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The Week in Chess


  • Tal Memorial opens with a tribute to Mark Dvoretsky – 1
    The first round of the Tal Memorial was overshadowed by the announcement of the passing of legendary trainer Mark Dvoretsky and started with a minute of silence.

    Ian Nepomniachtchi was the only winner of the day when he used the Scotch to beat Evgeny Tomashevsky very quickly. The opening cannot have been a surprise but Tomashevsky took a lot of time in getting a bad position and resigned in 23 moves.

    Peter Svidler seemed to have slightly the worse of the opening battle against Vladimir Kramnik but this provoked Kramnik into too violent a readction and after 18.Bxg5 sacrificing a piece to open up Kramnik’s king-side Svidler had a huge advantage. Svidler just couldn’t put Kramnik away and allowed his opponent back into the game, 44…Rxf5 left all three results in play and they drew in 66 moves.

    The remaining games were less interesting. Anish Giri got a pleasant plus against Viswanathan Anand but the former champion defended well, Levon Aronian looked to have a little something out of the opening but the sequence 17.Rxc8 (probably not best) Rxc8 18.Bxd5 Kd6! at least equalised. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and his opponent Li Chao were both 10 minutes late, arriving together, but it was Mamedyarov as white who lost the time. They simplified to a draw fairly quickly.

    Round 1 Standings: Nepomniachtchi 1pt, Aronian, Li, Mamedyarov, Anand, Gelfand, Giri, Svidler, Kramnik 0.5pts, Tomashevsky 0pts.

    Round 2 1pm BST Tuesday 27th September: Kramnik-Li, Anand-Mamedyarov, Gelfand-Giri, Tomashevsky-Aronian, Svidler-Nepomniachtchi.

  • 10th Tal Memorial Moscow 2016 – Games and Results
    The 10th Mikhail Tal Memorial returns taking place 26th September to 6th October 2016. Players: Kramnik, Tomashevsky, Nepomniachtchi, Anand, Aronian, Gelfand, Li Chao, Mamedyarov, Giri and Svidler.

    Opening ceremony 6pm local time and blitz 7pm, 5pm UK time Sun 25th September. Round 1 15:00 local time, 13:00 UK time.

  • Magnus Carlsen Play Live Challenge 2016 – Games and Results
    Magnus Carlsen was in New York on Thursday September 22nd to play a simultaneous exhibition against 11 players who used the Play Magnus app. Carlsen and the players have 30 minutes each. Event in the Liberty Science Centre. The studio guests included Fabiano Caruana, Jon Ludvig Hammer and Paul Hoffman. Contestants: Vedic Panda age 16 USA, Jed Sloan age 8 USA (replaced Moshe Inoyatov age 22 USA), Isaac Wiebe age 22 Canada, Polina Karelina age 15 Bahamas, Soeren Marx age 19 Germany, Gustav Gudbrandsen age 52 Norway, Emil Hartveit age 27 Norway, Michael Dimitriadis age 50 Austria, Ivet Sala Samarra age 16 Spain and Andrew Grojean (a Ruy Lopez, game now available) age 26 USA, Ben Berkowitz GER

    You can watch via the VG website or using the embedded viewer below. Start time was 22nd September 11:30am EST 16:30BST 17:30CET. Carlsen won all the games in 47 minutes. All games now available for viewing.

