Announcement | July 13, 2012 16:10

Top chess in Dortmund & Amsterdam

Top chess in Dortmund & Amsterdam

After five days of fast chess in Astana, we return to classical chess at the highest level today with the start of the 40th jubilee edition of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany. Tomorrow no less than three tournaments take off in the Dutch capital: the Science Park Amsterdam open, the Dutch Championship and the ACP Golden Classic.


Already today the first round is being played in Dortmund, where the 40th edition of the traditional tournament runs July 13-24. The jubilee edition is a 10-player round robin. In recent years the tournament was a 6-player, double round robin but thanks to a cooperation with the German Chess Federation the full squad (and gold medal winners) of the 2011 European Team Championship could be added.

Dortmund 2012 | Participants

No. Name Fed Rating
1 Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2801
2 Fabiano Caruana ITA 2767
3 Sergey Karjakin RUS 2766
4 Ruslan Ponomariov UKR 2727
5 Peter Leko HUN 2720
6 Arkadij Naiditsch GER 2702
7 Mateusz Bartel POL 2665
8 Daniel Fridman GER 2653
9 Georg Meier GER 2647
10 Jan Gustafsson GER 2642

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 of course tenfold winner Vladimir Kramnik.

Parallel to the main event is the traditional Dortmund Sparkassen Open, with an A and a B-group, in the City Hall. Last year the main tournament was won for the 10th (!) time by Vladimir Kramnik, who will surely try to add another title to his list.

Schedule and pairings

Round 1 15:00 CET 13.07.12   Round 2 15:00 CET 14.07.12
Fridman - Gustafsson   Gustafsson - Kramnik
Leko - Ponomariov   Bartel - Karjakin
Caruana - Naiditsch   Naiditsch - Meier
Meier - Bartel   Ponomariov - Caruana
Karjakin - Kramnik   Fridman - Leko
Round 3 15:00 CET 15.07.12   Round 4 15:00 CET 16.07.12
Leko - Gustafsson   Gustafsson - Bartel
Caruana - Fridman   Naiditsch - Kramnik
Meier - Ponomariov   Ponomariov - Karjakin
Karjakin - Naiditsch   Fridman - Meier
Kramnik - Bartel   Leko - Caruana
Round 5 15:00 CET 17.07.12   Round 6 15:00 CET 19.07.12
Caruana - Gustafsson   Gustafsson - Naiditsch
Meier - Leko   Ponomariov - Bartel
Karjakin - Fridman   Fridman - Kramnik
Kramnik - Ponomariov   Leko - Karjakin
Bartel   Naiditsch   Caruana - Meier
Round 7 15:00 CET 20.07.12   Round 8 15:00 CET 21.07.12
Meier - Gustafsson   Gustafsson - Ponomariov
Karjakin - Caruana   Fridman - Naiditsch
Kramnik - Leko   Leko - Bartel
Bartel - Fridman   Caruana - Kramnik
Naiditsch - Ponomariov   Meier - Karjakin
Round 9 13:00 CET 22.07.12        
Karjakin - Gustafsson        
Kramnik - Meier        
Bartel - Caruana        
Naiditsch - Leko        
Ponomariov - Fridman        


SPA Chess
The second edition of the Science Park Amsterdam Chess Tournament, a strong Dutch Swiss, takes place July 14-22 at Sports Center Universum of Science Park Amsterdam. Science Park is a 70-hectare area in the east of the Dutch capital with accommodations for science, business and housing, focusing on IT and life sciences.

The tournament is a 9-round Swiss divided into four different rating groups. The top group has a € 10,000 prize fund but has no 2600 GMs participating this year. The favorites are GMs Alon Greenfeld, (2556), Stewart Haslinger (2536), Roeland Pruijssers (2525) and Gergely Antal (2511).

Dutch Championships
Some Dutch GMs that might have participated are in fact playing in the very same playing hall, because this year the Dutch Championship (and Dutch Women's Championship) also take place at Science Park. The participants are Anish Giri (2696), Ivan Sokolov (2676), Jan Smeets (2620), Erwin l'Ami (2615), Dimitri Reinderman (2598), Robin van Kampen (2560), Sipke Ernst (2558) and Robin Swinkels (2485). In the women section only Zhaoqin Peng (2414), Tea Lanchava (2336), Anne Haast (2255) and Martine Middelveld (2134) play.

ACP Golden Classic
There will actually be a third tournament held at the same time and in the same venue – arguably the most interestingfor most of our readers. We already covered it two weeks ago because of its special nature: the return of adjournments! The participants are Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR, 2764), Gata Kamsky (USA, 2741), Baadur Jobava (GEO, 2721), Krishnan Sasikiran (IND, 2720), Le Quang Liem (VIE, 2703), Emil Sutovsky (ISR, 2687) and Anna Muzychuk (SLO, 2598).

The Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) organizes this small but strong tournament, a 7-player round robin, where the games will be adjourned after move 40 and resumed on another day. The time control will also be like in the old days: 2.5 hours for the first 40 moves. The tournament is called "Golden Classic".

