Fundraiser Chess Event in Moore for Oklahoma Tornado Victims
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Chess Blog just received this note from chess lovers in Moore: Sadly, in the wake of the May 20th tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, tens of thousands of families have lost their homes. And children are left with uncertain futures and in many cases deprived of fun summer activities that they had planned.

Learners Chess Academy will be pitching in by collaborating with the Moore Public Library to run a free chess camp for children of affected families. Coach Victor and Coach Doug will head out there to run the camp from June 10th – 14th. Please support our efforts by making a donation. Many thanks to our early named sponsors (growing!):

NM Senator Jacob R. Candelaria
Victor and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
German & Associates (via Joshua Tenorio!)

Chess Blog wishes them all the best with their chess fundraiser and our heart goes out to the victims. May chess help them heal.

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Bulgarian Chess Federation Temporarily Disqualifies FM Borislav Ivanov for an Investigation
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

The website of the Bulgarian Chess Federation announced that, at the reunion of the Board members, it was decided to disqualify FM Borislav Ivanov for a duration of four months. Ivanov has been suspected in cheating over the past months and faced numerous accusations after he has shown great play against high level players and achieved impressive results at both national and international tournaments. At several occasions, Grandmasters claimed that Ivanov’s play was based on first line by “Houdini” and “Rybka”, and refused to show up at their games against the Bulgarian. The Bulgarian Chess Federation will start an investigation of his games and tournaments played in the period of the last nine months. (Borislav Ivanov, 25, three years ago. Photo –

Ivanov himself rejects all the charges, explaining his outstanding play as a result of hard work and training. He was searched at one of the tournaments, but no evidence of the accusations could be found. Thus, it can be stated that the decision regarding the temporary disqualification of Ivanov was merely taken on the basis of aroused suspicions. (

You can read all Chess Blog posts on chess and cheating related issues at this link.

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2013 US Junior Chess Closed Championship from June 13-23 in St Louis
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

SAINT LOUIS: The 10-player field has been set for the 2013 U.S. Junior Closed Championship, scheduled to be held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) June 13-23. The top Juniors in the nation will meet in Saint Louis with more than $10,000 at stake and an invitation to the 2014 U.S. Championship at stake.

The Junior Closed Championship is the most prestigious tournament in the nation for the country’s top players under the age of 21. This marks the fourth consecutive year this event is being held at the CCSCSL.


Title Name Rating Invitation
IM D Naroditsky 2538 Rating
IM Victor Shen 2511 Rating
NM Robert Perez 2510 Rating
IM Kayden Troff 2505 Rating
FM Jeffrey Xiong 2483 Rating
FM Yian Liou 2469 Rating
FM Sam Sevian 2467 Rating
FM Atulya Shetty 2446 Wildcard
FM L H-Vellotti 2434 Wildcard
WFM Sarah Chiang 2238 Open Invite
Ratings based on April USCF Supplement

Karthik Ramachandran, the winner of the 2012 U.S. Junior Open, was ineligible to play in the 2013 U.S Junior Closed due to age restrictions, so the invitation was extended to WFM Sarah Chiang, the second-place finisher. Chiang is coming off her first-ever U.S. Women’s Championship appearance, which was held in Saint Louis in May. Kayden Troff and Sam Sevian also have recent big-tournament exposure, both having acquitted themselves nicely at the 2013 U.S. Championship, also held in Saint Louis in May.
The opening ceremony and players’ meeting will take place on June 13, and the first round of play will begin at 1 p.m. CT on June 14. Grandmasters Yasser Seirawan and Ben Finegold will provide live play-by-play commentary for each round of the event. Spectators are welcome to watch the commentary live at the Saint Louis Chess Club or online at

About The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit

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Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 7: Caruana, Kamsky Win Again, Share Lead
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Fabiano Caruana and Gata Kamsky continued the winning streak to remain joint leaders after the 7th round of Thessaloniki Grand Prix 2013. Kamsky outplayed Rustam Kasimdzhanov with black pieces, while Caruana took advantage of Alexander Morozevich’s blunder to keep up the pace. In one of the longer games of the day Hikaru Nakamura defeated Veselin Topalov.

Tournament sponsor Ivan Savvidis visited the playing hall and watched the games before heading to the football match of his club PAOK. Results, pairings, standings and photo gallery are updated.

Ivanchuk – Grischuk

Just as the Tournament Director Τheodoros Tsorbatzoglou was presenting FIDE Press Officer Anastasya Karlovich with a birthday cake, the game finished in a draw and the players entered the press room! 

Knowing that Grischuk is very well prepared for the openings with kingside fianchetto, Gruenfeld and King’s Indian, Ivanchuk decided to go with a more reserved English opening. Black made an early excursion with the Queen, allowing white to repeat the moves and make a much needed break from the losing streak. Ivanchuk took the microphone and a river of words followed. He discussed the game emotionally and showed many interesting lines from an apparently quiet opening.

Ivanchuk also shared an interesting story about his opponent. Vassily said that the Russian is a difficult opponent because he is rarely accepting draws, even if he doesn’t have better position or better time on the clock. Ivanchuk believes that this attitude brought Grischuk good results recently: “Maybe he is using some poker tricks that I am not familiar with :)

Svidler – Ponomariov
Svidler remained consistent and opened with 1.d4 while Ponomariov replied with the Queen’s Gambit Accepted. The Russian said he expected something else in the opening.

