With half of the matches going into the tie-break, the world championship saw another exciting, although slightly less dramatic, match-ups. however, the trend clearly favoured the higher rated players, who dominated their respective strong opponents. There were moments of great play and lapses worthy of mentioning. Joining Muzychuk, Stefanova, Dzagnidze, and Shiqun are four others. Here is the illustrated report with GM analysis.

The theory that knockout tournaments are a lottery isn’t getting much support in Tehran! Of the eight players to reach the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Championship all but two of them were seeded to get there. Tan Zhongyi qualified as the 9th seed after beating Padmini Rout, who knocked out 8th seed Zhao Xue, while only 19-year-old Chinese player Ni Shiqun is a revelation. The 38th seed has beaten three higher-rated players, including 6th seed Valentina Gunina.

Half of the eight matches in Round 3 went to tiebreaks, all of which finished in the 10-minute games, but only one underdog managed to survive – Ni Shiqun, who beat Natalia Pogonina. It was the end of the road for Olga Girya, Padmini Rout, Sopiko Guramishvili, Shen Yang, Pham Le Thao Nguyen, Nino Khurtsidze and Pia Cramling.

The quarterfinals that now await us on Monday are (with the seeding number in brackets):

Ju Wenjun (1) vs. Tan Zhongyi (9)
Nana Dzagnidze (5) vs. Harika Dronavalli (4)

Antoaneta Stefanova (7) vs. Anna Muzychuk (2)
Alexandra Kosteniuk (3) vs. Ni Shiqun (38)

The only country with more than one player remaining is China, who are guaranteed to have at least one player in the semifinals after Ju Wenjun and Tan Zhongyi’s match. They reached that match after the day’s most dramatic tiebreaks.

No less than five players have come through three matches without losing a game. Something will have to give in the quarterfinals, though, since four of them are paired against each other: Stefanova vs. Muzychuk and Kosteniuk vs. Ni Shiqun. The other player is Harika Dronavalli.

See also:

  • Official website
  • All the games with computer analysis on chess24


Mar 16, 2020

The 2020 Candidates of World Chess Championship

Challenger Fabiano Caruana has been tipped by many, including World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, to win the 2020 Candidates and earn a rematch that, virus-permitting, would take place in Dubai in December this year. What’s clear is that his closest rival on paper is Ding Liren, with our experts Laurent Fressinet, Jan Gustafsson and Peter Heine Nielsen scoring the two players exactly the same.

In chess terms Fabiano Caruana had the easiest path to the Candidates Tournament, qualifying automatically after losing the 2018 match in London. That means he’s had a year and a half to process the rapid chess loss to Magnus, which he confessed had left him “burnt out”

Caruana beat MVL twice in 2019, in Croatia and Norway, but he didn’t beat another player in the Candidates in the same year in classical chess, while he lost to Ding Liren twice (in Norway and the Sinquefield Cup) and Nepomniachtchi (in Croatia). By comparison, as we saw, Ding Liren won classical games against Fabi, Giri, Nepo, MVL and Grischuk. That all suggests it may be too close to call in Yekaterinburg!

The countdown to the 2020 FIDE Candidates Tournament is well and truly on, with Vladimir Kramnik, Jan Gustafsson and Laurent Trent all set to commentate on Tuesday’s Round 1:

See also:

  • Official Candidates website
  • 2020 Candidates Tournament games on chess24 with computer analysis and live commentary
  • Kramnik and Short to commentate on the Candidates
  • Play FantasyChess and earn prizes during the Candidates
  • The 2020 Candidates: Kirill Alekseenko
  • The 2020 Candidates: Wang Hao
  • The 2020 Candidates: Anish Giri
  • The 2020 Candidates: Ian Nepomniachtchi
  • The 2020 Candidates: Alexander Grischuk
  • The 2020 Candidates: Ding Liren
  • Fabiano Caruana’s chess24 profile 
Jan 03, 2017

Garry Kasparov’s Oxford lecture on human performance and artificial intelligence

“You will go down in history as the first person to be beaten by a machine in an intellectual pursuit where you were the most advanced member of our species,” says American author, philosopher, and neuroscientist in this extraordinary podcast interview with Garry Kasparov. After discussing the current world political situation they go on to the subject of machine intelligence. Kasparov also announced a book called Deep Thinking that is due for release in May.

The Sam Harris podcast with Garry Kasparov is 1½ hours long and was conducted on Skype. The bulk of it is devoted to the recent US election, the Russian influence on this process, the problem of waning American power, the rise of Putin, and the coming presidency of Donald Trump. Chess colleagues who have a much deeper understanding of international politics than Kasparov and Sam Harris can ignore this section. They must, however, concede that the level of discourse is very high and the eloquence and verbal skills Kasparov has achieved in his second language are quite remarkable.

