Game Sheet & Results of Candidates‘ Tournament 2014

The last game day of the 2014 edition of the Candidates’ Tournament in Chanty Mansijsk ended yesterday and presented a winner who was certainly not amongst the top-favorite candidates: Visvanathan Anand!

Chessimo tells you today how this fell into place and gives detailled overviews on the scores and all the highlights:

Viswanathan Anand

Round 1. 13.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Andreikin Dmitry ½ – ½ Kramnik Vladimir

Karjakin Sergey ½ – ½ Svidler Peter

Mamedyarov Shakhriyar ½ – ½ Topalov Vesselin

Anand Visvanathan 1 – 0 Aronian Levon

The three tie games were more or less unspectacular and the players all seemed satisfied with the results. Anand, however, prevailed over Aronian, as he returned a lost pawn and kept the pair of bishops – a wise decision.

Round 2. 14.03.2014, 10.00h CET

Kramnik Vladimir 1 – 0 Karjakin Sergey

Svidler Peter 1 – 0 Andreikin Dmitry

Topalov Vesselin ½ – ½ Anand Visvanathan

Aronian Levon 1 – 0 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar

Kramnik managed to outperform Karjakin with a rather unusual move: Karjakin expected 9.exf6 in the variation of the Queen’s Gambit, but Kramnik surprised with a 9.a3. With this move, Kramnik had prepared for the Candidates’ Tournament 2013 in London and must have thought ‘better late than never’. This variation took Karjakin by such big surprise that Kramnik was able to obtain the victory with this positioning that only he was familiar with. The duel Svidler – Andreikin caused the next surprise: An opening with the Sicilian Kalashnikov-Variation. Svidler decided the tournament game with two pawns ahead and was more than satisfied with his performance. Anand rested on the laurels of the previous game day and thus played a draw with Black against Topalov. Aronian was able to make up for the setback of the previous round by beating Mamedyarov.

Round 3. 15.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Andreikin Dmitry ½ – ½ Karjakin Sergey

Svidler Peter ½ – ½ Kramnik Vladimir

Topalov Vesselin ½ – ½ Aronian Levon

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 0 – 1 Anand Visvanathan

Andreikin – Karjakin played a relatively calm duel which ended in a draw. The match Svidler – Kramnik caused excitement, as Kramnik managed to turn around the game after Svidler had been in clear advantage temporarily (this elicited an impressed “unbelievable” from Caruana). Topalov – Aronian had a tough time playing perpetual check. Mamedyarov obviously played an aggressive tactic and was put in his place by Anand.

Round 4. 17.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 1 – 0 Andreikin Dmitry

Karjakin Sergey ½ – ½ Topalov Vesselin

Aronian Levon 1 – 0 Svidler Peter

Anand Visvanathan ½ – ½ Kramnik Vladimir

Andreikin was under pressure of time and had no other chance than to concede the victory to Mamedyarov after the time control in 40th round. The match Karjakin – Topalov was balanced and ended in a foreseeable draw. Svidler began with Grunfeld-Indian against Aronian. The 27th move caused him trouble after almost 40 minutes thinking time and he lost in the admittedly difficult ending stage of the game. Anand – Kramnik played perpetual check with a rather rough draw.

Round 5. 18.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Andreikin Dmitry ½ – ½ Visvanathan Anand

Karjakin Sergey ½ – ½ Mamedyarov Shakhriyar

Svidler Peter 1 – 0 Topalov Vesselin

Kramnik Vladimir ½ – ½ Aronian Levon

The duels Andreikin – Anand and Karjakin – Mamedyarov ended in draws without noteworthy dramatic incidences. Topalov began well-prepared and was in advantage after a solid opening stage, got stuck then and failed to find his way back into the game, so that Svidler was able decide this battle to his favor. Kramnik put Aronian under severe pressure after a calm opening, but Aronian proved his creativity and defended himself persistently. Kramnik missed the chance that Aronian offered with his mistaken 33rd move and had to comply with a rook-ending and draw after 60 moves.

