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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Exciting Chess at Alekhine Memorial


The Alekhine Chess Memorial began with great fireworks on the chessboard in Paris on Sunday. The chess pavilion which had been built specially for the Memorial on the premises of the Tuileries Garden (the Louvre Museum) was overcrowded. The Grandmasters didn’t disappoint their spectators – every game was a true and interesting fight and three of them were decisive.

Vachier-Lagrave – Fressinet and Svidler – Gelfand games finished earlier than others. Both of them ended in a draw: black managed to equalise the game after the opening. Ding Liren created a sensation by defeating Levon Aronian. The newcomer of the super tournament performed a wonderful attack against his opponent’s king. Former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, who looks upon Alekhine Memorial as his “home” tournament (Kramnik has been living in Paris for a long time), scored a decisive victory over Nikita Vitiugov. Vladimir analysed his game in details in the press centre and showed the way he used his opponent’s inaccurate moves.

The game between Adams and Anand was very challenging. Anand, who was playing white, had to face a deep strategic idea put into effect by Adams, a multiple British champion. Adams won the game in his favorite manner and joined the leaders.

The venue was the Tuelerie Garden (the Louvre). This is the first major tournament in classical chess held in France in the past 30 years. The round began amid the overflowing presence of journalists and chess enthusiasts: The 300-seat hall was fully packed and spectators still waited outside. All games are broadcast live with commentary in three languages - Russian, English and French - at the official website.

World Chess Match Venue Undecided

CHENNAI: There is some uncertainty over Chennai as the venue for the eagerly-awaited World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen after the World No 1 player from Norway expressed unhappiness with the FIDE's choice of venue.

The FIDE has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with All India Chess Federation and Tamil Nadu state association for holding the World Championship match in Chennai, the home city of Anand.

However, it has been learnt Carlsen's team is apprehensive about playing in Chennai given unfamiliar food and weather condition as the Norwegian has no experience of competing in hot climate.

The fallout could be Carlsen's refusal to sign the contract as both players are needed to sign the agreement despite FIDE's MoU with the TN state association.

According to Carlsen's agent, Espen Agdestein, what irked the 22-year-old challenger was the way the MoU was signed without following a bidding process as described in the FIDE regulations for the World Championship match.

Agdestein said there should be an open bidding process and a neutral venue for the match and that the world body should have a dialogue with both players before arriving at a final decision.

The MoU, uploaded on the FIDE website, says that the match could be held in Chennai from November 6 to 26.

Chennai had lost out on the last World Championship match between Anand and Boris Gelfand after Moscow offered a higher prize fund of USD 2.55 million to the organisers.

At that time, the FIDE president, Kirsan Ilymzhinov had promised the Tamil Nadu government that the state will get the first preference for the next match.

It has also been learnt that the earlier preferred locations for hosting the match were New York, Miami, St Tropez, Paris and Tromso. The Norwegian town is already hosting the 2013 World Cup and the 2014 World Team Olympiad.

If Carlsen insists on a neutral venue, FIDE may have little option but to move the game out of Chennai. (PTI)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Alekhine Chess Memorial Live 5.30 pm

International chess super tournament Alekhine Memorial started today, on April, 20 in Paris. The opening ceremony took place in a chess pavilion, which was specially built for the tournament on the territory of the Tuileries Garden (the Louvre Museum). The super tournament dedicated to a great Russian chess player and a citizen of Russia and France Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine is held at the initiative and with the support of Russian businessmen Gennady Timchenko and Andrey Filatov. The organizers of the tournament are the Russian chess Federation and Trade and Industry Chamber of Russia and France. The event is supported by the Louvre Museum and the State Russian Museum. Ten grandmasters from seven countries are playing in the Memorial that will start in Paris with five rounds and will end with four rounds in Saint Michael’s Castle in Saint-Petersburg. The winner will be announced on the 1-st of May.

The participants after the drawing of lots.

Alekhine Memorial carries a tradition of holding big international chess tournaments in museum halls. In May last year Engineering building of the Tretyakov Gallery became a home of the FIDE World championship match, organized by the Russian chess Federation with the support of Gennady Timchenko and Andrey Filatov. The match allowed to draw attention of millions of chess spectators to the art collection of one of the leading Russian museums.

