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Friday, May 10, 2013

Norway Chess R2: Carlsen, Anand Draw


SANDNES: World champion Viswanathan Anand won the psychological battle holding his world championship challenger Magnus Carlsen of Norway to an easy draw in the second round of the Norway Chess 2013 Super tournament in progress here.

The much awaited clash turned out to be a full entertainer to the audience as Carlsen tried but could not make much use of his white pieces in a keenly contested game arising out of a Sicilian defence.

Both Carlsen and Anand inched to one point out of a possible two in the 10-player round-robin tournament following a draw in the opener too.

The other game to end early was a damp squib between former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan while Levon Aronian came up with a fine effort to outclass Hikaru Nakamura of United States.

In the other two games Sergey Karjakin crashed through the defences of Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway and, in a surprise, Peter Svidler of Russia was outdone by Wang Hao of China.

After the end of the second round, Karjakin emerged as sole leader with a perfect two points out of a possible two and he is now followed by Aronian a half point behind.

Anand, Svidler, Nakamura, Calrsen, Topalov and Wang Hao share the fourth spot on one point each while Radjabov is ninth with ahalf point in his kitty. With seven rounds still to come, Hammer is at the bottom of the tables, yet to open his account.

Anand went for the principled Sicilian defence against Carlsen. The Norwegian had beaten Anand in the Moscow variation last time out and he stuck to the same but Anand was much better prepared this time. While the position remained equal Carlsen still had that nagging advantage he wanted to encash and Anand had to be precise in the defence even though it was not too difficult.

A rook and knight endgame was reached early and thereafter all Anand had to do was to get rid of the pawns off the board. The game was drawn with Carlsen having an extra knight but no pawns on the board on move 59.

Aronian crushed Nakamura out of an exchange Slav that speaks volumes about the world No 3. The position was about level out of the opening but the Armenian obviously had more ideas.

Nakamura thought he was fine when giving white a queen side pawn majority but he was proven wrong in the endgame as Aronian made most of it. In the end, the American fought vainly after losing a rook for lmost nothing. As it happened, nothing came of it and he had to resign after 70 moves.

Wang Hao played the game of the day outwitting Svidler in his pet Grunfeld. The Chinese was in command early in the opening and did not falter even while reaching an advantageous end-game.

Hammer lost with white which is certain to dent his confidence. Karjakin did everything right after getting a better endgame and won in 54 moves. (PTI)
Results: Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 1) drew with V Anand (Ind, 1); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 1) drew with Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 0.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 1.5) beat Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 1); Jon Ludvig Hammer (Nor, 0) lost to Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 1); Wang Hao (Chn, 1) beat Peter Svidler (Rus, 1).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Norway Chess Round 1

SANDNES: World champion Viswanthan Anand could do little with white pieces as his opponent Levon Aronian of Armenia held him to an easy draw in the first round of Norway Chess 2013 super tournament that got underway in Sandnes.

It turned out to be rather sedate Anand who has got a tough draw in the tournament. White pieces against most of the top seeds and black against lower ranked players means that the Indian ace has to be in top form to deliver the goods and in the opener Aronian was not troubled much.

Sergey Karjakin of Russia continued from where he had left -- winning the blitz drawing of lots -- and put it across Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan whose woes continued after falling hugely in the world ranking.

Norwegian world number one Magnus Carlsen, who is set to play Anand in the next round as well as in the next world championship match in Chennai, could not do more than splitting the point with former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.

The other two games in the high category 10-player round-robin tournament, however, were decisive as Russian Peter Svidler scored a lucky win over Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway and Hikaru Nakamura proved smarter than Wang Hao of China.

After the end of the first round, Nakamura, Karjakin and Svidler emerged as early leaders with a full point and Anand, Aronian, Topalov and Carlsen are close behind with a half point each. The three losers are on the bottom of the table.

Anand went for the closed Ruy Lopez as white and his strategy did not yield desirable result. Aronian was well armed in the opening and as many as three minor pieces changed hands by 13th move itself.

The resulting middle game with more heavy pieces was not dry but the presence of opposite coloured Bishops did not give any chance to either player. After a bit of a shadow-boxing, the peace was signed on move 33.

Radjabov slipped further after a dismal show in the last candidates tournament as he fell prey to a finely crafted manoeuvre by Karjakin in the middle game arising out of an off-beat Sicilian.

Playing white, the Russian sensed his chances perfectly in the middle game and his 26th move was a clincher leading to a winning endgame.

