14th World Champion Kramnik, Giri Favorites As Top Chess Returns In Dortmund
Vladimir Kramnik and Anish Giri. | Photos: Maria Emelianova & Peter Doggers/

14th World Champion Kramnik, Giri Favorites As Top Chess Returns In Dortmund

| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

Top classical chess returns this Saturday with the start of the Dortmund super tournament. "Mr. Dortmund," Vladimir Kramnik, is again the top seed, but Anish Giri will be close on his heels.

The 46th Sparkassen Chess Meeting will take place July 14-22 in the Orchestra Center NRW in Dortmund, Germany. It's an eight-player single round robin. The time control is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves followed by 15 minutes to finish the game with a 30-second increment starting from move one.

Dortmund 2018 | Participants

# Rank Fed Name Rating B-Year
1 5 Kramnik, Vladimir 2792 1975
2 6 Giri, Anish 2782 1994
3 15 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2757 1990
4 21 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 2737 1998
5 24 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2733 1987
6 67 Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 2672 1976
7 97 Kovalev, Vladislav 2655 1994
8 147 Meier, Georg 2628 1987

Dortmund is the tournament that the former world champion Kramnik never skips, and the one he has won a record 10 times. The last time, however, was seven years ago. At 42, Kramnik is the oldest participant but as the world number-five, he is the top seed nonetheless.

Right below him in the rankings is the 24-year-old Anish Giri, who is playing Dortmund for the second time. Kramnik might be happy that Giri was invited again, because the last time the Dutchman played was in 2011, when Kramnik won his last title!

Kramnik Dortmund 10

Kramnik in 2011. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Ian Nepomniachtchi (27) of Russia, the 2010 European champion, is playing his third Dortmund. Like Giri, he is a participant in the 2018 Speed Chess Championship.

Next on the list is Radoslaw Wojtaszek (31), who made his debut last year and won the tournament at the first attempt. "This is the biggest success of my career," Wojtaszek said. "However, I am also satisfied and happy because my play was also quite good in Dortmund."

It will be the first Dortmund for his compatriot, Polish champion Jan-Krzysztof Duda (20), the number one on FIDE's Juniors rating list. As the number 21 in the overall world rankings, Duda is also one of the Speed Chess players this year.

Belarus grandmaster Vladislav Kovalev (24) qualified for the tournament by winning this year's Aeroflot Open. In that tournament he scored a stunning 5/5 with the white pieces and 4/4 as Black (that is, holding all four to a draw).

Two German grandmasters complete the field: Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (41), the Romanian-born player who switched federations to Germany in 2014 and now plays for the fourth year in a row, and Georg Meier (30), who returns after a two-year absence. Now sometimes nicknamed the "king of Arena tournaments," Meier has played five editions so far, from 2011 till 2015.

Georg Meier

A new challenge in Dortmund for the regular Georg Meier. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Kramnik will be hoping for a good tournament again. He wasn't in great shape at the Paris Grand Chess Tour, and although he was stealing the show at the Candidates', his score was disappointing.

Giri's last over-the-board tournament, the Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour in Leuven, didn't go so great. He does enter Dortmund with a positive feeling (and an extra $1,000 in his pocket) because on Tuesday he won the Speed Chess Championship open qualifier on

Giri's second Erwin l'Ami apparently buying a Kramnik biography!

The rounds will be played on July 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21 and 22 starting at 3 p.m. local time (6 a.m. Pacific, 9 a.m. Eastern), except for the final round which starts 1 p.m. local time (4 a.m. Pacific, 7 a.m. Eastern).

As always, the full pairings have been published in advance. The tournament starts on Saturday with Wojtaszek-Meier, Kramnik-Nisipeanu, Duda-Kovalev and Nepomniachtchi-Giri. You will be able to follow the games in Live Chess.

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