I was happy to be invited to play at the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting again after a few years break; I had played there quite regularly since my debut as long ago as 1992. After checking out my pairings before the event I wasn’t very optimistic about my chances , many of the opponents had proved tricky adversaries in the past and I had an additional Black game which rarely helps. However expectations can be misleading, and the first round proved to be my only setback, as I squandered a decent position.
I haven’t tried the main line of the Berlin for some time, but decided to give it a go in round 2. This seemed to catch Andreikin by surprise and I got a healthy clock lead and an extra pawn albeit one that was not easy to convert.
As I had spent some time working on the Berlin I decided to give it a try with Blackagainst Caruana, a risky decision as he is well prepared on the White side. Although he hit me with a strong novelty I managed to respond well, and he then blundered when settling for perpetual was a sensible option to allow me a fairly easy win.
After an uneventful draw with Peter Leko, in my next game against Wang Hao fortune smiled on me:
After the free day I was Black against Naidtisch who played in typically aggressive style in a QGD.
The next day I won against Khenkin who erred in the opening after which things went smoothly.
Up to this stage Vladimir Kramnik was also in good shape and we were frequently tied for the lead, however in this round he was beaten by Andreikin and I had a point lead.
I played a solid draw with Meier the next day whilst Kramnik played a lengthy game with Caruana. It looked although Fabiano had saved a draw with a determined rearguard action but he made a bad blunder in the final timecontrol so my lead was cut to half a point before the last round.
Fortunately I was able to steer the game towards a draw with kramnik to an early repetition without many dramas and secure a very satisfying tournament victory!