The Grand Chess Tour recently took over chess coverage for two weeks (and with Garry Kasparov playing in St. Louis they’ve snatched a couple of days more!) so we’d like to take a brief look at some of the other action you may have missed. Queens were sacrificed with abandon at the Dutch Championship, a 10-year-old beat an experienced grandmaster in Corsica, 17-year-old Zhansaya Abdumalik beat three GMs to score her first GM norm at the World Open, Anatoly Karpov and other legends were in action in Spain and there’s been some wild chess at the Russian Higher League.

18-year-old Jorden van Foreest’s bid to defend his Dutch Championship title didn’t get off to the best of starts. Sipke Ernst’s knockout blow here can be filed under “moves we’d all love to play”:

30…Qxe3!! The attacking potential of Black’s rook, knights and bishop is just phenomenal, and Jorden threw in the towel after 31.fxe3 fxe4+ 32.Nf3 (32.Ke1 Ng2+ 33.Ke2 Rf2#) 32…Rxf3+ 33.Ke1 Ng2+. It doesn’t get much more convincing than that.

Ernst would go on to tie Loek van Wely after seven rounds, including surviving a tough position in their individual encounter in the final round. That meant they played more chess at a faster time control, and ultimately Loek won his 8th Dutch title with a win in the second tiebreak game. read more at chess24

Jan 12, 2017

3 Tips To Attack In Chess

The ability to attack successfully is a necessary skill for the ambitious chess player. Here are three tips to help you with launching your attacks:

  • Try to involve as many pieces as possible into the attack. The more pieces you have lined up against your opponent’s king, the more likely your attack is to succeed.
  • Choose an actual target for your attack. Instead of randomly placing your pieces on the kingside, choose a specific pawn or square to concentrate your attack against. Look for weaknesses (squares that cannot be protected by a pawn) and maneuver your pieces to directly exploit them.
  • Exchange key defensive pieces. While the attacking side should generally try to avoid exchanges in order to keep more attacking forces on the board, sometimes the most effective attacking idea is to first trade off your opponent’s main defensive piece. Is one bishop defending all the critical squares? Trade that bishop off and leave your opponent with a weak color complex.

The attack is one of the most critical elements of a chess game. By following these three principles, you will soon be checkmating your opponents in future games.

Nov 10, 2021

Firouzja wins Grand Swiss

18-year-old Alireza Firouzja has won the FIDE Grand Swiss, qualified for his 1st Candidates Tournament and taken home the top prize of $70,000 after drawing his last round game against Grigoriy Oparin. There were draws on the top 13 boards, as Fabiano Caruana claimed the 2nd spot in the Candidates, while Oparin, Yu, Keymer, MVL, Predke and Shirov qualified for the Grand Prix. In the women’s event Elisabeth Paehtz took 2nd place behind Lei Tingjie on a day she also earned the grandmaster title.

Alireza Firouzja is still on course to become the youngest undisputed World Chess Champion in history after qualifying for the 2022 Candidates Tournament. If he wins the Candidates he has the potential to challenge Magnus Carlsen or Ian Nepomniachtchi to a match in 2023 and, at the age of 19 or 20, smash the record of 22 years old set by Garry Kasparov and matched by Magnus — Ruslan Ponomariov won the FIDE title at the age of 18 in 2002, but in a knockout format at a time when Vladimir Kramnik held the title that mattered.

lireza did it in style, taking sole first place in the Grand Swiss and the $70,000 top prize with a 2855 rating performance that saw him gain 11.5 rating points to move up to world no. 5. In fact his 2781.5 rating would be rounded up to Ian Nepomniachtchi’s 2782 and he’d take 4th place if the official rating list was published today. That’s academic, however, since he’ll now play for France in the European Team Championship that starts on Friday in Slovenia, so his rating is set to shift again.

See also:

  • Official website
  • Watch all the Grand Swiss games: Open | Women
  • Nakamura, Vidit withdraw as Grand Swiss goes ahead despite lockdown
  • Grand Swiss Round 1: Caruana and Firouzja strike
  • Grand Swiss Round 2: Firouzja world no. 6 as Caruana misses win
  • Grand Swiss Round 3: Firouzja’s rampage continues
  • Grand Swiss Round 4: Firouzja and Lei Tingjie sole leaders
  • Grand Swiss Round 5: Shirov and Najer catch Firouzja
  • Grand Swiss Round 6: MVL and Sasikiran catch the leaders
  • Grand Swiss Round 7: Firouzja powers towards Candidates
  • Grand Swiss Round 8: Firouzja climbs to world no. 4
  • Grand Swiss Round 9: Caruana takes down Firouzja
  • Grand Swiss Round 10: Firouzja a draw away from the Candidates
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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