50 Years International Dortmund Chess Days Part 5: Candidates 2002

50 Years International Dortmund Chess Days Part 5: Candidates 2002

The organisers around tournament director Jürgen Grastat, who was to lead his last chess days this year, wanted to make the 2002 Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting an outstanding sporting event. They succeeded in doing so not only with the support of the title sponsor Stadtsparkasse Dortmund, but also with the additional sponsor "Einstein Gruppe". Thus the World Championship Candidates Tournament was brought to Dortmund in 2002.

96 2002 cl eingang 2002 DSF0622 minSo this year it was not only about winning the tournament in one of the most prestigious chess tournaments in the world, but also about a place in the World Championship match against Vladimir Kramnik.

Although Kramnik will be on site in Dortmund, he will therefore not take part in the tournament himself in 2002. Seven of the eight grandmasters are among the absolute world leaders. In addition, there is the German participant Christopher Lutz. As an exception, the tournament will be played in two groups of four players, each against the other in a double round robin. After six days of play, the semi-finalists will be determined, who will then play four classical games to determine the finalists. In the final there will be another four classical games.

World Champion Kramnik before the tournament:
"This will be a tough competition. Whoever will triumph in Dortmund over 14 classical games and possible tie-breaks is a worthy challenger."

The event take place in the Goldsaal of the Westfalenhallen Dortmund, so there is room for up to 800 spectators. Among the participants are all the World Championship aspirants of the time with the exception of Garri Kasparov: after his appearance in 1992, he will not return to Dortmund in 2002, unsuccessfully demanding an immediate re-match against Kramnik and thus not taking up the challenge of the Candidates Tournament.

Four renowned TOP TEN world grandmasters will get through the group stage:

Group 1:
1. Alexei Shirov (Spain) 4.0 points (qualified for semi-final)
2. Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) 4.0 (qualified for SF)
3. Boris Gelfand (Israel) 2,5
4. Christopher Lutz (Germany) 1,5

Group 2:
1. Evgeny Bareev (Russia) 4.0 points (qualified for SF)
2. Peter Leko (Hungary) 3,5 (qualified for SF)
3. Michael Adams (England) 2,5
4. Alexander Morozevich (Russia) 2,0

104 2002 cl kramnik klitschko 2002 DSF0595 minOn the rest day, World Champion Kramnik and Dortmund shooting star Arkadij Naiditsch will then play simultaneously against 25 opponents each in the Stadtsparkasse. Naiditsch and David Baramidze will also gain stage experience during the Candidates Tournament: Baramidze's contest against Alisa Maric ends with a 4.5-3.5 victory, while Naiditsch comes to a 4-4 against chess legend Jan Timman. Also on site: Dr Vitali Klitschko. The boxing world champion plays a show match against Kramnik (photo Christian Lünig), who sits in on the ZDF Sportstudio the same evening.

The popular live commentary of the grandmaster tournament will continue to be transmitted to the viewers via ear-clip technology. The two German grandmasters Dr. Helmut Pfleger and Klaus Bischoff will again be on site as experts, reinforced by national coach Uwe Bönsch.

In the semi-final of the main tournament, Peter Leko surprisingly beat Shirov early. After three games he has already collected the necessary 2.5 points. Veselin Topalov, on the other hand, can equalise in the second semi-final with a win in the fourth game to 2-2 against Bareev and wins the tiebreak the following day.

The final is Peter Leko against Veselin Topalov. With two wins in the first two final games, Leko took an early preliminary decision, but lost game 3 with White. With a strong performance in the fourth game, however, Leko hardly runs the risk of losing with Black and, with the draw after 61 moves, is the winner of the Candidates Tournament! He will then play Kramnik in the World Championship match in Brissago.

The prize for the best game of the tournament also goes to the tournament winner for his win with Black in the semi-final:

110 2003 cl leko DSCF0079 minPeter Leko, photo from Christian Lünig

Opening photo: Opening procession by German Interior Minister Otto Schily, photo by Christian Lünig

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