Mar 14, 2024

Grandmasters are now achieving their Titles at an earlier age than ever

The game of chess is witnessing a fascinating trend. New research by shows that grandmasters are now achieving their titles at an earlier age than ever. Will the chess world see 10- or 11-year-olds becoming grandmasters in the next few years?

In the past year, we’ve seen a surge in children scoring extraordinary results. Records that would’ve seemed unbreakable only five to 10 years ago aren’t as shatterproof as we once thought, and it’s just a matter of time until they are broken again. “Child’s play” as some say.

Here are some examples:

The results appear to be a part of a new trend as shown by research that looks at the age of players who secure the grandmaster title.

While the average age for players achieving the most prestigious title in chess was 30 between 1975-1979, it dropped to 22.8 between 2020 and 2024. The highest age for a new GM was 32.8 in 1977. More then four decades later, in 2021, the average age is down to a record low of 20.9.

10 players are currently pending approval for the GM title in 2024. The average age is down to 21.4, the second lowest to date.

Article source

Breaking Barriers: Growing The Game

The Chess Rising Stars Girls’ Online Chess Club is now into its second term. Supported by lead coach WFM Maria Manelidou, our active community of girls taking part in chess lessons continues to grow.

In its 2019 publication ‘Development of Women’s Chess – Progress Plan’, the English Chess Federation identified that “there will need to be cultural change at all levels of chess in England which will require engagement from clubs, counties, unions, schools and individual members”.

In support of this aim our club is free to enter for girls who already have chess lessons with us.

“Chess has played an important role in my life and I am keen to share that. I moved to Greece when I was a young girl but I didn’t speak any Greek. Joining the local chess club changed my life because chess has its own language. It helped me to make friends and become more confident.”

WFM Maria Manelidou – Founder at Chess Rising Stars London Academy

We are keen to promote and create opportunities for girls to play chess with us. Our Girls’ Chess Club Online is another step in this direction.

Chess Rising Stars Online Grand Prix

To help prepare our students to compete beyond Chess Rising Stars, we are delighted to announce our first Online Grand Prix.

You can find our free Grand Prix tournaments on our lichess team page this term. Chess Rising Stars students, parents and friends are all welcome to take part.

Each tournament will have 5 rounds of 10+5 and points will be tallied across the 6 Grand Prix events. We have chosen this time control to mimic the playing conditions in the Junior Four Nations Chess League Online (J4NCLO).

Prizes will be awarded based on the number of entries and will be confirmed at a later date. Your top 5 scores from the 6 Grand Prix events will count towards this.

The online chess tournaments will take place on the following Sundays at 4 pm (GMT) in the Spring Term 2024:

28th Jan = Warm-Up

4th Feb = Grand Prix 1

11th Feb = GP 2

25th Feb = GP 3

3rd Mar = GP 4

10th Mar = GP 5

17th Mar = GP 6

To ensure the integrity of the Chess Rising Stars Online Grand Prix tournaments are maintained, we will use the lichess cheat detection system alongside the observation and judgement of our experienced coaching team.

The Chess Rising Stars London Academy team hope to see many of you there.

Mapping your Chess Progress: A Guide to Chess Rising Stars Courses

How to Use Chess Rising Stars Courses to Improve Your Chess

Our comprehensive chess courses serve as the roadmap to chess mastery. Whether you’re a junior or adult improver, our expert coaches are here to guide you with the knowledge and support you will need.

Juniors – In-person

Chess Rising Stars London Academy is creating the ideal environment to help introduce the game to younger children, the Chelsea Chess Club for 5 to 7 year olds. Your child will discover the joys of learning chess in an interactive and enjoyable setting. We will work together on chess strategy and tactics plus associated skills such as sportsmanship, planning and focus.

Moving forward, our main junior chess club, the Chelsea Chess Club is staffed by 4 expert coaches. The Chess Rising Stars team will ensure that children are grouped with those of a similar age and chess level. We also offer support to more experienced children who are intending to compete in chess tournaments and team matches.

WGM Andreea Navrotescu, Guest coach at the Chelsea Chess Club

Juniors – Online

The Wednesday Online Club is perfectly suited as an introduction to small-group chess lessons for less experienced children. We would recommend that children are already familiar with how the pieces move, check and checkmate but no further knowledge is required.

The Friday and Sunday Online Clubs offer groups at Beginner and Intermediate/Advanced level. There is a new group exclusively for secondary school chess players aged 11-16 at the Friday Online Club. Chess is gaining popularity in this age range, with students even using it for their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award activity.

In our invitational Elite Online Club, we work together on areas of strategy, tactics and mindset to build the confidence and skills necessary to compete beyond Chess Rising Stars. To support this development, there are regular guest coaching appearances from Grandmasters.

