Classical Chess Losing Popularity: GM Alexey Dreev
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

In an interesting observation, GM Alexey Dreev has said that classical chess is losing popularity because of computer use and rapid chess is the way to go in the future. He was speaking to Russian chess news site The European Rapid Chess Champion Alexey said, “In classical chess 20-30 moves made by the players aren’t their own. Not in every game, but in most of them. The recent encounter Jakovenko – Gelfand is the best example of it. Dmitry decided to check his opponent, Boris forgot the theory on 41st move! Classical chess loses popularity under pressure of computers… This process has already started, but not everyone pays enough attention to it. Rapid is more entertaining. You should have preparation, but you don’t have time to learn all that variations by heart! So, the one whose overall chess skills are stronger – wins. I consider this to be fairer. It’s absolutely wrong to think that rapid chess is not objective! Only the strongest wins in it. You may play a classical game against the opponent whose rating is 2200, but who has memorized what Houdini has advised him, while rapid shows who is who immediately. What is more important, in rapid the role of computers goes down!”

Speaking about analysis and preparation, he said, “Depends with whom you are comparing. Let’s say, Vishy Anand with his team, or Sergey Karjakin if talking about Russia. Sergey’s preparation is focused on computer preparation. He has assistants who analyse with computers. Actually that’s just a huge work, hard labor, hellish work. I’ve done that as long as I’ve been helping different players. The main problem is how to memorize all that. At least that’s a problem for me. There are people with exceptional memory who have a huge advantage against others. As Garry Kasparov had once. Well, of course I write down some variants, but only to a definite point in analyses, not to absurdity!”

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AICF-AAI Chess: GM Anton Korobov Wins in New Delhi
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Grandmaster Anton Korobov of Ukraine has won the AICF-AAI Chess Cup defeating top seed Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland in the tenth and final round in New Delhi, according to a press release. Playing with black, Korobov was in a difficult situation after the opening and suffered a long time but Wojtaszek allowed him to fight back in time scramble and the Ukrainian turned the tables in quick time.

The Ukrainian finished with an impressive 6.5 points out of a possible 10. Evgeny Alekseev of Russia finished second on 5.5 points after settling for a draw with Krishnan Sasikiran while the all Indian affair between Parimarjan Negi and Abhijeet Gupta also ended in a draw in the final round.

Krishnan Sasikiran finished third with five points in all while Abhijeet Gupta was declared fourth with a better tiebreak score than Wojtaszek who finished fifth on 4.5 points. Parimarjan Negi had to be content with a sixth place finish with four points. Playing black against Wojtaszek, Korobov went for the Bogo-Indian defense and found himself in a difficult situation after the opening. Soon white had a dangerous initiative and it looked as though white will cruise through. However, Wojtaszek could not find the best manoeuvres and went astray in time scramble. Korobov finished the game with a simple tactical stroke.

Evgeny Alekseev played out an easy draw as white against Sasikiran. As many as three minor pieces changed hands in quick time and soon the position drifted towards a draw. The heavy pieces were all on board when the players repeated moves.

Abhijeet Gupta held a slightly better position in the middle game arising out of a Symmetrical Berlin as black but he could not force matters against an agile Parimarjan Negi. Sacrificing a pawn, Negi reached a defensible endgame that was drawn without much action.

Results final round: Parimarjan Negi (Ind, 4) drew with Abhijeet Gupta (Ind, 4.5); Evgeny Alekseev (Rus, 5.5) drew with Krishnan Sasikiran (Ind, 5); Radoslav Wojtaszek (Pol, 4.5) lost to Anton Korobov (Ukr, 6.5).

Final standings: 1. Anton Korobov (Ukr, 6.5); 2. Evgeny Alekseev (Rus, 5.5); 3. Krishnan Sasikiran (Ind, 5); 4. Abhijeet Gupta (Ind, 4.5); 5. Radoslav Wojtaszek (Pol, 4.5); 6. Parimarjan Negi (Ind, 4).

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

Hi everyone,

Here is the very nice New York Times Chess Roundup for 2012. Aptly titled “A Veteran Hangs on to His Title, but a Young Champion Is Dethroned” by DYLAN LOEB McCLAIN, the articles covers it all with an interesting insight: A changing of the guard was anticipated in the top ranks this year. It was the men’s champion, now 43, whom many thought to be vulnerable. But it was the teenage women’s champion who was dethroned.

The men’s titleholder, Viswanathan Anand of India, successfully defended the championship in May in a grueling match against Boris Gelfand, an Israeli grandmaster. Still, there are signs that Anand’s time at the top is coming to an end. Magnus Carlsen, 22, is now the world’s top-ranked player, and he will have a record high rating when the next rankings are released on Tuesday.

On the women’s side, Hou Yifan — who became the youngest world champion when she won the title in 2010 at 16 — failed to defend her crown in November. Hou was eliminated in the second round of a championship tournament, and Anna Ushenina of Ukraine became one of the unlikeliest champions in history, with a ranking of just No. 37.

