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July 27- Aug 2nd, 2009 Rheingoldhalle, Mainz
Chess Classic Mainz 2009 (CCM9)
14. GRENKELEASING Rapid World Championship
GM V. Anand, GM L. Aronian, GM I. Nepomniachtchi, GM A. Naiditsch







     











  






  U29 OSG Baden-Baden
  U29 SC Vaterstetten
  U29 SC 1979 Hattersheim
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  U2 Post-SV Memmingen
  U2 Üwh s.b.M. Braunschweig
  U1 Berthold-Martin-Haus
  U1 SKH GSS1 Schwalbach

  SV Jedesheim 1921
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  SV Marsberg
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  FiNet AG
  TaunusSparkasse

Chess Classic

Anand Remains Supreme in Mainz
Anand Wins GrenkeLeasing Rapid Chess World Championship in Close Match

19.08.2007 - Sunday, immediately after the end of the Ordix Open, with 762 participants the world’s biggest rapid chess tournament, the Chess Classic Mainz finished with another highlight: The match for the Grenke Leasing Rapid Chess World Championship between Anand and Aronian. Three days ago the same players had played the final of the FiNet Chess960 World Championship. This was a tense and exciting match, but here even more was at stake: Anand wanted to take revenge for his loss and prove that he is still the world’s best rapid player. Both players also had the coming World Championship in Mexico in mind: Here, both Aronian and Anand are among the favorites and the winner of Mainz would gain a psychological edge over his rival. At the same time both players had to be careful not to reveal too much of their preparation for Mexico.

Winner of the GrenkeLeasing
Rapid World Championship

Maybe this was the reason why they both decided to proceed carefully. In their first game they repeated the Ruy Lopez of their game in the preliminary but while Anand was better in that game, he now failed to get anything out of the opening and quickly agreed to a draw.

In contrast to Anand and Aronian, Bacrot and Kasimdzhanov, who were playing for third place, could take it easy. Saturday evening they were even seen sitting together, drinking wine and exchanging jokes. Maybe they agreed not to care too much for the result of the match but play entertaining chess for the audience. Which they did. In the first game Kasimdzhanov pursued a kingside attack but in the crucial moment did not dare to sacrifice on g6, which Shirov in the analysis room considered to be winning. With less time on the clock Kasimdzhanov later lost his way in the complications and failed to see a perpetual with a rook down, which brought Bacrot his first win.

In the second round Bacrot and Kazimdzhanov continued where they had stopped. Right after the opening Bacrot found an interesting way to play with his pair of bishops against Kasimdzhanov’s knights: The Frenchman sacrificed both of his bishops to mate the enemy king, but when Kasimdzhanov gave back a rook to avoid worse Black was better. However, with a material balance of rook vs. two knights Bacrot continuously exerted pressure on Black’s position and reached an endgame, in which he avoided all knight forks, exchanged most of the remaining pawns and saved a draw.

Anand against Aronian

Meanwhile Aronian’s pair of bishops also fought two knights. Yet the Armenian was less generous than Bacrot and presented Anand with no more than a pawn and kept his bishops to compensate for his material disadvantage. However, when Anand neutralized White’s pressure and Aronian had only 30 seconds against Anand’s seven minutes, some saw Anand winning already. But their hopes – or fears – made place for astonishment when the players suddenly agreed to a draw. Another glance on the position revealed that Anand had no way to avoid losing his extra pawn after which the ending was a dead draw.

The third game revealed how much respect Anand and Aronian had for each other and how careful they were to avoid the risk of losing or to reveal any secrets. They again repeated the Ruy Lopez of their games from the preliminary and the first round of the final. But again Anand failed to achieve anything out of the opening – Fritz even saw a slight advantage for Black – and the game was drawn without much excitement.

Kasimdzhanov against Bacrot

So Kasimdzhanov and Bacrot had to provide some entertainment. Accordingly, Bacrot again opted for the Marshall Gambit, which had brought him victory in the preliminary. But it turned out that Kasimdzhanov did his homework when he improved on that game. He gradually consolidated and returned his extra pawn to reach a position, in which his passed c-pawn gave him (very) good winning chances. When the c-pawn gradually moved further down the board everything seemed to work according to plan until Black suddenly came up with an unexpected tactical trick, which seemed to save the draw. However, justice prevailed and at the end of the tactical sequence Black had no draw but lost a piece and the game. Thus, Kasimdzhanov equalized the match and hoped to win the fourth game and the match.

But this was not to be – though both players tried. Once more the two bishops had to fight against the two knights but neither side could get any advantage and when most pieces went off the board the game was drawn. As the organizers decided not to play a tie-break Kasimdzhanov and Bacrot shared third place.

Meanwhile the fourth and decisive game between Anand and Aronian started quietly but ended dramatically. Anand, playing with black, managed to equalize after the opening to reach a position, which did not offer much chances to either side. But whether his nerves betrayed him or whether he was tired, Aronian gradually started to play worse and fell seriously behind on the clock. Suddenly his only weakness, the pawn on a3, was in real danger and when it fell, Anand seemed to be well on his way to keep his title of Rapid World Champion. And though Aronian in the previous games of the tournament had more than once shown his remarkable ability to save bad positions, this time there was no escape. Anand smoothly drove his advantage home to win his tenth title in Mainz.

But at the winner’s ceremony it was Aronian who found the right words to celebrate the end of the world’s largest rapid chess tournament: “It was a great event and a real pleasure to be here. See you again next year.”

Johannes Fischer

Published by Harry Schaack

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