Magnus Carlsen plays Sergey Karjakin in the final round of the 2017 Tata Steel Masters knowing a win will likely mean a title playoff against Wesley So. In the penultimate round Magnus beat Pavel Eljanov from a position he was struggling merely to hold, while Levon Aronian inflicted a 7th loss of the tournament on Loek van Wely to move into a tie with Wei Yi and Carlsen for 2nd place. In the Challengers Jeffery Xiong’s hopes lie in tatters after he lost to Aryan Tari while Markus Ragger and Gawain Jones both won to overtake him.

Magnus Carlsen has now won all five classical games he’s played against Pavel Eljanov, with the World Champion admitting “maybe it was in the back of his head”. Carlsen played the Stonewall Dutch and soon ended up in what looked to be close to a strategically lost position.
Then the old, familiar Magnus took over, arguably playing his best chess of the event so far. Lawrence Trent takes us through the game:

Before the round the key showdown was Wesley So’s game against Wei Yi, with the young Chinese player theoretically in with a chance of overtaking the long-term leader. Karjakin-Nepomniachtchi, with both Russian players already out of the race for first place, was drawn in a blink-and-you-missed-it 21 moves, while Wojtaszek-Andreikin was a complicated 51-move draw in which the balance was never seriously upset.

Going into the final round of the Challengers Jones and Ragger lead on 8.5/12, but have the black pieces. Xiong is joined half a point behind by Ilia Smirin, who also has Black. Xiong is the only contender with the white pieces, which is not to be dismissed given he’s won all his games with White so far in Wijk aan Zee! He faces Benjamin Bok, who has stabilised with five draws in a row after a bad start.

chess24

Jun 23, 2017

The Paris tournament of the Grand Chess Tour is running from June 21-25.

The Paris tournament of the Grand Chess Tour, running from June 21-25 started with exciting chess from the players, and many dramatic reversals. Both Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So took off with 2.5/3, but it was really Carlsen’s show as he displayed excellent form on the first day. With many games and snippets, here is the illustrated report by GM Alex Yermolinsky.

The Paris tournament of the Grand Chess Tour is running from June 21-25. It is a combination of Rapid and Blitz games. The ten participants are Magnus Carlsen, Wesley So, Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana, Alexander Grischuk, Sergey Karjakin, Veselin Topalov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Etienne Bacrot. They will play nine rapid games, three a day, from June 21–23. The games start at 14:00h, 15:30h and 17:00h European Standard Summer Time. The Blitz tournament is on June 24 and 25, with nine rounds on each day, starting at 14:00h. The total prize fund is $150,000!

Note that the event is using the Bronstein mode: the players have 25 minutes for all the moves of a rapid game, and a ten second delay per move. This means that the clock does not run for ten seconds – the point is that you cannot accumulate time by playing very quickly in the Bronstein Mode.

This year’s Grand Chess Tour Series kicked off today with a Rapid/Blitz event in Paris. There will be two more similar tournaments, next week in Leuven and in August in St. Louis. It is interesting how this series, the brainchild of Garry Kasparov, has morphed into a combination of three different kinds of chess. Perhaps, it wasn’t Garry’s original intention, but as he himself admitted in his recent interview, it’s getting harder to find sponsors for classical time control tournaments willing to join the Tour. I guess the organizers in Norway and other places prefer to have their own exclusive event with a full control over selection of participants. Garry talks about adding one more Rapid/Blitz event in 2018 – surely a sign of the times.

Before the start of the tournament, the main question was how Magnus Carlsen would respond to his recent string of mediocre (by his standards) results. Magnus gave an emphatic answer by scoring two wins and one draw on the opening day, albeit not without some cooperation from his opponents. First he drew Grischuk with Black in a solid, error-free game. Then came a game against one of his favorite opponents not named Hikaru.

This win brought Carlsen’s advantage in their head-to-head encounters to +17-3=11. Some head scratching for Shak to do.

 

This is how without doing anything in particular, Carlsen took the lead and pushed his rapid rating over 2900.One wonders if his opponents will continue their blundering ways, and what happens if they stop.

Level with Carlsen is Wesley So, also with 2.5/3. Actually, it’s 5/6, as rapid games in this tournament count twice as much as blitz games to give some balance to scoring in two different disciplines. Wesley’s path to a good start was even rockier. He could have easily lost the following game in the first round.  read more on chessbase

So the standings after Day 2 of rapid chess are as follows:

See also:

  • Official website
  • All the games with computer analysis on chess24
  • Kasparov on hand for Paris Grand Chess Tour launch
  • Paris Grand Chess Tour Day 1: Carlsen and So lead

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Mar 22, 2022

Chess Calendar 2022

Below we’ve gathered together all the info about the major chess events already scheduled for 2022, though we’ll be updating it during the year as more events are announced or plans change. Let us know in the comments below if there’s something we’re missing!

