World Championship 2014: Carlsen Remains Undefeated

World Championship 2014

After Carlsen was only one point ahead at half time on November 16, the head-to-head race between the current World Champion and challenger, the Indian predecessor Visvanathan Anand, remained suspenseful for another four rounds.

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Carlsen was not able to achieve another victory until the 11th round, which was his third victory in the entire tournament (while Anand prevailed once). He was therefore in favor at 6.5:4.5 and was announced victor ahead of schedule.

See summary of duels 1 to 6 here.
Summary of duels 7 to 11:

With almost six and a half hours, Duel No. 7 makes history as the longest match of the World Championship 2014. Vishy player, yet again, the Berlin Defense of the Spanish duel. Up to the 24th move it was an exact replica of Giri and Radjabov’s duel at the Grand Prix Series. Carlsen persistently aimed for victory but Anand was concentrated and his defense enduring. In the end game with Rook and Knight against Rook, Carlsen was still not ready to give up on his intention. Only in the 122nd move he agreed to a draw. If the two would have played three more moves, they would have achieved a new World Championship record.

In the beginning of the 8th Duel, Carlsen made very clear that he took Anand’s thorough preparation seriously. He opened with an aggressive Queen’s gambit variation. Carlsen thwarted the challenger’s plans with an unexpected 9th move.. Re8 that Anand knew no reasonable reaction to. After exchange of Queens and Rooks, the duel continued without further surprises and led to a balanced end game with no winning opportunities for either of the two players. They agreed to a draw after the 41st move.

The first ten moves of the 9th Duel were a repetition of the 7th match. Neither of the two chess talents seemed to be enthusiastic for another six and a half hour long duel. Carlsen decided to deviate from the previous match and made an unusual 11th move (Ke2) which left Anand unimpressed. He was obviously well prepared, responded with an attack engineered by Kramnik and disturbed Carlsen’s strategy. The Norwegian pressured Anand into a draw with a set of three positioning repetitions. After only 20 moves and one hour game time, this duel was over quickly.

Duel No. 10 was dominated by Anand’s attempts to make up for lost chances. With the Grunfeld-Indian variation he gave Carlsen a hard time and was in favorable positioning for a while. Carlsen once again proved that he is worth the honors of holding the World Championship title and kept a good track of the moves on the board which helped him find solid solutions to balance the duel again. After three hours, the match ended in a draw and Carlsen kept the lead at 5.5:4.5 points.

After four racking hours, Carlsen finally secured the third victory in the 11th Duel. The “prodigy” of chess enhanced his advantage to 2 points and took home the World Championship title for another year – preliminary to schedule. Anand was in an unusual risk-seeking mood during the entire duel but the optimism was his fatality that caused him yet another World Championship defeat. This year, however, he will certainly not become target of ridicule and mockery. Carlsen was, after all, the dominant player but Anand was in much better shape than last year and contributed to an extremely exciting World Championship on world-class level.

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

The Best of Chess Quotes

Wladimir Kramnik

»  Art and chess are just different fields, in which the same poetry finds expression.

Christian Morgenstern

»  Chess truly uncovers whether or not someone has imagination and takes initiative.

Pope John Paul II

»  Chess holds deep wisdoms of the people. It is truly an image of life, the reflection of human fate that has shown us the earthly way of suffering in darkness and permanent shortage of time. Like in chess, we encounter all kinds of traps, mistakes, settlements, sacrifices, kings, and queens, doubled pawns, and extraordinary moves while we are on the board ourselves.

Garri Kasparov

»  Perfectly correct chess exists only in theory.

»  Weaknesses of character are normally shown in a game of chess.

»  A game of chess holds many secrets. Fortunately! That is why we cannot clearly state whether chess is science, art, or a sport.

»  A grandmaster must memorize thousands of chess duels in his head, as these are for him what words of the mother tongue are to the ordinary people and what notes are to a musician.

»  Next to the intellectual stimulation of chess, the educational value is of great importance. Chess teaches logic, imagination, self-discipline, and determination.

Bobby Fischer

»  Computers are our only opponents that don’t always have no excuse when losing against me.

»  Your body has to be in top condition. Your Chess deteriorates as your body does. You can’t separate body from mind.

»  People have been playing against me below their capabilities for fifteen years.

Viktor Kortchnoi

»  No Chess Grandmaster is normal; they only differ in the extent of their madness.

»  The whole life with a wife is like an end game with two bishops of different colors.

Emanuel Lasker

»  Education in Chess has to be an education in independent thinking.

Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakover

»  Those who play chess believe in humanity.

»  The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake.

»  Sometimes the threat is stronger than the execution.

Jose Raoul Casaplanca

»  There was a time in my life when I almost thought I could never lose a single duel of chess.

Siegbert Tarrasch

»  I have a quite feeling of pity for all those who don’t know chess; almost like I am sorry for those who never learned to love. Chess, like love and music, has the ability of making people happy.

Alexander Alekhine

»  You can become a big master in chess only if you see your mistakes and short-comings. Exactly the same as in life itself.

Nigel Short

»  If your opponent offers you a draw, try to work out why he thinks he’s worse off.

Vitali Klitschko

»  Chess and boxing have a lot in common, as both sports rely on the right strategy.

Chess Quotes

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

World Championship 2014: Carlsen in the lead at half time

Since November 8, 2014 Sochi has been the stage of the chess event of the year: World Champion Magnus Carlsen and his predecessor and challenger Visvanathan Anand are once again battling for the title.

Sochi 2014

While Magnus Carlsen won all twelve rounds last year and Vishy was hopelessly inferior, this year’s competition is a whole different story and a head-to-head race.

Vishy already had already proven the end of the temporary struggle when impressively prevailing at the Candidates’ Tournament in March, the victory at which qualified him for the World Championship. Back then, there were few skeptical observers who predicted a repetition of the devastating defeat of last year’s tournament and had probably hoped for another player challenging Carlsen.

But during the last few days, the Indian has seriously proven the strength to challenge the current World Champion. On world class level the two are fighting a suspenseful tournament and Vishy has not allowed Carlsen to take the upper hand which is certainly owed to the thorough preparation.

Thus, the two both scored half a point at their draw in Round 1 on November 8. Anand played the White pieces and chose a clever opening, offering opportunities for both players. Carlsen promptly took his chances and maneuvered into a great positioning with the Grunfeld-Indian defense which left Anand stuck in perpetual check.

After opening the tournament with a tie, Carlsen really wanted to score his first full point in Round 2. With a lot of force he carried through with his desire to win and opened with the Spanish Duel while he was frankly unimpressed by Anand’s Berlin defense. Anand, on the other hand, got increasingly nervous and made a fatal mistake in the 34th move. Shortly after, he resigned.

In Round 3, Anand could finally show how extraordinarily detailed and precise his overall preparation was; he played the White pieces again and immediately moved his passed pawn to C7. He created a particularly complex positioning which was hardly manageable if not explicitly prepared for. At the Bilbao Masters, Aronian and Adams played a similar duel which Anand significantly enhanced to confuse Carlsen – with great success. Carlsen resigned and the two were equal in score again (1.5:1.5).

Carlsen played white in the 4th Round. Anand invited to the Sicilian Paulsen Variation and it would have definitely been interesting to see the tricks he had prepared, but Carlsen declined and chose to play an unusual side variation. Probably out of fear to become victim of Anand’s brilliant preparation again. After five hours and perpetual check, the two agreed to a tie.

After Round 5, the two remained equal in score. Anand opened with the Queen’s Pawn – no surprise. The developed a game that, in this very constellation, only Carlsen experienced before. He played quickly and secure calmness, while Anand needed increasingly more thinking time for his moves. Halfway through the match, Anand was slightly ahead through sacrificing his Knight but stood no chance against Carlsen’s excellent training. They agreed to another tie at the 39th move. The result after Round 6: 2.5:2.5.

Right in time for half time, Carlsen finally managed to take the lead. In Round 6 he decided the duel in his own favor, before taking a rest day on Saturday. Especially unfortunate for Anand: Carlsen made a crucial mistake at the 26th move which would have granted him a winning position. Anand simply overlooked this opportunity, and at the 38th move Carlsen had managed to take over and force Anand into resignation.

After six out of twelve duels, the score is now 3.5:2.5 in Magnus Carlsen’s favor. But still, everything is possible for both players – it will certainly remain suspenseful.

