Eric van Reem – Impressions of Dortmund

by ChessBase
4/7/2002 – On Friday we reported on the press conference that was held in Dortmund, which provided full details of the Einstein Candidates' Tournament that will be held in July this year. Our contributor Eric van Reem visited the conference and supplied the pictures. In the meantime Eric has sent us a report with his impressions of the press conference and the plans of Dortmund and Brain games. More

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Glass tables and miniature cameras

Impressions from the
press conference in Dortmund
on April 5, 2002

by Eric van Reem

The press conference started off with a blitz game between local youngster GM Arkadi Naiditsch and world championship candidate GM Christopher Lutz. The players had two minutes each on the clock, and the younger and faster Naiditsch won on time in an equal rook ending. The 16-year old prodigy from Dortmund will not have to be so fast in his match against Jan Timman. The 50-year old top grandmaster from the Netherlands, who published his brand new Dutch book "Een sprong in de Noordzee" (A jump in the North Sea) just a few weeks ago, will play eight games against Naiditsch in July. Arkadi is looking forward to those games: "I have never played against Timman, who is a very experienced match player. I have a lot of respect for him an I think that the match will be most interesting."

Bullet game between Christopher Lutz and Arkadi Naiditsch.

What makes this upcoming chess event in Dortmund special and interesting for chess lovers all over the world is the fact that we will see a lot of players from different countries in the various chess tournament that are being held in the Westfallenhalle in July: two players from Russia (Morozevich and Bareev), England (Adams), Bulgaria (Topalov), Spain (Shirov), Hungary (Leko), Israel (Gelfand) and Germany (Lutz) in the candidates tournament, a Dutchman (Timman) against a German player (Naiditsch) and, in the other match, 13-year old German David Baramidze against WGM Alisa Maric from Yugoslavia. Traditionally, in the open tournament players from all around the world come to Dortmund to play chess.

Einstein CEO Steve Timmins

The international aspect is most interesting for one of the main sponsors, the Einstein Group. They promised to broadcast at least two hours per day about the event on their own channels. Steve Timmins, CEO of the Einstein Group told us during the press conference that chess will be presented in a spectacular new way: "We will use very small cameras to be able to film the reactions of the players during the game, and we will use glass tables as well to get some spectacular pictures. However, we do not plan to broadcast the games live on TV. We are negotiating with other broadcasting companies to sell them our material to reach as many chess fans all over the world as possible."

That sounds really nice, but I do remember the press conference which took place in Dortmund in July last year, when the candidates tournament was first announced. Raymond Keene spoke about a qualification tournament on the Internet and a tournament where eight Internet qualifiers would play against eight top players. Anand and Kasparov would get "wild cards". Those plans sounded really great, but I never heard a word more after that press conference. So, let's be careful with promises and see what will really happen in Dortmund. We have heard all kinds of breathtaking stories about bringing chess to a bigger (TV) audience, but up till now nothing really happened.

Last year, during the tournament in Dortmund, Anand declared that he does not want to play this year, Kasparov wanted to have a direct rematch against Kramnik. This is how Carsten Hensel sees the situation: "I think Anand still has contractual obligations with FIDE, and that they will not allow him to play this year in Dortmund. We would have loved to have him, since he has played here quite often. But when I look at the results of the players in our upcoming tournament in the last years I think that we have a very interesting field without a clear favourite. Anand did not show that he is better than the other players in the past year."

GM Christopher Lutz

Any of the players can win this tournament and become the Kramnik's challenger in 2003, although German GM Christopher Lutz is realistic about his chances: "I am looking forward to the tournament and I will be prepared. Nevertheless I realise that I am the outsider in this strong field. It is the challenge of my life, and for me it is far more important than the FIDE world championship."

Arkadi Naiditsch, however, has a clear favourite: Topalov has very good chances to win, his results and his play the past twelve months were fantastic."

GM Arkadi Naiditsch

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