Catholic and Protestant Easter is synonymous in the world of chess in Germany with the dates of the most important open in this country. The open starts on Thursday and ends on Monday, the second day of the Easter. From 1997 to 2015 Neckar Open was held in Deizisau. Year by year the number of players was increasingly higher, reaching 600 in 2015. The decision of the organizers to raise further level of the festival has paid off this year. The tournament changed its name in Grenke Chess Open, moved to another city, Karlsruhe, and the prize fund has been considerably bigger. The result? An increase of the number of players with nearly 400, reaching a record 970.
Perhaps the main reason for such a growth in the number of players is the possibilities for accommodation in Karlsruhe, much higher and diverse than in Deizisau. Also it was important that available hotels, pensions and hostels are close or relatively close to the playing hall, by walking distance, a very important detail for a tournament where there are two rounds per day. Physical recovery between rounds is more important than the training itself.
Far from being an architectural jewel Karlsruhe is nevertheless a pleasant city with parks right in the center. Except for main shopping area streets are less crowded and favorable for long walks. Former princes palace is surrounded by a large park which includes a botanical Garden, and next to it is the most respected institution in Germany, the Constitutional Court. Given the duration of the tournament, March or April, depending on the date of Easter, we can say that the only thing necessary for the tournament to be held in throughout excellent conditions is the weather. But in this matter we powerless.
Connections to Karlsruhe are excellent. Low cost flights airports are Baden Airpark (20 min) and Frankfurt Hahn (90 min), both connected by bus service. Also, international airports in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Cologne-Bonn and Strasbourg offer fast connections by train and bus.
There are accommodation options for all budgets. A problem may be meals on Sundays and Mondays, the first two days of Easter, when many restaurants are closed. Therefore it wouldn’t be a bad idea to fill the fridge with some food, just in case, especially for the moment when a long game occurs. Even the few places which are open don’t have the kitchen working all the time.
Playing hall is one of the best from of all I’ve seen. Receiving more than one thousand people without any shortcomings on players comfort is a rare thing. Everything is just perfect, the light, the toilets, the snack bar.
The only thing that may be annoying for the players is the rhythm of the rounds and of the games . Two rounds per day are not uncommon. But combined with the old style time control, without increment, it may constitute a serious obstacle for the physically unfit players. Therefore, to perform well at Grenke Chess Open must be prepared both a chess player and as an athlete in peak form.
Place: Karlsruhe, Germany
Date: 13.04 – 17.04.2017
Prize Fund: 40.800 EUR
Official Site: http://www.grenkechessopen.de/de/
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