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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 Champions Showdown 2016 Chess Olympiad 2016 Chinese Championship 2016 European Club Cup 2016 Isle of Man 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 Championship 2016 World Junior Championship 2016 World Open 2017 Women's World Championship 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 Viswanathan Anand (137)

    Tuesday
    Nov152016

    Anand Wins Champions Showdown

    Viswanathan Anand won the Champions Showdown, and won in impressive fashion. He was tied for first after the classical portion, won the Rapid portion outright, and finished just half a point behind Hikaru Nakamura in the blitz. He won overall with 15/24, and only lost one game the entire event, to Nakamura in their final blitz game, in 139 moves, on time in a drawn position. He even left quite a few points on the table, and in slightly better form might have won in a rout.

    Hikaru Nakamura had a good event overall too, finishing a point back with 14 points. He finished half a point behind Anand in the classical, a point behind him in the rapid, and won the blitz to come in a very clear second place, three points ahead of Fabiano Caruana and six ahead of Veselin Topalov.

    Sunday
    Nov132016

    Champions Showdown, Day 3: Anand, Topalov Lead After the Classical Stage

    The double round robin portion of the Champions Showdown concluded in St. Louis on Saturday, and the stage finished with Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov tied for first. Anand led after day two and drew both games today. Against Topalov in round 5 (the first game of the day) Anand had a chance to press late in the game, but for the most part his games were balanced and the draws were justified. That left him at +1, and the question was whether he would be caught - or passed - by Topalov or Hikaru Nakamura.

    In round 5, Nakamura defeated Fabiano Caruana, and thereby joined Anand at +1. Nakamura's novelty was met by a logical plan, the only problem was that Caruana was a tempo shy of successfully implementing it. 18.Qb3 was a good move, winning a pawn, and Nakamura confidently converted his advantage.

    With a draw against Topalov in round 6 he'd tie Anand for first in the stage, and a win would put him in clear first. Instead, Topalov won a very good game, thereby concluding the classical portion tied for first.

    Sunday they play rapid chess; meanwhile, the games are here, with my notes.

    Friday
    Nov112016

    Champions Showdown, Day 2: Anand Leads

    Veselin Topalov led after day 1 of the Champion's Showdown, while Hikaru Nakamura was the moral victor of the first day after saving a difficult position in one game and a(n almost) dead lost one in the second. The played in round 3, and Nakamura got a free point when Topalov either forgot theory in a well-known position or had an inspiration that was really a hallucination. Whatever the explanation, the game was over in just 14 moves.

    That let Nakamura leapfrog Topalov into first, and if Viswanathan Anand had beaten Fabiano Caruana they would have shared the lead after first classical round robin. Anand played very well the first part of the game and achieved a winning advantage, but his hasty 30.f5 followed by another inaccuracy a couple of moves later let the American escape.

    In round 4 Nakamura started with a good position for a change, against Anand, and this time it was his opponent who made the comeback in the second half. Anand got his first win, Nakamura his first loss, and now Anand was the leader. Had Topalov won his game against Caruana they would have been tied for first, but although Topalov had a winning advantage at more than one point Caruana escaped with a draw.

    The classical portion of the event ends tomorrow. The current standings are: Anand 2.5, Nakamura & Topalov 2, Caruana 1.5.

    Thursday
    Nov102016

    Champions Showdown, Starting Now!

    It's Veselin Topalov vs. Fabiano Caruana and Viswanathan Anand vs. Hikaru Nakamura, starting now in St. Louis. As mentioned a few days ago, this is a three-part tournament: two classical round robins, followed by a double round robin in rapid, concluding in a quadruple round robin in blitz.

    Official site here.

    Friday
    Nov042016

    2016 Champions Showdown in St. Louis

    There is that little match in New York coming up, it's true, but in St. Louis there will be a very strong and entertaining event overlapping for part of the world championship match. The 2016 Champions Showdown in St. Louis runs from November 10-14, a three-stage tournament featuring Fabiano Caruana, Viswanathan Anand, Hikaru Nakamura, and Veselin Topalov. The first three days are for a classical round robin, day four will feature a double round robin with a rapid time control, and the last day will be a quadruple round robin in blitz.

    It'll be a great few weeks for chess fans - especially in the United States. (Apologies to European readers and others who will stay awake to crazy hours of the morning following all the action.)

    Saturday
    Oct012016

    Tal Memorial, Round 5: Anand the Day's Only Winner; Giri Continues to Lead

    Anish Giri entered the round in first with 3.5 points, half a point ahead of Ian Nepomniachtchi. They played in round 5, with Giri getting the white pieces. Nepomniachtchi sacrificed a pawn early on for activity, and while Giri managed to keep the pawn and neutralize his opponent's counterplay, the cost of doing so was a drawn rook ending. At least it was drawn with correct play, and "Nepo" achieved that standard.

    In fact all but one of the day's games were drawn. Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik had a somewhat similar game, except that Kramnik had to suffer more before reaching the rook ending and required a higher degree of accuracy to hold it. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov had White against Peter Svidler, but was a bit worse in the early middlegame. By reaching an opposite-colored bishop ending, he was able to avoid any serious trouble - though he too had to save the game a pawn in arrears. Finally, Li Chao and Evgeny Tomashevsky drew as well, and without either player suffering a material deficit.

