Chess in the stadium – the new face of the Bundesliga

12/15/2003 – The German "Bundesliga" (state team championship) is one of the strongest leagues in the world, attracting a lot of foreign mercenaries to do battle for national teams. On Sunday we visited the round that was held in Bremen, in a football stadium, no less. The main attraction was not Anand or Shirov, but a lady named Almira.

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It all started on the previous weekend, in the middle of a football game in the giant Weser Stadium in Bremen (northern Germany). There were 43,000 spectators, and during the 15-minute intermission they were treated to a promotional for the Chess Team Championship on the giant replay display in the stadium.

"For Werder Bremen at the board: Almira Skripchenko", reads the display. Anand, too, was featured, but with fewer oohs and aahs. The football crowd is not yet fully acquainted with the talent and personality of the Indian superstar.

The rounds five to seven of the chess Bundesliga took place a week later in the business lounges in the "East curve" of the stadium. One of the teams vieing for the championship title, SC Baden Oos, was there with Anand, Shirov, Vallejo, Dautov, Hübner, Krasnekov and Schmalz (the latter is the infamous "Hawkeye", the terror of all bullet sessions on the chess servers). Here are the results of the matches in Bremen:

SV Werder Bremen 2 - 6       Bremer SG
 1 McShane,Luke  0 : 1 Sakaev,Konstan 2
 2 Hracek,Zbynek 0 : 1 Bacrot,Etienn  3 
 3 Efimenko,Zaha ½ : ½ Landa,Konstan  4
 5 Pelletier,Yan ½ : ½ Hjartarson,Jo  5
 6 Schandorff,La 0 : 1 Agrest,Evgeni  6
 7 Gallagher,Jo  ½ : ½ Stefansson,Ha  7 
 9 Skripchenko,A 0 : 1 Baburin,Alexa  8
11 Joachim,Sven  ½ : ½ Gisbrecht,Ewg 11
 
SV Werder Bremen 4 - 4 SC Baden Oos
 1 McShane,Luke  0 : 1 Anand,Viswana  1
 2 Hracek,Zbynek 0 : 1 Shirov,Alexei  2
 3 Efimenko,Zaha ½ : ½ Vallejo Pons,  4
 5 Pelletier,Yan ½ : ½ Dautov,Rustem  5
 6 Schandorff,La 1 : 0 Huebner,Rober  6
 7 Gallagher, Jo ½ : ½ Krasenkow,Mic  7
11 Joachim,Sven  1 : 0 Schmaltz,Rola  9
12 Meins,Gerlef  ½ : ½ Buhmann,Raine 10
Bremer SG        6 - 2 Stuttgarter Sfr
 4 Landa,Konstan 1 : 0 Schmittdiel,E  1
 5 Hjartarson,Jo ½ : ½ Berezovsky,Ig  3
 6 Agrest,Evgeni ½ : ½ Steingrimsson  4
 7 Stefansson,Ha 1 : 0 Papa,Severin   5
 8 Baburin,Alexa ½ : ½ Reuss,Andreas  6
 9 Fish,Gannadij 1 : 0 Lorscheid,Ger  7
11 Gisbrecht,Ewg ½ : ½ Vuckovic,Alek  9
13 Borik,Otto    1 : 0 Gabriel,Josef 13
Stuttgarter Sfr  2½-5½ SV Werder Bremen
1 Schmittdiel,E 0 : 1 McShane,Luke 1
3 Berezovsky,Ig 1 : 0 Hracek,Zbynek 2
4 Steingrimsson 0 : 1 Efimenko,Zaha 3
5 Papa,Severin 0 : 1 Pelletier,Yan 5
6 Reuss,Andreas 1 : 0 Schandorff,La 6
7 Lorscheid,Ger ½ : ½ Gallagher, Jo 7
9 Vuckovic,Alek 0 : 1 Skripchenko-L 9
13 Gabriel,Josef 0 : 1 Joachim,Sven 11
SC Baden Oos    6 - 2 Bremer SG
1 Anand,Viswana ½ : ½ Sakaev,Konsta 2
2 Shirov,Alexei 1 : 0 Bacrot,Etienn 3
4 Vallejo Pons, ½ : ½ Landa,Konstan 4
5 Dautov,Rustem ½ : ½ Hjartarson,Jo 5
6 Huebner,Rober ½ : ½ Agrest,Evgeni 6
7 Krasenkow,Mic 1 : 0 Stefansson,Ha 7
9 Schmaltz,Rola 1 : 0 Baburin,Alexa 8
10 Buhmann,Raine 1 : 0 Gisbrecht,Ewg 11

Baden Oos suffered from the 4:4 tie against Werder Bremen. The main rivals SG Köln Porz, with Lutz, van Wely, Sokolov, Graf, Gurevich, Vaganian, Hansen and Kengis, were successful in the three rounds they played this weekend. They are ahead of Baden Oos, which has played one round less.

No. Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 games pts board pts.
1 SG Köln Porz           6 5.5 4 5 5 6.5 7.5       7 13 39.5
2 SC Baden Oos     6 4       6 4.5   5.5 7.5       6 11 33.5
3 Bremer SG   2   6   5.5 4           5 4 6 7 10 32.5
4 SV Werder Bremen   4 2     6 4           5 6 5.5 7 10 32.5
5 Hamburger SK               4 3.5   5 7 8 6.5   6 9 34
6 Solinger SG 2   2.5 2     5     5.5     7 6   7 8 30
7 SV Wattenscheid 2.5   4 4   3       3.5     4.5 6   7 6 27.5
8 SFR Neukölln 4 2     4         3.5 4.5       5 6 6 23
9 TV Tegernsee 3 3.5     4.5         4.5         6 5 6 21.5
10 SF Katernberg 3         2.5 4.5 4.5 3.5   3 3       7 4 24
11 SC Kreuzberg 1.5 2.5     3     3.5   5         6.5 6 4 22
12 SK König Plauen 0.5 0.5     1         5         6 5 4 13
13 SCA St Ingbert     3 3   1 3.5             5   6 2 15.5
14 SV Hofheim     4 2 1.5 2 2           3     6 1 14.5
15 Stuttgarter Sfr     2 2.5       3 2   1.5 2       6 0 13

All results and games can be found on the (German lanugage) Bundesliga page.

Picture gallery


Bundesliga in the business lounge of the Werder Bremen football stadium


The view fof the players is spectacular – pity that the seats are not all filled with chess fans


Hard at work during the early morning round


Obviously one of the more interesting games on this Sunday


Early finishers: Paco Vallejo Pons, Vishy Anand and Alexei Shirov


"I was lost after 13 moves!" A shattered Etienne Bacrot, who has just been demolished by Shirov (visible in the background)


No problems with his game: Vishy Anand enjoys these jaunts to the German BL


What a woman! Almira Skripchenko, who plays in the men's league, spent hours fighting for a win, then resigning herself to a draw, then almost losing it, only to take the full point in the end.


The games are archived for the official Bundesliga site


And for all those of you who actually read these reports to the very end, here's the picture that caused 43,000 spectators to go "oohhh" – and reconsider whether chess was only for boring old fogies. [Photo: J.B.Thiele]

Frederic Friedel


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