Chess events roundup

There are several interesting current chess tournaments on the go just now, including the FIDE Grand Prix 2012, being held in Tashkent, The Women’s World Chess Championship and the World Senior Chess Championships 2012.

FIDE Grand Prix 2012

The FIDE Grand Prix in Tashkent wasn’t as full of surprises as it might have been in Round Three on 24th November, but there were still a upsets here and there. Sergey Karjakin won’t be too delighted with his draw against Wang Hao after a tricky game. Karjakin was clearly unhappy with his play, particularly early on when 19.Nc6 appeared to rattle his composure, and he never managed to fully regain his form. Fabiano Caruana on the other hand, was understandably happy with his game against Gata Kamsky seeing him use a classic Slav Defence to take the lead. The only other outright winner in Round Three of the FIDE Grand Prix was Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov who beat Peter Svidler of Russia after a decisive error. Alexander Morozevich held on to his lead with a fairly comfortable draw with black against Israel’s Boris Gelfland. With Morozevich and Mamdyarov in the leading two places anything can happen. Let’s hope for some exciting play in the closing rounds.

The Women’s World Chess Championship

Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria beat India’s Harika Dronavalli 1.5 – 0.5 to secure her place in the final of the Women’s World Chess Championship on 25th November. Dronavalli needed to win as White to tie the match score, but as she advanced her pawns on the queenside of this slow moving game, Stefanova pushed on the kingside, sacrificing a piece for three pawns and securing a huge advantage, though she at no point attempted an outright win. Happy to push the conclusion to a forced draw, she secured match victory to give her a second chance at the title which she previously held in 2004.

World Senior Chess Championships

IM Jens Kristiansen and WGM Galina Strutinskaya have taken the title of World Senior Chess Champions 2012 in Greece. IM Kristiansen finally finished half a point ahead of GM Anntoly Vassier, who took the silver. Bronze went to GM Evgeny Sveshnikov. The Dane started the tournament as the 9th seed however, he quickly went on to win 7 out of 9 games, seeing him take the title from favourites GM Evgeny Sveshnikov and GM Anatoly Vaisser. Incidentally, the only two games in which he was held to a draw in the first 9 games were against the two rated favourites, Sveshnikov in Round 5 and Vaisser in Round 9. This left him in the great position of leader for the next 4 games, and he won the title with a draw against GM Miso Cebalo in the final. WGM Galina Strutinskaya took the ladies title in a dramatic tournament. Although her score of 7,5/11 was the same as both the silver medallist, WGM Tamar Khmiadashvili and the bronze medal winner, Elena Fatalibekova, she won the gold with a better tiebreak. Strutinskaya didn’t get off to the best of starts, after a draw in the first round was followed by losses in the 2nd and 3rd. She won the next three rounds though, and defeated WGM Nona Gaprindashvili, the rated favourite in Round 6. However, she was beaten with white in Round 7, but a great comeback saw her catch up with, and ultimately beat the leaders on tiebreak.

There really are some exciting chess tournaments taking place at present. As well as the culmination of these superb events, the Gran Fiesta UNAM 2012 and The Commonwealth Chess Championships 2012 in Chennai, where GM Sergei Tiviakov of The Netherlands is off to a good start, having won both of his games so far, are both guaranteed to have some excellent matches, filled with surprises.

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