The GRENKE Chess Open 2017 has broken all records. 1,202 participants have registered for what is currently the largest open chess tournament in the world.
In group A, 688 participants including over 200 title holders are fighting for a total prize pool of 37,000 Euros, with 10,000 Euros awaiting the winner. In group B, 384 participants are taking part, while group C has a total of 130 participants.
In group A, Nikita Vitiugov (Russia), Etienne Bacrot (France) and Maxim Matlakov (Russia) start as favorites. From the German point of view one can look forward to the appearance of national players Rainer Buhmann and Daniel Fridman, as well as the newcomers Dennis Wagner, Rasmus Svane and Alexander Donchenko, who already has half a point in the first round.
The top of the tournament is incredibly strong with 20 players starting with individual Elos of over 2600 points. The best lady in the field, Sarasadat Khademalsharieh from Iran, is seeded with an Elo from 2450 to 75. German talent Vincent Keymer starts the first round at table 113 with an Elo of 2400 points.
Although the Elo differences were enormous, the favorites in the first round did not get through unharmed. Gustavo Barrenechea Bahamonde scored the biggest surprise on board 32 against Vladimir Epishin. The well-known Russian Grandmaster played the game at lightning speed but overstretched the mark during the opening with a doubtful strategy. His Spanish opponent simply took what was handed to him and won the game after 27 moves.
In addition, some favorites were forced to accept surprising results. Among them Grandmasters Anton Demchenko, Vladimir Potkin, Andreas Heimann, Alexander Graf and Philipp Schlosser. Alexander Moiseenko had to fight to get full points. Moiseenko, the number 6 on the betting list took almost five hours to win against Michael Müller. The underdog Müller eventually helping Moiseenko by a mistake made in a final game, which in the end looked more like a draw.
The second round of the GRENKE Chess Open continues on Good Friday at 9am, with the 3rd round beginning at 3pm. Due to the public holiday on Friday, games will not be broadcast live. The live broadcast recommences with round 4 on Sunday afternoon at 9am.
On Sunday the GRENKE Chess Classic kicks off with Magnus Carlsen. In the first round, the world champion with black meets Matthias Blübaum.
The draw of the GRENKE Chess Classic took place before the start of the match. Pairings are Vachier-Lagrave – Naiditsch, Bluebaum – Carlsen, Aronian – Meier and Hou Yifan – Caruana.