A blitz (and rapid) birthday in Amsterdam

by André Schulz
8/5/2019 – Eight top grandmasters are currently playing in Amsterdam a rapid and blitz chess tournament, invited to honour the 40th birthday of the former Executive Director of the Russian Chess Federation, Ilya Levitov. Among them is Vladimir Kramnik, who retired from the tournament chess in January. He and Viswanathan Anand won the blitz tournament which was held on Saturday. | Photo: Peter Doggers / chess.com

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"Happy birthday to you me..."

Ilya Levitov, the former Managing Director of the Russian Chess Federation (from 2010 to 2015), is the sponsor and initiator of a small private chess tournament currently taking place in Amsterdam to celebrate his 40th birthday. Not much was known publicly about the event until during the recent Grand Chess Tour Rapid and Blitz in Paris, when it was the topic of conversation among players and commentators who were planning to attend. 

For this special event, Vladimir Kramnik has returned to the chessboard; the 14th World Champion officially announced his retirement from tournament chess in January. Viswanathan Anand is also there, coming straight from Paris, along with six other prominent players completing the field: Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Boris Gelfand, Anish Giri and Evgeny Bareev.

The venue is the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Amsterdam.

A room can be had for the low low rate of $800 a night!

Ilya Levitov | Photo: Russian Chess Federation

On Saturday the "Levitov Chess Week" started with a blitz tournament. Kramnik and Anand finished with 5 points each. Since Kramnik won the head-to-head, he was declared the winner.

In his game against Grischuk, Anand apparently felt inspired by Kramnik's play. 

 

Here, in a well-known position, he played 8.g1. From the black side of a very similar structure, Kramnik tried an analogously surprising manoeuvre in the 2018 Berlin Candidates tournament against Aronian. There followed 8...e8 9.g4

Anand castled long and was keen to attack:

 

After 24...c5 25.h3 there is no defence against the mate threat. 1-0.

Anish Giri seems to have brought his poor form from Paris to Amsterdam at the moment.

 

In the game against Kramnik, Giri had 'made luft' on h7, but then sealed in his king with the h7-bishop. Kramnik took advantage of this with 32.e5 (other moves would have won as well). After 32...xe5 33.d7 Giri gave up. (33...♝f6 34.d8♕ ♝xd8 35.Qxd8 mate.


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Final standings - Blitz

 

All games 

 

A rapid tournament began yesterday and continues through Tuesday, however the games are not being transmitted live. We'll update the games and standings as available.

Current standings - Rapid

 

All rapid games

 

Commentary by Peter Svidler

Svidler comments on the first two rounds of the rapid tournament

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson




André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 8/5/2019 10:35
I'm a bit puzzled by the fact the tournament is played in Amsterdam, with a Russian organizer, three of the participants still living in Russia.
Jayarama Iyer Jayarama Iyer 8/5/2019 07:45
Congrats to Vishy Anand for yet another top-level elite performance. His performance are worthy of any 20-something top-15 Grandmaster.
To everyone: Instead of repeatedly mentioning his age (anyone, ever again), do chess a favor and focus on his chess.
Jayarama Iyer Jayarama Iyer 8/5/2019 07:39
Yes, it is a pleasure to see ex-World Champion Kramnik play again. He should reconsider retirement from professional chess and play again even if it is one or two major tournaments a year (if he retired for family life). He still has lot of chess left in him for us chess fans and his ability is probably still in the top 10.
Lilloso Lilloso 8/5/2019 05:24
A pleasure to see V. Kramnik playing again !
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