Round 6. 19.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Aronian Levon ½ – ½ Andreikin Dmitry

Anand Visvanathan ½ – ½ Karjakin Sergey

Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 1 – 0 Svidler Peter

Topalov Vesselin 1 – 0 Kramnik Vladimir

Aronian clearly won the end game against Andreikin but didn’t win the duel. Anand against Karjakin ended also in a draw. Svidler gave away his potential victory to Mamedyarov after a successful and surprising opening (Dutch), as he played three bad moves in a row. Kramnik already messed up in the opening and build Topalov a path to winning the game.

Round 7. 21.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Karjakin Sergey 0 – 1 Aronian Levon

Svidler Peter ½ – ½ Anand Visvanathan

Kramnik Vladimir 1 – 0 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar

Andreikin Dmitry 1 – 0 Topalov Vesselin

Shortly before the end of the duel, Aronian played the only winning move that is hard to find and undoubtedly deserved the victory over Karjakin. After 38 moves the duel of Svidler and Anand ended in a draw. Kramnik was certain of his victory after a successful opening performance, but the match developed into a chaotic mess and Kramnik fell prey to doubts whether to end the game in a victory or draw. In the end, he was able to proudly prevail over Mamedyarov. Topalov was in high spirits after his victory over Kramnik, risked too much and lost against the great opponent Andreikin.

Round 8. 22.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Kramnik Vladimir ½ – ½ Andreikin Dmitry

Svidler Peter 0 – 1 Karjakin Sergey

Topalov Vesselin ½ – ½ Mamedyarov Shakhriyar

Aronian Levon ½ – ½ Anand Visvanathan

Kramnik – Andreikin preferred to forego the end game and agreed on a draw. Svidler switched to defense after the King’s Indian attack and foolishly offered Karjakin the opportunity to activate his figures through the loss of a pawn. After a further sacrifice, Karjakin won in 82 moves. Mamedyarov sacrificed a knight that Topalov returned immediately. Both played towards a rook ending which resulted in a tie. Aronian – Anand finished the exciting duel after only 19 moves and many surprises.

Round 9. 23.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Karjakin Sergey 1 – 0 Kramnik Vladimir

Andreikin Dmitry ½ – ½ Svidler Peter

Anand Visvanathan 1 – 0 Topalov Vesselin

Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 1 – 0 Aronian Levon

Karjakin and Kramnik fought a total of 64 moves. Kramnik persistently fought in double rook ending which didn’t help him at all; he had to comply with defeat. Karjakin had finally fought his way up and was now equal in points with Kramnik and Mamedyarov. Andreikin and Svidler unsurprisingly agreed on a draw after an unruffled duel. Anand finished Topalov with a queen’s ending and additional pawn unexpectedly quick. Topalov had to accept the fact that he was now bottom of

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the list. Despite winning the opening, Aronian lost to Mamedyarov who pushed him towards an ending with two additional pawns and bishops unequal in color. Aronian admitted defeat shortly after time control.

Round 10. 25.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Karjakin Sergey ½ – ½ Andreikin Dmitry

Kramnik Vladimir 0 – 1 Svidler Peter

Aronian Levon ½ – ½ Topalov Vesselin

Anand Visvanathan ½ – ½ Mamedyarov Shakhriyar

For a better endgame, Karjakin played an exchange of queens against Andreikin, which resulted in a draw nevertheless. In the duel against Svidler, Kramnik repeated his mistake of round 9 against Karjakin. Therefore, the match ended in a draw. Aronian – Topalov also ended in a draw. Of particular meaning was the duel of Anand and Mamedyarov who needed a victory to have a realistic chance in the tournament. He still refused Anand’s repetition of move and they agreed on draw after the 30th move.

