Category Archives: news

Current trends in women’s chess

Current trends in women's chess

Chess is a very democratic sport in nature. There is no fundamental difference who you play against – a man or a woman. Anyone can win or lose. But practically, some interesting nuances appear. Historically, the first World Championships were held only among the men. Only in the early 20th century, women became involved in the race to identify the strongest on the planet. Almost in all pre-war tournaments shone unique Vera Menchik. She dominated in all major events like no other woman that time. As the popularity of women's chess grew, the level of athletes were increasing. In the late 80's comes into play another outstanding chess player Judit Polgar. Apparently, its phenomenal success is due to competently substituted workouts. She tried all my life to play only in men's tournaments. This helped her to acquire some useful skills that did not have her rival. However, after the birth of a child, she had lost some motivation and persistance necessary to fight at the highest level. But despite this, she remains in the elite club of 2700 Elo. So what do we have today? On the first place by strength is still the same Judit Polgar of Hungary. Next, with some margin stay current World Champion Hou Yifan and Anna Muzychuk rated around 2600 Elo. Then comes very tight group of catch-up, among which the most well-known is Humpy Koneru of India.

Chinese youth team
Chinese youth team

The first thing that comes to mind looking at this list, this is what comes generatin change in close future. It is likely that within a few years, Judit will give way to young. Who will take her place? We think, it is hardly to tell a specific name. But it is clear that that will be the representative of China. Let’s try to justify the choice of this country. It has almost the largest population on the planet. Chess players from Russia can no longer compete with them in the annual friendly team matches. This suggests that they have formed its own chess school in the past 20 years, have formed own chess coaches. But the main feature of Chinese women is their team spirit. Pure individualism reigns in Europe. Each girl is trying to promote her name as much as possible in the mass media. Chess for women is also a good way to travel overseas, make useful contacts. In fact it is a kind of tourism, the subculture. Frankly speeking, for the majority of women chess do not even pay off the trip. A permanent sponsor is required. The fact is that at the time of a women's chess spruce-firs are paying off. They need support at the governmental level. In China, understand it and are working on it. Top athletes get special grants. They are provided by housing and paid trips abroad. Now it is not so noticeable, but it seems to be in 5 years, China will take a dominant position in that sports.

Let’s analyze the main features of the Asian chess school. The interests of a team is the highest ones. Personality always takes the second place. Even if it is the World Champion. This ensures continuity of generations. Experienced players consider as their duty to teach their replacement. In other countries, mostly do not do that. Why to produce a competitor for himself? Did you not notice that the best players rarely are eager to share their experiences with the younger generation? For example, Garry Kasparov, after leaving the practice did not become a chess coach. Yes, he has advised some of the players, such as Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura. But their partnership was not like a student and a teacher. In these cases, Kasparov acted more like a second or a consultant. His advices were merely recommendations. No one can boast the title of student of ex-World Champions as Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, etc. The fact is that coaching requires totally different psychology. The need to give more than receive should be the major one. But to be successfull winner, often cultivated an individualistic character and narcissism.

The next thing of Chinese players is a good technical training. For these athletes chess is not an art but sport or wrestling. From the art point of view, their games have a lack of interest. But this is not proof that they are not talented. They just learned the rules – to put on the first result, rather than special effects. Among the best games or the best moves of the year you will find almost no Chinese chess players. On the other hand, they do not lose in one move. It is very difficult to beat them. Good physical training is a required skill. They have a very developed tactical vision. These are those qualities which need great tenacity and just a bit of creativity. The recipe is simple – the more time you are practicing studies and combinations – better you will cope with similar positions during a game. But do not assume that they have gaps in strategic thinking. They are brilliantly solved this problem by inviting foreign experts. The idea is to grow the own replacement. Then demand foreigners will disappear by itself. They also are very good prepared for an openings theory. This requires just a good memory, and perseverance.

At this moment, the theory of Chinese chess dominance is a bit premature for the unprepared reader. But this has a very simple explanation. China located quite far from the largest women's opens. Therefore, overseas travel only a small part of the athletes. There are a number of very strong chess players who are unknown to wide public outside the country. They are just waiting their time.

Published on 25th of June 2012

Top 10 individual chess events of 2011

The past year pleased us with numerous chess events. But before we directly go to competitions of people, let’s discuss computer chess topic. The Rybka engine written by Vasik Rajlich was disqualified by International Computer Games Association for copyright infringement stripped of all the previous titles in June. The author of the engine was obliged to return all trophies and cash prizes. There is a curious interview with the author on YouTube, where he does not deny that he used certain lines of code from other programs. Perhaps all commercial engines in some way use algorithms invented by other developers. But let’s face the truth – Rybka was 150-200 Elo stronger than the other competitors at the time of appearance. For us, chess fans, the more important is that fact.

