March 18, 2012 18:28

On the Bundesliga, Vishy Anand, Mickey Adams and... Mario Basler

On the Bundesliga, Vishy Anand, Mickey Adams and... Mario Basler

After two more victories this weekend (one with the smallest possible margin against their big rival Werder Bremen) the team from Baden-Baden is very close to winning yet another Bundesliga title. Eric van Reem was in Bremen this weekend and reports about the two matches played by OSG Baden Baden on Saturday and Sunday.

Luke McShane, Vishy Anand and Anish Giri chatting, and playing, in the Bundesliga, in the Weser Stadium in Bremen, Germany

Close match decided by Michael Adams - OSG Baden Baden wins 4.5-3.5

Photos & report by Eric van Reem

It was the match chess lovers had hoped for: the clinch between the titans of the Bundesliga OSG Baden Baden and Werder Bremen was a nail-biting match in which 16 top grandmasters battled it out. In the end only one game was decided: Michael Adams won his game against Laurent Fressinet, the other seven games were drawn: 4,5-3,5. With this win, OSG Baden Baden will almost certainly defend its title.

In the 12th round of the German Bundesliga, the number one OSG Baden Baden with 20 points, met its biggest rival Werder Bremen (19) in the beautiful business lounge of the Weser Stadium, where normally the local football club with the same name meets his opponents.

The interior of the Weser Stadium | Photo by Henning Ihmels under the GNU Free Documentation License

One of the most famous goals ever scored in the stadium is the following:

In the lounge of the stadium, a text is dedicated to this goal, placed on one of the 'corners':

"When you do it really super, you can score directly with a corner kick. This is what Mario Basler did with his goal against Freiburg, which eventually resulted in a 5-1 home victory here in the Weser Stadium on 10 March 1995."

Since the football club had an away game against German Champ Borussia Dortmund on the same day (which they lost 1-0), the lounge was filled with top grandmasters today.

The defending champion from Baden Baden shocked the home team when World Champion Vishy Anand walked in, together with his manager Hans-Walter Schmitt and some of the other players. It was the first appearance of the World Champion in the Bundesliga since February 2010.

Anand, who is preparing for the world championship match against Boris Gelfand, which starts on 10 May, must have been surprised that he met Pavel Eljanov on the other side of the board, because it was the first Bundesliga game of the season for the Ukranian grandmaster as well.

World Champion Vishy Anand facing Pavel Eljanov on board 1

But we should not forget that some other formidable grandmasters showed up today: Shirov, Svidler, Nielsen, Adams, Naiditsch, Kasimdzhanov and Bacrot for Baden Baden; Efimenko, Fressinet, McShane, Roiz, Nyback, Hammer and Areshenko for Werder. And let’s not forget that in the same lounge another match was played between Emsdetten and Trier. Emsdetten played with five Dutch players, Anish Giri representing his team on board one.

Bremen and Baden Baden played some tight matches in the recent past, as you can see in the table below:

2010/2011 Baden-Baden – Werder Bremen 5-3
2009/2010 Baden-Baden – Werder Bremen 3-5
2008/2009 Baden-Baden – Werder Bremen 4-4
2007/2008 Baden-Baden – Werder Bremen 4.5-3.5
2006/2007 Baden-Baden – Werder Bremen 6-2
2005/2006 Baden-Baden – Werder Bremen 4-4
2004/2005 Baden-Baden – Werder Bremen 4.5-3.5

Unfortunately, this match could have been the last one on this level. In a press statement, published only shortly before the match against Baden Baden, the Werder Bremen officials describe a radical change of strategy. You can read the statement here (in German).

In short: Werder Bremen wants to focus on the youth in the future and the club wants to give young talents the chance to play in the Bundesliga team. They want to have a good and stable mixture of professional players and amateurs. Winning the Bundesliga will not be the top priority anymore.

Back to the match: what happened on board one between Anand and Eljanov? It did not take long until the game attracted many spectators in the playing hall due to the unusual position on the board. A pretty sharp game unfolded in which Anand seemed to have the upper hand, but Eljanov defended very well and even got a better position.

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After the game, Anand commented:

It was a very complicated game. I thought I had an advantage and I had some ideas, but it was hard to play, because his knights controlled many important squares. I was very unhappy with 34.Bd1? and I think black had some chances after that. After the time control I was safe again.


Video by Georgios Souleidis: Vishy Anand

Eljanov confirmed that it was a very complicated game and he was happy with the draw:

I completely forgot my preparation after 12.Qh5, so I was happy to get back into the game at all. I might have had some chances, but in the end I was happy with the result.

