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Books, boards, sets: Chess Niggemann

Matthias Blübaum wins GRENKE Chess Open

by Georgios Souleidis
3/30/2016 – 587 players used the Easter holidays to play in the GRENKE Chess Open in Karlsruhe, Germany. The huge open attracted five grandmasters with a rating of 2700+ and 21 2600+ grandmasters. But in the end the young German GM Matthias Blübaum (Elo 2605) left all favorites behind. With 7.5/9 he shared first place with five other players and won on tie-break.
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Winners and organisers

Matthias Blübaum (center) took first place, Vladimir Fedoseev (next to Blübaum on the left) won silver, and Nikita Vitiugov (next to Blübaum on the right) won bronze. The man next to Fedoseev is organiser Hans-Walter Schmitt, who also was the driving force behind the legendary Mainz Chess Classic tournaments. Next to Vitiugov is tournament director Sven Noppes.

Milos Perunovic (Serbia) finished fourth, ahead of Ni Hua (China) and Francisco Vallejo Pons from Spain.

In the last round of the GRENKE Chess Open the top boards decided to play it safe.

On top board Francisco Vallejo Pons played a quick draw against Milos Perunovic.

On board two Matthias Blübaum played with White against Markus Ragger from Austria. After the quick draw between Vallejo Pons and Perunovic Blübaum had the chance to become sole tournament winner if he beat the Austrian GM. If Ragger won, he would share first place. But after both players failed to get anything out of a Grünfeld they opted for the safe line and drew in 27 moves.


Matthias Blübaum: A last round draw was good enough to win the tournament

Now several players had a chance to catch up to the leaders. Vladimir Fedoseev, who played with Black against Li Chao, was one of them. In a fine Nimzo-Indian he played against White's weak pawn on c4 while Li Chao tried to attack Black's king. However, Fedoseev had things well under control and after parrying the attack and winning the weak pawn on c4 he did not need long to win the game. A fine positional effort by the young Russian.


Vladimir Fedoseev

Nikita Vitiugov also felt inspired by the last-round-pressure and demonstrated good technique against Alexander Moiseenko by turning his positional advantages step by step into a winning endgame.


Nikita Vitiugov won against Alexander Moiseenko

Chinese grandmaster Ni Hua also showed good technique and finished the GRENKE Chess Open with a fine positional game against Benjamin Gledura.


Ni Hua finished fifth on tie-break

The women's prize went to Elisabeth Pähtz from Germany. She played a good tournament, did not lose a single game and finished with 6.5/9. The second women's prize went to Sarah Hoolt from Germany who finished with 6.0/9. Best senior was Anatoly Donchenko, the father of the young German grandmaster Alexander Donchenko. Donchenko senior scored 5.5/9.

Elisabeth Pähtz won the women's prize: 2.000 Euros


No less than 13 players managed to make master norms at the GRENKE Chess Open. Among these 13 players were three promising juniors who thus took another important step towards the grandmaster title: Andreas Heimann from Germany (he scored 6.5/9, one point more than he would have needed for the norm), Bilel Bellahcene (born in 1998) from France, and Benjamin Gledura (born in 1999) from Hungary.

Andreas Heimann

The following players scored an IM-norm: Maximilian Neef, Lev Yankelevich, Elena Levushkina, Fabian Englert, Julian Martin (all from Germany), Robby Kevlishvili, Thomas Beerdsen, Bob Jansen (all from the Netherlands) Thai Dai Van Nguyen (Czech Republic), and Nicolo Napoli (Italy).

Final standings of the GRENKE Chess Open

Rang Titel Teilnehmer TWZ Attr. Verein/Ort Land S R V Punkte Buchh
1. GM Blübaum, Matthias 2605 M SV Werder Bremen GER 6 3 0 7.5 54.0
2. GM Fedoseev, Vladimir 2664 M   RUS 7 1 1 7.5 53.5
3. GM Vitiugov, Nikita 2721 M   RUS 6 3 0 7.5 53.0
3. GM Perunovic, Milos 2620 M   SRB 6 3 0 7.5 53.0
5. GM Ni, Hua 2691 M   CHN 6 3 0 7.5 52.5
6. GM Vallejo Pons, Francisco 2677 M OSG Baden-Baden ESP 6 3 0 7.5 50.5
7. GM Ragger, Markus 2694 M SG Solingen AUT 5 4 0 7.0 54.0
7. GM Predojevic, Borki 2647 M TSV Schönaich BIH 5 4 0 7.0 54.0
9. GM Saric, Ivan 2651 M SV Hockenheim CRO 6 2 1 7.0 51.5
10. GM Buhmann, Rainer 2636 M SV Hockenheim GER 5 4 0 7.0 50.0
10. IM Fedorovsky, Michael 2463 M FC Bayern München GER 5 4 0 7.0 50.0
12. GM Kamsky, Gata 2673 M   USA 6 2 1 7.0 49.5
13. GM Rapport, Richard 2720 M SG Solingen HUN 5 4 0 7.0 49.5
14. GM Kunin, Vitaly 2584 M Freibauer Mörlenbach GER 5 3 1 6.5 57.0
15. GM Li, Chao 2757 M SK Schwäbisch Hall CHN 5 3 1 6.5 55.5
15. GM Moiseenko, Alexander 2668 M SV Hockenheim UKR 5 3 1 6.5 55.5
17. GM Shirov, Alexei 2685 M OSG Baden-Baden LAT 5 3 1 6.5 55.0
17. GM Fedorchuk, Sergey 2604 M SC Viernheim UKR 5 3 1 6.5 55.0
19. GM Bosiocic, Marin 2554 M TSV Schönaich CRO 5 3 1 6.5 54.0
20. IM Heimann, Andreas 2560 M OSG Baden-Baden GER 4 5 0 6.5 54.0
21. IM Bellahcene, Bilel 2461 M OSG Baden-Baden FRA 6 1 2 6.5 53.5
22. GM Bacrot, Etienne 2701 M OSG Baden-Baden FRA 4 5 0 6.5 53.5
22. GM van Wely, Loek 2653 M SG Porz NED 4 5 0 6.5 53.5
24. IM Gledura, Benjamin 2538 M Eger SRSK HUN 6 1 2 6.5 52.5
25. GM Korobov, Anton 2713 M   UKR 5 3 1 6.5 52.5
26. GM Meier, Georg 2664 M OSG Baden-Baden GER 4 5 0 6.5 52.5
26. GM Bok, Benjamin 2611 M SG Porz NED 4 5 0 6.5 52.5
28. GM Demuth, Adrien 2541 M SF Deizisau FRA 5 3 1 6.5 52.0
29. GM Alekseev, Evgeny 2631 M TSV Schott Mainz RUS 5 3 1 6.5 51.5
29. GM Wagner, Dennis 2583 M SV Hockenheim GER 5 3 1 6.5 51.5
31. GM Donchenko, Alexander 2572 M SC Hansa Dortmund GER 6 1 2 6.5 51.0
32. GM Martinovic, Sasa 2537 M TSV Schönaich CRO 5 3 1 6.5 51.0
33. GM Bindrich, Falko 2557 M TSV Bindlach GER 4 5 0 6.5 51.0
34. GM Danin, Alexandre 2571 M   RUS 6 1 2 6.5 50.5
35. GM Svetushkin, Dmitry 2561 M SK Handschuhsheim MDA 5 3 1 6.5 50.5
35. GM Mikhalevski, Victor 2525 M Beersheba chess club ISR 5 3 1 6.5 50.5
35. IM Poetsch, Hagen 2513 M SF Schöneck GER 5 3 1 6.5 50.5
38. GM Naiditsch, Arkadij 2673 M OSG Baden-Baden AZE 4 5 0 6.5 50.5
38. IM Lampert, Jonas 2472 M Hamburger SK GER 4 5 0 6.5 50.5
40. GM Sandipan, Chanda 2577 M SG Solingen IND 5 3 1 6.5 50.0
41. GM Socko, Bartosz 2587 M USV TU Dresden POL 5 3 1 6.5 49.5
41. GM Kovalev, Vladislav 2560 M Peters Rook BLR 5 3 1 6.5 49.5
41. IM Svane, Rasmus 2528 M Hamburger SK GER 5 3 1 6.5 49.5
41. IM Abel, Dennes 2451 M SK Ricklingen GER 5 3 1 6.5 49.5
45. IM Pähtz, Elisabeth 2474 W SV Hockenheim GER 4 5 0 6.5 49.0
46. IM Zumsande, Martin 2461 M SK Turm Emsdetten GER 6 1 2 6.5 48.5
46. IM Fröwis, Georg 2440 M SG Pang-Rosenheim AUT 6 1 2 6.5 48.5
48. IM Sadzikowski, Daniel 2550 M KSz Polonia Wroclaw POL 4 5 0 6.5 47.5
49. IM Moussard, Jules 2510 M Evry Grand Roque FRA 5 3 1 6.5 47.0
49. IM Nakar, Eylon 2493 M   ISR 5 3 1 6.5 47.0

... 587 participants



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Georgios Souleidis is an International Master with a degree in media and communication studies. He is an experienced journalist, author, photographer, editor-in-chief for the German Bundesliga, a regular contributor to the German chess magazine SCHACH, and occasionally also blogs on his own site
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genem genem 3/31/2016 06:59
I miss the 2000's when Hans-Walter Schmitt and the team conducted annual chess960 (FRC) Rapid tournaments. They were special.
Those chess960 tournaments taught us something: there is no growth in repeated playings of chess960, Fischer Random Chess, due to the 'Random' aspect.
Better would be to research what would be one good nontraditional start setup from chess960, and then to REUSE that one setup repeatedly for a few years. Then we would see growth in ideas.
One objection is that eliminating the need for the growth of opening ideas is the whole point of FRC, so anything that leads to growth is unwanted by definition. But I disagree; because...
One point of FRC-chess960 should be to get away from the *excessively* deep opening analysis that has evolved for the one setup that chess has used exclusively for centuries. Calling it "opening" analysis has become a misnomer because the pre-game planned moves extending 35 or more moves (18 White-Black move-pairs) is not uncommon among elite grandmasters. This contaminates the middlegame phase.
A second point is that humanity cannot learn about truly general principles of the opening phase of chess until it has a measure of variability - and that requires a minimum of two start setup that must be studied. We need to repeatedly study one additional setup by playing lots of games with it. Until then, some of Reuben Fine's so-called "general" principles of opening play will continue to be misunderstood - for in fact some are merely esoteric tactical needs that are particular to the one traditional setup.
A third point is that it would be intellectually fascinating to see a new book of opening schemes develop and grow in today's modern world, fueled in part by Fritz and the instant sharing of ideas made possible through ChessBase Let's Check and other mediums. Philosophical debates about the opening would ensure and would be put to the test.
"Discard the 'Random' from Fischer Random Chess!"