Friday 25 November 2011

Magnus Carlsen wins the Tal Memorial on tie-break

The final round of the Tal Memorial tournament in Moscow saw Magnus Carlsen catch the leader Levon Aronian and take the tournament on tie-break (having played more Black games).

Magnus Carlsen defeated Hikaru Nakamura with Black and condemned the American to last place in the table. Hikaru really needed to get a better opening (it's the only way to survive a close encounter of the Carlsen kind) but soon found himself on the back foot. Carlsen won a pawn and then gradually applied more and more pressure. It eventually came down to an opposite-coloured bishop endgame - notoriously drawn in general but this one had certain nuances which made it more than usually problematic for the defending side.

Carlsen's technical handling of the endgame was immaculate, although he disdained a few brutal finishes towards the end for a more positional approach. Games between Carlsen and Nakamura are starting to resemble the old-time tennis rivalry of Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors. In both cases the cool Scandinavian gradually established a hoodoo over the brash American player. But Hikaru gets an early chance for revenge as the two will meet again in London in little more than a week's time!

The other decisive game saw Peter Svidler defeat Russian colleague Vladimir Kramnik. The former world champion played rather too combatively and his position unravelled in the run-up to the time control. Like Nakamura and Vishy Anand (who drew all nine games!), he will be hoping show better form in London or it might turn out to be a second instalment of the 'Magnus and Levon Show'...

1-2 Carlsen, Aronian 5½/9 (Carlsen placed first on tie-break), 3-5 Karjakin, Nepomniachtchi, Ivanchuk 5, 6-7 Anand, Svidler 4½, 8-9 Kramnik, Gelfand 3½, 10 Nakamura 3.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Women's World Chess Championship, Tirana (ALB), 14-30 November 2011

Women's world chess champion Hou Yifan, 17, of China completed the successful defence of her title this afternoon when she drew the eighth game of the best of ten match against challenger Humpy Koneru, 24, of India. This made the score 5½-2½ so there was no need to play the remaining two games. Hou Yifan won three games to her opponent's zero, with five draws.

Humpy Koneru, needing three straight wins to force the match into a rapidplay tie-break, had the advantage of the white pieces. She emerged from the opening with a slight edge but then tried to force the issue with an f-pawn advance and only succeeded in worsening her game. It came down to a double rook endgame where White was significantly worse and had no realistic chances of trying for a win. Black was content to accept a draw offer as it was sufficient to win the match.

Official website:

Photo by Anastasiya Karlovich and Anna Burtasova with kind permission of FIDE

Tal Memorial Tournament, Moscow, Round 8

Round 8 of the Tal Memorial Tournament in Moscow, 24 November, saw Levon Aronian of Armenia win the only decisive game and take over the sole lead on 5/8, with one round remaining.

Levon Aronian beats Peter Svidler to lead the tournament.

Aronian, world number three, defeated Russian champion Peter Svidler in what looked like a fairly sedate game at first but gradually got more complicated. Eventually Aronian was able to play a piece for two pawns sacrifice which led down a long, forcing line to a position where his queen dominated the position and led to the win of a third pawn. Svidler fought hard but passed pawns on both sides of the board proved fatal to his chances. One round remains, with Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Karjakin and Nepomniachtchi poised half a point behind Aronian. Last round pairings affecting first place are Nepomniachtchi (4½) - Aronian (5), Nakamura (3) - Carlsen (4½), Karjakin (4½) - Ivanchuk (4½).

Official website:

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Women's World Chess Championship, Game 7

Game seven of the Women's World Chess Championship match, held in Tirana, Albania, saw another win for Hou Yifan of China against Humpy Koneru of India. The reigning champion has now won three games without reply from her challenger and needs just one draw from the three remaining games to retain her title. By contrast, Humpy Koneru needs three successive wins to force a rapidplay play-off.

The Indian challenger, probably anxious to get back into the match with so few games remaining, played the overambitious 27...h5 which both players later concluded was an error. She compounded the error by surrendering a pawn and further weakening the kingside. Hou Yifan soon won a second pawn and showed admirable technique and a cool head to convert the endgame. After the game Humpy Koneru admitted that she was "out of form".

Official website:

Photo by Anastasiya Karlovich and Anna Burtasova with kind permission of FIDE

Monday 21 November 2011

Women's World Chess Championship, Tirana (ALB), 14-30 November 2011

photos by Anastasiya Karlovich and Anna Burtasova with kind permission of FIDE

The sixth game of the Women's World Championship, in Tirana, Albania, was very exciting this afternoon. The holder, Hou Yifan of China, came under pressure in the opening as Humpy Koneru of India sacrificed a pawn for the attack. However, though she soon regained her pawn, it was by no means easy for the challenger to exploit the resultant position despite the presence of two bishops on her side of the board. Suddenly the Chinese player's two rooks were calling the tune and, in time trouble, she found a huge tactic to win the game. Later it was learnt that the Chinese player had been hospitalised with stomach cramps the night before. Not a bad performance, considering!

The score is now 4-2 in favour of Hou Yifan, who also won game three. There are four games left and Humpy Koneru must win at least two of them to force a tie-break.

Official Website:

Monday 14 November 2011

CHESS Magazine, November 2011


CHESS Magazine - November 2011

UK's most popular CHESS Magazine

Magazine, 60 pages
UK's most popular CHESS Magazine - established 1935! All the regular features of the UK's best-selling CHESS magazine plus more!
  • Sao Paulo / Bilbao Grand Slam - The intercontinental super-tournament saw Ivanchuk dominate in Brazil, but then Magnus Carlsen took over in Spain.
  • Sadler Wins in Oslo - Matthew Sadler is on a roll! First, Barcelona, and now Oslo. He annotates his best game while Yochanan Afek covers the action
  • London Classic Preview - We ask the pundits what they expect to happen next month
  • Interview: Nigel Short - Carl Portman caught up with the English super-GM in Shropshire
  • Kasparov - Short Blitz Match - Garry and Nigel re-enacted their 1993 title match at a faster time control in Belgium. It came down to a nail-biting finish...
  • European Club Cup, Slovenia - Irish IM Sam Collins was on the spot in Slovenia where Europe’s top club sides (and some more modest ones) slugged it out.
  • Memorable Mishaps - Steve Giddins recalls funny things on the way to the tournament
Plus more!

Click here to download a PDF with an extract from the magazine.

Friday 11 November 2011

Mickey Adams Commits Chuckicide

STOP PRESS... Mickey Adams has committed Chuckicide in the final round of the European Team Championship in Greece, 11 November 2011... this means England currently lead Ukraine 1½-½ with two games still in play.

Michael Adams (left) 1-0 Vassily Ivanchuk