Chess World Championship 2014: What is to be expected of Visvanathan Anand?

Viswanathan Anand‘Vishy’ Anand is the one who prevailed at this year’s Candidates’ Tournament and has now the honor to be the challenger of Magnus Carlsen in the World Championship duel. Anand is exactly that World Champion who was able to defend his title from 2007 until 2013. Last year, Carlsen literally made his predecessor look old. After being dethroned, Visvanathan Anand honestly talked about his drop in performance and admitted to his shortcomings. In interviews he told us that he had been suffering from sleepless nights and difficulties to concentrate during the period of the tournament and referred to his opponent Carlsen as “almost the worst thing that could have happened to him”.

Anand’s self-confidence had been dented before the World Championship duel, as he had to comply with several bitter defeats in previous tournaments. His stable playing style was set off balance. Ironically, Anand’s weaknesses were Carlsen’s strengths. Anand made mistakes in harmless positioning and ruined all his chances with one fatal move. Mistakes that he would have never made in his early years. After Anand began talking about altered priorities and stated that his life wasn’t evolving only around chess anymore, most expected a silent withdrawal after the lost World Championship duel.

At the Candidates’ Tournament followed the great surprise: Anand stood out with a remarkable performance. Shortly before, the public had even doubted his attendance and, out of the blue, in the first duel against Aronian he showed the world what the ‘Tiger of Madras’ was still capable of. Not only did he appear well prepared, but also physically fitter than a few months before. The tournament became one of his best in years, and more than deserved he secured the victory as the only undefeated player at the event. Respect and recognition were expressed to him after his victory. On the other hand, he earned skepticism and amazement, as the merciless defeat in his home town Chennai is still a matter of discussion in the world of chess.

This November, we can look forward to a new edition of this duel. When Anand fought over the World Championship title for the first time in 1995 in the 107th floor of the World Trade Center, Carlsen was only four years old and had never held a chess piece in his hands. Twenty-one years of training and experience separate the two chess legends. However, this also means twenty-one years of physical and mental age.

One thing is clear: This year’s World Championship will be nerve wrecking. Anand is currently in perfect shape and has made a promising appearance since his last performance. Whether the defeat in 2013 will motivate him to peak in performance or leaves him in paralyzing anxiety when facing Carlsen again remains to be seen.

Even though Magnus Carlsen is in worldwide hype at the moment – many fans wish the sympathetic Indian, who is fluent in numerous languages (including German) and engaged in several social projects, the victory from the bottom of their hearts.

Picture: Spiegel.de

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

 

 

FIDE Grand Prix of Women

Since 2009, this world can account for another tournament series at world-class level: The FIDE Grand Prix of Women. This serious lasts about two years and consists of six tournaments with each twelve participants. The winner of the current tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk (where the Candidates’ Tournament of men took place recently) can look forward to 10,000€ prize money and the rare opportunity to challenge the current World Champion. The tournament was scheduled from April 9th until 21st and carried out by the Ugra Chess Academy.

Womens FIDE grand prix

Yesterday, at 8.5 points, Hou Yifan dominated the event as expected. We would like to put particular emphasis on the performance of the Russian player Olgy Girya who became second at 7 out of 11 points and is already referred to as the Star of the Tournament.

Detailed game reports in English can be found on the official website, an overview of all rounds is listed in the following:

 

ROUND 1. April 9th 2014, 3 p.m.

Name

Result

Name

Stefanova Antoaneta ½ – ½ Kosteniuk Alexandra
Ushenina Anna 1 – 0 Muminova Nafisa
Zhao Xue 1 – 0 Lagno Kateryna
Girya Olga 1 – 0 Dzagnidze Nana
Muzychuk Anna 1 – 0 Batchimeg Tuvshintugs
Hou Yifan 1 – 0 Kosintseva Tatiana

ROUND 2. April 10th 2014, 3 p.m.

Name

Result

 

Name

Kosteniuk Alexandra 0 – 1 Kosintseva Tatiana
Batchimeg Tuvshintugs 0 – 1 Hou Yifan
Dzagnidze Nana ½ – ½ Muzychuk Anna
Lagno Kateryna 1 – 0 Girya Olga
Muminova Nafisa 1 – 0 Zhao Xue
Stefanova Antoaneta 1 – 0 Ushenina Anna

ROUND 3. April 11th 2014, 3 p.m.

Name

Result

 

Name

Ushenina Anna ½ – ½ Kosteniuk Alexandra
Zhao Xue 1 – 0 Stefanova Antoaneta
Girya Olga ½ – ½ Muminova Nafisa
Muzychuk Anna ½ – ½ Lagno Kateryna
Hou Yifan 1 – 0 Dzagnidze Nana
Kosintseva Tatiana ½ – ½ Batchimeg Tuvshintugs

ROUND 4. April 12th 2014, 3 p.m.

