Top to bottom, the Du Te Cup in Shenzhen, China, was an even stronger tournament than the still ongoing U.S. Championship. The event finished a few days ago, and was won by Chinese super-GM Ding Liren. It could have been a four-way tie for first, but a hard-fought win in the last round over Pentala Harikrishna made the difference, as I detail in my column.
Not really, no. But the author of Lord of the Flies was a serious chess fan who engaged in lots of correspondence chess against his literary friends, as the linked article attests.
HT: Stuart Wallace
FIDE's rating page offers only a limited amount of historical material, and it's a bit cumbersome to look through one's databases to track a player's rating progress over the years. So this website looks like a nice tool for research or for a little recreational browsing for those with a fondness for statistics. I've added it to the sidebar as well, for your convenience.
The U.S. Championship (like the Masters, if there are any golf fans out there) finished yesterday with a two-way tie atop the leaderboard. Wesley So and Alexander Onischuk both finished with 7/11, half a point ahead of Varuzhan Akobian, Hikaru Nakamura, and Fabiano Caruana. (Akobian could have joined the tiebreak or even won the event outright win a win in the last round. He had chances, too, despite having Black against Nakamura, but a mistake on move 26 cost him the initiative and more.)
So defeated Onischuk in their head-to-head matchup earlier in the tournament, but that doesn't count for anything in today's playoff. The action begins at 1 p.m. local time in St. Louis, which is 2 p.m. ET/6 p.m. GMT/7 p.m. CET.
The Women's Championship finished yesterday with a surprise winner, as Sabina Foisor took clear first with 8/11. Nazi Paikidze took clear second a point behind, and had excellent chances to tie for first. She had white in the last round against a considerably lower-rated player, but she faltered after a good opening and lost. Many-time U.S. Women's Champion Irina Krush had a second straight disappointing event, finishing third with 6.5 points, and four players finished another half a point behind, including Anna Zatonskih, another many-time winner of this event.
Sort of. According to this statement, it appears that FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has not resigned, but has given up all his powers as President. He has withdrawn "from any legal, financial and business operations of FIDE...to enable him to concentrate on clearing the situation with the US Department of the Treasury."
So who is in charge now? Deputy President Georgios Makropolous:
Until further notice, under section A.9.5 of the FIDE Statutes, if the President: “duly authorises, then he can be represented by the Deputy President who shall exercise the powers of the President. The Deputy President can thus represent FIDE officially and can solely sign for FIDE.” Therefore Mr. Makropoulos will now be exercising these powers and representing FIDE officially.
Is this a good thing for chess? He will probably be less controversial than Ilyumzhinov - which is setting the bar rather low. But as he has been a good soldier for Ilyumzhinov in the past, there is no positive reason to think that his quasi-ascension will mark a real change, either. Moreover, it may be that he may just be keeping Ilyumzhinov's seat warm until the latter can resume the full exercise of his powers.
(HT: Allen Becker)
I'll believe it when I see it, but this story suggests that something might be afoot. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is the President of FIDE (that's the International Chess Federation, for any new players reading this), and has been a controversial figure, to put it mildly.
Does anyone have any further information about this story?
As he has been for some time now, Wesley So has been playing extraordinarily good, successful chess in one event after another. One event that may have slipped below your radar is the PRO League, a slow-moving team tournament which culminates this weekend. I say a bit more about the event here, and present two of So's more recent games from the tournament. There were many to choose from, as his score there is an insane 26-2, including a 12-2 score against grandmasters.
For some reason or other Komodo doesn't send out notifications when they've updated their program, which means subscribers have to periodically check in to see if a new version has been released. So if you're a subscriber, go here and download the latest version, Komodo 10.4.
After a relative dearth of top chess events, there will be three tournaments featuring elite players starting within a week.
The first is a round-robin event in Shen Zhen, China, the Longgang Chess Grandmaster tournament. It is a double round-robin with six players all rated well over 2700: Anish Giri (2771.3), Michael Adams (2762.6), Ding Liren (2759), Pentala Harikrishna (2755.1), Yu Yangyi (2749.6), and Peter Svidler (2746.8). The tournament "starts" on Wednesday, but it's possible that the opening ceremony will take place then and play will open the following day.
Next is an open event, the Sharjah Open in the United Arab Emirates. It may not be as prestigious as the other two events mentioned here, but will five 2700+ players it will be worth at least the occasional sidelong glance. The big guns here are Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2772), Radoslaw Wojtaszek (2738), Yuriy Kryvoruchko (2707.9), Maxim Matlakov (2707.4), and Arkadij Naiditsch, who is officially 2702 but 2697.2 on the live rating list. According to the website, the event begins tomorrow - but again, this may only refer to an opening ceremony rather than the start of play.
Last but not least, an event with only three players over 2700, but two of them are over 2800 and the other is close to 2800 and has surpassed that spectacular figure for much of the past two and a half years. I'm referring to the U.S. Championship, where world #2 Wesley So (2822) will try to take the title from defending champ Fabiano Caruana (world #3 at 2817), Hikaru Nakamura (#6 in the world, 2793), and nine other strong and hungry contenders.
Predictions on the latter event? Until So stops winning event after event, I see no reason to abandon him as the favorite.
[Note: The post has been changed to correct my erroneous statement that So rather than Caruana is the defending U.S. champion.]