Vladimir Kramnik retired from classical chess in January, but in the blitz opener of the Levitov Chess Week he showed he’s still not so rusty. He matched the 5/7 of Vishy Anand but took first place after winning their individual encounter. Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Boris Gelfand, Anish Giri and Evgeny Bareev all finished below the former World Champions in the unusual closed event in Amsterdam. Peter Svidler is making highlight videos each day.
Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alexander Grischuk also made the short trip from Paris to Amsterdam, while Peter Svidler had to cross the Atlantic after commentating on the Paris event from Saint Louis. Our very own Jan Gustafsson is also on location, or at least we think that’s what he’s been doing in Amsterdam…
The line-up, including veterans Boris Gelfand and Evgeny Bareev, is down to the organiser, Ilya Levitov, for whom the event is partly a 40th birthday celebration. Ilya was in charge of the Russian Chess Federation from 2010 to 2015, when he oversaw the Russian team captained by Bareev and, among other things, helped organise the 2012 Anand-Gelfand World Championship match in Moscow.
So for his birthday, of course, it was rapid and blitz on the menu, with the tournament in the 5-star Amsterdam Waldorf Astoria beginning with a 7-round 3+2 minute blitz tournament. The games aren’t being broadcast live on the internet, but you can watch them all after they’re over. Here’s Saturday’s blitz.
Vladimir Kramnik got off to a slow start with a draw against Nepomniachtchi and a loss to Evgeny Bareev (now living in and representing Canada), but he began a run of 4 wins in 5 with victory over Peter Svidler. 29…h5? “wins a piece”, but it’s one of those things not to try at home.
It seems as though Black has everything under control, but the e8-rook is undefended, which Kramnik was able to exploit with 27.Bxe5! Qxe5 28.R7d5! Vishy gave up his queen with 28…Reb8, but Vladimir went on to grind out a win in 57 moves.
The final standings of the blitz looked as follows:
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