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    1948 World Chess Championship 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 Rapid & Blitz World Championship 2014 Russian Team Championship 2014 U.S. Championship 2014 World Championship 2014 World Rapid Championship 22014 U.S. Championship 60 Minutes A. 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    Friday
    Jul302010

    This Week's ChessVideos Show: Viewer Games for July 2010

    It's just what it sounds like: viewers submit their games, and every so often (about once a month) I go through them in a video presentation. For the latest crop, featuring almost exclusively attacking games, have a look here. (The video is free [free registration required] and will be available on-demand for the next month or so.)

    N.B. For some reason there were problems with the sound quality, so you'll have to crank your speakers a bit. I'll do what I can to make sure that doesn't happen next time.

    Friday
    Jul302010

    The Daily Update: Caruana Wins Biel and Adams Wins Again. Plus Pamplona and Computers

    As was the case at the U.S. Junior, the player with the bye in the tiebreak stage failed to benefit. Against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Fabiano Caruana won the first game with White and lost the second with Black, and it was on to Armageddon. Caruana had Black, and his draw odds forced his opponent to overpress in the queen and rook ending: 0-1. Against Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son he was fortunate to draw his white game, but managed to win with Black. He is thus the winner of Biel - a fine accomplishment! He is now over 2700 - a fine achievement for anyone, and all the more so in his case, as he is currently the youngest 2700 (though not the youngest ever).

    In the British Championship, Michael Adams put an end to Jack Rudd's Cinderella story, at least for now, bludgeoning him in just 23 moves. Ouch. Even so, Rudd is having a great tournament, and if he can maintain the form he showed in the first three rounds, he'll have terrific chances for a GM norm. Meanwhile, Adams is in clear first with a 4-0 score, half a point ahead of Alexei Slavin (of Russia?! - eh??) and Adam Hunt.

    Pamplona: Wojtaszek and Fressinet won again, and they continue to lead with 4.5/6, a point ahead of pre-tournament favorite Morozevich, Zvjaginsev and Fedorchuk.

    Houdini 1.03a vs. Stockfish 1.8: This battle of computer engines, based loosely on Magnus Carlsen's 2005-2010 opening repertoire, is down to its last game. Houdini leads 17-14 and has clinched overall victory in the match, but Stockfish seems to have the advantage in the final game. Note, by the way, that both engines are freely available on the internet.

    Wednesday
    Jul282010

    The Daily Update: Biel, British Championship, Pamplona

    (1) It was another good round in Biel, and there's more chess to come. The leaders coming into the "last" round, Vachier-Lagrave and Caruana, both drew their games (against Negi and Howell, respectively), which allowed Nguyen to catch them by beating Giri. (The other two games were drawn.) Tomorrow (Thursday), therefore, there will be a playoff at 11 a.m. local time. Nguyen gets a first-round bye while the other two face off in a pair of blitz games (followed by an Armageddon game, if necessary). He'll take on the winner in a pair of 10' + 10" games, followed by 5' + 2" if necessary, followed (if necessary) by an Armageddon game.

    (2) In the British Championship, an intriguing story is afoot. Michael Adams won again in round 3, over Richard Pert, and now stands alone at 3-0...or rather, almost alone. Joining him there, and thus ready to face him tomorrow, is the 2236-rated IM Jack Rudd. (Yes, the Jack Rudd.) In round 1, as already noted, he beat GM Keith Arkell. In round 2 he demolished IM Andrew Greet (with Black), and in round 3 he had no problem crushing GM Simon Williams. Very impressive!

    (3) In Pamplona, the 4th AD San Juan International has a new leader. Morozevich was upended by Polish GM and sometime Anand second Radoslaw Wojtaszek in round 5, and now Wojtaszek and French GM Laurent Fressinet co-lead with 3.5/5, half a point ahead of Morozevich, Sergey Fedorchuk, Vadim Zvjaginsev and Julio Granda Zuniga.

    Wednesday
    Jul282010

    Candidates News

    There are several very interesting pieces of information about the 2011 Candidates matches to report here.

    (1) Pairings. This is the most interesting bit, of course, and here they are:

    Veselin Topalov - Gata Kamsky (Hmm, where have we seen this before?)