Round 11. 26.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Andreikin Dmitry ½ – ½ Mamedyarov Shakhriyar

Topalov Vesselin ½ – ½ Karjakin Sergey

Svidler Peter ½ – ½ Aronian Levon

Kramnik Vladimir ½ – ½ Anand Visvanathan

The duel Andreikin – Mamedyarov was unspectacular and resulted in a draw. Topalov once again played by the motto ‘no risk, no fun’. Karjakin was aiming for a draw with this quality sacrifice and was caught by surprise as his positioning was so good that it almost rewarded him with the victory. Svidler played the next draw of this round which is barely worth mentioning. According to himself, Kramnik had given up his hopes on winning the tournament before the game against Anand. Without motivation and obviously tired, he was of no danger to Anand so that this game also ended in a tie.

Round 12. 27.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Anand Visvanathan ½ – ½ Andreikin Dmitry

Mamedyarov Shakhriyar ½ – ½ Karjakin Sergey

Topalov Vesselin 1 – 0 Svidler Peter

Aronian Levon ½ – ½ Kramnik Vladimir

Andreikin relied on Carlsen’s Caro-Kann of the World Championship match and tried to use it to prevail over Anand. Anand, on the other hand, had learned from his mistakes and was well-prepared. After the opportunities had been confusing and hard to overlook, Anand decided for draw after the 41st move and a large amount of thinking time. Mamedyarov – Karjakin was a suspenseful match. Karjakin contributed to the excitement by being under severe pressure of time: He managed to play 6 moves in only 13 seconds, but the end game still resulted in a draw. Svidler was lacking practice on of the variations he played and thus struggled to carry through the entire attack; he had to admit defeat. Aronian – Kramnik also ended in draw; however, without any noteworthy highlights.

Round 13. 29.03.2014, 10:00h CET

Andreikin Dmitry 1 – 0 Aronian Levon

Karjakin Sergey ½ – ½ Anand Visvanathan

Svidler Peter ½ – ½ Mamedyarov Shakhriyar

Kramnik Vladimir 1 – 0 Topalov Vesselin

Aronian responded to Andreikin’s favorite opening Trompovsky with an unconventional 2.-g6. Nevertheless, he did not gain any chances on victory and, according to expectations, Andreikin won the duel in a double rook ending. Therefore Aronian was out of the race. Karjakin did not give up until the 91st move. Still, the game against Anand ended in a tie. Therefore, Anand held an overall score of 8 points and was the definite victor of the tournament. Svidler and Mamedyarov decided for a quick and predictable rook ending and separated after a draw. Despite mistakes on both sides, Kramnik won against Topalov.

Round 14. 30.03.2014, 11:00h CEST

Aronian Levon 0 – 1 Karjakin Sergey

Anand Visvanathan ½ – ½ Svidler Peter

Mamedyarov Shakhriyar ½ – ½ Kramnik Vladimir

Topalov Vesselin ½ – ½ Andreikin Dmitry

Aronian was performing well against Karjakin, until Karjakin took over the lead after a quality sacrifice. He took the opportunity of aiming for victory without any risk and Aronian resigned after 94 moves. In the duel Anand – Svidler it became clear after the Marshall Attack that this duel would end in a draw. Mamedyarov and Kramnik played their match until the 30th move and ended in a tie.Topalov, being the bottom of the ranking, performed at his best against Andreikin, as this one full point would have been important to him. After 69 moves, finally, he admitted that he had given up all chances on winning with his confusing pawn positioning and the official result of the game was a draw.

 

FINAL SCORES

Anand 8.5

Karjakin 7.5

Kramnik, Andreikin, Mamedyarov 7

Svidler, Aronian 6.5

Topalov 6

Therefore, ‘Vishy’ Anand reaches the same score as Magnus Carlsen at the Candidates’ Tournament 2013 in London and, furthermore, remaines the only undefeated player of the tournament.

How are the odds that he will beat Magnus Carlsen in the upcoming World Championship duel in November?

A report will follow soon..

