Guernsey Chess Club and Federation Reports

Fred Hamperl reports from the 23rd Cappelle La Grande Open Tournament, 3-10 March 2007

The tournament is held in the Palais des Arts in Cappelle La Grande. The name "Grande" is a bit deceiving as the town is very small.

A new planetarium is being built right by the Palais.

Most of the players were given hotel rooms in Dunkerque the nearest big town. Our hotel was Gens de Mer, not top quality but fine for us. It was mardis gras festival month and lots of local gentlemen were dressed in green tights and nice floral hats each evening.

The Guernsey contingent was Fred Hamperl (FM), Toby Brookfield (CM) and Anton Muller (from left to right). This Cafe was the only one in town so it was frequented quite often. Fred was in the 2099-2000 grading band, Toby 1699-1600 and Anton 1499-1400. Toby and Anton were severely underated. Anton is originally from South Africa and used to work in Guernsey but now lives in the UK.

The playing hall was superb. A whole team of volunteer helpers would give give you water (for 50 cents) with no fuss or queuing. Over 600 players were accommodated in the hall with the very top players on the stage. The organisers invited at least two players from each country so players were from all over the world. Flags by each player denoted their nationality. I thought it was a bit like Noah's ark, it did stop raining though.

There was a cafeteria ajoining the playing hall. There would be one serving time for lunch and evening meal so there was a bit of waiting for food but it wasn't bad when it came. After a day or two we worked out it was best to turn up late for meals. The single slice of cheese course used to amuse us and confuse some of the players.

Anton waits outside the playing hall with his new South African friend Kenny Solomon (IM), Toby inspects the interesting mozaic patterned floor behind them.

Appropriately for us the Guernsey and South African flags were right next to each other on the hall walls.

In Dunkerque most the english speaking players seemed to gather at Le Jerome bar (Irish pub). Here Toby and Fred meet Kevin Spraggett (GM) from Canada.

One of my best games was against Women's Grandmaster Laura Rogule from Latvia. A closed sicilian was opened up, we had a tactical scuffle and I swapped off into a knight and pawn ending a pawn up that I thought was winning but the game ended up a draw.

The Guernsey contingent played fantastically well. Toby pictured here won his grading prize 1699-1600. Anton won his grading band 1499-1400. I missed winning my grading band by half a point becasue I lost a completely drawn game in the last round, fatigue. However I got my best tournament perforamnce ever by a big margin with 2281 and gained 41 rating points. This is almost certainly the highest tournament perforamance any Guernsey player has ever achieved and maybe the highest of any Channel Islander.

Here you can see Toby and Anton inspecting their well deserved trophies on stage. The winners were introduced with the french word "vainqueurs" prefixing their name, it took me a little while to decifer what was being said.

All the winners stood in line on stage. Anton is behind the overall winner Wang's left shoulder. Toby is also at the back one person further across.

The final banquet was still in the main cafeteria but the food was a bit higher quality. As usual the wine was free and unlimited.

A chess cake was presented and then eaten by us all.

This is a must return visit for Guernsey. A very well organised and truly international tournament. Thank you Cappelle La Grande!

For full crosstable and more info see