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The Week in Chess

  • 20 years of The Week in Chess – 20 years
    The Week in Chess is 20 years old today. The first issue of the magazine was published on Saturday 17th September 1994. In the full article below I give an update from the 1000th issue earlier in the year. I list all 1036 issues so far along with their text and with a donation button to get all the games in ChessBase format. I feel a great sense of achievement in reaching this landmark. I hope that in some small way I’ve helped players all over the world keep in touch with chess and have access to almost every top class game over that time no matter how rich or poor they are. Now I have to look to the future. I plan to be around a long while. I have some obvious additions I can make to the website that only require some programming but also my personal financial stability has to come to the fore now.
  • Anand wins again DAY 2 – BILBAO CHESS 2014 – 3

    Anand increases lead at Bilbao masters final by defeating Paco Vallejo. At the European Club Cup, big favorites Socar, Obiettivo Risarcimento (Italy), and Malakhite are still leading

    FRANCISCO VALLEJO (Spain) – VISWANATAN ANAND (India) 0-3 (2 h. 36′ – 35 moves) LEVON ARONIAN (Armenia) – RUSLAN PONOMARIOV (Ukraine) 3-0 (4 h. 10′ – 50 moves)

    Bilbao Masters Final standings after Day 2:

    1. Anand (india) 6 points 2. Aronian (Armenia) 4 points 3. Vallejo (Spain) 1 point 4. Ponomariov (Ukraine) 0 points

  • Anand takes the lead DAY 1 – BILBAO CHESS 2014 – 1


    At the European Club Cup, the two favorites easily defeated their inferior rivals thanks to the pairing system of the first round

    Unequal results for Basque teams Sestao and Gros. The former drew their match, whereas the latter won theirs

    Bilbao mayor Ibon Areso executed the first move of Bilbao Chess 2014

    Bilbao, 14 September 2014

  • Bilbao Chess Masters Final 2014 – Games and Results
    The Bilbao Chess Masters Final takes place 14th to 20th September 2014. Viswanathan Anand plays his last event before challenging Carlsen in Sochi in November. Levon Aronian, Ruslan Ponomariov and Paco Vallejo make up the field. 4 players 6 rounds. Takes place alongside the European Club Cup. Games and results.
  • European Club Cup 2014 – Games and Results
    The European Club Cup takes place in Bilbao 14th to 20th of September. It takes place alongside the Bilbao Masters. Some top teams include: SOCAR Azerbaijan Giri, Korobov, Wang Hao, Topalov, Radjabov, Mammedyarov, Safarli and Adams. Obiettivo Risarcimento Caruana, Nakamura, Vachier-Lagrave, Bacrot, Fressinet, etc, SHSM (Moscow) Morozevich, Nepomniachtchi, Grachev, Dubov, Najer, Popov, Potkin, Dreev. SPB (Saint-Petersburg) Svidler, Leinier Dominguez, Vitiugov, Movsesian, Matlakov etc. MALAKHITE Grischuk, Karjakin, Leko, Shirov, Motylev, Malakhov, Lysyj, Bologan. Games and results.
  • 2nd Sinquefield Cup 2014 –
    The 2nd Sinquefield Cup took place 27th August to 7th September 2014. Fabiano Caruana scored the result of his career so far winning with 8.5/10 winning his first 7 games. Magnus Carlsen finished second. There was a final chess960 match won by Hikaru Nakamura 3.5-2.5 against Levon Aronian. The PGN file may work with your software but if it doesn’t recognise the format then castling breaks the games. All my stories, games and results in this section
  • Carlsen will defend his world title in Sochi against Anand in November – Carlsen signs
    Magnus Carlsen announced that he has signed up to defend his World Chess Championship title. Carlsen did so via a mildly cryptic tweet with a photo showing him putting pen to paper. The World Championship match takes place in Sochi, Russia, 7th to 28th November.

