Berlin to host big Bundesliga weekend

by Antonio Pereira
2/20/2019 – This year's edition of the prestigious German teams tournament has reached its half-point and, unlike the previous edition, it will see the squads gathering in Berlin midway through instead of doing so at the end. On March 1st-3rd three rounds will be played, which will include two key match-ups for defending champions and current leaders OSG Baden-Baden. Standings, pairings and more below. | Photo: schach2019.berlin

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Barely challenged

The 2018-19 edition of the Bundesliga started with a surprise, as the DJK Aachen decided not to participate, leaving every team a 'rest day' when paired against them. This means that, after eight rounds, some teams have only played seven matches — and the current leaders OSG Baden-Baden are amongst them. The eleven-time champions have so far won all their seven matches with a wide margin — the smallest margin was 5½:2½ against MSA Zugzwang, when Radoslaw Wojtaszek was upset by Leon Mons on board one.

Nonetheless, the Baden-Baden have not yet faced any of the four teams that are close behind them in the standings. During the 'Central Rounds' in Berlin, however, they will face Schachfreunde Deizisau and SV 1930 Hockenheim in consecutive rounds — both teams are two match points behind the leaders currently.

The defending champions, OSG Baden-Baden | Photo: Guido Giotta

After both these teams going against the most feared squad, they will face each other on Sunday. The other key match-up will be Hamburger SK v. SV Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Meanwhile, main chasers SG Solingen will face two teams from the bottom of the standings and will 'rest' on Saturday (when they are paired against DJK Aachen). They probably will not risk sending a sub-par team, however, as every match point is important if they want to take down Baden-Baden as they had done in the 2015-16 edition.

Current standings

  Team G W D L MP BP
1. OSG Baden-Baden  7 7 0 0 14 42.5
2. SG Solingen 8 7 0 1 14 40.5
3. SV 1930 Hockenheim 7 6 0 1 12 40
4. Schachfreunde Deizisau 7 6 0 1 12 38.5
5. Hamburger SK 7 5 1 1 11 31.5
6. SV Werder Bremen 8 5 0 3 10 37.5
7. SC Viernheim  7 4 2 1 10 31.5
8. USV TU Dresden 7 4 0 3 8 27.5
9. SG Turm Kiel  7 2 2 3 6 23
10. SV Mülheim Nord 8 2 1 5 5 29
11. SF Berlin 1903 7 2 0 5 4 23
12. BCA Augsburg  8 1 1 6 3 21.5
13. Düsseldorfer SK  8 1 0 7 2 22.5
14. SV 1920 Hofheim 8 0 1 7 1 22
15. MSA Zugzwang 82 8 0 0 8 0 17.5
16. DJK Aufwärts Aachen 0 0 0 0 0 0

The encounter between Baden-Baden and Hockenheim on Saturday has stirred up big expectations, as it could theoretically reach 45,000 Elo points if we combine all the players' ratings. In fact, several former world champions might be part of that particular match-up: Anatoly Karpov, Hou Yifan, Vishy Anand, Ruslan Ponomariov and Rustam Kasimdzhanov.

As a warm-up for the match, we can enjoy two games that featured short wins by a member of each team. David Baramidze (Hockenheim) took down Zbigniew Pakleza (SG Turm Kiel) in 26 moves, while Sergei Movsesian (Baden-Baden) needed only 29 to beat Boris Margolin (SV 1920 Hofheim):

 

Click or tap the second game in the list below the board to switch games

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The organisers have put together a dedicated website for these three rounds, as they announced many side activities that will make this a "superlative chess event". On Saturday, everyone will be able to take part in the 2nd Emanuel Lasker Blitz Tournament in the evening, while children, teenagers and young adults can also take part in the Youth Rapid Tournament, also on Saturday from 9 a.m. onwards.

The event will take place at the MARITIM Hotel and the spectators will be able to follow the games closely from the parquet floor and from a gallery. Live commentary will be provided by GM Robert Rabiega on site.

Everyone's invited | Photo: schach2019.berlin

Women's Bundesliga will be decided in Berlin

While the open tournament will still have four rounds to go after the Berlin event, the Women's Bundesliga will be decided in Germany's capital. The twelve-team competition has the SC Bad Königshofen in pole position, with SK Schwäbisch Hall and the Hamburger SK one point behind. 

The team from Hamburg incidentally has up-and-coming Iranian star Sarasadat Khademalsharieh in their line-up — the 21-year-old International Master has 4/4 so far representing her team!

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Sarasadat Khademalsharieh | Photo: Amruta Mokla

Current standings - Women's Bundesliga

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Antonio is a freelance writer and a philologist. He is mainly interested in the links between chess and culture, primarily literature. In chess games, he skews towards endgames and positional play.
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hansj hansj 2/20/2019 08:54
Well, what is the point of this tournament? The club with most money can buy the best players.
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