Name

Result

 

Name

Kosteniuk Alexandra 1 – 0 Batchimeg Tuvshintugs
Dzagnidze Nana 1 – 0 Kosintseva Tatiana
Lagno Kateryna ½ – ½ Hou Yifan
Muminova Nafisa 0 – 1 Muzychuk Anna
Stefanova Antoaneta ½ – ½ Girya Olga
Ushenina Anna ½ – ½ Zhao Xue

ROUND 5. April 14th 2014, 3 p.m.

Name

Result

Name

Zhao Xue ½ – ½ Kosteniuk Alexandra
Girya Olga ½ – ½ Ushenina Anna
Muzychuk Anna ½ – ½ Stefanova Antoaneta
Hou Yifan 1 – 0 Muminova Nafisa
Kosintseva Tatiana ½ – ½ Lagno Kateryna
Batchimeg Tuvshintugs 0 – 1 Dzagnidze Nana

ROUND 6. April 15th 2014, 3 p.m.

Name

Result

Name

Kosteniuk Alexandra 1 – 0 Dzagnidze Nana
Lagno Kateryna ½ – ½ Batchimeg Tuvshintugs
Muminova Nafisa 1 – 0 Kosintseva Tatiana
Stefanova Antoaneta ½ – ½ Hou Yifan
Ushenina Anna ½ – ½ Muzychuk Anna
Zhao Xue 0 – 1 Girya Olga

ROUND 7. April 16th 2014, 3 p.m.

Name

Result

Name

Girya Olga 1 – 0 Kosteniuk Alexandra
Muzychuk Anna 1 – 0 Zhao Xue
Hou Yifan 1 – 0 Ushenina Anna
Kosintseva Tatiana ½ – ½ Stefanova Antoaneta
Batchimeg Tuvshintugs 0 – 1 Muminova Nafisa
Dzagnidze Nana ½ – ½ Lagno Kateryna

ROUND 8. April 17th 2014, 3 p.m.

Name

Result

Name

Kosteniuk Alexandra ½ – ½ Lagno Kateryna
Muminova Nafisa 0 – 1 Dzagnidze Nana
Stefanova Antoaneta ½ – ½ Batchimeg Tuvshintugs
Ushenina Anna 1 – 0 Kosintseva Tatiana
Zhao Xue ½ – ½ Hou Yifan
Girya Olga 1 – 0 GM Muzychuk Anna

ROUND 9. April 19th 2014, 3 p.m.

Name

Result

 

Name

Muzychuk Anna 0 – 1 Kosteniuk Alexandra
Hou Yifan 1 – 0 Girya Olga
Kosintseva Tatiana ½ – ½ Zhao Xue
Batchimeg Tuvshintugs ½ – ½ Ushenina Anna
Dzagnidze Nana 1 – 0 Stefanova Antoaneta
Lagno Kateryna ½ – ½ Muminova Nafisa

ROUND 10. April 20th 2014, 3 p.m.

Name

Result

 

Name

Kosteniuk Alexandra 1 – 0 Muminova Nafisa
Stefanova Antoaneta ½ – ½ Lagno Kateryna
Ushenina Anna ½ – ½ Dzagnidze Nana
Zhao Xue 0 – 1 Batchimeg Tuvshintugs
Girya Olga 1 – 0 Kosintseva Tatiana
Muzychuk Anna ½ – ½ Hou Yifan

ROUND 11. April 21st 2014, 3 p.m.

Name

Result

 

Name

Hou Yifan ½ – ½ Kosteniuk Alexandra
Kosintseva Tatiana ½ – ½ Muzychuk Anna
Batchimeg Tuvshintugs ½ – ½ Girya Olga
Dzagnidze Nana 0 – 1 Zhao Xue
Lagno Kateryna 1 – 0 Ushenina Anna
Muminova Nafisa 0 – 1 Stefanova Antoaneta

 

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

 

How Do I Improve My Ability To Concentrate?

Part 1: Creating optimal physical conditions

According to Wikipedia, concentration is defined as focusing all attention on one particular activity, reaching a short-term goal, or solving an assigned problem. It is no surprise then, that concentration in chess tournaments is one of the essential keys to success.

KonzentrationIt’s all about not getting distracted, about concentrating on the given positionings for up to six hours, about calculating, estimating, and maneuvering without straying from the subject. As this requires high intellectual effort, many players (even professionals) face problems in the persistence and continuity of keeping up concentration during such long periods of time. Even players like the grandmaster Jan Gustafsson report headaches and difficulties in concentrating after five hours.

The capability to concentrate depends on several influential factors which we will be discussing in the three parts of this month’s column: The body, the mind, and the practice.

Today, in Part 1, Chessimo will introduce you to the physical conditions that create optimal powers of concentration.

Who sticks to the following recommendations will be able to significantly improve their concentration in practice and at tournaments.

