Rarely do two important chess events begin on the same day. Today, no less than three grandmaster tournaments commenced, all about five hours between them by car.
With a little luck, you could theoretically visit all in one long day. Later this week, when the Tour de France passes through the French Alps, you could maybe get there too!
The Sparkassen Chess-Meeting in Dortmund, Germany has perhaps the most notable players. The 7-game round robin is a reduction of two games from 2013, but still features GMs Fabiano Caruana, Vladimir Kramnik, defending champion Michael Adams, Peter Leko, and Ruslan Ponomariov. The German contingent includes GMs Arkadij Naiditsch, Georg Meier and David Baramidze.
As you'll see below, not all went according to plan on day one, as Meier upended Kramnik as Black in a Symmetrical English.
Adams, the unexpected winner in 2013 (and co-champion in 1998), played his trusty double king pawn, and had no issues holding in a Berlin against German number one and Dortmund 2005 Champion Naiditsch.
Ponomariov, the 2010 winner, also trotted out the Leningrad Dutch. His extra pawn wasn't enough to convert against Leko, who won in 1999, 2002 and 2008. All told, the eight players this year have won the past nine titles in Dortmund, and have 18 wins in total among them.
Round two starts Sunday at 15:00 CET (GMT +2).
At the ACP Golden Cup in Italy, all three games were drawn today, as Vocaturo sat out (the player who "rests" each day helps out with the commentary). The most unbalanced contest was Almasi-Nepomniachtchi, another Symmetrical English. The Russian pitched his queen for rook and piece, eventually setting up an impenetrable position.
The creative Jobava didn't disappoint in the opening round. After Brunello decimated his kingside at the cost of a knight, the Georgian found the resource 37. Nc6!, giving the knight back offered him just enough counterplay to hold the game.
Round two of the ACP Golden Cup is also Sunday. They start an hour earlier than Dortmund (14:00 CET, GMT +2).