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Dortmund 2008 Begins

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Get out your finest Adidas track shoes, it's time for the Dortmund Sparkassen sprint. Seven rounds from start to finish, beginning Saturday the 28th and ending Sunday July 6. Unlike most sprint events, this one has two rest days, Monday and Thursday. Starting time is 1500 local time, 9am EDT. That's when we'll be kicking off our live radio commentary as well on ICC Chess.FM. My hosting shtick of pandering, name dropping, trivia, insult, lunacy, and ribaldry will hopefully be drowned out by the superlative analysis and true tales of Grandmasters de Firmian, Benjamin, Har-Zvi, Christiansen, and Kaidanov.

The Dortmund field: Kramnik, Mamedyarov, Leko, Ivanchuk, van Wely, Nepomniachtchi, Naiditsch, Gustafsson. Kramnik destroyed a significantly stronger field last year, putting the Big Vlad Machine into cruise control for a +3 undefeated score. Anand, Carlsen, and Gelfand were there last year, though Carlsen had yet to bloom into CARLSEN! by that point and finished on -1. It was a dull event, by and large, with half the field finishing undefeated. Three players -- Anand, Leko, Alekseev -- scored identical +1 -0 =6 lines. Adding young firebrand Ian "ctrl+v" Nepomniachtchi to the field this year can't hurt. Ivanchuk is playing some of the best chess of his life. van Wely's usually good for a few pretty losses. Just kidding, Loeky, you know we love you. But the Dutchman has been sinking more than flying lately. He finished close to the cellar at the Aerosvit this month and had a horrendous -4 performance at the Russian Team Ch in April. Again I ask, will Stellwagen or any other members of the new Dutch generation step up to Corus level? Sokolov and Tiviakov are clinging on, but haven't exactly been embraced by the locals.

But this tournament is, as ever, about Vladimir Kramnik. You could surely get good money taking the rest of the field against him. He's won or shared first in the event eight times, including the last two editions. He hasn't played a classical event since his mediocre Corus showing (6.5/13) and won't have another serious warm-up before his October WCh match with Anand. [jackieo posts below that Kramnik will defend his Tal Memorial title in August, which is a recent development.] Leko hasn't played classical chess since his disastrous Linares performance. He just showed good form at the powerful rapid event in Yerevan. (Although he did choke in the final round while in the lead, something that has become an unfortunate tradition for him.) Mamedyarov is another x-factor. He had a strong result at the Baku GP, probably his best-ever super event result. Naiditsch and Gustafsson will be playing for survival, but anything can happen in such a short event. And it's worth remembering several amazing Dortmund upsets in recent years. Naiditsch took clear first with +2 in 2005, ahead of Kramnik, Topalov, Leko, et al. And of course Bologan's fantastic win in 2003 after qualifying by winning the Aeroflot. (Nepomniachtchi has that spot this year.) I don't know much about Gustafsson, other than that he seems to have some deep prep in the Marshall. He'll get a tag when he wins a game!


Excellent Preview. But, more importantly, for your reader family: how's the little Migster? Can we have a pool on date/time/name for a game? Tell your Bride our prayers are with you and her!

A correction is needed in the Dirt post. Kramnik will also play in the Tal Memorial from (I think) Aug 18 to 28 which will be before he faces Anand at Bonn.

And we're off to a rousing start in Round One; four draws and a cloud of dust... lol

Yup, it's Dortmund all right... Where Kramnik is king and draws are the law of the land.

Not blaming this on Kramnik, please no flame wars, it's just a little joke. There are often a lot of draws at Dortmund it seems to me, but I think Leko and Shak will certainly do what they can to raise the draw percentage even more than big Vlady, as he at least only draws with black pieces.

So Gustafsson gets his tag now! Poker need *not* harm your chess ability.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 27, 2008 4:04 PM.

    What's in Supertournament? Dortmund, Biel was the previous entry in this blog.

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