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 Dortmund 2018 European Championship 2018 Gashimov Memorial 2018 Gibraltar 2018 Grand Chess Tour 2018 Grenke Chess Classic 2018 Grenke Chess Open 2018 Leuven 2018 Norway Chess 2018 Paris 2018 Poikovsky 2018 Pro Chess League 2018 Tal Memorial 2018 U.S. Championship 2018 Wijk aan Zee 2018 Women's World Championship 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 Arkady Dvorkovich 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 Charles Krauthammer 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 Donald Trump 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 politics 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 Giorgios Makropoulos 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 Informant 135 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 Cole 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 Komodo 12 Korchnoi Kramnik Kunin Lajos Portisch Larry Evans Larry Kaufman Larry Parr Lasker Lasker-Pelikan Latvian Gambit Laurent Fressinet Laznicka Le Quang Liem LeBron James 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 Notre Dame hockey 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 Sam Shankland 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 Shreyas Royal 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 12 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 Magnus Carlsen (296)

    Saturday
    Jun232018

    Krauthammer on Chess

    Charles Krauthammer was a well-known political commentator in the U.S. who died of cancer this past week at the age of 68. Of relevance to this blog, he was also a huge chess fan, who on more than one occasion devoted his political column to our great game. A memorial "best of" list included this column by Krauthammer on the 2016 World Chess Championship as one of ten columns they chose to memorialize.

    R.I.P., and may other mainstream commentators of whatever political stripe be as generous to our game as he was.

    Sunday
    Jun032018

    Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

    A tip of the hat to John Cole and David McCarthy, both of whom let me know about this choice quote from Magnus Carlsen after round 5, speaking of his 12-game history with Wesley So: “To be honest, usually nothing happens in these games. I can't remember him ever being close to beat me [sic]. If I want a draw, I will often get it easily.”

    Perhaps it would be smarter (and more polite) to avoid such comments in the future, at least with opponents who aren't fellow trash-talkers like Anish Giri. Then again, the quote comes from a tweet by Tarjei Svensen; perhaps Carlsen's words weren't meant for public consumption (or for public consumption in English?), and so it's his fault too if this gave So a bit of extra motivation before his one-sided victory in game 6.

    Saturday
    Jun022018

    Norway Chess, Rounds 3-5: Carlsen Leads, Ding Withdraws

    It was a tough break for Ding Liren - literally - when he had a bicycle accident while riding with his father during the free day after round three. He fractured his hip and had to withdraw. That's very unfortunate for him, and I'm sure we're all united in wishing him a full and speedy recovery. Fortunately for the tournament standings, he had drawn all three of his games, so from a fairness perspective the effect of his withdrawal will be minimal.

    To the chess. We left off after round 2; in round 3, as in round 1, Magnus Carlsen was the sole winner. (All the round 2 games were drawn, so Carlsen was also the sole winner in the entire tournament through three rounds.) He defeated Levon Aronian in a 5.Re1 Anti-Berlin, a variation that's often tragically dull. This time the play was more interesting, and while Aronian's time trouble blunder on move 27 sped things up Carlsen already enjoyed the upper hand. All four of the draws were very interesting, and some of the players were under pressure, but no one missed any wins on the way to the peaceful outcome.

    Then came the rest day, which worked out well for most of the players - though not for Ding, as mentioned already, although he and Viswanathan Anand took first in, of all things, a cooking competition for the players.

    In round 4, it was the day of the Gruenfeld - or rather, the day to beat the Gruenfeld, as Sergey Karjakin defeated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Levon Aronian defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov on the white side of Classical lines. Aronian thereby returned to 50%, while Karjakin went to +1. Hikaru Nakamura didn't get anything with White against Magnus Carlsen, and they drew quickly, while Viswanathan Anand and Wesley So played a game that was probably in both players' computers beforehand.

    Finally, in round 5, gravity took over as Fabiano Caruana beat Karjakin, bringing them both to 50% from opposite directions. The other three games were more or less mutually comfortable draws, so the standings at the moment see Carlsen at +2, Mamedyarov and MVL at -1, and the other six players (or seven, counting Ding) are on 50%. Here are the pairings for round 6:

    • So (2/4) - Carlsen (3.5/5)
    • Aronian (2.5/5) - Caruana (2/4)
    • Nakamura (2/4) - Vachier-Lagrave (1.5/4)
    • Anand (2/4) - Mamedyarov (2/5)
    • Karjakin (2.5/5) has the bye.

    Tournament site here, games (with comments to three of the decisive games) here.

    Monday
    May282018

    Norway Chess, Round 1: Carlsen Beats Caruana; Other Games Drawn

    This is no way to throw down the gauntlet to the world champion! First Fabiano Caruana loses to Magnus Carlsen in the blitz, and then today - much more importantly - he lost to him in round 1 of the 5th Altibox Norway Chess tournament in Stavanger. In fact the challenger didn't play badly; he was just outplayed by the champion. Caruana was in a challenging but tenable position on move 25 when he played the natural but mistaken 25...Rc7. After that, Carlsen never let him back into the game. Very impressive.

    Impressive, and good enough for sole first, as the other four games were drawn. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played a short but interesting game in a Gruenfeld sideline, while Wesley So and Sergey Karjakin played a longer, quieter game that also finished peacefully. So enjoyed an edge throughout, just not enough of an edge to sufficiently trouble the "Minister of Defense". Viswanathan Anand and Levon Aronian, who are unexpectedly the bottom seeds in this ridiculously strong tournament, drew a 4.d3 Anti-Berlin where Aronian's 8...a6 was a beautiful and surprising zwischenzug. Aronian achieved a comfortable draw.

    The fourth draw was another story. Hikaru Nakamura outplayed Ding Liren in the middlegame, but carelessly allowing Black's queen to reach e2 surrendered a winning advantage. Nakamura even overpressed and gave Ding a chance to come out of the game with good chances for the full point, but Black's error on move 30 gave Nakamura the chance to win brilliantly. He missed the tactic, unfortunately (I say this not so much because I'm taking sides but because it would have immortalized the game, or at least the combination), and the game finished in a perpetual.

    The games are here; I've commented on Carlsen-Caruana and Nakamura-Ding. (I can't promise daily commentary, but we'll see how it goes.) Here are the pairings for round 2:

    • Karjakin (.5) - Carlsen (1)
    • Caruana (0) - Mamedyarov (.5)
    • Ding (.5) - Vachier-Lagrave (.5)
    • Aronian (.5) - So (.5)
    • Nakamura (.5) - Anand (.5)

    Saturday
    Apr282018

    Shamkir, Rounds 8 & 9: Carlsen Beats Giri in Round 8, Draws Ding Liren in Round 9, and Wins the Tournament

    The man is the world chess champion for a reason. More than one reason, even if we construe those reasons broadly. One reason is that (most of the time) he plays the best chess, and the other is that (most of the time) he's the best player in clutch situations. Even having a mediocre tournament starting with four draws, Magnus Carlsen flipped the switch, won three out of his next four games, and took clear first.

    When we left off in round 7 he had just defeated the previous tournament leader, Veselin Topalov, and took over the lead himself. Topalov, Anish Giri, and Ding Liren were all half a point behind. In round 8 Carlsen again took matters into his own hands when it came to his main rivals, and he defeated Giri with Black in an impressive game. Not only did this do wonders for his status in the tournament, but it also gave him the advantage in his head-to-head battle with Giri (in Classical chess) for the first time in their rivalry. (I've annotated the game here.)

    Meanwhile, Topalov lost his second straight game, this time with White against Radoslaw Wojtaszek. That eliminated him from contention, but Ding Liren stayed close with a win against Rauf Mamedov. Ding was the one pressing in the game, but it was headed for a draw until Mamedov's 37...Kh6. (37...Kf6 should hold.) He took perfect advantage of the error and won, and since he was due to play Carlsen in the next round, his fate remained in his own hands.

