Who will win Dortmund?

7/29/2003 – We don't care if you use clairvoyance, omphilomancy, haruspicy – or just plain chess sense. We are asking you to predict the final standings of the Dortmund Chess Meeting, which starts on Thursday. Will one of the Super-GMs win, will the youngsters come in last? There are valuable prizes to be won for the most accurate predictions.

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Who will win Dortmund?

Okay, we start with some of the divination methods mentioned in our news blurb. Clairvoyance is of course seeing the future ahead of time. Omphilomancy is divination by contemplating the navel, while haruspicy makes use of the entrails of animals to predict what is in store for us.

If you balk at plain chess sense you may try studying your dreams (oneiromancy), smoke patterns (capnomancy), thunder and lightning (ceraunoscopy), or the eating patterns of chickens (alectryomancy). And if all this sounds too outlandish for you, why don't you try our favourite, the straightforward, reliable sideromancy, which tells the future by casting an odd number of straws onto iron brought into red heat in a fire and reading the patterns formed by the straws, their movements, and the nature of the flames or smoke.

But we digress...

On Thursday the German GM tournament, Sparkassen Chess-Meeting, starts in Dortmund. Six players take part in a classical chess round robin which ends on August 10th. It is your task to pick out the winners – actually, to predict as accurately as possible the outcome of the tournament. You can win some nice prizes in the end. Full details are given at the bottom of this page. In the meantime here is some information to jog your memory.

The six candidates

Vladimir Kramnik, 28, Russia, Rating: 2785
Kramnik is a truth-seeker, working hard and meticulously to find truly great moves. It is not the easiest approach to chess. It did win him the Classical Chess World Championship in October 2000. But he has not been playing a lot since. In fact this is his first tournament since the Melody Amber rapid and blindfold event four months ago. Will Kramnik be able to adjust to being able to actually see the pieces? We must remember, though, that Kramnik wins Dortmund practically every time he plays. In 69 Dortmund Super-GM games over ten years he lost exactly once (to Adams in 2000). He is definitely going to feel very much at home in Dortmund.

Viswanathan Anand, 33, India, Rating: 2774
Easygoing and one of the greatest talents around. Vishy has been showing his world class by winning Wijk aan Zee, the Eurotel Trophy in Prague, and other top events – not to forget the SIS Masters in Denmark with an incredible 5.5/6 score. However he seems a bit uncomfortable in Dortmund, which played host to his worst result ever (in 2001, where he lost four games and scratched Dortmund off of every map in his house). On the other hand he has something to prove – there is no such thing as a jinxed city, my friends – and has proved that he can always rise to the occasion.

Peter Leko, 23, Hungary, Rating: 2739
The drawing king mutated into one of the world's most violent players, going for bust in practically every game. That was the style in which he tied for first (with Kramnik) at the 2003 Super-GM in Linares. Peter won the 2002 Candidates Tournament in Dortmund, but there are no sponsors for his title match against Vladimir Kramnik yet. We hear that Einstein will declare the winner of their mini-match in Dortmund the challenger of the FIDE world champion. [Joke, laugh!]. When predicting Leko's results you should look at his first four results in Dortmund: they went Last, Last, Fourth, Fourth, First. See any pattern there?

Viorel Bologan, 31, Moldavia, Rating: 2650
Also know as Viktor, he qualified for this tournament by winning the Aeroflot Open at Moscow (Bologan should probably share and Dortmund prize money with Peru's Julio Granda Zuniga, who lost horribly to Bologan in the final round to hand him the qualification spot which Aleksandrov had thought he had locked up). As far as we can tell Bologan has only one classical chess win against a 2700+ opponent: Bareev in 2002. But he is a very experienced player who has still not reached his peak strength. Good for surprises.

Teimour Radjabov, 16, Azerbaijan, Rating: 2648
The youngest player in this field, but already incredibly suave and sophisticated. At 16 he has already played over 50 games against 2700+ players and chalked up wins against Ivanchuk, Polgar, Bareev, Kasparov (with black in Linares!), Ponomariov, and Gelfand. He is good to do the same to anyone in the Dortmund field. One problem he may face: he has never really competed with other teens before. He can probably see it coming: some day, for the first time in his life, he will lose a game against someone who is actually younger than himself.

Arkadi Naiditsch, 17, Germany, Rating: 2574
Germany's greatest talent, Naiditsch, has only once in his life played a game against an opponent rated over 2645 (Georgiev in 2002, draw). Now he has to play ten such games in a row. Duck. However we should not forget how he blasted the 2640 Robert Hübner in the German Championship in 2002.

How to cast your vote

There is a link to the entry form at the bottom of this page. You should use it to predict how the players will finish, i.e. which place each will occupy in the final table. To facilitate automatic counting please only use the surnames of the players in the list (Kramnik, Anand, Leko, Bologan, Radjabov, Naiditsch). And spell them correctly. You should also add some commentary that explains your choice.

All entries must be received before August 1st, 2003. The winners will be selected on the basis of the most accurate predictions given. If more than one entry gives the most accurate final placings than the winner will be decided by lots. We receive the right to choose a second winner by the quality or originality of the comments.

Please give your full name and place of residence. Without this your entry cannot be considered. We reserve the right to quote your commentary on this web site, in full or abridged, with your name and place of residence given. If you supply information on your professional status that might also be used. Please note that letters written in CAPITALS or with very unruly orthography will not be quoted.

The prize will be two copies of our latest Fritz program, signed by the winner or all the participants of the Dortmund tournament.

Voting now closed


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