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    Sunday
    Aug152010

    Non-NH News: Big Tournaments Near the Finish Line

    (1) World Junior Championships. There's one round left, and two are tied for first. One is Dmitry Andreikin, who has led from start to finish and must be in good shape if it comes down to tiebreaks. The other is Elistan Sanan Sjugirov; both have 9.5/12. Three players are a point behind going into the last round: Maxim Matlakov, A.R. Saleh Salem and Jon Ludvig Hammer.

    In the last round Andreikin has White against Hammer, Sjugirov has Black against Salem, and Matlakov (the favorite of senior citizens everywhere*) has White against Parimarjan Negi.

    The girls' championship was less interesting for a variety of reasons, notably that Anna Muzychuk (2527) outrated her nearest competitor by more than 120 points and almost everyone else by 200 or (far) more points. And until this last round, the general impression was right. She lost today to the only other player over 2400, one D.E.T. Cori (2403) (a strange pairing, as Muzychuk went into the round 3 points ahead of her opponent), and now there's an actual competition. Muzychuk and Olga Girya both have 10 points, and Rout Padmini has 9.5.

    In the last round Muzychuk has White against Ekaterini Pavlidou (2182), Girya has White against Irina Andrenko (2133), and in case they both fail to win, Padmini can tie for first (or better), but only by defeating Cori with Black.

     

    (2) Gyorgy Marx Memorial. Viktor Laznicka continues like a house on fire, drawing in round 8 and winning in round 9. His score of 7/9 clinches clear first with a round to go, as Zoltan Almasi's second-place total is but 5.5. In the cellar, both Jan Timman and Ray Robson lost in round 8, but in round 9 the latter beat the former to leapfrog him.

     

    (3) China vs. Russia. I don't know if this event has finished or if there are blitz games yet to come, but according to TWIC China leads (or perhaps has won) 128-122.

     

    (4) Efimenko-Naiditsch. Game 3 of this six-game match was drawn on Saturday, and today's a rest day. Total score: Naiditsch 2, Efimenko 1.

     

    * A silly pun for primarily U.S. consumption.

    Sunday
    Aug152010

    NH Tournament, Round 3: Kids Win and Win and Win. UPDATE: Games Now Included

    The Experience team is strong, but so far it's the kids ("Rising Stars") who are enjoying the upper hand. Today was another White round for the youngsters, and they parlayed it into a 4-1 win that could very plausibly have been 4.5-.5. Gelfand drew easily against So with his beloved Petroff, but in all the other games White obtained a serious edge. Giri had a nice edge against Ljubojevic, but decided to be a superhero and sac a piece. This wasn't quite as clever as he had thought, but he eventually managed to save what worked out to be a very entertaining game.

    Nakamura got a nice edge against Nielsen, and with a minor, immediately forgiven hiccup brought home the point. Caruana detonated an atomic bomb of a novelty against Svidler in a hot Grünfeld line and won in style. Finally, van Wely lost to Howell in a 6.g3 Najdorf. Howell sacrificed a pawn for a light-squared bind, and van Wely didn't manage to cope with the positional pressure.

    So the kids won the round and lead overall 9.5-5.5; of course, the oldsters get their shot with White in the next round, so the lead might well narrow.

    Tournament site here, games (with my comments) here.

    Friday
    Aug132010

    The News From Everywhere Else

    The NH Tournament is the most prominent event on the scene, but it's not the only one worthy of attention. Here's an update on some of the other big events in our burgeoning chess world.

    (1) The 5th FIDE Women's Grand Prix. Antoaneta Stefanova made Hou Yifan work very hard in the last round, but the latter held on, drew, and won the tournament with an 8-3 score. Stefanova was half a point behind, and three other players were a further point back. Hou is nearing 2600, which is all the more impressive since she's still only 16 years old. She's still somewhat under the radar, as she mostly plays in women's events, but that probably won't last for long.

    (2) World Junior Championship. Three rounds of thirteen remain, and Dmitry Andreikin continues to cling to a narrow lead. He has 8/10, half a point ahead of Elista's Sanan Sjugirov and the Peruvian Emilio Arturo Cordova Daza. Eight others, including Jon Ludvig Hammer, are another half-point back.

    (3) Russia vs. China. The rapid portion is finished (I think), and the Chinese team continues to lead this marathon event 104.5-95.5.

