May 29, 2014 11:41

Dortmund Field Announced, Pairings Ready

The playing field and pairings for the 42nd Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund has been announced, traditionally two months before the start of the tournament. This year Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Leko, Ruslan Ponomariov, Fabiano Caruana, Michael Adams, Arkadij Naiditsch, Georg Meier, and David Baramidze will play a single round robin.

The presentation of the tournament on May 12th - image courtesy of the official website

On May 12th, 2014 the 42nd edition of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting was announced at a press meeting in Dortmund. After two years with ten players, this time the tournament went back to eight players. 

The organizers tend to stick to traditions and that includes the players - the field doesn't contain big surprises: Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Peter Leko (Hungary), Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine), Fabiano Caruana (Italy), Michael Adams (England), Arkadij Naiditsch (Germany), Georg Meier (Germany), and David Baramidze (Germany). Only Ponomariov and Baramidze didn't participate last year.

The International Dortmund Chess Days – since 1994 "Sparkassen Chess-Meeting" – celebrated its "birth event" in 1973, which was won Heikki Westerinen of Finland. Over the years the tournament grew into a world class event where almost all of the best players competed, including Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Viswanathan Anand, Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik.

As always the tournament will be held in the Dortmund Theater, while the open tournament will again take place in the City Hall. Traditionally, the pairings for the top group were done in advance as well:

Dortmund 2014 | Pairings

Round 1   12.07.14   Round 2   13.07.14
Baramidze - Caruana   Caruana - Ponomariov
Naiditsch - Adams   Meier - Leko
Kramnik - Meier   Adams - Kramnik
Leko - Ponomariov   Baramidze - Naiditsch
Round 3   15.07.14   Round 4   16.07.14
Naiditsch - Caruana   Caruana - Meier
Kramnik - Baramidze   Adams - Ponomariov
Leko - Adams   Baramidze - Leko
Ponomariov - Meier   Naiditsch - Kramnik
Round 5   18.07.14   Round 6   19.07.14
Kramnik - Caruana   Caruana - Adams
Leko - Naiditsch   Baramidze - Meier
Ponomariov - Baramidze   Naiditsch - Ponomariov
Meier - Adams   Kramnik - Leko
Round 7   20.07.14        
Leko - Caruana        
Ponomariov - Kramnik        
Meier - Naiditsch        
Adams - Baramidze        


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Anonymous's picture

Go Kramnik!

Thomas Richter's picture

"As always the tournament will be held in the Dortmund Theater" - this tradition actually comes to an end or is interrupted. Due to unavoidable and urgent renovations of the theater, the new venue ("for the coming years") is the 'Orchesterzentrum' of the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen. This is also the former house of Salomon Elkan, initiator and co-founder of the Dortmund Chess Club of 1875; the event is dedicated to him and has the motto "Chess is coming home". [Source: tournament homepage]

BTW the field of Biel, this year almost exactly coinciding with Dortmund, has also been announced: Vachier-Lagrave, Giri, Harikrishna, Wojtaszek, Motylev (ACP nominee), Hou Yifan.

Creemer's picture

+1 for Hou Yifan

RG13's picture

+1 for Hou Yifan indeed!

ff2017's picture

Hou Yifan in Biel 2014, what great news!

Anonymous's picture

Go go go Big Vlad!

Anonymous's picture

Indeed. Go Vladimir!

8 Ball's picture

Looks like the chessbomb community will have a lot of fun again with Drawmasters Leko and Meier. Ponomariov's limited aggressiveness will also attract the trolls. And not to be forgotten..Naiditsch's blunder potential.

Thomas Richter's picture

Almost all the players you mention are former tournament winners - including Leko, excluding Meier. Leko last won in 2008 - maybe +2=5 wasn't spectacular, but winning ahead of Ivanchuk, Mamedyarov and Kramnik (who had one of his worst Dortmunds with 3/7) was an achievement.In 2010, Ponomariov scored 6.5/10 (+4=5-1).

But I agree that trolls will be trolls will be trolls.

Grandma's picture

"Almost all the players you mention are former tournament winners - including Leko, excluding Meier. Leko last won in 2008"

But what are they now? 2008 is six
years ago.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous's picture

Great line up. Especially the inclusion of Leko and Pono. Pity it's single round but still great.

