Kavalek at Huffington: Chess Bundesliga Kicks Off

by ChessBase
10/12/2010 – Five years ago, the current French women's champion Almira Skripchenko, became a poster girl for the German Bundesliga, arguably the world's strongest national chess team competition. Kicking the chess pieces, she made a symbolic connection between soccer and chess. GM Lubomir Kavalek annotates a round one game of the new Bundesliga season.

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Chess Bundesliga Kicks Off

By GM Lubomir Kavalek

FIFA, the governing body of soccer, has 208 member countries, the most of any sport. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) with 159 nations is second. In many countries chess is considered sport, run by national sports organizations, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is seriously thinking to include it in the Summer Olympics. And unlike in many sports, women can compete against men across the chessboard.

Skripchenko is a member of the Werder Bremen team in the Bundesliga that has good chances to fight for the first place this year. They won the first three matches and are in the lead. OSG Baden-Baden is the defending champion and a clear favorite to win it all with an impressive line-up of foreign players on the top eight boards. OSG only played two matches over the last weekend, winning twice, despite missing their three superstars. The world champion Vishy Anand, the world's top-ranked Magnus Carlsen and Alexei Shirov are playing the Bilbao Masters in Spain. In one of the matches OSG Baden defeated SG Solingen, a team I joined in 1969 as their top player. During my 21-year stint we won 10 national titles and two European Club championships. At the beginning, the German Chess Federation fought the foreign players tooth and nail and allowed only two of them on a team. Today, the foreigners dominate the top teams.

Chess is getting global and you find players from all parts of the world participating in national team competitions in Europe. You can see Chinese grandmasters playing on Russian teams and South American players in Spain , Portugal and France. The top U.S. grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura played in Austria and Spain. The other American GM Alexander Onischuk plays in Germany, where you can find players from India, Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland and other countries.

The Ukrainian GM Alexander Areshchenko, another member of the Werder Bremen team, accomplished an interesting feat. In the first two Bundesliga rounds, he won two games against the flexible Scheveningen Sicilian. In the second game, he defeated the Slovakian GM Lubomir Ftacnik, one of the foremost experts, who issued a very instructive DVD about the opening.

Note that in the replay windows below you can click on the notation to follow the game.

Original column hereCopyright Huffington Post

The Huffington Post is an American news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and others, featuring various news sources and columnists. The site was launched on May 9, 2005, as a commentary outlet and liberal/progressive alternative to conservative news websites. It offers coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living, style, the green movement, world news, and comedy. It is a top destination for news, blogs, and original content. The Huffington Post has an active community, with over one million comments made on the site each month. According to Nielsen NetRatings, the site has around 13 million unique visitors per month (number for March 2010); according to Google Analytics the number is 22 million uniques per month.

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