Mainz 2007 – Anand and Aronian in the Rapid Final

8/19/2007 – Rustam Kasimdzhanov made a brave effort to catch Levon Aronian in the preliminaries of the Rapid Chess Championship in Mainz, but in the end the Armenian held fast to qualify for the Sunday evening encounter, where he meets with Vishy Anand. The Ordix Rapid is under way with a record-breaking 761 participants. Big report with pictures and video impressions.

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Chess Classic Mainz 2007

The event takes place from August 13 to 19 in the Rheingoldhalle of the Congress Centre, Hilton Hotel in Mainz, Germany. It includes matches and Opens in traditional and Random Chess, with stars like the current world's number one Anand, who will play in Chess960 (Fischer Random) and in rapid chess tournaments together with Levon Aronian, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Etienne Bacrot.

GRENKE LEASING Rapid World Championship

Anand set to take revenge against Aronian

Report by Johannes Fischer

Saturday saw the last round of the preliminary of the Grenke Leasing Rapid Chess World Championship. The two best players in the preliminary would qualify for the final, which will be played tomorrow – and most people expected another battle between Anand and Aronian.


Going after the leader: Rustam Kasimdzhanov (right) vs Vishy Anand


Wives are watching: at the back of the playing hall we find...


... Firuza Kasimdzhanov (yep, she is) and Aruna Anand


Fretting over Anand's position: colleagues in the press room try to find a defence


GMs Pentala Harikrishna and Krishnan Sasikiran rooting for their compatriot

The fourth round showed that Kasimdzhanov was the only one who could pose a threat to the qualification of Aronian and Anand. Playing with white against Anand he got a much better position out of the opening and had the Indian star on the brink of defeat. Anand clearly felt uncomfortable and spent a lot of time pondering his defence – time that, as it turned out, was well spent. Kasimdzhanov overlooked a hidden defensive blow, after which Anand suddenly stood better. But Kasimdzhanov did not lose heart and was able to cope with the reversal of fortune. Imaginatively combining attack and defense he rekindled his initiative, put Anand under pressure again until all petered out to a drawn rook endgame.

Meanwhile, Bacrot betrayed real signs of fatigue. Playing white against Aronian he opted for a quiet opening, got a harmless position, but lost without much resistance. As Aronian commented in the press conference: “He gave me a present. The position was totally equal.”


Rustam Kasimdzhanov faces the collapsing Etienne Bacrot

So it did not really come as a surprise that Bacrot also lost against a determined Kasimdzhanov. In fact, in this game psychology seemed to be much more important than pure chess. Even though Bacrot reached a good position out of the opening he failed to make anything out of it. In contrast, Kasimdzhanov seemed set on a real fight, gradually gained the upper hand and won.

The second round encounter between Anand and Aronian took an entirely different course. Anand followed a prepared line, in which he sacrificed an exchange for a pawn and active play. But after some small inaccuracies by Anand, Aronian returned material to shake off the pressure and the game was drawn immediately, which secured Anand his place in the final.


Levon Aronian successfully defending against the all-out attack by Kasimdzhanov


Different grandmasters (here Fabian Döttling) comment the games for the public


Anand and Ivanchuk chat between the games

But it was not yet clear who his opponent would be. Kasimdzhanov had two points, Aronian three and they were to play against each other in the last round. If Kasimdzhanov won, a tie-break would follow. As Kasimdzhanov later revealed in the press conference, he decided to use some preparation for “serious games” to try to make it to the final. In the beginning everything went according to plan: Aronian went into the prepared line, fell much behind on the clock and got what he himself called “a strategically worse, unpleasant position”. But again luck seemed to elude Kasimdzhanov who similar to his game against Anand in round four found no way to win. Later he commented: “That’s a typical problem in rapid chess. You get a better position and you would need some time to work out how to win it. But that’s exactly what you don’t have.”


