Dmitry Jakovenko is New European Chess Champion 2012
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Congratulations to Dmitry Jakovenko for winning the European Championship took place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, from March 19. According to a Fide chess news, the event is part of the World Chess Championship cycle as the top 23 players qualify for the World Cup.

After 11 rounds of play, the 3rd seed Dmitry Jakovenko from Russia emerged the new European Champion. Jakovenko defeated the earlier leader Laurent Fressinet from France and overtook the first position. As the other top games were drawn, Jakovenko remained alone with 8.5 points and tie-break was not to be counted.

Moreover, 13 players shared the second place with 8 points each: GM Fressinet Laurent FRA 2693, GM Malakhov Vladimir RUS 2705, GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 2689, GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2695, GM Matlakov Maxim RUS 2632, GM Bologan Viktor MDA 2687, GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2693, GM Kryvoruchko Yuriy UKR 2666, GM Azarov Sergei BLR 2667, GM Najer Evgeniy RUS 2640, GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2684, GM Volokitin Andrei UKR 2695 and GM Smeets Jan NED 2610. They have all qualified for the World Cup 2013.

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Get Ready for the Zurich Chess Challenge Kramnik vs Aronian April 21-28
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,


The Zurich Chess Club has announced a six-game chess match between Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) and Levon Aronian (Armenia) from 21 to 28 April 2012. The numbers 2 and 3 of the World ranking will meet in the time-honored Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville at Paradeplatz, the venue of many a famous chess event in the past. Kramnik and Aronian are the winners of the two most prestigious tournaments of the last months. 

While the 36-year-old Kramnik has gained a convincing victory at the London Chess Classic in December, the 29-year-old Aronian won the famous tournament in Wijk aan Zee with an outstanding score. Both players belong to the hottest candidates in the World championship qualifier later this year. The Zurich Chess Challenge will be the first encounter in the history of chess between two players with a rating above the magical 2800 limit and it is the first ever friendly match at the top level. It is sponsored by Oleg Skvortsov, IGC International Gemological Laboratories and Aspeco N.V., Antwerp.

The Zurich Chess Club is the oldest chess society in the world. In its long history it has staged numerous world class events, regularly attracting the elite of the day. In 2009, it celebrated its 200-year jubilee with a spectacular chess show involving all living world champions. It has not been idle since then as witnessed by the recent simultaneous displays by Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen. Check out more at

The official event website is here.

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Samford Chess Fellowship goes to GMs Timur Gareev, Alejandro Ramirez
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The latest chess news via the US Chess Federation is that the Frank P. Samford Jr. Chess Fellowship has been awarded to Grandmasters Timur Gareev of Brownsville, Texas, and Alejandro Ramirez of Garland, Texas, as its 2012 Fellows. 

IM John Donaldson writes, the Samford is the richest and most important chess fellowship in the United States. It identifies and assists the best young American chess masters by providing top-level coaching, strong competition and access to study materials. The Fellowship also supplies a monthly stipend for living expenses so that the winners may devote themselves to chess without having financial worries. The total value of the Fellowship has been increased several times over the years and is now $42,000 annually, which will be divided equally between the two winners. The prize is awarded for one year and can be renewed for a second year. The winners’ term begins July 1st, 2012.

All in all, it gives these brilliant young American Grandmasters the support and resources necessary to enhance their skills and reach their full potential.

Currently rated 2654 by FIDE, Timur Gareev was awarded the GM title at the age of 16. He won the championship of his native Uzbekistan in 2007 and last year took first place in both the Chicago Open and the 11th Metropolitan FIDE Invitational tournament in Los Angeles. Timur is currently a student at the University of Texas at Brownsville which he attends on a chess scholarship.

A native of Costa Rica, Alejandro Ramirez earned the title of Grandmaster at the age of 14, being the first (and still the only) player from Central America to ever hold that title. A graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas with a Master’s Degree in Arts & Technology / Design and Production of Videogames, Alejandro won the 2008 Morelia Open and finished at the top of the 2010 US Open.

