Pros and cons of the Candidates matches system and organization

Debate arises after the Candidates on short draws and media coverage

Right after the Candidates matches a public debate on the system, coverage, and organization of the WCC cycle was opened. Many chess professionals and enthusiasts gave their opinion on the subject, we present you in chronological order the ones of Silvio Danailov, Georgios Makropoulos, Susan Polgar, Mark Crowther, and Kevin Spraggett.

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Dear All,

I was personally present in Kazan during the Candidates Tournament. These are my conclusions:

The current KO system (short matches) for the Candidates tournament is negative for chess. The reasons are as follows:

1. So far we have 27 draws out of 29 games in classical chess, about 95% (!!). Many of these draws were very short – 12,15,18 etc. moves. Even in rapid games we have draws in 8 (!!!) moves. This is shame and disaster for the image of chess and FIDE. The question is, why didn’t the WCOC introduce the Sofia Rules on time?

2. Some of the players were making short draws on purpose, in order to decide matches in rapid chess or blitz. But the point is that if we have WCC in classical chess, why should we decide the matches in blitz? Knowing very well from the past experience that the KO system leads to and tempts with that, why does the WCOC recommend it?

3. The PR results of Kazan are very poor. With probably small exception of Russia, there doesn’t appear any interest from international Press for this event. This also hurts chess and FIDE.

Conclusion: The WCOC who is responsible for this system failed, and should resign immediately. The FIDE PB should appoint new WCOC on next meeting in Al Ain in order to avoid before mentioned mishaps and to improve the situation in the future.

Best regards,

Silvio Danailov

President of ECU

Full document here

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Dear all,

With great surprise we read the announcement of Mr Silvio Danailov on 25 May, accusing the members of the FIDE World Championship Committee as being responsible for the high percentage of …draws(!) in Kazan. A non-chess reader would really wonder whether the members of the World Championship Committee were the ones playing in the Candidates Matches. Once more Mr Danailov shows no respect to the top players, we hope under his competitive capacity of a player’s manager and not that of ECU President.

If it wasn’t for Mr Danailov ‘s dual role as President of ECU and manager of top players, no reply would have been necessary to this incredible announcement, as its content speaks by itself for the poor quality of his arguments. Everybody in professional chess knows very well that if two grandmasters desire during the game to draw it, there is no way to force them not to. FIDE has valuated various ideas in the past (for example the “no draw offer before move 30″ or the so called “Sofia rule”) but the truth is that applying such regulations to a World Championship Cycle needs further input from the top players and their national federations. Mr Danailov should understand that chess players cannot be whipped to dance to his tune, especially those fighting for the World Championship title.

FIDE is in the process of conducting discussions for future improvements on the format of the cycle and the announcement of Mr Danailov came immediately after receiving such a questionnaire (in his capacity as Veselin Topalov’s manager) from FIDE WCOC member Emil Sutovsky. A couple of weeks ago Mr Danailov also announced his intention to run for FIDE President in 2014. Seeing the opportunity to promote his own political agenda, Mr Danailov abused his position as ECU President and FIDE’s desire for feedback from its top players, to attack through his reply whom he views as “political opponents”, instead of participating constructively in the on-going dialogue for the future World Championship cycles. Mr Danailov has not understood yet that he has been elected to the position of ECU President, with a monthly salary accompanying it, in order to serve all European chess players and not only his future political ambitions in FIDE.

We therefore ask Mr Danailov to participate in the dialogue initiated by the World Championship Committee in a productive manner as nobody else is sharing his rush to connect everything with the FIDE elections in 2014. We also confirm once more that the interests of all top players are protected by FIDE, of course including those of Veselin Topalov.

Best regards,

Georgios Makropoulos

FIDE Deputy President & WCOC Chairman

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The 700 lbs Gorilla Issue, by Susan Polgar

In the past few days, thousands of chess fans gave their opinions about the recently concluded Candidates’ Matches in Kazan. The main complaint was there were too many draws, over 90%. Even the President of ECU, Mr. Danailov, and the Deputy President of FIDE, Mr. Makropoulos, spoke out about this issue.

As someone who competed in Candidates and World Championship matches, Chess Olympiads, and as an organizer of major tournaments in the United States, I am looking at this serious issue from both sides of the coin.

