Shakhriyar Mamedyarov wins FIDE Grand Prix in Beijing

The 5th event of the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2012/13 was ended in Beijing by crowning Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The player from Azerbaijan therefore obtained the second victory during the currently ongoing series.

Mamedyarov scores 7.0 points in 11 duels

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Elo 2761) won the Grand Prix in Beijing at 7.0 points out of a total of eleven games. The number 12 in worldwide rankings won five duels and ended five games in draws. The Azerbaijani was only defeated by the Russians Alexander Grischuk (5th/Elo 2780), who ranked 2nd at 6.5 points in overall standings, and Alexander Morozevich (19th/Elo 2736). Behind Grischuk rank Vesselin Topalov (10th/Elo 2767) from Bulgaria and the Hungarian Peter Leko (18th/Elo 2737) at each 6.0 points. Far off in the very last position ranks Gata Kamsky. The US- American is positioned 11th in the FIDE world rankings at an Elo of 2763 scored only 3.5 points in eleven games the FIDE Grand Prix in Beijing. He achieved five draws and one victory – along with five defeats.

Topalov still up front in overall standings

Vesselin Topalov from Bulgaria was able to defend the lead in overall standings at the FIDE Grand Prix Series. The winner at Zug and London has a cumulative rating of 410 points. However, the Bulgarian now has serious competition in Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, the victor at Beijing, who now obtains 395 points in overall ratings of the tournament series. Mamedyarov is followed by Grischuk (315 points), the world’s number 3 – Fabiano Caruana (305 points) from Italy who did not compete in China, and Morozevich (280 points). The last tournament is scheduled for September 18th 2013 in Paris.

Candidates for World Championship 2014 at Grand Prix Series

The FIDE Grand Prix Series is not only lucrative because of its lush prize money, but also because individual victories and the general ratings add points to the players’ scores. Also, the Grand Prix Series is part of the qualification games for the World Championship in 2014; the overall winner and runner-up qualify for the Candidates’ Tournament 2014. Third place is first in replacement. Therefore, it’s not surprising for most of the world’s top-class players to be present in the tournaments at the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2012/13. The only world-class players to cancel the event were current number 1 in worldwide rankings – Magnus Carlsen – and Levon Aronian, along with former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik and current World Champion Visvanathan Anand.

written by Michael, translated by Birthe

Player’s Profile of Fabiano Caruana

After we recently reported about Fabiano Caruana’s promotion onto 3rd place in the FIDE world rankings, we will now introduce the Italian player in detail, since the 20 year-old isn’t a name to everyone yet.

Italian- American chess player Caruana learned in Spain and Hungary

Fabiano Luigi Caruana was born in July 1992 in Miami. His parents and ancestors all originate from Italy. At only 5 years Caruana’s talent for chess was discovered. His first coaches were national master Bruce Pandolfini and grandmaster Miron Sher. In 2004, the family with the 12 year-old boy moved to Madrid, where his professional chess career was supposed to begin. There, he trained with Inernational master Boris Zlotnik until 2007, when he moved to Budapest to continue practicing with grandmaster Alexander Chernin. At 14 years 11 months and 20 days old in July 2007, he was announced the youngest Italian- American chess player earning the grandmaster title.

Triumphs over grandmasters at 10 and 13 years

Very early, the Italian caused a stir in the chess world: In September 2002 he beat the grandmaster Aleksander Wojtkiewicz at only 10 years and 117 days. This had never been accomplished by such young player before. At the Klaus Junge Open in Hamburg, Germany the 13 year-old Caruana surprisingly prevailed over grandmaster Ľubomír Ftáčnik. When Fabiano Caruana participated in his first Italian Individual Championship in 2006, he was only shortly defeated by Michele Godena in a playoff at 1.5 : 2.5 points. By December 2007 his performance had improved and at 9.5 points out of 11 duels he was announced Italian National Master. This success was followed by a victory in the C- group at the famous Corus- Tournament in Wijk aan Zee (2008) with 10 out of 13 points and the title defence at the Italian Championship (8.0 / 11).

