Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chess heroes

There are some great tournaments around the World at the moment. Forgive me for promoting my English heritage, but tonight the annual Hastings tournament starts. It's an excellent field, and I know a few players and I've played against quite a few. Unfortunately, the time difference between here and England at the moment means that to watch the games, I'll have to stay up half the night which won't be happening. It's tremendous for the tournament to have a player of the strength of Wang Yue 2697 at the top of the field. But I'll be hoping that one of the locals takes the title. Top English player is David Howell 2633 and he is the second seed and main hope for England. But not the only hope. I'd love to see Mark Hebden or Keith Arkell do well even though (or maybe because) they kept beating me up in weekend tournaments in the UK.

Meanwhile, there are 2 top World class events happening this new year period. Reggio Emilia started yesterday with everybody's favourite comeback player, Alexander Morozevich.

Morozevich was the little player's favourite, he played unorthodox openings and had interesting games. Since his return this year, Morozevich has played much more orthodox openings, and had outstanding results. He still plays interesting positions, as can be seen from the complicated game he played last night against Fabiano Caruana. The Closed Spanish is the most orthodox of openings but when 2 dynamic players come together things can get very interesting.

Morozevich is black, and has given a pawn for amazing play, a knight on d3 is going to be a pain for white, and black's dark squared bishop will work its way to the long diagonal. This had all been played before in the game Anand-Kamsky (m7) PCA Candidates Final 1995, and is typical of Morozevich's dynamic style. It is great to have top players who are not scared to take risks to win games.

Later the game reached this position, where Moro has been outplayed by his younger opponent. Caruana took his advantage now by playing, 42. Nxc4 Qf6 43. Qf1 Be8 44. d6 Qd8 45. Nd5 Bb5 46. Rxf7 Nxe4

and could have won, but erred with 47.Nc7? [47.Nf6 Kh8 48.Qb1 wins] and Morozevich didn't need another invitation 47..Bxc4 48. Qxc4 Nxd6 49. Ne6 Nxc4 0-1

Nakamura also won a game against Vitiugov while Ivanchuk and Giri drew their game. Funnily enough, Morozevich wasn't going to be playing in this tournament, but rather Gashimov was in the event. However, Gashimov chose to play at the other interesting event, starting later today in San Sebastian. Celebrating the centenary of the 1911 San Sebastian tournament won by Capablanca, the Donostia Chess Festival will be a 7 round knockout event. With 10 players over 2700 in the field, it looks to be an exciting prospect.

In the 1911 event Capablanca scored 9.5/14 ahead of Rubinstein, Vidmar, Marshall, Tarrasch, Schlechter, Nimzowitsch,     Bernstein, Spielmann, Teichmann, Maroczy, Janowski, Burn, Duras, Leonhardt.

Now that's a field to try to emulate!

Capablanca is 7th from the right, sitting and looking calm at San Sebastian 1911

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