As an organizer, it drives me crazy to spend so much money and time to organize prestigious events to see short draws. It is also nearly impossible to explain it to the sponsors, donors, and chess fans. I do not like it at all.

This is why in the last SPICE Cup, I instituted the 3 point for a win / 1 point for a draw system, in addition to no draw offer before move 30. Because of this, the 2010 SPICE Cup was more exciting than previous years. Everything came down to the final round. It was a dream for an organizer.

For invitational events where the organizers pay excellent conditions to the players, I full support these measurements to ensure exciting chess.

Now we will look at the other side from the perspective of a player. We must examine this with various types of events. I will select three for this discussion:

1. Open tournaments

Players usually must pay for entry fees, food, hotel, and transportation costs (This is mostly the case in the United States where professional players are usually not very much respected. In fact, they have to even bring their own chess set, board, and clock to tournaments.) when they compete in an open tournament. Once in a while, there may be some small conditions to top level players but this is in the minority.

If someone pays their own costs to participate in an open event, who are we to say that he / she cannot offer or accept short draws, especially when their rent money is on the line? It is the difference between being able to pay rent / mortgage versus being homeless, literally!

The fans can say all they want but if a player can win $5,000, $10,000, or more by accepting a draw versus getting a few hundred bucks or even nothing if they lose, almost every professional player will take the draw. Their number one obligation is to themselves and their families, not to the fans or sponsors since there is usually none in these tournaments (in the United States).

This is the sad state of chess where most professional players struggle mightily financially. This is why so many promising juniors quit chess at an early age, especially in America, because they understand that this is not a way to make a living.

2. Chess Olympiads

National federations usually pay to send their national teams to compete for medals. What is the objective of any team? The answer should be to win medals, especially the Gold medal. I won 10 of them (5 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze) playing on board 1. My job was always to put my team in the best position to win. That means playing for 2 results in every game. It is usually up to the team captain to decide on the game by game strategy.

So if this is the case, who are we to say that a team cannot offer or accept quick draws if it helps to clinch a medal, especially gold? Now if there is a sponsor for a national team, would that sponsor prefer to see the team win medals or no short draws?

3. Candidates or World Championship Matches

What is the objective of the Candidates Matches? To advance to the next match and to eventually challenge the World Champion. Most players dedicate their whole lives for this opportunity.

What is the objective of the World Championship match? To win the World Championship crown. This is the ultimate goal for top level professional players. Only a few handful of players accomplish this.

A lot of time, effort, energy, and money are spent in both of these types of matches. Every player has a second and sometimes a team of seconds. They work with the seconds long before and during the matches. These people do not work for free. It is a very expensive process and cycle.

Every player and every team want to win. In this case, who are we to say how they should win? If a player is really ill and on that particular day, he / she has black. If you are in the same position and for whatever reason, your opponent offer you a draw after 20 moves, would you take it when you can hardly focus or see the board? Or would you say no way because I would be letting my fans down?

Again, each player is playing for the ultimate title. Shouldn’t he or she have the right to choose the best path to get to the endgame which is to win the big one?

The other side of the argument from the organizers and fans is if players chicken out and play safe all the time, chess will lose sponsors. They have a point too. When you have boring events, the sport will suffer.

I agree. This is why we have a stalemate.

Some fans suggest that since there is no draw in tennis, basketball, football, baseball, or other major sports, the same thing apply to chess.

Again, let me inject the other side of the coin.

There is no draw in tennis but some players do tank on purpose. If a player is not comfortable on a certain surface, he / she sometimes give half an effort just to collect the paycheck, rest, and head to the next event. It happened on many occasions between the French Open and Wimbledon.

In basketball, football, and baseball, many managers and head coaches rest their starters when their teams already clinched a spot in the playoff. They want to make sure their stars are on their A game when the games really matter. This happens every year.

And in the examples I pointed out above, the fans pay good money to see these games where in chess games can be viewed online for free. So what is worse? Taking short draws in chess or giving only half an effort in other sports?

I am not trying to defend either position. I merely point out the many different angles of this debate.

