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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Candidates R2: Aronian, Radjabov Win

Levon Aronian and Teimour Radjabov went into shared first place in the second round at the FIDE World Chess Candidates' Tournament in London on Saturday. Aronian won against Boris Gelfand, who blundered material. Radjabov outplayed Vassily Ivanchuk, who eventually lost on time in what should be a lost position any way. Magnus Carlsen got no opening advantage against Vladimir Kramnik and the two quickly drew. Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler also split the point, but not before both players had had an advantage in the game. 

In December Magnus Carlsen of Norway beat Garry Kasparov’s record of the highest ever elo rating. Being 62 points ahead of Russia’s number one Vladimir Kramnik, the Norwegian is the clear favourite in all the polls. Because of this, and perhaps his temporary side-career as a model for G-Star, on Friday Carlsen was asked by one journalist whether he felt he could make the game “more attractive, more sexy”. The top seed replied: “I drew both of my games in a total of less than three hours and an average of 30.5 moves so… that’s going to change the game a lot!”

According to Kramnik, his opponent made “the wrong opening choice”. “I consider it just harmless. In fact after ten moves there was not much to play for. It happens sometimes in modern chess.” Carlsen: “I guess the opening line in question is not very dangerous for Black but I had had some hopes beforehand that I could be able to press a little bit. Many times also with White against Vladimir I’ve been doing quite badly so at least equality is an improvement for me!”


The following game to finish was the first decisive game of the tournament: Levon Aronian of Armenia versus Boris Gelfand of Israel. It started fairly quietly and Aronian explained it as follows: “This is a well known line and White is slightly better. With precise play it normally ends up as a draw. I thought I just keep the same strategy and play solid.” Gelfand compared the ending that came on the board to the Marshall variation of the Ruy Lopez, which his opponent has often defended successfully to a draw. The Israeli, who blundered a bishop check, expained his loss with a brief sentence: “I didn’t play well I guess.”


The game between Russian GMs Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler ended in a draw, but not before either player had had a promising position. Svidler’s plan with 13…Bg4 was unfortunate, and after about fifteen moves he was already quite worried about his position. Luckily for him, his opponent miscalculated with his 20th move. “I quickly got a big advantage but I spoilt it in one move, I was almost winning there,” said Grischuk. To is own surprise, Svidler even ended up in a better ending but with a precise 30th move White managed to hold the draw.

Aronian could only enjoy his leadership status for about one and a half hours. Azerbaijan's Teimour Radjabov, who had been pressing from the start in his game with Vassily Ivanchuk, won when his opponent overstepped the time limit at move 34.

In a Leningrad Dutch, according to Radjabov his Ukrainian opponent played an inaccurate 9th move even though this was still known from a game Kramnik-Nakamura, Wijk aan Zee 2010. White went for a positionally illogical plan to exchange the e-pawns and got a strong initiative. The Azerbaijani wisely declined Black’s exchange sacrifice and soon Ivanchuk had to give up his queen for rook and bishop. Things weren’t exactly clear, and in fact at one moment Black could draw the game with a brilliant move. With seconds on the clock Ivanchuk missed it, and soon after he lost on time.

Interestingly, the two winners of the second round were also the two players who attended the SOCAR reception the night before. When asked what happened at that party, Radjabov said: “Nothing really happened there, otherwise we wouldn’t win today, I think!”

At the opening ceremony on Thursday, head of AGON Andrew Paulson mentioned the new design of the playing hall and the ChessCasting software that is being used to transmit the games live to the world. During the round, the spectators in the playing hall are given small interactive tablets which have the software preinstalled. Because the same software is available on the tournament website, the audience present in London and everywhere else in the world can get a more personal experience while following the tournament.

ChessCasting has three main screens. The first shows all four games in progress with diagrams, moves and the total time left. Then there’s the single game view, which shows the advantage for one of the players, the time spent on each move and a combined view of advantage and time. On the third page the user can go even deeper and see the ‘advantage breakdown’: material, king safety, pawn strength and mobility for each player. On top of that, spectators can start a joint analysis at any time and with anyone in what’s called “the Sandbox”. AGON plans to improve ChessCasting in the future for instance by adding Twittter and Facebook integration.

