A special class of chess in Baden

8/26/2003 – The German city of Baden-Baden is famous for its spas, its theraputic waters and its casino. It has also played host to some great chess tournaments, starting in 1925 (Alekhine won). This year there was a number of classy opens and a 92-board open-air simultaneous exhibition with world-class players. GM Suat Atalik reports.

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Baden-Baden Infoscore Open 2003

A report by GM Suat Atalik


The garden city of Baden-Baden

Baden-Baden is a small but famous city located in Baden State of Germany. The place, as can be understood by its name (Baden means bath in German) is famous for its baths. Most of the people visiting the place are above an age group and the city gives a well-to-do impression in general.

Since 1870 Baden-Baden is the venue for many strong chess tournaments. Most likely the most memorable one is 1925 tournament won by the then future World Champion Alexander Alekhine.

After experimenting with some opens and seniors opens between 1981 to 1991, Baden-Baden finally hosted another superstrong round robin in 1992 which was won by World Champion Anatoly Karpov.


The "Trinkhalle" where people drink theraputic water

This year's format was a Masters Open, Seniors Open and two weaker opens. The tournaments were held between July 24 and 30, 2003 in the Congress Hall of the city. In the Masters Group there were five GMs, 13 IMs, one WIM. And four FMs. The total number of participants amounted to 50, so it was a restricted open with all the players having FIDE ratings.


The famous Casino of Baden-Baden

The main sponsor seems to be InFoScore and it is the 6th Festival held by these people. After the conditions posed by Turkish Organizers in European Individual Championship, the tournament conditions were a paradise for me. Descent appearance fees for GMs, combined with good tournament hall and excellent hotel is not very usual for GM chess professionally in our times. The main organizer Christian Bossert was very efficient in dealing with possible problems during the tournament.


Christian Bossert and his wife

From the technical point of view, things rolled in the way they were expected to. Two Elo favorites, yours truly and Ukranian GM Baklan, had an early run but when I have succeeded in beating GMs Aseev and Schmaltz and IM Schenk in the first 7 rounds it became clear that if I won't show any flashes of stupidity I would cash in on the first prize. Despite drawing IMs Doettling and Siegel in the last two rounds and spoiling my seven round performance of 2880 to 2735 I was still able to win the tournament with 7,5 out of 9, having an average of opponents like 2460.


IM with GM norms: Fabian Döttling

2nd to 5th places went to GM Baklan, IMs Doettling and Schenk, GM Aseev, all scoring 6,5 out of 9. GM Baklan was seemingly tired playing non-stop in the last period and it has effected his result. IM (or should I say GM?) Doettling scored his final GM norm. I started to see this talented German after year 2000. It seems like he only had good results, playing extremely solid. I still believe he is a remote relative of Russian GM Zviagintsev, having almost the same understanding and attitude towards the game.


Almira Skripchenko, Andreas Schenk and Roland Schmalz

Before the tournament I have only heard about IM Schenk but when I saw him in action it became clear that getting a GM title is only a matter of time for this talent too. Actually he missed the norm, recording a 2600 performance instead of 2601.


The winner (and author of this report) GM Suat Atalik

The famous Russian GM Konstantin Aseev, with whose games I grew up, showed a bad performance in the tournament. Kostya built up a very bad time management in the last years it seems that he suffers from indecisiveness. He pondered for an hour and ten minutes on a move during our game, and did almost the same with Doettling, after which despite having a great position had to settle for a draw.


11-year-old Denis Kharchenko of the Ukraine won the open

Internet World Champion GM Schmaltz had another mediocre result, the talented German GM does not seem to work enough on chess in the last period.


WIM Anna Dergatschova-Daus

The real surprise of the tournament was Russo-German WIM Anna Dergatschova-Daus. Anna took the 9th place and showed a good performance by beating Bulgarian-Austrian GM Balinov in the penultimate round. I was very proud of her result since our small training camp before the tournament in Essen seemed to work positively on her.

Final standings (first ten)

1. Atalik, Suat BIH GM 2599 7.5
2. Baklan,Vladimir UKR GM 2598 6.5
3. Doettling,Fabian GER IM 2503 6.5
4. Schenk,Andreas GER IM 2491 6.5
5. Aseev,Konstantin RUS GM 2522 6.5
6. Zaitsev,Mikhail RUS 2457 6.0
7. Siegel,Georg GER IM 2417 6.0
8. Schmaltz,Roland GER GM 2530 6.0
9. Dergatschova-Daus RUS WIM 2276 6.0
10. Mutschnik,Ilia UKR 2371 5.5

Baden-Baden was a successful open for the organizers. The chess world needs to have more opens of this type to support chess and the professionals working in this field. If no precautions are taken the stagnation of good tournaments with good conditions will be destructive for chess. Seeing FIDE build up institutions like ECU to make money from professionals, rather than looking for means to find support for them, makes me in general sick.

Simultaneous exhibitions

During the chess tournament there was a special event in which the players of the league team Baden-Oos gave an open-air simultaneous exhibition on 92 boards.


Peter Svidler at the start of the games


Vishy Anand


Almira Skripchenko


Simultaneous chess is a family affair


Chess fans in Baden


Everybody enjoys these events


GMs Rustem Dautov, Peter Svidler and Vishy Anand


Vishy treats himself

Pictures by Anna Dergatschova-Daus and InFoScore Chess Festival


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