Good Morning, campers! Welcome to Campfire Chess Digest for Friday, December 10, 2021! The World Chess Championship 2021 is still underway and it has certainly had a share of ups and downs, breathtaking and disappointing moments. There’s still much more chess to come before the year is done!
Here’s some of the best chess action we’ve seen this week:
Magnus Carlsen is…once again…World Chess Champion
Magnus Carlsen cruised to defend his World Championship title for the fifth time this week against Ian Nepomniachtchi. It was one of the most lopsided and unusual championships I can recall. Ian just couldn’t capitalize on several opportunities presented to him by Magnus. And for another two years, Norway is king of world chess.
A World Record at the World Chess Championship
Magnus Carlsen came out on top of an incredible 136 move game that set a world record for the longest chess game played in a world championship. The previous title was held by Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi in the 1978 World Chess Championship.
A Century of Chess: Karlsbad 1907
Long before the Soviet Empire dominated the professional chess world, the German Empire’s elite held firmly to the title of the world’s best chess players. This exceptional article from Chess.com (a rarity these days) explores Akiba Rubinstine’s rise to prominence in the early part of the twentieth century.
World Rapid and Blitz Coming to Warsaw
The FIDE World Rapid and Blitz tournament will soon be making its way to Warsaw beginning on Christmas Day and running through December 31st.
Good Morning, campers! Welcome to Campfire Chess Digest for Friday, December 3, 2021! As you read this, the 2021 World Chess Championship rages (if you can call it that) in Dubai between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi. There’s no clear leader at this point but Nepo certainly put Magnus on the ropes a few times going into Thursday’s rest day.
Here’s some of the best chess action we’ve seen this week:
Anish Giri Annotates WCC 2021 Game 5
After the sleeper draw that was Game 5 of the World Chess Championship, GM Anish Giri published a very nice annotated game outlining some of the missed opportunities for both players.
Hikaru Nakamura Departs the FIDE World Ranking List
GM Hikaru Nakamura was nowhere to be found on the newly published FIDE World Ranking List because he has not been active in international tournament play for quite some time. He’s mostly traded those commitments for a life on Twitch these days.
Chess.com Remains Undisputed Clickbait Article Champion
Ten ways to mate your opponent in five moves… Ten streamers you wouldn’t want to play blitz with… and the list goes on and on. Maybe we could start making a list of Chess.com’s most click-baity articles. In any case, this year’s “Buying Guide” for the holidays is no better than the website’s recent forays into Bitcoin, PogChamps, and other nonsensical stuff.
Levon Aronian Joins the US Chess Federation
The United States continues to build an impressive roster of players with the recent addition of GM Levon Aronian. He joins the ranks of recent additions such as GMs Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana.
The World Chess Championship 2021 continues today in Dubai live via Chess24’s YouTube channel. Chess.com has a stream with GMs Hess and Caruana, but I recommend the Chess24 stream as its less headache-inducing.
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.
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.
Campfire Chess has been dormant since the summer, but fear not! It is not dead. I am prepared to return to regular chess blogging shortly after the new year, so check back in January 2019 for updates!
In the meantime, congratulations to GM Magnus Carlsen for retaining his World Chess Champion title. I was rooting for Fabiano (USA, USA), but alas, we will get it next time!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!
Magnus Carlsen put the final nail in the coffin for the 2016 World Chess Championship with a spectacular finish in the 25 | 10 rapid tiebreaker. Carlsen had been frustrated throughout the event and fell behind before managing to equalize the standings in Game 10. He went on to win the last two games of the rapid event, which finally put an end to his challengers efforts and solidified his place as World Chess Champion for the next two years. As the main portion of the event drew to its conclusion, many in the chess world began taking note of the precarious position Sergey Karjakin could find himself in against one of the strongest rapid and blitz players in the world.
The first two tiebreaker games were drawn with Karjakin narrowly escaping a loss in the second game but unable to stop the onslaught that ultimately allowed Carlsen to retain his title.
Carlsen’s incredible finish to the rapid tiebreaker event.
The position above is stunning and reaffirms why Magnus Carlsen is the best chess player in the world. With Qh6+, Magnus brought his opponent’s bid to become the next world champion to his stunning halt. There were moments throughout the event where it seemed that Sergey Karjakin was poised to overtake Carlsen, but never found a way to convert his opportunities into solid wins. Of course, there were moments throughout the event were Magnus seemed to struggle both with his chess abilities and his ability to keep his emotions in check (no pun intended). Magnus took a little bit of criticism on social media for his outburst following his loss in the classical round, but I have to say that him storming out of the press conference is the kind of stuff that chess needs if it wants to become a popular, respectable, and marketable activity in the United States.
