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British Chess Magazine - News Archive for 2007

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Hastings Congress, 28 Dec 2007 - 6 Jan 2008 [07/01/08]

This year's Hastings International Congress is being styled the 'Celebration' 83rd Hastings Congress to commemorate notable figures in the chess world who have passed away in the past few years. The Masters event is a ten-round swiss which runs daily from 28 December to 6 January, starting at 2.15pm each afternoon. Spectators are welcome.
   Latest: Final round report from Steve Giddins - View/download games (all rounds). First place was shared by Malakhatko (BEL), Neverov (UKR) and Mamedov (AZE). Simon Williams has completed his qualification for the GM title (subject to confirmation). You can read Steve's round reports by clicking here and see some of BCM's photos taken on the opening day. Official website: http://www.hastingschess.org.uk/

33rd Guernsey International, 21-27 Oct [21/11/07]

The Guernsey International was won (not for the first time) by that most popular of Viking raiders, GM Tiger Hillarp Persson of Sweden. We now have all the games, keyed in and sent by Arthur Brameld (many thanks to him) and, to accompany them, a delightful and discursive report penned by Kevin Thurlow which has been composting down in the editor's in-tray for some weeks now (both thanks and apologies are due to the author). Click here for Kevin's report, plus games of the tournament.

16th European Team Championship, Crete, 27 Oct - 6 Nov [06/11/07]

ETCC LogoThe 2007 European Team Championship for men's/open and women's teams takes place in Hersonissos (near Heraklion), Crete, from 27 October to 6 November. Both tournaments last 9 rounds, time control 40 moves/1½ hours plus 30 mins/rest of game, plus 30 sec increments.
     Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Armenia are the four top seeds in the main event, while Russia, Georgia, Ukraine and France are the leading women's teams. There are 40 teams in the main event.
     All the British teams are some way short of full strength: England (Adams, Jones, N.Pert, Hebden, Conquest, non-playing capt Wells) is rated 16th, Scotland (Muir, Ruxton, Grant, Morrison) 36th and Wales (R.Jones, Kett, C.Morris, Spice, Trevelyan) 38th. There are 30 teams in the women's event: England (Houska, Ciuksyte, Lauterbach, Chevannes, Grigoryan, non-playing capt Emms) is rated 20th (no other British or Irish teams).
: Russia capped their gold medal winning performance with a final round win against Bulgaria. Armenia beat Israel to take silver while Azerbaijan took bronze. 1 Russia 17/18, 2 Armenia 14, 3 Azerbaijan 13... 16 England (they lost 1½-2½ to Ukraine - not a bad result against one the major teams - 16th was England's pre-tournament ranking position. Mickey Adams finished with a win against world number two Vasyl Ivanchuk and took the bronze medal on top board) 10... 32 Scotland 7 (they beat the three teams ranked below them and lost to the five ranked above them, so this can be regarded as a par score), 37 Wales 5 (one place above their ranking).
    In the women's section, Russia drew with Ukraine which was enough to bring them gold. 1 Russia 15/18, 2 Poland 13, 3 Armenia 13... 22 England 8 (not a bad effort: Ingrid Lauterbach played slightly above her rating while Jovanka Houska had a fine 2½/3 finish).
   We are pleased to feature reports from Mark Lyell who is travelling with the England party. We now have some photos, kindly supplied by Mark. A report on Scotland's progress may be found here and Wales here. Official website: http://www.greekchess.com/euro2007/.

Ahmed Adly - World Junior Champion! [27/10/07]

Ahmed AdlyWhilst in the Isle of Man, I had the chance to film an interview with Egyptian GM Ahmed Adly. This was Australian FM Manuel Weeks' idea because he and I were trying to teach ourselves how to make video clips for the web in advance of next year's Gibraltar tournament (see below) and Manuel thought Ahmed would make an ideal first subject - he's chatty and extrovert and fun to be with.
    We hadn't guessed how fortuitous this choice of interviewee would be - two weeks later Ahmed Adly was crowned the world junior champion in Yerevan, Armenia! This was a remarkable feat: with all due respect to him, Ahmed was by no means the favourite to win in Armenia. Rated more than 100 points ahead of him were players like Wang Hao (2643), Daniel Stellwagen (2639), plus several other formidable players such as Laznicka (2610), Rodshtein (2586) and a whole stack of other 2500+ players including England's Gawain Jones and David Howell. Ahmed lost his first game, but then strung together seven(!) straight wins to lead on 7/8. Things then went sour - he lost two games in a row. That might have been a huge psychological blow to many players, but the 20-year-old Egyptian then won his last three games to finish at the head of the field on 10/13 - and not a single draw.
    Elisabeth PaehtzAs well as a great individual achievement for Ahmed, it was also a massive breakthrough for African chess - I'm not sure any African player has won such a prestigious championship before. It's worth bearing in mind that we now have a world champion from Asia (Vishy Anand), women's world champion also from Asia (Xu Yuhua) and world junior champion from Africa - not a European or American in sight!
    Anyway, you now have the chance to watch the 12-minute interview (in two parts) featured at the Gibraltar website. Ahmed is an irrepressible talker and the conversation is not just about chess - he discusses his other passions such as fencing and ice skating as well as paying tribute to the people who have helped him. Official website of the World Junior Championship.
   Also don't miss our interview with German IM/WGM Elisabeth Paehtz at the same place. She talks about being a soldier in the German army, what she intends to do next (school-teaching), superstitious players who don't like to change their clothes when on a winning streak, what she thinks about the use of of photos of women chessplayers in magazines and on websites, her latest hobby (singing - she duetted with Emil Sutovsky at the 2007 Gibraltar tournament) and more besides.