    Magnus Carlsen @MagnusCarlsen on twitter ”It has been a pleasure signing autographs for the fans in St. Louis. After the tournament I found the time for 1 more”

    All the indiciations coming out of the Carlsen camp seemed to suggest he had decided not to go to Sochi due to a combination of political and contractual issues but as VG Sport reported ”Magnus Carlsen took the decision at the last minute, but now it is clear: he has signed the World Championship contract from FIDE and will play World Championship match against Anand.”

    VG Sport has a reported the signing in detail including a photo of the contract being faxed. FIDE confirmed that they received the contract and the match will take place in Sochi.

    ”Magnus plays the World Championship. He wants to play. He is world champion in chess. He wants to defend his title.” Espen Agdestein Carlsen’s manager.

    Why so long? Espen Agdestein ”We do not think it has taken so long. It was not until during the Olympiad that it was clear when the match would be played and we’ve spent the time until now to make the decision. It was a difficult choice.” Agdestein confirmed that the decision was made at the last minute but that they’d been talking about it for some time. The unstable political situation meant they had to talk to their ministry. It seems in the end Carlsen just wanted to defend his title.

    ”There are only two months to match – it’s small, but it is probably good. Magnus is pleased to have signed and now he’s going to focus on being in absolute top form when the match starts – it is in fact a real effort.”

  • Sinquefield Cup ends on a quiet note after all the excitement – 10
    Fabiano Caruana finished the Sinquefield Cup with 8.5/10 after a quiet draw with Levon Aronian in the final round. With his seven wins in a row and missed chances in rounds 8 and 9 he could only spoil things with a final loss and he duely ended his tournament with a draw offer on move 30, the earliest he could according to the rules of the competition. It’s very tiring to maintain such a run and Caruana showed fatigue towards the end and seemed to be glad to finish the event undefeated. Kasparov pointed out that after his start in Wijk aan Zee he crashed to a loss in round 8 where he couldn’t remember anything.

    Only hindsight will say if Caruana’s tremendous victory by 3 points over World Champion Magnus Carlsen will have historical significance but his seven wins in a row in such a strong event will surely be the benchmark against which future runs will be measured. Caruana tried to keep a lid on future expectations but if he ”keeps his level” then his realistic future targets are to win the World Championship and become world number one.

    Magnus Carlsen has a big decision on the 7th September (later today as I write) as to whether he will travel to Sochi to defend his world title against Viswanathan Anand. It’s clear that the international situation over Russia and the Ukraine has an impact on his decision, that the announcement of the venue was made by Vladimir Putin politicises playing there. Also it seems, not for the first time, concerns over the contract, the level on money (although being world champion is worth a lot on its own) and the feeling that the short bidding deadlines grossly undervalued the match. Nevertheless just surrendering the title is a very serious decision. It seems to me that the Carlsen camp have decided not to play and only a last minute change of heart will take him to Sochi in November.

    Carlsen said he wasn’t in the best shape to play today and he chose the solid Berlin aa black against Veselin Topalov. When Topalov didn’t find the best an early repetition which could hardly be avoided by either player (both fighters under normal circumstances) could hardly be avoided.

    Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave drew the final game to finish.

    Final Standings: Caruana 8.5, Carlsen 5.5, Topalov 5, Aronian, Vachier-Lagrave 4, Nakamura 3.

    The event isn’t over with Ultimate Moves on Monday. This is 8 two-man teams event with GM and one amateur playing alternate moves (no consulatation) g15+2spm, double-round knockout bracket, and an Ultimate chess960 match on Tuesday between Aronian and Nakamura.

