Chess Classic: Kasimdzhanov wins the Ordix Open

8/22/2006 – "I'm the man!" beamed Rustam Kasimdzhanov, quoting from the movie Kill Bill II. The Uzbek had just clinched victory in the Ordix Open. Second was Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, edged out on tiebreak points. But Mamedyarov won the combined title for Chess960 and Rapid chess. WGM Natalia Zhukova took the women's title. Illustrated report.

Chess Classic Mainz 2006

The event took place from August 15 to 20 in the Rheingoldhalle of the Congress Centre, Hilton Hotel in Mainz, Germany. It included matches and Opens in traditional and Random Chess, with stars like Anand, Aronian, Svidler, Radjabov, Kosteniuk and Pähtz participating.

Kasimdzhanov wins 13th Ordix Open,
Mamedyarov combined winner

By Eric van Reem

Rustam Kasimdzhanov, the ex-world champion from Uzbekistan, is the winner of the 13th Ordix Open. He scored 9.5 points out of 11 games. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov landed on second place, but won the combined Chess960 FiNet-Ordix Open. After 11 hard-fought rounds, Natalia Zhukova (Ukraine) won the ladies’competition in the Ordix Open with 8.5 points , Lajos Portisch (Hungary) was the best senior player with 8 points. The best player U20 was Csaba Balogh (Hungary). He scored 8 points. Here is a round-by round overview of the Ordix Open on Sunday.

Round 6: 10 a.m. – Wake up and play chess!

The only 100% player who scored another full point in the sixth round was Shakriyar Mamedyarov. Two players who had peacefully had breakfast together, Morozevich and Kasimdzhanov, met a few minutes later on the board, made a few moves and drew quickly. Then they continued their breakfast...


The wing of the Hilton Hotel where most of the players stayed


The playing venue, the Reingoldhalle on the right, is attached to the Hilton


Alexander Morozevich and Rustam Kasimdzhanov interrupt their breakfast

Grishuk arrived at the last minute at the board, but won a fine game against Daniel Fridman. More fighting spirit was shown on the lower boards, where some of the top favorites like Bareev, Bacrot and Shirov had to be awake and concentrated to get back to the leading group. But 10 a.m. seemed to be too early for Etienne Bacrot; he could only draw against Galdunts.

Round 7: Morozevich wins entertaining game

In round seven, Morozevich had to play Mamedyarov. An exciting game, in which something strange seem to have happened around move 27.


Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Alexander Morozevich

As an extra service for the audience the chess engine Spike was showing its evaluation on big TV screens, and when Moro played 27.Ne3 the engine suddenly displayed a big plus score for black (–2.5). But after 27...Kh8 the engine suddenly showed a big plus for white (+2.7). After 28.Ng4 the score was about equal again, so there was some confusion about the position in the audience and the press room: a nice “Sunday puzzle” for you and your favourite chess engine. Download the game in the download area of the Ordix Open.

Morozevich,A. (5.5) - Mamedyarov,S. (6)
ORDIX Open Chess Classic Mainz (7), 2006

On board two, Alexander Grishuk could not win against Leitao, although he had a completely winning position. His girlfriend Natalia Zhukova lost against FiNet Open winner Etienne Bacrot. Another interesting man-vs-woman encounter was Volokitin-Kosteniuk. That game ended in a draw after a sharp fight. Evgeny Bareev lost against German youngster Fabian Doettling and Alexei Shirov missed his final chance to win the Ordix again: he lost to IM Donchenko, who was the lucky one to score a full point against this world class player. Shirov is very popular in Mainz, and can now concentrate on giving autographs and watching the games of his wife Victorij Cmilyte, who is doing very well in the Ordix.

Round 8: Mamedyarov recovers

In the last round before the break, Morozevich and Harikrishna, played on board one. “Hari” offered a draw in a dead-drawn position, but “Moro” wanted to see if he could squeeze something out of the position. The Russian showed that he is determined to win this year by declining the offer, but offered a draw himself a few moves later.