Italian Championship dominated by Caruana

In December 2010, Fabiano Luigi Caruana repeatedly obtained the title Italian Individual Champion at 9.0 points in 11 duels. In 2011 the fourth title at the national championship of his home country followed, as he earned nine victories and two draws and therefore 10.0 points out of 11 rounds in Perugia. The runner-up champion was 3.5 points behind.

Last year, the Italian won the 40th Chess Days at Dortmund, Germany over Gergei Karjakin with 6 points out of 9 duels. Caruana also triumphed at the Reykjavik Open 2012, at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament A in Wijk aan Zee, and ranked 2nd at the Tal Memorial in Moscow.

written by MIchael, translated by Birthe

Poland and Hungary win U18 Championship in Maribor

Maribor, Slovenia recently hosted the European Youth U18 Team Chess Camhpionship. While the girls’ team from Hungary only barely beat Poland, the Polish boys’ team was far ahead at the tournament.

Neck-and-neck race between Hungary and Poland

The European Youth U18 Team Chess Championship in Maribor ended up to be a very close neck-and-neck race between Hungary and Poland in the girls’ division. In the end, Hungary prevailed over Poland at 11:9 match points, although both teams obtained a total of 9.5

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points form the individual players. The highest scores were, unsurprisingly, earned by one Hungarian and Polish player: Barbara Juhazsz (Elo 2130) from Hungary and Anna Ivanov (Elo 2227) from Poland at each 5.5 points. Also, Melinda Varga (HUN, Elo 2216) and Maria Leks (POL, Elo 2109) scored 4.0 points. Though Poland prevailed over Hungary in direct duel at 2:0 points, their efforts were not enough for a tournament victory. After Hungary and Poland, Slovenia II, Russia I, Slovenia I, England, Austria, and Russia II followed in overall standings,

Poland’s boys’ team dominates tournament

A whole different scenario could be witnessed in the chess competition of the boys’ division: Clearly, Poland led the field at the European Youth U18 Team Chess Championship in Maribor. At 13 match points the Polish team was ahead off the teams from Switzerland and the Czech Republic at 11 points each. While the Swiss team earned 17.5 game points and the Czech only 16.5, Poland’s points amounted up to 21.0. The most outstanding player at the championship was Kamil Dragun with an Elo of 2532. The Polish grandmaster triumphed at all seven duels and was with 7.0 points obviously the best player of the entire event. His teammates Jan-Krystof Duda (Elo 2536 / 5.5 points), Kasper Drozdovski (Elo 2456 / 3.5 points), and Lukasz Licznerski (Elo 2328 / 5.0 points) contributed to the overall success of Poland. The ranks 4 to 8 were taken by Croatia, Hungary, Austria, and Slovenia I and II.

written by

Michael, translated by Birthe











Chess tournament of the 27th Universade in Kasan opened

At this point, the 27th Universade is taking place in Kasan, Russia. The international games of college students officially started off and will last seven days.

Players from 46 countires line up

Since 2001, when the Universade took place in Shenzhen, chess is listed as an option in the program of the World Games of college students. Back then, the Chinese hosting the games obtained six out of nine medals. All three gold medallists were from China which also earned one silver medal and two bronze. Mongolia, as well as the Ukraine, received one silver medal, while one Georgian student won bronze. This year, players from 46 nations have registered to participate.

86 men will compete for medals at the Universade

Overall, 86 players registered for the men’s competition, eager to obtain the victory at the 27th Universade in Kasan. Favorite players are the locals Dmitry Andreikin (Elo 2727) and Evgeny Alekseev (Elo 2714), who currently rank 24th and 31st in the worldwide FIDE rankings. In the first three rounds, though, they only obtained 2.0 points and only played an average performance. On the contrary, Vladimir Onischuk from the Ukraine (Elo 2576 / 76th in worldwide rankings) and the Chinese Li Chao B (Elo 2686 / 61st) won all three duels. Elisha Thabo from Zimbabwe (Elo 0) and Lee Hwichul from Korea (Elo 0) unsurprisingly have obtained 0 points at this time.