Full opinion by Susan Polgar here

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Mark Crowther on the Candidates in TWIC

Boris Gelfand qualified for a World Chess Championships Match against Viswanthan Anand by winning the final game of his match against Alexander Grischuk. Gelfand and Grischuk clearly played the best chess in the event and Gelfand was in the end a worthy winner.

Post-Match discussion has centred round the amount of draws in the event. Whilst there is obviously some concern as to whether computer chess preparation is going to completely ruin the game, I think there are some more pressing issues.

Firstly, this Candidates could have been the most brilliant event ever and the mainstream press wouldn’t have known. I had thought one of the main reasons of signing a deal with the company “Chess Lane” which happened around the time of the last Olympiad was to promote the World Championship. Instead they seem to have disappeared altogether.

So it was up to FIDE. I was caught some Formula 1 TV coverage over the weekend. I find this “sport” tedious in the extreme and don’t have much interest. Indeed what many say they feel about chess. But what they do is market their sport to as wide an audience as possible. We do know there is some appetite still for chess stories in the mainstream media, but FIDE gave their own championship no chance. Because they did nothing. Press kits? Contact mainstream media? Press releases? Anything? Chess has really lived off Fischer and then Kasparov for the approaching 50 years, Magnus Carlsen is making some progress for some mainstream recognition but more needs to be done. All sport is promoted through its players.

Kazan did a good job in filming the event, something they clearly do for the many sports they promote. The Candidates was used as a promo for the Universiade 2013. So the World Chess Championship Candidates has now fallen some way below a Universities event in importance, an event I’d never heard of before.

Also how can the World Chess Championship be taken seriously when the Candidates and World Chess Championships are seen as something that FIDE need to organise in order not to have a crisis rather than the showcase for the game they should be. To criticise the players when most of them did nothing but prepare for the last 6 months is to miss the point entirely.

If you organise a half-assed event with a poor format you’re pretty much asking for a miracle for the players to make it better than it deserves. Matches need to be a lot longer to allow players to take risks (and that also applies to the world championships) and also to start to break the preparation of their opponents. In fact matches need to be longer because that’s the only way they work. What we saw was more akin to the end of a World Cup or the FIDE Knockout a format that has comprehensively failed.

As it was the many draws were as a result of the players trying to do the very best for themselves. The entire point of sport. Maybe a Candidates tournament would be a more entertaining format. But this is to take nothing away from Gelfand, I don’t think anyone played better than him in Kazan and his final round win shows the level of preparation he had in his arsenal. If FIDE can get sponsors for the match I think he will give Anand a good run for his money.

Full details in TWIC 864

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Kevin Spraggett on the Candidates

The great Capablanca (world champion from 1921 to 1927) once proposed changing the rules of chess , including making the board bigger by adding on a couple of rows, arguing that chess was beginning to be worked out a little too much for a board game.

While this is an interesting but controversial idea, I don’t adhere to it nor do I see this as being the underlying reason why there were so many draws in Kazen (or in most top-level tournaments for that matter). I think that any match between 2 high level players should demonstrate the difficulty–if not impossibility– in winning game after game: having more draws than decisive games is only logical. After all, how many tennis matches between great players lasts 5 hours or more?

While it is true that databases and up-to-date information has made competition in chess tournaments a more balanced field, the nature of the struggle in chess has not changed very much. My own perspective is that most of the safe-playing demonstrated by the top players in Kazen is the result of fear of losing ELO rating points (as opposed to losing the game).

Should FIDE allow these top level qualification tournaments/matches NOT to be rated? I think so…I believe that the players would begin to play riskier openings and at the same time no fear losing their international status. Everyone –spectators included–would be satisfied by the result, I think….

More on the opinion of Kevin Spraggett

Russia team for Ningbo announced

Grischuk, Nepomniachtchi, Karjakin, Svidler and Vitiugov to play

Russian Chess Federation has announced the lineup which will represent the country at the World Chess Team Championship 2011 in Ningbo, China.

The team will consist of Candidate Matches finalist Alexander Grischuk, 2010 European champion and reigning Russian champion Ian Nepomniachtchi, Russian vice-champion Sergey Karjakin, five-times national champion Peter Svidler and Nikita Vitiugov.

Reigning European champion Vladimir Potkin is not invited, while Vladimir Kramnik asked earlier to be excused from the World Team Championship.

