Dortmund: Players & Pairings

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Tomorrow night is the official opening, and Saturday the first round of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting 2008 in Dortmund will be played. We present the players and also the full pairings, because these are known already.

From June 28 June till July 6, the new "Sparkassen Chess Meeting" will take place in Dortmund's Civic Theatre. Four world class players count as tournament favourites: first and foremost the title defender and still the world's number two, Vladimir Kramnik (2788).

In the past years, the Russian, who turned 33 yesterday, has dominated in the Civic Theatre ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú by now he can look back at no less than eight victories in Dortmund. At the Sparkassen Chess Meeting, Kramnik can prove his form again, before his world championship duel with Viswanathan Anand in Bonn in October.

Update: that's nonsense of course. Kramnik will play the Tal Memorial in Moscow, the last two weeks of August, just like Ivanchuk, Kamsky, Gelfand and Shirov.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2752) will compete in Dortmund for the second year in a row. The 22-year-old world class player from Azerbaijan is the current number seven in the world. After some disappointing results, with his shared 4th place at the first Grand Prix tournament in Baku, "Shak" seems to be back on track.

Last year, Peter Leko (2741) finished third place at the Sparkassen Chess Meeting. The 28-year-old Hungarian won the tournament in 1999 and in 2002 and last month he was very close to a tournament victory in Yerevan, at the Karen Asrian Memorial, so this year in Dortmund he'll surely fight for victory again.

A further, very serious candidate for the title is the Ukrainian number one, Vassily Ivanchuk (2740). The 39-year-old has achieved impressive victories over the past year, and therefore his current 11th position in the world rankings is highly out-dated.

The Dutch top player, 35-year-old Loek van Wely (2677) will return to Dortmund after playing there in 2005. At his debut in the Civic Theatre, he then gained fourth place out of ten players. Van Wely is in the midst of a very busy schedule: he played the Russian Team Championship in Sochi, the President's Cup in Baku, the French Team Championship in Evry and then the Aerosvit tournament in Foros.

Also competing here for the first time is Ian Nepomniachtchi (2634) from Russia. The 17-year-old won his invitation to the Sparkassen Chess Meeting with his victory in the Aeroflot Open in Moscow this year. But of course we know Nepomniachtchi since Corus 2007, where he finished second in the C group, after dominating the event from the start. This year he finished shared fifth in the B group - not bad either!

This year Germany will be represented by two players from the national team, Arkadij Naiditsch and Jan Gustafsson. In 2005, 22-year-old Dortmund local hero Naiditsch (2624) wrote chess history in the Civic Theatre when he became the first German, and at only 19 the youngest, winner of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting. With his friend Etienne Bacrot, Naiditsch plays for the German top club Baden-Baden and in Baku, Arkadij was was Etienne's second. This time he has to do it himself again!

Jan Gustafsson (2603), who, like Kramnik, had his birthday yesterday, and turned 29, will compete in Dortmund for the first time. "Gusti", as friends call him, is one of the strongest German grandmasters - he finished second in the 2004 and 2005 German championships. Gustafsson is also a poker player and sometimes he likes his kiwis.


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