In trying to get back into chess regularly, I’ve spent my days at work with the Chess.com streaming broadcast of the FTX Crypto Cup. The games in this tournament so far have ranged from inspiring to head scratching. The roster itself is a who’s who of the best in chess from around the world. Carlsen, Nakamura, So, Giri, and Caruana are just some of the big names rounding out this Champions Chess Tour event. Each player is competing for a chance to participate in the tour’s finale starting on September 25th.
The preliminary round of the FTX Crypto Cup was quite an experience. Magnus Carlsen struggled through much of the round while Fabiano Caruana, who made it a point to tell everyone that he hadn’t played a game of online chess all year, absolutely dominated with a score of 10/15! Carlsen eventually managed to squeak by with a score of 8.5.
The projected Semifinals pairings are Carlsen-Radjabov and Nepomniachtchi-So. I was originally cheering for Nakamura or Caruana but since they’ve been eliminated from the tournament, my money’s on Carlsen.
The Quarter Finals began on May 26th and lasted for two days. Carlsen and Nakamura traded blows back and forth but it was ultimately Magnus that will advance to the Semifinals, which begin later today.
You can watch the games with commentary on ChessTV or the official broadcast on Chess24.
Another US Chess Championship has come and gone with GM Hikaru Nakamura claiming his 5th national championship title! There was a last minute push by former champion GM Fabiano Caruana, but he was unable to hold off a draw with GM Sam Shankland. Going into the tournament final, Nakamura and Caruana were tied with Leinier Dominguez for first place, but Nakamura was able to pound out a fine win to reclaim the title.
I was impressed with Nakamura’s performance considering that he also streamed regularly on his Twitch channel during the competition!
Just two days prior, 17-year old Jennifer Yu improved over her 2018 6.5/11 result to claim the title of 2019 US Women’s Chess Champion. Yu’s play was as solid as anything we’ve ever seen from her; solidifying her place among the great modern female chess players.
Congratulations to both players for a job well done! Read more on the official press releases (Nakamura)(Yu) on the official US Chess website.
A new advertisement by Red Bull energy drinks features a man playing chess against a very Cylon-esq robot. Touting its technological superiority, the robot tells the man that he is capable of forecasting his game by 90 trillion moves. Undeterred, the man gulps down a Red Bull which causes the robot to succumb to the man’s psychological warfare tactics by repeating simply, not fair…not fair…not fair. While Red Bull will most likely not allow you to beat such a robot, it is cool to see the company embracing the game in addition to its sponsorship of GM Hikaru Nakamura.
The 2016 Candidates Tournament, which has been mined in controversy, is finally over. In a triumphant return to the world chess stage, Sergey Karjakin of Russia has earned the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the World Chess Championship in New York City. Karjakin finished the tournament with a solid win over American GM Fabiano Caruana. After holding a relatively balanced position for most of the game, Caruana blundered a critical rook move:
Carlsen remains a clear favorite to retain his title, but Karjakin has an opportunity to snatch it away from Norway and bring it back to Mother Russia, whose state-funded system dominated world chess for almost a century. Congratulations and praise poured out from the community following the win.
Vishy Anand, who challenged Carlsen in 2014 and looked poised to return to the championship at certain points in the tournament, showed an amazing depth of class by symbolically passing the torch on to Karjakin via Twitter.
As if this tournament did not already have enough oddities and challenges associated with it, Anish Giri managed to draw every one of his games in the tournament, a staggering 14/14 drawn games! Family, friends, and fans watched as Giri went from a theoretical challenger to the world champion to the subject of memes and jokes spread across the blogosphere.
Perhaps nothing besides Agon’s coverage policy was as disappointing as Hikaru Nakamura’s performance in the tournament. The American GM, who was among the candidates high on the list to challenge Magnus Carlsen, literally imploded. He regained some ground in the later rounds, but it was not enough to catch Karjakin, Caruana, and Anand who had pulled well ahead of their competitors.
GM Hikaru Nakamura will have to wait another cycle. (Image Credit: FIDE)
Final Standings Crosstable (Image Credit: Chessbase)
Now the chess world turns its attention to Norway Chess as the next major tournament gets set to begin in just a few short months. Check out the entire collection of games from the 2016 Candidates Tournament below: