Many congratulations to Polish Grandmaster, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, who won the 2017 edition of the prestigious Dortmund Sparkassen tournament over the weekend. The tournament was held between July 15th and 23rd, in Dortmund, Germany.
The Grandmaster tournament saw Vladimir Kramnik (2812) as top seed, just ahead of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2791). Along with Wojtaszek (2736), the rest of the field was made up of: Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (2683), Wang Yue (2699), Dmitry Andreikin (2712), Matthias Blübaum (2642) and Vladimir Fedoseev (2726).
The tournament saw eight decisive games out of the twenty-eight played and this left things rather open. Vladimir Kramnik’s standing as the ratings favourite took a knock in the very first round. The former World Champion was defeated by Vladimir Fedoseev. Kramnik didn’t manage to recover his position from here, drawing his games before taking his one and only win in the final round. This was by far the most savage round, seeing every game decided.
Wojtaszek went into this round on 3.5/6, a half point ahead of almost all of his competitors. Infact, only Kramnik trailed by more, his first round loss proving very costly and leaving him on 2.5/6. With so many potential spoilers, Radoslaw found himself having to win his final round game against Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu in order to be assured of victory.
He would have the White pieces at least, could he make it count?
The answer was yes. With the game verging on equality, Nissipeanu’s 21…Nd7(?) was a serious slip. It saw Wojtaszek’s 22.f6(!) and this was the beginning of troubles. It seems that Black had to try a sacrifice of the exchange in order to fight, but took up quite a passive defence instead. When sacrifices did come, it was too late and they did not impact the situation.
This win gave Radoslaw Wojtaszek the tournament victory on 4.5/7. Just behind him were Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Kramnik-slayer, Vladimir Fedoseev on 4.0/7.
As for Kramnik, himself, I should think that he finished the tournament with an element of relief. He had been lying in last place going into the round, but thanks to his victory over Matthias Blübaum, he was able to improve to a much more respectable position. In the end, he was just a point behind Wojtaszek. This left the rest to bring up the rear.
- Wojtaszek — 4.5
- Fedoseev, Vachier-Lagrave — 4.0
- Kramnik — 3.5
- Blübaum, Andreikin, Nisipeanu, Wang Yue — 3.0