Anand wins Mainz rapid over Shirov

8/8/2004 – India's Viswanathan Anand continued his hot German summer and added to his wardrobe for the fourth consecutive year in Mainz. He was awarded the winner's black jacket by organizer Hans Walter-Schmitt for his 5-3 Rapid Duel victory over Spaniard Alexei Shirov. Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler also defended their 2003 Mainz titles. Photos and report.

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Mainz Chess Classic 2004

Rheingoldhalle Mainz
August 4 – 8, 2004
Official homepage
View all games and download PGN

Everything old was new again in Mainz this weekend. Viswanathan Anand won the Classic rapid duel by beating Alexei Shirov 5-3 without losing a game. That's the same score by which he beat Judit Polgar last year, although that match was much tighter. This is Anand's fourth consecutive Mainz rapid win, the first two coming against Vladimir Kramnik (won in blitz tiebreaks) in 2001 and Ruslan Ponomariov in 2002.

It made for an impressive German double for Anand, who is fresh from his victory in Dortmund.


Anand won the duel against Shirov 5-3.

Anand wasn't the only repeat winner. A pair of Russians repeated their 2003 Mainz victories. Alexander Grischuk won the powerful Ordix Open with an impressive 9.5/11 undefeated score. He held off Morozevich in a final-round battle of the Alexanders to take clear first. This second win could make Grischuk a favorite to be the next sacrifice served up to appease the Hindu gods next year in the Duel.

The other Russian to defend his title was Peter Svidler. He narrowly won his "Chess960" Gerling Match against world junior champion Lev Aronian of Armenia. They split decisive games the first three days but on the final day Svidler drew the first and won the second to keep the title he won against Peter Leko last year. Chess960 is the name the Mainz organizers have selected for shuffle chess, aka "Fischerandom Chess," in which the pieces are placed randomly on the back rank before each game.


Aronian (left) was out-shuffled by Svidler on the final day.

There was also a giant open Chess960 tournament. Hungarian GM Zoltan Almasi was the winner of the FiNet Open with 9.5/11. He overtook Etienne Bacrot, who led most of the way, and beat Sadvakasov in the final round to finish without a loss. The win will make Almasi Svidler's match opponent in 2005.

In his post-match comments Anand credited his win to "two Fingerfehler." Shirov and other observers were not so charitable. The Spaniard's opening preparation was below par on several occasions during the match. Garry Kasparov was following the match and said, "Shirov did okay once he made it out of the opening. It looks like he had trouble remembering his own games!"

Sad, but true, as Shirov confessed. Anand easily won game six when Shirov's fingers slipped up and played 14...Bf8?? instead of 14...Ne6, as Shirov has seen played against him by Ivanchuk and even played himself against Svidler in the past year! After Anand's reply 15.Bg5 the game was already over. (16...Nxe4? 17.Qg4!).

Shirov also criticized his opening preparation in the third game, although he saved the draw. Then in game four Anand banged out 23 moves on the black side of an incredibly sharp Open Ruy Lopez line that Shirov had himself defended against Kasparov in 2001. They followed that game for 21 moves, but Anand was still in the books two moves later because he knew that Morozevich and Ponomariov had just played this line a few days earlier in Biel. The game finished drawn, although Anand later pointed out that he could have gained the advantage with 28...Bf8!

Shirov missed several good chances for a consolation win in the final game. Anand's first win came in game two when he defanged Shirov's Marshall Attack in impressive fashion. Black never had an attack and White steadily advanced up the board with his bishop and two pawns for a rook. Many consider the Marshall too dangerous to allow, especially in rapid chess, but now we see why Anand doesn't share this opinion!

Our thanks to Eric van Reem for information and photos from the Official Mainz event website.

Previous ChessBase reports

Chess Classic 2004: Anand leads Shirov 4:2
08.08.2004 With one day and two games to go India's Vishy Anand leads Alexei Shirov by two points in their Rapid Chess match. In the Chess960 (Fischer Random) between Peter Svidler and Levon Aronian all six games were decided for a 3:3 score. The FiNet Chess960 Open was won by Zoltan Almasi. Details in our illustrated report.

Chess Classic 2004: Carmen in Mainz
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Chess Classic 2004: A change of pace
05.08.2004 Unlike Dortmund, the Mainz Chess Classic, which begins today, propagates faster and unusual forms of chess. There are Rapid and Fischer Random matches between world-class GMs, and Opens for Rapid and Random games. And lots more, as you can find out in our Chess Classic Guide...

Mainz on Fire
29.06.2004 From August 4th to 8th, three days after the Chess Meeting in Dortmund, the city of Mainz in Germany will host a new edition of their Chess Classic. This includes a rapid chess match between the world's number two Vishy Anand and number 14 Alexei Shirov, and a "Chess960" match between Peter Svidler and Levon Aronian. Details...

Chess Classic 2003

Anand pulls off hat-trick win at Mainz Chess Classic
18.08.2003 After two previous wins in the Mainz Chess Classic Anand today clinched a third title with two straight victories over Judit Polgar. The Indian rapid chess champ started the day with a break of tradition: unlike on the first three days he won the first game. After that he took the final game without giving his plucky opponent much of a chance. Meanwhile Peter Svidler defeated Peter Leko to become the first "WNCA" champion. Report, pictures and games...

Topics Mainz 2004
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