Women’s chess tournament in Kasan with 71 players

The chess tournament of women at the 27th Universade even has 71 players participating. The three top-favorites originate from China (grandmaster Zhao Xue, Elo 2553), Ju Venjun (Elo 2531), and Tan Zhongyi (Elo 2478), ranking 6th, 8th, and 25th in international rankings. The world’s number 8 – Ju Venjun – played her role in the tournament well until now. She won all three duels like Shen Yang (Elo 2405/ 43rd), the Mongolian Batkhuyag Munguntuul (Elo 2452/ 35th), the Russian Anastasia Bodnaruk (Elo 2440/ 43rd), and Irina Bulmaga from Romania (Elo 2403/ 61st). On the other hand, Zaho Xue and Tan Zhongyi had to each accept one drawn in three meetings. The only German player at the tournament is Manuela Mader (Elo 2212) obtained 2.0 points in her first three duels.

written by Michael, translated by Birthe

Treacherous King

Cheating has been a vividly discussed problem in chess; as cheating is rather difficult to prove in distance-matches (and obviously occurs much more often than in correspondence chess), some of the most treacherous cases of manipulation beyond the 64 squaresin the board will be shown below:

König I

van den Enden – Praszak, 1974

Wether or not white used aids to close this duel in this favorable position is unknown. What is for sure, is that this match will come to an end very soon..

1. Qxg5+ fxg5 2.Kh5#

1 – 0

Curacao, 1962. One of the most popular and at the same time most disputed cases took place at the candidates’ tournament in Curacao in 1962: The Soviet players Pertrosjan, Geller, and Keres did not challenge each other in their duels and played remises in short moves (which were probably arranged in advance). The reason for this deal was for all of them to pick tough battles against Robert Fischer, so that Tigran Petrosjan became opponent of Botvinnik instead of favorite player Fischer.

König II

Kristiansen – Jacobsen, 1976. Winning isn’t always that easy. The following case is made up of a ‘Big Boom’ followed by a fair moment of silence.. 1.Bxf7+ Kxf7 2.Nxe5+ Kg7 [2.. Ke8 can’t come for a rescue, because of 3.Qe6+ Be7 4.Bxf6; 2..Nxe5 takes over after 3.Qxf6+ black is hopelessly lost]

3.Qe6! Rg8 4.Bxf6+ Nxf6 5.Qf7+ Kh6 6.Qxf6 Bg7 7.Qh4#


1 – 0

New York, 1880. Even further back in the past lies the following issue that is possibly one of the very first recorded scam in the history of chess! This case is not about gaining an advantage on the board over the opponent – No, this is about selling the duel to obtain the prize money which is morally more than inappropriate and at the same time extremely difficult to prove. At the 5th Championship of the United States of America, according to the player Preston Ware, his opponent James Grundy bribed him with $20 before the game started to end the game in a drawn.  At this point in the tournament, other than Ware, Grundy still had chances to obtain the tournament victory (and therefore the prize money), didn’t stick with the agreement and won the duel by taking advantage of the inferior Ware.

König III

Lukownikow – Losev, 1980. No matter how safe they seem, walls of protection can be illusive.

1. Qxg6+ fxg6 2. Bc4+ Kg7 3.Rd7+ [The black can’t even escape a checkmate after the following moves, on the contrary, he gets stuck: 3.Bxf8+ Kxf8 4. Rhf1+ Kg7 5. Rd7+] 3.. Be7 4. Bxe7 Rxe7 [The intermediate chess after Rb1+ must be considered by white at their sacrifice of the queen, as they might lose to his own combination]. But after 5. Kd2 Rxh1 6. Bf6+ Kf8 7. Bg7# all chances fort he black king are gone for good. 5. Rxe7+ Kf8 6. Rf7+ and a checkmate is inevitable. Good job!

