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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 London Chess Classic 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 2015 U.S. Championship 2015 Women's World Championship KO 2016 World Championship 22014 Sinquefield Cup 22014 U.S. Championship 60 Minutes A. 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    Sunday
    Mar152015

    Anand on Indian TV: The India Today Conclave

    It's nice to see a strong chess player, in this case Viswanathan Anand, appear before the general public in a way that simplifies some of what being a chess player is about without dumbing it down, and that's what he managed to do on this show:

    If you'd rather save a few minutes and read most or maybe even all of it, here's a pretty full report on Anand's appearance on the Chess24 website.

    Saturday
    Mar142015

    Coming Soon: The Women's World Championship

    The action begins this coming Tuesday in Sochi, Russia, and is a 64-player knockout tournament which will determine a new women's world champion. (The current champion, Hou Yifan, won't be playing, but she will have a title match in October against the winner on account of her victory in the last Women's Grand Prix series.) The official website is here, and a helpful grid and summary of relevant information is available on the event's Wikipedia page.

    Predictions? I'll be patriotic and say the next champion will be Irina Krush.

    Thursday
    Mar122015

    Peter Svidler's Banter Blitz Session

    This is good for a bit of entertainment. Svidler's clearly tired and not firing on all cylinders, even apart from the difficulty of trying to play and talk at the same time. Still, it's interesting watching him take on all comers while trying to offer the occasional insight.

    Wednesday
    Mar112015

    An Impressive Article on a Particular Rook Ending

    You may not see the sort of rook endgame covered in the article very frequently in your own games (I don't think I've ever been on either side of it, even in blitz chess), but it is a position that could easily arise and is worth spending a few minutes on. What I really like about the article, however, is its pedagogical approach. It demonstrates a great way to learn any such endgame, and so on that basis I highly recommend it to you. If you have the patience, I'd recommend trying the exercises therein, and only after you've finished should you check out the solutions.

    Wednesday
    Mar112015

    Those Pesky Castling Rules

    In my experience of teaching the rules of chess, beginners have the hardest time with en passant. When it comes to tournament players, however, it's castling that causes most of the difficulties. The most notable and probably the most famous incident came in the 21st game of the final Candidates match between Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov in 1974. Korchnoi wanted to castle queenside, but before doing so he asked the arbiter if it was legal to do so if his rook would pass over an attack on the b1 square. (It was, of course, and Korchnoi castled and won the game.)

    More often problems involving experienced players and castling arise because of forgetfulness. Perhaps the black king moved somewhere and then returned to e8, and then the player tries - and maybe even succeeds! - in castling. Or perhaps the relevant rook made a similar back and forth trip. In perhaps the most remarkable case, Wolfgang Heidenfeld castled kingside on move 10, brought his king back to e1 on move 29 and then castled queenside on move 33! (It was an unwittingly resourceful way to save his king from a dangerous attack, but he lost anyway.)

    Of course, this sort of thing doesn't happen very often in professional chess, but it does happen sometimes. A recent case - or at least an attempted case - came in the recently completed European Championship, in a game between Anton Korobov and Dragan Solak. In the final position Black was in big trouble, but if he could have castled he could have put up some resistance. Only one slight problem: his rook had already moved twice, and both the arbiter and his opponent prevented him from carrying out his intended, illegal move. Without that resource, and presumably forced to make a useless or even harmful move with his king, Solak simply resigned.

    So once again we see what we all know but sometimes forget: grandmasters are human like the rest of us: they blunder, sometimes they can't mate with a bishop and a knight, and on occasion they make illegal moves, or try to!

    HT: Marc Beishon

    Wednesday
    Mar112015

    Will Caruana Return to Represent the U.S.?

    Maybe, but not yet. Dylan Loeb McClain elaborates - and with a headline that reminds one of my old tag line when mentioning Caruana.

    HT: Marc Beishon

    Tuesday
    Mar102015

    Ivanchuk Wins the Vladimir Petrov Memorial

    Vassily (now "Vasil") Ivanchuk won the Vladimir Petrov Memorial in Jurmala, Latvia this past weekend, scoring 9/11 in this open Swiss. This was an extremely strong rapid tournament, and Ivanchuk's score put him half a point ahead of Sergey Karjakin, Boris Gelfand and Richard Rapport. There was also a strong (but significantly weaker) field in the blitz tournament held on Friday; that finished in a four-way tie between Vladimir Malakhov (who won on tiebreaks), Daniel Fridman, Valentina Gunina and Loek van Wely.

    A helpful page for English-speakers and readers is here.

    HT: Thomas Richter

    Tuesday
    Mar102015

    Najer Wins the European Championship

    Winning the European Individual Championship was a very impressive result for Evgeny Najer, and had he been a bit more of a maximalist it could have been even more impressive. He was winning (with Black) against Denis Khismatullin in the last round when he accepted a draw. (He also had an advantage on the clock.) The position was still sharp and in principle an accident might have happened, but the likeliest result was certainly a win for Black.

    At the moment when he offered the draw the game between David Navara and Ivan Cheparinov was still underway, and with a win Navara could have caught Najer and tied for first. That possibility was mainly theoretical, though, as Cheparinov probably should have won and was never in the slightest danger. So Najer finished in clear first with 8.5/11, half a point ahead of Navara, who took second on tiebreaks, Khismatullin, who took fourth, and Mateusz Bartel, whose flashy finish against Ian Nepomniachtchi pulled him into third on tiebreaks. (That game can be replayed here, with my comments.)

    The top 23 automatically qualify for the World Cup, though it's possible that some other players might qualify as well, in case some of the top 23 have already qualified by other means. (Thomas Richter suggested to me via email that even the 30th-placed finisher may go through.) You can find the top 50 places here, as well as at the official site.

    Sunday
    Mar082015

    Tactics Time: Target Practice

    On Saturday I played well and successfully in a rapid tournament, coming in second place in a small but strong field. After an early loss to the eventual winner, I defeated an IM in the penultimate round and had to beat a 2300+ rated opponent in order to have any chance at tying for first. My opponent played a very provocative opening - we transposed into a St. George! - and in the following position White is not lacking for good moves.

    I'm sure you'll find some effective solutions that differ from mine, which you can replay for yourself over here. Happy analyzing!

    Sunday
    Mar082015

    A Brilliant Idea By Khismatullin

    In round 10 of the European Individual Chess Championship Denis Khismatullin defeated Pavel Eljanov with a very unusual sacrifice in a queen and rook ending. When I first replayed the game I did a kind of double-take after clicking through the move, and reader Jeffrey Hall subsequently wrote in about the move, which he labeled "beyond stunning".

    See it for yourself here - it is truly spectacular.

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