The winners were chosen by the Samford Fellowship Committee, consisting of Frank P. Samford III (son of Samford Fellowship founder Frank P. Samford, Jr.), former U.S. Chess Champion Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier and International Master John Donaldson. The winner’s potential was determined based on his chess talent, work ethic, dedication and accomplishments. The Fellowship is administered by the U.S. Chess Trust with particularly valuable services provided by Barbara DeMaro.

The Samford Chess Fellowship was created by the late Frank P. Samford, Jr. of Birmingham Alabama. Mr. Samford was a distinguished attorney and CEO of Liberty National Life Insurance Company (now Torchmark). He was active in civic, business, political, educational and cultural affairs. Mr. Samford was also an enthusiastic competitor in chess tournaments. After providing financial support for several chess projects he decided to do something significant for American chess. The result was the Samford Fellowship.

Since its inception the Fellowship has proven very successful. Many Samford Fellows have become strong Grandmasters, members of the United States Olympiad team and US Champions. America’s two top players, Gata Kamsky and Hikaru Nakamura, are not only rated in the top 15 in the world but are former Samford Fellows.

Generous contributions from the late Mrs. Virginia Samford and the Torchmark Corporation support the Fellowship. The Samford Fellowship is a fitting memorial to an extraordinary man. The dedication, creativity and achievement that marked Mr. Frank P. Samford, Jr.’s life are examples for all chessplayers to admire and emulate.

Previous Samford Winners:1987 Joel Benjamin
1988 Maxim Dlugy
1989 Patrick Wolff
1990 Alex Fishbein
1991 Ilya Gurevich
1992 Alex Sherzer
1993 Ben Finegold
1994 Gata Kamsky
1995 Josh Waitzkin
1996 Tal Shaked
1997 Boris Kreiman
1998 Dean Ippolito
1999 Greg Shahade
2000 Michael Mulyar
2001 Eugene Perelshteyn
2002 Varuzhan Akobian
2003 Dmitry Schneider
2004 Rusudan Goletiani
2005 Hikaru Nakamura
2006 David Pruess
2007 Josh Friedel
2008 Irina Krush
2008 Vinay Bhat
2009 Ray Robson
2010 Robert Hess

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Must Watch Chess Movie for the Weekend
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Randy enters an unexpected game of chess at the showgrounds with twists our reality cannot imagine. Folks, you just have to watch this chess movie. 

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European Team Chess Championship Begins
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The latest chess news via Chessdom is that the European senior team chess championship has commenced. The ECU and Slovenian Chess Federation are organising the 11th European Senior Team Chess Championship from March 26 to April 5, 2012, in Rogaska Slatina, Slovenia. Entitled to participate are men from the ECU Chess Federations who shall have reached the age of 60 and women who shall have reached the age of 50 years, by December 31st of the year in which the tournament will commence.

In round 3 the defending champion Russia 1 was held to a 2-2 tie by the compact Italian team. GM Evgeny Vasiukov scored against IM Stefano Tatai, but FM Carlo Micheli struck back in the game against GM Nikolai Pushkov.

Germany 1 defeated their compatriots from Hessen region by a narrow 2.5-1.5, thanks to GM Hans-Joachim Hecht.

Montenegro, lining the same team that won the bronze medal last year, signed a 3-1 victory against Russia 2. Switzerland won against Finland by 3-1, with Viktor Korchnoi defeating fellow Grandmaster Heikki Westerinen on the top board.

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Israel-India team chess match from April 2-4
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

According to an Indian chess news report, Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran will head the Indian team in a special match with Israel from April 2 to 4 in New Delhi. The match is being organised as a curtainraiser to the upcoming World Chess Championship to be held in May in Moscow. Besides Sasikiran, GM and current National Champion Abhijeet Gupta, Grandmaster B Adhiban and Grandmaster G N Gopal complete the Indian line up. 

The Israeli team includes Grandmaster Illya Smirin, Grandmaster Tal Baron, Grandmaster Vitaly Golod and Gil Popliski. The match will be spread over three rounds and each player will play against all players of the other country at least once. There will be 12 games in all.

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He carved a chess set in jail!
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Here is a nice story of resilience and determination with chess as a motif. Nearly starving and facing extreme brutality, Jack Jennings carved each chess piece with care as he suffered in a Japanese prisoner of war camp he devoted every free moment to making the kings and pawns.

