St. Louis R&B, Day 2: Mistakes were made

Fabiano Caruana maintained his two-point lead in the St. Louis Rapid and Blitz after scoring three draws on a day featuring huge swings in many of the games. Vishy Anand, Wesley So and Levon Aronian all lost winning positions, while you couldn’t take your eyes off Alexander Grischuk’s time trouble adventures. The upwardly mobile players were Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Hikaru Nakamura, who both scored +1 to join MVL and Sergey Karjakin in the chasing pack.

Round 4: The calm before the storm

The big match-up in the first round of the day was Nakamura-Caruana. Could Fabiano Caruana maintain his winning streak after three wins on the first day, or would Hikaru Nakamura maintain his own winning streak after he beat Fabi in all three of their games in the Paris Grand Chess Tour? In the end they balanced each other out.

grischuk bw lo

The only decisive game of the round would in fact be MVL-Grischuk, where the French no. 1 once again demonstrated his endgame prowess to convert a position a pawn up. He was given a helping hand by his opponent’s time management, though, with Alexander Grischuk finding himself with 13 seconds to his opponent’s 11 minutes midway through the game. Hikaru Nakamura would later muse that Grischuk has failed to adapt to the delay rather than increment used in the Grand Chess Tour.

There were relatively quiet draws in Karjakin-So and Dominguez-Anand, while Aronian-Mamedyarov was anything but quiet after Levon was tempted by an exotic queen sacrifice.

Round 5: Mayhem

It was curious that in the very next round Mamedyarov was on the white side of almost exactly the same scenario.

Fabiano Caruana had a relatively uneventful day, but he admitted his clash with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was “pretty wild”. Maxime went for his beloved Najdorf and looked to be taking over with a queenside attack, but while Fabiano admitted “for most of the game I was probably losing” he also got what he called “a slightly accidental” chance to play for a win.

Fabiano finally had things under control around his king and could have gone hunting on the other side of the board with 41.h5! (41…Nxg5 loses more or less on the spot to 42.Qf1 and various other moves), 42.Nxe4 next move and then targeting the black weaknesses on the kingside. Instead Caruana played on the queenside with 41.Nb1?! and the forcing line with Nc3 that followed almost led to disaster. Black is probably winning in the position where the players repeated moves, though Maxime would have needed to find some (more) very tricky moves.

Caruana was correct, though, when he commented that “there weren’t huge blunders in my games”. The same couldn’t be said elsewhere in Round 5.

The loss for Wesley So was even more dramatic. Wesley would have been close to a win, with zero losing chances, if he’d exchanged his bishop for Leinier Dominguez’s knight on move 43, but a missed win only turned into a catastrophe on move 50.

so dominguez af

Black’s one threat in the position wasn’t hard to spot, but 50.Kxf5?? fatally ignored it. After 50…c3 a black pawn will queen and Wesley had no choice but to resign. Instead simply 50.e6! and the bishop could deal with the pawns for a simple draw.

Round 6: Black is ok!

A certain Garry Kasparov was impressed by the fact Black managed to win three games in the final round of the day.

Wesley So recovered fastest after his misfortune in the previous round to smoothly outplay Vishy Anand on the black side of an Italian, while the other two wins were more dramatic.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave puzzled everyone by almost blitzing his way to 9.exf6 after Mamedyarov launched a trademark early g5.

There were draws in Dominguez-Grischuk, where White’s seemingly unstoppable attack was eventually stopped…

…and Karjakin-Caruana, where Fabiano admitted he was worried about his dubious opening until his opponent chose to castle and the worst was over.

That meant that at the end of what Caruana described as, “not a great day, but perfectly satisfactory”, the World Championship challenger still had a two-point lead, though the chasing pack had grown to four players:


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Cuba without GM Leinier Dominguez for World Olympiad

Cuban chess player and Grand Master Leinier Dominguez was temporarily dismissed from the Cuban national team to represent the island in the 43rd next edition of the World Olympiad in the city of Batumi, Georgia, from September 23 to October 6, 2018, said Cuban national chess commissioner Carlos Rivero here today.

'When he decides to come back to Cuba we will evaluate his reinsertion to the national team, starting from the established rules in the sport,' Rivero said in a press release by the Cuban National Chess Federation that was read and published during the official presentation of the 53rd edition of International Jose Raul Capablanca in Memoriam.

This will be the second consecutive year Dominguez is absent from the national team's list, since in 2017 he asked permission not to participate in Cuban tournaments for a non-specified period of time.

At that time the chess player born in Güines, 60 kilometers southeast of this capital, resided outside the country and worked as a commentator on the website Chess24.

