Thursday, January 29, 2015

Changes at the top

On Chess: Rumbling In The Top Ranks Of American Chess

The acquisition of Grandmaster Wesley So was the big news coming out of 2014. The Philippine-born prodigy and former Webster University star joined the U.S. Chess Federation after cracking the world’s top 10. But just a month into 2015, So is already setting new headlines -- the latest causing a literal stir on the top.

So donned stars-and-stripes for the first time at the prestigious Tata Steel Chess Tournament, which just wrapped up last Sunday, and he represented us quite well in the Wijk aan Zee, Holland, super-event. Only his second time appearing in a world-elite event, he proved his mettle on chess’ top layer by finishing in a tie for second place, just a half-point behind winner World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

So scored 8.5/13, notching five wins and suffering just one defeat -- ending a lossless streak of more than 50 games, his first zero since last year’s Tata Steel event. He also scored a draw against World No. 2 Fabiano Caruana, as well as Carlsen in his first-ever match against the World Champion, a total performance that padded another 17 points onto a worldwide rating that -- despite all types of excuse-makers and naysayers -- has only gone in one direction.

The jump has pushed So to yet another new peak, this time not only for himself but also for American chess. The World Chess Federation’s rating list will update on Feb. 1, and So will appear as 7th in the world -- though perhaps more newsworthy, leapfrogging GM Hikaru Nakamura as the No. 1 player from the U.S.

It will be the first time Nakamura has been relegated to America’s No. 2 slot since January 2013.

Full article here.

The Rock potential


Gibraltar’s Minister for Tourism Samantha Sacramento hosted her first chess- dinner for the visiting participants of the 13th edition of the Tradewise Chess Festival. Evidently wanting to confirm Government’s commitment to the tournament her message to all was simple.

“We want you to continue coming to the Tradewsie Chess Festival and making it an even greater success year after year,” she said.

The Tradewise Chess Festival is an important event, added Ms Sacramento at the Khaima at the Rock Hotel, and it is also about Gibraltar hosting successful events led tourism.

“We are fortunate to have you as our guests and for you to enjoy Gibraltar. It is interesting to see how this tournament has grown since 2003 with just 60 participants. It is also great to see that some players have attended all the events over the 13 years and that now there are second generation participants also.”

Organiser of the festival Brian Callaghan spoke of the Gib Masters always having led with a strong emphasis on the participation of women players highlighting the record number of women players for this year with a total of 54.

“This year, “ he said, “the women are led by the Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan on her return to Gibraltar, and it underpins the success of this tournament on many levels. “

Samantha Sacramento also Minister for Equality said she was pleased with the importance the festival had always given women in chess, its attempt to redress the gender balance and to also address the fact that very few women are attracted to the game.

At the end of the dinner Emile Sutovsky President of the Association of Chess Professionals, in which Gibraltar has been voted the best open tournament in the world for the third consecutive year, announced they were looking at the possibility of hosting an all women’s tournament on the Rock.

He further emphasised that it was not only the best but also the strongest open tournament in the world and an outstanding event in chess.

Mr Callaghan meanwhile also announced that the top 10 players in this year’s Gibraltar Masters had an average rating of 2731 making it the strongest leader board Gibraltar has ever seen.

Full article:

Q & A about my experience with Bobby Fischer

I received many questions about Bobby. Here are some selected ones.

Question: How did you meet Bobby Fischer?

Answer: In 1992, Bobby played his second match against Boris Spassky in Yugoslavia and was unable to return to the U.S. because of his defiance of economic sanctions. The organizer Janos Kubat arranged for my family to visit Bobby at a hotel in Yugoslavia, near the border of Hungary, in order to convince him to go to Hungary rather than being in a cramped hotel room in a small Yugoslavian village.

Bobby expressed his wish to meet me, but unfortunately I was in Peru at that time. I accompanied my family on the following visit and eventually the idea of moving to Hungary became more attractive to Bobby.

Just to be sure everything was OK, we asked the border guards if Fischer could enter Hungary and they had no objection. With that assurance, Bobby moved to Hungary. At one point, he stayed in our summer home, which is about one hour from Budapest. He was accompanied by GM Eugenio Torre from the Philippines and his bodyguard.

