Posted May 11, 2022 in News

Rest in Peace, GM Yuri Averbahk

The chess world suffered a major loss earlier this week with the death of Russian Grandmaster Yuri Averbakh. GM Averbakh was born in 1922 in Kaluga, Russia, and was the oldest living (and first centenarian) Grandmaster after recently celebrating his 100th birthday on February 8th of this year. He was the chairman of the Soviet Chess Federation from 1973 to 1978 and was the Soviet Chess Champion in 1954, just two years after earning his International Grandmaster title.

Yuri’s contributions to the chess world evolved over the years but he remained active in the game until his death. After rising to the top of Soviet chess and finding himself equal with the likes of greats like Boris Spassky and Mark Taimanov, he became a major contributor to the world of chess literature. He was known as an expert on endgame theory and was a major editor of the Soviet chess magazines Shakhmaty v SSSR and Shakhmatny Bulletin.

In addition to being a well-known endgame tactician, Yuri is also known throughout the chess world for his attacking style, as indicated in this game (notes by Yuri).

Posted February 28, 2022 in News

FIDE Crushes Russia and Belarus

Today, on February 27, 2022, an extraordinary meeting of the FIDE Council was held on the current situation and the urgent measures to be taken after the military action launched by Russia in Ukraine.

As stated by the FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, the FIDE Council regards its main mission in preserving the unity of FIDE and respecting the basic human rights enshrined in the FIDE Charter.

In this regard, the FIDE Council has adopted a number of important emergency decisions.

FIDE Council approves the following statement condemning the military action:

  • “FIDE expresses its grave concern about the military action started by Russia in Ukraine. FIDE stands united against wars as well as condemns any use of military means to resolve political conflicts. FIDE will take any necessary action to ensure the security of chess players and other members of the chess community. No official FIDE chess competitions and events will be held in Russia and Belarus.”
  • Following the call from IOC, the FIDE Council decides that no Russian and Belarusian national flag be displayed or anthem be played in all FIDE-rated international chess events. Instead – the national chess federation’s flag or the official symbol/logo shall be used. A simplified procedure for performing under the FIDE flag would be followed where it is crucial for the players or any other chess officials under the current geopolitical situation.
  • In order to safeguard FIDE from reputational, financial, and any other possible risks, FIDE terminates all existing sponsorship agreements with any Belarusian and Russian sanctioned and/or state-controlled companies and will not enter into new sponsorship agreements with any such companies.
  • FIDE Council condemns any public statement from any member of the chess community which supports unjustified military action and brings the case of chess grandmasters Sergey Karjakin and Sergey Shipov to the Ethics and Disciplinary Commission.
Sergey Karjakin deleted this tweet, but the internet never forgets. It’s my opinion that this lowlife garbage should never play in an international tournament again.

The FIDE Council reaffirms the FIDE Congress dates, welcomes the AICF’s bid to host the 44th Chess Olympiad, and suggests 10 days for other bids.

The FIDE Council suggests that regardless of the organization of the Chess Olympiad 2022, FIDE will organize the annual FIDE Congress during the previously planned dates – from 27.07.2022. till 02.08.2022. with the election date on 01.08.2022.

The preference is to combine the FIDE Congress with the Chess Olympiad 2022. However, consultations with the potential organizers of the Chess Olympiad 2022 will be carried out and adjustment of the FIDE Congress dates is possible if it does not imply a notable delay of elections. The FIDE Council confirms that the continental elections shall be organized within their constitutional terms.

The FIDE Council confirms its commitment to the continuation of all the established development programs for national federations, zones, continents, and affiliated organizations.

Posted January 20, 2022 in News, US Chess

US Chess Endorses Tornelo

US Chess announced on January 12, 2022 that the executive board is officially endorsing online tournament manager Tornelo.

It’s no secret that cheating is a big problem in online chess. One only need to glance at the monthy stats sent out by Chess.com to see how many player accounts (including titled players) are closed for fair play violations. It’s one reason that many chess federations are reluctant to fully embrace online tournaments.

In an odd twist of fate, online tournaments have gone “viral” in the past few years and more governing bodies are growing to accept them. The United States Chess Federation (USCF) has sanctioned online tournaments via Chess.com for several years now, but they recently took a step to improve the integrity of these events and to consolidate tournament management across the federation.

I have to admit that I’ve never heard of Tornelo, so I had to do a little bit of research to fully understand what this means for chess. In a nutshell, Tornelo is an online tournament managing system built for both in-person and online play. It has some robust anti-cheat elements embedded in their management system that will make it easier for players to report potential cheaters early in a tournament. This in turn will help to alleviate much of the headdache associated with redistributing points and voiding games when a cheater is identified later in a game.

Is this really going to change things? I honestly don’t know. I do appreciate US Chess‘s continued embrace of rated online activities and hope that this system proves valuable for TDs across the country.

You can read the original article on the official US Chess Website or view the letter from the US Chess Executive Board discussing the decision here.

Posted November 18, 2021 in FIDE, News

The World Chess Championship Approaches

It’s upon us! The great day of judgment where two of the world’s best chess players will meet to do battle for the title of World Chess Champion. GM Magnus Carlsen has held this title 2013 after defeating legendary Indian GM Viswanathan Anand. Since then, he has defended his title against Anand, GM Sergey Karjakin (2016) and GM Fabiano Caruana (2018). This year, he will face Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi in Dubai.

As of this entry, the official website from FIDE has not launched, but the schedule of events has been released.

  • 24 November: Opening Ceremony
  • 25 November: Off day
  • 26 November: Game 1
  • 27 November: Game 2
  • 28 November: Game 3
  • 29 November: Off day
  • 30 November: Game 4
  • 1 December: Game 5
  • 2 December: Off day
  • 3 December: Game 6
  • 4 December: Game 7
  • 5 December: Game 8
  • 6 December: Off day
  • 7 December: Game 9
  • 8 December: Game 10
  • 9 December: Off day
  • 10 December: Game 11
  • 11 December: Game 12
  • 12 December: Game 13
  • 13 December: Off day
  • 14 December: Game 14
  • 15 December: Tie break (or Closing Ceremony)
  • 16 December: Closing Ceremony

Live coverage of the event will be available on Chess24 and Chess.com. For additional details on the event itself, visit FIDE’s official press release on the World Chess Championship and Expo 2020 Dubai.

Posted July 20, 2021 in Community, News

Happy International Chess Day

Good morning, campers! Today is International Chess Day and there are celebrations going on all around the world to honor our game! Not sure how to celebrate the day? Here are a few suggestions to get you going:

  • Play chess online via Chess.com, lichess, chess24, or any of the myriad of online platforms available.
  • Join your local chess club. If you’re not sure how, just do a Google search for your city/town + “Chess Club” and you’ll most likely find something to get you started.
  • Play in a local over-the-board tournament.
  • Play with a friend.
  • Watch a chess movie! Pawn Sacrifice, Dangerous Moves, Searching for Bobby Fischer, or the Knights of the South Bronx come to mind.

Whatever your passion, there’s plenty to do today to celebrate chess!

Posted June 14, 2021 in News, Tournaments

Mamedyarov Victorious In Romania

The Superbet Chess Classic came to a dramatic end earlier today with GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov claiming ultimate victory in this leg of the Grand Chess Tour. All games in the final round were drawn, but Mamedyarov finished the tournament a full point ahead of Levon Aronian after forcing a draw against Anish Giri.

#PlayerRtg12345678910Pts
1Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar2770*1½½½½½11½6
2Aronian, Levon27810*½1½½1½½½5
3So, Wesley2770½½*½½½½1½½5
4Grischuk, Alexander2776½0½*½½1½1½5
5Giri, Anish2780½½½½*½½½014.5
6Radjabov, Teimour2765½½½½½*½½½½4.5
7Deac, Bogdan-Daniel2627½0½0½½*½½14
8Caruana, Fabiano28200½0½½½½*1½4
9Lupulescu, Constantin26560½½01½½0*½3.5
10Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime2760½½½½0½0½½*3.5

There will be very little rest for many of the players as they travel from Romania to Paris for the second event in the Grand Chess Tour, the 2021 Paris Rapid and Blitz tournament. Participants include Levon Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, and Peter Svidler. In the meantime, you can replay all of the games from the Superbet Chess Classic in Romania below.

Posted June 10, 2021 in News, Tournaments

Leader Standings Challenged in Superbet Round 5

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan is quickly gaining ground on GMs Alexander Grischuk and Wesley So going into the fifth round of the Superbet Chess Classic in Bucharest with a score of 7.5 to So’s 8 and Grischuk’s 7.75.