Video by Georgios Souleidis: Pavel Eljanov

Pavel Eljanov and Vishy Anand after the game, with Peter Svidler

Another key game in the match was the crazy game on board seven, between Peter Heine Nielsen (Denmark) and Tomi Nyback (Finland. ) The Danish Grandmaster bashed out his moves quickly: after 28 moves Nielsen still had 1 hour and 30 minutes left, Nyback only seven. However, after 28…Be8, Nielsen went into “deep thinking mode” for more than an hour and uncorked 29.g5. Peter Svidler, who had just finished his game against Efimenko (draw) was “worried” about white’s position. He was right, because Nielsen blundered with 30. Bd5??. However, Nyback missed 30…Rc1! and offered a draw just a few moves later. A narrow escape for Baden Baden!

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Video by Georgios Souleidis: Peter Heine Nielsen

Peter Heine Nielsen vs. Tomi Nyback

In the only decisive game, Michael Adams had a microscopic advantage after a Ruy Lopez against Laurent Fressinet. In his typical boa constrictor style, Adams gradually improved his position and eventually won the game after 66 moves and 6,5 hours of play, securing his team a 4.5-3.5 win.

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Mickey Adams and Laurent Fressinet jus after their game finished

The other match in Bremen between Emsdetten and Trier ended 4.5-3.5.

OSG Baden-Baden vs Turm Emsdetten

Baden Baden against The Netherlands? Turm Emsdetten played with no less than five players from the neighboring country in Bremen and faced the strong team from Baden Baden on Sunday. Emsdetten scored an important win on Saturday against Trier, but now they faced Baden-Baden, the team that played with the same line-up as on Saturday.

Turm Emsdetten played with Giri, Mchedlishvili, Spoelman, Ipatov, Swiercz, Brandenburg, Janssen and Pruijssers

Vishy Anand played on board one against Anish Giri, the only 2700+ player in the Emsdetten squad. After 22 moves Giri offered a draw, which was accepted by the World Champion.

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Giri will play the European Individual Chess Championship in Plovdiv, which starts on Monday 19 March. In Bulgaria, he will meet some of the players that played in Bremen this weekend:  Bacrot, Naiditsch, Efinemko, Fressinet, Roiz and Nyback to name just a few.

Although Baden Baden played with no less than six 2700+ players against Emsdetten, they had to work hard for their win. Dariusz Swiercz had the upper hand against Etienne Bacrot after the opening. The Frenchman used a lot of time and was down to 1 minute after only 19 moves. However, Bacrot somehow managed to keep his position and the game eventually ended in draw. Swiercz told us after the game that 16. fxe5! instead of 16.Qc6?! would have been much better and possibly winning.

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Dariusz Swietcz vs. Etienne Bacrot

Adams (again!) and Nielsen won their games with the black pieces. Kasimdzahnov had an edge against Pruijssers and could have finished the game elegantly with 34. Qxe7! Qxe7 35.a7, but he played 34. Qxa7 instead and had to fight a few hours more to secure the win in a complicated endgame.

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The post-mortem of Kasimdzhanov vs Pruijssers with Anand and Giri kibitzing

The other games ended in a draw, the match ended 5.5-2.5.

In the other match in Bremen between Werder Bremen and Trier, Laszlo Gonda beat  Zaher Efimenko in a beautiful game. However, that was not enough to shock the home team. Bremen won the match convincingly in the end.

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Hungarian grandmaster Laszlo Gonda (2536) played a brilliant game

Bundesliga 2011-2012 | Round 13 standings

# Club R + = - MP BP
1 OSG Baden-Baden 13 12 0 1 24 67.5
2 Werder Bremen 13 10 1 2 21 63
3 SC Eppingen 13 9 2 2 20 59
4 SG Solingen 13 9 1 3 19 59.5
5 SF Katernberg 13 7 1 5 15 49.5
6 SV Wattenscheid 1930 13 6 2 5 14 53
7 SV 1930 Hockenheim 13 5 4 4 14 52.5
8 SG Trier 13 6 1 6 13 54.5
9 SF Berlin 1903 13 5 3 5 13 49
10 SV Mülheim Nord 13 5 2 6 12 51
11 SK Turm Emsdetten 13 4 2 7 10 46
12 Hamburger SK 13 4 2 7 10 45.5
13 SK König Tegel 13 3 1 9 7 39.5
14 USV TU Dresden 13 3 0 10 6 40.5
15 SC Hansa Dortmund 13 1 4 8 6 37.5
16 SC 1950 Remagen 13 1 2 10 4 41.5

The last Bundesliga weekend is in one month from now, with the 14th round on Saturday, Aprl 14th and the 15th and final round on Sunday the 15th. The team of OSG Baden-Baden will probably secure a new Bundesliga title in its home town against Eppingen and Hockenheim.

Visitors watching the games in a separate room

Editors's picture
Author: Editors


Anonymous's picture

Anand: "After the time control I was safe again."