Dorset Open, 5-10 Oct [21/10/07]

All 51 games of the Dorset Open, viewable and downable here and won by John Anderson (my thanks to Bill Frost for the games). Long 'radio silence' from the BCM editor: after the Isle of Man, I went down with a bad cold and then had to catch up with a lot of work. Will be blogging again soon...

16th Monarch Assurance Isle of Man International, 22-30 September 2007 [30/09/07]

The Monarch Assurance Isle of Man International takes place at the Ocean Castle Hotel, Port Erin, from 22-30 September and features a very strong masters event, plus major and minor events for lower-rated players. This is to be the last Isle of Man International to be sponsored by Monarch Assurance, so this will be your last chance to enjoy Port Erin's hospitality and scenery. Click on the above link to go to the official website, which will have games, results, reports and photos from Saturday onwards.
    As usual there is a strong line-up with a number of 2600+ in the field, headed by Michal Krasenkow and last year's winner Alexander Areshchenko. From the UK there are Jonathan Speelman, Mark Hebden, Peter Wells, Stewart Haslinger and others, and the women's line-up includes Elisabeth Paehtz. Latest (30 Sept): Six players tie for first place: Yuri Yakovich (RUS), Vitali Golod (ISR), Zahar Efimenko (UKR), Mateusz Bartel (POL), Mikhail Kobalia (RUS) and Michael Roiz (ISR) - they all scored 6½/9. Round 9 results and games. View/download all games. Crosstable.

Vishy Anand wins the World Championship in Mexico [30/09/07]

Mexico 2007 logoThe FIDE World Championship tournament takes place in Mexico from 13-30 Sept as an eight-player double-cycle all-play-all. Players: reigning champion Vladimir Kramnik (RUS, 2769); Viswanathan Anand (IND, 2792); Alexander Morozevich (RUS, 2758); Peter Leko (HUN, 2751); Levon Aronian (ARM, 2750); Peter Svidler (RUS, 2735); Boris Gelfand (ISR, 2733); Alexander Grischuk (RUS, 2726).
View/download gamesOfficial websiteCrosstable, Results and PairingsIan Rogers Blog
: Round 14: Vishy Anand played out a quick draw with Peter Leko and became the 15th undisputed world chess champion. Many congratulations to him. He is the first player from Asia to achieve this and the first player to be undisputed world champion and world no.1 since Kasparov split from FIDE in 1993. In many ways the tournament turned out the way widely predicted. Kramnik won his last game to make a score of +2, which is usually enough to win Dortmund - or indeed his match against Garry Kasparov in 2000 - but it was never likely to be enough to win a tournament of this length. Most pundits expected Anand to score better than that and he did so by scoring +4. However purists will argue that four games won against four non-champions in the bottom half of the table is not what a proper world chess championship is all about. Let's hope that the prospective match between Anand and Kramnik happens in 2008 as envisaged and that the traditional matchplay formula will thus be resumed and maintained. Round 13: Anand is now a point clear of Gelfand with one round to go, and a draw with White against Leko in the final round will be enough to confirm him as 15th undisputed world champion. He defended an endgame a pawn down against Grischuk somewhat nervously in the 13th round. Gelfand could have got closer to him had he exploited a chance to get a good position against Kramnik but they too drew. The only decisive result occurred when Morozevich played rather poorly against Leko to allow White to get an unstoppable passed h-pawn in the middlegame. Round 12: Gelfand and Kramnik both made up some ground on Anand though it is probably too little, too late. Anand drew comfortably with Svidler. The other three games were all decisive. The posse of grandmasters in the bar at the Monarch Assurance venue all seemed impressed by Kramnik's play against Leko. By the same token they were singularly unimpressed by Aronian's performance against Gelfand: he was blown wide open on the kingside. Morozevich's game against Grischuk was a seesaw struggle but Moro eventually prevailed. Anand leads Gelfand by a point and it is still difficult to see him not winning. Round 11: Vishy Anand took an even firmer grip on the tournament by beating Morozevich in this round. The other three games were drawn and he now leads Gelfand by 1½ points. Kramnik agreed a 13-move draw with Grischuk: a clear sign that he has given up the chase. Round 10: It looks more and more as if Vishy Anand is coasting to the world title. He remains a point clear of the field with only four games remaining. The second clash between Kramnik and Anand was a full-blooded game but did not produce a decisive result. The game followed Radjabov-Anand, Mainz 2006, until Kramnik varied with 17 b3. Computers thought Kramnik was winning with the exchange for two pawns but the reality proved to be different. Gelfand-Leko was the shortest game, ending in a perpetual check on move 24. Svidler-Morozevich was a well-contested game which seemed to verr first one way and then the other. Svidler may have missed a powerful tactic on move 33 which might have won him the game. Aronian-Grischuk was also entertaining; the Armenian eventually got a grip on the position to score the one decisive result of the round. Round 9: Anand drew a rather insipid game with Aronian but it turned out to be an excellent result as his two main rivals lost and he now has a full point lead over Gelfand. Kramnik tried a Benoni, playing a weird Ra5 move which had all the GMs in Port Erin agog with amazement. It turned out badly and Morozevich won efficiently. Gelfand got a worse position against Grischuk. It looked quite hard to win but Grischuk found a way to break through. The world champion is now 1½ points adrift and can only realistically get on terms if he manages to beat Anand in their individual game. Round 8: Leko won his first game of the tournament, beating Grischuk. The other games were drawn. Scores: Anand 5½/8, Gelfand 5, Kramnik 4½, etc.

