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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 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 22014 Sinquefield Cup 22014 U.S. Championship 60 Minutes A. 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    Saturday
    Nov082014

    ASU 55, Notre Dame 31

    So much for any national championship hopes! What a ridiculous game: four turnovers gave Arizona State a 34-3 lead in the first half. Then Notre Dame finally started playing competently, and with six minutes left in the game had closed it to 34-31! ASU bounced back and scored a touchdown, then when ND was driving right back down a received bobbled a ball and turned it into a second pick-six for the defense. One more ND failure in the closing minutes resulted in the final score.

    Wait 'til next year!

    Record to date: 7-2.

    Next victim: Northwestern.

    In lieu of a tune, here's a dramatic interpretation of ND's turnover-prone play.

    Saturday
    Nov082014

    Notre Dame to Exorcise the Sun Devils Shortly

    The 8th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish are in sunny Arizona this afternoon to take on and dismantle the 11th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils in a must-win game to keep their playoff chances alive. (They need to finish in the top four in the rankings by season's end, which includes three more games after this one.)

    The exorcism begins at 3:30 p.m. ET, and will be televised on ESPN3.

    Saturday
    Nov082014

    Petrosian Memorial, Round 4: Grischuk's Winning Streak Ends as Everyone Draws

    Alexander Grischuk's three-game winning streak in the tournament and six-game streak overall concluded today after he drew with the black pieces against Ding Liren. The other games were drawn as well, and tomorrow's round 5 pairings look like this:

    • Aronian (2) - Kramnik (2.5)
    • Grischuk (3.5) - Leko (2)
    • Inarkiev (1) - Ding Liren (2)
    • Gelfand (1.5) - Morozevich (1.5)

    Pointless tournament link here; more useful info here.

    Saturday
    Nov082014

    Carlsen-Anand, Game 1: An Eventful Draw

    This year's world championship match got off to a much livelier start than last year's. This began from move 1, with Viswanathan Anand opting for 1.d4 rather than 1.e4. In the previous match his tries with 1.e4 led to nothing against Magnus Carlsen's Berlin, while 1.d4 in game 9 gave Anand his best shot with White in the whole match, notwithstanding the final result of that game.

    In that game from last year Carlsen headed for a Nimzo-Indian, but today he chose a Gruenfeld. After 4.cxd5 Nxd5 Anand opted for Smyslov's system with 5.Bd2, and obtained an active position where Black needed to exercise serious care to avoid concrete problems. So far, so good for the Anand game plan, but when Carlsen rose to the occasion and solved those problems Anand started to drift. Move by move as the time control approached Carlsen gained ground and it looked like he might be on the path towards another trademark boa constrictor victory. After the time control, however, Anand was able to tighten things up and chose an excellent defensive setup that enabled him to hold the game, although I suspect that Carlsen might have missed an opportunity for more.

    Both players have some grounds for satisfaction in the game: Anand was able to get an open fight and then later showed his ability to defend resiliently in his opponent's kind of position, while Carlsen can feel good about neutralizing his opponent's opening surprise with Black without too much trouble and then managing to seize the advantage as well.

    The game is here (with very light notes); game two will be tomorrow. Subscribers: more coverage is coming!

    Friday
    Nov072014

    How Will I Cover the Carlsen-Anand Rematch? You Decide

    [Note: There have been quite a few new posts since I first wrote this; I just keep pushing it to the top for the sake of those who may not have seen it already.]

    A few people have written asking if I will cover the upcoming Magnus Carlsen-Viswanathan Anand rematch in a way similar to what I've done the last two years with the first Anand-Carlsen match in 2013 and the one between Anand and Boris Gelfand on 2012. I covered those matches on the blog to some extent, but worked up some deep analysis and videos for subscribers, sending both to them by email.

    If there is sufficient interest, I'm willing to repeat last year's offer. If you're willing to pay $25 (or more) for the same deal, please drop me a note via the "Contact Me" box in the right sidebar along with your email address, and if enough people have signed up by Friday afternoon ET I'll send out a note requesting that you go ahead and send that amount to me via PayPal. If not enough people are interested, then I won't, and no one will have committed any money. And here's a bonus, at least for those who hadn't signed up last year: If the plan succeeds I'll send the early subscribers last year's Anand-Carlsen videos and analyses as well!

    Order now, operators are standing by...

    Friday
    Nov072014

    Carlsen-Anand Starts In About 8 Hours; Anand Has White in Game 1

    The World Championship rematch between champion Magnus Carlsen and his challenger, ex-champion Viswanathan Anand, starts Saturday at 3 p.m. local time in Sochi, Russia (= 12 noon GMT/7 a.m. ET). Anand drew the white pieces for game 1, which means he'll also have them for game 12 (if it gets that far).

    The players announced their seconds - at least some of them - at a press conference today (Friday). Carlsen confessed to the obvious ones: Peter Heine Nielsen and Jon Ludwig Hammer, while Anand mentioned three: Krishnan Sasikiran, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, and Grzegorz Gajewski. Has Garry Kasparov provided any special help to Carlsen, and has Vladimir Kramnik offered any assistance to Anand? It's possible, but as far as I know and have heard no one outside of the principals themselves and probably their immediate circles knows for sure. Regardless of the strength and brilliance of the players' seconds, however, the results are ultimately up to the players, and unless the novelties are huge they probably won't be enough to decide a game in and of themselves.

    The tournament site is here, and if you're interested in my fullest coverage of the match, have a look at this post and drop me a note.

