Hans-Walter Schmitt says goodbye with simuls by Anand and Keymer

by Hartmut Metz
10/14/2019 – For 25 years Hans-Walter Schmitt has been organising prestigious and attractive chess events with the world's best players. Now he has retired, HARTMUT METZ reports, following two exciting simultaneous exhibitions by former World Champion Vishy Anand and the 14-year old German talent Vincent Keymer. | Photos: Hartmut Metz

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My Career Vol. 1 My Career Vol. 1

The first DVD with videos from Anand's chess career reflects the very beginning of that career and goes as far as 1999. It starts with his memories of how he first learned chess and shows his first great games (including those from the 1984 WCh for juniors). The high point of his early developmental phase was the winning of the 1987 WCh for juniors. After that, things continue in quick succession: the first victories over Kasparov, WCh candidate in both the FIDE and PCA cycles and the high point of the WCh match against Kasparov in 1995.
Running time: 3:48 hours

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Leaving in style

The four stuffed animals Sarah Neininger had brought for support to the board when playing in a simul against Vincent Keymer put the 14-year old German rising star in a milder mood than evidenced by the 16 draw offers from another opponent.

Thus Sarah Neininger, the daughter of Ralph Neininger, the new president of the Chess Tigers, drew against Keymer while the cheeky lad who was so keen to share the point lost. "At a certain point", Keymer grins, "I started to count his draw offers."

Sarah Neininger with her team

The more draws his opponent offered the more Keymer wanted to win. "I wanted to punish him", Keymer said. He had more sympathy for Lloyd Burkart (TuS Makkabi Frankfurt) who asked for a second score sheet to keep fighting. Which he did for three hours and 49 minutes, longer than any other of Keymer's opponents, and which earned him a cap with the leaping tiger.

Vincent Keymer

Vincent Keymer

At the simul, a goodbye party of sorts for Hans-Walter Schmitt, Keymer made a slight mistake which, however, was hardly noticed: it was the first simul organised by Schmitt that did not follow the guidelines Schmitt had laid down years before: 40 boards, no matter who gives the simul, even if it is Garry Kasparov who usually agreed only to a maximum of 25 opponents! But Keymer quickly won his first game and felt for the little girl who also wanted to play against him. In the end Keymer won his simul the official score of 38-3. Schmitt took this little statistical hiccup easy. After all, the "greatest German chess organiser of the last 25 years" as the master of ceremonies Sven Noppes called him, celebrated the end of his illustrious and successful career as a chess organiser.

Schmitt created the Frankfurt Chess Classic and continued the tournament as the Chess Classic Mainz. Year after year, top players met in these tournaments and Schmitt was the first organiser in the history of chess who managed to gather all top ten players of the world in one tournament.

On German Unification Day friends and companions paid their tribute to Schmitt and came to watch or play in the two simuls that took place in the Taunus Sparkasse and in the H+-Hotel. The second simul — again on 40 boards — was given by Viswanathan Anand, and long-time close friend of Schmitt.

Hard work for Vishy Anand: Claus Henrici (left), Marina Noppes and "Zeit" journalist Ulrich Stock drew against the Indian.

Though the Indian who was on his way to play in the Isle of Man Grand Swiss tournament appeared quite tense and not as upbeat as usual he did not want to miss the event. 25 years ago Schmitt invited the "Tiger von Madras" to play in a simul to celebrate the jubilee of Schmitt's club, the SC Frankfurt-West. This led to a close friendship and continuous cooperation between the two and later Schmitt also supported Anand on his way to the World Championship.

The 40 places in the simul were quickly booked and Anand's opponents made chess life hard for the former World Champion and moderator Noppes was surprised that Anand was still playing after four hours.

Sven Noppes (left) and Hans-Walter Schmitt watch Jonathan Reichel and Ulrich Gass fight

But after 4 hours and 36 minutes the simul finally came to an end: with 31 wins and 9 draws Anand finished with a score of 35½:4½.

Markus Ehrlacher also achieved a draw

The nine players who managed to resist Anand were Stefan Spiekermann (SV Menden 1924), Volker Svitek (SC Frankfurt-West), local talent Kevin Haack (SC Bad Soden), Georg Schweizer (SC Zürich), Ulrich Stock (FC St. Pauli) and Jonathan Reichel (SK 1926 Ettlingen).

Jonathan Reichel plays in Germany's third league and is in charge of the videos during the Grenke Classic tournaments

Stock is a well-known journalist who works for the German weekly Die Zeit where he regularly writes about music and chess. The journalist stubbornly defended an endgame and when both sides had only king, bishop and two pawns left Anand agreed to a draw.

Vishy Anand agrees to a draw against Ulrich Stock

Claus Henrici also reached a draw against Anand. As a long-time companion of Schmitt he has seen a lot and the jubilee of "HWS" evoked memories:

"When players were missing at these simuls Hans-Walter always asked me to play, even though I was usually totally exhausted from all the preparatory work for the events. Once I even had to play with the colourful rainbow-pieces by the Hungarian grandmaster Andras Adorjan!"

Schmitt allowed this peculiar chess set in the simul as a favour to Peter Leko who gave the simul and wanted to try this creation by his countryman. "But against Anand I had the chance to play without the pre-simul pressures — a fine conclusion of 25 years of simultaneous events!"

Keymer simul

Keymer will probably have many more simuls in his future

After the simul, Keymer and Anand travelled to the important and prestigious Isle of Man Grand Chess Open but during his simul, Keymer was much more relaxed than the Indian former World Champion. Unlike Anand, Keymer does not really hope to get a place in the Candidates and, moreover, his opponents in the simul were much weaker. After two hours Keymer was already 10:0 ahead. However, he was surprised by the many draws his opponents offered, even when they were a couple of pieces or pawns down.

But Keymer won the hearts of his fans and opponents, not only because he agreed to a 41st opponent but also because he patiently fulfilled all requests of signatures and photos.

Apart from Sarah Neininger (see above) Carolina Köpke, Paul-Gerhardt Künzel, Karoline Kosak, Leo Leminsky, and Josefine Bergfeld were happy about a draw. Bergfeld admitted that he had been rather "excited" throughout the game but with the help of her father Stephan, the nine-year-old managed to draw.

Before the game against Keymer the 13-year-old Leo Leminsky had taken a three-year break from chess but after the draw against Keymer he again thinks that chess is "cool". "I did not expect to draw against him. I was very nervous and only wanted to last as long as possible." But in a major-piece endgame Keymer saw no way to make progress and thus agreed to a draw — which made Antje Leminsky, the mother of Leo, happy. Leminsky works for GRENKE Leasing and follows Wolfgang Grenke who has sponsored and supported chess tremendously, as chairwoman of the company.

Antje Leminsky, the new CEO at GRENKE Leasing, likes chess her son's interest was rekindled by drawing against Keymer

Translation from English: Johannes Fischer

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Hartmut is an editor at Badischer Tagblatt, headquartered in Baden-Baden. He also writes for chess and table tennis among others for the Frankfurt Rundschau and the Munich Merkur. In addition, the FM of the Rochade Kuppenheim regularly writes articles for the chess magazine 64, Chess Active (Austria) and Chessbase.de.
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