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

Chess Classic

Arkadij Naiditsch GRENKELEASING Rapid World Championship
GM Arkadij Naiditsch – Bester Deutscher
31.7.-2. August 2009, 18:30 Uhr, Rheingoldhalle Mainz

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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



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Chess Classic

Bad Start by the World Champion

31.07.2009 - Probably World Champion Vishy Anand has never had a worse start at the Chess Classic. On the first day of the GRENKELEASING Rapid World Championship he lost his first two games and now has to worry about qualifying for the final.

The first game already indicated that Anand was not in top shape. Playing with White against Aronian he used an unusual amount of time in the opening – which, however, seemed to be well invested: Anand managed to secure himself the bishop pair but, as he later explained in the press conference “things were a bit complicated. Therefore I was ready to draw but did not want to sit too passively. But with little time on the clock I went astray.” Which gave Aronian, who the day before had suffered a bitter defeat against Hikaru Nakamura in the final of the Chess960 Rapid World Championship, an important point and a confidence-booster.
Indeed, in chess there is hardly anything as motivating as winning a worse game. Ian Nepomniachtchi definitely knows how this feels. In his first round game against Arkadi Naiditsch he was on the brink of defeat, but Naiditsch found no way to push him over the edge, which allowed Nepomniachtchi to neutralize the enemy threats slowly to achieve a better endgame, which he finally won.
In the second round the young Russian had to face Anand with Black and again Fortune was on his side. Nepomniachtchi opted for the sharp Poisoned Pawn variation of the Najdorf Sicilian and as Anand later admitted in the press conference, „I did not quite know what I was playing and could not clearly remember what to do in this line.“ This blackout of the World Champion gave Nepomniachtchi a better endgame and a second point. With 0 from 2, Anand, however, could not have had a worse start.
That Arkadi Naiditsch did not fare any better was no real consolation. After his unfortunate loss in the first round the German number one lacked the energy to offer significant resistance against a revitalized Aronian. Immediately after the opening Naiditsch went astray and had to give a pawn to prevent worse – but his game was still practically lost.
Demoralized, he did not do much better against Anand in the third round. With White he chose a harmless line against the Caro-Kann and again he lost a pawn right after the opening. And even though Anand, as he remarked at the press conference with a grim sense of humor „almost managed to spoil even this game to a draw”, Black’s extra pawn permitted a certain degree of inaccuracy. Anand scored his first win – which he bitterly needed to keep up his hopes to qualify for the final.
Meanwhile, Nepomniachtchi and Aronian proceeded carefully in their third round game. The Russian in particular did not take any risks. Playing with White he played rather cautiously and it took a pawn sacrifice by Aronian to provide some excitement. However, as the balance was never seriously disturbed the game soon ended in a draw.
Halfway through the tournament Aronian and Nepomniachtchi are 1,5 points ahead of Anand. But despite this bad start one should not write the World Champion off. In the past he again and again proved how good he can cope with critical situations. And after all, Nakamura showed how to do it: after losing the first two games in the Chess960 World Championship he won seven games in a row. Saturday, 18:30, Anand has the chance to catch up. Live transmission on the website. Don’t miss it.

Arkadij Naiditsch gegen Ian Nepomiachtchi
Arkadij Naiditsch against Ian Nepomiachtchi

Sorgenvoller Anand
Hard work for tomorrow: World Champion Vishy Anand
is 1.5 pts behind the two leaders after the first day

Weltmeister Vishy Anand gegen Arkadij Naiditsch
World Champion Vishy Anand against Arkadij Naiditsch

Levon Aronian gegen Ian Nepomniachtchi
Levon Aronian against Ian Nepomniachtchi

Die Pressekonferenz nach dem ersten Tag
Press conference day one

Johannes Fischer

Published by Stefan Späth

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