Alexander Grischuk sq 3

Alexander Grischuk

Captain Evgeny Bareev and young professional Alexander Riazantsev will act as trainers. Chairman of the Russian Chess Federation Ilya Levitov is leading the delegation.

Russia’s ambition is to defend the title which they won at the previous World Team in Bursa, Turkey. A training camp will be held from 2nd to 10th July, when the team is flying to Ningbo for acclimatization. The first round will be played on 17th July.

India team for Ningbo

Azerbaijan team for Ningbo

Israel team for Ningbo

Ukraine team for Ningbo

Hungary team for Ningbo

FIDE President visiting Nigeria

Meeting with General Director of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF)

On 30 May, FIDE President arrived on a working visit to Nigeria, where in Abuja city he participated in the ceremony of inauguration of newly elected President of Nigeria Jonathan Goodluck.

The same day Kirsan Ilyumzhinov met with Mr. Asishana Okauru, General Director of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). During the meeting the leaders discussed the issues related to mutually beneficial cooperation between Nigeria and FIDE. It was noted in the interview with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov that the current year has been declared by him as the Year of Africa, a range of events aimed at promotion and popularization of chess in the African continent are planned for this year.

According to Ilyumzhinov, FIDE gives special attention to the inclusion of chess in school curriculum and the institutions of higher education.

FIDE Abuja

“In my opinion, along with economic problems and poverty reduction in Africa, no less important attention should be paid to the programmes developing children’s intelligence. The inclusion of chess into the school curriculum will certainly have a positive and lasting effect,” said Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Following the meeting, the leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding, under which FIDE and NGF will hold a preparatory event for the signing of the Agreement to promote chess in all 36 provinces of Nigeria. It is assumed that such Agreement will be signed in July this year. Tomorrow FIDE President will meet with the President of Nigeria Jonathan Goodluck.

Baira Tsedenova

Elista FIDE Office

Beijing grabs the lead in the Chinese League 2011

Rounds 4-6 played in Chengdu on 26-28th May

Chinese League 2011 is taking place from 12th April to 6th December. Ten teams compete in the double round robin system with 18 rounds, divided into weekends throughout the year. Rounds 4-6 were played in Chengdu on 26-28th May.

The matches are played on five individual boards (three men, two women), and the tournament system is not strict on following the names’ order in the basic roster, thus each team is shuffling the players for the next round. The earlier leaders Shanghai won only one match allowing the team of Beijing to take over the helm. Full individual scores bellow the images.

Round 6 standings:

Team / Matches / Wins / Draws / Losses / Match Points / Ind. Points

1. Beijing / 6 / 5 / 0 / 1 / 10 / 17.5

2. Shanghai / 6 / 4 / 1 / 1 / 9 / 18.5

3. Shandong / 6 / 3 / 1 2 / 7 / 18.5

4. Tianjin / 6 / 3 / 1 / 2 / 7 / 16

5. Zhejiang / 6 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 6 / 15.5

6. Qingdao / 6 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 6 / 14.5

7. Jiangsu / 6 / 2 / 1 / 3 / 5 / 15

8. Hebei / 6 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 13.5

9. Sichuan / 6 / 0 / 4 / 2 / 4 / 12

10. Chongqing / 6 / 0 / 2 / 4 / 2 / 9

More information

CHN Beijing vs Jiangsu

Beijing vs Jiangsu

CHN Harika Dronavalli vs Hou Yifan

Harika Dronavalli vs Women World Champion Hou Yifan

CHN Wang Yue

Wang Yue

CHN Zhang Xiaowen

Reigning China champion Zhang Xiaowen

Wang Jue

Wang Jue

CHN Ding Liren

Reigning China champion Ding Liren

CHN Yu Yangyi

Yu Yangyi, winner of the recent 2nd Danzhou GM Chess Tournament

CHN Yu Lie

Yu Lie (Photos by Fan Lulu and Tahl)

Round 4 results:

Beijing - Chongqing 3 : 2

Xiu Deshun 2508 - GM Motylev Alexander 2696 1 – 0

GM Yu Yangyi 2652 - IM Gao Rui 2435 ½ – ½

GM Li Chao B 2646 - Wang Chen 2435 1 – 0

IM Wang Yu A 2398 - WGM Huang Qian 2394 0 – 1

GM Zhao Xue 2495 - WGM Tan Zhongyi 2428 ½ – ½

Jiangsu - Shandong 1½:3½

FM Wei Yi 2270 - GM Bu Xiangzhi 2677 0 – 1

Yu Ruiyuan 2439 - GM Zhao Jun 2580 0 – 1

GM Xu Jun 2486 - GM Wen Yang 2545 ½ – ½

Guo Qi 2331 - GM Hou Yifan 2602 0 – 1

WGM Shen Yang 2443 - WGM Gu Xiaobing 2369 1 – 0

Qingdao - Shanghai 2 : 3

GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 2635 - GM Ni Hua 2646 ½ – ½

IM Wang Shuai 2424 - GM Zhou Jianchao 2660 ½ – ½

Ma Zhonghan 2262 - IM Lou Yiping 2446 1 – 0

WIM Gong Qianyun 2232 - WGM Ju Wenjun 2519 0 – 1

WIM Pham Le Thao Nguyen 2340 - WGM Zhang Xiaowen 2344 0 – 1

Sichuan - Tianjin 2½:2½

IM Wu Xibin 2360 - IM Liu Qingnan 2435 1 – 0

GM Malakhov Vladimir 2704 - GM Wang Yue 2734 ½ – ½

FM Chen Fan 2345 - Li Haoyu 2386 1 – 0

IM Harika Dronavalli 2520 - WGM Ning Chunhong 2313 0 – 1

Nie Xin 1970 - GM Danielian Elina 2506 0 – 1

Zhejiang - Hebei 2½:2½

GM Ding Liren 2637 - GM Wang Hao 2728 1 – 0

Lu Shanglei 2456 - Wan Yunguo 2458 0 – 1

IM Yu Lie 2404 - GM Wang Rui 2437 ½ – ½

WIM Wang Xiaohui 2218 - WFM Zhai Mo 2136 ½ – ½

WGM Ding Yixin 2376 - Wang Doudou 2182 ½ – ½

Round 5 results:

Hebei - Beijing 2 : 3

GM Wang Hao 2728 - GM Li Chao B 2646 ½ – ½

Wan Yunguo 2458 - Xiu Deshun 2508 0 – 1

GM Wang Rui 2437 - GM Yu Yangyi 2652 ½ – ½

WFM Zhai Mo 2136 - Wang Jue 2275 1 – 0

Wang Doudou 2182 - GM Zhao Xue 2495 0 – 1

Tianjin - Zhejiang 4 : 1

IM Liu Qingnan 2435 - IM Yu Lie 2404 1 – 0

GM Wang Yue 2734 - Lu Shanglei 2456 1 – 0

Li Haoyu 2386 - GM Ding Liren 2637 0 – 1

WGM Ning Chunhong 2313 - WGM Ding Yixin 2376 1 – 0

GM Danielian Elina 2506 - GM Xu Yuhua 2484 1 – 0

Shanghai - Sichuan 2½:2½

GM Zhou Jianchao 2660 - GM Malakhov Vladimir 2704 ½ – ½

GM Ni Hua 2646 - FM Chen Fan 2345 ½ – ½

Lu Yijie 2378 - IM Wu Xibin 2360 0 – 1

WGM Zhang Xiaowen 2344 - Ren Xiaoyi 0 1 – 0

WGM Ju Wenjun 2519 - IM Harika Dronavalli 2520 ½ – ½

Shandong - Qingdao 4 : 1

GM Bu Xiangzhi 2677 - Xu Hanbing 2378 1 – 0

GM Wen Yang 2545 - Ma Zhonghan 2262 1 – 0

GM Zhao Jun 2580 - GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 2635 1 – 0

GM Hou Yifan 2602 - WIM Gong Qianyun 2232 1 – 0

WGM Gu Xiaobing 2369 - WIM Pham Le Thao Nguyen 2340 0 – 1

Chongqing - Jiangsu 2½:2½

IM Gao Rui 2435 - GM Xu Jun 2486 ½ – ½

Zeng Chongsheng 2426 - Yu Ruiyuan 2439 ½ – ½

GM Motylev Alexander 2696 - FM Wei Yi 2270 1 – 0

WGM Huang Qian 2394 - WGM Shen Yang 2443 0 – 1

WGM Tan Zhongyi 2428 - Guo Qi 2331 ½ – ½

Round 6 results:

Beijing - Jiangsu 1½:3½

GM Yu Yangyi 2652 - GM Xu Jun 2486 1 – 0

GM Li Chao B 2646 - Yu Ruiyuan 2439 0 – 1

Xiu Deshun 2508 - FM Wei Yi 2270 ½ – ½

GM Zhao Xue 2495 - WGM Shen Yang 2443 0 – 1

Wang Jue 2275 - Guo Qi 2331 0 – 1

Qingdao - Chongqing 2½:2½

Ma Zhonghan 2262 - GM Motylev Alexander 2696 ½ – ½

GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 2635 - Zeng Chongsheng 2426 1 – 0

Xu Hanbing 2378 - IM Gao Rui 2435 0 – 1

WIM Pham Le Thao Nguyen 2340 - WGM Huang Qian 2394 0 – 1

WIM Gong Qianyun 2232 - WGM Tan Zhongyi 2428 1 – 0

Sichuan - Shandong 2½:2½

FM Chen Fan 2345 - GM Bu Xiangzhi 2677 0 – 1

IM Wu Xibin 2360 - GM Zhao Jun 2580 0 – 1

GM Malakhov Vladimir 2704 - GM Wen Yang 2545 1 – 0

Nie Xin 1970 - WGM Gu Xiaobing 2369 1 – 0

IM Harika Dronavalli 2520 - GM Hou Yifan 2602 ½ – ½

Zhejiang - Shanghai 3½:1½

Lu Shanglei 2456 - GM Zhou Jianchao 2660 1 – 0

IM Yu Lie 2404 - IM Lou Yiping 2446 1 – 0

GM Ding Liren 2637 - GM Ni Hua 2646 ½ – ½

WIM Wang Xiaohui 2218 - WGM Zhang Xiaowen 2344 ½ – ½

WGM Ding Yixin 2376 - WGM Ju Wenjun 2519 ½ – ½

Hebei - Tianjin 2 : 3

GM Wang Rui 2437 - IM Liu Qingnan 2435 0 – 1

GM Wang Hao 2728 - Li Haoyu 2386 1 – 0

Wan Yunguo 2458 - GM Wang Yue 2734 0 – 1

Wang Doudou 2182 - WGM Ning Chunhong 2313 0 – 1

WFM Zhai Mo 2136 - GM Danielian Elina 2506 1 – 0

Whirlwind Rapid Play Ends International Match

Nakamura – Ponomariov 6.5-3.5, Robson – Finegold 6-4

Tornado warnings sent the four grandmasters in the international match to the basement more than once at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis Wednesday, but the unusual had already hit the boards. Article by Ken West.

GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Ray Robson each won with black in the first of their two rapid games on the final day of competition. Nakamura finished with a 6.5 to 3.5 score against former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov and Robson had a 6 to 4 score over Ben Finegold.

In the first of two rapid games, Nakamura played the Slav against GM Ruslan Ponomariov’s d4, and GM Ben Finegold played d4 followed by Nc3 on his second move, the Veresov, according to commentator WGM Jen Shahade.

Ponomariov may have been thrown off his game briefly as he had never experienced a tornado. As the games were halted, he joined others and watched as the weather maps lit up red, which signified tornado warnings. In the meantime, his second, GM Ivan Salgado Lopez of Spain and GM Alejandro Ramirez played blitz during the delay. Once play resumed, Nakamura was able to quickly dispatch the former FIDE World Champion.

Mainz09 14

Hikaru Nakamura

But Ponomariov provided tornado action in the final rapid match, busting out the Benko, an opening IM John Donaldson said was one of the Ukrainian’s childhood favorites.

“I wanted to have some fun because I already lost the match,” Ponomariov said. “Why not have fun?” He said he thought it would be an easier line for him to play since he knew it. “Somehow even in this game, Hikaru played faster than me,” Ponomariov said.

The young Ukrainian expressed thanks for “such an opportunity to play such games.” Discussing about what he learned from the match, Ponomariov talked about Nakamura’s play. “It’s interesting to see Hikaru fights in every game and finds ways to put pressure on the position,” he said.