    Friday
    Nov072014

    Carlsen vs. Anand: Prediction Time

    The match starts on Saturday, so let's start making predictions. Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand will play 12 games, just like last year, followed by rapid and even blitz games if they finish the classical games tied 6-6. The schedule is also the same as before: one player has White the first day and Black the next day, then they take a day off, and the pattern is repeated until the end. With two exceptions: after game 6 the order is reversed (thus the players will repeat the same colors in games 6 and 7), and there's an additional rest day between the 11th and 12 games of the match (assuming it gets that far).

    Last year Carlsen won 6.5-3.5, winning games 5, 6 and 9 (the first two by superior endgame technique, the last on a blunder in a complicated middlegame). But what say you about this year?

    Here's my two cents. First, Anand comes into the match in better form and with more confidence. He also has a better idea of what strategies are more and less likely to succeed. I expect him to play more aggressively when he has an advantage or is fighting for one, and to play more actively when defending.

    I think Carlsen doesn't need to change much from last year in terms of his general game plan (prevent Anand from having active options and grind away), but I suspect he'll have prepared some more dangerous opening ideas than last year. Last year he used the white pieces more or less to "get the ball in play", but a whole year later, with Peter Heine Nielsen on his team and without having had to spend some opening capital on an event like the Candidates, I expect he'll have some more tricky tries. Ultimately though, he probably won't change too much, as the evidence points to his general superiority over Anand. As long as he can hold his own in the opening, he can expect to be the overall favorite in the remaining stages of the game.

    Opening predictions: If Anand plays 1.e4 Carlsen will go for the Berlin. Unless Anand has something great there, look for him to either play 1.d4 (as in game 9, which was surely the right approach) or perhaps 1.e4 while avoiding the Ruy, e.g. with the Scotch. (The former is likelier, but one never knows!) When Carlsen is White, look for him to continue his usual strategy of going hit-and-run, switching from one variation to another and majoring on moves like 1.Nf3 and 1.c4.

    Prediction: Carlsen will win, but if Anand can win first I think it will be close - maybe he'll only lose by a game or two. If Carlsen wins first, I think he'll win by three points, plus-or-minus one. I think Carlsen is simply too strong and the energy difference is too great between the young (23 year old) and athletic champion and his not so athletic middle-aged (44 year old) challenger. I'm rooting for Anand (age solidarity!), but unless he can strike with some awesomely good opening preparation (as he did against Kramnik in 2008) I'm not optimistic.

    Friday
    Nov072014

    Aronian - Nakamura at the End of the Month

    Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura will play a five "round" event consisting of four classical games followed by 16 blitz games in St. Louis in a few weeks, from November 21-25.

    More info here.

    Thursday
    Nov062014

    Petrosian Memorial, Round 3: Grischuk 3-0, 6-0 From His Previous Tournament

    It wasn't all that long ago that winning streaks were matters of historical interest when considering the super-grandmaster level; suddenly they are in danger of becoming commonplace. Fabiano Caruana's 7-0 start to the Sinquefield earned him deserved notoriety, and now Alexander Grischuk is following in his footsteps. With another impressive (though imperfect) win, this time over Alexander Morozevich, Grischuk leads the Tigran Petrosian Memorial by a full point with a 3-0 score. (Pointless link here.) Moreover, this is his sixth consecutive win in conjunction with his previous event; the Baku Grand Prix several weeks ago, which he concluded with wins over Caruana(!), Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Leinier Dominguez Perez. (I've uploaded the games of his streak here.)

    His rating is now 2807, and while he's still some distance behind Magnus Carlsen his recent surge, along with that of Caruana, Veselin Topalov (back to 2800) and Viswanathan Anand as well suggests that the peleton may be starting to close on Carlsen. I think this is good for chess whether they reel Carlsen in or not: if they do, it's good to have drama at the top; if they don't, it will hopefully be because Carlsen has pushed his game to a whole new level.

    Back to this tournament. The other three games were drawn. Levon Aronian made Ding Liren sweat it out for a long time in the Symmetrical Gruenfeld, while Vladimir Kramnik had good chances against Peter Leko, but good defense held out in both cases. The last game, between Ernesto Inarkiev and Boris Gelfand, was also a Symmetrical Gruenfeld, but it never got too far out of balance before the players split the point.

    Friday is a rest day, and play will resume on Saturday (when no one will be watching) with these pairings:

    • Kramnik (2) - Gelfand (1)
    • Morozevich (1) - Inarkiev (.5)
    • Ding Liren (1.5) - Grischuk (3)
    • Leko (1.5) - Aronian (1.5)

    Thursday
    Nov062014

    Petrosian Memorial, Round 2: Grischuk Wins Again, Breaks 2800; Kramnik Also Wins

    Thus far Alexander Grischuk and Vladimir Kramnik appear to be in good form at the Tigran Petrosian Memorial. Grischuk won his second straight game, defeating Boris Gelfand with the black pieces, while Kramnik won a very nice attacking game against Ernesto Inarkiev. Before getting too excited about their play so far (which has been excellent), it's fair to point out that their wins have come against the players who look most likely to be vulnerable. Inarkiev is the lowest-rated player by a considerable margin and had Black against both Grischuk and Kramnik, and in both games was much worse out of the opening. And Gelfand, the "old man" of the tournament at 46 years of age, is playing in his third consecutive tournament with scarcely a break.

    Still, it's a good start for both, and especially so for Grischuk, who for the first time in his career has broken the 2800 barrier (it won't be official if he drops below 2800 by the end of the tournament, except in the annals of the online live rating lists). We'll see if he can keep things up tomorrow, when the pairings look like this:

    Round 3 Pairings:

    • Leko (1) - Kramnik (1.5)
    • Aronian (1) - Ding Liren (1)
    • Grischuk (2) - Morozevich (1)
    • Inarkiev (0) - Gelfand (.5)