Grandmaster Duel in Charming Luzern

Probably Luzern is one of the most beautiful towns in Switzerland, and Europe. Situated picturesquely between four mountains, and possessing the Luzern Lake gives the town an incredible charm. Ships and boats are ruling the lake all the way round, but the water is clean and there are even brave people willing to take a bath. Swans and ducks are crossing the waters in search for food and attention. There are benches all over the lake boulevard and one can take a rest viewing the wonderful mountains Rigi, Mount Pilatus, and Swiss Alps from the distance. Another unique atmosphere can be felt in the old part of the town. There are old churches, and buildings, all of their facades being painted in original pictures. There is also a famous bridge-Kapellbruecke that crosses the Reuss River. It is also the oldest wooden bridge in Europe, and was constructed back in 1333. You can see paintings inside it that represent part of the Luzern history, and were painted in 17-th century. Unfortunately, about only 1/3 of these pictures survived the fire in 1993 caused by incautious smokers. Just a few meters away from the lake boulevard is situated the Luzern Grand Casino-a place where chess tournaments took part. There were three events at the same time-Master tournament, Main Tournament, and the match of the Grandmasters-the cherry in the pie. The events broke the records in the number of participants.
In honour of the legendary German grandmaster Robert Huebner the club of Luzern organized a match for him against the best Swiss player (if we exclude another legend-Viktor Korchnoi) - Yannick Pelletier. It was a four-game match with the first two games to be played in classical modus, and the next two in rapid chess (thirty minutes for each player). The games were life-transmitted at the Swiss Chess server. All games saw semi-closed openings, which I think was in favour of the more experienced player. After three seemingly uneventful but fightful draws in the first games, Pelletier playing as white in the fourth sacrificed an exchange, but failed to prove compensation and eventually lost. Thus Robert Huebner made a nice present for his coming 60-th anniversary winning the match with 2.5-1.5. Without any doubt this result speaks a lot for the German Grandmaster who is almost twice the age of his opponent. For the pleasure of the ordinary chess lovers both grandmasters continued to analyze their game long after it had finished, and the audience could observe their analyses on the monitors. Later they both visited the analyze room and shared some of their experience and knowledge with other players. Huebner is a member of Luzern Schachklub. This year the team ended only eight in the Swiss team championship, but has ambitions for the coming season.
Yannik Pelletier seemed to recover after his poor result in Biel, and looked in good mood. His next tournament will be the ECC in Kallithea, Greece at the end of October. There he will represent his French club-Clichy which won the French Team Championship for a second consecutive year. “It was very tough this time”, recalled Pelletier “since the last match had to decide everything. We had poor positions on two of our white boards straight from the opening, but eventually drew the match 1-1 and this was enough for the title”. Yannik now prefers to live more in Montpellier with his girlfriend rather than in Switzerland.
The main tournament was a triumph for the Latvian GM Vijesturs Meijers. His willingness to earn the maximum of every position served him well at the end. Excellently physically prepared the Latvian was the last one to finish his final three games! Even the closing ceremony had to be postponed for an hour thanks to his last game. First he won an endgame rook and bishop against a rook in the fifth round, and in the final one managed to defend a rook and a knight versus rook endgame. His opponent from the final round Stefan Loetscher was actually winning before that drawish construction occurred, but missed to claim the first price. Marcus Raeber from Switzerland quite unexpectedly, but fully deservedly won the second price. I was very disappointed with my finish-only half a point in the last two games which had thrown me from leading position to tenth place.
The Main tournament group was won by a player who did not have any rating. Simon Abächerli scored 6.5 points from seven games.

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