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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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    Monday
    Nov032014

    Petrosian Memorial Starts Tomorrow (Tuesday)

    Gosh, it seems like just yesterday the Tashkent Grand Prix was coming to an end - because it was - and in only a few hours it's time for the next super-GM event. In Moscow the Tigran Petrosian Memorial gets underway with a cast of eight players - one of whom, crazy Boris Gelfand, played in Tashkent (and in Baku just before that)!

    Here are the first round pairings:

    • Ding Liren - Kramnik
    • Leko - Morozevich
    • Aronian - Gelfand
    • Grischuk - Inarkiev

    Not a bad appetizer and then sideshow to the world championship match, and who knows? - maybe the play here will outshine that in the match (but hopefully not).

    Monday
    Nov032014

    More Chess on the Beeb

    I haven't listened to it, so caveat auditor.

    HT: Marc Beishon

    Monday
    Nov032014

    Peter Heine Nielsen: I'm Partly to Blame for Anand's Failures

    Peter Heine Nielsen is a strong Danish grandmaster who for years was one of Viswanathan Anand's seconds and is now in the Magnus Carlsen camp. In this article (HT: Nosherwan Minwalla) he takes part of the blame for Anand's decline over the past few years, though the nature of his supposed fault isn't made entirely clear. Was it that he recommended sticking to the status quo (in terms of openings, general approach and/or style, etc.) to such an extent that it led to Anand's stagnating as a player? Ultimately a mature player is responsible for his own results, but Anand can hope to have learned the right lessons over the past year while hoping that whatever it was that Nielsen did wrong, he has done wrong with Carlsen as well.

    Sunday
    Nov022014

    Tashkent Grand Prix: Andreikin Wins!

    Maybe Dmitry Andreikin doesn't have any openings, but apparently he doesn't need them. His draw against Anish Giri (after a few mildly anxious moments) came after Hikaru Nakamura and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov both drew their games, and thus Andreikin finished in clear first in the Tashkent Grand Prix, half a point ahead of them. Mamedyarov played a crazy game with Baadur Jobava, and first Mamedyarov seemed to be in some trouble, and then later may have had a serious advantage had he played 23...Qxf4+. As for Nakamura, he may have been losing to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave at one point, and never seemed close to achieving that tie for first place.

    There were two decisive games today: Sergey Karjakin beat Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Fabiano Caruana beat Dmitry Jakovenko. Both winners finished the tournament at +1, and in the end that was enough to give Caruana the lead in the overall Grand Prix standings. Nakamura, who tied for third in the Baku Grand Prix and for second here, is second in the overall Grand Prix standings. The reason that's important is that the top two finishers qualify for the next Candidates event.

    Final Standings:

    • 1. Andreikin 7 (of 11)
    • 2-3. Nakamura, Mamedyarov 6.5
    • 4-7. Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana, Karjakin, Jobava 6
    • 8. Radjabov 5.5 (11 draws!)
    • 9. Giri 5
    • 10. Jakovenko 4.5
    • 11-12. Kasimdzhanov, Gelfand 3.5

    Saturday
    Nov012014

    A Book Notice for Dvoretsky's For Friends & Colleagues, Volume 1

    Mark Dvoretsky, For Friends & Colleagues, Volume 1: Profession of a Chess Coach. Russell Enterprises, 2014. 384 pp., $29.95.

    Mark Dvoretsky was a fine player in his own day, making it to around 35th in the world rankings, but he is best known as one of the world's most successful trainers and the author of some of the most challenging training material ever written.

    This book is not of that sort, and is not meant to be. Dvoretsky has written a memoir, of which this is the first part. (The nature of the forthcoming second part isn't especially clear.) In it he first discusses his playing career, then his work as a trainer of such stars as Artur Yusupov, Sergey Dolmatov and Alexey Dreev, and then spends some time talking about his writings (which primarily flowed from his work as a trainer).

    The book has some chess content, but it's mostly a pleasant trip down memory lane. At least the trip is pleasant for the reader; for Dvoretsky, remembering some of the disagreeable aspects of living in the Soviet Union would naturally be less of a delight. Dvoretsky has critical things to say about a good many people, but there are others he praises - and some individuals are recipients of both sorts of comments. There aren't any training "secrets" in this book, though he has some insightful things to say about the training process - both in terms of nuts-and-bolts and psychology too.

    The writing (or perhaps the translation, or a combination of both) is occasionally a bit dry, and there are chunks of the book that will be of more interest to those with a deep knowledge of chess and life under the Soviet regime. Nevetheless, if you're a Dvoretsky fan and/or a fan of chess history, you'll enjoy and want to get the book. If you like chess stories and a bit of "dirt", you'll probably also like this book. Also, while the chess content is light by Dvoretsky standards, there are around 90 lightly annotated games and game fragments in the book, and as one would expect they are interesting and often instructive as well. It's not a perfect book, but I think that many readers of this blog will want to pick up a copy.

    Saturday
    Nov012014

    Notre Dame 49, Navy 39

    It wasn't convincing, but a win's a win.

    Record so far: 7-1.

    Next victim: Arizona State.

    Tune time!

    Saturday
    Nov012014

    Wesley So, U.S. #2

    The U.S. national team just got stronger. Much stronger. Welcome aboard, Wesley So! (HT: Allen Becker)

    Now we just need to recruit a 2800 from somewhere...

