Easter fun: Grenke Classic and Grenke Open

by André Schulz
4/20/2019 – The Grenke Open began Thursday with over 900 participants in the A-Open. Today, some of the world's best players take centre stage at the Grenke Chess Classic. Round 1 features #1 Magnus Carlsen against #10 Vincent Keymer who's rated 336 points below the World Champion. Live games and commentary (from 13:00 UTC / 15:00 CEST / 9:00 AM EDT) with GM Peter Leko and GM Jan Gustafsson

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Grenke Classic starts with Keymer vs Carlsen

Over the Easter holidays, the world of chess looks to Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden. On Saturday in the Schwarzwaldhalle ("Black Forest Hall") in Karlsruhe, the Grenke Chess Classic starts with some of the world's best chess players. In addition to the 16th World Champion Magnus Carlsen, we find a host of Baden-Baden (German League) team members including Carlsen's most recent challenger Fabiano Caruana, the 15th World Champion Viswanathan Anand, the favourite Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the top-tenner on the world ranking list Levon Aronian (No. 10), eight-time Russian Champion Peter Svidler (No. 19), Arkadij Naiditsch (No. 42), Francisco Vallejo Pons (No. 43), German national player Georg Meier (No. 152), and the true outlier in the field, IM Vincent Keymer (World No. 651 at an Elo of 2516).

Nine of the ten players come from the Grenke AG sponsored teams of Baden-Baden and Deizisau. Magnus Carlsen is currently not active there, but has already played for the OSG Baden-Baden and is still a club member. Keymer is coached by his Deizisau-teammate Peter Leko, who will be providing commentary on the Grenke Classic. 

Photos: GrenkeChessClassic.com 

Trial by fire for Keymer

Vincent Keymer is considered an exceptional German talent and is one of the world's best U16 youth players. On several occasions he has shown that he is able to beat even top grandmasters. Keymer is not yet a grandmaster himself, although he already has two Grandmaster norms and the 2500+ rating in his pocket. He narrowly missed the third norm a few times, most recently in the German League, where he scored 5½ points for his team from Deizisau an excellent result — but with an Elo rating of 2599 just a point below the necessary Elo 2600. The title is of course only a matter of time. Despite his high level of performance, Keymer is a clear underdog in this tournament, and it should be a real adventure for the young player.

GRENKE Chess Open/Classic 2019 first impressions | GRENKE Chess on YouTube

Magnus Carlsen comes to Baden-Baden in top form. After the tight World Championship fight against Fabiano Caruana last fall in London, Carlsen took the World Blitz Championship in St. Petersburg, won his seventh Tata Steel Masters in Wijk aan Zee in clearly rising form and most recently scored his fifth win in as many tries at the Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir. This will be his first time facing Caruana since their World Championship match.

At the Grenke Classic last year, Caruana clearly outdid the Norwegian. The American had just won the Candidates Tournament in the spring of 2018 and shortly afterwards played in the same great style in Baden-Baden. 

Certainly Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is one of the players for whom a tournament victory would be no surprise. Baden-Baden is not far from the French border and so the Frenchman should have no problems with acclimatization.

Arkadij Naiditsch could once again be tipping the scales (especially when it comes to Magnus Carlsen) this year. The Baden-Baden grandmaster, now playing for Azerbaijan, has shown no fear and beaten the World Champion more than once. 

Of course, Viswanthan Anand is the sixth in the world ranking list and remains a tough competitor for the tournament. Anand will be 50 years old in December of the year, so is the "tournament senior", but on the board still showing flashes of youth.  

Also among the veterans is Peter Svidler. The St. Petersburg aesthete is celebrating his 43rd birthday in June. Svidler has been one of the best players in the world, for around 20 years already, although he is now increasingly active as a chess commentator.

Even Levon Aronian, at 38 years old, is no longer in the bottom half of the age spectrum. The Armenian number one experienced some form fluctuations in the course of his career. He was for a long time among the top three in the world, but currently sits in tenth place. Still a dangerous and enterprising player to be sure.

The best player in Spain is Francisco Vallejo. The Majorca native has been somewhat absent from the pro circuit at times, but now seems to be getting more opportunities again. With his Elo rating of 2693, he is 31 points from his peak career rating, but will certainly rise again if he plays more.

Georg Meier is one of the best German players. In recent years, the GM from Trier has focused mainly on his studies, but his chess career has not been out of sight. Currently, Meier is behind Dieter-Liviu Nisipeanu, Jan Gustafsson and Daniel Fridman at number four in the German ranking list. Together with Vincent Keymer he'll be defending the hosts' honour.

Live games and commentary


View round-by-round pairings at live.chessbase.com!

Commentary by GM Jan Gustafsson and GM Peter Leko




The tournament's first five rounds will be played in Karlsruhe, and then the last four in Baden-Baden. Times shown are in CEST (14:00 UTC / 9:00 AM EDT).

Round Date Time (UTC+1) Location
1 April 20th 15:00 Schwarzwaldhalle Karlsruhe
2 April 21st 15:00  
3 April 22nd 15:00  
4 April 23rd 15:00  
5 April 24th 15:00  
Rest Day April 25th    
6 April 26th 15:00 Kulturhaus LA8 Baden-Baden
7 April 27th 15:00  
8 April 28th 15:00  
9 April 29th 15:00  

Grenke Chess Open

The Grenke Chess Classic are embedded alongside the massive Grenke Open while in Karlsruhe. The open tournament, with several doubles rounds ends on Easter Monday (22.4). The interest in this year has been tremendous with over 2000 participants registered for one of the three tournaments. Over 60 grandmasters play in the A-Open.

After three rounds, there are still 45 players with a perfect score!

Standings after Round 3 (top 10)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Gareyev, Timur 3,0 6,0
2 Chigaev, Maksim 3,0 5,5
  Fridman, Daniel 3,0 5,5
  Indjic, Aleksandar 3,0 5,5
  Annaberdiev, Meilis 3,0 5,5
  Arjun Kalyan 3,0 5,5
  Kopylov, Michael 3,0 5,5
8 Kuzubov, Yuriy 3,0 5,0
  Sethuraman, S.P. 3,0 5,0
  Heimann, Andreas 3,0 5,0

Full results (Chess-Results)

Live games


Translation from German and additional reporting: Macauley Peterson


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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