Internationales Schachopen 2015 Graz
Graz Open Schach in Graz 2015
Graz Open Schach in Graz

International Chess Open Graz 2015

International Chess Open 2015 Graz

From 13th to 20th February, 2015, the International Chess Open took place in the beautiful ambience of the Hotel Nova Park.

228 participants from 27 countries accepted the invitation and participated in the tournament.

Beginners as well as professionals competed in three groups (A-, B- and C-tournament). The A-tournament was extremely strong with 127 participants and 67 title holders.

80 participants with an Elo rating below 2000 played in the B-tournament. This year was for the first time also established a C-group in which 21 participants competed against each other.

The high percentage of young players under 18 was remarkable (51 participants). With 22 female participants and 20 seniors (age 60 and over), the desired rate wasn’t achieved.

For the great conditions of the playing hall at Hotel Nova Park the organizers received many compliments, and the hotel staff was very concerned about the welfare of the tournament guests. About 80 overnight guests stayed at the hotel and altogether 220 stayed in Graz since many had traveled with their families.

The tournament organizer Andrea Schmidbauer not only created great conditions for the tournament, but also provided a varied social program. Thus, the participants were able to attend a free guided city tour and enjoyed a couple of invitations to culinary and musical events.

The opening event of the tournament on February 12th was hosted by the Mayor Siegfried Nagl in the Town Hall of Graz. Around 100 guests enjoyed a varied program with music, cuisine and chess. Austria's number 1 in chess, GM Mark Ragger, played simultaneously on multiple boards.

The course of the tournament

The starting rank of the A-tournament promised exciting games and a serious fight for the title. Closely followed by 11 other grandmasters, the Austrian Markus Ragger lead the starting rank. But the tournament started bumpy for Ragger. In the first round, the Austrian national team player Veronika Exler won half a point against Ragger. And Ragger was still lucky for not losing more points since shortly after the time control he made a mistake, but Exler missed this opportunity and was glad to be able to achieve a perpetual check.

The first five rounds were dominated by the Bulgarian player Boris Chatalbashev. He won happily the fourth round against local hero Peter Schreiner. After another win against Monika Socko Chatalbashev was the beaming leader of the A-tournament with five points because Socko and Ragger each let half a point against the Polish player Krystian Kuzmicz.

But then it became complicated for the Bulgarian player. In the most important game of the tournament against Bartosz Socko, Chatalbashev continues badly after the opening and as a consequence he is disassembled in the middle game. During the whole game Socko always found the best moves and after winning against Chatalbashev, he took over the lead of group A. Chatalbashev lost another game the following day against Andrei Istatescu in which he missed good chances of winning. After these two games he only achieves a draw and finishes the tournament on a disappointing 19th place.

In round 7 Socko defended his championship lead in a duel against Markus Ragger. Austria's poster child used its best endeavors to win, but Socko held the position and forced a repetition of moves. On the following day showed who would win the tournament. Ragger played a fantastic sacrifice game against the Argentinian player Alan Pichot and put pressure on Socko. But the Polish player has the fortune that favors the bold, which is needed to win tournaments. Socko balances out more or less easily with Black against the Argentinian player Sandro Mareco. The endgame should have ended a draw, but in the 38th move Mareco loses due to knight forks.

In the final round Socko only needed a draw against the Swiss player Sebastian Bogner in order to receive 7.5 points. With a performance by 2746 Elo he wins the International Graz Open 2015. Andrei Istrăţescu secured the second place by winning against the German player Marco Baldauf. He is followed by Markus Ragger, Leandro Krysa and Francesco Rambaldi, all of them receive 7 points. Best woman is Monica Socko, ranked 11th. The Italian player Francesco Rambaldi, the seventeen-year-old Slovenian player Boris Markoja, and the Indian player Akesh Thakur can look forward to IM norms.

Second best Austrian is Peter Schreiner with 5.5 points, ranked 23th. One behind is Georg Halvax, who achieved a good performance, just like Schreiner, around 2430 Elo. Veronika Exler is third best female player behind Monika Socko and Kubra Ozturk. They missed a WIM norm only due to a low number of title holders.

In the B-group of the tournament the young players won in the end. The Englishman Joshua Higgs (U18) is ahead of the Styrian Khanh Quoc Do (U14). Both receive 7 points. In the C -group, however, "old hand" Johann Konrad wins, but just behind him Lukas Ertl, again a U14 player, wins.

Pictures from the first days of the tournament you can find here.

Pictures from the opening event at the city hall you can find here.

For more information please contact Ms. Schmidbauer (phone: +43 699/1111 999 1)