US Champion Kamsky Wins Mainz Rapids!
By Eric Van Reem   
August 8, 2010

Gata Kamsky is the winner of the GRENKE Open in Mainz, Germany (August 6-8). After eleven hard fought rounds, the current United States Champion scored 10 points and remained unbeaten. The man with the cap played fighting chess, never just played for a draw, even with the black pieces. He deservedly won the first Open GRENKE Rapid World Championship.  

The second day of the GRENKE OPEN started with no less than 12 players with a perfect 5/5 score, but soon that number of 100% scorers was reduced. After eight rounds, only Gata Kamsky was able to keep the pace and he was the only player with a perfect score. He won in great style against Markowski, Aronian and Karjakin in rounds 6, 7 and 8.




The 45-minute lunch break was used to get some fresh air and after that, the Kamsky train kept on rolling. The 36-year old United States chess champion played against ex-world champion Rustam Kasimdhzanov in the ninth round and was on the brink of losing his first game of the tournament, but he escaped somehow and even won in the end. That’s rapid chess, sometimes you need a little luck.


 In the penultimate round he scored a draw against Vugar Gashimov, who also played a great tournament and remained unbeaten as well. 


In the last round against Grischuk, Kamsky played a Grünfeld variation. He had to survive some critical moments, but in the end he got the draw he needed to clinch home the title.


Gata Kamsky and Alexander Grischuk, Photo Eric van Reem

With 10 points (+9=2-0) he won the GRENKE OPEN, €6000 and the traditional winner’s jacket. Vugar Gashimov, Levon Aronian and Evgeny Bareev scored 9.5 points.

Obviously the 36-year old was happy with his result. “I like to play in Mainz and I almost won the Chess960 tournament last year, but I am happy that I won this tournament this time. Hans-Walter Schmitt invited me to Mainz a few years ago and I accepted, mainly because I love Tigers. I asked him after my first tournament in Mainz if I could get one of the tigers they have on stage. Schmitt agreed, and I took one of the big tigers with me to New York. It is placed on a nice spot in my apartment and sometimes I hug my tiger.” 

With Kamsky’s win in the GRENKE OPEN, another big “Mainz” title was taken to the USA: last year Hikaru Nakamura won the Chess960 Open and the American chess program Rybka by Vasik Rajlich, won the Chess960 computer world championship.  

The next tournament on the Kamsky agenda is the Baku Open, from 22-30 August and after that Kamsky will play the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansysik. Next year, as a finalist of the previous cycle, Kamsky has been given direct entry to the eight player Candidates Tournament to determine the challenger for the World Chess Championship 2012. The Candidates Tournament will begin with best-of-four game match format, and Kamsky will most likely face Veselin Topalov in the quarterfinals in Kazan, Russia.

And next year, he of course has to come back to Mainz to defend his title.” I hope that I can play a rapid match against Vishy Anand in Mainz next year, which would be a real challenge!” 

See complete standings on the official website.

Three-time US Women's Chess Champion Anna Zatonskih won the women's prize in the Mainz Chess Classic with 8.5/11, ahead of over a dozen GMs.
IM Anna Zatonskih, Photo Eric van Reem

US resident and reigning women's champion Alexandra Kosteniuk gave a chess 960 (Fischer Random) simultaneous exhibition, with 20 different starting positions!  She scored 16 wins, 4 draws and 0 losses.
GM and Women's World Champ Alexandra Kosteniuk, Photo Eric van Reem

For more on Gata Kamsky, login as a member and read FM Mike Klein's August Chess Life Magazine cover story. For more on Fischer Random, see GM Larry Kaufman's recent story on the US Open Fischer Random side event.