Aronian new Rapid World Champ, Mamedyarov shines in Ordix Open
Beating Ian Nepomniachtchi 3-1 in the final, Armenia's number one grandmaster Levon Aronian won the Grenkeleasing Rapid World Championship last night. Eaerlier on Sunday the strong Ordix Open was won by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
The Mainz Chess Classic, the big, annual festival of rapid chess (20 minutes for the game + 5 seconds increment per move), is held July 27-August 2 in the Rheingoldhalle of the Congress Centre, Hilton Hotel in Mainz, Germany. During the day many open events take place while at night two unofficial World Championships are held: Tue-Thu the 6th Rapid Chess960 Wch with Aronian, Bologan, Movsesian and Nakamura, and then Fri-Sun the 14th Grenkeleasing Rapid World Championship with Anand, Aronian, Nepomniachtchi and Naiditsch.
Aronian wins final in smooth style
By Johannes Fischer
After World Champion Vishy Anand failed to qualify for the final of the Grenkeleasing Rapid World Championship Levon Aronian was clear favorite to win the title against the Ian Nepomniachtchi. And indeed, the Armenian had no trouble to become Rapid World Champion. In fact, the biggest surprise of the final might have been the smooth way in which Aronian won.
World Champion Anand, however, made his fans wonder. Apparently he did not manage to overcome the bad shape he had shown in the preliminaries and his play in the match for place three against Germany number one Arkadi Naiditsch was strangely uninspired and lacked punch. But maybe the explanation was much simpler. “Well, as there is not that much at stake in the match for third place, it is very difficult to motivate oneself”, he later explained at the press conference.
The first game showed how difficult both Anand and Naiditsch – who had also played in the Ordix Open where he finished second to Mamedyarov – found it to motivate themselves. Anand had White and chose a quiet Italian game, which ended in a listless 26-move draw.
In contrast Aronian lived up to his role of favorite in his first game against Nepomniachtchi. On the white side of an English Opening he managed to convert positional pressure into something tangible when winning two pawns. Yesterday, the Russian managed to overcome a two-pawn-deficit against Anand, but against Aronian Nepomniachtchi was not that lucky. In fact, his only hope was the clock. Aronian had only seconds on the clock but the 5 second increment per move proved to be enough for the Armenian.
The second round proceeded in similar fashion. Naiditsch and Anand went into a well-known line of the Ruy Lopez and did not mind a draw when all rooks were swapped on the a-file.
Meanwhile, Nepomniachtchi did everything one tells beginners not to do. He neglected his development, left his king in the centre and advanced both his a- and his h-pawn in an effort to put pressure on Black. Unperturbed, Aronian developed quietly and when all his pieces were ready and his king had castled, he countered in the center. And suddenly things were critical for White. With little time on the clock, Nepomniachtchi went astray and fell victim to an assault on his king who was still stuck in the centre.
Black played 30...Nxf2 31.Kxf2 Bb6+ 32.Ne3 Nxe3 33.Be5+ Kxb7 34.Qf3+ Qc6 and White resigned.
With two clear wins from the first two games Aronian was on the brink of winning the match and becoming new Rapid Chess World Champion. Indeed, he had no problems to clinch the title in the third game. With Black, Nepomniachtchi put his hopes on the Grünfeld Defense, but Aronian always had things under control and in an ending where Nepomniachtchi had no winning chances at all, the Russian finally accepted the inevitable: he agreed to a draw and Aronian was new Rapid Chess World Champion.
In the other match, however, Anand and Naiditsch continued to avoid all excitement. Both sides did not seem to mind a draw and after 23 moves the game was over. Score: 1.5:1.5.
Now, the fourth game between
Naiditsch Nepomniachtchi and Aronian was a mere formality. And even though it was drawn after 25 moves the spectators saw some entertaining chess. With 1.e4 e5 2.d4 Nepomniachtchi played an unusual opening, which inspired Aronian to an unusual rook maneuver in the opening. And after this rook had done his duty, Aronian decided to sacrifice him. Black had a serious material disadvantage but the computer still liked Black’s chances better. However, Aronian decided not to tempt fate and opted for a draw through perpetual check. Final score: 3-1.
