Malcolm Pein on…Corporate Chess


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Malcolm Pein reports on a rather different World Chess Championship in today’s Daily Telegraph chess column – featuring no fewer than 1,467 players, in the world of corporate chess.

Malcolm Pein on…Corporate Chess

The world Corporate Championship was organised by FIDE, online at This novel event attracted an entry of 288 teams from 78 countries. In all, 1,467 players took part, among them, 36 grandmasters, headed by World Champion Magnus Carlsen, who represented Kindred, the Norwegian parent company of his gambling sponsor Unibet.

Teams comprised four players, of which at least one had to be male or female and three had to be directly employed by the company. Only one guest player and one player rated above 2500 was allowed.

The final, between German bank Grenke Group and Russian bank SBER, the top seeds, was won by Grenke after a tie-break. It was yet another chess honour for the company, who also sponsor Bundesliga champions Baden Baden. Grenke was one of the only two teams in the competition to field three women players; IM Alina Kashlinskaya (invited pro), WGM Hanna Marie Klek (deputy team leader operational banking) and WIM Inna Agrest (project manager), playing with top board GM Georg Meier (risk control) and Sven Noppes (board member).

SBER were led by Candidate and world number four Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Top Game

I. Nepomniachtchi – A. Korobov
French Classical

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qd2 0–0 9.Be2 a6 10.Nd1 b5 11.0–0 Qb6 12.c3 b4 13.Bf2 Rb8 (If 13…a5 14.f5 exf5?! 15.Ne3! Black should exchange his passive bishop with 14…Ba6 15.Bxa6 Qxa6 when he has queenside counterplay, but must take care to avoid 16.Ne3 a4 17.Ng4 a3? 18.f6 gxf6 19.Bh4!) 14.c4 cxd4 (14…dxc4 15.d5 exd5 16.Qxd5 Rd8 17.Ne3 Ndxe5 18.Nxe5 Rxd5 19.Nxd5 Qb7 20.Nxc6 is a lovely variation, but 17…Nf8 is a better defence) 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Nxd4 Nxd4 17.Qxd4 Qxd4 18.Bxd4 Bc5 19.Bxc5 Nxc5 (Black has a bad bishop and a weak d5 pawn to contend with)

Corporate Chess

20.Rc1 Ne6 21.Ne3 Rd8 22.Nf5 Kf8 23.Nd6 Bd7 24.Bxa6 Ra8 25.Bd3 Rxa2 26.f5 Nd4 27.Rc7 Rxb2 (There was nothing better) 28.e6 fxe6 29.fxe6+ Ke7

Test Your Strength

White to play and win

White to play and win

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30.Nf5+ Nxf5 31.Bxf5 g6 32.Bh3 1–0

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