Links

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    1948 World Chess Championship 1959 Candidates 1962 Candidates 2.c3 Sicilian 2.f4 Sicilian 2011 European Team Championship 2011 Russian Championship 2012 Capablanca Memorial 2012 Chess Olympiad 2012 European Women's Championship 2012 London Chess Classic 2012 U.S. Junior Championship 2012 U.S. Women's Championship 2012 US Championship 2012 Women's World Chess Championship 2012 World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2013 Alekhine Memorial 2013 Beijing Grand Prix 2013 European Club Cup 2013 European Team Championship 2013 FIDE World Cup 2013 Kings Tournament 2013 London Chess Classic 2013 Russian Championship 2013 Tal Memorial 2013 U.S. Championship 2013 Women's World Championship 2013 World Blitz Championship 2013 World Championship 2013 World Rapid Championship 2013 World Team Championship 2014 Capablanca Memorial 2014 Chess Olympiad 2014 London Chess Classic 2014 Petrosian Memorial 2014 Rapid & Blitz World Championship 2014 Russian Team Championship 2014 Sinquefield Cup 2014 Tigran Petrosian Memorial 2014 U.S. Championship 2014 U.S. Open 2014 Women's World Championship 2014 World Championship 2014 World Junior Championships 2014 World Rapid Championship 2015 Capablanca Memorial 2015 Chinese Championship 2015 European Club Cup 2015 European Team Championship 2015 London Chess Classic 2015 Millionaire Open 2015 Poikovsky 2015 Russian Team Championship 2015 Sinquefield Cup 2015 U.S. Championship 2015 Women's World Championship KO 2015 World Blitz Championship 2015 World Cup 2015 World Junior Championship 2015 World Open 2015 World Rapid & Blitz Championship 2015 World Team Championships 2016 2016 Candidates 2016 Capablanca Memorial 2016 Chess Olympiad 2016 Chinese Championship 2016 Sinquefield Cup 2016 U.S. Championship 2016 U.S. Junior Championship 2016 U.S. Women's Championship 2016 Women's World Championship 2016 World Championship 2016 World Open 2018 Chess Olympiad 22014 Sinquefield Cup 22014 U.S. Championship 2Mind Games 2016 60 Minutes A. Muzychuk A. Sokolov aattacking chess Abby Marshall Accelerated Dragon ACP Golden Classic Adams Aeroflot 2010 Aeroflot 2011 Aeroflot 2012 Aeroflot 2013 Aeroflot 2015 Aeroflot 2016 AGON Agrest Akiba Rubinstein Akiva Rubinstein Akobian Akshat Chandra Alejandro Ramirez Alekhine Alekhine Defense Aleksander Lenderman Alekseev Alena Kats Alex Markgraf Alexander Alekhine Alexander Grischuk Alexander Ipatov Alexander Khalifman Alexander Moiseenko Alexander Morozevich Alexander Onischuk Alexander Panchenko Alexander Stripunsky Alexander Tolush Alexandra Kosteniuk Alexei Dreev Alexei Shirov Alexey Bezgodov Almasi Amber 2010 Amber 2011 Amos Burn Anand Anand-Carlsen 2013 Anand-Gelfand 2012 Anand-Gelfand World Championship Match Anand-Topalov 2010 Anastasia Bodnaruk Anatoly Karpov Anders Ericsson Andrei Volokitin Andrew Martin Andrew Paulson Android apps Anish Giri Anna Ushenina Anna Zatonskih Anti-Marshall Lines Anti-Moscow Gambit Anti-Sicilians Antoaneta Stefanova Anton Korobov apps April Fool's Jokes Archangelsk Variation Arkadij Naiditsch Arne Moll Aron Nimzowitsch Aronian Aronian-Kramnik 2012 Arthur van de Oudeweetering Artur Yusupov Arturo Pomar Astrakhan Grand Prix 2010 attack attacking chess Austrian Attack Averbakh Awonder Liang Baadur Jobava Bacrot Baku Grand Prix 2014 Baltic Defense Bangkok Chess Club Open Baskaran Adhiban Bazna 2011 Becerra beginner's books Beliavsky Ben Feingold Benko Gambit Bent Larsen Berlin Defense Biel 2012 Biel 2014 Biel 2015 Bilbao 2010 Bilbao 2012 Bilbao 2013 Bilbao 2015 Bilbao 2016 Bilbao Chess 2014 bishop endings Bishop vs. Knight Blackburne blindfold chess blitz blitz chess Blumenfeld Gambit blunders Bob Hope Bobby Fischer Bogo-Indian Bologan Book Reviews books Boris Gelfand Boris Spassky Borislav Ivanov Borki Predojevic Boruchovsky Botvinnik Botvinnik Memorial Branimiir Maksimovic Breyer Variation brilliancy British Championship British Chess Magazine Bronstein Bronznik Brooklyn Castle Browne Brunello Budapest Bundesliga California Chess Reporter Camilla Baginskaite Campomanes Candidates 2011 Candidates 2011 Candidates 2012 Candidates 2013 Candidates 2014 Capablanca Carlsen Caro-Kann cartoons Caruana Catalan Cebalo Charlie Rose cheating Cheparinov chess and education chess and marketing chess books chess cartoons chess engines chess history chess in fiction chess in film Chess Informant chess lessons chess politics chess psychology chess ratings chess strategy chess variants Chess24 Chess960 ChessBase DVDs ChessBase Shows ChessLecture Presentations ChessLecture.com ChessUSA ChessUSA blog ChessVibes ChessVideos Presentations Chigorin Variation Chinese Chess Championship Christian faith Christiansen Christmas Colin Crouch Colle combinations Commentary computer chess computers correspondence chess Corsica Cristobal Henriquez Villagra Cyrus Lakdawala Danailov Daniel Parmet Daniil Dubov Danny Kopec Danzhou Danzhou 2016 Dave MacEnulty Dave Vigorito David Howell David MacEnulty David Navara Davies Deep Blue Deeper Blue defense Dejan Antic Delchev Denis Khismatullin Ding Liren Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam Dmitry Andreikin Dmitry Gurevich Dmitry Jakovenko Dominic Lawson Dortmund 2010 Dortmund 2011 Dortmund 2012 Dortmund 2012 Dortmund 2013 Dortmund 2014 Dortmund 2015 Dortmund 2016 Doug Hyatt Dragoljub Velimirovic draws dreams Dreev Dunning-Kruger Effect Dutch Defense DVD Reviews DVDs Dvoirys Dvoretsky Easter Edouard Efimenko Efstratios Grivas Eltaj Safarli Emory Tate endgame studies endgames Endgames English Opening Ernesto Inarkiev Erwin L'Ami Esserman Etienne Bacrot European Championship 2015 European Club Cup 2012 European Club Cup 2014 European Individual Championship 2012 Evgeni Vasiukov Evgeny Bareev Evgeny Najer Evgeny Sveshnikov Evgeny Tomashevsky Exchange Ruy expertise Fabiano Caruana Falko Bindrich farce FIDE FIDE Grand Prix FIDE Presidential Election FIDE ratings Fier fighting for the initiative Finegold Fischer football Francisco Vallejo Pons Fred Reinfeld French Defense Fritz 15 Ftacnik Gadir Guseinov Gajewski Gaprindashvili Garry Kasparov Gashimov Gata Kamsky Gelfand Gelfand-Svidler Rapid Match Geller Geneva Masters Georg Meier GGarry Kasparov Gibraltar 2011 Gibraltar 2012 Gibraltar 2013 Gibraltar 2014 Gibraltar 2015 Gibraltar 2016 Giri Go Grand Chess Tour Grand Prix 2014-2015 Grand Prix Attack Greek Gift sacrifice Grenke Chess Classic 2013 Grenke Chess Classic 2015 Grinfeld Grischuk Grob Gruenfeld Defense Grünfeld Defense Gulko Gunina Guseinov Gustafsson Gyula Sax Hannes Langrock Hans Ree Harika Dronavalli Hastings Hawaii International Festival Haworth Hedgehog helpmates Hennig-Schara Gambit Henrique Mecking HHou Yifan highway robbery Hikaru Nakamura Hilton Hjorvar Gretarsson Hort Horwitz Bishops Hou Yifan Houdini Houdini 1.5a Howard Staunton