RIP Hans Suri and Lucio Barvas – Strengths of the Swiss Chess World (Updated)
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone,

June 14, 2013 was a sad day for the chess world. Two leading figures of the Swiss chess world have left us. Hans Suri, Studen, has died at the age of 85. Lucio Barvas, living in Uster, has passed away at the age of 78. 

Memories to Inspire: 12th Women’s World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk remembers strengths of the Swiss chess world Lucio Barvas (in photo) and Hans Suri.

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk and Lucio were always happy to meet at chess tournaments where Lucio was either arbiter, or newsletter editor, or internet transmission manager. GM Kosteniuk says, “I will greatly miss my dear friend Lucio.”

Lucio Barvas Photios was well known in the chess world – particularly Switzerland and of course Biel. For many years, he remained the arbiter and newsletter editor of the international festival and also for the Swiss Championship (CSI). He was known nationally as Swiss representative of ChessBase, a position he held for two decades and earned him the nickname “Mister ChessBase”. His love for computers started in the 80s, when he won the first official championship of computer correspondence, organised by the former Swiss working Chess Federation (FOSE).

The name of Hans Suri is inseparable from the Biel Chess Festival. He organised the event for the first time in the summer of 1968 in a small hotel. There was no looking back. Hans Suri remained the festival’s director for three decades as the chess festival grew in stature and reputation. Today, the festival as an important part of the international calendar.

In 1976, 1985 and 1993, Hans Suri even brought the Interzonal tournament to Biel. To his great commitment, the Swiss Chess Federation of the time and his club SG Biel had elected him as a honorary member. After retiring from the tournament, Hans Suri has regularly played the tournament. He participated in the 45 th edition in July 2012.

Hans Suri in 1985 sitting next to Jan Timman and Timman’s wife. Han Suri is speaking to Jean Py (hidden by Timman’s wife).

We offer our deepest sympathy on the passing of Hans Suri and Lucio Barvas. We salute them for their contribution to the chess world and their great chess legacy. May their families find peace and comfort in knowing that their loss is felt by all who knew and loved him. May the Lord give strength to their families and peace upon the departed souls.

Hans Suri in 2011 – New Horizons into the Light

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US Junior Closed Chess Championship 2013 Round 1: No Draws!
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone,

SAINT LOUIS (June 15, 2013) — There were just 15 minutes of focus at the opening ceremony of the 2013 U.S. Junior Closed Championship – when the players selected numbers to determine who would control the majority of the white or black pieces. But the impact of those selections were omnipresent through all of Friday at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, when a decisive round 1 saw four of the five players playing white emerge victorious.

Only 15-year-old FM Yian Liou was able to claim a point with the black pieces, which he did against FM Sam Sevian. The two West Coast FIDE masters have become increasingly familiar with each other, including a split of the 2012 Metropolitan Closed tournament title, where each earned an IM norm. The past experiences prompted Liou to make some changes heading into Friday.
“I’ve played as black the past couple times [against Sevian],” Liou said. “And my record was pretty bad – I had to do something about it.”
What he did was deviate from his plan on move 2, leaving the Accelerated Dragon variation of the Sicilian by pushing g6 – entering into a Hyper-Accelerated Dragon line. Liou played all afternoon with heavy initiative on the queenside, keeping Sevian’s pieces relatively harmless until 26. c4, when his white bishop became all-but passive. Through the rest of the game, Liou delivered clean pressure to close. He eventually found his material advantage with a knight-rook exchange at 31. … Nxd5. Sevian looked for drawing chances with 33. f5, trying to completely close the board, but the accurate Qc8 response ensured that Liou would indeed break through.

“My first game is always my most nerve-racking game,” Liou said. “I have to get used to a new board, new clock, new pieces – and I also have to get used to playing in a tournament again. I can’t say this win makes me confident – just maybe comfortable, knowing I can do something with the black pieces.”
If there was one tough loss from Friday, it was suffered by IM Kayden Troff, the U-14 World Champion who played in Saint Louis last month in his first U.S. Championship. Troff, normally under the affliction of a permanent smile, instead wore his frustration after losing to FM Luke Harmon-Vellotti.
“I’m a bit upset that I lost,” Troff said. “I didn’t think I was losing, and I’m not sure where things went wrong.”

Troff’s analysis started deep in a game that opened up early and stayed sharp throughout. Suffering from time pressure that saw him under a minute, Troff swapped Harmon-Vellotti’s knight with 28. … Bxd6, leaving him to second-guess if Re2 would have been more sound. The trade allowed Harmon-Vellotti to coordinate his remaining two rooks into a battery that ultimately wrecked Troff’s queenside pawns and any hopes for a score.
“It’s going to be hard for anyone to get seven points here [at the U.S. Junior Closed Championship],” Troff said. “No matter if you lose, as long as you stay consistent, you should be able to pull through until the end. I’m just going to get up tomorrow and try for a win.”