11.a3 took black by surprise and he spent almost one hour for the next move. Svidler believed that after 11.Be3 black is just comfortable and he wanted to give him a choice to possibly make a mistake.

11…Bd6 was a decent choice, but after spending so much time Ponomariov “wanted to play a simpler game”. Svidler thought he could exercise some pressure after 15.b5, but black’s 15…f5 is a very precise answer. Svidler mentioned that 18.b6!? would have been an interesting try, but “…as the tournament goes for me, it was best to keep things under control.” The game soon fizzled out to a draw.

On the question about the time control in the tournament, Ponomariov said: “I think the discussions about which time control is better are pointless, it is like people have nothing better to do. I would prefer to have one, any time control, to be used throughout the whole WCC cycle, but without changing.”
Kasimdzhanov – Kamsky
Gata Kamsky spent 7-8 minutes for the first move before opting for the Dutch defence. He took up this opening because he “wanted to play something interesting”. The game was an interesting battle that you can replay with Chess King

Morozevich – Caruana
This was another English opening and white angled to set the reversed Hedgehog structure. Already after 8.b3 Caruana was unhappy with this opening and that is why he decided to exchange the light-squared Bishops. Morozevich might have felt black’s discomfort as he immediately replied with aggressive-looking 11.h4. But Caruana kept his cool and calmly exchanged another pair of pieces to reduce the attacking potential. Black came up with a nice win which you can replay with Chess King.

Nakamura – Topalov
The game started with Naidorf Sicilian, which Hikaru Nakamura himself played earlier against Morozevich. But instead of the English Attack, this time white opted for the good old positional 6.Be2. White obtained the Bishops’ pair and Topalov tried to restrict the light-squared piece with g6-h5 formation. This turned to be a bit too slow because white quickly summoned the pawns on e5 and c5. Replay the full game with Chess King.

On question about Thessaloniki, Nakamura said that he likes the city and that he enjoys the weather “which is better than in previous tournaments he played in.” 

“It’s great to see that many people are coming to the playing hall to follow the games,” he added.

Bacrot – Dominguez
Leinier Dominguez repeated the Bogo Indian, which he successfully used against Kasimdzhanov in the 5th round, but Bacrot was prepared and answered with the principled 8.cxd5 heading for the Carlsbad pawn structure.

One of the advantages was that the Rook was on b1 (Kasimdzhanov had the Rook on d1), allowing white to organise a quick advance on the queenside.

Dominguez said that he wanted to repeat the solid line and be safe, but then he committed some mistakes and had to suffer for a long time.

Bacrot refused the repetition on two occasions, then conveniently exchanged the pieces and passed the time control with a better pawn structure.

The backward c6-pawn was a constant source or worry for black. White’s advantage was moderate but lasting.

Bacrot kept on pressing for another 40 moves, but Dominguez finally escaped with a draw in the Knights endgame.

GM Papaioannou and FM Logothetis believed that white’s best try was to play with three pawns versus lone Knight, as in 71.f5 Kg5 72.Kxg3 Kf6 73.Nxd5 Nxd5 74.e4 etc. It is still unclear however whether this would be sufficient for a win. (Report by Goran Urosevic/official website)

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Razuvaev Chess Memorial, Washington Chess International Set for Aug 6-11
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

The Washington International returns for a second year to Rockville, MD from August 6 -11. Player feedback from last year’s event (won by Gata Kamsky) was overwhelmingly positive. This year there are several major enhancements to the tournament such as a significantly larger prize fund, a B section for lower rated players, minimum prizes available for all non-US players, and lower entrance fees. The 9-round swiss A section has $22,000 in guaranteed prizes and will provide an opportunity for players to earn GM and IM norms. 

In order to improve the chances for earning these norms, a minimum rating of 2100 FIDE or 2200 USCF will be required to play in the A section. Twenty players, including 9 GMs and 6 IMs, have already registered to play in the tournament. New this year is the B section that is also a 9-round FIDE-rated swiss with the same schedule and a $4,000 prize fund. Players must be rated under 2250 USCF and 2200 FIDE to play in the B section. All equipment will be provided for the players in both sections. More information about the tournament, including the currently registered players, can be found at

Running concurrently with the Washington International tournament will be the Razuvaev Memorial Tournament. GM Razuvaev was the coach of Alexandra Kosteniuk when she won the Woman’s World Championship in 2008. In honor of this, the tournament format will be a team match of some of the top women chess players against some male players who were friends with GM Razuvaev. 

The players are:GM Adrian Mikhalchishin, GM Boris Gulko, GM Vladimir Tukmakov, GM Lev Alburt, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, IM Anna Zatonskih, IM Irina Krush and IM Elena Sedina

The International and the Razuvaev Memorial are the showcase events for the Washington International Chess Festival, but several other shorter duration events are also available:

Potomac Open (August 2-4)
Weekend Swiss
40/90, SD/30 +30/incr
Washington International Blitz
Friday Aug 9, 8pm
3 +2/incr
Washington International Rapid
Saturday, Aug 10
15 +10/incr
For all of these tournaments live broadcasts of the games, standings, reports, and pairings will be at

These tournaments are being organized by the Maryland Chess Association. If you have any questions, email Mike Regan at

Also Read:

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World Chess Hall of Fame Puts Focus on Fashion
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Here is a nice feature by Marc Karimzadeh on the World Chess Hall of Fame. 
An illustration of the décor at the “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion & Chess” exhibition.

