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Alexandra Kosteniuk Grenke Rapid World Championship
GM Alexandra Kosteniuk - Chess960-Weltmeisterin, 2519
07.-08. August 2010 - Mainz, Rheingoldhalle

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Chess Classic Mainz 2010 (CCM10)
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Chess Classic

Chess Classic Mainz: Exciting chess on Saturday
Everything is still open between Anand/Radjabov and Svidler/Aronian

20.08.2006 - After six games everything is still open in the GrenkeLeasing Rapid Chess World Championship between Vishy Anand and Tejmour Radjabov and the Clerical Medical Chess960 World Chess Championship between Peter Svidler and Levon Aronian. While Anand and Radjabov in their games on Saturday still did not seem to be able to decide whether it’s an advantage or a disadvantage to play with White, Svidler and Aronian showed the attractions of Chess960.

“The less said about it, the better”, was Anand’s comment about his play in the fifth match-game. Again, he tried to get an advantage with White against Radjabov’s well-rehearsed Sveshnikov-Sicilian and again he failed. Shaking his head in disbelief he admitted that “two moves after opening theory, I was struggling.”

Radjabov showed why he is considered to be one of the leading Sveshnikov-experts. After a tense strategic battle he liquidated into an endgame with opposite coloured bishops and rooks, in which Black was better. When Anand’s famous skill for saving bad positions for once left him, Radjabov quickly won and took the lead in the match.

Anand und Radjabov am dritten Wettkampftag

However, in the sixth game Radjabov also failed to demonstrate the advantage of having the white pieces. One reason for this might have been the fact that Radjabov arrived late for the game and was upset to find that his clock had already be running for four minutes. This incident evoked memories of Anand’s 2003 match against Judit Polgar in Mainz. In that match Judit also arrived late for the last game and was bitterly complaining that her clock had already been started – which, however, was fully according to the rules to which the arbiters decided to stick in that and later matches.

But Radjabov didn’t know any of this and played with a psychological disadvantage that soon made itself felt. In a line of the Slav that looked to be safe enough for White he gradually lost his way and gave Anand increasingly more chances. An endgame, which Anand had no problems to win to level the score to 3:3. On Sunday, the Indian will have a last chance to improve his result with the white pieces “which have not been very impressive so far”, as Anand admitted. Winning the sixth game with Black might give him a psychological advantage over Radjabov in the final games of the match – despite having to play Sunday’s first game with White.

In the Clerical Medical Chess960 World Championship Peter Svidler and Levon Aronian also continued their fierce battle, both pressing hard in every game. This was particularly evident in the fifth game, which after 15 moves had turned into a position that very much resembled a Queen’s Indian – and was rather drawish. As Peter Svidler commented in the press conference: “It’s possible to lose this position, but you have to exert yourself.” That’s what he did, though not whole-heartedly. “I could not decide, whether to give my opponent chances to get some of my own in return. Using a lot of time I blundered in the end.”

Aronian am dritten Wettkampftag

Svidler’s blunder occurred in an endgame with opposite-coloured bishops and queens on the board, which Aronian thought Svidler should not have entered because “though the position is obviously drawn White can create some pressure and with limited time Black might run into trouble”. In the game one slip by Svidler allowed Aronian to win the game with a series of scintillating pawn sacrifices that put Black’s king into serious trouble and stirred up an attack that seemed to come out of nowhere and left a deep impression on the spectators.

However, Svidler had his revenge in the sixth game, once again showing how well he plays Chess960. As in most of the previous games, he had the better of it after the opening. Asked about the secrets of playing Chess960, he said “there are no big secrets. You try to avoid blundering in the opening and you try to develop your pieces as harmoniously as possible.”

Neither Aronian or Svidler blundered in the sixth game, but Aronian went for pawn structure that left his queen on b8 terribly out of play. Svidler continued energetically to make the most of this, trying to open files in the centre. Aronian put his hopes on a kingside attack but Svidler calmly sacrificed his h-pawn and allowed the black rooks to invade the white position to give Black no time to organise his defence. Svidler’s judgement proved to be correct. Without their queen the black rooks proved to be harmless, White quickly won an exchange and soon after the game. Thus, Svidler also equalized and the score in both matches is now 3:3. Sunday promises to be exciting.

Johannes Fischer

Published by Börries Wendling

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