World Championship, Mexico City (MEX) 2007              cat. 21 (2752)
Final Table                          1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 
1 Anand, Viswanathan     g IND 2792 ** == == == 1= =1 1= 1=  9.0  2848
2 Kramnik, Vladimir      g RUS 2769 == ** == =1 == 10 =1 ==  8.0  2799
3 Gelfand, Boris         g ISR 2733 == == ** == == 1= 11 =0  8.0  2804
4 Leko, Peter            g HUN 2751 == =0 == ** == =1 0= =1  7.0  2751
5 Svidler, Peter         g RUS 2735 0= == == == ** 0= == =1  6.5  2725
6 Morozevich, Alexander  g RUS 2758 =0 01 0= =0 1= ** == 01  6.0  2700
7 Aronian, Levon         g ARM 2750 0= =0 00 1= == == ** =1  6.0  2702
8 Grischuk, Alexander    g RUS 2726 0= == =1 =0 =0 10 =0 **  5.5  2675

    Round 7: At the halfway mark, Vishy Anand leads the tournament with 5/7 ahead of Gelfand on 4½ and Kramnik on 4. The only decisive game of the day was Anand beating Grischuk in fine fashion. Kramnik also went out on a limb to beat Gelfand but the Israeli fought back well to secure a draw. The world champion is getting good positions but failing to put them away. He will have to improve his 'finishing' in the second half of the event or his world title will most likely be migrating to India. Of course, that would set up a dream match for 2008: Anand vs Kramnik. Round 6: Boris Gelfand was the only winner and his second successive win was enough to carry him into a joint lead with Anand. Round 5: No fewer than three decisive games in this round. Kramnik had a fairly quick draw with Black against Leko but the other games were lively. Svidler played the Marshall variation but Anand just seemed to get a decent position for White and was eventually a pawn up for nothing. In truth Svidler put up rather limp resistance. Morozevich took a rather warm pawn and was soon in all sorts of trouble on the black squares against Grischuk, who wrapped things up very effectively. Aronian indulged in some rather loose play in front of his castled king and was eventualy punished by Gelfand. Anand is now in the lead, half a point ahead of Kramnik, Grsichuk and Gelfand, and then there is a full point between the top four and the bottom four. It is probably too early to write anyone off yet because we have seen a few recent examples of remarkable second-half recoveries in major tournaments. That said, nobody here is called Veselin Topalov.


Vishy Anand meets Vladimir Kramnik in round three
Vishy Anand meets Vladimir Kramnik in round three
(photo ©2007 Cathy Rogers)

Round 4: Anand and Kramnik both pressed their opponents hard, but both failed to get the win. Morozevich seemed to be doing OK but then allowed Anand to get a monster c-pawn. Anand seemed odds-on to win from about move 35 to near the end but eventually had to settle for a repetition. Kramnik too seemed to have the win in the bank against Grischuk but for once his endgame play let him down. In the final analysis Morozevich and Grischuk have to be congratulated on their gritty defence. Aronian was the one winner of the day when Leko sacrificed a piece for not very much after being pushed back in a hedgehog opening. Svidler-Gelfand was a tame draw. Round 3: Another lively round. The big clash between Anand and Kramnik turned favoured the world champion when Anand tried a mini-tactic to engineer an advanced passed pawn but simply lost the pawn. However, careful play from Anand ensured that the resultant endgame was drawn. It was noticeable that this game was played at high speed, with Kramnik moving quicker than the normally super-fast Anand. Svidler defended the Scotch by developing his queen to f6. Though this is a known and respected line, Morozevich made it look like a beginner's error, harrying and hassling the queen until the point when Svidler blundered and had to give up material to extricate the queen from trouble. It did him no good and he lost quickly. Grischuk worked up a promising kingside attack against Aronian but finally opted for a repetition in time trouble, in a position that still looked to be quite useful for him. Leko appeared to be in the ascendant around move 35 but he then squandered his advantage with some tentative moves in the run-up to the first time control. In fact he was all but lost, but managed to cling to a draw in a long queen endgame. Round 2: things came alive with two full-blooded and decisive games. In one, Aronian tried a very dubious temporary piece sacrifice against Anand and then got a rook trapped behind enemy lines and lost. In the other, Kramnik played what was by his standards an extraordinarily adventurous game against Morozevich, also risking a knight sacrifice. But Morozevich, who normally thrives in messy positions, went astray trying to mate the world champion and lost rather quickly. Computers cannot make too much sense of this game and it is beyond ordinary mortals' comprehension so we will have to await the super-GMs' verdicts as to what was going on. Svidler was a pawn up against Leko but couldn't find a way to exploit his advantage. Gelfand-Grischuk may have been of some interest to theoreticians but didn't last long. Round 1: An inauspicious start to the world championship tournament in Mexico City - four draws, all in fewer than 30 moves.
    I thought it might be interesting to list the seconds the players have brought with them as chess at this level is almost a team game. Kramnik brought Dutch GM Loek Van Wely - a surprise choice, which may explain Kramnik's uncompromising, not to say risky, approach in the second round. Vishy Anand has Peter Heine Nielsen, who has been working more frequently with Magnus Carlsen recently. One of Grischuk's seconds - Dmitri Jakovenko - has a higher rating than himself and his other is Schekachev. Peter Leko as always has brought his father-in-law Arshak Petrosian, plus Cuban GM Lenier Dominguez. Boris Gelfand has Alexander Huzman and Pavel Elyanov, Aronian has Gabriel Sargissian and Morozevich has brought Gennadi Kuzmin. Peter Svidler has Nikolay Ivanov, and Motylev is due to arrive later.