1 – 0

Cheating is often a problem on the level of team sport, too. At the very last game days of the chess season, results are arranged down to minor leagues determining the promotion  and demotion of the teams. Who is looking for legal ways to gain an advantage might be interested in reading the antiquary book “The Theory And Practice of Gamemanship” by Stepehn Potter, which primarily focuses on psychological effects..

König VI

Napoli Costa – Corso, 1980. Here is an example for the toughtful reader not to be led to the misinterpretation that in the following combination the one whose turn it is is winning: 1.. Nxf3 2. gxf3 Bc3 3. bxc3 bxc3 4. Kb1 Ra8 .. There is no way out, et voila!


1 – 0

written by Frank, translated by Birthe

Player’s Profile of Visvanathan Anand

Today’s player’s profil is about no other than Visvanathan Anand. The 43 year-old Indian has been the 15th accepted Individual Chess Champion since 2007, after obtaining the title before from 2000 to 2002. ‘Vishy’ will be trying to defend his title against the Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, who is currently the number one in the FIDE world rankings.

Anand’s passion for chess originated on the Philippines

Visvanathan Anand learned playing chess at six years from his mother and joined a chess club shortly afterwards. He discovered his passion for chess for good in 1978 when the 8 year-old stayed with his father, who lived and worked on the Philippines. That is where the big battle of Anatoli Kasparov and Viktor Kortschnoi took place. Anand was fascinated and back in India the ‘Tiger of Madras’ waked the enthusiasm in the boy, which led him all the way to winning the U16 and U19 Youth Championships in 1983, followed by a 4th place at the Indian Adults Chess Championship. The 14 year-old teenager participated in the Chess Olympics as a member of the Indian national team and triumphed at the Asian Youth Championship in 1984 and 85.

Still youngest National Champion of India

In 1985, Visvanathan Anand already earned the FIDE title ‘International Master’; no other Asian obtained this title at such young age. One year later, ‘Vishy’ became the youngest National Champion of India – and has been the youngest ever since. He obtained the national championship of his home country two more times, won the U20 Junior World Championship in 1987 and ascended to the grandmaster status in December of the same year. After the defeat at world championship qualification’s quarter-finals by Anatoli Kasparov (3.5 : 4.5), he also made it to semi-finals in 1994 to compete against Gata Kamsky, though lost 6.5 : 4.5. In a return match in 1995, Visvanathan Anand then defeated Kamsky (6.5 : 4.5) and became the opponent of Garry Kasparov. After eighteen duels in the World Trade Center in New York, the Russian came off winner at 10.5 : 7.5 points. Finally, in 2000, Anand scored a major success when obtaining the tournament victory in knock-out system in New Delhi by winning against Alexei Schirov (3.5 : 0.5).

‘Vishy’’ since 2007 continuously World Champion

At the 2001 World Championship in Moscow, Anand was defeated by Vassyl Ivantschuk at a score of 1.5 : 2.5. Though the Indian claimed many tournament victories afterwards, he had to wait for the next World Championship until 2007 – therefore, he has been the FIDE World Champion since that very year and defended his title at the tournament in Mexico in 2007. With 9.0 points out of 14 rounds he became the 15th official World Champion. This battle was followed by the title defence in 2008 in Bonn, Germany, which Anand confidently managed against Vesselin Topalov (5.5 : 6.5) Most recently, Visvanathan Anand defeated Boris Gelfand at 2.5 : 1.5 at the rapid-chess tiebreak, after the score was even at 6:6 in the regular matches.

 written by Michael, translated by Birthe

Chess players from Eastern-Europe dominate tournaments

It is a supposed cliché that the chess world is dominated by Eastern-European players. At least, the FIDE world rankings are led by a Norwegian – Magnus Carlsen – and the current World Champion has been Visvanathan Anand from India since 2007. But now it becomes obvious again that Eastern-Europe is still the stronghold of chess.

Top 40 of the FIDE world rankings in Eastern-European hands

A quick look into the current FIDE rankings confirms the obvious:  25 Eastern-Europeans place among the Top 40 chess players in the world. Some of them have emigrated and now line up for Israel (Boris Gelfand) or the Netherlands (Anish Giri). The only German among the Top 40 is Arkadij Naiditsch originating from Riga. In the women’s category a similar quota of Eastern-Europeans in the Top 40 list can be recognized.

