Jens Beutel prepares his opponents for the number two spot
The mayor of Mainz supports Chess Classic with heart and soul
text and photos by FM Hartmut Metz, (translation by Mark Vogelgesang), July 2006
For chess players, Jens Beutel is not first and foremost the mayor of the city Mainz. For them, he is the person who secures the Chess Classic Mainz. Since leaving Frankfurt, this world-renowned tournament has now been guest at the capital of Rhineland-Palatine a total of five times. And each time, the social democrat Beutel, who turns 60 on July 12, has been part of the event with heart and soul. To be able to play himself from August 15 to 20, he will take a vacation. As a seasoned chess player with many years of experience in one of the higher German chess leagues, Mr. Beutel has in the past made life in the Ordix Open quite difficult for more than one professional chess players. Hartmut Metz spoke with Mr. Beutel.
Q: From August 15 to 20, it will be Chess Classic Mainz Number 6. What are your comments after five events?
Beutel: They were phantastic! Those five event gave the city of Mainz a positive image all over the world. As a chess-enthusiast and as mayor, I am especially happy to welcome, year after year, the worlds best players to Mainz.
Q.: What was your first thought when you had the opportunity in 2001 to steer the famous tournament from Frankfurt to Mainz?
Beutel: I knew the organizer Hans-Walter Schmitt already from the Frankfurt days. Of course, I was very happy that so much confidence was invested in the city of Mainz and me. And of course, it was not an easy task for me, since without any financial support, things would not work out. But we were able to fulfil expectations. I am especially glad that it was possible to link the tournament to Mainz for the long run and to secure the long-term support of sponsors. This kind of reliability is important for organizers and for players, who can look forward to next years event in Mainz after they have made their last move.
Q.: How do you see this renowned tournament develop in the future. It is after all the citys main attraction in sports, next to the soccer team from Mainz, which plays in the Bundesliga.
Beutel: The Chess Classic gets noted not only by people who are themselves chess players. Many people come by to enjoy and be captivated by the atmosphere of the event. Therefore, I believe that this event is able to bring people to the game of chess that would not be reached otherwise.
Q.: Out of the comprehensive program for 2006, what is your personal highlight?
Beutel: I always treat myself to a vacation during the Chess Classic, so that I have a few free days - well, they are never completely free. In addition to the World Championship in Rapid Chess between Anand and Radjabov and the Chess960 World Championship between Svidler and Aronian, I am also impressed by the Ordix Open. There is no other place in the world where you can find over 500 players of that calibre competing in an open tournament.
Q.: I assume you will also be playing yourself?
Beutel: Yes, of course. Apart from the Chess Classic, I just dont have much time for chess. Once in a while, I play a game of chess in the morning, using the internet. I am therefore very happy to devote myself entirely to chess for a few days. I will participate in the Ordix Open and in the FiNet Chess960 Open. Lets see how I will do in Chess960. I also want to see how strong the worlds number three player, Levon Aronian really is - I will face him in his simultaneous exhibition.
Q.: How did your interest in chess get started?
Beutel: I got started on my own, at the age of 13. By todays standards, that is quite old. Nowadays, at that age some have already reached Grandmaster level. I taught myself chess from a book. Soon after that, a few classmates got also interested, and this lead to a championship competition in my class. I joined a chess club only when I was 19.
Q.: Considering this, you managed to become a surprisingly strong player.
Beutel: Between the ages 13 and 20, I did train a lot. I joined a chess club so late because in my hometown, Fritzlar, there was no chess club. When I moved to Mainz at the age of 19, I joined a club right away.
Q.: And how did you progress from there?
Beutel: Well, I was not exactly driven to succeed, though I was still able to reach one of the higher leagues, the Oberliga. I was Champion of Rhine-Hessia twice and won the city championship of Mainz a few times, at a time when these championships were fairly competitive. But I did not play outside my region, except in two championships for Rhineland-Palatine, where I did not achieve anything special.
Q.: Do you still train?
Beutel: No, I dont, only once in a while I play - as I mentioned - in the internet in the morning. In addition, I keep up to date by reading Rochade Europa and Schach-Magazin 64 and New In Chess. Those three publications I do study fairly thoroughly and discover in some games interesting aspects, even though I dont replay the games using a chess board.
Q.: You play blitz games in the morning?
Beutel: Around 5 oclock in the morning, when I am not entirely awake, which is why I play 5-minute games with an increment of 5 seconds per move. After all, I will turn 60 fairly soon, and at that age, you are not that fast anymore. I need to see that I can still keep up (laughs).
Q.: Do you have any other hobbies?
Beutel: I was a decent handball player and played in the regional league. I also play soccer - I guess I like all ball games, with the exception of Volleyball. And now, my knees have problems, which is why I play mayor ...
Q.: Please give us your predictions for the results of the matches: in the GrenkeLeasing Rapid Chess World Championship, young Teimour Radjabov from Azerbaijan is trying to succeed serial winner Vishwanatan Anand.
Beutel: Radjabov is 19 years old and continues to get stronger, but he cannot keep up with Anand. Considering the huge experience Anand has, I predict a convincing victory for the number two player in the world, lets say 5:3.
Q.: In Chess960, where the starting position is determined by chance before the game starts, world number three Levon Aronian challenges number four in the world, Chess960 World Champion Peter Svidler.
Beutel: That will be a very tough battle. I think any result is possible. Nevertheless, I do predict a 4.5:3.5 for Aronian. During the last few months, he played very well during all his triumphs at the World Cup, in Linares, and also when he won Gold with the Armenian team at the chess olympiad.
Q.: Thanks to sponsor Clerical Medical, there will be four Chess960 World Championship fights. Will Elisabeth Pähtz from Erfurt be able to overcome Alexandra Kosteniuk from Russia?
Beutel: I consider Kosteniuk the stronger of the two after all and believe that she will overcome our front-lady with 4.5:3.5.
Q.: In the fight for the U20 title, the German number one Arkadij Naiditsch will meet Pentala Harikrishna from India.
Beutel: I cannot make up my mind on this one, everything is possible. I therefore predict a 4:4 followed by a tie-break.
Q.: In the World Championship for senior players, crowd favourite Vlastimil Hort will meet Lajos Portisch.
Beutel: I think the younger Hort is the favourite here. At 69, Portisch is 7 years older - that does make a difference.
Q.: There are few questions as far as the Ordix Open and the FiNet Open are concerned. Among 500 participants and countless Grandmasters, only the mayor Jens Beutel is able to make it to the number one spot ...
Beutel: Of course. For me, the only question is who will be number two (smiles).
Jens Beutel against Russian super grandmaster Alexander Morozevich.
Q.: And who do you reckon will make it?
Beutel: After facing me in round one in previous years, my former opponents are now ready for the big leap forward. The Russians Morozevich, Grischuk and Dreev are able to make it to the number two spot, I believe.
Jens Beutel - Bandl
Detailed information and up-to-date news about the Chess Classic Mainz can be found at www.chesstigers.de
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