On the basis of those stereotypes, which are unsuccessfully driven into one's head by school literature programmes, many people of my generation (I will not speak for young people) assume that Germany is a conservative country, not inclined to welcome any innovation. Of course, this is not true, or rather  not in general true. The world (and chess is no exception) is in a constant state of dynamics, with Germany at the forefront of the innovation process, so that the traditional picture is largely outdated. But to turn to chess. Changes were made this time to the «Grenke» Festival, which ahs already established itself. Previous festivals were usually run under the formula "an elite round robin + open", but, apparently, the organizers did not wish to be stuck with the established format and are trying to find something new or maybe they wish to implement further the idea of the ​​democratization of the chess community? Or maybe there are other factors. Although last year's tournament with Carlsen, Caruana, Aronian, Anand and Co. was interesting, exciting (won, we recall, by the world champion, with Naiditsch second), this year it was decided to change the format. In any case, this fact cannot but please the broad masses of working grandmasters.

The current «Grenke Chess Open» gathered 940 participants in three sections. The prize fund of the "A" tournament is 40 800 euros, of which 10,000 will go to the winner. The organizers are proud to note that the line-up (26 grandmasters with rating over 2600 and more than 100 players with Elo coefficient above 2400) can compete with their counterparts in Gibraltar and Qatar. By the way, the tournament changed its location - last year it was in Baden-Baden, this year in Karlsruhe. But the shift is negligible, and the event remains within the confines of Bad-Württemberg.

Li Chao is top seed 

List of players

The official website «Grenke Chess Open» points out that it is not often that the likes of Gata Kamsky, Alexei Shirov, Arkady Maiditsch and Loek van Wely meet each other in an open tournament. Clearly this refers to round robin events, rather than opens, which are rather more common.

Alexei Shirov. Will there be 'fire on board' again?

Given the size of the field, it is a little early to draw many conclusions after the first five rounds. but the leading group contains a few surprises, with not all the favourites making a great start. Kamsky, for example, has just a modest 3,5 points. Many interesting moments can be seen in the current round, for example: 

Kunin - Fedoseev

Vladimir had quickly driven his opponent into a passive position and was looking forward to exploiting his trumps in a quiet endgame. But suddenly he lost concentration 20…Rfc8? – forgetting about his central pawn. 21.f3 Bg6 22.Rb5 b6 23.Rxd5 – and it was a matter of converting the extra pawn, although the Russian player could probably have posed his opponent greater problems  (1:0). This allowed Kunin to lead (together with Milos Perunovic) the table.

One of the female players Ekaterina Atalik (Turkey)

The young but already quite experienced Austrian GM realised his advantage convincingly:

Donchenko - Ragger

After 31…Rxf3 White had to play 32.exf5 [On 32.Kxf3 – 32…Qd3 33.Kg2 (33.Kf4?? – 33…h5 mating quickly) 33…Qxe4 34.Kg1 Nd4   etc] 33…Qe2 34.Qxb6 Rxf5 – the heavy-piece ending is not much fun for White but he hasreasonable drawing chnaces. But the German played less than ideally:

There followed 41…Kh5! 42.Qe1 Rd3 43.Kh2? e4 44.Qa5 f5 45.Qa7 h6 46.Rg1 e3 47.Rg2 e2 48.Qe7 Rd4 49.Kh3 Re4 White resigns (0:1).

Scores after 5 rounds

Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Text: Sergey Kim