Bundesliga: Viernheim clear leaders, Anand back in the top 10

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
2/25/2024 – Rounds 9-11 of the German League (Bundesliga) took place from Friday to Sunday in Viernheim, a midsize industrial town on Mannheim’s outskirts. On Saturday, the all-important clash between Viernheim and Baden-Baden saw Viernheim coming out on top thanks to wins by Parham Maghsoodloo and David Anton. After round 11, Viernheim are leading the standings with a perfect score, 3 match points ahead of the defending champions from Baden-Baden. Vishy Anand, Hikaru Nakamura and Nijat Abasov all played during the weekend, with Anand beating Abasov to re-enter the world’s top-10 in the live ratings list. | Photo: Angelika Valkova

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A key victory for Viernheim

Since 2006, Baden-Baden have dominated the Bundesliga, claiming no fewer than 17 titles. During this period, only in 2016 did the team backed by GRENKE Bank finished in second place, behind Solingen. Despite again presenting an all-star team, their chances to grab another first-place trophy were greatly diminished this weekend.

In round 10 of the 2023/24 session, the leaders from Viernheim, who still had a perfect score, were paired up against the favourites from Baden-Baden, who had won all their matches except for their round-2 confrontation against the team from Hamburg — the match ended in a draw after Luis Engel and Gabor Papp stunned Paco Vallejo and Alexander Donchenko respectively.

Both teams presented formidable line-ups, with Hikaru Nakamura making his debut for Viernheim this weekend and Baden-Baden fielding Vishy Anand on the top board. In the end, it all came down to the games on boards 5 and 6, where Parham Maghsoodloo and David Anton scored full points for Viernheim — since all the remaining games ended drawn, Viernheim obtained a crucial 5-3 victory.

Chess Bundesliga 2023/24

In the following round, on Sunday, Viernheim won again to keep their perfect score. The leaders obtained a clear 6½-1½ victory over Ötigheim, with wins by Hikaru Nakamura, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Parham Maghsoodloo and Amin Bassem.

Meanwhile, Baden-Baden defeated the strong team from Deizisau by a 5-3 score, with wins for Vincent Keymer, Alexander Donchenko and Radoslaw Wojtaszek.

Thus, Viernheim now have a 3-point lead over Baden-Baden with four rounds to go in the season. The defending champions probably have a sliver of hope to win the competition, though, as Viernheim still have to face Werder Bremen, a strong squad featuring the likes of Kirill Shevchenko and Luke McShane in their line-up.

Chess Bundesliga 2023/24

Full pairings and results on the official website

Anand scores 2 out o 3, climbs to world number 10

At the moment, five Indian players have a live rating ranging from 2747 to 2750. Three of them are 20 years old or younger, Vidit Gujrathi is 29 and Vishy Anand is 54. And it was the former world champion who took the lead in this race by scoring 2/3 points during the weekend playing for Baden-Baden.

Anand drew Hikaru Nakamura and Matthias Bluebaum, but managed to beat Nijat Abasov, who is set to play the Candidates Tournament in April.

The ‘Tiger of Madras’ got to play a nice final move in his game against Abasov.

Well-known for handling his knights marvellously, Anand prompted his opponent’s resignation with 47.Ne4, threatening mate on f6 — and thus preventing Black from capturing one of the two dangerous passers on the queenside.

Besides surpassing his younger colleagues in the live ratings list, Anand re-entered the world top 10, as he currently stands with a 2750.9 Elo rating.

Anand and Nakamura drew a 55-move encounter on Saturday

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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