Obviously the main event of 2012 is the the upcoming match for the World Champion title. Boris Gelfand won the tournament in Kazan, Russia in the final beating Alexander Grischuk and became an official candidate. Many other great grandmasters played there: Kramnik, Topalov, Aronian, Grischuk, Kamsky, Mamedyarov and Radjabov. Later was promptly signed a contract with Vishy Anand for the upcoming match in May 2012. Unlike previous years, the prize fund was formed rapidly. Now the prize fund is around 2.5 million dollars. Just to remind, 20% or $500,000 will take FIDE as organization fees. Will the upcoming match archive a great interest? Anand tried to hide his openings novelties all previous year and didn’t play in full force. Gelfand scored just 5 out of 13 points in Wijk aan Zee 2012 taking one of the last places. This tells us that there will be no fight in upcoming match – there is too much difference in strength between the rivals.

Juri Drozdovskij vs Boris Gelfand
Juri Drozdovskij vs Boris Gelfand, Pivdenny Bank Cup 2008

Traditional chess festival took place in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands from 14 to 30 January 2011. Results of tournament A: 1. H. Nakamura 2. V. Anand, 3-4. L. Aronian, M. Carlsen. Nakamura deservedly became the first. As we know, Garry Kasparov helped Nakamura some time last year.

Traditional double round robin tournament of six grandmasters took place in Bazna, Romania from 11 to 22 June. Final standings: 1-2. M. Carlsen, Karjakin Sergey 3-4. H. Nakamura, T. Radjabov.

Another well-known traditional double round robin tournament of six grandmasters took place in Dortmund, Germany from 21 to 31 July. Final standings: 1. V. Kramnik 2. L. Quang 3-4. A. Giri, R. Ponomariov. This was the tenth victory of Vladimir Kramnik – a phenomenal result.

Double round robin tournament of six grandmasters took place in Biel, Switzerland from 18 to 29 July. Final standings: 1. M. Carlsen 2. A. Morozevich 3-4. A. Shirov, M. Vachier-Lagrave. Alexander Morozevich again began to show excellent results after some rest from chess. A series of good performances returned him to the top ten players again.

Russian Championship Super Final took place in Moscow, Russia from 8 to 15 August. Final standings: 1. P. Svidler 2. A. Morozevich 3-5. S. Karjakin, V. Kramnik, A. Grischuk. Peter Svidler became six-time champion of Russia.

FIDE World Cup 2011 took place in Hanty-Mansiysk, Russia in September. 128 participants played by a knockout system. Final standings: 1. P. Svidler 2. A. Grischuk 3. V. Ivanchuk 4. R. Ponomariov. The first three winners become candidates for the World Champion title in the next rounds. The tournament was remembered for the gentlemen’s behavior of David Navara in a match against Alexander Moiseenko. In clear win position David offered a draw which was accepted.

The final Grand Slam event took place in San Paulo and Bilbao, Spain from 26 September to 11 October. Final standings: 1. M. Carlsen 2. V. Ivanchuk 3-5. V. Anand, L. Aronian, H. Nakamura. Rather weak results of V. Ivanchuk can be explained by stressful situation after a robbery near a hotel. Before that he confidently led.

Traditional Tal Memorial held in Moscow from 16 to 25 November. Average rating of competition – 2776 – XXII record category. Final standings: 1. M. Carlsen 2. L. Aronian 3-5. S. Karjakin, J. Nepomniachtchi, V. Ivanchuk.

The third round robin tournament London Chess Classic took place in the capital of England from 3 to 12 December. The final standings: 1. V. Kramnik 2. H. Nakamura 3. M. Carlsen 4. L. McShane 5-6. V. Anand, L. Aronian. Kramnik has shown that it is too early to write off. He confirmed in a recent radio interview that the next 4-5 years he is not going to give up chess.

Published on 1st of February 2012

Best chess documentary videos

That`s an old movie. Mr Fischer shares his various views about chess in Soviet Union at The Dick Cavett Show in the summer of 1971.

Where are you live now? You just fall of chess.

Robert Fischer answer: Right, I live everywhere, in hotels.

What is the money in chess?

The money, you know, could be better. It`s not like you getting:)

Maybe :), you see, I have a contract. Why is the Russians dominate in chess world?

It is subsidized by the government there, not all players, but professionals. So they keep bottom. We have a lot of talented players this country (United States), but for one reason no one of them is fade out, loose interest, much incentive.

And you made a strong charges a couple of times, involving them… cheating, I thinks it`s a correct word. What is the subjects for that?

One tournament I played back in 1962, specific what I was talking about, they prearranged games by themselves to eliminate me.

How did they prearrange it? Some strategy? Is that legal?

No, it is against the rules. But it was.

Is chess a gift, could a guy that doesn`t have a gift learn and could be great chess player?

Great no. It could be good. The top players are talented. It seems to me in, you should have a talent, but the guys who reach the top, keep bottom, they have a character, they are not distracted by other things in live, until they got the title, or whatever they want.

What is the moment of pleasure for you? When you see somebody in trouble? What is the greatest pleasure?

When I see he is finished.

That`s how mr. Kasparov can impress his opponent. Non-chess tricks.

Two top US grandmasters, Maxim Dlugy and Hikaru Nakamura, playing in a one minute blitz game after the national Championship. That was a great show, very fast moves!