Foto OB Westphal 1 minThomas Westphal, Mayor of the City of Dortmund

Dear attendees of Sparkassen Chess Trophy 2021,

I have gladly accepted the patronage of this prestigious tournament which has been guaranteeing world-class chess for decades. Thus, it is my pleasure to welcome the competitors in the city of Dortmund!

The International Chess-Days are an extraordinary embodiment of our city and have shaped the reputation of Dortmund as being centre for sports and culture. By its international alignment and wide fascination, the International Chess-Days of Dortmund are further evidence that Dortmund pushes to pull.

The Chess-Days are becoming increasingly digital this year. Being digital also embodies the new image of the city of Dortmund: We want Dortmund to become easier through digital solutions – in all aspects of life which includes sports as well. Thus, people around the world will be able to vividly experience the extraordinary tournament with its world-champions, grandmasters and outstanding young players who compete for the Chess Trophy 2021. Through different online platforms within the scope of Chess-TV or internet, the world will join the 48th International Chess Days in the city of neighbors in July 2021.

I am happy for all young chess companions that the Chess-Days 2021 will be furthermore enlarged by a YouTube channel showing videos right out of Westfalenhallen. Hence, we want every child in Dortmund to surpass oneself, also in regards to the game of chess.

I want to thank everyone who is involved in the preperation, planning and execution of this event. As patron to this event, I wish all participants an easing mind, strength and good luck for the upcoming games. To the chess community worldwide, I wish everyone a high-class tournament with thrilling and remarkable games.

With best wishes,

Thomas Westphal

Mayor of the City of Dortmund


DvorkovichminimiertArkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President

It is a great satisfaction for me to write this letter of greetings to the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Trophy 2021, an event that feels even more special than any of the previous 47 editions. 

Like many other tournaments, Dortmund was not held last year due to the pandemic. Those were very sad days when we saw some of the most prestigious traditions in our sport being cancelled, one after another. During that time of tremendous uncertainty, we couldn’t fathom how long the crisis would last, how profound the damage would be, and if some of these tournaments would ever come back. 
That is why we at FIDE were pleased to receive the news that Dortmund would take place again in 2021. It was a great relief to confirm that Dortmund was strong enough to overcome the storm, and the comeback of our favourite chess events also signs a progressive return to normality.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the backing of Sparkasse Dortmund, title sponsor and co-organizer of the event. On behalf of FIDE and the wider chess family, thank you for your continued support to this fantastic event during all these decades, and particularly now when it is most needed.

As is often the case after a crisis, Dortmund has evolved, and some important innovations will be introduced this year for the 48th edition. The highlight of the event will be of course the clash of the titans – a match-up between two former rivals, Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand, who will revisit a familiar scenario to play under an innovative format, where no castling is allowed. 
The Deutschland GrandPrix, gathering Germany’s top players, will be a very exciting tournament, as well as the NRW Youth Cup. Dortmund will be more digital than ever before, with a revamped broadcast.

Behind many of these changes, we feel the hand of the newly appointed Event Director Carsten Hensel. In all that Carsten has done before as a sports manager, organizer, and journalist, he has been an example of professionalism. He has never feared innovation, and this has allowed him to leave his personal mark in all his previous projects. I am sure it will be the same on this occasion.

I would like to wish the participants, and everybody involved in the event, the best of lucks.
krause UllrichUlrich Krause, DSB President

Dear chess friends,

last year, the event was supposed to be successfully brought into the future through a reorientation, but in the wake of the Corona pandemic, this new start unfortunately had to be postponed. This year the event can finally start under the new name "Sparkassen Chess Trophy". Unfortunately, however, the Open 2021 cannot be held in the Westfalenhalle with several hundred participants as planned, but only online. Instead, there will be two high-class closed tournaments with the Germany Grand Prix and the NRW Youth Cup. As a special highlight we will also be able to admire the two former world champions Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand in an experimental match without castling.

The Sparkassen Chess Trophy is a great event from the DSB point of view for two reasons: On the one hand it puts our beloved sport in the spotlight with great chess - on the other hand it offers again this year our squad players the opportunity to compete with absolute top players like Gata Kamsky and the FIDE World Champion of 2004 Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Our players will certainly show that German chess does not have to hide in international comparison.

For the future I am looking forward to Dortmund and I am sure that there will be top chess there for the next 50 years. From next year hopefully without any pandemic and exactly as the organizers have imagined it!

I wish all the players every success and the spectators many exciting games!


SchaufelbergerminimiertDirk Schaufelberger, Chairman of the Management Board of Sparkasse Dortmund

Dear friends of chess,

for the 48th time the International Dortmund Chess Days will take place this summer.

Chess is popular: An amateur tournament for various streamers attracted attention last summer. This tournament had been organized by the online chess platform "" together with Twitch, a live streaming video portal. There was no top chess to be seen, but instead the best entertainment.

The tournament was hosted by multiple USA champion Hikaru Nakamura. He has been streaming chess for years, but with the onset of the pandemic, his follower and viewer numbers skyrocketed in no time.

And the hit series "Queen's Gambit" also caused a resurgence of interest in chess. 62 million people got involved with the story of a young woman who makes it from the orphanage to the top of the professional chess world in the 1960s, according to the streaming service.

What does that show us? Chess can be contemporary and win over many fans. But this requires new concepts. Computers have changed the former "game of kings. And yet it retains its appeal. If you know how to get people excited about it.

The new organizer of the International Dortmund Chess Days, the association Initiative Pro Schach e. V., wants to inspire - with new ideas and more digitization. A contemporary chess should not only attract die-hard fans.

Because the motto that got the ball rolling in 1973 remains: We Dortmunders have more going for us than just stepping in front of the ball. We are also the city of chess.

This year, a chess festival of several performance classes bundled in one place awaits us in the summer. The Chess Days are returning to the Westfalenhallen. With streaming and its own online editorial team, the digital Sparkassen Online Open will be brought to a wider audience.

I am curious about the new chess variant "No castling chess", which goes back to an initiative of the 14th World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik. The ban on castling is essential. It is intended to make the game more dynamic and entertaining. Dortmund is one of the first cities to hold such a tournament with the two grandmasters Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand.

Sponsoring sporting events, but also getting involved in cultural and social activities, is part of our corporate philosophy - because it's about more than money. But without our customers, our commitment would not be possible. We would therefore like to thank them for their loyalty.

"It is in life as in the game of chess," wrote Arthur Schopenhauer, "we devise a plan; this, however, remains conditioned by what in the game of chess the opponent, in life fate, is disposed to do."

With these words I wish us all exciting and entertaining chess days.

Yours, Dirk Schaufelberger

Chairman of the Management Board of Sparkasse Dortmund

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