Mainz day 1: twelve GMs on 5/5

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Mainz day 1: 12 left with a 100% scoreThe budget for this year's Chess Classic in Mainz had to be cut considerably, and so this time just two simuls (by Anand and Kosteniuk) and one tournament is held. But what a tournament! A record 701 participants gathered for the Grenke Open, the unofficial Rapid World Championship. After the first day, twelve players are still on a 100% score, including title holder Levon Aronian.

The 2010 Mainz Chess Classic takes place August 6-8 in the Rheingoldhalle in Mainz, Germany. The event started on Friday with a press conference attended by, what the organizers happily announced as, "no less than three world champions": chess world champion Vishy Anand, women chess world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk and unofficial rapid chess world champion Levon Aronian.

About the smaller format, tournament director Hans-Walter Schmitt said: "Due to the financial crisis it has become more difficult to find sponsors for our event this year, and that is the reason why we had to go “back to the roots”. In 1994 we started off the first Chess Classic in Frankfurt with a simul and an open tournament and we chose that “old” format for this years’ event again. Believe me, it is not really important that the tournament is shorter than before, the intensity of the event is decisive and we, the Chess Tigers, are passionate as always."


Alexandra Kosteniuk, Levon Aronian and Viswanathan Anand at the press conference on Friday

And so luckily with a little less money the annual rapid festival continues to exist, thanks to the support of the Lord Mayor of Mainz, Mr. Jens Beutel and the main sponsor Grenkeleasing AG, one of the biggest IT financing specialists in Germany. Besides this tournament, the company also sponsors the top team in the Bundesliga, Baden-Baden, and chess projects for children.

The players also made some statements. World champ Vishy Anand said that he was glad to be in Mainz again. He won the Chess Classic no less than 11(!) times. On his (real) Twitter account Vishy64theking he wrote: “no play, just chill”.


Vishy Anand in his simul against Chess Tiger Hans Mokry, who celebrated his 76th birthday.

When asked for his favourites for the Open, Anand answered: “It will be difficult to say who is going to win the Grenke Open, there are many strong players competing. Obviously Levon (Aronian) and Sascha (Grischuk) are hot candidates for first place, but I would not put my money on them.” Aronian agreed: “It will be a tough tournament and I think there is no clear favorite. I would not be surprised, if some of the top players will not even be in the top 20 after 11 rounds. Myself included!” He smirked: “Hans-Walter Schmitt is always trying to find challenges for the players: sometimes I have to play a match, now I have to play the Open, and he even convinced me to play a Chess960 simul!”

“Come together” in Mainz

Women chess world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk was upset when she found out that no Chess960 events would be played in Mainz this year. “I am happy that I can play the Chess960 simul and I have to say that I love Chess960! I like to be creative and I really enjoy the Chess960 events in Mainz. For me, Mainz has always been a good starting point: in 2008 I won the Chess960 world championship and after “Mainz” I won the chess world championship and I scored other good results. I hope that the 2010 edition will become a new starting point for a successful chess year again. There are some important events coming up, like the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk and the women’s world championship in December in Turkey. But Mainz is not only important for me: I know that a lot of professionals just love to come here to meet other players in a relaxed atmosphere. That is what makes “Mainz” special.”

Simultanious exhibitions- the results

World Champ Anand played a simul on 40 boards. As a rule, the player who gives the simul plays with the white pieces, but one exception was made: the oldest member of the Chess Tigers, Hans Mokry celebrated his 76th birthday and was allowed to play with white. Anand agreed with a smile, but won the game anyway. After 4 hours and 23 minutes, Anand finished his simul and his final score was 36-4: +34-2=4. He lost two games: one against Henrik Karlzen from Sweden and one against Bernd Grill from Germany.

Alexandra Kosteniuk played a Chess960 simul on 20 boards. Just 20? Yes, but with 20 different starting positions! Her final score was 18-2: +16=4-0. She needed 3 hours and 13 minutes to complete her simul.


Kosteniuk in her simul against Lord Mayor Jens Beutel.

701 participants in GRENKE OPEN – Twelve players with a 100% score after the first day

This year, the symbolic “700” barrier was cracked: despite the fantastic summer weather in Mainz, 701 chess players came to Mainz to play the Grenke Open. The organizers counted no less than 165 players with an international title in this strong field, in which the top ten has an average ELO of 2727.

As many chess fans said on Saturday, playing chess is not the only reason to come to one of the oldest cities in Germany. Being part of the chess community and having the unique chance to play a world championship with top players in one single tournament is the main reason for their pilgrimage to Mainz. After five rounds in the Grenke Open, twelve players still have a perfect 5/5 score: Aronian, Gashimov, Karjakin, Grischuk, Bologan, Kamsky, Kasimdhzanov, Inarkiev, Bareev and Gustafsson, Kempinski and Markowski.

Playing Hall

A record 701 participants in the Grenke Open

In the Grenke Open you do not only meet top players, you also have to chance to play against legends like Vlastimil Hort, Ulf Andersson or Senior World Champion Miso Cebalo, who are happy to sign books or give autographs. In the first few rounds, the top players have a relatively easy job, but it is always dangerous to play against highly motivated lower rated players. In the second round, GM Andrey Sumets lost a spectacular game against the editor of the chess magazine KARL, FM Harry Schaack and in the third round, German top player Arkadij Naiditsch stumbled against WGM Elvira Berend. The German number one ace lost another game in the fifth round: he was grounded in a game against FM Ulrich Schwekendiek, who played a spectacular King’s Gambit. With only 3 points, Naiditsch is out of business, because the winner of the Grenke Open will at least need 9.5 points.


The stage with the typical Chess Tigers between the players

It is fun to stroll through the playing hall, searching for nice combinations, piece sacrifices and blunders. Even world champion Vishy Anand stepped by and watched some of the games. The organizers emphasize that the top 10 boards of the Grenke Open are broadcasted live. Just click on, and go to the CCM10-Live portal to follow the games. The transmitted games can be downloaded. Six more rounds will be played on Sunday and the sixth round starts at a chess-player friendly time: 11.00AM. Loads of pictures and reports can be found in German and English on the official website. Do also follow the tournament via Twitter:

(Report thanks to press officer Eric van Reem)

Mainz Chess Classic 2010 | Grenke Open | Round 5 Standings (top 20)
Mainz Chess Classic 2010 | Grenke Open | Round 5 Standings

Games rounds 1-5

Game viewer by ChessTempo


The playing hall before the tournament


A last-minute registrant but one of the favourites: Sergey Karjakin


Now his compatriot and another favourite: Alexander Grischuk


Title holder Levon Aronian, having to defend it in yet another format

Photos © Chess Tigers


More from ChessVibes
A lengthy interview with David Navara (part 2 of 2)

A lengthy interview with David Navara (part 2 of 2)

Robots in a Moscow park... playing chess (VIDEO)

Robots in a Moscow park... playing chess (VIDEO)