Pictorial report of the Chess Classic, and Mainz

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Bishop statue in Mainz, GermanyThe Mainz Chess Classic is probably the most professional, well-organized and streamlined tournament in the world. On top of that, Mainz itself is an interesting city to visit, with a rich history and a more than fascinating architecture. Arne Moll paid a visit to the Chess Classic, and to Mainz itself.

By Arne Moll

Despite its fantastic lineup and highly attractive events, the Mainz Chess Classic tournament is still mainly visited by German chess players – non-titled players, that is. On the first day of the open rapid tournament, I couldn't find a single Dutch compatriot among the almost 700 (!) players. This wasn't a big deal for me, though, for there were plenty of other interesting players to follow.


The hall & bar next to the playing hall, with Viktorija Cmilyte on the video screen


The super-strong Ordix Open, with GMs like Bologan and Moiseenko on boards 13 and 16!


GM Alexander Grischuk with White against GM Leonid Gofshtein


Germany's top GM Naiditsch also on stage


Former top 5 player Vlastimil Hort still enjoying the game...

vaganian does Rafael Vaganian


Aronian's girlfriend and Australia's top player Arianne Caoili


Ian Nepomniachtchi doing well on Saturday in the preliminaries...

anand playing against the World Champion who was in bad shape


GM Daniel Fridman


Chess960 winner Hikaru Nakamura came close to winning the Ordix Open as well


Former FIDE World Champ Alexander Khalifman


Sergei Movsesian


Gata Kamsky

Mainz was so heavily bombed during the second World War that practically the whole city has been rebuilt after the war. Many of the ancient buildings have been renovated or redecorated entirely,often in very bright colours, while many new buildings have arisen in the city center as well. As a result, Mainz now offers a curious mixture of renovated and repainted baroque buildings next to either completely neglected, or very modern and futuristic stores and apartments – a rather deadly combination in some cases.


A view from the Weiszliliengasse


Around the Marktplatz, modern and old architecture don't always go together very well


Still, Mainz rightly prides itself, among other things, as the city where Johannes Gutenberg invented the book press around the year 1450 and printed his famous Gutenberger bibles, some of which can be seen together with even older medieval manuscripts in the Gutenberg Museum. In my opinion, this piece of world heritage alone is worth the trip to Mainz - even if you don't particularly care for bibles.



The Gutenberg Museum has many ancient manuscripts on display

Interestingly, the city has a number of exceptionally striking (modern) statues.


A refreshingly sober and thought-provoking tribute to the Mainzer episcopate

Walking towards the Rheingoldhalle, where the tournament is held, from the riverside along the stately houses, it’s hard not to think of the famous ‘rheingold! reines gold!’ end tune from Wagner’s first Nibelungen opera, not in the least because this is indeed the 'golden' neighborhood of Mainz - something which can also be discovered by looking at the cars parked here.



A view from the tournament hall at the famous Dom


The boulevard along the river Rhine as seen from the playing hall

You're probably wondering what this all has to do with chess, and perhaps the answer is that the interesting but strange mix of beautiful and ugly as seen in the city centre of Mainz, definitely isn’t applicable to the tournament itself. At the Mainz Chess Classic, everything is just perfect. The huge entry hall with its book stalls, chess computer exhibitions, gigantic movie screens (showing ChessVibes videos as it turns out) and monitors displaying the main boards together with the most actual evaluation of either Rybka or Fritz, and even grandmasters commenting on the games, are just the main eye catchers.


GM Sebastian Siebrecht commenting on the games from the Grenkeleasing Rapid World Championship

What struck me most while walking around the tournament area was something which in my opinion is rarely seen at chess tournaments: an extreme concern and care for visitors and chess lovers. The tournament organization looks extremely skilled and professional, and this shows in just about everything. On top of that, they’re friendly and helpful and easy going. It truly is chess players (and chess journalists!) heaven.


The Rapid World Championship beautifully set-up on stage, with big screens showing thepositions and smaller TV screens showing computer evaluations


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