  • Sharjah Women’s Grand Prix 2014 – Games and Results
    The Sharjah Women’s Grand Prix took place Mon 25th Aug to Sat 6th Sep in Sharjah UAE. This was the final event of the Women’s Grand Prix series for 2013-14. Hou Yifan shared first place with Ju Wenjun and with that secured victory in the entire Grand Prix series. Humpy Koneru finished in second place but only scored 50%. Hou Yifan will have to defend her title in an as yet unscheduled knock-out but this result means she will get to defend her title next year in a match whether she wins that or not. Humpy Koneru’s second place means she will play Hou Yifan provided she retains her title in that knockout. FIDE WGP Wikipedia entry is excellent with the results and standings
  • Moscow Blitz 2014 – Games and Results
    The Moscow Blitz tournament took place on 6th September 2014. Alexander Morozevich was the convincing winner with 15.5/19 in this 20 player all-play-all. Boris Savchenko and Vladimir Malakhov scored 13 points Alexander Grischuk and Sergey Karjakin tied for 8th and 9th on 10.5 points. Games and final standings.
  • Three draws and two missed chances in Sinquefield Cup Round 9 – 9
    The nineth round of the Sinquefield Cup saw three draws for the first time. I had predicted this at the start as all the major issues had been settled but in fact, in spite of the obvious tiredness of many of the players, at least two of the game might, even should, have finished decisively.

    Fabiano Caruana had already secured first place but still had the motivation of posting an incredible score of 9.5/10 with a win today. Hikarua Nakamura chose the Berlin Defence that he’d lost to the previous day and Caruana was the one to be surprised by a novelty. Both players then seemed a bit hesitant in a complicated middle-game and in the run up to first time control there were inaccuracies from both, finally on move 40 Caruana had a winning position but perhaps nervous at making time control he failed to find 40.Rxg6+ sacrificing the exchange with a crushing position. Caruana had no explanation but this was a tough game and surely he has had an emotionally tough event with records on his mind. Nakamura said that he would just be happy to put the entire year of 2014 behind him.

    ”Fabiano’s getting tired, I’m just not playing well enough.” Magnus Carlsen

    ”In this particular moment, I didn’t see it” Caruana.

    Magnus Carlsen too missed a chance to win against Levon Aronian in a Lasker Variation of the Queen’s Gambit. Aronian looked very solid until he played 25…b5?! which was certainly complicated but it turned out that Carlsen was able to handle the complications to get an advantage, eventually a pawn in a tricky rook and pawn ending. Eventually Carlsen achieved a winning position but then got a bit careless. Something that he was obviously more than a little upset about.

    46.Kc2! would have won and Magnus Carlsen was very critical of his own lazyness in not completely checking all the variations (it was his first thought). He didn’t blame tiredness when asked.

    ”Not too much for me, I feel OK, it’s just a stupid slip today, I had 20 minutes today.”

    After this in spite of the computer engines saying he was winning and three extra rook pawns Aronian brought home a correct draw after the inferior 46.h6.

    Veselin Topalov had the slightly better of the struggle against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in spite of having the black pieces but this was the first game to finish, in a draw.

    Round 9 Standings: Caruana 8/9, Carlsen 5, Topalov, 4.5, Vachier-Lagrave, Aronian 3.5, Nakamura 2.5

    Round 10 Pairings: 1 Aronian-Caruana, Topalov-Carlsen, Nakamura-Vachier-Lagrave

  • Caruana wins the Sinquefield Cup with two rounds to spare but allows Carlsen to escape with a draw – 8
    Fabiano Caruana won the Sinquefield Cup with two rounds to spare after an exciting draw with Magnus Carlsen. However the draw brought to an end his amazing winning streak at 7 yet for much of the game he seemed on course to extend it. An amazing tournament result for Caruana and he will want to see out the rest of the tournament at least undefeated to complete the job. It’s a shame really that the Caruana winning streak ended as there’s really very little left to gain for anyone in the tournament.

    Carlsen came out fighting with the Sicilian Defence but his 10… a5 was already leaving commentators wondering if he might be in trouble as they couldn’t really see where Carlsen’s counter-play was coming from. Interesting moments: 15.Nb5!? (15.Nd5 Kasparov and others) 15…a3!? may have objectively a bit dubious, 17.h4!? (17.0-0 was very safe for white) 20…Bc6 was another risky decision. 26.0-0 was criticised by many onlookers as losing much of white’s advantage, the engines then spiked indicating a further opportunity for Caruana on Carlsen’s 28…Nb6 but already Caruana was starting to have time troubles and he didn’t play the 29.Rfd1 that was recommended and after 32…Ne3 the game was already heading for a drawish ending and the draw was agreed on move 42. A game of very high tension even if we perhaps did not see the best of either player. We also saw strange things in the Candidates earlier in the year. We need to be looking to create events with more at stake and more tension.

