Chess Classic

Kateryna Lahno FiNet Chess960 Women’s Rapid World Championship
GM Kateryna Lahno – Nr.3 der Chess960 WRL
29.-31.August 2008, 18:30 Uhr, Rheingoldhalle Mainz

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July 28- Aug 3rd, 2008 Rheingoldhalle, Mainz
Chess Classic Mainz 2008 (CCM8)
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Chess Classic

Only the best
By now it’s a tradition in Mainz: The best will meet. But the 15. Chess Classic Mainz taking place 28. July to 3. August in the “Rheingoldhalle”, will be special.

21.07.2008 - As it happens, the top three players on the live elo ranking list from 1. July (, joined by the World’s best women player, Judit Polgar, will compete from 1. to 3. August for the 13. GRENKELEASING Rapid World Championship: World Champion and Number One Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen and Alexander Morozevich. In contrast to the FIDE-World ranking list, the live elo list includes the Aerosvit tournament in Foros, which finished in June and was won in superior style one point ahead of the field by Norwegian superstar Magnus Carlsen.

Magnus Carlsen

The duel in Mainz promises to be exciting: Vishy Anand, 10 time winner of the Classic, is challenged by Magnus Carlsen, without doubt one of the greatest talents in the history of chess, who, with only 17 years of age, already has an eye on the Indian’s throne. Carlsen rapidly established himself at the world’s top and is a hot favorite for the upcoming World Championship cycle, in which the challenger for 2010 will be determined. By sharing first prize in the first of six qualifying tournaments, the so called Grand Prix, he is well on his way. It will be exciting to see whether the „Wunderkind“ can hold his own in rapid chess against the Indian favorite Anand, who has been dominating the Chess Classic for more than a decade. Hitherto Anand had the better of it and Carlsen had to wait till this year’s Melody Amber tournament in Nizza, in which the World Champion was a bit out of shape, to score his first win. But the Chess Classic might well be a prelude to their battles of the years to come..

However, Alexander Morozevich, will not watch idly while Carlsen and Anand fight it out. At the recent category 18 tournament Bosna Sarajevo the Muscovite was in top shape. Winning this tournament in spectacular fashion, one of the many victories in his career, helped Morozevich to leap to place three on the World’s ranking list. Morozevich is considered to be one of the most creative players at the top and known to employ unusual openings in top tournaments. One wonders which weapon he will dig up in Mainz to surprise his opponents.

Judit Polgar

The field is completed by Judit Polgar, outstanding woman player in the history of chess. She was the first woman, who not only regularly played against the very best, but with 13 years of age was also the youngest grandmaster ever at that time. She once made it to the Top Ten on the rating list and in 2005 she played in the eight players tournament in San Luis for the World Championship. In 2004 she challenged Anand in one of the most exciting matches of the Chess Classic ever, in which he had to give his very best to succeed. This encounter offered vintage fighting chess: Eight games were played, eight games were decided and only by winning his last two games Anand finally won 5-3.

The spectators can look forward to the 13. GRENKELEASING Rapid World Championship: all four of the participants are known for their aggressive and their competitive spirit. Thus, this year Vishy Anand faces a particular demanding challenge. For the Indian the Chess Classic offers also one of the last opportunities to “rehearse” before his match against Vladimir Kramnik to defend his title of World Champion in classical chess, which will be played in October in Bonn..

Alexandra Kosteniuk

This year’s superb class at the Chess Classic can also be seen in the 2. FiNet Chess960 Rapid Woman World Championship, which will be played from 29.-31. July. Here four women will meet who all can boast of a number of recent successes.

Chess960 is the chess variant made popular by the Chess Classic and in which the pieces are put up randomly at the beginning. This idea actually goes back to the late former World Champion Bobby Fischer, but the world’s top players started to play this way in the Chess Classic.

