No-castling chess back in Dortmund

by ChessBase
3/19/2022 – After the successful first edition last year, the No-Castling World Masters Tournament will be expanded in Dortmund in July 2022, as former world champions Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand will be joined by Krishnan Sasikiran and local hero Daniel Fridman. Concurrently, the Deutschland Grand Prix, the NRW Youth Cup and two opens will take place at the massive festival set to kick off four months from now.

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Kramnik and Anand get company

Press release by Initiative Pro Schach

Dortmund Chess Festival 2022After the successful first edition last year, the NC World Masters will be expanded in Dortmund in July 2022: the two world chess champions Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand will meet two more strong grandmasters in a double-round tournament, as they will be joined by the winner of the NC Sparkassen Online Open 2021 Krishnan Sasikiran (India) and local hero Daniel Fridman (Germany). The tournament will be dominated by the innovative chess variant in which castling is not allowed.

In addition, top German players will compete with international grandmasters in the Deutschland Grand Prix. Two open tournaments will return, Sparkassen Open A and B, so that every chess enthusiast will have the chance to participate. Together with the Sportland NRW Youth Cups, numerous events will take place from 16 to 24 July 2022 at the Westfalenhallen congress centre in the heart of the Ruhr region.

Event director Carsten Hansel said, eager to see the start of the 49th International Dortmund Chess Days festival:

After the successful kick-off last year, we are looking forward to a great chess event
in the tradition of the 90s. The Duel of the World Champions will be extended and
this year we want to offer the framework for large open tournaments again. Our goal
is to break the participation record from 1992 with 541 players.

It is a matter of concern for the entire team to welcome chess players from near and far to Dortmund and to give them the opportunity to experience some of the greatest
players of all times up close.

NC World Masters in focus at its second edition

After winning last year, 15th World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand is aiming to defend his title in the innovative “No-Castling Chess” variant. In the double round-robin tournament, he will once again face 14th World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik. The field of participants will be expanded, as the winner of the Sparkassen Online Open 2021 in NC chess Krishnan Sasikiran and the Ruhr-based German Grandmaster Daniel Fridman will join the living legends.

“No-Castling Chess” is the brainchild of Vladimir Kramnik, who worked with the world’s leading artificial intelligence (AI) company DeepMind and its system AlphaZero to explore the possibilities of the variant. DeepMind will once again sponsor the No-Castling tournament.

Games played with the rule change thrilled players, spectators and players in the online open last year. Demis Hassabis, CEO and founder of DeepMind, said:

It was incredibly exciting to see world-class players like Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand play the No Castle chess variant explored by AlphaZero. The games were fresh and original [with some incredible king travel]. I’m looking forward to watching this year’s expanded tournament in Dortmund and hope the games spark the imaginations of players everywhere.

Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand

Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand analysing their no-castling games

Games from the 2021 Kramnik vs Anand match


Deutschland Grand Prix and NRW Youth Cup

As a second event highlight, the "Deutschland Grand Prix" will be held, just like last year. Young German national players will compete with the extended world elite in classical chess.

Tournament director Andreas Jagodzinsky already has confirmations from last year's winner Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine) and the strongly performing runner-up Dmitrij Kollars (Germany). A total of seven invited grandmasters will compete in the German Grand Prix. The uneven number of participating players provides a special treat for the chess fans: the player who is not playing will be on-site as a co-commentator to provide live commentary on the games in progress. He will support main commentator Artur Jussupow (Germany). Jussupow is a great figure in national and international chess — as a top ten player, he has reached the semifinals of the World Championships three times and is considered one of the most popular chess trainers and chess authors worldwide.

With the Sportland NRW Cups, two other well-known formats from the previous year will be further developed. Young German talents will be given the opportunity to compete with strong titleholders and earn title norms. In addition to a 10-player round-robin tournament, a Sportland NRW Girls’ Cup will be held to provide special support for young female players. Both tournaments are supported by the state of NRW and its “Sportland NRW” initiative.

Pavel Eljanov

Ukrainian GM Pavel Eljanov during the 2021 Deutschland Grand Prix

Aiming for record number of participants at Sparkassen Opens

The association Initiative Pro Schach (IPS), with its chairman Stefan Koth and event director Carsten Hensel, not only wants to promote top chess, but also to place popular chess within the framework of the Sparkassen Chess Trophy. For this purpose, Sparkassen Opens A and B will return this year: both an open A-Open for players with a playing strength of 1900 DWZ/Elo and above, and a B-Open for players up to 1900 DWZ/Elo will take place in the congress centre of Dortmund’s Westfalenhallen.