Zoltan Gyimesi of Hungary against Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan

Ex-world champion Kasimdzhanov won against Gyimesi and took the lead with 7.5/8. Grishuk had to be happy with a draw against the young German Leonid Kritz (Katernberg). Etienne Bacrot had a winning position against 18-year old IM Viktor Erdos from Hungary, but the Frenchman could not clinch the point. He was even mated by young Viktor, who had the nerve to start his final attack with only a few seconds left on the clock. Gabriel Sargissian is back in business, winning against Alberto David from Luxemburg. Mamedyarov recovered from his loss in the previous round by winning against Evgeny Postny, and is still a hot candidate to win the Ordix. In the decisive last three rounds we will see who has the best stamina!

Round 9: Alexandrov blunders a piece

Things are getting serious on the top boards: you could feel the tension and the determination of the players in the Rheingoldhalle. And sometimes you need some luck: Alexey Alexandrov blundered a piece in an equal position with enough time on the clock against Kasimdzhanov. If you win such games, it is very unlikely that you will not win the tournament. “Kasim” now has an incredible 8.5 points. But there are still a few players who will do everything to prevent it: Kasimdzhanov is only half a point clear of Mamedyarov and Morozevich, who crushed Sargissian. Harikrishna and Grishuk still have outsider chances with 7.5 points, together with IM Rainer Polzin, who won his game against Alexander Graf, and Robert Ruck, who was able to beat Rafael Vaganjan.


GM Alexander Grischuk (6½ points) vs IM Gennadij Ginsburg (7). In the background GM Mikhail Mchedlishvili (7) vs GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (7)

How is the situation in the women, senior and youth section? Alexandra Kosteniuk, who seems to feel at home in Mainz, is playing very well and has seven points. She is leading the women’s section, half a point ahead of Gaponenko, Cmilyte, and Zhukova. Lajos Portisch is leading the senior section with 6.5 points, together with Klundt, Donchenko and Bangiev.

Round 10: Under pressure

Before the penultimate round starts, we hear the Queen song “Under Pressure” as a sign that the pairing for the 10th round is ready. It give the 632 players about five minutes to find their board and opponent. When the music stops the games can begin. A simple, but effective way to announce the next round. And the music is carefully chosen, Under Pressure is an appropiate song for the leaders of the pack: What is in the mind of a grandmaster: “What shall I do, how many points do I need to get the title? Shall I play a draw to secure a big part of the prize money? Or shall I play for a win?” Not easy for a professional chess player: Under pressure, without a doubt.


Top guns Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Rustam Kasimdzhanov face off in round 10

For Rustam Kasimdzhanov, everything went as planned. His opponent Mamedyarov did not push too hard and a draw was agreed after 27 moves. It was the first draw of the youth world champion in Mainz this year. That paved the way for Kasimdzhanov’s most stubborn pursuer Morozevich to get to the top, because he faced a relatively unknown opponent, Robert Ruck, who has about 200 Elo points less than the Russian. But everything went wrong for Moro. He had a good position, more time than his opponent, kept all the pieces nicely on the board and looked relaxed. But he obviously could not cope with the pressure and even lost the game. Exit Morozevich!


Fateful game: Alexander Morozevich vs GM Robert Ruck in round ten

Alexander Grishuk also lost his last chance to win the Ordix Open. He lost relatively quickly against Sargissian. For the German spectators, the fight between Buhmann and Naiditsch was the highlight of this round. In a real brainteaser Buhmann won after 107 moves. If you would like to learn something about knight endgames, replay this game!


Endgame lessons in the game IM Rainer Buhmann vs GM Arkadij Naiditsch


GM Giovanni Vescovi, Brasil, vs GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, Russia; in the background GM Fabian Döttling vs GM Alexcey Aleksandrov

Round 11: Kasimdzhanov winner of Ordix Open.

With a fantastic score, 9.5 points/11 games, Rustam Kasimdzhanov is the winner of this year’s Ordix Open! His opponent in this last round, Robert Ruck, did not have enough energy anymore after his battle with Morozevich in the previous round. The ex-world champion could easily draw the game. After 21 moves the game was over. The first reaction of the new Ordix Open champion: “I am surprised that I did so well in the Ordix, because in the FiNet Open I did not play very good. I made no serious mistakes in the Ordix, and my best game was in the fifth round, against Michael Prusikin.”


