The World Chess Federation has accepted a bid by the Isle of Man to host the 114-player FIDE Grand Swiss on the Isle of Man from October 25 to November 8, 2021. The event will now select two Candidates, one more than in 2019, though if it goes ahead as scheduled it’s likely to finish before the previous cycle is complete, with Magnus Carlsen’s next World Championship match also pencilled in for late 2021. The Grand Swiss will now be joined by an inaugural 50-player FIDE Women’s Grand Swiss, with a combined prize fund of $550,000.

When the bidding procedure for the FIDE Grand Swiss and Women’s Grand Swiss events was announced on October 22nd, eyebrows were raised that only two weeks were being given to submit bids for such expensive events. From today’s FIDE announcement it’s unclear if anyone else bid, but the Grand Swiss is returning to the Isle of Man, where it was held in 2019. Back then it was a 154-player open tournament that selected a single player for the 2020 Candidates Tournament.

As you can see, Wang Hao was the surprise winner, while in fact Kirill Alekseenko also made it to the Candidates since his result on the Isle of Man made it possible for the Russian Chess Federation to select him as a wild card.

In 2021 the 11-round open will be limited to 114 participants, with the world’s Top 100 invited by rating, followed by 9 FIDE nominees and 5 organiser wildcards. It’s not confirmed in the FIDE press release whether the organisers will again be and the Scheinberg family, as in 2019, though billionaire Poker Stars founder Isai Scheinberg is a free man again after being given only a token $30k fine and “time served” (house arrest after surrendering to US authorities in January) when the Black Friday case dating from 2011 finally ended in September.

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Nov 29, 2018

Magnus Carlsen wins 4th World Chess Championship

Magnus Carlsen demolished Fabiano Caruana 3:0 in rapid tiebreaks on Wednesday to retain his World Championship title for another two years. He was defiant afterwards about his decision not to play on in Game 12, saying Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik were, “entitled to their stupid opinions”, while he explained, “one of the things I’ve never done very well is listen to other people’s advice. I’ve always gone my own way… and it’s brought me this trophy today!”

Relive the final day of the 2018 World Chess Championship with our commentary team of Anish Giri, Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk, with the added bonus that in the hour before the action started in London they played blitz against each other:

See also:

  • Official website
  • All the games with computer analysis on chess24
  • Our special Carlsen-Caruana World Chess Championship page
  • Grischuk and Giri join our Carlsen-Caruana show
  • Carlsen and Caruana true to form in press opener
  • Game 1: Magnus lets Fabi off the hook
  • Game 2: Full grovel mode
  • Game 3: Caruana squanders opening edge
  • Game 4: Prep, lies and videotape
  • Game 5: Magnus can’t match his idol
  • Game 6: Fabi close in 80-move thriller
  • Game 7: Magnus “way too soft”
  • Game 8: Fabi lets another chance slip
  • Game 9: Injured pride
  • Game 10: Too much at stake
  • AlphaZero on Carlsen-Caruana Games 1-8
  • Game 11: Cold, hard facts
  • Game 12: Magnus stakes all on tiebreaks
Nov 16, 2016

How a Chess Champion Trains for the Big Game

Magnus Carlsen, the three-time world chess champion, believes the fitter the body, the sharper the mind.

The Norway-born Mr. Carlsen, 25, has been playing chess since he was 8. At 13, he was one of the youngest people ever to be awarded the title of grandmaster, the highest level of chess mastery; in 2013, he won his first world championship. He is set to defend his world title at the World Chess Championship, playing a series of matches against challenger Sergey Karjakin in New York City through November 30.

Many parents will be sorry to learn that Mr. Carlsen keeps his mind focused by playing videogames. He gives his memory a workout by practicing chess blindfolded. At the Sohn Investment Conference in 2015, he defeated three challengers in simultaneous timed blindfold matches, to raise money for pediatric cancer research and treatment.

With regular matches at Mr. Carlsen’s level easily lasting five hours or more, and conceivably as long as three weeks at a stretch, physical stamina, as well as mental stamina, is needed. Mr. Carlsen says he believes a healthy diet and physical training are crucial for a chess master to remain at peak, just as they are for other types of athletes. “I get bored very easily, so I don’t do well in the gym,” Mr. Carlsen says. “Luckily for me, I have a real love of sport.”

While prodigies often set aside every other hobby to focus on one talent, Mr. Carlsen says he always made time for soccer. “No sport challenges your endurance like soccer, both mentally and physically,” he says. He still plays on a local recreational team in Norway called Lokomotiv Oslo.

In soccer games, as in chess matches, “games are lost or won in the final hours due to mistakes caused by fatigue,” says Mr. Carlsen, who is known as a chess player who makes very few errors while often causing opponents to do so.

When he is in his best physical shape, Mr. Carlsen says, he is able to sleep and relax between chess matches. He also practices yoga. He has three sisters who also practice yoga, and a yoga teacher is the head of his game-development company, Play Magnus. “I find that the routine of yoga helps me calm my mind so I can focus on strategies,” he says.

In 2013, Mr. Carlsen started training with Peter Heine Nielsen, a Lithuania-based chess coach. The two discuss mental and physical training routines by email and phone. “My goal is to get Magnus in the best mental and physical state possible leading up to big tournaments,” Mr. Nielson says. “Diet, rest and exercise are a big part of that. He also needs to have fun to keep the pressure off.”
The Workout

When Mr. Carlsen is on the road for a tournament, he depends on his workouts to help him relieve tension and relax. He might run intervals on the treadmill at a hotel gym, adjusting the incline and intensity for 30 to 60 minutes. “Running is a time where I can go through game strategies,” he says.