Current and future events:

March 2022

March 19 – 26 | Charity Cup | chess24

The second of six Regular events on the $1.6 million 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is being held as a fundraiser for UNICEF and their work helping children in and around Ukraine. Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren and Richard Rapport are the Top 10 stars in action, with Richard making his debut on the Tour. There are also debuts for David Navara and Lei Tingjie.

Links: official website, Charity Cup Prelims

 

March 21 – April 4 | FIDE Grand Prix 3 | Berlin, Germany

The 3rd and final event of the 24-player Grand Prix series, that determines the final two places in the 2022 Candidates Tournament.

Links: official website

March 27 – April 6 | European Individual Chess Championship | Terme Catez, Slovenia

The European Chess Championship is a prestigious title to win, but for many players the event functions mainly as a qualifier for the FIDE World Cup. There are 20 places in that event up for grabs.

Links: official website

April 2022

April 6 – 12 | Reykjavik Open | Reykjavik, Iceland

The Reykjavik Open had to be cancelled in 2020, while in 2021 it functioned as the European Championship. In 2022 it’s returning to its old format as an Open tournament and also plans to return to its traditional venue, the Harpa Music and Conference Centre.

Links: official website

April 9 – 10 | Chess Bundesliga | Germany

This German Chess League is the strongest season-long team event in chess, featuring 16 teams who play each other over 15 rounds spread over a number of weekends in venues across Germany. The planned January start for this year’s event was put back to March over Coronavirus concerns.

Links: official websitechess24

April 20 – 28 | Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 3: 1st Major | chess24

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is back with Magnus Carlsen looking to defend the title he won in the inaugural $1.6 million tour. This is the first Major on the 2022 Tour, which also features six Regular events and two more Majors. More details soon.

Links: official website

April 20 – 29 | The American Cup | Saint Louis, USA

A new event featuring two 8-player knockout tournaments, with the twist that players are only knocked out if they lose two matches. If they lose one they drop down to an elimination bracket but still have a chance to win the tournament.

Links: official website

April 27 – May 8 | Mitropa Chess Club Cup | Corte, Corsica, France

The Mitropa Chess Club Cup is an annual team tournament organised by ten chess federations in Central Europe.

April 30 – May 4 | World Youth Rapid and Blitz Championship | Greece

The World Youth Rapid and Blitz Championship will be held in Under 8, U10, U12, U14, U16 and U18 age categories.

May 2022

May 1 – 10 | Russian Team Championships | Sochi, Russia

The Russian Team Championships in Sochi are traditionally one of the world’s strongest team events, though in 2021 it was notable that the top tournament featured no players at all from outside Russia. That’s likely to change in 2022, if the pandemic allows.

Links: official website

May 3 – 9 | Tepe Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament | Malmo, Sweden

The 8-player single round-robin is back with Swedish no. 1 Nils Grandelius joined by the likes of David Navara, Alexei Shirov, Jorden van Foreest, Salem Saleh and Arjun Erigaisi.

Links: official website

May 4 – 14 | Superbet Chess Classic Romania | Bucharest, Romania

The first event on the 5-event $1.4 million Grand Chess Tour is a 10-player classical round-robin with a $350,000 prize fund.

Links: official website

May 5 – 16 | World Senior Team Championship | Acqui Terme, Italy

The World Senior Team Championship for teams in 50+ and 65+ age categories was postponed from 2021 to 2022 due to the pandemic.

May 18 – 23 | Superbet Rapid & Blitz Poland | Warsaw, Poland

The second tournament of the 5-event $1.4 million Grand Chess Tour is a 10-player event featuring three days of rapid chess (25+10) followed by two days of blitz (3+2), with a $175,000 prize fund.

Links: official website

May 19 – 26 | Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 4 | chess24

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is back with Magnus Carlsen looking to defend the title he won in the inaugural $1.6 million tour. This is the third of six Regular events on the 2022 Tour, which will also feature three Majors. More details soon.

Links: official website

May 30 – June 11 | Norway Chess | Stavanger, Norway

Norway Chess is one of the few major international chess events to continue during the pandemic, though with a reduced 6-player field in both 2020 and 2021. If Magnus Carlsen plays he’ll be bidding for a 5th Norway Chess title, and a 4th in a row.

Links: official website

June 2022

June 7 – 17 | Prague International Chess Festival | Prague, Czech Republic

This will be the 4th edition of the Prague Chess Festival, one of the brightest recent additions to the chess calendar. As well as the Masters, won in 2020 by Alireza Firouzja and in 2021 by Sam Shankland, there’s likely to be a Challengers, Futures and also an Open.

Links: official website

June 17 – July 5 | Candidates Tournament | Madrid, Spain

The Candidates Tournament is an 8-player, 14-round event that will decide who earns the right to face Magnus Carlsen in the 2023 World Chess Championship match. A welcome change this year is that a tie for 1st place will be decided by a playoff and not by mathematical tiebreakers, though it’s worth noting that if Magnus decides not to play the match, then a tie for 2nd place would matter more, since the top two will go on to play the match.

The tournament will feature Ian Nepomniachtchi (2021 runner-up), Jan-Krzysztof Duda (World Cup winner), Sergey Karjakin (World Cup runner-up), Alireza Firouzja (Grand Swiss winner), Fabiano Caruana (Grand Swiss runner-up), Teimour Radjabov (wildcard after turning down his chance to play in 2020) and two players from the FIDE Grand Prix.

June 25 – July 6 | Russian Championship Higher League | Bryansk, Russia

The top five Open and Women’s players from this formidable open qualify for the Russian Chess Championship Superfinals later in the year.

Links: official website

July 2022

July 10 – 17 | Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 5 | chess24

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is back with Magnus Carlsen looking to defend the title he won in the inaugural $1.6 million tour. This is the fourth of six Regular events on the 2022 Tour, which will also feature three Majors. More details soon.

Links: official website

July 11 – 22 | Biel International Chess Festival | Biel/Bienne, Switzerland

The 55th edition of the Biel International Chess Festival will again have as its centrepiece a grandmaster tournament where the players will compete in classical, rapid and blitz chess, with points combined, while a Chess960 event acts as the tiebreaker.

Links: official website

July 16 – 24 | Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Trophy | Dortmund, Germany

The headline tournament of this traditional event will again this year feature No Castles Chess, with Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand joined by Krishnan Sasikiran and Daniel Fridman for the No Castling World Masters. There will also be a strong 8-player German Grand Prix as well as open tournaments.

Links: official website

July 19 – 26 | SuperUnited Croatia Grand Chess Tour Rapid & Blitz | Zagreb, Croatia

The third tournament on the 5-event $1.4 million Grand Chess Tour is a 10-player event featuring three days of rapid chess (25+10) followed by two days of blitz (3+2), with a $175,000 prize fund.

Links: official website

July – August | World Chess Olympiad | Chennai, India

The World Chess Olympiad has been a biennial event since 1950, but the pandemic prevented it being held over-the-board in 2020 or 2021, so that the 2022 Olympiad will be the first since 2018 in Batumi, Georgia. Between the Open and Women’s events there are likely to be over 300 teams and more than 1500 players involved. Minsk, Belarus was originally awarded the tournament, but that was then changed to Moscow, Russia and later Chennai, India.

China are the defending champions in both the Open and the Women’s sections, but the addition of Levon Aronian will give the USA a boost, while France now have both Alireza Firouzja and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Perennial top seeds Russia look set to be excluded after the war in Ukraine.

August 2022

August 12 – 20 | Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 6: 2nd Major | chess24

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is back with Magnus Carlsen looking to defend the title he won in the inaugural $1.6 million tour. This is the second Major on the 2022 Tour, which will also feature six Regular events and another Major. More details soon.

Links: official website

August 13 – 21 | British Championship | Torquay, England

The 118th British Chess Championship is taking place at the seaside resort of Torquay.

Links: official website

August 20 – 31 | European Women’s Chess Championship | Prague, Czech Republic

The European Women’s Individual Chess Championship both decides the European Women’s Champion and acts as a qualifying event for the FIDE Women’s World Cup.

August 24 – 30 | Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz | Saint Louis, USA

The fourth tournament on the 5-event $1.4 million Grand Chess Tour is a 10-player event featuring three days of rapid chess (25+10) followed by two days of blitz (3+2), with a $175,000 prize fund.

Links: official website

September 2022

September 1 – 15 | Sinquefield Cup | Saint Louis, USA

The fifth and final event on the $1.4 million Grand Chess Tour is the Sinquefield Cup, a 10-player classical round-robin with a $350,000 prize fund.

Links: official website

September 5 – 18 | World Youth (U14-18) Championship | Mamaia, Romania

These will be the first World Youth Championships held over-the-board since 2019, after the pandemic pushed the 2020 and 2021 events online.

September 11 – 23 | Russian Chess Championship | Cheboksary, Russia

The Open and Women’s Russian Chess Championships are both 12-player round-robins.

Links: official website

September 10 – 25 | Asian Games | Hangzhou, China

Chess will feature as one of the mind sports in this major Asian sporting event held once every four years.

Links: official website

September 18 – 25 | Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 7 | chess24

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is back with Magnus Carlsen looking to defend the title he won in the inaugural $1.6 million tour. This is the fifth of six Regular events on the 2022 Tour, which will also feature three Majors. More details soon.

Links: official website

October 2022

October 2 – 10 | European Chess Club Cup | Mayrhofen, Austria

The annual European Chess Club Cup, which in 2018 and 2021 was the last classical event Magnus Carlsen played before a World Championship match, is a 7-round event for teams that have previously competed in European national leagues.

October 13 – 20 | Russian Rapid and Blitz Championships | Sochi, Russia

Russian players compete for rapid and blitz titles both individually and in team competitions.

Links: official website

October 14 – 21 | Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 8 | chess24

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is back with Magnus Carlsen looking to defend the title he won in the inaugural $1.6 million tour. This is the sixth and final Regular event on the 2022 Tour, which also features three Majors. More details soon.

Links: official website

October 23 – 26 | European Women’s Rapid & Blitz Championship | Kyiv, Ukraine

Female players from European Chess Federations compete in rapid and blitz chess.

November 2022

November 11 – 20 | Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 9: 3rd Major | chess24

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is back with Magnus Carlsen looking to defend the title he won in the inaugural $1.6 million tour. This is the 3rd and final Major and will bring an end to the 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. More details soon.

Links: official website

November 15 – 28 | World Senior Championship | Assisi, Italy

The World Senior Chess Championship for 50+ and 65+ players are planned to be held for the first time since 2019.

November 30 – December 4 | Russian Rapid Grand Prix Final | Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia

A knockout tournament among the best performing players in the Russian Rapid Grand Prix series of events.

Links: official website

December 2022

December 4 – 13 | Russian Cup Final | Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia

Open and Women’s knockout tournaments featuring the top players in the Russian Cup series of events.

Links: official website

May 20, 2016

What do the chess titles GM, IM mean? How are they earned?

Chess, unlike most other competitive sports, maintains a system of titles granted to players of exceptional skill and talent. The highest title awarded in the world of bishops and knights is International Grandmaster (GM). While it sounds mysterious, the title’s origins are tied to the conception of mastery, like that of an artist or craftsman who has attained the highest level of achievement recognized by one’s peers.

Prior to the titling system’s formalization in the early 1950s by World Chess Federation, the term Grandmaster existed only as an approbation granted to the very best players in the world. The lore surrounding some of the title’s first usage dates to the last days of the Russian Empire when Tsar Nicholas II held a tournament of “grossmeisters” (German for Grandmasters). That title was never formally given. Chess had always been informal through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Such informality even allowed World Champions to avoid challengers who might beat them or to play against lesser contenders to assure themselves the retention of the crown.

In 1946, international chess would find itself in a crisis and in need of a more formal structure after the death of World Champion Alexander Alekhine. Although the Soviet Challenger Mikhail Botvinnik had offered the best sponsorship and funding for a match with Alekhine, events and politics made the hosting of a World Championship match impossible during WWII.

The postwar era opened the door for the World Chess Federation to regulate the many aspects of the game that, up until that point, had been informal or ad hoc. Its rules committee authored a new version the Laws of Chess universalizing international chess competition. It regularized the system under which players could qualify and play for the World Championship, and held a large, international tournament in 1948 to crown a new champion after Alekhine’s death. Finally, it created a set of rules for the granting of titles to chess players.

In 1950, two new titles were created: International Grandmaster and International Master (IM). Similar to university degrees, these titles were a hierarchical system with GM higher than IM, and once earned, the bearer would hold his or her title for life. To earn each title, a player must achieve three quality performances, each known as a norm, in tournaments meeting a strict set of regulations on the composition of the player pool.

In general terms, to earn one norm:

  • a player needs to score quantifiably well in a tournament where at least three other players already hold the title being sought
  • the average rating of all the players in the tournament must be above a minimum threshold (2380 average for GM norms)
  • a minimum of four national federations must be represented

After all three norms are earned, the player must achieve rating over 2500 for GM or 2400 for IM.

These rules for chess titles created a natural break on their proliferation. In the 1950s, only about 50 Grandmasters existed. The international nature of norm qualified tournaments meant strong events held in the United States or the Soviet Union often would not consist of required number of foreign or titled players. It was not until after the fall of the Berlin Wall, with its exodus of Eastern European and Russian players to the West, that the GM title started to spread more widely. Today, there are more than 1,000 Grandmasters worldwide. To put that number in perspective, it is estimated (2012) that around 600 million people play chess worldwide.

Although norm tournaments have become more common in the United States in the last few decades, they are still onerous to organize because the of the time commitment required and the resources needed to attract foreign or titled players. But norm tournaments are essential for the promotion of professional chess, as they are often the first introduction players have to invitational round-robin tournament chess and only way to earn international titles. Those who earn the GM title can trace a line to the past and count themselves among chess’ elite players.

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