Mainz 2008: Anand breaks Mainz simultaneous record

7/29/2008 – Simultaneous events are chess spectacles. Only a few games make it to the textbooks, and the atmosphere is informal and noisy. But Vishy Anand seems undisturbed, concentrating only on breaking a record. He does, finishing with a single draw conceded. The record he broke (four draws in 40 games) was set in Mainz in 1994 – by Vishy Anand! Report on simul and press conference.

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Chess Classic Mainz 2008

The 2008 Chess Classic is taking place from July 28 to August 3 in the Rheingoldhalle of the Congress Centre, Hilton Hotel in Mainz, Germany. The event includes tournaments and Opens in traditional and Random Chess, with stars like the current World Champion and world's number one Vishy Anand, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Russian GM Alexander Morozevich and the strongest female player of all time Judit Polgar.

Focus on the family

Eric van Reem on the opening press conference and drawing of lots

The experts round the press conference table on Monday were convinced that Vishy Anand would win another Chess Classic title this year, but it will be a hard battle according to Anand: “Magnus Carlsen has a winning streak this year, winning big tournaments like Wijk aan Zee and Baku, and he is leading the tournament in Biel currently. That is very impressive. All players in the Grenke Leasing Rapid World Championship have an attractive style. Alexander Morozevich and Magnus seem to be in great form, and my games with Judit Polgar are always hard-fought. I even had a 14-game sequence with Polgar without a single draw.”


Opening press conference with the press officer Eric van Reem, Lord Mayor of Mainz Jens Beutel, main sponsor Wolfgang Grenke, Victorija Cmilyte, Natalia Zhukova, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Vishy Anand, main organiser Hans-Walter Schmitt, press officer Harry Schaack

Since the Grenke Rapid World Championship will be played at the end of the week, the women were the focus of attention during the opening press conference, because they will start off with the FiNet Chess960 Women's rapid world championship today. Alexandra Kosteniuk, Natalia Zhukova, Victorija Cmilyte and Katherina Lahno will play a round robin with a four-game final on Thursday. Also starting on Tuesday: the Mini Ordix Open for players under 14.

One of the questions during the press conference was if the women had a good relation among themselves. “Oh yes”, Zhukova smiled, “Alexandra and I have children of the same age and there is always a lot to talk about. With Victorija I play in the same team in the Russian League. We know other and we like each other, but at the board the friendship is over”. Kosteniuk added. “We always play to win”. All three women present at the press conference (Lahno arrived a little later on Monday, but was on time for the traditional Dinner of Champions) love Chess960 and are looking forward to play the FiNet World Championship. “It is nice to show up without the need to prepare for the game”, Zhukova said. Kosteniuk agreed: “You just sit down, concentrate and play chess. And you avoid short draws by playing Chess960.” Cmilyte, who played the FiNet Chess960 Open four times in a row also likes the chess variant, invented by Bobby Fischer:” You have to be creative in your games and I like that”.


Main sponsor in Mainz: Wolfgang Grenke, CEO of Grenke Leasing

The experts at the table also had to answer the difficult question, who would win the Grenke Leasing Rapid World Championship this week: Anand, Polgar, Morozevich or Carlsen? Most of the persons present thought that Anand still has the best changes to win the event again. Wolfgang Grenke, CEO of Grenke Leasing, one of the main sponsors said that it would be a great challenge for his friend Vishy. And Anand himself agreed: “It will be a tough tournament, but I feel at home here in Mainz and I always play very good chess here.”

With the Olympics in Beijing coming up, the question (from GM Vlastimil Hort) was asked if chess should be integrated in Olympic family. Anand was quite positive about the idea, “our advantage is that we can either play the Summer or Winter Olympics”, but Lord Mayor of Mainz Jens Beutel thought that chess would be “lost” between all those other sports that would get far more attention from the media. “I prefer a separate Chess Olympiad, like the way it will be played in Dresden this year”. Alexandra Kosteniuk told that she will play an event, the “World Mind Games” in Beijing in October. “In that event, chess, bridge, go and draughts will be played and some other demonstration sports like Chinese Chess in different tournaments. That is very exciting and these intellectual games may build a bridge to the physical sports of the Olympiad”.


