Dortmund 01: Germans excel!

by Alejandro Ramirez
6/27/2015 – The Dortmund Super-Tournament has started, and it was a great day for the German players as they almost swept their opponents 3-0. Naiditsch won convincingly against Kramnik... and with the black pieces! Meanwhile Nisipeanu welcomed So to Germany with a crushing attack. Hou Yifan can count her blessings that she did not fall to Meier. Caruana and Nepomniatchi split the point.

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The 2015 Sparkassen Chess Meeting is taking place in Dortmund from the 27th of June to the 5th of July, 2015.

Rank Name Rating
1 Caruana, Fabiano 2805
2 Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
3 So, Wesley 2778
4 Naiditsch, Arkadij 2722
5 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2720
6 Hou, Yifan 2676
7 Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 2654
8 Meier, Georg 2654

As is usual the tournament invites some of the strongest German players to participate against the World Elite. In this case, the invited Germans are Nisipeanu, Meier and Naiditsch.

The strongest "visitor" is Fabiano Caruana, currently number two in the World, something that will change in the next rating list after the unexpected results in Norway. Caruana is also now playing under the American flag officially as FIDE has processed his transfer request. He is the defending champion of this event.

The second rated player in the event is Vladimir Kramnik, 10-time winner of the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess-Meeting, although a few of those were shared wins, it is still an impressive feat. Wesley So is another player in the top-10 participating in the event.

The field is rounded off by Ian Nepomniachtchi, who earned his qualification by winning Aeroflot earlier this year, and Hou Yifan, the former Women's World Champion and the undisputed strongest active female player. It will make for some interesting fights, as both of these players are quite aggressive!

Round One

Round 01 – June 27 2015, 15:00h
Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2720
Caruana, Fabiano 2805
Meier, Georg 2654
Hou, Yifan 2676
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
Naiditsch, Arkadij 2722
Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 2654
So, Wesley 2778

Did round one start with a bang! It was a great day for the German players, although honestly it should have been ever better:

Nepomniachtchi, Ian ½-½ Caruana, Fabiano
Nepomniacthchi's Fianchetto approach against the Grunfeld netted him nothing, and he was outplayed after that. Despite Caruana's horrible structure, his superior piece placement (specially his rook on a2 and his queen on d5) gave him immense pressure. Nepo was forced to drop a pawn, but he held on to drawing chances based on the poor black structure. Caruana missed a couple of chances to put on further pressure, and the Russian defended well. A drawn endgame was eventually reached.

Fabi is now American, not 'Italien'!

Meier, Georg ½-½ Hou Yifan
White obtained maybe the slightest bit of pressure from the opening, with control of the c-file and some problems for black with her weak pawn on e5. This grew, and grew, and grew as Hou Yifan did not want to defend passively, instead seeking dubious counterchances.

Georg didn't convert today, which would have given the Germans a 3-0 sweep!

Meier reached the following endgame, but did not convert:

[Event "43rd GM 2015"] [Site "Dortmund GER"] [Date "2015.06.27"] [Round "1.1"] [White "Meier, Georg"] [Black "Hou, Yifan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E06"] [WhiteElo "2654"] [BlackElo "2676"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/1R6/p5k1/1p2Pp1p/1P1K1P1P/r2N2n1/8/8 w - - 0 49"] [PlyCount "21"] [EventDate "2015.06.27"] 49. Rd7 Ne2+ {Black is clearly in problems. White has a protected passed pawn on e5 and his king is very active.} 50. Ke3 $2 {Inexplicably going backwards. Much stronger was} (50. Kc5 {trying to take all of Black's pawns on the queenside. The plan is simply Kb6 and Nc5.}) 50... Nc1 51. Kd2 Nxd3 52. Rxd3 Ra2+ 53. Ke3 Rb2 54. Rd6+ Kg7 55. Rxa6 $2 (55. Rf6 Rb3+ 56. Kd2 Rxb4 57. Rxf5 { still gives White great winning chances because his pawns are faster. If it is completely winning remains to be analyzed.}) 55... Rb3+ 56. Ke2 Rxb4 {Now this is simply a draw. White must keep defending his f4 pawn.} 57. Ke3 Rb3+ 58. Ke2 Rb4 59. Ke3 1/2-1/2

Yifan escaped an unfortunate situation today

Kramnik, Vladimir 0-1 Naiditsch, Arkadij
A fascinating game! Kramnik obtained a slightly opening edge, but it was neutralized when Naiditsch started playing strong on the kingside. Naiditsch, who comes from a horrible performance at the Top 12 in France where he lost 32 rating points, played an attacking and strong game.

Kramnik tried to sacrifice a piece to diffuse the tension on the kingside and to use his passed pawn, but Naiditsch played too precisely to let that happen. He gobbled up the bishop on a2, returning with his knight to protect against the advance of the d-pawn and that was all she wrote.

How to recover from the worst tournament of your life? 
Beating Kramnik with Black sounds like a good way to start.

Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 1-0 So, Wesley
The game of the round:

[Event "43rd GM 2015"] [Site "Dortmund GER"] [Date "2015.06.27"] [Round "1.4"] [White "Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B23"] [WhiteElo "2654"] [BlackElo "2778"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "55"] [EventDate "2015.06.27"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Qxd7 7. O-O Nc6 8. d3 e6 9. f5 {White's intentions are not subtle. The position has been seen a few times, but only once at the GM level.} Nge7 (9... exf5 10. exf5 O-O-O {is a better approach, though not the most natural.}) 10. fxe6 fxe6 11. Ng5 $1 { The start of a very aggressive plan.} Ne5 (11... Nd8 12. Qg4 h6 13. Nh3 {feels like White is a bit better.}) 12. Nb5 $1 {A great move!} Qxb5 (12... O-O-O 13. d4 $1 Qxb5 14. dxe5 Bxe5 (14... dxe5 15. Qg4 $16) 15. Nf7 {wins an exchange for a pawn for White. Black doesn't have enough.}) 13. Nxe6 Kd7 14. Nxg7 {The knight is trapped on g7, but White is up a pawn and has chances to attack the black king.} h5 (14... Raf8 {was perhaps a bit more prudent.}) 15. a4 Qb6 16. a5 Qb5 17. c4 {The Black queen gets kicked around a lot this game!} Qc6 18. b4 $5 (18. Bf4 $1 $18 Rhg8 19. d4 cxd4 20. Qxd4 {was extremely difficult to meet for Black. The threat of Bxe5 is not easy to parry. White is winning.}) 18... Rh7 19. bxc5 Rxg7 20. Rf6 {White's attack in this line is also decisive.} Nc8 ( 20... Nf7 21. Bh6 {is very ugly, but it was necessary.}) 21. d4 $1 Ng4 (21... Qxe4 22. dxe5 Qxe5 23. Rb1 Qxf6 24. Rxb7+ Ke8 25. Bb2 {and White wins material with the lethal skewer.}) 22. Rf3 Qxe4 23. h3 {Simple and good. The knight on g4 is trapped, without extra material Black's position simply collapses.} dxc5 24. dxc5+ Ke8 25. hxg4 Ne7 26. Qf1 Rg8 27. Bb2 hxg4 28. Re1 {The king will perish on e8 shortly. A great game by NIsipeanu!} 1-0

Liviu-Dieter is always a dangerous opponent!

Replay Round One Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games


Round 01 – June 27 2015, 15:00h
Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2720
Caruana, Fabiano 2805
Meier, Georg 2654
Hou, Yifan 2676
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
Naiditsch, Arkadij 2722
Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 2654
So, Wesley 2778
Round 02 – June 28 2015, 15:00h
Caruana, Fabiano 2805 - So, Wesley 2778
Naiditsch, Arkadij 2722 - Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 2654
Hou, Yifan 2676 - Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2720 - Meier, Georg 2654
Round 03 – June 30 2015, 15:00h
Meier, Georg 2654 - Caruana, Fabiano 2805
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783 - Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2720
Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 2654 - Hou, Yifan 2676
So, Wesley 2778 - Naiditsch, Arkadij 2722
Round 04 – July 01 2015, 15:00h
Caruana, Fabiano 2805 - Naiditsch, Arkadij 2722
Hou, Yifan 2676 - So, Wesley 2778
Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2720 - Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 2654
Meier, Georg 2654 - Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
Round 05 – July 02 2015, 15:00h
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783 - Caruana, Fabiano 2805
Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 2654 - Meier, Georg 2654
So, Wesley 2778 - Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2720
Naiditsch, Arkadij 2722 - Hou, Yifan 2676
Round 06 – July 03 2015, 15:00h
Caruana, Fabiano 2805 - Hou, Yifan 2676
Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2720 - Naiditsch, Arkadij 2722
Meier, Georg 2654 - So, Wesley 2778
Kramnik, Vladimir 2783 - Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 2654
Round 07 – July 04 2015, 15:00h
Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 2654 - Caruana, Fabiano 2805
So, Wesley 2778 - Kramnik, Vladimir 2783
Naiditsch, Arkadij 2722 - Meier, Georg 2654
Hou, Yifan 2676 - Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2720

Pictures: Dagobert Kohlmeyer


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Topics Dortmund

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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Miguel Ararat Miguel Ararat 6/29/2015 07:20
Thank you GM Ramirez for the free lesson on the Sicilian Grand P (Nisipeanu vs So)
Igor Freiberger Igor Freiberger 6/28/2015 08:58
Nine out of ten errors pointed by Ramirez are "inexplicable". It seems he thinks chess is quite easy and most of mistakes done by chess elite are childish.
Avenar Avenar 6/28/2015 11:23

If you accidentally click "Reset", click the text field and press Ctrl + Z.
algorithmy algorithmy 6/28/2015 11:05
May I ask something from Chessbase?! just remove this stupid button of "reset" it's really confusing and useless and many time i pushed it by mistake instead of submit. If I wana reset I will simply click Ctrl+all then delete!!
algorithmy algorithmy 6/28/2015 11:01
Ow, I didn't know Nisipeanu convert to German!
royc royc 6/28/2015 07:28
With the HUGE gap in ELO ratings between the Top 3 elite players from the rest of the field, we would normally expect them to dominate and finish with HUGE 6 points.

However, the first round result suggest that the winner cannot score more than 5 points!
bronkenstein bronkenstein 6/28/2015 05:47
Ah, Vlad, Vlad... but hey! Nice miniature by Nisi! =)
Wallace Howard Wallace Howard 6/27/2015 11:20
With only seven rounds in Dortmund, Kramnik might already out of the fight for first place. Shocking.
And yes, it is nice to see Yifan playing. Best of luck to her.
genem genem 6/27/2015 11:10
Nice to see Yifan playing in open/men's tournaments.