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The Week in Chess

  • Carlsen leads by half a point from Anand after Round 8 of the Gashimov Memorial – 8
    Magnus Carlsen had the better of a draw against Wesley So in the penultimate round of the Gashimov Memorial. The players seemed to conclude black didn’t have any real chances to push for a win in their post-mortem.

    Viswanathan Anand moved within half a point of Carlsen with a fine win over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Playing the Four Knights Anand followed a suggestion from his second Grzegorz Gajewski to play 7.Ne2 and a complicated struggle ensued. Mamedyarov admitted he missed the strength of 28.Rd5 sacrificing the exchange after which he was worse. Mamedyarov only had seconds to play his 40th move and 40…Rbc8 was probably the decisive error.

    Vladimir Kramnik scored a smooth win in a Reti against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Kramnik said he got a nice advantage from the opening and there weren’t too many complications in bringing home the full point.

    Anish Giri made a misjudgement of his counter play against Michael Adams and by the time he realised white had an unstoppable kingside attack.

    Rauf Mamedov and Fabiano Caruana drew an interesting Ruy Lopez which finished in perpetual check.

    Round 8 standings: Carlsen 6pts/8, Anand 5.5pts, Caruana, So 4.5pts, Mamedov, Kramnik, Mamedyarov 3.5pts, Giri, Vachier-Lagrave, Adams 3pts.

    Round 9 pairings 10am BST (one hour earlier than the other rounds): Mamedyarov-Adams, Caruana-Anand, Carlsen-Mamedov, Vachier-Lagrave-So, Giri-Kramnik

  • Kasparov vs Short Rapid/Blitz in Saint Louis 2015 – Games and Results
    Garry Kasparov returns to the board to play an exhibition rapid and blitz match against Nigel Short in Saint Louis over the weekend of 25th and 26th April 2015. Play starts at 14:00 local time, 20:00 BST and will see one rapid game followed by four blitz on each day.
  • International Chess Circuit for 2015 launched in St Louis – 2015
    An International Chess Circuit called the ”Grand Chess Tour” for 2015 was launched at a press conference in St Louis on 24th April 2015. There will be three 10 player events, each with $300,000 in prize money. The final total prize money for the series comes to over $1,000,000 with bonuses of $50,000 from each event being paid into a pool for the combined standings. These events are: Norway Chess 15-26 June, the Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis 21st August – 3rd September and the London Chess Classic 3rd-14th December 2015. There are already plans for a 2016 circuit which they hope will include an event in Indonesia, and envisage taking the series global. They’ve tried to avoid scheduling conflicts.

    9 players compete in all three events and an additional wild card player for each tournament (also entitled to points for the series). 8/9 of the players have been announced they are: Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Alexander Grischuk, Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian, Anish Giri, Hikaru Nakamura. The invitations were based on top 10 January 2015 rating list. Vladimir Kramnik was invited but declined the invitation because his schedule is already very crowded (three more was too many and he is serious about trying to qualify from the World Cup) but would have liked to play some of them. Maxine Vachier-Lagrave has some scheduling problems in competing in the series but sounded hopeful about playing. Announcement within a week.

    Garry Kasparov was involved in its creation and he plays Nigel Short 25th-26th April 2015 in Rapid and Blitz to help launch it. Kasparov is ”the man who took the initiative” in its creation and advised the organisers.

    Initial news via Tarjei J. Svensen @TarjeiJS on twitter and from

    TV2 who will broadcast the Norwegian tournament

    Press conference on 24th April took place at 21:00 BST 15:00 St Louis time.

    More news: Chess24.

    The twitter address for the event is The website will be very shortly.

  • Carlsen extends his lead after beating Kramnik in Gashimov Memorial Round 7 – 7
    Magnus Carlsen has a 1 point lead over the field going into his game against Wesley So in the eighth round Gashimov Memorial after defeating Vladimir Kramnik. Kramnik suffered his third loss in a row, as far as anyone can tell the first time this has happened to him in a classical event. Kramnik was clearly upset with himself more than anything else as he saw the near equalising move of 19…Bb7 but played the more complicated 19..Bc7 instead which doesn’t seem to work. Carlsen won a queen for rook and bishop and whilst it took some technique the position must be winning for him.