Alekhine Memorial is expected to become one of the brightest events in international chess calendar. World’s best players are fighting for the main trophy: World chess champion Viswanathan Anand, 14-th World chess champion and World rating number 3 Vladimir Kramnik; World rating number 2 Levon Aronian; six-time Russian champion and World Cup winner Peter Svidler, World champion title contender (2012) Boris Gelfand, multiple champion of France and two-time European blitz champion Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, strongest British player Michael Adams, French team board number 2 Laurent Fressinet, World team champion Nikita Vitiugov and current champion of People’s Republic of China Ding Liren.
 

The pairings of the first round were identified in a ballot by the chief arbiter of the tournament Boris Postovsky. They are the following: Vachier-Lagrave – Fressinet, Ding Liren – Aronian, Kramnik – Vitiugov, Anand – Adams and Svidler – Gelfand.
Watch Live India Time: 5.30 pm at official website

The tournament was preceded by the press-conference attended by the director of the Russian Museum Vladimir Gusev, three World champions (Anatoly Karpov, Valdimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand) as well as philanthropists and tournament organizers. The press conference was opened by the Russian chess Federation CEO Ilya Levitov. He was followed by the Russian Museum director who told about the role of Nicholas II in foundation of the Russian Museum and in the life of the first Russian champion. The participants of the conference expressed their hope that Alekhine Memorial will promote the renaissance of chess traditions in Russia and France.

“Chess is a unique game that will help to do a lot in our country. It helps to bring up smart people who do not make fundamental mistakes!” mentioned Andrey Filatov, event sponsor. The head of the Economic Council of the Trade and Industry Chamber of Russia and France Gennady Timchenko promised that such tournaments will continue in the future.

“We hope that our initiative will find a positive reply in the regions. We try to bring to life what used to be in Russia!” said Mr. Timchenko.

The conference was followed by a concert performed by two outstanding Russian musicians – Nikolay Lugansky (piano) and Vadim Repin (violin) who offered the audience a few pieces composed by the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Kasimdzhanov Not to Be Anand Second

By Zainab Raza Undulusi

It was this January that the Norwegian newspaper VG reported that Danish GM Peter Heine Nielsen (39) who has worked with World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand for almost 10 years would be working with World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen. Nielsen joined Carlsen in February to help Carlsen with the Candidates Tournament in March in London. Carlsen duly won the Candidates. 

On Saturday, another of Viswanathan Anand's seconds, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, said at a press conference at the Renova Group Grand Prix press conference that he has decided not to continue as Anand's second. 

“I think three World championship matches are enough for me. There were all very tough – one tougher than the other. At the end I think I deserve some rest (smiles). I’m a bit worried if the match is going to take place because it was announced to be held in India and Magnus is seriously opposed to the idea to play there. If they push it and Magnus gets nervous we can have the situation when the Norwegian will just refuse to play, as he had done with previous candidates tournament. It’s a great match and it would be a pity if something happens. I will be happy if they find some neutral ground. On the other hand India deserves to host the World Championship match because Anand has been holding the title for many years. So the situation is difficult,” said the former world chess champion. 

Earlier, after Nielsen joined Team Carlsen, the World No. 1's manager Espen Agdestein had said, "We cannot use Peter after he has worked so long with Anand. That would not be good, morally, even if there are no problems legally. Peter is therefore not going to work with us in preparation (for the World Chess Championship 2013 match) if Magnus qualifies as World Championship challenger."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Alekhine Chess Memorial Begins Today

Today (April 20) will begin the biggest chess event in France  the Alekhine Chess Memorial. The press conference can be watched live from 8.30 pm India time on the official website followed an hour later by the grand opening ceremony which will feature the pairings announcements and concert by Nikolay Lugansky and Vadim Repin.  All activities will be broadcast via the official website - www.alekhine-memorial.com. Daily rounds can be watched India time 6.30 pm.

The event - dedicated to the memory of the great Russian chess player and 4th World Chess Champion Alexander Alekhine will take place in two famous museums of the world – the Louvre (Paris) and the Russian Museum (Saint-Petersburg). The idea is to highlight both the chess event and Russian culture. The Alekhine Memorial Super Tournament continues the tradition of holding chess tournaments in World’s biggest museums – the tradition which was set up during the match Anand-Gelfand, held in May 2012 in the Engineering building of the State Tretyakov Gallery.

