All posts by Laurens Goormachtigh

Unbelievable talent at the World Chess Youth Championship 2012

The World Chess Youth Championship is undoubtedly the best place to find out who the hottest chess talents of the future are going to be, and 2012 was no exception! As well as the two overall winners, Aleksandra Goryachkina for the girls’ category, and Dariusz Świercz for the boys, some scintillating new chess players were on show throughout the Championship. The World Chess Youth Championship includes categories for a number of different age groups, as well as both an open and a female-only category. It is fair to say that the winners of each category are going to be real rising stars in the years to come. Świercz became a Grandmaster at the age of 14 and has won a number of competitions, both internationally and in his native Poland. Goryachkina, who was born in Russia, is the youngest living Woman Grandmaster, having earned this title at the age of just thirteen, and she has always put in a strong performance at World Youth chess events. These two are certainly two to watch out for!

This year, the World Chess Youth Championship was held in Maribor in Slovenia. Maribor truly is a stunning historic city with a vibrant cultural scene. Maribor is built around the peaceful winding river Drava, and us usually a lazy, quiet place to spend your time. And yet during the week of the Chess Youth Championship, as 1584 brilliant young chess players descended on this sleepy little city, tensions were certainly running high and minds were working on overdrive! The Championship was held between November 16th and November 19th, and though it was short and sweet compared to some other more drawn-out chess events, it certainly made for an intense three days. With so many inspiring young chess players and their supporters thronging the halls of the city.

Perhaps what is most inspiring about the World Youth Chess Championship this year is that it has confirmed for so many of us the vital place that chess continues to have in the lives of so many young people. The intellectual acuity and wide range of opening gambits and other moves on display here certainly demonstrated that the future of chess is going to be as fast-paced and as full of surprises and unstoppable talents as ever.

We absolutely cannot wait for the 2013 World Youth Chess Championship, which is going to be held on the campus of the United Arab Emirates University. This was confirmed after the Al Ain Chess Club made a very successful bid to host the event in 2013. With the players from 2012 a little older and a little wiser and more experienced, and with some fresh new faces thrown into the mix, the 2013 World Youth Chess Championship can only be more exciting than the one this year, so watch this space!

Memorable moments at the Second UNAM Chess Festival in Mexico City!

The second UNAM chess festival, or Gran Fiesta has only just finished, and what a festival it was! The Gran Fiesta ran from November 16th until November 25th, and spectators and contestants alike are still reeling from the tension and excitement of over a week of great chess. Amid the lights and historic edifices of Mexico City, the biggest names in chess, including Magnus Carlsen, Judit Polgar, and Bartlomiej Macieja, and exciting talents such as International Master Olga Alexandrova, met to battle it out! The atmosphere was filled with excitement as thousands of chess fans thronged to observe, to learn, to support the players, and just to have a great time!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was Magnus Carlsen who was finally declared the overall winner. Chess fans were delighted, as Carlsen has strong support and has had a glittering career. Carlsen is the third youngest chess Grandmaster ever, having earned this title when he was just thirteen years old. Now, at the still youthful age of twenty one, he is a formidable opponent, regularly dominating the board. His win at UNAM will certainly go down in history as a notable occasion in Carlsen’s career.

The odds were certainly for Carlsen winning, however despite this forseeable victory, there were a few really tense moments at the UNAM Gran Fiesta this year. For instance, Hungarian Grandmaster Judit Polgar, who won her first international chess tournament at the age of nine, played well as usual in both the rapids and the blindfold tournament. She beat Carlsen in their initial rapid. This early defeat certainly seemed to unsettle Carlsen, and he hastened to up his game and win overall, defeating Polgar by the time the rapids were over. Subtle and smart, Polgar always plays a powerfully intelligent game, and her playing at UNAM this year was certainly no exception. She and Carlsen were a joy to watch as they battled each other, and kept chess fans right on the edges of their seats until the rapids were over.

35 year old Polish Grandmaster Bartlomiej Macieja won the open very cleanly, with some thoughtful and cunning play. This was perhaps a

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particularly interesting aspect of the UNAM event, because, despite being one of the best chess players of all time, Macieja does not always make it to the top spot. He has had some big wins in his career (notably the 2002 European Championship, which was a truly stunning victory) but also some salient losses. Macieje is characterised perhaps by his use of an unobtrusive Giuco Piano to open what is often a deadly game for his opponent. At UNAM, Macieja really did stand head and shoulders above the rest, coming to a clear and well-deserved victory in the open.

Overall, the second UNAM Chess Festival certainly delivered much more than could be hoped for in terms of a pleasant atmosphere, nail-biting games, big names, and memorable moments. All we can say is, roll on the third Gran Fiesta!

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.

World Chess Championships-girls run the world

Those who were there said that the weather was chilly outside but things were getting serious inside the chess arena in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. Beautiful brains got down to work in the 2012 world chess championships for women. Sixty four world class players were participating and it all started on November 11th and will continue till 2nd December. So what are some of the things that avid chess lovers can look forward to during this period? Well there are two six knock out rounds so that you can get to see who gets kicked out first during the initial stages. These rounds are meant to eliminate players till we only have the cream of the crop who will battle it out in the four final stages.

