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Check and mate: Charge of the Indian brigade in Europe

While Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik are battling it out in the World Championship at the Art and Exhibition Hallin Bonn, two other tournaments are in progress in Europe, involving a number of top 10 players, reports B Shrikant.

other Updated: Oct 24, 2008 00:01 IST
B Shrikant

When the big boys are playing, you tend to miss out on what the others are up to.

So while Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik are battling it out in the World Championship at the Art and Exhibition Hall here, two other tournaments are in progress in Europe, involving a number of top 10 players.

There are Indians too in action in the European Club Cup at Kallithea in Greece and the Essent Open at Hoogoven in the Netherlands.

The European Club Cup has players like Magnus Carlsen, Vassily Ivanchuk, Levon Aronian, Teimour Radjabov, Dimitry Jakovenko, Gata Kamsky, Peter Svidler, Alexei Shirov, Michael Adams, Ruslan Ponomariov and Boris Gelfand, all of whom are rated 2700 and above.

Ivanchuk is ranked third in the world in the latest list, Carlsen is fourth, Aronian is seventh, Radjabov is eighth and Jakavenko is tenth. This means that six of the top 10 in the world, barring world number 1 Veselin Topalov, No. 2 Alexander Morozevich of Russia and No. 9 Peter Leko of Hungary besides Anand and Kramnik are not playing in the event.

Anand's club OSC Baden-Baden is also in the fray with Carlsen leading the way and Pentala Harikrishna providing the Indian flavour. Krishnan Sasikiran is the other Indian in action and he is representing CC Zagreb.

In the women's section, GM Koneru Humpy is leading the charge for defending champions Monte Carlo while Dronavalli Harika is with Economist SGSEU Saratov, a Russian club.

After Wednesday's sixth round, Baden-Baden was leading the table with Ural Sverdlovskaya second and PVK Kiev Chess in the third position.

In the women's section, Monte Carlo are leading the table with T-com Podgorica in the second spot. Harika's club was placed third going into the final round on Thursday.

Indians are also doing well in the Essent Open with world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta placed joint-second with 4.5 points while Parimarjan Negi placed 11th with 4 points. Grandmaster Neelotpal Das is placed 17th, Sahaj Grover (55th), Prasanna Rao (33) are in the fray in the tournament that ends on Saturday.

‘Are you here on a rescue mission?’

This question was put to Russian Grandmaster Evgeny Bareev minutes after he walked into the press centre just before the start of the seventh game between Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik on Thursday.

The 41-year-old Bareev was Kramnik's second when he defeated Gary Kasparov to win the Classical World Championship crown in 2000 and also helped him prepare for the title defence against Peter Leko of Hungary four years later. Bareev was also with Kramnik during the turbulent clash with Veselin Topalov at Elista in 2006.

Though the question was asked in jest, Bareev clarified he was in Bonn as a journalist and was writing for a few newspapers.

He recently authored a book, 'From London to Elista', on his association with Kramnik.

With Kramnik trailing 1.5-4.5 against Anand, he can sure do with some ideas from Bareev, whose best ranking was world No. 4 in 2003 with an ELO of 2739.

Indian support for Anand

There were two Indian supporters of Anand among the pre-dominantly European spectators in the tournament hall.

Prashant Mayur, a 38-year-old psychiatrist from Sydney and his nine-year-old daughter Kadambari, have come from India where they were on a four-week vacation.

"I am a great fan of Anand and normally keep track of his games on the Internet. An opportunity arose this time and we came to watch the seventh and eighth games," said Prashant.

This will be a unique experience for Kadambari, who will be watching a match of this importance for the first time.

FIDE chief stays away

The economic meltdown left an impact when FIDE president Kirsan Illyumzhinov decided not to visit Bonn.

A chess fanatic who has supported the game for many years through personal resources, Illyumzhinov is also President of the Republic of Kalmykia. The reason for the absence was his preoccupation with the crisis.

"I send my sincere congratulations to two outstanding players, V Anand and V Kramnik who are fighting, with skill and fairness, for the world crown.

I would like to thank them for the emotions and excitement they are giving to chess lovers all over the world," said Illyumzhinov, who is usually present during major events organised by FIDE.