The opening ceremony and first five rounds will take place in Paris, in the Tuileries Garden. On April, 26 in the morning the participants, arbiters, journalists will leave Paris for Saint-Petersburg. Last four rounds will be played in Saint Michael’s Castle (The Russian Museum branch).


The part of the tournament which will be held in Paris will take place in a pavilion built in the Tuileries Garden. It is open for public from 1:30 P. M. No entry fee required.

Vadim Repin, one of the world’s most famous and popular musicians, will give a concert at the opening of the Alekhine Memorial Chess Super-Tournament, which will take place on 20 April in Paris. Vadim Repin will join with pianist Nikolai Lugansky to perform a programme of works by Sergei Rachmaninoff for piano and violin. Also, Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky will perform at the opening ceremony selected works Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. Lugansky believes there are a number of parallels between Rachmaninoff's career and the fate of Russia's first World Chess Champion!

Alexander Alekhine (1892–1946)
Born in Moscow on 19 October 1892, the first Russian World Chess Champion Alexander Alekhine was the son of a State Duma deputy, marshal of the Voronezh nobility, and the owner of huge black-earth estates in Central Russia. Alekhine graduated from the St Petersburg School of Law in 1914. That same year, he became one of the world’s strongest chess players, placing third at the prestigious St Petersburg chess tournament, after the then-reigning World Champion Emanuel Lasker and before the future Champion José Raúl Capablanca.
Alekhine was playing at a tournament in Germany when WWI broke out. He was arrested and thrown into a German prison; upon his return to Russia, he signed up as a volunteer with the Red Cross. Alekhine was twice contused on the Galician Front, carried the wounded from battlefields, was decorated several times and was nominated for the Order of Saint Stanislaus with Swords. He became the first Chess Champion of the USSR in 1920, before leaving Soviet Russia in 1921 for France, where he became a citizen in 1925.
In 1927, Alekhine defeated the “invincible” José Raúl Capablanca in a match for the World Champion title. He dominated the chess world for several years after that, winning major tournaments at a big advantage over his rivals. In 1935, he lost a match to Max Euwe, only to defeat the Dutch Grandmaster two years later in a return match and to remain undefeated until his death.
In 1939, during the chess Olympics in Buenos-Aires he called for the German team to be disqualified because of the German attack on Poland. After the Olympics he performed charity games, with funds going to the Polish Red Cross. In 1940, he joined the French army, which brought many complications to his life in occupied France.
Alekhine died in Portugal in 1946, on the eve of an announcement that his World Championship match against Mikhail Botvinnik would take place after all. Alexander Alekhine was the only World Chess Champion to die undefeated.

Participants: World Champion Viswanathan Anand, his challenger from 2012 match Boris Gelfand, former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, World Cup winner Peter Svidler, Levon Aronian, Nikita Vitiugov, Michael Adams, Ding Liren, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Fressinet Laurent.

Renova Chess R1: Moro, Caruana Win

The first round of the third stage of Grand Prix tournament in Zug got under way on the 18th of April 2013, after FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made the first symbolic move in the game Caruana-Radjabov. The first round was a pretty tough one for the start of the tournament - Fabiano Caruana and Alexander Morozevich started with victories while the other four games were drawn.



Leko-Kamsky 1/2:1/2
Gata Kamsky was surprised that his opponent remembered him playing the same line in Ruy Lopez during the match against Vishy Anand in Las-Palmas 1995. Therefore, Peter Leko decided to avoid playing some dubious side-lines and went for the main variation. The preparation of Hungarian player finished on move 15.Ne2, which was played by Bobby Fisher long time ago. “I thought if Fisher had played this move, it cannot be bad and it actually makes sense. Nowadays all players go for15. Ne6 but I don’t think White has something there.”




After 15.Ne2 Gata Kamsky chose the plan with c4 and g5, which Leko defined as “a desperate attempt” but American player was short in time and was looking for some counter play. With the 20…f4 Gata Kamsky sacrificed a pawn and managed to activate his pieces. The forced line led to the endgame where White got 2 rooks for his queen and in a few moves the game finished after three-time repetition. “It seems my opponent defended so well in the time trouble or it was just too hot in the playing hall and computer will show that I’ve missed something, but I didn’t see how I could win, even there were some promising continuations. Out of nowhere it’s a draw,” said Peter Leko on the press-conference.