It didn’t take long for FM Atulya Shelly to kick himself for faulty preparation on Friday. After the opening ceremony, the 2013 K-12 Supernational Champion took just a few glances at a possible 1. … b6 defense before skipping to another chapter, convincing himself: “He’s never going to play that.”

But indeed his opponent, Robert Perez, did respond with b6 – “just to annoy” Shetty – though it did not have such lasting results.

Despite his timely defensive surprise, Perez burned much of his clock through the opening, going into a deep think as early as move 6. But while his 7. … Bd6 left analysts scratching their heads, Shetty happily accepted the bishop trade to leave Perez with pawns stacked and isolated on the d-file. Even after Perez was able to gain a material advantage – Shetty’s own d-pawn on move 11 – black’s inherent weakness on the d-file left Shetty with little concern.

Perez’ time burning from the opening caught up with him by the endgame. By move 20, he still felt equal in the position, but admitted he had no idea on how to proceed. And by the last ten moves of the game, all his time-consuming consideration left him playing on the increment, eventually giving way to the worst of blunders: a knight fork on his king and queen.

IM Daniel Naroditsky, highest-rated competitor in the field, closed out a sound game against the lively FM Jeffrey Xiong. The two had met before at the Golden State Open, with Xiong claiming the point, but things would be different this time around. Where the first game fell into the Reti, Friday’s matchup went through a line of the Bogo-Indian.

And though Xiong followed some theory, his position out of the opening left him behind considerably in both space and time – and Naroditsky was awarded the advantage of the bishop pair.
“Out of the opening, I was in a slightly worse position, leaving [Daniel] with two bishops,” Xiong said. “After that I tried a few practical chances, but we went into an endgame where he was just better. He made some precise moves to finish the game.”

Xiong credited Naroditsky’s 10. Nd2 to wrecking his preparation, a move that took firm control of the e4 square and left Xiong’s pieces bottled up for much of the game. Naroditsky eventually converted his better position to material advantage with a convenient tactic (32. Rxg7 Kxg7 33. Bxe5+) that forked Xiong’s king and rook to earn a pawn.

Friday’s board 5 between IM Victor Shen and WFM Sarah Chiang saw the day’s most lopsided matchup. Chiang found her position weakened before even leaving the opening, due partially to an early 3. … Bb4 that left her bishop useless. Her 12. … Qe7 suffered her first major bruise, a move she admittedly thought was playable for her position at the time – but did little more than bring the queen into the path of some of Shen’s best punches.

Chiang was already suffering material disadvantage just four moves later, and by move 19 she found her pieces in a near state of zugzwang, with no initiative. She resigned before her 22nd move.

“I’m trying to keep a clear head – this month has been pretty rough on me,” said Chiang, who had visited the Saint Louis Chess Club in May as a competitor in the U.S. Women’s Championship. “My competition at the U.S. Women’s, most of them were maybe 100 points within my rating – some were even closer. But now I’m 200 points behind all of these players!
“It’s obviously great playing against stronger players, great for my chess as it just tests me better. For me, it’s just good experience just to be here – and I’m lucky to be here. We’ll see what I can salvage by the end.”
Brian Jerauld/official website

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7-Year-Old Alekhine Nouri is Philippines’ Youngest FM
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

MANILA—A seven-year-old incoming Grade 1 pupil is the country’s newest and youngest Fide chess master. Alekhine Nouri of Taguig City achieved the historic feat by virtue of his excellent showing in the recent 14th ASEAN + Age Group Chess Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Nouri, whose first name is derived from the surname of one of the greatest chess players in history – Alexander Alekhine – defeated Nguyen Hoang Hiep of Vietnam in the eighth round and Luvsandorj Orgilbold of Mongolia in the final round to finish with 8.0 points good for the gold in the Open 8-under category.

Like Nouri, Allaney Jia G. Doroy of Agusan del Norte, Samantha Glo Revita of Rosales, Pangasinan and Shania Mae Mendoza of Sta. Rosa, Laguna also earned outright Woman Fide Master (WFM) titles. Doroy shared the gold medal with two others after scoring 6.5 points in the Girls 12-under class while Revita tallied 7.0 points to share the gold with Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Minh Thu in the Girls 14-under class.

Mendoza meanwhile, tallied 6.0 points to share the gold with two others in the Girls 16-under class. The week-long tournament drew 389 players from the Philippines, Russia, India, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Hongkong, Singapore, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Iran, Mongolia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and host Thailand.

The country’s campaign in the tournament is supported by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

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World Chess Cup 2013 Tromso Official Fide Website goes Online
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone,

The FIDE World Cup is one of the highlights of the chess calendar – a month of intense knockout action that uses 7 quick-fire rounds to whittle 128 players down to one. At stake is not only a cool $1.6 million prize fund ($120,000 for the winner) but qualification for next year’s World Championship “Candidates” tournament – a chance to earn the right to a match against the World Champion, either India’s Viswanathan Anand or Norway’s own Magnus Carlsen.