57th Paignton Congress, 2-8 Sept [23/09/07]

GM Keith Arkell won the 'Ron Bruce' Premier tournament at the 57th annual Paignton Congress, held 2-8 September. View/download games. Thanks to Bill Frost of the Chess Devon website for the games (report and crosstable here). I have added full names and ratings to his original file.

Liverpool 800th Anniversary Summit Match: UK v China, 4-9 Sept [08/09/07]

GB vs China, Round 1, 4 September 2007The match between 'Team UK' and 'Team China' started at the prestigious St George's Hall in Liverpool on 4 September. Each team consists of eight players, and a specially adapted six-round Scheveningen format is being used for this six-day competition. Six leading players play against the leading six players of the other team, and two further leading women players play each of their opposite numbers three times each. The two teams are:
  Team UK - Adams 2724, Short 2683, Rowson 2599, N.Pert 2536, G.Jones 2526, Howell 2519, Arakhamia-Grant 2419, J.Houska 2401;
  Team China - Wang Yue 2696, Bu Xiangzhi 2685, Ni Hua 2681, Zhang Pengxiang 2649, Wang Hao 2619, Hou Yifan 2523, Shen Yang 2439, Ding Yixin 2278.
     The remarkably talented 13-year-old girl player Hou Yifan is playing against the six leading British players and so will be up against Adams, Short and co: an interesting spectacle for the spectators and quite a challenge for her. Overall the young and rapidly improving Chinese team (age range 13-27) probably has enough 2600+ rated players to make them the favourites but, regardless of outcome, this match represents a real red-letter day for British chess and a remarkable coup for the dynamic chess organisers of Liverpool. All the signs are that China will be a powerhouse in 21st century chess so this may be a unique chance to see a bit of chess history in the making, just as the great Soviet Union teams which played and defeated USA and UK in the 1940s and 1950s showed the way for chess in the post-war world right up to the present day. All Photos © 2007 BCM

Live Games
View/download games: Match - all games: final match score China 28-20 UK
View/download games: Open - all games: 1 D Fridman (GER) 7/9, 2-8 A Dgebuadze (BEL), D Gormally (ENG), Y Vovk (UKR), Ghaem Maghami (IRI), B Lalic (CRO), K Lie (NOR) 6½, E Berg (SWE), etc. G Quillan (ENG) made an IM norm.
BCM Blog

Match Scores: Main Match: China - Ni Hua, Zhang Pengxiang, Wang Yue, Wang Hao 4/6, Bu Xiangzhi 3½, Hou Yifan 2½; UK - Adams 3½, Short, 3, Jones 2½, Howell 2, Pert, Rowson 1½. Women's match: China - Ding Yixin 3½, Shen Yang 2½; UK - Arakhamia 4, Houska 2. So it was 22-14 in the main match, 6-6 in the women's match, making 28-22 overall.

