Reports | October 19, 2012 11:09

Karpov shines as chess legends meet in Potsdam's Kaiserbahnhof

Last weekend a very special chess event was held at Kaiserbahnhof train station in Potsdam, Germany: nine teams consisting of railway employees, three youth players and one chess legend faced eachother. Especially Anatoly Karpov played an excellent tournament and led Russia to victory, ahead of Germany (with Robert Hübner on board one) and the Netherlands (with Jan Timman).

A chess event in the Kaiserbahnhof in Potsdam

The Kaiserbahnhof in Potsdam has a long and interesting history. At Wikipedia we read that its construction started in 1905 by the volunty of the German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II, and was used as his private station. The first official guests were Theodore Roosevelt and the Czar Nicholas II of Russia. From 1939 it was used by the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe at Wildpark Potsdam and, during the Second World War, for the special train of Hermann Göring. After 1945, it was the terminus station of the Blue Express, a train used by the Soviet military command on the route Moscow–Berlin. From 1952, it was owned by the East German state railway company (Deutsche Reichsbahn) and subsequently used as an operating fund, political school, cultural space and for Transportpolizei; until the closure of 1977, due to be in danger of collapsing. In 1999, the building was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Kaiserbahnhof in Potsdam | Photo Dieter Brügmann, Wikipedia

On 13 and 14 October the Kaiserbahnhof was the location of a unique chess event, organized by the German Railways, the German Chess Federation and the Emanuel Lasker Society. Eight teams (plus one selected by the Lasker Society) consisting of railway employees, three youth players and one chess legend faced eachother in a rapid event (20 minutes + 5 seconds increment). Five rounds were played on Saturday and four on Sunday.

Inside the Kaiserbahnhof, which never saw so many chess players before

Russia played with former World Champion Anatoly Karpov on board one, who led his team to victory with an undefeated 6.5/8 score. On boards two and three they had two strong U16 players: IMs Grigori Oparin and Michail Antipov.

Anatoly Karpov playing against Austria's Stefan Kindermann

Poland came with 2011 World Junior Champion Dariusz Swiercz, who scored a mixed result on board one: 4/8. Former World Championship Candidate Vlastimil Hort was the obvious choice for the Czech Republic. He only won one game, but it was against the 21 years younger Nigel Short!

Vlastimil Hort, here in his game against Elisabeth Pähtz

Viktor Kortchnoi couldn't come and play for Switzerland, unfortunately, so this country was represented by 27-year old IM Oliver Kurmann. Austria played with Stefan Kindermann on board one, who would later put on a historical costume and play the role of the famous chess master and opera composer François-André Danican Philidor (1726-1795). He played a blindfold simul against three opponents. 

Saturday night Philidor's times were relived in Potsdam | Photo Louisa Nitsche

Former World Championship Candidate Jan Timman led the Dutch team to a respectable third place. However, this was not due to just him. On board two, Jorden van Foreest, one of Holland's biggest talents, became the second best player on his board behind GM Martin Krämer. Here's a nice example of his play:

PGN string

Jan Timman, board one for the Netherlands

Germany played with former World Championship Candidate Robert Hübner, who only lost to Timman. Update: Hübner also lost to Short.

A handshake before the game between Robert Hübner and Jan Timman

Hübner led his team to second place, helped by two young IMs, Dennis Wagner and Alexander Donchenko.

Alexander Donchenko

And then there was team selected by the Emanuel Lasker Society, which included Elisabeth Pähtz, GM Martin Krämer and IM Gernot Gauglitz on top boards. You can find the complete composition of the teams here.

Trans-Europa Chess Express 2012 | Final standings

Rk Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 TP BP
1 Russia * 5 6 6 5 14 42
2 Germany * 4 4 4 6 5 11 37½
3 Netherlands * 4 7 7 4 6 10 38½
4 Lasker Gesellschaft 3 4 4 * 4 4 5 10 35
5 Austria 4 1 4 * 5 5 5 10 31
6 Poland 2 4 3 * 4 8 29
7 Czech Republic 2 4 1 3 4 * 6 28½
8 United Kingdom 3 2 4 3 * 6 3 25½
9 Switzerland 3 2 3 2 * 0 21

Board 1 results

Rk Player Fed W D L Pts
1 Karpov, Anatoly RUS 5 3 0 6.5
2 Short, Nigel GBR 5 1 2 5.5
3 Timman, Jan NED 4 2 2 5.0
3 Kindermann, Stefan AUT 3 4 1 5.0
5 Swiercz, Dariusz POL 2 4 2 4.0
5 Hübner, Robert GER 2 4 2 4.0
7 Hort, Vlastimil CZE 1 3 4 2.5
8 Pähtz, Elisabeth ELG 2 0 6 2.0
9 Kurmann, Oliver SUI 0 3 5 1.5

Board 1 games

PGN file

You can download all available games in PGN here

The tournament was entitled “Trans-Europa Chess Express – Logic meets Logistics”. The organizers wrote:

Over the course of the 150-year history of the European East-West Rail Corridor, the railway has not only enabled the exchange of goods and thus promoted economic development, but also encouraged the people of Europe to travel and therefore promoted cultural integration. These cultural links between European nations also include chess and it was no mere coincidence that the first international chess tournaments in 1851 and 1862 were held in the United Kingdom, the birthplace of the railway. However, we are not only committed to upholding tradition, but also firmly believe in the future of the railway as an integral part of a European transport network.

Many of the games were transmitted live online and there was
commentary by GMs Helmut Pfleger, Klaus Bischoff and Raj Tischbierek 

During the event there was also an exhibition commemorating Emanuel Lasker's eventful life and extensive travels

Karpov with Chief Financial Officer of the German Railways Richard Lutz at the historic chess set with which the
World Championship match between Emanuel Lasker and Carl Schlechter was played in Berlin 1910

It was with these pieces that Schlechter missed his chance to enter the chess hall of fame...

We thank Frank Hoppe who provided photos. We used his report to write ours. 

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.


noyb's picture

Fantastic report, thank you!

john's picture

Next year hoping to see Anand as well in this touna ment.

Anonymous's picture

nice report, but the pgn link is missing :(

Peter Doggers's picture

Oops, there was an error in the link, now good.

karel's picture

OMG so nice Jorden Van Foreest

Nigel Short's picture

Excellent report! One small correction: I also beat Robert Huebner.

Peter Doggers's picture

Ah, indeed, I've corrected that.

Anonymous's picture

Are you the real Nigel Effin Short?!
Hah, Chessvibes is GREAT!! :-)

S3's picture

Some very nice games by Karpov, he should play more often !!

Gerhard's picture

I scrolled through the games results and found, that Hübner won against Timman. That should be corrected.

Latest articles