In August 1986, a game of quick chess was played at the U.S. Open in Somerset, N.J. The board was vinyl, the pieces were plastic, and a Jerger wooden chess clock sat next to the board. While the set may have been common, the players were most certainly not.

Playing with the white pieces was GM Reuben Fine. GM Samuel Reshevsky played black. Both were legends, second only to Bobby Fischer in American chess history.

The timing for this specific game on this chess set was also notable: It was the first induction ceremony for the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame. It is only fitting that the Hall of Fame was opened by a game between two of its most illustrious inductees.

Not only was Reuben Fine one of the world’s best players for nearly 20 years, he was also a doctor of psychology who wrote several books on that subject as well as on chess. Sammy Reshevsky was a child prodigy who was a strong contender for the World Championship from the 1930s through the ‘60s.

Fine won the U.S. Open seven times to Reshevsky’s three (once tying with each other); but, Reshevsky had a tendency to beat Fine at the U.S. Championship, winning it eight times while Fine always seemed to come up just short. Stats like these make it clear the two had an excellent and well-matched rivalry, with Reshevsky coming out on top with four wins to Fine’s three and 12 games that were drawn.

Below are presented a few of their notable battles, including the game played at the opening of Hall of Fame. Fittingly, the 1986 U.S. Open was won by another American chess legend, GM Larry Christiansen.

The first career game between the two champions took place at the Western Open in 1933. Just the year previous, Fine won the U.S. Open ahead of Reshevsky. In this game, however, it was Sammy who got the better of the duel with a fine exchange sac.

Reshevsky, Samuel – Fine, Reuben

Detroit, 1933

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Bxd2+ 5.Qxd2 b6 6.g3 Bb7 7.Bg2 0–0 8.Nc3 Qe7 9.0–0 d6 10.Qc2 c5 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.Rad1 Nc6 13.e4 Rfd8 14.Rd2 Ng4 15.Rfd1 Nge5 16.Nxe5 Nd4 17.Ng6 hxg6 18.Qd3 e5 19.Rf1 Bc6 20.f4 Rab8 21.f5 Qg5 22.f6 Rb7 23.Rdf2 gxf6 24.b3 f5 25.exf5 Bxg2 26.Kxg2 gxf5 27.Rxf5 Nxf5 28.Rxf5 Qh6 29.Qe4 Re7 30.Qg4+ Kf8 31.Rh5 Qg7 32.Qh4 Ke8 33.Nd5 f5 34.Nxe7

1–0

The following game was a battle played out in their respective primes at the 1938 U.S. Championship. Reshevsky had the much better side of the draw, and later went on to win the event.

Fine, Reuben – Reshevsky, Samuel

1938 U.S. Championship, New York, 1938

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qb3 Nc6 5.Nf3 a5 6.a3 a4 7.Qc2 Bxc3+ 8.Qxc3 h6 9.d5 exd5 10.cxd5 Na5 11.d6 cxd6 12.Bf4 0–0 13.Rd1 Re8 14.e3 Ne4 15.Qc2 Nb3 16.Bc4 Qa5+ 17.Kf1 b6 18.Kg1 Ba6 19.Rd5 Nbc5 20.h3 Bxc4 21.Qxc4 b5 22.Qd4 Nb3 23.Qd3 Nbc5 24.Qe2 b4 25.axb4 Qxb4 26.Bxd6 Nxd6 27.Rxd6 Rab8 28.Rd2 Ne4 29.Rc2 Rec8 30.Kh2 Rxc2 31.Qxc2 d5

½–½

Here is a faster game they played on the set that now resides in the World Chess Hall of Fame. Both champions were in their 70s and hadn’t faced each other over the board in more than 30 years. Fine had excellent chances to convert a rook ending, but a few slips towards the end of the game allowed Reshevsky to escape with a draw.

(1) Fine,Reuben – Reshevsky,Samuel [E19]

Hall of Fame G/30, 1986

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.Nc3 Ne4 7.Qc2 Nxc3 8.Qxc3 0–0 9.0–0 c5 10.Rd1 Bf6 11.Qc2 Nc6 12.dxc5 bxc5 13.Be3 Qe7 14.Rd2 Rfd8 15.Rad1 d6 16.h3 h6 17.Bf4 e5 18.Be3 Nd4 19.Bxd4 exd4 20.Ne1 Bxg2 21.Nxg2 Bg5 22.Rd3 h5 23.h4 Bh6 24.e3 dxe3 25.Nxe3 Bxe3 26.Rxe3 Qd7 27.Qe2 Qf5 28.Qf3 Qxf3 29.Rxf3 Rd7 30.Rf5 Re8 31.Kf1 Rde7 32.Rxd6 Re1+ 33.Kg2 R1e2 34.Rd7 f6 35.Rxa7 Rxb2 36.a4 Re5 37.Rxe5 fxe5 38.Rc7 Rb4 39.a5 Rxc4 40.a6 Ra4 41.a7 Kh7 42.Kf3 Kg6 43.Rxc5

½–½

Overall, a rivalry such as this makes a seemingly ordinary set one that must go down in history. Not only does it represent the game of chess at the highest level, it stands for the intensity of the sport that has and will capture the hearts of fans for generations.