Svidler was only trying to equalize a pawn less endgame against Hammer out of a Grunfeld defence when the Norwegian number two started to make a lot of mistakes. Launching his double rook on the seventh rank, the Russian won a handful of pawns to turn the tables.

In the other decisive game of the day, Nakamura won two pieces for a rook with a sortie against Wang Hao to get a winning endgame. The Chinese had gone for the solid Petroff defence which did not come good as black.

Carlsen played a solid English opening as white but got nothing against Topalov who is in top form the game was drawn after 51 moves. (PTI)

Results Round 1: Viswanathan Anand (Ind) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm); Magnus Carlsen(Nor) drew with Veselin Topalov (Bul); Sergey Karjakin (Rus) beat Teimour Radjabov (Aze); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa) beat Wang Hao (Chn); Peter Svidler (Rus) beat Jon Ludvig Hammer (Nor).

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Norway Chess Super Event Begins



SANDES: World champion Viswanathan Anand will take on Levon Aronian of Armenia in the first round of the Norway Chess 2013 super tournament that gets underway in Sandes.

Anand secured five whites in the nine-round tournament by finishing joint second in the blitz event that was played to prepare the drawing of lots.

The top five contestants in the blitz tournament will get five white and four black games in the 10-player event which is also one of the strongest ever.

The much-awaited clash between Anand and Norway's world number one Magnus Carlsen will happen as early as in the second round and the latter will get to play white in that encounter.

Carlsen, who had expressed his disappointment at Chennai being the awarded the hosting rights of the next world championship match between him and Anand, said he will not let that news "diminish the joy and excitement derived from playing the top level Norway chess tournament".

For Anand, apart from the clash with Carlsen, it will also be a real test against a very high quality opposition.

The event also boast of participation of world number four and former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria who is fresh from a fantastic victory in the Grand Prix tournament.

Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler of Russia and Hikaru Nakamura of United States are the other players, who are a big force to reckon with while Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan will look forward to regain his touch.

Wang Hao of China and local talent Jon Ludvig Hammer complete the line-up of the 10-player tournament to be played on a round-robin basis.

For the Indian ace it has been a decent start to the competition.

The blitz tournament was taken quite seriously by Anand, whose joint second finish was a good result even though he suffered a shocking loss at the hands of lowest-ranked Hammer.

Sergey Karjakin won the tournament scoring 6.5 points while Anand, Carlsen and Nakamura were tied for the second spot a half point behind.

Svidler finished fifth on 5.5 points after losing the last round against Carlsen. Topalov was completely off-colour in the blitz, finishing last with just one point from nine games while Aronian was another surprise for the spectators as he ended ninth scoring 2.5 points. (PTI)

Pairings round 1: V Anand (IND) vs Levon Aronian (ARM); Magnus Carlsen (NOR) vs Veselin Topalov (BUL); Hikaru Nakamura (USA) vs Wang Hao (CHN); Peter Svidler (RUS) vs Jon Ludvig Hammer (NOR); Sergey Karjakin (RUS) vs Teimour Radjabov (AZE).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fide Defends Chennai Choice

Baku 06.05.2013 Press release

Since the Candidates’ Tournament ended, and GM M. Carlsen became the challenger of the coming World Championship Match there have been several developments, mails exchange between all parties (Carlsen, Anand, FIDE), questions asked, and also speculations.

FIDE would hereby like to put forward the current situation regarding this event.

Directly after the 2012 match was awarded to Moscow, FIDE agreed to grant an option to Chennai. The PB and its meeting in Armenia in January decided that FIDE and AGON, who holds the rights for organizing the whole cycle of the World Championship, were advised that India would take up its option organize the World Championship match. This was done on January 24 in Athens, where both parties agreed not to open a bidding procedure, but to grant an option to India, as requested. We should emphasize that according FIDE rules the World Championship cycle is not included in the list of events, for which FIDE is obliged to do so (like Olympiads, for instance). This has been deliberately done, because in many cases FIDE, having the priority in mind to secure the match and the cycle, was ready to give an option or even to grant the match if the proposal was attractive enough.

Consequently three of the last matches were given to an organizer without a bidding procedure.

On March 15th India asked to extend the option until April 10th and FIDE agreed to it because it was clear that the bid would be accepted and just needed an approval of the Tamil Nadu State Parliament, a session which took place on April 8th. One could ask why was the extension given to a date when the name of the challenger will be known already, and the simple answer is that FIDE, being convinced that the positive answer was just a matter of technicality, did not want to lose this bid for an alternative that gave no guarantee for a better result or any result at all.

When the approval of the bid by India was published and FIDE representative was called to formalize it, on April 8th, GM Carlsen’s manager contacted FIDE and asked to have a meeting to discuss this matter before a formal move is done with India.

Carlsen and FIDE’s representatives met in FIDE office on April 15th, when all claims were brought up by Carlsen’s representatives and were answered by FIDE. Among the points raised and answered we would like to emphasize one and this is the issue which was also raised in media – the question of neutrality. Unfortunately it has always proved difficult to find a sponsor to such a match when the name of the challenger is not known yet. Therefore most of matches in the past were organized in one of the participant’s countries. Consequently both World Champions Anand and Topalov played in their opponent’s country – a natural result of the situation.

On that day both parties signed a paper whereby it was agreed to give Norway an option to come up with an organizer for half of the match, provided that India would accept such a solution.

FIDE tried its hardest to convince India to split the match, but they refused India wanted to fulfil what has been approved by the government of the Tamil Nadu State and FIDE had to keep its obligations, and consequently an M.O.U was signed in Chennai on April 19th. One day later, the FIDE President visited France, where he got a proposal to organize the match in Paris. Mr Ilyumzhinov promised to bring the proposal before the Presidential Board. The French proposal was higher than the Chennai one, with more contributions offered. However, the Board decided (unanimously with one abstention) that FIDE must respect its obligation and thanked the French federation and the city of Paris for their proposal, hoping that there will be another opportunity to have a big event in Paris.

FIDE has acted with full transparency during the whole process, trying its best to secure the match and standing by its obligations and reputation. FIDE will do everything to secure equal conditions for both players and also will try and still trying to increase the prize fund for the match.

FIDE wishes these two great players a successful match, and is sure that India, the homeland of Chess will bring to the world a fascinating event.

Gens Una Sumus.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Carlsen Redefines Chess Appeal

STAVANGER: He does fashion shoots with Liv Tyler, enjoys soccer-style sponsorship deals and was recently named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people. Who is this superstar? The world's top-ranked chess player.

With his trendy look and athletic physique, Norway's Magnus Carlsen has brought an injection of cool to the normally sedate world of global chess — extending its popularity beyond its niche following. The 22-year-old's home country is buzzing with excitement as he competes in a tournament here just months before he tries to crack the greatest prize in the game: the chess World Championship.

In November, the young Norwegian challenges the reigning world champ, Viswanathan Anand, for the title, which typically is contested every other year. The inaugural Norway Chess competition in Stavanger, starting Tuesday, is being widely touted as a dress rehearsal for the championship that is tentatively slated to be played in Chennai, India, where Anand enjoys home court advantage.


FILE - In this photo taken Monday April 29, 2013 Norwegian chess champion Magnus Carlsen smiles during a press conference in Oslo. Carlsen has brought an injection of cool to the normally sedate world of global chess. And the 22-year-old’s home country is buzzing with excitement as he competes in a tournament here months before he tries to crack the greatest prize in the game: the chess World Championship.

With the lure of Carlsen and the 43-year-old Anand, and the 275,500 euros prize money, the competition has attracted one of the strongest lineups ever assembled for a chess tournament. Even with the withdrawal in April of world No. 2, Vladimir Kramnik, the 10-man competition will feature seven of the world's top 10 players, and nine of the top 16, all vying for the 100,000 euros top prize.

"It is very good timing for us. It is very big for Norway that Magnus is doing so well and this probably wouldn't have been possible without him," said Norway Chess chairman Kjell Madland. "We hope it will be the first of very many big chess moments in Norway."

The competition is the first example of oil and gas-rich Norway, today one of the most successful welfare states in the world, leveraging Carlsen's brilliance to try to earn a place alongside more traditional chess superpowers like Russia, Armenia and the United States.

"It is right to say that when nations are in good shape, they tend to throw up good chess players," said Simon Terrington, a British chess writer, evoking Russian chess legend Garry Kasparov's observation that every world champion is a representative of the geopolitical age.

Russian mastery in the shape of Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov in the 1980s helped prop up an otherwise creaking Soviet ideology. Later, Viswanathan Anand's triumph in the World Championship in 2000 and his reign as world champ since 2007 has coincided with the re-emergence of India as a great world power. Carlsen took Anand's place at the top of the monthly world rankings in July 2011. Anand has since slumped to 5th.

Now Carlsen's prodigious brilliance is seen by some as bringing intellectual and cultural heft to the social welfare models of Nordic Europe, particularly Norway.

"Chess is connected to what you can call a kind of prestige in the sense that many people look upon the best players as very intelligent and many countries would like to be associated with this," said Joeran Aulin-Jansson, president of the Norwegian Chess Federation. "We hope that the next Magnus Carlsen will come from Norway, though the chances in such a small country are fairly slim."

