Dortmund statistics: who will win

by ChessBase
8/4/2003 – Five days ago we asked our visitors to predict who was going to win the Super GM in Dortmund. We agreed to accept predictions based on any of the great divination methods. Most used common sense, one, Jeff Sonas, ran a multi-million-game simulation to reach his conclusions. Here are the results.

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In five days of voting we received many thousands of messages. With the help of an automatic counting system we extracted the numbers for each player and each place in the final table. The following table shows you how people voted:


1265 people thought that Anand will take first place, 681 that he will be second, 887 that he will end third. Two readers actually predicted that he will come in last. 1085 thought Kramnik will win, 597 that Leko will end up first. One reader predicted that Naiditsch will win Dortmund, while 2504 believed he will come in last. Note that the colums do not add up to equal numbers, since some readers sent in incomplete lists or misspelled certain names.

The above graph shows the number of readers who predicted which player will achieve each place on the table. Most thought Anand will be first, most that Leko would be second, etc. If you add all the predictions for each player and build an average then the readers predicted that (how shall we express this?) Kramnik will come in 1.92nd in this tournament. Anand will be 1.95th, Leko 2.27th, Radjabov 4.18th, Bologan 4.78 and Naiditsch 5.84th.

Professional predictions

Let us see what a professional chess statistician has to say. Jeff Sonas ran a random simulation of millions of games and sent us the following predictions:

  • Vladimir Kramnik has a 28% chance to win clear first place.
  • Viswanathan Anand has a 22% chance to win clear first place.
  • There is a 21% chance of a shared first place.
  • Peter Leko has a 16% chance to win clear first place.
  • Viktor Bologan has a 6% chance to win clear first place.
  • Teimour Radjabov has a 5% chance to win clear first place.
  • The odds are 67 to 1 against Arkadij Naiditsch winning clear first place.

Jeff (picture left) wrote: "I am assuming that players' current ratings are merely inexact measures of their true strength. Since I don't have Chessmetrics ratings handy for these players, I have used an average of their FIDE and Professional ratings, because my analysis in the past has shown that an average of the two is better than either rating by itself, for purposes of predicting future results.

Although Radjabov and Naiditsch are the youngest players, it is Bologan who has the most risky style of play (as evidenced by the fact that two thirds of his games have decisive results), so he is the most likely of the outsiders to put together a string of victories and win the tournament. Of course, he is also very likely to put together a string of losses and finish at the bottom of the standings!



The most likely final standings according to Jeff Sonas are:

6.0/10 (+2)
5.5/10 (+1)
5.5/10 (+1)
4.5/10 (–1)
4.5/10 (–1)
4.0/10 (–2)

Here are the individual statistics:

Vladimir Kramnik (FIDE 2785, Professional 2751, Combined 2768):
66% chance to finish in first or second
26% chance to finish in third or fourth
8% chance to finish in fifth or sixth
Most likely scores: +2 or +1
20% chance to win at least five games

Viswanathan Anand (FIDE 2774, Professional 2720, Combined 2747):
66% chance to finish in first or second
26% chance to finish in third or fourth
8% chance to finish in fifth or sixth
Most likely scores: +1 or +2
66% chance of a plus score

Peter Leko (FIDE 2739, Professional 2696, Combined 2718):
50% chance to finish in first or second
35% chance to finish in third or fourth
15% chance to finish in fifth or sixth
Most likely scores: +1 or equal
55% chance to win at least three games

Viktor Bologan (FIDE 2650, Professional 2589, Combined 2620):
25% chance to finish in first or second
36% chance to finish in third or fourth
39% chance to finish in fifth or sixth
Most likely scores: -1 or equal
64% chance to win clear first if he goes unbeaten

Teimour Radjabov (FIDE 2648, Professional 2597, Combined 2623):
24% chance to finish in first or second
39% chance to finish in third or fourth
37% chance to finish in fifth or sixth
Most likely scores: -1 or equal
Odds are 38 to 1 against scoring +4 or better

Arkadij Naiditsch (FIDE 2574, Professional 2501, Combined 2538):
9% chance to finish in first or second
28% chance to finish in third or fourth
63% chance to finish in fifth or sixth
Most likely scores: -2 or -3
11% chance of a plus score

Some comments by our readers

Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Philippines
I think anand is going to win this tournament. He placed last in dortmund 2001 so to erase all doubt of his true form , its gonna be the other way around, he is my chess idol!!!

Robert, Pallot, Melbourne, Australia
Kramnik is still the best there, yet look out for a few interesting games between Anand and Leko, The teenagers are no match for Anand and Kramnik's exsperience.

Brad Linton, North Dallas, USA
Leko, Kramnik, and Anand will set the pace, but watch for the Hungarian to ice Naiditsch in the final round with a Pelikan; this bird's migration is headed strait for the winner's circle. Kramnik and Anand should draw against each other, Leko and Radjabov, and notch wins against Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Note: A loss to Leko for either of these guys could mean the difference between 2nd and 3rd place. Young players are often underrated, as their playing strength grows faster than their rating reflects. If his KID and French can hold up, watch for Radj- "the baby face killer" -abov to chalk up a 2700 performance. What's a Bologan?? Naiditsch: Too young, too inexperienced (against top competition), and too outrated. Servey says!...1/10. Ouch!

