Chess Classic

Levon Aronian 40er Standard Simultan
GM Levon Aronian – Nr. 6 der Weltrangliste
27.Juli 2009, 16:00 Uhr, Goldsaal C&D Hilton Mainz

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July 27- Aug 2nd, 2009 Rheingoldhalle, Mainz
Chess Classic Mainz 2009 (CCM9)
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Chess Classic

Always in the front line
Interview with the Lord Mayor of Mainz, Jens Beutel

30.07.2007 - From August 13th – 19th the most important rapid chess event in the world will take place in the newly renovated Rheingoldhalle in Mainz, the capital of the state Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). The Chess Classic, which had its roots in Frankfurt, has now found a comfortable home in Mainz. A highly influential man in the city is Mayor Jens Beutel, who is a strong chess player himself. The 61year-old always insists on playing the simuls or the Open tournaments, despite his very tight schedule. Harry Schaack, the new Chess Classic Mainz press officer had a conversation with Jens Beutel about the forthcoming Chess Classic.

Lord Mayor of Mayence - professional Jens Beutel

Harry Schaack / English version: Eric van Reem : Interview with the Lord Mayor of Mainz, Jens Beutel

HARRY SCHAACK: Mr. Beutel, only recently, on July 12 you celebrated your 61st birthday, a time for wishing. Is there anything in particular you wished for the coming Chess Classic?
JENS BEUTEL: For the 14th Chess Classic my first wish is, that the event will be organized in the same professional way as it was in recent years and that the number of participants will increase further. But most of all, I would be pleased if at the end of the day all our visitors would say they had a good time in Mainz and that they liked the city.

Question: How important is an event like the Chess Classic for the city of Mainz?
BEUTEL: The Chess Classic has been responsible for the fact, that the city of Mainz has become well known all over the world, not at least because of the terrific Internet presence. During the tournament tens of thousands of chess friends observe the games live. And apart from that, the event brought us many guests, people who never would have come to Mainz. Seen from this angle, the tournament is very important for the city.

The Lord Mayor Jens Beutel in action - press conference Chess Classic 2006

Question: How do you, as the Mayor of Mainz, support the event?
BEUTEL: I place the venue at the Chess Classics disposal, but I also recruited numerous sponsors, who support the event in an important manner.

Question: A quick question about the Hilton hotel, the players hotel directly connected to the Rheingoldhalle, in which the Chess Classic will be played. The hotel has been taken over by the Blackstone Group only recently. Will anything change for the Chess Classic?
BEUTEL:No, nothing will change, and it will have no influence at all on our contracts.

Question: The renovation of the Rheingoldhalle, the exclusive venue of the Chess Classic, is finished. Will this have any effects on the chess event?
BEUTEL: Of course, now we will be able to offer the Chess Classic even more space and possibilities to grow in the future. We have more possibilities to accommodate even more participants now.

Question: Back in 2001 you managed to snatch away the Chess Classic from Frankfurt. Have your expectations transferring this tournament to Mainz been fulfilled?
BEUTEL: For a chess lover like me, it is tremendous to have a chess event in the city which attracts the best players in the world. There is hardly any other place around, in which you can get so close to the top players. In Mainz chess “lives” right in front of your eyes and the perfect presentation in the playing hall and the Internet alike, makes the audience feel, they are a part of the show. It is almost impossible to improve that feeling. It is even a fantastic experience for chess players, who do not play on a high level. They can watch the top players, but they can also play in one of the Open tournaments. And they are always close to the show.

Question: Where do you see potentialities for future events?
BEUTEL: First of all, it is important to keep up this very high level and we should also try to attract even more visitors to Mainz. Important however is, that we should try to improve things gradually; we can not afford to come to a standstill. For the Chess Classic development also means, there should always be space to change the tournament and to present the event in a new and fascinating way.

