Dortmund: Kramnik and Caruana with splendid starts

by Patrick Zelbel
6/27/2023 – The 50th Dortmund Chess Festival is underway in Dortmund’s Westfalenhalle. Yesterday, Vladimir Kramnik and Fabiano Caruana started their no-casting experiment and were both successful from the get go, beating Pavel Eljanov and defending champion Dmitrij Kollars respectively. | Photo: Michelle Lassak

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Kramnik attacks, Caruana shows his class

The fourth tournament of the 2023 Dortmund Festival started on Monday. Sebastian Junker, board member of Sparkasse Dortmund, made the symbolic first move at the board of Pavel Eljanov and Vladimir Kramnik. Eljanov won the last two round-robin tournaments in Dortmund, while Kramnik is the undisputed record holder with 10 tournament victories.

Kramnik played creatively from the start in the special tournament mode of chess-without-castling, pushing his h-pawn to h5 and placing his knight and queen in attacking positions against f2.

He mercilessly exploited Eljanov’s inaccuracies and got an early attack against the white king. He was thus the first to win his game on the stage in the Goldsaal of the Westfalenhallen. “Above all, I’m happy to be healthy in Dortmund, I feel very well, and I’m looking forward to the tournament”, Kramnik said in an interview after the game, after he had to withdraw at short notice last year due to a covid infection.

Both players were guests of press officer Patrick Zelbel and gave exciting insights in their post-game interview.

World No. 3 Fabiano Caruana also got off to the perfect start: after five hours, he defeated German representative and last year’s winner Dmitrij Kollars in a rook ending. The opening phase made an interesting but balanced impression. But in the middlegame, Caruana showed his class and slowly but surely gathered advantages.

Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Michelle Lassak

Both players shared their analyses:

All games

Wagner and Köllner share the lead at the Sportland NRW Cup

After her great start, Dinara Wagner met ‘The Big Greek’ Souleidis in the third round. Souleidis equalised early with black, and the game ended in a draw. 

Dinara Wagner | Photo: Dariusz Gorsinski

Ruben Gideon Köllner, the 2021 winner, was able to catch up with Wagner thanks to a beautiful attacking win over Mihail Saltaev. “The opening idea was not really mine, I got that from Dmitrij Kollars, with whom I train”, he noted after the game. Hussain Besou drew and remains on the heels of the two leaders with 2 out of 3.

The atmosphere at the Westfalenhallen:

Standings - Round 3

All games

Bluebaum, Donchenko, Adams still perfect

Matthias Blübaum and Alexander Donchenko won their games against strong opponents in endgames. Things went faster for Michael Adams, who outplayed his opponent beautifully out of the opening phase: Adams - Janzelj.

A total of 8 players are still without a point loss in the A-Open. One of them was Frederik Svane, who won against Valentin Buckels. Svane seems to be in top form after his last tournament win in Teplice. 

Frederic Svane | Photo: Dariusz Gorsinski

Standings - Round 3

Rg. Name Pts  TB1 
1 Donchenko,Alexander, 3 4
Adams,Michael, 3 4
Aryan Chopra, 3 4
4 Blübaum,Matthias, 3 4
Mendonca,Leon Luke, 3 4
Svane,Frederik, 3 4
Kobo,Ori, 3 4
8 Guo,Arthur, 3 3,5
9 Thieme,Daniel Otis, 3 1
10 Pranav Anand, 2,5 4,5
11 Laurent-Paoli,Pierre, 2,5 4,5
Dolzhykova,Kateryna, 2,5 4,5
13 Akesson,Ralf, 2,5 4,5
14 Svane,Rasmus, 2,5 4
Raja Harshit, 2,5 4
16 Ponomariov,Ruslan, 2,5 4
Muthaiah AL, 2,5 4
Jinan Jomon, 2,5 4
19 Vogel,Roven, 2,5 3,5
20 Safarli,Eltaj, 2,5 3,5
21 Woelk,Tom-Frederic, 2,5 3,5

...328 players

All available games


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