India's first chess features print magazine published quarterly from Lucknow since 2004 by Aspire Welfare Society.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

You have to enjoy what you do to excel: Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen (right) of Norway and Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia at the press conference in Dubai on Wednesday. (International Chess Federation Twitter)


DUBAI, 24 November 2021 – Reigning world chess champion Magnus Carlsen and his Russian rival Ian Nepomniachtchi revealed some of their motivations during a press conference at Expo 2020 Dubai today, before they go head to head for the crown at the FIDE World Chess Championship (24-16 December).

The Norwegian has held the title since 2013 and is considered one of the greatest chess talents of all time. Carlsen became a grandmaster at the age of 13, and has been the world's number one player continuously since 2011.

Two-time Russian champion Nepomniachtchi is the winner of the 2020/21 Candidates Tournament and finished second in the 2019 FIDE Grand Prix, which qualified him for the Candidates Tournament.

Who is going to win this championship?

Ian Nepomniachtchi: “Normally, I think the best player wins.”

Magnus Carlsen: “I predict that the person who scores the most points over the next three weeks is going to be the winner and hopefully that’s going to be me and if I do win, it will probably be because I made some good moves and good decisions.”

Magnus, as you have held the World Champion title since 2013, does the pressure get easier?

Magnus Carlsen: “I think some parts of it may get easier as you get more experienced but it come comes down to how you perform over the board. It’s so intense and you also have lots of people in the team who have World Championship experience. But you’re probably a little bit less nervous than you are the first time.”

Women are a minority in the world of chess. Why do you think that is?

Ian Nepomniachtchi: “I think the general issues are that girls are less amazed [than boys] in chess skills classes, and they also have other hobbies. But I think there will be a time when we see some really strong female players.”

Magnus Carlsen: “I think this question is way too complicated to answer in a few sentences. There are a number of factors, especially cultural that have led to the situation we have today. I encourage everybody to play chess. And what I’ve found around the world is that young girls find as much joy as boys in the game of chess. And if that could be communicated more, I think that would be very helpful.”

As you know, Expo 2020 Dubai is focusing on inspiring our youth – the leaders of tomorrow. What’s your advice for young generation, who want to become champions like you?

Ian Nepomniachtchi: “You have got to enjoy what you’re doing, whether it’s chess or science or sports.”

Magnus Carlsen: “That what I would say – you have to enjoy what you do to excel in your field.”

Moderated by Maurice Ashley, the FIDE World Chess Championship Press Conference also featured Andrey Gureyev, CEO, Phosagro; Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President; and Dara Maher, Regional Head of Marketing, Kaspersky.

Magnus Carlsen also visited the Spain Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, host of the World School Chess Tournament from the 25-29 November. Carlsen joined the world’s best female player in history, Judith Polgar, to take a group picture with the young participants. In total, 108 teenagers and children from 10 different countries have been grouped in 12 teams to play the finals at the event. -- Expo2020

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Seven Indians in Top 100 of World Chess

New Delhi, Nov. 1: For the first time in the history of Indian chess, as many as seven players have made it into the Top 100 of world chess.
 K Sasikiran made this feat possible by beating Vladimir Fedoseev (Russia) in the fifth round of the FIDE Grand Swiss Chess 2021 on Sunday. It lifted his rating to 2649 and helped him re-enter the elite list.

V Anand (2751), Vidit Gujrathi (2727), P. Harikrishna (2718), Nihal Sarin (2659), SL Narayanan (2658) and B Adhiban (2653) are the other six players in the Top 100.

“This is a very proud moment for India,” AICF president Dr. Sanjay Kapoor said. “We have steadily been cementing our position as one of the top nations in the world of chess,” he added.

“A big thank you to 2700chess and @fide_chess for maintaining the statistics,” AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan said.

Russia has 23 players in the Top 100, USA 10, China 9, Ukraine and India have 7 each. 

The average rating of Top 10 players of Russia is 2731, USA 2712, China 2699 and India 2671.

Ten Indian players are currently in action in the Open category of the FIDE Grand Swiss 2021 while five women are in fray in their class. -- AICF

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Harikrishna scores second straight win in FIDE Grand Swiss chess

Riga (Latvia), October 31: India’s P Harikrishna defeated Armenia’s Sergey Movsesian for his second straight victory in the FIDE Grand Swiss chess tournament late on Saturday evening here. (Photo: video grab)

Playing white, Harikrishna needed 56 moves in a Ruy Lopez game to take his tally to 2.5 points after four rounds. It put him in the company of dozens of players, including D Gukesh and K Sasikiran returned with half a point each.

France’s Alireza Firouzja (3.5) is the sole leader at this stage. Young Nihal Sarin is just half a point behind along with 10 other players after settling for a draw. S P Sethuraman (1.5) also split the point with veteran Boris Gelfand.

