Korneev wins Magdeburg Open

by Bettina Trabert
10/23/2023 – Magdeburg is a city steeped in history, including a long chess tradition. Every year an international open is held, this year for the 28th time. Over 200 players took part. The victory went to the only grandmaster in the field, Oleg Korneev. Bettina Trabert reports.| Photo: A view into the tournament hall | Photos: Bettina Trabert

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Korneev wins Magdeburg Open

Our journey to Magdeburg began with a surprise: During the six-hour train journey from Freiburg to Magdeburg, we had to make several very tight connections, which I thought would be impossible based on my recent experiences with Deutsche Bahn. But in fact all the changes worked and we arrived in Magdeburg on time - it must have been because it was Friday the 13th!

Saturday morning at 9.30 we started with the first of three double rounds. The formula to play 7 rounds in 4 days has proved its worth in many tournaments. Many players like the fact that they don't have to take long holidays and can still play a complete tournament over a long weekend. At the Magdeburg Open, the 220 places in the A and B tournaments were fully booked long before the tournament started. The tournament was held at the Hegel Gymnasium, which had enough room for the number of participants.

The experienced organising team did an excellent job. It is usually the small details that create a good tournament atmosphere: Friendly and often humorous opening speeches, wooden pieces and name badges on all the boards, and good catering in the foyer. There were also awards for the most loyal tournament participants and various rating prizes in both groups, so even the lesser known players had a chance to win something.

The majority of participants were from the local area, but some players travelled from abroad. The tournament favourite was the only grandmaster, Oleg Korneev, who plays for Spain, but is also a frequent guest in German tournaments. The experienced player offered two draws, which were accepted, but won the rest of his games and the tournament.

Several Magdeburg players were able to play at the top: FMs Daniel Malek and Johannes Paul and, surprisingly, the still untitled teenager Benjamin Wagner, who got off to a dream start with 4/4.

In round 6 three players from Magdeburg were at the top boards. Board 1: Malek – Korneev, Board 2: Paul - Wagner 

There were many children and juniors at the start. There was even a separate analysis room for the young talents from Saxony-Anhalt, where they could analyse the games with WGM Tatjana Melamed and GM Roman Slobodjan. Incidentally, Magdeburg can boast a record in the promotion of children and juniors: the "Magdeburger Schachzwerge", a children's and youth club, actually has more than 700 members! This large number is due to the fact that the Schachzwerge's coaches, two of whom are full-time, visit primary schools and nurseries to teach chess to the very young.

Starting young - here with the support of a dinosaur.

The youth prize in the A-Open was won by 13-year-old Ukrainian Nikita Nechitaylo, who lives in Germany.

Prize-giving in the A-Open: Tournament director Jens Windelband, IM Martin Brüdigam (4.), FM Johannes Paul (5.), FM Daniel Malek (2.), GM Oleg Korneev (1.), IM Ferenc Langheinrich (3.), Main Arbiter Roland Katz

Prize-giving B-Open: Jens Windelband, Thorsten Kindermann (4.), Friedrich Lautenschläger (2.-3.), David Graf (1.), Marten Lischka (2.-3.), Lara Hafermann (5.), Roland Katz

The website, which is packed with statistics, refers to the two tournaments as the Ottonen and Editha groups, after Otto the Great and his wife Editha. Magdeburg is also known as "Otto City": Otto the Great made the city important in the 10th century, and Otto von Guericke, a famous 17th century scientist, was also from Magdeburg.

Final standings Ottonen group

Title Rating Club Federation TPR
1 Korneev,Oleg GM 2491 TSV Schönaich ESP 5 2 0 6.0 2441
2 Malek,Daniel FM 2304 SG Aufbau Elbe Magdeburg GER 4 3 0 5.5 2367
3 Langheinrich,Ferenc IM 2365 SV Empor Erfurt GER 4 3 0 5.5 2349
4 Brüdigam,Martin IM 2361 SK König Tegel 1949 e.V. GER 4 3 0 5.5 2343
5 Paul,Johannes FM 2331 SG Aufbau Elbe Magdeburg GER 5 1 1 5.5 2329
6 Bargsten,Justus CM 2226 Post SV Uelzen GER 4 2 1 5.0 2273
7 Matthes,Aaron CM 2204 SC Kreuzberg e.V. GER 3 4 0 5.0 2273
8 Nechitaylo,Nikita 2155 Schach-Drachen Isernhagen UKR 4 2 1 5.0 2257
9 Wagner,Benjamin 2189 SG Aufbau Elbe Magdeburg GER 4 2 1 5.0 2251
10 Tiarks,Jann-Christian CM 2215 Potsdamer SV Mitte e.V. GER 3 4 0 5.0 2250
11 Szajbely,Zsigmond FM 2247 SV Empor Berlin e.V. HUN 4 2 1 5.0 2194
12 Hansch,Stephan CM 2152 Stendaler Schachklub GER 4 2 1 5.0 2158
13 Gröbel,Aaron 2086 Schachfreunde Hettstedt GER 4 2 1 5.0 2156
14 Schiffner,Kevin 2049 GW Dahlenwarsleben GER 5 0 2 5.0 2152
15 Enekwizu,Divine 2084 SV Rochade Magdeburg 96 GER 5 0 2 5.0 2104
16 Nemitz,Alfred 2300 USV Potsdam e.V., Abt. Schach GER 3 4 0 5.0 2075
17 Skembris,Simon Max 1981 SK Freiburg-Zähringen 1887 e.V. GER 2 5 0 4.5 2143
18 Rohde,Niclas 2035 1. Schachclub Anhalt GER 3 3 1 4.5 2129
19 Helmsdorf,Marius 2015 ESV Gera GER 4 1 2 4.5 2060
20 Görgens,Michael 2062 Union 1861 Schönebeck GER 3 3 1 4.5 2031
21 Herter,Arne 2039 SG Aufbau Elbe Magdeburg GER 4 1 2 4.5 2021
22 Udelnov,Valentin 2054 SG Aufbau Elbe Magdeburg GER 4 1 2 4.5 1962
23 Lippert,Daniel 2081 SG Aufbau Elbe Magdeburg GER 4 1 2 4.5 1921
24 Dannhauer,Frank 1988 SV Einheit Halberstadt GER 3 3 1 4.5 1893
25 Weil,Volker 2003 SC Steinbach GER 2 4 1 4.0 2010

102 players

For me, this was the first (and certainly not the last) visit to Magdeburg - I was surprised how beautiful and green the city is in many places, especially around the cathedral and along the Elbe.

In the background the medieval cathedral, in the foreground a piece of the Berlin Wall as a reminder of other times.

Architecture does not have to be grey and monotonous: The "Green Citadel", the last work of the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Herderstrasse, an avenue with many listed buildings, was our daily route to and from the playing hall.

Tournament page with results...

Bettina Trabert, WGM since 2000, took part in several World Youth Championships and played in five Chess Olympiads and two European Team Championships for Germany. She regularly writes tournament reports for ChessBase.