Rustam Kasimdzhanov clinching it against an exhausted Robert Ruck

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov managed to win in the final round and also scored a tremendous 9.5/11, but Kasimdzhanov won the tournament because of the progressive score rules. However, the youth world champion won the combined FiNet-Ordix competition. He was nevertheless disappointed. “I would have liked to win one of the Opens, instead of reaching the second place in the FiNet and Ordix Open. The crucial game was my loss against Morozevich. I easily could have won a piece, but I missed that opportunity. I do not like draws, I always fight, that is why I only played one draw in the past four days, in 22 games. Next year I will try to improve my performance. I’ll be back!”


Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (right) beat Giovanni Vescovi to come equal first

Alexander Morozevich was dissapointed, although he crushed Kritz in the last round and scored 9 points: “I have played this Ordix Open tournament three times, and in all the events I scored 9/11, which is very good, but obviously not good enough. The crucial game was the penultimate one, against Ruck, I should have scored a draw.”


GM Pentela Harikrishna beat GM Aleksandar Berelovich to finish fourth

Harikrishna quickly won in the last round and remained unbeaten in the Ordix. He played 30 games in Mainz this week, and won a breathtaking Chess960 match against Naiditch earlier this week, played 11 games in the FiNet Open and ended his chess-marathon today in the Ordix. “My next tournament will be the Spanish team championship in September. I have played a lot of tournaments this summer but I do not have that much time to relax, because I need to prepare for the upcoming events”, the likable 20-year old said.

Combined prize winners

Shakriyar Mamedyarov won the combined FiNet/Ordix competition, Etienne Bacrot and Rustam Kasimdzhanov followed on second and third place. Natalia Zhukova won the combined competition in the ladies section, Lajos Portisch, who also played 30 games this week, won the senior competition. All results are listed on the official website.


The winners Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov


Pentala Harikrishna with the trainer of the Indian team GM Elisbar Ubilava


Top women scorers: WGM Natalia Zhukova, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk and WGM Inna Gaponenko


The prize giving and closing ceremony for the Ordix Open

Photos by Carsten Straub and Frederic Friedel

Final standings (top scorers)

Rnk Player Elo + = Pts
TB1
TB2
1. GM Kasimdzhanov,Rustam 2673 8 3 0 9.5
61.5
70,0
2. GM Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2722 9 1 1 9.5
60,0
71.5
3. GM Morozevich,Alexander 2730 8 2 1 9,0
59,0
75,0
4. GM Harikrishna,Pentela 2682 7 4 0 9,0
57.5
67.5
5. GM Mchedlishvili,Mikhail 2572 8 2 1 9,0
56,0
65.5
6. GM Ruck,Robert 2537 7 4 0 9,0
56,0
65.5
7. GM Agrest,Evgenij 2587 8 2 1 9,0
55,0
63,0
8. GM Sargissian,Gabriel 2680 7 3 1 8.5
57,0
70.5
9. GM Aleksandrov,Alexcey 2634 8 1 2 8.5
56.5
68,0
10. GM Gyimesi,Zoltan 2614 7 3 1 8.5
56.5
66,0
11. GM Grischuk,Alexander 2719 7 3 1 8.5
55.5
70,0
12. GM Volokitin,Andrej 2677 6 5 0 8.5
55,0
70.5
13. IM Ginsburg,Gennadij 2503 8 1 2 8.5
54.5
65.5
14. GM Postny,Evgeny 2590 7 3 1 8.5
54,0
68.5
15. GM Bacrot,Etienne 2708 8 1 2 8.5
52,0
63,0
16. IM Buhmann,Rainer 2552 7 3 1 8.5
52,0
62,0
17. GM Tregubov,Pavel 2580 8 1 2 8.5
51.5
60.5
18. GM Gofshtein,Leonid 2520 7 3 1 8.5
51.5
59,0
19. WGM Zhukova,Natalia 2443 7 3 1 8.5
50.5
60.5
20. GM Shirov,Alexey 2699 8 1 2 8.5
49.5
62,0
21. GM Bareev,Evgeny 2701 8 1 2 8.5
49.5
60.5

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