It would seem natural that there would be many tournaments dedicated to the memory of great players, particularly former World Champions. But only a few players, and not all of them ex-champions, have been so memorialized.
The 10th Tal Memorial starts Monday. Having a memorial to Tal is definitely fitting. He was a well-liked, even beloved World Champion, with a style that inspired awe in his fans and some of his rivals.
José Raúl Capablanca, the third World Champion, also has a memorial tournament. Indeed, there have been 51 Capablanca Memorials since 1962 held in Cuba, where he was born. Such an homage to Capablanca is not surprising as he was a beloved figure in his time and also a great hero to the island nation.
José Raúl Capablanca giving a simul in 1929.
Aside from Capablanca and Tal, however, there aren’t any world champions who have regular, elite tournaments held in their name.
There have been a handful of major competitions held in memory of Alexander Alekhine, the fourth World Champion, most notably in 1956 and 1971 and 2013, but not an annual commemoration.
Max Euwe, the fifth World Champion, was memorialized in annual tournaments in Amsterdam starting in 1987. But that series ended in 1996.
The sixth world champion, Mikhail Botvinnik, had an outsized influence in chess history. He was World Champion for 13 years, he played all the champions from Emanuel Lasker through Bobby Fischer, and he was
among the trainers of Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, and Vladimir Kramnik. He was also an early trailblazer in computer chess. Despite all of this accomplishments, he has only been commemorated in two major events: a match between Kramnik and Kasparov in 2001 and a rapid event in 2011.
After Botvinnik, the list of events in memory of World Champions really thins out.
There are, however, a number of players who weren’t World Champions who have memorial events. Paul Keres is the most notable example, both in terms of his greatness as a chess player (he was a major contender for the title from approximately 1937 through 1965) and in his memorial legacy. There is an annual tournament in in his memory in Vancouver, Canada, as he won there in 1975 in his final event before dying on his way home a few days later. There are also regular memorial events held for him in Tallinn, in his native Estonia.
A more surprising recipient of a commemorative event is the Slovenian grandmaster Milan Vidmar, whose career highlights were primarily in the first third of the 20th century. He died in 1962 and, since 1969, 20 memorials to him have been held, generally on a biennial schedule.
Two more recent honorees both passed away within the last decade and at young ages: Karen Asrian of Armenia and Vugar Gashimov, the super strong grandmaster from Azerbaijan. Asrian died in 2008, age 28, and there was a memorial event that year in his honor. It has continued every year then, with the ninth edition being held this year. Gashimov died in January of 2014 at age 27 and there has now been an elite-tournament in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, for three consecutive years.
The first Tal Memorial was in Riga in 1995 and was won by Kasparov with a score of 7.5/10, a half a point better than Viswanathan Anand, whom he defeated in their individual game. In that game, Kasparov used the
Evans Gambit, which was a suitable and swashbuckling way to honor Tal’s memory.
Kasparov, Garry vs. Anand, Viswanathan
Riga Tal Memorial |Riga |Round 4 |1995.??.?? |ECO: C51 |1-0
1. e4e52. Nf3Nc63. Bc4Bc54. b4Kasparov had pulled the Scotch out of
mothballs several years prior and turned it into a major opening, and now he
surprised Anand with another museum opening. 4... Bxb4Later that year Kasparov
tried the Evans Gmabit again. Piket tried a different variation, but the
result was the same.
( 5... Ba5is the other main line. After 6. d4d67. Qb3Qd7White
generally castles or takes on e5, while 8.Nbd2 is a reasonably important third
( 6. Qb3is also played. Black seems to be fine after 6... Nh67. d4Na58. Qb5Nxc49. Bxh6gxh610. Qxc4exd411. cxd4Rg8 )
6... Na57. Be2This wasn't quite a novelty when Kasparov
played it, but it was almost unknown before he put it on the map in this game.
( 7. Nxe5Nxc48. Nxc4d59. exd5Qxd510. Ne3used to be the main line of the
5...Be7 6.d4 line, but as Black has no trouble here after 10... Qa5or ... )
( 7. Bd3is the trendiest option. 7... d68. dxe5dxe59. Nxe5Nf610. O-OO-Ohas been tested by some very
strong players: Vachier-Lagrave, Kryvoruchko, Short, Shirov, Nisipeanu, Wei Yi,
and Ganguly are among those who have prosecuted the case for White; Kramnik,
Karjakin, Bruzon, and Malakhov are among those who have defended Black's cause. )
7... exd48. Qxd4!?Very dynamic. The pawn on c3 is isolated and gets in
the knight's way, but the threat of Qxg7 seriously inconveniences Black.