Eastern-European players with tight hold in latest tournaments

When taking a gander at the most recent results from tournaments all around the globe, it is evident that they have all been dominated by players lining up for Eastern-European countries. For instance, the Azerbaijani Nadjat Mamedov (Elo 2618) came off winner at the Open Teplice 2012 International Chess Tournament, outperforming two locals from the Czech Republic and even a grandmaster from Latvia. The German Sebastian Plischki (Elo 2599) found himself in 5th rank – the first non-Eastern-European in the overall standings. The 6th Karen Asrian Memorial in Armenia was won by the local player Robert Hovhannisyan (Elo 2533) and the Byelorussian Andrey Gorovets (Elo 2470). At the Ilmar Raus Memorial in Estonia was obtained by another Byelorussian – Vladislav Kovalev (Elo 2651).

High significance of chess can be seen in international youth tournaments

The main reason for the strength of the Eastern-European countries in this sport is due to the importance of chess in these countries, which can hardly be found in countries of the western world. Emphasizing the magnitude of chess in the early childhood stage results in triumphs at, for example, the European School Chess Championship in Serbia and the European Youth Chess Cup in Ureki. Overall, 258 children from 10 nations competed in this event. Along with 9 Eastern-European countries, only Sweden was represented, but did not have a shot at any titles. The meaning of chess in Eastern-Europe can definitely be recognized in the outstanding performance of the juniors in international competitions.

 written by Michael, translated by Birthe

European Women Chess Championship 2013: 165 players signed up already

Another highlight in the chess world is coming up: the European Women Championship. The event is scheduled to run between July 22nd and August 14th. On the very last day, the European Women Individual Chess Champion will be crowned. At this point, 165 women from 33 nations have signed up for the event.

14th edition of the championship

The 14th edition of the Women Chess Championship in Europe is staged in Belgrade, Serbia. The 1st edition of the tournament took place in 2000, when 32 players lined up at Batumi, Georgia. Back then, the tournament was played in the knock-out system. Since 2001, the duels are fought in the Swiss tournament system in eleven rounds. Until now, 165 women registered to participate in the championship in Belgrade, most of them from Russia. In total, 37 players from the Russian Federation will compete, along with 25 women from Serbia, the country hosting the event, and 15 Georgians. Also, Julia Navkovic from Austria and the Germans Elisabeth Pähtz, Tatjana Melamed, and Zoya Schleining will be part of the tournament.

Anna Muzychuk and Nana Dzagnidze are top-favorites

Top-favorite player at the Women Chess Championship is Anna Muzychuk from Slovenia, who lists 4th in worldwide standings at an Elo of 2594. Second favorized player is the world’s number 5, Nana Dzagnidze from Georgia. Her Elo rating amounts up

to 2558 points. Overall, there are seven women of an Elo of 2500 and higher participating; twelve grandmasters, 23 IMs, and 41 WGMs.

Numerous former European Champions among participants in Belgrade

We will see many European Champions from previous editions of the tournament competing in Serbia. Not only the two most recent champions – Viktorija Cmilyte from Lithuania (2011) and Valentina Gunina from Russia (2012) will be competing; players such as Natalia Zhukova from the Ukraine (European Champion 2000), Antoaneta Stefanove from Bulgaria (2002) or Alexandra Kosteniuk from Russia (2004) are eager to win the fourth double-title after Pia Cramling from Sweden (2003 & 2010), Katheryna Lagno (2005 & 2008) and Tatiana Kositnseva from Russia (2007 & 2009). The last three women named try to obtain their third title in Belgrade.

written by Michael, translated by Birthe

Humpy Koneru – FIDE Grand Prix victress at Dilijan 2013

The FIDE Grand Prix 2013 took place In Dilijan, Armenia. The Indian grandmaster Humpy Konera came off 1st with 8.0 points in twelve matches.

