Kramnik Going For 11th Dortmund Title

Kramnik Going For 11th Dortmund Title

| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

Tomorrow, the Sparkassen Chess Meeting starts in Dortmund with Vladimir Kramnik as the top seed. Nicknamed “Mr Dortmund,” the Russian GM hopes to clinch his 11th title in the chess-minded German city.

The 44th Sparkassen Chess Meeting will be held July 9-17 in the NRW Orchestra Center in Dortmund, Germany. This year's tournament is part of the 175th anniversary celebrations of the local Sparkasse bank, which is sponsoring this event for the 21st time.

Once again, the tournament is an eight-player round robin with, this year, three top-10 players. The top seed is the current world number-two, Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), who has won the tournament 10 times. However, his last victory was five years ago.

The playing hall five years ago. | Photo Wikipedia.

The defending champion is Fabiano Caruana (USA), now the world number three. He won the last two editions in a row. The world number four is there as well; Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) is making his debut in Dortmund.

Normally speaking, one of these three players will win the event as there's quite a gap between them and the rest of the field. The number-four seed is the number 36 in the world, Leinier Dominguez of Cuba. He is closely followed by Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine.

Next is Evgeny Najer, the 2015 European Champion who qualified for Dortmund by winning the Aeroflot Open. Finally, two players are playing for the German federation: Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu of Romania and the real local hero, Rainer Buhmann.

Dortmund 2016 | Participants

Seed Name Fed Rtg World # Born
1 Vladimir Kramnik 2812 2 1975
2 Fabiano Caruana 2810 3 1992
3 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2798 4 1990
4 Leinier Dominguez 2713 36 1983
5 Ruslan Ponomariov 2706 40 1983
6 Evgeny Najer 2687 50 1977
7 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu 2674 64 1976
8 Rainer Buhmann 2653 107 1981

Kramnik, the 14th world champion, played his first Dortmund in 1992. This year will be his 22nd time, and he is going for his 11th title. He will definitely hope for a better start tomorrow than last year when he lost to Arkadij Naiditsch in the first round.

The International Dortmund Chess Days – renamed the "Sparkassen Chess-Meeting" in 1994 – was first held in 1973. That edition was won by Heikki Westerinen of Finland. Over the years, the tournament grew into a world class event where almost all of the best players have competed, including Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Viswanathan Anand, and Judit Polgar.

The winners list includes big names from the past, such as Laszlo Szabo, Oleg Romanishin, Ulf Andersson, Vlastimil Hort, Yuri Razuvaev, Yuri Balashov, Zoltan Ribli and Efim Geller, to name a few. It's clear that we're dealing with a long tradition in Dortmund!

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