Anonymous's picture

If there tornaments get any shorter it'll be statistically meaningless who the victor is.

Anonymous's picture

"these" not "there"

Paul's picture

I was surprised ...what a dull line up of players seems like money wasted!

Anonymous's picture

Caruana will win.

noyb's picture

Caruana, Kramnik interesting, rest, meh.

hedi's picture

They are all happy, coz MC will not be there.

Anonymous's picture

Caruana does not fear MC like a few other elite GMs appear to. He is probably champing at the bit to get another round with Carlsen in Norway in the coming weeks. I look forward to Caruana evening the score again. Whoever gets white seems to win in that pairing of late.

RS's picture

What is the deal between Leko and the Dortmund organisers? And between Leko and many other tmt organisers?

He seems to be in most of the #2 tournaments. Does he have the best agent? Does he charge the most reasonable appearance fee?

I ask as there are many more exiting players who do not get to play in as many tournaments as this draw master does

Roberto's picture

Go! Kramink!!!

The big, the bad, the only one, Vlad!


Thomas Richter's picture

Leko got many invitations as long as he was a top10 player - like it or not, he was a stable top10 player until and including 2009. Since then, he doesn't get _that_ many [non-Dortmund] invitations, but might still benefit from his status as former world top player. And yes, (unlike many others?) he does or did have an agent: Carsten Hensel from Dortmund.

This may be part of the reason why he 'always' plays in Dortmund, generally he and the organizers simply seem to like each other - from the tournament homepage: "Peter Leko is a regular guest and public favorite in the area. ... Peter Leko likes Dortmund, here he also found his private luck."

'Public favorite' may be invention or impression of the organizers, or people like him for his chess understanding and pleasant personality [Jan Gustafsson, self-declared drawmaster and former second of Leko, is also quite popular at least in Germany]. Private luck probably refers to the fact that Leko met his later wife in Dortmund.

Anonymous's picture

Very strong tournament, this Kramnik's one. Not like the Norway tournament which only invites weak players Carlsen clients as Thomas has pointed out many times.

obsever's picture

I don't think so as Kramnik isn't involved in selecting the participants, unlike Carlsen during the first edition of Norway chess. Also Carlsen didn't invite weak players but, as you say, clients.

Anonymous's picture

Agree with observer, shame on Carlsen for inviting clients and go go go Big Vlad!

Septimus's picture

So many weak players who prefer drawing to winning. Caruana is going to run away with this.I predict 5-6 Berlins, a few symmetrical English openings and maybe a Nimzo or two.

Thomas Richter's picture

I don't know what your definition of weak player is (it's arguably rude to call players well below one's own rating 'weak'). Most players, professionals and amateurs alike, prefer winning to drawing - but sometimes the opponent disagrees. Some amateurs may prefer losing to drawing, but such an attitude is rare among professionals (some Naiditsch games leave such an impression!!??).

As to openings, last year Dortmund had a similar but bigger field (10 players): I count three Berlins [win, draw and loss for either color], four English openings, including two symmetrical ones [white scoring 3.5/4, including the spectacular Kramnik-Leko 1-0], and for example six Grunfelds.

Septimus's picture

Caruana - #4
Kramnik- #6
Adams- #16
Leko - #20

2 players in the top 10 and 4 in the top 20. Looks pretty weak to me. At least Naditsch is exciting to watch as he is always trying to win and create unbalanced, risky positions.

Higher percentage of drawers this year compared to last year.

obsever's picture

You are a fool."pretty weak" omfg.

Thomas Richter's picture

Some organizers may not have the money to invite many/only top10 or top20 players (the smaller field, 8 rather than 10 players, might be due to budget cuts), and/or opt for a different field. Ponomariov, Adams and Leko are all former top10 players - maybe past their prime, but should they no longer be invited at all? Dortmund has several local players - so does London and Wijk aan Zee, for some reason London was never criticized, Wijk aan Zee mildly, and Dortmund quite harshly.

Last year, Dortmund had Wang Hao and Andreikin rather than Ponomariov, and Khenkin and Fridman rather than Baramidze [Khenkin's and Fridman's ratings have gone down recently, even if Fridman started to recover]. Only Wang Hao is a 'digital' player with many wins and losses; Andreikin is generally solid-drawish (though not in Dortmund 2013), so are the two German players who, as expected, finished at the bottom of the table.

With the given constraints (budget, number of players), I consider Dortmund an interesting event - exactly because it has many non-standard pairings.

Anon's picture

Why so restrained? Dortmund IS an interesting event, period. And if I remember correctly, the "weak" Adams blew away the competition (with +5 and 2925 performance, some numbers for the addicted) and a strong player such as Caruana (2796 then) finished 7th.

Numbers aren't anything and chess is not transitive - fortunately.

Anon's picture

Numers aren't everything, of course.

Anon's picture

Numbers, dammit! :-)

Anonymous's picture

As Vlad the Impaler pointed out already years ago, he has passed Kasparov, who didn't win Linares as many times as Kramnik has won Dortmund. Since Kramnik also won their match easily he should be seen greater than Kasparov and probably also the greatest chess player ever.

kiismerh's picture

Hi Vlad!

Septimus's picture

LOL? You are joking, right?

Anonymous's picture

He could have called him 'Vlad the Impaled'.

Anonymous's picture

Kramnik has two pluses against Kasparov: a slight one-on-one advantage and the 2000 match. Other than those, it is Kasparov's achievements that shine. Dortmund is, on the whole, a weaker series of tournaments than Linares was, and it's silly that you ignore Kasporov's tremendous match play record.

Anon's picture

This is an obvious attempt to provoke negative reactions towards Kramnik. A pity that anyone falls for those cheap tricks.

Can't we refrain from such childish behavior and just be happy for another nice chess event?

RG13's picture


Harry_Flashman's picture

Linares was a far more important tournament than Dortmund, with all due respect to the latter.
Sincerely i doubt that Kramnik had mad made such a silly statement. As far as the comparison.. Their respective careers speak for themselves..

Anonymous's picture

"Sincerely i doubt that Kramnik had mad made such a silly statement"

Of course he said it, he even said it a year early when he removed one of Kasparov's Linares titles, stating that he had now passed Kasparov since the latter only won Linares eight times.

Anonymous's picture

Didn't Adams win this last year? Even though Vlad was also there?

Anonymous's picture

Naiditsch has also won it, as well as Bologan, and Leko three times, so Kramnik doesn't win every time. The last years there have been very few top players in the tournament though. Once upon a time it was a top event, even if Kasparov only played once (and won).

Thomas Richter's picture

Missing in your list is still Ponomariov, who won in 2010 ahead of Kramnik and Mamedyarov (at the time also top10). One reason, of course not the only one, why outsiders won: they were invited (or Bologan qualified as Aeroflot winner). Besides Dortmund, it seems that only Wijk aan Zee and Biel have (several) spots for "weak" players (2700+ but outside the top10 or top20) to compete against world-top players.

Dortmund always had Kramnik and at least one other top10 player. It was (even) stronger) "once upon a time" - maybe the budget didn't increase as much as financial expectations of top players?

Anonymous's picture

At least for the last ten years I think Naiditsch, Leko and Kramnik have been invited every year, together with Aeroflot winner, and then two or more other players.

Thomas Richter's picture

It makes perfect sense to re-invite the record winner - as long as he can still compete for tournament victory (and then a few more years).

Every supertournament tends to have the strongest player from the organizing country, plus Naiditsch used to live in Dortmund (he moved to Baden-Baden some time ago).

So only the special relationship between organizers and Leko is unusual and for some people 'wrong' - they didn't abandon him when he dropped out of the top10, he still is extended world top (at least top 30).

BTW Dortmund also had Anand every year from 1996-2004 (but for the candidates event 2002). At some stage, it may have become too expensive to have both him and Kramnik, and - while it lasted - Anand was a regular at the Mainz Rapid event.

Grandma's picture

Not an exiting tournament, but good for the participants who are invited.

And a perfect playground for Kramnik.

But Caruana is favorite.

Anonymous's picture

I'm impressed you can see into the future. Since it will be an unexiting tournament we'll expect you to stay quiet from now on. Your stupid comments aren't very exciting either, after all.

Anonymous's picture

How DARE you talk to someone's grandma that way!


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