Click to access official website

While those two players will be deep in preparation for their match in India this November the line-up for the World Cup in Tromsø is set to be spectacular, featuring the world numbers 2 and 3, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik. Although they’ll be the favourites when the games start on August 11 if there’s one thing the World Cup can be guaranteed to provide it’s surprises!

The official website of the World Chess Cup is now online. You can access it at:

Two Years Ago
Victory in the 2011 FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk was a career-best performance for Peter Svidler. The six-time Russian Champion didn’t lose a game as he overcame Fabiano Caruana, Gata Kamsky, Judit Polgar, Ruslan Ponomariov and Alexander Grischuk on his way to the title. 

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Legendary Chess Champion Trivia Photo: Identify
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Here is a photo of a legendary chess player. Can you identify him? This is a recent photo taken at an event he attended to the delight of his fans and well-wishers. Can you name the event and city where this photo was taken? You should have no problems answering this chess trivia question if you have been reading the Chess Blog regularly. Click on photo to check your chess trivia answer.

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6th Karen Asrian Memorial Chess Tournament from June 15 in Jermuk
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

The Armenian Chess Federation is organizing an international open chess tournament, dedicated to the memory of Karen Asrian, which will take place on June 15-25, 2013, in the prominent resort town of Jermuk. All interested chess players can participate in the 9-round Swiss tournament. GM David Arutinian was the winner of the 5th Asrian Memorial. Karen Asrian passed away in June 2008, at the age of 28. He was member of the Armenian national team which won the first gold medal at the 2006 Chess Olympiad in Turin. (

Karen Asrian


The total prize fund is equivalent to 22,000 US dollars.
1st place 5000
2nd place 4000
3rd place 3000
4th place 2000
5th place 1000
6-10th places 500
11-15th places 300

Special Prizes for Women
1st place 800
2nd place 500
3rd place 300

Special Prizes for Participants under-16
1st place 500
2nd place 300

Special Prize for Participants under-14
1st place 300

Special Prize for Veterans
/60 years and older/
1st place 300

Time Control: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves + 30 minutes for the remainder of the game (with 30 seconds increment starting from the first move).

1. GM Postny Evgeny ISR 2645
2. GM Melkumyan Hrant ARM 2635
3. GM Andriasian Zaven ARM 2610
4. GM Hovhannisyan Robert ARM 2610
5. GM Ter-Sahakyan Samvel ARM 2582
6. GM Arutinian David GEO 2543
7. GM Gabuzyan Hovhannes ARM 2533
8. GM Kotanjian Tigran ARM 2529
9. GM Minasian Artashes ARM 2505
10. GM Hayrapetyan Hovik ARM 2502
11. GM Babujian Levon ARM 2488
12. IM Gorovets Andrey BLR 2470
13. FM Aghasaryan Robert ARM 2470
14. IM Mkrtchian Lilit ARM 2466
15. GM Chibukhchian Artur ARM 2450
16. IM Kalashian David ARM 2419
17. WGM Batsiashvili Nino GEO 2390
18. IM Baghdasaryan Vahe ARM 2387
19. FM Harutyunian Tigran K. ARM 2359
20. FM Petrosyan Tigran S. ARM 2356
21. CM Petrosyan Manuel ARM 2341
22. Gharagyozyan Artur ARM 2260
23. Bakunts Rafael ARM 2257
24. WIM Abdumalik Zhansaya KAZ 2250
25. Mikaelyan Arman ARM 2215
26. Matevosyan Sedrak ARM 2192
27. Gasparian Tigran ARM 2181
28. Hayrapetyan Artavazd R. ARM 2172
29. IM Mnatsakanian Eduard A ARM 2156
30. Basencyan Mark ARM 2143
31. FM Martirosyan Haik M. ARM 2139
32. WFM Gevorgyan Maria ARM 2135
33. Llopis De Aysa Manuel ESP 2115
34. Hovhannisyan Karen ARM 2107
35. WIM Guo Emma AUS 2064
36. FM Malkawi Fadi JOR 2035
37. Gaboyan Susanna ARM 2019
38. Kazakovskiy Valeriy BLR 2003
39. Hovsepyan David ARM 1996
40. Barseghyan Harutyun ARM 1988
41. Shahinyan Hovik ARM 1980
42. Aleksanyan Hrant ARM 1939
43. Ilyashev Yerzhan KAZ 1938
44. Hakobyan Aram ARM 1913
45. Mezhlumyan Marat ARM 1891
46. Manukyan Mariam A. ARM 1773
47. Hakobyan Hovhannes H. ARM 1753
48. Harutyunyan Artur A. ARM 1672
49. Stashis Anna BLR 1625
50. Hakobyan Yurik L. ARM 0
51. Unanyan Hrachya Armeni ARM 0

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Indian Chess Talent B Adhiban Praised by Vishy Anand, Qualifies for World Cup
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone,

Here is a cool chess feature for all fans of Indian chess. Recently, B. Adhiban qualified for the World Chess Cup, to be held in Norway from August 5, and the youngster is determined to make the opportunity count, writes P. K. Ajith Kumar in the Sports Star.