 

Picture by: Spiegel.de

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

10 reasons why playing chess makes you a better person

bessere MenschenChess demands and develops a large number of positive characteristics. Who mainly thinks of calculating skills and concentration, underestimated the impact of chess on our personal abilities and character. Today, Chessimo reports about numerous advantages and ‘secondary virtues’ that come with our favorite of sports.

Chess Players are more successful in school and their professional career

We improve our key qualifications. Model experiments show that students who play chess overcome communication barriers among themselves quickly and outsiders manage to enhance their social interactions to outgrow isolation. Furthermore, we train our abilities such as assertiveness, patience, our competence to judge and to make decisions.

Chess players increase their social intelligence

Especially people who are socially troubled and don’t manage to integrate have made great progress through checkmate. This is proven by studies performed in jails, with drug addicts, and highly gifted, hyperactive, or autistic children.

Chess players enhance their cognitive capabilities

Through playing chess, enormous increases in performance concerning reading and listening comprehension, imagination, and mathematics were scientifically recognized.

Chess players like to develop their own personalities

We are eager to learn, practice, and improve our skills continuously. A rolling stone gathers no moss!

Chess players can bear success and failure

There are no elements of chance in this game – all outcomes can be led back to our own abilities and actions. After every game we analyze our mistakes and practice self-criticism and problem solving.

Chess players are more imaginative

We are constantly inspired to think for ourselves, as there is never the one ‘right’ move for a particular challenge. We train, amongst other things, spatial reception and become creative when it comes to surprising the opponent.

Chess players tend to be proactive

We practice our skill to recognize patterns and evaluate every move in terms of consequences and possible reactions of our opponent. Therefore, we develop our logical and methodical thinking capabilities, as well as the art of predicting.

Chess player are persistent

We learn to keep up concentration over a long period of time. What other sport makes you focus for six hours in high concentration?!

Chess players stay mentally young

We delay cognitive decline in old age. Doctors in New York found out that chess helps prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia disorders much more effectively than all other physical exercise. Our mind is excellently trained in the long run.

Chess player have strong self-esteem

We are lucky to enjoy ‘intellectual prestige’ through our sport. Especially students who started to play chess have been able to clearly enhance their self-esteem. People with little self-esteem tend to downgrade their own success by owing it to luck or chance. These excuses are invalid in chess. They are rewarded with recognition and approval that may have been denied to them previously.

Picture: www.estes-ecg.com

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

 

 

The Participants of 2014’s Candidates‘Tournament

Today is the day: The first round of the Candidates’ Tournament 2014 in the Russian city Chanty-Mansijsk is about to begin. After the eight candidates who are the potential new World Champions have celebrated the opening ceremony yesterday, they will get started on the one-on-one duels today. The overall victory of the tournament will compete against Magnus Carlsen from November 6th to 25th of this year for the World Championship title of 2014.

CT 14

Final winner will be the player with the highest total score. In the event of an equality in score, the winner is determined through:

  1. Direct comparison between the two players who are equal in score
  2. The number of victories
  3. The secondary evaluation according to Sonneborn-Berger.

The combination is candidates is promising; we will give you a brief overview of playing style and special skills of all participants.

Visvanathan Anand (IND)

Qualified through Chess World Championship 2013

ELO 2770

Throughout his career, Anand has worked dedicatedly on his technique-related shortcomings in the final game phase of the game and is today considered a player who has no obvious weaknesses in any stages of the game. His game is characterized by universal style, but he never fails to surprise with different systems which makes him a tough opponent. He is gifted in comprehending general features of the positioning quickly and intuitively and thus manages to recognize tactical changes timely and respond with proper counter actions.

Vladimir Kramnik (RUS)

Qualifies as winner of the Chess World Cup in 2013

ELO 2787

Kramnik is a player who likes to stay on the safe side by avoiding risk. His style is characterized by the influence of Karpov’s and his opening and middle game preparations. After he was criticized to be calling for draws too often, he reacted with an exceedingly offensive playing tactic. His specialty is the Russian and Berlin Defense as well as the Catalonian opening (with White chessmen).

