Bundesliga: Baden-Baden in the lead, Aronian playing board 2

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

Last weekend the 8th and 9th round of the Schachbundesliga were played in four different cities in Germany: Berlin, Emsdetten, Solingen and Dresden. We can describe a familiar Bundesliga picture: Baden-Baden is leading the German league, and Werder Bremen is trailing by a point, together with SC Eppingen. More surprising perhaps was the appearance of Tata Steel winner and World's number 2 Levon Aronian, who played for his hometown Berlin. And not on first board!

The Willy Brandt hall of the Schöneberg City Hall in Berlin | All photos © Georgios Souleidis, more here

The 8th round took place on Saturday, February 4th. The chess club of Berlin welcomed the teams from Hamburg, Baden-Baden and Trier. Especially the match between the reigning champions and the home club attracted about 300 spectators to the Willy Brandt hall of the Schöneberg City Hall.

These spectators also visited the venue because of a special name in Berlin's line-up: that of Levon Aronian. It was not a big surprise that he was playing, because the Armenian grandmaster lives in Berlin and in fact announced, at the start of the season, that he would be playing in those matches where Berlin would face their strongest opponents.

More surprising might have been the fact that Aronian wasn't playing on first, but on second board. However, it was already known before the start of the season that this way Aronian is giving the young Armenian Hrant Melkumyan a chance to play against the strongest possible opponents.

In his first game after what he described as his career's best achievement, in Wijk aan Zee, Aronian drew a Semi-Slav with Alexei Shirov. He came up with an interesting knight sacrifice which Shirov returned soon after.

[Event "Schachbundesliga 2011-12"]
[Site "Berlin GER"]
[Date "2012.02.04"]
[Round "8.2"]
[White "Aronian, Levon"]
[Black "Shirov, Alexei"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D45"]
[WhiteElo "2807"]
[BlackElo "2713"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[EventDate "2011.10.14"]
[WhiteTeam "SF Berlin"]
[BlackTeam "OSG Baden-Baden"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O
dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Be2 Bb7 11. e4 e5 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nh4 b4 $146 {A new
move.} (13... Bc8 14. Nf5 Bxf5 15. exf5 Re8 16. Bg5 h6 17. Bh4 Ned7 18. Bf3 Ne5
19. Rad1 Nxf3+ 20. gxf3 Qc7 21. Bxf6 Bxh2+ 22. Kh1 gxf6 23. Ne4 {Heinke,R
(2160)-Schubert,W (2042)/GER email 2007}) 14. Nf5 $5 bxc3 15. Rd1 Ne8 16. Qxc3
{Black can hardly keep the material.} Qf6 $1 17. f4 Bc7 $1 18. fxe5 Qxe5 19.
Qxe5 Bxe5 {White's advantage has been kept to a minimum.} 20. Rd7 Bc8 21. Ne7+
Kh8 22. Rd3 Ba6 23. Re3 Bb7 24. Rb3 Nd6 25. Nf5 Nxf5 26. exf5 Bc8 27. g4 g6 28.
Bf3 gxf5 29. Bxc6 Be6 30. Bxa8 Bxb3 31. axb3 Rxa8 32. gxf5 Rb8 33. Kg2 Rxb3 34.
Rxa7 Kg7 35. Ra3 Rb5 36. Ra6 h5 37. Rc6 1/2-1/2

On one, Melkumyan drew with Black against Vallejo from a typical Hedgehog that suddenly got ultra-sharp:

[Event "Schachbundesliga 2011-12"]
[Site "Berlin GER"]
[Date "2012.02.04"]
[Round "8.1"]
[White "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"]
[Black "Melkumyan, Hrant"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A33"]
[WhiteElo "2716"]
[BlackElo "2619"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "1qrr2k1/pb2bppp/1pnppn2/8/2P1PP2/P1NB4/1P1N1BPP/2RQ1RK1 b - - 0 16"]
[PlyCount "35"]
[EventDate "2011.10.14"]
[WhiteTeam "OSG Baden-Baden"]
[BlackTeam "SF Berlin"]

16... d5 $5 {The thematic push.} 17. cxd5 exd5 18. e5 d4 (18... Ne4 19. Ncxe4
dxe4 20. Bxe4) 19. exf6 $5 (19. Nce4) 19... dxc3 20. Bxh7+ Kxh7 21. Qh5+ Kg8
22. fxg7 Kxg7 23. Rxc3 Rd6 24. Rg3+ Rg6 25. f5 $1 Rh8 $1 26. Rxg6+ fxg6 27.
Qxg6+ Kf8 28. Bg3 Qe8 29. Bd6 Bxd6 30. Qf6+ Kg8 31. Qg5+ Kf8 32. Qf6+ Kg8 33.
Qg5+ Kf8 1/2-1/2

On the other boards, Baden-Baden was clearly the strongest team and scored five full points.

