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    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. Women's Championship 2016 Women's World Championship 2016 World Championship 2018 Chess Olympiad 22014 Sinquefield Cup 22014 U.S. Championship 2Mind Games 2016 60 Minutes A. 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    Friday
    Nov112011

    2011 European Team Championship: Armenia and Germany Tied and Paired Entering the Final Round

    Bulgaria enjoyed the clear lead after round 5 and remained tied for first after six rounds, but their dream of a title were blown up after a 3.5-.5 rout by the Azerbaijani team in round 7. So the Azeris were sure to win, right? After all, they had beaten Russia (in round 6) and Armenia before that, and outrated their eighth round opponents, the Germans, by a healthy margin. Not healthy enough! With three draws and a Naidtisch win over Radjabov on board one, the Germans took the lead.

    Or rather, took a share of the lead. The other leaders - who have the better tiebreaks, it must be added - are the Armenians. They nipped Spain in round 6 and France in round 7 before winning more convincingly against the Dutch in round 8. So both Armenia and Germany have 13 team points (both teams are +6 -1 =1 - double the usual point values to get 13 points), and they'll face off in the last round. Azerbaijan and Bulgaria both have 12 points, but are not facing each other. In theory then, there could be a four-way tie for first in the event. The first tiebreak seems to be board points, and if the top match is drawn Armenia would have 23 board points and Germany 22. The most the Bulgarians could finish with is 22.5, if they somehow swept Hungary, and that would leave them behind Armenia. Azerbaijan enters the last round with 20, however, so if they beat Romania 3.5-.5 they could win the title. In fact, their second tiebreak score is better than both Armenia's and Germany's, so it seems that they could win the title even with a 3-1 victory (again, assuming an Armenia-Germany draw).

    Other tidbits: the Russians are in a tie for 5th-7th place; on tiebreaks, they're currently 7th. Greece fell back from their earlier great start, but drew in round 8 against Poland. They're presently tied for 11th, and will have a good old-time matchup with Italy. (Send Caruana back - and before the match!)

    I'll present some games tomorrow. Meanwhile, the event website, which is worth browsing, is here.

    Wednesday
    Nov092011

    Tal's Would-Have-Been 75th Birthday

    Is today or was yesterday, depending on your time zone. Mikhail Tal was born on November 9, 1936, and while he hasn't been with us since 1992, his incredible games will be celebrated as long as there are people who care about chess. On the occasion of what would have been his 75th birthday, Tal's old friend and sometime second Gennadi Sosonko has written a brief memorial piece, with many previously unpublished or at least widely unknown pictures, here. (It's in Russian, but you can find a rather shaky Google translation here.)

    HT: Chess Today

    Wednesday
    Nov092011

    A Chess Movie - With Your Help

    A movie is in the works about I.S. 318 in Brooklyn, one of the traditional powerhouses of scholastic chess. You can watch a trailer here, and if you're interested in helping the producers raise money for the film, have a look here.

    Wednesday
    Nov092011

    Happy 80th Birthday, Nikolay Minev

    Bulgarian, now American IM Nikolay Minev turned 80 yesterday (sorry to be slightly late), and as someone who long enjoyed his column on tactics for (the sadly now-defunct) Inside Chess, I'm happy to wish him a happy birthday. Thanks to a short article on him in Chess Today, I learned that he was not only a very accomplished player and chess author, which was evident in any case, but that he was a medical doctor who in 1965 created the Bulgarian national toxicology lab in Sofia. Impresive!

    Much more Minev, here - the site is most definitely worth a long browse.

    Tuesday
    Nov082011

    Catching Up On The European Team Championship

    There have been a lot of exciting games and surprising results at the European Team Championship. Round 6 is still finishing up, so I'll offer a brief interim report, or at least a series of impressions, on the first five rounds.

    1. Russia fails again: It's incredible that a team with players like Sergey Karjakin, Peter Svidler, Alexander Grischuk and Alexander Morozevich manning the boards could fail to dominate or at least contend, but that's what has happened. In round 1 they barely beat Moldova, only winning the match when Svetushkin put his rook en prise in a very drawn ending. In round 2 they won comfortably, but in round 3 they only managed four draws with a significantly outrated Dutch team. Worse still, they were obliterated by Bulgaria in round 4, 3-1, with only reserve player Ian Nepomniachtchi winning on board four. There's still time for them to rise from the ashes, but for now they're in 10th place.

