German League kicks off new 2017-2018 season

by Johannes Fischer
10/23/2017 – One of the world's strongest team events, the Bundesliga, pits 16 teams with eight boards each against each other, on seven weekends over six months for a round-robin tournament. As each team can nominate as many non-German players as money allows, top players such as Fabiano Caruana, Vishy Anand, and Anatoly Karpov, to name just a few, regularly show their skills in the league. This season's favourite is the OSG Baden-Baden, which has dominated for more than a decade. But Hockenheim and Solingen hope to have a shot at the title should Baden-Baden stumble. On the first weekend it did not.

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The perennial favourite

The OSG Baden-Baden is reigning champion and favourite to win again. Last season the team was absolutely dominating: the OSG won all its 15 matches and scored 92½ from 120 possible board points, distancing their closest rivals by 6 team points. This season Baden-Baden nominated Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Vishy Anand, and Peter Svidler on the first five boards. Number 13 on the list of nominees is Hou Yifan, 14 is Alexei Shirov, 15 is Jan Gustafsson, and 16 is Peter-Heine Nielsen.

Hockenheim has Anatoly Karpov, Baadur Jobava, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Ruslan Ponomariov, and David Howell on the first five boards, Solingen starts with Anish Giri, Pentala Harikrishna, Richard Rapport, Markus Ragger, and Loek Van Wely.

Video presentation of OSG Baden-Baden | GRENKE Chess on YouTube


Round 1

In round 1 the OSG did not play with its top two players but the team was still strong enough to win comfortably against Schwäbisch Hall:

OSG Baden-Baden logo

  OSG Baden-Baden SK Schwäbisch Hall  
3 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 1 : 0 Inarkiev, Ernesto 1
4 Anand, Viswanathan ½ : ½ Li, Chao 2
5 Svidler, Peter 0 : 1 Jakovenko, Dmitry 4
6 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw ½ : ½ Laznicka, Viktor 6
7 Adams, Michael ½ : ½ Cornette, Matthieu 8
9 Bacrot, Etienne 1 : 0 Michalik, Peter 10
10 Naiditsch, Arkadij 1 : 0 Womacka, Mathias 13
12 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 1 : 0 Zpevak, Pavel 16

OSG Baden-Baden seems to be travelling with its own video crew posting many short clips on the GRENKE Chess YouTube channel. Here's Maxime Vachier-Lagrave interviewed by his teammate GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov:

Baden-Baden's top board this weekend


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SF Deizisau — like OSG Baden-Baden — is sponsored by GRENKELEASING AG, the same sponsor (not surprisingly) of the GRENKE Chess Classic. As a result, some players have switched from Baden-Baden to Deizisau in recent years, but one notable change in this off-season saw rising star Matthias Blübaum move to Deizisau from Werder Bremen.

With Peter Leko on board one, Deizisau outgunned their opponents even more dramatically, and consequently won their match by a larger margin than Baden-Baden.

Sarah Hoolt was the only woman playing this weekend in the top league but, facing strong opposition, lost both her games with Speyer-Schwegenheim.SF Deizisau logo

  Speyer-Schwegenheim SF Deizisau  
3 Kantans, Toms 0 : 1 Leko, Peter 2
7 Shytaj, Luca, Dr. ½ : ½ Bluebaum, Matthias 3
8 Yankelevich, Lev 0 : 1 Meier, Georg 4
11 Hoolt, Sarah 0 : 1 Heimann, Andreas 8
12 Farmani Anosheh, Armin 0 : 1 Graf, Alexander 10
13 Commercon, Simon 1 : 0 Keymer, Vincent 11
14 Kraemer, Enrico 0 : 1 Dautov, Rustem 12
17 Mager, Denis 0 : 1 Schlosser, Philipp 14

Aachen's top board this year is Julio Granda Zuniga from Peru, but this weekend they went with Venezuelan GM Eduardo Iturrizaga.