    Saturday
    Nov012014

    Tashkent Grand Prix, Round 10: All Draws

    It wasn't for a lack of trying, but all of the games in the penultimate round of the Tashkent Grand Prix were drawn. Half the games were "proper" draws - meaning the evaluations never favored either player too significantly - and half gave one of the players grounds for great relief. Karjakin had great winning chances against Caruana and probably should have collected the full point; ditto Giri against Jobava and Mamedyarov against Vachier-Lagrave. The latter failure was especially costly as it would have elevated Mamedyarov into a tie for first with one round remaining.

    Last round pairings:

    • Radjabov (5) - Gelfand (3)
    • Karjakin (5) - Kasimdzhanov (3.5)
    • Jakovenko (4.5) - Caruana (5)
    • Vachier-Lagrave (5.5) - Nakamura (6)
    • Jobava (5.5) - Mamedyarov (6)
    • Andreikin (6.5) - Giri (4.5)

    Saturday
    Nov012014

    Notre Dame to Sink the Navy

    But only for a football game. We need them otherwise! #6 Notre Dame will defeat the Navy Midshipmen tonight starting at 8 p.m. and televised on CBS. Notre Dame just needs to hop over two more teams in the remaining month or so of the season to get into the playoffs, so the national championship is still very doable!

    Friday
    Oct312014

    Book Notice: Antic & Maksimovic, The Modern Bogo

    Dejan Antic & Branimir Maksimovic, The Modern Bogo 1.d4 e6: A Complete Guide for Black. New in Chess, 2014. 476 pp. $29.95/€24.95. Reviewed by Dennis Monokroussos.

    A couple of years ago this duo wrote The Modern French, and as a companion repertoire piece they've produced The Modern Bogo. Note the move order given in the title: not 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+, but 1.d4 e6. They thus invite transposition to the French (and to the material in their other book) while cutting out some White options like the Trompowsky.

    The book is offered as offering a complete repertoire for Black after 1.d4 e6 - except for the French - but this isn't quite right. The book is limited to the material after the moves 1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ - a line that used to be named for Paul Keres but which they dub the Modern Bogo, as opposed to the traditional Bogo-Indian as defined in the previous paragraph. Thus if White plays 2.Nf3 and delays c4 for a while, you're out of luck if this book is your guide. No London System, no Torre Attack, no Catalan (or at least Catalan-like development). This is no reason not to get the book, just a warning that there's other work left to do once you have this and a book on the French - assuming of course you're willing to play the French.

    But what if you don't want to play the French but are interested in the Bogo--is this book for you? Yes, and a nice feature is an unusual double index of variations: one for 1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ without (a quick) ...Nf6, and another one for positions that can arise via the 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ move order. You can also take heart in the authors' assertion in the Foreword that 90% of the material can come up via the traditional move order. So while there are some advantages to the authors' move order if you're a French player, you don't have to take up that opening to benefit from this Bogo book.

    Here's a question you might have about the so-called Modern Bogo: is the Nimzo-Indian merely a variation (a colossal one) within another opening? And how can they cram a full Nimzo-Indian repertoire inside a book on the Bogo? The answer is that they don't. After 1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ they propoose meeting 3.Nc3 not with 3...Nf6, transposing into the Nimzo, but with the sly 3...c5. (They don't recommend avoiding the Nimzo-Indian, but a book, like a man, has gotta know its limitations.) There are a few places where the material does transpose to a Nimzo-Indian, but not too many - it's manageable.

    The book is a very large one, and this is in part because they present three major lines for Black after 3.Bd2: 3...Bxd2+ (about 120 pages), 3...c5 (about 80 pages) and 3...a5 (approximately 146 pages). If you don't like one system and you suddenly discover a problem with the second, then no problem: you've still got what's behind door number three. Another nice feature of the book is that each section typically has three exercises to solve; there are over 100 in all.

    I'm no expert on the Bogo, even relative to my rating peers, so I took a look in the database to pick out a line that seemed relatively hot, and then checked what I found with what's in the book. One thing I quickly discovered is that the book needs a firmer editorial hand: an awful lot of space is spent on inferior lines; that is, lines the authors themselves consider inferior! In the material I cover in the PGN file there are at least two places where they offer some new move as an improvement for Black over existing theory, and then go on to offer a sentence or a paragraph on the new move but a page on the inferior old move. It's often good to say something about the move you're improving upon, in part to help make clear why the new move is better, but that can almost always be done in a paragraph or two rather than a full page. On the flip side, I found what seemed to me a surprising omission of an important White option, but maybe I missed a transposition somewhere. (I don't think I did, but it's possible.)

    Another mix-up that happens to even the most diligent of authors is that they missed transpositions. I found such an instance in the bit I examined. There's a choice at move 14 of one line to play 14...Nd7 or 14...Nc6, and in each line there's a branch where Black plays ...Nxe5. At a certain point after the lines were again identical their comments about each diverged slightly. It is also in that line that I believe I improved on their analysis for White, though there's an earlier alternative they offer which probably is good enough for equality. (They don't consider it their main line though, so their readers will be more prone to go down the wrong path.)

    Positively, they seem to have interacted with all the important games as of their writing, and have found many genuine improvements over existing theory. They are diligent and creative authors, an impression I had from their French book as well. So this is a useful book for Bogo-Indian players, though it would have been more useful with better editing.

    (My look at their analysis of part one trendy line is here.)

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