Kramnik wins 9th title in Dortmund

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KramnikVladimir Kramnik won the 2009 Sparkassen Chess Meeting today by beating Arkadij Naiditsch in the last round. The Russian, who clinched his 9th title in Dortmund, finished a full point ahead of Carlsen, Leko and Jakovenko.

The Sparkassen Chess Meeting takes place July 2-12 in Dortmund, Germany. Carlsen, Jakovenko, Kramnik, Leko, Bacrot and Naiditsch play a double round-robin. The rate of play is 40 moves in 100 minutes + 50 minutes for 20 moves + 15 minutes to end the game with 30 seconds increment per move from the start.

Round 10

What started as a dreary tournament eventually finished with three very entertaining rounds. Today, where half a point would have been enough, Vladimir Kramnik beat 2005 winner Arkadij Naiditsch to finish a full point ahead of his rivals, as Carlsen-Bacrot and Leko-Jakovenko both ended in a draw.

Kramnik has shown excellent preparation at this tournament and also in this last round he was the one who came up with a novelty against Naiditsch' Vienna. In fact it was a slight improvement over Leko's play of just two days ago, and objectively speaking not too dangerous for Black, but in a practical game it's not so easy.

A few moves later the Russian followed Jakovenko's example of yesterday and sacrificed an exchange himself this time, after which it was a bit surprising that Naiditsch just let his f7 and e6 be eaten with check - he must have missed something when calculating 25...Ke8.

However, Black was still doing fine for a long time after that, and only close to the time control Naiditsch started to play some inaccurate moves, which you can't permit against a Kramnik in good shape.

The former World Champion played another strong game, took the full point and showed to everyone that he was the strongest in Dortmund this year - again, for the 9th time already. He gave the field an early warning: they should have realized that when he even starts to win Petroffs, there's just no competition. ;-)

Leko, the winner of last year, was the only other player to finished undefeated. The way he did it wasn't too exciting: eight games finished in a draw before move 30, he beat Bacrot - admittedly in good style - and today he tried, but couldn't win a better ending against Jakovenko.

Jakovenko recovered well from his first-round loss against Carlsen by scoring +1 in the last nine rounds and so he finished shared second, with Leko and Carlsen, who played a good, solid tournament with just one big mistake - the Qc7 move against Kramnik - and two fine wins against the Berlin Wall.

Bacrot, who qualified as the winner of this year's Aeroflot Open, finished on -2 but this doesn't reflect that he did show some good chess. Naiditsch was the only player clearly out of form.

As the Dortmund organizers mentioned today, Kramnik is the first player in the world to win one of the three super tournaments Corus, Linares or Dortmund nine times. Thus far he had shared a record with Kasparov who won Linares eight times. Not a fair comparison, since Dortmund was a single round-robin for many years, but OK. Kramnik's comment was: "The new goal in my chess career is to win Dortmund for the 10th time."

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