“It hurts!” commented Ian Nepomniachtchi after missing a knockout blow against Fabiano Caruana, though it was much harder to see than the tactic he’d blundered a day earlier against Vishy Anand. Anish Giri also had good chances of beating Levon Aronian in an endgame, but nothing could stop all games ending drawn in Round 2 of the 2019 Sinquefield Cup. That meant Vishy, who found a clever way to dodge Magnus Carlsen’s opening surprise, is still the sole leader.

All games were drawn in Round 2 of the Sinquefield Cup, but the only one that saw anything less than a full-blooded fight was Karjakin-Ding Liren. It was only on move 23 of a Marshall that Sergey Karjakin varied from the 23.Qxf5 that Wesley So had played against Ding Liren in the 2018 Berlin Candidates with 23.Ra5. It seemed Sergey’s new move worked well, but he took a draw by repetition in a position where the computers were claiming a healthy edge for White.

See also:

  • Grand Chess Tour
  • All the Sinquefield Cup games with computer analysis
  • St. Louis Rapid & Blitz Winners & Losers
  • Magnus vs. History: Sinquefield Cup starts Saturday
  • Sinquefield Cup 1: Anand grabs lead as Nepo blunders
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.

See also:

Feb 25, 2017

Sharjah FIDE World Chess Grand Prix 2017: No Change at the Top

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, the two leaders of the Grand Prix in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, drew their games in Round 6 on Friday, which was enough to keep them in the lead. But the group chasing them grew as Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia won.

There are now five players – Nepomniachtchi, Alexander Grischuk and Dmitry Jakovenko, who are also Russian, Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, and Michael Adams of England – who each have 3.5 points and are half a point behind the leaders.

The Sharjah Grand Prix is the first in a series of four tournaments that will be held throughout the year. The other locations are Moscow, Geneva and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The series includes 24 of the world’s best players, 18 in each tournament, who are competing for one of two slots in the Candidates tournament next year to select a challenger for the World Championship.

Each Grand Prix has a prize fund of 130,000 euros, with 20,000 for first place. The series is being organized by Agon, the company that holds the commercial rights to the World Championship cycle, under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, also known as FIDE, which is the game’s governing body.

Nepomniachtchi’s victory, his first of the tournament, was over Li Chao b of China. It was a short, brutal game. Nepomniachtchi had White and opened with 1. e4 and Li chose the Petroff Defense. The Petroff has a justified reputation for producing a lot of draws, but when something goes wrong, it can unravel quickly. The players followed known ideas until move 12, when Nepomniachtchi played a new move that seemed to help Li as it drove his queen to a square where she wanted to go. But Nepomniachtchi was clearly well prepared as he continued to move quickly and, three moves later, he sacrificed a bishop, ripping open Li’s kingside defense. Li, clearly caught off-guard, responded well at first, but he quickly went wrong. Nepomniachtchi’s attack proceeded fast and furious, not even slowed when Li managed to exchange queens. Facing mate, Li resigned after only 29 moves.

There was one other decisive game on the day: A victory by Richard Rapport of Hungary over Alexander Riazantsev of Russia. It was Rapport’s second win of the tournament and, coupled with two losses, brought him back to even score at three points. For Riazantsev, it was his second consecutive loss, coming one round after he lost in just 19 moves to Jakovenko. This time, he lasted 78 moves, most of it in a long endgame where he was always on the defensive. That is almost a worse way to lose – to have expended all that time and energy and still come up short.

Though it ended in a draw, there was a remarkable game on Friday between Nakamura and Grischuk. It was a wild game arising out of the Sicilian Defense in which neither king was able to castle and spent the entire game exposed and constantly on the run. At one point, Nakamura, who had White, had exchanged both his rooks for three pieces. Grischuk then sacrificed one of his rooks for one of Nakamura’s pieces, but Nakamura then sacrificed one of his pieces so that his king could find shelter. That proved to be a smart decision as he was able to begin to push his kingside pawns, supported by his remaining bishop, which had taken up a commanding post on e5. Grischuk was definitely in trouble, but Nakamura misplayed the position, giving up a pawn in the evidently mistaken belief that his other pawns could then move forward more easily. In the end, neither player could escape a possible perpetual check and the game was drawn.

