24 October 2009

More from Mainz 2009

Following up my post on CCM9: Nakamura, Grischuk, and Rybka, there were reports on this year's Chess Classic Mainz (CCM) from other news sources than Chessbase.com. Before I get to them, it's worth giving one more link to Chessbase -- Mainz 2009 - Schmitt: 'I suffer vicariously with Anand' -- and a quote: 'With more than sixteen years of experience in the chess business, Hans-Walter Schmitt is one of the dinosaurs in the chess organizers circuit. With all his energy, stunning ideas and passion for the game, together with his friends he has developed the Chess Classic into the best and most popular rapid chess tournament in the world.'

The Chessbase article is more about CCM's flagship rapid event than its chess960 event, although the two share a common format.

In 2007 we changed the format to a double round robin with four players and a four-game final. We wanted to be able to upgrade the Ordix Open, but we also wanted to keep the opportunity to invite certain players to Mainz. The same format is applied in the Chess960 competition, in which the challenger for the world champions is determined in the FiNet Chess960 Open.

Here's a pre-event interview with defending chess960 champion Levon Aronian from the official CCM site Chesstigers.de: You need a good feeling for harmony • Chessninja.com (aka 'The Daily Dirt') featured a couple of posts which attracted comments from the Dirt's many loyal fans: Chess in the Mainztream and Nakamura 180 in Chess960 • Chessvibes.com had several reports on the event; here's one; follow 'Tags: Chess960' for more: Aronian and Nakamura qualify for Chess960 Wch final • Post-Mainz reporting included a wrapup article from NYTimes.com on Nakamura's win over Aronian in the final: A Game With 960 Possible Openings, but an American Champ Is Unfazed • Finally, here's an audio report from the ICC's Chess.FM (webcast.chessclub.com): Grischuk post-FiNet win. Insights from the interview with Grischuk included the following.

This year I was really very lucky on the second day. I scored 5 out of 6 but I could have easily scored 1 out of 6. There were some very memorable games, with Mamedyarov especially, and also obviously in the last round the only chance for me was if Kamsky loses and I win.

I'm pretty bad in this game in the opening stage. I've really improved since my first year. You cannot say I was in bad form because I won that year the normal rapid [event], but in Fischer Random I was totally humiliated. I was losing to amateurs with no fight. Then I learned.

The first year I was playing like g4/b4, but in order to play like this successfully you have to be either Aronian or Nakamura. They look to be the only two persons who do it successfully. Kamsky does it but he tries more like f4/c4, but they are g4/b4. It works for them, but for me it was just terrible. Since then I try to play a more central approach at the starting stage.

I also learned that you should not castle too quickly because you still keep the option to castle on the other side. In some positions it's totally clear to which side you will castle. Then it makes no sense to delay it.

I'll feature a Grischuk game in a future post.

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