  • Baku Open 2016 – Games and Results
    The Baku Open took place 18th to 26th September 2016. Stanislav Bogdanovich won with 7.5/9.
  • World Youth 2016 – Games and Results
    The World Youth Championships take place in Khanty Mansiysk 20th September to 4th October 2016. 6 sections: Open and Girls U18, U16 and U14.
  • 42nd World Chess Olympiad 2016 – Games and Results
    The 42nd World Chess Olympiad took place in Baku 1st to 14th September 2016. 11 rounds. All games and standings. The USA won their first title since 1976 on tie-break from Ukraine both scored 20 points. Russia took clear 3rd. on 18 points. India finished 4th and World Champion Magnus Carlsen’s team Norway finished 5th. In the Women’s Olympiad China won on 20 points ahead of Poland and Ukraine on 17 points. Defending champions Russia finished fourth on 16 points level with India, USA, Vietnam, Azerbaijan and Israel.
  • St Petersburg Summer 2016 – Games and Results
    The St Petersburg Summer took place 17th to 28th August 2016. Vladimir Malakhov edged out Evgeny Alekseev, Alexander Morozevich and Maxim Matlakov on tie-break after all scored 8.5/11 in the very strong rapid tournament.
  • 52nd Rubinstein Memorial 2016 – Games and Results
    The 52nd Rubinstein Memorial took place 20th to 28th August 2016. Marcin Szelag won with 7.5/9.
  • 23rd Abu Dhabi Masters 2016 – Games and Results
    The 23rd Abu Dhabi Masters took place 21st to 29th August 2016. Dmitry Andreikin took clear first with 7.5/9.
  • chess.com Semi-Final Blitz 2016 – Games and Results
    The Semi-Finals of the Grandmaster Blitz Battle Championship on chess.com take place on the 23rd and 24th of August 2016. 3 hours of blitz and bullet chess. 23rd Aug World Champion Magnus Carlsen vs Alexander Grischuk and 24th Aug Hikaru Nakamura vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. 6pm UK time. 1pm New York time. Carlsen beat Grischuk 16-8. Hikaru Nakamura beat Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 21.5-10.5. The players missed the call for the end of the match and so played an additional bullet game won by MVL. I give the games in PGN. The three Chess960 games per match have been removed. They cause too many problems. The final between Carlsen and Nakamura will take place in September at a date yet to be decided.
  • World Juniors 2016 – Games and Results
    The World Junior Championship took place in Bhubaneswar 7th to 21st August 2016. Jeffery Xiong won the title with a round to spare finishing on 10.5/13 a point clear of Vladislav Artemiev. Lyna Narayanan Sunilduth finished 3rd. Xiong is the 7th US player to win the title, the first since Tal Shaked in 1997. Dinara Saduakassova won the girls title with 9.5/13 half a point clear of Pv Nandhidhaa and Dinara Dordzhieva. Saduakassova even had the luxury of throwing a win away in the final round.
  • 91st French Chess Championships 2016 – Games and Results
    The 91st French Chess Championships took place in Agen 13th to 21st August 2016. Top seeds: Laurent Fressinet, Romain Edouard, Tigran Gharamian, Sebastien Maze, Christian Bauer, Sebastien Feller etc. Matthieu Cornette won with 6/9. Sophie Milliet won a tie-break blitz tournament from Natacha Benmesbah and Almira Skripchenko after all finished on 6.5/9.
  • Wesley So wins the Sinquefield Cup – 9
    Wesley So won the Sinquefield Cup after drawing his final game against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and posting a score of 5.5/9. So had to wait for the result of Veselin Topalov against Levon Aronian to know he’d won. If that game had been decisive there would have been a playoff for the title on Monday. As it was Topalov failed to convert a winning advantage in the endgame and So could celebrate. So also leads the Grand Chess Tour going into the final event in London.

    So chose the solid Ruy Lopez Berlin Defence against MVL and didn’t have much trouble holding the draw. MVL had hoped the endgame he chose was tricky but So was unphased.

    Veselin Topalov had a great position against Levon Aronian in a sharp 4.d3 Berlin Defence. Topalov could have gone for a more attacking game but instead they traded to an endgame where white was close to winning at move 40. I don’t know why Topalov turned down 48.f4 which seemed straightforward but it was finally 57.Rd4+ that lost the winning advantage although Aronian couldn’t see an answer to 64.Kc5 after which black only just holds the draw with 64…Ra7.

    Hikaru Nakamura scored the most drastic win of the day crushing Ding Liren. Nakamura seemed to catch out Ding Liren with his choice of Semi-Slav variation and Ding didn’t seem to have the energy to resist at the end of a tiring event for him. 17…Nh5 was a bad idea and Nakamura confidently rattled out a refutation ending with 22.Nd5! after which the game was effectively over.

    Fabiano Caruana had drawn all his games in the Sinquefield Cup before defeating a struggling Anish Giri in the final round. Giri felt comfortable out of the opening but it was the precise timing of his break 15…f6 that caused all the problems. Caruana found a far from obvious continuation where he gave up two rooks for the queen. The resulting position was hugely favourable for white, a fantastic piece of judgement from Caruana and he went on to win in 46 moves.

    Peter Svidler and Viswanathan Anand contested another 4.d3 Berlin Defence. Anand’s kingside counterplay was just in time to secure the draw.

    Final Round 9 Standings: Wesley So 5.5pts/9, Anand, Aronian, Caruana, Topalov 5pts, MLV Nakamura 4.5pts, Ding Liren 4pts, Svidler 3.5pts, Giri 3pts.

  • Riga Technical University Open 2016 – Games and Results
    The Riga Technical University Open took place 8th to 14th August 2016. Martyn Kravtsiv edged out Hrant Melkumyan, Arturs Neiksans, Aleksey Goganov and Jiri Stocek on tie-break after all scored 7/9.
  • 20th Hogeschool Zeeland Tournament 2016 – Games and Results
    The 20th Hogeschool Zeeland Tournament took place 6th to 13th August 2016. Loek van Wely won with 8/9.
  • 81st ch-ESP 2016 – Games and Results
    The 81st Spanish Championship took place 5th to 13th August 2016. Francisco Vallejo Pons won with 7.5/9. Alvar Alonso Rosell won the rapid with 7.5/9.
  • So leads the Sinquefield Cup going into the final round – 8
    Wesley So took a quick draw against Fabiano Caruana in the eighth round of the Sinquefield Cup. So was concerned with his tricky finish against Caruana and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and played very solidly, Caruana tired from his marathon against Ding Liren was not in a position to resist.

    The results of round 8 has led to a compacting of the field. If the results go a certain way in round 9 up to seven players can tie for first and qualify for a playoff on Monday.

    Ding the other player in the marathon was surprised by MVL and had to take a solid approach rather than accept a pawn and that game was quickly drawn too.

    Viswanathan Anand almost got himself into trouble against Veselin Topalov in trying to press for a win but the game stayed objectively more or less equal and finished in a draw.

    Levon Aronian defeated Hikaru Nakamura in a Bf4 Queen’s Gambit. Nakamura said he hadn’t initally inrended to play this opening but was sick the night before and wanted to play solidly. Aronian had a nice advantage out of the opening and even though he didn’t finish things quickly he got there in the end.

    Peter Svidler was extremely relieved to win his game against Anish Giri. Svidler turned the game round to his advantage just before the first time control and won a pawn, this became two later on but Giri continued to resist and 54…e5 complicated his task greatly. Svidler eventually found a way to transpose to a winning Rook and Pawn vs Rook endgame. Svidler didn’t want to think about how he would have felt if he hadn’t won.

    Round 8 Standings: So 5pts, Anand, Aronian, Topalov, 4.5pts, Caruana, MVL, Ding 4pts, Nakamura 3.5pts, Giri, Svidler 3pts.

    Final Round 9 14th Aug 2016 7pm UK time: Topalov-Aronian, Svidler-Anand, Caruana-Giri, MVL-So, Nakamura-Ding

  • All draws in Round 7 of the Sinquefield Cup – 7
    Wesley So retains his lead of the Sinquefield Cup after a round of draws in Round 7. So has 4.5 points half a point clear of Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov.

    In the most interesting game of the day Fabiano Caruana tested Ding Liren for 95 moves and nearly seven hours but couldn’t exract a losing error from his tenacious opponent in a complex endgame where he had a small advantage.

    Peter Svidler hoped to surprise So in a variation of the English he hadn’t played before but So wasn’t phased at all and it was Svidler that had to be careful in gaining the draw.

    Hikaru Nakamura played the Berlin Defence against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and his confidence in its solidity was rewarded with a draw.

    Viswanathan Anand looked to be getting at least something with his Giuoco Piano against Levon Aronian but just when he thought he was getting a bind Aronian found 33…b5 a well calculated liquidation that persuaded Anand to take a draw.

    Veselin Topalov repeated an unsual opening against Anish Giri he’d previous tried against Anand. 1. c4 e5 2. d3 Bb4+ 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. Ngf3 Nc6 5. a3 Bxd2+ and came up with 6. Qxd2 (which wasn’t new having been played in an obscure game in 1995). All this eventually did was give Giri a small edge but Topalov gradually liquidated to a draw.

    Round 7 standings: Wesley So 4.5pts/7, Anand, Topalov 4pts, Caruana, Nakamura, MVL, Ding 3.5pts, Giri 3pts, Svidler 2pts.

    Round 8 pairings: So-Caruana, Anand-Topalov, Aronian-Nakamura, Ding-MVL, Giri-Svidler

  • 34th Andorra Open 2016 – Games and Results
    The 34th Andorra Open took place in Escaldes 3rd-11th August 2016. Jorge Cori won with 7.5/9 half a point clear of a big group on 7/9 including Julio Granda Zuniga, Grand suffered a shock final round defeat to Maxime Lagarde with the white pieces in just 26 moves.
  • Wesley So takes the lead of the Sinquefield Cup after 6 rounds – 6
    Wesley So took the lead of the Sinquefield Cup by beating Veselin Topalov in Round 6. Topalov had expressed unhappyness with his form in spite of his lead and he was again unhappy in running down a position that was at least equal to a loss. Topalov criticised 28…b6 and 32…Re5 was much too ambitious and his position went downhill fast after that.

    Levon Aronian made a mess of his opening against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and was struggling early on. The opportunist 25.Nxb7 was probably the very last chance to resist and MVL won in 49 moves.

    Peter Svidler had stablised his tournament with three draws after two losses. He dedided to go for enterprising play against Ding Liren but it backfired to another loss. After the game Svidler said he should have preferred 12…Rb8 instead of 12…Re8 and was bitterly critical of 40…dxe4 instead of 40…dxc4 although that move loses also. Ding won in 59 moves.

    Hikaru Nakamura faced a deeply prepared Fabiano Caruana in the Benoni. Caruana eventually forgot his preparation and stood slightly worse. Caruana chose to bail out into an endgame of Queen and 4 pawns vs 2 Rooks and 3 pawns for Nakamura which he though should be holdable with care. It seems he was right as after opening up white’s king with g5 and h4 the draw followed soon after.

    Anish Giri and Viswanathan Anand played an interesting game where both got into time trouble. Anand’s nervous play led to an objectively lost position but Giri’s 40.Rc8+ played with just 4 seconds left threw the advantage away. He simply didn’t have time to calculate the winning 40.Ke3.

    Round 6 Standings: Wesley So 4pts/6, Anand, Topalov 3.5pts, Caruana, Nakamura, MVL, Ding 3pts, Giri 2.5pts, Svidler 1.5pts.

    Round 7 pairings: Svidler-So, Anand-Aronian, Topalov-Giri, MVL-Nakamura, Caruana-Ding

Susan Polgar Chess Daily News and Information