From the checkerboard floor at Alexander McQueen’s spring 2005 collection to Marc Jacobs’ spring Louis Vuitton lineup, which could practically double as a board to play on, the game of chess has played a recurring role in fashion.

From Oct. 19 through April 18, 2014, the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis is drawing a direct relation between the two with “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess,” an exhibition of garments that explore notions associated with the game. Don’t expect checkerboard mania, though: The exhibition will explore the theme more subtly via variations on the Queen theme.

“It’s very much about the use of archetypes from a chess perspective,” noted curator Sofia Hedman, who had helped catalogue “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011. “Each [chess] piece can be seen as having different personalities, and the exhibition investigates these archetypes of the queen.”

The nine different themes in the exhibition — based on the number of queens who can technically be on the board at once during a game if all nine pawns are elevated to queens — are reflective of Carl Jung’s theory of archetypes. They are Mother Figure, Heroine, Magician, Sage, Enchantress, Explorer, Ruler, Mother Earth and Orphan.

To gather pieces that correspond to the themes, Hedman considered a wide range of designers who have, at some point in their careers, directly or more loosely embodied the theme with their designs, including Gucci, Maison Martin Margiela, Gianfranco Ferré and Pam Hogg. Among the pieces on show in St. Louis will be McQueen’s Annabel Lee poem coat with prose by Edgar Allen Poe; Hussein Chalayan’s 2007 bubble dress, and the snake dress from Iris van Herpen.

“A Queen Within” will be previewed next Tuesday at Christie’s, which plans to auction off select pieces from the show after it closes next year.

“Everyone has some relationship with chess, whether you are a player or not a player,” said Hedman, who doesn’t actually consider herself a chess pro. “I played a little bit,” she said. “I am not very good.”

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Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 6: Caruana, Kamsky, Dominguez in Joint Lead
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Fabiano Caruana and Gata Kamsky won their games in the 6th round of Thessaloniki Grand Prix 2013 to join Leinier Dominguez in shared lead. Dominguez outplayed Hikaru Nakamura, but couldn’t convert the winning position into the full point. Vassily Ivanchuk collapsed again and lost to Ruslan Ponomariov after only 19 moves and barely 75 minutes of play.

Ponomariov – Ivanchuk
Again the game of Vassily Ivanchuk finished quickly, as the legendary Ukrainian fell down to his compatriot Ruslan Ponomariov. Ponomariov kept his options open, with possibility to play on either of the flanks. Ivanchuk underestimated white’s flexibility and carelessly castled long and lost. Replay the full game with Chess King

Ivanchuk apologised to Ponomariov – “I am sorry that I played this bad,” and then resigned. Ponomariov said that after five draws in a row he wanted to play for a win. Yesterday he missed some chances against Grischuk and is happy that today he won so quickly.

On question about opponent’s form, Ponomariov said that it would have been easier for Ivanchuk if this was a knockout event where – “…You lose and you go home, but here you have to stay until the end and suffer.”

About the World Chess Championship match in Chennai, Ponomariov said, “Everyone is claiming that Carlsen is clear favorite to win the WCC match, but as you can see he also loses some games. Besides, the match is being held in India, so I don’t think everything is so clear. Having been World Champion at the age of 18, I am always rooting for younger players, so I am Carlsen’s fan in this match.”

Caruana – Bacrot
The Italian Grandmaster refrained from Ruy Lopez and used the Scotch opening. He has pleasant memories about the system as he used it to defeat the great Vladimir Kramnik. Caruana said his preparation finished after 21.f3, where computer is giving advantage to white, and pointed that e5-e6 is a very dangerous threat. Eventually, Caruana ground down Black. Replay the full game with Chess King

Grischuk – Morozevich

The two Alexanders, who kept confusing our commentators used to mention the players by their first names, were involved in an interesting discussion of a Ruy Lopez sideline. Grischuk played the quiet 5.d3, and Morozevich answered with kingside fianchetto, carefully preparing the expansion with the pawns.

Black pieces started looming around the opponent’s King, but the timely reaction in the center allowed white to weather the storm. Grischuk said that he played in a logical manner, he didn’t see many alternatives, just kept going with the natural moves, bu Morozevich played creatively and kept posing challenges. The draw was recorded shortly after the time control.

Topalov – Kasimdzhanov
Another game with d3 in Ruy Lopez, only this time played on the 6th move. The setup was similar to Dominguez – Svidler, but Kasimdzhanov jumped his Knight to a5 instead of d4. He considered this to be a slight improvement. Topalov was satisfied after 12.b4 – “I like this structure. But sometimes this pawn can be a target for counterplay with a6-a5.” He criticised 16.h3 and felt that is was unnecessary I saw something like he pushes d6-d5, I answer e4-e5, and his Knight jumps to g4. I am not sure if this was any good.”

About the exchange 18.bxc5, Topalov said – “I was not afraid of advance c5-c4 because I always have this nice Bb4.” 22.f4 might have been a little too ambitious as it allowed Kasimdzhanov to sacrifice a piece for two pawns and get the avalanche rolling. Rustam believed he was nearly winning after 24…Qxc2.