    Magnus Carlsen - Teimour Radjabov

    Vladimir Kramnik - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

    Levon Aronian - Boris Gelfand

    (2) Location. Note that Aronian is playing, which leads to this: in what is at least in part a concession to Aronian's unwillingness to play in Azerbaijan (the originally intended location was Baku), the event is now scheduled for Kazan, Russia. And this in turn leads to...

    (3) Topalov's Protest. Based on his experience against Kramnik in Elista, where he suffered by receiving a free point and destroying Kramnik's equilibrium by accusing the latter of cheating, Topalov has pronounced himself unwilling to play against a Russian (i.e. Kramnik, the only Russian in the event) in Russia. What arrangement, if any, will be made for this is unclear, but in the unlikely event that no concession is made and Topalov cuts his nose to spite his face, he will be replaced by Alexander Grischuk. (Note: though I find the behavior of Topalov (and Danailov) extremely unpleasant, I do hope that if he and Kramnik meet in a final match, it occurs in a neutral site. It would be even better, however, if he simply lost to Kamsky in the first round.)

    More info here.

    Tuesday
    Jul272010

    The Daily Update: Biel Comes Alive! Plus Adams, Morozevich Roll On - and More

    1. I doubt any of the competitors at Biel read my blog, but it's likely that the sorts of sentiments expressed here about their consistent non-play have been expressed by many others. Perhaps this weighed on their consciences or provoked the organizers to harangue them. Whatever the story, something happened and they FINALLY played some real chess today. It was excellent! All the games were hard-fought, four of the five games finished in a win, and the only draw was a real battle and the last game to finish.

     

    Vachier-Lagrave - Rodshtein 1-0

    Andreikin - Caruana 1/2-1/2

    Giri - So 1-0

    Tomashevsky - Nguyen 0-1

    Howell - Negi 1-0

     

    Vachier-Lagrave - Rodshtein was a Gruenfeld that generally saw things going White's way, but the game was decided after 35...Rxe6?? (35...Rg8! 36.Qxh7+ Kf8 favors White, but Black is very much alive). White could have won more easily than he did, but Black was never able to completely extricate himself.

    Andreikin - Caruana was a quasi-Rossolimo turned Open Sicilian turned quasi-French, but through all the twists and turns the position remained fairly even. Caruana gradually obtained a slight initiative, but in the end it was only enough to force a draw by repetition.

    Giri - So was decided in a queen ending. So's clever 19...Bxh3!? led to that ending, where White was slightly better but a draw looked the likeliest result. The game was decided when So chose 34...f4?! 35.Qh4 Qxh4?, voluntarily transposing into a lost king and pawn ending. No doubt So missed White's triangulation maneuver on moves 42 and 43, but it was a bad risk to enter the pawn ending in the first place. Live and learn.

    Tomashevsky - Nguyen was bad for White almost from start to finish. The ending - from move 35 on, say - was quite interesting, in that White desperately wanted to eliminate Black's d4-pawn while Nguyen kept finding ways to keep the pawn alive and meaningful. Black succeeded, and in the end White's preoccupation with the pawn left him unable to cope with threats to his king.

    Howell - Negi saw the "Botvinnik System" of the 2.c3 Sicilian. Black was doing fine, but his plan of doubling rooks on the d-file followed by 26...Rd3 ingeniously forced White to beat him. White had no choice but to sac the exchange, and the result was a position where Black had no meaningful active possibilities whatsoever while White could try this and that. Soon White's position was not only easier to play but simply winning, and Black forced him into it!

     

    With eight rounds down and one to go, the standings look like this:

    1-2. Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana 5

    3-4. Nguyen, Andreikin 4.5

    5-8. Giri, So, Tomashevsky, Rodshtein 4

    9. Howell 3

    10. Negi 2

     

    The last-round pairings:

    Rodshtein - Tomashevsky

    Negi - Vachier-Lagrave

    Caruana - Howell

    So - Andreikin

    Nguyen - Giri

     

    It's not likely, as the leaders are playing tailenders, but it's possible to have half the field tie for first.

     

    2. The British Championship: It had its first GM vs. GM pairing, with Adams taking on Summerscale. Of course, not all GMs are equally strong, and Adams outrated his opponent by more than 200 points and won quickly. Quite a few of his main rivals drew their games, so although it's still very early the tournament is shaping up nicely for him.

    3. The 4th AD San Juan International in Pamplona is up to round 4 today, but only the games and results through round three are available as of this writing. Morozevich leads with 2.5/3.