But by winning the Women’s Grand Prix, Hou did place herself in contention to recapture the title next year against Ushenina. The two games, the New York Times, pegs as the games of the year are: Viswanathan Anand beating Boris Gelfand in the eighth game of the World Chess Championship 2012 after having lost the previous game and Fabiano Caruana failing to save his game against Levon Aronian at the Tata Steel Chess.

The article also discusses several other interesting aspects of the chess world in 2012. You can read the full article here.

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Women’s World Chess Championship 2013: Fide Releases Details of Bidding Procedure
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,


1. The FIDE Presidential Board decided to open a bidding procedure for the FIDE World Women’s Championship Match 2013 between the current World Champion Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) and challenger Hou Yifan (China).

2. Each bid shall contain the following particulars as minimum:

a) Acceptance of exact dates for the event between 10 to 28 September 2013.
b) Proposed venue of the event.
c) Proposed prize fund for the players (minimum 200,000 euros & should be offered net of any applicable local taxes).
d) The contribution to FIDE (net of any applicable local taxes and not less than 20% of the prize money) as stipulated in Article 13.2 as well as the financial obligations stated in Article 14 of the Rules & Regulations of the World Women’s Championship Match 2013.
e) Commitment to cover all the other financial obligations to FIDE, in accordance with the Rules & Regulations of the World Women’s Championship Match 2013.
f) Commitment to cover all organizational costs, in accordance with the match regulations.
g) Category of official hotel (minimum 4- stars), and name if possible, with special room rates for visitors (including meals).
h) A statement that the applicant accepts the regulations of the match without any reservations.
i) An invitation for 2 (two) members of the FIDE Commission for World Chess Championships and Olympiads to inspect the proposed venue and examine the other conditions, with all travel/hotel expenses paid by the bidder.
j) The applicant’s name, signatures and authentication.

3. In order for a proposed bid to be considered, it should be accompanied by a 6-month term bank guarantee covering the amount of prize fund (minimum 200,000 euros), the FIDE contribution (20% over and above the prize fund), 5% for the WCOC budget, 5% for the commercial rights (not including live broadcast) and 32,500 euros covering stipends of Principals as described in article 14.5 of the match regulations. This guarantee should be of irrevocable form and from a bank that FIDE bankers, UBS of Switzerland, are able to confirm as acceptable.

Alternatively to the above paragraph, a bidder can deposit in FIDE’s bank account the amount of 100,000 euros by the deadline of 29 March 2013, refundable if the bid is rejected, and the remaining payments will be finalized in the signed contract between FIDE and the organizer(s).

4. A bid is considered valid if it is accompanied with a non-refundable Bid Fee of 1,000 euros payable to FIDE.

5. No bidder can propose a sponsor which shall be in conflict with the regulations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

6. Τhe commercial agency of FIDE (CNC) reserves all rights for the live transmissions of the event and its games. The organiser of the event can have its own website and if the organiser wishes to implement the live transmission of the games, CNC must be consulted beforehand.

7. The bids, including all original documents and particulars, shall arrive by registered post to the FIDE Secretariat, post address: 9 Syggrou Ave., 11743 Athens – Greece. The bidding process will close on 29 March 2013, 13:00 GMT.

8. When the deadline has expired, the FIDE President or his representative shall open the received envelopes in order to assess the bids. FIDE will announce the results within 20 days after the deadline. After the organizer has been selected, FIDE and the organizer shall sign a contract covering the organization of the FWWCM, the terms of payments and all other financial and technical requirements.

9. FIDE reserves the right to accept a bid based on the evaluation of all criteria under article 2 of the present bidding procedure and not only that of the prize fund. FIDE also reserves the right not to award any bid at all, however favourable it might be.
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World Cities Chess Sheikh Zayed Cup: Congratulations to Hoogeveen Team for Title
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The City of Hoogeveen, Netherlands became World Cities Chess Champion after beating Baku, Azerbaijan 2.5-1.5 in the finals of the knockout tournament 21-28 December 2012 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Sergei Tiviakov of Hoogeveen again proved the hero for the Dutch team as he squeezed out a victory in an opposite coloured Bishop endgame in a marathon 89 moves.

The match was difficult from the start as Anish Giri, playing white on top board for Hoogeveen, and Eltaj Safarli had a complicated duel. Giri essayed the English Opening as white and accepted the early exchange of Queens on the 14th move. Both sides penetrated with their Rooks on the opponent’s second rank. Safarli was first to unleash an attack. Giri was poised to counter with three pieces weaving threatening nets on the Black King when Safarli decided to repeat position and force a draw on the 31st move. 
The Hoogeveen team, kneeling from left, GMs Ivan Sokolov, Anish Giri, Sergey Tiviakov and Jan Smeets. Standing are, from left, Abu Dhabi Sports Council representative Salah Al Marzougi, FIDE Vice President Mohammed Kambouzia of Iran, Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifah Al Nahyan, UAE Chess Federaiton Vice President Abdulaziz Al Khouri, FIDE Vice President Nizar El Haj and Organizing Committee Managing Director Hisham Al Taher

The Ruy Lopez game between Rauf Mamedov of Baku with white and Ivan Sokolov of Hoogeveen on board two was next to draw. After an exchange of Queens on the 19th move, Mamedov won a pawn. Sokolov controlled the open file with his Rook and forced perpetual check to draw in 35 moves.