I am sure relieved that the World Champion knows
how to make things 'safe' with the White pieces!

redivivo's picture

The question is how correct his assessment of the position is though, some say 41. ... b4 was a winner for Eljanov.

Chess Fan's picture

I am sure we are right questioning Anand's competency in judging the position. After all, he is just the World Champion!

Chess Fan's picture

To be fair to World Champion Anand, we need to take his comment in the whole context. Cutting and pasting part of his conversation and commenting to him is not a fair interpretation of what he said overall.

Thomas's picture

Even the World Champion can be wrong - after all he's human (not an engine) and nobody is perfect. But in fairness to Anand (or any other player in the same situation) he gave his impression shortly after the game: either he didn't see any danger after 41.Ke4 (maybe the only moment when he could have been lost), or he didn't remember or realzie that this was just after, rather than before the time control.

In the same situation, Kramnik might have said "I need to check this with a komputar", and Nakamura "in the end the result is all that matters" ... .

Mike Hunt's picture

Mickey is better than Karpov in his pomp with converting tiny edges. It must be a nightmare playing against him with black anyway.

noyb's picture

"Mickey is better than Karpov ... with converting tiny edges."

Wow. Seriously. Try reading "Endgame Virtuoso Anatoly Karpov" by Tibor Karolyi & Nick Aplin.

Bob's picture

Whether or not he is better at this than Karpov was, he is pretty darn good at it.

Claude's picture

2 of 4 teams playing in Bremen had 0 Germans playing for them, Baden Baden had 1 (Naiditsch), Trier had 2 ( Seger and Kolbus)

The money spent on Anand alone would probably pay for more than hundred training sessions for young players with a highly qualified trainer.

This whole absurd circus of team competitions may produce some nice games for the fans, but I cannot help but wonder why anyone would invest his money into this?

RealiityCheck's picture

Sorry but GM Naiditsch aint really Deutsch. Since Doc Huebner, germany hasn't any home-grown top notch International GM's. Their best players (not including Fritz) are all imports from the former east block.

Stephen's picture

Is there anywhere I can find out more about the history of the Bundesliga (chess) ?

Thomas's picture

Some basic German may be required, but you can try then "Daten" and "Archiv" (or "Partien").

Janis Nisii's picture

Super Mario war Hier (Super Mario was here) should be translated as well 'cause it was intended.

Tiger-Oli's picture

Hey Realiity Check,

you are pretty wrong with your statement about the German players. The team that won the European title last year in phenomenal style - with Gustafsson, Meier and Buhmann, there were three "home grown" German players in the team. Check it out!
Naiditsch came to Germany when he was 11 or so, and as for Fridman, you may be right with your statement. Still, he is pretty popular here. All in all, it might not be as sinister as you said.

Thomas's picture

Even Fridman (according to Wikipedia) relocated to Germany in 1999 at the age of 23 before he became a grandmaster in 2001 - though he kept representing Latvia until 2006. He has German citizenship, speaks fluent German, what more do you want? It's a globalized world ... is Giri Dutch??

Raja's picture

I am a Chess fan from India - whatsmore belong to same city as WC Vishy Anand.
Past one year has been a disappointment from Vishy Anand - he is playing safe, dull games and settling for quick draw. Anyone reviewing his games history will know what I am talking about. I think he is preparing for World title match with Topalov so he is not revealing his preparations. Is it fair to do so, officially "yes" but for fans like me "no".

About the citizenship discussions, Vishy Anand was prevented a Doctorate honor by the Indian corrupt and vengeance administration because he is living for long in Spain.

Anonymous's picture

Yes, the political situation is India is very sad.

Anonymous's picture

What a belly Anand has! Top grandmasters are supposed to be in good physical form, let alone world champions. Does he exercise at all?

Septimus's picture

Why do you care about his belly? Since when did chess require good physical shape? He is not going to be running a marathon with the chess pieces is he?

Anonymous's picture

Gelfand's belly didnt' stop him from eliminating those slimmer GM's did it?

hansen's picture

ahh stumbled upon this Septimus once again. Your insecurities are coming out; I am sure you are not in good shape which is why you lash out every time someone mentions the topic. I suggest you spend more time at the gym and less time commenting on chess threads about how physical shape doesn't matter. You'll feel better, look better, and realize you were completely wrong. Chess is more sport these days and it will show if it hasn't begun to show already. Games are much faster and the level is improving and improving of chess to the point where any advantage counts and being in good shape is helpful. Good luck shedding those pounds!

Septimus's picture

hansen, hope you stumbled into some sense along the way to finding this thread. (One can, but hope!)

FYI, my half-marathon time is at a respectable 7:21/mi. Maybe you shed some of your brains in the gym instead of mass? Of course that could be presumptuous of me to imply that you had brains in the first place. Sorry.

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