    Levon Aronian’s miserable tournament continued when he failed to convert an overwhelming advantage when he just blundered his h-pawn to something that wasn’t even really a tactic against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. However it is Nakamura who must be at a real low point losing his fourth game of the tournament, this time to Veselin Topalov on the white side of a Berlin Defence. Time for a rethink.

    Round 8 Standings: Caruana 7.5/8, Carlsen 4.5, Topalov 4, Vachier-Lagrave, Aronian 3, Nakamura 2.

    Round 9 Pairings Friday 8pm local time: Caruana-Nakamura, Carlsen-Aronian, Vachier-Lagrave-Topalov.

  • 7 and 0 for Caruana in the Sinquefield Cup – 7
    Fabiano Caruana didn’t even have to play that ambitiously to get a winning position in only 20 moves against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave with the black pieces in round 7 of the Sinquefield Cup to move to a perfect score of seven points from seven games (7 and 0 in US phraseology). This run of wins against players exclusively in the top 10 in the world is now without precedent.

    ”I don’t think Fabiano was even pretending to play too ambitiously today but after 20 moves we have this position.” was Carlsen’s comment and this was confirmed in interview by Caruana after the game. Attention now falls on Korchnoi’s 8/8 at Wijk aan Zee in 1968 with wins over Padevsky, Matanovic, Bobotsov, Ivkov, Ree, Karaklajic, Rossolimo, Tal. and with Fischer’s 20 straight wins across several events, the end of the 1970 Interzonal and matches against Larsen, Taimanov and Petrosian. The phrase ”fox in a hen house” comes to mind for occasions such as this. For the first time Caruana’s opponent played truly dreadfully, almost in panic at his score. Vachier-Lagrave just seemed to collapse just out of the opening. As Kasparov put it ”I do not believe chess has advanced so much in the 9 years since my retirement that moves like Qa4 and g3 make sense!” Caruana certainly seemed quite bemused at the ease of victory today.

    I think this performance has highlighted the truly desperate state of the statistical analysis of chess, to which it lends itself, compared to cricket and baseball. We’ve all been resorting to what people can remember for any comparison at all to this current performance.

    In round 8 I expect Caruana’s run to end with a draw with Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen himself was in a great mood, as opposed to the one he had after round 7. Carlsen has been playing quite convincingly with black (white is another matter) and indeed did suggest he might play for a win against Caruana which might rebound but I think he’ll make sure he draws above all.

    Today Magnus Carlsen was ”gifted” a point by Hikaru Nakamura in an opening Nakamura specialises in but yet managed to still go very wrong in early on.

    ”When he played this move Na6 I seemed to remember that this wasn’t possible.” said Carlsen afterwards and Nakamura’s one hour think and computer evaluations suggest this is also the case. This is now Carlsen’s 11th classical win against Nakamura without reply ”He doesn’t lose this way to other people.” said Carlsen who added that Nakamura was just going to have to work out why this was happening.

    Carlsen talked of Caruana’s chess being based on ”very sound values” but that ”I still think you can do well against Fabiano by playing more or less normal chess.”

    The final game between Topalov and Aronian was very much overshadowed by the other two games but Aronian might have pushed harder with black if he’d been doing better. Aronian said afterwards that the two players were ”Sharing our mutual misery”.

    Rex Sinquefield in interview during the round said whilst nothing was decided another event next year was on the cards and they were considering expanding the field yet again to 8 players which without an odd format implies 14 rounds (otherwise it would be a step backwards).