Game adjournments were abolished 18 years ago, and one of the reasons was the advent of strong chess playing computer programs, which could be used to analyze adjourned positions. ACP President Emil Sutovsky and ACP Board Director Yuri Garrett don't think this is a problem. Garrett:

I just don't believe that computers will "equal" the game in an endgame or anything, I think they will just favour the best player. I think that this is a great occasion for demonstrating that whenever there is something new you should look at the past.

In an interview on the Dutch Chess Federation's website, Jeroen van den Berg gave an interesting comment.

I'm still not sure what to think of it. It seems to me an advantage to be the one to seal the move, because then you can concentrate on this move with the engine. Under certain circumstances it could even be useful not to seal what is objectively the best move. But we'll see!

Since any player is allowed to seal a move (or not) after move 40, and Van den Berg turns out to be right, the white player will in fact have a double advantage. But indeed... we'll see!

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Anonymous's picture

Adjournments in the old days worked like this: the player slept while his "seconds" analyzed the position...weird no one ever pointed out this is blatantly against the rules of competition.

bronkenstein's picture

Actually, it can turn 1 vs 1 game in an interesting kind of teamCompetition from time to time, with the feeling/luck ´when to adjourn´ coming into play.

It also helped people develop analytical skills, something we definitely lack today (computers...)

Anonymous's picture

True, but let's call it a team competition and not one player against another.

bronkenstein's picture

I agree that If we focus on ´old´ top GMs only, it was a mixture of politics and teamSport , and quite unbalanced one in some cases.

For great majority of players it was simply an excellent chance to practice endgame technique and analytical skills, to work and learn with friends.

PassingBy's picture

Not at all. You seem to forget ALL competitions followed the adjournment rule. I'm a pure amateur, and even in small local tournaments, we adjourned at move 40. I adjourned dozens of games and learned a lot in endgames thanks to that rule. Sad day when they suppressed it.

Anonymous's picture

I remember those that many of the main lines have been analyzed into the late middlegame means players don't need as much time for a game...e.g. when i play the marshall attach against the Ruy, theory goes into the thirty move range, dozens of moves deeper than when Fischer was playing.

bronkenstein's picture

@ recent Tal Memo Moro played a novelty on move 5 vs Grish... the choice is all yours =)

Anonymous's picture

So most main lines aren't analyzed into the late middlegame? I'm glad all those pros who think chess is in danger of being played out are misinformed.

bronkenstein's picture

You have ´draw death´ , ´played out´ and such themes emerging in almost regular time intervals. It´s kind of evergreen sad song. But, even in recent WCH we had few extremely early novelties only few moves later than Moro´s one!

My experience with ´draw death´ is mixed from , lessay, playing Sveshnikov Sicilian (theory is often 20+ moves deep, sometimes even 30+, but I am not seeing much of these lines @ the club level anyway) to (recently and mostly in blitz, for the beginning) starting to experiment with 1.f4,1.b3, 1.a3 , things like Wienna and various ´semi-correct´ gambits ( for example, morra + wing gambit in Sicilian).

The space for having fun and playing fresh lines is practically endless, it´s just our inability to think out of the box , and tendency to trust various prophets of doom rather than to think creatively.

Anonymous's picture

Out of the Box #1: Add a few new starting set up positions, e.g. flip all the bishops and knights. Many new middlegame motifs and patterns will emerge and pro chess will be greatly enriched.

Thomas's picture

One thing that some people may not realize: games _have to be_ adjourned after 5 hours (only then an arbiter approaches the player who has to make the next moves), they _can be_ adjourned earlier, but then the player who wishes to adjourn has to take over the clock time that's left. This means that games that started with lots of theory, followed by few original moves and little time spent on the clocks, are unlikely to be adjourned soon after the first time control. For example, if both players spent just one hour on the first 40 moves, the player who then wants to adjourn has to "give" the remaining three hours. In that example he would lose on time - full time controls have been announced: 2.5 hours for the first 40 moves, 1 hour for the next 16 moves, 15 or 30 minutes (the preview says 15, the "Reglement" link 30 !!?) with 30 seconds increment for the rest of the game.

Something else of possible interest: With 7 players always one has a rest day (the 'plenary' rest days serve to finish adjourned games). Several players agreed to give clinics on their rest days [the website is in Dutch with only bits and pieces in English, but I guess the clinics will be in English]. I will probably be there for Ivanchuk next Wednesday 4:45PM, other clinics are Kamsky on Monday, Le Quang Liem Saturday 21 July and Sasikiran on Sunday 22 July.

Finally a little Chucky anecdote: During a stopover in Munich he was so absorbed with his magnetic chess that he missed his connecting flight. Imagine being at the airport to hear "last call for Mr. Ivanchuk, we will proceed to offload your luggage". But he found a later flight to Amsterdam and is there in time for the first round.

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