Giri-Topalov 1/2:1/2
Dutch player Anish Giri said he was preparing a lot and was looking forward for this GP to start. His opponent Veselin Topalov, who had played his last classical game on November 2012, confessed he felt a bit strange to play a long game, tried to make not too risky moves and to be solid. Few months ago the same opponents met at the last round of London Grand Prix. Anish Giri lost against Vesilin Topalov and let his opponent to win the first stage of GP. “The problem was that there was also bishop and knight endgame in that game. At the end I was really panicking and trying to hold this slightly better position. It was very painful to see the same guy, the same tournament and almost the same position there (laughing). It’s good that at least the result is different!” said Anish Giri during the press-conference. Veselin Topalov had to defend a bit unpleasant endgame but after inaccurate 23. Bf4 Black proved to be quite safe.




Morozevich-Kasimdzanov 1:0
Alexander Morozevich started the game with 1.g3 and was more or less expecting the line which happened in the game. According to Morozevich, Black could have played 14…de instead of 14…d4. “The position looked about equal but maybe it’s more pleasant to play it with White”, explained Russian player. Rustam Kasimdzhanov was defending 14…d4 and said the horrible mistake happened later, when he played 19…Ra8. “ I had to play 19…ab 20. ab and than Ra8. I think White is probably still better but this advantage has reasonable limits.” After 20.b4 White started to increase his positional advantage and after the first time control could be happy with the position on the board. “Black position was so hopeless,” said Rustam Kasimdzanove, nevertheless, Alexander Morozevich had to show good technique to convert his advantage into a full point.




Karjakin-Nakamura 1/2-1/2
The longest game of the first round (7 hours, 107 moves) started with the well-known position for both opponents, which has already appeared in their games before. Sergey Karjakin explained that 15…Qd8 was a new move for him and he should have played 16. 0-0 or 16.Bb6 instead of 16.f5, but blundered 17…Qc4. ”Here I’m slightly worse. I was already upset and had to defend till the end of the game,” said Russian player. “I felt that my position was much better. I don’t know if it’s winning but there were so many ideas and it was not easy to choose which one was worth a try,” said Hikaru Nakamura. White chose a bit passive defense but managed to hold the position. At the final point Black has two extra pawns but cannot improve his position. “Black can also put a few more white-square bishops on the board and still it will be a draw”, said Sergey Karjakin after the game.




Caruana-Radjabov 1:0
Teimour Radjabov chose to play Janisch Gambit in the Spanish against Fabiano Caruana, however Caruana looked prepared and surprised his opponent with 10.Na4. Azeri player chose the position with tripled pawns but was hoping to get some activity on the King’s side. Italian player made a few accurate moves and was left with a pleasant advantage. Step by step White exchanged some pieces and outplayed his opponent in the opposite colored bishops endgame.




Mamedyarov-Ponomariov 1/2-1/2
“I’m glad to make a draw with Black against such a good opponent as Shakhriyar”, said Ruslan Ponomariov at the press-conference. In the Queen's Gambit Declined Ukrainian player successfully defended slightly passive position. Mamedyarov didn’t manage to use the inactive position of the opponent’s pieces and after all pieces were changed, two lonely kings were left on the board.





World Chess 2013: Is it Chennai 100%?


As a chess fan, I am totally confused. Is the World Chess Championship 2013 Match between reigning champion Viswanathan Anand and challenger Magnus Carlsen really going to be held in Chennai this November? Should I book tickets and hotel room?

In the popular 1988 Movie 'Young Guns', actor Emilio Estevez playing 'Billy the Kid' tells his band of outlaws in response to their concern of potential hanging, that if they are caught that they will most certainly get hanged, and then utters the phrase but "There's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip".

In 2012, Fide told All India Chess Federation (AICF), after the latter lost to Moscow as host for World Chess Championship 2012 (between reigning World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand) that AICF would get the first chance to host the World Chess Championship Match 2013, supposedly without any regular bidding procedure...! But... "There's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip".

April 19, 2013: Fide site reads: Today, FIDE Vice President, Israel Gelfer signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the All India Chess Federation in Chennai regarding the World Championship Match 2013. Next are photos:

Photo: (From left) AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, Fide vice-presidents Israel Gelfer and DV Sundar.


