Thursday, October 9, 2014

Too Much Chess?

Can there be such a thing? Well it is a bit mind blowing at the moment. The first Grand Prix tournament in Baku is seeing Caruana cement his second place in the ranking list, and make a bid for first. Int he live ratings he is only 12 points behind Carlsen. Caruana's rise is definitely for the good of chess, and his challenge to Carlsen has enlivened the chess world. Whatever the result of the upcoming World Championship in November, what most of us will be thinking is the likelihood of a future match between Caruana and Carlsen.

Beisdes the Grand Prix event, there are other important events happening at the moment. The World Junior, coming hot on the heals of the World Youth Championships, is taking place in India and sees a strong field including 5 players rated above 2600. Unfortunately, there are no Australian players in either the boys or girls tournaments. I'm not sure why this is the case as the tournament would have been a great experience for the young players involved. Chinese superstar Yi Wei will be a tough player to beat and sits on 3/3, though I'm hoping for a good performance from Jan-Krystof Duda from my father's home country of Poland. In the girls event, the favourite is defending champion Aleksandra Goryachkina from Russia. However, Goryachkina has already dropped half a point and is on 2.5/3, the same score as second seed Meri Arabidze from Georgia. Both these talented teenagers will be playing in the women's world championship, if it actually goes ahead!

Another talented young player, Maxime Vachier-Legrave is playing at the PokerStars International on the Isle of Man. This has brought back fond memories for me as the last tournament I played before leaving the UK to emigrate for Australia was in the Isle of Man. Unfortunately, I had a stinking cold for the first few rounds and played very badly, but still had a great time there. This time round, Vachier-Legrave is leading the tournament on 4.5/5, but he has a bunch of very strong players packed behind him. For me personally, it is inspirational seeing players who I have played fighting it out at the top level.

Finally, I have been looking at games from the past again. For some reason, the greats of the past who were so inspirational fascinate me more than the current batch of players. Anyway, I have been looking at some games from the great St Petersburg tournament of 1909 which was jointly won by Rubinstein and Lasker 3.5 points ahead of a world class field. The tournament was run as a memorial to the great Russian player Mikhail Chigorin. After this great first event, there was quite a gap unti the next Chigorin Memorial, which was won by Botvinnik in 1947. The tournament became an annual event only in 1963 and was won by Polugaevsky in Sochi. Since 1993, the Chigorin Memorial has been run as a swiss event back in St Petersburg. This year's event starts on October 18th, an auspicious day in the history of yours truly!

In the Isle of Man, young Melbourne FM Chris Wallis is playing and has scored a draw against American GM James Tarjan who seems to be making a comeback to chess. However, I was really impressed with his finish to the following game against Israeli IM Eylon Nakar. Maybe I'm looking at too many of those old games, but I still enjoy a queen sacrifice to finish the game.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo! What an absolutely beautiful winning line found by Chris. Great moves are Nf5! and Qf6!! Very impressive because he must have seen Qf6!! before committing to the line with Nf5. One of those combinations that make one feel good inside just playing it over (what a wonderful feeling it must have been for Chris to physically play it!) Well spotted Carl on finding this game (and very well spotted Chris on finding Qf6!!)...Peter Frost