Nutrition

A balanced and healthy diet supports the ability to concentrate. Hereby it is important to include an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. To cover the body’s daily need, we recommend linseed oil, hempseed oil, walnut oil, and rapeseed oil for cooking. Exotic types of oil, such as chia oil, perilla oil, and sacha inchi oil contain an even larger amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish should also be a regular component of your meals: salmon, anchovy, herring, mackerel, and white tuna also contain the important fatty acids.

Evenly important is a steady supply of vitamins and nutrients, especially Vitamin B. The different types of Vitamin B are found in fish, liver products, dairy products, broccoli, spinach, and green cabbage. The Vitamin B12, by the way, cannot be found in any plant products and can only be supplied to the body through animal food products (vegetarians are advised to add nutritional supplements to their daily diet).

Another important element is a balanced blood glucose level (also known as blood sugar level). The brain is reliant on steady glucose delivery to function perfectly. Who recognizes a reduced brain performance or even suffers from shaky hands and increased perspiration, is likely to have low blood glucose level. Glucose is also referred to a dextrose and is supplied to the body by sufficient food intake. Skipping breakfast on the tournament day out of nervousness is therefore not an option. Since the blood sugar level decreases a few hours after ingestion, players should take in small snacks, such as apples or pears, during the tournament. Concentrated dextrose can also help boosting the brain performance. But as the effect diminishes quickly, it should be used only towards the end of the tournament day.

Sleep

A good night sleep is essential. Tiredness limits our ability to concentrate tremendously. There is no certain answer to the question of how many hours of sleep an adult needs per night. People’s needs are as diverse as their genetic make-up. Generally, the nightly rest should last somewhere between six and eight hours. Less or more hours of sleep, can have equally negative impact on the body which is scientifically proven. One factor that is often paid too little attention to is the accordance of the sleeping and tournament rhythm.

A so-called ‘Powernap’ can also severely improve concentration during tournaments. It is a small nap during the day that lasts about 10 to 20 minutes. During this time, the cerebrum regenerates. The art is to wake up after 20 minutes, before the so-called deep sleep (REM) phase kicks in. Sleep scientists agree that such short periods of sleep improve our concentration, performance, and responsiveness (Companies like BASF, Opel, and Lufthansa even provide space and time for power-napping at the work place).

Exercise

Cardio is another key element to optimal ability to concentrate. Who plays sports that require high endurance (like soccer or basketball) is already on the right track. Even better are pure endurance sports, such as hiking, walking, nordic walking, jogging, marathons, biking, ergometer training, speed skating, ice skating, swimming, cross-country, triathlons, rowing, paddling, and mountain climbing. Optimal are approximately 30 minutes per day. Who practices several of these endurance sports is recommended to be very aware of the movements and feel the body while moving. This is also not the place and time for analysis – free your mind from your thoughts and try to withdraw from the world for a while. Who is absolutely unathletic and rather avoids exercising can still make progress by juggling. It is also recommended to get up during tournaments and walk around once concentration has begun to fade.

Drinking

Sufficient liquid intake is indispensable. Drinking is important before, during, and after the duel. Similar to glucose (see 1st subtopic), players are advised to forego beverages with caffeine, such as coffee, coke, and energy drinks, as the energy boost is only a short-term effect.

Read more about how to improve your ability to concentrate! In Part 2 we will focus on the mind and psyche..

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

 

5 Hollywood Divas at the Chess Board

Some of the greatest and most popular actresses of all time share(d) the love of our hobby: Checkmate.
As opponents on the board they do not only offer a pretty view – the actresses were actually pretty good player. A duel would be worth every minute of your precious time.
Which Hollywood celebrity (dead or alive) would you like to compete aginast?

 

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn MonroeThe film icon certainly swept her opponents off the board with her irresistable charm.
Who tries to fit Marilyn in the image of the tender and superficial beauty may want to reconsider his or her opinion. The sex symbol had an IQ of 168 with which she outpaces Albert Einstein and Bill Gates.

 

Julia Roberts

Julia RobertsThe “Pretty Woman” is a passionate player who wishes to have access to chess equipment in her trailer during the making of her movies.
Who would deny the lady with the most charming smile in all of Hollywood a duel of checkmate during her break?

Marlene Dietrich

Marlene DietrichThe actress who was actually born in Germany (1904-1992) loved chess and played well and often, sometimes even against John Wayne. Next to film sets, she liked to spend her time ar tournaments, such as
the “Hollywood Pan-American Chess Tournament”.

 

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa GaborThe former Hungarian beauty queen is so enthusiastic about chess that she even played against Geroge Sanders on her honeymoon.
Prince Frederik von Anhalt, by the way, is currently the 8th husband of the 97 year-old. Whether or not he has proven to be a worthy opponent is unknown.

 

Liv Tyler

Liv TylerThe beautiful actress of “The Lord of the Rings” was the face of a G-Star campaign in 2010, next to the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen. A few months ago, the two fought an
official duel of checkmate. At which side of the board would you have preferred to be?

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe