Links

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    1948 World Chess Championship 1959 Candidates 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 Capablanca Memorial 2015 Chinese Championship 2015 European Club Cup 2015 European Team Championship 2015 London Chess Classic 2015 Millionaire Open 2015 Poikovsky 2015 Russian Team Championship 2015 Sinquefield Cup 2015 U.S. Championship 2015 Women's World Championship KO 2015 World Blitz Championship 2015 World Cup 2015 World Junior Championship 2015 World Open 2015 World Rapid & Blitz Championship 2015 World Team Championships 2016 2016 Candidates 2016 Capablanca Memorial 2016 Champions Showdown 2016 Chess Olympiad 2016 Chinese Championship 2016 European Club Cup 2016 Isle of Man 2016 London Chess Classic 2016 Russian Championship 2016 Sinquefield Cup 2016 Tal Memorial 2016 U.S. Championship 2016 U.S. Junior Championship 2016 U.S. Women's Championship 2016 Women's World Championship 2016 World Blitz Championship 2016 World Championship 2016 World Junior Championship 2016 World Open 2016 World Rapid Championship 2017 British Championship 2017 British Knockout Championship 2017 Champions Showdown 2017 Chinese Championship 2017 Elite Mind Games 2017 European Team Championship 2017 Geneva Grand Prix 2017 Grand Prix 2017 Isle of Man 2017 London Chess Classic 2017 PRO Chess League 2017 Russian Championship 2017 Sharjah Masters 2017 Sinquefield Cup 2017 Speed Chess Championship 2017 U..S. Championshp 2017 U.S. Junior Championship 2017 Women's World Championship 2017 World Cup 2017 World Junior Championship 2017 World Rapid & Blitz Championships 2017 World Team Championship 2018 Candidates 2018 Chess Olympiad 2018 Gibraltar 2018 Pro Chess League 2018 U.S. Championship 2018 Wijk aan Zee 2018 World Championship 22014 Sinquefield Cup 22014 U.S. Championship 22016 Chess Olympiad 2Mind Games 2016 2Wijk aan Zee 2017 60 Minutes A. Muzychuk A. Sokolov aattacking chess Abby Marshall Accelerated Dragon ACP Golden Classic Adams Aeroflot 2010 Aeroflot 2011 Aeroflot 2012 Aeroflot 2013 Aeroflot 2015 Aeroflot 2016 Aeroflot 2017 AGON Agrest Akiba Rubinstein Akiva Rubinstein Akobian Akshat Chandra Alejandro Ramirez Alekhine Alekhine Defense Aleksander Lenderman Alekseev Alena Kats Alex Markgraf Alexander Alekhine Alexander Beliavsky Alexander Grischuk Alexander Ipatov Alexander Khalifman Alexander Moiseenko Alexander Morozevich Alexander Onischuk Alexander Panchenko Alexander Stripunsky Alexander Tolush Alexandra Kosteniuk Alexei Dreev Alexei Shirov Alexey Bezgodov Almasi AlphaZero Alvin Plantinga Amber 2010 Amber 2011 American Chess Magazine Amos Burn Anand Anand-Carlsen 2013 Anand-Gelfand 2012 Anand-Gelfand World Championship Match Anand-Topalov 2010 Anastasia Bodnaruk Anatoly Karpov Anders Ericsson Andrei Volokitin Andrew Martin Andrew Paulson Android apps Anish Giri Anna Muzychuk Anna Ushenina Anna Zatonskih Anti-Marshall Lines Anti-Moscow Gambit Anti-Sicilians Antoaneta Stefanova Anton Korobov Anton Kovalyov apps April Fool's Jokes Archangelsk Variation Arkadij Naiditsch Arne Moll Aron Nimzowitsch Aronian Aronian-Kramnik 2012 Arthur Bisguier Arthur van de Oudeweetering Artur Yusupov Arturo Pomar Astrakhan Grand Prix 2010 attack attacking chess Austrian Attack Averbakh Awonder Liang Baadur Jobava Bacrot Baku Grand Prix 2014 Baltic Defense Bangkok Chess Club Open Baskaran Adhiban Bazna 2011 Becerra beginner's books Beliavsky Ben Feingold Benko Gambit Bent Larsen Berlin Defense Biel 2012 Biel 2014 Biel 2015 Biel 2017 Bilbao 2010 Bilbao 2012 Bilbao 2013 Bilbao 2015 Bilbao 2016 Bilbao Chess 2014 bishop endings Bishop vs. Knight Blackburne Blaise Pascal blindfold chess blitz blitz chess Blumenfeld Gambit blunders Bob Hope Bobby Fischer Bogo-Indian Bohatirchuk Bologan Book Reviews books Boris Gelfand Boris Spassky Borislav Ivanov Borki Predojevic Boruchovsky Botvinnik Botvinnik Memorial Branimiir Maksimovic Breyer Variation brilliancy British Championship British Chess Magazine Bronstein Bronznik Brooklyn Castle Browne Brunello Bu Xiangzhi Budapest Bundesliga California Chess Reporter Camilla Baginskaite Campomanes Candidates 2011 Candidates 2011 Candidates 2012 Candidates 2013 Candidates 2014 Capablanca Carlsen Caro-Kann cartoons Caruana Catalan Cebalo Charlie Rose cheating Cheparinov chess and drugs chess and education chess and marketing chess books chess cartoons chess documentaries chess engines chess history chess in fiction chess in film chess in schools Chess Informant chess lessons chess openings chess politics chess psychology chess ratings chess strategy chess variants Chess24 Chess960 ChessBase DVDs ChessBase Shows ChessLecture Presentations ChessLecture.com ChessUSA ChessUSA blog ChessVibes ChessVideos Presentations Chigorin Variation Chinese Chess Championship Chithambaram Aravindh Christian faith Christiansen Christmas Colin Crouch Colle combinations Commentary computer chess computers correspondence chess Corsica Cristobal Henriquez Villagra Cyrus Lakdawala Danailov Daniel Parmet Daniil Dubov Danny Kopec Danzhou Danzhou 2016 Danzhou 2017 Dave MacEnulty Dave Vigorito David Bronstein David Howell David MacEnulty David Navara Davies Deep Blue Deeper Blue defense Dejan Antic Delchev Denis Khismatullin Ding Liren Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam Dmitry Andreikin Dmitry Gurevich Dmitry Jakovenko Dominic Lawson Dortmund 2010 Dortmund 2011 Dortmund 2012 Dortmund 2012 Dortmund 2013 Dortmund 2014 Dortmund 2015 Dortmund 2016 Dortmund 2017 Doug Hyatt Dragoljub Velimirovic draws dreams Dreev Dunning-Kruger Effect Dutch Defense DVD Reviews DVDs Dvoirys Dvoretsky Easter Edouard Efimenko Efstratios Grivas Eltaj Safarli Emanuel Lasker Emory Tate en passant endgame studies endgames Endgames English Opening Ernesto Inarkiev Erwin L'Ami Esserman Etienne Bacrot European Championship 2015 European Club Cup 2012 European Club Cup 2014 European Individual Championship 2012 Evgeni Vasiukov Evgeny Bareev Evgeny Najer Evgeny Sveshnikov Evgeny Tomashevsky Exchange Ruy expertise Fabiano Caruana Falko Bindrich farce FIDE FIDE Grand Prix FIDE Presidential Election FIDE ratings Fier fighting for the initiative Finegold Fischer Fischer-Spassky 1972 football Francisco Vallejo Pons Fred Reinfeld French Defense Fritz 15 Ftacnik Gadir Guseinov Gajewski Gaprindashvili Garry Kasparov Gashimov Gashimov Memorial 2017 Gata Kamsky Gawain Jones Gelfand Gelfand-Svidler Rapid Match Geller Geneva Masters Genna Sosonko Georg Meier Georgios Makropolous GGarry Kasparov Gibraltar 2011 Gibraltar 2012 Gibraltar 2013 Gibraltar 2014 Gibraltar 2015 Gibraltar 2016 Gibraltar 2017 Giri Go Grand Chess Tour Grand Chess Tour 2017 Grand Chess Tour Paris 2017 Grand Prix 2014-2015 Grand Prix Attack Greek Gift sacrifice Grenke Chess Classic 2013 Grenke Chess Classic 2015 Grenke Chess Classic 2017 Grinfeld Grischuk Grob Gruenfeld Defense Grünfeld Defense Gulko Gunina Guseinov Gustafsson Gyula Sax Hannes Langrock Hans Berliner Hans Ree Harika Dronavalli Hastings Hawaii International Festival Haworth Hedgehog helpmates Hennig-Schara Gambit Henrique Mecking HHou Yifan highway robbery Hikaru Nakamura Hilton Hjorvar Gretarsson Hort Horwitz Bishops Hou Yifan Houdini Houdini 1.5a Howard Staunton humor Humpy Koneru Ian Nepomniachtchi Icelandic Gambit Ignatius Leong Igor Kovalenko Igor Kurnosov Igor Lysyj Iljumzhinov Ilya Makoveev Ilya Nyzhnyk Imre Hera Informant Informant 113 Informant 114 Informant 115 Informant 116 Informant 117 Informant 118 Informant 119 Informant 120 Informant 121 Informant 122 Informant 124 Informant 125 Informant 126 Informant 127 Informant 128 Informant 129 Informant 130 Informant 131 Informant 132 Informant 133 Informant 134 insanity Inside Chess Magazine Ippolito IQP Irina Krush Irving Chernev Ivan Bukavshin Ivan Sokolov Ivanchuk J. Polgar Jacek Oskulski Jacob Aagaard Jaenisch Jaideep Unudurti Jakovenko James Tarjan Jan Gustafsson Jan Timman Jan-Krzysztof Duda Jay Whitehead Jeffery Xiong Jeremy Silman Jim Slater Jimmy Quon Joe Benjamin Joel Benjamin John Burke John Grefe John Watson Jon Lenchner Jon Ludwig Hammer Jonathan Hawkins Jonathan Speelman Joop van Oosterom Jose Diaz Jose Raul Capablanca Ju Wenjun Judit Polgar Julio Granda Zuniga junk openings Kaidanov Kalashnikov Sicilian Kamsky Karen Sumbatyan Karjakin Karpov Karsten Mueller Kasimdzhanov Kasparov Kavalek Keanu Reeves Ken Regan Keres KGB Khalifman Khanty-Mansiysk Grand Prix Kim Commons king and pawn endings King's Gambit King's Indian King's Tournament 2010 Kings Tournament 2012 Kirsan Ilyumzhinov KKing's Gambit KKing's Indian Klovans Komodo Komodo 11 Korchnoi Kramnik Kunin Lajos Portisch Larry Evans Larry Kaufman Larry Parr Lasker Lasker-Pelikan Latvian Gambit Laurent Fressinet Laznicka Le Quang Liem Leinier Dominguez Leko Leon 2017 Leonid Kritz lessons Leuven Rapid & Blitz Leuven Rapid & Blitz 2017 Lev Psakhis Levon Aronian Lilienthal Linares 2010 Linder Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu Loek van Wely Lombardy London 2009 London 2010 London 2011 London Grand Prix London System Lothar Schmid Luke McShane Macieja Magnus Carlsen Main Line Ruy Malakhov Malcolm Pein Mamedyarov Marc Arnold Marc Lang Marin Mariya Muzychuk Mark Crowther Mark Dvoretsky Mark Taimanov Markus Ragger Marshall Marshall Gambit Masters of the Chessboard Mateusz Bartel Matthew Sadler Maurice Ashley Max Euwe Maxim Matlakov Maxim Rodshtein Maxime Vachier-Lagrave McShane Mega 2012 mental malfunction Mesgen Amanov Michael Adams Miguel Najdorf Mikhail Antipov Mikhail Botvinnik Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Osipov Mikhail Tal Mikhalchishin Miles Mind Games 2016 Minev miniatures Miso Cebalo MModern Benoni Modern Modern Benoni Moiseenko Morozevich Morphy Movsesian Müller music Nadareishvili Naiditsch Najdorf Sicilian Nakamura Nanjing 2010 Natalia Pogonina Navara Negi Neo-Archangelsk Nepomniachtchi New In Chess Yearbook 104 New York Times NH Tournament 2010 Nigel Short Nihal Sarin Nikita Vitiugov Nimzo-Indian Nino Khurtsidze NNotre Dame football Nodirbek Abdusattarov Nona Gaprindashvili Norway Chess 2013 Norway Chess 2014 Norway Chess 2015 Norway Chess 2016 Norway Chess 2017 Notre Dame basketball Notre Dame football Notre Dame Football Nov. 2009 News Nyback Nyzhnyk Oleg Pervakov Oleg Skvortsov Olympics 2010 Open Ruy opening advice opening novelties Openings openings Or Cohen P.H. Nielsen Pal Benko Palma Grand Prix 2017 Parimarjan Negi Paris Grand Prix Paris Rapid & Blitz passed pawns Paul Keres Paul Morphy Paul Rudd Pavel Eljanov pawn endings pawn play Pawn Sacrifice pawn structures Pentala Harikrishna Pesotskyi Peter Heine Nielsen Peter Leko Peter Svidler Petroff Philadelphia Open Philidor's Defense philosophy Phiona Mutesi Pirc Piterenka Rapid/Blitz Polgar Polgar sisters Polugaevsky Ponomariov Ponziani Potkin poultry Powerbook 2011 Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu Prague Chess Train problems progressive chess prophylaxis Qatar Masters 2015 QGD Tartakower QQueen's Gambit Accepted queen sacrifices Queen's Gambit Accepted Queen's Gambit Declined Queen's Indian Defense Rabat blitz 2015 Radjabov Radoslaw Wojtaszek Ragger rapid chess Rapport Rashid Nezhmetdinov rating inflation ratings Ray Robson Raymond Smullyan Regan Reggio Emilia 2010 Reggio Emilia 2011 Reshevsky Reti Reuben Fine Rex Sinquefield Reykjavik Open 2012 Reykjavik Open 2017 Richard Rapport Richard Reti Robert Byrne robot chess Robson Roman Ovetchkin rook endings RReggio Emilia 2011 rrook endings RRuy Lopez RRuy Lopez sidelines Rubinstein Rubinstein French Rudolf Spielmann rules Ruslan Ponomariov Russian Team Championship Rustam Kasimdzhanov Ruy Lopez Ruy Lopez sidelines Rybka Rybka 4 S. Kasparov sacrifices Sadler Saemisch Sakaev Sam Collins Sam Sevian Samuel Reshevsky Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2011 Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2012 satire Savchenko Savielly Tartakower Schliemann Scotch Four Knights Searching for Bobby Fischer Seirawan self-destruction Sergei Tiiviakov Sergey Erenburg Sergey Fedorchuk Sergey Karjakin Sergey Kasparov Sergey Shipov Sevan Muradian Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Shamkir 2015 Shamkir 2016 Shamkir 2017 Shankland Sharjah Grand Prix 2017 Shenzhen 2017 Shipov Shirov Short Sicilian Sinquefield Cup sitzfleisch Slav Smith-Morra Gambit Smyslov So-Navara Spassky spectacular moves Speelman sportsmanship Spraggett St. Louis Chess Club St. Louis Invitational St. Louis Rapid and Blitz 2017 stalemate Staunton Stephen Hawking Stockfish Stockfish 4 Stonewall Dutch Suat Atalik Super Bowl XLIV Susan Polgar Sutovsky Sveshnikov Sveshnikov Sicilian Svetozar Gligoric Svidler sweeper sealer twist Swiercz tactics Tactics Taimanov Tal Tal Memorial 2009 Tal Memorial 2010 Tal Memorial 2011 Tal Memorial 2012 Tal Memorial 2012 Tarjan Tarrasch Tarrasch Defense Tashkent Tashkent Grand Prix Tbilisi Grand Prix 2015 TCEC TCEC Season 10 TCEC Season 11 TCEC Season 8 TCEC Season 9 TED talks Teimour Radjabov Terekhin The Chess Players (book) The Simpsons The Week in Chess Thessaloniki Grand Prix Three knights Tibor Karolyi Tigran Petrosian Tim Krabbé time controls time trouble Timman Timur Gareev Tomashevsky Tony Miles Topalov traps Tromso Olympics 2014 TWIC types of chess players Ufuk Tuncer Ultimate Blitz Challenge underpromotion Unive 2012 University of Notre Dame upsets US Championship 2010 US Championship 2011 US Chess League USCF ratings USCL V. Onischuk Vachier-Lagrave Valentina Gunina Vallejo value of chess van der Heijden Van Perlo van Wely Varuzhan Akobian Vasik Rajlich Vasily Smyslov Vassily Ivanchuk Vassily Smyslov Velimirovic Attack Vera Menchik Veresov Veselin Topalov video videos Vienna 1922 Viktor Bologan Viktor Korchnoi Viktor Moskalenko Vincent Keymer Viswanathan Anand Vitaly Tseshkovsky Vitiugov Vladimir Fedoseev Vladimir Kramnik Vladimir Tukmakov Vladislav Artemiev Vladislav Tkachiev Vlastimil Hort Vlastimil Jansa Vugar Gashimov Vugar Gashimov Memorial Walter Browne Wang Hao Wang Yue Watson Wei Yi Welcome Wesley Brandhorst Wesley So Wijk aan Zee 1999 Wijk aan Zee 2010 Wijk aan Zee 2011 Wijk aan Zee 2012 Wijk aan Zee 2013 Wijk aan Zee 2014 Wijk aan Zee 2015 Wijk aan Zee 2016 Wijk aan Zee 2017 Wil E. Coyote Wilhelm Steinitz William Golding William Lombardy William Vallicella Willy Hendriks Winawer French Wojtkiewicz Wolfgang Uhlmann Women's Grand Prix Women's World Championship World Champion DVDs World Championship World Cup World Cup 2009 World Cup 2011 World Cup 2011 World Junior Championship World Senior Championship WWesley So WWijk aan Zee 2012 Yasser Seirawan Yates Yermolinsky Yevseev Yoshiharu Habu Yu Yangyi Yuri Averbakh Yuri Razuvaev Yuri Vovk Yuri Yeliseyev Yuriy Kuzubov Zaitsev Variation Zaven Andriasyan Zhao Xue Zhongyi Tan Zug 2013 Zukertort System Zurab Azmaiparashvili Zurich 1953 Zurich 2013 Zurich 2014 Zurich 2015 Zurich 2016 Zurich 2017

    Entries in Chess960 (7)

    Wednesday
    Feb142018

    Carlsen Wins Fischerrandom Match vs. Nakamura, 14-10

    Considering how dominant Magnus Carlsen has been in rapid & blitz chess against even his peers, Hikaru Nakamura did well to lose by only a 14-10 margin. Still, it's clear that Carlsen was the stronger player in the match, and barring the bizarre end to the last of the slower games the final margin could have been less flattering to the American. Let's recap the last day's action, which comprised eight 10'+5" games. As before, the players would both get a shot with White at the same starting position, and the player who had White in the first game of one pair would have Black in the first game of the next pair. Carlsen entered the last day with a 9-7 lead, and here's how it went:

    Carlsen had White first, and got on the scoreboard with a quick win. Nakamura was generally a little worse but very much in the fight for equality until move 22. Nakamura should have defended his e-pawn with 22...Rd6 instead of 22...Re7, as the rook would also safeguard the knight on c6. After 23.e4! dxe4? 24.Qxg5 Kb7? 25.d5! exd5 26.Rxc6! White had won a piece, and Black resigned a few moves later.

    Nakamura had trouble in the slower games with the white pieces, and didn't get off to a good start in the faster games. His 10th move was a serious error that left him clearly worse, and Carlsen soon reached a position where only he could win. His advantage increased and was winning until he played 45...Bxe5+?? He must have thought it didn't matter very much how he won White's h-pawn, but it did. (Or putting it differently, it mattered that he wound up with a pair of h-pawns rather than a g-pawn and an h-pawn, as it gave White the ability to play for a bishop and wrong-colored rook pawn draw.) A narrow, slightly lucky escape for Nakamura.

    In the third game it was Carlsen's turn to play Houdini (referring metaphorically to the person, not the engine). After 59 moves Nakamura, with White, had a queen against Black's rook, d- and a-pawns, and the d-pawn perished on move 68. At that point it was a theoretical win, though not an easy one. That was still the case until move 85 (which doesn't mean that either player's technique was perfect), when 85.Kc4 rather than 85.Qe2+ rendered a tablebase draw. Carlsen didn't reply with the tablebase-approved move, but two moves later Nakamura's 87.Qd2+ made it a tablebase draw again. From here through the end of the game on move 138, Carlsen made no mistakes, and the game was drawn. To be fair, there weren't too many tricks he had to dodge, but even so it's hard to play so many correct moves in a row without goofing up somewhere.

    Game four was also drawn. Nakamura sacrificed an exchange in the opening for no pawns and dubious compensation, but Carlsen's 12.e5 and 14.Nd4 surrendered a pawn and the advantage. Very strange. Nakamura even had the advantage at one moment, and it went back and forth before petering out to a drawn ending.

    The string of draws came to an end in game five, another convincing and short victory by Carlsen. Nakamura got into some trouble in the early middlegame, but if he had found 23...a5 with the idea of ...Ba6 not all would be lost. After 23...e6?? 24.Ra3 all was lost. Black had to give up a bunch of material, and then the game - and with it, the match, as Carlsen led 12.5-8.5 with three games to go.

    Carlsen won game six as well. It helped having a big headstart, as he was clearly better - with Black - after just five moves. Then again, the position was equal a couple of moves later, which just goes to show how reliant even the world's greatest chess players are on pattern recognition. We may think that all the beloved opening patterns and principles we've discovered over the centuries are obvious, natural, and intuitive. In fact they're not; they've been earned by the sweat of our collective brows, the inheritance of many generations of deep thought and hard work. This is also true of our tactical skill: Carlsen missed a nice opportunity on move 29, when 29...Re2+! won straight away. White would either give up the queen for the rook, or get mated after 30.Nxe2 Qd2+ 31.Kb1 Be4#. Although I'd normally expect Carlsen to spot that even in Chess960 without all that much time on the clock, the unusual position probably made it more difficult for Carlsen to sense that there could be a tactical opportunity. Back to the game summary: Nakamura overextended in the center, and this left a slew of weak light squares on the kingside. Carlsen took advantage and was soon winning everywhere, until he missed the opportunity mentioned above. Nakamura somehow scrambled back to equality, then got outplayed again, and yet had one last opportunity to save the game that also went by the wayside.

    Nakamura did have the pleasure of winning the last decisive game, however. In the day's seventh game, he went for broke, sacrificing a couple of pawns in the opening for attacking chances. It was unsound, but Carlsen's strange decision to play 10...Kc8, forsaking the right to castle, immediately justified Nakamura's concept. (Also on castling: Nakamura castled kingside on move 20, but here the expression that's synonymous in normal chess - "castling short" - was wildly inapplicable, as his king went from b1 to g1! Another funny Chess960 castling moment came in game 3, the marathon draw mentioned above. The kings were on the f-file and the king's rooks were on the g-file, and the game began 1.0-0 0-0.) There were some further ups and downs over the next several moves, but soon it was clear that Nakamura had a serious attack and no risk, and that at a minimum he would recoup his sacrificed material. Nakamura obtained a completely winning position, but Carlsen being Carlsen, he managed to fight his way all the way back to a drawn rook ending. But not an easily drawn ending, even with time to think. (And had both players had more time, Nakamura almost certainly wouldn't have let his advantage slip.) Anyway, Nakamura dominated most of the game, so the result was fitting rather than accidental.

    Finally, the last game was well played by both sides on the way to the draw, but there was a brief moment where Carlsen may have been winning. Nakamura should have taken on c4 when Carlsen played 39.c4. After 39...Kc7 40.cxd5 cxd5 White could have won a pawn, and apparently the game, by setting up a nice zugzwang: 41.b4!, and now as an example let's say 41...a5 42.b5 Kd6 43.Bh7 Ke7 44.Bg8 Kd6 45.a4, and if the king retreats White wins the d-pawn and brings his king to e4, while if the knight moves then 46.Kf3 will quickly win the f-pawn. Carlsen missed this subtle idea (it's a 10'+5" game, after all, and the 16th game over a five-day period) and the game quickly worked out to a draw. (To replay the games, scroll down from the home page of the official site.)

    Magnus Carlsen is thus the unofficial king of Chess960/Fischerrandom as well as the official world champion at blitz and classical chess, and if this helps boost the variant's popularity it's possible that he'll have the chance to become the official Fischerrandom world champion someday.

    Tuesday
    Feb132018

    Carlsen-Nakamura Fischerrandom Match: Carlsen Leads 9-7 After the "Slow Rapid" Games

    Add "slow rapid" to the list of putative oxymorons that includes "jumbo shrimp", "act naturally", and "living dead". It's a funny phrase, but as the paradigmatic rapid time control is 25'+10", the 45-minute games Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura have contested the past four days count as slow rapids.

    Whatever you want to call it, the score in this Fischerrandom (aka Chess960) match is in Carlsen's favor, 9-7, though it would have been 10-6 had he not lost his marbles in the final game. First, a quick summary of the rules and scoring, and then a recap of the scoring on a day-by-day basis. Each day they play a pair of games with each color from the same starting position, chosen at random 15 minutes before the start of play. On days 1 and 3 Carlsen had white in the first game, and on days 2 and 4 it went the other way around. The slow rapid games are scored on a 2-1-0 basis, as opposed to the eight quick rapid games (10'+5") they'll play tomorrow (Tuesday). Those will be scored on the traditional 1-.5-0 system.

    On day 1, both games were drawn. Game 1 was very clean and roughly equal throughout, but in game 2 first Nakamura and then Carlsen enjoyed a serious (but not winning) advantage before peace was declared.

    On day 2, the first game was drawn. It was a bit like game 2: Nakamura had White in both games, and in both cases first Nakamura and then Carlsen had the advantage. In game 3, however, Nakamura's advantage wasn't so big, while Carlsen's was enough to win. Nevertheless, it too finished in a draw - the last one of all the slow rapid games! Carlsen won game 4 with white - the last white win of the slow rapid games. He was pressing throughout, but after 50.Qb6? Nakamura should have escaped with a draw. It wasn't automatic though, and 67...Kg6?? lost the game straightaway. After 68.Qg8+ Black cannot avoid getting mated (68...Kh6 69.g5#) or losing the queen (68...Kf6 69.Qh8+), so that was that. Carlsen thus led 5-3.

    On day 3 the parade of black wins began. Nakamura won in good style in game 5 to equalize the scores, but overextended with white in game 6. His pawn sac with 13.d5 followed by 14.d4 was too optimistic; Carlsen grabbed White's h-pawn and wound up with both the material and the attack. Had Nakamura played 13.dxc4 Nxc4 14.f5 instead, he'd have had a pleasant edge, and then who knows how the match would have continued. Carlsen led 7-5.

    On day 4 Carlsen won once again with the black pieces, this time without any trouble after Nakamura's laggardly development allowed Carlsen to take over the center. He now led 9-5 and it seemed that the rout would be on, especially when he obtained a huge opening advantage in game 8. His decision to liquidate everything to win the b7-pawn was questionable, but it was still a two-result position: either Carlsen would win or Nakamura would eke out a draw. With gritty defense Nakamura managed to reach an ending with rook vs. rook and bishop. This is a theoretical draw, as most of you know, but it's also possible to lose it - again, as most of you know. Of course, when we say that, we mean that the side facing the rook and bishop can lose it. We don't mean that about the player with the extra piece! But here's the issue: Carlsen was down to 77 seconds left at the start of that ending, on move 69, and they were playing without an increment.

    But here's the thing: Carlsen had four opportunities to trade the rook immediately, and once to force the trade; in either case with an instant draw. Even more to the point, he could have claimed the draw at any moment. (I don't like that rule at all, but that's irrelevant; what counts is that it is the rule, and he could and should have taken advantage of it.) Ironically, Carlsen had still a third way to get the draw; namely, by claiming the 50-move rule at the last instant before his flag fell after Nakamura's 119th move.

    Instead, he kept on playing, and by the end he was willing to let Nakamura trade the rooks; Nakamura, absolutely rightly, refused all such offers. If Carlsen wants to play forever for a win, that's fine, but then when he's out of time there's absolutely no reason why Nakamura should give him amnesty. I've never been in that situation in a tournament game, but I find it hilarious in online blitz when someone tries to win a drawn - sometimes dead drawn - ending against me and then begs for a draw when his efforts have failed and he's about to lose on time. To be clear, Carlsen did not do that. He didn't ask for a draw, and he didn't protest or criticize anyone after the game. That's fair: he tried hard to win and overstepped; that happens to all of us. My only criticism of Carlsen is that he should have known, or realized, that he could have claimed the draw; he didn't have to hope he could somehow pull a rabbit out of his hat at the board. Rather, I'm defending Nakamura's choice to go for the win when Carlsen waited too long to call off the dogs.

    So kudos to Nakamura for his fine defense, which earned one point on the board and another point on the clock; his two-point deficit is much more manageable than the four-point hole he should have faced or the catastrophic six-point deficit that seemed very possible much of the way. Of course he'll be an underdog tomorrow, but who knows? Maybe the psychological impact of the last game will give Nakamura some extra wind in his sails. We'll see!

    I wanted to post the games, but apparently ChessBase's publication tool can't handle Chess960 games - or maybe I just don't know how to tweak it so it can. So here's the Live Games page on the tournament website; scroll down to access previous games.

    Wednesday
    Feb072018

    Carlsen-Nakamura Chess960 Match

    Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura will play a 16-game rapid and blitz match in Chess960 (or Fischerrandom, if you prefer) from the 9th (this Friday) through the 13th (next Tuesday), in Bearum, Norway. They'll play a pair of rapid games each of the first four days, and then eight blitz games the last day.

    Is this Nakamura's chance to break Carlsen's stranglehold over him, or will Sauron win again?

    Tuesday
    Sep092014

    Nakamura Defeats Aronian 3.5-2.5 in Chess960 Match

    This year's Sinquefield Cup festivities finally came to an end today with a six-game rapid (15' + 2") Chess960 match between Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura, both of whom are former Chess960 world champions.

    There are some starting positions that favor White far more than is the case in regular chess, so each starting position in the match was repeated so that both players would have a chance to have White. To further ensure a fair match, the player starting each two-game series switched: Nakamura had White in game 1, Aronian White in game 3, and Nakamura White again in game 5. (I suppose there should have been eight games so that each player got to start two series, but perhaps time constraints got in the way.) The funny thing is that fears of an excessive advantage for the white pieces turned out to be unfounded, and one could jokingly say that Nakamura won the match by drawing game 1 with White; after all, Black won the next five games!

