Final in the last round

In the last round of the GRENKE Chess Open we expect to witness a „grande finale“ between Nikita Vitiugov and Zdenko Kozul. In round eight, Vitiugov convincingly won the top game against Vladimir Fedoseev and leads the table with seven points. Kozul has the same number of points, but the second criteria of the Swiss System puts him on second place.  

Nikita Vitiugov showed why is the top-seed in the Open. He played a magnificent game against Vladimir Fedoseev and secured first place after eight rounds. In a Catalan Opening, Vitiugov rapidly controlled the center of the board and put a strong knight on e5. He castled queenside, which is uncommon in this opening.

The 30-year old Russian started an attack on the kingside and his advantage gradually grew. With a nice combination he won two pawns and converted his advantage with ease. Vitiugov now leads the table before the start of the last round and plays against Zdenko Kozul on the top board on the big stage.

Kozul, the European Champion of 2006, won with ease against Kaido Kulaots. He took full advantage of a  bad pawn structure and won the rook ending. It is a surprise to see the experienced grandmaster, born in 1966 on the top boards again. He drew his games in round 3 and 4, but managed to win four games in a row.

Zdenko Kozul

There are twelve players who still hope to share first place. Maxim Matlakov is one of the candidates, who stopped a great run by Meilis Annaberdiev. Etienne Bacrot is another candidate. The French top grandmaster won three games in a row.

Etienne Bacrot is back

It is a surprise to see that the young International Master Alexander Seyb also has 6,5 points. He is the best German player after eight rounds. In the last three rounds he scored 2,5 points. He is not only fighting for a nice part of the opulent prize fund, but he is eager to score a Grandmaster Norm as well.

Alexander Seyb

Sarasadat Khademalsharieh is the best female player oft he Open with 5,5 points. Although she only scored a draw in the penultimate round, her antagonist for first place in the female prize category, Swaminathan Soumya lost against Norwegian grandmaster Torbjorn Ringdal Hansen.

Sarasadat Khademalsharieh from Iran

The pairings of round 9 are as follows:

1 12 Kozul, Zdenko 1 Vitiugov, Nikita   -  
2 15 Melkumyan, Hrant 2 Matlakov, Maxim   -  
3 17 Landa, Konstantin 3 Bacrot, Etienne   -  
4 18 Bosiocic, Marin 4 Rapport, Richard   -  
5 5 Fedoseev, Vladimir 21 Onischuk, Vladimir   -  
6 25 Bogner, Sebastian 6 Moiseenko, Alexander   -  
7 35 Moussard, Jules 10 Grandelius, Nils   -  
8 11 Kuzubov, Yuriy 104 Seyb, Alexander   -  
9 7 Kamsky, Gata 54 Lubbe, Nikolas   -  
10 53 Kollars, Dmitrij 8 Kovalenko, Igor   -