Saturday, January 29, 2011

One round left

In the Tata Steel super-tournament, Nakamura and Kramnik drew a very dull game today. Anand, White against Giri, by his own admission played badly and was lucky to escape with a draw. Going into the final round, Nakamura leads with 8.5 points, followed by Anand (8), Aronian and Carlsen (both 7.5) (standings, cross-table). The leaders' last-round pairings are Wang Hao (5.5)-Nakamura, Nepomniachtchi (5.5)-Anand, Aronian-Smeets (4), and Grischuk (4)-Carlsen. Nakamura's performance rating thus far is about 2900.

You can follow the last-round games live tomorrow morning at the tournament website, as well as (just) Wang Hao-Nakamura live at Unfortunately for us night owls, the games start at 5 a.m. Central Time. Go Naka!

Friday, January 28, 2011

"Another good day at the office...."

Another good day at the office, but there are still two incredibly important rounds left!!
Today Nakamura beat another young star, Jan Nepomniachtchi of Russia.  (Jan's surname only looks unpronounceable: Alex Yermolinsky says it quite naturally on ICC.). Hikaru leads Anand by ½, Aronian (who has two Dutch GMs to play) by 1, and Carlsen and Kramnik by 1½.   This top group is in fine form, with performance ratings from Carlsen's 2795 to Nakamura's 2906.  

Details on Chess Life Online, ChessBase, and ChessVibes, among many fine sites.

Kenny Rogers warned us not to count our ELO when we're sitting at the table, but Nakamura is now #7 in the world on the live ratings list, and within one win of the #5 spot!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Here you go, Sevan

Sevan Muradian is very proud of having ground out a draw against Matt Pullin, GreenCastleBlock of YouTube fame.  Good play, but you might need some caffeine to avoid falling asleep:

"Nakamura close to a career-best triumph in Wijk aan Zee"

Read GM Ian Rogers at Chess Life Online.

And don't count your chickens....!

A trap in the Benko Gambit

A lot of players don't want to face the pressure that Black gets on the a and b files in the main lines of the Benko Gambit (1. d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5!? 4.cxb5 a6), so they decline the gambit with something like 4.Nf3, 4.Qc2, or 4.cxb5 a6 5.b6. The Bosnian-Dutch GM Ivan Sokolov essayed such a line against super-GM Vassily Ivanchuk at the Olympiad last year, but ended up on the wrong end of a miniature. Sokolov tried 4.Qc2 bxc4 5.e4 d6 6.Bxc4 g6 7.b3??, a move that had been played in previous games by several players, including Sokolov himself. Ivanchuk rudely awakened him with 7...Nxe4!, and suddenly Sokolov was the one playing a gambit, since 8.Qxe4? Bg7 would spear White's rook. After 12.Qe2, White seemed to have some compensation, since his pin on the e-file made it hard for Black to castle. However, Sokolov didn't help his cause with the caveman-like 13.h4?, allowing Black to plant his knight powerfully on e5. Ivanchuk then wrapped up the game in just 12 more moves.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Carlsen shows his win against Nakamura"

Video at ChessVibes.

Nakamura is still co-leader: play resumes tomorrow!

Blogger in action

January 2011 Rapid
Clockwise from top left: NM Frederick Rhine,
Jiri Kabelac, Dmitri Sergatskov and Paul Gafni. 

NM Frederick Rhine emerged from retirement to win the January 2011 Evanston Chess Club Rapid this Saturday.  See his first-person report below.

OK, that's one master back in action: we look forward to seeing  NMs David Rubin and Marvin Dandridge in future Evanston events! ;-)

Hector Hernandez remembers Ricardo Szmetan

I knew how strong Ricards was, but I did not realize that he was both the 1986 Illinois champion and the winner of one of Helen Warren's Midwest Masters invitational events.  

Full article on the ICA website.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New York Times review of Frank Brady's Endgame

It's hard to imagine anyone better qualified than Frank Brady, author of Profile of a Prodigy, to tell the sad story of Bobby Fischer's life after chess.  Brady's second biography of Fischer, Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness, just received a strongly positive review from Janet Maslin of the New York Times.

That a mentally ill person became the best in the world (and arguably the best ever) at a game which requires sober judgment is an amazing feat.  I'd prefer to focus on Fischer's achievements.  But I'll also be preordering the book!