It took his mind away from his life working on the notorious Burma-Thailand death railway as scores of his friends died from abuse, disease and malnutrition. He may have only seemed like a pawn himself as war raged around the globe – but Jack was determined never to give in. And his chess set still bears testament to one man’s will to live.

Now aged 93, Jack’s story has become familiar to millions because of a new advert for the National Lottery, showing how the Big Lottery Fund helped take him back to the Far East to visit the graves of his dead comrades. You can read the full story here.

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Your Brain is Wired Like a Chess Board, Says Study
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,
We loved hearing this according to a new research – Our brain is wired like a chess board. How cool.

An article by Ted Thornhill in the MailOnline states that researchers always thought our brain was like a mass of tangled wires. However, that’s changed as researchers have found the brain fibres to connect at right angles and crossing each other in directions of up, down, right and left making the whole brain system resemble the pattern of a chess board!

Van Wedeen, of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), who led the study, said: ‘Far from being just a tangle of wires, the brain’s connections turn out to be more like ribbon cables – folding 2D sheets of parallel neuronal fibers that cross paths at right angles, like the warp and weft of a fabric.

What’s more, this grid structure has now been revealed in amazing detail as part of a brain imaging study by a new state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. Read the full story here.

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Exciting parallel chess activities at World Chess Championship Match in May
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The latest chess news about the World Chess Championship is that another chess lover businessman Guennadi Timtchenko has offered further support to the event. According to a press release, Guennadi Timtchenko said he was impressed by the selected pioneering concept of holding the match in one of the World’s most famous museums. In his view, the World Chess Championship would provide a good opportunity to promote Russian art, as well as to increase public interest in chess as one of the methods of mentoring the young generation.

“New Moscow”, Yuri Pimenov, 1937 © The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow 

The FIDE World Chess Championship match between World Champion Viswanathan Anand (India) and Challenger Boris Gelfand (Israel) will be held from the May 10-31 at the Engineering Building of the State Tretyakov Gallery. The match will be organised by FIDE (World Chess Federation) and the RCF (Russian Chess Federation). The initiator and sponsor of the match is the Russian businessman Andrey Filatov (co-owner of N-Trans Group). Businessman Guennadi Timtchenko, as well as Novatek and the Ladoga Charity Foundation will also sponsor the competition.

Several tournaments will be held during the match in Moscow, which will bring together chess veterans including renowned grandmasters, former World and European Champions. These tournaments will be supported by the Ladoga Foundation, which has made care program for the senior generation a strategic focus of its activities.

Young chess players from all over Russia will be able to attend the match in Moscow. The Russian Chess Federation, together with the State Tretyakov Gallery, is currently working on the program for their stay in the capital, which will include not only workshops and multi-board chess games with famous grandmasters, but also guided tours of the Tretyakov Gallery and lectures on the history of art.

Live online English-language video coverage of the match will be set up. Chess fans from all over the world will be able to watch match games online, commented by leading chess experts, while the studio will host well-known grandmasters, public figures, authors and musicians. During the webcast, viewers will also have the opportunity to learn about the history and exposition of the State Tretyakov Gallery. The webcasts will focus on the history of Russian art, viewpoints on the life and creative work of artists, whose paintings became the basis for the exposition of Russia’s largest national museum.

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Kids’ Chess Inspiration Helps him Look Beyond his Disability
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Normally, when you read chess news about someone obtaining a patent for a chess product, the general impression is that it’s a commercial venture. However, chess is actually a great inspiration for all of us in life in so many ways.

Despite suffering from duchenne muscular dystrophy, a progressive degenerative disorder of muscle tissue which affects only males, Hridayeshwar Singh Bhati – a class-IV student of Delhi Public School – has made an innovative version of circular chess for two, three, four and six players. 

“We are now working on a chess board on which 60 players can play together. Commercialisation is not the motive…it is aimed at inspiring others that despite worst condition, one can give best results,” says his father. 

You can read the full story here. But, don’t forget to let chess inspire you to conquer your limitations in whatever you do, wherever you are! Tell us also, how chess inspires you?

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Pure Chess for PS3 and PS Vita in April
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

This one’s for all those gamers out there there who cannot do without their playstation or their chess. Pure Chess was announced on the PlayStation Store last November. The fresh new trailer for the game looks really nice. Enjoy.