Agon, which has become a four letter word In the chess community has refused to release (at least for now) the exact number of people who purchased their premium package for viewing the event, but initial estimates project that less than 10,000 people paid for the premium streaming and commentary package. Personally, I was pleased to be able to follow the games as a premium member of Chessbase, on ChessBomb, and to watch the exceptional commentary and analysis from some of my favorite people over on chess24.com. Still, just a long way to go if it wants to build an American audience to the point where corporations like Pepsi, Red Bull, or other major corporations are willing to sponsor the events. As mentioned in an excellent news article published shortly after Carlsen’s victory, chess needs a series of dramatic stories in order to sell itself to the American people. Bobby Fischer made history as the lone genius who challenged the world’s greatest chess power, the Soviet Union, during the Cold War which allowed the American people to relate what was happening on the board to what was happening every day in their news. When professional chess can find a way to bring the drama and excitement of playing the game to people in a way that relates to their everyday struggles and experiences, then it will find itself at a buffet of sponsors and fans. Compelling drama and personal connection sells products, not frivolous litigation.
The World Chess Championship ended its standard round series yesterday with a whimper as Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin drew the final game after a mere 30 moves.
So, what happens now? As Magnus celebrates his birthday on Wednesday, he will face Karjakin in a series of rapid and blitz games to determine who will be the overall champion. For those games, the will be four rapid games at 25 | 10 with blitz games scheduled if the rapid games end in a tie. In the unlikely event that all of those games are tied then there will be a 5 minute for white, 4 minute for black game where the winner will take all.
The 2016 World Chess Championship in New York City has been nothing short of a nail biter and will at least come down to determination in the final round scheduled to be played Monday at 1400 EST. Games 7 and 8 offered some tense moments in which Magnus missed opportunities to turn the tide of the tournament against his opponent. However, his over aggressiveness prevented him from capitalizing on these positions as he would normally be able to.
But everything changed in Game 8 when that over aggressiveness finally backfired and awarded a powerful win to challenger Sergey Karjakin.
Some believed that Magnus would be unable to recover from the loss but managed to pull out a win shortly thereafter in Game 10 to even things up.
The tournament remains tied and goes into Monday’s final round with the very real possibility of a rapid or blitz playoff being needed to decide the overall winner.
All eyes are on New York City as Magnus Carlsen defends his World Chess Champion title against Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin. Carlsen is the heavy favorite to win the tournament but if the first few games are any indication of what to expect from the whole tournament, we might be in for a long ride. As the name of the post suggests, its too early to draw any conclusions from these games, but there are many conclusions in these games that end in draws…
Game 3: Bending Space and Time
Hopes were high after the first two games that there would be some dramatics appearing in the third game and they came…in a sense. Reminding players, commentators, and fans alike that chess requires mental and physical resilience, the players battled it out in a 7-hour, 78-move nightmare that ended…you guessed it..in a draw.
Game 4: Drawing Up A New Strategy?
After the marathon of Game 3, I was very impressed that the players were able to squeeze out the next game, which went 94 moves before ending in another draw. It was apparent in this game, however, that Magnus was becoming frustrated with Karjakin and that a draw was certainly not on his list of game ideas for the day.
Game 5: Drawn of the Dead
Game 5 was played earlier today and felt like a blitz game at times. The moves were fast in some areas deep into the position with Magnus finding himself in trouble against his challenger for the first time in the match. There were certain moments in the game when Karjakin had clear advantage on the board, but Magnus was able to bring these situations back into balance and force a draw on move 51.
Just prior to the start of the 2016 World Chess Championship (WCC) in New York City, Agon Limited filed suit in United States Federal Court against Chess24, Chessbomb, and ChessGames.com to prevent them from broadcasting the moves just as they did (and lost) in Moscow earlier this year.
“These entities expend no time, effort, or money of their own in organizing, producing, or hosting the chess events for the World Championship and instead reap economic benefit from free-riding on the work and effort of World Chess.” – Reuters
However, just as with their loss in Moscow, New York District Judge Victor Marrero ruled in favor of the defendants for most of the reasons that have been covered on this blog and in countless others in the chess community already. The most important of those? CHESS IS FOR THE MASSES!
Chess is a game that transcends all boundaries. (Credit: WikiMedia)
RIAA of the Chess World
Although they were readily handed defeat in two countries, Agon promises to continue pursuit of its business model despite widespread business and consumer disapproval. Despite obvious attempts to assist the company with its model, Agon refuses to acknowledge that its attempts to restrict access to tournament moves is misguided. As a direct result, it seeks to force consumers to engage its unreliable and third-rate content delivery system instead of offering a compelling service for fans of the game to watch and enjoy.
Agon has quickly turned itself from an obscure entity into the modern chess equivalent of the Recording Industry Association of America which successfully sued a multitude of families in the early 2000s for downloading mp3 files from Napster and other file-sharing services. By suing grandmothers and teenagers for untold millions of dollars, the RIAA quickly became synonymous with corporate greed, censorship, and created a gap between recording artists and their fans from which some artists never recovered.
Hope for an Agon awakening remains dim, but I am pleased to see that both the United States and Russia dealt a blow for freedom to its blatant attempts to monopolize public domain information.