Jeremy Jusak, Bellingham WA, USA
Anand is consistently strong, and I think he has what it takes to win this tounrnament. Leko and Kramnik, the other giants, will come in 2nd and 3rd respectivly, because they are strong and highly rated. Leko will come before Kramnik because of Kramnik's tendency to draw. While Radjabov has played in some top tournaments recently, I would have to put him behind Bologan, leaving Naiditsch last.

Michael Bradly, San Francisco, California, USA
Same ol' same ol'... Is there any wonder why there are so few tournament books anymore? It wouldn't surprise me if one day Linares simply became a two player match to maintain its status as the highest category tournament of the year. Although I appreciate the quality of games between the worlds top players, the ever increasing 6 player double round robin no longer inspires me to awaken at 5 in the morning to watch the games live on the internet. Once again, the usual suspects will vie for their top three spots with Kramnik winning his two to three games then drawing out, Leko 2.0 swashbuckling through with his wins, a loss, and draws as Anand finds his comfortable spot between the big boys and the celler dwellers. Bologan will be consistent, while Radjabov will continue to take his lumps as he prepares for that match in Linares. As for Naidtich, whom I have never heard of until now, I wish him the best of luck, however being 17 and under 2600 makes me wonder if he'll be back next year. There doesn't seem to be much of a future for chess players over 12 anymore :) At least the beginning of this tournament coincides with Biel, so in my mind I can imagine what a truly wonderful tournament it would be if the two were conjoined into one.

Joseph Christian M. Viñegas, Cavite, Philippines
Peter Leko will soon find himself in the throne that was left by the most vicious and most dangerous player of all time - Robert James 'Bobby' Fischer. The Russian supremacy on chess will once again be discarded by the result of this tournamnet where Kramnik will only placed third behind Anand. Prodigies like Radjabov and Arkadi will prove that aga doesn't matter as they will surpass Bologan by about 1.5 gap!!!

Hector Flores, Albuquerque, NM, USA
Kramnik will win because even though he hasn't been playing a lot lately he is, nonetheless, a through and through champion. As well and, perhaps, most of all, simply being in Dortmund will bring back many great memories (victories) and thus put him into the necessary happy and productive state of mind. In this, his natural state of mind, his latent talents, however ill exercised as of late, will come out to play and help him to win almost effortlessly.

Leko will draw with Kramnik because neither of the two will desire a fight and the slightest inclination of a draw will result in just that. He will top Anand in this tournament because he is on-a-roll this year and is still experimenting with his re-vamped style and would again like to try and justify his place above Anand in his future match against Kramnik. ("Maybe Einstein or someone will notice", he is also thinking somewhat impatiently)

Anand will not overcome Leko and Kramnik because even though he will be trying (with a little to prove here at Dortmund) draws coming from Bologan and Radjbov will keep him from the top.

Radjabov will keep Naiditsch and Bologan down but he will fair somewhat the same as he has earlier this year against Anand, Leko, Kramnik. The top three have their own agendas and Radjabov is simply going to be getting in the way of that, thus, no mercy for the lad. (Besides, the impressive draws will be enough to justify anything he would like or need to prove) He doesn't need to fight for anything here anyway, and could possibly have a lot of other things on his mind in Dortmund. (Young German girls that play chess)

Bologon has a lot of experience but not at this level. The top three are not going to give away any points here at Dortmund and Radjbov will throw him off. He will play too hard against this future world champion (trying to beat him when it was still possible, age 16) and lose on tactics and draw on positioning. Nice draw with Kramnik.

Naiditsch is too young and inexperienced for the top four players in this tournament. As well, this is exactly the level of player Bologan has experience with and knows how to beat. Bologan's effort to ditch (no pun intended) last place will come through a victory over young Arkadi.

Mike Tundra, Tucson, Arizona
Kramnik is right at home at Dortmund, although I wouldn't be surprised if Anand tied for 1st this time, he has been playing very strongly and will seek to rid himself of the negative stigma he has when it comes to Dortmund. I'm hoping Radjabov will do well, and continue to show us his great Super GM potential. Good luck to Naiditsch, but odds are he will find it very difficult to defeat the big names. However it turns out I am looking forward to a great Dortmund.

Héctor Manuel Sandoval Landázuri, Mazatlán, Sin., Mexico
Kramnik will win as WC, Leko has changed and a now is a very powerfull player. Anand is very good, but he doesn't feel ok in Dortmund. Radjabov is playing every day better. And Naiditsch doesn have the experience to scape from the bottom.

Charles Hall, Winter Park, FL USA
Kramnik's customary "ring rust" will cost him early in the form of one or two missed opportunities. Anand and Leko are likely to tie for first, but if there is a clear winner, Anand must be slightly favored. Radjabov has had a lot of experience this year with Super-GMs and rises to the levels of these players. Unfortunately, he may have more trouble with the lower half. Still, Teimour should not score less than 50%. The last 2 cannot be expected to occupy anything other than the basement spots. Nonetheless, each will want to make the most out of this rare opportunity and may manage a surprise scalping. Unfortunately, in the long run, they will both probably have to be content with the unusual privilege of playing in a tournament against the 3 of the top 4 FIDE players in the World.

Philip Palaveev, Seattle, USA
Four of those guys were at Linares and we saw the score. It is safe to assume they will repeat the same result, although Kasparov is not in Dortmund to serve Anand a defeat or two :) Leko won Linares against pretty much the same competition. Will probably win one against Kramnik and one against Anand Kramnik will win one from Radjabov and loose to Leko Anand will loose to Leko at least one game Radjabov will have a plus score against the bottom two and may get to decide who wins by virtue of his performance against the top 3. Will probably loose to one to Kramnik and tie with Leko and Anand Naiditsch - just cause he's young.

Joachim Heuser, Niefern, Germany
I predrict Anand to win Dortmund by a small margin over his most serious competitors, Leko and Kramnik. Although they are playing very much on the same level, i expect Anand to win one or two more games than his rivals. The expected lower half is quite a lottery. Bologan in good shape should finish fourth ahead of Naiditsch and Radjabov, but that will be a very close call.

Grega Ogradi, Kamnik, Slovenia
I think Kramnik and Anand will be tied for the first. Kramnik is I believe already preparing for the match against Leko,although the match hasn't been announced yet. That is why I think he won´t win clear first in "his" tournament. Plus Anand is lately in great form. Leko will end in clear third, although he is in great form and won Linares.Bologan and Radjabov will have a though battle for fourth place, but since Bologan hasn´t played top GM's a lot of times I give Radjabov a little advantage in this battle.I don´t know Naiditsch very well, but I think he is a little unexperienced for the matches against top GMs,so I think he will end up last.

Ted Wong, Sydney, Australia
Radjabov and Naiditsch can't beat Anand and Kramnik because their opening knowledge is not adequate. Bologan is very experienced but poor imagination and energy, so I predict he will come last in the tournment. Leko should draw most of his games and win few games against lower rated players, so he should come third. Anand and Kramnik's score will be very close.

Michel Therrien, Ottawa, Canada
It is very difficult to upset a super-GM, and so the play will be very cautious. I believe that only Radjabov will have the energy to try hard to succeed above the ratings. The other young guy, Naiditsch, will have a hard time, as it is his first participation in a super-GM tournament, but he may win one game against one of the big guys.

Ioannis Georgiadis, Athens, Greece
Leko, Kramnik and Anand are about equal in strength and quite better from the rest three participants so I believe they will be way ahead of them in the final standings. It is hard to tell who will win amongst the tree of them, I vote Leko only because I want him to win. Now for the rest I believe Naiditsch will finish last as he still lacks experience of such big events. The other "kid", Radjabov hasn't proved that he can compete with the very top yet.

Ted Cross, Zagreb, Croatia
Kramnik is just too hard to beat. He won't lost any games, but he will only win a couple or three. Leko is trying to be more aggressive, so he may actually lose a game, but he may win an extra game to balance that out. Anand is talanted but doesn't seem quite ambitious enough. I expect the final three to be fairly close in score to each other, though Radjabov should come out ahead of the final two. Bologan and Naiditsch are very talanted, but they are just outclassed here. They have to hope for even one upset against the top three.

Chris Tilling, Gomaringen, Germany
Anand will win. He is seems to be "in the zone" at the mo. Besides, he seems liek a nice chap. Hope he wins. Kramnik is not far behind, but just pipping him will be Leko, playing some of his best chess. Radjabov. Eratic chess places him at number 4. Bologan has goon from great to not so great (at least probably for his own expectations - not mine!! Man, he has always been brilliant from my perspective) and so I place him ahead of the tournament looser, Naiditsch. He just couldn't adjust to playing so many high rated players. But, he will learn a lot...

Chen Hanrong, Singapore
The participants can be divided into two groups: the three giants, and the other three, taking each half of the board. Among the second three, I think that Naiditsch lack of experience will tell, as so will Radjabov's potential. There is little to choose between the other three, so I'm hazarding that Kramnik's 2800+ rating shows in this tournament. Leko has been doing well in many touraments lately, so he should take second.

Tolulope Ogunwobi, Lagos, Nigeria
Success depends on motivation and ability. Kramnik is hugely talented and very determined. His comfortability with the Dortmund enviroment will enhance his chances. Anand has much to prove and he his also very capable. The omens of the year shows that he will overcome the issues that weakens his perfomance in Dortmund. A second place finish for him.Leko will not lose to any of the lower rated players, though he should watch out for Radjabov. Radjabov will play agressively, Bologan will show fighting spirit and Naiditsch will have a baptism of fire.