Question: Did you play chess with Fischer while he was in Hungary?

Answer: Yes, I played many Fischer-random blitz games with him and we also analyzed a lot. I won some and lost some. Overall, I did well.

It was one of the most fascinating experiences in my professional chess career. He was still a very strong player and his knowledge for chess was phenomenal.

Question: What is your opinion of Fischer?

Answer: Well, I have mixed feelings. I respect his chess ability a great deal. He is one of the greatest world champions and is certainly in the same class as Kasparov and Capablanca, etc.

Most importantly, his incredible impact is unrivaled. He transformed the game and created serious interest in the mainstream media. The Fischer Boom revolutionized chess in America and around the world. Look at how popular he remains, more than 36 years after his 1972 match with Boris Spassky. Thousands of articles have been published about his death last year.

He was very friendly to me on a personal level. I enjoyed playing and analyzing with him. He was truly a genius on the chess board.

On the other hand, he had very strong views that we all know about. I disagree with these views and even tried to change his mind. However, that does not diminish my admiration and respect for his chess. These are two totally separate issues.

Question: If Bobby played against Karpov in 1975, do you think he would have won?

Answer: I spoke to Boris Spassky about this same issue and he believes that Bobby would have won in 1975, but that Anatoly would have won the rematch.

However, Garry Kasparov has a different viewpoint. He believes that Anatoly would have won in 1975 and supports this opinion by demonstrating the quality of their games at that time. This is what that makes chess so interesting. From all of the people I spoke to, the opinions split right down the middle with a small edge for Bobby.

I think it would have been very close. However, Bobby would have had a small edge due to his greater experience at that time.

Question: Is it true that there were discussions about a match between you and Bobby?

Answer: Yes, but obviously it did not happen. There were also discussions about a match between Bobby and my baby sister Judit. That did not happen either.

I would have loved to play a Fischer-random match against Bobby. I would also love to play matches against the great world champions such as Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. I think it would be great for chess. A few years ago, I did play two six game matches against Karpov, the man who succeeded Fischer as World Chess Champion and won more tournaments than anyone in history. We tied 3-3 in both matches.

Former FIDE President Friðrik Ólafsson honored

Chess Grandmaster Honorary Citizen of Reykjavík

January 29, 2015 11:02
Updated: January 29, 2015 11:15

Friðrik Ólafsson, Iceland’s first grandmaster in chess, was given the title Honorary Citizen of Reykjavík at a ceremony in Höfði yesterday. Friðrik, who celebrated his 80th birthday on January 26, was made an honorary member of FIDE (the World Chess Federation) at the same occasion.

With the title, Reykjavík City Council would like to thank Friðrik for his achievement in the chess, which is popular in Iceland. No one is considered to have had a bigger impact on the development of chess in Iceland than Friðrik, a press release states.

“Chess fascinated me. I became obsessed and couldn’t escape so [my career path] was a given,” Friðrik told RÚV after yesterday’s ceremony. At the same time, the Icelandic Chess Federation established a fund in his name to encourage young chess players.

“Because I have a relationship with chess, I’m very touched that my life’s work is considered to be this important,” the grandmaster added. “In my youth … I often walked past this house [Höfði] and I never dreamt that one day I would sit here and be given this title.”

Born in 1935, Friðrik became Icelandic champion in chess at only 17 and Nordic champion the following year. In 1958 he became the first Icelandic grandmaster in chess and earned international recognition as a chess player.

Full article:

The Queen with “The Queen”

Photo by Jurriaan Hoefsmit

The Queen with “The Queen”

The world chess champion Hou Yifan was pleasantly surprised by Dutch chess ambassador Hans Bohm during the prizegiving of Tata Steel tournament last Sunday in Wijk aan Zee.

The Chinese first lady was delighted to be presented with the new book by Hans Bohm & Yochanan Afek “Wij Presenteren De Koningin” that compiles the most stunning queen moves ever played and composed and their stories.

She showed a special interest in the unique history of the game’s strongest piece which had been pretty much new to her.

