Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

Dortmund Chess Tournament (1)

Mamedyarov and Ponomariov are Round 1 winners in Dortmund

Ruslan Ponomariov was a Round 1 winner against Peter Leko. Photo © Georgios Souleidis.

Ruslan Ponomariov was a Round 1 winner against Peter Leko. Photo © Georgios Souleidis. |

The first round of the Dortmund tournament saw two decisive games. The round itself started an hour late after the opening ceremony attended by Mayor Ullrich Sierau ran over. In addition the organisers are delaying the broadcast of the moves by 15 minutes a procedure which is aimed at reducing the chances of computer analysis finding its way back to the players, I remain unconvinced as to its usefulness and looks like a gesture more than anything else.

Defending Champion Vladimir Kramnik. Photo © Georgios Souleidis :

Sparkassen GM Dortmund (GER), 15-25 vii 2010 cat. XX (2731)
1 2 3 4 5 6
1. Ponomariov, Ruslan g UKR 2734 * * . . . . . . 1 . . . 1
2. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2761 . . * * . . . . . . 1 . 1
3. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2790 . . . . * * ½ . . . . . ½ 2681
4. Le Quang Liem g VIE 2681 . . . . ½ . * * . . . . ½ 2790
5. Leko, Peter g HUN 2734 0 . . . . . . . * * . . 0
6. Naiditsch, Arkadij g GER 2684 . . 0 . . . . . . . * * 0

Round 1 (July 15, 2010)
Ponomariov, Ruslan - Leko, Peter 1-0 57 C45 Scotch Game
Kramnik, Vladimir - Le Quang Liem ½-½ 64 D19 Slav Defence
Naiditsch, Arkadij - Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 0-1 47 B90 Sicilian Najdorf Variation

Playing hall in Round 1. Photo © Georgios Souleidis :

Arkadij Naiditsch got a miserable position shortly after the players left theory. He overlooked a tactic which exposed his weak back rank and lack of development and by move 24 was close to being lost.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov


Arkadij Naiditsch

Position after 18...0-0

Now here 19.Bg5 seems best because the game went

19. Rf1 Qd6 20. Rxf5 Qxd5 21. Rxe5 Rae8! 22. Bf4 Rxe5 23. Qxe5 Qxe5 24. Bxe5 f6

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov


Arkadij Naiditsch

Position after 24...f6

and here it is clear white is in for a very long struggle to hold this position. He has a weak back-rank with his king shut in by black's bishop. Nor did 25.Bd4 Bxd4 26.cxd4 look very much more appetising.

Mamedyarov won in 47 moves.

Le Quang Liem debuts in his first super tournament. Photo © Georgios Souleidis :

The favourite Vladimir Kramnik achieved very little against Le Quang Liem's Slav Defence. Indeed Kramnik had to be perhaps a little careful. They traded into an ending where Kramnik had a passed d-pawn but these heavy piece endings are notoriously drawish. However Kramnik being Kramnik he certainly found a way to test his opponent Le Quang Liem who after his Aeroflot Open success qualified for this, his first super-tournament. However in the end Le held comfortably enough in the final game to finish.

Le Quang Liem


Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 33...Rc8

Ruslan Ponomariov got off to an ideal start with a win against Peter Leko. Photo © Georgios Souleidis :

Ruslan Ponomariov and Peter Leko discussed a variation of the Scotch Defence.

Peter Leko


Ruslan Ponomariov

Position after 22...c5

This position seemed to be fairly balanced but white retained something of an edge due to slightly more active pieces and the weak b4-pawn created when his knight was exchanged on that square. They eventually traded down to a Rook and pawn ending where Ponomariov had a passed a-pawn.

Peter Leko


Ruslan Ponomariov

Position after 39.a4

Rook and Pawn endings are notoriously tricky. At first sight it seemed to me that Leko should be able to hold this (possibly 39...Rb2+ instead of grabbing the g-pawn immediately.) but very quickly his position became hopeless.

Peter Leko


Ruslan Ponomariov

Position after 50...Kxh5

White's King returns to the Kingside too quickly.

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