Aachen logo

  DJK Aachen 6 2 FC Bayern München  
3 Iturrizaga Bonelli, Eduardo 1 : 0 Dragnev, Valentin 1
6 Parligras, Mircea Emilian ½ : ½ Bischoff, Klaus 3
7 Bindrich, Falko 0 : 1 Fedorovsky, Michael 6
9 Handke, Florian, Dr. 1 : 0 Schneider, Stefan 8
11 Zaragatski, Ilja 1 : 0 Schenk, Andreas 10
13 Swinkels, Robin 1 : 0 Belezky, Alexander 12
14 Hoffmann, Michael ½ : ½ Meister, Peter 14
15 Braun, Christian 1 : 0 Unzicker, Ferdinand, Dr. 16

SG Solingen starts with three new players this season (Ganguly, Bok, and Loek van Wely) and is another one of the strongest challengers to Baden-Baden. They travel together with Aachen.Solingen logo

  SG Solingen MSA Zugzwang  
4 Ragger, Markus ½ : ½ Mons, Leon 1
6 Ganguly, Surya Shekhar ½ : ½ Kindermann, Stefan 2
8 Bok, Benjamin ½ : ½ Bromberger, Stefan 3
9 Smeets, Jan 1 : 0 Hoffmeyer, Falk 6
10 L'Ami, Erwin 1 : 0 Schramm, Christian 7
13 Nikolic, Predrag 1 : 0 Gerigk, Erasmus 8
15 Sandipan, Chanda 1 : 0 Eichler, Christoph 9
16 Naumann, Alexander 1 : 0 Lammers, Markus 10

Once powered by top Azerbaijani players Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Vugar Gashimov, SV Werder Bremen is still anchored by longtime teammates Fressinet, Areshchenko, and McShane.

Werder Bremen logo

  SV Werder Bremen 6 2 SV Hofheim  
1 Areshchenko, Alexander ½ : ½ Schroeder, Jan-Christian 2
3 Fressinet, Laurent 1 : 0 Savchenko, Stanislav 3
4 McShane, Luke J 1 : 0 Ginsburg, Gennadi 5
6 Edouard, Romain 1 : 0 Perske, Thore 6
7 Hracek, Zbynek ½ : ½ Lobzhanidze, Davit 7
9 Spoelman, Wouter 1 : 0 Gurevich, Vladimir 8
10 Babula, Vlastimil ½ : ½ Margolin, Boris 9
17 Koop, Thorben ½ : ½ Zude, Arno 11
 

We'll have to wait to see an appearance by Anatoly Karpov, but David Howell at an Elo of 2698 played board one, as Hockenheim cruised.

Hockenheim logo

  SV Mülheim Nord SV Hockenheim  
3 Fridman, Daniel ½ : ½ Howell, David W L 5
8 Zelbel, Patrick 0 : 1 Sasikiran, Krishnan 6
9 Hausrath, Daniel ½ : ½ Balogh, Csaba 8
10 Saltaev, Mihail ½ : ½ Wagner, Dennis 9
11 Vrolijk, Liam 0 : 1 Saric, Ivan 10
12 Warmerdam, Max 0 : 1 Buhmann, Rainer 11
13 Dinstuhl, Volkmar, Dr. 0 : 1 Baramidze, David 12
15 Rezasade, Amir 0 : 1 Braun, Arik 14

Dresden vs. Hamburg was the only tied match of the first round as the teams exchanged two wins apiece.Hamburg logoDresden logo

  USV Dresden 4 4 Hamburger SK  
1 Eljanov, Pavel 0 : 1 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 1
2 Almasi, Zoltan ½ : ½ Svane, Rasmus 3
3 Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 1 : 0 Miton, Kamil 5
5 Bartel, Mateusz 1 : 0 Kempinski, Robert 6
9 Vogel, Roven ½ : ½ Lampert, Jonas 10
10 Neef, Maximilian ½ : ½ Ftacnik, Lubomir 11
11 Maiwald, Jens-Uwe 0 : 1 Rogozenco, Dorian 13
16 Hoffmann, Paul ½ : ½ Sebastian, Dirk 15

Norderstedt's Andrey Ostrovskiy scored an impressive double-rook endgame upset with black over GM Vocaturo, but his team dropped too many points on the lower boards.