If not a necessarily a geopolitical shift, the tournament here certainly represents chess' generational shift bringing into sharp focus the edge afforded by youth.

In a game rarely associated with feats of physical endurance, Carlsen prepares for tournaments by mentally revising openings while pounding a treadmill. He will be the youngest competitor at Norway Chess. But he is among six of the world's top eight, all competing here, who are still under 30.

"These long tournaments are quite tiring and long games are very tiring, especially at the end," he told The Associated Press. "If you are in good shape and can keep your concentration you will be the one who will profit from your opponents' mistakes. In general towards the end of the tournaments younger players have that advantage so the other players will have to try to equal that by having good fitness as well."

His fitness matches his unusual style of favoring the middle and long game over obsessive strategizing about opening exchanges.

"I do focus quite a bit on the opening," Carlsen said. "But I have a different goal. Some people try to win the game in the opening. My goal is to make sure I get a playable position and then the main battle is going to happen in the middle game and the later game."

The strategy has worked. Earlier this year, he passed Kasparov's record to attain the highest chess rating ever in the world governing body FIDE rankings. With his modeling contract alongside Liv Tyler for fashion label G-Star Raw, soccer-style sponsorship slogans on his clothing and unnervingly fast and aggressive decision making, the emergence of this telegenic young chess superstar has also helped spur interest in the game not seen since the '70s and '80s — the heydays of the Russian masters and the American Bobby Fischer.

Norwegian grandmaster Simen Agdestein, who will provide commentary on the Stavanger tournament over the Internet, says the interest in Carlsen has been astounding.

In April's Candidates tournament in London, in which top players faced off for the right to play Anand in November, Agdestein's Internet connection became patchy whenever Carlsen was competing.

"All of the top players around the world, and lots of other interested people, were watching him. I don't think the bandwidth could handle it," Agdestein said.

In Stavanger, the round-robin format, in which each of the 10 players will accumulate points by competing against every other competitor, ensures Carlsen will face Anand.

"I don't think it really matters which of us wins that game in Stavanger," Carlsen said. "The kind of momentum that I have going into the November match will be decided by the tournaments I play. I can disassociate the earlier match whatever the result."

Aulin-Jansson is not so sure.

"Whoever wins that game, going into the World Championship, it will be like having a 1-0 lead in a soccer match," he said. (AP)

Carlsen Disappointed, but Determined

Here is World No. 1 and Challenger Magnus Carlsen's official statement regarding Fide choosing Chennai as the venue of the World Chess Championship 2013 to be held from November 6-26.

After qualifying for the World Championship match by winning the London Candidates I have been highly motivated for, and looking forward to the World Championship match against reigning champion V. Anand.
I’m deeply disappointed and surprised by the FIDE decision to sign a contract for the 2013 match without going through the bidding process outlined in the WC regulations, and for not choosing neutral ground. The bid from Paris clearly showed that it would be possible to have more options to choose from.The lack of transparency, predictability and fairness is unfortunate for chess as a sport and for chess players.
My team and I will now start preparing for the match. The main thing now will be to come to an agreement with the Indian Chess Federation and FIDE regarding terms and conditions before and during the match. I really hope this process will run quick and smoothly.
Lastly, I will not let the news from Baku diminish the joy and excitement derived from playing the top level Norway Chess tournament starting tomorrow.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Anand vs Carlsen: Fide says Chennai

NEW DELHI, MAY 5: Viswanathan Anand will defend his World Chess Championship title against world number one Magnus Carlsen in his home city as FIDE today chose Chennai as the venue for the prestigious match. Even as it has been reported that Carlsen was not keen to play in Chennai and instead preferred Paris as the venue, the FIDE Presidential Board confirmed Chennai as the venue during a meeting at Baku, Azerbaijan today.

The match between the Indian and his Norwegian opponent will be played from November 6 to 26. “The agreement was signed today at Baku by Bharat Singh, Hony Secretary All India Chess Federation and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov,” a press release stated. Anand had defeated Boris Gelfand of Israel to retain his title in 2012. (PTI)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Geneva Women's Chess GP Begins


The first round of the first stage of Grand Prix tournament in Geneva got under way on the 3rd of May 2013, after the founder of Neva Fondation Elena Timtchenko made the first symbolic move in the game Kosinseva-Hou Yifan 1.e4. The President of Swiss Chess Federation Prof. Dr. Adrian Siegel repeated 1.e4 in the game Muzychuk-Girya. 