You can watch Round 7 live right now at: http://www.sochi2014.fide.com/live-games/

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

Memoires of Mikhail Tal

Mikhail TalToday is the birthday of one of the greatest geniuses in the history of chess – Mikhail Tal whose life ended way too early at only 55 years.

To his special day we would like to reveal impressive, tragic, and odd facts about the Latvian chess player:

ž+ Mikhail Tal was born on in Latvia on November 9, 1936 with only three fingers on his right hand.

ž+ Despite this handicap, Tal played table tennis and piano.

ž+ When the Germans invaded Latvia on July 1, 1941 Tal’s Jewish family spectacularly fled the country: Mikhail and his parents barely caught the last train departing from Riga. They had to leave behind all their possessions.

ž+ Tal began playing chess at seven years old

ž+ Due to his intellectual giftedness he skipped first and second grade and attended university at the young age of seventeen (Russian philology).

ž+ In 1959, he beat young Bobby Fischer in four out of four matches as the Candidates’ Tournament.

ž+ Tal was said to have an obsession for chess and a hypnotic gaze. An American grandmaster thus tried to ‘shield off’ this gaze with sunglasses in 1959, but lost the duel anyway.

ž+ Mikhail Tal became 8th World Champion in 1960 after defeating Mikhail Botvinnik.

ž+ His style was unique: dynamic, fascinating, implicit, brave, and risk-seeking.

ž+ In 1960, he wrote a book with broad insight into his World Championship duel and revealed his strategy and thoughts.

ž+ This turned into a fatality one year later: He lost the title to Botvinnik and became youngest former Chess World Champion of all time.

ž+ He was dealing with severe health problems during the second (and lost) World Championship battle.

ž+ Tal suffered from kidney failure, smoked and drank too much. For a period of time he had a serious addiction to morphine.

ž+ From 1973 to 1974 he won 93 chess duels in a row which had never been accomplished by any grandmaster before him.

+ Between 1958 and 1982 he won the Chess Olympics eight times as a member of the Soviet team.

ž+ He didn’t care much about money: All his life he never owned a wallet. Once he had money in his hands, he spent it immediately.

ž+ In 1988, Mikhail Tal became World Champion in Rapid Chess.

ž+ He never paid much attention to what other people thought of him. There was a time when he even lived in one apartment with his ex-wife, their son, his new girlfriend, mother, and brother.

ž+ In his last Rapid Chess tournament, shortly before he passed away, he beat Garri Kasparov (see video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm9nKUIkYyw).

ž+ Mikhail Tal died on June 28. 1992 at the age of 55 from the fatal consequences of incorrectly performed surgery.

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

Advanced from 11th to 1st Rank: Andreikin Surprises Audience at Grand Prix

Dmitry-Andreikin

From October 10 to November 3, the Uzbek capital Tashkent hosted the second tournament of the current FIDE Grand Prix Series. A total of four tournaments will be carried out in the World Championship cycle 2014/15, which is quite extraordinary, as usually six tournaments are staged during the Grand Prix Series. The FIDE, unfortunately, names no reasons for cutting two competitions, but people are speculating, though, that there haven’t been enough applicants willing to host the tournaments.

The total prize fund for each tournament holds 120,000 EUR, of which the victor receives 20,000 EUR. Both winner and runner-up are also granted the right to participate in the Candidates’ Tournament.

Sixteen chess players participate in the Grand Prix Series, the rule set of which suggests that each player competes in three of the four events.

Contestants in Tashkent: Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, Sergey Karjakin, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, HIkaru Nakamura, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Boris Gelfand, Dmitry Jakovenko, Teimour Radjabov, Dmitry Andreikin, Baadur Jobava, and Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Therefore, the ELO-ratings ranged between 2706 (Kasimdzhanov) and 2844 (Caruana) points.

The Grand Prix schedule has been the target of critiques, as the first tournament in Baku ended only 5 days prior to the beginning of the second tournament. The conditions are not exactly a walk in the park for the players who participated in the first event (Caruana, Gelfand, Karjakin, Nakamura, Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Kasimdzhanov, and Andreikin).