He also will talk about his experience and the organization of the match when he returns to Ukraine. He asked about DVDS “to show, not just tell” about the club and the event.

Nakamura also complimented the former world champion on his play. The Saint Louis grandmaster noted he was usually the one dealing with jet lag and time zone changes to play such matches. “I think Ruslan was better prepared than me in general,” he said. “I think I was a bit fortunate, especially game three.”

Ben Finegold said the weather break gave the GMs a rare opportunity. “We got to chat a little bit,” the club’s resident GM said. But the chatting did not get in the way of chess. In their first game, Finegold and Robson played 97 moves before the game settled.

“The candidates matches – the players should be ashamed of themselves,” Finegold said about several short draws. “Hikaru played for wins, Ruslan played aggressive chess and Ray played for the win.”

Finegold pointed out there were draw offers in their games, but there also was a draw by the 50-move rule and repetition of the position.

Asked about what he learned from the match, the young Robson said he had to improve every aspect of his game.

The next event at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is the U.S. Junior Closed Championship from June 15-25.

1st Alimini Village International Open

Grandmaster Sabino Brunello leader after six rounds

The 1st Alimini Village International Open is taking place from 21st to 28th May in Otranto, Italy. 42 players in Open A and 28 in Group B compete over the nine rounds of Swiss pairings.

Grandmaster Sabino Brunello defeated IM Fabio Bruno after 5 hours of fierce fighting to take the sole lead in the tournament on the eve of the sixth round.

Meanwhile, on the top board Grandmasters Arthur Kogan and Michele Godena played until the naked Kings! They are joined on the shared second place by GM Oleg Korneev, who scored in a wild game against IM Claude Adrian.

Otranto Michele Godena

GM Michele Godena

Prizes in Open A: 1° place € 1.300, 2° place € 900, 3° place € 700, 4° place € 600, 5° place € 500, 6° place € 500, 7° place € 400, 8° place € 400, 9° place € 250, 10° place € 250

Prizes in Open B: 1° place € 600, 2° place € 300, 3° place € 200, 4° place € 100, 5° place € 100, 6° place € 100, 7° place € 100, 8° place € 100, 9° place € 50, 10° place € 50

Round 6 standings:

1. GM Brunello Sabino 2537 ITA - 5.0

2-4. GM Korneev Oleg 2573 RUS, GM Kogan Artur 2556 ISR and GM Godena Michele 2528 ITA – 4.5

5-12. GM Naumkin Igor 2506 RUS, IM Bruno Fabio 2459 ITA, GM Drazic Sinisa 2486 SRB, GM Lazic Miroljub 2471 SRB, Codenotti Marco 2284 ITA, WIM Brunello Marina 2177 ITA, IM Shytaj Luca 2494 ITA and IM Adrian Claude 2267 – 4.0 etc

On 29th May Grandmaster Sabino Brunello will hold a simultaneous exhibition open to all interested players in one of the central squares of Otranto.

Tournament website

Otranto Oleg Korneev

GM Oleg Korneev

Otranto Miroljub Lazic

GM Miroljub Lazic

Otranto playing hall

The playing hall

Gelfand – Grischuk, Candidates Matches final 2011 game 6 LIVE!

Live commentary by GM Arkadij Naiditsch

Game 6 from the Candidates matches final between Gelfand and Grischuk will be commented live by GM Arkadij Naiditsch and the Chess Evolution team on The games start at 13:00 CET, join us for live analysis of the Candidates.

First exciting game in the Candidates matches final

Video analysis by GM Henrik Danielsen

The first exciting game from the Candidates matches final analyzed by GM Danielsen. The score is currently level, as tomorrow is the final game of the match. The winner will play against Viswanathan Anand for the World Championship 2012.

Part 1

Part 2

More video at:

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Grischuk – Gelfand, Candidates Matches final 2011 game 5 LIVE!

Live commentary by GM Arkadij Naiditsch

The fifth encounter from the Candidates matches final between Gelfand and Grischuk will be commented live by GM Arkadij Naiditsch and the Chess Evolution team on The games start at 13:00 CET, join us for live analysis of the Candidates.