Registration is open for the CRS Christmas Online Tournament 2023

Adult Improvers

Our Adult Improvers Online Group Classes would be ideal for adult beginners or parents whose children are learning the game. We will work together on the fundamentals of chess strategy and tactics. You will have the chance to try out what you have learned in our private, friendly tournaments.

We offer interactive and engaging private chess lessons online, delivered by our team of experienced coaches. The Chess Rising Stars teachers have been carefully selected and trained by WFM Maria Manelidou and are passionate about sharing their extensive chess knowledge and experience.

If you are keen to compete in OTB or online tournaments, our coaches have supported adult students in their local leagues, tournaments and even internationally. We have helped students to exceed their rating goals by following our individual training plans.

What Next?

If you are embarking on a journey to enhance your chess skills, look no further than Chess Rising Stars courses, meticulously designed to cater to players of all ages and levels.

2022 – 2023 Chess Calendar

The 2022 Chess Calendar begins with Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana topping the field for the Tata Steel Masters from January 15th onwards, and, if all goes to plan, it’s a year that’s going to feature another Candidates Tournament and the first over-the-board World Chess Olympiad since 2018. Whatever happens with the pandemic, the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour will be back, with nine high stakes events running from February 19th to November 20th.

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:

November 2022

November 23 – December 17 | Speed Chess Championship |

This 16-player blitz knockout tournament has a $100,000 prize fund and features World Champion Magnus Carlsen and the winner for the last four seasons, Hikaru Nakamura. Each match features 90 minutes of 5+1 chess, 60 minutes of 3+1 and finally 30 minutes of 1+1.

Links: official website, chess24: Caruana vs. Erigaisi, Ding vs. Grischuk, Nepo vs. MVL, Aronian vs. Andreikin, Carlsen vs. Gukesh, Nihal vs. Giri, So vs. Abdusattorov, Nakamura vs. Paravyan, QFs: Nihal vs. Ding, Nakamura vs. Aronian, Carlsen vs. Caruana, MVL vs. So

December 2022

December 11 – 14 | Julius Baer Challenger Championship | Tel Aviv, Israel

This is a $10,000 match between 2021 Challengers Chess Tour Champion Praggnanandhaa and 2022 Champion Pranav V

Links: official website, chess24

December 12 – 22 | Chessable Sunway Sitges Chess Festival | Sitges, Spain

Yu Yangyi and Vasyl Ivanchuk are among the players confirmed for this already traditional 10-round open tournament in a coastal town near Barcelona.

Links: official website, chess24

December 16 – 18 | European Rapid and Blitz Championships | Katowice, Poland

The European Blitz Championship takes place on December 16th with 11 double rounds at a time control of 3 minutes for all moves plus a 2-second increment per move. The European Rapid Championship is 11 rounds with a 15+10 time control on December 17-18th.

Links: official website

December 18 – 23 | Gashimov Memoiral | Baku, Azerbaijan

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Richard Rapport, Gukesh, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Paco Vallejo, Sam Shankland, Wang Hao, Rauf Mamedov, Aydin Suleymanli and Abdulla Gadimbayli compete in 3 days of rapid chess and 2 days of blitz in honour of Vugar Gashimov, who died tragically young in 2014.

Links: official website

The World Rapid Championship is a 3-day event with a time control of 15 minutes for all moves, plus a 10-second increment from move 1. In the Open section there are 13 rounds and in the Women’s 11.

The World Blitz Championship is held over the final 2 days, with a time control of 3+2. There are 21 rounds in the Open section and 17 in the Women’s.

The total prize fund is $1 million, with a top prize of $60,000 in the Open events and $40,000 in the Women’s.

Links: Official website

December 27 – January 5 | Rilton Cup | Stockholm, Sweden

This turn-of-the-year 9-round Swiss Open is celebrating its 50th edition.

Links: official website

Jul 18, 2022

Top 10 Incredible Stalemates in Chess History

In the first round of the 2022 French League, the young FM Floryan Eugène played one of the most incredible swindles in chess history based on a stalemate, against GM Jean-Luc Chabanon. I’ve taken the opportunity to review the 10 most amazing stalemates ever played.

or once, I will proceed in chronological order.

1. Troitsky vs. Vogt, 1896

In a desperate position, the legendary study composer managed to save himself by showing all of his creativity over the board.

Who else than a genius composer could have imagined White getting stalemated in 3 moves, despite having a queen, two rooks, a bishop, a knight, and 5 pawns?
1.Rd1!! setting an amazing trap 1…Bh3?? into which Black fell! It looks like White just has a couple of checks before getting mated on g2.
2.Rxd8+! Kxd8! 3.Qd1+!! Qxd1 1/2

I must admit that this is probably my favourite stalemate ever played, but read on, the others will dazzle you as well!