And so after two rounds the tournament has two leaders: Levon Aronian and Teimour Radjavov. Both are on 1.5 out of 2. Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk are on 1 out of 2 while Boris Gelfand and Vassily Ivanchuk have 0.5 out of 2. Sunday, March 17th at 14:00 GMT the third round will be played: Gelfand-Carlsen, Ivanchuk-Aronian, Svidler-Radjabov and Kramnik-Grischuk.

The FIDE Candidates' Tournament is taking place March 14th-April 1st, 2013 at IET London, Savoy Place. It is sponsored by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and organized by AGON and the World Chess Federation (FIDE). (Report by Peter Doggers/ Pictures by Anastasiya Karlovich: Official website)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Black & White Best Chess Blog!

Chess Magazine Black & White is winner of the Sportskeeda Blogger Award under the 'Best Chess Blog' category. The awards were chosen by fans themselves through voting via the SportsKeeda website. You can find the results here. We thank all our fans and readers for their support and love. We are indebted to you for all your encouragement.

Candidates R1: All Four Games Drawn



The FIDE World Chess Candidates' Tournament started peacefully on Friday in London with all four games ending in draws. In the first round the players playing the black pieces were all slightly higher rated than their opponents, and all four managed to avoid serious problems. Over the last few days the IET’s Lecture Theatre has been transformed into an atmospheric chess arena, with specially designed tables, chess pieces and logos. Asked about his opinion, Magnus Carlsen of Norway said: “To say something about that I guess I need to play some more games, and perhaps some longer games as well!" The world’s number one drew rather quickly with world number three Levon Aronian of Armenia.

In what was the top game of the round, Carlsen played the Bogo-Indian and equalized rather comfortably. “In general, Levon with Black, that's as tough as it gets. It's an important game for me but at the same time it's the first round, and sometimes it's going to be quiet.” Aronian said he had “expected a bit more from this game”, but played inaccurately early on and then lost his opening advantage. 


Not only the chess fans have been awaiting this event eagerly; 6-times Russian Champion Peter Svidler confessed that the last couple of days were "quite tense" for him. He was happy to start his first game, in which he faced his compatriot Vladimir Kramnik.

It became clear once more just how high the level of opening preparation by the players is when Svidler revealed that he had actually looked at Kramnik’s rare choice of the Semi-Tarrasch. After the exchange of queens, Svidler felt the position should be very close to equality. “Perhaps White has some slight pressure if he is very lucky and accurate with move orders.” Kramnik was “pretty much worried” but still found a good way to solve his problems.


The game between Boris Gelfand of Israel and Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan saw an amusing incident at the start of the round. Chief arbiter Werner Stubenvoll of Austria announced that FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov would make the traditional opening move for the game “Anand-Radjabov”. At the press conference Radjabov referred to last year’s World Championship match between Gelfand and World Champion Viswanathan Anand. “I wasn’t sure if Boris should feel happy about being the World Champion, or if I should be happy playing the World Champion already without winning the Candidates!”

In yet another Bogo-Indian, Radjabov’s 16…d5 was a straightforward way to solve the opening problems. Gelfand, who actually saw this move coming, said: “I had the feeling White would find something but when I came to the position I couldn't find anything.” Many pieces were traded, and just before the time control the position was a dead draw.



The last game to finish was Ivanchuk-Grischuk, an Open Catalan with Black playing his king’s bishop to the modest e7 square, where a check on b4 is considered to be a safe option. Grischuk’s explanation was: “I saw that two guys played the move …Bb4+ already and Kramnik was threatening it, so I thought I had to be original!” Although Ivanchuk had a tiny advantage at some point, the draw was agreed just after the first time control.

Without exception the players expressed their joy to play this tournament in London. “I'm always enjoying my presence here; it's such a great city!” said Levon Aronian. The Armenian grandmaster has already attended several shows since he arrived. “The only thing I don't like about London is the weather,” said Alexander Grischuk, who is actually the only player who smokes, and who needs to leave the building for it.