Alexandra Kosteniuk vs Vishy Anand on a “Rizzi-chessboard”

After the drawing of lots and a short game on a “Rizzi-chessboard” against Kosteniuk, Anand started his 40-board simul, (check the article by Johannes Fischer for details). There is a nice James Rizzi exhibition in the adjacent hall this week, interesting nor only for chess lovers. This was the first event of a week in which lots of chess games will be played in a family-friendly atmosphere. Hans-Walter Schmitt emphasized this aspect of the Chess Classic during his speech at the Dinner of Champions: We offer the Children's Club for the youngest kids, the Gourmet Club for the sponsors where they can meet the players, we have “silent and public viewing” for the chess fans, we have tournaments for children, women and adults: it is a great concept for the whole family. For the people who accompany the players we offer the service of the computer evaluation, unique in the world. You can immediately see what is happening on the boards, and you do not need much chess knowledge to understand +4 or -4, Schmitt said. The whole family should enjoy the Chess Classic”. And Alexandra Kosteniuk showed that it is possible to bring your family to a chess tournament. Not only her husband, but also their little daughter and her mother are present in Mainz to play and to enjoy the atmosphere.

And there is some more good news for all chess lovers: The Lord Mayor said that new contracts with the Hilton have been signed and that the other local sponsors in Mainz are willing to support the Chess Classic until at least 2013!


Anand against 40 breaks his own record

By Johannes Fischer

The Chess Classic Mainz began in style. World Champion Vishy Anand and ten-times winner of the Rapid World Chess Championship in Mainz, opened the event with a simul on 40 boards. This time maybe a bit more than just the usual chess entertainment simuls tend to be. Of course, Anand has his mind on the World Championship match against Vladimir Kramnik, which will be played in October. Doing badly in a simul might not be good for his confidence. But possibly Anand does not even think about defeat and just wants to break another record in Mainz where he already holds so many. Four draws in 40 games is the best result ever achieved in these simultaneous events, which traditionally start the Chess Classic. And this record was set back in 1994, at the first Chess Classic ever – and by no other but Vishy Anand himself.


Anand playing his record-breaking simul in Mainz on Monday

14 years and two World Champion titles later Anand now tries to top himself. In the “Goldsaal” – the “Gold Hall” – of the Hilton in Mainz he quietly moves from board to board to show his opponents what a World Champion can do with the pieces. In the beginning Anand, playing White on all 40 boards, keeps a steady pace, moving in a constant rhythm, which, however, slows down a bit while some of his opponents manage to pose him more seriously problems. But there are not many who are able to do so. The 40 players visibly try their best to outwit the best player they might ever have played against and will ever play against, but to no avail. No matter how hard they think about their moves, how tricky the maneuvers they come up with, the strategies they plan to follow, the World Champion seems to grasp all of them in a moment and to dispel all dreams of victory with quick and smooth play, which forces one after the other of his opponents to resign. And while the simul takes its course more and more boards are dominated by a white Kings on e4, indicating a win by Anand. After three and a half hours of play only about half of the players are still in the game. Only one player managed to achieve the draw.

Even though most of spectators in Mainz are experienced chess enthusiasts, who have seen, played or even gave the one or the other simul, the whole spectacle still amazes. Why does it take the simul player only seconds to find better moves than his opponents? Why is his fairly automatic play, necessary to play on 40 boards at the same time, still superior to the creative efforts of the individual player?

Simultaneous events are chess spectacles. Only few games of them made it to the textbooks and mainly because of some nice tactical trick and unlike the really “serious” events onlookers, fans and journalists are allowed to use their flashlight cameras throughout the simul. Anand seems undisturbed. He quietly and efficiently follows his course, making the moves he thinks best on board after board. And while he quietly and efficiently beats one opponent after the other the fascination of chess and particularly the way Anand plays it slowly unfolds. In the week to come the Chess Classic in Mainz will offer more and faster events than a simul. But the fascination of chess will always be seen.