Don’t forget to send us your chess videos as well.

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Alexander Shabalov Wins 13th Pittsburgh Chess Open 2012
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The latest chess news (via is that Grandmaster Alexander Shabalov has won the Pittsburgh Chess Open 2012. The 13th Annual Pittsburgh Open was held from March 23-25 at the Doubletree Hotel Pittsburgh Green Tree, 101 Radisson Drive, Pittsburgh. The event had 5 sections: Open, Under 2100, Under 1800, Under 1500, and Under 1200.
All sections were 5 round Swiss tournaments with 3-day and 2-day schedules to play in. Grandmasters Alexander Shabalov, Tamaz Gelashviliand Alex Ivanov finished at the top of the Open Section, all concluding the race with an undefeated 4/5. However, Shabalov took the title and some additional money by finishing with the best tie-breaks. The event had a $12,000 projected prize fund with $9,000 guaranteed.

Final Standings Open Section:
GM Alexander Shabalov ($840.00), GM Tamaz Gelashvili ($756.00) and GM Alexander Ivanov ($756.00) – 4.0
4-7. FM Luuk Van Kooten ($56.00), FM Eric S Rosen ($56.00), WIM Iryna Zenyuk ($56.00) and Kevin Mo ($588.00, top U2300) – 3.5
8. Edward Song ($504.00, top U2200) – 3.0
9-13. Daniel E Malkiel, IM Maurico Arias Santana, Walker K Griggs, Edward T Dean and Joseph Mucerino Jr – 2.5 etc

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Wednesday Chess Trivia Quiz – What’s your score?
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Here is a cool chess quiz to cheer you up. The weekend is just round the corner and you need not stress too much about work. Let chess make you happy. 

Question 1
Who is this chess player… and what is her claim to fame?

Question 2
Can you guess when this game was played and between whom? (If you want to use this Chess King game player for your own blog just get your copy at 

? (2757) – ? (2804)

Result: 1-0
Site: ?
Date: ?

[...] 1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.¤c3 e5 4.¥c4 d6 5.d3 ¥e7 6.O-O ¤f6 7.¤h4 ¤d4 8.g3 ¥g4 9.f3 ¥e6 10.¥g5 ¤g8 11.¥xe7 ¤xe7 12.f4 exf4 13.¥xe6 fxe6 14.¦xf4 ¢d7 15.¤f3 ¦f8 16.¦xf8 £xf8 17.¤xd4 cxd4 18.¤e2 £f6 19.c3 ¦f8 20.¤xd4 ¤c6 21.£f1 £xf1+ 22.¦xf1 ¦xf1+ 23.¢xf1 ¤xd4 24.cxd4 d5 25.¢f2 ¢e7 26.¢f3 ¢f6 27.h4 g6 28.b4 b5 29.¢f4 h6 30.¢g4

Question 3
From where are these lines taken?

A: Do you ever feel like a chess piece yourself? In a game being played against your will. 
B: Do you? 
A: Constantly. I see them leaning in and moving me around the board. I’m sure half the politicians are ready to seize hold of my skirts and drag me from square to square. 
B: Then you had better master the rules of the game until you play it better than they can. 
A: You don’t recommend I find a husband to play it for me? 
B: I should find one to play it with you, not for you.

Question 4 
Which Grandmaster lost his game in the eighth round of a 
premier chess tournament this week because of the time control rule?

Question 5
What date is Bobby Fischer’s birth anniversary?

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European Individual Chess R8: Akopian, Matlakov, and Malakhov in joint lead
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The latest chess news from the European Individual Chess Championship (via is that Round 7 leader Sergei Azarov lost his game to Vladimir Malakhov and now we have three players in joint lead. They are Grandmasters Malakhov Vladimir, Matlakov Maxim and Akopian Vladimir ARM with 6,5/8. Three more rounds are still to be played. The leaders are closely followed by a group of 17 players with 6,0/8, among them are GM Gawain Jones, GM Yuriy Kuzubov, GM Nikita Vitiugov, GM Etinne Bacrot, GM Laurent Fressinet, GM Ernesto Inarkiev, GM Mikhail Kobalia, GM Francisco Vallejo, GM Dmitry Andreikin, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, GM Baadur Jobava, GM Sergei Azarov, GM Anton Korobov, GM Andrei Volokitin, GM Igor Khankin, and GM Andrei Istratescu.