    Round 7 Standings: Caruana 7/7, Carlsen 4pts, Topalov 3, Vachier-Lagrave, Aronian 2.5 and Nakamura 2.

    Round 8 Thurs 4th Sept 2pm local time: Nakamura-Topalov, Aronian-Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana-Carlsen.

  • Caruana winning streak extends to six in Sinquefield Cup – 6
    Fabiano Caruana’s winning streak will most likely end at some point in the Sinquefield Cup but it wasn’t at the start of the second half. Caruana’s preparation was far superior to Topalov’s and in a sharp Sicilian this meant big trouble for the Bulgarian. Topalov was left with a very difficult position after the opening and his position was ripped apart. As the other games were drawn this leaves Caruana 3 points clear with just 4 rounds to go, even if he were to lose his remaining games this is likely to be a winning total.

    Veselin Topalov was involved in two of the most frequently mentioned winning streaks at the start of events and he rates this one above those. Topalov himself started with 6.5/7 in San Luis in 2005 but pointed out a couple of the players weren’t in good shape. Topalov beat Leko, drew with Anand from a winning position, then beat Morozevich, Adams, Svidler, Polgar and Kasimdzhanov before drawing out the 2nd half for victory. He seemed to rate Anatoly Karpov’s 6/6 at the start of Linares 1994 more highly where he beat Lautier, Bareev (he dropped a rook in an inexplicable way), Illescas, Topalov, Ivanchuk and Polgar before Kasparov draw in Round 7.

    Garry Kasparov’s major winning streak came in Wijk aan Zee 1999. After a first round draw with Ivanchuk he beat Van Wely, Yermolinsky, Topalov, Reinderman, Piket, Shirov and Kasimdzhanov, 7 games before being beaten by Ivan Sokolov.

    If Caruana now goes on to take number one in the world from Carlsen and become World Champion this will no doubt be spoken in the same way as Magnus Carlsen’s 8/10 in the Pearl Spring tournament of 2009 which effectively started his reign as number one, confirmed in the rating list just a few months later (Players: Topalov, that man again! Wang Yue, Radjabov, Leko and Jakovenko).

    Carlsen admitted to being in a ”foul mood” he said this was in frustration with his own form which he believes has seen three bad games with white and three decent ones with black. Carlsen looked a bit careworn as his own form hasn’t been good of late and he truly believe he was just winning today (32.g5!? maybe) and failed to be accurate enough in an ending. Carlsen also has a career defining decision to make over whether he will play in Sochi against Anand or if his and his management’s many objections to the venue and conditions will mean he will give up the title. Carlsen has had wins this year in Zurich and a triumph in the world rapid and blitz but he hasn’t been impressive over all with a sub-par Norwegian Chess Tournament and a poor Olympiad, not just in result but even more in play. Carlsen’s self-confidence resides in his belief he’s the best player. How will he react to this challenge? He’s been playing nothing like to the 2900+ level of recent years and his openings, especially with white and never his strong point seem in need of a huge amount of work.

    Hikarua Nakamura and Levon Aronian drew a Berlin in the final game to finish but the opening was pretty dull and Nakamura played a risky Queen sortie only to retract it the following move to hold the draw.

    Round 6 Standings: Caruana 6pts/6, Carlsen 3pts, Topalov, Vachier-Lagrave 2.5pts, Aronian and Nakamura 2pts.

    Round 7 Vachier-Lagrave-Caruana, Carlsen-Nakamura, Topalov-Aronian.

  • Caruana races to 5/5 and an almost decisive lead in the Sinquefield Cup – 5
    Fabiano Caruana moved to a perfect 5/5 at the halfway point of the Sinquefield Cup and a 2.5 point lead over Veselin Topalov and Magnus Carlsen. This score leaves him overwhelming favourite to win the event as it’s hard to imagine even a sub-par second half costing him first place. Carlsen summed it up that even if he beat him with black, a tall order, it wouldn’t be nearly enough.

