Bundesliga? In Dortmund? That's soccer for sure!
Well... Yes and No.
Yes, because on the 14th of April, the BVB Dortmund, leader of the national soccer championship, had a home game against their strong neighbour, Schalke 04, 3rd of the league.
No, because we are talking chess here. And while you could have heard on various TV channels and radios that a big football feast was going to take place, downtown in Dortmund, some posters indicated that the chess players would have some reasons to celebrate too: the city was hosting 4 encounters of the Chess Bundesliga during the weekend. With the following 4 teams of 8 players: Dortmund, Berlin, Wattenscheid and Hamburg.
The "West-Industrie Klub" is quite a nice place to play chess, on a picturesque little square with lots of coffeehouses in the center of Dortmund. But there was just a little disturbing detail: All the soccer supporters were there, despite the rainy weather. And you could know immediately when something was happening in the stadium. You could even watch the football game on one of the big screen in the cafés while being in front of the chess boards.
See that green building in the background? that's where it took place.
The playing room was big enough for the players and for spectators, you could have organized a ball on the remaining surface. A room for post-mortem analysis, an other for comments on a big screen and a bar, what do you want more?
A lot of light, all the players along the windows
The games were also retransmitted on the Bundesliga's Website . The cattering service was excellent. Overall good playing conditions, if you could forget the happy supporters outside.
Matches on day 1:
Dortmund was fighting for survival, trying to avoid relegation. The big guns, fighting for the championship were elsewhere, in Baden-Baden, where to the surprise of most observers, Anand, playing for the leading team Baden-Baden, lost his game against Tiviakov. You've probably seen that game already. This was not the only upset of the day since Vachier-Lagrave found himself in a lost position rather quickly:
For Dortmund, on board 1, Emanuel Berg had the Black pieces against Kempinski. [By the way, Berg won a fantastic game against the same Vachier-Lagrave this year in Gibraltar!].
Berg, relatively relaxed, while Kempinski is suffering
Berg had a surprisingly easy game. He slowly took the advantage and got white's king in a mating net:
The game which retained my attention that day was the one between Ftacnik [Hamburg] with the white pieces and Heinrichs [Dortmund] on board 3.
Heinrichs [left] has just played ... Rxc1
Ftacnik played a nice attacking game but couldn't find the way to break black's defence. During the post-mortem analysis, he kept asking himself: "Why didn't I play Nxg7? I saw that!" And he showed an interesting 10 moves long variation granting an advantage for white. He also thought that he could have tried to play with g4-g5 earlier in the game. Here's the game:
IGM Lubomir Ftacnik: pushing, pushing, but no collapse!
The game between IM Agopov [Berlin] and IM Tereick [Wattenscheid] was one of the longest of the day, but it was rather a one-sided story.
Did IM Agopov already want to go home? Nope. Just stretching his legs...
Here the game:
This was only the end of day one in Dortmund. The round on the next started at 10:00 a.m., I prefered to enjoy my sunday morning in my bed and follow the games on the very good website. But seeing such a well organized event on site was very interesting.