See also:

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

Article source

Nov 30, 2016

Chess Armageddon may strike New York City Today : Watch Live Game

Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin will break their tie with speed chess and, if needed, the dreaded ‘Armageddon Game.’

Armageddon may strike New York City on Wednesday. This cataclysmic moment could finally decide a winner—the East versus the West—in a long-simmering battle for global supremacy. In chess.

Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin find themselves tied in the World Chess Championship after completing their best-of-12 match in Manhattan over the last month. In 10 of the games, there was no winner. Karjakin, the Russian challenger and the world’s No. 9-ranked player, stole one win. And then Carlsen, the No. 1-ranked champion from Norway, took a game of his own to even the score.

Their dead heat has sent the championships to a tiebreaker that will be held Wednesday. Carlsen and Karjakin will play a series of rapid and blitz games—and, if necessary, what’s known in chess as an “Armageddon Game.” It’s a game that’s guaranteed to produce a winner with rules so frenetic they could introduce never-seen-before controversy into the chess universe.

“The tension would be unbelievable,” said Dylan McClain, a master-level player. “I would suspect there would be people who are not happy.”

Live Game

In an Armageddon Game, the players will draw lots and the winner gets to choose if he is white or black. White will have five minutes to complete his moves and black will have four, but with a twist: If the game ends in a draw, black wins.

No World Chess Championship has ever been decided this way. This one just might. “Let’s hope there won’t be Armageddon, because it’s a little bit too much,” Karjakin said.

Exactly how the chess world arrived at a moment dates back decades to a time when championships took even longer. For example, the 1984 World Chess Championships between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov were abandoned after 48 games that stretched over five months and into 1985. The president of FIDE, the governing body of chess, eventually called it off, citing the concerns over the health of the players. Karpov had reportedly lost upwards of 20 pounds during the grueling affair.

Since then the matches have been shortened, resulting in the best-of-12 format that began in 2006. They also got rid of draw odds—where the reigning champion retained the title in case of a tie—because two different players had claimed to be the champion after the title split in 1993. All of this led the way to the elaborate tiebreaker system which will be seen on Wednesday.

First, Carlsen and Karjakin will engage in four rapid games, in which they have 25 minutes apiece. If they’re still tied, they would progress to a round of “blitz” matches, where they have five minutes aside. Should they remain tied after the blitz games, the Armageddon Game will settle it all.
world-chess-championships
Carlsen says he’s not sure if he would rather be white or black in the Armageddon Game—with all of their draws so far, black might be logical, but it would also depend on how the earlier tiebreaker games go. Karjakin wouldn’t even answer which he prefers.

The World Chess Championships have reached tiebreakers twice in this format—in 2006 and 2012—but neither of those went as far as chess’s version of the apocalypse. And should it head there on Wednesday, controversy would be a near certainty. Which is exactly what happened in 2008 when the United States women’s championship was decided in this format.

Irina Krush ran out of time in that 2008 Armageddon Game. Her opponent, Anna Zatonskih, was declared champion. Zatonskih had one second left. Krush said Zatonskih played moves even before her own ones were completed and disputed the result, saying Zatonskih maintained her waning clock time through illegal means. After the game, Krush slammed a piece off the board and stormed off.ararmageddon-looms

“I would certainly welcome any initiative to decide the title in over-the-board games, with real time controls that don’t degrade the participants into clock punching monkeys,” Krush wrote in an open letter afterwards.

This boils down to the fact that such a frantic game is a distant cousin of the methodical matches that make these players the best in the world. It’s the chess equivalent of penalty kicks in soccer—a solution that quickly produces a winner, even if it’s barely a measure of the skill that got the competitors to that point in the first place.

Should these fast games become necessary, Carlsen would appear to have the edge. He’s ranked No. 1 in rapid chess and No. 2 in blitz, while Karjakin is No. 11 in blitz and not in the top 100 in rapid. “I want to play a tiebreak,” said Carlsen, who will play for the title on his birthday. When asked if he was comfortable drawing the last game because of his skill as a speed player, he added: “That’s one interpretation.”

Then again, few thought Karjakin would play Carlsen so tightly in the first place. So even an unlikely proposition like an Armageddon Game suddenly seems realistic.

“2016 has been weird,” said Kassa Korley, an international master. “Between Brexit, Trump, LeBron and the 3-1 deficit, things have just been shocking all around.”

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