humor Humpy Koneru Ian Nepomniachtchi Icelandic Gambit Ignatius Leong Igor Kovalenko Igor Kurnosov Igor Lysyj Iljumzhinov Ilya Makoveev Ilya Nyzhnyk Imre Hera Informant Informant 113 Informant 114 Informant 115 Informant 116 Informant 117 Informant 118 Informant 119 Informant 120 Informant 121 Informant 122 Informant 124 Informant 125 Informant 126 Informant 127 Informant 128 insanity Inside Chess Magazine Ippolito IQP Irina Krush Irving Chernev Ivan Bukavshin Ivan Sokolov Ivanchuk J. Polgar Jacob Aagaard Jaenisch Jaideep Unudurti Jakovenko James Tarjan Jan Gustafsson Jan Timman Jan-Krzysztof Duda Jay Whitehead Jeffery Xiong Jeremy Silman Jim Slater Jimmy Quon Joe Benjamin Joel Benjamin John Burke John Grefe John Watson Jon Lenchner Jon Ludwig Hammer Jonathan Hawkins Jonathan Speelman Jose Diaz Ju Wenjun Judit Polgar Julio Granda Zuniga Kaidanov Kalashnikov Sicilian Kamsky Karen Sumbatyan Karjakin Karpov Karsten Mueller Kasimdzhanov Kasparov Kavalek Keanu Reeves Ken Regan Keres KGB Khalifman Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix Kim Commons king and pawn endings King's Gambit King's Indian King's Tournament 2010 Kings Tournament 2012 Kirsan Ilyumzhinov KKing's Gambit KKing's Indian Klovans Komodo Korchnoi Kramnik Kunin Lajos Portisch Larry Evans Larry Kaufman Larry Parr Lasker Lasker-Pelikan Latvian Gambit Laurent Fressinet Laznicka Le Quang Liem Leinier Dominguez Leko Leonid Kritz lessons Leuven Rapid & Blitz Lev Psakhis Levon Aronian Lilienthal Linares 2010 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu Loek van Wely Lombardy London 2009 London 2010 London 2011 London Grand Prix London System Lothar Schmid Luke McShane Macieja Magnus Carlsen Main Line Ruy Malakhov Malcolm Pein Mamedyarov Marc Arnold Marc Lang Marin Mariya Muzychuk Mark Crowther Mark Dvoretsky Mark Taimanov Marshall Marshall Gambit Masters of the Chessboard Mateusz Bartel Max Euwe Maxim Rodshtein Maxime Vachier-Lagrave McShane Mega 2012 mental malfunction Mesgen Amanov Michael Adams Miguel Najdorf Mikhail Antipov Mikhail Botvinnik Mikhail Tal Mikhalchishin Miles Mind Games 2016 Minev miniatures Miso Cebalo MModern Benoni Modern Modern Benoni Moiseenko Morozevich Morphy Movsesian Müller music Nadareishvili Naiditsch Najdorf Sicilian Nakamura Nanjing 2010 Natalia Pogonina Navara Negi Neo-Archangelsk Nepomniachtchi New In Chess Yearbook 104 New York Times NH Tournament 2010 Nigel Short Nihal Sarin Nikita Vitiugov Nimzo-Indian NNotre Dame football Norway Chess 2013 Norway Chess 2014 Norway Chess 2015 Norway Chess 2016 Notre Dame basketball Notre Dame football Notre Dame Football Nov. 2009 News Nyback Nyzhnyk Oleg Pervakov Olympics 2010 Open Ruy opening advice opening novelties Openings openings Or Cohen P.H. Nielsen Pal Benko Parimarjan Negi Paris Grand Prix Paris Rapid & Blitz passed pawns Paul Keres Paul Morphy Paul Rudd Pavel Eljanov pawn endings pawn play Pawn Sacrifice pawn structures Pentala Harikrishna Pesotskyi Peter Heine Nielsen Peter Leko Peter Svidler Petroff Philadelphia Open Philidor's Defense Phiona Mutesi Pirc Piterenka Rapid/Blitz Polgar Polgar sisters Polugaevsky Ponomariov Ponziani Potkin poultry Powerbook 2011 problems progressive chess prophylaxis Qatar Masters 2015 QGD Tartakower QQueen's Gambit Accepted queen sacrifices Queen's Gambit Accepted Queen's Gambit Declined Queen's Indian Defense Rabat blitz 2015 Radjabov Ragger rapid chess Rapport Rashid Nezhmetdinov