The match between Hamburg and Trier was played over seven boards only, basically as a result of Europe's current extreme weather conditions. After his participation in the Gibraltar tournament, Hamburg's Niclas Huschenbeth had first travelled to Amsterdam. From there, his Friday night flight to Hamburg was cancelled, and his Saturday morning flight delayed. Already starting with 1-0 (and David Howell having a free day), Trier eventually won with 5.5-2.5.

In this match, Viktor Erdos had a nice finish against Lubomir Ftacnik:

[Event "Schachbundesliga 2011-12"]
[Site "Berlin GER"]
[Date "2012.02.04"]
[Round "8.3"]
[White "Erdos, Viktor"]
[Black "Ftacnik, Lubomir"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E60"]
[WhiteElo "2608"]
[BlackElo "2570"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/7k/5Kp1/5pP1/1p1N1P1p/1B2r2P/8/8 w - - 0 53"]
[PlyCount "21"]
[EventDate "2011.10.14"]
[WhiteTeam "SG Trier"]
[BlackTeam "Hamburger SK"]

53. Bf7 $1 Rxh3 54. Ne6 b3 55. Nf8+ Kh8 56. Nxg6+ Kh7 57. Nf8+ Kh8 58. Kg6 Rc3
59. Kh6 Rc6+ 60. Ng6+ Rxg6+ 61. Kxg6 b2 62. Ba2 h3 63. Kf7 1-0

On Sunday, Baden-Baden showed once more that also in this season they're the absolute favorites for the title. After the 6-2 against Berlin, they beat Hamburg, with the same score. Hamburg did play with Huschenbeth this time, who played a very interesting game against Alexei Shirov which requires hours of analysis!

[Event "Schachbundesliga 2011-12"]
[Site "Berlin GER"]
[Date "2012.02.05"]
[Round "9.2"]
[White "Shirov, Alexei"]
[Black "Huschenbeth, Niclas"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B99"]
[WhiteElo "2713"]
[BlackElo "2510"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2011.10.14"]
[WhiteTeam "OSG Baden-Baden"]
[BlackTeam "Hamburger SK"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3
Qc7 9. O-O-O Nbd7 10. g4 b5 11. Bxf6 Nxf6 12. g5 Nd7 13. f5 O-O 14. f6 (14.
fxe6 fxe6 15. Nxe6 Rxf3 16. Nxc7 Bxg5+ 17. Kb1 Rb8 18. h4 Bf6 19. N3d5 Bb7 {
Istratescu,A (2627)-Salgado Lopez,I (2621)/Porto Carras 2011}) 14... gxf6 15.
gxf6 Nxf6 $146 (15... Bxf6 16. Bxb5 axb5 17. Ndxb5 Qc5 18. e5 Bg5+ 19. Kb1 Rb8
20. Rhg1 Qxe5 21. h4 f6 {was played in an internet game in 2008.}) 16. e5 dxe5
17. Nc6 Kh8 (17... Bb7 {was no doubt analyzed before or after the game!}) 18.
Nxe7 Qxe7 19. Qxa8 b4 20. Qb8 Nd7 21. Qc7 bxc3 22. Qxc3 Qg5+ 23. Kb1 Bb7 24.
Bxa6 Bxh1 25. Rxh1 Nf6 26. h4 Qf4 27. Re1 Rd8 28. a3 Qd4 29. Qc7 Rd7 30. Qxe5
Qxe5 31. Rxe5 Rd4 32. h5 Nd7 33. Ra5 Kg7 34. b4 f5 35. c3 Rd6 36. c4 f4 37. c5
Rc6 38. Bb5 Rc7 39. Bxd7 Rxd7 40. c6 Rf7 41. Rc5 f3 42. Rc1 f2 43. Rf1 1-0

Emsdetten was the location of this weekend's top match between Werder Bremen and Mülheim Nord. Despite the fact that there was not a very big rating difference, the match was remarkably one-sided: Bremen won deservedly, with 5.5-2.5, and so they maintained their one-point distance to Baden-Baden in the standings. For the winning team Luke McShane, Alexander Areshcheko and Tomi Nyback scored full points.

