Dortmund: All three GMs lose in the Sportland NRW Cup

by Patrick Zelbel
6/25/2023 – All five games ended decisively in the first round of the Sportland NRW Cup in Dortmund. WGM Dinara Wagner (pictured), IM Georgios Souleidis and 12-year-old FM Hussain Besou had a dream start: they beat the three participating grandmasters. In the A-Open, most of the favourites won their games, although the accelerated Swiss format made for interesting fights on the very first day of action.

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Five (out of five) decisive games in the Sportland NRW Cup

What a start in the Sportland NRW Cup of the 50th International Dortmund Chess Days Festival! All five games ended decisively. WGM Dinara Wagner, IM Georgios Souleidis and 12-year-old FM Hussain Besou had a dream start: they beat the three participating grandmasters.

On stage, Wagner was able to quickly target the black king with her pawn advance g3-g4-g5 in the Catalan opening. Her opponent, Mihail Saltaev, defended inaccurately and quickly got in trouble. Wagner did not take long to secure the win, and later explained her game to press officer Patrick Zelbel.

Meanwhile, Ruben Gideon Köllner slowly outplayed Jana Schneider to confidently score a win with the black pieces.

Right in front of the stage, the German youngster Hussain Besou faced GM Alexander Bagrationi with white. Bagrationi played a risky opening, and very quickly found himself in an inferior position. Besou won two pawns on the queenside and converted his advantage confidently.

Hussain Besou

12-year-old FM Hussain Besou

In a wild Sicilian, Ukrainian Vadym Petrovskiy kept the upper hand against Arthur de Winter.

Meanwhile, ‘the Big Greek’ Georgios Souleidis played black against top seed Karthik Venkataraman. He later confessed that he “didn't feel like playing the game all week because Venkataraman just plays everything”. The Indian GM chose 1.c4 and Souleidis surprised him with the ‘Adhiban Variation’. Souleidis won the game thanks to a beautiful attack.

22...Bg3 was a magnificent shot by Souleidis! Black threatens ...Qxf2 and has created a discovered attack against the white queen on d4. Karthik went for 23.hxg3 and resigned the game only four moves later.

Georgios Souleidis

Georgios Souleidis

Results - Round 1

Bo. No. Rtg Name Result Name Rtg No.
1 1 2378

De Winter,A

0 - 1 IM Petrovskiy,Vadim
2423 10
2 2 2548
GM Karthik V 0 - 1 IM Souleidis,Georgios
2419 9
3 3 2325
FM Besou,Hussain 1 - 0 GM Bagrationi,Alexander
2454 8
4 4 2447
WGM Wagner,Dinara 1 - 0 GM Saltaev,Mihail
2462 7
5 5 2326
FM Schneider,Jana 0 - 1 IM Köllner,Ruben
2429 6

Full technical information on Chess-Results

All games

Record participation

All in all, the Dortmund Chess Festival, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, surpassed all records in terms of participation:

  • 569 participants (555 of them in the Sparkassen Open).
  • 43 nations
  • 121 titleholders
  • 31 grandmasters, 15 women grandmasters

In the Sparkassen A-Open most of the favourites won their games. Playing on the stage of the tournament hall, GM Matthias Blübaum, GM Alexander Donchenko and GM Michael Adams scored full points. On board 5, GM Gata Kamsky, who already beat Garry Kasparov in the Westfalenhallen in 1992, had to give up half a point against FM Michael Coenen. All in all, the accelerated Swiss format quickly provided a number of high-class games in the opening round.

Alexander Donchenko

Alexander Donchenko, the second see in the A-Open

Tomorrow we will continue at 10:30 with the second round in the B-Open, while the second rounds in the A-Open and the Sportland NRW Cup will kick off at 15:00 (local time).

Results - Round 1

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Blübaum,Matthias, 0 1 - 0 0 Syrov,Arkadi,
Voicu ,Carmen, 0 0 - 1 0 Donchenko,Alexander,
Adams,Michael, 0 1 - 0 0 Heinemann,Josefine,
Weber,Samuel, 0 0 - 1 0 Ponomariov,Ruslan,
Kamsky,Gata, 0 ½ - ½ 0 Coenen,Michael,
Boder,Jan, 0 0 - 1 0 Aryan Chopra,
Svane,Rasmus, 0 1 - 0 0 Ronka,Erik,
Ongut,Tamas Gunes, 0 0 - 1 0 Mendonca,Leon Luke,
Svane,Frederik, 0 1 - 0 0 Dixit,Nikhil,
Abrahamyan,Tatev, 0 ½ - ½ 0 Wagner,Dennis,

Pairings - Round 2

Name Pts. Result Pts. Name
Parvanyan,Ashot, 1 1 Blübaum,Matthias,
Donchenko,Alexander, 1 1 Bai,Adelard,
Meins,Gerlef, 1 1 Adams,Michael,
Ponomariov,Ruslan, 1 1 Harikrishnan.A.Ra,
Aryan Chopra, 1 1 Colpe,Malte,
Akesson,Ralf, 1 1 Svane,Rasmus,
Mendonca,Leon Luke, 1 1 Garner,Isaac,
Souhardo Basak, 1 1 Svane,Frederik,
Niedbala,Bartlomiej, 1 1 Safarli,Eltaj,
Prohaszka,Peter, 1 1 Niermann,Tristan,

Full technical information on Chess-Results

All available games


Patrick Zelbel is the press officer at the Sparkassen Chess Trophy yearly event in Dortmund.