The friendly character of the match between the two national teams was reflected in a high number of draws. The men had a drawing rate of 76% (19 games ended peacefully, six had a winner) while the women had a drawing rate of 64% – 16 of the 25 games ended in a draw, an unusually high drawing percentage for a women’s event. However, it has to be noted that most of the games were hard-fought and everything but peaceful draws.

While the match between the Russian and the Chinese men had been always balanced, the Russian women had been dominating the Chinese from the very start. However, in the fifth round the Chinese managed to score two wins: Tan Zhongyi won against Anastasia Bodnaruk and Shen Yang won against Valentina Gunina – however, only with a lot of luck and a lot of help by her opponent.

The Chinese team: Coach Yu Shaoteng, Ding Yixin, Gou Qi, Tan Zhongyi,
Lei Tingjie (number one on the girls’ world ranking list) and Shen Yang

The Russian team: Mark Glukhovsky, Katerina Lagno, Anastasia Bodnaruk,
Aleksandra Goryachkina, Valentina Gunina, Natalia Pogonina and coach Sergey Rublevsky
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Jan 24, 2024

Fabiano Caruana wins Superbet Chess Classic

Fabiano Caruana: 5.5/9 (2 wins, 7 draws), 1st place, $100,000

 

Fabiano Caruana drew a sharp game against Richard Rapport to finish in clear first place in the Superbet Chess Classic, taking the $100,000 top prize and the maximum 13 Grand Chess Tour points. His pursuers could all only draw, though that was a good result for Anish Giri after he stumbled into a lost position against Ian Nepomniachtchi. Ding Liren regained the world no. 3 spot after ending with a fine win over Bogdan-Daniel Deac.

There was also nostalgia, as Fabiano had been the first to face 10…Ba5 10.Bf4 0-0 11.0-0-0!, in a game against Magnus Carlsen. Rapport varied from that game with 13.Qe3 and an interesting battle ensued, but there was no opening bomb. When Richie missed a chance to ask more questions with 19.f3! the game soon fizzled out into a draw.

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Jul 10, 2017

2017 León Masters – It’s not often you beat the world no. 3 in 17 moves

El Torneo Magistral Ciudad de León, one of the great classics of the international circuit, celebrates this year a very special anniversary, its thirtieth edition, with its traditional format with four players and a cup system with semifinals and final that has been and is imitated in many world-class chess events. This system, which makes the competition much more interesting, avoids the famous and dreaded draws without a fight, one of the hurdles of high level chess.

Wesley So is on course to play a 4-game rapid match against Vishy Anand on Sunday in the final of the 2017 León Masters, but it wasn’t easy! In the first game of his semi-final against Jan-Krzysztof Duda he inexplicably blundered his queen on move 17 and had no choice but to resign. He got nothing in the next game but then levelled the score in an endgame grind in Game 3. The final game was going the young Polish player’s way, but when his attack stalled Wesley took over and ensured no tiebreaks were required.

Wesley So is on course to play a 4-game rapid match against Vishy Anand on Sunday in the final of the 2017 León Masters, but it wasn’t easy! In the first game of his semi-final against Jan-Krzysztof Duda he inexplicably blundered his queen on move 17 and had no choice but to resign. It’s not often you beat the world no. 3 in 17 moves. He got nothing in the next game but then levelled the score in an endgame grind in Game 3. The final game was going the young Polish player’s way, but when his attack stalled Wesley took over and ensured no tiebreaks were required.

This year there’s again a fascinating line-up. Vishy Anand has won the tournament 9 times, including last year, while Wesley So needs no introduction as the world no. 3. Jan-Krzysztof Duda, meanwhile, is a 19-year-old Polish player who has just broken into the 2700 club, with only Wei Yi, who won León in 2014 and 2015, both younger and higher rated. Duda also won the 2014 European Rapid Championship and finished runner-up in the Blitz Championship in the same year, so is no pushover at fast time controls. The final player is Jaime Santos, who as a 2542-rated International Master looks somewhat out of place until you realise the 21-year-old Spanish player is from León and is being given a chance to compete against the best.

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Sep 29, 2020

The Life and Games of Vasily Smyslov

For the past several years the Russian chess historian Andrey Terekhov has been working on a biography of Vasily Smyslov. The first volume of this work, focused on the beginning of the chess career of the seventh World Chess Champion, will be released in November 2020. This article describes Smyslov’s first major victories in junior and adult tournaments, which took place in 1938. 

In the history of chess Vasily Vasilievich Smyslov (1921-2010) is mostly remembered as the strongest player of the 1950s, one who battled with Mikhail Botvinnik in three consecutive World Championship matches. More recently, in the 1980s, Smyslov surprised the world by making it through the Candidates all the way to the final match with Kasparov at the age of 63.

Today, however, only true connoisseurs of chess history know that in the beginning of his career, in the years immediately preceding the Second World War, Smyslov was a wunderkind of sorts. His swift rise from complete novice to the youngest grandmaster is the stuff of legend. In the 1930s only Paul Keres’s debut on the world stage could rival Smyslov’s pace of growth. Both Keres and Smyslov made their mark as juniors, and both became grandmasters at the age of 21.

1938 was the turning point in the chess career of the future 7th World Champion. At the start of that year, Smyslov had only been playing in official chess tournaments for two and a half years. In that short time span Smyslov had quickly marched through all the stages of the Soviet qualification system, and in the autumn of 1937 he became the youngest first category player in the Soviet Union. Naturally, Smyslov was considered a “promising young talent”, yet no-one could have predicted the quantum leap that he would make in 1938.

1938 Soviet Junior Championship

Smyslov’s first tournament of 1938 started in the very first days of January. On the 2nd of January the national junior championship, which was officially entitled the “Third All-Union Children’s Tournament,” kicked off in Leningrad, at the newly inaugurated chess section of the Palace of Pioneers. It was a bi-annual event, with the first championship organized in 1934, and the second in 1936. It was the last year when Smyslov was eligible to participate, as he graduated from school in the summer of 1938.

The structure of the championship was rather complicated. There were 18 teams representing the largest cities of the Soviet Union, and both personal and team scores were tracked. Each team consisted of four people: a 16/17-year old, a 14/15-year old, a girl chessplayer and a checkers player. (In the 1930s, chess and checkers were “joined at the hip” in the Soviet Union, with events often running side-by-side, and team competitions usually involving both chess and checkers players. 64 covered both chess and checkers until 1941.) All the players were divided into preliminary groups in their respective categories. The winners qualified for the final competition, with their scores from the preliminary group carrying over to the final.

Smyslov represented Moscow, along with Yury Averbakh, who played in the 14/15-year-old category. Exactly 80 years later, Averbakh recalled in the interview for this book (February 12, 2018) that in 1938 he shared a hotel room with Smyslov during the tournament and that they got along well. Smyslov was somewhat patronizing towards the younger and less experienced second category player. Averbakh explained they were in different “weight categories” at the time, both in terms of chess (Smyslov was already a first category player) and even in terms of their physical appearance – there was a 15 centimeter height difference between them at the time (182 for Smyslov, 167 for Averbakh), and so Smyslov called his younger teammate “a tot.”…

Read full article at chess24