FINAL RESULTS

Rg. Name Elo FED Pkt.
1 Andreikin Dmitry 2722 RUS 7
2 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2764 AZE 6,5
3 Nakamura Hikaru 2764 USA 6,5
4 Caruana Fabiano 2844 ITA 6
5 Karjakin Sergey 2767 RUS 6
6 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2757 FRA 6
7 Jobava Baadur 2717 GEO 6
8 Radjabov Teimour 2726 AZE 5,5
9 Giri Anish 2768 NED 5
10 Jakovenko Dmitry 2747 RUS 4,5
11 Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2706 UZB 3,5
 12 Gelfand Boris 2748 ISR 3,5

In the first round already, Caruana (who won shared 1st place in Baku with Gelfand) had to comply with a tough defeat:

Round 1. October 21, 2014. 2 p.m.
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
1 Giri, Anish 2768 ½  –  ½ Gelfand, Boris 2748 12
2 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2764 0  –  1 Andreikin, Dmitry 2722 11
3 Nakamura, Hikaru 2764 1  –  0 Jobava, Baadur 2717 10
4 Caruana, Fabiano 2844 0  –  1 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 9
5 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 2706 ½  –  ½ Jakovenko, Dmitry 2747 8
6 Radjabov, Teimour 2726 ½  –  ½ Karjakin, Sergey 2767 7

Winning run for Vachier-Lagrave, who was the only player to achieve a victory in the second round.

Round 2. October 22, 2014. 2 p.m.
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12 Gelfand, Boris 2748 ½  –  ½ Karjakin, Sergey 2767 7
8 Jakovenko, Dmitry 2747 ½  –  ½ Radjabov, Teimour 2726 6
9 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 1  –  0 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 2706 5
10 Jobava, Baadur 2717 ½  –  ½ Caruana, Fabiano 2844 4
11 Andreikin, Dmitry 2722 ½  –  ½ Nakamura, Hikaru 2764 3
1 Giri, Anish 2768 ½  –  ½ Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2764 2

Boris Gelfand, second victor of the first series event, had to admit the first defeat in round 3:

Round 3. October 23, 2014. 2 p.m.
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
2 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2764 1  –  0 Gelfand, Boris 2748 12
3 Nakamura, Hikaru 2764 ½  –  ½ Giri, Anish 2768 1
4 Caruana, Fabiano 2844 ½  –  ½ Andreikin, Dmitry 2722 11
5 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 2706 0  –  1 Jobava, Baadur 2717 10
6 Radjabov, Teimour 2726 ½  –  ½ Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 9
7 Karjakin, Sergey 2767 1  –  0 Jakovenko, Dmitry 2747 8

A round of draws. No player was able to improve his ranking on day 4:

Round 4. October 24, 2014. 2 p.m.
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12 Gelfand, Boris 2748 ½  –  ½ Jakovenko, Dmitry 2747 8
9 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 ½  –  ½ Karjakin, Sergey 2767 7
10 Jobava, Baadur 2717 ½  –  ½ Radjabov, Teimour 2726 6
11 Andreikin, Dmitry 2722 ½  –  ½ Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 2706 5
1 Giri, Anish 2768 ½  –  ½ Caruana, Fabiano 2844 4
2 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2764 ½  –  ½ Nakamura, Hikaru 2764 3

The second defeat for Gelfand followed quickly. This time Nakamura prevailed, against whom he played a draw in the 8th round of the first tournament only two weeks ago:

Round 5. October 26, 2014. 2 p.m.
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
3 Nakamura, Hikaru 2764 1  –  0 Gelfand, Boris 2748 12
4 Caruana, Fabiano 2844 ½  –  ½ Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2764 2
5 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 2706 ½  –  ½ Giri, Anish 2768 1
6 Radjabov, Teimour 2726 ½  –  ½ Andreikin, Dmitry 2722 11
7 Karjakin, Sergey 2767 0  –  1 Jobava, Baadur 2717 10
8 Jakovenko, Dmitry 2747 1  –  0 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 9

Andreikin, who only made it to 11th rank in the previous tournament, caused a surprise in round 6. He managed to beat Sergey Karjakin in third place (their last duel on October 14 ended in a tie):

