Tuesday June 18, 2013
It's probably not a preview of the kind of chess we'll see in the World Championship match later this year, but Magnus Carlsen decisively beat Viswanathan Anand at the Tal Memorial today. It took just 29 moves for Carlsen to force Anand's resignation in a position where Carlsen didn't have an immediate win, but Anand could do little but wait around for Carlsen to improve his position move after move. It wasn't an impressive performance from the current champion, but one would expect that his preparation is dedicated to the match rather than this tournament.
You can find a full report on the game here; I've also included just the moves below for those who want to quickly copy and paste the game into the viewer of their choice. After five rounds, Hikaru Nakamura and Boris Gelfand share the lead with 3.5 points, while Carlsen sits on 3.0 and Anand is near the bottom of the table with a 2.0 score.
White: Magnus Carlsen
Black: Viswanathan Anand
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Ne2 d5 6. a3 Be7 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Bd2 Nd7 9. g3 b6 10. Nxd5 exd5 11. Bg2 Bb7 12. Bb4 Nf6 13. O-O Re8 14. Rc1 c6 15. Bxe7 Rxe7 16. Re1 Qd6 17. Nf4 Bc8 18. Qa4 Rc7 19. f3 Be6 20. e4 dxe4 21. fxe4 Qd7 22. d5 cxd5 23. Qxd7 Rxd7 24. Nxe6 fxe6 25. Bh3 Kh8 26. e5 Ng8 27. Bxe6 Rdd8 28. Rc7 d4 29. Bd7 1-0
Monday June 17, 2013
It's been a long, long time since the United States has hosted a truly significant international chess event (perhaps the 1995 World Chess Championship match between Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand was the most recent), but that streak is coming to an end. The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis announced today that both Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian will be participating in an event known as the Sinquefield Cup this September. The world's top two ranked players will be joined by the top two from America: Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky. The tournament will be held as a double round-robin between the four players.
Both Nakamura and Kamsky are perfectly capable of hanging with the world's best in a short tournament format, so this should be a very exciting event. The average FIDE rating of the four players is over 2800, making this the strongest tournament by rating ever held in the United States. The tournament may well be Carlsen's last warm up event before the World Championship in November as well, adding just a little more interest to the proceedings. I'm looking forward to seeing this event play out -- and hopefully it's a sign that more big chess events could be coming to the USA in the future!
Saturday June 15, 2013
Just a quick update: I've added a couple more "Top Five Chess Books" lists, each covering a different aspect of the game or book type. They're certainly not completely definitive lists on the topic, but they come from my personal experiences with my own growing collection of chess tomes. You can find all of the following on the site, with more coming soon:
And though it's not part of the same series, you might also like this list of five chess books available on the Kindle.
Thursday June 13, 2013
The Tal Memorial in Moscow is one of the year's biggest chess events, and the 2013 edition is now underway. Featuring ten of the world's top players, the tournament actually began with a blitz tournament that would decide the pairing numbers of each player. The winner of the blitz tournament got to choose their pairing number first, followed by the player who finished second, and so forth. This actually had the potential to confer an advantage: with ten players and nine rounds, some players would receive five Whites, while others would get only four.
It was American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura who took down the blitz tournament, scoring an impressive 7/9 without a loss to earn the right to pick his pairing number first (he went with #5, which not only gave him five whites, but also allowed him to start and finish the tournament with the white pieces. It wasn't a surprising result -- Nakamura is known as one of the world's truly great blitz players -- but it was still a nice start to the tournament considering both Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen were in the event (and both are known for their blitz and rapid prowess as well).
As for the tournament proper, that began today. Nakamura's good form in the blitz didn't carry over to the main tournament, as he lost his first game with White against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in just 31 moves. Fabiano Caruana also scored a win with Black against Anand, while Carlsen got out to a fast start with the White pieces, beating Vladimir Kramnik in a Trompowsky after Kramnik badly mishandled the endgame.
A report on the first round with lots of nice pictures can be found here. I'll have more reports from the tournament throughout the next two weeks!