The first round was a pretty tough one for the start of the tournament – Bela Khotenashvili and Anna Muzychuk started with victories while other four games were drawn. Another Georgian player Nana Dzagnidze was very close to defeat Alexandra Kosteniuk but missed the victory in the time trouble. The quickest game of the round one between Lahno and Cmilyte finished with three-time repetition after 31 moves. Mongolian player Tuvshintugs Batchimeg made a draw against Women’s World Champion Anna Ushenina.

Batchimeg-Ushenina 1/2-1/2

Playing with Black Anna Ushenina equalized comfortably and got a playable position. The game developed quite logically but at one point White forgot about the weakness of the first rank. Black immediately used it and managed to win a pawn. “I was playing normally today but then I missed this move Qe7 after Qe5. I had to play h4 first and then maybe Qe5 or Qd4. So I’ve got these complications right after Qe5 but luckily my opponent let me make a draw. It’s my birthday today, so maybe this was a reason I was lucky,” said Tuvshintugs Batchimeg during the press-conference. As Adrian Mikhalchishin pointed out, Ukrainian player could have got winning rook endgame after an important maneuver 44…Re5-e6-c6.

Dzagnidze-Kosteniuk 1/2-1/2
White started to play quite aggressively at the opening (g4-h4-g5) and after h6 pushed the pawn to g6 to open g-file. It was scary for Black to make a short castling so Alexandra decided to look for counter play on the Queen’s side. According to the former world champion, Black’s moves b5 and Nc3 are dubious as after that her position became really bad. Nana Dzagnidze was sure White had winning position but didn’t find the right way to establish her advantage. One of the easiest way for White was to change white square bishops by playing 19.Bh7-20.Bg6. However, the variation chosen by Georgian player was in White’s favor as well, If she would play Qe4 instead of Ng6. After all troubles Alexandra was happy that the game was converted into the endgame where Black managed to make a draw. 

Muzychuk-Girya 1-0
Caro-Kann was played in the game and both players were repeating the well-known theoretical line. “I think this endgame was slightly better for White, I liked my position,” said Anna Muzychuk during the press-conference. Olga Girya estimated the ending as equal:   saw many games with many different plans in that endgame but somehow I forgot all of them (smiles).” It was not necessary for Black to take on c4 and create a weakness on c6 but Olga pointed out it was not easy to find the moves in that position. Russian player could have tried to defend more actively but chose quite passive defence, so Anna Muzychuk was improving her position step by step. White grabbed the pawn on c6 and with accurate play converted the advantage into a full point. 

Kosintseva-Hou 1/2-1/2
Despite the absence of Nadezhda Kosintseva in Geneva (she let her sister Tatiana replace her for one event), she keeps on helping her sister Tatiana with the preparation through Internet. Today Tatiana repeated the moves from the game Kosintseva Nadezhda-Hou Yifan but chose to play 16.Bd3 instead of 16.Be2. Both opponents remembered the theory quite deeply and were following the main line. White got enough compensation for the pawn but Black had also quite safe position. It was not easy for both players to find the way to fight for more than draw. “I think it’s easier to play this position with White,” said Hou Yifan during the press conference but at the same time she also didn’t see any idea for White to fight for more. 

Khotenashvili-Ju Wenjun 1-0
Black chose to play quite risky move 10…Ne4 instead of more quiet 10…Re8 and playing white Bela Khotenashvili spent some time choosing between 12.Nd2 and 12.Ng5. 12. Nd2 guaranteed White stable advantage and good play, so since that moment it was not easy for Black to find the right plan. Please follow the deep analyzes of this game provided by GM Adrian Mikhalchishin. (Anastasiya Karlovich/official website)

Without exception the players expressed their joy to participate in this tournament.
Tuvshintugs Batchimeg: “It’s my first time here in Grand Prix and I’m really glad that FIDE is organizing one of the stages in our country. I’m lucky to participate in such a strong field here in this tournament and I would like to thank the Mongolian Chess Federation for giving me this opportunity. It’s great to be here in Geneva, I’ve been here for three times.”

Anna Ushenina: “I can say that organization is perfect here. I would like to express my gratitude to FIDE and Neva Fondation. It’s not easy to organize the event on such a good level”.

Viktorija Cmilyte: “It’s a very nice place and excellent hotel. It’s really nothing to complain about at all. I’ve got nominated by FIDE President not a long time ago and it came as a very pleasant surprise! I didn’t have much time to prepare for this event but I’m glad to have this fantastic chance to play in series of very strong tournament.”

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