2005 Dark Horse Award
GM Arkady Naiditsch

   1/2006 -  I will never forget Al Michael's call in the final moment of the US vs. Soviet Union Olympic Hockey Game in 1980. The winter Olympics were being held in Lake Placid, New York.  In an earlier exhibition game, the Soviet National team had crushed the US Olympic Team by a score of 10-3. In 1979, the US professional hockey all-stars had also been soundly defeated by the Soviet team by a 6-0 score. This set the stage for the greatest upset in sports history. So when the US amateur team faced the Soviet National team in the Olympic medal round, the worst was expected. However, through tough gritty play, the US amateur hockey team went on to defeated the Soviet National team by a score of 4-3. The US team went on to win a gold metal.

   It's tough being the underdog and playing in front of the home town crowd. Well the 20-year old, home town boy, Arkady Naiditsch, the Wizard of Dortmund, pulled off the upset of the year. What makes this upset special, is that he was the the lowest seed in the tournament of 10 top players. 176 rating points separated Naiditsch from the top seed Veselin Topalov. Dortmund 2005 was a category 19 tournament, consisting of 6 top ten players, namely Veselin Topalov, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Leko, Michael Adams, Entienne Bacrot, and Peter Svidler.
    Arkady took first place with 3 wins, one loss, and 5 draws. His only loss was to future FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov. Arkady triumphed over Peter Leko, Emil Sutovsky, and Peter Heine Nielsen. Later on in 2005, Arkady proved that Dortmund was no fluke. He won the Dutch rapid open ahead of a field consisting of Loek Van Wely, Yassar Sierawan, and Jan Timman. As of the this reporting, Arkady is rated 2657 and is the 46th highest player in the world. He is clearly a player on the rise.


 Dutch Rapid open -

 Dortmund 2004 -

 Naiditsch vs. Sutovsky -

 Naiditsch vs. Leko -
Nielsen vs. Naiditsch -

Arkady Naiditsch


Chess Reporter
Arkady Naiditsch
I2004 Dark Horse

US miracle on ice -