I'm not sure how to access this deal without being on their mailing list, but interested readers might contact the Everyman Chess powers-that-be to pursue it. Right now they're offering the e-version of Dave Vigorito's Chess Developments: The Gruenfeld for free to anyone who buys the e-version of Kevin Goh Wei Ming's Chess Developments: The Najdorf 6.Bg5. The Najdorf book is fairly new, and while Vigorito's Gruenfeld book is from 2013 it's not that old, and in my experience his work ages very well. Since the combined price is $19.95, it seems to me a good deal for stronger players (1900/2000 and up) who play those openings.
Just what it sounds like - the column is here.
There's a report on it here, while if you, like me, haven't seen it yet and would rather watch it "live" without knowing the result, you can watch the on-demand video here. Somehow I managed to dig up those links without seeing the result of the match, which took place on Tuesday, so I'll let you find out for yourself.
This is part of an eight-player knockout event on Chess.com, and I reported last month on another of the quarterfinal matches, Alexander Grischuk's win over Levon Aronian. Somehow I missed last week's match between Hikaru Nakamura and Pentala Harikrishna, so I'll have to dig that one up as well. (Don't tell me what happened, even if it's extremely likely that Nakamura was the victor!) The last of the quarterfinal matches will see Magnus Carlsen take on the winner of a qualifying tournament, making this probably the strongest blitz tournament (by average rating) in chess history.
UPDATE: It would be hard for the commentators of the match between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Fabiano Caruana not to say what happened in the Nakamura-Harikrishna match, so I decided to find (and hopefully watch) that one first. If you also don't want to spoil the drama, you can watch that one here.
Here, with a hat tip to Marc Beishon. The part about the St. Louis Chess Club begins around 16:48 and is a decent piece, aside from a few comments that make Rex Sinquefield seem a shadowy political figure with questionable motives. (Called by some a "tyrannosaurus rex"..."he pushes a radical free market agenda.")
The comments about Sinquefield's political preferences are entirely irrelevant to the club and to his philanthropy, and while he may be the biggest donor in Missouri individuals like George Soros have give far more money to left-wing causes. (Not to mention other primarily left-wing donors like Tom Steyer, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg and many more.) As Sinquefield's donations aren't to groups like the Ku Klux Klan, but to ordinary conservative policies and candidates well within the range of mainstream political options in the United States, it's hard to see how this is relevant to the story. It's likely that some of the chess organizations on the East coast are supported by people and have board members who have given money to causes conservatives would find objectionable. So what? If the lefties don't insinuate their politics into the chess organization, there's no reason why conservatives or reporters doing stories on those organizations should do so either. The same should go when the story is about someone who happens to be a conservative in the U.S. - but often doesn't.
Unnecessary political jibes aside, the piece does a nice job of giving those who haven't visited the St. Louis club and its environs a sense of the place and its atmosphere.
In my column this week I take a look at the extraordinary tactical free-for-all between Mr. Fire on Board himself, Alexei Shirov, and the young American GM Sam Sevian from the Hasselbacken Chess Open in Stockholm. Surprisingly, it was the youngster who didn't only win but did so by navigating the complications better than his famous opponent. Definitely worth seeing if you haven't yet examined the game, and hopefully even if you have.
Here's another old video, again with a tip o' the hat to Brian Karen:
The young guy on the left is none other than the great Paul Keres, age 22. I'm not sure who is opponent is, but at least as interesting as the historical drama is the way they're conducting the game. Just like practically all newbies to chess clocks - which they surely aren't - they're moving the pieces with one hand and hitting the clock with the other, with the clock hand resting either on or near the button. Nowadays this is against the rules, but apparently it wasn't back then. (Does anyone know when the change went into effect?) The things we take granted about our game!
By the way, the clips available via the link above may also be of interest.
After sitting out the first two rounds, Vladimir Kramnik has played in the last two rounds of the Russian Team Championship. He won both games, against Sanan Sjugirov and Peter Svidler, and is now back in second place on the Live Rating List after being briefly pipped by Fabiano Caruana. Here are Kramnik's wins, with my notes.
Emphasis on mild. The background to the little video is this: Bobby Fischer repeatedly played the Two Knights Variation against the Caro-Kann in the 1959 Candidates Tournament, with a serious lack of success. It got so bad that people who seldom or never played the Caro-Kann did so, as his results and the positions he received with the Two Knights were harmless at best. Fischer lost with it against Tigran Petrosian in round 2, drew with Vassily Smyslov in round 7 and then lost to Paul Keres - not a Caro-Kann practitioner - in round 8 (and then again in round 22).
So by the time of round 13, when Fischer faced Mikhail Tal with white for the first time in the tournament, this happened:
Tal fakes the move 1...c6 before giving the pawn a shove to c5, then offers a priceless smile to Fischer, who remains impassive. Fischer's non-reaction is a pity. Could he not take a joke (very possible), or was his poker face a matter of competitive strategy? As for the joke itself, it almost wasn't one. According to Tibor Karolyi (page 413 of his excellent Mikhail Tal's Best Games 1: The Magic of Youth) Tal seriously considered playing the Caro-Kann in that game. Fortunately for everyone but Fischer, he didn't, enabling us to enjoy his joke, his infectious grin, and the very nice game he went on to win.
(HT: Brian Karen)
Even though no one is actually playing chess in the Top Chess Engines Championship (formerly known as the Thoresen Chess Engines Competition), strictly speaking, it is reasonable on another level to view it as the real world chess championship, as the best engines - currently the latest versions of Komodo and Stockfish - spit out moves at what would be a 3300+ rating clip if they came from the minds of mortal men. As such, the games are of interest, even if they are not always as accessible as battles between humans. (Which are themselves sometimes relatively inaccessible, both because of the strength of the strongest humans, and because their ideas are often the product of a collaboration with chess engines.)
The event, which will last several months, starts with a field of 32 engines who will be whittled down, step by step, to a final between Komodo and Stockfish the two survivors of the three preliminary stages. (More details here.) As I've already suggested twice, Komodo and Stockfish are significant favorites to reach the final for the fifth time in the last six seasons, but perhaps Houdini will break up the party. The current version of Houdini is quite old - it came out in late 2013 - but its programmer, Robert Houdart, has promised that a new version will come out at some point during the competition. As TCEC rules allow switches to upgraded versions after each stage (assuming the engine in question has qualified for the next stage), Houdart still has a fair amount of time to make his improvements before the start of Stage 3.
(HT: Howard Sample, for reminding me that the event had started.)
The Russian Club Championship started on Sunday, May 1 and continues through May 10. Among the heavy hitters who have played so far there's Sergey Karjakin, Alexander Grischuk, Peter Svidler - to include only the players over 2750 - and Vladimir Kramnik is supposed to jump in at some point as well.
On Wednesday, Ding Liren and Wesley So will begin a four-game match in China. (Or maybe there will be four classical games and some additional rapid and/or blitz games. All I know thus far is the very little given in the "Future Events" section of this page. Further details would be appreciated.)