In an interview after winning his fifth World chess championship, in Moscow last year, Viswanathan Anand was asked to name India’s most promising chess players. On top of Anand’s list was B. Adhiban. For those following the Chennai youngster’s career, it was hardly a surprise.

He is a natural. He is easily one of India’s more talented kids on the 64 squares. He has won the World Under-16 championship and been part of an Indian team that won the bronze in the World team championship.

Recently, Adhiban, 21, qualified for the World Cup, to be held in Norway from August 5. He made the cut from the Asian championship in Manila. He was placed fifth in the tournament when the tie-breakers were applied; on points he was ranked second. He had 6.5 points, half-a-point behind the champion, Li Chao of China.

To meet the qualifying mark, he had to defeat John Paul Gomez of the host nation in the final round. “It was a comfortable win for me, as I had a strong attack on the king-side,” said Adhiban. “I was pretty relieved with that victory as I had badly wanted to qualify for the World Cup. Looking back, I feel I should have done even better; I drew far too many games, five of them. If I could have converted one of those draws into a win, I could have won the title.”

It is this desire to win that set him apart from most of his contemporaries, as an upcoming talent. It was refreshing to watch a young Adhiban, still at school, playing imaginative chess, game after game, always wanting to win.

His rise was meteoric after he won his first National title, the Under-13 championship in Kolkata in 2006. He won the silver in the Asian Under-14 championship in Iran that year.

The following year he became the Asian Under-16 champion in Uzbekistan and helped India clinch the gold at the World Youth Olympiad in Singapore. Then in 2008, he won the World Under-16 title in Vietnam. He was also the National ‘B’ champion that year, his first success in the senior men’s event.

A year later, at 17, he won the National ‘A’, rechristened as National Premier, in Mumbai. Then in 2010, he became a Grandmaster. He had secured his third and final Grandmaster norm from the Olomouc International tournament in the Czech Republic; he had won the round-robin event, something no Indian had done for quite a while.

Adhiban, a grade A officer at Indian Oil Corporation, Chennai, may have slowed down a bit over the last year or so, and the Manila showing should do his confidence a world of good. He is determined to make the opportunity he got to play at the World Cup count. “I won’t be playing in another tournament before that,” he said. “I will be working hard on my preparations. The World Cup is a knock-out event and it is going to be my first ever tournament in that format. I feel the knock-out format is an exciting one, for the players and the spectators.”

Adhiban’s coach K. Visweswaran feels the World Cup has come at the right time. “It is an event that will feature 128 of the world’s strongest players and the experience of competing in it will be valuable for Adhiban,” he said. “He has been working harder than ever on his chess, as he has realised that the preparation off the board too is very important, especially now when so much information is available, because of the internet. The talent has always been there, and with hard work, he could become a much stronger player.”

Later this year, Adhiban’s hometown will host the World championship match between his idol Anand and Magnus Carlsen of Norway. “It is great that Chennai is hosting the biggest event in chess,” he said.

“Though Carlsen may be stronger of the two players at the moment, I think Anand could win the title; he knows how to handle a championship match. Yes, I felt on top of the world when he spoke those nice things about me last year. You cannot think of a bigger compliment than that.”

Adhiban wants to prove Anand right. And he has the game to do it.

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US Junior Chess Championship 2013 Begins in St Louis
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone,

The 2013 U.S. Junior Closed Championship is the top tournament event in the United States for players aged 20 and younger. It will feature 10 of the country’s strongest up-and-coming chess players, and it is scheduled to be held at the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, from June 13th through June 23rd.

The U.S. Junior Closed Championship is exciting on a number of levels. Not only do spectators get the opportunity to see the nation’s rising stars go head-to-head for the title, these young players also typically put on a fantastic show, playing swashbuckling chess that is full of aggressive attacks, wild swings, brilliancies, blunders and innovative play on both sides of the board.

With an invitation to the 2014 U.S. Championship on the line, these players come to Saint Louis ready to fight for a shot at the title.
This marks the fourth consecutive year that the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Saint Louis will host the U.S. Junior Closed Championship. The format will be a standard 10-player round robin, and live play-by-play commentary will be presented each day by GMs Yasser Seirawan and Ben Finegold.

