Gashimov Memorial, Rounds 3 & 4: Caruana Beats, Catches Carlsen

Posted by Dennis Monokroussos @ 11:09 PM, Wednesday Apr 23rd, 2014
  • Carlsen’s Undefeated Streak
  • May 17, 2013 – April 22, 2014
  • R.I.P.

If round 3 was a bit irksome for Magnus Carlsen, failing as he did to convert a clearly superior position against Sergey Karjakin, round 4 of the Gashimov Memorial was a flat-out disaster for the world champion. He essayed the Berlin Defense against Fabiano Caruana (come back!!), which in itself may not be foolhardy but is at least dangerous, as Caruana has been in the forefront of White players looking for deep new ideas against the Berlin ending. Carlsen’s position was already somewhat unpleasant when he blundered with 24…Kc8??, dropping the c7 pawn for nothing. (Ironically, I just turned on chess24′s broadcast at that moment, and in analysis Peter Svidler made the same blunder as well, to Lawrence Trent’s surprise.)

Caruana’s technique was very good from there up through move 39, but right before the time control Carlsen found a way to create some tactical tricks. Very short of time, Caruana chose a safe 40th move that cost him most of his advantage. Fortunately for Caruana, Carlsen rejected 40…Bc7, which would have let him grovel on a pawn down. Perhaps he felt that it would be hopeless in the long run, and decided to risk a faster loss in a sharper position. With time to work out the details, Caruana finished him off effectively, and thereby caught up with Carlsen in joint first place with 2.5/4.

The day’s other games were drawn, and in round 3 the only decisive result was Hikaru Nakamura’s victory over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who is currently the only player in the tournament with a minus score. Here are the pairings for round 5, the last round of the first cycle (player scores are in parentheses):

  • Mamedyarov (1) – Caruana (2.5)
  • Carlsen (2.5) – Radjabov (2)
  • Nakamura (2) – Karjakin (2)

Tourney at Ironia School, Winter 2014

Posted by James R. West @ 4:49 AM, Wednesday Apr 23rd, 2014

On Tuesday, the final class of the winter 2014 session took place at Ironia Elementary School, in the after school enrichment program on chess, coached by me for Enrich and Grow Academy.

The tournament winner was Ethan Ji with 5 points, trailed by Alexander Winans and Andrew Browne with 4 points.
Medals were awarded to the fourteen students.

Bill Mason (1964-2014)

Posted by United States Chess Federation @ 7:56 AM, Tuesday Apr 22nd, 2014

Bill Mason of Bethesda, Maryland died in hospice on March 16, 2014. Steve Mayer remembers the influential DC area player.

Pix from Rahway Swiss 4/19/2014

Posted by James R. West @ 6:37 AM, Tuesday Apr 22nd, 2014
You can see pictures from the 3rd Saturday Swiss at the Chess Mates blog.

181 Players Qualify for 2014 World Youth

Posted by United States Chess Federation @ 3:47 AM, Tuesday Apr 22nd, 2014

The USCF is pleased to announce that 181 players have qualified to participate
in the 2014 World Youth Chess Championships to be held in Durban, South Africa,
from Sept 18-30.

181 Players Qualify for 2014 World Youth

Posted by United States Chess Federation @ 3:47 AM, Tuesday Apr 22nd, 2014

The USCF is pleased to announce that 181 players have qualified to participate
in the 2014 World Youth Chess Championships to be held in Durban, South Africa,
from Sept 18-30.

Kamsky Tops Philly on Way to Saint Louis

Posted by United States Chess Federation @ 12:55 AM, Tuesday Apr 22nd, 2014

GM Gata Kamsky took clear first at the Philadelphia Open on the way to his US Champs title defense in Saint Louis in two weeks. Check out his thoughts on the event and key games.

Kamsky Tops Philly on Way to Saint Louis

Posted by United States Chess Federation @ 12:55 AM, Tuesday Apr 22nd, 2014

GM Gata Kamsky took clear first at the Philadelphia Open on the way to his US Champs title defense in Saint Louis in two weeks. Check out his thoughts on the event and key games.

An All-GM Miniature

Posted by Dennis Monokroussos @ 4:02 PM, Monday Apr 21st, 2014

Evgeni Vasiukov (the victim of the famous “hippopotamus in the marsh” game) may not be the player he once was, but he’s still pretty darned good. Although he is 81 years old, he still has a 2451 FIDE rating, and as such isn’t a guy to be taken lightly. Of course, he can have his bad days – can’t we all? – and when one’s opponent plays as incisively as Miso Cebalo did in this game, disaster can strike.

(A P.S.: Vasiukov beat many great players, but to show that even in his older years he has remained a dangerous opponent check out this 2002 demolition job on Loek van Wely.)

Gashimov Memorial, Round 2: Magnus Carlsen Wins Again

Posted by Dennis Monokroussos @ 1:16 PM, Monday Apr 21st, 2014

And again, he is the only winner. His victim in round 2 of the Vugar Gashimov Memorial was Hikaru Nakamura, who has tried in various ways over the past year or two to psych himself into a full-fledged rivalry with the world champion. So far it hasn’t worked, and Carlsen won something like his ninth classical game against Nakamura without a single loss.

Carlsen enjoyed nagging pressure on the white side of a Slow Slav (4.e3) thanks to his good dark-squared bishop, but the advantage didn’t grow to deathly proportions until the run-up to the first time control. By the time they finished 40 moves Carlsen was winning, and while it took another 21 moves to finish the job he never let Nakamura off the hook.

Carlsen leads the field by a point or more, as no one else has managed to win a game through two rounds. Fabiano Caruana didn’t come close to getting anything against Sergey Karjakin’s Berlin Defense, and their game was drawn by repetition inside of 30 moves. As for the Teimour Radjabov – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov game, it’s true that they made it move 40 on the scoresheets, but in reality the game was over around move 19, when Black achieved …c5. After that it was a big swap meet, and the only question was how long it would take until the players managed a repetition.

Here are the pairings for round 3, with player scores in parentheses:

  • Nakamura (.5) – Mamedyarov (.5)
  • Karjakin (1) – Carlsen (2)
  • Radjabov (1) – Caruana (1)
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