Monday 25 July 2011

2011 British Chess Championship

This year's British Chess Championships are being held in Sheffield. There is a very impressive line-up, headed by GMs Mickey Adams, Nigel Short, David Howell, Gawain Jones, Nick Pert and Stephen Gordon, and assisted by some generous sponsorship from Darwin Strategic Ltd.

The official website is

Live Commentary by IM Andrew Martin:

Matthew Webb's Chess Blog:

Other useful links: The English Chess Forum * The Week in Chess * Live Games * Results *

I'll try to add other links to various blogs, etc, as they become available

Friday 22 July 2011

Kasimdzhanov's Not Wearing Any Draws

Kasim wants chess to 'go commando'

Former FIDE Champion Rustam Kasimdzanov has sent an open letter to the World Chess Federation with a revolutionary idea: to abolish the draw in chess altogether. 

“This way the expectations of the crowd will never be deceived. There will always be a winner, there will always be blood. (…) It will be good for our sport. Not just sponsors and attention and prizes. It will be essentially good for our game.”

Read the full story on ChessVibes here

And, yes, the only real reason I've blogged it is to be able to use the headline at the top of the blog...

... oh, go on, then. His idea is that, if a longplay game is drawn, it is replayed immediately at ever decreasing time limits, with colours reversed, say, 20 minutes each for the first one, then 10 minutes each, etc, etc, until a game is decisive. That is counted as the score of the game (1-0, 0-1 but not ½-½) and - perhaps most controversially - counted for rating purposes.

All kinds of snags occur, of course. For one thing, it wouldn't work for league or weekend chess as there is no spare time to fit in a series of replays. It might work for a top-level tournament with a limited number of competitors, by way of an exhibition or experimental event (like the Melody Amber tournament) but I can't see it catching on. Many players would be reluctant to put their longplay ratings on the line.

Besides which, what is wrong with a good, honest draw? But the good news is that it is not being proposed by another person from that neck of the woods with a name beginning with K - Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.  Then chess would be in real trouble. His ideas have a bad habit of turning into implemented decisions in a twinkling of an eye and with minimum of thought. Nobody much is likely to take any notice of a second-tier world champion who won his title in a discredited Libyan event shorn of a host of big-name players and which effectively excluded Israeli competitors. Thank heavens, you may well say. And so would I.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

July CHESS Magazine

The July CHESS Magazine is now out, edited by me. You can download a sample PDF, buy a copy or take out a subscription by clicking here. In its 60 full-colour ages, there is a huge variety of articles for players of all standards.

For me personally, the big event of the month was conducting a full-length interview with Israeli super-GM Boris Gelfand. The interview was so long that it became necessary to split it into three sections: one section comprised Boris's comments on the recent World Championship Candidates' Matches, which are included in the coverage of the competition, with the more general elements of the interview divided into two more sections, with part one in July and part two in August. Boris was the most generous and courteous of interlocutors, and interviewing him was one of the most pleasurable experiences of my 12-year career as a chess commentator. Boris must be just about the perfect role model for anyone with serious aspirations for a professional career as a player.

We've also got a great game annotated exclusively for us by globe-trotting super-GM Nigel Short from his tournament victory in Angola; coverage of the Nakamura-Ponomariov and Robson-Finegold matches in Saint Louis, with annotations by Richard Palliser; world champion Vishy Anand beating Alexei Shirov in Leon; articles by Lorin D'Costa, Yochanan Afek, Norman Stephenson, Nick Ivell, Adam Raoof, Sean Marsh, Rene Mayer; and of course all the regular features, such as GM Daniel King's How Good is Your Chess?, my look-back through the back pages of the magazine, Find The Winning Continuation and news round-ups.