Kasim in the press conference, Anand listening

In the press conference, Kasimdzhanov also revealed how he felt about predicting winners in chess events. Asked who he thinks would win the FIDE World Championship he replied: “I consider this to be unethical to predict the winner of chess tournament because it might ever so slightly influence the way people play. While this may be done in politics, I think, in chess there should be a bit more honor.”


Levon Aronian, who joins Anand in the final on Sunday

A good point but it’s still interesting to speculate about the outcome of the final matches tomorrow. Though Kasimdzhanov clearly lost the Chess960 match against, Bacrot judging by today’s performance he should be a slight favorite. And given Anand’s superior play in the preliminary of the Rapid World Championship one might see him as a favorite in his match against Aronian. Tomorrow evening we will know.

Final standings of the semi-finals


Close race for glory in Ordix Open

Report by Eric van Reem

Despite the beautiful weather in Mainz on Saturday, hundreds of chessplayers came to the Rheingoldhalle to play the world-famous Ordix Open. The organisers hoped to break the 700 player barrier this year and the pre-registration already looked very promising. In the end no less than 761 players registered for the 14th edition of the Ordix Open.


761 players in the giant Rheingoldhalle, where the Ordix Open is taking place

Look at this numbers: in the first Ordix Open in Mainz 2001 exactly 484 chess players were registered, one year later 496, in 2003 the magic 500 barrier was broken, in 2004 we had 542 players, 546 in 2005. Last year the Ordix jumped to 632 and this year to 761. And there is still space in the Rheingoldhalle, so the logical question arises: where will this end?


Players, players, players, as far as the eye can see

Let´s talk about this year's Ordix Open. The top players have to be careful not to lose a point in this strong field. The top ten Elo average is over 2700, the top 20 Elo average is 2684! Now and then a top GM drops half a point, but most of the top seeds are very concentrated and therefore it is not surprising to see the ”usual suspects” on the top of the list with a 100% score after the first day: Gabriel Sargissian, Vassili Ivanchuk, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, David Navara, Vladimir Akopian and Igor Khenkin.


Video of the Ordix Open by Vijay Kumar

All pictures by Frederic Friedel in Mainz

First day standings

Big tournament big table, even when restricted to players with 6.0/7 or higher. Look at the great names to the bottom of this list.

