Dortmund 2017 Ends With a Bang
This year’s edition of the Dortmund Sparkassen turned out to be very strange. Until Round 7 there was a total of 4 decisive games. In the last Round 7, all 4 games were decisive. Add to that the fact that Kramnik was last from Rounds 1 to 6 and you get the idea.
The tournament was won by Radoslaw Wojtaszek, who used to be a long-time second of Anand. He achieved his biggest triumph to date by beating Nisipeanu in the last round, scoring 4.5/7.
Second and third place were shared by Vachier and Fedoseev, both coming to +1 in the last round. Vachier beat Andreikin with Black in a b3 Sicilian chosen by Andreikin in an attempt to avoid theory. It worked and the position was very unbalanced by move 20. Still, it was White who needed to be more careful and Andreikin cracked. It was Andreikin’s first loss and Vachier’s first win.
Fedoseev beat Wang Yue in what seemed like a smooth game. Wang Yue’s opening went bad and from then on it was pure torture for him. He even didn’t show his usual stubbornness and resigned on move 39 where he could have played on for a long time. The tournament could have been much better for Fedoseev – he misplayed the theory early on and lost to Bluebaum in Round 2 and missed a clear win against Nisipeanu in Round 5. Still, a promising result for the young Russian as it is apparent that there are quite a lot of things he can improve.
Sole 4th was Kramnik, the only player on 50%. He only achieved that by beating Bluebaum in what is becoming his trademark last-round win.
A beautiful game by Kramnik. Though he tried, he couldn’t do anything similar in the previous rounds and spending the whole tournament in last place definitely wasn’t pleasant. He failed to win yet another Dortmund and lost 10 rating points in the process, but his spirit is intact. I am eager to see how far that spirit takes him in the World Cup.
Last places were shared by 4 players – Bluebaum, Andreikin, Nisipeanu and Wang Yue. Bluebaum should be satisfied, though his losses to Kramnik and Wang Yue show a lack of resistance typical for the elite level. Andreikin last round loss was unfortunate, but his save against Bluebaum with a rook and a pawn against two rooks was epic. Nisipeanu played too many times openly for a draw and eventually was punished. Wang Yue is below 2700 nowadays and is not the Top-10 player he used to be. His technique is still here, but the bad opening on the last day cost him dearly.
Dortmund didn’t shatter the chess world in any sense – no big novelties, no new world order. I would note the promising debut of Fedoseev and I am looking forward to his further elite appearances.
The summer has a lot of chess going on. The most exciting will definitely be the Sinquefield rapid and blitz with a certain retiree making a comeback. Time is approaching for that one…