• Round 6: UK led for much of the round but China won the final two games to clinch the round by 4½-3½. There were two relatively quick draws, with Pert and Rowson no doubt keen to get the match over, and the Chinese needing one game point to wrap up the overall match result. Hou Yifan has impressed in this match but Michael Adams still represents a bridge too far for her as yet. The English no.1 exchanged queens, gained an edge, won a pawn and cruised to a routine win. Short-Ni Hua was an interesting struggle, with Black giving up a pawn for some play against Short's king. Short may have missed a chance to take the advantage but it eventually petered out to a draw. Gawain Jones had slightly the worst of things as Black against Zhang Pengxiang, but the Chinese player could not exploit his edge, despite trying for 16 moves not to have to resort to a perpetual check finish. A repetition ended the rather colourless game between Shen Yang and Jovanka Houska. That left the UK side one up with two to play, but once again Dolmatov's "Chinese hour" came to pass. Ketevan Arakhamia played in her counterattacking style with Black, producing an excellent exchange sacrifice. Later Black spurned a probable draw by repetition (27...Ng4!?) but thereafter her game went rapidly downhill and Ding Yixin won efficiently, levelling the match. That left Wang Yue, the highest rated of the Chinese contingent , against David Howell. Howell seemed to catch the Chinese no.1 out with his enterprising 27...Bxd4 and his R+PP appeared to give the edge against Wang's B+N. However, at move 40 he allowed his rook to be penned in on h5 and White was able to manoeuvre his way into an overwhelming endgame position. But it was another fascinating day's chess to add to the previous five - all credit to the match organisers and players.
• Round 5: Probably the British team's poorest round so far. They lost 2½-5½, winning no games and losing three where they could and probably should have drawn. Once again they seemed to be doing reasonably well but then subsided in what Dolmatov (the losing Russian captain against China recently) referred to as 'the Chinese hour'. Adams' lively opening play was safely neutralised by Wang Hao. Short appeared to be in a little trouble against Zhang Pengxiang but he defended successfully. Rowson played tentatively against Hou Yifan to keep the draw in hand. Ni Hua only appeared to have a tiny edge against Nick Pert but a very clever f6 thrust by the Chinese GM proved ultimately to be terminal. Gawain Jones' game was the big disappointment for the British team. He seemed to be winning practically out of the opening - he was two pawns up - but Wang Yue defended resolutely and refused to be beaten. David Howell defended a difficult endgame and seemed on the point of securing a draw when he went adrift. Ketevan Arakhamia was kept at bay by some careful play from Shen Yang. Jovanka Houska mixed it in aggressive style and seemed to be doing quite well when she blundered and lost a pawn. She tried to defend actively but it proved to be unsuccessful. The match score is now China 23½-16½ UK, which means that China only need one game point from tomorrow's last round to secure overall victory. The UK's best chance is if the Chinese fail to remember that tomorrow has a 10am start.
• Round 4: 3-5, 3-5, 5-3 and now 3-5 in the fourth 'set' (it looks a bit like a tennis score). The UK were undone by a tremendous fightback from China on Friday. At least three of the Chinese GMs played what you might call gung-ho chess (sounds like a good name for a Chinese GM) and it secured 2½/3. The usually dependable Michael Adams went down after Zhang Pengxiang played superb counterattacking chess, forcing open lines with a pawn sac to exploit Adams's vulnerable king position. Nigel Short won a pawn and seemed to have a win in the bank against Hou Yifan but his highly dubious 46th move, winning the exchange but ceding two key pawns, proved to be the turning point. The 13-year-old prodigy defended magnificently to secure a draw.
    Jonathan Rowson secured a fairly quick draw to end his horrid run of zeroes. Nick Pert and Wang Hao played a well-contested game which seemed to favour the Briton somewhat but was never entirely clear and ended in a draw. Gawain Jones seemed to be generally OK, perhaps even better, but he unwisely moved a knight to the edge of the board and exchanged queens, after which Bu Xiangzhi let loose some tactical fireworks. Both Bu and Zhang showed what you can do with a few well-timed pawn thrusts. Ni Hua was the third member of the 'gung-ho trio' but his over-the-top attempts to expose David Howell's king looked unconvincing. David defended himself admirably to secure what was a fairly comfortable draw.
    Without Ketevan Arakhamia's impressive 3½/4, the UK's score would look very sick indeed. She smoothly swapped off material to get down to a favourable endgame which she had little difficulty in winning. Jovanka Houska came unstuck in the middlegame reaching an unfavourable position where her opponent had two connected passed pawns. Shen Yang's play did not convince entirely (the brisk time limit may have affected the quality of the moves - almost certainly true of the other games, of course) but eventually converted. Match score: UK 14-18 China.
• Round 3: Another 5-3 scoreline - but this time in favour of the UK. This was a timely fightback from the British team, although they still remain down in the overall match by 13-11 at the halfway stage. It was an extremely entertaining afternoon's chess, reflecting credit on both teams. Michael Adams led the way for the UK, taking a firm grip on the position from early in the game when Ni Hua made an ill-judged exchange on c4. Bu Xiangzhi was also guilty of some naive play against Nigel Short. Although Bu managed to stir up a big tactical mess, the English grandmaster was able to neutralise his sacrifice and win. Jonathan Rowson's nightmare continued, this time losing to Wang Yue, who looks like the strongest (and most Adams-like) of the Chinese team. He ground Rowson down in a long endgame.
     Hou Yifan may have looked uncertain in the first two rounds, but she really showed what she was capable of against Nick Pert. She played a line which involved sacrificing two pawns in the opening but then inexorably clawed them back. 20...f6 looks like an error by Pert and was instantly punished by the quietly venomous 21 f3! Wang Hao-Jones was a hugely long, complex struggle of several contrasting phases - or, as football commentators like to say, "end to end stuff". The Chinese player let a couple of golden opportunities go begging, but Jones can be proud of his fighting effort. David Howell had a morale-boosting win against Zhang Pengxiang. It did look as though he might have finished things off in the middlegame, and his opponent seemed to have a pretty good drawing chance (57...g5!?) towards the end but Howell took his chance well.
    Ketevan Arakhamia played an aggressive King's Indian counterattack to break through and win her second game against Shen Yang - this mini-match could yet prove to be the UK's salvation in the overall event. Jovanka Houska also launched a feroious counterattack against Ding Yixin, but the 16-year-old is proving a tough nut to crack, withstanding the pressure to reach a draw. A great day's chess - but the British lions (and lionesses) will have to roar a couple more times if they are to get on terms with this powerful Chinese squad.
• Round 2: As in round one, there were three wins for China and only one for the UK. The Chinese team seems keen to give the lie to the theory that it relies heavily on its female players in matches. All the male players on the UK team (apart from Michael Adams) have lost at least one game so far and the male Chinese players have yet to lose a game between them. Bu Xiangzhi ½-½ Adams, Short ½-½ Wang Yue, Ni Hua 1-0 Rowson, Zhang Pengxiang 1-0 N.Pert, Jones 1-0 Hou Yifan, Shen Yang ½-½ Houska, Ding Yixin ½-½ Arakhamia. Match Score: China 10-6 UK.
Adams plays Wang Hue, round 1• Round 1: Things looked quite good for the GB team for much of this round, but a number of positions fell apart towards the end of the session, leaving China on +2 for the round. Wang Yue ½-½ Adams, Wang Hao 1-0 Short, Rowson 0-1 Zhang Penxiang, N.Pert ½-½ Bu Xiangzhi, Jones 0-1 Ni Hua, Hou Yifan ½-½ Howell, Arakhamia 1-0 Shen Yang, Houska ½ Ding Yixin. Match Score: China 5-3 UK.
    Running alongside the summit match at the same venue is the Liverpool 800th Anniversary International Open, 3-9 September, with a prize fund of £10,000, a first prize of £2,500, and generous appearance fees for titled players. Click here for the open tournament website and here for the live games transmission. Started 10am, 3 September. Leading players: Daniel Fridman (GER) 2628g, Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (IRI) 2610g, Emanuel Berg (SWE) 2580g, Yuri Vovk (UKR) 2557m, Mark Hebden (ENG) 2540g, etc.

