There were two decisive results in the first round of the annual elite tournament.
The Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany, featuring some of the very best players in the world as well as top German players, has been a first-class event for many years. This year is no different as it includes Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, Fabiano Caruana of the United States, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France — the players ranked Nos. 2, 3, and 4 in the world, respectively.
The rest of the field is also strong — Leinier Dominguez Perez of Cuba (No. 36), Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine (No. 40), Evgeny Najer of Russia (No. 50), and the two representatives of Germany, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (No. 64) and Rainer Buhmann (107).
The first round started with a bang as Vachier-Lagrave won a fine game over Caruana to propel his rating over 2800 on the Live Ratings List for the first time.
Caruana’s troubles arose in the following position. White has a nice advantage against the Najdorf, something Caruana has frequently achieved, but has often struggled to maintain. (Indeed, I can remember several painful losses for Caruana from better positions in this line.)
Re821. Qf3?!This is a strange square for the queen.
( 21. Qf2Looks more natural, keeping an eye on b6 )
21... Qc722. Nd4Nb623. Rhe1?!Another dubious move. White's plan should be a kingside pawn storm; trading rooks does not help him.
( 23. Kb1!Bf824. h5! )
( 23... g6This also looks very reasonable to me, aiming to reroute the bishop to g7 without allowing Nf5 )
24. Rxe8Rxe825. Nf5Qc426. b3Qb427. c3Rc828. Rd3Just when it started to look like White has everything under control, Black starts his counterattack. 28... Nxd5!29. Bd2
( 29. Qxd5Qxf4+ )
( 29. Rxd5Rxc3+ )
29... Nb630. Kb1Qc531. Be3Qc732. Qf4
( 32. Nh6+!The computer likes this move, but it's very hard for a human to find in time
32... Re8!33. h5Re6!Black is pretty solid and it's not easy for White to find compensation for being down a pawn. 34. Kc2Qc635. Bxb6Qxb636. Rf3Qb7!A final accurate move. Black stops any threats to f7 and prepares to invade on e4. 37. Ne3Re4!
( 37... Qe4+this looks simpler to me, but the computer prefers Vachier-Lagrave's choice. )
38. Qg3Re5!39. Qf4Rxg5!And that
is more or less that. 40. h6
The second decisive game came from Najer, who qualified for the tournament by winning the Aeroflot Open earlier this year. Najer tends to like complicated positions and frequently creates a big mess on the board that neither player navigates well, and Round 1 was no exception. Ultimately, it was his opponent, Buhmann, who made the last mistake.
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 7 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
After 9 days of intense chess battles at the last leg of the World Chess Grand Prix series 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, the two winners of the series were finally determined: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, overall 340 points in the series) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 336,4 points). They qualified for the Candidates Tournament – the next part of the World Chess Championship cycle, which leads up to the Championship match.
The sole leader of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix Levon Aronian made a quick draw with Evgeny Tomashevsky today, inviting the group of rivals to join him at the top. But same as in the previous rounds all games on the top boards finished peacefully and not a single player came close to catching up with him.
After seven rounds Aronian is in the lead with 4,5 points. A group of 8 players is half a point behind, including Vachier-Lagrave. In order to qualify for the Candidates, the Frenchman needs to win at least one more game. Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Riazantsev, Pavel Eljanov won against Jon Ludvig Hammer, while Teimour Rajabov outplayed Li Chao. After the victory the Azerbaijani Grandmaster still hopes to qualify, but in that case has to win both games.
Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Katerina Lagno, one of the strongest Russian women-grandmasters won the historic Moscow Blitz Tournament, beating her fellow Russian Olympic team members Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players