Tony Dowden, Dunedin, New Zealand
Leko just has to keep getting better. He stands out as one of the only real world championship contenders with genuine up-side potential (sorry, I'm not a Ponomariov fan just yet). Anand and Bologan have been doing something Kramnik has not been doing: playing tournament chess aginst flesh and blood opponents. Call me old-fashioned but the best practice for super-GM tournaments is to play in super-GM tournaments. Naiditsch before Naiditsch? I thought Radjabov's steep learning curve might mean he hits speed bumps. Also the 'bunny' in various super-GM events of recent years has often managed to inflict surprising amounts of pain.

Daniel Semcesen, Malmoe, Sweden
Anand and Kramnik has a record being very solid but I feel that Anand is slightly better since he takes more risks than Kramnik. Leko has shown that he is in great shape, however I think that the above mentioned players are at the moment somewhat better than him. Radjabov has been developing since a long time and I am inclined to believe that he can and will beat Bologan and Naiditsch. Last but not least I think that Bologan will beat Naiditsch due to his experience.

Iñaki Jiménez, Madrid, España
Creo que a día de hoy Anand es, junto con Kasparov, el jugador más sólido del mundo. Leko deslumbró en Linares, pero su match de reunificación con Kramnik hará que ambos no estén del todo "centrados" en este torneo, si bien Kramnik juegando solo al 80% es fortísimo. Bologan promete, tras su última victoria.Y los jóvenes, pues a luchar por eludir el último puesto.

Eric Castro, Oceanside, United States
Kramnik's too rusty. Naiditsch is too inexperienced, but Radjabov is strong. Bologan will fair well enough, but he won't be able to take advantage of his opponents weak points as he hasn't faced such incredible opponents before. Anand will be the real story. He has been working very hard to ready himself and will win on confidence alone. Leko's win against Kramnik is going to be a game Kramnik may let get to him later on in the tournament as he will see he hasn't prepared nearly enough. Kramnik will be the dissapointment of this tourney, and, unfortunately for him, may flaw several times.

Sudharma, Karekar, Mumbai, India
As always Kramnik is the hot favourite in Dortmund. I am expecting Leko to take second place ahead of Anand. Anand is steady but somehow I feel he is losing the "Take no prisoners" instinct. Radjabov is already causing ripples in the upper echelons of chess. Who can forget his win over Kasparov? Bologan, I think will just pip Naiditch for the fifth place. Overall should be an interesting tournament with the youngster Radjabov giving the most interesting games.

Ken Kizner, Florida, USA
Both Kramnik and Leko are preparing to play each other to determine a finalist for the unification title. Although, each will try to impress and psyche the other, I truly don't think they will reveal too much, preferring to "Uncork" those home prep novelties for the opportune moment! In the meantime, Anand will look for this opportunity to shine all the while erasing this horrible (2001) experience so that he can go home and start putting Dortmund map back on his walls! Kramnik will have 2nd place due to experience and Dortmund is still his dream chess Arena! Leko, due to his recent success and getting into sharp theories for his upcoming match with Krmanik, will be 3rd. Radjabov having beaten Kasparov with Black will think twice playing the French (thus saving him a few points) against Leko (the French Destroyer) or even Kramnik who made him pay dearly for using the French against him after he beat Kaspy with it (a chilling reminder that he dethroned the Beast from Baku)! Bologan, a win against a 2700 and winning the strong Aeroflot comes fifth and Naiditsch a draw against a 2700 comes in last!

Eric Santiago, Quezon City, Philippines
Kramnik will win since he is the highest rated player in the field. He also had beaten Kasparov in a match. I think he will edge out Anand who is a very strong player also and he will come in second for me. Leko third since he hasn't been involved in playing a match against Kasparov unlike the previous 2 players. I think a match with Kasparov before would definitely be an advantage to any chess player. Radjabov 4th since he has beaten some big names before. Bologan 5th since he qualified for this tournament by being champion in another tournament. Naiditsch last since he is the lowest rated player in the group.

Dennis Monokroussos, South Bend, USA
I think that in tournaments of varied strength, Anand is a better "fish-killer" than Kramnik or Leko, so he'll win. I expect him to achieve at least +3 against the second half of the crosstable. I think Leko and Kramnik will tie for second, but if one comes ahead of the other it will be Leko, as Kramnik doesn't seem to play very well when out of practice. For the last three, I think rating and (recent) experience at the super-GM level will make the difference, so Radjabov will be fourth unless his Black openings are as disastrously bad as they were in Linares, then Bologan, and finally Naiditsch, who will probably suffer mightily in his first trip to the big time.

Pedro Deus, Barreiro, Portugal
Anand – well my friends, im betting on this guy, in the 2001 edition he was reputed to have said "See you in 2003" to the director, Carsten Hensel, and now is back, and he wants revenge. I predict a fantastic performance by Anand, in fact is going to win the tournament in the sole lead.