The document states that the organiser is responsible for the conduct of world championship match in Chennai from 6 to 26 November 2013. The AICF will send a working version of the contract and will sign the contract within seven days of its receipt; organiser shall provide the sum of $3,367,250 - 50% percent of which must be transferred to the Fide account by May 20 and the remaining amount by 31 August 2013.


Magnus Carlsen has already called for a "neutral venue" and he has not confirmed the venue yet!

But, what does all this mean? Is Chennai the venue, or is it not yet decided? Is the Indian media and chess fanbase going euphoric for something that might not be? 

Frankly, no one seems to know the answer. Detailed reports are posted at chess news sites like Chessbase, ChessVibes, ChessblogChess-News.ru and the AICF and, of course, Fide websites. But, really, what does it all mean? Is Chennai really 100% the venue? We have to wait, at least until May 20.
  • What happens if some other bids come in for the World Chess Championship 2013? Will Fide not accept them? 
  • What exactly does this MoU mean? Is it a final declaration?
  • If Fide does not intend to accept any other bids, then why not immediately announce that there would be no bidding procedure and indeed Chennai is the venue of the World Chess Championship 2013?
  • Is it legal to have no bidding procedure for an event like the World Chess Championship?
  • Chennai is in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the Tamil Nadu Government that is offering the bid amount. So, the match cannot be shifted to any other city in India. Except Chennai, parts of Delhi and Kolkatta, the rest of India is at present watching cricket - the IPL T-20. They might not find other sponsors in India.
  • There is no direct word via Fide about Challenger Magnus Carlsen's acceptance of the venue and match conditions.
The most detailed analysis is at Chessvibes which goes: "It could also mean that FIDE is keeping its options open. In general a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) expresses a convergence of will between two parties, indicating an intended common line of action. A MoU is often used in cases where parties either do not imply a legal commitment or in situations where the parties cannot create a legally enforceable agreement.It's well possible that the match will eventually be held somewhere else. At the moment all parties involved have reasons to be not too happy about Chennai: Anand because there might be too much home crowd pressure, Carlsen because the different climate might involve risks, AGON because a different city might be more interesting for sponsors and FIDE because a higher bid also means a higher income for them."


Legendary 13th World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov has reacted strongly: It is a scandal. I've never heard of anything like this. I really hope that this is not the final decision, because it would be illegal.
To Chennai, or not to Chennai is the Big Question.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

MC on 'TIME 100' Influential Icons List

US based news magazine -TIME's annual survey of the 100 most influential people in the world for the year 2013 is out and guess who has made it to the list: World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen and Indian star Aamir Khan! TIME selects 100 most influential people in the world and gets them profiled by equally influential celebrities for their worldwide list. The full list with features will appear in the April 29 / May 6 issue of TIME that would go on the newsstands on April 19. 


None other than 13th World Chess Champion 

Garry Kasparov has written the feature on Magnus Carlsen for the 'Time 100' list 2013 of the world's most influential people.


The TIME 100 features often-surprising pairings of the influentials and the guest contributors TIME selects to write about them. The tenth-annual list includes, among others, President Barack Obama on Tom Coburn, Justin Timberlake on Jimmy Fallon, Oprah Winfrey on Shonda Rhimes, Michael Bloombergon Jay Z, Hillary Clinton on Barack Obama, Chelsea Clinton on Malala Yousafzai and more. 

Magnus Carlsen
Chess wunderkind, 22
By Garry Kasparov April 18, 2013



Chess history is best viewed through the game’s evolution: the Romantic Era of the 19th century, the Hypermodernism of the early 20th, the post–World War II dominance of the Soviet School. The elite chess players of today are of no school. They hail from all over the world, as illustrated by current world champion Viswanathan Anand of India and young Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, who is due to challenge Anand for the championship this year. I had the opportunity to train Carlsen in 2009, and his intuitive style conserves the mystique of chess at a time when every CPU-enhanced fan thinks the game is easy. Carlsen is as charismatic and independent as he is talented. If he can rekindle the world’s fascination with the royal game, we will soon be living in the Carlsen Era.
Indian movie star Aamir Khan is on the list as well. Billed as a film star and activist by the magazine, the Bollywood actor and host of the television show 'Satyamev Jayate' has been profiled by world celebrated music composer A.R Rahman.

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