rating inflation ratings Ray Robson Regan Reggio Emilia 2010 Reggio Emilia 2011 Reshevsky Reti Reuben Fine Rex Sinquefield Reykjavik Open 2012 Richard Reti Robert Byrne robot chess Robson Roman Ovetchkin rook endings RReggio Emilia 2011 rrook endings RRuy Lopez RRuy Lopez sidelines Rubinstein Rubinstein French Rudolf Spielmann rules Ruslan Ponomariov Russian Team Championship Rustam Kasimdzhanov Ruy Lopez Ruy Lopez sidelines Rybka Rybka 4 S. Kasparov sacrifices Sadler Saemisch Sakaev Sam Collins Sam Sevian Samuel Reshevsky Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2011 Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2012 satire Savchenko Savielly Tartakower Schliemann Scotch Four Knights Searching for Bobby Fischer Seirawan self-destruction Sergei Tiiviakov Sergey Erenburg Sergey Fedorchuk Sergey Karjakin Sergey Kasparov Sergey Shipov Sevan Muradian Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Shamkir 2015 Shamkir 2016 Shankland Shipov Shirov Short Sicilian Sinquefield Cup sitzfleisch Slav Smith-Morra Gambit Smyslov So-Navara Spassky spectacular moves Speelman sportsmanship Spraggett St. Louis Chess Club St. Louis Invitational stalemate Staunton Stephen Hawking Stockfish Stockfish 4 Stonewall Dutch Suat Atalik Super Bowl XLIV Susan Polgar Sutovsky Sveshnikov Sveshnikov Sicilian Svetozar Gligoric Svidler sweeper sealer twist Swiercz tactics Tactics Taimanov Tal Tal Memorial 2009 Tal Memorial 2010 Tal Memorial 2011 Tal Memorial 2012 Tal Memorial 2012 Tarjan Tarrasch Tarrasch Defense Tashkent Tashkent Grand Prix Tbilisi Grand Prix 2015 TCEC Season 8 TCEC Season 9 TED talks Teimour Radjabov Terekhin The Chess Players (book) The Week in Chess Thessaloniki Grand Prix Three knights Tibor Karolyi Tigran Petrosian Tim Krabbé time controls time trouble Timman Timur Gareev Tomashevsky Tony Miles Topalov traps Tromso Olympics 2014 TWIC types of chess players Ufuk Tuncer Ultimate Blitz Challenge underpromotion Unive 2012 University of Notre Dame upsets US Championship 2010 US Championship 2011 US Chess League USCF ratings USCL V. Onischuk Vachier-Lagrave Valentina Gunina Vallejo value of chess van der Heijden Van Perlo van Wely Varuzhan Akobian Vasik Rajlich Vasily Smyslov Vassily Ivanchuk Vassily Smyslov Velimirovic Attack Vera Menchik Veresov Veselin Topalov video videos Vienna 1922 Viktor Bologan Viktor Korchnoi Viktor Moskalenko Vincent Keymer Viswanathan Anand Vitaly Tseshkovsky Vitiugov Vladimir Kramnik Vladimir Tukmakov Vladislav Artemiev Vladislav Tkachiev Vlastimil Hort Vlastimil Jansa Vugar Gashimov Vugar Gashimov Memorial Walter Browne Wang Hao Wang Yue Watson Wei Yi Welcome Wesley Brandhorst Wesley So Wijk aan Zee 1999 Wijk aan Zee 2010 Wijk aan Zee 2011 Wijk aan Zee 2012 Wijk aan Zee 2013 Wijk aan Zee 2014 Wijk aan Zee 2015 Wijk aan Zee 2016 Wil E. Coyote Wilhelm Steinitz William Vallicella Willy Hendriks Winawer French Wojtkiewicz Wolfgang Uhlmann Women's Grand Prix Women's World Championship World Champion DVDs World Championship World Cup World Cup 2009 World Cup 2011 World Cup 2011 World Junior Championship World Senior Championship WWesley So WWijk aan Zee 2012 Yasser Seirawan Yates Yermolinsky Yevseev Yoshiharu Habu Yu Yangyi Yuri Averbakh Yuri Razuvaev Yuri Vovk Yuriy Kuzubov Zaitsev Variation Zaven Andriasyan Zhao Xue Zug 2013 Zukertort System Zurich 1953 Zurich 2013 Zurich 2014 Zurich 2015 Zurich 2016
    Friday
    Jul152016