The Adolfo Luque Hall of the Latin American Stadium was the place where the Elite Group to compete at the Capablanca International was revealed, led by US Grand Master (GM) Samuel Shankland, owner of the 70th place in the world ranking with .2671 Elo points.

Cuban GM Lazaro Bruzon, his Russian counterparts Alexey Dreev and Aleksandr Rakhmanov, Spanish David Anton, and the Venezuelan Eduardo Iturrizaga will also participate.

The tournament will begin on Tuesday, May 8, at the Embajadores Hall of the Habana Libre Hotel and will hold its first round the following day, starting at three o'clock in the afternoon.

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Russian GM Dreev main attraction of upcoming Capablanca tournament

Russian Alexei Dreev will be the major attraction in the Elite Group of the Capablanca Memorial Chess Tournament to take place in Havana from May 8-20 next.

Dreev currently owns 2,653 ELO points and although he no longer appears among the best players of his country, his curriculum includes five Chess Olympics, attendances to world championships and victories in famous contests.

He will undoubtedly bring prestige to the six-player-round-robin event that will also feature famous players such as American Samuel Shankland (2,668) and Russian Alexander Rakhmanov (2,655).

Shankland finished second last year when the winner was Indian Krishnan Sasikiran, only one able of "stealing" a crown from Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk in all his attendances to this competition, but he won´t come this time.

Carlos Rivero, Cuba´s national commissioner, told JIT sports publication that the 2018 Capablanca Memorial Chess Tournament will also include an Open Group to be attended by about 150 players, mainly locals, and an U16 Poole.

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Viswanathan Anand wins Tal Memorial rapid

Final three rounds of the rapid tournament of Tal Memorial were played in the Museum of the Russian Impressionism in Moscow on March 4.

Viswanathan Anand won the rapid part of the super tournament with 6 points out of 9.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin, and Hikaru Nakamura are half a point behind. Thanks to the superior tie-break, Mamedyarov took the second place, while Karjakin is the third.

Blitz event with 14 players will take place on 5th March.

Final standings:

1. Viswanathan Anand – 6
2-4. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin, Hikaru Nakamura – 5
5-6. Boris Gelfand, Alexander Grischuk – 4.5
7-8. Vladimir Kramnik, Daniil Dubov – 4
9-10. Peter Svidler, Ian Nepomniachtchi – 3.5.

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Leinier returns to the Chess Boards

This year looked like the perfect season to rest and to spend some time with his family, especially with his little boy Sebastian. There were no major events ahead, so the best Cuban chess player nowadays wanted to take a sabbatical 2017.

However, life sometime changes and it happened these days. He was invited to participate in a rapid and blitz Tournament to be held in St. Louis.

I am pretty sure this is not the first invitation he has received this year. He rejected the others, but this one is different. It has something special: the return of genius Garry Kasparov to an official tournament.

Playing against Baku’s Beast, privilege or torture Leinier has never experienced before, must have shaken his foundations as he said yes. Therefore, Leinier will be playing along with seven other strong chess players in August 14-19.

Besides Leinier and Kasparov, Vietnamese Le Quang Liem, Czech David Navara, Russians Ian Nepomniachtchi, Sergey Karjakin, and Americans Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruano, Armenian Levon Aronian, and Indian Vishy Anand complete the line-up.

With such line-up, it is hard to turn the invitation down. Not even for the Cuban, who has not competed for months and will face here strong players.

Nonetheless, Leinier is not there for free. He is number three in the FIDE world rapid ranking with (2803) behind Nakamura (2822) and Nepomniachtchi (2819).

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

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The king is back: Chess legend Garry Kasparov comes out of retirement

He was the "monster with 100 eyes, who sees all" whose painful defeat against IBM's Deep Blue computer heralded the end of human dominance over artificial intelligence.

Yet 20 years on Garry Kasparov is still considered the greatest chess player in history, a genius so special he became world champion at 22 and was then almost invincible for two decades.

Now, 12 years after he turned his back on the professional game, the king is back.

To the delight of fans, the 54-year-old Russian exile has announced he will return to competition next month.

Kasparov will appear at the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament as one of four wildcard picks playing for a total prize fund of $150,000.

The event is part of the prestigious Grand Chess Tour, a "grand slam" set of tournaments that is bankrolled by UK billionaire Rex Sinquefield and seen as a rival to the events organised by Fide, the official world governing body.

Kasparov, whose nickname of "The Beast" was earned by his bullish behaviour, has previous form at challenging Fide.

In 1993, he led a split after an acrimonious dispute to form the Professional Chess Championship.

