kf8 27 Qf6+ etc

20...Nxc2+ 21 Kd1 Qa4! 22 Qxd5+ Be6!

Black gives up a piece for a single tempo.

23 Qxe6+ Kh8 24 Qe4 If 24 Bb5 Rd8+ 25 Kc1 Qxb5 26 Rb1 Qd3.

24...Nd4+ 25 Kc1 Qb3 More accurate than 25...Re8 26 Bd1 Qd7.

26 Rb1 Qxa3+ 27 Kd1 c2+ 28 Kd2 Qa5+ 29 Ke3 cxb1=Q 30 Rxb1 Nf5+ Black almost blundered with 30 ..Qc3+?? 31 Bd3! with a double threat of mate on h7 and Qxd4.

31 Kf4 Rf8 32 Kg4 Nd6 33 Qd3 Qe5 34 Rb4 Qxh2 White resigns.

Other Scottish scores: Colin McNab (Dundee) 6/9; Alan Norris (London) 5.5; Tim Upton (Luxembourg) 5 (including a win against GM Helgi Olaffson of Iceland); Ken Beaton (Glasgow Montrose) 4.5; Mike Shepherd (Bon Accord 3.5).

Shaw's GM scalp Simen Adgestein, 33, enjoyed a dual career as Norwegian international footballer before injury forced premature retirement. In 1989 he had signing talks with Aberdeen but, as revealed to Mike Shepherd at Cappelle, performed badly in the trial. It had generally been thought that Aberdeen had been rejected by the Norwegian because of the lack of any strong chess competition.

It's not every day you play an Erdogdu.....but making fun of the foreigner's names is not the only entertainment for chess Brits abroad. Grandmaster Mark Hebden of Leicester challenged another English player to an arm wrestling contest in one of the Dunkirk hostelries and was taken to hospital to have a steel pin inserted in a broken finger... providing yet more evidence of the myth of chessplayer intelligence!

Photos below by Mike Shepherd

Sergei Ivanov (GM, Russia) v John Shaw (IM, Scotland)
Andrei Sokolov (GM, Russia) v Alan Norris (Scotland) (Blue pullover v Yellow shirt)
Ken Beaton at Dunkirk harbour
Sokolov v Norris
GM Gennadi Kuzmin (Ukraine)
Goldin v Shaw
Burmakin v Upton
Shaw on Board 1 (briefly)