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 Blitz 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 British Championship 2018 Candidates 2018 Chess Olympiad 2018 Dortmund 2018 European Championship 2018 European Club Cup 2018 Gashimov Memorial 2018 Gibraltar 2018 Grand Chess Tour 2018 Grenke Chess Classic 2018 Grenke Chess Open 2018 Isle of Man 2018 Leuven 2018 London Chess Classic 2018 Norway Chess 2018 Paris 2018 Poikovsky 2018 Pro Chess League 2018 Shenzhen Masters 2018 Sinquefield Cup 2018 Speed Chess Championship 2018 St. Louis Rapid & Blitz 2018 Tal Memorial 2018 Tata Steel Rapid & Blitz 2018 U.S. Championship 2018 Wijk aan Zee 2018 Women's World Championship 2018 World Championship 2018 World Rapid & Blitz Championship 2019 Aeroflot Open 2019 Champions Showdown 2019 Gibraltar 2019 Grand Chess Tour 2019 Norway Chess 2019 Pro Chess League 2019 U.S. Championship 2019 Wijk aan Zee 2019 World Team Championship 2020 Candidates 2020 Chess Olympics 2022 Chess Olympics 2024 Chess Olympics 22014 Sinquefield Cup 22014 U.S. Championship 22016 Chess Olympiad 22019 Wijk aan Zee 2Mind Games 2016 2Wijk aan Zee 2017 60 Minutes A. Muzychuk A. Sokolov aattacking chess Abby Marshall Abhijeet Gupta 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 Ashland University football 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 Videos 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 Gukesh Dommaraju 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 Jorden Van Foreest Jose Diaz Jose Raul Capablanca Ju Wenjun Judit Polgar Julio Granda Zuniga junk openings Kaidanov Kaido Kulaots Kalashnikov Sicilian Kamsky Karen Sumbatyan Karjakin Karpov Karsten Mueller Kasimdzhanov Kasparov Kateryna Lagno 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 Lc0 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 Glickman Mark Taimanov Markus Ragger Marshall Marshall Gambit Masters of the Chessboard Mateusz Bartel Matthew Sadler Maurice Ashley Max Euwe Max Judd 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 Mikhail Zinar Mikhalchishin Miles Mind Games 2016 Minev miniatures Miso Cebalo MModern Benoni Modern Modern Benoni Moiseenko Morozevich Morphy Movsesian Müller Murali Karthikeyan music Nadareishvili Naiditsch Najdorf Sicilian Nakamura Nanjing 2010 Natalia Pogonina Navara NDame football Negi Neo-Archangelsk Nepomniachtchi New In Chess Yearbook 104 New York Times NH Tournament 2010 Nigel Short Nihal Sarin Nikita Vitiugov Nikolai Rezvov 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 Parham Maghsoodloo 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 Loman 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 Sergei Tkachenko 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 Svidler-Shankland match 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 13 TCEC Season 14 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 Gorgiev Tigran Petrosian Tim Krabbé time controls time trouble Timman Timur Gareev Tomashevsky Tony Miles Topalov traps Tromso Olympics 2014 TTCEC Season 14 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 Vidit Gujrathi Vienna 1922 Viktor Bologan Viktor Korchnoi Viktor Moskalenko Vincent Keymer Viswanathan Anand Vitaly Tseshkovsky Vitiugov Vladimir Fedoseev Vladimir Kramnik Vladimir Tukmakov Vladislav Artemiev Vladislav Kovalev 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 Xie Jun 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 (335)

    Tuesday
    Feb262019

    Other Events: Aeroflot, Carlsen-Svidler, Ragger-Gelfand

    The Aeroflot Open is ongoing, and after 7 rounds of 9 there are three leaders: Kaido Kulaots, Krishnan Sasikiran, and Haik Martirosyan; each has 5.5 points. Sasikiran started 5-0, taking a full point lead over the field, which he maintained with his draw in round 6. In round 7 he was crushed by Martirosyan, however, and he was also caught by Kulaots when the latter won a long, strange game against Wei Yi. That game was equal for a long time, but Wei Yi didn't want to give up a draw with White against a GM rated 200 points below him. He got his wish, though not the way he wanted. Sometimes, we have to accept reality when we're higher-rated; wishing for a win won't make it so, even if we wish really, really hard.