Dmitri Andreikin (RUS)

Qualifies through 2nd place at Chess World Cup 2013

ELO 2709

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Andreikin has been working hard on his playing technique in the past and improved the shortcomings in terms of his opening repertoire. He has always been eager to ‘manage everything’ and therefore stands out with his universal playing style and his professional way of reacting to challenges. Despite occasional difficulties in recognizing his own advantages and the benefits of his chances, he plays proactively and is hard to take by surprise.

Vesselin Topalov (BUL)

Qualifies as winner of the FIDE Grand Prix in 2012 / 2013

ELO 2785

Topalov is the passionate master of the middle game. He loves putting his opponents under pressure from the first move by playing aggressive variations and keeping the upper hand. His major weaknesses are his defense and the ease that has come to cause him many mistakes during his career. Even after a rough start he manages to catch up through excellent calculation skills and his intimidating quality sacrifices. Due to good preparation time is not a threat to him.

Şəhriyar Məmmədyarov (AZE)

Qualifies through 2nd place at the FIDE Grand Prix in 2012 / 2013

ELO 2757

Also known as Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The Azerbaijani is known for his aggressive and straightforward playing style. He likes experimenting with extraordinary openings (Aklehine Defense or Budapest Gambit) and manages to confuse his opponents.

Levon Aronian (ARM)

Qualifies through position in the World Rankings

ELO 2830

Aronian’s biggest strength is the final stage of the game. He considers the preparation of the opening stage his own weakness. Playing with White he prefers closed openings, with Black he often times tends towards the Enclosed Spaniard. To closed openings he usually reacts in various ways with Slavic, Queen’s Indian or Nimzo-Indian. He likes trying to rattle his competitors with confusing positions.

Sergey Karjakin (RUS)

Qualifies through placement in World Rankings

ELO 2766

Karjakin prefers opening the game the Sicilian way – regardless of playing Black or White. The Russian who currently ranks 9th in worldwide standings plays the Spanish Opening and the Najdorf-Variation of the Sicilian Defense just as often.

Piotr Svidler (RUS)

Nominated by tournament organizers

ELO 2758

Even if it was rather predictable that Russia was going to give the Wild Card to a fellow countryman, this nomination led to much disappointment. Half of the participants are Russian citizens and of the remaining four players none originate from the Western World. Nevertheless, nominating Svidler was a reasonable choice. He convinced at the previous Candidates’ Tournament by scoring only half a point less than Magnus Carlsen. Also, he has obtained seven Russian Championships so far – which is a record. We can look forward to Sicilian and Spanish openings in White and Grunfeld-Indian Defense when playing the Black chess pieces.

In the event of a player dropping out, Fabiano Caruana is ready to take the open spot.

Until March 30th, all tournament participants will face each other players twice. Therefore, we have 14 rounds ahead of us that are scheduled as follows:

 

March 11th: Arrival

March 12th: Opening Ceremony & Players’ Meeting

March 13th – 15th: Rounds 1 – 3

March 16th: Free

March 17th – 19th: Rounds 4 – 6

March 20th: Free

March 21st – 23rd: Rounds 7 – 9

March 24th: Free

March 25th – 27th: Rounds 10 – 12

March 28th: Free

March 29th – 30th: Rounds 13 – 14

March 31st: Closing Ceremony

April 1st: Departure

 

In 1st round today, Andreikin plays against Kramnik, Karjakin against Svidler, Mamedyarov against Topalov, and Anand against Aronian.

Among experts, Aronian is considered top-favorite player of the event. Let’s see whether or not he can fulfill these high expectations.

 

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

Chess tourists gather in Bad Ems

Bad Ems – Currently, the city in Central Germany is hosting the 11th Kaiser Open. Until Saturday, ‘brain athletes’ will fight mercilessly on the chessboards to prevail over their opponents.

