Grenke Bank wins World Corporate Championship

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
2/22/2021 – Grenke Bank defeated SBER in the final match to win the 1st FIDE World Corporate Championship. The German team, led by Georg Meier and Alina Kashlinskaya, beat Anahuac (Mexico) and PT Pelabuhan Tanjung Priok (Indonesia) in the knockout stage before facing the Russian favourites headed by Ian Nepomniachtchi.

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A 75% female lineup

If we take a look at the rules of the 1st World Corporate Championship, it is mentioned that each team must include at least one female player and at least one male player. In most open chess competitions, the organizers do not even bother to include the second part of that sentence, as it is unlikely to see a team that presents more women than men in its roster.

The winners of the championship, however, had three women and the minimum of one male representative in their lineup, as Georg Meier was the only man playing for Grenke Bank in the tournament. Unlike most other teams, the highest-rated player in the German squad was not an invited player, given the fact that Meier works as a risk controller in the bank. Alina Kashlinskaya was, in fact, the invited participant, and was joined by Hanna Marie Klek (deputy team leader of operational banking) and Inna Agrest (project manager) on bottom boards.

Grenke Bank chess

Grenke Bank’s chess team

The knockout

Each match in the knockout stage consisted of four rapid games (10 minutes plus 2-second increments), which in case of a tie were followed by a blitz face-off (3'+2") and an Armageddon decider if necessary.

One of the four confrontations in the quarterfinals was decided in blitz, with PT Pelabuhan Tanjung Priok beating Morgan Stanley in the tiebreaker. Grenke, SBER and Sberbank Trade Union made it into the semifinals as well — the latter two teams, both Russian, had Nepomniachtchi and Anton Korobov on top boards, and were paired against each other.

No tiebreaks were seen in the semis. SBER convincingly defeated Sberbank Trade Union 3½:½ with wins by Nepomniachtchi, Maxim Lavrov and Maria Komagina, while Grenke drew three games and saw Hanna Marie Klek getting the crucial win to move on to the final.

In the final match of the championship, Nepomniachtchi defeated Meier with black on the top board, but Klek once again was the hero for Grenke as she beat Lavrov to tie the score. In the following blitz decider, Klek in fact lost, but her female colleagues, Kashlinskaya and Agreest, won their games to give the German squad overall victory.

FIDE World Corporate Championship

Grenke Bank* 2 : 2 SBER

*Won the tiebreaker 2½ : 1½


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About Grenke

From FIDE’s press release

Grenke BankFounded in 1978 in Baden-Baden, Grenke is not only successful in chess, but also in three different business areas: leasing, banking, and factoring. The bank operates now in 32 countries, with 1,700 employees worldwide.

There are many reasons to celebrate this victory: the first one is that @Grenke_AG has been a loyal supporter of chess, and every year since 2013 they have sponsored the Grenke Chess Classic, an elite tournament held in the German cities of Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden. In parallel with the Classic, Grenk also organizes the largest chess open in Europe, with approximately 2,000 participants. Unfortunately, both events had to be cancelled in 2020, for obvious reasons. But we can't wait to have them back!

The victory of the German company is also a nice tribute to Wolfgang Grenke, who recently celebrated his 70th birthday. In 2014, Mr. Grenke established the GRENKE Foundation for the promotion of sport, art, architecture, and cultural heritage management.

Donations welcome

We would like to encourage all participant companies, their employees, and chess fans in general, to support FIDE social projects Chess in Education, Chess for People with Disabilities and Chess for Vetarans Support Program. You can make a donation using this link


All available games - Knockout



Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


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