Report on 1st Senior Open Tournament, Dieppe, 22-29.8.15
Ever looking for interesting new congresses to play in, I recently travelled across the Channel to Dieppe in Normandy to play in the inaugural Senior (50+) Open of the 11th Chess Festival organised by the local club, “L’Echiquier Dieppois”. I was not expecting to “pull up any trees” given the large entry of 54 players and so no-one was more surprised than me when I came home having won the tournament with 7 ½ out of 9 and picked up a handy first prize of 400 Euros! And this despite having lost my first-round game to a player graded 300 ELO points below my own 1930! I managed 7 wins and a draw from the remaining 8 games, the crucial win coming in round 8 when I defeated Paul Selby of Brighton, the only other English player in the tournament, most of whose players were French with a sprinkling of Belgians and Germans. Selby came third with 6 ½ so it was a good tournament for England!
The Dieppe Chess Festival can be strongly recommended for anyone looking to combine chess with a seaside holiday. The venue (games were played in the Salle des Congres and the Casino opposite) was superb and the many hotels within easy reach (a good thing given the wet weather all week). The local club, very dynamic and well supported financially by the town council, its (Communist!) mayor and local businesses, puts on a number of events alongside the main congress: a simultaneous display by top French lady player, Marie Sebag, an evening Blitz tournament, guided tours of Dieppe Castle and also the town of Dieppe itself, free drinks at a reception for all players and a friendly match against a visiting team from Brighton continuing a series that stretches to 11 reciprocal visits, alternating venues each year.
Other features of the tournament: high quality wooden sets and boards for all games; 3 Open tournaments alongside the Senior event: Open A/B/C, the A tournament being fearsomely strong with 50 players graded over 2000 and 20 over 2400. The C tournament had a high number of junior players, reflecting the emphasis placed on junior training by the club; the very friendly atmosphere. One feature not met before: a rule prohibiting any agreement of a draw before move 30!
I had an interesting encounter with a very attractive Russian lady player: 21 year-old Dina Belenkaya of St Petersburg. She is in the top 30 Russian women players and has two IM norms and a rating of 2300. As a university student of French and English she has already played several French tournaments but has never yet played in the UK. She would make a splendid catch for DCCA “Paignton” 2016 but would need free accommodation – any offers?
My opponents ranged in grade from 1477 (103ECF) to 1948 (162ECF) so the tournament was far from being the strongest I have played in but most of the games were good struggles.
I append my two wins in rounds 8 and 9.
In conclusion, a memorable and highly enjoyable tournament for me, one to which I would be keen to return .
Trefor Thynne (Secretary DCCA)