Apparently Topalov wasn’t too concerned about the pawn mass, but later he admitted that he underestimated its potential. There was an interesting endgame with B+N+2P for white and R+4P for black. Kasimdzhanov was definitely pressing for a win, but with reduced material and accurate defence Topalov held a draw.

Kamsky – Svidler
As usual, Gata Kamsky avoided theoretical discussion and started calmly with the English opening. In reply, Svidler set the reversed Sicilian Dragon. The play developed slowly with lots of maneuvering, but as the time was passing by, white attained better pawn structure. Black decided not to wait too long and started operating on the kingside. However, the position opened to white’s benefit. The game still remained very complicated and Kamsky was not sure by how much he was better until he played 42.Rh2. Already after the next move Svidler resigned. Replay the game with Chess King.

Dominguez – Nakamura
We are already used to have Hikaru Nakamura playing the longest game of the day and closing the press center with the final interview. He surprised tournament leader Leinier Dominguez with the Scandinavian defence. In any case, the Cuban couldn’t really prepare for the last two rounds because his computer has broken down. According to Nakamura, 7.Bd3 was a clever way to take advantage of black’s move order. He also considered 8…e6 to be a mistake and said that he planned 8…Qa6 (recently played by tournament commentator GM Papaioannou), but he can’t explain why he forgot about it. 10.Qg3 reminded black that he will have serious trouble to get the King into castle. Nakamura suggested that he should have dug in with Be7 and if Bf4 to play Qc8, where he is clearly worse but he could play on – “After 14.Qxf6 black is simply lost”.

Nevertheless, the American put up a stubborn defence. It looked like Dominguez was trying to always be on the safe side, but he said he just played a normal game. The players have agreed that 34.f5 was premature and that it was better to start with preparatory 34.Ke3 and then f5 on the next move. Dominguez confirmed that the resulting endgame was winning but difficult to convert.

Nakamura said he was preparing to resign, but he changed his mind when white traded the Rooks with 46.Rg4 “because then suddenly black has drawing chances.” Both players promoted to Queens and the resulting endgame is worthy of teaching manuals. It looked like white should be winning, but the magical dance of black pieces saved the draw for Nakamura who defended brilliantly.

The players have suggested possible improvements for white – probably 60.Kg7 instead of 60.h5 should win because black king cannot move closer. Also 61.Kg5 was mentioned by Nakamura. (Report by Goran Urosevic/official website).

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Scottish Chess Blitz in Edinburgh on June 15
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 
The 2nd Scottish Blitz Championship will be held at Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh, on Saturday 15th June from 9:00am until 5:00pm. Entry fees: Adult £20 and Student/Junior(U18) £10. Please note the revised adult entry fee. The event will be Fide Blitz rated with official Fide blitz rules applying. The time control will be 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment. There will be 13 rounds with a tentative time schedule detailed below:

Prize Fund £1500:
1st £600, 2nd £400, 3rd £200, 4th £100.
Best Under 2000: 1st £50, 2nd £25.
Best Under 1700: 1st £50, 2nd £25.
Best Junior (u18): 1st £50, 2nd £25.

Additional Rules:
a) Eligiblity for grading prizes will be determined by the player’s assigned rating. (i.e. with FIDE blitz rating taking priority over CS grade)
b) The tournament organiser reserves the right to alter prize money as all prizes quoted are based on a satisfactory number of entries.
c) Should a player miss registration, then they will receive a half point bye for round 1.
d) The arbiter’s decision is final on matters relating to play.
e) The Scottish Blitz Champion title will be awarded to the highest placed Scottish player. In the event of a tie, the Champion will be decided by i) Head to Head ii) Highest TPR.

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Asian Chess: Huang Qian Wins Continental Women’s Championship 2013
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

The 2013 Asian Continental Chess Championship for Women was held on 18-26th May in Manila, Philippines. The tournament was organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and Eugene Torre Chess Foundation, Inc. A total of 40 players from 9 countries took participation, among them 12 WGMs, 2 IMs and 9 WIMs, according to a Chessdom report.

It was an exciting race between Huang Qian and Tan Zhongyi, both from China, who finally finished the tournament on 7,0/9 points each. However, Huang Qian took the title of Asian champion on better tie-break and qualified for the next Women’s World Chess Championship.

The third place at the chess championship went to WGM Mary Ann Gomes from India who stood her ground among the Chinese players to claim clear third place with 6,5/9 and take the bronze medal. Gomes also jumped over 2400 elo and finally fulfilled requirements for IM title.

Final standings:

1 WGM HUANG Qian CHN 2469 – 7
2 WGM TAN Zhongyi CHN 2483 – 7
3 WGM GOMES Mary Ann IND 2387 – 6.5
4 WGM WANG Jue U18 CHN 2401 – 6
5 WIM ZHAI Mo U18 CHN 2259 – 6
6 IM MUNGUNTUUL Batkhuyag MGL 2442 – 6
7 WGM GUO Qi U18 CHN 2439 – 6
8 FRAYNA Janelle Mae U16 PHI 2050 – 5.5
9 WGM MUMINOVA Nafisa UZB 2307 – 5.5
10 WGM KULKARNI Bhakti Pradip IND 2244 – 5.5
11 WFM SAN DIEGO Marie Antoinette U14 PHI 1947 – 5
12 WIM SIHITE Chelsie Monica U18 INA 2290 – 5
13 WGM SOUMYA Swaminathan IND 2300 – 5
14 IM PHAM Le Thao Nguyen VIE 2399 – 5
15 WIM NI Shiqun U16 CHN 2213 – 5
16 WANG Doudou CHN 2162 – 5
17 WIM MEDINA Warda Aulia U16 INA 2320 – 4.5
18 WIM PERENA Catherine PHI 2170 – 4.5
19 NADIA Anggraeni M U18 INA 1854 – 4.5
20 LEI Tingjie U16 CHN 2232 – 4.5
21 WIM NGUYEN Thi Mai Hung U20 VIE 2284 – 4.5
22 WGM NAKHBAYEVA Guliskhan KAZ 2379 – 4.5
23 WGM NGUYEN Thi Thanh An VIE 2250 – 4.5
24 WGM LE Thanh Tu VIE 2341 – 4.5
25 WFM KARENZA Dita U14 INA 1821 – 4
26 FRONDA Jan Jodilyn U20 PHI 2028 – 4
27 JELSEN Yemi U20 INA 1997 – 4
28 DOCENA Jedara PHI 2019 – 4
29 WGM HOANG Thi Bao Tram VIE 2310 – 4
30 WFM DEWI Aa Citra U20 INA 2155 – 4
31 BERNALES Christy Lamiel U20 PHI 2016 – 3.5
32 WIM HOANG Thi Nhu Y U20 VIE 2222 – 3.5
33 WIM XU Huahua U20 CHN 2135 – 3.5
34 WFM ANU Bayar U20 MGL 2003 – 3.5
35 WFM QIU Mengjie U18 CHN 2122 – 3
36 WFM LKHAMSUREN Uuganbayar MGL 2137 – 3
37 WIM GALAS Bernadette U18 PHI 2045 – 3
38 ROMERO Gladys Hazelle M. PHI 1927 – 2.5
39 MENDOZA Shania Mae U16 PHI 1847 – 2.5
40 SULTANA Sharmin Shirin BAN 2005 – 1

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Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Round 5: Dominguez Takes Lead
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Leinier Dominguez continued the winning row in Thessaloniki Grand Prix as he defeated the former World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov with black pieces in the 5th round. After the third consecutive victory Dominguez is leading the race with 3,5 points. For some time it looked like Caruana and Morozevich will join in the shared lead, but they couldn’t convert their games into full points. Results, pairings, standings and photo gallery are updated.

Ivanchuk – Kamsky
The game finished rather quickly, after only 30 minutes of play. Ivanchuk had a poor start, but Kamsky was cautious because the Ukrainian is very unpredictable and no one knows when he could shine. Thus black chose to be solid and defended with the Caro-Kan. Ivanchuk surprised him with a quiet line, that can be poisonous if black neglects the danger, but the American champion knew the way to equality.

Kamsky said he felt relief when he realised that Ivanchuk “might not kill him”. He added that he was happy after 14.Bxf6 because he knew the game will be drawn. When asked if he knows why is Ivanchuk in bad form, Kamsky didn’t want to speculate but he recollected an earlier tournament in Linares: “When I saw Ivanchuk beating Kasparov, I thought the guy will be the next World Champion.”

Svidler – Topalov
The play started with the Queen’s Gambit Declined and Svidler opted for the popular line with 5. Bf4. The position quickly sharpened up as black grabbed a pawn but white pushed his own all the way to c7. Topalov wanted to cover the c-file with Nc5, but he discarded the idea because he “would simply be a piece down”.

Disappointed about the miscalculation, black decided to trade some pieces and retain two pawns for the exchange. After 23…Nf8 it looked like there could be some trouble on the back-rank (Topalov suggested 23…Bf8 as better option).

Svidler thought he would win after 26.Ne5, but he “didn’t see that the Knight is coming out that fast”. This changed his mood and he went to look how to make a draw. He said he was very worried about 30…Rc5+ and Topalov agreed that this might have been good attempt to keep the action going – “I don’t even know why I didn’t play it”.

The position simplified as many pawns went off (It was very important to keep the h-pawn alive – Svidler) and the draw was signed after the repetition.

Topalov said at the press conference that he was mainly preparing for 1.e4. Svidler replied – “He did seem to know what I was aiming for, but that’s just the general feeling you get when you play Topalov”.

Kasimdzhanov – Dominguez
This was another game where Gruenfeld Indian defence was expected, but Dominguez deviated and used the Bogo Indian, the same line that was recently played by Magnus Carlsen. The Cuban said he wanted to be solid. He got an interesting position with Carlsbad pawn structure, where black is doing more of less okay, but he ground out Kasimdzhanov in the endgame. On the rest day Dominguez went to sightseeing tour, saying that this was a good way to relax from chess. Replay the game with Chess King.

Ponomariov – Grischuk
Grischuk defended with the super-solid Berlin Ruy Lopez and Ponomariov responded with the principled 4.0-0 instead of the popular 4.d3. The famous Berlin endgame emerged on the board and the maneuvering sequence started. Grischuk gave up on kingside pawn-breaks and instead fixed the structure with g6-h5.

The timely b6-b5 break provided black with a target to direct the counterplay. After some exchanges there was an endgame with the opposite-colored Bishops and extra pawn for white.

Grischuk wasn’t sure if it was a draw or not and was happy when Ruslan repeated the position. He suggested a possible plan for white to play for a win, but the position should be analysed in depth.

Ponomariov said that he should have played better in Grischuk’s time trouble.

Nakamura – Caruana
Caruana remained faithful to his repertoire and started with the Gruenfeld Indian defence, while Nakamura countered with the modern Qb3-Qa3 setup. The play developed at a slow pace as both players tried to improve the positioning of their pieces. Nakamura suggested 26…Bb8 with a direct threat of Qd6 and g6-g5.

After a couple of white’s inaccuracies, black assumed the initiative and started pressing down the e-file. Nakamura admitted he totally forgot about the tricky 38…Nf8. The heavy pieces went off, although Caruana wasn’t sure if trading the Rooks was a good idea, and there was an interesting Bishops endgame.

Black was pressing for a win with an extra pawn, but white defended persistently. It is still unclear if the endgame is drawn or winning for black, and only deeper analysis can give the verdict. Draw was eventually signed on move 84.

Bacrot – Morozevich
Another Gruenfeld Indian defence and another fashionable line with Qa4-Qb3 maneuver. Bacrot started pushing for space from the very beginning and Morozevich was surprised with 11.a4. Still he believes he found a good way to answer white’s advance.

Black started to counter-attack the structure and with f7-f5 trust in the air Bacrot went for the committal 21.g4. White pawns collapsed but in return he amassed heavy pieces to endanger the enemy King.

The Russian responded with exchange sacrifice getting an excellent compensation in return. He saw no direct checkmate on his King and felt confident to continue playing for two results.

Morozevich ignored the opportunity to repeat the moves and kept playing for a win. But Bacrot skillfully annulled the threats, and after black’s error even had a chance to pose serious problems. He missed it though, and the game was later drawn. (Report by Goran Urosevic/official website).

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Arad Chess Open from Aug 3 in Romania
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Vados Chess Club Arad is organising the 6th Arad Chess Open from August 3-9, 2013 at the Concert Hall of the Cultural Palace Arad. There will be also U16, U10 and U8 years old tournaments (born after 01.01.1997, 01.01.2003, 01.01.2005) between July 31st and August 3rd 2013.

It is a nine-round open Swiss tournament providing opportunities to qualify for international titles and the FIDE ELO List. The U16 open will be 7 rounds FIDE rated event and U10 and U8 children tournaments (9 rounds) will be valid only for Romanian ratings. The Romanian players taking part in this tournament must be legitimate and have all taxes paid to the Romanian Chess Federation. 
The main tournament – 90/40 moves + 15 minutes for the rest of the game + 30 seconds/move from move 1
U16 – 90 minutes/game/player.
U10, U8 – 61 minutes/game/player.

Byes – Players may take a ½ pt bye in maximum 2 rounds but only in the first seven rounds. The bye request must be announced to the arbiters before the beginning of the previous round in which the player will not play. Entry fee amounts to 40 euro. GM, WGM, IM, WIM don’t have to pay entry fee. More information on the official website.

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Big Slick Chess International from June 22
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Latest Fide Chess Calendar Update: The 3rd Big Slick International will take place from the 22nd to 30th June 2013 at the following address: Big Slick, Unit 10, Royal Oak Centre, Brighton Road, Purley, Surrey CR8 2BG England. 

Tournament format: FIDE rated 10-player, nine round, all-play-alls with one game per day. There will be at least one GM and one IM norm section. Other sections may be added subject to sufficient interest.

The entry fees are as follows:
GM norm event: £200 for titled players (IM/WGM/WIM/FM/WFM); £300 for non-titled.
IM norm events: £100 for titled players (WGM/WIM/FM/WFM); £150 for non-titled. Players registered as ENG on the FIDE rating list will need to be gold or platinum ECF members.

The time limit will be 90 minutes for 40 moves + 30 minutes with 30 seconds cumulative increment for each move starting from the first move. All rounds will start at 12.00. The Big Slick club generously provided their club free of charge for the duration of the tournament, The Friends of Chess provided a generous donation and John Robinson Trust contributed towards junior entry fees for the event.

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Like Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk Official Facebook Fan Page
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Calling all chess fans and all fans of the 12th Women’s World Chess Champion, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, to like her official Facebook fan page. Don’t miss out on all the exciting and fun chess updates on the page!

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World Chess Championship 2013 at Hyatt Regency Chennai Nov 6-26
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Five-time champion Viswananthan Anand will defend his title against Norwegian world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen in Chennai. All eyes will be on the five-star luxury Hyatt Regency from Nov 6-26. It is the first time that India is hosting the title round, and Chennai will join Baguio (1978), Jakarta (1993) and Tehran (2000) as the only cities in the continent to have hosted the coveted final, according to an Indian newspaper. Fide confirmation is awaited.

“I guess the fact that the preliminary rounds of the 2000 world championship was held at the Hyatt in New Delhi must have titled the scales in Hyatt’s favour for the November final,” said RR Vasudevan, an international chess arbiter, who witnessed Anand’s first world title in Tehran that same year. 

Anand beat Alexei Shirov in the final. ”The final was played in a conference hall in the centre of the city. That was 13 years ago, and I still remember Anand rushing to the press room to call his family in Chennai to inform them that he had won the title.”

Interestingly though, the previous four title rounds that Anand played were the respective city’s landmarks – the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow last year, the Central Military Club in Sofia (2010), Bundeskunsthalle museum in Bonn (2008) and the Hotel Sheraton Centro Historico in Mexico City (2007). The Chennai Trade Centre was initially the front-runner to host the final.

“The arrangements have always been of the highest level,” said Grandmaster SS Ganguly, who was the only Indian on Anand’s team of seconds in the previous three title matches.

Although Hyatt Regency’s spokesperson did not give out details, Ganguly said technology-wise the venues have always been high-tech, up-to-date and error-free. ”As part of the seconds, our world is completely cut off from that of a spectator. But then, you must also understand that chess has worldwide following on the internet,” Ganguly told the ToI.

“Hosting the title round is bound to take the sport to the next level in India, as it will inspire thousands of children to aim higher.

“It will be the first time that most of the current Indian players will get to physically witness a title round, the first time they will get to physically see Magnus Carlsen.”

Recollecting his Tehran experience, Vasudevan said Russian Grandmaster Valery Salov was invited to provide live commentary for the title match.

“The hall could hold at least 2000/3000 spectators. That was an amazing experience, the audio-visual and the analysis. The All India Chess Federation and the Tamil Nadu Chess Association propose to have giant screens with live audio-visual feeds at malls and high footfall areas. ”The title match has been possible because of the State government’s support. I’m sure the organizers will make it an event to remember.”

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Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 Free Day Photo Feature
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

We left the ‘chess story’ in Greece after the fourth round at the Thessaloniki Chess Grand Prix 2013 when seven players were in joint lead! Sunday was the free day. Here are the photos by Fide press officer Anastasiya Karlovich. 

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US Chess Championships 2013 in Saint Louis: Cool Video Montage
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

See video montage of facial expressions from the intense competition at the 2013 US Chess Championship in Saint Louis. For more info on the event, go to

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Asian Chess Champion 2013 is Chinese GM Li Chao
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

The 2013 Asian Continental Championship (Open) was held on 18-26th May in Manila, Philippines. The tournament was organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and Eugene Torre Chess Foundation, Inc. 75 players from 14 federations, including 26 Grandmasters and 18 IMs, took part in the tournament, according to a Chessdom news update.

Chinese Grandmaster Li Chao emerged Asian Continental Champion after concluding the tournament with 7,0/9 points. Half a point behind, there were five players sharing the 2nd place. Local chess fans are delighted that Philippines’ Grandmasters Oliver Barbosa and Mark Paragua grabbed the silver and bronze medals respectively. Further, Le Quang Liem (Vietnam, 4th) and Adhiban Baskaran (India, 5th) also qualified for the 2013 World Chess Cup. Sasikiran Krishnan had the worst tie-break and remained outside of the qualification.

Final standings:1 GM Li Chao B CHN 2686 – 7
2 GM Barbosa Oliver PHI 2566 – 6.5
3 GM Paragua Mark PHI 2550 – 6.5
4 GM Le Quang Liem VIE 2714 – 6.5
5 GM Adhiban Baskaran IND 2556 – 6.5
6 GM Sasikiran Krishnan IND 2669 – 6.5
7 GM Sadorra Julio Catalino PHI 2561 – 6
8 GM Batchuluun Tsegmed MGL 2507 – 6
9 GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son VIE 2631 – 6
10 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi IND 2549 – 6
11 GM Gomez John Paul PHI 2511 – 5.5
12 GM Dzhumaev Marat UZB 2549 – 5.5
13 Bai Jinshi CHN 2369 – 5.5
14 IM Wang Chen CHN 2498 – 5.5
15 GM Lalith Babu M R IND 2572 – 5.5
16 IM Wan Yunguo CHN 2509 – 5.5
17 GM Arun Prasad Subramanian IND 2521 – 5.5
18 Docena Jerad PHI 2055 – 5.5
19 GM Negi Parimarjan IND 2651 – 5.5
20 GM Gopal G.N. IND 2526 – 5.5
21 GM Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan MGL 2528 – 5.5
22 IM Debashis Das IND 2488 – 5.5
23 GM Megaranto Susanto INA 2531 – 5.5
24 GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan IRI 2568 – 5.5
25 GM Dao Thien Hai VIE 2506 – 5
26 Mu Ke CHN 2297 – 5
27 GM Murshed Niaz BAN 2480 – 5
28 GM Laylo Darwin PHI 2504 – 5
29 IM Bancod Ronald PHI 2290 – 5
30 IM Kuderinov Kirill KAZ 2442 – 5
31 Abelgas Roel PHI 2269 – 5
32 CM Muhammad Luthfi Ali INA 2246 – 4.5
33 IM Nezad Husein Aziz QAT 2410 – 4.5
34 GM Al-Sayed Mohammed QAT 2502 – 4.5
35 IM Garma Chito PHI 2318 – 4.5
36 GM Li Shilong CHN 2558 – 4.5
37 IM Goh Wei Ming Kevin SIN 2449 – 4.5
38 IM Nadera Barlo A. PHI 2388 – 4.5
39 FM Tran Tuan Minh VIE 2399 – 4.5
40 IM Nguyen Van Huy VIE 2443 – 4.5
41 IM Garcia Jan Emmanuel PHI 2401 – 4.5
42 IM Farid Firman Syah INA 2369 – 4.5
43 FM Nava Roderick PHI 2362 – 4.5
44 FM Bersamina Paulo PHI 2283 – 4.5
45 Dela Cruz Noel PHI 2331 – 4.5
46 IM Nguyen Duc Hoa VIE 2503 – 4.5
47 GM Antonio Rogelio Jr PHI 2539 – 4.5
48 IM Nolte Rolando PHI 2453 – 4.5
49 GM Bitoon Richard PHI 2403 – 4
50 FM Turqueza Mari Joseph PHI 2280 – 4
51 Emperado Emmanuel PHI 2313 – 4
52 FM Hamdani Rudin INA 2341 – 4
53 FM Segarra Randy PHI 2343 – 4
54 Akash Ganesan IND 2397 – 4
55 Yoseph Theolifus Taher INA 0 – 4
56 FM Munkhgal Gombosuren MGL 2427 – 4
57 Nouri Hamed PHI 2368 – 3.5
58 IM Pimentel Joel PHI 2194 – 3.5
59 IM Dimakiling Oliver PHI 2384 – 3.5
60 FM Donguines Fernie PHI 2372 – 3.5
61 Elorta David PHI 2348 – 3.5
62 Galmandakh Badrakh MGL 2212 – 3.5
63 IM Senador Emmanuel PHI 2343 – 3.5
64 CM Mariano Nelson Iii PHI 2282 – 3.5
65 Mohamad Ervan INA 2162 – 3.5
66 FM Pascua Haridas PHI 2413 – 3.5
67 CM Nazario Marc Christian PHI 2023 – 3.5
68 Masruri Rahman INA 2165 – 3
69 IM Liew Chee-Meng-Jimmy MAS 2287 – 3
70 Galindo Joseph PHI 2081 – 2.5
71 Hernandez Lourecel PHI 0 – 2.5
72 FM Bilguun Sumiya MGL 2269 – 2.5
73 Polao Ben PHI 2083 – 2
74 Sarangani Usman PHI 1932 – 2
75 Manuel Efren GUM 1974 – 2