( 8. cxd4is the obvious move, keeping the beautiful pawn center intact. It is a
playable option, and Black should meet it with one of the following moves: 8... Nf6 )
8... Nf6The most natural reply, but
nowadays Black follows the classical advice about what to do when offered a
gambit. First accept it, then return it for the sake of speedy development and
play in the center.
( 8... d69. Qxg7Bf610. Qg3Qe7- or ... )
( 8... d59. Qxg7Bf610. Qg3dxe411. Nd4Ne712. Nb5and now another important moment. Black has generally played 12...Nd5,
which isn't very good on account of the energetic 13.c4, but Black has another,
better way to handle the threat to c7. 12... Nac6!!13. Nxc7+Qxc7!14. Qxc7Be515. Qxe5Nxe516. Nd2Bf517. f3Nd3+18. Bxd3exd319. Kf2O-O-O1/2-1/2
(19) Cawdery,D (2428)-Makoto,R (2403) Cape Town 2015 )
9. e5Nc610. Qh4Nd511. Qg3g6
( 11... Kf8!?is a different sort of concession. Castling is out
and the rook is stuck on h8, but on the other hand Black isn't creating any
new weaknesses - which he is in the game. )
( 12... O-Ois
presently the most popular option, when White chooses between 13.Bh6, 13.Rd1,
and 13.c4. )
( 12... h5has also been taken for a few trips around the block.
While it may weaken the g5 and g6 squares down the line, it stops Bh6. There's
also a semi-threat of ...h4 followed by ...d6, so White replies with 13. h4, and now Black plays ...Nb6 and ...d6 in either order. This looks like a
reasonable line for Black. )
13. c4Clearing c3 for the knight and
potentially opening the long diagonal for the c1-bishop, though it's still
likelier to head for h6 than b2. 13... d614. Rd1Nd7?It's a mistake, though a
logical and good-looking one. Black plugs up the d-file, brings another piece
around his king, and aims to eliminate the cramping pawn on e5.
( 14... Na4!15. Bh6f6!is a strong idea found years later by GM Igor Stohl. The
computer likes it (as well), and offers the following interesting continuation: 16. c5!?Nxc517. Bb5Bd718. exd6Bxd619. Rxd6cxd620. Nc3Ne521. Rd1White has sufficient compensation for his large material deficit, but not more
than that. )
15. Bh6!Ncxe516. Nxe5Nxe517. Nc3Black had of course
( 17. Bg7?!and intended 17... Bf618. Bxh8Bxh8, when Black is in good
shape with two pawns for the exchange. )
( 17... Nd7is a good
practical try. Black can survive direct tries, so White's best is the
surprisingly unforcing 18. Bf3!!Nc519. Rab1c620. Ne4!Nxe421. Bxe4Black is bound from east to west. His king won't be safe anywhere, he is
undeveloped, and there's no clear way to rectify the problem. It's important
to remember that one can sometimes take time to build the attack even after
sacrificing material; it's not always necessary to play a series of violent,
forcing moves once the attack starts. )
18. c5!Black's solid center is his
last bastion of strength, so White starts to undermine it. 18... Nf7?Now White
is able to finish the job with characteristically energetic play.
( 18... Bf5was better, though Black is still in trouble after 19. Rac1c620. cxd6Bxd621. Qe3Qe722. g4!Nxg423. Bxg4Qxe324. Bxe3Bxh2+25. Kxh2Bxg426. Rd6 )
( 19... Nxh6?20. dxc7 )
( 19... Bxd620. Bb5+!c621. Bf4! )
( 19... Nxd620. Bc4Bf521. Nb5!Rc822. Qb3! )
20. Qe3Nxh621. Qxh6Bf8As if
resetting the board for the next game. 22. Qe3+
Dennis Monokroussos is a FIDE master who has written about chess on his blog “The Chess Mind,” since 2005. He has been teaching chess for almost 20 years and for the last 10 years has been making instructional chess videos, which can be found at ChessLecture.com. Between 1995 and 2006, he taught philosophy, including a four-year stint at the University of Notre Dame.
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