The first Berlin U25 Open, in which 269 players from 23 nations participated, concluded successfully last Sunday with an award ceremony followed by an afterparty. The tournament at the Lankwitzer Beethoven Gymnasium went smoothly, and all minor and major challenges were successfully overcome.
For many, the tournament began on Saturday, October 21st, with the setup. Volunteers, including members of the organizing SV Königsjäger Süd-West e.V. club and parts of the arbiters team, helped preparing the tables for the games, layed carpets in the gymnasium, set up the playing equipment, and arranged the live broadcast.
The actual start of the tournament took place on Monday. At exactly 13:00, the tournament was opened by the team led by Chief Arbiter Carsten Haase, Chief Organizer Jonathan Born, and Chairman Torsten Rose, allowing the first round to commence at 13:20.
The atmosphere was excellent from the very first round in all playing areas. In the cafeteria, the first 46 boards of the A-Open were in action, providing spectators with the opportunity to watch grandmasters and international masters live, while most players participated in the first round in the large gymnasium. Additionally, Kristin Schäfer and Alois Möschl provided excellent refreshments, including sandwiches, fruits, and cakes, which were considered very affordable and satisfying from many perspectives.
Thank you, Kristin and Alois, without you, the tournament atmosphere would not have been the same!
Throughout the tournament, the positive atmosphere prevailed, even though many players were exhausted after double rounds. The arbiters team handled all emerging issues through open discussions and contributed to a positive atmosphere. Friday was particularly exciting as the C-Tournament concluded, and the award ceremony took place. Thanks to our learning partner “Chessable”, many young participants in the C-Tournament received their first DWZ ratings, and the feedback was consistently positive.
The A-Open and B-Open reached their peak over the weekend. FM Bennet Hagner maintained the lead in the A-Open and triumphed over strong grandmasters and international masters. He not only won an unusually high prize money of €5,000 but also achieved one of the required norms for the IM title. Many players who arrived from different parts of Europe achieved notable results. The top three in the A-Open, all with the same points, were completed by GM Szymon Gumularz from Poland in second place, winning €4,000, followed by IM Vadym Petrovskyi from Ukraine in third place, earning €3,000. Several players also reached an Elo rating of over 2300, a primary requirement for the FIDE Master title. Jáchym Šmolík from the Czech Republic, who finished in 7th place, also achieved an IM norm.
In the B-Open, many aspiring chess talents took impressive cash prizes home. Andrey Pichugov, who started the tournament with an incredible 7/7 and ultimately won with 7.5/9, received the top prize of €1,000 and returned to England, while Gustaf Klühs from Berlin narrowly secured second place and received €750.
After the conclusion of this incredibly strong U25 youth chess tournament, most participants made their way to the train station or the airport. However, some enjoyed the afterparty at the World Chess Club, where a large blitz tournament took place, and a DJ created a lively atmosphere.
What remains are contented faces and unforgettable memories. The organizers are already looking forward to planning and executing the 2nd Berlin U25 Open in 2024.