    2. Bulgaria leads: Veselin Topalov had taken some time off from chess, but he's back and playing well. More importantly, his supporting cast is playing very well too. They started with a shaky win over Switzerland and a 2-2 draw with Ukraine, but then beat Poland, crushed Russia (it is an historic oddity that Bulgarian teams have often done very well against Russia, even before Topalov came on the scene) and crushed Germany as well.

    3. Go Greece!: The Greek team lost to Azerbaijan in round 3, but they've won their remaining matches and are tied for second. Though their top two boards are only 2620 and 2621, respectively [sic - for some reason ratings don't determine board order here], they have managed to win matches against England, Georgia and Spain (not counting what was essentially a walkover against Cyprus in round 1).

    With four rounds to go, the current standings are unlikely to hold. Some teams, like Romania (in second) and (sadly) Greece probably won't maintain their lofty status for long, while strong teams with disappointing starts like Russia, Armenia, Germany and England still have time to catch up.

    As I mentioned, there have been many exciting games so far. This is common in events of this nature for at least three reasons: fresh blood, rating imbalances and patriotism/team spirit. The elite players are insanely familiar with each other's chess, but that goes out the window here - a few hours of database prep doesn't make up for face to face experience. Besides, most of the games don't feature the Grand Slam crowd. Further, rating imbalances encourage the higher-rated players to try harder, and that too adds a bit of risk and excitement to the proceedings. Finally, some players seem to try harder and play better in a team context. Armenia is a classic example, though they're struggling a bit so far, while Russia is a team that somehow doesn't seem to manage to achieve synergy.

    We'll see how things turn out. Meanwhile, here are four of many highlights for your entertainment.

    Sunday
    Nov062011

    Notre Dame 24, Wake Forest 17

    Six down, four to go (including the bowl game). Next Saturday's victim: Maryland.

    Saturday
    Nov052011

    Notre Dame to Crush Wake Forest Tonight

    It's fall and it's Saturday, which means it's time for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to squash another hapless foe. This week's victim is Wake Forest, and the beating begins momentarily, viewable on ESPN2 (possibly ABC in some markets). Win #6, here we come!

    Saturday
    Nov052011

    Gretarsson-Shirov from Round 1 of the European Team Championship

    It's an interesting game and a bit of a man-bites-dog story, so following a reader suggestion (third comment down) I've annotated the round 1 upset win by Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson (an FM, not to be confused with GM Helgi Gretarsson) over the famous super-GM Alexei Shirov. Most of the sources for games from this event - including the official site(!) - failed to include the game, but an Icelandic site was understandably happy to supply it.

    Have a look, here.

    Thursday
    Nov032011

    This Week's ChessVideos Show: Vallejo the Attacker

    Francisco Vallejo Pons may not be a member of the world's absolute elite, but he's still a terrifically strong player with a very lively and combative style. On his day he can (and has) beaten just about everybody, often in spectacular style. In my ChessVideos show this week I take a look at the high points of two such games, and challenge the viewers to test their attacking skills against his. It's good practice, no matter how you do, and good entertainment as well. Have a look!

    The show is free, as always (one-time free registration required), and will be available on-demand for the next month or so.

    Thursday
    Nov032011

    The European Team Championship is Underway

    It's quite the event, too, as the participant list includes (in no particular order) Svidler, Grischuk, Morozevich, Nepomniachtchi, Ivanchuk, Eljanov, Radjabov, Caruana, Gashimov, Mamedyarov, Aronian, Movsesian, Leko, Bacrot, Vachier-Lagrave, Topalov, Adams, Short, Giri, Navara, Shirov and plenty of other 2700s and near-2700s. It started today and runs through next Friday, November 11; a nine-round event with 38 countries fighting it out for European honors in Porto Carras, Greece.

    There will be plenty of great chess there, and it should to a marvelous job of tiding us over to the Tal Memorial (Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Karjakin, Ivanchuk, Nakamura, Gelfand, Svidler and Nepomniachtchi) on November 16.