Berlin logo

  Schachfreunde Berlin 5 3 SK Norderstedt  
1 Piorun, Kacper ½ : ½ Trent, Lawrence 2
3 Vocaturo, Daniele 0 : 1 Ostrovskiy, Andrey 3
4 Mista, Aleksander ½ : ½ Kopylov, Michael 4
5 Tomczak, Jacek 1 : 0 Krause, Benedict 5
7 Schneider, Ilja ½ : ½ Parvanyan, Ashot 6
11 Baldauf, Marco 1 : 0 Powierski, Emil 8
13 Seyb, Alexander ½ : ½ Kahlert, Thomas 12
14 Schmidek, Emil 1 : 0 Michna, Christian 13

With so many top players every round leads to a lot of interesting games. English Grandmaster Luke McShane started the season with a little brilliancy:

 

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Round 2

The favourites continued to win in round 2 though Hockenheim only narrowly beat Bremen.

Hockenheim logo

  SV Hockenheim SV Werder Bremen  
5 Howell, David W L ½ : ½ Areshchenko, Alexander 1
6 Sasikiran, Krishnan 0 : 1 Fressinet, Laurent 3
8 Balogh, Csaba ½ : ½ McShane, Luke J 4
9 Wagner, Dennis 0 : 1 Edouard, Romain 6
10 Saric, Ivan 1 : 0 Hracek, Zbynek 7
11 Buhmann, Rainer ½ : ½ Spoelman, Wouter 9
12 Baramidze, David 1 : 0 Babula, Vlastimil 10
14 Braun, Arik 1 : 0 Koop, Thorben 17

SV Hofheim got on the board in the second round.

SV Hofheim

  SV Hofheim SV Mülheim Nord  
2 Schroeder, Jan-Christian 0 : 1 Fridman, Daniel 3
3 Savchenko, Stanislav 1 : 0 Zelbel, Patrick 8
5 Ginsburg, Gennadi ½ : ½ Hausrath, Daniel 9
6 Perske, Thore 1 : 0 Saltaev, Mihail 10
7 Lobzhanidze, Davit 0 : 1 Vrolijk, Liam 11
8 Gurevich, Vladimir ½ : ½ Warmerdam, Max 12
9 Margolin, Boris 1 : 0 Dinstuhl, Volkmar, Dr. 13
11 Zude, Arno ½ : ½ Rezasade, Amir 15

Schwäbisch Hall also bounced back from their first round loss.

Schwäbisch Hall

  SK Schwäbisch Hall Speyer-Schwegenheim  
1 Inarkiev, Ernesto 0 : 1 Kantans, Toms 3
2 Li, Chao 1 : 0 Shytaj, Luca, Dr. 7
4 Jakovenko, Dmitry 1 : 0 Yankelevich, Lev 8
6 Laznicka, Viktor 1 : 0 Hoolt, Sarah 11
8 Cornette, Matthieu 1 : 0 Farmani Anosheh, Armin 12
10 Michalik, Peter 1 : 0 Kraemer, Enrico 14
13 Womacka, Mathias 1 : 0 Flierl, Pascal 15
16 Zpevak, Pavel ½ : ½ Mager, Denis 17

Sharing a team sponsor doesn't necessarily engender any mercy between Deizisau and Baden-Baden, and the champions won handily in Sunday's matchup.

Baden-Baden

  SF Deizisau OSG Baden Baden  
2 Leko, Peter ½ : ½ Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 3
3 Bluebaum, Matthias ½ : ½ Anand, Viswanathan 4
4 Meier, Georg 0 : 1 Svidler, Peter 5
8 Heimann, Andreas ½ : ½ Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 6
10 Graf, Alexander 1 : 0 Adams, Michael 7
11 Keymer, Vincent 0 : 1 Bacrot, Etienne 9
12 Dautov, Rustem 0 : 1 Naiditsch, Arkadij 10
14 Schlosser, Philipp 0 : 1 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 12

No Zugzwang, apparently, in the match Zugzwang vs. Aachen, which ended drawn.ZugzwangAachen logo

  MSA Zugzwang 4 4 DJK Aachen  
1 Mons, Leon ½ : ½ Iturrizaga Bonelli, Eduardo 3
2 Kindermann, Stefan ½ : ½ Parligras, Mircea Emilian 6
3 Bromberger, Stefan 0 : 1 Bindrich, Falko 7
6 Hoffmeyer, Falk 0 : 1 Handke, Florian, Dr. 9
7 Schramm, Christian 1 : 0 Zaragatski, Ilja 11
8 Gerigk, Erasmus ½ : ½ Swinkels, Robin 13
9 Eichler, Christoph ½ : ½ Hoffmann, Michael 14
10 Lammers, Markus 1 : 0 Braun, Christian 15

Erwin l'Ami put Solingen over the line against Munich. 

