Bundesliga: Baden-Baden Wins All Matches, Aronian & Karpov Playing
For the ninth year in a row OSG Baden-Baden won the German Team Championship. This season Baden-Baden clinched the title with two rounds to spare, once again underlining their supremacy in the Bundesliga. In the final weekend world #2 Levon Aronian scored 2.5/3, while 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov scored a draw and a win.
Photo: Reinhold Faber | Other photos courtesy of the Schachbundesliga
It was a narrow 4.5-3.5 victory on Friday against SV Hockenheim that did it for the champions, who have been reigning without exception since the spring of 2006. In Eppingen, where all teams had gathered for a joint final weekend, Baden-Baden arrived in the playing hall with none other than Levon Aronian on top board.
Fresh from a rather disappointing Candidates' Tournament, the world's number two drew his black game with Richard Rapport. It doesn't really matter whom the Hungarian plays; he'll usually do something funny early the game. This time as early as move 4:
In fact on seven of the eight boards a draw was agreed, which was an excellent result for Hockenheim. The game on board 5 was pretty spectacular:
Eventually it was Mickey Adams who scored the decisive win, showing wonderful technique in a bishop ending. According to the Englishman, Black shouldn't have traded rooks. But who wouldn't think Black has an easy draw?
With 13 victories in 13 matches, Baden-Baden had a 5-point lead over Eppingen and so the party could start on Friday night, even though two more rounds were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
Hundreds of spectators gathered in the big playing hall over the weekend, and not just to see the stars of Baden-Baden or their local friends. No, a former World Champion was playing!
Anatoly Karpov, world champion between 1975 and 1985 and later FIDE World Champion, was sitting on board one for Hockenheim. On Saturday the 62-year-old Russian faced the young Felix Graf, rated 2489 but still untitled. It was a tense game that ended in a draw:
The same match saw a curious game in which the first capture took place after the time control! That's right, no pawn or piece captures for 40 (in fact 41) moves.
Before you start wondering if this is a record: it's not. At the records section of Tim Krabbé's website (which has recently been seeing new updates!) the game Rogoff-Williams, World Juniors (Stockholm) 1969 is given as the record holder, with a first capture on move 94!
Baden-Baden defeated Eppingen 5-3, and this time Aronian did win his game:
Aronian signing autographs before the game
And the next day Aronian also played a third game, and won that one too. With 2.5/3 he won back 2.8 of the 18 rating points he lost in Siberia.
After his draw with Graf on Saturday, Karpov really felt like playing again. To the surprise of his team, he asked for another game on Sunday! Not fearing a fight with the black pieces against Maxim Rodshtein, the World Champion (who doesn't like prefixes such as 'ex' or 'former') sat down and played a great game that reminded of his best days.
Bundesliga 2013-2014 | Final Standings
|2||SV Mülheim Nord||15||11||2||2||24||71.5|
|3||SV 1930 Hockenheim||15||10||3||2||23||74|
|7||SK Turm Emsdetten||15||8||1||6||17||67|
|10||SV Wattenscheid 1930||15||7||1||7||15||59.5|
|12||SF Berlin 1903||15||2||3||10||7||50.5|
|13||FC Bayern München||15||3||1||11||7||42.5|
|15||SK König Tegel||15||1||2||12||4||39|