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Canadian Chess Champion Tanraj Sohal Dreams of GM Title En Route to Medical Degree

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

We found this nice chess profile in the Vancouver Sun. Tanraj Sohal has earned accolades in Canada by winning his eighth national chess title recently. Tanraj Sohal hopes to become a doctor but, first things first, he’d like to be a Grandmaster in chess. Sohal, a Grade 11 student at Fleetwood Park in Surrey, is well on his way to that goal. The 16-year-old just snagged his eighth national title at the Canadian Chess Challenge in Ottawa. The competition pits the best provincial school age players in two days of timed round robin play.

“The games were pretty quick,” said Sohal, who holds the title of national master. He said his second round, against a player from Ontario was the most intense. “No game is easy. If you lose one game, you know you are not going to come in first. You can’t make any mistakes.” Competing is a lot of pressure, said Sohal, but he loves the game.

Earlier, Sohal snagged the top title at the B.C. open, meaning he was the best player in the province of any age group. Sohal started playing in Grade 1, and found the endless puzzles and possibilities of the game kept him engaged and wanting to play more. “It’s creative. Your whole personality can be seen in your game. If you’re a risk-taker in life you’ll be a lot more attacking, more willing to weaken yourself for the chance to win. If you’re cautious, you’ll be more positional, not attacking but being careful and going after others’ weaknesses.”

Sohal describes himself as a combination of the two, with a “pretty universal style.” He admires Grandmaster and No. 1 ranked player Magnus Carlsen, a Norwegian that has been credited with bringing back the cachet chess hadn’t enjoyed since the 1970s, when American Grandmaster Bobby Fischer achieved celebrity status after routing Russian Boris Spassky.

Like anyone his age, Sohal loves computer games, but he’s more likely to spend hours a day playing chess online.

“Computers are changing the way people play chess,” said Sohal. “Before, people learned by studying books, but now with new computer programs you can analyze much more quickly.”

Computers also allow players like Sohal to play against other highly skilled players around the world in live games on the Internet, invaluable experience that would have been impossible for young players even a decade ago.

Sohal knows if he wants to become a Grandmaster, he’ll have to take time off school to devote himself full time to chess, but it’s a gambit he may be willing to take. “Becoming a Grandmaster is kind of like getting a PhD. Each title is like a degree.”

If he keeps advancing, and winning, in the chess world, medical school just might have to wait.

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Mumbai Chess: 6th Mayor’s Cup from May 29 with Top Seed GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Twenty six Grandmasters, including top seed Georgia’s Mikheil Mchedlishvili, have confirmed to take part in the 6th Mumbai Mayor’s Cup International Open Chess tournament in Mumbai from May 29 to June 6. Players from Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Russia, Albania, Hungary, Bangladesh, Belgium, Ukraine, Srilanka and hosts India would be vying for honours. The tournament, to be hosted by the Indian National Sports Club of India at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel indoor stadium, is to be co-sponsored by LIC of India. The six Indian GMs taking part are Vaibhav Suri, Abhijit Kunte, Tejas Bakre, R R Laxman, Aksayraj Kore and Deepan Chakravorty, said a media release from the organisers. Eighteen Indian International Masters would also be competing.

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Lewis Chess Men – Cool Chess Documentary
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

This is a chess documentary about the charismatic Lewis Chess pieces which were found under mysterious circumstances in the Outer Hebrides. The documentary focuses on archaeological and cultural significance of these Medieval chess pieces.

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