    Caruana wasn’t quite as convincing in his win with black against Nakamura as he emerged out of an unusual opening with a disadvantage. However he was playing black and in the middle-game he turned things around completely. This was Caruana’s first win against Nakamura having lost three games without a win of his own.

    Caruana got an overwhelming position but missed a direct win with 44…Bh4!! and allowed Nakamura significant drawing chances especially with quite serious time trouble but after the faulty 48.f4? (Kf1) from Nakamura, Caruana brought home the point safely enough. Caruana was asked if the rest day might be unwelcome given his run of wins but he said he was ”very happy” to see it as he was tired. Caruana said he wasn’t doing a lot differently in this tournament. Perhaps his confidence was on the rise and, probably more significantly, he felt the tempo of his play was very good which has meant he has avoided serious time pressure.

    Magnus Carlsen recorded his first win and felt his play was much more like his ”normal level” today. He chose a rather unusual defence to 1.d4 but by the early middle-game seemed to have equalised. Levon Aronian gave up a pawn for very decent compensation but later his resistance in a difficult position was perhaps not as strong as one might expect, he seems to be in quite poor form here. Carlsen brought home the full point in a rook and pawn ending.

    Veselin Topalov got back to 50% with a win in a very sharp Sicilian against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Topalov got a stable advantage leaving Vachier-Lagrave with a horribly passive position and after missing a key idea he resigned in a dreadful position. The resignation was perhaps a little early but there wasn’t really much doubt about the result.

    The players go into a rest day although I believe there are some publicity events for them to do.

    Round 5 Standings: Caruana 5/5, Topalov, Carlsen 2.5, Vachier-Lagrave 2, Aronian, Nakamura 1.5.

    Round 6 Tuesday 2pm local time: Nakamura-Aronian, Caruana-Topalov, Carlsen-Vachier-Lagrave

  • Caruana extends his convincing winning run to four in Sinquefield Cup – 4
    Fabiano Caruana took almost decisive control of the Sinquefield Cup after defeating Levon Aronian in a Ruy Lopez to move to a 4/4 start. Caruana introduced another new idea that he’d prepared for someone else with 15.Na2. Play was very complicated and it seemed Aronian might be close to equalisation but according to Caruana once 22.Qh5 arrived black’s position was close to collapse and Caruana kept the counter-play to a minimum in scoring his fourth victory in a row. Now the question is will Caruana continue to win rather than will be win the tournament. He has a two point win and his play has been extremely convincing so far and it looks like if he continues like this he only has the power to add to his score.

    Magnus Carlsen started the tournament with two quite nice draws with black but didn’t play very well in round 3 and in round 4 he almost over-pressed in an endgame and lost against Veselin Topalov. 45.Rc5 would have forced the win of a piece and although there was still some play Topalov would have at the very least have enjoyed serious winning chances. Carlsen said he ”didn’t play at a decent level.”

    Hikarua Nakamura had his second black in a row and repeated the same variation of the Ruy Lopez he empoyed in round 3. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave took a small edge into the middle-game but Nakamura liquidated to a drawn position in the first game to finish.

    The official live coverage reported a peak of over 31,000 viewers.

    Round 4 standings: Caruana 4pts, Vachier-Lagrave 2pts, Nakamura, Aronian, Carlsen, Topalov 1.5pts.

    Round 5 Sunday 31st August 2pm St Louis time: Nakamura-Caruana, Aronian-Carlsen, Topalov- Vachier-Lagrave

  • Caruana beats Carlsen to move to 3/3 in Sinquefield Cup – 3
    Fabiano Caruana beat Magnus Carlsen to move to a clear lead with 3/3 by a point and a half in another fighting round three of the Sinquefield Cup. Carlsen called his opening (starting with 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4) ”pretty bad” and Caruana invited a sacrifice of a piece from Carlsen which wasn’t favourable for white. Carlsen was then under pressure on the board and on the clock for some time and at one point seemed to be getting out of it but in fact was always still in a pretty bad position. Then Carlsen made life easy blundering his entire position away but the game was probably gone in any event.

