Reports | July 21, 2012 10:36

Karjakin, Kramnik and Naiditsch lead in Dortmund

The stage of the Schauspielhaus Hiltropwall in Dortmund

Things are heating up in Dortmund, where still three players are sharing the lead with just two rounds to go. Sergey Karjakin and Vladimir Kramnik maintained their top position in the last two rounds, scoring 4.5/7, and one German player has the same score: Arkadij Naiditsch.

The stage of the Schauspielhaus Hiltropwall in Dortmund | All photos © Georgios Souleidis, more here

Event Sparkassen Chess Meeting | PGN
Dates July 13-22, 2012
Location Dortmund, Germany
System 10-player round robin
Players Kramnik, Karjakin, Caruana, Ponomariov, Leko, Bartel, Gustafsson, Naiditsch, Meier, Fridman
Rate of play 40 moves in 100 minutes, then 20 moves in 50 minutes, then 15 minutes to finish the game with 30 second increment from move 1.

The players, in a good mood, during the traditional signature session on the rest day (Wednesday)

Round 6

The header above this article is almost the same as the one after the fifth round, when Karjakin, Kramnik and Ponomariov were sharing the lead. The names Naiditsch and Ponomariov switched positions in round 6. Naiditsch, who lives in Dortmund, defeated his compatriot Jan Gustafsson surprisingly quickly. In a King's Indian, "Gusti" missed a move from his opponent that suddenly won an exchange.

PGN string

With this win, Naiditsch caught the leaders in the standings. As the official website mentions, this result should be rated even higher when you take into account that the 26-year-old German player is not in the best physical shape. He was bitten by an insect before the tournament and needs to visit a doctor every day before his game!

The surprise of the round was Mateusz Bartel's victory over one of the leaders, Ruslan Ponomariov. Just after the queens were exchanged, White got into trouble and Bartel also played the ending well.

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About the following game, Leko said:

Against almost anyone I would have won this easily, but Sergey showed that he is a world class player.

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After the game, Karjakin tweeted:

It was a good preparation from me and Peter for todays game! It was not so creative, as it was possible.This is a modern chess.One more draw

Vladimir Kramnik showed how broad his repertoire is these days: he went for the Grünfeld against Daniel Fridman. This game was drawn in 39 moves. Caruana-Meier saw the same result, but the Italian missed a winning tactic somewhere:

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Round 7

Just like in Monday's 4th round, all games in round 7 ended in draws. In Bartel-Fridman the evaluation switched a few times just before the time control.

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The game between Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Leko, who fought for the World Championship in 2004 in Brissago, lasted almost 8 hours. Kramnik reached a favorable ending but it seems that he missed a win twice.

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Thanks to Georgios Souleidis who writes daily round reports in German at the official website.

Schedule and results

Round 1 15:00 CET 13.07.12   Round 2 15:00 CET 14.07.12
Fridman ½-½ Gustafsson   Gustafsson 0-1 Kramnik
Leko ½-½ Ponomariov   Bartel 0-1 Karjakin
Caruana ½-½ Naiditsch   Naiditsch ½-½ Meier
Meier 1-0 Bartel   Ponomariov 1-0 Caruana
Karjakin ½-½ Kramnik   Fridman ½-½ Leko
Round 3 15:00 CET 15.07.12   Round 4 15:00 CET 16.07.12
Leko 1-0 Gustafsson   Gustafsson ½-½ Bartel
Caruana 1-0 Fridman   Naiditsch ½-½ Kramnik
Meier 0-1 Ponomariov   Ponomariov ½-½ Karjakin
Karjakin ½-½ Naiditsch   Fridman ½-½ Meier
Kramnik 1-0 Bartel   Leko ½-½ Caruana
Round 5 15:00 CET 17.07.12   Round 6 15:00 CET 19.07.12
Caruana 1-0 Gustafsson   Gustafsson 0-1 Naiditsch
Meier ½-½ Leko   Ponomariov 0-1 Bartel
Karjakin 1-0 Fridman   Fridman ½-½ Kramnik
Kramnik ½-½ Ponomariov   Leko ½-½ Karjakin
Bartel 0-1 Naiditsch   Caruana ½-½ Meier
Round 7 15:00 CET 20.07.12   Round 8 15:00 CET 21.07.12
Meier ½-½ Gustafsson   Gustafsson - Ponomariov
Karjakin ½-½ Caruana   Fridman - Naiditsch
Kramnik ½-½ Leko   Leko - Bartel
Bartel ½-½ Fridman   Caruana - Kramnik
Naiditsch ½-½ Ponomariov   Meier - Karjakin
Round 9 13:00 CET 22.07.12        
Karjakin - Gustafsson        
Kramnik - Meier        
Bartel - Caruana        
Naiditsch - Leko        
Ponomariov - Fridman        

Dortmund 2012 | Round 7 standings


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.


