The chess calendar is as busy as ever, with a number of noteworthy events underway.
1. Saratov. The Governor's Cup is about 2/3 finished, and it's a one-man show starring Alexander Morozevich. After the draw with Alexei Shirov in round 6 he "bounced back" to defeat Evgeny Alekseev in round 7. His six points gives him a 3010 TPR, a two point lead over the field, and ninth place on the live rating list. (If he keeps this up for the remaining four rounds, he might even make it to #7 on the list.)
2. Women's Grand Prix in Nalchik. In a way even more impressive is the performance of Zhao Xue in Nalchik. She too has six points and a two point lead over her closest competitors, in her case it's 6/6. The TPR calculations on perfect scores are dubious, but even on the minimum "realistic" approach (based on extrapolating the TPRs from lower scores) her performance is over 2900. Can she maintain it over the last five rounds?
3. Magistral Casino Barcelona. This isn't an elite event, though some fine players are participating, but it's worth a mention since the apparently unretired Yasser Seirawan is not only participating but off to an early lead with 2.5/3 in this nine(! - an odd number) man tournament.
4. Bundesliga. The 2011/12 season of the Bundesliga - the strongest chess nobody sees - starts this weekend. Play began on Friday and continues through Sunday with stars like Peter Svidler, Michael Adams, Francisco Vallejo, Etienne Bacrot (just one day after Poikovsky! Then again, he's probably well-rested after that tournament), Vugar Gashimov and many more.
5. Unive Crown Group. This is a small but strong double-round robin starting tomorrow. The four players are Vladimir Kramnik, Anish Giri, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Judit Polgar - not bad at all!