[What Mr Fischer doesn't mention is that computer engines show a -5.00 or so advantage for Aronian in the final position of the 4th game. The Armenian missed the winning line, but in the "Gourmet Club", the VIP room of the Mainz Chess Classic, so did a table of GMs including Mamedyarov, Gashimov, Sargissian, and Ivan Sokolov, who analyzed the position a move or so before the draw with Sebastian Siebrecht moderating for 7 or 8 minutes!]
Anand and Naiditsch again did not do much harm to each other and played the fourth draw of their match to share third and fourth place – traditionally in Mainz no tie-break is played in the match for third place.
So, Anand will have to wait for next year’s Chess Classic to get “his” title back. Aronian certainly welcomed such a rematch. As he said during the press conference: “It’s fun to play against someone who is tough. And Anand is really tough.”
It might well be that next year Aronian will indeed have a chance to see how tough Anand is. At the prize-giving ceremony organizer Hans-Walter Schmitt promised Anand a wild card – and the World Champion will not be the only one who is happy to return to the Chess Classic. To say it with the words of the new Rapid World Champion Levon Aronian: “This is such a wonderful tournament – everybody likes to play here.”
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It’s a beautiful day for Mamedyarov
By Eric van Reem
Finally he made it! He has tried six times to win one of the Opens in Mainz, but this year the Azeri grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won the ORDIX Open with a fantastic score. After 11 incredibly tough rounds he scored a record-breaking 10 points. Never before has a winner scored 10 points in the ORDIX in Mainz. Vugar Gasimov, Vladimir Akopian and Arkadij Naiditsch scored 9,5 points.
Immediately after the last game against Akopian, Mamedyarov spoke about the Chess Classic to the press officers Harry Schaack and Eric van Reem. A few statements from the 24-year old, who won the world junior chess championship in 2003:
“I am very happy that I finally won one of the Open tournaments here in Mainz. I have played in six tournaments and I always had a very good start. I often won the first five or six games in a row, but when I lost one game, things went from bad to worse. It is a probably a psychological problem, because the same thing also happened in other tournaments. I can remember that I played the Tal Memorial blitz tournament and started with with 8/8. I won every game, against Anand, Polgar, you name it. Then I lost a game against Karpov, although I had a completely winning position. After that game I lost track and lost 16 games in a row! Incredible, but I am working on it. Therefore, this victory is very important for me.”
“I like to play Chess960. I enjoy the FiNet Open in which I can play Chess960. This year Grischuk was unbeatable in Chess960. It is a pity that I can only play it once a year on top level here in Mainz. I get bored from playing openings like the Slav over and over again. I think that in about 15 or 20 years we will only be playing Chess960.”
“My best game was against Evgeniy Najer and in the fourth round I played a good game against Stanislav Novikov as well. The crucial game against Nakamura was a normal game for me. Well, maybe not a good game, but still very interesting. I had a lost position in my game against Sargissian, but somehow I even managed to win the game. You need a little luck to win an Open like this. I think that you can afford to lose one game in the Open, but not more than one.”
For your pleasure, we show you a pretty combination from by the winner against Najer from the 7th round:
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.g4 h6 8.h3 e5 9.Bd2 0–0 10.0–0–0 Re8 11.g5 hxg5 12.Nxg5 exd4 13.exd4 Nf8 14.Rg1 b5 15.c5 Bc7 16.Bd3 a5 17.Rg2 b4 18.Ne2 Ba6 19.Rdg1 Bxd3
20.Nxf7!! and White won.
Mainz Chess Classic 2009 | Ordix Open | Final Standings (top 40)
Photos © Christian Bossert / Mainz Chess Classic.
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