    The one winner was Viswanathan Anand, who bounced back from yesterday's loss to Kramnik to beat poor Boris Gelfand, who has lost four games in a row. Opposite-colored bishop endings are more drawish than most other endings, but that's primarily when there are only the bishops. In this game both players had both rooks as well, and Anand showed that the ending wasn't drawish at all. To avoid the sure loss that would result from passive defense Gelfand came up with the dynamic double pawn sac 33...Rd8 followed by 36...e3, but Anand's counter-sac with 37.Bxe3 resulted in a prospectless ending for Gelfand. Anand had a rook and four pawns (three connected queenside passers, plus an f-pawn) against Gelfand's rook and bishop. With best play, maybe Gelfand could have held it (emphasis on "maybe"), but with his king cut off on the kingside his chances of saving the game were slim indeed. If there was a way to do it, he didn't find it, and Anand won comfortably.

    Here are the pairings for round 6 on Sunday (Monday is the next rest day):

    • Kramnik (2.5) - Gelfand (.5)
    • Tomashevsky (1.5) - Anand (3)
    • Svidler (2) - Li Chao (3)
    • Nepomniachtchi (3.5) - Mamedyarov (2.5)
    • Aronian (2.5) - Giri (4)

    Wednesday
    Sep282016

    Tal Memorial, Round 2: Anand, Giri Win

    There's now a three-way tie for first after two rounds of the Tal Memorial. Three games were drawn - two post-haste (Svidler-Nepomniachtchi and Tomashevsky-Aronian) while the third (Kramnik-Li Chao) always seemed headed for the draw that was eventually achieved.

    The other two games were impressive achievements by the victors. Anish Giri defeated Boris Gelfand with the black pieces in good style. Giri's active play in the center involved a pawn sac, and it would seem that he did a better job of evaluating the sharp position that resulted than did his opponent. 28...g5 was a nice move, and Giri finished the game with an impressive attack, helped along by Gelfand's plausible error on move 34 in time trouble.

    Viswanathan Anand also won with an impressive attack, but in an endgame. Mamedyarov went for an interesting piece sac in a Closed Ruy, and while his compensation may have been enough it required accurate play to remain that way. His decision to trade queens on move 29 surprised Anand, and the computer doesn't like it either: Black's compensation rested as much on his attacking chances as on the pawns he had for the piece, and once the queens came off it was White who took over the initiative. The final sequence, beginning with, say, 47.Rb6, was very nice. Mamedyarov wasn't too far away from escaping with a draw, but some clever tactics combining various possible knight forks with threats against Black's king secured the win for the former world champion.

    Here are the pairings for round 3, with player scores in parentheses:

    • Nepomniachtchi (1.5) - Kramnik (1)
    • Aronian (1) - Svidler (1)
    • Giri (1.5) - Tomashevsky (.5)
    • Mamedyarov (.5) - Gelfand (.5)
    • Li Chao (1) - Anand (1.5)

    Thursday
    Sep222016

    Anand: 40 is the new 50 (Update: Title Fixed!)

    Here. On a personal note, I hope not!

    Sunday
    Aug142016

    This Week's World Chess Column: When Chess Was in the Olympics

    Many of us are watching the Olympics, and this year's Chess Olympiad starts September 1. But did you know that chess was once in the "real" Olympics? Read more about it here.

    Tuesday
    Jun142016

    Anand Wins Leon Rapid

    The 29th City of Leon Master Chess tournament was a small event - a four-player knockout event in rapid chess - but with Viswanathan Anand and Wei Yi in the field it merits a mention.

    In the first best-of-four semi-final Anand seemed well on the way to an easy win over the lower-rated David Anton Guijarro, achieving a clean draw with Black in game 1 and winning a nice (though not perfect) win with White in game 2. Things were going well for Anand in game 3 as well, up until he played 27...Ne4. The move wasn't that bad, but it started him on the path to trouble. The e-pawn was slightly weak, and soon his pieces lost coordination as they worked to achieve compensation for the (soon lost) e-pawn, and then further errors followed. The former world champion bounced back well, though, and as in game 2 he dominated the game, even if his technique wasn't always perfect.

    In the second semi, Wei Yi was a significant favorite against Jaime Santo Latasa, and like Anand managed to win with a 2.5-1.5 score. Games 1 and 3 saw Santos play a secondary main line with White against the Karpov Variation of the Nimzo-Indian. In game 1 Wei Yi misplayed it slightly and was worse for a while before outplaying his opponent and coming close to a win. In game 3 Wei Yi got the theory right and it was a wasted white game for the underdog. With White in game 2, Wei Yi obtained an advantage and won, while in the final game he was happy to repeat moves in a position where he could have played for more if he needed to.

    Anand won the final by winning game 1 with White and drawing the rest. His win came on the white side of a slow Giuoco, outplaying his opponent almost from start to finish. There was a serious slip on move 32, when Anand should have played 32.e5, with a decisive advantage. Instead, he played 32.Ra8? Qxa8 33.Qxd6 Qxa2 34.Nxe4?!, when his advantage was almost completely gone. Fortunately for him, Wei Yi erred several moves later with 37...Qg5; instead 37...Qf2 or 37...Qb2 would have maintained equal chances.

    In game 2 Anand was fine until he wasted a couple of tempi with 21...Be7-f6 followed by the opposite move on the next turn. Had Wei Yi played 23.b4 he'd have been clearly better. After 23.Rc2?! a5! Anand's position was okay, and after a few more anxious moments he managed to hold.

    Anand looked shaky in round 3 as well. This time his opponent was better prepared in another Giuoco, and he pressed almost from start to finish. Again though, Wei Yi missed some opportunities, and the ex-champ escaped with a draw.

    The shakiness was not present in round 4. Anand was never in trouble, and this time it was Wei Yi who had to work for the draw, despite having the white pieces.

    Hopefully this was a good warm-up for Anand, who will play in Belgium next week against all the players from the Paris Rapid & Blitz except for Laurent Fressinet.