The lower boards were left. Vasif Durarbayli had white for Baku on board 4 against Jan Smeets who used the Petroff Defense. Smeets was a pawn up in their Rook and Pawn endgame. Both sides had a passed pawn in a clearly drawn position when they agreed to halve the point in 57 moves.

It looked as if the game on board three between Sergei Tiviakov of Hoogeveen and Nidjat Mamedov of Baku would also end in a draw. Tiviakov used the Alapin variation of the Sicilian defense and exchanged Queens on the 25th move. This led to an endgame with Rook and Bishops of opposite colors.

Tiviakov said, “After the opening I was sure that it is going to be a long game. We had this position with opposite colored bishops. Moreover I had one pawn up and gained an advantage in the endgame. My position gave me a chance to make about 100 moves. That’s what I planned to do and generally what I did. Moreover my opponent was in time trouble. You can imagine: being in a time trouble, one pawn down, we can only think how to defend. My opponent was losing a lot of energy for that. The conditions of play were not equal by all means. As a consequence my opponent made a blunder and lost.”

The Hoogeveen team won $21,000 out of the $150,000 prize fund. “We purposely had only four players to have fewer people to share the prize,” Hoogeveen captain Ivan Sokolov said. Read more at the Fide website.

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Embedded-Chip Chess Cheating or Genius?
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The chess world is abuzz with another episode of alleged cheating at a chess tournament in Croatia. There is an article in the Croatian Times and another in Focus, about a chess player being strip searched on allegations of using embedded chips to cheat in a chess tournament. Though nothing could be proved, the doubts linger among the chess players at the tournament.

An international chess tournament in the Croatian city of Zadar witnessed the organisers searching a Bulgarian chess player Borislav Ivanov for implanted chips, writes Croatian Jutarnji List daily. There were 36 competitors at the tournament, including 16 gross-masters, 5 international masters, and 10 FIDE masters. 

According to the rating, the Bulgaria was supposed to be an easy rival but surprisingly he started winning game after a game. In the first rounds he managed to defeat Croatian masters Bojan Kurajica, Robert Zelcic and Zdenko Kozul.

“After the eighth round we received a signal about Ivanov’s game and after his game with Borko Predoevic, who later on won the tournament, we decided to check on both of them. There were suspicions that Ivanov has some electronic tools to help him and in my capacity of a judge I decided to make a move in line with the FIDE rules,” said Stanislav Maroja, chairperson of the chess union in Zadar District.

Ivanov is 26 years old and he is a programmer. Everyone was looking at him but he did not reveal any evidence of using illegal help; he did not even have headphones, but all his moves were astonishing. “It is not true that we made him strip naked. He himself took off his t-shirt, while we emptied his pockets,” Maroja said.
Knowledgeable sources though the Bulgarian was cheating. 

However, they were wondering why he would take part in a tournament, which costs a couple of thousands of euro, while the cheating equipment, which can be integrated into contact lenses, for instance, costs thousands of euros more.

The suspicions about Ivanov’s cheating were based on the fact that when the organisers stopped the broadcasting of the round before the last one, when Ivanov played vs Predoevic, the Bulgarian lost the game.

The chess players, however, commented that Ivanov did not make any unique moves, neither was it unusual for an ordinary player to beat a gross-master. Croatian gross-master Zlatko Klaric, on the other hand, said that Ivanov was cheating, because he was already accused of this at chess competitions in Bulgaria and Serbia.

“Ivanov is chess programmer, who since mid-2011 until now had won only one rating point, while at the Zadar tournament – 60. He made moves like a computer, which was obvious in the game vs Jovanovic,” Klaric remarked.

“Technologies are so developed now that theoretically, since the games were aired live, Ivanov’s friends in the neighbouring room, from Sofia, or even from the Antarctic, could have sent him hints for his moves through chips, which could have been placed under the skin, in the ear, or in the teeth,” Klaric added.

The problem of cheating has become a serious issue in chess. Here are all the previous posts at Chess Blog on episodes of cheating in chess in the recent past. 

In November, this year, the Fide Trainer Committee accepted GM Konstantin Landa’s complete proposal for anti-cheating measures. GM Konstantin Landa, Elo 2640, is a senior FIDE trainer, and long-time coach of Alexandra Kosteniuk and Arkadi Naiditsch. You can read details of GM Landa’s proposal at this Chess Blog link.

