Dortmund: Najer and Vachier-Lagrave start with a win

by Johannes Fischer
7/10/2016 – With four interesting games of which two had a winner the "Sparkassen Chess Meeting" in Dortmund is off to a promising start. Defending champion Fabiano Caruana wanted too much against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and lost, while German Grandmaster Rainer Buhmann did not want enough and also lost. Leinier Dominguez Perez drew a long endgame against Vladimir Kramnik and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu played a tactical draw against Ruslan Ponomariov.

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At chess events the first move of the tournament is often played by political representatives, sponsors, young chess talents or prominent people that are somehow connected to the tournament. In Dortmund it was town mayor Birgit Jörder who executed the first move in the game between Fabiano Caruana and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. However, there are never disputes about what exactly the "touch-move rule" implies because the players are by no means forced to accept the move appears on the board.

In Dortmund Jörder showed a preference for quiet play by favoring 1.g3. But Caruana had other intentions - he wanted to win his first game with White. After all, he is the defending champion and won in Dortmund 2014 and 2015.

When the game began in earnest, the g-pawn had to retreat and Caruana opened with 1.e4 instead and it did not take long for a Najdorf-Sicilian to appear on the board.

Caruana played aggressively but Maxime Vachier-Lagrave had no problems to keep the balance. With the time-control coming nearer it was Caruana who cracked. He played too aggressively and was punished by Vachier-Lagrave who thus won his first game with Black.


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (left) more than held his own against Fabiano Caruana

Nisipeanu - Ponomariov 1/2:1/2

Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu and Ruslan Ponomariov also played an entertaining game. In a Nimzo-Indian with 4.Qc2 Nisipeanu initiated tactical complications in the middlegame which in the long run cost him a pawn. But his active pieces gave him compensation and his active play gave him a drawn endgame.


Entertaining chess: Ruslan Ponomariov and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu

Najer - Buhmann 1:0

Evgeny Najer, the winner of the Aeroflot Open 2016, played with White against Rainer Buhmann who did not seem to believe in his counterattack and his chances which led to his downfall.


Rainer Buhmann (left) missed some good opportunities against Evgeniy Najer

Dominguez Perez - Kramnik 1/2:1/2

The game between Leinier Dominguez Perez and Vladimir Kramnik saw a lot of exchanges in the first moves resulting in a simplified, rather drawish looking position. However, before agreeing to the draw Kramnik tried hard to get play and winning chances. However, the Cuban grandmaster defended well and after 54 moves there was no more fight left in the position and the players agreed to a draw.


Leinier Dominguez Perez (left) had a lot of work
to do before securing the draw against Vladimir Kramnik.


Games of the 1. round



Round 1: 9. July, 15.00 h
Caruana – Vachier-Lagrave
Nisipeanu – Ponomariov
Najer – Buhmann
Dominguez Perez – Kramnik

Round 2: 10. July, 15.00 h
Vachier-Lagrave – Kramnik
Buhmann – Dominguez Perez
Ponomariov – Najer
Caruana – Nisipeanu

Round 3: 12. July, 15.00 h
Nisipeanu – Vachier-Lagrave
Najer – Caruana
Dominguez Perez – Ponomariov
Kramnik – Buhmann

Round 4: 13. July, 15.00 h
Vachier-Lagrave – Buhmann
Ponomariov – Kramnik
Caruana – Dominguez Perez
Nisipeanu – Najer

Round 5: 15. July, 15.00 h
Najer – Vachier-Lagrave
Dominguez Perez – Nisipeanu
Kramnik – Caruana
Buhmann – Ponomariov

Round 6: 16. July, 15.00 h
Vachier-Lagrave – Ponomariov
Caruana – Buhmann
Nisipeanu – Kramnik
Najer – Dominguez Perez

Round 7: 17. July, 13.00 h
Dominguez Perez – Vachier-Lagrave
Kramnik – Najer
Buhmann – Nisipeanu
Ponomariov – Caruana

Entry: One hour before the start of the round

Autograph session: 14. July, 15.00 h
with the stars of the Supergrandmaster tournament in the "Kundenzentrum" of the Sparkasse Dortmund, Freistuhl 2–4

Tournament page Sparkassen Chess-Meeting...

Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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