Kramnik – Mr. "6 Dortmund Titles", Classical Chess World Championship in October 2000, won Linares in 2000, won Wijk aan Zee in 1998, enough said, he is the clear favorite, in spite of that, I think he will achieve no better than 2nd place due to Anand’s superb performance.

Leko - almost a year now, that version 2.0 was installed, almost bug free, just remember how he won Linares early this year, he made Shirov look like a drawing master. What surprises will Leko have in store for us, maybe he has done another upgrade, Leko Version 3.0 with suicidal tendencies (win or diiieeeeeeee!!!). Now, seriously, I think he will have to settle with 3rd place in Dortmund this year, Kramnik and Anand will give him no chance.

Bologan - he has great fighting spirit, and we must not forget that he won his place in the tournament by winning the Aeroflot tournament in Moscow, but he’s rather inconsistent, and against this tough competition I think he will finish on the bottom section.

Radjabov - he’s been playing a lot of games against Top GM’s, and I have no doubt he will be one of the top grandmasters in the near future, but, in the meantime, he must watch and learn, hence, the place on the bottom section.

Naiditsch – I don’t know a lot about him, he was invited to play the tournament because he’s Germany’s great hope, but against the top dogs I believe that he will have no chance at all.

Anand, Nair, Mumbai, India
Vishy Anand is trying newer ways of keeping himself motivated like publicly announcing his desire to cross the 2800 barrier soon. He'll be +4 with 2-0 against Naiditsch and a win each against Bologan and Radjabov with white. Kramnik too will end up with +4 with an identical performance like Anand. Leko will disappoint himself and his fans who expect too much out of Leko 2.0 with a +3 score. Naiditsch will hold him to a draw with white. Radjabov will finish with 4.5/10 with 1.5/6 against the top three and 3/4 against the oter two. Bologan will end up with a rather disappointing 3/10 with only one win against Naiditsch. As for the German, he'll have to be content with 2/10.

Giulio Francia, Toronto Canada
I used nasopluckeromancy (each nose hair is assigned to a given player and the degree of pain I suffer in plucking such hair inversely corresponds to the player's final standing). Kramnik and Anand will tie for first because, according to Bareev, they live in another universe of chess understanding with respect to the other participants. Anand will try hard to win but will eventually be happy to be ahead of Leko, whereas Kramnik never loses a game - period. Leko will be third, after re-descovering the immense pleasure he feels in drawing lots of games. Bologan and Radjabov will tie, both being there just to learn from the experience. Naiditsch (this was a long subborn and thorny one which came out with a couple of tears in my eyes) will be wondering what he is doing there (in my view it is unfair to Naiditsch for the organizers to include him - the level of the opposition is so high above him that he may not even benefit much from playing there, while his confidence may take a blow by the end of the tournament).

Miguel Angel Castillo Delgado, Cuernavaca, México
Kramnik will want to show that he has more chances of winning the match against Leko, and that he is the real world champion. It won't be easy for him, but I think that he will win a full point ahead of Anand. Anand will want to erase his bad performance of 2001, and tell the world: "Hey, why can't I play the reunification match if I'm one of the best?". Leko will show a good chess (as always), but he won't have and amazing result and end in third place. Radjabov is still a "rookie" in comparison with the top 3 seeds of the tournament, but he is clearly better than Naiditsch and Bologan. Naiditsch is a chess promise, but he still has a lot to learn. He will end ahead of Bologan, that will have a bad tournament and end in last place.

Jim Rickman, Sudbury, Massachusetts, USA
Peter Leko appears to have become noticeably stronger over the past year. He has also adopted a style that is aggressive while remaining sound. I believe he is the one most motivated to make a good showing here. Kramnik, for all his great ability, appears to be okay with his past achievements and has lost a lot of his motivation to do really well and impress. I place Anand 3rd -- he is a great player, but is past his prime. The remaining three players are not yet up to the level of the Leko, Kramnik, or Anand, and will come in the last 3 places as I've predicted above. To me, at any rate, Peter Leko will want to make a big impression here on his way to the world championship.

Kåre Kristensen, Allerød, Copenhagen
Anand will dominate to prove that he should be the one i one of the World Championship semi's. Bologan will be the positive surprise of the tournament, wheras Kramnik will play much too many draws....... The Kramnik vs. Leko encounters will give you odds 1.05 at the book-makers if you place your money on a drawn result! If they play more than altogether 40 moves in the two games I will be most surprised!

Jim Mongiardo, Mount Vernon, USA
Anand has something to prove and with no Kasparov in the field, I think the he takes the crown by 1/2 a point over Leko. Leko's style will remain strong and I predict 3.5/4.0 in his games with Bologan and Naiditsch. Radjabov has had a lot of time to work on his opening preparation and alot of time to watch another youngster (Luke McShane) steal alot of his thunder by playing well in a stream of recent tournaments. This motivation and newer repertoire will give him a 3rd place finish. Kramnik, combine negotiations/preparations for a (hopefully) semi-final W.C. match and a long stretch of no playing, and I don't care HOW good you are, your game will suffer. I think Kramnik will have a bunch of draws with a surprise loss to Naiditsch to come in 4th. Bologan will hold himself well and finish only a 1/2 point behind Kramnik. More Super-GM invites will follow after his performance here. Naiditsch will console himself by stealing a victory from Kramnik as he is the whipping boy for the rest of the field.