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Sandro Mareco wins the 5th Open Chess Tournament “Norberto La Porta”
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The 5th Open Tournament “Norberto La Porta” 2012 was held between 15th and 27th December at the Chess Club Argentino, Paraguay 1858, Buenos Aires, according to the latest Chessdom chess tournament update. The main tournament featured 120 participants from seven countries competing over nine rounds of Swiss format. There were seven Grandmasters and 14 IMs in the field. Sandro Mareco lifted the winner’s trophy after edging his compatriot and last year champion Diego Flores on additional criteria. Both Grandmasters finished with 7,0/9 points.
GM Sandro Mareco

Ten players shared the third place with 6,5 points each where IM Lucas Liascovich sported the best tie-break. The Rapid event “Norberto La Porta” was played on 25th December over seven rounds of Swiss format. 39 players competed, Cesar Chiarot (Peru) and Hugo Allera (Argentina) shared the first place with 6,0 points each.

Final standings:
1. GM Mareco Sandro ARG 2568 – 7
2. GM Flores Diego ARG 2599 – 7
3. IM Liascovich Lucas ARG 2400 – 6.5
4. FM Paveto Kevin ARG 2302 – 6.5
5. FM Cuevas Alex ARG 2246 – 6.5
6. FM Varela Gaston ARG 2375 – 6.5
7. GM Alonso Salvador ARG 2524 – 6.5
8. IM Dolezal Cristian ARG 2412 – 6.5
9. IM Villanueva Mario ARG 2385 – 6.5
10. Tokman Ariel ARG 2293 – 6.5
11. GM Slipak Sergio ARG 2444 – 6.5
12. Ruperez Miguel ARG 2145 – 6.5
13. GM Ricardi Pablo ARG 2507 – 6
14. IM Real De Azua Ernesto ARG 2465 – 6
15. IM De Dovitiis Alejo ARG 2349 – 6
16. FM Converset Juan Jose ARG 2250 – 6
17. FM Rodriguez Jorge Luis ARG 2401 – 6
18. Caceres Recalde Fernando ARG 2205 – 6
19. Tomeo Ivan ARG 2061 – 6
20. GM Sorin Ariel ARG 2451 – 5.5
21. IM Bronstein Luis Marcos ARG 2359 – 5.5
22. FM Pichot Alan ARG 2300 – 5.5
23. IM Mahia Gustavo ARG 2380 – 5.5
24. Perez Maximiliano ARG 2279 – 5.5
25. Herman Diego ARG 2201 – 5.5
26. FM Fabian Gaston ARG 2340 – 5.5
27. Quenallata Luciano ARG 2180 – 5.5
28. Marey Mauro ARG 2167 – 5.5
29. Molini Rodrigo ARG 1993 – 5.5
30. Godoy Olazabal Artur ARG 2026 – 5.5
31. Vazquez Maximiliano VEN 2110 – 5.5
32. Fiori Hector ARG 2147 – 5.5
33. Papez Boris Alejandro ARG 2045 – 5.5
34. Spata German ARG 2263 – 5
35. Uelf Maximiliano ARG 2172 – 5
36. Cativelli Gerardo ARG 2170 – 5
37. Pineiro Dario ARG 2135 – 5
38. IM Barrionuevo Pablo ARG 2276 – 5
39. Bustos Cristian ARG 2161 – 5
40. Paniagua Chnelik Sebastian ARG 2184 – 5
41. FM Juarez Alberto ARG 2164 – 5
. Villarreal Hector ARG 2160 – 5
43. Benedetti Julio ARG 2117 – 5
44. GM Garcia Palermo Carlos ITA 2490 – 5
45. Calens Diego ARG 2128 – 5
46. WFM Meza Anahi ARG 2121 – 5
47. Del Cuadro Nestor ARG 2058 – 5
48. Martinez De Negri Gonzalo ARG 2154 – 5
49. Zamani Andres ARG 2093 – 5
50. Artana Rodrigo ARG 2005 – 5
51. Ferro Ezequiel ARG 2234 – 4.5
52. FM Casafus Ruben ARG 2338 – 4.5
53. Paternoste Martin ARG 2081 – 4.5
54. Sosa Tomas ARG 2200 – 4.5
55. Negri Santiago ARG 2193 – 4.5
56. IM Malbran Guillermo ARG 2190 – 4.5
57. Tomas Falcon Jesus ARG 1871 – 4.5
58. Campos Matias ARG 1952 – 4.5
59. Lopez Diego ARG 2170 – 4.5
60. Cardozo Lucas ARG 2012 – 4.5
61. Conde Adrian ARG 2031 – 4.5
62. Lozano Betania ARG 2005 – 4.5
63. FM Campos Jose Felix ARG 2147 – 4.5
64. FM Bulcourf Carlos ARG 2112 – 4.5
65. Fernandez Ibias Jose Luis ARG 2021 – 4.5
66. FM Airando Martin ARG 2196 – 4
67. Elman Cristian ARG 2134 – 4
68. Codigone Maximiliano ARG 2104 – 4
69. Rovira Joaquin ARG 2034 – 4
70. Radoszta Armando E. ARG 2024 – 4
71. Juarez Carlos Eleodoro ARG 2057 – 4
72. Lopez Rebert Pablo ARG 2051 – 4
73. Rodriguez Esteban ARG 2167 – 4
74. Lida Garcia Fernando ARG 1988 – 4
75. Moccero Eduardo ARG 2011 – 3.5
76. Garcia Lemos Federico ARG 2065 – 3.5
77. Chiarot Cesar PER 2258 – 3.5
78. Vigil Lucas ARG 2103 – 3.5
79. Torella Rodolfo ARG 2013 – 3.5
80. FM Suarez Jose Luis ARG 2055 – 3.5
81. Goncalves Claudio Javier ARG 1892 – 3.5
82. Alvarez Alberto Elias ARG 2016 – 3.5
83. Lupis Federico ARG 1962 – 3.5
84. Fabrega Enrique PAN 2178 – 3.5
85. Tomeo Nicolas ARG 2122 – 3.5
86. Lopez Ricardo ARG 2132 – 3.5
87. Montero Walter ARG 2035 – 3.5
88. Pascual Diego ARG 2008 – 3.5
89. Sanduay Nicolas ARG 2039 – 3.5
90. Leon Juan Carlos PER 2267 – 3
91. FM Mayorga Nicolas ARG 2305 – 3
92. Madina Yadarola Martin ESP 2243 – 3
93. Benedetti Antonella ARG 1979 – 3
94. Lo Presti Roberto ARG 2029 – 3
95. Riguera Ricardo ARG 2117 – 3
96. Postolski Javier ARG 2075 – 3
97. Nejanky Maisa ARG 2046 – 3
98. De Cesare Ricardo ARG 2024 – 2.5
99. Gimenez Martin ARG 2041 – 2.5
100. Flores Nancy ARG 1960 – 2.5
101. Prieu Gustavo ARG 2008 – 2.5
102. FM Anelli Antonio ARG 2113 – 2.5
103. Amil Meilan Horacio ARG 2131 – 2
104. Quinzio Martin ARG 2015 – 2
105. IM Garcia Raimundo ARG 2312 – 1.5
106. IM Labollita Martin ARG 2402 – 1.5
107. IM Paglilla Carlos ARG 2326 – 1.5
108. FM Pina Ulises CUB 2254 – 1.5
109. Fiori Alberto Nicolas ARG 2154 – 1.5
110. Mantovano Hector ARG 2036 – 1.5
111. Farias Guillermo ARG 1974 – 1.5
112. Gimenez Santiago ARG 2238 – 1
113. IM Fusco Leonardo ARG 2362 – 1
114. IM Saldano Dayer Horacio ESP 2469 – 1
115. Montes De Oca Juan ARG 2128 – 1
116. Fell Sebastian ARG 2204 – 1
117. Echeguren Gustavo ARG 2041 – 1
118. Florentin David ARG 2049 – 1
119. Ruiz Carlos ARG 2055 – 0.5
120. Zeta Rodrigo ARG 1976 – 0

