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Chess Classic Mainz 2009 (CCM9) 2009-07-27 - 2009-08-02

Chess Classic

Hikaru Nakamura Chess960 Rapid World Championship
GM Hikaru Nakamura – FiNet Open Sieger 2008
28.-30. Juli 2009, 18:30 Uhr, Rheingoldhalle Mainz

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July 27- Aug 2nd, 2009 Rheingoldhalle, Mainz
Chess Classic Mainz 2009 (CCM9)
6. Chess960 Rapid World Championship
GM L. Aronian, GM V. Bologan, GM H. Nakamura, GM S. Movsesian



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  FiNet AG

Chess Classic

Tigers on the Stage
Anand and Aronian Qualify for Final in FiNet Chess960 Rapid World Championship

15.08.2007 - If you looked closely at the pictures from the first day of the FiNet Chess960 Rapid World Championship you may have discovered the tiger on stage and maybe wondered what it was doing there. A reminder that the Chess Classic Mainz are organized by the Chesstigers? A tribute to Vishy Anand, nine times winner of Mainz and nicknamed “Tiger of Madras”? Something to do with the children’s tournament? None of the above. Today a second tiger joined the first and it turned out that they simply count the number of tournament days. But they could also be seen as a symbol for the strong performances of Anand and Aronian.

The Tigers

Anand and Aronian were favorites to win the tournament and after the first three rounds most people also expected Anand and Aronian to qualify for the final. However, Bacrot and Kasimdzhanov certainly did not want to go down without a fight, and after all, with 1.5 points from 3 games Kasimdzhanov shared second place with Anand. But their crucial encounter right at the start of day two turned out to be rather one-sided. Anand seemed to have absorbed the lessons from his first three serious Chess960 games quickly and after an opening blunder by Kasimdzhanov, which cost a vital pawn, Anand quickly won.

Meanwhile, Bacrot tried hard to keep his slim chances to qualify for the final alive by trying hard to beat Aronian. He was focused and played much quicker than yesterday. This afternoon he was also seen taking a walk along the Rhine carrying a copy of John Nunn’s Chess Puzzle Book under his arm. This book contains a number of tactical puzzles ranging from easy to (very) difficult and solving these puzzles might have helped the French player to find his way through the tactical complications in his game against Aronian. But although Bacrot had a slight pull throughout the game, in the end Aronian drummed up enough counterplay to save the draw.

Rustam Kasimdzhanov against Vishy Anand

In the fifth round Aronian and Anand dispelled any doubts about who would make it to the final. Anand with White gradually managed to shake off the pressure Bacrot had developed right out of the opening and reached a favorable position, which for Bacrot was, to quote Anand, “maybe not lost, but unpleasant.” Theoretically, there might have been a defense for Black, but practically there wasn’t, if only because Anand still had five minutes on the clock, while Bacrot had only one. Eventually time pressure and difficult defense were too much for the French player, who – similar to his first round game against Aronian – went down to a couple of tactical shots on h6, g7, f7 and e7.

Aronian also was unwilling to give Kasimdzhanov any chances to make it to the final. After the opening he gradually took over and after an error by Kasimdzhanov Aronian won a pawn, which he safely converted to a full point.

Levon Aronian against Etienne Bacrot

Thus, the games of the last round of the preliminary were more or less played for prestige. Anand and Aronian both knew they qualified and that they will face each other four times tomorrow and thus decided not to fight too much: they drew their game in a position they both might have continued in the previous rounds. However, Kasimdzhanov and Bacrot more than made up for this. In the press conference Kasimdzhanov said that they wanted to fight and “played an extremely complicated game; unnecessarily complicated, because we both could no longer qualify.” But the spectators liked it, particularly the final phase of the game, where Bacrot with White had to defend with a single rook supported by a couple of pawns against Kasimdzhanov’s two bishops. Both players had only seconds on the clock and tried their best to outwit each other. In the end Bacrot managed to create the more dangerous passed pawns and won his only game of the tournament.

Tomorrow, a third tiger will appear on the stage and on his third day of Chess960 Anand will show whether he can continue to learn so fast.

Final standings:


Levon Aronian



Vishy Anand



Etienne Bacrot



Rustam Kasimdzhanov



Johannes Fischer

Published by Harry Schaack

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