Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting with Kramnik and Giri

by ChessBase
7/13/2018 – Starting Saturday, Vladimir Kramnik and Anish Giri top the field of players providing a nice mix of old and new this year. Since 1984, the tournament has been made possible by the commitment of the Dortmund Sparkasse regional bank. | Pictured (L to R): Gerd Kolbe, Klaus Steenweg, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Vladislav Kovalev, Georg Meier, Andreas Jagodzinsky, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Stefan Koth, Vladimir Kramnik, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Anish Giri, | Photos: Macauley Peterson

My Path to the Top My Path to the Top

On this DVD Vladimir Kramnik retraces his career from talented schoolboy to World Champion in 2006. With humour and charm he describes his first successes, what it meant to be part of the Russian Gold Medal team at the Olympiad, and how he undertook the Herculean task of beating his former mentor and teacher Garry Kasparov.


Veterans and newcomers

From July 14th to the 22nd, 2018 the 46th Sparkassen Chess-Meeting will take place in the Orchesterzentrum NRW in the centre of Dortmund. The organizers have again assembled a world-class field led by ten-time winner Vladimir Kramnik, alongside Anish Giri, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Jan Krzysztof Duda, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Vladislav Kovalev and Georg Meier.

The Czech grandmaster Vlastimil Hort, a perennial guest of the tournament says: "The participants promise chess at its very best!" 

The tournament in 2018 has adopted the motto: "Top chess and top culture: hand in hand for the Brückviertel!" [the 'bridge district']. On behalf of the organizers, the well-known artist Christiane Koehne will once again present numerous chess exhibits in shop windows around the district.

Under the banner "Chess is art", Koehne was tasked with marshalling the Dortmund art scene to design thirty-two outdoor chess pieces, using any means available. The chess pieces can be painted, costumed, crocheted, embroidered or spray-painted. During the tournament, public voting for visitors to the venue will determine the three "crowd favourites".

The players

Here are the players of this year's tournament — in rating order — with brief bios (updated from the tournament press release), and their remarks from the opening press conference held on Friday afternoon.

KramnikVladimir Kramnik (Russia)

Kramnik always starts as the favourite at the Sparkassen Chess-Meeting. The World Champion from 2000 to 2007 has won the tournament ten times and wants to boost this unique record in his "living room" to eleven. At age 43, Kramnik is the tournament "grandpa", but with an Elo rating of 2792 as #5 in the world rankings, he remains one of the best players in the world.

"It’s my 26th or 27th time here. I’m not sure it’s going to be the best one, but my main goal is that it’s not the worst one."

GiriAnish Giri (Netherlands)

Giri is No. 6 in the world with an Elo rating of 2782 and the youngest player in the top ten. Despite his tender age, the 24-year-old Dutch grandmaster of Russian-Nepalese origin is regarded as an outstanding theoretician and as a super-solid player who is hard to beat. This is Giri's second time in Dortmund — he previously played in 2011.

"Last time I did something like this was when I was eight and came to school and they said, ‘so let’s introduce everyone’ and I only remember one guy and he came and said ‘I like strawberries’. So, my name is Anish Giri and I like strawberries."
Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia)

The 28-year-old Nepomniachtchi was the European Champion in 2010 and runner-up at the World Blitz Championship in 2014. With an Elo rating of 2757, he currently occupies 15th place in the world rankings. "Nepo" appears for the third time in Dortmund. After qualifying via the Aeroflot Open in 2008 and 2011, he received a direct invitation this time around, and is coming off a rapid chess win in Jerusalem just a week ago.

"I’m very glad to be here once again because my first time here was in 2008, and you know I’ve read some books in the ten years past. Well, I’m very thankful for the invitation and I’m just here to try to play some good chess."

DudaJan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland)

Jan-Krzysztof Duda is one of the premier young talents in the world. With an Elo rating of 2737, he is the No. 21 in the world rankings and No. 1 in the Junior World Ranking. For the 20-year-old Polish Champion, the Sparkassen Chess-Meeting is the first supertournament of his career.

"I don’t expect anything. I just want to play as good as I can, and we’ll see what happens."

Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland)

Wojtaszek starts as defending champion, having won a surprise victory in 2017, his first appearance in a supertournament. That was his biggest success to date and one he would love to repeat. The Polish No. 2, with an Elo rating of 2733, is the No. 24 in the world ranking list and, at the age of 31, is at the peak of his career.

"I played here last year, it went quite well for me of course. I don’t see any reason why not to repeat this success of last year."

Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (Germany)

Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu is next to Kramnik the most experienced player in the field. The 41-year-old grandmaster of Romanian origin is the undisputed No. 1 in Germany and with an Elo rating of 2672 the No. 67 in the world ranking list. Nisipeanu is in Dortmund for the fourth time and would like to forget his disappointing last-place finish in 2017.

"I made 13 draws out of my last 14 games here, so I hope I will change this trend."
KovalevVladislav Kovalev (Belarus)

Vladislav Kovalev qualified somewhat surprisingly this year by winning the Aeroflot Open in February. The 24-year-old Belarusian is the best player in a country. He had an outstanding year in 2017 and improved by over 50 points to an Elo rating of 2655, recently cracking the Top 100 (currently number 97).

"I’m very glad to take part in such tournament with very strong players. It’s a very nice city and I hope I will learn a lot in this tournament."
Georg Meier (Germany)

Georg Meier is ranked 147 in the world ranking list with an Elo rating of 2628. He's nominally the underdog in the field. The 30-year-old German national player is participating in Dortmund for the fifth time and therefore has gained a lot of experience against world-class field. His best finish so far was the shared second place in 2014.

"I've been studying for the last seven years and hope to win one game or another. Everything is possible."

The Schedule (local times in CEST [UT+2])

Round 1, July 14, 15:15
Round 2, 15 July, 15:15
Round 3, 17 July, 15:15
Round 4, July 18, 15:15 
Round 5, July 20, 15:15
Round 6, July 21, 15:15
Round 7, 22 July, 13:15

For those lucky enough to be able to visit in person, it's quite a bargain: A Day ticket is just €6 euros with a full tournament ticket for 25 euros. Ticket sales via Dortmund tourism (Kampstraße 80 / Tel .: 0231/18 999-444) or all other all well-known ticket agencies.


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register