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Osaka Wine Cup

by Mayur Gondhalekar - 12/03/2023

The previous year has been rather tumultuous, which forced me to miss quite a few chess tournament in Japan. One such was an extraordinary event on December 11 where I was hoping to celebrate the birthday of India’s GM Viswanathan Anand, with wine and chess! Come 2023, the tournament has taken up an official standing with the National Chess Society of Japan (NCS Japan). It is the “Osaka Wine Cup” organized by Mr. Leonard Brinkmann of the Kashiwara Chess Club, in Osaka, Japan. Check out a pictorial report written by Mayur Gondhalekar and also few games from the tournament. Photo: Leonard Brinkmann

An invitation to enjoy Wine and Chess at Osaka’s unique chess tournament

The Osaka Wine Cup, organized by Mr. Leonard Brinkmann of Kashiwara Chess Club, takes the players to a beautiful winery for a Wine-and-Chess experience. More editions will be held starting March 2023.

The location, Kashimoto winery | Photo: Leonard Brinkmann

This tournament takes places in a beautiful, Japanese style room, inside Katashimo winery located in Kashiwara area of Osaka. 2023 is going to see four editions, the first of which took place on January 28th as the “3rd Osaka Wine Cup Rapid Tournament”. This was the first rated (NCS Japan) edition of the event, where ten players participated.


The time control was 15 minutes + 10 seconds/move from move 1. Participation was based on two groups: Group A (rated event) consisting of players with an active membership of NCS Japan, and Group B (unrated) for absolute beginners.


Since the tournament was held in a winery, it was possible to consume beverages like wine, grape juice, brandy, whisky, or non-alcoholic ones. Bento box (Lunch box) was also available if ordered upto 10 days in advance.


The organizer, Mr. Leonard Brinkmann was kind enough to share the games, photos and an explanation of the venue, Katashimo winery.

Replay games from the tournament

Photo Gallery

The entrance | Photo: Leonard Brinkmann

Standing leftmost: The organizer Leonard Brinkmann, Winners: (sitting, L-R): Mika Yamaguchi (Women’s 1st), Tibor Jones (Open 3rd), Reiji Takahashi (Men’s 1st), Mitsunori Makino (Open 2nd) | Photo: Leonard Brinkmann

Battling it out in the beautiful Tatami mat rooms | Photo: Leonard Brinkmann

An example of the bento box for lunch | Photo: Leonard Brinkmann

Participant list | Photo: Leonard Brinkmann

It would certainly be of mutual benefit for more players to enjoy chess at this wonderful event. As a form of invitation, the organizer has been kind enough to explain more about this lovely venue:

About Katashimo winery:

It’s quite a stunning fact but actually a little over 100 years ago, Osaka was the most active grape-growing region in Japan. At that time, in Osaka, where vast vineyards spread out, Katashimo Winery succeeded in making wine using an in-house developed method and has been making wine uninterruptedly for over 100 years. Nowadays it is the oldest existing winery in West Japan. The winery won numerous awards not only in Japan but around the world for example in London, Paris, Hong Kong, and San Francisco. In addition to that, in 2019, seven products were adopted for the G20 Osaka Summit. All company-run vineyards are certified as eco-friendly agricultural sites by the Osaka Prefecture, with about 40 different varieties grown on only 3ha of land.


The winery is the oldest of west Japan and is beautifully located in midst of old Japanese style houses with vineyards in around it, trees hundreds of years old, temples and shrines. Make sure to not miss on the surroundings when you visit.


The next edition, the 4th Osaka Wine Cup Rapid event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 25, 2023, at Katashimo Winery (Kashiwara City, Osaka prefecture, Japan) featuring a Rated event (Group A), as well as an Unrated event for newbies (Group B), both with a time-control of 15 mins + 10 secs / move from move 1.


A bit far away to the east, we had the first cherry blossom bloom of the season of Honshu island, at Kawazu in Shizuoka prefecture. Enjoy the beautiful pink blossoms via photos shared by my good friend, Mr. Amogh Kutumbe.

Sakura, at Kawazu | Photo: Amogh Kutumbe

Beautiful Walking route | Photo: Amogh Kutumbe

Pink Pink everywhere! | Photo: Amogh Kutumbe

Varied colours of nature | Photo: Amogh Kutumbe


National Chess Society of Japan

About the Author

Mayur is an IT engineer and a chess enthusiast from Mumbai, working in Japan since 2013. He has played over-the-board tournaments in India, USA and Japan. He has also been a top three finisher in a one-day OTB events in Japan in 2013, 2015, 2017 and online blitz in 2020. Currently he is making use of online platforms for chess improvement and learning Ayurveda. He loves salsa dancing, reading, traveling and teaching.

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