Two pawns down, White forces stalemate with five precise moves.

1.Qf8+! Kf6 2.Qh8+! Kf5 3.g4+! hxg4 4.Rd5+! exd5 

5.Qc8+! Not on f6 nor e5, as the black king would no longer defend g4. 5….Qxc8 1/2


May 04, 2022

Forgotten Genius – The First Queen of Chess

Born the same year as Paul Morphy, Ellen Gilbert, née Strong (April 30, 1837 – February 12, 1900), was arguably the best woman chess player and the best correspondence chess player of both genders of the 19th century! Known by every chess lover back then, she now seems to be forgotten by all except a few specialized historians. It is time to pay tribute to the first Queen of Chess.

If like me, you were not aware of the old Anglo-Saxon customs, you might be surprised by the initials “J. W.” instead of “E.” The explanation gives a glimpse at the sexism of the time: a married woman or a widow, if addressed as ‘Mrs.,’ was referred to by her husband’s first name, not hers. Hence Mrs. John W. Gilbert.

Ellen E. Strong was a teacher in Hartford, Connecticut, when she met John W. Gilbert, a local builder with whom she shared a passion for chess. The Hartford Chess Club was a typical 19th Century gentlemen-only club where the idea of a woman joining, even more so a woman of social standing, would have seemed laughable. This prompted Ellen and John to establish the Queen’s Chess Club, open to both genders, where Ellen was recognized as the best player. The local newspaper described her as the first woman capable of playing blindfolded.

Ellen had to turn to correspondence chess to find proper adversity while escaping the ambient misogyny.

The first woman chess composer

Speaking of problems, I prefer the following mate in 3 moves, composed by the Queen herself in 1860!

It was actually a mate in 4 moves, with 1.Qc2-c7+ Bb4-d6 as the first move, but I dare think it’s more beautiful presented as a mate in 3.

The solution is a perfect example of the then newly created Plachutta theme. I invite you to find it and post it in the comments.

Blindness and oblivion

Gilbert’s match against Gossip marked the pinnacle of her career, but sadly, also its end.

Gradually becoming blind, Ellen Gilbert quit correspondence chess. Like a handover, she waited for the 20th century to pass away.

Ellen E. Gilbert died on February 12, 1900. The Hartford Times obituary described her as “a lady of fine character, much esteemed by her friends, and as modest as she was kind.”

The chess world, which had relegated her to correspondence play, had already forgotten her.

It was not easy to find sources to prepare this article, and I’m grateful to the passionate people who wrote them.

read more on chess24

See also:

Kramnik and Anand share their thoughts on the upcoming World Championship match

“If I knew how to beat Magnus I would have done it myself!” quipped Vishy Anand, as he called Magnus Carlsen a “huge favourite” to win the World Championship match against Ian Nepomniachtchi in Dubai. The 15th World Champion nevertheless feels Ian has a tactical style that can hurt Magnus, while the 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik pointed out how important the early games will be for the Challenger.

Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik were interviewed by Ilya Levitov for his YouTube channel, where he features interviews with top players with high quality subtitles.

There’s not long at all to wait now, with the first game of the World Chess Championship 2021 starting this Friday, November 26th, with Judit Polgar and Anish Giri commentating live on all the action for chess24, while Tania Sachdev will be in Dubai. We also have the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour team of David Howell, Jovanka Houska and Kaja Snare.

All the Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi live moves and commentary will be broadcast live here on chess24!

See also:

  • Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi World Championship match on chess24
  • Ian Nepomniachtchi: “The result is much more important than the prize”
  • Magnus Carlsen: “I’m hoping this time there will be fewer draws”
  • Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi: Young Rivals
  • Karjakin: “Magnus can psychologically crumble”
  • Carlsen vs. Nepomniachtchi: Decisive Encounters
  • Carlsen: “Good outcome to face Nepo not Fabi or Ding”

FIDE Grand Swiss and Women’s Grand Swiss

FIDE Grand Swiss and Women’s Grand Swiss are held in Riga. The events staged in the format and dates originally scheduled: from 25 October to 8 November, 2021

The city of Riga host the FIDE Grand Swiss and Women’s Grand Swiss, two events that are part of the qualification cycle for the World Championship. The difficult decision to relocate the tournament from Douglas, its original planned location, was forced due to the strict COVID-19 restrictions still in place in the Isle of Man and the UK.

With the support of the Scheinberg family, sponsor of the FIDE Grand Swiss, the International Chess Federation has been working to find an alternative host city for the events, with the priority to stage them in the format and dates originally scheduled, and keeping the excellent organizational standards that the event enjoyed on its previous editions.

