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Alexandra Kosteniuk - Amtierende Weltmeisterin, Elo 2519
06. August 2010, 16:00 Uhr - Mainz, Goldsaal Hilton
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Chess Classic

Crocodiles looking forward to play Unzicker Gala

09.08.2005 - The first day of the Chess Classic Mainz 2005 started off with a press conference with the participants in the Unzicker-80 Gala. Even organiser Hans-Walter Schmitt did not know what to say with all these chess legends who were sitting next to him. “This is my masterpiece”, Schmitt said with a shaky voice, “bringing all these legends of chess to Mainz is fantastic. We had many great Chess Classic tournaments in Frankfurt and Mainz, but this event tops it all. I am really honoured that these great men are sitting next to me”. I hope that they will play good and interesting games”, Schmitt said and smiled: “and no short draws please!”

Wolfgang Unzicker (1925) was the strongest West German player from 1945 to about 1970. From 1950 to 1978 he competed in twelve Olmpiads. As presiding judge of an administrative court Unzicker had little time for international tournament play. Some of his finest performances are: Sochi 1965, first place , equal with Spassky and Santa Monica 1966, equal with Portisch, after Spassky, Fischer, and Larsen, ahead of Petrosyan, then world champion. Unzicker´s good manners, his sportmanship and sense of fair play, made him popular at home and abroad. And he is still popular, since his rivals Anatoly Karpov, Boris Spasski and Viktor Korchnoi came to Mainz to play this wonderful tournament with the 80-year old. “I am moved that my friends came here to play “my” tournament. Some of them had to travel a long way. I would like to thank Hans-Walter Schmitt and his Chess Tigers and I am looking forward to this event.”


Boris Vasiliyevich Spassky (1937) did not know exactly when he met Unzicker for the first time: “I thougt I met him in 1962”, Spassky started, but immediately Unzicker corrected him: “No, my friend, I met you a few years earlier, in Gothenburg 1955”. Then the two grandmasters started talking about legendary tournaments i the sixties like Santa Monica 1966. “I am very proud to have such a good relationship with Wolfgang and his family, Spassky concluded. “I wish you good luck in this tourney, Wolfgang, and I wish myself luck as well, because there are two more crocodiles in this tournament who will be not play so peacefully”.


One of the other “crocodiles” is Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi (1931). In St. Petersburg, his native city, he learned the game at the age of six. He suffered hardship during during the siege of Leningrad (1941-1943) and, advised that he was too frail for the rigours of a chess career, took to eat porridge daily, which, he believes, strengthened his constitution. Certainly, he became on of the toughest and most tenacious players of his time. In the press conference Korchnoi said that Unzicker has certainly had an enourmous influence on chess life in Germany. “We are four different players, with different political opinions and ideologies, but today we are here in Mainz to play a beautiful tournament to honour our friend Wolfgang Unzicker”.


Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov (1951) is the youngest player in this Unzicker gala, but despite his youth, compared to the other players, he is the player with the most tournament victories: Karpov has won more than 160 tournaments in his career. Born in Zlatoust, a small town in the Urals, he was taught the moves of chess when he was 4, and became a competent player by the age of 13 without having read any chess books. “I like to be in this beautiful city and I like this idea to organise a tournament for Wolfgang. I hope these kind of tournaments and I hope that more of these events will be organised in the future. There are so many great masters of chess who would deserve it.” I like to play in Germany”, Karpov concluded, “my Karpov academy in Baden-Baden is doing well and recently I started other projects in Hockenhein and Berlin”.

Finally, let´s not forget the referee: Lothar Maximilian Lorenz Schmid (1928) , the chess referee of the century, who will act as a referee in Mainz during the Unzicker Gala.The International Grandmaster and Karl May publisher met Unzicker in 1947. “I like to thank Hans-Walter Schmitt for bringing these players to Germany. This is most certainly one of the best tournaments ever played on German soil. I am proud to be here, as a friend of the players.”


And the mayor of Mainz, Jens Beutel, who will play in the Chess Classic Finet and Ordix Open once again, is of course delighted to have such famous players in his city. “ If you want to have some touristic information, just let me know. As you might have noticed, we are rebuilding the Rheingoldhalle, so we can even get more chessplayers to Mainz next year!”

Eric van Reem

Published by Eric van Reem

Dieser Artikel wurde 6513 Mal aufgerufen.

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