    The Endgame Study of the Year for 2014

    The very nice endgame study we'll see in a moment didn't win the competition in which it was entered (it took second), but it was nevertheless awarded a prize as Study of the Year by a very prestigious panel, by which they mean the following:

    It is not the selection of the best study of the year, but the study which is best suited to popularize our art among the general chess public. The solution should be both understandable to players of average level, and appeal to players of master level.

    You can go to the link above and follow the links to the solution, or you can click through my presentation. First, the starting position. Second, I give the first part of the solution, almost up to the "punchline" of the study. Third and finally, the full solution. Enjoy!

    Friday
    Jul152016

    One To Watch: Ilya Makoveev

    This young Russian player is a terror at the board (and kind of acts like one too, unfortunately - but give him time): Ilya Makoveev is barely 10 years old, rated over 2200 FIDE, and is clearly underrated. Yikes.

    Ben Finegold has a video showing some of his early highlights, and if you want to watch Makoveev in action, here's a playlist including some games he played last year in the Moscow Blitz, and here's a video showing him in action this February - you can link-hop from there and find all his games from that event. It's too early to know just how good he'll be, but the early returns look promising.

    Friday
    Jul152016

    Carlsen Leads in Bilbao After Wins in Rounds 2 & 3

    On traditional scoring Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura would be tied for first in the Bilbao Masters Final after three rounds. Nakamura defeated Carlsen in round 1 and drew his next two games, while Carlsen won in rounds 2 and 3 (against Wei Yi and Sergey Karjakin, respectively) to catch him on +1. Bilbao uses 3-1-0 scoring, however, so Carlsen has 6/9 compared to Nakamura's 5. Unlike most of the events covered in the previous posts, seven rounds remain in this double round-robin, so there's plenty of time yet for things to change.

    A question outside the scope of the current tournament: is there enough time for Karjakin to give Carlsen a real challenge this November? His results since qualifying for the world championship match have been decent but not for someone who looks to defeat the highest-rated player of all time, and against Carlsen today his play after the early middlegame was quite bad (have a look), and not just in comparison with his opponent's generally outstanding play. (If Karjakin doesn't shape up, the sponsors will have AGON their faces.)

