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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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    Saturday
    Jul122014

    Dortmund Starts Today (Saturday)

    Vladimir Kramnik's favorite annual super-tournament, the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany, kicks off today. The eight player round-robin headlines Kramnik and Fabiano Caruana, and begins at 3 p.m. local time with the following pairings:

    • David Baramidze - Fabiano Caruana
    • Arkadij Naiditsch - Michael Adams
    • Vladimir Kramnik - Georg Meier
    • Peter Leko - Ruslan Ponomariov

    The tournament is maybe a little weaker and smaller than it used to be, but with two players from the top ten and six players over 2700 it's still a strong and interesting event.

    Thursday
    Jul102014

    A Little Blitz Entertainment

    I don't watch much blitz online, but I took a few minutes earlier this afternoon to see some big guns slugging it out on (the) ICC. You can find one of the games I saw and replay it here, and my recommendation is to avoid looking at the notes until you get to the position after 24.Rac1 Nf4. Take a moment or two trying to work things out and look for tricks.

    It's nothing heavy; just a little light entertainment and a small workout. Enjoy it!

    Thursday
    Jul102014

    Dominant Players Graphic

    Here. (HT: Esteban) I'm sure there's a more thorough and easily read chart somewhere else though - maybe from Jeff Sonas. The "men's" graph only seems to cover players who were #1 or #2 at some point, so there are obviously going to be some major omissions. Also, it isn't clear what the scale is along the vertical axis.

    Anyway, have a look, and if you find a more thorough graph of the same sort (preferably with FIDE ratings or IPRs rather than ChessMetrics ratings) please let us know in the comments.

    Finally, if you hover over the graphic with your mouse there's a little pop-up about the "Vera Menchik club".

    Thursday
    Jul102014

    Hamppe-Meitner, Revisited

    One of the most famous draws in chess history occurred in Vienna in 1870, between Carl Hamppe and Philipp Meitner. The opponents' play was remarkably accurate, too, though improvements have been found in the computer age. It would not be easy to find these improvements OTB though, especially in a rapid (15' + 10") game. So when Rauf Mamedov and Aleksej Alexandrov repeated the game on their way to a draw in round 6 of the World Rapid Championship last month, were they just taking a round off, or was one player or the other trying to outfox his opponent? The two aren't countrymen, they're of different generations (Alexandrov is 15 years older) and tiredness was unlikely to be a factor as it was the first game of the second day. So one would expect a normal game from them, but repeating the Hamppe-Meitner game smacks of pre-arranged draw. Does anyone know?

    In case you're curious, you can replay their game here.

    Thursday
    Jul102014

    Beware of b3, Beware of b4

    In contemporary chess the move 1.b3 has experienced a small surge of popularity. At least one monograph has been published in English on the move, and in recent years it has been occasionally adopted by elite GMs Baadur Jobava and Hikaru Nakamura. 1.b4 is probably less strong, but it has had at least two book-length treatments in recent years!

    Moreover, the popularity of early b-pawn pushes for White is not limited to the opening move. When I was playing through the games from round 6 of the World Rapid Championship, I was simply amazed by how often White played either b3 or b4 while still in the opening. I've gone through many tournaments without pushing my b-pawn even once as White, but at least in this round of this tournament, it was prevalent: in at least 23 of the 50 or so games White pushed his b-pawn by around move 13 and generally much earlier!

    The situations often differed, and White's reason for playing it in one game didn't necessarily transfer to the reasons for its being played in another. So I hope that looking through all 23 of the examples here - with my brief commentary whenever the b-pawn push occurred - will give you an increased sense of the richness of contemporary chess, along with an increased understanding of how such pawns moves can be useful. Enjoy, and don't worry - I only offer one comment per game, so going through all 23 of them won't take very long.

    Tuesday
    Jul082014

    The Chess Cafe: Once More Up And Running

    The headline is slightly misleading, as the Chess Cafe website didn't shut down for the past six months, but many of its regular columns were on hiatus from the start of the year. Happily, the columns (including Mark Dvoretsky's) are being updated once again, so those of you who have forgotten about the site over the past half year may wish to renew your acquaintance with it.

    Sunday
    Jul062014

    Anand's Self-Described Best Games from the World Rapid & Blitz Championships

    In the previous post I linked to a short interview of Viswanathan Anand focusing on his performance in last month's world rapid & blitz championships, and in that article he singled out several games of special importance. Those games, with my brief notes (including his win over Magnus Carlsen), can be replayed here.

    Wednesday
    Jul022014

    Anand on the World Rapid & Blitz Championships

    Once again "our" man on the scene Jaideep Unudurti has scored an interview with ex-world champion and current world championship contender Viswanathan Anand. It's a short piece and there's no "red meat" about the coming title tilt with Magnus Carlsen, but there are some interesting comments about the recently completed World Rapid & Blitz Championships, especially the rapid portion of the event.

    It's worth a look, and I hope to present the games Anand referred to in a subsequent post.

    Saturday
    Jun282014

    Karjakin-Carlsen From the World Rapid Championship

    This time, we'll have a look at an exciting Dragon from round 6 of the World Rapid Championship. The game was drawn and generally well-played, but both players may have missed some chances. It looks like it's of theoretical significance as well, so Dragoneers and prospective St. Georges should check it out.

    Saturday
    Jun282014

    Carlsen & Aronian Interviewed

    And more too, including the latest video entry with Magnus Carlsen & Espen Agdestein discussing his (Carlsen's) play in the World Rapid Championship. Have a look.