Meet the Field
No.TitleNameRating*Invitation Method
1. IM Daniel Naroditsky 2538 Rating
2. IM Victor Shen 2511 Rating
3. NM Robert Perez 2510 Rating
4. IM Kayden Troff 2505 Rating
5. FM Jeffrey Xiong 2483 Rating
6. FM Yian Liou 2469 Rating
7. FM Sam Sevian 2467 Rating
8. FM Atulya Shetty 2446 Wildcard
9. FM Luke Harmon-Vellotti 2434 Wildcard
10. WFM Sarah Chiang 2238 U.S. Open Invitation
* Based on the April USCF ratings list.

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Chess Helps Wounded Warriors Adapt after Injuries
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Sarah Rafique pens a nice feature on how chess is helping wounded soldier recover and adapt after injuries. A very nice article to read. 

Chief Warrant Officer-3 Brenda Taylor doesn’t remember if her opponent moved a piece or, if so, to where. A typical chess game for Taylor consists of asking many questions.

She’s been playing chess every week for about a month, but as far as improving her skills, the soldier in the Warrior Transition Brigade has to relearn everything.

“As soon as we’re done and I get back to my room, I forget,” Taylor said June 5 during an adaptive reconditioning program, which offers chess to wounded warriors. “It’s a slow process for me.”

Taylor, who was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, joined the Warrior Transition Brigade earlier this year after a rocket accident in Afghanistan in February.

Taylor, who has been in the Army 18 years, lives in the barracks.

“My kids are grown, so I don’t have anybody here,” she said. “But (the soldiers) are my family so we support each other. … It means a lot because they’re going through the same things I am, so they understand. It’s at different levels, but they understand. They know when we’re having bad days. They can come up to me and just touch me and not say anything and it means a lot.”

Susan Wilson, the adaptive reconditioning program site coordinator, said the group has grown from just a few participants the first day, to drawing more than 20 wounded warriors some weeks.

After the brigade switched from the adaptive sports program to the adaptive reconditioning program earlier this year, Wilson said she looked for passive activities to help the soldiers improve social skills, methods of coping and dealing with frustration and patience.

It’s also part of community reintegration because it familiarizes soldiers with what the civilian world offers.

“They start playing and meeting new people,” she said. “Sometimes readjustment into the community and going into something that’s completely new, not knowing anybody (is hard). … It’s getting them comfortable in their new normal.”

Retired Navy Cmdr. Dan Veatch and Frank Adams, both members of the Killeen Chess Club, volunteer to teach chess to the wounded soldiers during the Wednesday meetings.

Adams said chess helps with visual and cognitive skills by making players think about the different possibilities.

“You actually think about theory and how to coordinate the pieces in your mind,” he said.

Wilson said the group allows the soldiers — some who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and brain trauma — to be active in the community and stay vibrant.

“The worst thing for me is for them to go home and isolate and play video games and not be social with people and not connect with their families,” she said.

As she learns to do everything all over again, Taylor said the group helps with her motor and cognitive skills.

“Chess helps me with memory and a lot of occupational and physical therapy,” she said. “I do a lot of cognitive and team challenge stuff. It can be frustrating, but I do it because I need to and I have to for me, to get better.”

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Smart-Checkmate Chess Puzzle: Vassily Ivanchuk – Bozidar Ivanovic 1-0
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone,

Here’s a position from the game of a very talented yet, possibly, the most unpredictable (playing strength-wise) Grandmaster of our times – Vassily Ivanchuk. This game was played in New York in 1988 against Bozidar Ivanovic.

White to play and win. Click on the diagram to check the solution with Chess King.

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8th Tal Chess Memorial 2013 Round 1: Mamedyarov, Caruana, Carlsen Begin with Wins in Moscow
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone,

The clocks were started at 15:00 local time. This year’s stage is set at the elegant Red October Building in Moscow. Yet another edition of the prestigious Tal Memorial started officially in Russia. 
The first playing day was long and did not lack emotions. Three decisive games left the same number of players at the top of the standings. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Fabiano Caruana won their first points leading the black pieces, while rating favorite Magnus Carlsen did it with white. The battle has begun.

The first, and rather quick, decisive game favored the new rapid world champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. His victim, American Hikaru Nakamura, seemed to be in good shape and ready to have a rampage start after his clear victory in the pre-tournament blitz competition. However, the number 1 player in United States will have to recover from his loss against the Azerbaijani in the upcoming rounds.

The game lasted only 31 moves. In a rather quiet Nimzo-Indian, Nakamura did not sense the imminent danger in the middlegame and allowed his opponent to launch a direct attack against the white king. Mamedyarov is not the kind of player to shy away from a sacrificial attack, and that is precisely what he did on move 19. Today, this aggressive attitude paid up and gave him his first full point.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Two players known for their deep preparation and their seriousness on and off the board faced each other today. World champion Viswanathan Anand led the white pieces in a battle against the American-born Italian grandmaster, Fabiano Caruana. The young star came out on top in 47 moves of a tense Ruy Lopez.

