50 Years International Dortmund Chess Days Part 2: 1980s

50 Years International Dortmund Chess Days Part 2: 1980s

After the successful start of the Dortmund Chess Days in 1973, the tournament remains under the direction of Eugen Schackmann, the head of the Press and Information Office of the City of Dortmund, for 18 years, with great support from Klaus Neumann, Friedhelm Bachmann, from 1982 on Jürgen Grastat and numerous voluntary helpers during the tournament. In 1980, probably the biggest name in the chess scene of the last 50 years travels to Dortmund for the first time: Garry Kasparov.

6 1980 Raymond Keene 1985Kasparov was 17 years young at the time and did not take part in the International Dortmund Chess Days but in the World Youth Championship, which Klaus Neumann had brought to Dortmund. He wins the Youth World Championship with aplomb and becomes World Chess Champion 5 years later. Meanwhile, the 1980 Chess Days are won by the English grandmaster Raymond Keene (photo).

The organisers remain true to their policy of promoting local players; the strongest players in the Ruhr region are allowed to compete with the world's master players. Karl-Heinz Podzielny (1980), Eckhard Schmittdiel (first 1984), Ralf Lau (1985) or Bernd Kohlweyer (1986) are just a few names of players who will shape the region's chess tournaments in the coming decades. With Klaus Bischoff and Eric Lobron, two top German players took part several times, some with strong results.

International stars entered the list of winners. Among them was Vlastimil Hort, who won in 1982 with a half-point lead over Oleg Romanishin. Until the end, Hort was a frequently seen guest in Dortmund, for example playing a match against the first winner of the Chess Days Heikki Westerinen in 2007.

List of winners:

1980 Raymond Keene
1981 Gennady Kuzmin
1982 Vlastimil Hort
1983 Mihai Șubă
1984 Yehuda Grünfeld
1985 Juri Rasuwajew
1986 Zoltán Ribli
1987 Juri Balaschow
1988 Smbat Lputjan
1989 Efim Geller

Klaus Neumann gives up his post as tournament director in 1982. The enormous time commitment is not compatible with his profession as a self-employed insurance agent. He remains closely connected to chess as a player and as chairman of the renowned SC Hansa Dortmund, which he himself founded. Neumann died in November 1999 at the age of 68. Friedhelm Bachmann has also not lived for decades. The last of the Schachtage initiators to die was Eugen Schackmann in 2018. With Jürgen Grastat from the Schachfreunde Brackel, Neumann's successor was ready in 1982. Grastat runs the tournament for over 20 years. The grandmaster tournament becomes stronger and stronger, but the number of open tournaments also increases steadily from 1975 onwards. In 1989, a closed A, B and C tournament, an Open, as well as a closed women's tournament are offered and the Chess Days are a big festival.

Once again, Dortmund-born Eckhard Schmittdiel takes part in the 1989 Grandmaster Tournament. Despite 4.5 points from 11 games, he finishes second to last of the 12 places, the opponents are prominent and strong. 5 years later, Schmittdiel is also awarded the grandmaster title. With Klaus Bischoff (5th place) and Daniel King (8th place) there are two grandmasters in the field who are among the most popular chess commentators today. At the top, Efim Geller, Tibor Tolnai and the German national player Jörg Hickl are fighting for the tournament victory. Hickl loses only two games, but the two direct duels, which puts him in third place. Efim Geller (photo) wins the 1989 Dortmund Chess Days with a half-point lead over Tolnai.

Popular then as now: the Sveshnikov Variation in the Sicilian. But Geller defeated Schmittdiel thanks to beautiful control on the white squares:

Initial image: Oleg Romanishin - Eric Lobron, International Dortmund Chess Days 1982

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