    (4) Gyorgy Marx Memorial. Czech GM Viktor Laznicka continues to lead, and impressively. His score of 5.5/7 gives him a 2857 TPR and a full point lead with three rounds to go. The talented American youngster Ray Robson is taking his lumps and is in last place with two points, but this as much as a sign of the tournament's strength than of his weakness. His TPR is a respectable 2499 and he's only half a point behind the legendary Dutch GM Jan Timman.

    (5) Efimenko-Naiditsch Match. Maybe these guys aren't in the super-duper-ultra-elite, but they're near 2700 and play fighting chess. Naiditsch has the early lead in this six game match, 1.5-.5.

    Friday
    Aug132010

    NH Tournament, Round 2

    The "old" guys had White today, but they were even less successful than the kids were yesterday! Four games were drawn, though White had an edge in a couple of games and a won position in van Wely-Nakamura. Ultimately, though, the only winner was David Howell, with Black, against a very slow moving Ljubomir Ljubojevic. The Rising Stars "team"* thus leads by one, with all the youngsters on 50% except for Nakamura, who is on +1 despite his somewhat shaky play thus far.

    The tournament website is here, the games - with my notes - are here.

     

    * I put "team" in scare quotes because it's in each team member's interest for his teammates to fail dismally: the top scorer on the Rising Stars team (at least if he finishes with a plus score) wins an automatic spot to the Amber rapid & blindfold tournament in early 2011.

    Friday
    Aug132010

    This Week's ChessVideos Show: Viewer Questions

    About once a month I reply on ChessVideos.tv to viewer questions, and that's the theme of this week's show. Somewhat unusually for this thread, I take a look at a number of classic games (including games by Capablanca and Fischer); more typically, there are questions on the openings - the Caro-Kann features prominently this time around.

    To watch the show, you need only click here. The program is free (free registration is required) and will be available on-demand for the next month or so.

    Thursday
    Aug122010

    The NH Tournament, Round 1

    In round 1 the young guys had White, but were unable to prove any superiority. The Rising Stars' top seed, Hikaru Nakamura, did manage to beat the Experience team's lowest board, but with difficulty. Three games were drawn, and in the fifth game the Experience #1, Boris Gelfand, defeated the Rising Stars' least-"risen" teammate to equalize the match.

    The tournament site is here, and you can find the games here, with my brief comments.

    Wednesday
    Aug112010

    The Daily Update: The World Junior, Women's Grand Prix, Russia vs. China and the Gyorgy Marx Memorial

    A big batch of tournaments ended this weekend, but there are plenty more underway. (And of course, there's the NH Rising Stars vs. Experience tournament starting Thursday.) Here are some of the biggies:

    (1) World Junior Championship. We're just past the halfway point (7 rounds of 13 have finished), and Russian Dmitry Andreikin leads with 6 points. Only two players - Jacek Tomczak (POL) and Sanan Sjugirov (RUS - from Kalmykia) are within half a point, but 17 more have 5 points including the well-known players Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway and Parimarjan Negi of India.

    (2) 5th Women's Grand Prix. With one round to go, Hou Yifan of China has 7.5/10 and leads former women's champ Antoneta Stefanova of Bulgaria by half a point. Fortunately for Stefanova, she has White against Hou in the last round of this very strong women's event in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

    (3) Russia vs. China. The Russian women have held their own against their Chinese counterparts and then some, but the Chinese men have been pounding their Russian opponents pretty hard. The overall score so far is 27-23, China.

    (4) 8th Gyorgy Marx Memorial. This six-man, double round-robin event has reached the halfway mark; here are the standings so far:

    1. Laznicka 4/5 (2867 TPR)

    2. Z. Almasi 3

    3. F. Berkes 2.5

    4-5. Robson, Timman 2

    6. Acs 1.5

    Good practice for America's youngest GM!

    Wednesday
    Aug112010

    Svidler vs. Nielsen: Videos

    Speaking of Peter Svidler (see the previous post), you can see the man in action against his namesake, Peter Heine Nielsen, from their recent rapid & blitz match. Have a look.

    Monday
    Aug092010

    Peter Svidler's Website

    Here.

    HT: Srinivas Patri

    Monday
    Aug092010

    Endgame Blunders at the Rapid World Championship

    Two games from this weekend's Grenke Rapid World Championship caught my eye as examples of what can happen to a player who is pressing for the win and gets excited about his chances - so excited he loses his sense of danger. Have a look.