Bad Ems

Besides the dripping of water in the little kettle-like fountain, there is absolutely no sound in the hall of the Häcker Grand Hotel, although the players sit tightly next to each other. They are not here for fun or enjoyment – they are all here to play serious chess. This year’s edition of the Kaiser Open has lured many passionate players into the city by the river Lahn. Until Saturday, they will gather around chessboards, eager to checkmate their counterparts.

The pairings are set by a chess computer that is overseen by tournament director Karl-Otto Jung. There are two evaluation systems that determine the rankings of all attendants. Basically, anybody can participate in the event. In two evaluations, the players compete against each other, and whoever manages to collect the most points makes it to the final stage.

“Bad Ems is a particularly beautiful place to play chess”, admits Jung. He has all neatly arranged tables in good sight. Every once in a while, a player gets up and strolls around the hall to clear his mind whilst the opponent is up for the next move. Others tear their hair or bite their lips in desperate concentration, or stare holes in the air. For every move to be successful, full concentration is indispensable.

“The game keeps people well-trained until old age”, explains Jung, who organizes chess tournaments in Bad Wildbad and Homburg / Saar. The male players are undoubtedly in superior number – and amongst them the older age group. Dennis Papesch stands out of the crowd of the 40 participants – at only 23 years. “Logical-mathematical thinking comes easy for me”, states the young man. It is essential when playing chess. He travelled all the way from Kiel to participate. “Many players travel far distances and combined their passion with their vacations”, tells us the tournament director. Therefore, we only play before noon – and by 3 in the afternoon they are done for enjoyment. Mayor Berny Abt is pleased by the chess tourism and greeted the visitors with warm words: “Frankly, they have brought sunshine along to Bad Ems”

 

Picture: Alexander Hoffmann

written by Philipp, translated by Birthe

 

 

20 amazing facts about the extraordinary life of Bobby Fischer

In honor of his birthday (March 9th 1943) we will uncover 20 interesting facts about Robert James Fischer, also known as ‘Bobby’ Fischer.

Bobby Fischer was an eccentric and odd person who was on the edge of both genius and insanity. He managed to rapidly ascend into the world of chess and just as quickly disappeared again into complete seclusion from the world’s public.

Bobby-Fischer

  1. Bobby Fischer had an IQ of 187 as well as a photographic memory
  2. Fischer’s biographer is convinced that he was suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome which is a kind of an autistic condition
  3. At an age of only 13 years old, Bobby played the so-called duel of the century against Donald Byrne and became youngest Junior Champions of all time
  4. At 14 years old (1958) he became US Champion for the first time – as the youngest player ever
  5. At 15 Bobby Fischer was announced youngest Chess Grandmaster and World Championship candidate
  6. Fischer left school as early as possible (at 16 years), as he considered school lessons a waste of time. Instead, he taught himself several foreign languages in order to be able to read foreign publications
  7. From 1957 to 1966 he won the US American Championship eight times in a row
  8. At 20 years old (1964) he achieved to win the US Championship with 11 out of 11 points – the only one to ever accomplish this task.
  9. Two years later he published the textbook “Bobby Fischer teaches Chess” in which readers can solve 275 checkmate exercises themselves. Until today, more than 1,000,000 copies have been sold which makes this book the commercially most successful chess book of all time
  10. Fischer became the first official player with No. 1 Ranking (FIDE) in 1971 and held this position for 54 months
  11. The same year he reached the highest ELO of 2785 that was ever reached until that point in time
  12. With the worldwide biggest interest, the public followed the match of Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky (so-called “Third World Confrontation”) in 1972 in which Fischer gained the World Championship title in Reykjavik
  13. In 1975, Fischer was supposed to defend his World Championship title from challenger Anatoli Karpov. This duel was never carried out, as the FIDE was not able to meet Fischer’s 179 (!!) requirements that differed from the usual set of rules for tournaments. Fischer’s title was therefore denied by the FIDE.
  14. After the World Championship tournament in 1972, Bobby Fischer did not play chess in public for about 20 years.
  15. Though he was considered a genius in matters of chess, he was always an object of critique in terms of human behavior. He made several anti-Semitic and anti-American comments
  16. Fischer became a member of a cult and went underground in Pasadena, California for several years
  17. Bobby Fischer’s FBI file is 900 pages long
  18. An American arrest warrant against him and a global search for him in 2004 hit the headlines of newspapers all over the world and ended in Tokyo with a stay in prison
  19. Fischer held Icelandic citizenship and spent the last few years prior to his death (17.01.2008) withdrawn in Reykjavik
  20. His early death is a consequence of his refusal for medical treatment. He severely distrusted pharmaceutical products and doctors. Thus, he had one of his dental prostheses removed as he suspected a Russian microwave transmitter underneath it.

