Big fights in the penultimate round

In the 8th round of the GRENKE Chess Open the players fought to get themselves in the best possible tournament position before the last round. Only board 1 saw a quick draw between Falko Bindrich (Germany) and Richard Rapport (Hungary), but on the remaining top boards fighting chess was on display everywhere. Anton Korobov (Ukraine) prevailed against Hagen Poetsch (Germany), Alexei Shirov (Latvia) scored a big black win against Jules Moussard (France) and, to the delight of locals and organisers alike, Vincent Keymer continued his great run in Karlsruhe with a win over Gabor Papp (Hungary). Thanks to their wins Korobov, Shirov and Keymer enter the last round in the lead with 7/8 and will fight for tournament victory on the stage, side by side with Magnus Carlsen and Co.

13-year old Vincent Keymer won against Gabor Papp

Vincent Keymer steals the show from favourites and Grandmasters at the GRENKE Chess Open and he is now only one step away from a total sensation as after his victory against Gabor Papp he is in the running for the first place at the GRENKE Chess Open. However, in the final round he will meet no other than second seed Richard Rapport. But regardless of how that game goes, Keymer played the best tournament of his young career and his first GM norm is already in the bag.

Anton Korobov didn't get much out of the opening against Hagen Poetsch, but gradually the Ukrainian Grandmaster took control of the position and pounced at the first opportunity to play a beautiful piece sacrifice and take home the full point.

Anton Korobov played a nice piece sacrifice against Hagen Poetscho

Alexei Shirov managed to get a crucial black win against Jules Moussard and now on paper has the best chance of winning the tournament as of the three leaders he will be the only one playing with the white pieces in the last round. Moussard played very strangely in the opening and his 45-year-old opponent from Latvia went on to win a pawn in the middle game and then convert this material advantage into a full point in the endgame.

Alexei Shirov scored an important black win against Jules Moussard

Some winners from the pursuer group can also still hope for shared first place. Dmitry Andreikin (Russia) defeated Maxime Lagarde (France), who was the tournament leader on tiebreak going into the round.

Dmitry Andreikin convincingly beat Maxime Lagarde

In the all-French duel Etienne Bacrot got the better of Jean-Noel Riff. Just like Andreikin the top seed is now once again in the race for a top places finish. Wang Hao on the other hand is out of contention for tournament victory as he couldn't get more than a draw against Christopher Noe. It is a precious half point for the young player from Eppingen, who will be playing for a GM norm in the last round.

Besides Falko Bindrich, the other German players on 6.5 points are Andreas Heimann, Eric Lobron and Michael Fedorovsky, who defeated Zdenko Kozul. All four will be fighting for a top place finish in the last round. for a lead in the final round. Daniel Fridman, the highest rated German participant, on the other hand could only draw against Grzegorz Nasuta (Poland) and is on 6 points.

Eric Lobron is having an impressive showing

In the race for the women's prize meanwhile it's down to four players. Anna Zatonskh (USA), Iva Videnova (Bulgaria) and Anastasia Savina (Russia) took advantage of Vijayalakshmi's defeat to join her on 5.5 points heading into the final round.

As for the rising stars in the tournament, Luis Engel is still on course for a norm. The 15-year old from Hamburg drew against Alexandre Danin and is likely to have secured the IM norm with a round to spare, as he's on 5.5 points. Of course we will publish all the realised norms after the last round and there will probably a lot more than those mentioned in this report.

The top 10 pairings for the 9th and final round look as follows:

1 8 Shirov, Alexei 7 Korobov, Anton   -  
2 2 Rapport, Richard 99 Keymer, Vincent   -  
3 30 Antal, Gergely 1 Bacrot, Etienne   -  
4 33 Malakhatko, Vadim 4 Andreikin, Dmitry   -  
5 10 Gordievsky, Dmitry 42 Lobron, Eric   -  
6 13 Landa, Konstantin 29 Santos Latasa, Jaime   -  
7 141 Baenziger, Fabian 15 Bindrich, Falko   -  
8 23 Heimann, Andreas 50 Fedorovsky, Michael   -  
9 41 Ider, Borya 3 Wang, Hao   -  
10 45 Noe, Christopher 5 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam   -

Round 8 Results
Standings after Round 8
Round 9 Pairings

GRENKE Chess YouTube

Text und Fotos: Georgios Souleidis

Translation: Fiona Steil-Antoni