17 July 2012

Catching Up with Chess News

Even though I don't cover chess news on this blog, I still take a keen interest in it. I follow Chessbase, Chessdom, and Chessvibes almost daily through their RSS feeds, and at least once a week I look at the sites to make sure I haven't overlooked anything. Catching up after a vacation is never a trivial task, and as I mentioned in Now, Where Was I?, is always a priority.

The best single source of unbiased news is undoubtedly Mark Crowther's The Week in Chess, where his weekly 'Introduction' is the best summary of the weeks' activities available anywhere. Let's look at the intros for the past month or so.

2012-06-18: TWIC 919

Magnus Carlsen again won the Tal Memorial after a thrilling final round. Fabiano Caruana was leading by half a point and only needed a draw to take the title. Caruana got caught out in the opening and in spite of Aronian's struggles with his own form he was defeated. After Radjabov drew with Hikaru Nakamura the winner of the game between Carlsen and Luke McShane would take the title. McShane had an excellent tournament after losses in the first two rounds but he went seriously wrong in time trouble and Carlsen won and took the title. The event contained a lot of fighting chess, quite a lot of time trouble and all viewable with commentary in Russian and English.

I have to say the Russians now have shown us all how presentation of top class tournaments should look if money is practically no object. I for one have learned a lot from watching the players on video, nevermind the commentary, which in the case of this event the English one was by Ian Rogers and was both informative and instructive.

Anatoly Karpov defeated Yasser Seirawan in the blitz portion of their match which somewhat surprised me as Karpov's clock handling has been poor for years and Yasser suddenly decided to join him and that alone I believe cost him the match. In fact live coverage of chess events in general has shown that almost anything is possible if you have an opponent who thinks he can make lots of moves in only seconds. I would also suggest Alexander Grischuk find time to watch the archive of his play in the Tal Memorial and watch himself dump about 2 points through incomprehensible clock handling.

The Russian Championship Higher League is as usual pretty strong and Peter Svidler plays David Navara in Prague this week but we learned there will be no Kings tournament in Medias due to the economy. I can't be the only one who is thinking that the loss of a tournament might be the least of our worries as this economic crisis shows no sign of ending.

2012-06-25: TWIC 920

This week was much quieter than many recent weeks. The cancellation of the Kings tournament in Bazna has left a bit of a hole. It left the Cez Trophy taking the headlines with Peter Svidler beating David Navara 3-1 in an interesting match. The Russian Higher League is a deep field of very strong players, the leadings players Ian Nepomniachtchi and Dmitry Jakovenko are well off the pace with a couple of rounds to go.

Of special interest in the same number was '8) FIDE Women's Grand Prix Kazan 2012', because I need to add the event to my page on the 2011-2012 FIDE Women's Grand Prix.

The 4th Women's Grand Prix took place in Kazan 9th-23rd June 2012. Anna Muzychuk and Indian player Humpy Koneru shared first on 7.5/11. According to the regulations of Grand Prix in the case of any tie in any tournament, the Grand Prix ranking points and prize money are split equally. Women's World Chess Champion Hou Yifan was the top seed and finished half a point back on 7 points after defeating long time leader Elina Danielian who lost her last three games. Hou finished level with Viktorija Cmilyte. This was a recovery for Hou. She had travelled directly from a very tough Danzhou tournament where she finished last and not surprisingly had a rough start to the tournament.

2012-07-02: TWIC 921

The Russia vs China Match leads thing off this week with Dmitry Jakovenko being Russia's top player. However both he and Ian Nepomniachtchi had failed in the Higher League competition earlier in the week. The best Russians will all be in Astana later in the week to play in the World Rapid and Blitz starring Magnus Carlsen who extended his lead in the July FIDE rating list released this week. The Higher League saw Dmitry Andreikin, long time leader 16 year old Daniil Dubov (lost to Alekseev in the final round) and Nikita Vitiugov all finished on 7.5 points. The 40th Greek Team Championship sees the in form Fabiano Caruana, Gata Kamsky, Judit Polgar and David Navara star. There is however plenty of other chess to look at too.

2012-07-09: TWIC 922

The Astana World Rapid and Blitz Championship has been very interesting so far. Magnus Carlsen (who will now play the Biel tournament starting on the 22nd July after being recruited at the last minute following the collapse of the Kings tournament) looked a certain winner of the rapid event after two days but, not for the first time, he had a sudden decline in his form. Not than the winner Sergey Karjakin's score was anything other than huge. The blitz tournament is being led by Alexander Grischuk.

I'm not sure that 3 minutes plus 2 seconds per move is anyone's idea of a perfect blitz time control if you at least want to see some chess. Personally if you want a classic blitz shootout then 5 minutes and no increment would be better. If you want a lot better standard of blitz chess then 5 minutes plus 10 seconds per move is the one. 3 minutes plus 2 seconds per move is the worst of all worlds for me. Nevertheless I have pretty much no complaints about the coverage, video, a commentary in 2 languages and good gamescores and it has proved entertaining. I always get caught out, suddenly the summer season of professional and amateur chess is upon us. I've got a good selection of what I hope are the stronger tournaments.

2012-07-16: TWIC 923

So much chess this week. Alexander Grischuk won the World Blitz, Dortmund, Science Park Amsterdam events are on now as are team and international opens. Details of the FIDE Grand Prix's announced. A marathon session, I need to go to bed!

While the World Rapid and Blitz Championships look like natural additions to my World Championship site (see the sidebar for a link), I'm going to pass for now. I'm sure Wikipedia will take up the slack.

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