Rnk Player Rtn Nat W D L Pts
1. GM Navara,David 2656 CZE 7 1 0 7,5
2. GM Bologan,Victor 2650 MDA 6 2 0 7,0
3. GM Petrosian,Tigran L. 2613 ARM 6 2 0 7,0
4. GM Pentala,Harikrishna 2664 IND 6 2 0 7,0
5. GM Burmakin,Vladimir 2592 RUS 6 2 0 7,0
6. GM Almasi,Zoltan 2682 HUN 6 2 0 7,0
7. GM Karjakin,Sergey 2678 UKR 6 2 0 7,0
8. GM Ruck,Robert 2563 HUN 6 2 0 7,0
9. GM Sargissian,Gabriel 2667 ARM 6 1 1 6,5
10. GM Ivantschuk,Vassili 2766 UKR 5 3 0 6,5
11. GM Khenkin,Igor 2602   6 1 1 6,5
12. GM Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar 2755 AZE 6 1 1 6,5
13. GM Mchedlishvili,Mikhail 2624 GEO 5 3 0 6,5
14. GM Lysyj,Igor 2578 RUS 5 3 0 6,5
15. GM Gyimesi,Zoltan 2607 HUN 5 3 0 6,5
16. GM Drozdovskyy,Yuriy 2572 UKR 6 1 1 6,5
17. GM Jenni,Florian 2527 SUI 6 1 1 6,5
18. GM Balogh,Csaba 2567 HUN 5 3 0 6,5
19. GM Horvath,Adam 2491 HUN 6 1 1 6,5
20. GM Shirov,Alexey 2735 ESP 5 3 0 6,5
21. GM Kamsky,Gata 2717 USA 6 1 1 6,5
22. GM Döttling,Fabian 2537   5 3 0 6,5
23. GM Moiseenko,Alexander 2641 UKR 5 3 0 6,5
24. GM Bareev,Evgeny 2653   5 3 0 6,5
25. GM Sasikiran,Krishnan 2674 IND 6 1 1 6,5
26. GM Krivoshey,Sergei 2500 UKR 6 1 1 6,5
27. GM Nielsen,Peter-Heine 2638   5 3 0 6,5
28. GM Vaganjan,Rafael Agred 2596 ARM 6 1 1 6,5
29. WGM Zhukova,Natalia 2452 UKR 6 1 1 6,5
30. Kuklin,Valentin 2340 CZE 6 1 1 6,5
31. FM Meinhardt,Maximilian 2378   6 1 1 6,5
32. FM Deglmann,Ludwig 2320   6 1 1 6,5
33. GM Landa,Konstantin 2669 RUS 5 2 1 6,0
34. GM Iljin,Artem 2569 RUS 5 2 1 6,0
35. GM Meier,Georg 2552   5 2 1 6,0
36. GM Naiditsch,Arkadij 2644   6 0 2 6,0
37. IM Seel,Christian 2495   6 0 2 6,0
38. GM Grischuk,Alexander 2726 RUS 5 2 1 6,0
39. GM Medvegy,Zoltan 2512 HUN 6 0 2 6,0
40. GM Volokitin,Andrej 2698 UKR 6 0 2 6,0
41. GM Al-Modiahki,Mohamad 2563 QAT 5 2 1 6,0
42. IM Rau,Hannes 2412   4 4 0 6,0
43. IM Sprenger,Jan Michael 2535   4 4 0 6,0
44. GM Meijers,Viesturs 2483 LAT 6 0 2 6,0
45. GM Akesson,Ralf 2477 SWE 6 0 2 6,0
46. IM Meszaros,Tamas 2425 HUN 5 2 1 6,0
47. IM Siebrecht,Sebastian 2488   6 0 2 6,0
48. GM Tregubov,Pavel 2599 RUS 5 2 1 6,0
49. IM Schaefer,Markus 2411   5 2 1 6,0
50. IM Appel,Ralf 2512   5 2 1 6,0
51. IM Al-Sayed,Mohamad 2469 QTR 5 2 1 6,0
52. GM Ubilava,Elizbar 2540 ESP 5 2 1 6,0
53. FM Lutz,Klaus-Jürgen,Dr. 2345   6 0 2 6,0
54. Zuyev,Igor 2265 6 0 2 6,0
55. IM Leon Hoyos,Manuel 2484 MEX 6 0 2 6,0
56. IM Casper,Thomas 2421   6 0 2 6,0
57. IM Hoffmann,Michael 2481   6 0 2 6,0
58. Kabisch,Thilo 2241   5 2 1 6,0
59. Abel,Dennes 2341   5 2 1 6,0
60. IM Müller,Matthias 2405   6 0 2 6,0
61. IM Troyke,Christian 2386   6 0 2 6,0
62. Mayer,Frank 1 2331   6 0 2 6,0
63. IM Heinzel,Olaf 2388   5 2 1 6,0
64. Lehmann,Andreas 2248 SUI 5 2 1 6,0
65. Savchenko,Vyacheslav 2423 UKR 6 0 2 6,0
66. IM Boidman,Yuri 2444   6 0 2 6,0
67. FM Tereick,Benjamin 2404   5 2 1 6,0
68. FM Syska,Albert 2252   6 0 2 6,0
69. GM Saltaev,Mihail 2522 UZB 5 2 1 6,0
70. WGM Berend,Elvira 2340 LUX 4 4 0 6,0
71. GM Farago,Ivan 2501 HUN 5 2 1 6,0
72. FM Becking,Stephan 2387   6 0 2 6,0
73. FM Kurmann,Oliver 2393   6 0 2 6,0

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