IBCA European Individual Championship, Durham, 14-23 Aug [28/08/07]

Colin Crouch playing Dominick Szurgot (POL), round 2The 4th European Individual Championship for visually-impaired players took place at St. Aidan's College, Windmill Hill, Durham, from 14-23 August as a nine-round swiss. Amongst the favourites is IM Colin Crouch whose eyesight is now impaired as a result of ill health suffered a few years ago. The tournament website can be found via the UK's Braille Chess Association website, which is http://www.braillechess.org.uk/. Final result: Jaroslav Olsar of the Czech Republic won with 8/9, ahead of IM Yuri Meshkov (RUS) on 7½ and Sergey Grigorchuk (UKR) on 7. Best British scores were Colin Crouch and Chris Ross who both made 6. Photo shows Colin Crouch playing Dominick Szurgot (POL), round 2. View/download all gamesthanks to Dave Clayton

5th Staunton Memorial, Simpsons, London, 7-18 August [11/08/07]

The Staunton Memorial tournament, once again hosted by Simpsons in the Strand, has a strong line-up again this year.
    The 12 players are: Michael Adams (2724g, ENG); Loek Van Wely (2679g, NED); Ivan Sokolov (2666g, NED); Erwin L'Ami (2598g, NED); Jan Timman (2560g, NED); Jan Werle (2552g, NED); Jan Smeets (2538g, NED); Gawain Jones (2526g, ENG); Peter Wells (2517g, ENG); Jonathan Speelman (2511g, ENG); Colin McNab (2416g, SCO); Jovanka Houska (2401m, ENG).
    As well as an individual tournament, scores also count for a team match between the Netherlands and the UK. Spectators are welcome and admission is free. Play starts at 2pm (there is one rest day on 14 August). Official website.

View/download games (all games) thanks to Ray Keene and Steve GiddinsFinal Crosstable
• Round 11: Michael Adams held Ivan Sokolov to a draw to ensure he took first place on his own (and by a clear point). The only decisive result of the round was Gawain Jones' win over Jan Timman, thus completing an excellent tournament performance (TPR 2625, rating gain of around 16) for the 19-year-old English GM. Timman 0-1 Jones, Wells ½-½ Houska, McNab ½-½ Werle, Sokolov ½-½ Adams, Van Wely ½-½ Speelman, Smeets ½-½ L'Ami. Scores: 1 Adams 8½/11, 2-3 Sokolov, Van Wely 7½, 4-6 Jones, Smeets, Werle 6½, 7-8 L'Ami, Timman 5, 9 Wells 4, 10 Speelman 3½, 11 McNab 3, 12 Houska 2½. Team score: Britain finally won a round at the last opportunity (by 2½-1½) making the final scores Netherlands 23-13 Britain (including only GB v NED games).
• Round 10: Michael Adams is now a full point clear of the field with only one round remaining. He beat Colin McNab, while Gawain Jones did him a big favour by defeating his closest rival Loek Van Wely. Adams plays Sokolov in the final round and the Dutchman must beat him to tie with him for first. Houska ½-½ Smeets, Adams 1-0 McNab, Jones 1-0 Van Wely, Werle 1-0 Wells, L'Ami 0-1 Timman, Speelman 0-1 Sokolov. Scores: 1 Adams 8/10, 2-3 Sokolov, Van Wely 7, 4-5 Smeets, Werle 6, 6 Jones 5½, 7 Timman 5, 8 L'Ami 4½, 9 Wells 3½, 10 Speelman 3, 11 McNab 2½, 12 Houska 2. Team scores; Netherlands 21½-10½ Britain.
• Round 9: Michael Adams once again shares the lead with Loek Van Wely, after defeating Jan Werle. Jovanka Houska was better against Jan Timman for a while, but went astray and lost. Sokolov-Jones was an interesting game in which the young Englishman displayed remarkable resourcefulness in extracting a draw from a difficult position. Adams 1-0 Werle, Timman 1-0 Houska, Smeets 1-0 Wells, Van Wely ½-½ L'Ami, McNab ½-½ Speelman, Sokolov ½-½ Jones. Leading Scores: 1-2 Adams, Van Wely 7/9, 3 Sokolov 6, 4 Smeets 5½, 5 Werle 5, etc. Team scores: Netherland 19-9 Britain - which means that the Netherlands are already past the winning post.
• Round 8: Van Wely took over the sole lead from Michael Adams. Jones 1-0 McNab, Speelman ½-½ Adams, L'Ami 0-1 Sokolov, Werle 1-0 Smeets, Wells 0-1 Timman, Houska 0-1 Van Wely. Leading Scores: 1 Van Wely 6½/8, 2 Adams 6, 3 Sokolov 5½, 4 Werle 5, 5 Smeets 5½, etc. Team Score: Netherlands 16½-7½ Britain (I'm only counting games between GB and Netherlands players - Netherlands now only need 2 points from 12 remaining games to clinch the match.
• Round 7: A bloodthirsty round, with only one game drawn. Timman 0-1 Smeets, Van Wely 1-0 Wells, Speelman ½-½ Werle, Adams 1-0 Jones, McNab 0-1 L'Ami, Sokolov 1-0 Houska. Leading Scores: 1-2 Adams, Van Wely 5½/7, 3-4 Smeets, Sokolov, 4½, 5-6 Werle, L'Ami 4, 7 Wells 3½, 8 Jones 3, 9-11 Timman, McNab, Speelman 2, 12 Houska 1½. The team score continues to go heavily in favour of the Dutch (with Adams having the only plus score of the British team, and Timman the only minus score of the Dutch team): Netherlands 14½-7½ Britain.
• Round 6: Three decisive games. Wells 0-1 Sokolov, L'Ami ½-½ Adams, Jones 1-0 Speelman, Houska ½-½ McNab, Werle 1-0 Timman, Smeets ½-½ Van Wely. Leading Scores: 1-2 Adams, Van Wely 4½/6, a point clear of Sokolov, Smeets, Werle and Wells on 3½. Team Score: Netherlands 11-7 Britain.
• Round 5: Three decisive games. Jones 0-1 Werle, Sokolov ½-½ Smeets, Speelman ½-½ L'Ami, McNab ½-½ Wells, Van Wely 1-0 Timman, Adams 1-0 Houska. Leading scores: 1-2 Adams, Van Wely 4/5, 3 Wells 3½, 4 Smeets 3, 5-7 Sokolov, Werle, L'Ami 2½, 8-9 Timman, Jones 2, 10-11 McNab, Speelman 1½, 12 Houska 1. Netherlands 9½-6½ Britain.
• Round 4: A less exciting round today with only two decisive results. Werle 0-1 Van Wely, Timman ½-½ Sokolov, Smeets 1-0 McNab, Wells ½-½ Adams, L'Ami ½-½ Jones, Houska ½-½ Speelman. Leading Scores: 1-3 Adams, Wells, Van Wely 2/3, etc. Netherlands 8-6 Britain.
• Round 3: Four decisive games today, with all games being hard fought. Jones 1-0 Houska, Adams 1-0 Smeets, Speelman 0-1 Wells, Sokolov ½-½ Van Wely, L'Ami ½-½ Werle, McNab 0-1 Timman. Leading Scores: 1-2 Adams, Wells 2½/3, 3 Van Wely 2, etc. Despite the two English leaders, Netherlands 6½-5½ Britain is the team score.
• Round 2: There were five decisive results out of six on a bloodthirsty day at Simpsons. Werle 0-1 Sokolov, Van Wely 1-0 McNab, Timman 0-1 Adams, Smeets 1-0 Speelman, Wells 1-0 Jones, Houska ½-½ L'Ami. Leading scores: Adams, Smeets, Van Wely and Wells 1½/2 - the score in the Britain vs Netherlands match is 5½-4½ in favour of the Dutch team.
• Round 1: It may have been a rough day for the Scots in the British Championship (with Aagaard and Rowson both losing), but another Scottish GM, Colin McNab, had a wonderful result in London. He pulled off a remarkable giant-killing act by defeating the winner of the 2006 Staunton event, Ivan Sokolov. The other decisive result was a loss for Jovanka Houska against Jan Werle, so the Netherlands vs Britain match stands at 3-3.

British Championships, 30 July - 10 August [11/08/07]

The British Chess Championships are being held at Great Yarmouth College in Norfolk this year and as usual the main tournament is an 11-round swiss event, starting 30 July and finishing 10 August, with a rest day next Sunday. The official website is here and the pairings here. The main interest will be to see if Scottish number one Jonathan Rowson can make it four titles in a row after his battling victories in 2003-5. Second place last year was taken by another Scottish resident, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant - the best performance ever by a woman player in the main championship - and she will be travelling back from Montreal where she so nearly won the Monroi Women's Grand Prix Final to play in the 2007 championship (and defend her women's title - she also goes for four titles in a row, discounting one year when it was not contested).
    Rowson is the highest rated contender so the English challengers have a lot to do to restore national pride. The last time an English-registered player won the title was as long ago as 2000, when Julian Hodgson took the title. But there is a strong line-up of English grandmasters ready to do battle: Stuart Conquest, Mark Hebden, Nick Pert, David Howell, Danny Gormally, Glenn Flear and Chris Ward. Other contenders are French-registered GM Tony Kosten, and IMs Stephen Gordon, Simon Williams, Stewart Haslinger and Jacob Aagaard, all of whom are on the brink of becoming grandmasters themselves. It should be a fascinating tournament
View/download games (all rounds) thanks to Jack Rudd and David Clayton
Jacob Aagaard• Round 11: Jacob Aagaard (pictured left, playing under a Jolly Roger flag in the Isle of Man!) is the new British Champion - and the title goes north of the border for the fourth year in succession. He beat Glenn Flear in a long, meandering game which went through many different phases but in which the Danish/Scottish GM always had the safer of the two kings. Stephen Gordon tried hard to beat Tony Kosten, something which nobody had managed this past fortnight but in the end had to call it quits (and say goodbye to a GM norm chance too). Jonathan Rowson finished with a win which was enough to give him a share of second. Once again the Scottish players will go home happy (with Keti Arakhamia wrapping up her fourth successive women's championship too) but the English will be left wondering what they have to do to win back what they once regarded as "their" championship. Final Scores: 1 Aagaard 8½/11, 2-3 Gordon, Rowson 8, 4-7 Kosten, Hebden, Haslinger, Howell 7½, etc.
• Round 10: The leader Aagaard and his main pursuer Haslinger both went down in flames this afternoon, so the tournament is once again wide open. Aagaard lost to Gordon, who has now downed both of the leading Scottish contenders. Haslinger went astray in what could have been a drawn opposite bishop endgame against Kosten. Eight players, including last year's champion Rowson, still have an interest in the first prize in the final round. Leading Scores: 1-2 Aagaard, Gordon 7½/10, 2-8 Haslinger, Kosten, Rowson, N.Pert, Hebden and Flear 7, etc. In the women's competition, Keti Arakhamia and Dagne Ciuksyte are now neck and neck on 6/10.
• Round 9: the Scots struck back immediately, as Jacob Aagaard ground down David Howell to regain sole lead and Jonathan Rowson beat Chris Briscoe. Keti Arakhamia should have made it a 1-2-3 for the Scots but she missed several wins against Robert Bellin in time trouble. Haslinger-Gordon was drawn, as were most of the other leading games. Leading Scores: 1 Aagaard 7½/9, 2 Haslinger 7, 3-4 Gordon, N.Pert 6½, Conquest, Hebden, Flear, Williams, Kosten, Rowson, Rudd, Storey 6, etc. Women's Championship: Arakhamia 5½, Ciuksyte 5, etc.
• Round 8: a very bad day at the office for the two leading Scots contenders but a red-letter day for two young men from the North-West of England. 25-year-old Stewart Haslinger, from Formby in Lancashire, celebrated his acquisition of the GM title (he has now reached a 2500 rating) by beating the other newly-qualified GM and long-time leader Jacob Aagaard. This was Haslinger's third GM scalp in succession and his fifth win in a row. Jonathan Rowson's hopes of a fourth successive title were all but extinguished when he lost to Stephen Gordon, 20, from Manchester. Aagaard's loss has thrown the tournament wide open. Some good news for Scotland was that Keti Arakhamia-Grant has regained the lead in the women's championship. Leading scores: Aagaard, Haslinger 6½/8, Gordon, N.Pert 6, six players on 5½. Leading women's scores: Arakhamia 5, Ciuksyte 4½, S.Lalic 4.