    Maxime Vachier-Lagrave scored his first win of the tournament against Levon Aronian after the Armenian tried a little too hard to punish a rather passive opening with a very risky pawn grab that left black with a rather passive position. Aronian’s 15…Rf5 looked very risky and it turned out to be also very bad and after that he really didn’t have a chance to recover.

    Veselin Topalov was of course happy to win his game against Hikaru Nakamura but called the game ”very bad” afterwards. Nakamura couldn’t quite find his way through to the end of a sacrifice with 21.Bxf2+ but instead he blamed himself for losing the thread later on. But even after 27.Bd2? he had the chance of a large advantage with 27…Nh5 and even my first thought in commentary of 27…Nb7 with the idea of Nd6-f5 was better than he played. In the end Nakamura’s position just collapsed rather rapidly.

    Round 3 standings: Caruana 3pts/3, Vachier-Lagrave, Aronian 1.5, Nakamura, Carlsen, Topalov 1pt.

    Round 4 pairings: Vachier-Lagrave-Nakamura, Carlsen-Topalov, Caruana-Aronian.

    I will be hosting commentary on ICC with the experience Ronen Har-Zvi which can be seen for free at: Please feel free to join us.

  • Caruana off to a flying start with a perfect score after two rounds – 2
    Fabiano Caruana demolished Maxime Vachier-Lagrave’s Advanced Caro-Kann to plve to a clear lead of 2/2. Caruana was surprised by MVL’s choice of the Caro-Kann but used a new idea he prepared for Mamedyarov a few months ago. Caruana is already a point clear of Magnus Carlsen who secured a reasonably comfortable draw against Hikaru Nakamura using the 3…g6 line of the Ruy Lopez to surprise his opponent, that game finished in perpetual check. Carlsen has started his first two games with black and gets his first white against the leader in round 3. Levon Aronian had a bit of an opening disaster against Veselin Topalov but once he escaped immediate difficulties Topalov just collapsed very quickly to a horrible loss. Topalov may already be in huge trouble in the event unless he can recover his form, in particular calculation which he himself highlighted in his post-game press conference.

    Round 2 Standings: Caruana 2/2, Aronian 1.5, Nakamura, Carlsen 1, Vachier-Lagrave 0.5, Topalov 0pts.

    Round 3 Friday 2pm local time 8pm UK time: Topalov-Nakamura, Vachier-Aronian and Carlsen-Caruana,

    I will be hosting commentary with GM Lars Bo Hansen on ICC which can be seen at ICC’s Twitch TV page. Feel free to drop in. I’m also hosting with Ronen Har-Zvi on Saturday.

  • Thunder and Lightning on the opening day of the 2nd Sinquefield Cup – 1
    The first day of the 2nd Sinquefield Cup showed all the players came to fight and even though there was only one decisive game there were three very interesting games on show. Outside there was a huge thunder storm that disturbed all the players with additional lightning and hale.

    Early on the focus was on Magnus Carlsen playing black against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave’s Scotch. 8.e5 was a sharp move new to praxis but not apparently to most of the players. Carlsen maybe missed a chance to win late on but with time trouble and a confession that ”I should have been calmer” Carlsen allowed a draw by perpetual. Levon Aronian was disappointed he couldn’t press more against Nakamura’s solid Slav. Veselin Topalov played very sharply against Fabiano Caruana in an English but at some point he lost his way and his position collapsed very quickly. Meaning that Caruana leads alone on 1/1 after the first round.

    Round 2 2pm local time, 8pm UK time: Nakamura-Carlsen, Caruana-Vachier and Aronian-Topalov

  • 5th Yaroslav the Wise Rapid 2014 – Games and Results
    The 5th Yaroslav the Wise Rapid took place 26th to 27th August 2014. Players: Tomashevsky, Nepomniachtchi, Jakovenko, Potkin, Moiseenko and Motylev play. Ian Nepomniachtchi won with 7.5/10 a point clear of Dmitry Jakovenko. Games and results.