Athanasios Tsiouras, Thessaloniki, Greece
Leko is going wild (especially after Linares)! I think he will not lose a single game (only Anand might defeat him) and he will score very well against the bottom three of the tournament. He will have two gears: fast one against Radjabov, Bologan and Naiditsch (I guess he'll score 4.5/6 against them) and solid against Kramnik and Anand. (+3). Kramnik and Anand will play solid, not really enterprising chess. Their only loss could come from Radjabov, but I wouldn't bet on it. I think the top three will have an even score against them, but Kramnik and Anand will score 3.5/6 to 4/6 against the bottom half of the table; just a hinch less than Leko. (+1 or +2). Bologan's experience will show against Radjabov and Naiditsch. I think he will score 2/6 or 2.5/6 against the top three and 3.5/6 or 4/6 against the bottom three. (-1 or =). Radjabov is a bit out of form. He won't be a punching bag, but he should be happy to attain an even score. (-2 or -1). Naiditsch does not have experience against Super-GMs and I am afraid that will show. (-4 to -2).

Krish Varadadesikan, Wichita Kansas
Anand has been a consistent tournament winner since Eurotel. Even when not winning, he is close to the winner like in Linares. His biggest mental block Kasparov is not there, so he could save at least one point. Secondly, he would try to improve his record in Dortmund like he did in Corus. Probably, he wants to cross 2800 ELO points and is trying to focus on that one. And, he has no problems on hand like World Championship matches that Kramnik or Leko have in Dortmund. Finally, presence of low-ranked players like Bologan or Naiditsch means Anand would extract few points from them. Kramnik would finish close second and Leko close third. Kramnik and Leko may end-up with more draws against low-rated players. There is going to be a gap of atleast 1.5 points between Leko and Teimour. Teimour would win some games and lose some as well. Naiditsch and Bologan at the bottom but Naiditsch marginally ahead of Bologan as he is at home. Dortmund would very tough for Victor unlike Aeroflot.

Gerard Smith, Rush, Ireland
I think Anand will win. Leko and Kramnik will be holding the little surprises in reserve for there forthcoming match and will tend to agree draws at the top end of the table. I think Bologan will try to hard to win some games and will end up loosing as oppose to taking the draw. the final scores will have the table divided into three with Naiditsch at the bottom. Bologan and Radjabov will be in the second group. The top three will be tight and it may come down to SB score.

Kay Soon Ling, Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Kramnik should be able and NEED to perform after some disaapointing result after he won the WorldChampion Title. He wont win it on clear margin, maybe only half point margin.His main rival would be Anand and Leko,and i believe both Anand and Leko would tie on same point.As for Bologan, i think he is not in the same class of Kramnik,Anand and Leko,but he should be able to gain some advantage over the 2 teenage player, Radjabov and Naiditsch. For the answer who will occupy the last place, Radjabov should be able to avoid it, since he have the class and prodigy. He have played 2700+ player and it should be no problem for him see of challenge from Naiditsch. As for Naiditsch, this would be a good training and lesson to be learnt playing against this top class monster!!!

Felix Vaisman, Ashkelon, Israel
Leko is having a great run of success which won't stop at Dortmund. Anand also showing good results will hunt him, but Leko should edge ahead. Kramnik is a wee bit overated by some, he should have an advantage against the unexperienced players at such high level, but Anand and Leko are better than him. Radjabov is definately on his way to top level chess, but he si not there yet, he will have another decent result in a supertournament. Bologan is not bad at all, maybe not good enough to be rubbing shoulders regularly with the 2700 mile-high club, but he certainly won't embarass himself in Dortmund. Najditch, though a promising youngster, is not super GM material, his invitation strikes me as odd because even amongst local GM's they could have done better. All in all hell play in his class, not troubling his famous opponents too much. I wish all a good tournament and I hope Kramnik's loss to Leko will drive him to accept their match, even at the price of lower fees.

Mihaly Berkics, Budapest, Hungary
I hope we will see the same 'Leko 2.0' who won Linares. Anand will be better than Kramnik by scoring more points against the rest of the field. Kramnik will score his usual +2 -0 with the other games drawn. Radjabov will be the next in the line, proving that he can be among the top players in a few years. Bologan is a strong GM, but this field is too much for him - except for the young Naiditsch, who has less experience at top level chess than his rivals.