Great names in the world of women’s chess championship are there, one of them being former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova. Sources say that she was not just there for fun. Evidence being that she gave away her pawn, not for a draw, but in an effort to see her through to the quarter final. There were also the smooth operators who attacked swiftly. One of these players is none other than Zhao Xue from China. Her opponent made a mistake that she decided to manoeuvre her success on. India is not to be left out in this game of wit as Harika Dronavalli had material advantage on her side.

You can hold a game but never win – that is what Anna Ushenina from Ukraine proved when she defeated her opponent from Russia. The tie breakers were full of tension as two siblings battled it out. Yes you guessed it right. Nadezhda together with her sister Tatiana were also present. Those who were eliminated in the second round were not that happy but they did show a look of satisfaction that said they came, they saw and gave their best. Well you can still hold on to your queens because it is still not over till the fat lady sings on 2nd December.

Welcome to the Chessimo Blog!

Welcome chess friends. What is this page about? Of course it’s all about chess.

This also means current and historical chess games. We have put some magic into the blog so that you can enjoy commented games without having to imagine all the moves being played.

As a first example here’s one of my favourite games of all time: “Rubinstein’s Immortal Game”, with notes by chess giants Carl Schlechter and Dr. Savielly Tartakower.

[PGN]

[Event “Łódź”]
[Date “1907.??.??”]
[EventDate “?”]
[Round “?”]
[Result “0-1”]
[White “Georg Rotlewi”]
[Black “Akiba Rubinstein”]
[ECO “D32”]
[PlyCount “50”]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.e3 c5 4.c4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.dxc5 ({Tartakower:
Less consistent than} 6.a3) ({or} 6.Bd3 {maintaining as long as
possible the tension in the center.}) Bxc5 7.a3 a6 8.b4 Bd6
9.Bb2 O-O 10.Qd2? {Schlechter: A very bad place for the
queen.} ({The best continuation is} 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Be2 {followed
by O-O}) ({Tartakower: Loss of time. The queen will soon have
to seek a better square (14.Qe2). The most useful move is}
10.Qc2) 10…Qe7! {Schlechter: A fine sacrifice of a pawn.} 11.Bd3
({If} 11.cxd5 exd5 12.Nxd5? Nxd5 13.Qxd5 Rd8! {and Black has a strong
attack.}) ({Schlechter: Better was} 11.cxd5 exd5 12.Be2)
dxc4 12.Bxc4 b5 13.Bd3 Rd8 14.Qe2 Bb7 15.O-O Ne5! {Schlechter:
Introduced by Marshall and Schlechter in a similar
position with opposite colors, but here with the extra move
Rd8.} 16.Nxe5 Bxe5 {Tartakower: Threatening to win a pawn by
17…Bxh2+ 18.Kxh2 Qd6+. White’s next move provides against
this, but loosens the kingside defenses.} 17.f4 Bc7 18.e4 Rac8
19.e5 Bb6+ 20.Kh1 Ng4! 21.Be4 {Schlechter: There is no
defense} ({e.g.} 21.Bxh7+ Kxh7 22.Qxg4 Rd2 {etc.}) ({or} 21.h3 Qh4
22.Qxg4 Qxg4 23.hxg4 Rxd3 {threatening …Rh3 mate and
…Rxc3}) ({or} 21.Qxg4 Rxd3 22.Ne2 Rc2 23.Bc1 g6! {threatening
…h5}) ({or} 21.Ne4 Qh4 22.h3 ({if} 22.g3 Qxh2+ 23.Qxh2 Nxh2 {and
wins}) 22…Rxd3 23.Qxd3 Bxe4 24.Qxe4 Qg3 25.hxg4 Qh4# {mate})
Qh4 22.g3 ({Schlechter: or} 22.h3 Rxc3! 23.Bxc3 Bxe4 24.Qxg4
Qxg4 25.hxg4 Rd3 {wins}) ({Tartakower: the alternative} 22.h3
{parrying the mate, would lead to the following brilliant lines
of play} 22…Rxc3! {an eliminating sacrifice, getting rid of
the knight, which overprotects the bishop on e4} 23.Bxc3 ({or}
23.Qxg4 Rxh3+ 24.Qxh3 Qxh3+ 25.gxh3 Bxe4+ 26.Kh2 Rd2+ 27.Kg3
Rg2+ 28.Kh4 Bd8+ 29.Kh5 Bg6# {mate}) 23…Bxe4+ 24.Qxg4 ({if}
24.Qxe4 Qg3 25.hxg4 Qh4# {mate}) 24…Qxg4 25.hxg4 Rd3 {with the
double threat of 26…Rh3# mate and 26….Rxc3, and Black
wins. Beautiful as are these variations, the continuation in
the text is still more splendid.}) Rxc3!! 23.gxh4 Rd2!!
24.Qxd2 Bxe4+ 25.Qg2 Rh3! {and checkmate with Rxh2 is inevidable…} 0-1

[/PGN]

Enjoy reading!