The PCA subsequently collapsed when computer chip maker Intel withdrew its sponsorship, although the parallel world championship limped on until 2006.

In 2014 Kasparov, with the backing of Sinquefield, launched an attempt to unseat eccentric Fide president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov which ended in failure.

But what matters most to fans is the series of mouth-watering old versus new clashes Kasparov's return sets up over the board.

While he will not face the current world's best, his former protégé Magnus Carlsen, Kasparov will take on Carlsen's Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin and two top Americans, Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana.

Kasparov has had outings in minor exhibition matches since retiring, but this time he is entering pa one of chess's elite level "grand slams".

"Ready to see if I remember how to move the pieces! Will I be able to announce my re-retirement afterward if not?!", he tweeted.

Held in America's official chess capital of Saint Louis, Missouri, the tournament pits the world's best against each other at tournaments in London, Paris and most recently in Leuven, Belgium.

Kasparov's epic duels with his predecessor, the 12th world champion Anatoly Karpov, made him a household name in the 80s, a decade when chess made headlines and the England team were number two in the world.

In 1993 he beat the Leigh-born Grandmaster Nigel Short in a breakaway world title match that was broadcast live on Channel 4.

It remains the only time an English Grandmaster has challenged for the title. But Kasparov is perhaps better known outside chess for the epic 1997 battle with an IBM computer that ended an era of human dominance, which is the subject of his recent book Deep Thinking.

IBM inflicted a narrow but psychologically crushing defeat on Kasparov, who later claimed the computer's programmers had the unfair advantage that he wasn't able to study its games beforehand.

Three years later Kasparov lost his world crown to the well-prepared Russian Vladimir Kramnik, who appeared to nullify Kasparov's attacking flair with a solid opening called the Berlin Defence.

In 2005, Kasparov retired from professional chess in tears after losing a game in Linares. It brought to an end a record 20 years as the world's top-ranked player.

At the time he said: "It is very difficult to quote one reason. But if I try I could tell you that, as you know, I am a man of big goals.

"I have to achieve something, I have to prove something, I have to be determined. But I no longer see any real goal in the world of chess."

Since then he has become a prolific author, human rights campaigner and a fierce critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, himself a fan of the game.

Speaking yesterday, Kasparov said: "It's a thrill to officially be returning to the game, and certainly not something I would have anticipated more than a decade after my retirement.

"Coming back to the board in Saint Louis is truly an honour – I wouldn't want to commemorate this moment anywhere else."
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GM Leinier Dominguez: Sestao´s second board at Spain Chess Honor Division

Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez will defend the second board of the Sestao Naturgas Energia at the Spanish teams’ chess championship to be held in Huesca, from September 26 to October 2.

The Caribbean chess player, silver medalist at the recently concluded chess Olympiad in Baku, is the third player with highest ELO rating among chess players of his team (2720), behind, Hungarian GM Richard Rapport (2752), and Azeri Teimur Radjabov (2723).

Every team is composed of 12 chess players. The Sestao line up, besides Rapport, Radjabov, and Leinier, is as follows: French GM Eduard Romain (2635), Spanish Francisco Vallejo (2718), Gm Ivan Salgado (2662), and Salvador del Rio (2516), among others.

Eight teams will liven up the tournament and it will be played in a round-robin system, seven rounds. It is mandatory to play a woman in every round.

The points scored will be given round after round (winners 2 points, draw 1 point; a loss, 0 point).

The time of the each game will be 90 minutes for first 40 moves, then 30 minutes more for the rest of the game.

Round 1 will be held at 16:30 local time on Monday September 26. Sestao will face Merida Patrimonio with GM Ernesto Inarkiev (Russia) and Rumanian GM Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu as its best chess players.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / Cubasi Translation Staff

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World Team Chess Championship: First Round

The meetings of first round of the World Team Chess Championship took place today in Tsaghkadzor. The confrontations Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Armenia were central. Pavel Eljanov defeating Evgeny Tomashevsky gave his team a victory with the minimum score 2.5 : 1.5. The same score was in the match Israel-Armenia. Here the winning point was scored by Maxim Rodshtein who took advantage over Vladimir Akopian.

It seemed that the match USA-China would end in peace. But when the match score was 1.5 : 1.5 and the draw was predictable around the 1st board, Ding Liren took victory over Samuel Shankland and China took victory. In the match India-Egypt the favourites were found stronger and the Indians took victory with the score 3 : 1. The only in-draw was signed in the match Hungary - Cuba with the score 2 : 2.

In the second round will compete India - USA, Hungary - China, Russia - Cuba, Armenia - Ukraine, Egypt - Israel.

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