Young R Praggnanandhaa (2) lost his first game in the tournament, going down to Samuel Sevian. E Arjun (1.5), Surya Sekhar Ganguly (1.0) and B Adhiban (0.5) too suffered defeats.

In the women’s category, R Vaishali was the only Indian to register a victory on Day 4. She beat Meruert Kamalidenova (Kazakhstan) to move to two points.

D Harika held China’s Jiner Zhu to have three points in her kitty along with eight others behind the leader.

Tingjie Lei (3.5) wrested that honour after her win over Russia’s Valentina Gunina.

Padmini Rout lost to Russia’s Alina Kahslinskaya while Vantika Agrwal and Divya Deshmukh drew their games.

The Grand Swiss Tournament and Women’s Grand Swiss 2021 are part of the qualifications for the 2021-23 World Championship cycle. The top two finishers will qualify for the Candidates Tournament 2022.

Ten Indian men and five women are in the fray. -- AICF

Thursday, October 21, 2021

2021 Russian Chess Champions Crowned: Vitiugov and Gunina

The Russian Championships Superfinals finished in Ufa on the 20th of October. In the last 11th round of the open tournament, Vladimir Fedoseev lost to Pavel Ponkratov in a dramatic fight. The games Chigaev – Alekseenko, Goryachkina - Andreikin, Predke - Motylev, Rakhmanov - Vitiugov, and Esipenko - Matlakov were drawn.

Grandmaster Nikita Vitiugov scored 7 points out of 11 to become the Russian champion for the first time in his career.

- When the game was about to finish, I was confident that this was going to be a tie-break. It was a difficult moment: on the one hand, the tournament is over, and on the other hand, the fight for the first place is not yet out of the question. I already have experience finding myself in a similar situation and going down to Peter Svidler in a tie-break. I went for a walk because I simply wanted to be as fresh for the game as possible. I relaxed only when the situation clarified after the last move in the Esipenko – Matlakov game, said the tournament winner. - As for my participation, this is my 15th Russian championship, that is, I have played in as many superfinals as all other participants put together, and maybe even more. I was lucky in some games, but the opposite happened to me as well. The evaluation bar's sudden spikes towards one or the other player happened in nearly every game. I would not give up and keep on fighting, but it was not without lucky strikes for me either. You will never win such a tournament without them.

Maxim Matlakov won silver with 6.5 points. Vladimir Fedoseev is in third place: he got 6 points and edged out Dmitry Andreikin. All three prize-winners are from Saint Petersburg.

Final standings:

1. Nikita Vitiugov - 7 points
2. Maxim Matlakov - 6.5
3-4. Vladimir Fedoseev, Dmitry Andreikin - 6
5-9. Alexandr Predke, Andrey Esipenko, Alexander Motylev, Pavel Ponkratov, Kirill Alekseenko - 5.5
10-11. Aleksandra Goryachkina, Aleksandr Rakhmanov - 4.5
12. Maksim Chigaev - 4.

In the women’s tournament, the key game of the round between Valentina Gunina and Polina Shuvalova ended in a draw. Having scored 8 points out of 11 without any single loss, Valentina Gunina (Moscow) became the four-time Russian women's champion.

“Of course, I am very happy, but the final game was quite nervous. I'd been preparing for one thing, but Polina chose the line, which she had never played before. Of course, it is hard to play against an unexpected variation. I thought that I acted right, but it's rather difficult to access it without due analysis. In general, I've been very tired for the previous three days, so in such a case, one's brain can generate interesting reactions, that's why I'm glad that it all happened this way,” said Gunina after the game.

Evgenija Ovod (Saint Petersburg) drew against Alina Bivol and took second place with 7.5 points, having edged out Polina Shuvalova (Moscow), who won bronze.

The games Galliamova - Guseva, Pogonina - Garifullina, Voit - Kashlinskaya, and Bodnaruk - Girya were drawn.

Final standings:

1. Valentina Gunina - 8 points
2-3. Evgenija Ovod, Polina Shuvalova - 7.5
4. Alina Kashlinskaya - 6.5
5-6. Natalija Pogonina, Leya Garifullina - 6
7. Alisa Galliamova - 5.5
8. Olga Girya - 4.5
9. Marina Guseva - 4
10-12. Daria Voit, Anastasia Bodnaruk, Alina Bivol - 3.5.



The Superfinals are a part of the Chess in Museums international programme realised by the Chess Federation of Russia and the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation.

The total guaranteed prize fund is 11 million rubles: 7 million rubles in the open section and 4 million rubles in the women's tournament.

The Superfinals were organised by the Chess Federation of Russia with support of the Russian Ministry of Sport, Government of the Republic of Bashkortostan, and the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation. The CFR general partner is PhosAgro. Partners: Aeroflot, Art Russe, Chess Federation of the Republic of Bashkortostan, and the Bashkortostan State M.V. Nesterov Art Museum.

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