After he gets his heart rate up, he winds down with a series of stretches, or he will flow through yoga sequences for 20 minutes. “Much of my core work comes from yoga,” he says. “I’m not the type to go to the gym and run through reps and sets of exercise. I need something more fluid and fun.” If he can find a hot yoga studio, he’ll attend a class.

He says he likes the challenge and focus of yoga, but still prefers the competitiveness of soccer, basketball or tennis. If he has a rest day between matches, he sometimes gathers team members for a low-key pickup game of basketball or soccer. “Hard physical training, especially in a competitive setting, takes a lot of energy, so during tournaments we keep the training at a level light,” says Mr. Heine. “Never more than an hour or two of soccer or basketball.”

At home in Oslo, Mr. Carlsen goes to a 90-minute hot yoga class two to three times a week. He plays defense on his local soccer team but says he prefers to attack when playing casually with friends. He trains with his team one to two times a week for an hour and usually has one game a week. During Norway’s long winters, he goes cross-country skiing and hiking on weekends.

Whenever he has time to kill, such as when traveling or waiting in line at a store, he uses the opportunity to play games on his phone. “I have a team of grandmasters that create interesting chess-related games,” he says. Lately, he has been playing a text-based, multiplayer role-playing game called Avalon. It is played in real time, so players are constantly thinking about the next move. “It’s a mythological environment where you can create your own character and move through over 20,000 locations over 19 continents,” Mr. Carlsen says. “It’s easy to get caught up and play for hours.”

The Diet
Mr. Carlsen eats a mostly vegetarian diet. For breakfast, he makes a superfood smoothie with ingredients like açaí berry and hemp milk, or he’ll have a fresh pressed green juice, with ginger and lemon. Lunch is a salad topped with avocado, walnuts or pumpkin seeds. He likes Asian flavors and often makes a vegetable stir fry over brown rice for dinner. During tournaments he focuses on getting enough protein to maintain his energy over long time periods. He relies on plant proteins like beans, nuts, seeds or hemp protein and drinks water throughout the tournament.

Cost & Gear
He spends $30 a month on soccer dues. He likes soccer cleats made by Warrior. “I like to keep things simple and wear whatever is in my closet. I’m not overly picky about the brands I wear to work out.”

“I listen to a lot of rock music when I run, but my playlist is very diversified. One thing all of my music has in common is that it’s upbeat and keeps my momentum up.” His fight song is by gangsta rapper Lil Jon, with a title that can’t be printed in a family newspaper.


Dec 16, 2020

Russian Superfinals race goes down to the last round

Ian Nepomniachtchi and Sergey Karjakin share first place before the final round of the Russian Championship Superfinal, with the deciding games to take place on Wednesday. Both play Black, with Sergey taking on Daniil Dubov while Ian plays Maksim Chigaev. If the players end tied for first we’ll get a rapid play-off for the title. In the women’s section, Polina Shuvalova is leading Aleksandra Goryachkina by half a point, but in the final round Aleksandra has every chance of catching the leader.

After Mikhail Antipov dropped out of the tournament after testing positive for the coronavrius everyone feared that the Russian Championships might be stopped, as happened with the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg, which has proved impossible to resume for almost a full year.

It seems, however, that those fears were unfounded. No more players have tested positive, and there’s just one round to go, starting today at 15:00 Moscow time, or 13:00 CET.

Let’s take a look at the most interesting events from Rounds 9 and 10.

Chess fans were anticipating a decisive clash between Polina Shuvalova and Aleksandra Goryachkina, which would decide the fate of the Russian Women’s Championship title. But as the Russian footballer Andrey Arshavin once said, “Your expectations are your problem”. The women didn’t even put up the pretence of a struggle as they made a well-known Berlin draw in just 15 moves.

In Round 9 Polina Shuvalova, who was leading the tournament, played Yulia Grigorieva, who was in last place. It seemed the outcome should have been predictable, but it proved anything but. Yulia managed to completely outplay her opponent and reach a technically won ending with an extra pawn and an exchange. But, instead of the sensation we were expecting, we got some real drama.

The logic behind such a decision was understandable. Polina Shuvalova had White and understandably feared her experienced opponent, while Aleksandra Goryachkina also had reason to hope to catch Polina in the final round, since she has White against tournament outsider Tatiana Getman, while Polina faces a tough game with Black against reigning Russian Champion Olga Girya. The fate of the title will be decided on the final day, with the chances of a playoff high.

Leya Garifullina, who was in sole third place, drew her game. Garifullina has missed a number of winning chances during the tournament, but on this occasion it was her opponent Natalia Pogonina who missed a chance to win.

See also:

  • Official website
  • Russian Championship games with computer analysis: Open | Women
  • Russian Superfinals 1-2: Karjakin and Nepo among the leaders
  • Russian Superfinals 3: Karjakin and Shuvalova lead
  • Russian Superfinals 4: Nepo catches Karjakin
  • Russian Superfinals 5-6: Shuvalova keeps on winning
  • Russian Superfinals 8-9: Antipov out after COVID-19 positive