Round 6. October 27, 2014. 2 p.m.
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12 Gelfand, Boris 2748 ½  –  ½ Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 9
10 Jobava, Baadur 2717 ½  –  ½ Jakovenko, Dmitry 2747 8
11 Andreikin, Dmitry 2722 1  –  0 Karjakin, Sergey 2767 7
1 Giri, Anish 2768 ½  –  ½ Radjabov, Teimour 2726 6
2 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2764 1  –  0 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 2706 5
3 Nakamura, Hikaru 2764 ½  –  ½ Caruana, Fabiano 2844 4

Finally: First victory for Fabiano Caruana with which he could neutralize the defeat in round 1. Moreover, defeat for Anish Giri, who is the only player called to participate through the President’s nomination. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to score a single win in the second tournament:

Round 7. October 28, 2014. 2 p.m.
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
4 Caruana, Fabiano 2844 1  –  0 Gelfand, Boris 2748 12
5 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 2706 ½  –  ½ Nakamura, Hikaru 2764 3
6 Radjabov, Teimour 2726 ½  –  ½ Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2764 2
7 Karjakin, Sergey 2767 1  –  0 Giri, Anish 2768 1
8 Jakovenko, Dmitry 2747 ½  –  ½ Andreikin, Dmitry 2722 11
9 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 ½  –  ½ Jobava, Baadur 2717 10

The fourth defeat for Boris Gelfand who seemed to be in unusual bad shape. Owed to the lack in time for rest and preparation?

Round 8. October 29, 2014. 2 p.m.
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12 Gelfand, Boris 2748 0  –  1 Jobava, Baadur 2717 10
11 Andreikin, Dmitry 2722 ½  –  ½ Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 9
1 Giri, Anish 2768 ½  –  ½ Jakovenko, Dmitry 2747 8
2 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2764 ½  –  ½ Karjakin, Sergey 2767 7
3 Nakamura, Hikaru 2764 ½  –  ½ Radjabov, Teimour 2726 6
4 Caruana, Fabiano 2844 ½  –  ½ Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 2706 5

Andreikin takes single lead in round 9 through his victory over Jobova:

Round 9. October 31, 2014. 2 p.m.
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
5 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 2706 ½  –  ½ Gelfand, Boris 2748 12
6 Radjabov, Teimour 2726 ½  –  ½ Caruana, Fabiano 2844 4
7 Karjakin, Sergey 2767 ½  –  ½ Nakamura, Hikaru 2764 3
8 Jakovenko, Dmitry 2747 0  –  1 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2764 2
9 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 ½  –  ½ Giri, Anish 2768 1
10 Jobava, Baadur 2717 0  –  1 Andreikin, Dmitry 2722 11

Unaltered ranking after round 10, which is already the second round of draws in the tournament.

Round 10. November 1, 2014. 2 p.m.
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
12 Gelfand, Boris 2748 ½  –  ½ Andreikin, Dmitry 2722 11
1 Giri, Anish 2768 ½  –  ½ Jobava, Baadur 2717 10
2 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2764 ½  –  ½ Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 9
3 Nakamura, Hikaru 2764 ½  –  ½ Jakovenko, Dmitry 2747 8
4 Caruana, Fabiano 2844 ½  –  ½ Karjakin, Sergey 2767 7
5 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 2706 ½  –  ½ Radjabov, Teimour 2726 6

Andreikin needed only a draw in round 11 to secure the overall tournament victory. The duel remained suspenseful until the very end, as for his opponents Nakamura and Mamedyarov the victory was only an arm’s length away, if only they hadn’t played draws in the final round:

Round 11. November 2, 2014. 1 p.m.
SNo. Name Rtg Res. Name Rtg SNo.
6 Radjabov, Teimour 2726 ½  –  ½ Gelfand, Boris 2748 12
7 Karjakin, Sergey 2767 1  –  0 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 2706 5
8 Jakovenko, Dmitry 2747 0  –  1 Caruana, Fabiano 2844 4
9 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 ½  –  ½ Nakamura, Hikaru 2764 3
10 Jobava, Baadur 2717 ½  –  ½ Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2764 2
11 Andreikin, Dmitry 2722 ½  –  ½ Giri, Anish 2768 1

Luckily, all players will have time to catch their breath until the opening of the third tournament of the Grand Prix Series which is set for February 14, 2015.

All participants of the Grand Prix

Grand Prix

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe