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    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 Chess Olympiad 2016 Chinese 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 Championship 2016 World Junior Championship 2016 World Open 2018 Chess Olympiad 22014 Sinquefield Cup 22014 U.S. Championship 22016 Chess Olympiad 2Mind Games 2016 60 Minutes A. 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    Entries in Ian Nepomniachtchi (14)

    Monday
    Sep262016

    Tal Memorial, Round 1: Nepomniachtchi Beats Tomashevsky; Other Games Drawn

    First a quick word about the Tal Memorial blitz, which occurred on Sunday. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was the runaway winner, scoring an undefeated 7.5/9. Levon Aronian finished in second with 5.5 points, and Ian Nepomniachtchi, Peter Svidler, and Anish Giri (in that tiebreak order) tied for third-fifth with 5 points apiece. All five players thereby secured an extra white game in the main tournament. (More on the blitz here.)

    Today was time for round 1 of the main event. Only one game had a winner, and one other game should have. The win belonged to Ian Nepomniachtchi, who defeated Evgeny Tomashevsky in a strange game. Nepomniachtchi played the Scotch, which is about as surprising as Peter Svidler dominated a post-game press conference. Nevertheless, Tomashevsky seemed badly unprepared, choosing a seemingly dubious line on move 10. The poor continuations on moves 12 and 13 suggested that his choice on move 10 wasn't part of some deep new idea, and by move 14 he was already lost. Resignation was already reasonable on move 20, and occurred on move 23.

    Svidler also seemed headed for a win over Vladimir Kramnik after 17...g5?! 18.Be3 d5?! got Kramnik into trouble and subsequent errors on moves 25 and 30 left him lost. The win wasn't quite trivial though, and in what was probably time trouble Svidler lost much of his advantage. The momentum continued to swing Kramnik's way, and by around move 45 he was the one doing the pressing. It wasn't enough, and the game ended in a draw, as did Aronian-Gelfand, Giri-Anand, and Mamedyarov-Li Chao.

    The games, with varying degrees of annotation, are here, and these are the pairings for round 2:

    • Kramnik - Li Chao
    • Anand - Mamedyarov
    • Gelfand - Giri
    • Tomashevsky - Aronian
    • Svidler - Nepomniachtchi

    Saturday
    Sep102016

    This Week's World Chess Column: Nepomniachtchi at the Olympics

    In my World Chess column this week I take a look at Ian Nepomniachtchi's performance at the Olympiad through round 6, and an impressive performance it is. Nominally the fourth board player for the Russian team, "Nepo" has played every round so far, all but once on board 3, and has won every game - he's 7-0. As the column was finished yesterday, I only cover the first six games, which are all annotated therein. Have a look!

    Friday
    Jul152016

    Nepomniachtchi Leads Danzhou With Two Rounds Remaining

    Here is an oddity: no one in the Danzhou super-tournament has lost more than two games, and yet one of the players with two losses, Ian Nepomniachtchi, is in clear first with 4.5/7. He lost in round 7, and also in round 2, but won all his remaining games excepting a draw in round 6. Three players are hot on his heels: Bu Xiangzhi, Wang Yue, and Pentala Harikrishna are just half a point behind with two games to go.

    Monday
    Oct122015

    World Rapid Championship: Carlsen Wins Again

    Surprise! Magnus Carlsen won his first two games today, the third day of the World Rapid Championship. - the second a heartbreaker for Vasil Ivanchuk, who was first better and then for a long time drawing before Carlsen somehow pulled it out - and that put him at a huge score of 10/12. From there three draws sufficed to win the tournament by a full point over his closest competitors. There were three of them, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimour Radjabov and Leinier Dominguez, and it was the last-named player who was the unlucky fourth. "Nepo" won the silver on tiebreaks and Radjabov garnered a bronze. Loads of players were another half a point behind, including such greats as Ivanchuk, Vladimir Kramnik Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

    The World Blitz Championship starts tomorrow at the same venue and with most of the same players. It would be fun if Hikaru Nakamura and other top players in the Millionaire Open made the flight to Berlin, but that would really be a bit too crazy. Fun, but crazy.

    Friday
    Sep112015

    Nepomniachtchi Wins Moscow Blitz Championship

    Ian Nepomniachtchi won the Moscow Blitz Championship this past Sunday with a score of 14-5, half a point ahead of Dmitry Andreikin, who won their individual game. There's a nice report on it here, complete with the embedded video of the live coverage. (There's commentary in Russian by Sergey Shipov.)

    I've been watching the video, a little at a time, and so far a couple of games have caught my attention. You can replay those games, with my light analysis and comments, here.

    Wednesday
    Jun032015

    Amazing Time Wasters

    No, I'm not talking about (more than) 99.99% of the internet, though I could be. Instead, I'm referring to an interesting phenomenon in chess that has increasingly caught my attention of late: moves that appear to waste a tempo in the opening for what seems at first like absolutely no good reason. Further, in most of the cases, the pattern is similar: a piece moves to a square, then a move or so later proceeds to a square it could have reached on the previous turn. I've cataloged five instances of this for you here; readers are invited to offer examples of their own.

    Wednesday
    Dec172014

    World Mind Games Finish: Nepomniachtchi, Hou Yifan "Basque" in Glory (Updated)

    (Thank you, thank you; I'll be here all week.) The SportAccord World Mind Games concluded today, and the final stage of the chess competition was won by Ian Nepomniachtchi on the men's side and Hou Yifan on the women's. This last stage was the "Basque" tournament, a five double-round Swiss with each double round with each participant playing a pair of games simultaneously against the same opponent, one with each color.

    Both Nepomniachtchi and Hou went undefeated and won their respective sections by a point and a half. "Nepo" scored 7.5/10 while Teimour Radjabov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov all wound up with 6. Radjabov won the silver and Vachier-Lagrave added a bronze to his silver medals in rapid & blitz. Alexander Grischuk won both the rapid & blitz events, but only scored 5.5 points here to finish tied for 5th-7th (out of 16), 6th on tiebreak.

    In the women's section Hou's score was a dominant 8.5/10, and this time there was no race with Valentina Gunina, who came in 9th with 50%. Alexandra Kosteniuk came in second with 7 points, and Zhao Xue took third on tiebreak with 6 points to beat out Antoaneta Stefanova for the bronze.

    The event produced many interesting games for chess fans, and since there aren't any more major events until the Tata Steel tournament (Wijk aan Zee) January 9, you've got a little extra time to catch up on all of them in between Christmas and Hanukah celebrations!

    UPDATE:

    (1) I see Chess24 used the same lame joke for their title as well. It's hard to resist!

    (2) Also from the Chess24 piece: fans of quick play will only have to suffer for 48 hours, as the European Rapid & Blitz championship starts on Friday.

    (3) Actually, there's no need to suffer at all if you want to see top-level play, as the final stage of season 7 of the TCEC is underway, with the latest versions of Komodo and Stockfish duking it out once again for silicon supremacy. Komodo dominated the earlier stages while Stockfish looked shaky, but after seven games Stockfish leads 4-3. "Only" 57 games to go.

     

    Tuesday
    Dec242013

    A Game From Beijing

    I haven't presented too many games lately, but I hope to rectify that somewhat over the holiday season. Let's start with a quick one, a speedy win by Ian Nepomniachtchi over Vassily Ivanchuk from the recently completed World Mind Games event in Beijing, China. This was from the rapid tournament, and illustrates what can happen even to a super-GM who inappropriately violates the rules of thumb we all learned early on about not moving our queen out too quickly and about not keeping our king in the center. These are not laws, of course, but only rules of thumb. Still, they are rules of thumb for a reason!

    Behold the disaster...

    Monday
    Oct142013

    Svidler Wins Russian Championship In A Playoff

    The last day of the 2013 Russian Championship was an exciting one. The spectators got their money's worth! Peter Svidler came into the last round with a half point lead over Vladimir Kramnik and Ian Nepomniachtchi, and had the challenging pairing of Black against Sergey Karjakin. Karjakin tested Svidler's Gruenfeld in the now-old, former main line of the Exchange Variation with 8.Rb1, and Svidler followed the old recipe to a draw.

    That left Nepomniachtchi and Kramnik, who just so happened to be playing each other. Kramnik did much of the pushing, and was better for good chunks of the game, though never winning. A draw was just about always there for the taking, but no guts, no glory: he kept pressing, and with 67...Kh3 he was on his way over the edge. Maybe 69...Rd3 or 69...Ng4+ would have kept things together, but 69...b5? got him in trouble, and 71...Nf7 left him lost. (Maybe he didn't see that 75.Bd4 would stop all of his threats?) Nepomniachtchi's good defense and Kramnik's overextension allowed the former to catch Svidler, and so it was on to a rapid tiebreak - two g/15s.

    In last year's Russian Championship tiebreak Svidler was eliminated, while Nepomniachtchi's previous tiebreak experience was a good one - he defeated Karjakin in 2010 to win the title of Russian champion. This time around, however, it was Svidler who came through to win his seventh(!) national championship. Svidler won the first game with White and was winning the second game too when Nepomniachtchi offered a match-conceding draw that was accepted.

    Congratulations to Peter Svidler!

    Monday
    Sep162013

    Grischuk Wins the ACP Cup

    The semi-finals and the finals of the ACP Cup, a rapid k.o. event in Riga, Latvia, were played on Sunday, and Alexander Grischuk emerged victorious. He defeated Peter Svidler in his semi-final, 1.5-.5, while Ian Nepomniachtchi came back from a loss in the first game to defeat Ruslan Ponomariov 3-1 after their 3'+2" tiebreak games.

    Grischuk and Nepomniachtchi drew their g/25s, so it was on to the blitz playoff. Grischuk started off with a win in his white game, and Nepomniachtchi returned the favor in the rematch. The next stage was an Armageddon game, with Grischuk getting White and five minutes against his opponent's four minutes and draw odds. Grischuk repeated the same funny anti-Gruenfeld line he used in the first blitz game (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.e3 0-0 5.Be2 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.e4 Nb6 7.0-0 [White's 6th and 7th moves were played in reverse order in the earlier game]), and whatever its merits he managed to win this game too, and with it the tournament.