Besides tournament director Andreas Jagodzinsky, Christian Jochmann has been appointed as tournament manager for the organisation of the open tournaments. As the organiser, IPS e.V. is aiming for a new participation record. At the legendary event in 1992 — the 20th International Dortmund Chess Days Festival — a total of 541 participants were playing at the same location in the various performance classes of the open tournaments: this year, with a goal of reaching 600 participants, a new record is being aimed for in Dortmund.

Sparkassen NC Online Open as event kick-off

In the run-up to the events on site, a large digital tournament will be offered for the second time: the Sparkassen NC Online Open. It will be accessible worldwide on the servers of as a no-castling chess event with short time controls. The tournament was very successful in 2021a and the winner Sasikiran played his way into the limelight — he is now invited to the NC World Masters. The event will give everyone a chance to try their hand at innovative no-castling chess variant and will provide further exciting insights into the format.

The tournament will be timed ahead of the over-the-board events at Westfalenhallen, likely
taking place at in May/June 2022. There will be three open preliminary tournaments played as Swiss opens. The best players of the preliminary rounds will
qualify for the grand final. Further details, including the exact timeline, will be announced by IPS in due time.

Livestreaming with top-class lineup

Since last year, not only the sporting concept has been revolutionised — also the entire communication has been intensified together with the aforementioned partners. After the success of the interview videos from last year, a high-class live commentary directly from the venue will be added in 2022.

Joining Jussupow, Sebastian Hensel as technical director and Patrick Zelbel as press spokesman will take care of the communication. The team will be supported by Fiona Steil-Antoni (Luxembourg). She is not only a strong chess player herself, but also an internationally renowned personality in chess as a commentator, streamer and blogger. Furthermore, the former blindfold chess world record holder Marc Lang and Nicolas Lagassé were also hired to enhance the team.

Sanitary measures for a safe event

The safety regulations in force at the time of the tournament apply, and we are bound by
them as organisers. Should these make it impossible for individual participants to take part, the organisation will of course refund the entry fee after informing the players before the start of the tournament. If players are travelling from abroad, they are kindly asked to observe the applicable travel regulations and, if applicable, the valid vaccination status.

All further measures will be developed in close cooperation with the venue. A high-performance filter and ventilation system will ensure that the air is changed several times an hour. Sparkassen Opens A and B will be played at different times, so that large distances between boards are ensured and participants are not seated too close to each other. IPS will keep interested players and visitors regularly informed about the requirements.

As a supporting programme, an evening with the participating stars and invited guests is planned for the rest day, Thursday, 21 July. Sabine Oecking has been appointed as the artistic director of the event.

Participation of Russians and Belarusians

In accordance with the practice of the International Chess Federation, the German Chess
Federation and other tournament organisers, chess players from Russia and Belarus are in principle entitled to participate in individual competitions. They will compete under the neutral flag of FIDE.

This applies to participation in the already announced open tournaments, the planned online open in NC format, the NC World Masters, the Deutschland Grand Prix and the NRW Youth Cups (for boys and girls). All competitions are played in accordance with the relevant practice of the World Federation.

IPS e.V., as organiser, will fulfil already existing contracts and agreements according to these standards, as long as German law does not conflict with this procedure. 

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This DVD allows you to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess and from the explanations of the authors (Pelletier, Marin, Müller and Reeh) how to successfully organise your games strategically, consequently how to keep y


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fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 3/23/2022 09:05
@arzi, yes I agree.
arzi arzi 3/23/2022 06:25
To fgkdjlkag, FRChess, Chess960, No-castling chess ... they should have elo-system of their own, not classical chess.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 3/22/2022 04:55
@arzi, to use your example: Should the competitors that are allowed to compete in the 100 m sprint be selected from the top marathon runners? It makes no sense. You have to pick the best runners at 100 m sprint to compete in 100 m sprint. Same for the last Fischer Random World Championship, they seeded players into the very late stages of the event based on results in chess, not based on chess960 results.
arzi arzi 3/22/2022 01:24
"Something went wrong..."
Very likely Russia started a DoS -attack against chessbase discuss because of it´s Anti-Putin writings.
arzi arzi 3/22/2022 01:18
What did you do, JK? Did you use too many neo-nazi words?
JanneKejo JanneKejo 3/22/2022 10:06
"Perhaps Kramnik would have spoken about an attack on Ukraine? We are waiting."