    4. Finally, the Houdini 1.03a - Stockfish 1.8 match continues, and after 22 games Houdini leads 12.5-9.5. Stockfish won game 1, Houdini games 2, 11, 12 and 17. The games have been more accessible, I think, to human eyes, thanks to the opening selection this time around, but the percentage of draws has been very high. Is the moral that the more theoretical the opening, the more objectively drawish the position? I'm not sure. After all, the Rybka 4 - Houdini match wasn't terribly theoretical in its opening selection, but the drawing percentage was high there as well. Maybe Houdini's "style" leads to a greater than average number of draws? Those with access to more data might have something more intelligent to say about this matter.

    Monday
    Jul262010

    The British Championship, A Website Alert, And A Surprised Pat on the Back

    Round 1 of the British Championship is complete, and while neither Michael Adams nor the highest rated GMs in the next tier down were upset, one GM lost. That was Keith Arkell, to IM Jack Rudd, rated almost 230 points below him.

    About Adams, he has an official website you might wish to browse. It has chess content, and who knows - you might get a discount on a Florida condo rental for your next vacation. To my surprise (HT: Srinivas Patri) it also links to what I hope is one of your favorite websites...guess which? I'm guessing I have Mark Crowther or the Streatham & Brixton bloggers to thank for this, but if it Adams himself has browsed the site and made the decision, it's a very pleasant surprise. Whoever did it, thank you!

    Monday
    Jul262010

    Another Clever Diaz Cartoon

    But the caricature of Ponomariov is rather unflattering.

    Monday
    Jul262010

    Biel, Round 7

    3 He will judge between many peoples
           and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
           They will beat their swords into plowshares
           and their spears into pruning hooks.
           Nation will not take up sword against nation,
           nor will they train for war anymore.

     4 Every man will sit under his own vine
           and under his own fig tree,
           and no one will make them afraid,
           for the LORD Almighty has spoken.

    (Micah 4:3-4, New International Version)

     

    6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
           the leopard will lie down with the goat,
           the calf and the lion and the yearling [a] together;
           and a little child will lead them.

     7 The cow will feed with the bear,
           their young will lie down together,
           and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

     8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
           and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.

     9 They will neither harm nor destroy
           on all my holy mountain,
           for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
           as the waters cover the sea.

    (Isaiah 11:6-9, New International Version)

     

    Caruana - Giri 1/2-1/2, 32

    Vachier-Lagrave - Tomashevsky 1/2-1/2, 38

    So - Nguyen 1/2-1/2, 26

    Rodshtein - Howell 1/2-1/2, 52 (ok, not a trivial move count, but the game could have concluded 20-30 moves earlier)

    Negi - Andreikin 1/2-1/2, 28

     

    Totals through round 7: 26 draws, 9 wins. Compare this with Dortmund, where there were 16 draws and 14 wins, even with the alleged King of the Draws (Leko) and the sometimes draw-amenable Kramnik. Maybe it's a sort of contagion? I bet a statistically savyy person could find something interesting here, to see if once you have a couple of players or a couple of rounds with short, fightless draws, it gathers its own momentum and ruins the whole tournament.

    Monday
    Jul262010

    Anand: I Want to be Number One Again

    It's a bit funny to see the World Champion expressing such a wish, but it's good, too. Actually, there's a little ambiguity here. Is this a new wish, or is this a non-news item merely consisting of an Indian media outlet quoting Anand expressing something he has felt since the moment he lost the #1 spot on the rating list?

    About the content of the piece, we see him say that he realizes he must play more - a plus for chess fans, whether he succeeds in regaining the top spot or not. Unfortunately, while he's going to pay in Norway next month (classical chess or rapid?), he'll then be out of commission until December. That's a problem with being World Champion, I guess: if any of us want to play in a tournament, we can (life permitting) hop in a car, drive around 200 miles (at worst!) and play as soon as next weekend. For Anand, there's having an event with suitable opposition, getting the appearance fee worked out, etc., so even if he wanted to play constantly, like Ivanchuk, it wouldn't be so easy to work out, at least not if he wants to restrict his opposition to the good ol' boy network.

    Anyway, I hope he succeeds in his ambitions to play a lot - it would be great for the game.

     

    HT: Brian Karen

    Monday
    Jul262010

    Zdenko Krnic, 1947-2010

    Not a household name for most of us, but Mr. Krnic was the Editor-in-Chief of Chess Informant. More information about his passing here.