Andreas Kreienbühl, Zürich, Switzerland
Ok. So far Anand did not well in Dortmund. Therefore it's time to change this serie. Further he has the best form compared to Kramnik and Leko (the others will fight for the ranks 4 to 6 anyway), i guess. Kramnik just did not play for such a long time that he first will have to refind his form. Actually I'm a fan of Kramnik. I like the way he plays positions with very little advantage. But it's been a long time ago! To change from 1.d4 to 1.e4 I don't like altough it gives him mor possibilities to vary. Therefore he wont win but still will become second. Leko just will play 20 draws (nowone will make a foult against him!). The others are spectators.

Arifur Rahman, Stockholm, Sweden
Well Kramnik might win the Dortmund trophy, but the real winner will be the chess-hungry-wise-guys on the internet who will be staring at the computer screens refuting one master after another. Hippiie, What a feast.....ehhmmm, beeing one of those wise-guys myself. Because of the upcoming WC semifinal, Kramnik & Leko will have more to display than any other. Jinxed city or not, beacuse of Anand's too easygoing style, meaning some almost book draws, he wont be better than 3rd. Because of Radjabovs fighting spirit, he will be 5th, losing some games to the big boys in his aspiration, where the experienced Bologan will have more respect for the top guns thus have more points due to more draws. I am sorry so say that Naiditsch will take the last place. Lack of playing with 2700+ players will show, maybe his opening preparations will suffer.

Flaviu Iepure, Cluj, Romania
The only certainties here are the players on the first three places, the rest is a blur. But the cristal ball has a few more things to say: Kramnik and Leko will not show much when playing against Anand and against each other. They have to keep some cards up their sleeve for their match and even if Anand plays very well, he'll not play well enough to blow Kramnik's or Leko's draw-wall. So there will be draws all around in the KAL triangle or at least the wins will even out. The winner(s) will thus be the player(s) with the best record against the "underdogs" (a funny name for 2600+ players). After a quick, unscientific, survey of the record of KAL members against opponents in the 2615-2699 ELO range, it seems that Kramnik has the best chances, followed by Leko 2.0 and then Anand, who also has to overcome Dortmund's bad karma. In the underdog section, the last place is certain (Naiditsch) with a fierce fight for the fourth place between Radjabov and Bologan. In the battle between experience and raw talent, I'll do the risky thing and bet on Radjabov's talent.

K. Sudeep, Kannur, Kannur, Kerela, India
Well,actually,I do have some confusion in selecting the winner - Kramnik or Anand. But I will go with Kramnik as I believe that Kramnik is the strongest one among the players.I think that he is the hardest one to beat. I feel that it will be a tough contest between Kramnik, Anand and Leko. I personally feel that Anand will try to win by playing very aggressively and may take risks and this might lead to trouble. But, in my opinion, Kramnik plays very solidly and he loses very very rarely. He commits blunders very very rarely indeed.Although Anand and Leko are in very good form now, Iam forced to select Kramnik as the winner. Well, I have also considered the players' previous records at Dortmund which show that Kramnik has the best chance to win Dortmund. I personally feel that it will be a close finish in the end. The top two places and the second and third places will be separated by very narrow margins. I feel that I have made the right choice by placing Radjabov ahead of Bologan and Naiditsch. Radjabov is playing well and I feel that he will put up a tough fight and should place himself at the fourth place. By looking at the ratings, I think that I should place Bologan at the fifth place ahead of Naiditsch. Altogether,it is going to be a tough battle for the first place.

Frans Wolferink, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Anand and Leko are hot. Kramnik will make a lot of draws and some wins. Because of the weaker trio this will not be enough. The order of the last three is a gamble. I hope Bologan gets a good result. Always nice to see a new face in the top invitation tournaments.

Mehul Gohil, Nairobi, Kenya
It hurts to know that Anand was not allowed to take part in the world championship cycle. He should have been allowed a free ride to the semi final stage. It may be undemocratic, but many chess players feel he is needed in any top event. The semi-finals misses something without him. He has also exposed the selfish ego Kasparov. It just simply defies imagination as to why he should not be playing in the semi-finals. And I choose Anand to win dortmund not only because he is a genius, but because I want him to show off and destroy all the competition before him. It is high time he laid down his credentials for being fit enough to become a world champion. He has popular support among chess fans rivalled only by baku beast kasparov, and is more mature when dealing with chess politics. If he became world champion his authourity will be more subtle and effective in contrast to Kasparov's arrogant kid-like brashness. As for Kramnik -- he doesn't know how to behave like a world champ off the board. He gives the impression of being a thorough coward.

Kramnik cannot attack like Anand but I expect him to be solid and take second place. Leko may even win this tournament. Nobody knows about his true potential and it is possible that he may secretly know that he is going to become world champion. I hope for Radjabov to beat one of those super-gm's. As for the remaining two, they have no hope. They are there just for show.

