On 4th and 5th of February the 8th and 9th round of the Schachbundesliga took place. The top teams Baden-Baden, Bremen and Eppingen prevailed and will fight for the title in the highest German chess league.
Article and photos by Georgios Souleidis
The rounds 8 and 9 of the Schachbundesliga took place this weekend in Berlin, Emsdetten, Dresden and Solingen. The matches in the German capital with the appearance of the teams Berlin, Baden-Baden, Hamburg and Trier were played in the city hall of Schöneberg, where John F. Kennedy held a speech on 26th of June 1963 with the famous quote “Ich bin ein Berliner”.
Surely most of the players didn’t know about the historical importance of the venue while concentrating on their games. Many chess fans were attracted by the appearance of Levon Aronian, who is a member of SF Berlin this season, and came to watch the games.
The Armenian superstar competed against Alexei Shirov (OSG Baden-Baden). After the Semi-Slav opening he sacrificed a knight for some initiative. Shirov invested enough time to find an adequate solution for the problem. He gave back the piece after which the draw was the logical result.
In the rest of the games Baden-Baden had no problems to capitalise the superiority of their players regarding the elo ranking and won 6:2. With the same result they prevailed against Hamburg on Sunday. With 16 points they are still the league leader and the team to beat.
Bremen toughest contender
Werder Bremen is still the toughest rival of OSG Baden-Baden. The team of Northern Germany played in Emsdetten. After beating Katernberg, a part of the city of Essen, on Saturday, they had to play against Mülheim-Nord on Sunday, a theoretically equal opponent.
Quite surprisingly they had no problems and won 5,5:2,5. The most successful player was Luke McShane winning both of his games, including a nice victory against the current European champion Vladimir Potkin. With 15 points Bremen is ranked second after nine rounds.
Watch out for Eppingen
There is still a third team capable to fight for the German championship. It is SC Eppingen, hailing from a small town of south-west Germany. The club developed in the recent years to one of the best teams in the Schachbundesliga.
The lineup includes elite players like Pentala Harikrishna, Viktor Bologan and several Hungarian top grandmasters. On this weekend Eppingen won against Dresden and König Tegel (team of Berlin). With 15 points they are ranked third after nine rounds.
Vitiugov beats Austria’s No. 1
The fourth playing venue was Solingen. Most of the attention was absorbed by Nikita Vitiugov, who is a member of the team SV Wattenscheid (West-Germany). The Russian Grandmaster played against Markus Ragger (SG Solingen) on Saturday. With his win Vitiugov was one of the architects of the success of Wattenscheid. After beating Solingen, Wattenscheid also prevailed against Remagen with 5:3.
The next round of the Schachbundesliga will take place on 25th and 26th of February.
You can follow all games of the Schachbundesliga via the live portal. There you can replay all games of every round of the season 2011/12.
Standings after nine rounds:
Rank Team Points
1. OSG Baden-Baden 16
2. Werder Bremen 15
3. SC Eppingen 15
4. SG Solingen 13
5. SV Wattenscheid 11
6. SF Katernberg 11
7. SF Berlin 10
8. SG Trier 9
9. Mülheim Nord 9
10. SV 1930 Hockenheim 8
11. SK König Tegel 7
12. Turm Emsdetten 6
13. USV TU Dresden 4
14. Hamburger SK 4
15. SC Hansa Dortmund 4
16. SC Remagen 2
For detailed standings please look here