Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pestaño: A virtual fest—4 major tournaments

Friday, May 3, 2013

THERE were three major tournaments going on almost simultaneously these past weeks and a fourth is just around the corner. It has been a virtual feast, watching the games live on the Internet.
The Chinese Chess Championships for men and women took place from April 16 to 27 in Xinghua, China, a round robin event among the top 12 players
Wang Yue demonstrated a remarkable fighting spirit by winning six games and drawing three. He won first place, 1.5 points ahead of the field, despite losing in the last round.
Jun Olis’s favorite damsel, former women’s champion Hou Yifan, who played in the men`s section (shades of Judit Polgar), performed credibly, placing fourth with a better tiebreak among five others.
Ding Yixin took first place among the women’s with an 8/11 performance. Half a point behind were Guo Qi and Shen Yang.
Featuring the top players in the world, the third leg of the Grand Prix series in Zug, Switzerland has just concluded with Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria the clear winner.
Although he only needed a draw to get clear first place, he showed his class by defeating Sergey Karjakin with the white pieces in the last round. Hikaru Nakamura finished solo in second place. Fabiano Caruana shared third and fourth places with
Ruslan Ponomariov.
Final Standings: 1.) Veselin Topalov (2771, Bulgaria) 8 points, 2.) Hikaru Nakamura (2767 USA) 6.5, 3.) Ruslan Ponomariov (2733, Ukraine) 6, 4.) Fabiano Caruana (2772, Italy) 6, 5.) Gata Kamsky (2741, USA) 5.5, 6.) Alezander Morozevich (2758, Russia) 5.5, 7.) Sergey Karjakin (2786, Russia) 5, 8.) Anish Giri (2727,Netherlands) 5, 9.) Peter Leko (2744,Hungary) 5, 10.) Teimour Radjabov ( 2793, Azesbaijan) 4.5, 11.) Rustam Kasimdzhanov ( 2709, Uzbekistan) 4.5, 12.) Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2766, Azerbaijan) 4.5.
The top two finishers in the six-leg Grand Prix will earn spots into the 2014 Candidates Tournament, so the stakes are quite high. The London and Tashkent legs were played last year while the fourth to sixth leg will be played in Madrid, Berlin and Paris this year..
The super tournament is dedicated to the memory of the fourth World chess champion Alexander Alekhine and is being played in two of the biggest museums – the Louvre (Paris) and the Russian Museum (Saint-Petersburg).
The tournament was held last April 21-25 in Paris and the last round is being played as I write this.
The Participants are world champion Viswanathan Anand (2783) , his challenger from the 2012 match Boris Gelfand (2739), former world champion Vladimir Kramnik (2801), World Cup winner Peter Svidler (2747) , Levon Aronian (2809), Nikita Vitiugov (2712) , Michael Adams (2727), Ding Liren (2707) , Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2722) and Fressinet Laurent (2706).
The penultimate round (eighth) had only one decisive result. Former leader Maxime Vachier-Lagrave fell with the white pieces against Russian Nikita Vitiugov. This result left Boris Gelfand as the sole leader of the event with five points and four players are just a half-point behind--Adams, Aronian, Anand and Vachier-Lagrave.
The 2013 U.S. Championships for men and women is scheduled to be held from May 2 to 13 in the Chess Club of Saint Louis. Although I am not sure, Cebuano GM Econg Sevillano might play in this tournament being the winner,I think, in 2008.
An unusual side event is an exhibition by GM Timur Gareev, formerly of Uzbekistan, who is rated second in this tournament behind Gata Kamsky. He will conduct a 33-board blindfold simultaneous exhibition before the start of the tournament. This is in preparation to break the record with a whopping 64-board blindfold simultaneous exhibition to be held this Dec. 21 in Oahu, Hawaii.
This is the ultimate test in memory, concentration, endurance and skill like no other.

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