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World Team Cities Chess: Hoogeveen versus Baku in Final Today
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Top seeds Hoogeveen and Baku face each other in today’s finals of the World Cities Chess Team Championship while Novi Sad and Tashkent battle for third place in the exciting climax of the week long tournament in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, according to the latest chess updates via Fide.

Hoogeveen drubbed Tashkent 3:1 to advance to the final match while Baku outclassed Novi Sad 3.5-0.5 to climb to the last rung of the knockout. 

Ivan Sokolov made short work of IM Andrey Kvon’s Nimzo Indian defense. Sokolov posted his Queen deep in Black’s territory and added pressure with doubled Rooks. Kvon lost a pawn and resigned on the 33rd moves under the mounting attack. On board 3, previous round hero Sergei Tiviakov also used the Nimzo Indian defense but could only draw with Alexei Barsov in 41 moves of a Rook and Pawn endgame.

Super GM Anish Giri, playing black on top board, used the Sicilian Scheveningen to seal the win for Hoogeveen as he defeated Tashkent’s Marat Dzhumaev. Giri forced Dzhumaev to exchange Queens on the 30th move to transpose to a favorable minor piece endgame for black. Giri created a passed pawn and limited movement of the White Bishop. He then advanced his pawn menacingly to the seventh rank to force resignation in 51 moves. With the match already decided, the fourth board game still continued between Jan Smeets of Hoogeveen and Saidali Iuldachev of Tashkent up to 77 moves close to midnight.

First to finish in the Baku-Novi Sad Match was Vasif Durarbayli of Azerbaijan. He crushed the French defense, Tarrasch variation, of Nikola Sedlak in 50 moves. Sedlak blundered with an overworked Queen and allowed Durarbayli to sacrifice the exchange and win a Knight on the 19th move. After a forced exchange of Queens on the 32nd move to transpose to a pawn endgame with Bishop and Knight for Durarbayli vs. Rook, Sedlak resigned on the 50th move.

On board three, Milos Perunovic of Novi Sad attacked the closed Sicilian defense of Rauf Mamedov and won the Black Queen in exchange for Rook and Knight. The Bishop pair of Mamedov allowed for a perpetual check for a draw on the 33rd move.

Young Eltaj Safarli, playing black on top board for Baku, also played the Sicilian defense against Ivan Ivanisevic of Novi Sad. In the Closed variation, Safarli allowed an exchange of his Queen for Rook and two pieces. Safarli advanced his rook pawn and faced with a promotion, Ivanisevic resigned on the 38th move.
With the match already won, Gadir Guseinov of Baku embarked on a kingside pawn storm against the Philidor defense of Robert Markus of Novi Sad. Guseinov penetrated with his Queen and weaved a mating net with the help of his Knight and center pawn to force resignation on the 37th move.

Anish Giri plays white to lead the Hoogeveen team in the tension filled finals against Eltaj Safarli and the Baku contingent without Gadir Guseinov who sits out the match starting 3pm in Al Ain. Novi Sad got white on top board against Tashkent in the fight for third place.

In the Al Ain Classic, seven players share the lead after 7 rounds. With 5.5 points each are GMs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Edouard Romain of France, Mircea Emilian Parligras of Romania, Wang Yue of China and Jaan Ehlvest of the USA, all who had carried points over from the World Cities. Also with 5.5 points are GMs Evgeni Miroshnichenko of Ukraine and Tigran Kotanjof Armenia who both started only in the Al Ain Classic.

Also coming from the World Cities are GMs Evgeny Sveshnikov of Latvia, Asghar Golizadeh of Iran and Emre Can of Turkey who trail with 5 points.

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Special Chess Event in Moscow: Boris Spassky Guest of Honour
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Chess great Boris Spassky attended a special event in Moscow on the occasion of Christmas.  Boris Spassky visited Evgeny Vasiukov’s Handicap Chess Tournament in the Central House of Chess, according to a Chess-News report. There is also a report with lots of pictures at Russia Chess Federation website.

The traditional handicap-tournament was held in the Central House of Chess today. The author of the current handicap system and the organiser of the competition Evgeny Vasiukov reached the event along with Boris Spassky and inaugurated the tournament. Here is a photo by Vladimir Barsky ( and video by Eugene Potemkin (

The rating favourite of the competition Alexander Grischuk won the event, with Maxim Dlugy being second and Daniil Dubov wining third place ahead of Vasily Papin on tie-break. Anna Burtasova was the strongest among women and Evgeny Vasiukov among veterans.

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Zurich Chess Open Begins with Alexei Shirov as Top Seed
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The 36th Zurich Weihnachtsopen is taking place from 26th to 30th December at the Crowne Plaza Zürich in Zurich, Switzerland, according to a Chessdom report. The Master Tournament (for players rated over 2000) and General Tournament (U2050) will each be played over 7 rounds of Swiss system.
Top rated players: Shirov Alexei 2708 LAT, Grachev Boris 2688 RUS, Istratescu Andrei 2654 FRA, Melkumyan Hrant 2649 ARM, Kurnosov Igor 2645 RUS, Turov Maxim 2630 RUS, Bartel Mateusz 2629 POL, Bauer Christian2627 FRA, Baramidze David 2615 GER, Pelletier Yannick 2604 SUI, Vajda Levente 2603 ROU, Prohaszka Peter 2573 HUN, Ghaem Maghami Ehsan 2572 IRI, Fier Alexandr 2567 BRA, Sanikidze Tornike 2567 GEO, Stojanovic Mihajlo 2566 SRB, Bogner Sebastian 2562 GER, Anton Guijarro David 2558 ESP, Bindrich Falko 2545 GER,Sebenik Matej 2543 SLO etc. Lots of surprises are expected, for example in the first round Swiss André Meylan holding to a draw GM Milos Pavlovic. All results are on the tournament’s official site.

Prizes in Master Tournament: CHF 5000, 4000, 3000, 2000, 1500, 1000, etc. (20 prizes)

Special prizes CHF 200 each: for best woman, best senior over 60, best U20, U16 and best U2200 Elo.

Prizes in General Tournament: CHF 1000, 800, 600, 500, 400, 300, etc. (20 prizes)
Special prizes CHF 200: for best woman, best senior over 60, best U20, U16, best U1800 Elo and best U1600 Elo.

Total prize money of both tournaments is exceeding CHF 30,000.

Meanwhile, the Hilton Basel Chess Festival is scheduled for 1-5th January, 2013, in Basel, Switzerland.

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Passionate about Chess: An Interesting Initiative
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

This is an interesting video about one man’s interest in art and chess. He dreams of putting a chess board in every household in the world! What’s your chess dream?

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Viking Chess Players’ Statue to Find New Home in Isle of Man
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Here is an interesting chess tale – about where the chess statue of ancient Viking chess players is to be stationed! The Ramsey town centre is being renovated in Isle of Man. The Regeneration Committee wants to set up public art items in the revamped areas, in particular the Courthouse grounds on Parliament Street.

The present regeneration works include the addition of public seating and an outdoor chess table. The committee, being aware of the statue of King Olaf and Godred Crovan located in the Town Hall have asked whether Ramsey Town Commissioners would consider whether this could be relocated and placed near to the outdoor chess table within the Courthouse grounds, on the basis that the statue would be much more visible to visitors and the public and might be an additional attraction in the newly refurbished area.

The statue depicts the ancient kings locked in a chess-like contest, and was commissioned from local artist Amanda Barton as a Millennium project for the town. At the time of commissioning a permanent location had to be found and it ultimately was placed in the Town Hall foyer on a raised plinth.

It is understood that the statue is suitable for external locations although it would need to be carefully located and secured. At the December public meeting, Ramsey Town Commissioners expressed their support for the move, noting that the statue is not shown off to its best potential in its current location, and that the similarly-constructed George Formby and Norman Wisdom statues in Douglas had so far survived outdoor life intact.
The statue itself is notable for its symbolism and multiple hidden meanings, featuring two major figures from Manx history.
King Godred Crovan, or King Orry, is the father of his opponent in the statue, Olav I.

While the war-like Crovan – a Norseman born in the Isle of Islay – conquered the Isle of Man at the third attempt at the Battle of Skye Hill in 1079, his son had a reputation as a man of peace and law, and during his 40 year reign over Mann founded Rushen Abbey.

The two characters apparently play an innocent game of chess.

King Olaf appears to be playing classical chess whilst his father, leaning across the board, plays the game as if it were the more aggressive ancient Viking game of merels, symbolising the move from old ways to new.

The commissioners added that if the statue were to be moved to form a prominent part of the regeneration area, it would only happen after investigating the logistics of moving it, and its current plinth. You can read the original story by Lee Brooks at this link.

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World Cities Team Chess: Baku, Novi Sad, Tashkent, Hoogeveen Qualify for Semifinals
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The latest chess news updates from the World Cities Team Chess event in Al-Ain are here via Fide: In the quarterfinal matches, the city of Baku was the first to go through as they outclassed the Wu Xi team of China 3:1. The Azerbaijan strategy paid off as Eltaj Safarli and Gadir Guseinov held to draws the two stronger Chinese players, GM Wang Yue and Ji Dan. The battle shifted to the lower boards. Baku’s GM Rauf Mamedov outplayed Li Wenliang and Nidjat Mamedov outmaneuvered Fang Yuxiang to give Baku the 3:1 victory and a slot in the semifinals.
Next to qualify was Novi Sad. Serb Robert Markus used the King’s Indian Defense to beat Hans Tikannen on board 3 for Lund, Sweden. Markus sacrificed a Knight on the 20th move and embarked on a king hunt which ended in checkmate on the 39th move. Milos Perunovic followed suit with a temporary Knight sacrifice on the 22nd move against Carlsson Pontus. After a flurry of exchanges Perunovic netted two pawns and forced resignation on the 39th move. With a draw on board 4 against Swede Axel Smith, Nikola Sedlak sealed the victory for Novi Sad. The win by Swede Nils Grandelius on top board against Ivan Ivanisevic came too late to lift their spirits. 

The Tashkent team qualified next at the expense of Athens, Greece. Saidali Iuldachev scored first on board 4 against Andreas Tzermiadianos in 38 moves of a King and Pawn endgame arising from a Ruy Lopez. After two draws on the middle boards, Marat Dzhumaev sealed the win for Tashkent by beating Ioannis Papaioannou for a 3:1 score. After the game we asked Uzbekistan Chess Federation head Husain Turdialiev “Good prize money?” He replied “If we win next even better.” The fourth placed semifinalist receives $10,000 prize money out of a total $150,000 in this team tournament.

In the last match of the round, Hoogeveen came from behind to beat Saratov. The Russians scored first as Alexei Iljushin beat Jan Smeets on board 4 in 41 moves of a minor piece endgame. Much was expected of Dutch top board Anish Giri but he was held to a draw by Evgeny Tomasevsky. Dutch captain Ivan Sokolov also drew on second board with Igor Lysyj leaving the decision to the third board match between Hoogeveen’s Sergei Tiviakov and Evgeny Romanov. The Russian GM lost a pawn on the 43rd move but as Sokolov commented later, the game looked drawish which would give the victory to the Russians.

It was nearly midnight and everyone left in the hall had their eyes glued to the monitor as Tiviakov nursed a one pawn advantage in a precise same-colored Bishop endgame to force resignation on the 67th move. This meant Hoogeveen won the match by the Berlin system where more weight is put on the higher boards.

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Christmas Chess King Challenge: Did You Miss It?
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Chess King ran a nice Christmas Chess Challenge of five puzzles in five minutes. Here is the first one: White to play for a win. You can solve this and head over to Chess King to try your hand at the other four puzzles as well. Belated Christmas if you were offline the last few hours. Have fun with chess this holiday season.

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Santa Clara Chess Open from Jan 4
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The New Year Chess Open in Santa Clara, California, is an interesting upcoming chess event. Organized by Salman Azhar 4-6th January 2013 at Santa Clara Marriott, 2700 Mission Blvd, Santa Clara CA 95054, the chess tournament will be held in three sections: Under 1500, 1500-1999, and Open 2000+ with the prize fund of $10,000 based on 167 entries. $6,000 is guaranteed. The playing format is 6-round Swiss.

Open Section is FIDE rated. Prizes: $1,500, 700, 300; Top U2300 – 700, 300, 100; Top U2100 – 300, 100.
1500-1999: $1,000, 500, 200; Top U1800 – 600, 200, 100; Top U1600 – 300, 100.
Under 1500: $1,000, 500, 200; Top U1300 – 600, 200, 100; Top U1100 – 300, 100.

Currently top rated player is GM Julio Sadorra (Philippines). You can register at the Bay Area Chess site.

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Share Chess Queen™ Alexandra Kosteniuk’s Chess Christmas Comic around
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

Lots of chess cheer for you with wishes for a Merry Christmas and holidays! 

Here is Chess Queen™ Alexandra Kosteniuk’s chess comic. The 12th Women’s World Chess Champion says, “If you know any kids around you, please share with them my chess comic. Remember that giving a chess set or a chess book or a chess program for Christmas is a great idea!”

See the full comic below. You can see or download for print all comics in several languages here. You can publish the chess comics at no cost, as long as you leave the full page and text exactly as it is.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
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Coffee-Break Chess Puzzle: White Checkmates in Two

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

Hi everyone,

We bring to you a very nice chess puzzle via Chess King. White to play and checkmate in two. Can you see how? Click on the diagram to go to the answer page.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
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Russian Chess Rapid Grand Prix: Aleksey Dreev Wins Title in Kirov
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The final tournament “Rapid Grand Prix of Russia 2012″ was played on 22-24th December in Kirov. The final was a knock-out event with 16 participants who scored most points in the Grand Prix rapid events throughout the year.

Famous Grandmaster Aleksey Dreev, who became the European Rapid champion last weekend, added another title by winning the prestigious Russian Rapid Grand Prix, according to a Chessdom report.

In the final match Dreev defeated the 14-years old prodigy Vladislav Artemiev from Omsk. In the earlier rounds Dreev eliminated Yana Kim, Pavel Maletin and Anton Shomoev.
GM Aleksey Dreev

Artemiev defeated Alexander Galkin, Russian champion Dmitry Andreikin and young star Sanan Sjugirov on his way to the final. The time control was 15 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. Each mini-match consisted of two games. In case of a tie, a deciding game with 5 min (white) and 4 min (black) plus 3 sec increment from move 61 was played.

The prize pool was 1,4 million rubles (34,400 EUR). 1st place – 320 000 rubles (7,800 EUR), 2nd place – 180 000 rubles, 3-4th place – 110 000 rubles, 5-8th place – 70 000 rubles, 9-16th place – 50 000 rubles.

Two weeks ago Bartosz Socko and Aleksandra Goryachkina won the Russian Cup with classical time control.

Round 1 results:

Yana Kim – Aleksey Dreev 0-2
Boris Savchenko – Ekaterina Ubiennykh 2-0
Dmitry Andreikin – Dinara Dordzhieva 2-0
Evgeniya Sukhareva – Sanan Sjugirov 0-2
Sergei Yudin – Pavel Maletin 1-2
Anton Shomoev – Pavel Smirnov 2-1
Vladislav Artemiev – Alexander Galkin 2-1
Pavel Ponkratov – Andrey Stukopin 0,5-1,5

Round 2 results:

Aleksey Dreev – Pavel Maletin 2-0
Vladislav Artemiev – Dmitry Andreikin 1,5-0,5
Anton Shomoev – Boris Savchenko 2-0
Sanan Sjugirov – Andrey Stukopin 2-1

Semifinal matches:
Anton Shomoev – Aleksey Dreev 0,5-1,5
Vladislav Artemiev – Sanan Sjugirov 2-0

Final match:Aleksey Dreev – Vladislav Artemiev 1,5-0,5

From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
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Talented Chess Player Phiona Mutesi on BBC
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012
Hi everyone,

Have you been following the chess tale of talented chess player Phiona Mutesi of Ugana on our Chess Blog? Read all our posts on Phiona Mutesi’s chess dream at this Chess Blog link. Here’s a programme link on her story on BBC World Service. Click on the screen shot below to hear the programme. 

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Play Chess with Santa, Ashley Style + Print 3D Chess Pieces
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

It’s Christmas time and time to double the chess fun. Did you play a chess game with Santa this year? Ashley – talented Canadian chess kid – did! Here’s a photo. Also, check out this cool 3D printing video that ‘prints’ out a chess piece! You could print out your whole chess set maybe.

Ashley will do a Charity Chess Fundraiser for Because I am a Girl in the new year at Chapters Book store. One of the places she did her WYCC Chess Fundraisers. Click on photo above to check all Chess Blog posts on Ashley. Find more Ashley and Santa photos at her Facebook page.

Here’s the 3D printing chess video. Of course, the 3D printing technology is in its nascent stage. But imagine…

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