Anand takes the first two games

8/12/2005 – Alexander Grischuk, one of the young turks challenging the supremacy of the top players, started badly at the Chess Classic in Mainz, when he ran into the rapid chess firewall of Vishy Anand. The score: 2:0 for Anand. Meanwhile Peter Svidler took a 1½:½ lead in his Chess960 match against Zoltan Almasi. Report and pictures...

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Chess Classic: Anand leads 2-0

Alexander Grischuk is a very popular young GM, not just because of his hunky looks. He is also something of a devil-may-care attacking player, with a style the audience loves. And tonight Grischuk went after reigning Chess Classic champion Vishy Anand with a vengeance. But fighting spirit and determination is not enough when you are faced with the world's greatest rapid chess genius.


The star attraction: Anand vs Grischuk in the rapid chess section

Grischuk,A (2720) - Anand,V (2788) [E12]
CCM5 Rapid Match Mainz GER (1), 11.08.2005
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Nc3 Bb7 5.a3 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.e3 Nf6 8.Bd3 c5 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.Qe2 a6 11.Rd1 Qb8 12.e4N cxd4 13.Nxd4 Bd6 14.g3 0-0 15.Bc2 b5 16.Be3 b4 17.axb4 Bxb4 18.f3 a5 19.Bd3 Rc8 20.Bb5 Bxc3 21.bxc3 Nc5 22.Ra3 Qc7 23.Qa2 Qe5 24.Bf4 Qh5

25.Rf1? White was doing fine and had to play 25.Qe2 or 25.Be2 to indirectly defend the critical g4 square. 25...e5 26.g4 Nxg4! This is possibly the move Grischuk overlooked. 27.fxg4 Qxg4+ 28.Bg3 exd4 29.Qxf7+ Kh8 and Black is simply a pawn up. Anand easily wins the game. 30.Rf4 Qd1+ 31.Bf1 dxc3 32.Rxa5 h6 33.Rh4 Qd4+ 34.Bf2 Qd7 35.Qxd7 Nxd7 36.Rxa8 Bxa8 37.Be3 c2 38.Bc1 Rb8 39.e5 Rb1 40.Ra4 Bd5 0-1. [Click to replay]


What you gonna do against a player like Anand?

The 21-year-old challenger was obviously shocked by the first-round white loss, but came out fighting in game two. Trouble is he ran into the same formidable opponent with the following result:

Anand,V (2788) - Grischuk,A (2720) [B90]
CCM5 Rapid Match Mainz GER (2), 11.08.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Ng4 7.Bc1 Nf6 8.f3 Qb6 9.Nb3 e6 10.Bf4 Qc7 11.Qd2 Nc6 12.0-0-0 Ne5 13.Kb1 Be7N 14.Nd4 0-0 15.g4 b5 16.Qg2 b4 17.Nce2 Bb7 18.g5 Nfd7 19.h4 Qb6 20.Bc1 Nc5 21.h5 a5 22.Nf4 a4 23.g6 b3 24.h6 fxg6 25.hxg7 bxc2+ 26.Nxc2

Black is in a spot of trouble, since 26...Kxg7 27.Qh3 h5 28.Nd4 Rf6 29.Nfxe6+ Nxe6 30.Nxe6+ Kg8 31.Nf4 is clearly better for White. Maybe he should have gone for the defensive 26...Rf7. But our Grischuk is not one for timid measures. 26...Rxf4!? 27.Bxf4 a3? 28.Bxe5 dxe5 29.b4 Na4 30.Rd3 Rc8 31.Qd2 Qc7 32.Rxa3 Nc3+ 33.Kb2. Anand has ridden out the attacking probes of his opponent and now has the exchange and a pawn to carry him to victory. A final desperate attempt by Grischuk is coolly parried: 33...Nxe4 34.fxe4 Bxe4 35.Rh2 Bf6 36.Rc3 Qb7 37.Qd6 Kxg7 38.Ba6 1-0. [Click to replay]


Anand vs Grischuk, as seen by Photoshop artist Frank Stiefel


Rapid chess king Vishy Anand of India


Chess960 – Svidler defeats Almasi


Zoltan Almasi challenging reigning Chess960 champion Peter Svidler

Challenger Zoltan Almasi, who has ambitions of becoming the first Hungarian world champion in history, took on last year's Chess960 winner Peter Svidler, also with the elan and enthusiasm of a serious pretender. But he ran into bad luck. “I am very disappointed, especially about the second game," he said at the press conference after the round. "It was completely winning, but I somehow managed not to win – unbelievable! But hey, tomorrow is a new day, which will give me new chances.” His opponent Peter Svidler agreed: “Yes, I got lucky in both games, Almasi could have scored 1.5 points tonight”.


It could have gone either way: Almasi vs Svidler


FiNet Open – Sokolov and Shirov lead

There were over 200 participants in the open section of the Mainz Chess Classic. It is an immensely strong field, with five players over 2700: Etienne Bacrot (2728), Alexander Morozevich (2728), Levon Aronian (2724), Ivan Sokolov (2717) and Alexey Shirov (2705). After them come 11 grandmaster with a 2600+ rating, and top women players Alexandra Kosteniuk, Natalia Zhukova, Antoaneta Stefanova and Maya Chiburdanidze.

After five rounds two players had a 100% score: Ivan Sokolov from the Netherlands and Alexey Shirov of Spain. Levon Aronian, Michal Krasenkow, Etienne Bacrot, Rafael Vaganian and Alexander Graf scored 4.5 points. The best female players are Maya Chiburdanidze, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Natalia Zhukova and Antoaneta Stefanova, all with four points. There are six more rounds to go on Friday. The winner of the FiNet Open gets to play the Chess960 World Championship match against the winner of Svidler-Almasi next year.


One of the top seeds: Alexander Morozevich


Always dangerous: Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu


Oh the intensity: Dutch GM Ivan Sokolov


One of the world top-ten players in Mainz: Levon Aronian


The hero of Dortmund: Arkadij Naiditsch


Legendary women's world champion Maia Chiburdanidze


Lithuanian IM Viktorija Cmilyte


Elisabeth Pähtz and Alexandra Kosteniuk


Livingston Chess960 Computer Chess World Championship

The first Livingston Chess960 Computer Chess World Championship started with 19 programs playing seven rounds on Thursday and Friday. The big surprise was that after the first four rounds the leader was not the German program Shredder! In the third round Shredder was beaten by “Spike”, developed by local programming talents Volker Böhm and Ralf Schäfer. The winner of this tournament will be able to play a match against the winner of the match Almasi-Svidler next year.


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