More Bundesliga Brilliancies As Baden-Baden Wins Title
The winning team, Baden-Baden. Image: Grenke Chess.

More Bundesliga Brilliancies As Baden-Baden Wins Title

| 12 | Chess Event Coverage

On Sunday OSG Baden-Baden earned their 14th Bundesliga title in 15 years by winning the round-robin championship tournament in Karlsruhe, Germany. Many players returned to over-the-board chess for the first time in months and seemed quite inspired as lots of great games were played. 

As explained in our previous report, which focuses on GM Richard Rapport's lovely win vs. GM Noel Studer, this year's Bundesliga was organized as a one-week tournament because of the pandemic. The 2019-2020 season was interrupted after the matches in February and is now planned to be resumed in early 2021 to provide next year's champion.

For this year, eight teams voluntarily agreed to play a single round-robin in Karlsruhe during September 16-20, with double rounds on two of the five playing days. Top favorite Baden-Baden managed to win yet another title but not without a fight that lasted until the very end.

Bundesliga 2020 | Final Standings

# Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 MP BP BW
1 OSG Baden-Baden 5 6 7 7 7 14 43 182½
2 SC Viernheim 5 6 5 6 7 12 38 167
3 Schachfreunde Deizisau 3 5 5 10 33 142½
4 SV Werder Bremen 3 2 3 5 6 8 29 132
5 SG Solingen 2 3 5 7 6 27½ 125
6 FC Bayern München 1 3 3 5 4 23½ 111
7 SF Berlin 1 2 3 1 3 4 1 16½ 79
8 Aachener SV 1 1 ½ 2 4 1 13½ 69

Baden-Baden wasn't certain of the title until the start of Sunday's last round against SC Viernheim. Having added lots of board points, 4-4 would be enough. The match was an absolute thriller.

Viernheim was close to creating a huge upset but eventually had to be satisfied with second place. The match saw draws on the first five boards and a loss for GM Etienne Bacrot vs. GM Sergey Fedorchuk, but wins for Baden-Baden's GMs Paco Vallejo and Arkadij Naiditsch secured another championship title.

# SC Viernheim 3½-4½ OSG Baden-Baden
1 GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2764 ½-½ GM Fabiano Caruana 2835
2 GM Vladimir Malakhov 2669 ½-½ GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2778
3 GM Yuriy Kryvoruchko 2682 ½-½ GM Levon Aronian 2773
4 GM Anton Korobov 2688 ½-½ GM Richard Rapport 2760
5 GM David Anton Guijarro 2688 ½-½ GM Michael Adams 2706
6 GM Bassem Amin 2686 0-1 GM Francisco Vallejo Pons 2710
7 GM Igor Kovalenko 2645 0-1 GM Arkadij Naiditsch 2624
8 GM Sergey Fedorchuk 2615 1-0 GM Etienne Bacrot 2673

It was Naiditisch who became the match winner as he won the last game of the match from a highly sharp position. He was an exchange up in a middlegame with opposite-colored bishops. Although both kings seemed to be in trouble, Kovalenko was running out of checks.

One of the many great videos from the Grenke YouTube channel.

Although 4-4 wouldn't have been enough for Viernheim, it was definitely a possible result as GM David Anton missed a forced mate in 10 against GM Michael Adams:

Lots of nice games were played in Karlsruhe, and a special mention should go to Dutch GM Erwin l'Ami. Now mostly busy as the second of GM Anish Giri, the 35-year-old grandmaster scored two nice results in a row. First, there was this spectacular draw against Mamedyarov in round three.

Erwin l'Ami chess
Erwin l'Ami. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

After this narrow escape for the Reykjavik 2015 winner, an even bigger result awaited him. Having lost the three earlier games he had played with GM Fabiano Caruana, l'Ami finally got the white pieces and beat him for the first time in what was another incredibly sharp encounter.

And what about Rapport? Well, after his win vs. Studer, he won another nice game against l'Ami's compatriot, GM Loek van Wely, these days a senator in the Dutch parliament. It must be said that White was doing well before he was tricked:

Bundesliga 2020 | All games

The Bundesliga was held September 16-20, 2020 in Karlsruhe. The time control was 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game and a 30-second increment from move one.

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