Mainz 2007 – Anand wins Rapid Final

by ChessBase
8/20/2007 – Vishy Anand won the Grenke Leasing Rapid World Championship, defeating Levon Aronian in the last game of their four-game match. Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Etienne Bacrot drew their match for third place, with each player winning one game. The Ordix Open was won by David Navara. We bring you an updated report with pictures from the Gourmet Club.

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Chess Classic Mainz 2007

The event toos place from August 13 to 19 in the Rheingoldhalle of the Congress Centre in Mainz, Germany. It included matches and Opens in traditional and Random Chess.

GRENKE LEASING Rapid World Championship

Anand Remains Supreme in Mainz

Report by Johannes Fischer

Sunday, immediately after the end of the Ordix Open, with 762 participants the world’s biggest rapid chess tournament, the Chess Classic Mainz finished with another highlight: the match for the Grenke Leasing Rapid Chess World Championship between Anand and Aronian. Three days ago the same players had played the final of the FiNet Chess960 World Championship. This was a tense and exciting match, but here even more was at stake: Anand wanted to take revenge for his loss and prove that he is still the world’s best rapid player. Both players also had the coming World Championship in Mexico in mind: on the one hand both players are among the favorites and the winner of Mainz would gain a psychological edge over his rival. At the same time both players had to be careful not to reveal too much of their preparation for Mexico.

Aruna and Vishy Anand waiting for the action to begin

Maybe this was the reason why they both decided to proceed carefully. In their first game they repeated the Ruy Lopez of their game in the preliminary but while Anand was better in that game, he now failed to get anything out of the opening and quickly agreed to a draw.

The Tiger theme in the final Rapid match between Anand and Aronian

In contrast to Anand and Aronian, Bacrot and Kasimdzhanov, who were playing for third place, could take it easy. Saturday evening they were even seen sitting together, drinking wine and exchanging jokes. Maybe they agreed not to care too much for the result of the match but play entertaining chess for the audience. Which they did. In the first game Kasimdzhanov pursued a kingside attack but in the crucial moment did not dare to sacrifice on g6, which Shirov in the analysis room considered to be winning. With less time on the clock Kasimdzhanov later lost his way in the complications and failed to see a perpetual with a rook down, which brought Bacrot his first win.

More tigers in Mainz: the match between Kasimdzhanov and Bacrot under way

In the second round Bacrot and Kazimdzhanov continued where they had stopped. Right after the opening Bacrot found an interesting way to play with his pair of bishops against Kasimdzhanov’s knights: The French GM sacrificed both of his bishops to mate the enemy king, but when Kasimdzhanov gave back a rook to avoid worse Black was better. However, with a material balance of rook vs. two knights Bacrot continuously exerted pressure on Black’s position and reached an endgame, in which he avoided all knight forks, exchanged most of the remaining pawns and saved a draw.

The audience in the Rheingoldhalle watching the games in great suspense

Meanwhile Aronian’s pair of bishops also fought two knights. Yet the Armenian was less generous than Bacrot and presented Anand with no more than a pawn and kept his bishops to compensate for his material disadvantage. However, when Anand neutralized White’s pressure and Aronian had only 30 seconds against Anand’s seven minutes, some saw Anand winning already. But their hopes – or fears – made place for astonishment when the players suddenly agreed to a draw. Another glance on the position revealed that Anand had no way to avoid losing his extra pawn after which the ending was a dead draw.

The third game revealed how much respect Anand and Aronian had for each other and how careful they were to avoid the risk of losing or to reveal any secrets. They again repeated the Ruy Lopez of their games from the preliminary and the first round of the final. But again Anand failed to achieve anything out of the opening – Fritz even saw a slight advantage for Black – and the game was drawn without much excitement.

Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Etienne Bacrot drew their match 2:2 (each won a game)

So Kasimdzhanov and Bacrot had to provide some entertainment. Accordingly, Bacrot again opted for the Marshall Gambit, which had brought him victory in the preliminary. But it turned out that Kasimdzhanov had done his homework when he improved on that game. He gradually consolidated and returned his extra pawn to reach a position in which his passed c-pawn gave him (very) good winning chances. When the c-pawn gradually moved further down the board everything seemed to work according to plan until Black suddenly came up with an unexpected tactical trick, which seemed to save the draw. However, justice prevailed and at the end of the tactical sequence Black had no draw but lost a piece and the game. Thus, Kasimdzhanov equalized the match and hoped to win the fourth game and the match.

But this was not to be – though both players tried. Once more the two bishops had to fight against the two knights but neither side could get any advantage and when most pieces went off the board the game was drawn. As the organizers decided not to play a tie-break Kasimdzhanov and Bacrot shared third place.

Meanwhile the fourth and decisive game between Anand and Aronian started quietly but ended dramatically. Anand, playing with black, managed to equalize after the opening to reach a position, which did not offer much chances to either side. But whether his nerves betrayed him or whether he was tired, Aronian gradually started to play worse and fell seriously behind on the clock. Suddenly his only weakness, the pawn on a3, was in real danger and, when it fell, Anand seemed to be well on his way to keep his title of Rapid World Champion. Although Aronian in the previous games of the tournament had more than once shown his remarkable ability to save bad positions, this time there was no escape. Anand smoothly drove his advantage home to win his tenth title in Mainz.

Organiser Hans-Walter Schmitt with the winner: Vishy Anand

Schmitt awards the runner-up prize to Levon Aronian (who beat Anand in the Chess960)

You can see that the normally affable Lev is not blissfully happy

...but he puts on a brave face and speaks to the audience

"Kasim" impresses the audience with a speech held in flawless, elegant German

...and then joins his colleague Etienne Bacrot to contemplate the result

Gourmet Club

By Frederic Friedel

This is not quite as violent as the Eduard Norton and Brad Pitt club, but definitely provides superior culinaray delights. With finger dishes and an open bar it was the place to be after the games had finshed, or even during play, when GM Artur Jussupow would comment on the moves while early guests were refreshing themselves. The Gourmet Club was advertised on imaginative posters designed by organiser Hans-Walter Schmitt.


We leave it to you to recognise the principals in the abover pictures. Here's one more for the quiz:

Got it? Hint: this man has often been seen in Mexico

Anand and Aruna enjoying candle-light snacks, while Artur Jussupov comments on a game

Hans-Walter Schmitt (2nd from left) and his team take a break in the Gourmet Club: GM Klaus Bischof, Schmitt, Christian Bossert (from the main sponsor Grenke Leasing), tournament director Hans Dieter Post and Thilo Grubler, responsible for the game broadcast on the Internet.

The journalists, with Otto Borik (left), editor of Schach Magazin 64, and Eric van Reem, who wrote English language reports, the press referent of the German Chess Federation Jörg Lais

More journalists, here Dirk Poldauf of the German chess magazine Schach, and Johannes Fischer, who wrote the reports on the top GM events, and Harry Schaack, press chief of the Chess Classic 2007.

The Arabs: former world women's champion Zhu Chen, GM Mohamad Al-Modiahki and GM Victor Bologan. Explanation: Zhu is married to Al-Modiahki and lives with him (and their daughter) in
Qatar. Bologan, who hails from Moldova, trains the Qatari team, and also lives in the Gulf.

Alexander Grischuk and Rustam Kasimdzhanov get involved in a quick game of – wait a minuite, that's nolt a legal position in chess! Can you guess what all this is about?

A final social breakfast on Monday in the Mainz Hilton: J.B. Singh Negi, Parimarjan Negi (ridiculously strong 14-year old from India), Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Firuza Kasimdzhanov (whose birthday it is) Aruna and Vishy Anand.

All pictures by Frederic Friedel in Mainz


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