    Fabiano Caruana also didn’t have too much out of the opening according to his post-mortem with Wesley So. The position was a bit awkward but both players agreed So’s real trouble came when he misplaced the knight with 23.Ng6 after which he was unable to save the game.

    Viswanathan Anand moved into second place above So after defeating Michael Adams in a complex game where he gave up the exchange for bishop and pawn. It seemed harder for Adams to play and Anand gradually took over and won the game.

    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov had a much better position against Rauf Mamedov according to the computer (21.Rxe4!) but gradually allowed his opponent to equalise. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Anish Giri drew.

    Round 7 Standings: Carlsen 5.5pts/7, Anand 4.5pts, Caruana, So 4pts, Mamedyarov 3.5pts, Giri, Vachier-Lagrave, Mamedov 3pts, Kramnik 2.5pts, Adams 2pts.

    Round 8 pairings 11am BST Saturday 24th April 2015: Adams-Giri, Kramnik-Vachier-Lagrave, So-Carlsen, Mamedov-Caruana, Anand-Mamedyarov.

  • Caruana beats Kramnik in Round 6 of the Gashimov Memorial – 6
    Fabiano Caruana was the only winner in the sixth round of the Gashimov Memorial. Caruana defeated Kramnik but only after the latter spoiled a good position in trying to exploit his advantage. Caruana said his position was ”very unpleasant” but once he got the chance to sacrifice the exchange he was much better in the ensuing complications.

    Earlier Anish Giri played for and got very little as white against World Champion Magnus Carlsen in a quiet game that finished in a draw. Wesley So briefly looked like he was making progress against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov before they reached equality. Rauf Mamedov got a tiny advantage against a solid Caro-Kann from Viswanathan Anand and Michael Adams couldn’t make anything of an edge against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

    Round 6 Standings: Carlsen 4.5/6, So 4pts, Anand 3.5pts, Mamedyarov, Caruana 3pts, Giri, Kramnik, Vachier-Lagrave, Mamedov 2.5pts, Adams 2pts

    Round 7 Pairings Friday 24th April 2015: Anand-Admas, Mamedyarov-Mamedov, Caruana-So, Carlsen-Kramnik and Vachier-Lagrave-Giri.

  • Carlsen leads the Gashimov Memorial going into the rest day – 5
    Magnus Carlsen won a very interesting struggle against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave where the players were on their own resources from move three. Carlsen’s 14.Bg5 was a powerful idea that led to a big advantage after which he gradually ground down his opponent.

    Viswanathan Anand defeated the leader Wesley So in a very sharp game where he sacrificed a piece in a line that was shown to him by his second during the event. Anand had to work hard but was very impressive in working his way to a win.

    Anish Giri had to defend very well to hold a bad position against Fabiano Caruana. Rauf Mamedov and Michael Adams also drew.

    Shahriyar Mamedyarov won the final game to finish against Vladimir Kramnik.

    Round 5 Standings: Carlsen 4pts/5, So 3.5pts, Anand 3pts, Kramnik, Mamedyarov 2.5pts, Giri, Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana, Mamedov 2pts, Adams 1.5pts.

    Rest day Wednesday.

    Round 6 pairings Thursday 23rd April 2015 11am BST: Adams-Vachier-Lagrave, Giri-Carlsen, Kramnik-Caruana, So-Mamedyarov, Mamedov-Anand

  • Wesley So leads alone after four rounds of the Gashimov Memorial – 2
    Wesley So secured a large advantage against Rauf Mamedov and ground him down in an ending to take the sole lead in the Gashimov Memorial.

    Joint leader Magnus Carlsen got into time trouble trying to find resources against Michael Adams but had to settle for a draw. Viswanathan Anand held Vladimir Kramnik quite comfortably in a theoretical Semi-Slav which clearly had been studied deeply by him. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave didn’t get anything against Fabiano Caruana’s Gruenfeld and the game was drawn. Anish Giri and Shakhriyar drew a Slav.