And so after the first round the tournament has no leaders nor tail-enders. Saturday, March 16th at 14:00 GMT the second round will be played: Carlsen-Kramnik, Grischuk-Svidler, Radjabov-Ivanchuk and Aronian-Gelfand.

The FIDE World Candidates Tournament is taking place March 14th-April 1st, 2013 at IET London, Savoy Place. It is sponsored by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and organized by AGON and the World Chess Federation (FIDE). 

(Report by Peter Doggers/Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Candidates 2013: Live from 7.30 pm

The long-awaited FIDE World Candidates Tournament 2013 was officially opened on Thursday night by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov at IET London, Savoy Palace. The tournament’s opening ceremony was attended by chess officials, sponsors, and international chess media. Over fourteen rounds, eight of the very best chess players in the world will fight for the right to challenge World Champion Viswanathan Anand in a world title match later this year.

Technical meeting


At the start of the ceremony, head of AGON Andrew Paulson presented the specially designed Championship chess set of World Chess, and gave the very first set to Mr. Ilyumzhinov. Designed by Pentagram, the chess set will be available for sale in a number of different editions.


Paulson also pointed out the new design of the playing hall and the ChessCasting software that will be used to transmit the games live to the world. "It's a new design to make more esthetic the experience of watching or being a spectator at a tournament," said Paulson. One novelty is that small interactive tablets will be handed out to spectators in the playing hall which will allow the audience to have a personal experience in the hall while watching the players – something that's unique for any sport. Andrew Paulson also mentioned the special security measures with unique technology prepared by the organizers that will be used for the first time on this event. 


Before officially opening the event, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov reminded the guests of the long chess tradition in London, where 19th-century players like Howard Staunton, Wilhelm Steinitz and Emanuel Lasker achieved successes. "Over the next three weeks London will be the main chess centre in the world. Attention of millions of chess lovers will turn to London. It's here the challenger for the title of World Champion will be determined. The Candidates Tournament is the main and most expected tournament of the year in the chess world," said Ilyumzhinov.

The FIDE World Candidates Tournament takes place March 14th-April 2nd, 2013 at IET London, Savoy Place. It is sponsored by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and organized by AGON and the World Chess Federation (FIDE). The eight participants are Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Levon Aronian of Armenia, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan, Alexander Grischuk of Russia, Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, Peter Svidler of Russia and Boris Gelfand of Israel. The first round will start Friday, March 15th, 2013 at 14:00 GMT.

You can watch live from India time 7.30 pm onwards at the official website of the London Candidates Chess Matches 2013. 
(Report by Peter Doggers/Pictures Anastasiya Karlovich)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

World Team: Soumya, Gomes win Bronze

The Champions Ukraine: (From left) Mariya Muzychuk, Inna Gaponenko, Anna Ushenina, Kateryna Lahno, Natalia Zhukova.

India finished fifth in the world women’s team chess championship at Astana, Kazakhstan, on Tuesday. Seeded sixth in the 10-team event, India scored nine match points from nine rounds. Ukraine, comprising Anna Ushenina, Kateryno Lahno, Mariya Muzychuk, Inna Gaponenko and Natalia Zhukova, won the title with 16 points. China finished runner-up, while Russia was third with 13. Reigning women's world chess champion Anna Ushenina now also holds the title of the World Team Champion along with her compatriots.


(Top right) Mary Ann Gomes and (below left) Soumya Swaminathan with their Bronze medals for Boards 4 and 5 at the Astana Women's World Team Chess Championship 2013. Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich.

India, represented by Mary Ann Gomes, Eesha Karvade, Nisha Mohota, Padmini Rout and Soumya Swaminathan, lost to China 1.5-2.5 in the final round. In the other matches, Russia and Ukraine drew 2-2, France blanked Turkey 3.5-0.5, Georgia beat Kazakhstan 2.5-1.5 and United States and Romania drew 2-2.


For the individual boards, Mary Ann Gomes and Soumya Swaminathan won the Bronze medals on Board 4 and Board 5 respectively.

