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Victor Bologan Chess960 Rapid World Championship
GM Victor Bologan – FiNet-Open-Sieger 2007
28.-30. Juli 2009, 18:30 Uhr, Rheingoldhalle Mainz

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Chess Classic

The Chess Classic Begin

13.08.2007 - World Stars and Amateurs Come to Mainz

By Johannes Fischer

The four players with the organizer; Etienne Bacrot, Levon Aronian, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Levon Aronian, Organisator Hans-Walter Schmitt

Monday it was finally time: the press conference was the start of the Chess Classic Mainz, the world’s largest rapid chess event. From tomorrow noon till Sunday evening a number of various tournaments will be played: The Mini-FiNet Chess960 Open for children, the FiNet Chess 960 Open, the Livingston Computer Tournament and the Ordix Open.  Not to forget two World Championships: The FiNet Chess 960 World Championship and the Grenke Leasing Rapid World Championship. The same four players take part in both World Championships: Vishy Anand, Levon Aronian, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Etienne Bacrot.

Both World Championships follow the same format. In contrast to the year before there will be no matches between two players, but preliminaries and finals. In the preliminary the players play a double round robin and the two best placed will face each other in the final. Time limit: 20 minutes for the whole game, plus 5 seconds increment for each move.

Favorite to win the title of Rapid World Champion is Vishy Anand, currently number one on the World’s ranking list, who has won no less than nine times in Mainz. However, Chess960 is a different story: As Anand revealed in the press conference, he has played Chess960 only once in his life, against ChessClassic organizer Hans-Walter Schmitt. But he seemed to be optimistic and said he is happy not to have to have to prepare thoroughly for each game.

However, the fans of Levon Aronian believe that he has chances to win both Championships. His skills in rapid chess are legendary and in Chess960 he is not only reigning World Champion, but by winning the Chess960 Open in 2003 and by beating Peter Svidler in their match 2006 he has lots of experience in this form of chess. Moreover, Chess960 well suits his creative, unconventional style.

But Rustam Kasimdzhanov, who qualified for the four-man tournament by winning last year’s Ordix Open, could outwit both. He is an excellent rapid chess player and recently won against Anand in a rapid event on Corsica – and thus proved to himself that he could beat Anand who at times seemed to be virtually invincible in rapid chess. On the press conference the Uzbek player, who is living in Germany, revealed some of the secrets of his preparation and said that he played quite a number of Chess960 blitz games on the internet before the tournament.

The fourth player to compete is Etienne Bacrot from France. He admitted that it will be really difficult to win in either of the tournaments and said he hoped Anand had not secretly trained for Chess960.

At any rate, the World Championships and the open tournaments promise to make the Chess Classic an entertaining and exciting chess festival. Thus, it doesn’t surprise that as in the years before a lot of chess players come to Mainz to watch and to play against the grandmasters. Asked how many participants he expects, organizer Hans-Walter Schmitt said the old records would be „pulverized, both in regard to quantity and quality“, and predicted almost 700 participants for the Ordix Open. And Vassily Ivanchuk, top seed in the Ordix Open, emphasized that everybody has chances. Right now Ivanchuk is in splendid shape, wins one tournament after the other and is currently only one point behind Anand on the world’s ranking list. Therefore he was asked who would be able to stop him in the Ordix Open. His reply: „Everybody. There are so many Grandmasters and International Masters against whom I can lose. Every game has three possible results: win, draw and defeat“.

If you want to try your luck against Ivanchuk and his Grandmaster and Master colleagues, you can still do so. It is possible to register in the Rheingoldhalle in Mainz up to a quarter of an hour before the FiNet Chess960 Open and the Ordix Open begin. If you can’t make it to Mainz, you can follow the event on the internet. More than 400 games will be transmitted live on the website.

Johannes Fischer

Published by Harry Schaack

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