    Round 4 Standings: So 3.5pts/4, Carlsen 3pts, Kramnik 2.5pts, Anand, Vachier-Lagrave 2pts, Mamedov, Giri, Mamedyarov, Caruana 1.5pts, Adams 1pt.

    Round 5 Pairings: Mamedov-Adams, Anand-So, Mamedyarov-Kramnik, Caruana-Giri, Carlsen-Vachier-Lagrave.

  • 10th World Teams 2015 – Games and Results
    The 10th World Team Championship takes place 18th to 29th April 2015.
  • Wesley So and Magnus Carlsen lead the Gashimov Memorial after three rounds – 2-3
    Wesley So beat a struggling Michael Adams in round three of the Vugar Gashimov Memorial to reach 2.5/3. Magnus Carlsen won a second game in a row beating Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in round 2 and Fabiano Caruana with black to reach the same score. Caruana was scathing about his own play in losing to Carlsen. He didn’t play the opening well but thought anything would draw the resulting position. The remaining games were drawn in rounds 2 and 2 with Viswanathan Anand’s draw against Anish Giri being very sharp.

    Round 3 Standings: Carlsen, So 2.5pts/3, Kramnik 2pts, Anand, Mamedov, Vachier-Lagrave 1.5pts, Giri, Mamedyarov, Caruana 1pts, Adams 0.5pts.

    Round 4 pairings: Adams-Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave-Caruana, Giri-Mamedyarov, Kramnik-Anand and So-Mamedov.

  • Kramnik and So win in the first round of the Gashimov Memorial – 1
    Vladimir Kramnik and Wesley So were the only winners in the first round of the 2nd Vugar Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir. Viswanathan Anand missed a good chance to beat the World Champion Magnus Carlsen and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov also was close to a win against Fabiano Caruana.

    Carlsen played the Marshall Gambit as black against Anand’s Ruy Lopez and surprised his opponent with 14…Bg6 in a well known position. Anand thought for half an hour over 15.Bxd5. Carlsen was close to equality but 19…Qd7? overlooked an important tactical point that 20.Nd5! is possible for tactical reasons after which Carlsen was a clear pawn down. Anand pointed out 26.Nb4 was likely a forced win. After that Carlsen defended well and 47.Kf5 allowed Carlsen to reach a drawn position after 49…g5!

    Wesley So got a big position out of a rare opening against Anish Giri who never fully solved his problems and Giri’s position became so bad he decided to give up a piece in desperation, he resigned shortly afterwards.

    Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Fabiano Caruana had a very interesting struggle in a Gruenfeld with 5.Bf4 c5!? Caruana gave up a piece when under pressure at the board and on the clock in order to simplify to an ending he was eventually able to hold.

    Michael Adams was scathing about his own play against Vladimir Kramnik saying he miscalculated and missed far too much. Adams lost on time in a position that was already gone.

    Round 1 Standings: So, Kramnik 1pt, Carlsen, Caruana, Anand, Vachier-Lagrave, Mamedyarov, Mamedov 0.5pts, Giri, Adams 0pts.

    Round 2 Saturday 18th Apri 2015: Adams-Caruana, Carlsen-Mamedyarov, Vachier-Lagrave-Anand, Giri-Mamedov and Kramnik-So.