The Spanish opening has been the main choice of the elite players against 1.e4 and this was no exception. Caruana sacrificed a pawn on the queenside in the early middlegame, in exchange of the bishop pair and active piece play. The Indian did reacted rather passively and was not able to neutralize black’s play on the kingside. This led to a favorable endgame that was duly converted by the Italian. The world champion will have to look for wins in the next couple of rounds to get a chance to win the event.

Fabiano Caruana

A fight that has already become a “derby” in the elite tournaments was seen right in the first round. Magnus Carlsen faced local favorite Vladimir Kramnik once again. The Norwegian, who had taken away Kramnik’s chance to battle for another world championship in the recent Candidates Tournament, triumphed again. This was the longest game of the day, lasting no less than 72 moves.

Carlsen’s approach in the opening was very clear: he gave up the bishop pair in order to get a minimal advantage in the pawn structure in order to look for winning chances in the endgame. When most of the pieces were exchanged, Magnus started to go for the isolated black pawns. Kramnik could not handle the pressure and was left two pawns down. He kept fighting looking for a chance to get a bishop and pawn vs king endgame with the wrong promoting square. This was not effective against the Norwegian, who made the precise maneuvers to take a very important full point in the very first round.

Magnus Carlsen

The other two games finished in draws. Boris Gelfand played white against Sergey Karjakin and signed the peace treaty in am equal rook endgame after 38 moves. The Russians Dmitry Andreikin and Alexander Morozevich arrived to the same conclusion in 47 moves of a Sicilian.

The commentators team on site counted with the elite presence of two strong GMs that might as well be participating, Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler.

Grischuk and Svidler were among the commentators today

(Text: Chessdom Photos:Eteri Kublashvili)

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Trivia Chess History: Identify Players
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Here is an old photo from the GM Chess Tournament held in the Kerkau-Palast, Berlin, from September 28 to October 11, 1918. Can you name all the players and the event organiser (standing)?

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46th Biel International Chess Festival 2013 from June 20-August 2
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

The 46th Biel International Chess Festival will be held from 20th June to 2nd August in Biel, Switzerland. The main Grandmaster Tournament will be dedicated to the memory of Olivier Breisacher. Six players will play in a category 19 double round robin event:

Etienne Bacrot, FRA, Elo 2725
Ian Nepomniachtchi, RUS, Elo 2717
Alexander Moiseenko, UKR, Elo 2711
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, FRA Elo 2706
Ding Liren, CHN, Elo 2702
Richard Rapport, HUN, Elo 2674 (Juniors U18 #1)
Player biographies are available on the official website. GM Wang Hao of China is the defending champion.
Master Tournament
July 22nd – August 2nd 2013; 2-8 p.m. (August 2nd: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Rest day on July 28th. 11 round Swiss system.
Prizes: CHF 7’000, 5’000, 4’000, 3’000, 2’500, 2’000, 1’500, 1’200, 2×1’000, 3×700, 3×500, 4×300, 5×200, best ladies: CHF 600, 400, 300, best senior (1953-), best junior (1995+), best child (1997+), best player without title: each CHF 500, best players with Elo < 2200 Total prize fund: CHF 43’000.
Admission: Players with FIDE-rating (list May, June or July 2013) or national rating (e.g. Swiss ELO list 2/2013 or 3/2013) ELO 2000 and more.

Main Tournament
July 24th – August 2nd 2013; 2-8 p.m. (August 2nd: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Rest day on July 28th. 9 round Swiss system.
Prizes: CHF 1’200, 1’000, 800, 600, 500, 2×400, 3×300, 5×200, 5×100, best ladies, best seniors (1953-), best juniors (1995+): each CHF 200, 100, best children (1997+): CHF 150, 50, best players with Elo <1800 nbsp="">

Total prize fund: CHF 10’600.
Admission: players with FIDE rating ELO 2050 and below (list May, June or July 2013) or players with national rating ELO 2050 and below (e.g. Swiss ELO list 2/2012 or 3/2012), independent of their FIDE rating.

Swiss Rapid Chess Championship
July 21st 2013, 9.30 a.m. 9 round Swiss system.
Cadence: 7′ + 7” per move and per player.
Prizes: CHF 1’200, 800, 600, 500, 400, 300, 200, 150, 2×100, natural prizes for players with 5½ points and more, best lady, best senior (1953-), best junior (1995+): each CHF 200, best child (1997+), best player without title: each CHF 100, best Swiss (with Swiss-passport): CHF 400, 300, 200, 2×100, best players with Elo <2000 nbsp="">

Total prize fund: CHF 7’650 + natural prizes.

Swiss Blitz Chess Championship
July 28th 2013, 2 p.m. 13 round Swiss system.
Cadence: 3′ + 2” per move and per player.
Prizes: CHF 1’000, 750, 600, 500, 400, 300, 250, 200, 150, 100, 2×50, best lady, best senior (1953-), best junior (1995+): each CHF 100, best child (1997+): CHF 50, best Swiss (with Swiss passport): CHF 300, 200, 150, 100, 50.
Total prize fund: CHF 5’500 + natural prizes.

Swiss Chess960 Championship
Mode of playing: Chess960, onJuly 20th 2013, 1.00 p.m. 7 round Swiss system.
Time control: 15′ + 5″ per move and per player.
Prizes: CHF 500, 400, 300, 200, 100, natural prizes for all players.
Total prize fund: CHF 1’500 + natural prizes.
Youth Tournament
The Foundation Vinetum offers free entry fee, free lunch and prizes for all participants at the Youth tournament. Sunday, July 28th 2013, 10 a.m. 7 round Swiss System, 15 minutes per player.
Three categories:
U18 (born 1995-1999)
U13 (born 2000-2002)
U10 (born 2003 or later)

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The Scoop on Yoga and Chess with Melinda Matthews, Jen Shahade (Video)
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Melinda J. Matthews, who wrote an article on the connections between chess and yoga shows a quick pre-game routine to Chess Life Online editor WGM Jennifer Shahade. This was filmed at SuperNationals V, which Melinda covered for both CLO and Chess Life Magazine. Enjoy the video!

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Magnus Carlsen wins Chess Oscar for Fourth Time
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Right after the pairings blitz at the Eighth Tal Chess Memorial opening ceremony on Wednesday, a short ceremony was held to award the Chess Oscar to World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen. Mark Glukhovsky, the editor-in-chief of “64″ magazine, went to the stage to announce that actually nothing extraordinary has happened: the traditional prize Chess Oscar, established by the magazine, is again awarded to Magnus Carlsen! The Norwegian has been voted as the best player of 2012 by journalists and other chess players.

Carlsen has been awarded the Chess Oscar for the 4th time in a row. Carlsen remarked, “I think it’s well-deserved.”

Magnus Carlsen is now the challenger to reigning World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand. The title match is scheduled to be held in Chennai in November. Carlsen has last year, among other events, won the 7th Tal Chess Memorial, surpassed Garry Kasparov’s highest-ever rating, won the London Chess Classic and the Candidates.

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Botswana Sports Council Picks Chess Fed President Tshepo Sitale as Best Sports Administrator
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 
The 33rd Botswana National Sports Council has picked FIDE Zone 4.3 President, Tshepo Sitale as the Best Sports Administrator for 2012. Fide congratulates Tshepo Sitale on this award.

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10th World Chess Champion Boris Spassky Returns to Russia Chess Federation
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone,

Former World Chess Champion (10th to be specific) Boris Spassky has returned to the Russian Chess Federation from the French one. GM Spassky had emigrated to France in 1977, but had retained his Soviet citizenship and the right to represent Russia. It was only in the 1984 Autumn official Fide chess rating list that he was listed as part of the French Chess Federation. This announcement was made on Thursday. 

Fans of the chess legend were delighted to have GM Boris Spassky attend the opening ceremony of the 8th Tal Chess Memorial that began in Moscow on Wednesday. The blitz pairings tournament was held as part of the opening ceremony. You can watch live the Tal Chess Tournament from these links as mentioned in our Chess Blog post.

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Watch Live Tal Chess Memorial 2013
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 
GM Hikaru Nakamura (second from right) during the pairings blitz which he won on Wednesday. 

The very exciting Eighth Tal Chess Memorial 2013 has begun in Moscow with the first round pairings being:

Dmitry Andreikin – Alexander Morozevich
Viswanathan Anand – Fabiano Caruana
Boris Gelfand – Sergey Karjakin
Magnus. Carlsen – Vladimir Kramnik
Hikaru Nakamura – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

The traditional round-robin Grandmaster Super Chess Tournament ‘Tal Memorial’ will run in Moscow from June 12 to 24. Match days: 13-15, 17-19 and 21-23 June. Games and video broadcasts start at 15.00. Beginning of the last round will be 13.00. International Arbiter Andrzej Filipowicz (Andrzej Filipowicz, Poland) is taking care of the proceedings.

Time control: 1 hour 40 minutes for 40 moves + 50 minutes for 20 moves + 15 minutes to the end of the game with 30 seconds to each the move from the first. Participants are not allowed to enter the tournament in talks to draw up the 40th move, inclusive. All participants are required to comment on their roles in the press center after each round. The prize fund is 1,00,000 euros.
Here are some important links for you:
Official website
Games online

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Vietnam Joins Global Chess Elite
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 
Vietnam has recently joined the elite group of global chess powers – countries that are leaders in world chess, using the ancient game as a component of their public education and culture. Vietnam achieved its latest chess milestone when Vietnamese national Le Quang Liem won the FIDE World Blitz Championship earlier this month in the northern Russian city of Khanty-Mansiysk, the largest city and regional capital of Yugra.