Defending champion in the women’s tournament is Alexandra Kosteniuk, who two years ago won against Elisabeth Pähtz from Germany. Winning the title of European Champion in 2004 was arguably the most important title in Kosteniuk’s career. In Mainz Kosteniuk, the best Russian woman player, has to contend against the top three finishers of this year’s European Championship. The title was won by Kateryna Lahno, her second title after winning the event 2005 – a feat, which as far as European Championships go, is unrivalled by women and men alike. With 19 years of age the Ukrainian talent is also the youngest of the four participants. Tied second and third at the European Championship were Victorija Cmilyte, who as best women player in the FiNet Open 2007 qualified for the World Championship 2008, and Natalia Zhukova, European Champion 2000, who qualified at the Chess Classic 2006 for the World Championship in Chess960 Rapid Chess.

Vasik Rajlich

The very best also play in the 4. Livingston Chess960 Computer World Championship. Apart from reigning champion Rybka and Shredder, the most successful program in the history of chess computers, the programs Naum and Deep Sjeng, which qualified in the ICC internet tournament, will play. These four programs also happen to be the top four on the current computer world ranking list. With an elo average of 2981 and category 29 the Livingston Chess960 Computer World Championship will be the strongest tournament of all times!

Spectators can follow the World Rapid Chess Championship and the Chess 960 World Championship live at the Rheingoldhalle in Mainz. Entry is free if you registered for one of the open tournaments. Should you be at a loss to understand what is going on at the masters boards, you can either listen to the explanations of the grandmasters via earphones while watching the players – silent viewing – or you can listen to grandmaster explanations in the foyer – public viewing.

However, a lot of chess fans are keen to play in the two huge Rapid Chess Open tournaments, in which they can play along with the very best. One of the many attractions of these tournaments is the large number of rating prizes. Everybody has a chance to win a prize in his or her rating category. The entire prize-fund for both open tournaments is 40.000 Euro.

On Thursday and on Friday (31. July and 1. August) you have the chance to show your strength in the 7. FiNet Open, the World’s strongest Chess960 tournament, a particularly strong event. Last year one third of the 280 participants were titleholders.

In 2007 the ORDIX Open broke all records. With a sensational number of 762 participants it was the biggest tournament of its kind ever played. A quarter of the field were titleholders and 2008 things won’t be much different. Here amateurs do have the chance to play against a world class player in a tournament game. With Sergei Movsesian (Elo 2723) and Pavel Eljanov (Elo 2716) two 2700+ players take part. The German number one, Arkadi Naiditsch, who recently won in Dortmund against Vladimir Kramnik also promised he would come. On top of that, 16 players with a rating of 2650+ have registered, among them Anand’s second Peter Heine Nielsen, Akopian, Motylev, Sasikiran and the former FIDE-World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov. With Rafael Vaganjan or Ulf Andersson, regular visitors in Mainz, two chess legends take part. Particularly interesting will be the appearance of Rapid chess expert Hikaru Nakamura. The World’s best player in 1-minute games, the so called bullet, likes to surprise with eccentric openings. Thus, he repeatedly and successfully employed the line 1.e4 e5 2.Dh5 against strong opponents. The American will definitely be one of the stars of this year’s tournaments.

The Chess Classic also enjoy a deserved reputation for being excellently organized – despite the large number of participants the rounds start on time and everything runs smoothly.

To secure the media interest it deserves, this year the Chess Classic start a bit earlier than usual to avoid clashes with the Olympiad in Beijing. As there are still bank holidays, a lot of pupils will be able to take part in the two open tournaments for children, the 2. Mini-ORDIX (29. July) and the 2.Mini-FiNet (30. July). These open tournaments are particularly attractive for talented players because parents will be advised by a grandmaster during the tournament.

Traditionally the Chess Classic start with the Simultaneous Event, which this time will be given by World Champion Vishy Anand and which will take place on Monday, 28. July. 1994 the Indian conceded only four draws on 40 boards and this is still the best result ever achieved in the Chess Classic simultaneous events. As every year those who want to play against the World Champion, had the chance to secure a place in several auctions on ebay.

Viswanathan Anand

More information about the events can be found on the internet under, where you can also register..

(English Translation: Johannes Fischer)

Harry Schaack

Published by Harry Schaack

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