 

Picture Bobby Fischer: chessmastercoach.com

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

 

Kasparov is now citizen of Croatia

Garri Kasparov, who did not return to Russia after the Russian government had harshly taken action against the opposition, was granted Croatian citizenship yesterday. Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic personally consigned the official documents.

Garri Kasparov has fought as an opposition politician against Vladimir Putin for many years and has advocated freedom of speech and democracy. Temporarily, he had been imprisoned or his engagement, bribed ‘students’ attacked him during one of his election advertisements, and he was charged for supposed bodily harm of a policeman during a mass demonstration.

In June 2013, after the Russian government had again taken extreme action against demonstrators and opposition politicians, Kasparov feared to be arrested again and therefore never returned to Russia from his stay abroad.

Kasparov

In the meantime, Kasparov had applied for Croatian citizenship that was finally given to him on February 27th. Due to this occasion, he was invited by Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic to pay his premises a visit. Croatia thanked the former Chess World Champion for the support of 1991’s independence movement by granting him the country citizenship. Kasparov bought a small house close to the seaside city Makarska and has been in close relationship with the country ever since.

 

New Elo Ratinglist

Once again, Magnus Carlsen has surpassed his own record with his current ELO-rating of 2881 points. Levon Aronian is the only other player exceeding the 2800 mark. Judith Polgar remains in the top position in the women’s category. Arkadij Naiditsch, Elisabeth Pähtz, Matthias Blühbaum, and Rasmus Svane (Juniors), as well as Filiz Osmanodja and Hanna-Marie Klek (girls) are best German players.

Exactly 50 players are currently classified as Super Grandmasters which are Grandmasters with ELO-ratings of 2700 points and above. To become part of the Top 100, one has to have an ELO of 2651 at the moment. With his new rating of 2881, Magnus Carlsen has again raised the bar and surpassed his own record of 2872 points in February 2014.

Magnus Carlsen’s deviation from the average ELO-rating of the Top 100 (2703) now amounts to 178 points. In July 2000, the very beginning of FIDE statistics, Kasparov held an ELO of 2849 points, being 195 above the average of 2644 points at that point in time. Without wanting to degrade Carlsen’s performance; Kasparov’s advantage towards the Top players of the early 2000s was slightly larger than Carlsen’s is today.

Behind Carlsen follows Levon Aronian who is the only other player with an ELO-rating of over 2800 points. Aronian also enhanced his performance indicator by several points.

Best German player continues to be Arkadij Naiditsch who suffered from a short period of crisis. Although he had to sacrifice a few points, he is still above the 2700 mark. Naiditsch is the only German player among the Top 100.

 

Go to current ratinglist

 

 

written by Philipp, translated by Birthe

European Chess Championship in Jerevan

The opening stage of the European Championship in chess has revealed major and minor surprises so far. Dmitry Jakoneko had to comply with a draw against Lilit Mkrtchian and had to give up one point. Markus Ragger started unsuccessfully, while in the duel of generations Judith Polgar clearly prevailed over Aleksandra Goryachkina. Daniel Friedman and Phillip Schlosser began the tournament with victories. The European Individual Chess Championship has officially begun!

