The North Sea Cup Esbjerg Denmark
Coming out of hibernation

This round-robin pride of Danish chess grew out of nothing and peaked at category 11 in 1988, when the organizers - the Esbjerg Chess Union - decided to call it a day.

Not an easy decision and not a very popular one either, as over 200 amateur players had made a habit of spending a couple of weeks on the Danish west coast participating at what had become a regular chess festival: the North Sea Cup.

But nothing comes from nothing, and too many of the staff behind the tournament eventually were feeling half past dead and no replacement was in sight. So rather than let the event deteriorate, it was decided to pull the plug on the North Sea Cup.

The beginning of the new century fortunately, however, also sees the second coming of this tournament that's boasting a history worth keeping alive.

Here's a trip down Memory Lane:

1st North Sea Cup 1976
Elo: 2282 * Category: 3
1. Ulrik Rath, Uwe Kunstowicz 7/9

2nd North sea Cup 1977
Elo: 2364 * Category: 5 * IM: 7
1. Jens Kristiansen 9/11

3rd North Sea Cup 1978
Elo: 2417 * Category: 7 * GM: 9
1. GM Bent Larsen 11/13
B-group 1978
1. Per Knudsen 8/11

4th North Sea Cup 1979
Elo: 2444 * Category: 8 * GM: 10
1. GM Laszlo Vadasz, IM Jonathan Mestel 9/13
B-group 1979
Elo: 2292 * Category: 3 * IM: 8
1. Max Fuller 7/11

5th North Sea Cup 1980 Elo: 2430 * Category: 8 * GM: 9
1. IM Artur Jusupov 9/13
B-group 1980
Elo: 2301 * Category: 3 * IM: 9
1. John Nicholson 10/13

6th North Sea Cup 1981
Elo: 2436 * Category: 8 * GM: 8
1. IM Lars Karlsson 8/11
B-group 1981
Elo: 2344 * Category: 4 * IM: 7
1. Bjarke Kristensen 7/11

7th North Sea Cup 1982
Elo: 2434 * Category: 8 * GM: 8
1. GM Lubomir Ftacnik 8/11
B-group 1982
Elo: 2349 * Category: 4 * IM: 7
1. IM James Plaskett 8/11

8th North Sea Cup 1983 (Nordic Championship)
Elo: 2422 * Category: 7 * GM: 8
1. IM Curt Hansen 8/11

9th North Sea Cup 1984
Elo: 2483 * Category: 10 * GM: 7
1. IM Nigel Short 7/11

10th North Sea Cup 1985
Elo: 2468 Category: 9 * GM: 8
1. GM Andras Adorjan 8/11

The heart of the North Sea Cup has always been the open section, thus the 11th and 12th edition also bear the name North Sea Cups, regardless of the fact that there were no GM or IM-groups.

11th North Sea Cup 1986
Play-off for the Danish Championship IM Carsten Hoi defeated IM Jens Kristiansen 2:

12th North Sea Cup 1987
The Danish Juniors' Championship. Lars Bo Hansen took the title.

13th North Sea Cup 1988
Elo: 2502 * Category: 11 * GM: 7
1. GM Rafael Vaganjan, GM Viktor Kuprejtjik 7/11
B-group 1988
Elo: 2335 * Category: 4 * IM: 7
1. IM Zbigniew Jasnikowski 8/11

In September 1995 one of the key figures of the early North Sea Cups, Finn Larsen, passed away. His friends at his chess club decided that the best way to honor Finn's memory was to organize another North Sea Cup, this time also bearing his name.

14th North Sea Cup 1996 (Finn Larsen Memorial)
Elo: 2363 * Category: 5 * IM: 6
1. GM John Emms 7/9

As it turned out that tournament was not just a memorial, it was also a dry run for a revival:

the 15th North Sea Cup 2000!