The book was very well received by the large public visiting the village throughout the super tournament. It’s the fifth volume on the pieces published by de Fontein Tirion, a young brother to “De Pion” (2010) “De Toren” (2011), “Het Paard” (2012) and “De Lopper”(2013).

The last volume “De Koning” is expected at the end of this year.

Gibraltar Chess 2015 LIVE!

Closing out chess tactic

White to move. Can you find the correct continuation for White?

2r1r1k1/q2bp1bR/3p2p1/3P4/1pBN2P1/1P3P2/1pPQ4/1K5R w - - 0 1

Gibraltar round 3 pairings

Full pairings here:

The Sicilian Najdorf Defense ... and more

The Sicilian Dragon

Posted on January 27,2015 By GM Levan Aroshidze in Strategy & Game Review, Chess Openings, Beginner's Corner. The Dragon variation is probably the most aggressive and ambitious line of the Sicilian defense, but at the same time it is quite risky. Black fianchettoes his dark-squared bishop and creates a strong pressure on the a1-h8 diagonal. Many people see some resemblance of Black's kingside pawn structure with the mythological creature, the Dragon. Thus, the whole setup is called the "Dragon variation." This line may fit perfectly for tactical players[...]

Understanding & Dominating your Chess Game with Pawn Structures

Posted on January 26,2015 By OnlineChessLessons.NET Contributor in All Articles w/ Videos, General Chess Articles. Outplay your opponents using pawn structures! In the video "Understanding & Dominating your Chess Game with Pawn Structures" by GM Roman Dzindzichashvili, we are taught about a few different types of pawn structures and how they influence the course of the game. He speaks about how we need to be good with positional ideas, because they are very important when dealing with the many different types of pawn structures that we will see during our[...]

The Sicilian Najdorf Defense

Posted on January 23,2015 By GM Levan Aroshidze in Strategy & Game Review, Chess Openings, General Chess Articles, Beginner's Corner. The Sicilian Defense is the biggest and most complex setup of all chess openings. It is a semi-open playing system, in which Black tries to avoid the classic playing manner for equalizing the game and immediately starts an uncompromising fight for initiative. From the first moves, we get unbalanced pawn structures and very dynamic positions. The Sicilian Defense is separated into numerous sub-variations like the Najdorf, Dragon, Taimanov, Paulsen[...]

King's Indian for Black - IM David Vigorito

Posted on January 22,2015 By OnlineChessLessons.NET Contributor in Strategy & Game Review, Chess Openings, All Articles w/ Videos, General Chess Articles. Tune in to the King's Indian Defense! In this DVD David examines The King's Indian for Black, Saemisch variation. He gives a basic overview of all Black's 6th moves choices, the Saemisch c5 Pawn Gambit, then emphasis is given to Black setups of 8...c6 and 9..a6. The featured game sees a king side castling versus a queen side-king side castle middlegame. David promotes methods for Black and gives a tough test for some of the latest recommendation[...] is a producer of thousands of free chess articles and free chess videos by FIDE chess masters. They recently released the renowned Empire Chess series that has been taking the chess world by storm. Please consider checking out their chess blog and chess shop with tons of free updated previews.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Around 1600 players to compete in Moscow Open 2015

Grandmasters Ian Nepomniachtchi, Francisco Vallejo and Igor Lysyj are the top-seeded players in the Moscow Open main event, the 2015 Cup of Russia qualifier.

More than 250 chess players are participating in this event.

The Women’s Cup of Russia stage rating favorites are World Women’s Junior Champion Aleksandra Goryachkina(2451), Georgian Women’s Champion Nino Batsiashvili (2450) and winner of the 2012 Russian Women’s Championship Higher League Baira Kovanova (2405). More than 100 chess players will be competing in this section.

Overall around 1600 players from 30 countries are expected to compete in one of eight sections of Moscow Open. Among them will be around 600 juniors.

The 2015 Moscow Open – 11th International RSSU Chess Cup is taking place from 29th January to 9th February at the RSSU University in Moscow, Russia. The total prize fund is RUB 4,3 million.