Koneru undefeated in Dilijan

The world number two from India (Elo 2597) won five duels, ended six matches in a tie, and wasn’t defeated once at the Women Grand Prix 2013 in Armenia. The Slovenian Anna Muzychuk (Elo 2593) and the Georgian Nana Dzagnidze (Elo 2550) at each 7.0 points ranked immediately behind Koneru. In the end, the number four in worldwide rankings – Muzychuk – placed before the world’s number six from Georgia. While Muzychuk was only defeated by Humpy Koneru, the bronze-medallist Dzagnidze also lost against the Slovenian. All three grandmasters on the winners’ podium performed outstandingly at the FIDE Women Grand Prix Dilijan 2013.

The Mongolian Tuvshintugs Batchimeg performed at her best

The Mongolian competitor Tuvshintugs Batchimeg played very solid duels in Armenia. While the other eleven participants at the extraordinarily-cast Grand Prix take positions in the Top 40 in world rankings, Batchimeg is not among them. In the contrary, she is far off the Top 100 at an Elo of 2316 – the lowest rating of all participating women at the tournament. Regardless of the fact, she made it to 7th place and was ahead of five competitors with a score of 5.0 points. She won two duels, ended two in draws, and was only defeated three times.

Bela Khotenashvili (Elo 2531) from Georgia delivered a disappointing performance; the number 9 in worldwide standings ended up in the very last position with 4.0 points and not one single victory. She achieved eight draws and suffered three defeats.

written by Michael, translated by Birthe

The Glorious Knight

“He fights whenever he feels like it! – Pardon? – Well, the knight on the chessboard!” As one of six chessmen, the knight is probably most chess players’ favorite and has caused volatile emotions all along.

Pferd 1

Ljaljak – Goddard [1 – 0], correspondence chess match 1963

In such position, the white knight has got to already be eager to attack! Black is obviously in the weaker position and the invasion of e6 becomes an obligation, literally.

1. Nxe6 fex6 2. Rxe6+ Kf7

Now, how to continue? Silently and secretly … 3. Qc4, the queen approaches and black surrendered due to the inevitable loss:

3. Qxa2 20. Rf6++ (20. Ke7 21. Ra6++-) 21. Nc7+ Kd8 22. Rxf8#

1 – 0

After such destruction of the king position.. Who doesn’t want to fight? Here is another example:

Pferd 2

Folling – Lindblom [1 – 0], Gausdal 1971

This black king almost demands for attack!

1. Nxe6 hxg4 2. Bxb5 ..

And the bishop wants to get the white rook into the game!

2 .. Ke7 (2 .. axb5 3. Bc7#) 3. Bxf8+ Qe6 (3 .. Kxf8 4. Re8#) 4. Bxe6 %. Bc4

After so much desolation, there is one extra pawn on the white side and a dangerous initiative at an own healthy positioning – at least!

1 – 0

Cavaliers are approaching the battlegrounds! And so is the knight as an expert of close combat, who hits two fronts in the following scenario:

Pferd 3

Black has marched their king into the center of the board – a king walk. How can white take advantage now?

1. Bb4+ Kb6 2. Qb5+ Nxb6 3. Na4#

1 – 0

Cavallo, cavalier, Springer, or whatever the counterpart may call their knight – this chessman is quietly capable of turning a chess match upside down!

Pferd 4Artur Jussupov had already figured out, that proper short calculations of moves in the early stage of the game are much more important than the ability of calculating long variations. Have you solved the 3-move-combination yet?

1. Nf3+ 2. gxf3 (the alternative 2. Kh1 cannot come for a rescue here; on the contrary: 2. Qxh2#) 2 .. Rg6+ 3. Kh1 Qxf3#

1 – 0

another combination:

Pferd 5

Atkinson – N.N. [1 – 0], Manchester 1929

The positioning is ready for the final sacrifice:

1. Rxe6 Qxe6 2. Ng5 Qg6 3. Rxh7+ Qxh7 4. Hf7#

1 – 0

And now, the knights very well deserve their break!

written by Frank, translated by Birthe