The 22 year-old Vietnamese grandmaster is seeded higher than any other competitive chess player from Vietnam. He has been playing chess since he was seven, starting at around the time the Vietnamese government began its efforts to promote chess in the nation of around 90 million people. After two days of blitz championship games, Liem scored a total of 20.5 points, 0.5 points ahead of silver medalist Alexander Grischuk and bronze medalist Ruslan Ponomariov, both of Ukraine.

Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, who won silver in the Rapid tournament one day earlier, finished fourth, missing out on the medals in the blitz. Together with his gold medal, Liem received a cash prize of US$40,000 for winning the blitz tournament and another US$22,500 for coming in fourth in the rapid championship the previous day. Liem’s teammate Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son ranked fifth in the blitz tournament, winning US$18,000 in prize money.

Liem’s coach Anatoly Shvedchkov started training the new blitz champion since age 7. “Liem is a very talented young man. A combination of an Eastern mindset and the fundamentals of the Soviet school of chess has produced amazing results,” said international chess master Shvedchkov who has been training Vietnamese chess players for the past 15 years.

This year’s contemporaneous FIDE-organized World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships were 15 and 30-round Swiss events respectively. The opening ceremony on June 6 included a concert by the host city’s leading performers and entertainers. Participants and guests are noting the pleasant atmosphere and fantastic organization that made them feel right at home in the capital city of the Russian central-northern Yugra Region. 

Chess fans worldwide had a chance to follow the tournaments online live, and more than 70,000 chess enthusiasts in 150 countries took the opportunity to do so. This was also an excellent occasion for the city to showcase its unique culture and features to the world outside. Khanty-Mansiysk has hosted its eighth major international chess competition in the past decade and a half, putting to good use its three-story Yugra Chess Academy, designed and built as a world-standard competitive chess venue.

Natalia Komarova, the governor of Yugra region, said: “We are thrilled to host major chess events and hope that chess enthusiasts from Russia and from around the world will get to know Khanty-Mansiysk and will come visit.”

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US #1 GM Hikaru Nakamura Sponsored by Silence Therapeutics
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

London, 11 June 2013: Silence Therapeutics is delighted to announce it has signed a sponsorship deal with Grandmaster (GM) Hikaru Nakamura, who is also the number 5 chess player in the world.

GM Hikaru Nakamura, 25, was born in Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, to a Japanese father and an American mother. At the age of two, he moved with his mother and older brother to the United States. He began playing chess prior to the age of five and was coached by his Sri Lankan stepfather, FIDE Master and renowned chess author and teacher Sunil Weeramantry.

Hikaru’s January 2011 triumph in winning the prestigious Tata Steel Invitational in Wijk-aan-Zee, the Netherlands, ahead of the four highest ranked players in the world was hailed by none other than the legendary Garry Kasparov as “the best result by an American since 1895.” He is widely regarded as America’s best hope of regaining the title of World Champion once held by the great Bobby Fischer.

Since earning his grandmaster title at a younger age than Fischer, Hikaru’s innovative and uncompromising style has delighted numerous fans around the world. A regular participant in the most elite chess tournaments around the world, he has posted victories against the reigning World Champion, GM Viswanathan Anand of India, and his predecessor, former World Champion, GM Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.

Hikaru is universally recognized as one of the world’s best “blitz” players and, arguably, the very best at “bullet” chess. He defeated the current world No. 1, GM Magnus Carlsen, in a four game match in the finals of the BNBank Blitz Challenge in Oslo in November 2009. Hikaru is also the unofficial world champion at Chess 960 having earned that honour by defeating the current world No. 2, GM Levon Aronian, in the finals of the Mainz Chess Classic in July 2009. Hikaru is a three-time United States Chess Champion, winning the title in 2005, 2009 and 2012.

Hikaru is currently rated No. 1 in the United States and No. 5 in the World according to the June 2013 FIDE ratings list, at 2784. He is also ranked No. 1 on the June 2013 US Chess Federation ratings list at 2867.

Hikaru currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Commenting on the partnership, Hikaru said:“I am honoured to be associated with such an innovative company as Silence Therapeutics . Our partnership is a perfect fit as the human genome and chess share infinite complexities.

I am excited to work with a company that has the potential to make such a big difference to the outcome of serious diseases.”

Silence chief executive Ali Mortazavi said: “Silence Therapeutics is delighted to collaborate with Hikaru in his quest to become the world chess champion. We are proud to be associated with a player who is world renowned for his uncompromising and flamboyant style of chess. Hikaru will be attending our R&D day, currently scheduled for November 2013 where participants will have the opportunity to meet and challenge him.”

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