If you would like to view this historic chess set, it is on display for the month of September at the World Chess Hall of Fame. The World Chess Hall of Fame will be honoring its five year anniversary with a celebration on Sept. 29 from 6-8 p.m. where attendees will be able to see three brand new exhibits, as well as the aforementioned chess set.

For more information about the featured chess set or upcoming exhibitions, please visit http://www.worldchesshof.org/exhibitions/.

Article author GM Josh Friedel began playing chess at the age of three and entered his first tournament at just six years old. GM Friedel received the IM title at 18 and proceeded to earn the GM title at 22. He is a 3-time New Hampshire State Champion, as well as a 2-time California State Champion. GM Friedel has played in six U.S. Championships and won the U.S. Open Championship is 2013. The Saint Louis Chess Club welcomes GM Friedel as a regular grandmaster in residence.

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Dec 07, 2020

Chinese no. 1 Ding Liren on the Danzhou Super-GM tournament

Chinese no. 1 Ding Liren leads the 11th edition of the Danzhou Super-GM tournament at the half-way stage after following up a Round 1 loss to Richard Rapport by beating Wei Yi, Wang Hao, Alexander Grischuk and Anish Giri. The event is being held online, but with the Chinese players all gathered together in one venue. The same was true of the “Belt and Road” women’s tournament which, for a second year in a row, was won by women’s no. 1 Hou Yifan.

The tournament in Danzhou, a city on the South China Sea island of Hainan, was first held as a Chinese supertournament in 2010. Since its fifth edition in 2014 it’s been pitting the best Chinese players against strong foreign players, and on paper this year’s 11th edition is one of the strongest yet.

Another Chinese event to switch from over-the-board to online was the 2nd edition of the Belt and Road Women’s Summit that was first held in Xi’an in 2019. Back then it was an 8-player 25+10 rapid tournament, while this year it was a 10-player event at a faster 15+5 time control. Once again, however, the Chinese players were on site in Xi’an!

The Danzhou Super-GM event resumes on Monday at 9:30 CET.

Feb 16, 2017

The Indian chess legend Anand on evolution of chess

Viswanathan Anand came up with candid insights about his career so far, revealing his ‘invention’ during his successful world championship match against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008, and emotional outpouring to his wife after losing a crucial game in his world championship match with Boris Gelfand in 2012. Such surprisingly frank revelations and in-depth observations of how computers and internet have changed chess, especially in preparation for openings, formed the gist of his interaction with the guests of the Chennai International Centre (CIC) on 8 February.

CIC is a think-tank of intellectuals of Chennai, the patrons and the trustees of the body comprising some of the most eminent personalities of the city. It functions from the campus of the Chennai School of Economics (CSE) at Kotturpuram, Chennai.

Anand is a member of the CIC himself, and the six-time former world champion had a chat show early last week, moderated by international master Venkatachalam Saravanan at the CSE premises. For the evening, Anand chose ‘Chess: Evolution from Mind to Machine’, as the topic, though he covered various aspects of his life and career, reminiscing about some of the most memorable events and turning points, in his usual witty and engaging manner, revealing aspects of his personality and incidents from major career clashes which he has never talked about before.

Anand started off from the Tal Chess Club in Chennai in the early 1980s. The club functioned from the Soviet Cultural Centre at that time. It was where the teenage Anand’s talent was nurtured. He emphasised the format of ‘Winner Stays’ where about 10 people gather on a board and play blitz chess of five minutes each on the clock, the winner staying on to play on the loop. He opined that the need to play fast and win as much as possible, so as to stay at the board, was probably the main reason how he came to play fast throughout the early phases of his career.

The first lesson on the pitfalls of such a style came up when Anand trained with the famed Russian trainer and grandmaster Mikhail Gurevich, before he took on the mighty Anatoly Karpov in the Candidates quarter-finals in 1991, in the cycle for the World Championship for the first time.

Reminiscing about the significance of the interaction, Anand compared Gurevich’s concept of arriving at the depth of a position to an onion – one needed to understand that the first impression was only the outer layer, and one needed to spend more time to comprehend the layers of concepts to arrive at the core of the position. “Thus, instead of playing the very first move which came to my mind – which was my habit until then – Gurevich emphasised the need to sit with the position for sometime to get a better understanding,” Anand said. The Indian chess legend also revealed how Gurevich had asked him to hand over the remote control of the television, ruling out watching his favourite Star Trek serial on the television during preparation!