#PlayerRtgPerf1234567890PtsSB
1Wesley So27702825½½½½13.0/58
2Alexander Grischuk27762808½½½1½3.0/57.75
3Shakhriyar Mamedyarov27702789½½½½13.0/57.5
4Teimour Radjabov27652781½½½½½2.5/56.25
5Bogdan-Daniel Deac26272771½0½½12.5/56
6Levon Aronian27812758½½½½½2.5/55.75
7Fabiano Caruana282027510½½½12.5/55.5
8Anish Giri27802660½½½½02.0/55
9Maxime Vachier-Lagrave27602651½½0½½2.0/55
10Constantin Lupulescu265627110½01½2.0/54.25

After getting off to a sleepy start, the games have started to get more interesting as well. It’s obvious that Anish Giri’s loss the other day affected him severely as he’s fallen to 8th place in the standings with a score of 5. Mamedyarov’s game and performance from Round 4 has certainly been of interest given his quick rise and challenge to the tournament’s current leaders.

Today was a rest day for the players, but tomorrow we get back to business as So and Grischuk work to maintain their leads. But…in chess, like life, anything can happen. You can read more in-depth analysis on Chess.com or The Week in Chess.

Posted June 7, 2021 in News, Tournaments

Giri Smoked in Superbet Day #3

I spent a good portion of this morning with the boards from the Superbet Chess Classic up while I worked my day job. I watched the full game between Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian. It had a few good moments, but was mostly a sleeper that ended in a draw. It wasn’t until I switched to Anish Giri’s game that things got very interesting.

In this position, Giri blundered with 31…Qc5, which allowed White a win with 32.Re7. I missed the move when it was originally made, but it was apparent when the inline analysis tool on Chess.com’s events viewer went from balanced to completely White. It was obvious that the game was over with no real way for Giri to escape. This is an interesting win, especially given that Constantin Lupulescu, the GM who beat him, was chosen to participate as part of the tournament’s local talent pool.

Obviously, Giri is human and nobody’s perfect. He’ll certainly shrug off the blunder and move on to the next drawn game… See the game itself on Chess.com or more commentary on today’s round from The Week in Chess.

Posted June 2, 2021 in News, Saint Louis Chess Club, Tournaments

The Grand Chess Tour 2021

June 3rd marks the beginning of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour, which is a collection of the highest rated tournaments in the world forming a pathway leading up to this year’s World Chess Championship. The upcoming events are:

  • June 3-15: Superbet Chess Classic Romania in Bucharest, Romania
  • June 16-23: Paris Rapid and Blitz in Paris, France
  • July 5-12: Croatia Rapid and Blitz in Zagreb, Croatia
  • August 9-16: Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz in Saint Louis, Missouri
  • August 16-28: Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis, Missoui

This year, the total prize fund is approximately $1.25 million US dollars with a chance for the top three tour finishers to earn a share of an additional $175,000! Live coverage of the games will be provided by Chess.com, Chess24, and by a variety of chess streamers on Twitch.

Posted May 31, 2021 in Famous Players, News, Tournaments

Carlsen Wins the FTX Crypto Cup

After struggling a bit in the early rounds, Magnus Carlsen has emerged victorious in the FTX Crypto Cup online tournament. Overall, it was an exciting tournament to follow with many twists and turns. The initial round was filled with close scores and a large number of ties among the players. This eventually whittled down to four players who faced each other over the last two days for a share of the tournament prize. Wesley So battled it out against Magnus in a series of rapid events which ended in a tie between the players. This prompted a blitz playoff that was filled with some interesting and nail biting moments.

Throughout the past couple of days it was apparent that Magnus was struggling with a lack of motivation or from an illness that kept his performance below what we’ve come to expect from the world champion. He even went as far as to mention that he felt like shit during a postgame interview with Chess24 yesterday, which contributed to some of his mistakes on the board. In any case, Carlsen took the crown for this event and took home a $60,000 chunk of the prize fund and 0.6 bitcoin (about $22,000 as of this posting).

For an exceptional analysis of the games in the final matchups, check out this video from Gotham Chess:

Carlsen and many of the familiar GMs on this circuit will reunite on June 26th for the 2021 Grand Prix.