    It was not to be. Carlsen had the white pieces and played one of the dullest lines available to ensure that Ding would have no winning chances. Cynical, sure, but highly recommended: the point is to win the tournament. So by the end of the event it was a fine tournament for both Carlsen and Ding, both of whom are undefeated in Classical chess for the whole of 2018.

    In other results from round 9: all the games were drawn quickly except for Sergey Karjakin's game with Topalov, which was neither quick nor drawn; Karjakin won in 49 moves. (Had they drawn, there would have been a six-way tie for 3rd-8th.) After a great start, Topalov lost his last three games and even lost rating points by the end. (As for Carlsen, he managed to gain four tenths of a rating point, which will be rounded down to the status quo ante come May 1.) And in round 8, there was one other decisive game not mentioned above, and that was David Navara losing his fourth game in a row.

    Final Standings:

    • 1. Carlsen 6/9
    • 2. Ding Liren 5.5
    • 3. Karjakin 5
    • 4-7. Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Wojtaszek, Giri 4.5
    • 8-9. Mamedov, Topalov 4
    • 10. Navara 2.5

    Thursday
    Apr262018

    Shamkir, Round 7: Carlsen Beats Topalov, Takes Over First Place

    The guy is world champion for a reason, it seems. Despite having a seemingly lackluster tournament while Veselin Topalov has generated most of the excitement, Magnus Carlsen's win in round 7 of the Gashimov Memorial has put him in clear first with two rounds to go, half a point ahead of Topalov, Anish Giri, and Ding Liren. Topalov was doing fine out of the opening and through the early middlegame, but 22...dxc5 and 25...Rd8 were pieces in a dubious plan that led him astray. After Carlsen's 27.Be4 serious accuracy was required from Topalov, and when he played 27...Bxc4 rather than the necessary 27...Kf8 he was lost. There were glitches in Carlsen's technique prior to the time control, but after Topalov's 38...Bxh5 Carlsen was winning again, and made no further errors.

    Giri drew with Black against Rauf Mamedov to remain half a point out of first, and Ding made it a three-way tie in second by defeating tournament punching bag David Navara. Everyone experiences bad form at times, and in this tournament it's his turn.

    The Carlsen-Topalov game (with some commentary) can be replayed here. Here are the pairings for round 8:

    • Radjabov (3.5) - Karjakin (3.5)
    • Topalov (4) - Wojtaszek (3)
    • Giri (4) - Carlsen (4.5)
    • Ding Liren (4) - Mamedov (3.5)
    • Mamedyarov (3) - Navara (2)

    Tuesday
    Apr242018

    Shamkir, Round 5: Topalov Wins Again; Carlsen Wins Too

    After Veselin Topalov spoiled all the amity of the Gashimov Memorial by winning a game in round 4, Magnus Carlsen decided in round 5 that he too would be a spoilsport.He played a funny anti-Sicilian sideline (2.Nc3 d6 3.d4) against Radoslaw Wojtaszek, and it worked beautifully - at least once Wojtaszek played 11...h4? Carlsen missed various improvements, but still won pretty easily. (As you can see for yourselves; I've annotated the game here.)

    Meanwhile, Veselin Topalov won again, this time defeating David Navara. Topalov sacrificed a pawn in return for the bishop pair, and it paid off in the end. Topalov is at plus-two, but he could have been plus-four. A good finish over the last four rounds could give him one of his best results of the 2010s.

    Now that there have been three decisive games out of 25, the players need a rest, and that's what they'll get on Tuesday. Wednesday the action resumes, with the following pairings for round 6:

    • Radjabov (2.5) - Wojtaszek (2)
    • Karjakin (2.5) - Carlsen (3)
    • Topalov (3.5) - Mamedov (2.5)
    • Giri (2.5) - Navara (2)
    • Ding Liren (2.5) - Mamedyarov (2)

    Saturday
    Mar312018

    Grenke Chess Classic, Round 1: Caruana Ekes Out a Draw, Vitiugov Wins a Brilliancy

    The much, but not long-awaited game between Magnus Carlsen and his latest challenger, Fabiano Caruana, took place in round 1, and it did not disappoint. At least it didn't disappoint fans looking for a hard-fought game; partisans of each player will have something to regret - but also to celebrate. Carlsen proved better in the middlegame, while Caruana demonstrated his defensive prowess and showed that Carlsen's vaunted technique isn't perfect.

    The opening was unusual and full of little surprises: Caruana played 1.d4 and then chose a rather passive Anti-King's Indian/Anti-Gruenfeld with 4.e3. Carlsen turned the game into an oddball King's Indian, and outplayed his opponent in the non-standard middlegame that ensued. He eventually obtained a winning double-rook ending, but Caruana defended stoutly, and at a certain point in the second time control Carlsen was forced to find a difficult (but not impossible) winning move. He didn't manage to clear that last hurdle, and from there the draw wasn't too hard for Caruana to secure.

    Four of the five games were drawn, and most of the drawn games had some adventures. Viswanathan Anand had White against Hou Yifan and played a risky, experimental opening, sacrificing a pawn and later an exchange. (Though by that time, he was a pawn up, so he had a pawn for the exchange.) Slightly reminiscent of the Karjakin-Caruana game from the Candidates - Caruana's only loss - Anand's compensation for the exchange was a brilliant bishop on d5. Hou's position was difficult, but she defended resourcefully and saved the game.

    Arkadij Naiditsch's game with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was a real barn-burner. Both players love extreme complications and handle them very well. This time around, Naiditsch handled them better for a good portion of the middlegame, but MVL managed to keep things wild and managed enough counterplay to draw.

    Georg Meier's game with Levon Aronian was the dullest game of the round; not exactly a shock given Meier's 5.Re1 against the Berlin. There are exceptions in Meier's repertoire, but for the most part he plays risk-averse chess, trying to obtain small advantages and then grind away with his excellent technical skills. It's unlikely to prove successful against the top players in the field, but then again he won't lose to them in such situations, either.

    Finally, the one decisive game was a keeper, a minor brilliancy sure to make the rounds. The first 19 moves of Matthias Bluebaum-Nikita Vitiugov looked likely to result in a draw, but then Bluebaum fell into a very deep trap. Vitiugov's 21...Rxf2! was the start of a combination running a dozen or so moves in the main line, requiring a number of precise, subtle, beautiful moves to work. I've annotated this game, along with Caruana-Carlsen, and all five games can be replayed here.

    The round 2 pairings are Carlsen - Hou Yifan, Vachier-Lagrave - Anand, Aronian - Naiditsch, Vitiugov - Meier, and Caruana - Bluebaum. The higher-rated player has the white pieces in every game, and it's a significant rating difference in all of them but MVL-Anand.

    Wednesday
    Mar282018

    Grenke Chess Classic 

    The lead-up to the 2018 World Chess Championship begins this weekend with the Grenke Chess Classic in Baden-Baden, Germany. Both Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana will be playing, together with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Levon Aronian, Viswanathan Anand, Nikita Vitiugov, Arkadij Naiditsch, Hou Yifan, Georg Meier, and Matthias Bluebaum.

    The pairings haven't yet been decided, and the first round is at 3 p.m. local time (= 9 a.m. ET). Who will get the upper hand in the psychological duel between Carlsen and Caruana? Stay tuned.

    Wednesday
    Mar282018

    Caruana Interview

    Not a bad interview, despite the misleading clickbait title. Fabiano Caruana gives a very general sense of his understanding about where he stands vis-a-vis Magnus Carlsen.

    HT: Brian Karen