DirkBredemeier's picture

Very sad for Kramnik... the variations given above that lead to victory against Leko seem rather simple, at least for top-grandmasters.
I think Karjakin has the "easiest" finish.

vosuram's picture

"Kramnik reached a favorable ending but it seems that he missed a win twice." At least. Peter, thank you for a professional (as usual) coverage of the event in English!

WhiteBishop's picture

I will always admire some of Peter Lekos games but I will never accept his attitude towards the sport. If I know from preparation that a certain line is a draw, why playing it? Its no particular achievement to find such lines and moves in the computer era. The difference between Leko and the elite is like that: everybody finds such forcing drawing lines, but tops play them if they want a sure draw (as Karjakin) while Leko plays them to .. yeah, show having his homework done. But sorry Mr.Leko, bad marks for you. Why? The target of the game is to inspire, the target of the sport is at least to pose problems to your opponent. Both objectives completely missed.

Thomas's picture

Leko didn't just show how deep his preparation was, at the same time he checked the depth of Karjakin's preparation. If Karjakin hadn't been well-prepared, Leko would have "at least posed problems" - after all black had to find several only moves. And during the game, spectators without engines may well have been inspired - so Leko at least tried or aimed at achieving both objectives. As it turned out, Karjakin was equally well-prepared - but it isn't all evident to be well-prepared for every possible line and to anticipate a novelty.

It makes even less sense to suggest that Karjakin played this line to achieve a sure draw. If Leko hadn't gone for forcing play, it would have been a normal game and a normal Catalan - possibly a boring non-inspiring draw, or maybe a long positional fight as in Kramnik-Leko the very next day (which also did end, but shouldn't have ended in a draw).

Daniel's picture

Thanks for the coverage. Let' see if Naiditsch surprises us...

Daniel's picture

Thanks for the coverage. Let' see if Naiditsch surprises us...

Born's picture
Chess Fan's picture

Sergei Karjakin seems to be the new rising chess superpower. Let us see whether he sustains.

After shooting his mouth about the quality of games in the World Championship, I was disappointed with Ruslan's finish in his loss game. These pretenders should have an unwritten rule: To shut all their holes up in being so critical about the World Championship until they are good enough to at least qualify NOW in the World Championship.

RG's picture

I disagree. I think it is more interesting (and exciting) for GM's to always give their unvarnished opinion. And as a former FIDE champion, Pono's opinion is definitely worth hearing.

Septimus's picture

In that era, Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand are the only worthy world champions. None of the others matter.

JSolv's picture

The latest win by Caruana against Kramnik was the most interesting so far... What a fighter that kid is...

Johnnie's picture

Fab wins, Kramnik is his client :-) When there's no rabbit to feed on, old Vlad loses...

Anonymous's picture

Kudos to the American Caruana for his win against Kramnik. For some reason Chessbase gives more question marks to Fab than to Vlad!

Thomas's picture

For that game, Chessbase's question marks seem to be (at least semi-)automatically generated by engines whenever there is a relatively big change in the evaluation. Basically it indicates that Caruana missed two continuations that engines consider a faster or easier win, while the buildup of his advantage was more gradual and no single move by Kramnik was criticized.

From a human perspective, Kramnik's 27.-h5 would deserve more question marks (that's when he apparently lost control) than Caruana's 40.h4 which was still winning, but not "as winning as" 40.Be3+.

redivivo's picture

The Chessbase analysis in general is on an abysmal level, just look at their summary of Kramnik-Leko:

"Whether or not he could have won it is unclear" is what they say concerning if Kramnik ever had a winning position. The 37. Rbxb6 win and the later ones involving Nxf4 at different times weren't too tricky, but there were numerous others, for example the more difficult 94. d6 that is a tablebase mate in less than 20 moves after the forced take on d6. So to say that it is unclear if Kramnik ever could have won the game makes it hard to imagine that they even looked at the game or any of the previously published analysis of it.

Rini Luyks's picture

Come on, Chessvibes, still not a word about Biel? With Carlsen as a substitute for Dominguez, wow! Naka, Moro and Dutch champion Giri and Bacrot and Wang Hao.
Can't wait!!

Rini Luyks's picture

Come on, Chessvibes, still not a word about Biel? With Carlsen as a substitute for Dominguez, wow! Naka, Moro and Dutch champion Giri and Bacrot and Wang Hao.
Can't wait!!

Rini Luyks's picture

Sorry, two clicks...:)

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