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    Entries in Boris Gelfand (67)

    Friday
    Sep292017

    Isle of Man, Rounds 5-7

    But mostly rounds 6 and 7. My comments about round 5 will be limited to the difficulties experienced by two members of the semi-old guard: Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand. Kramnik's travails were already noted in the preceding post, while Gelfand's suffering began in that round. After a solid 3-1 start, he lost in round 5 to S.P. Sethuraman, and from a position that would normally be impossible to lose. He was clearly better in a rook and bishop ending with even material, but hallucinated his way into a lost bishop ending a pawn down.

    In round 6, he doubled down on this, losing to Anna Zatonskih from a winning position. To her credit, she made things tricky in time trouble and devised a dastardly trap, but normally Gelfand would have cashed in on at least one of the winning positions he enjoyed in the game. After this, he took a bye to stop the bleeding.

    Speaking of players who needed byes, Hou Yifan took one after playing her fourth female opponent in a row, and has bounced back against the men, winning in round 6 and 7. She has five points and plays Sebastian Bogner in round 8.

    Another player who has bounced back a bit is Kramnik, who won with White in round 6 (no problem there - he has gone 3-0 with White, albeit against much lower-rated opposition) and then finally won a game with Black in round 7, employing the Benko Gambit for the first time in his life (or so said the commentators at one moment; is should be checked to see if he transposed into one via a King's Indian or a Benoni). Despite all his miseries in the tournament, he has 4.5 points and will play Sethuraman in round 8.

    James Tarjan, one of the players who contributed to Kramnik's earlier sorrows, has continued to play well. He bounced back from his unnecessary loss to Niclas Huschenbeth in round 4 by drawing with Sabino Brunello (2555), beating Pavel Tregubov (2589), and drawing with Rasmus Svane (2595). His 4-3 score is good for a 2654 TPR.

    Still one more member of the old guard deserves some praise: Jan Timman. Like Tarjan, he's both 65 and has the initials "J.T." More relevantly, he has also had success against elite players. No wins over 2800s, but four draws against players who are or have been rated over 2700. That's a fine result, and he has gone undefeated so far. He gets another 2700 in round 8, David Howell.

    Two noteworthy norm aspirants are Aman Hambleton and Ramesh Praggnanandhaa. Hambleton is well-known for his mighty beard, which he intends to keep until he achieves his third GM norm. He had been in the running until he lost a defensible ending to Gabriel Sargissian in round 6. Praggnanandhaa is a 12-year-old who has already achieved a 2500 rating (and is already the youngest IM ever, achieved at the age of 10 years, 10 months, and 19 days), but has no norms. If he can achieve them in the next five months or so, he can break Sergey Karjakin's record for the youngest GM ever. He was in the running until round 7, but his loss to Varuzhan Akobian probably put an end to his hopes in this tournament. He's playing an untitled 2384 in round 8, which seals it.

    Now let's turn to the leaders. Going into round 6 there were two tournament leaders, Pavel Eljanov - who won this tournament last year - and the world champion, Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen cheekily played Owen's Defense with Black, albeit against 1.Nf3 rather than 1.e4 (after the latter move it's considered somewhat dubious), and won with remarkable ease. That gave him the clear lead, and although he only drew against the fast-rising Indian star Santosh Gujrathi Vidit in round 7 (with difficulty, with White) he's still half a point ahead of his pursuers.

    The most notable among them is perhaps Fabiano Caruana, who will have White against Carlsen in round 8. He drew in round 6 and defeated Gawain Jones in round 7, thanks largely to some fine preparation. He has 5.5/7, as does Hikaru Nakamura, Eljanov, Vidit, and Emil Sutovsky.

    Another half a point back is a large group that includes Viswanathan Anand and Hou Yifan, along with the U.S. players Akobian and Aleks Lenderman. Lenderman remains undefeated after drawing his last four games; his TPR is 2793, 6th highest in the tournament. (The top two TPRs, by a long way, belong to Carlsen and Caruana at 2893 and 2873, respectively.) Unfortunately for American fans, Akobian and Lenderman are paired for round 8.

    Here are the leading pairings for round 8:

     

    • Caruana (5.5) - Carlsen (6)
    • Nakamura (5.5) - Sutovsky (5.5)
    • Vidit (5.5) - Eljanov (5.5)

     

    Finally, here is a selection of games from the past three rounds.

    Sunday
    Aug132017

    Gelfand-Inarkiev Match: Inarkiev Wins the Final Two Rapid Games to Win the Match

    Ouch for Boris Gelfand, who lost his match with Ernesto Inarkiev overall 12.5-11.5 despite dominating him 4-2 in the classical games, which counted double. Inarkiev won the 25' + 10" games 4-2 and the 10' + 10" games (including the last two games mentioned in the subject line) 4.5-1.5. Gelfand picked up 7.6 rating points in classical chess, but lost a whopping 64.4 points from his rapid rating.