Perhaps someone names some new opening line the "Ukraine attack" or the "Ukraine defense". The latter might be in a mass tournament where the boards are so near each other that you can "castle" grabbing the rook from the neighboring board. Would be a little like getting foreign mercenaries to Ukraine...
JanneKejo JanneKejo 3/22/2022 09:53
My favourite player Tigran Petrosian played like this on many occasions. He even beat Botvinnik in game 5 in the 1963 match exchanging the queens on move 9 and "ruining" his castling option. He later commented that at that moment many spectators left the venue; after all, what kind of play would be possible without those magical pieces...?
arzi arzi 3/22/2022 06:36
fgkdjlkag:"turok is absolutely right. Let's see how good anyone can be at Fischer Random."

I do not understand that argument. Why we have to see how good somebody is at Fischer Random? If I´m going to watch, for example, 100 m sprint why should I need to know how fast this sprinter runs in marathon? What is the logic of this idea? If you want to play FRchess, play the game, but don´t call it classical chess game. Don´t try to compare two different game with each other. It is pointless.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 3/21/2022 10:20
No one can explain the point of no-castling chess. If it becomes popular it has the same problem as regular chess. If it doesn't become popular it is just a diversion, and there are far superior ones like Fischer Random, which maintains opening principles but does away with opening theory (contrary to no-castling chess).

@turok is absolutely right. Let's see how good anyone can be at Fischer Random. The world championship a few years ago was flawed because of turok's point; there was no need to seed "top" players. We do not know who the top players are in Fischer Random. Everyone should start on a level playing field. I suspect there will be significant differences in the world rankings, some reasons being players who are naturally gifted but don't spend year memorising opens are benefited, as well as the entry of players who left chess since they could not compete with the opening theoreticians. There are also plenty of very strong players who are not chess professionals, including GMs, who could do very well at Fischer Random but would not fare well in chess.
arzi arzi 3/21/2022 01:48
rys:"You enchant reality."

Yes I may do that, I`m a magician. You, however deny reality. Why don´t you ask about my nationality from Lajosarpad? What I say to you may enchant you, change your picture of yourself. 70%, wow. That must be a very nice and honest opinion poll.
rys rys 3/21/2022 01:40
@arzi: You enchant reality. Everyone who supports Putin is to blame for what is happening. Currently, it is approximately 70% of Russians (opinion polls). Out of curiosity, are you Russian?
arzi arzi 3/21/2022 01:36
rys:"But that's what Russian soldiers do (rapes, robberies and shooting civilians). And these are documented cases. As I understand it you want to convince me (rhetorical question) that it's not true?"

Either you are blind or you don´t understand what I write? Which one it is? SOME Russian soldiers rape. Actually you wrote "Russians are committing war crimes." Do you mean that about 140 million Russian are war criminals or a very small fraction of them are war criminals? Which one do you mean?
rys rys 3/21/2022 01:05
@arzi: "Also, we should remember that the most of the army of Russia are mere soldiers and everybody of them do not rape."
But that's what Russian soldiers do (rapes, robberies and shooting civilians). And these are documented cases. As I understand it you want to convince me (rhetorical question) that it's not true?
arzi arzi 3/21/2022 12:49
rys:"arzi: I meant exactly what I wrote."

Also, we should remember that the most of the army of Russia are mere soldiers and everybody of them do not rape. So, I wouldn´t say that Russians are committing the war crimes but some of the Russians are committing war crimes. If some men for example in Poland rape women, it does not mean that the Poles (everyone) do it.
arzi arzi 3/21/2022 12:19
rys:"arzi: I meant exactly what I wrote."

For example, soldiers who are behind the cannons cannot always know their target. Their officers, supervisors, may know about the target, or not. The defender may also use methods that are war crimes in war. We don´t know that yet, after war better. Probably both sides are fighting in ways that meet the definition of a war crime.
rys rys 3/21/2022 11:53
@arzi: I meant exactly what I wrote. So: shooting civilians, torture, rape (all this is already happening on a large scale). For example, the bombing of the theater in Mariupol, the basement of which hid over 800 civilians. The use of thermobaric bombs, the use of butterfly mines (especially dangerous for children due to their shape - it arouses the natural curiosity of children) and many others (such as a rocket attack on a psychiatric hospital in Izium)
arzi arzi 3/21/2022 10:25
rys:"At the moment, there are 2 million refugees from Ukraine in Poland (women and children, men were left to fight). Russians are committing war crimes. That is why the voice of people who are watched by others is so important. Although, as you can see, Kramnik does not understand it. Shame."