Within 1 point of the leaders are 31 players, among them the 2700 club members GM Caruana, GM Naiditsch, GM Jakovenko, GM Laznicka, FM Movsesian, etc.

European Individual Chess top standings after Round 8 

1 GM Malakhov Vladimir RUS 2705 6.5
2 GM Matlakov Maxim RUS 2632 6.5
3 GM Akopian Vladimir ARM 2684 6.5
4 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2635 6
5 GM Kuzubov Yuriy UKR 2615 6
6 GM Vitiugov Nikita RUS 2709 6
7 GM Bacrot Etienne FRA 2706 6
8 GM Fressinet Laurent FRA 2693 6
9 GM Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2695 6
10 GM Andreikin Dmitry RUS 2689 6
11 GM Kobalia Mikhail RUS 2666 6
12 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2682 6
13 GM Jobava Baadur GEO 2706 6
14 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2693 6
15 GM Azarov Sergei BLR 2667 6
16 GM Sokolov Ivan NED 2653 6
17 GM Korobov Anton UKR 2679 6
18 GM Volokitin Andrei UKR 2695 6
19 GM Khenkin Igor GER 2632 6
20 GM Istratescu Andrei FRA 2633 6

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Russian Chess Girls Wow Europe!
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Do you know there’s a magic that flows through Russia? A magic of beauty and brains! So, we enjoyed reading this nice article from

Russia beauty claims European chess crown

Russian ladies are not only beautiful, but smart as well. Valentina Gunina has proved it by becoming the new European women’s individual chess champion. Her compatriot, Tayana Kosintseva, cruised to silver at the tournament held in the Turkish city of Gaziantep.

The title was decided in the final round, in which Gunina, who played white, defeated table-topper Anna Muzychuk of Slovenia. Kosintseva also took the upper hand in her match against Georgian chess master Nana Dzagnidze. As a result, Gunina, Kosintseva and Muzychuk all had 8.5 points after 11 meetings, but the Russian duo prevailed over their Slovenian rival due to additional indicators.

Another Russian, (Chess Queen and former Women’s World Chess Champion) Aleksandra Kostenyuk, came among the top 14 players to qualify for the Chess World Championship. The Turkish triumph became the first big international achievement in the career of 23-year-old Valentina Gunina. There’s been another notable event in Gaziantep as the chess world received its youngest International Master.

Russia’s Aleksandra Goryachkina has become an IM at the age of just 13 years and five months. The native of Salekhard in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region is the student of the famous Polar Chess School. She’s a World and European champion among the girls her age.

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British Columbia’s biggest chess tournament from april 6
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Here is some chess tournament news from British Columbia. Their biggest chess event – the Grand Pacific Open – is scheduled to take place from April 6-9 in Victoria, Canada. It would be the sixth edition of the chess tournament. The total prize for the year is $5000. The main event would run as a six-round FIDE and CFC rated Swiss. 
There are also a number of side events which are free if you play in the main event and include an active tournament, Midnight Blitz with $100 in prizes, and a Bughouse tournament to finish off the weekend. The tournament hall itself is the very nice ballroom at the 5 Star Grand Pacific Hotel. The hotel is located on the Inner Harbour in downtown Victoria, close to tourist destinations and across the street from the Seattle Clipper and Coho ferry connections.

Last year’s winner WGM Nino Maisuradze will be back to defend the title. The BC Chess Challenge (Provincial Scholastic Championship) will take place on April 6 just prior to the GPO. The BC Chess Challenge is open to all BC students in grade K-12. The 1st place player in each grade will qualify for the Canadian Chess Challenge being held in Halifax in May 2012. Chess Challenge players should stay all weekend and play in the GPO as well.
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FIDE postpones London Candidates, announces new World Chess Championship Cycles
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Here is the latest announcement about a new World Chess Championship cycle datelined Athens, Greece. FIDE and partner AGON had announced their calendar a fortnight back. They have now revised it on the basis of feedback from players and organisers.  The revised calendar now schedules the World Chess Candidates that were to take place in London this year to March 13 – March 31, 2013. The event would still take place in London. 

