NC Masters in Dortmund: Anand starts with a win

by André Schulz
7/15/2021 – Wednesday afternoon "No Castling" chess premiered at the highest level in Dortmund's Westfalenhalle. In the first game of their "No Castling" match Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik engaged in an uncompromising fight in which Anand eventually had the better of it. In the Deutschland Grand Prix Dmitrij Kollars and Pavel Eljanov share the lead with 2.5/3 each, but the big news of the day was the torrential rain that currently is causing havoc in large parts of Germany and also affected the players in the Westfalenhalle.

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No castling, but entertaining chess

Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik started the "NC Masters", the "No Castling" match in Dortmund. With this match the two world champions want to promote a change in the rules of chess. They hope that the games become more entertaining and exciting if castling is not allowed.

If all the games of the match will be as exciting as the first, then the experiment will be a success.


Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal commented the game live

Here's what the players had to say after the game:

The ten participants of the Deutschland Grand Prix, in which castling is allowed, have a tight schedule. On three of the six days they have to play double rounds - one game in the morning at 10 am, one game in the afternoon at 4 pm. Knowing the endgame and the opening well might not be enough when you lack stamina. After the kick-off on Tuesday, 13 July, the first double round followed on Wednesday.

After three rounds Pavel Eljanov and Dmitrij Kollars lead with 2.5/3. After winning against Keymer in round 1, Kollars drew against Georg Meier in round 2, and then won again in round 3, this time against Mateusz Bartel. Pavel Eljanov won against Andreas Heimann in round 1 and against Vincent Keymer in round 2 but then slowed down with a draw against Meier.

After starting with two losses, Keymer had to play against Rustam Kasimdzhanov on Wednesday afternoon. However, the game lasted only 16 moves – then Kasimdzhanov apparently resigned in a slightly worse position.

Currently, large parts of Germany suffer from torrential rain and were declared as disaster areas. Dortmund is also affected. 

Rain also leaked through the wall of the Westfalenhalle and then started to drip down on the floor, which irritated some of the players. Kasimdzhanov first turned to the arbiter Andrzej Filipowicz and then to tournament director Andreas Jagodzinsky to complain about the constant noise. When the arbiter declared that the noise would be "acceptable" Kasimdzhanov apparently decided to resign his game against Keymer and to leave the hall. However, he did not leave the tournament but was back at the board for round 4.

Standings after round 3





Dmitrij Kollars after winning against Vincent Keymer

Ruslan Ponomariov after his game against Georg Meier

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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