Recalling involving computers in his preparations from the very early days from the late 1980s, Anand gave a detailed, in-depth commentary on how preparing with computers and databases has changed the way players study and play the game. “Earlier, even if you have prepared the same position as your opponent just before the game, there was no certainty that both the preparations would be the same and both the players would have arrived at the same conclusions – that depended on the accuracy of preparation. However, now you just need to give your computer enough time to work the position out completely and give you the same conclusions that your opponent would have, too!” Thus, the uncertainty of mastering a position was reduced, but the charm of surprising an opponent was reduced to a large extent too, which Anand felt was the biggest effect of computers on modern chess.

Anand pointed out that his ability to work with computers has definitely given him an edge over his competitors, as during his world championship match with Kramnik in Bonn in 2008. He revealed that before the match, he found a software which would enable him to use enormous computers – which cannot be carried around – through the internet, thus giving him a direct boost in preparation for openings. Though he was not certain if that was the main reason for the ‘ambush’ he sprang on Kramnik in the third and fifth games with black pieces, the technology gave his team a huge belief that they were in possession of a ‘secret’ weapon which didn’t exist in the public domain before the time.

The evening was not bereft of its emotional moments either, as Anand revealed his special relationship with the Spanish couple, Maurice and Nieves Perea, who enabled him to find his footing while living in Europe in the 1990s, as they virtually became his godparents in Europe, and ultimately to establish a base at Collado Mediano in the outskirts of Madrid, Spain where the couple lived.

Anand also spoke of difficult moments from his matches for the world title. There was an occasion when he told his wife Aruna, “I am an ex-world champion now!” after losing the seventh game to Gelfand at the Moscow World Championship in 2012, before immediately going for a long stroll with his then second Peter Heine Nielsen in the streets of Moscow. “I could not get any edge over him till then, and when I ultimately lost this game with black pieces, I felt hopeless about the prospect of breaching Gelfand’s preparation in the remaining five games,” Anand said. But of course, his comeback in the very next game, and ultimately the triumph through tie-break are part of chess folklore now.

Thus to a pointed question whether Anand was an emotional person, Anand came up with the brilliant answer. “All chess players are emotional over the board, and your ability to keep the balance helps you produce the best moves as the game goes on. But when the emotions get the better of you, that is the point when either of the players produces mistakes and thus a full-fledged fight ensues, which produces a result on the scoreboard!” the chess icon said.

He mentioned his difficult match with Veselin Topalov in 2010 in the latter’s home territory of Bulgaria, when he had trouble in reaching the venue in time after an arduous 40-hour journey owing to volcanic ashes of Iceland causing his travel plans to go haywire. He lost the very first game of that match just out of the opening. “I just forgot at the crucial moment whether to move my king or the rook as demanded by my preparation,” clarified Anand. However, in spite of that, he kept his nerve to immediately bounce back in the very next game and dominate the match.

The evening concluded with Anand taking questions from the enthralled audience. But honestly, an hour-and-a-half was definitely not enough for a complete glimpse into the personality of one of the brightest sporting talents of our times.

Article writen by Venkatachalam Saravanan an international master, and author for ChessBase India. source

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Dec 23, 2017

Nutcracker Generation Tournament in Moscow 2017

A traditional Christmas event – Nutcracker Generation Tournament – will be held on December 18-24 at the Central Chess Club in Moscow. Like a year ago, there will be two Scheveningen matches: Kings vs. Princes and Queens vs. Princesses.

The line-up of the Kings: Challenger for the World Chess Championship 2012 Boris Gelfand (Israel), World №4 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), winner of the final Candidates Match 1999 Alexei Shirov (Latvia), and Russian Champion 2005, head coach of the Russia women’s national chess team Sergei Rublevsky (Russia).

The team of Princes will be represented by the leading young Russian players: winner of the Russian Championship Higher League 2016 Grigoriy Oparin, Russian blitz champion Vladislav Artemiev, the youngest grandmaster of Russia Andrey Esipenko, and winner and prize-winner of many international tournaments Daniil Yuffa.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov will go into 2018 with a new lifetime best official rating of 2804 after starring as the Kings beat the Princes in the classical section of the Nutcracker Battle of the Generations. The world no. 3 scored three wins and was close to four, but the Kings were prevented from sealing the match by Sergei Rublevsky losing to Andrey Esipenko, Grigoriy Oparin and Vladislav Artemiev. Eight rounds of rapid chess will now decide the match.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has looked out of place so far – a chess destroyer at the top of his game rather than a veteran ready to give the youngsters a subtle lesson or two in positional chess. We already saw how he beat Grigoriy Oparin in Round 1 of the Nutcracker tournament in Moscow, and he continued in the same vein.

15-year-old Andrey Esipenko showed the fearlessness of youth when he sacrificed a pawn to try and attack Mamedyarov, but he was swiftly punished until it was just a question of how the Azeri no. 1 would conduct the execution.

See also:

  • Official website
  • All the games with computer analysis on chess24  
  • Mamedyarov back over 2800 as Nutcracker begins