Championship Match Moscow May 10 – May 30
Olympiad Istanbul August 27 – September 10
Grand Prix Chelyabinsk September 19 – October 3
Grand Prix Tashkent November 21 – December 4

Candidates London March 13 – March 31
Grand Prix Lisbon April 10 – April 24
Grand Prix Madrid May 22 – June 4
Grand Prix Berlin July 3 – July 17
World Cup Tromsø August 10 – September 5
Grand Prix Paris September 18 – October 2
Championship Match TBD November 6 – November 26

Candidates TBD March 12 – March 30
Grand Prix TBD May 14 – May 28
Grand Prix TBD July 2 – July 16
Olympiad Tromsø August 1 – August 14
Grand Prix TBD September 10 – September 24
Championship Match TBD November 5 – November 25

Grand Prix TBD May 13 – May 27
Grand Prix TBD July 1 – July 15
World Cup TBD August or November
Grand Prix TBD September 9 – September 23

Candidates TBD March 9 – March 28
Grand Prix TBD May 11 – May 25
Grand Prix TBD July 6 – July 20
Olympiad TBD August or September or November
Grand Prix TBD August or September or November
Championship Match TBD August or September or November

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Wednesday Chess Chat with Brooklyn Castle Director Katie Dellamaggiore

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Here’s another nice feature on the chess movie Brooklyn Castle. So aptly does Stefany Tomas write in the Austin Chronicle that “A two-hour documentary about a chess team sounds like a one-way ticket to snoozeville, however, Brooklyn Castle is the exact opposite. Katie Dellamaggiore was definitely onto something when she decided to make a film about Brooklyn’s Intermediate School 318’s competitive chess team.” You can read the full article at the link and watch these nice videos – trailer and nice interview with director of the chess movie Katie Dellamaggiore.

Brooklyn Castle Trailer from Rescued Media on Vimeo.

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The 10 Huge Benefits of Playing Chess – Must Read
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

We would like to thank Chessblog friend Larry Dignan of for sending us this nice article. Feel happy that you belong to the beautiful chess planet as you read ’10 Big Brain Benefits of Playing Chess’! So, don’t ever give up chess and teach it to everyone you know.

’10 Big Brain Benefits of Playing Chess’! 

It can raise your IQ

Chess has always had an image problem, being seen as a game for brainiacs and people with already high IQs. So there has been a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation: do smart people gravitate towards chess, or does playing chess make them smart? At least one study has shown that moving those knights and rooks around can in fact raise a person’s intelligence quotient. A study of 4,000 Venezuelan students produced significant rises in the IQ scores of both boys and girls after 4 months of chess instruction.

It helps prevent Alzheimer’s

Because the brain works like a muscle, it needs exercise like any bicep or quad to be healthy and ward off injury. A recent study featured in The New England Journal of Medicine found that people over 75 who engage in brain-stretching activities like chess are less likely to develop dementia than their non-board-game-playing peers. Just like an un-exercised muscle loses strength, Dr. Robert Freidland, the study’s author, found that unused brain tissue leads to a loss of brain power. So that’s all the more reason to play chess before you turn 75.

It exercises both sides of the brain

In a German study, researchers showed chess experts and novices simple geometric shapes and chess positions and measured the subjects’ reactions in identifying them. They expected to find the experts’ left brains being much more active, but they did not expect the right hemisphere of the brain to do so as well. Their reaction times to the simple shapes were the same, but the experts were using both sides of their brains to more quickly respond to the chess position questions.

It increases your creativity

Since the right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for creativity, it should come as no surprise that activating the right side of your brain helps develop your creative side. Specifically, chess greatly increases originality. One four-year study had students from grades 7 to 9 play chess, use computers, or do other activities once a week for 32 weeks to see which activity fostered the most growth in creative thinking. The chess group scored higher in all measures of creativity, with originality being their biggest area of gain.

