Chess Classic Mainz – 16th ORDIX Open

Eight players with a perfect score after first day

Article by Eric van Reem

The ORDIX Open is a fixed date in the chess calendar for many rapid chess lovers and this year no less than 694 participants made the yearly pilgrimage to Mainz. After the first five rounds, there are still eight players with a clean sheet: Grischuk, Sargissian, Meier, Mamedyarov, Naiditsch, Navara, Landa and Nielsen. Six more rounds will be played on Sunday.

However, Saturday kicked off with the second signing session of the week. Many chess players took the opportunity to meet and greet some of the world’s best chess players. Cups, T-shirts, books, pictures, you name it – everything was signed with a smile from the grandmasters. Even WGM Natalia Zhukova obviously misses some signatures in her collection and queued up to get some pictures signed.

Hard to believe, but the Chess Classic is already counting down the days to the end of the chess festival. However, in Mainz we try to keep the best for last and in the final weekend the traditional ORDIX Open is held.

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GM Georg Meier

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GM Sebastian Siebrecht

The big names in the ORDIX this year are Gashimov, Grischuk, Kamsky, Movsesian, Nakamura, Naiditsch and Kasimdzhanov but there are many experienced grandmasters who love to play the rapid open in Mainz each year like Rafael Vaganjan, Vlastimil Hort, Ulf Andersson and Klaus Bischoff. We counted 172 (!) players with an international title and 67 grandmasters! Two ex-chess world champions started in the ORDIX today, Rustam Kasimdhzanov and Alexander Khalifman.

In the first few rounds the grandmasters have a relatively easy job, although some of players who just finished the Chess960 Open obviously had some difficulties with position 518, the normal starting position which is played this weekend. Hikaru Nakamura, who won the Chess960 world championship this week, had a day off on Friday and seemed to have an “off day” in his first round game against Chess Classic bulletin maker Timo Schönhoff. The German amateur had a really promising position and the crowd gathered round the board to follow the game. However, Schönhoff missed a tactical blow by Nakamura and lost the game.

It is difficult to spot the gems in a tournament with 347 games per round. If you go through the endless rows you see an exciting sacrifice on one board, a dreadful time scramble on another board, a dramatic blunder somewhere else. On the top boards on stage some strange things happened. In the game Ante Brkic – Vugar Gashimov the highest rated player in the ORDIX missed a tactical blow.

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Vugar Gashimov

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Crowd in the ORDIX Open

Alexander Grischuk, who desperately wants to win this ORDIX to become the first player in Chess Classic history to win both Opens in one year had some difficult moments in his game against Gofshtein. White was a pawn down and Grischuk had only twenty seconds left on the clock. However, the time control in Mainz is 20+5 and by making a few quick moves you can gather some time on the clock. After 29. Qd4 b6? 30. Rde1! Bxc5 31. Qxe4 Qxe4 32. Rxe4+ Kf8 33. Re2 Rd8 34. Rdxg2 Rxg2 35. Rxg2 white suddenly had a slightly better endgame, that Grischuk won with remarkable ease (replay bellow).

Interesting stuff, and you can play through the top games of the ORDIX yourself to spot some nice combinations here and there. All transmitted games can be downloaded from the official site, the easiest way to do that is by clicking on the LIVE portal and scroll down to the 16th ORDIX Open. Then download the transmitted games in .pgn format. Tomorrow six more rounds will be played, and the 6th round starts at 10.00 AM.

Official website

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