Question: Will you be able to play in one of the Open tournaments or the simultaneous exhibition against Vassily Ivanchuk this year?
BEUTEL: Unfortunately, I won’t be able to play against Ivanchuk. But like last year, I will play both the Ordix and the FiNet Open. Last year I played some very good games in the Chess960 Open, but had a lousy score. And in the Ordix it was just the other way around: bad games, good score.

Question: What is your opinion about Chess960?
BEUTEL: I really like to play Chess960. Hans-Walter Schmitt, the main organizer of the event is very enthusiastic about Chess960 and he has given me his passion for this chess variant. One of the advantages of Chess960 is, that I cannot be knocked down in the opening. Of course, it is difficult for me to prepare openings properly. I am always lucky to go on holiday just before the Chess Classic and I always take a chess book with me. However, I do not read the book thoroughly; from time to time I turn a few pages. But I do play chess online, I often play a few games before I go to work, and that keeps me on the ball.

Jens Beutel on stage - first round against Alexander Morozevich

Question: And how, in your opinion, has Chess960 established itself since the first FiNet Open six years ago?
BEUTEL: Meanwhile, Chess960 has been accepted by the world’s top players. At first, most players were afraid to make a fool of themselves, but nowadays, this fear has been replaced by the same ambition they have in “normal” chess.

Question: The Chess Classic organizers constantly try to change and improve the format. Where do you see the major improvements compared to the earlier tournaments in Mainz?
BEUTEL: We increased the number of events and prolonged the event two days. Therefore it is possible for participants to extend their stay in Mainz and to combine chess and vacation.

Question: How is your personal relationship to some of the top grandmasters?
BEUTEL: I have a good relationship with Vishy Anand, because he wins the Champion jacket every year … but I also met several other top players. I was very fortunate to have played against such formidable players like Kramnik, Svidler, Kosteniuk, Morozevich, Grishuk, Stefanova and others at the Chess Classic in simuls or in one of the Open tournaments. Oh yes, what I was going to say is, that I had a winning position against Kasparov in one the simultaneous exhibitions in Frankfurt. But I offered him a draw (smiles). It was an extraordinary complicated position, so I was not really sure how to force the win. At that time I had not played a game for more than three years! So I thought: a bird in hand is worth two in the bush, and took the draw.

The most important factors of success: Jens Beutel & Vishy Anand - left the wife from Lord Mayor, Gudrun Beutel

Question: Recently, you traveled with a delegation from Mainz to your partner city, Baku. Do your diplomatic connections have any effect on the participation of strong grandmasters from Azerbaijan?
BEUTEL: I don’t know. I had no contact to any of the grandmasters during my visit in Baku. Unfortunately, after I had left the city, I heard, that at the time of my stay a strong tournament had been played in Baku. Our connections to the people at the head of the state are very tight. Only recently, a delegation from Azerbaijan visited Mainz. That’s why I expect that the state will sponsor the Azerbaijani top players, which hopefully will increase the number of players, who will come to the Chess Classic.

Question: Chess has been on the agenda during your talks?
BEUTEL: I took the initiative and referred to the Chess Classic. I had conversations with partners, who have considerable power in their country and they should be able to promote chess in Azerbaijan.

Question: In September the World Chess Championship will be played in Mexico. Vishy Anand and Levon Aronian will not only play in Mexico, but also in Mainz. Do you think that this constellation will have any influence on the way they play during the Chess Classic?
BEUTEL: Difficult to say. On the one hand the players will try to gain confidence for the World Championship, and therefore it is hard to imagine that they will play short draws. On the other hand, both players will certainly not show their opening secrets one month before “Mexico” and play something from their standard repertoire.

Question: One final question: do you think that Anand will be able to win the Chess Classic once again? It would be his 10th Chess Classic title!
BEUTEL: Anand is not only a phenomenal player, but he also has a lot of experience in these tournaments. Up to now, that has been enough. But I do not see a clear favorite this time, although I think that Anand will win the tournament in the end. However, in this strong field, the form of the day is very important. Anything can happen, I would not be surprised.

Frage: Thank you very much for this conversation.

Harry Schaack / Eric van Reem

Published by HWS

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