    Remarkably, despite the relatively low leading score, only four players in the 101-player field are within half a point of the leaders. Here are the top pairings for round 8:

    • Sasikiran (5.5) - Kulaots (5.5)
    • Martirosyan (5.5) - Sarana (5)
    • Tabatabaei (5) - Petrosian (5)
    • Chigaev (5) - Wei Yi (4.5)

    Magnus Carlsen and Peter Svidler played a blitz match on Chess24, to go to the first player to win five games. (At least that's how I understood it. I think Svidler took it that the winner would be the first player to reach five points. It turns out that the match result didn't disconfirm either theory.) Carlsen won convincingly, winning the first two games, drawing game three, and then winning three in a row to go 5-0 in wins and 5.5-0.5 in overall score. Both players live-streamed the match, and since Carlsen decided to drop an F-bomb in his I'll let the readers look them up on their own. (No, I'm not scandalized by it, but why use that language for a presentation that would otherwise be suitable and even inspiring for little kids?)

    Finally, in a match that slipped under my radar until I caught wind of it in tonight's TWIC download, Austrian #1 Markus Ragger took on and crushed Boris Gelfand 4.5-1.5, winning games 1, 2, and 6 while drawing the rest. Gelfand's rating has taken a relatively big hit the last year and a half. (He was 2737 in September of 2017; after this match, he'll be down to 2660. It would have been 2655, but because Ragger had clinched match victory before the last game it wasn't rated.) Hopefully it is the pull of family life rather than a loss of ability that has taken its toll.

    Friday
    Feb222019

    Carlsen vs. Svidler this Sunday

    It's a gimmick, of course, on Chess24, celebrating their 5th anniversary and undoubtedly trying to bring in new viewers. Caveat emptor therefore, but it's a nice gimmick. More here.

    Sunday
    Jan272019

    2019 Wijk aan Zee, Round 13: Carlsen Draws, Wins the Tournament

    There wasn't much drama today in the final round of the 2019 Tata Steel Chess Tournament, either in the Masters Group or even in the Challengers event. There could have been. Anish Giri had the white pieces against Magnus Carlsen, and with a win he'd have vaulted Carlsen and taken clear first. And in the Challengers event Vladislav Kovalev was only half a point ahead of Maksim Chigaev and Andrey Esipenko. But there were no fantastic finishes. Carlsen drew with complete ease, and the question early on was only if he might win or at least try to win the game. And it was even worse in the Challengers event: Kovalev won in 24 moves when his opponent blundered into a mating attack, and for good measure both Chigaev and Esipenko lost their games. So Carlsen won the main event, Kovalev the Challengers, and the latter will be promoted to the Masters event next year.

    As for the rest of the Masters games: Richard Rapport blitzed Jorden Van Foreest off the board in just 21 moves, mostly due, I'd say, to the latter's poor preparation for the line that came up. (His novelty on move 12 - undoubtedly not the result of prior preparation, landed him in a lost position.) The other win took longer: Vladimir Kramnik once again went into self-destruct mode, avoiding a simple draw for a more complex position where only Sam Shankland could play for a win. Shankland took his chance and gave the former world champion his sixth defeat of the tournament. The remaining games were drawn between 19 and 35 moves. (The games, with my notes to Giri-Carlsen, the two decisive games, and Kovalev's last-round win are here.)

    Here are the final standings:

    • 1. Carlsen 9 (out of 13)
    • 2. Giri 8.5
    • 3-5. Nepomniachtchi, Ding, Anand 7.5
    • 6. Vidit 7
    • 7-9. Radjabov, Shankland, Rapport 6.5
    • 10. Duda 5.5
    • 11-12. Fedoseev, Mamedyarov 5
    • 13-14. Kramnik, Van Foreest 4.5

    And just for fun, the final standings of the Challengers group:

    • 1. Kovalev 10 (of 13)
    • 2-4. Gledura, Esipenko, Chigaev 8.5
    • 5-6. Korobov, L'Ami 7.5
    • 7-8. Maghsoodloo, Bareev 7
    • 9. (Lucas) Van Foreest 6
    • 10. Keymer 5.5
    • 11. Praggnanandhaa 5
    • 12-13. Saduakassova, Paehtz 3.5
    • 14. Kuipers 3

    Saturday
    Jan262019

    2019 Wijk aan Zee, Round 12: Carlsen Wins Again, Leads Giri By Half a Point Going Into Their Last-Round Showdown

    Last year Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri tied for first in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, and in this year's edition they are once again the only contenders for first. Last year, Carlsen defeated Giri in a playoff; this year, a playoff is impossible, as Carlsen enters the round half a point ahead of his rival and they face off in the last round. (I suppose one could consider it a de facto playoff: an Armageddon game with a classical time control. If Carlsen wins or draws, he wins the tournament; if Giri wins, then he does.)