In any case if you are so inclined you can fast forward to part on computer chess and the future of intelligent machines, where the opinion of 13th World Champion is undoubtedly relevant. As Sam Harris puts it to Kasparov: “You will go down in history as the first person to be beaten by a machine in an intellectual pursuit where you were the most advanced member of our species. You will have a special place in history, even if that history is written by robot overlords.”

The section on Artificial Intelligence, on which Sam Harris has spoken and written about very convincingly in the past, begins at 1 hour 16:20 min into the Kasparov podcast. Harris initiates the discussion with an important point: “Chess is this a quintessential intellectual activity, but it is actually a fairly simple one, similar to the way that music and mathematics can be simple. This is one of the reasons why you have child prodigies in these areas, and you don’t have child prodigies in novel writing or political debates or other areas that are different in an intellectual sense. This is one of the reasons why chess was one of the first things to fall to Artificial Intelligence.” He goes on to quiz Kasparov about his experiences in the past decades, and Kasparov reveals that he is working on a new book on the subject, Deep Thinking, that is coming out in May 2017, the 20th anniversary of his second match against Deep Blue. Sam announces that there will be a second podcast when it appears, one that we can all look forward to.

Kasparov says [at 1:17:40] that after he beat the computer in 1996 and then lost to it in 1997 he was quite upset that IBM didn’t want to play a rubber match [the decider]. “It’s a painful story, since I will be entering history as the chess champion who represented humanity in an intellectual pursuit and was beaten by the machine. But the reason I wrote the book is not to settle old scores or give my version of the match, but to say that we should not be paralyzed by a dystopian vision of the future – worrying about killer AI and super-intelligent robots, which is like worrying about overcrowding on Mars.

Garry Kasparov’s Oxford lecture on human performance and artificial intelligence:

Even more remarkable is that Kasparov [1:19:10] has had a change of heart: “While writing the book I did a lot of research – analysing the games with modern computers, also soul-searching – and I changed my conclusions. I am not writing any love letters to IBM, by my respect for the Deep Blue team went up, and my opinion of my own play, and Deep Blue’s play, went down. [1:21:55] Today you can buy a chess engine for your laptop that will beat Deep Blue quite easily.”

Kasparov concedes that he would not stand a chance against today’s computer. He says [1:22.25]: “The problems that humans are facing is that we are not consistent, we cannot play under great pressure. Our games are marked by good and bad moves – not blunders, just inaccuracies. They remain unnoticed in human chess, but are very damaging when you are facing a machine.” He has a very interesting analogy: 90% accuracy is good enough for translating a news article, but 90% accuracy for driving a car, or even 99%, is a bad day on the road.

So competing with computers in chess is “about our ability to play high-quality moves for many hours. Human psychology works against us. If I have a computer, even a very weak one, at my side, the tables could be turned, and I or some strong GM would be able to beat a very powerful computer, because I can guide the machine and definitely eliminate blunders, the very root of human weakness when facing the computer. That is why I am promoting the idea of combining our forces.”

Kasparov is referring to Advanced and Freestyle Chess, where humans are allowed to use computers during their games, a form of play he invented and promoted. “The future belongs to human and computer cooperation,” he believes, “man plus machine decision making. We are entering a new era, and there is nothing definite about it – the outcome is not already decided. In the last few decades we have moved from utopian sci-fi to dystopian sci-fi, with machines like the Matrix and Terminator. It could be, but it very much depends on us, on our attitude and our ability to come up with new ideas. It’s up to us to prove that we are not redundant.”

article by Frederic Friedel, source chessbase

Feb 02, 2017

Tradewise Gibraltar Masters, round 9: David Anton to take the sole lead

21-year-old Spaniard David Anton beat Veselin Topalov in Round 9 of the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters to take the sole lead before Thursday’s final round. He’s been here before, since he was also the only player to take the sole lead in the 2016 Masters! The 8 players half a point back include Hikaru Nakamura, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Boris Gelfand, but also Ju Wenjun, who spent her 26th birthday beating Hou Yifan and crossing 2600 for the first time in her career.

The fight for first is simple. If Anton beats Adams he wins with no need for a playoff. Any other outcome on the top board will leave one of the players on 8/10, which only Gelfand, MVL, Edouard, Nakamura, Yu Yangyi, Ju Wenjun or Cheparinov can match – if they win! As always in Gibraltar, a tie for first place will result in a rapid playoff.

Round 10 starts four hours earlier than usual at 11:00 CET.


Official website