Final Standings
1. Ukraine 16 2. China 15 3. Russia 13 4. Georgia 12 5. India 9 6. USA 8 7. Kazakhstan 6 8. Romania 6 9. France 4 10. Turkey 1

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Playing Chess to Save 4-Month-Old Daughter

Here is an interview with IM Salome Melia of Georgia via the official website of the Astana World Women's Team Chess Championship 2013. Text and photos by Anastasiya Karlovich. We appeal to everyone to help IM Salome Melia.

Anastasiya Karlovich: Salome you’ve been playing for the National Georgian team for so many years. Can you share your impressions? Is it really important and crucial for you to represent your country in such tournaments as World Women Team Championship?




Salome Melia: It’s a great responsibility for me to represent my country in such an important event. I think it’s important to any country to be here. This tournament is especially important for me as I have some kind of particular situation in my life. Today it’s a second round and I played my first game in the tournament. I made a draw against Qi Guo from China.

Today Georgia plays one of the key matches against China. How do you estimate the chance of your team? How difficult was your game today?

Of course we should not underestimate the Chinese team but we should say that they came here without strongest players. Of course we want to win. As for my game I would say that my opponent didn’t fight for initiative. As a result, it was easy to equalize, the position was simple, so it was easy draw.

You’ve mentioned some special circumstances in your life which makes this tournament very special for you. Can you please share with us what happened?


I don’t want people to exaggerate and make a tragedy but the situation is quite difficult for me. I have a daughter (4 months old) who has got health problem – heart disease. I’m not playing only for the team here, I also play for money because I want her alive. The operation cost big money.

Salome, can you please tell us how expensive is the operation and where the surgery must take place?

The operation is very complex and, unfortunately, it’s impossible do make it in Georgia. We need to go to Germany, where the operation costs 60,000 euros. We received a response from the USA, but there it costs about a million. Operation should be done before the end of March, but it is difficult to find such amount of money. I really hope that the operation will help, as no one guarantees the result, because it is very difficult to do heart surgery on a child.

Journalists appeal to the chess community, philanthropists and ask to help Salome Melia in her difficult situation.

You can send money to this account:
Beneficiary: Salome Melia

Number of account: GE57PC0193600100007067
Bank code (SWIFT): MIBGGE22
Name of bank: ProCredit Bank, Tbilisi, Georgia
address of bank: 21 Al. Kazbegi Ave., 0160 Tbilisi, Georgia.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Indian Girls Begin Campaign at Women's World Team Chess in Astana Today

The Indian team (from left) Soumya Swaminathan, Padmini Rout, Nisha Mohota, Eesha Karavade, Mary Ann Gomes. 

The opening ceremony of the Women's World Team Chess Championship took place at the Duman Hotel in Astana, Kazakhstan on Saturday after a press conference. FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov welcomed all participants and guests and awarded diplomas to players from the team of Kazakhstan - Guliskhan Nakhbayeva and Dinara Saduakassova. Both had recently complete their WGM norms.

The Chief Arbiter of the tournament Takis Nikolopoulos conducted the ceremony of drawing of lots. Each team was invited to the stage and the top player was proposed to choose a flower with the number. The top seed of Ukrainian team Katerina Lahno luckily chose the number one, although Ukrainian team doesn’t leave the first rank. Each of the players got flowers from the organizers. Opening Ceremony Photo Gallery

Indian chess fans can watch the games live from 2.30 pm at the official wesbite with comments by GM Sergey Shipov and WGM Anna Sharevich: http://worldchess.kz/en/online.

The pairings of the first round:Ukraine - India
Romania - Russia
Kazakhstan - USA
Turkey - Georgia
China - France

The board pairings of Round 1 for India are as follows:
Lahno, Kateryna - Karavade, Eesha
Ushenina, Anna - Mohota, Nisha
Muzychuk, Mariya - Padmini, Rout
Gaponenko, Inna - Gomes, Mary Ann

During the press-conference it was announced that Kazakhstan has another ambitious plan - to host the World Chess Olympiad in 2018. Anna Ushenina, reigning women's world champion, spoke about the expectations of the Ukrainian team: “Every team wants to win first place in Astana. Our team - is not an exception. I will try to show the best result. In such tournaments there are no weak opponents.” 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cellphone Chess Advert Video from Belarus

WGM Anna Sharevich in cellphone advertisement video from Belarus.

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