Live games with analysis

Official website

Azerbaijan to miss World Team Chess Championship

Azerbaijan national team will not compete in the World Team Chess Championship, scheduled to start 18th April in Tsakhkadzor, Armenia, reported.

The World Team Chess Championship is held at two-yearly intervals in the first six months of each odd year. The FIDE World Team Championship is the sequel to the Continental Team Championships and the Chess Olympiad.

Top ten national teams compete in the round robin event.

Azerbaijan qualified as 2013 European Team Champion.

The previous World Team Chess Championship was held in 2013 in Antalya, Turkey, with Russia claiming the gold medal.

Many upsets in rd 2 at Gibraltar

Full results:

European School Chess Championships 2015

European School Chess Championships 2015

The European Chess Union and Turkish Chess Federation have the honour of inviting all National Chess Federations of the ECU and eligible players to the European School Championships 2015 organised in Konya, Turkey from 24 June (arrivals) to 03 July (departures).

Each National Federation or School Association or schools may enter an unlimited number of players in each of the 12 age groups: U7, U9, U11, U13, U15 and U17.

The official hotel and venue will be the Rixos Konya Hotel (5 star).

The tournament will be played according to the Swiss System in 9 rounds, with the time control 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game + 30 seconds increment per move, starting from move one.

Entry forms must be sent by the National Federations or the players and returned to the Organizing Committee not later than Friday 1 May 2015. If the registration form is not forwarded by the Federation a copy must be sent to the National Federation.

The winners will be awarded with trophies and special diplomas. The 6 first winners (U7, U9, U11, U13, U15, and U17) and the 6 Girl winners (U7, U9, U11, U13, U15, and U17) will play as invited players in the 2016 World School Chess Championships in Tunisia.

Organizer has prepared the side events for coaches, accompanying persons and all other interested players:
- Blitz tournament for coaches and accompanying persons
- Seminar for FIDE Arbiters
- Seminar for FIDE Trainers

For all information you can contact the Tournament Director Mr. IO Umit Kucukahmetoglu
Tel: +90 312 309 75 94-123
Fax: +90 312 3109620

Official Website

The official invitation can be downloaded from the ECU website

Checkmate in 487 bytes!

Smallest ever chess program: 487 bytes

BootChess has smashed the record for the smallest computer implementation for chess, held since 1983, with a total size of only 487 bytes

Rudolph Muller 
January 28, 2015

BootChess is now the smallest computer implementation of chess on any platform at a size of only 487 bytes.

BootChess was coded by Olivier Poudade, with assistance from Peter Ferrie, and is a 512-byte x86 boot sector program for Windows, Linux, OS X, DOS, BSD, DOSBox, and Bochs.

The program beats the previous record held by the 672-byte 1K ZX Chess program, which was created by programmer David Horne.

1K ZX Chess was first published in Your Computer Magazine in 1982 when Artic Computing started selling the program.

Poudade wrote that 1K ZX Chess implemented most chess rules – castling, queening, and en-passant capture were missing – as well as artificial intelligence and a user interface.

The screenshot from the February 1983 edition of Your Computer Magazine shows the code for 1K ZX Chess.

1K ZX Chess
487 bytes BootChess

Red Sector Inc. and Poudade have significantly reduced the memory requirements of BootChess when compared to 1K ZX Chess – down from 672 bytes to 487 bytes.

Full codes here:

How the wisdom of chess can help your finances

About the Book (Now Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, etc.)

How chess can give you a better approach to personal money management & become a better investor

Fundamentally, what separates a good chess player from a great player is the ability to create strategies and to adapt them to changing circumstances. Similarly, successful investors don’t just know a few tricks for picking stocks or building a budget. Rather, building wealth requires the ability to observe and examine the financial world and know when to act, react, or sit still.

Rich As a King draws on the core strategies of grandmaster-level chess players and teaches you how their skills can guide you towards financial growth. The concepts addressed in the book include strategy, pattern recognition, efficiency, precision, and planning.

Review by best-selling chess author IM Jeremy Silman:

What do people say about the book?

Available at:

or at a book store near you.