    Here are the round 4 pairings, with 3-1-0 scores given in parentheses (so far, all the decisive results have come in Carlsen's games):

    • Carlsen (6) - So (3)
    • Nakamura (5) - Giri (3)
    • Wei Yi (2) - Karjakin (2)

    Friday
    Jul152016

    Vachier-Lagrave Leads Dortmund With (You Guessed It) Two Rounds Remaining (Updated)

    And not only that, but he has moved into #2 in the world on the live rating list. This is mainly due to his fine play in Dortmund, but he has received a sort of assist from Vladimir Kramnik, who has drawn all his games so far. Kramnik had very good winning chances against Fabiano Caruana in today's round - round 5 - while in round 3 Kramnik failed to convert a significant but not decisive advantage in what would have been a brilliant win over Rainer Buhmann. Even if he had won both games he'd still be half a point behind MVL, but he would have maintained his lead in the ratings.

    Vachier-Lagrave has 4/5; most closely pursued by Leinier Dominguez and Ruslan Ponomariov, both of whom have 3 points. As they are his opponents in the last two rounds, first place is still very much up for grabs.

    Meanwhile, let's have a look at that remarkable Kramnik-Buhmann game.

    UPDATE: It shouldn't have gone without saying that Buhmann's play in that game, while not quite perfect, was still extraordinarily good. Both he and Kramnik deserve major kudos for their play, and while Kramnik's play was flashier he at least had a headstart from his home prep. Buhmann had to try to work everything out at the board, and then to play more than a dozen moves at the end of the first time control with only a minute or two left on the clock.

    Friday
    Jul152016

    Nepomniachtchi Leads Danzhou With Two Rounds Remaining

    Here is an oddity: no one in the Danzhou super-tournament has lost more than two games, and yet one of the players with two losses, Ian Nepomniachtchi, is in clear first with 4.5/7. He lost in round 7, and also in round 2, but won all his remaining games excepting a draw in round 6. Three players are hot on his heels: Bu Xiangzhi, Wang Yue, and Pentala Harikrishna are just half a point behind with two games to go.

    Friday
    Jul152016

    U.S. Junior Championship: Xiong Leads With Two Rounds to Go

    Jeffery Xiong is the top seed at the 2016 U.S. Junior Championship, so it's not too surprising that he is in the lead. Despite a loss to Aleksandr Ostrovskiy in round 4, Xiong is very much in command with 5.5/7, a point clear of IM Awonder Liang and a point and a half ahead of his next four pursuers. The other grandmaster in the event, Kayden Troff, is having a poor event, and is tied for next-to-last with just 2.5 points.

    The games have been extremely hard-fought, so while there have been a lot of blunders the spectators are at least getting their money's worth if they're in it for the show.

    Friday
    Jul152016

    This Week's World Chess Column: The Gelfand-Inarkiev Match

    In my World Chess column this week I take a look at yet another super-event going on these days, the classical and rapid match between Boris Gelfand and Ernesto Inarkiev. The current score is 2-1 in Gelfand's favor after three classical games; my column, written after game 2, discusses the match and analyzes game 1, which was drawn, and Gelfand's win in game 2.

    Friday
    Jul152016

    Dvoretsky Q & A

    Should you watch this question-and-answer session with IM and famed trainer Mark Dvoretsky? It depends. What is the weather there, what is your personality, what are your strengths and weaknesses...you'll see.

    Thursday
    Jul142016

    Bilbao, Round 1: Nakamura Beats Carlsen!

    Good news, Chicago Cubs fans: anything is possible! In round 1 of the Bilbao Final Masters Hikaru Nakamura finally did something he hadn't done in his entire career: defeat Magnus Carlsen in a game with a classical time control. The game didn't get off to an auspicious start, as Carlsen obtained a very pleasant advantage on the white side of a Fianchetto Dragon, but when Carlsen chose a badly flawed plan Nakamura seized the advantage, increased it, and - most importantly - kept it. Carlsen resigned shortly after the time control was made, and the impossible dream proved possible after all.

