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Norway Chess 2015

An incredibly strong event is taking place in Norway right now, featuring 8 of FIDE’s current top 10 players, including World Champion Magnus Carlsen and US player Hikaru Nakamura.

From Wikipedia:

  1.  Magnus Carlsen (Norway)
  2.  Viswanathan Anand (India)
  3.  Levon Aronian (Armenia)
  4.  Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria)
  5.  Hikaru Nakamura (USA)
  6.  Fabiano Caruana (Italy)
  7.  Alexander Grischuk (Russia)
  8.  Anish Giri (Netherlands)
  9.  Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France)
  10.  Jon Ludvig Hammer (Norway)

The pairings for the event were determined by a one day Blitz tournament, which was won by Vachier-Lagrave. His only loss was to Nakamura, who finished 2nd. Nakamura suffered two losses – one from his nemesis, Carlsen, and the other from Alexander Grischuk.

Today was the first round, and with 4 decisive results the tournament promises to be one for the books.

CLICK HERE to replay all the games. Spoiler alert – Carlsen lost to Topalov! (ok, he lost on time, but still…)


NY Scholastic Championships

The 48th NY State Scholastic Championships chess tournament recently completed this weekend in Saratoga Springs.

The top section (High School) was won by Joshua Colas (5.5/6).  Sixth grader Marcus Miyaska (2265) won Junior High, and fifth grader Wesley Wang took the Elementary section on tiebreaks. Who did he tie with? Someone familiar to Vassar-Chadwick – Brandon Wang!

Congratulations to Brandon for being the 2nd best (only on a technicality) Elementary school chess player in the great state of New York. An impressive accomplishment.

Nakamura tops in Gibraltar

At the recently completed Gibraltar Masters, Nakamura took first with 8.5/10, and a $30K (in US) check. You can see his games here; of special note is his nice win over Topalov, and a missed win as Black in a rook endgame against David Howell…apparently there’s an endgame technique known as the Vancura defense that would have helped here. Even the world elite can’t remember everything in endgame theory – and who can blame them, the endgame is boring! Personal opinion, of course…ironically, one of the games featured in that Vancura article is a demonstration of Nakamura utilizing it to draw against Radjabov.

In other news, here is a Jeopardy-like question for you:

This Latvian GM has recently defeated world champion Magnus Carlsen two games in a row.

Give up?

Why not check game #1 and game #2 to see for yourself?

London Chess Classic 2014 has started

The format is a little confusing, as it includes multiple tournaments under the LCC umbrella. This weekend (12/6-7) is the Super Rapidplay Open, featuring a rare mix of woodpushers and super-GMs. The super-GMs will battle amongst themselves starting 12/10. The lineup:

London Chess classic superGM lineupIn the first round of the rapid play, the top players all won. There was an upset however, as Nigel Short drew against a “lowly” 2350.

Nakamura, with black in the first game, continues to play just about anything in the opening. This time it was: 1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 f5, which I suppose is a strange way to get to a Dutch.

The official site is well laid out, and you can watch (and replay) live games there.

Catching up on chess news

Posting has been sparse lately, so here is a collection of recent stories that may be of interest to the club.

1. In the recently completed Millionaire Chess event in Las Vegas, I noticed that Vassar-Chadwick member Darius Jafary played in the Under 1800 section, and did well (4/7). Was that enough to recover the $1000+ entry fee? We’ll have to ask him next time we see him at the club (and if he’s wearing a fancy new suit, the answer is probably yes)

DariusBy the way, the overall winner of the tournament was Wesley So, who took home $100,000! That can buy an awful lot of chess opening books…

2. Also recently completed, the Baku Grand Prix, featuring 12 of the strongest players in the world, was won (jointly) by (champion of the white hairs) Boris Gelfand and (on fire, almost unstoppable) Fabiano Caruana.

Nakamura ended with a respectable 6/11 in the round robin, although with an uncharacteristic number of draws.

3. The World Junior, taking place in India, is still going on (it’s a 13 round tournament!). Yesterday was a rest day, and Chessbase has a nice pictorial report.

The only representative from the United States in the Open section is William Fisher, an incredibly strong junior player from NYC who we’ve had the pleasure to see come to our club events over the last month. I wish the USCF would advertise his participation.

Fisher at World Junior 2014

That’s all for now…

2014 NY State Championship

The recently completed 2014 NY State Chess Championship featured some members of the Vassar-Chadwick club (as well as others from neighboring clubs).

GM Gata Kamsky won the Open section (not really a surprise) with 5.5 out of 6 – his only draw was against GM Maxim Dlugy, who shared 2nd place (4.5) with IM Jay Bonin. Recent NY transplant, IM Timothy Taylor, took a share of 4th place, and pocketed only $100 for his efforts. I don’t know if there’s a solution to this problem (lack of financial reward for top players in tournament play), but the current state of affairs is pretty bleak when a weekend of minimum wage is more lucrative than high-end chess in one of the top states in the country.

Enough about that. On to more results…

In the Under 2100 section, Middletown club member Mike Semel finished with 2.5, our own Ken Evans ended with 2.0, and Dr. Fisher, after “castling queenside” (0-0-0) in rounds 3-5, went home with 1.0….it’s a tough tournament, no doubt about it.

In the Under 1800 section, Darius Jafary ended with 3.0 and Middletown’s Howard Jacobus finished with 2.0.

If I missed any member or other known personality, let me know in the comments.

See the official site for full results. (Thanks to Ernie for the link)