    They entered the round tied for first after Giri got a colossal gift from Sam Shankland, who resigned in a completely drawn position. In this round Giri got a second gift, as Teimour Radjabov offered a draw (which was of course accepted by Giri) in a won position. Not a dead or obviously won position, but a winning one all the same. Even with all the freebies Giri is enjoying, Carlsen still enters the last round as the sole leader after grinding out a victory against Jan-Krzysztof Duda. No freebies, just hard work: he obtained an advantage in the early middlegame and never let go. Duda didn't make it easy for him, but he was still forced to surrender after 71 moves.

    Ian Nepomniachtchi entered the round only half a point behind the leaders, but now he's a point and a half behind after getting clobbered by Shankland. Perhaps trying to hard to get a complicated and untheoretical position Nepo played an experimental line, a Pirc with ...e6. The combination of ...g6, ...Bg7, ...Nf6 and ...e6 generally don't go very well together (to oversimplify a bit: if you want to play a Pirc, avoid ...e6; if you want a Hippo, don't play ...Nf6), and they went dreadfully wrong in this game. Shankland played natural, healthy, aggressive chess, and won convincingly.

    Ding Liren and Viswanathan Anand could have remained a point behind Carlsen, had either defeated the other. That still would have left them mathematically eliminated from the race for first, after Carlsen's win, but at least they'd be a bit closer. It was a very good game, with Ding playing 1.e4 - an unusual first move for him - and having some deep preparation. Anand defended well, and 28...Rd6 was a beautiful idea that led to an ending where White's had no way to use his material advantage.

    Finally, Vladimir Kramnik made it two consecutive wins by defeating Vladimir Fedoseev in a queen and rook ending, while Shakhriyar Mamedyarov bled some rating points by drawing with Jorden Van Foreest. Kramnik is now "only" -18.7 for the touranment, while Mamedyarov is a ghastly -26 on the live rating list. And Santosh Vidit Gujrathi was winning against Richard Rapport, but after he missed the right way to prosecute his attack the game finished in a draw.

    The tournament site is here, the games (with light comments, though not about photons) are here, and these the pairings for the final round, tomorrow:

    • Giri (8) - Carlsen (8.5)
    • Nepomniachtchi (7) - Radjabov (6)
    • Kramnik (4.5) - Shankland (5.5)
    • Mamedyarov (4.5) - Fedoseev (4.5)
    • Rapport (5.5) - Van Foreest (4.5)
    • Anand (7) - Vidit (6.5)
    • Duda (5) - Ding (7)

    In the Challengers Tournament, the sole leader is Vladislav Kovalev, who came into the event as the second seed. He has 9/12, good for a half-point lead over 16-year-old Andrey Esipenko and Maksim Chigaev. Unfortunately for Chigaev and Esipenko, they're both playing Black against strong opponents (Gledura and Bareev, respectively) while Kovalev has White against bottom seed and co-cellar dweller Stefan Kuipers. One never knows for sure, but the odds of Kovalev's getting clear first and securing qualification to next year's top group look awfully good.

    Wednesday
    Jan232019

    2019 Wijk aan Zee, Round 10: Carlsen Defeats Anand, Enjoys the Clear Lead

    I warned you! After 21 straight draws, Magnus Carlsen finally broke the string with a win over Jorden Van Foreest and then another win over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, and now he's back. His confidence has been restored, and he is putting in that extra bit of fight, causing his opponents as many problems as possible. Even Viswanathan Anand succumbed today in a long ending, unable to hold an objectively (but certainly not trivially) drawn knight endgame a pawn down.

    In that way he took care of one of the co-leaders, and with the unexpected help of Jorden Van Foreest the third co-leader, Ian Nepomniachtchi, was also kicked a point behind. Nepo seemed to have been surprised in the opening, chose a dubious line, and got crushed by a kingside attack. (While we're at it, pretty much the same thing happened today to Vladimir Kramnik, albeit in a very different line, as he was drubbed by Santosh Vidit Gujrathi.)