  • 2nd Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2015 – Games and Results
    The 2nd Vugar Gashimov Memorial takes place in the Heydar Aliyev Center in Shamkir 17th to 26th April 2015. Players: Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Viswanathan Anand, Anish Giri, Wesley So, Vladimir Kramnik, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Adams Michael and Mamedov Rauf. Play starts on Friday at 11am BST, 12pm CET,
  • Chinese Team Championship 2015 – Games and Results
    The Chinese Team Championship takes place 10th April to 11th December 2015 over a marathon 22 rounds.
  • US Chess Championships 2015 – Games and Results
    The US Chess Championships took place in St Louis 1st to 12th April 2015.Players men: Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, Ray Robson, Gata Kamsky, Alexander Onischuk, Daniel Naroditsky, Sam Shankland, Varuzhan Akobian, Timur Gareev, Kayden Troff, Sam Sevian and Conrad Holt. The women’s event has Irina Krush, Tatev Abrahamyan, Anna Sharevich etc. Play starts 1pm local time 7pm BST. Top seeds Hikaru Nakamura and Irina Krush took the men’s and women’s title. Wesley So was controversially defaulted a game after taking inspirational notes to his game vs Var Akobian after warnings about similar messages on his score sheets. I also wonder if we’ll look back at this event as Sam Sevian’s debut, the 14 year old finished on 50% after winning on time in a position he was only trying to save against Conrad Holt. Games and results.
  • 15th Bangkok Chess Club Open 2015 – Games and Results
    The 15th Bangkok Chess Club Open took place in Pattaya 12th to 19th April 2015. The open is also called the Thailand open and takes place in Bangkok only in the even years. Players: Wang Hao, Francisco Vallejo Pons, Nigel Short, Jan Gustafsson, Bartosz Socko etc. In spite of an early loss Nigel Short won the event with 7.5/9 on tie-break from Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Kamil Dragun.
  • 17th Dubai Chess Open 2015 – Games and Results
    The 17th Dubai Chess Open took place 6th to 15th April 2015. Leading players: David Howell, Vladimir Fedoseev, Igor Kovalenko, Tigran L Petrosian, Yuriy Kuzubov, Sergei Zhigalko etc. Dragan Solak was first on tie-break from a group on 7/9.
  • Aeroflot Open 2015 – Games and Results
    The 2015 Aeroflot Open too place in Moscow 27th March to 5th April 2015. Leading players: Mamedyarov, Nepomniachtchi, Ponomariov, Rapport, Vallejo etc, Ian Nepomniachtchi took first on tie-break from Daniil Dubov after both scored 7/9.
  • UT Dallas vs USA Junior All Stars 2015 – Games and Results
    The UT Dallas vs USA Junior All Stars takes place 14th to 19th March 2015. Of main interest is the performance of the new US chess GM Sam Sevian.
  • FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship KO 2015 – Games and Results
    The FIDE Women’s World Chess Championship knockout tournament took place 16th March (opening ceremony first round on 17th March 12pm GMT) to 7th April 2015. World Champion Hou Yifan does not defend her title although she is already qualified for the scheduled title match later in the year via the women’s Grand Prix. Top seeds: Humpy Koneru, Ju Wenjun, Anna Muzychuk, Viktorija Cmilyte, Alexandra Kosteniuk and Valentina Gunina. Mariya Muzychuk won the title beating Natalija Pogonina in the final.
  • Schachbundesliga 2014-15 – Games and Results
    The very strong German Schachbundesliga takes place Sat 18th Oct 2014 to Sun 12th Apr 2015. Games and standings on this page. Rounds 12-13 14th to 15th March 2015.
  • 133rd Varsity Match 2015 – Games and Results
    The 133rd Varsity Chess Match between Oxford and Cambridge Universities took place at the RAC Club, Pall Mall, London, on Saturday 7 March 2015, starting at 12.30pm.

    Live coverage this year.

    Oxford team: David Zakarian (2386f, ARM), David Pires Tavares Martins (2293f, POR), Rhys Cumming (2130, ENG), Gordon Scott (2087, ENG), Dominic Foord (2081, ENG), Howard Chiu (2076c, SIN), Jude Lenier (2065, ENG), Nicole Miranda Gonzalez (1934wf, CHI).

    Cambridge team: Yang Fan-Zhou (2477m, ENG), Daniel Fernandez (2456m, SIN), Richard Weaving (2257, ENG), Rafe Martyn (2253f, ENG), Jean-Luc Weller (2233, ENG), Andrew McClement (2179, SCO), Saravanan Sathyanandha (2163, ENG), En Huei Danielle Ho (1974wf, SIN).

    This year’s event will be officially opened by GM Luke McShane, who played board one for Oxford in the 2004 and 2005 Varsity chess matches… The approximate average age of Oxford team is 23 years and Cambridge is 21 years, with approximate average ratings of Oxford 2126 and Cambridge 2252. After 132 matches the overall score stands at: Cambridge 58, Oxford 53, Drawn 21.

    For the second year in the row the match was drawn,