I guess when writing "Russians are committing war crimes" you actually meant Putin is committing war crime when he ordered an attack on Ukraine? War itself is a war crime.
rys rys 3/21/2022 09:33
@Keshava: It is very important for people to know what is happening in Ukraine. At the moment, the Russians are cut off from information and even those who have families in Ukraine believe that there is no war there. Putin's propaganda does its job. Therefore, the voice of authorities (artists, writers, sportsmen etc.) that can reach ordinary Russians is important. Grischuk, Nepomniachtchi and others understand this. At the moment, there are 2 million refugees from Ukraine in Poland (women and children, men were left to fight). Russians are committing war crimes. That is why the voice of people who are watched by others is so important. Although, as you can see, Kramnik does not understand it. Shame.
arzi arzi 3/21/2022 09:07
turok:"I am about a 2300 player and if they faced me they have no clue what I play and how I use tactics so they may lose and this is what the point is of Fisher Random Chess especially. I hope I am making sense."

Chess (classical) has three different game area: opening, middle game and end game. With Fisher Random Chess one area will be in a smaller role (at least now), opening. What about a chess without castling? Just an other variation, nothing more nothing less. It cannot replace classic chess. Magnus Carlsen has proved that you don´t always have to play so called main lines. Of course Carlsen has also a great expertise in main lines. Good memory also helps. If you want to play for a win in a classical game you have to make a choice between a risk and a safe opening. Safe opening may be dangerous opening for the opponent who has no clue about that opening, of course. To win you have to take a risk in your play, in one or all three game area. Without technical expertise in the end game you can still lose the whole game even though you have memorized openings and entered in a good positions in middle games. Why change the classical game?
turok turok 3/21/2022 05:52
First off is this a chess site or political site because if he chooses not to speak out it is his business. Now on to chess-IMO whether it is no castling chess or Fisher Random Chess for me it is a joke because all they ever do is match the top players who always play each other against each other so you never get to see these guys vs other players even masters in chess without the opening theory so in a sense they never risk anything;. So if you are gonna see whether or NOT Fisher Random Chess actually can prove that memorization of opening theory is why many top GMs win then you need to have them play players who are not in their chess world they play all of the time. So lets say these GMs play in a tourney and they play some Master players 2200 or above who knows if they can beat a Master player because if they lose then we know the Master has more skills which Random Chess is suppose to bring out. BUT if they only play each other NOTHING is proven because all they ever do is play each other. I am about a 2300 player and if they faced me they have no clue what I play and how I use tactics so they may lose and this is what the point is of Fisher Random Chess especially. I hope I am making sense.
Keshava Keshava 3/20/2022 08:47
@rys: If I was living in Germany during the Nazi period I definitely would not denounce Hitler which would get me killed or sent to a camp. Instead, I would be secretly helping Jews. Forcing people to denounce Putin does not save lives. Compelled speech is not free speech. I believe in free speech.
rys rys 3/20/2022 05:18
@Keshava: The Germans did not have to say anything either, after all, Hitler did not consider anyone. Huh? You wrote a lot of crap.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 3/20/2022 12:32
Whatever you may think of the 'necessity' of chess variants, no castling chess has the advantage over Fischer random that opening theory has become redundant, without losing opening ideas. Chess doesn't become completely alien.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 3/20/2022 12:24
Speaking out like Grischuk did is very brave, but you should keep in mind that such behaviour is exceptional. Most people will just try to keep themselves and their family secure. Kramnik's mother is Ukrainian, by the way.
Theochessman Theochessman 3/20/2022 12:57
No-castling chess is indeed nonsense.
Keshava Keshava 3/19/2022 11:45
@rys, Kramnik nor anyone else have to speak out about anything. This is PC nonsense because Putin is not moved by people's condemnations.
Mamack1 Mamack1 3/19/2022 11:02
Maybe he is just conflicted, or indeed depressed, about the whole thing and prefers to keep silent?

I will give him the benefit of the doubt on this until if and when he does a Karjakin.
rys rys 3/19/2022 10:08
Perhaps Kramnik would have spoken about an attack on Ukraine? We are waiting.
Mamack1 Mamack1 3/19/2022 08:49
Kramnik has been quiet about this war, which makes him better than certain of his fellow Russian GMs.
fede666 fede666 3/19/2022 06:16
Chess is a beautiful need to ruin it with such nonsense...
Green22 Green22 3/19/2022 06:05
This no Castling is so dumb.

"Games played with the rule change thrilled players, spectators and players in the online open last year. "

Really like who? Kramnik got bored after retiring, and came up with this nonsense. lol to each his own right..
MH64squares MH64squares 3/19/2022 05:19
I am very disappointed in Anand, Sasikiran, and Fridman. I do not understand why anyone would want to sponsor or participate in an event with Kramnik, the pro-Putin propagandist. On a lesser note, a minimalist variant like no castling can hardly be called "innovative". Chess without castling actually predates modern chess.