25 years in Dortmund for Vladimir Kramnik

by Johannes Fischer
7/11/2017 – In a few days the Sparkassen Chess Meeting 2017 will begin in Dortmund. As always, it is a strong Grandmaster tournament but this year it is dedicated to Vladimir Kramnik, with good reason: Dortmund and the former World Championship have a long and special relationship.

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A ten-time winner returns

The relationship between Kramnik and Dortmund began in 1992, 25 years ago, when the 16-year old Kramnik played his first tournament in Dortmund, the strong A-Open. At that time Kramnik still had to get the title of an International Master but he brought an impressive Elo-rating of 2590 to the tournament. However, his smooth play and his result was still a surprise. With 8.5/11 (6 wins, 5 draws) he shared first place with Smbat Lputian and Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

Vladimir Kramnik in 1993 | Photo: Frederic Friedel

In his very first game in Dortmund Kramnik won with Black against the German amateur Ulrich Tamm. Kramnik won the game by playing in a way that was to become his trademark style: being well prepared in the opening he equalized easily and soon after had a slight advantage. Pressuring his opponent with energetic positional play Kramnik gradually turned his slight advantage into a bigger one, and finally won the endgame.


Since 1992 Kramnik has played almost every year in Dortmund and only missed the tournaments in 1994 and in 2002. No less than ten times Kramnik has won the grandmaster tournament (1995 – 1998, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011), which according to the organizers is a "unique achievement, deserving an entry into the Guiness Book of Records."

Winning the 10th is impressive | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

In the final round of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting 2016 Kramnik won with White against Evgeni Najer, currently his last win in Dortmund.


Kramnik also played the most spectacular game of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting 2016 — in round 3 against German grandmaster Rainer Buhmann. But despite all the fireworks displayed in the game it ended with a draw.


In a fews days Kramnik has the chance go for number eleven! But the field is strong:

Participants of the Sparkassen Chess-Meeting Dortmund 2017

The tournament takes place from July 15-23 in the "Orchesterzentrum NRW", Brückstraße 51.

My Path to the Top

On this DVD Vladimir Kramnik retraces his career from talented schoolboy to World Champion in 2006. With humour and charm he describes his first successes, what it meant to be part of the Russian Gold Medal team at the Olympiad, and how he undertook the Herculean task of beating his former mentor and teacher Garry Kasparov.


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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