Reports | August 09, 2010 2:53

Kamsky wins Grenke Open in Mainz

Kamsky wins Grenke OpenGata Kamsky today won the super strong Grenke Open rapid tournament in Mainz, Germany. The reigning US Champion started with a stunning 9/9 and then drew with Gashimov and Grischuk to clinch the title smoothly.

Gata Kamsky, the unofficial Rapid World Champion 2010 | Photo Christian Bossert

Gata Kamsky is the one and only winner of the Grenke Open! After eleven hard fought rounds, the current United States Champion scored 10 points and remained unbeaten. The man with the cap played fighting chess, never just played for a draw - even with the black pieces - and deservedly won the first Grenke Open Rapid World Championship. Hats off to the man with the cap!

Gata Kamsky's New York cap

The second day of the Grenke Open started with no less than 12 players with a perfect 5/5 score, but soon that number of 100% scorers was reduced. After eight rounds, only Gata Kamsky was able to keep the pace and he was the only player with a perfect score. He won in great style against Markowski, Aronian and Karjakin in rounds 6, 7 and 8. The 45-minute lunch break was used to get some fresh air and after that, the Kamsky train kept on rolling. The 36-year old United States chess champion played against ex-world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov in the ninth round and was on the brink of losing his first game of the tournament, but he escaped somehow and even won in the end. That’s rapid chess, sometimes you need a little luck.

In the penultimate round he scored a draw against Vugar Gashimov, who also played a great tournament and remained unbeaten as well. In the last round against Grischuk, Kamsky played a Grünfeld variation which he had not played for a long time and had to survive some critical moments, but in the end he got the draw he needed to clinch home the title. With 10 points (+9=2-0) he won the Grenke Open, €6000 and the traditional winner’s jacket. Vugar Gashimov, Levon Aronian and Evgeny Bareev scored 9.5 points.

The top 3 in Mainz: Gashimov, Kamsky and Aronian

Obviously the 36-year-old was happy with his result. “I like to play in Mainz and I almost won the Chess960 tournament last year, but I am happy that I won this tournament this time. Hans-Walter Schmitt invited me to Mainz a few years ago and I accepted, mainly because I love Tigers. I asked him after my first tournament in Mainz if I could get one of the tigers they have on stage. Schmitt agreed, and I took one of the big tigers with me to New York. It is placed on a nice spot in my appartment and sometimes I hug my tiger.”

With Kamsky’s win in the Grenke Open, another big “Mainz” title was taken to the USA: last year Hikaru Nakamura won the Chess960 Open and the American chess program Rybka by Vasik Rajlich, won the Chess960 computer world championship. How about a Chess Classic USA?


The next tournament on the Kamsky agenda is the Baku Open, (22-30 August) and after that Kamsky will play the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. Next year, as a finalist of the previous cycle, Kamsky has been given direct entry to the 8-player Candidates Tournament to determine the challenger for the World Chess Championship 2012. The Candidates Tournament will begin with best-of-four game match format, and Kamsky will most likely face Veselin Topalov in the quarterfinals in Kazan, Russia. And next year, he has to come back to defend his world title. "I hope that I can play a rapid match against Vishy Anand in Mainz next year, which would be a real challenge!”

(Report thanks to press officer Eric van Reem)

Mainz Chess Classic 2010 | Grenke Open | Round 11 (Final) Standings (top 100)

Mainz Chess Classic 2010 | Grenke Open | Round 11 Standings

Games rounds 6-11

Game viewer by ChessTempo


More than 700 players in one playing hall

The stage during the last round

The stage during the last round, with Kamsky, Grischuk, Karjakin and Gashimov


Viktor or Viorel Bologan


Sergei Movsesian


Alexander Grischuk


Jan Gustafsson vs Vugar Gashimov


World Champions Alexandra Kosteniuk and Miso Cebalo (left), the latter vs Ulf Andersson


The winner against the best female player in Mainz: Gata Kamsky vs Anna Zatonskih


Two friends, organizer Hans-Walter Schmitt (r.) and World Champion Vishy Anand, who came and watches a few games after his simul on Friday

Gata Kamsky gets the traditional winner's jacket...

Gata Kamsky gets the traditional winner's jacket...

...and wears it with style

...and wears it with style (this time with a special Chess Tigers cap)

Photos © Christian Bossert, Chess Tigers


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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.


ebutaljib's picture

"with this win, Kamsky has showed that he is really well prepared for the candidates match"

Apples and oranges.

Jochem's picture

I really wonder why Grischuk-Ghaem Maghami ended in a draw? The final position is a win for black. I was watching the live relay and it looked as more moves were played after Ke5, after which the black win was even more clear.

CAL|Daniel's picture

@Jochem time maybe was an issue?

Is there a cross table somewhere to see who Gata played?

Jochem's picture

They played with a 5 sec increment, so I doubt it.

Here are the standings, you can click on a player to see his/her details:

Holy Tramp's picture

First, you work for your rating, then rating works for you...

Peter Doggers's picture

One of the organizers told me that indeed some more moves in severe time trouble were played in Grischuk-Ghaem Maghami.

hansie's picture

Hats off to Kamsky! I'm sure that Gata is going to beat Topailov in Kazan and may even possibly win the Candidates. If he does that, then Anand's throne would really be under a potent threat ...

Jochem's picture

Peter, thanks for enquiring!

ozan's picture

good to see kamsky on top:)
but dissapointing that there were no 4 players tournement and fischer chess:(
so bad!..

Juan's picture

with this win, Kamsky has showed that he is really well prepared for the candidates match. (IMO 2010 US Championship was not sufficient).

Thomas's picture

Not quite apples and oranges - Kamsky's chances in the candidates matches seem to be realistic once or if he reaches rapid tiebreaks!? But we already knew that, at one occasion he has won the Amber rapid event.

Coco Loco's picture

Nice to see Bareev at the top again.

Old IM's picture

Amazing video with A.Kosteniuk

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