Jamshid Begmatov, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Traditions are so hard to break, Volodia (a friendly way of calling Vladimir) will win again. Psychologically, before their WCh match, Peter will want to say his word too. They might also share first. One should not forget this unpredictable guy Vishy, and if he is in good shape, all are in trouble (including me losing the bet). Teimour is definitely advancing and will give a few nightmarish nights to the favourites, although he is not among them yet. Viorel will be a bit dissappointed. Dortmund will surely not be so lucky a city for him as was Moscow. Arkadi Naiditsch is in best and most convenient situation. You know why? Nothing to lose, nothing to prove, he can just try out his ideas, experiment, take risks etc. which will at the end of the day result in one or two surprise wins. He will gain a lot and learn a lot, lose nothing but most of the games. And my personal wish (in Russian) for Vladimir: Ni puha tebe, ni pera, Volodia!

Lars Forslöf, Sundsvall, Sweden
Kramnik and Leko seems more stable and reliable than the rest. So I put them on top although my heart would prefer Anand as winner. In his best mood he is a winner but..... Kramnik at the absolut top since he probably is the best but if Leko goes on with his new aggressive style he might serious challange Kramnik. Radjanov is the coming man. Maybe this tournament will be his real breakthrough? But I do not really belive that will happened this time. Maybe next time? Bologan and Naiditsch I know nothing about. Of course it would be great if thos tournament would go good for the young Naiditsch. I will keep my thumbs for him. But most of all I hope this my guess will not come true since it is so much based on "realistic calculation". Much more I hope tnat something surprisingly will happend - why not with Naiditsch or Rajdabov as the number one man. That would give the chessworld a helthy chock!

Jeffrey Reep, Voorhees, USA
Well, it's simple really; the stereotypical chess nerd always has glasses, and therefore our friends Kramnik, Anand, and Leko will come out with good scores. However, they won't be the top three, because Radjabov is just too good of a prodigy. He's defeated world champions - no surprise as he will do it again. However, Leko will come out on top due to his already extensive training for the world championship semi-finals. Kramnik has also trained, but he's already classical world champ, so not as much preparation will be needed. So I therefore predict Leko, Radjabov, and Kramnik for our top three. Anand follows closely at the fourth spot, based on the glasses :). After that, Bologan and Naiditsch trail at 5 and 6 respectively. It also follows logically, they just don't have enough experience against world class players yet.

Hannes Sigurgeirsson, Reykjavik, Iceland
Naiditsch: Is the young German ready to be thrown into the ring with the big boys yet? I don't think so, but I hope he proofs me wrong because it's always nice to see the underdog do well! Radjabov: Teymor, Teymor, Teymor. It seems he is invited to every major tournament these days. But I suppose it's understandable; people always love prodigies. I just hope all this attention won't have a negative affect on him which sometimes can happen with young stars. Bologan: He is still chess partner with Ponomariov I believe? He hasn't had much luck against 2700+ players, only Akopian, Bareev it seems? This may give Anand an immediate psychological advantage. However he has managed quite a few draws against Kramnik. He can do good, no doubt but not good enough for top 3.

Now the favorites are left, this is impossible to predict. I'm counting on that Anand will finally lift his Dortmund curse and secure the first place. Everyone knows what he's capable of and he has been recieving quite the media attention lately in which he shows great level of confidence that he's about to break 2800+! I don't know what version of Leko we will see, but I think it will be enough to counter Kramnik who hasn't had much tournament play lately so he might be a tad rusty.

Moshe Beinart, Ramat Hasharon, Israel
Let's begin by places 5 and 6, both are emerging players but without any worthwhile experience with 2700+ opponents. Radjabov, concentrating on his September duel with Kasparov will be fourth or may be tie for third place. Kramnik, as the highest ELO player will not give his best because of lack of recent games and time spent preparing for the confrontation with Leko. Leko, having played much more lately, with very good results should be second or tie for first place. Anand, being the least preoccupied player, will be much more relaxed than Kramnik and Leko, should be first or tie for first place.

Ali Dadban, Montpellier, France
Anand is easily the strongest non-K GM since 1995. He had no trouble winning this year's Wijk-aan-Zee in the presence of Kramnik. I believe the only guy who's got a good chance to beat him is still Kasparov. He will be highly motivated with VK and PL playing , to claim the title of Real Challenger. Even if Kramnik's certainly not willing to uncover his anti-Leko prep, I think he retains good chances to tie for first.Still, I'd prefer Anand. Leko is a very strong young GM , a real challenger in a couple of years (maybe not right now).He could even tie for first but I'm afraid he'll lose a few half-points too much there. Bologan is a creative player, often taking risks but nonetheless I can't imagine he could beat Anand. Radjabov will be extremely dangerous in three years' time, as for Naiditch in a somewhat less extent. So my guess is Anand, Kramnik(50% ties for first), Leko , Bologan, Radjabov, Naiditch. I'd like to thank the Chessbase team for their coverage of the WAZ this year; it was excellent.

Jorge, Gomez, Rio Rico, USA
I think I'm playing it safe with my predictions. Kramnik is the king of Dortumund. Leko has been playing fantastic chess and Dortmund is just not Anand's cup of tea. I feel that Radjabov's tactical brilliance gives him an edge over Bologan, aside from the fact that he's done better than Bologan against SuperGMs. Naiditch and Bologan will find it difficult to score full points.

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