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Team “SC uBu” scores points at the largest chess open in the world!

The major event

There was great anticipation in the chess world when the big chess festival started in Karlsruhe: Grenke Open and Classic 2024. The Schwarzwaldhalle and the Gartenhalle in Karlsruhe were filled with almost 2,700 tournament participants and many, many visitors. Karlsruhe was literally the epicenter of the chess world this Easter.

After five fateful years of pandemic and crisis, the Grenke Chess Festival finally took place again. From March 26th to April 1st, six world stars, including the two world champions Carlsen and Liren, competed in rapid chess for placement in the Grenke Chess Classic. All other players competed two days later, from March 28th to April 1st, at the Grenke Chess Open, the largest tournament in the world.

Divided into three skill groups, the Open A, B and C, there were 11 committed and passionate players from our club SC uBu among the thousands of participants. Aymeric, Dominik, Herbert, Paul and Thomas took up the fight in the C-Open. Carsten, Christian, Fabian and Quentin started in the B-Open. And finally Markus and I took part in the A-Open. None of us probably have a realistic chance of winning the tournament in such an excellent environment, but as it turned out, we were all able to hold our own.

Our warriors in battle

Aymeric played his first ever Open and did an incredible job. He scored a fantastic 6.5 out of 9 points. He had no difficulty surviving the full distance of the nine rounds and in the end he deservedly and very successfully finished in 28th place in the C-Open among almost 500 participants.

After two draws in the first two rounds, Carsten was very successful with four wins in a row. Only an opponent placed 14th on the starting list (with 60 points higher ELO) in the eighth round was able to briefly stop him. In the ninth round, Carsten routinely got the full point again and completed the B-Open with 7 out of 9 and a great 37th place out of almost 1200 participants. An improvement of well over 150 places on the ranking list!

Christian first had to find his way into the tournament, but was able to score through in the end and maintain his place in the rankings. A great result with 4 out of 9 points that he will certainly build on in the future!

Dominik impressed at the start of the tournament with a fantastic 100% in the first three rounds. He got three wins from three games. Unfortunately, he dropped out of the tournament in the fourth game. Nevertheless, a huge compliment to our young player for this great tournament success!

Fabian didn’t find it easy to score points at the beginning of the tournament. But in the last three rounds he managed to get a fantastic two points out of three. He was also able to significantly improve his ranking position.

Herbert played a consistently solid and overall successful tournament. He routinely got five out of nine possible points, even if he had to lose a few places in the rankings. Being involved in such a great event as an active athlete definitely makes up for it.

Unfortunately, Markus was unable to attend at the beginning of the tournament and only took part in round 3 of the A-Open with around 950 participants. However, he was able to more than maintain his place in the rankings with 2 points from the seven games instead of the maximum nine.

Paul started with a fantastic three points from the first four rounds in C-Open. After that, he understandably didn’t have an easy time with the stronger opponents who followed. Chess is played according to the Swiss system, so you are always drawn against equally successful opponents. Finally, Paul was able to bring the tournament to a fantastic end in the last round with another full point. Paul moved up almost 150 places in the rankings with 4 out of 9. A remarkable success!

After a mixed start to the tournament and a game without a fight, Quentin scored his points very successfully in the middle of the tournament in B-Open. He can also be very satisfied with his performance! A 9-round tournament like this demands the utmost from a chess player. Quentin managed to move up the rankings by over 350 places with 4,5 out of 9!

Thomas played a solid tournament and showed extreme nerves, especially in the last two rounds. Here he got 100%! Overall, he confidently defends his place on the ranking list with 4,5 out of 9. He is very happy that as a chess player you can learn so much at a tournament. A constructive approach to competitive sports is extremely beneficial for progress in chess.

Finally, I myself played my first international Open in many years and was very happy to be able to defend and even improve the ELO number I had achieved back then with 3,5 out of 9. I also ended up almost 150 places higher in the rankings than I was originally expected to be. Above all, I am happy and relieved to have completed this marathon.


Congratulations to all tournament participants from our club! We all put in a respectable, great sporting performance. Many were very successful, and for all of us it was a fantastic event with many highlights that will be remembered for a long time. It is breathtaking to be able to play and fight in such close proximity to the chess stars, like Carlsen, Liren and Keymer. One or two of them were also able to get an autograph from the stars.

In no other sport do players from all levels, from district class to world class, meet in one place with so much human closeness. The flair and atmosphere on the tournament grounds was amazing. We can all count ourselves lucky to have been there as participants or spectators. Let’s look forward to next year and keep our fingers crossed that the sponsors will make a new edition of the fantastic Grenke Open possible again.


About the author: Sven Hermann played as almost founder member of the club SC uBu since season 2009/10 (at that time "Kreisklasse A2") for uBu. With a break he's club member to this day. He lives for many years in Karlsruhe and plays club chess actively since 1984. He formerly played "Oberliga" in SV Mittelrhein. In BSV he used to play "Verbandsliga".

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