    Saturday
    Aug122017

    Gelfand Wins Another Classical Game in the Inarkiev Match

    Here. But can he stop the bleeding in rapid chess? Tune in tomorrow.

    Friday
    Aug112017

    Ongoing and Completed Events: Gelfand-Inarkiev, the British Championship, and Giri-Ding Liren

    1. The classical and rapid chess rematch between Boris Gelfand and Ernesto Inarkiev has gone much better for Inarkiev this year than last. (Non-Russian readers may prefer this link.) Last year Gelfand won both 4-2 at both time controls, but this year has been another story. Gelfand leads in the classical games 3-2 thus far, but is trailing in both of the rapid time controls. In 25'+10" he's down 3-1, and in 10'+10" he's down 2.5-1.5. Nevertheless, his most recent win in classical chess was something special - have a look.

    2. When I last left off with the British Championship, Luke McShane and John Emms were the co-leaders after round 7. Each had six points and were paired for the penultimate round. They drew, and were caught by Gawain Jones, who defeated Nicholas Pert. In the last round McShane had White against Jones, and they drew. If Emms would have beaten David Howell with Black, he would have become the British Champion for the first time - and at the age of 50. A draw would have put him into a playoff, but he lost. Thus Howell joined the tie for first with 7 points, and so did Craig Hanley thanks to his win with Black against Zhou Yang-Fan. And the playoff winner was...Gawain Jones, who had previous won the title in 2012.

    3. The four-game match between Anish Giri and Ding Liren may have slipped under the radar for most readers, as it was overshadowed by the Sinquefield Cup, but whenever two players rated near 2780 face off it's worth taking note. Giri won the match 2.5-1.5, winning game two on the black side of the ubiquitous Giuoco Piano.

    Saturday
    Aug052017

    An Interesting But Unsound Sac in the Gelfand-Inarkiev Match

    Ernesto Inarkiev equalized the scores in his match with Boris Gelfand with a win in game 3. This was a rapid game, and as such he was able to get away with an interesting but ultimately unsound sac. (Of course, if he had had more time, he would have realized that it was unsound and wouldn't have played it.) Here's the game, with my notes to the relevant portion.

    Addendum: game 4 was drawn, so the score is tied at two points apiece.

    Friday
    Aug042017

    Other Events: The British Championship, Gelfand-Inarkiev

    1. Luke McShane entered round 7 of the British Championship in clear first. He drew with Black against Danny Gormally, giving the winner, if any, of the game between Jonathan Hawkins and John Emms to catch him. Emms won, with Black, and is now tied for first with McShane. Both have six points, and will face off in round 8, the penultimate round, with Emms having White. Gormally, Craig Hanley, Gawain Jones, and Nicholas Pert are all half a point back. Jones will have White against Pert, Hanley has White against Gormally. Could the 50-year-old Emms, the 8th seed, win his first British Championship? It's certainly possible.

    2. Gelfand-Inarkiev. Their second classical game was drawn, but Gelfand had a non-trivial advantage through much of the game. He remains ahead, 1.5-.5.

    Thursday
    Aug032017

    Other Events: British Championship; Gelfand-Inarkiev, The Sequel

    Six rounds of the British Championship are in the books, and after defeating top seed and three-time British champion David Howell the leader is Luke McShane. McShane was (and is) a very talented player who decided on a non-chess career; despite that, he has been over 2700 and leads this event, a nine round Swiss, with 5.5 points. Two-time champion Jonathan Hawkins is in a tie for second half a point behind, along with John Emms(!) and Danny Gormally. Howell, 2012 champ Gawain Jones, and seven others have 4.5.

    Last year Boris Gelfand and Ernesto Inarkiev squared off in a classical and rapid match that Gelfand won decisively, winning each time control 4-2 and going undefeated until the very last game. This year, for some reason, they're doing it again, and Gelfand has started off with a win. (The first game is here.)

    Monday
    Aug152016

    Boris Gelfand Q & A Sessions

    In two parts. Enjoy!

    Friday
    Aug122016

    Short Interviews with Great Players

    Boris Gelfand, Alexei Shirov, Jan Timman and other stars sit down for brief interviews, which you can find here.

    Wednesday
    Aug102016

    Boris Gelfand Lecture

    A two-hour long lecture by Boris Gelfand, promoting but not replicating the material in his forthcoming book, Dynamic Decision Making in Chess. The sound quality could have been better, but it's still worth watching, IMHO.