It improves your memory

Chess players know — as an anecdote — that playing chess improves your memory. Being a good player means remembering how your opponent has operated in the past and recalling moves that have helped you win before. But there’s hard evidence also. In a two-year study in 1985, young students who were given regular opportunities to play chess improved their grades in all subjects, and their teachers noticed better memory and better organizational skills in the kids. A similar study of Pennsylvania sixth-graders found similar results. Students who had never before played chess improved their memories and verbal skills after playing.

It increases problem-solving skills

A chess match is like one big puzzle that needs solving, and solving on the fly, because your opponent is constantly changing the parameters. Nearly 450 fifth-grade students were split into three groups in a 1992 study in New Brunswick. Group A was the control group and went through the traditional math curriculum. Group B supplemented the math with chess instruction after first grade, and Group C began the chess in first grade. On a standardized test, Group C’s grades went up to 81.2% from 62% and outpaced Group A by 21.46%.

It improves reading skills

In an oft-cited 1991 study, Dr. Stuart Margulies studied the reading performance of 53 elementary school students who participated in a chess program and evaluated them compared to non-chess-playing students in the district and around the country. He found definitive results that playing chess caused increased performance in reading. In a district where the average students tested below the national average, kids from the district who played the game tested above it.

It improves concentration

Chess masters might come off like scattered nutty professors, but the truth is their antics during games are usually the result of intense concentration that the game demands and improves in its players. Looking away or thinking about something else for even a moment can result in the loss of a match, as an opponent is not required to tell you how he moved if you didn’t pay attention. Numerous studies of students in the U.S., Russia, China, and elsewhere have proven time and again that young people’s ability to focus is sharpened with chess.

It grows dendrites

Dendrites are the tree-like branches that conduct signals from other neural cells into the neurons they are attached to. Think of them like antennas picking up signals from other brain cells. The more antennas you have and the bigger they are, the more signals you’ll pick up. Learning a new skill like chess-playing causes dendrites to grow. But that growth doesn’t stop once you’ve learned the game; interaction with people in challenging activities also fuels dendrite growth, and chess is a perfect example.

It teaches planning and foresight

Having teenagers play chess might just save their lives. It goes like this: one of the last parts of the brain to develop is the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for planning, judgment, and self-control. So adolescents are scientifically immature until this part develops. Strategy games like chess can promote prefrontal cortex development and help them make better decisions in all areas of life, perhaps keeping them from making a stupid, risky choice of the kind associated with being a teenager.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
Also see her personal blog at

European Senior Team Chess Begins in Slovenia
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The 11th European Senior Team Chess Championship has begun in Rogaska Slatina, Slovenia. It will run till April 5, according to Fide

Each team consists of four players and one reserve player. Entitled to participate are men from the ECU Chess Federations who shall have reached the age of 60 and women who shall have reached the age of 50 years. 

The Championship will be played in 9 rounds following the Swiss System. Time control is 40 moves in 90 minutes and 30 minutes to the end of the game. The player will additionaly receive 30 seconds for each move. Any player who arrives at the chessboard more than 30 minutes after the scheduled start of the round will lose the game.

The ranking depends on the number of team points (win = 2 team points, draw = 1 team point, lose = 0 team points). If the number of team points are equal as well the points scored at the individual boards are added up. If further differentiation is needed the “Buchholz-Wertung” is decisive.

Tournament director is GM Adrian Mikhalchishin, chief arbiter is IA Nebojsa Baralic.


1 RUSSIA 1 2427
2 GERMANY 1 2378
5 AUSTRIA 1 2322
7 DENMARK 1 2307
8 ITALIA 1 2298
10 RUSSIA 2 2258
11 FINLAND 1 2232
12 SWEDEN 1 2230
14 AUSTRIA – WIEN 1 2211
15 SCOTLAND 1 2209
16 NORWAY 1 2192
17 ENGLAND 1 2192
22 ENGLAND 2 2122
23 TURKEY 2101
25 AUSTRIA – WIEN 2 2100
26 SWEDEN 2 2097
29 WALES 2087
30 NORWAY 2 2087
32 DENMARK 2 2061
35 SWEDEN 3 2046
38 ENGLAND 3 1994
39 SWEDEN 4 1993
41 NORWAY 3 1965
42 SCOTLAND 2 1902
43 BELGIUM 1874
44 NORWAY 4 1837
46 FINLAND 2 1779

From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
Also see her personal blog at