49-year-old Alexei Shirov and 44-year-old Evgeniy Najer caught Alireza Firouzja in Round 5 of the FIDE Grand Swiss after the 18-year-old drew his game against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Alexei crashed through against Ivan Saric and will now play Firouzja in Round 6, while Najer defeated Robert Hovhannisyan. His opponent will be Fabiano Caruana, who made up for two missed win in a row by taking down David Howell. There are now five leaders in the women’s event after Nino Batsiashvili, Zhu Jiner, Elisabeth Paehtz and Jolanta Zawadzka picked up wins.

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
Sep 14, 2021

Garry Kasparov Kept Moving Even After Getting Flagged

This article was inspired by Garry Kasparov’s recent abysmal performance in the Grand Chess Tour in Zagreb. The legendary 13th World Chess Champion scored 2.5 points out of 18 and finished in clear last place in the blitz event. One of the factors that caused such a disastrous result was poor time management and the inability to play well in time trouble.  Notably, in a game against MVL, Kasparov lost on time in an innocuous equal rook endgame where he was at no risk whatsoever on the board.

Obviously, the recommendations presented below are not aimed at Kasparov since when it comes to chess, Garry can teach pretty much anyone about any facet of the game. Still, I believe that some of the lifehacks presented below will be of use to less experienced players than Kasparov.

Obviously, the recommendations presented below are not aimed at Kasparov since when it comes to chess, Garry can teach pretty much anyone about any facet of the game. Still, I believe that some of the lifehacks presented below will be of use to less experienced players than Kasparov.

Also, it’s easy to offer banal advice like “do not ever get into time trouble”, but it’s challenging to follow it. Here are a few basic tips on what to do if you are in time trouble already:

  • Keep your head cool and try to breathe normally. Amateurs start jumping up and down on the chair, hastily scribbling the moves on the score sheet, pulling their hair, knocking on the chess clock, and dropping pieces by trying to place them down with a shaking hand. Seasoned GMs remain solemn and make moves in a reserved and elegant way. They patiently write down the moves as if they had all the time in the world at their disposal. This behavior helps one to remain concentrated and prevents your heart from starting to beat like a drum and affecting your play.
  • Avoid glancing at the clock over and over again. When you are in time trouble, every second is precious. You don’t want to waste time and pump up your heart rate by watching the clock tick away. It is easier said than done since you need both great self-control and an inner sense of time that will prevent you from flagging. The latter comes with experience and a lot of regular practice. Rusty players lose this sense and forfeit on time more often than you would normally expect from them.
  • Focus on the game. Don’t start blaming yourself for getting into time trouble. Don’t fear that you will blunder something. Just concentrate and make the most of your current position.

Here are a few more intermediate-level tips that are must-know for tournament players:

  • If you are on the defensive and hoping to take advantage of the 50-move rule, mark the last capture or pawn move on your scoresheet so that you don’t have trouble later on pondering whether you have earned the right to claim a draw or not. This habit helps one stay calm and collected when fighting for survival.
  • If a conflict situation between you and your opponent occurs, stop the clock and call the arbiter. Sometimes people engage in a verbal discussion while their clock is still running. When they forfeit on time because of it, it is much harder for them to negotiate a favorable decision for themselves once the arbiter finally shows up.
  • Try to make it to a time control if there is one. Sometimes move repetitions or exchanges can help you a lot. Of course, there’s a risk of trading the wrong pieces, but there’s also a saying: “Exchange more pieces so that you can’t blunder them in time trouble.” It has some truth to it. Generally speaking, even if you are a tactical genius, it is usually a good idea to simplify the position when you are in time trouble. When you are very short on the clock, it is next to impossible to find all the tricky lines that chess engines point out in the blink of an eye. Who cares that you have a winning position when you will either flag or blunder something away in the end?

Finally, here are a few advanced tips that are worth adding to your chess arsenal:

  • If you desperately need to go to the WC and can’t leave the board due to the prospects of losing on time, you can “pull a Leko”. There was a story involving him where he reportedly called for an arbiter, claimed a three-fold repetition, and rushed to the bathroom while the arbiter was diligently checking the score sheet! There was no repetition, but Peter did save enough time this way. Super GMs are resourceful!
  • Back in the day, when people used to play with mechanical clocks, there was a dirty trick of not paying attention to the fact that your time ran out and playing on as normal, hoping that your partner wouldn’t notice it in the heat of battle. Then, when the opponent flags as well, one could always point it out, if necessary, and claim a draw since it is impossible to prove who flagged first. Nowadays, however, digital clocks usually display a symbol showing who lost on time, so such tricks are no longer possible.

Garry Kasparov showing that even in 2021, you can still play on after you have run out of time!

read more at chess24