[Event "Schachbundesliga 2011-12"]
[Site "Emsdetten GER"]
[Date "2012.02.05"]
[Round "9.3"]
[White "McShane, Luke J"]
[Black "Potkin, Vladimir"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B40"]
[WhiteElo "2671"]
[BlackElo "2671"]
[PlyCount "147"]
[EventDate "2011.10.14"]
[WhiteTeam "Werder Bremen"]
[BlackTeam "SV Muelheim-Nord"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 d5 4. Qe2 Nf6 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O b5 8. exd5
exd5 9. d4 b4 10. dxc5 O-O 11. a3 a5 12. axb4 Nxb4 13. Qd1 Bxc5 14. c3 Nc6 15.
b4 Bb6 16. b5 Na7 17. c4 Bf5 18. Ba3 dxc4 19. Bxf8 Qxf8 20. Na3 Rc8 21. Ne5 Qb4
22. Qf3 Be6 23. Qb7 Qc5 24. Naxc4 Bxc4 25. Nxc4 Qxc4 26. Qxb6 Nxb5 27. Qa6 Nd4
28. Qxc4 Rxc4 29. Rxa5 g6 30. Ra2 h5 31. Rfa1 Ne6 32. Ra4 Rc3 33. Rd1 Kg7 34.
Bf1 Ng4 35. Be2 Ne5 36. Re4 Kf6 37. Rd5 Nf3+ 38. Bxf3 Rxf3 39. Re3 Rxe3 40.
fxe3 Ng5 41. Kg2 Ne4 42. Kf3 Ng5+ 43. Ke2 Ne4 44. Ra5 Ng5 45. Ra4 Ne6 46. Rb4
Ke5 47. Rb5+ Ke4 48. Rb7 f5 49. Rb5 Nf8 50. Rb8 Nd7 51. Re8+ Ne5 52. Re6 Kd5
53. Ra6 Kc5 54. e4 fxe4 55. Ke3 Kd5 56. Ra5+ Ke6 57. Kxe4 Ng4 58. Kf4 Kf6 59.
Ra6+ Kg7 60. Kg5 Ne5 61. Ra7+ Nf7+ 62. Kf4 Kf6 63. Ra6+ Kg7 64. h3 Kh6 65. Ra5
Kg7 66. g4 hxg4 67. hxg4 Nd8 68. Ra7+ Nf7 69. g5 Kf8 70. Ra6 Kg7 71. Rf6 Nh6
72. Ke4 Nf7 73. Rxf7+ Kxf7 74. Kd5 1-0

There is one more team that has more than theoretical chances to become champions: Eppingen. They are in shared second place together with Bremen thanks to a narrow win against SK König Tegel, who almost managed to tie 4-4 on Sunday. With 3.5-3.5 on the leaderboard, Tata Steel 'B' winner Pentala Harikrishna profited from a mistake by his opponent.

[Event "Schachbundesliga 2011-12"]
[Site "Dresden GER"]
[Date "2012.02.05"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Rabiega, Robert"]
[Black "Harikrishna, Pentala"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B00"]
[WhiteElo "2501"]
[BlackElo "2672"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/7k/4K1p1/r6p/5R1P/8/8/8 b - - 0 90"]
[PlyCount "25"]
[EventDate "2011.10.14"]
[WhiteTeam "SK Koenig Tegel"]
[BlackTeam "SC Eppingen"]

90... g5 {A last try...} 91. hxg5 $2 {...and it works.} (91. Rf7+ Kg8 {and now
something like} 92. Rc7 {is an easy draw.}) 91... Kg6 $1 {Now Black is
winning.} 92. Rf1 h4 93. Rg1 h3 94. Rh1 Ra3 95. Ke5 Kxg5 96. Ke4 Kg4 97. Rg1+
Rg3 98. Rh1 Rg2 99. Rf1 h2 100. Rf8 Re2+ 101. Kd3 Re1 102. Rg8+ Kf5 0-1

Bundesliga 2011-2012 | Round 9 Standings

1OSG Baden-Baden98011647.5
2Werder Bremen97111546
3SC Eppingen97111542
4SG Solingen96121342.5
5SV Wattenscheid 193095131138
6SF Katernberg95131133.5
7SF Berlin 190394231036
8SG Trier9414937.5
9SV Mülheim Nord9414937
10SV 1930 Hockenheim9324835.5
11SK König Tegel9315730.5
12SK Turm Emsdetten9225632.5
13USV TU Dresden9207430.5
14Hamburger SK9126430
15SC Hansa Dortmund9126427
16SC 1950 Remagen9027230

This report was based on the round reports by Georgios Souleidis on the official website. You can download all Bundesliga games of this season here at TWIC.

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