For a few ducats more

7/18/2003 – Tomorrow on Saturday begins the third edition of the Champions Challenge, our new knock-out tournament for title holders. The winner of the event, which is open to all Kings, can take home 2.000 ducats (about € 200,00). Start is at 17.00 CET, on our server at Playchess.com.

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Immediately after the champion of champions, Garry Kasparov, had finished his visit on the server, in which he answered questions from the fans and talked at length about his new work on the development of chess and the play of his predecessors on the chress throne, the 2. CHAMPIONS-CHALLENGE began. The event was won by the young Polish talent and chess star ZBIGNIEW PAKLEZA, who triumphed over a strong field and has now 2.000 ducats more in his account. The tournament saw many strongly contested matches and took some more time than the week before. But there also was lots of interesting chess, which made quite a few spectators stay until the final.

The field was quite impressive and many a young talent wanted to leave his mark and win the first prize of 2.000 ducats. In contrast to the debut, this time there were hardly any big surprises in the first round, and all the favorites managed to win. However, for some of them this proved to be not that easy: Kai-Rudolf Wornath (Bullmover), for example, had to concede a game against Heike Vogel (flatterviech), and GM Mihail Saltaev (uzbek) had to play no less than five games against Remco Sprangers from the Netherlands until he made it to the second round.

1. Round  
Klosterfrau vs Mc Taktikal 2:0(0)
Matzel vs puntarenasss 2:1(2)
Bullmover vs flatterviech 2:1(0)
Chessbolo vs zaki 2:0(2)
topotun vs MASTER YODA 2:0(1)
Abrau vs jrt 2:0(0)
Mokele MBembe vs T_Meier 2:0(1)
JustAPlayer vs pomfritz 2:0(0)
TigerTAD vs Space Advantage 2:0(0)
Odnek vs Meister Hitzfeld 2:1(0)
AlexanderMagnus vs Golden eye 0:2(1)
Pakleza vs ThorsHammer 2:0(1)
DusanPopovic vs mike55 2:0(0)
LARGECAT vs Anakin 2:0(1)
uzbek vs remco 2:1(2)
Dagon vs arow31 2:0(1)

Things really got going in the round of the last sixteen. All matches were close, and even those that ended with a 2:0 result saw some real struggles. A tough contest was the encounter between Mokele MBembe and JustAPlayer, which went over eight games. Interesting chess throughout and exciting blitz-games were presented to the spectators. If you want, just play through the match. The match between TigerTAD and Odnek turned into a very special endurance test: after a first-game draw, both of the opponents could score leading to a result of 1:1 - after which we saw a series of ten draws, before the players agreed to a bullet-tiebreak, which was won by Odnek.

This long match not only put a strain on the players, but also on spectators and the tournament director. To be honest, I just didn't think it possible that blitz-games could so often end in a draw. And it is not because the players quickly agreed to a draw. Maybe they proceeded a bit too carefully, adhering to the motto "Take no risks on the defensive, and may God help with the attack." Each and everyone who throws a glance on the games is able to draw his/her own conclusions.

At any rate, we took this as an incentive to search for a way to limit the number of games. As a KO-tournament does not allow for a drawn match, and as you need a tie-break that is more or less fair, it might take a while until all new methods are fully implemented. Until then, one can only advise the players to take some more risks, because such marathons in the end often turn out to be pyrrhic victories if you meet an opponent, who had an eigthy-minute break, and is able to push you easily from the screen.

Last Sixteen  
Klosterfrau vs Matzel 2:1(1)
Bullmover vs Chessbolo 0:2(0)
topotun vs Abrau 2:0(0)
Mokele MBembe vs JustAPlayer 2:1(5)
TigerTAD vs Odnek 1:2(11)
Golden eye vs Pakleza 0:2(0)
DusanPopovic vs LARGECAT 0:2(0)
uzbek vs Dagon 0:2(0)

After the long strain of the previous round Odnek was a pushover for Pakleza and after two more games the tournament was over for Odnek, Jörg Wegerle. Much to the dismay of his rather large number of fans, who know him as trainer on the server, IM Dennis Breder (Klosterfrau) had to concede a clear defeat against Chessbolo. And the winner of the semi-marathon in the round of the last sixteen, Mokele MBembe, neither had sufficient energy for a successful encounter with topotun. The fourth semi-finalist was Dagon, who could prevail against LARGECAT.

Quarterfinal  
Klosterfrau vs Chessbolo 0:2(0)
topotun vs Mokele MBembe 2:0(1)
Odnek vs Pakleza 0:2(0)
LARGECAT vs Dagon 1:2(1)

In the semi-finals the time has come to lift the protective cover of anonymity and to call the players by their real names. In view of the successful tournament no one should see this as an attack against their honour. In a Russian duel Michaiö Panarin (topotun) prevailed against Vladimir Grebionkin (Chessbolo). The Polish talent Zbigniew Pakleza had comparatively few problems with IM Thomas Henrichs.

Semifinal  
Michail Panarin vs FM Vladimir Grebionkin 2:1(0)
Zbigniew Pakleza vs IM Thomas Henrichs 2:0(1)

But the final turned out to be a rather close affair, in which the young Pole finally prevailed. However, the public would certainly have liked if his behaviour at the online-board would have been less marked by youthful inexperience, and if he would have made more good moves and less draw offers, which he used to heap on his opponents when he was playing with Black. But finally he also played the better moves and deservedly won the Second Champions-Challenge.

Finale  
Michail Panarin vs Zbigniew Pakleza

1:2(2)

All in all the second edition of the CHAMPIONS-CHALLENGE also proved to be a successful event, which despite its length still fascinated the spectators.

Martin Fischer


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