Fans of the Bundesliga - the best chess nobody sees - may want to browse this page, where they can find all the Bundesliga games and results from the whole season, including this past weekend.
Entries in Bundesliga (6)
The latest Bundesliga season ended last weekend, with Baden-Baden winning for about the 30th time in a row. (Okay, it was only their ninth consecutive title. Other teams had better find rich benefactors if they hope to break this strangehold.) Levon Aronian was the special guest star helping push them over the edge to victory, scoring 2.5/3 over the final weekend to not only help them but himself as well as he aimed to recover from a poor finish at the Candidates.
More about that here, but I'd like to focus on Anatoly Karpov's surprise appearance. He played a couple of games, drawing with the lower-rated Felix Graf before defeating the 2664-rated Maxim Rodshtein in his second game, and with the black pieces. You can replay those games here, and I would especially draw your attention to Graf's unusual drawing combination in the first game. Most sacrifices involve captures - think of bishop sacrifices on h6 and h7, for example - but sometimes a piece is moved to an empty square. It's even rarer to have the first sac accepted only to have a second empty-square sacrifice on the next move, but that's just what Graf did. There are probably other examples of this happening, but I'm unable to recall any offhand. If you can think of some other examples, please share them with us!
It's nice to see him the world champion in action again, as he has been keeping a low profile for a while now in anticipation of his title match with Boris Gelfand scheduled for May 10-31 of this year. This weekend he played two games in the famed Bundesliga; both draws. The first was a crazy battle against Pavel Eljanov in which Anand had good winning chances; the second a short draw with the black pieces against Anish Giri.
About the Eljanov game, you can find short interviews with both Anand and Eljanov on this page, and if anything's clear it's that both players knew that Anand was better until he played 34.Bd1, and other than almost everything was unclear! Here is the bare game score:
Anand,Viswanathan (2817) - Eljanov,Pavel (2683) [D31]
Schachbundesliga 2011-12 Bremen GER (12.1), 17.03.2012
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 e6 6.e4 Bb4 7.e5 Nd5 8.Bd2 b5 9.axb5 Bxc3 10.bxc3 cxb5 11.Ng5 h6 12.Qh5 g6 13.Qh3 f5 14.exf6 e5 15.f7+ Kf8 16.Ne6+ Ke7 17.Nxd8 Bxh3 18.gxh3 Rxd8 19.dxe5 Kxf7 20.Bg2 Nc6 21.0-0 Nxe5 22.f4 Nd3 23.f5 gxf5 24.Rxf5+ Ke6 25.Rh5 a5 26.Rxh6+ Ke5 27.Be1 N5f4 28.Bg3 Kf5 29.Rf1 Kg5 30.Rb6 Rab8 31.Ra6 Rf8 32.h4+ Kg4 33.Bf3+ Kh3 34.Bd1 Rg8 35.Rf3 Rbd8 36.Kf1 Ne5 37.Rxf4 Rxd1+ 38.Ke2 Rgd8 39.Rxa5 R1d2+ 40.Ke3 Ng4+ 41.Ke4 Re8+ 42.Kf5 Ne3+ 43.Kg6 Nd5 44.Rxb5 Nxf4+ 45.Bxf4 Rd3 46.h5 Rxc3 47.h6 Rb3 ½-½
From regular reader (and commenter) Thomas:
The deadline to submit team compositions has just passed, these are the most spectacular newcomers (all info only available in German for the time being [DM: source here]):
- Aronian will play for (what used to be) a rather modest club from Berlin that narrowly escaped degradation last season. SF Berlin ("Schachfreunde" = Chess friends) were actually praised for relying mostly on German players (which explains the difficulties they had). Though Aronian, who lives in Berlin, is hardly a typical mercenary. Even funnier: he will play second board because his student Hrant Melkumyan (Elo 2600) also joins the club and wants to play first board.
- The €€€ star team from Baden-Baden hired another (ex-)world champion: Kasimdzhanov who will probably play on the lower boards.
- Another "rusty" world champion, Anatoly Karpov, will play for Hockenheim that just promoted to first division "as his international commitments permit". Years ago he gave his name to a chess academy there and actually shows up there every now and then.
- Finally, Bremen hired not just Romain Edouard, but also Ivan Salgado Lopez and Jon Ludvig Hammer.
Regular readers of this blog will recall that I often refer to the Bundesliga competitions as the best chess nobody sees. Many of the world's best players participate in leagues, with the German Bundesliga traditionally the strongest of them all, but because the events generally aren't well publicized to the chess community at large and takes place over many months, most fans barely know about it.
That's a pity, but not always. Sometimes, even the greats screw up royally, and on those occasions the comparative obscurity of the Bundesliga is an advantage. So with apologies to Alexei Shirov, one of the best and most enterprising players of the last 20 years or so, you can find a surprising howler of his here.