Image8

The host of this event is the Armenian Chess Association. As widely known, chess is of great importance in Armenia. It is taught as a regular subject in schools and the Armenian President himself, Sersch Sargsjan, has dedicated his life to chess by stepping up as the President of the Armenian Chess Association also.

Sargsjan was literally his own honorary guest at the opening ceremony and festivities in the National Theater. Executive Director of the Organization is the former top-grandmaster Smbat Lputjan who has arranged sophisticated chess events in Armenia as the head organizer for many years. With the support of the State President he is not lacking financial funds to embed these high-rated tournaments in vibrant surroundings. The overall prize fund of this year’s European Individual Championship amounts to 160.000€! If Levon Aronian manages to prevail at the Candidates’ Tournament, there is a chance that the next World Championship duel might also be hosted by Armenia.

The opening stage spared out great sensations, but there were indeed a few surprises. Dmitry Jakovenko lost half a point to opponent Lilit Mkrtchian, while Anton Korobov was defeated by Kirill Alekseenko on board number 4. Alexander Moissenko, Maxim Matlakov, Gabriel Sargissian, Andrei Volokitin, and Vladirmi Akopian were also not able to take out their technically weaker opponents. Defeated by FM Roman Kotzlin, Markus Ragger also experienced a bad start into this major chess event.

 

Picture: Tournament Website

written by Philipp, translated by Birthe

10 tips for a successful chess opening

It is fiercely debated which opening variation leads to success most efficiently. Basically, three different playing styles are distinguished.

 

man makes a move chess pawn

The Open Game

The duel is opened with the combination of 1. e4 e5.Risky variation that leads to sacrifice when mistakes are being made.Examples: Italian, Spanish

The Half-Open Game

Opening move is again 1. e4, which Black follows with a move other than e5.Calm playing style.Examples: Sicilian, French

Closed Game

All openings that do not include e4 as the first move.
Few tactical elements, playing with few losses.
Examples: Queen’s Gambit, Larsen-System

Players should always be aware of their personal strengths and weaknesses when it comes to finding the proper opening strategy for their chess duels. It may be helpful to analyze previous games and to ask for external feedback. Hereby, they should always ask themselves whether the own strength is related to situational and precise calculation or to the long-term planning (tactician or strategist?). Does one prefer the offensive, risk-seeking, and aggressive style or the main emphasis of the game the defending and minimizing risk? Are the particularities of the chessmen played out at its best or does the handling of pawns turn out optimal?

Regardless of the player-specific characteristics, there are a few tips and tricks that all chess players should consider, as they can be used for any opening variations.

1. Minimize the number of moves until full development
A positioning is only fully developed when the King has been castled and there is no figure left between the two Rooks.

2. Move the central pawns first (covering King or Queen)
Therefore you will be able to proceed with your Bishop later on.

3. Develop your minor pieces first
Ideal order is always Knight before Bishop. Pay respect to the Knight that are often in unfavorable positions at the edge of the board.

4. Control the center
The cetral squares d4 / e7 / d5 / e5 (not necessarily pawns) are to be taken, as they grant benefits from better overall positioning.

5. Activate all your chess pieces
Enables you to take advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses and increases your chances t checkmate the opposite King in many ways.

6. Protect your King
As the central pawns usually move foward, it is important for you to protect your King through castling.

7. Hamper your competitor
The opponent is supposed to have a hard time developing the positions of his or her figures (hinder castling for example).

8. Know your goals
Think about the most auspicious square on the board for each your chessmen and try reaching them in one move.

9. Limit yourself to few pawn moves
One to three pawns are ideal in the opening stage.

10. Keep a trump up your sleeve
Keep an eye on holding back your Queen for a while. Don’t bring this particular figure into the game too early.

 

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe