I have been on a chess free vacation for the past 2-3 weeks and it is time to get back into the swing. It seems while I was away I missed much in the chess world, though there is now so much top class chess happening and being reported on that it doesn't really matter much. It was no surprise that Yifan Hou regained her World Championship, though perhaps the ease with which she defeated Anna Ushenina was. And while I was away there were men's and women's Grand Prix tournaments, that now seem to happen so frequently that they are just more of the same old thing. This time round, Koneru won the women's event, while the men's tournament was jointly won by Caruana and Gelfand. The World Junior Championships were won by the top seed in the boys, Yangyi Yu while my tip for the girls title, Aleksandra Goryachkina won the event. It is reassuring that one of my tips has come through, though I probably know more about girls chess than the top level of chess at the moment.
Personally, I am about to start playing again. Next week I am playing a small one day event at the Melbourne Chess Club. The MCC Quads are designed for players who have little time but want to play long play chess. Players are allocated into 4 player groups and have to play 3 games of about 60 + 20 in a day. I think it is a great idea, and while I know it will be tough to play at a constantly good level for 3 games, I am eager to play some rated chess again. In fact, it will be interesting to see how far off my play has dropped after not playing any serious competitive chess for about a year. I certainly expect a bit of rustiness, especially tactically. The question is, how to prepare for the event? Should I try to play loads of online chess? Should I study some openings? Should I be trying to solve as many tactical puzzles as possible? Hmmm, I guess I'll just continue to do what I normally do and play as best I can on the day. I'll be blogging some things here over the next week, so you'll see some of the things I'm doing to prepare.
One thing I'll be doing is following the games from the Russian Championship Final which started yesterday. The men's event is really an amazing field with Kramnik the top seed. Inspired by the fact that I recently got something right, I'm going to go for Peter Svidler for this event, he always seems to pay well at the Russian Championships. Yesterday, in the first round he started with a win, but then again so did Kramnik on a day when all the games were decisive. Number 2 seed, Karjakin lost though this was with black to Andreikin who proved just how good he was in the recent World Cup.
Finally, did I say my tipping had improved? Not really, I got one right and this has gone to my head a bit. Well, to come back to earth, I also suggested that Mirko Rujevic was going to be tough to beat in the MCC Open. Tough to beat he no doubt is, but not impossible as was proved last week by Justin Penrose. The previously unbeaten Rujevic is now on 3/4 with a large group of players while Penrose takes a half point lead into the 5th round played tomorrow. The tournament is still wide open, and Mirko must still be considered one of the favourites. Round 5 sees Penrose playing black against Dizdarevic on board 1, while the top 2 seeds, Rujevic-Pyke, play on board 2.
Right I'm off to do some preparation for next week's tournament. In America I bought a book and am going to find a good coffee and browse through it. Hopefully some of the games will get that far.