Solingen

  FC Bayern München SG Solingen  
1 Dragnev, Valentin ½ : ½ Ragger, Markus 4
3 Bischoff, Klaus ½ : ½ Ganguly, Surya Shekhar 6
6 Fedorovsky, Michael ½ : ½ Bok, Benjamin 8
9 Vidonyak, Roman ½ : ½ Smeets, Jan 9
10 Schenk, Andreas 0 : 1 L'Ami, Erwin 10
12 Belezky, Alexander ½ : ½ Nikolic, Predrag 13
14 Meister, Peter ½ : ½ Sandipan, Chanda 15
16 Unzicker, Ferdinand, Dr. ½ : ½ Naumann, Alexander 16
 

The Polish top boards played to a draw, but IM Ilja Schneider rode a passed a-pawn to victory for Berlin.

  Hamburger SK Schachfreunde Berlin  
1 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof ½ : ½ Piorun, Kacper 1
3 Svane, Rasmus ½ : ½ Vocaturo, Daniele 3
5 Miton, Kamil ½ : ½ Mista, Aleksander 4
6 Kempinski, Robert ½ : ½ Tomczak, Jacek 5
10 Lampert, Jonas 0 : 1 Schneider, Ilja 7
11 Ftacnik, Lubomir ½ : ½ Baldauf, Marco 11
13 Rogozenco, Dorian ½ : ½ Seyb, Alexander 13
15 Sebastian, Dirk ½ : ½ Schmidek, Emil 14

Norderstedt joined Munich, Mülheim and Speyer-Schwegenheim starting the season 0-2.

Dresden logo

  SK Norderstedt USV Dresden  
2 Trent, Lawrence ½ : ½ Eljanov, Pavel 1
3 Ostrovskiy, Andrey ½ : ½ Almasi, Zoltan 2
4 Kopylov, Michael 0 : 1 Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 3
5 Krause, Benedict ½ : ½ Bartel, Mateusz 5
6 Parvanyan, Ashot ½ : ½ Vogel, Roven 9
8 Powierski, Emil 0 : 1 Neef, Maximilian 10
12 Kahlert, Thomas 0 : 1 Maiwald, Jens-Uwe 11
13 Michna, Christian ½ : ½ Hoffmann, Paul 16

Standings after Round 2

The four teams at the bottom of the standings at the end of the season are relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga.

  Team Matches TP BP
1. SV Hockenheim 2 4 11
2. OSG Baden Baden 2 4 11
3. SG Solingen 2 4 11
4. Schachfreunde Berlin 2 4
5. DJK Aachen 2 3 10
6. USV Dresden 2 3
7. SV Werder Bremen 2 2
8. SK Schwäbisch Hall 2 2 9
9. SF Deizisau 2 2 9
10. SV Hofheim 2 2
11. Hamburger SK 2 1
12. MSA Zugzwang 2 1
13. FC Bayern München 2 0
14. SK Norderstedt 2 0
15. SV Mülheim Nord 2 0 5
16. Speyer-Schwegenheim 2 0 3

All Games from Rounds 1 and 2

 

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Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".
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imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 10/29/2017 09:46
Very nice - I hope these round for round reports on the Bundesliga continue until the end, as well as in future years!

P.S.: To answer the earlier comment: I care who wins! Gotta root for the legendary Solingen, the oldest European Club Cup-winning team still in existence!... (They're unlikely to overcome the monster that is the Baden team, of course, but maybe they'll be able to put up an interesting fight, at least.)
with_jews_you_lose with_jews_you_lose 10/24/2017 11:10
oleppedersen, you are spot on! I also propose, every team should have at least 3 national players playing at the boards.
oleppedersen oleppedersen 10/23/2017 11:46
Chess must be the only sport where the league system is so uninspiring. Instead of filling teams with mercenaries, teams should use players who actually play for them, as in football. That would stimulate national interest. Any player should only play for one team, with a continental and world-spanning Champions League for the very best. Who really cares outside Baden-Baden who wins this Bundesliga?
KevinC KevinC 10/23/2017 09:03
What a monster team Baden-Baden is. Talk about depth.
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