Chess Classic Mainz – twelve players with a perfect score

8/8/2010 – 701 chess players are taking part in this rapid chess world championship – 165 have international titles, and the average rating of the top ten is 2727! After five rounds 12 players still have a perfect 5/5 score, amongst them Aronian, Gashimov, Karjakin, Grishuk, Bologan, Kamsky, Kasimdhzanov. There were simultaneous exhibitions with Anand, Aronian and Kosteniuk. Big illustrated report.

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701 participants in Grenke Open

The tenth edition of the Chess Classic Mainz is taking place from 6th - 8th August 2010. The event has been cut down to three days, but the Chess Classic is still the main rapid chess event in the world, with many top grandmasters in the entry list.

The winner of the Open Grenke Rapid World Championship will receive € 6000 in prize money, and will also receive the prestigious title “Rapid Chess World Champion”.

The main sponsor of the event is Wolfgang Grenke, chairman of the GrenkeLeasing AG. He has sponsored the Chess Classic since 2005.

Twelve players with a 100% score after the first day

By Eric van Reem

This year, the symbolic “700” barrier was cracked: despite the fantastic summer weather, 701 chess players came to Mainz to play the Grenke Open. We counted no less than 165 players with an international title in this strong field, in which the top ten has an average Elo of 2727!


The playing hall before the start of the first day of the Open...


... and what things look like after a round has started

As we heard from many chess fans today, playing chess is not the only reason to come to one of the oldest cities in Germany. Being part of the chess community and having the unique chance to play a world championship with top players in one single tournament is the main reason for their pilgrimage to Mainz.


The top boards play on the stage at the head of the hall

After five rounds in the Grenke Open, twelve players still have a perfect 5/5 score: Aronian, Gashimov, Karjakin, Grishuk, Bologan, Kamsky, Kasimdhzanov, Inarkiev, Bareev and Gustafsson, Kempinski and Markowski.

In the Grenke Open you do not only meet top players, you also have to chance to play against legends like Vlastimil Hort, Ulf Andersson or senior world champion Miso Cebalo, who are happy to sign books or give autographs. In the first few rounds, the top players have a relatively easy job, but it is always dangerous to play against highly motivated lower rated players. In the second round, GM Andrey Sumets lost a spectacular game against the editor of the chess magazine “KARL”, FM Harry Schaack, and in the third round, German top player Arkadij Naiditsch stumbled against WGM Elvira Berend. The German number one lost another game in the fifth round, where he was ground down by FM Ulrich Schwekendiek in a spectacular King’s Gambit. With only three points Naiditsch is out of business, because the winner of the Grenke Open will at least need 9.5 points.


US Americans: IM Anna Zatonskih vs GM Gata Kamsky


GM Viktor Bologan from Moldova


Iranian WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan


WGM Paridar Shadi, also from Iran


Best friends: IM Almira Skripchenko, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk

It is fun to stroll through the playing hall, searching for nice combinations, piece sacrifices and blunders. Even world champion Vishy Anand stopped by and watched some of the games. Do not forget: the top ten boards of the Grenke Open are being broadcast live. Just click on www.chesstigers.de, and go to the CCM10-Live portal to follow the games. The games are also being shown on Playchess.com.

Six more rounds will be played on Sunday, starting from the chess-player friendly time or 11.00 a.m. Loads of pictures and reports can be found in German and English on the official website (see below).


Press conference: Short, intense, passionate

No less than three world champions attended the press conference of the tenth Chess Classic Mainz on Friday: reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand, women's world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk and rapid chess world champion Levon Aronian. Organizer Hans-Walter Schmitt stated in his opening speech that the length of the event is not really important: “The Chess Classic Mainz 2010 will be shorter than in previous years, but it will be an intense event, on the highest possible level”.


World Champion Vishy Anand and organiser Hans-Walter Schmitt in the press conference

Vishy Anand said that he was glad to be in Mainz again. He won the Chess Classic no less than eleven times. On his (real) Twitter account “Vishy64theking” he wrote: “no play, just chill”. When asked for his favorites for the Open, Anand answered: “It will be difficult to say who is going to win the Grenke Open, there are many strong players competing. Obviously Levon (Aronian) and Sascha (Grishuk) are hot candidates for first place, but I would not put my money on them.”


GM Levon Aronian of Armenia in the press conference

Aronian agreed: “It will be a tough tournament and I think there is no clear favorite. I would not be surprised, if some of the top players will not even be in the top 20 after 11 rounds. Myself included!” He smirked: “Hans-Walter Schmitt is always trying to find challenges for the players: sometimes I have to play a match, now I have to play the Open, and he even convinced me to play a Chess960 simul!”


Chess960 world champion 2008 Alexandra Kosteniuk

Women chess world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk was upset when she found out that no Chess960 events would be played in Mainz this year. “I have to say that I love Chess960! I like to be creative and I really enjoy the Chess960 events in Mainz. For me, Mainz has always been a good starting point: in 2008 I won the Chess960 world championship and after Mainz I won the chess world championship and scored other good results. I hope that the 2010 edition will become a new starting point for a successful chess year again. There are some important events coming up, like the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk and the women’s world championship in December in Turkey. But Mainz is not important only to me: I know that a lot of professionals just love to come here to meet other players in a relaxed atmosphere. That is what makes “Mainz” special.”

Simultanious exhibitions – the results

World Champion Anand played a simul on 40 boards. As a rule, the player who gives the simul plays with the white pieces, but one exception was made today: the oldest member of the Chess Tigers, Hans Mokry, celebrated his 76th birthday and was allowed to play with white. Anand agreed with a smile, but won the game anyway. After 4 hours and 23 minutes, Anand finished his simul and his final score was 36:4 (+34, =4, –2). He lost two games: one against Henrik Karlzen from Sweden and one against Bernd Grill from Germany.

Alexandra Kosteniuk played a Chess960 simul on 20 boards. Just 20? Yes, but with 20 different starting positions! Her final score was 18:2 (+16 =4 –0). She needed 3 hours and 13 minutes to complete her simul.

Photos: Organisation, Carsten Straub

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