July 26, 2010 18:42

Ponomariov wins by a point in Dortmund

Ponomariov wins Dortmund by a pointRuslan Ponomariov from the Ukraine Sunday won the 2010 Sparkassen Chess Meeting, keeping his full point margin and strengthening his return to the world's elite. Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem finished on a splendid sole second place.

I must admit that after two weeks of enjoying the Provence region in France, with nothing but sun, baguettes and beautiful little villages, I've not quite settled down yet behind my computer. Hundreds of emails are still waiting to be answered, and then there's chess... what was it again, dark square down left, white queen on a white square, no?

'The best thing of going on holiday is returning home', my mother tends to say semi-jokingly, but even when it means saying goodbye to the mediterranean weather and returning to cloudy Amsterdam, for me returning does have one big plus. It's something I experience not too often. I switch on the computer, open the browser and go to ChessVibes.com, and then I can read many stories and articles that are completely new to me!

I haven't read everything yet but limited myself to the Dortmund articles for preparing this last round's report. It's surprising to see regular guests Kramnik and Leko underperform, although we shouldn't forget that such things happen to every player every now and then. Le Quang Liem is clearly a force to reckon with now that he finished his very first super tournament in clear second place. Like my compatriot Robert Gesink, who cycled his first complete Tour de France this year and finished on a 6th place, the Vietnamese GM kept pace with the strong field and eventually climbed to a solid plus one score.

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Le Quang Liem, who qualified by winning this year's Aeroflot, proved a more than worthy participant

It's too difficult to find a Tour analogy for every player, but if we try a few more then we have to name Mamedyarov Dortmund's Andy Schleck. The Azeri GM attacked aggressively and was a clear contender for victory, but his blunder against Naiditsch in round 6 was similar to Schleck letting his chain of his bicycle popping out of the derailleur in stage 15, just as he sought to distance himself from Contador.

Calling Vladimir Kramnik this year's Lance Armstrong would be too far-fetched, but it's clear that the 2010 edition wasn't his tournament. The 9-times winner fell off his bike twice, against Ponomariov and Naiditsch, and compensated this with wins against Naiditsch and Mamedyarov in the last round.

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Vladimir Kramnik thinking things over, before beating Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

This way Ponomariov kept his full-point margin in the final standings, and Kramnik caught Mamedyarov on shared third place with fifty percent. Leko finally won a game, against Naiditsch, and so the two shared last place with a minus two score.

By holding on to the yellow jersey in Dortmund, Ponomariov confirmed once more that he has returned to the world's elite. After finishing second at the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk and the final Grand Prix in Astrakhan, the Kings' Tournament in Romania went less successful. There the Ukrainian felt he played too superficial in the opening phase, but he remained optimistic for his next strong tournament, in Dortmund. And rightly so. Ponomariov virtually re-entered the world's top 10, for the first time since April 2006.

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With strong, all-round chess Ruslan Ponomariov secured tournament victory

Games round 10

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Sparkassen Chess Meeting 2010 (Dortmund) | Round 10 (final) standings
Sparkassen Chess Meeting 2010 (Dortmund) | Round 10 (final) standings

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The stage of the city theater in Dortmund

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A happy Ponomariov with flowers and trophy

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All players and some officials posing one more time

Photos by Georgios Souleidis

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers
Chess.com

Comments

Thomas's picture

Welcome back Peter, nice report with good cycling analogies - apparently you could follow the Tour de France while in France? Can't resist some nitpicking, though: it seems your translation after move 8 (last sentence) is a bit wrong, it should be "it looked like my opponent was well-prepared even here" - not necessarily better than Ponomariov (as the game suggests, but Pono didn't say so). [If you don't trust me, that's how Chessbase also translated it - presumably also done by a German native speaker]

In other words, Ponomariov hoped to surprise his opponent with 4.Bd3, but didn't - did Le Quang Liem wisely also look at the games of Pono's second?

P.S.: Only baguette, no nice French meals accompanied by a glass of wine? :)

fgdfd's picture

Kramnik just followed already published analysis from 64 magazine and was winning right out of his preparation without having to even think about his moves. Mamedyarov's preparation could be better.

iLane's picture

Welcome back and thanks for the report. It would be interesting to know what Mamedyarov had in mind when repeating Kramnik-Ponomariov 2009. Kramnik used no time in the first 20 moves while Shak lost without showing any improvement to the Ponomariov game. Strange indeed. :o

unknown's picture

Congratulations, Ruslan!

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