:: Chess Classic Mainz 2007

Anand, the new number one, targets all titles
Chess Classic Mainz 2007 brings many innovations - Anand goes for the Chess960 crown

by Harry Schaack (translation by Mark Vogelgesang)

At this year’s Chess Classic in Mainz (August 13 - 19 at the Rheingoldhalle), the world’s new number one chess player will for the first time fight for the crown in Chess960, where the starting position of each game is determined by chance. By winning the last six matches he fought in Mainz, Viswanathan Anand was able to prove that he is the strongest rapid chess player in the world. This year, however, he will cross swords with three other world-class players in an event that mixes tournaments and matches in order to determine the new World Champions in rapid chess and in Chess960.

Anand, who could collect his tenth win at the Chess Classic, will face strong competitors. In addition to Levon Aronian, reigning Chess960 World Champion, two more players qualified for the event: Etienne Bacrot, winner of last year’s FiNet Open, and Rustam Kasimdzhanov, winner of last year’s ORDIX Open and FIDE World Champion of 2004. If everything goes according to plan for Anand, he might travel to the showdown in Mexico, where the new World Champion in traditional chess is determined, as reigning title holder in Chess960 and in rapid chess, and might even finish the year as a triple World Champion.

Hans-Walter Schmitt, the event’s organizer with a focus on spectators and customers, is especially happy about the fact that the new format allows him to present even more games each evening. And he is convinced that Anand takes the title in Chess960 very serious. “He wants to win every important tournament in the world at least once” says the organizer from Bad Soden. And Hans-Walter Schmitt, the person who made Chess960 popular in Germany, does not harbour any doubts that the event in Mainz is one of those tournaments.

From August 14 to 16, four players will fight for the crown in Chess960 by playing three games each evening, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Rheingoldhalle. Following this event, from August 17 to 19, the winner of the GRENKELEASING Rapid World Championship is determined. On the last day of each event, the final standings are determined in matches consisting of four games.

But the Chess Classic offers more than just two super tournaments; open qualification for the world championships are part of the Chess Classic. The ORDIX-Open (August 18 - 19), which will be played for the 14th time, is the world’s strongest open tournament in rapid chess. Again, about 600 players are expected to participate. Looking at the numbers and strengths of the players, there is no Chess960 tournament in the world that can compete with the FiNet Open (August 16 - 17), now in its 6th edition. “In both tournaments, there are substantial prices to be won” explains Hans-Walter Schmitt, and adds: “but on top of that, the winner knows that he is qualified for next year’s World Championship.”

In addition, the organisers of this event, the Chess Tigers, have a tradition of supporting young and aspiring players. Last year’s initiative “Regio111”, which provided strong young players from chess clubs within 111km (66 miles) the opportunity to participate for free, will be continued in the form of two tournaments: the Mini-ORDIX and Mini-FiNet (August 14 - 15). In these two tournaments, young and aspiring players can play each other under excellent playing conditions. Their games will be broadcasted live, and the most successful players earn the right to play on the big stage, at the centre of attention. GM Artur Jussupow, director of the Chess Tigers university and regarded as one of the best trainers in the world for many years, will be available to both parents and children during the tournament and during the breaks. He will answer questions that parents or children might have.

Maybe the new wunderkind from India, Parimarjan Negi, will play in those tournaments. He will play for sure in both open tournaments and is expected to do very well. On August 13, 40 players will have the opportunity to join a simultaneous exhibition and play traditional chess against a top 10 player, whose name cannot be disclosed just yet.

- Interview with Viswanathan Anand >>>
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Last update by Webmaster25/04/2007 >>>