    Carlsen is in great shape, in clear first at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament with three rounds remaining, but there is still one player who is nipping at his heels. Anish Giri is only half a point behind after winning with Black against Vladimir Fedoseev in a game that was probably determined by White's time pressure.

    Perhaps the nicest win of the round was Richard Rapport's win against Jan-Krzysztof Duda. The game seemed headed for a draw, but Duda got greedy, careless, or both. His 32.Qd8? was both a bad move and a terribly impractical one. An easy draw was available with 32.Qb2, but his move threatened mate. The reason this was an impractical decision is that Rapport had at least a couple of moments where he could have bailed out and maintained equality if he couldn't find anything better. So Duda let Rapport play with house money: if Rapport finds a win, he wins; if not, he is in no worse shape than he would have been after 32.Qb2. Happily for chess fans, Rapport worked out the combination in full, and won in style.

    There were only two draws today, and while neither was thrilling they were decent games played to a logical end. Sam Shankland and Teimour Radjabov split their point, with neither player enjoying any real edge, while Ding Liren pressed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov before calling it a day on move 46.

    The games (with comments to the decisive games) are here. The last rest day is tomorrow, and on Friday we'll have round 11, with these pairings:

    • Radjabov (5) - Carlsen (7)
    • Giri (6.5) - Shankland (4.5)
    • Nepomniachtchi (6) - Fedoseev (4.5)
    • Kramnik (2.5) - Van Foreest (4)
    • Mamedyarov (4) - Vidit (5)
    • Rapport (4.5) - Ding (6)
    • Anand (6) - Duda (4.5)

    Sunday
    Jan202019

    2019 Wijk aan Zee, Round 8: Carlsen, Anand Win and Lead

    The logjam at the top has broken up a bit, and now it's the current world champion and his predecessor who head the tournament table in the 2019 edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament with +3 scores. Magnus Carlsen crushed Richard Rapport, obtaining a large positional advantage with he transformed into a powerful kingside attack; while Viswanathan Anand took advantage of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's blundering not just one but two simple tactics involving the d5 square.

    Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi were part of the first-place tie entering the round, but paired with each other they drew speedily, in just 17 moves. Anish Giri was the last member of the pentumvirate(?), but he was never getting more than a draw as Black against Santosh Vidit Gujrathi. Teimour Radjabov trailed the leaders by half a point entering the round, but he too took the round off, also drawing in 17 moves (with Black) against bottom seed and co-cellar dweller (with Vladimir Kramnik, but not any more!) Jorden Van Foreest.

    So today's draws were all pretty lame, but this was compensated by the presence of four decisive games. Two have already been mentioned, and the other two were Vladimir Fedoseev's win over Sam Shankland and Jan-Krzysztof Duda's victory over Kramnik, who no longer weighs the same as a duck but is sinking like a stone. (Ask your parents.)

    The games are here (with some comments). Tomorrow is a rest day, and on Tuesday they'll contest round 9, with the following pairings:

    • Shankland (3.5) - Carlsen (5.5)
    • Radjabov (4.5) - Fedoseev (3.5)
    • Giri (5) - Van Foreest (2.5)
    • Nepomniachtchi (5) - Vidit (4)
    • Kramnik (2) - Ding (5)
    • Mamedyarov (3) - Duda (4)
    • Rapport (3) - Anand (5.5)

    It looks like a round that could have lots of decisive games - let's hope so.

    Friday
    Jan182019

    2019 Wijk aan Zee, Round 6: Four Leaders, Including the Surging Carlsen

    It's always fascinating to see confidence monsters ("con mons"?) in action. They can struggle for a long time, with no end in sight, but once something goes their way it's like a switch is flipped and they go back to full blast. This is how it was for Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov, and it has been true of Magnus Carlsen as well. After 21 draws in a row, the string was finally broken with a win over the tournament's (by far) bottom seed. Should that suddenly herald the return of good form? Not normally, but when we're talking about a confidence monster, it might. Carlsen won again today, this time against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, in a complicated ending, and with that he is in a four-way tie for first in the 2019 Tata Steel Chess Tournament, which I hereby pronounce is over: Carlsen will win it, probably running away from the field. (But we'll see.)

    Also joining the tie for first: Anish Giri, who crushed Jan-Krzysztof Duda with the black pieces. In fact Giri is 3-0 with Black, and has more than made up for his first-round loss.

    The other two leaders are Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren. Nepo drew quickly with Black (22 moves) against Viswanathan Anand, while Ding Liren tried for a long time (75) moves to defeat Teimour Radjabov with the white pieces before admitting the draw.

    The round's other winner was Jorden Van Foreest, who was lost against Vladimir Fedoseev before the latter made a string of errors to turn his winning position into a lost one. A late mistake gave Fedoseev a chance to put up serious resistance and maybe even hold, but a blunder in return erased that opportunity and gave the Dutch players a sweep on the day.

    Vidit-Shankland was an 18-move draw, and like the two draws already mentioned was very clean. Rapport-Kramnik was anything but clean, with both sides having winning advantages at different times. The game dragged on for 94 moves, but the last 30 were utterly pointless as Kramnik "tried" to win rook vs. knight. He wouldn't manage to defeat me in such an ending - it's a trivial task for the weaker side to hold - so his playing it out against Rapport was slightly insulting, or at least absurd. Maybe Kramnik had a fight with his wife and didn't want to resume the argument, or maybe he was thinking about variations for the press conference where his opponent survived by a "miracle". Whatever the case, playing out the ending for 30 moves was somewhere between pointless and dumb, especially since Rapport had tons of time on the clock.

    The games, with my comments to the decisive battles, are here. The round 7 pairings are as follows:

    • Fedoseev (2) - Carlsen (4)
    • Shankland (2.5) - Van Foreest (2)
    • Radjabov (3) - Vidit (3.5)
    • Giri (4) - Ding (4)
    • Nepomniachtchi (4) - Duda (2.5)
    • Kramnik (2) - Anand (3.5)
    • Mamedyarov (2.5) - Rapport (2.5)

    Wednesday
    Jan162019

    2019 Wijk aan Zee, Round 5: Ding, Nepo Lead; Carlsen Wins

    Finally! After a crazy 21-game drawing streak, Magnus Carlsen once again did what world champions do: he won a game. More precisely, he won a classical game, and with it pulled to within half a point of the leader - now leaders - in the 2019 edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament.

    His victim was Jorden Van Foreest, who deserves points for boldness, though not for prudence, for repeating the 6.Nd5 Anti-Sveshnikov line Fabiano Caruana tested against Carlsen in their match without success. Van Foreest can use a computer, just like Carlsen, but the many hours Carlsen and his team spent on the line before and during the match cannot be duplicated with a couple of hours at the computer. White's position was fine as far as the engine was concerned, coming out of the opening, but Carlsen outplayed him pretty easily to win in crushing style in just 33 moves.

    The day's other winner also won with Black (who leads in the event 9-2 in decisive games!), and also did the job in 33 moves. The winner was Ding Liren, who caught up to Ian Nepomniachtchi in first place with a +2 score, and his victim was Sam Shankland. Shankland had looked very good in his previous games, and with a little more accuracy might entered the round tied for first with his own +2 score. This game was a disaster for him, and vaulted Ding into a tie for first and the #3 spot on the live rating list.

    Two other games could have finished with a winner. Santosh Vidit was winning (with Black, naturally) against Vladimir Fedoseev after grinding away in the ending for hours, but didn't manage to put him away in the day's longest battle. Teimour Radjabov was winning against Jan-Krzysztof Duda and was still better at the end of the game when he acceeded to a repetition. 22.Re3 was a mistake; either 22.Qh2 or 22.g4 (followed by Qh2) kept a winning advantage.

    The remaining games were had fewer dramatic moments. Vladimir Kramnik and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew a well-played Open Ruy, Richard Rapport managed to minimize the ill-effects of his damaged pawn structure to draw against Nepomniachtchi, and Viswanathan Anand neutralized Anish Giri's theoretical opening edge with a new idea in the Italian Game. (In fact, he was a little better in the end, but Anand has tended over the years to be too quick to draw in better positions with Black against players when a draw was his principal ambition entering the game. A bit like Carlsen in the last classical game with Caruana, except that Carlsen's advantage was much bigger and Anand's tendency appears to be far more ingrained.) (The games are here, but without notes due in part to zeitnot in my world.)

    Tomorrow - Thursday - is the first rest day; on Friday round 6 will have the following pairings.

    • Carlsen (3) - Mamedyarov (2.5)
    • Rapport (2) - Kramnik (1.5)
    • Anand (3) - Nepomniachtchi (3.5)
    • Duda (2.5) - Giri (3)
    • Ding (3.5) - Radjabov (2.5)
    • Vidit (3) - Shankland (2)
    • Van Foreest (1) - Fedoseev (2)

    Taking a quick peek at the Challengers' event (the winner of which will receive automatic promotion to next year's top group), the top two seeds - Anton Korobov and Vladislav Kovalev - lead with 3.5/5, half a point ahead of the quintet Andrey Esipenko, Maksim Chigaev, Erwin L'Ami, Evgeny Bareev, and Parham Maghsoodloo.

    Tuesday
    Jan152019

    2019 Wijk aan Zee, Round 4: Nepomniachtchi Remains in Clear First; Carlsen Draws Again

    Looks like I was wrong about Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik. After Kramnik's first three games I assumed he'd be ripe for the picking by Carlsen, but where Kramnik's suicide streak only extended to three games (and two in which he was successful), the champ's 20-game series of draws was an unstoppable force. Kramnik put on his Sunday best, played strong and sensible chess, and drew like the three-time world champion and frequent 2800 player that he is.

    Theirs was an interesting draw, but the other four drawn games were utterly forgettable. I'd tell you more about them, but they've already slipped my memory, so I'll only note that one of the draws was the shared property of Ian Nepomniachtchi, who continues to enjoy the sole lead in the event with a +2 score of 3 out 4.

    On to the two decisive games. As usual, the Dutch players were involved. On the sunny side, Anish Giri moved to +1 by defeating Richard Rapport with the black pieces. The game was balanced until Rapport found an exchanging combination that backfired. Rapport presumably missed Giri's 22nd or 24th move, and the result was a lost middlegame that Giri cashed in without much trouble. Things were less sunny for Jorden Van Foreest. He found himself a pawn down in an opposite-colored bishops ending. It was probably drawn, as I think I've demonstrated in the analysis, but (possibly due to time trouble) he didn't manage to save hte game against Santosh Vidit.

    All the games can be replayed here, with comments to the two decisive games and Carlsen-Kramnik. (Tournament site here.) Here are the pairings for round 5: 

    • Van Foreest (1) - Carlsen (2)
    • Fedoseev (1.5) - Vidit (2.5)
    • Shankland (2) - Ding (2.5)
    • Radjabov (2) - Duda (2)
    • Giri (2.5) - Anand (2.5)
    • Nepomniachtchi (3) - Rapport (1.5)
    • Kramnik (1) - Mamedyarov (2) 

    Carlsen has to win this time, right?

    Wednesday
    Jan022019

    A Look at Carlsen's Win in the World Blitz Championship

    As most if not all of you know, Magnus Carlsen won the World Blitz Championship in St. Petersburg, Russia, several days ago. His finished with a huge score of 17/21, didn't lose a single game, and added 15 points to his massive blitz rating - he's now 2954. Despite the huge score, he only won the event by half a point, as Jan-Krzysztof Duda finished only half a point behind. (If his pummeling by Wesley So in the semi-final of Chess.com's Speed Chess Championship made us suspect that Duda's earlier wins over Sergey Karjakin and Alexander Grischuk were flukes, we should re-evaluate that conclusion! He is now #7 in the world in blitz, having picked up 124 rating points in the event.) Those two ran away with the event; Hikaru Nakamura was third, scoring 14.5 points - two behind Duda. Just missing the medals were Levon Aronian, Peter Svidler, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and the aforementioned Karjakin; all scored 14 points.

    Lots of top players participated, obviously, but there were some notable absences as well. Fabiano Caruana may have had enough of rapid and blitz chess, and of reading about his (supposed) deficiencies in rapid and blitz, to want to bother with the tournament. More surprising was So's absence, especially given his fine performance in the Speed Chess Championship mentioned above. Another surprise was Maxime Vachier-Lagrave's absence. He's the #2 blitz player in the world, by rating, briefly reaching #1 a couple of weeks before in the London Chess Classic. No doubt they had their reasons, but it's a pity for us as chess fans that they elected to skip the event.

    Let's get back to those who did play; in particular, to the winner. All 21 of his games can be replayed here, with some brief comments highlighting the key moments (where applicable). At some point around the middle of the tournament he played his way into form, but for the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the tournament he received one present after another, as if Norwegian TV was paying his opponents to take a dive. It wasn't good, but once he woke up he started playing consistently excellent chess.

    I don't have time to scour the remaining games looking for gems, but readers, please help: if you saw especially good games not involving Carlsen, please mention them in the comments. Thank you, and Happy New Year!