In the end Anand won 39-1, breaking his own record.


Schedule of events

GRENKELEASING Rapid World Championship – 1-3 August 2008

Rapid Chess, 20min/game + 5s/move. Course of events: Fri, 1 Aug.: first rounds 1, 2 and 3; Sat, 2 Aug.: second rounds 4, 5 and 6, possible tiebreak; Sun, 3 Aug: four-game matches, big and small final, possible tiebreak, award ceremony. Start time of rounds: 18:30h, 19:30h, 20:30h, final additionally: 21:30h. Participants:

Player Nation Title
Rating
WRnk
Viswanathan Anand India  GM
2798
1
Alexander Morozevich Russia  GM
2788
2
Magnus Carlsen Norway  GM
2775
6
Judit Polgar Hungary  GM
2711
22

Note: world rankings and ratings according to the official FIDE rating list of July 2008

2. FiNet Chess960 Women's Rapid World Championship – 29-31 July 2008

Rapid chess, 20min/game + 5s/move. Course of events: Tue 29 July: first set of rounds 1, 2 and 3; Wed, 30 July: second set of rounds 4, 5 and 6, possible tiebreak; Thu, 31 July: four-game matches, big and small final, possible tiebreak, award ceremony. Start time of rounds: 18:30h, 19:30h, 20:30h, final additionally: 21:30h. Participants:

Player Nation
Rating
Title
WRank
Alexandra Kosteniuk Russia
2523
 GM
10
Victorija Cmilyte Lithuania
2508
 IM
11
Kateryna Lahno Ukraine
2507
 GM
12
Natalia Zhukova Ukraine
2489
WGM
17

Note: world rankings and ratings according to the official FIDE rating list of July 2008

4th Livingston Chess960 Computer World Championship– 30 July-1 August 2008

Rapid Chess, 20min/game + 5s/move. Course of events: Wed 30 July: first set of three rounds; Thurs 31 July: second set of three rounds; Fri 1 Aug.: four-game matches, big and small final possle tiebreak (5min/game + 5s/move). Start time of rounds: 11:00h, 12:30h, 14:00h, final additionally: 15:30 h, tiebreak: 17:00h. Participants: Rybka, Deep Shredder, Naum and Deep Sjeng.

7th FiNet Chess960 Open – July 31-August 01, 2008

Eleven rounds Chess960 Rapid Chess, 20min/game + 5s/move. Thu 31 July: rounds 1-5; Fri 1 August: rounds 6-11. Start of rounds: Thu 12:00h and Fri 10:00h. Award Ceremony Fri 17:30h.

15th ORDIX Open – August 2-3, 2008

Eleven rounds Rapid Chess Open, 20min/game + 5s/move. Registration until Sat 2 Aug, 11:30h. Sat 2 August: rounds 1-5; Sun 3 August: rounds 6-11. Start of rounds: Sat 12:00h, Sun 10:00h. Award ceremony Sun 17:30h.

2nd Mini-ORDIX (29th July) and the 2nd Mini-FiNet (30th July)

2nd Mini-ORDIX Open: Rapid Chess Open for Children and Talents U14, 20min/game + 5s/move. Registration
until Tue, July 29, 10:30h. Seven rounds: 11:00h, 12:00h, 13:00h, 14:00h, 15:00h, 16:00h, 17:00h. Award ceremony: 18:00h.

2nd Mini-FiNet Open: Rapid Chess960 Open for Children and Talents U14, 20min/game + 5s/move. Registration
until Wed, July 30, 10:30h. Seven rounds: 11:00h, 12:00h, 13:00h, 14:00h, 15:00h, 16:00h, 17:00h. Award ceremony: 18:00h.


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