    As for a link...I couldn't find the games on the St. Louis website, and they didn't seem to have any video coverage today; likewise Chess24. You can download them from TWIC (go to the very bottom of the linked page), but whether you'll be able to replay the file depends on your chess software. If you're an ICC member you can replay them there (they're in the library Naka-Aronian960). Finally, while I was able to replay the games from the TWIC download to ChessBase, my attempt to upload the games to the web didn't work - their upload program isn't designed to handle Chess960's castling rules.

    Saturday
    Sep062014

    Sinquefield Cup, Round 10: Three Draws Finish The Tournament

    And fairly peaceful draws at that, but after nine very exciting rounds at the Sinquefield Cup it's hard to begrudge the players the relative day off.

    The first game to finish went only 19 moves and featured two of the most combative players in the world and a situation where one might normally expect a big fight, but it was not to be. Veselin Topalov was apparently surprised by the particular line of the Berlin Magnus Carlsen chose, and without making a dent on theory the game ended in a quick repetition. If Topalov had won he would have taken clear second and jumped to #3 on the rating list, but in the final position the players agreed that playing on would have entailed more risk for White than for Black.

    The second game to finish was Levon Aronian vs. Fabiano Caruana. Even in this game it was Caruana who had what slight chances there were for a decisive result, but fatigued and possibly a bit undermotivated he didn't play energetically enough and Aronian managed to equalize. Concerned he might even be getting a little worse, Caruana offered a draw at the first available moment, on move 30, and Aronian accepted, happy to put a very unsuccessful tournament behind him.

    Finally, Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave made it to the time control and a bit further, but the game was equal all the way (but with play) and the draw was a normal result there too. (All three games here, with some comments and game citations for the first two.)

    An anti-climax, yes, but what an amazing tournament for Fabiano Caruana! His final score of 8.5/10 put him three points ahead of the second-place finisher (Carlsen 5.5, Topalov 5, Aronian & Vachier-Lagrave 4, Nakamura 3). He gained 35 rating points to take second on the rating list by a massive 43 point margin, has reached a rating level previously achieved (and surpassed) by only Magnus Carlsen and Garry Kasparov, and his 3097 TPR is unsurpassed in the history of chess (in events of this sort). Speaking of Kasparov, he himself said that this was the most amazing tournament performance he had seen, better than anything he achieved and even than Anatoly Karpov's 11/13 in Linares 1994. While I don't think it breaks his heart to put someone else's performance ahead of Karpov's, it is true that the players are getting better and better, and on top of that Caruana really had no lucky games; if anything, he was a bit unlucky against Carlsen in round 8 and Nakamura in round 9. (On the other hand, Karpov was close to winning three of the four games he drew in Linares, so we shouldn't be too quick to bury that event in the sands of time.) At any rate it was a fantastic performance by Caruana. Bravo!

    And now for dessert: rumors are floating that he may switch back to representing the USA. He was asked about it in the post-game press conference, and his "I don't want to say anything about this" seems like the kind of remark that suggests that it may in fact be in the works. (Yessssss!)

    Looking forward, it should be noted that while the Sinquefield Cup is over the festivities in St. Louis are not. First, the final press conference will begin momentarily. Second, on Monday they will have the "Ultimate Moves" competition. Here's how the tournament site describes it:

    Ultimate Moves will feature eight two-man teams made up of a GM and an amateur player each. The teams will compete in a double-round knockout bracket, with teammates alternating moves in games with a time control of 15 minutes and 2-second increments. Stay tuned for more details.

    Third and better still, Aronian and Nakamura are reportedly playing a 6-game Chess960 match on Tuesday, and as they are both former world champions at that version it should be especially entertaining to see.

    Thursday
    Feb202014

    Chess960 Event in Moscow

    It has been a while since there has been a major Chess960 event - at least I can't recall any since the Mainz Festival stopped running them. There will be one in Moscow tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday, and while there aren't any 2700s involved there will be some 2600s in action. Those who enjoy this form of the game might want to check it out.

    HT: Ross Hytnen

    Thursday
    Dec082011

    An Excellent Article on Chess960

    ...can be found in the pages of the latest issue (December 2011) of Chess Life. It's ostensibly an article on the Kings vs. Queens match at the unwieldily-named Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis back in September, but co-authors IM Irina Krush and GM Ben Finegold focus on the Chess960 games almost to the exclusion of the match's classical games.

    Krush, who wrote the background article (Finegold was the primary annotator) offers a lot of very useful tips about Chess960 - some based on her own experience, some originating from her coach Georgi Kacheishvili. Lest you think that this is only of interest to people who will play Chess960, fear not: read carefully and the application to "real" chess will be obvious. Those with access to the article are encouraged to take the time to read it and replay the included games.