    That puts Nakamura in first with three points on Bilbao's 3-1-0 scoring system, two points ahead of Sergey Karjakin, Wesley So, Anish Giri, and Wei Yi. The Karjakin-So game was a well-played game where White did most of the pressing but not to the point where Black was in serious trouble, while Giri did have a serious advantage for a while against Wei Yi, but didn't manage to convert.

    The games, with reasonably substantive notes to Carlsen-Nakamura, are here. The round 2 pairings are:

    • So - Nakamura
    • Wei Yi - Carlsen
    • Karjakin - Giri

    Saturday
    Jul092016

    Dortmund, Round 1: MVL, Najer Win

    In round 1 of Dortmund Maxime Vachier-Lagrave got off to a great start by defeating one of his main rivals, Fabiano Caruana, and did it with the black pieces. There was a period 2-3 years ago when Caruana lost practically every game with white against the Najdorf Sicilian, but while his score against this variation isn't very good today's loss can't be attributed to the opening. His position entering the middlegame was fine, and when he went wrong it wasn't due to any typical Najdorf motifs. If anything, his position was rather pleasant, and it's possible that he overestimated his chances. It appears that Caruana missed 39...Rxg5, but even with a different 39th move he would still have been in trouble, while even if Vachier-Lagrave missed that little tactic he would still have had a much better position. Perhaps time trouble was to blame? At any rate, it was a painful and fundamentally unnecessary loss for Caruana, while for Vachier-Lagrave it was a great start and a welcome to the 2800 club (at least on the live list).

    The other 2800 player (aside from MVL and Caruana) in the tournament, Vladimir Kramnik, drew comfortably with Black in a boring 5.Re1 Anti-Berlin (but I repeat myself) against Leinier Dominguez. Occasionally White finds a way to get a little nibble in that variation, and Kramnik has lost to it at least twice. Not today; if anything, it was Kramnik who was playing with house money for most of the game as he tried to squeeze blood from a stone for teh last 30 moves of the game.

    The draw between Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu and Ruslan Ponomariov had much more life to it. White did most of the running, but despite that there was a period where the engine at least thinks that Black was better, believing more in his extra pawn than in White's better development, space advantage and attacking chances. Once the queens came off Ponomariov's winning chances looked more realistic, but 34...b5 (rather than te patient if somewhat passive 34...b6 35.Bf1 Ra8) allowed White to liquidate the queenside and escape with a draw.

    Finally, in the game between the tournament's biggest underdogs, Evgeniy Najer and Rainer Buhmann, a very interesting and mostly level battle was spoiled when Buhmann missed a simple tactic (time trouble?). 26...b6?? missed the point of White's previous move, and after 27.Nxe6 Black was completely lost and resigned a few moves later. In fact Black's 25th move could also have been a decisive error, but its refutation was more subtle. Instead of 26.Rh2 Najer had 26.Kd1!, forcing Black to either allow White's rook to use the c-file (winning), or if Black retreats his attacked rook on the c-file White plays 27.Kd2 and then Rah1. This forces a quick mate; the mechanism is this: Rh8+, R1h7+, Rh6+, R8h7+, and then either Rg6+ followed by Rf7+ or the reverse, depending on which way Black's king goes. Either way, White will give mate next move.

    Here's what round 2 looks like:

    • Vachier-Lagrave (1) - Kramnik (.5)
    • Buhmann (0) - Dominguez (.5)
    • Ponomariov (.5) - Najer (1)
    • Caruana (0) - Nisipeanu (.5)

    If Vachier-Lagrave wins this next game too it's an exaggeration to say he's clinched first place, but not much of an exaggeration to say he'll be the prohibitive favorite to take the title. There's also a pretty good chance he'll spring to #2 on the live rating list, though Caruana might retain a tiny lead if he beats Nisipeanu.