• Round 7: Jacob Aagaard kept up the momentum with a win against Simon Williams with Black. Stewart Haslinger was the only player in the following score group to win, to stay within a point of the leader. He beat Danny Gormally, thereby moving close to the 2500 rating he needs to complete the requirement for his grandmaster title. Eight other players are in the next score group and still have a chance of the title if Aagaard falters. Leading scores: 1 Aagaard 6½/7, 2 Haslinger 5½, 3-10 N.Pert, Kosten, Ward, Flear, Rowson, Gordon, Hebden, Howell 5, etc. Dagne Ciuksyte (4½) is half a point ahead of Keti Arakhamia-Grant and Susan Lalic in the race for the women's title.
• Round 6: Jacob Aagaard retains his one point lead at the end of the first week. His game against reigning champion Jonathan Rowson was well contested and it looked like Aagaard might have had the better of the chances that were going but it ended in a draw. The great majority of the other leading round six games were also closely contested, with Stewart Haslinger being the only one to take a major scalp. He beat Stuart Conquest in 32 moves with Black (giving him +3.6 rating points for the tournament so far - I think he may need around +10 for his GM title qualification). Leading Scores: Aagaard 5½/6, Flear, Gormally, Haslinger, Kosten, N.Pert, Rowson, Williams 4½, etc.
• Round 5: In the big game between the two players on 100%, victory went to Jacob Aagaard who now the leads the tournament by a clear point. It was a very emphatic win as Aagaard sacrificed a piece for a pawn and a direct attack on Nick Pert's king. Pert gave the material back but soon got into horrendous difficulties. It was a good day for Scotland as Rowson won to join the group on 4, and there were some tame draws amongst other leading contenders. Leading Scores: Aagaard 5/5, Kosten, N.Pert, Rowson 4, etc.
• Round 4: few surprises this round as the higher rated players reasserted their authority. Leading scores: Aagaard, N.Pert 4/4; Kosten 3½, etc.
• Round 3: more surprises... Steve Barrett added a second great scalp to that of GM David Howell, beating GM title aspirant Stephen Gordon. Graeme Oswald defeated GM Glenn Flear. Meanwhile Li Wu missed a couple of wins against Jacob Aagaard, and the Scot/Dane turned it around to win. This should be enough to take Aagaard to his grandmaster title as he has his norms and just needs to reach the 2500 watershed to get the title. Scores: N.Pert, Barrett, Aagaard, Oswald 3/3
• Round 2: there were a few surprises in this round. Reigning champion Jonathan Rowson lost on time to English GM Glenn Flear (but then he also lost in round 2 of the 2005 tournament which he went on to win); Jacob Aagaard gained revenge for his adopted country by beating Mark Hebden; and amateur player Steve Barrett beat 16-year-old GM David Howell. The leaders are N.Pert, Flear, G.Buckley, Gordon, Barrett, Aagaard and Oswald on 2/2.
• Round 1: no surprises, most of the leading players won their games

Congratulations, Mickey and Tara! [08/08/07]

Tucked away in a page on the Staunton Memorial tournament's website, comes the news that Britain's no.1 chessplayer Mickey Adams has married his long-time girlfriend Tara MacGowran at a ceremony in Taunton on 4 August. Congratulations to both of them. His honeymoon will be spent playing chess in the Staunton tournament (see here).

Liverpool 800th Anniversary Summit Match: UK v China, 4-9 Sept [30/07/07]

Liverpool 2007 logoClick on the above link for details of a superb chess event in Liverpool in September: a match between 'Team UK' and 'Team China' at the prestigious St George's Hall in Liverpool. Each team will consist of eight players, and a specially adapted six-round Scheveningen format is being used for this six-day competition. Six leading players will play against the leading six players of the other team, and two further leading women players will play each of their opposite numbers three times each. The two teams announced are:
  Team UK - Adams 2724, Short 2683, Rowson 2599, N.Pert 2536, G.Jones 2526, Howell 2519, Arakhamia-Grant 2419, J.Houska 2401;
  Team China - Wang Yue 2696, Bu Xiangzhi 2685, Ni Hua 2681, Zhang Pengxiang 2649, Wang Hao 2619, Hou Yifan 2523, Shen Yang 2439, Ding Yixin 2278.
     It looks as though the remarkably talented 13-year-old girl player Hou Yifan will be playing amongst the six leading players and so will be up against Adams, Short and co: an interesting spectacle for the spectators and quite a challenge for her. Overall the young and rapidly improving Chinese team (age range 13-27) probably has enough 2600+ rated players to make them the favourites but, regardless of outcome, this match represents a real red-letter day for British chess and a remarkable coup for the dynamic chess organisers of Liverpool. All the signs are that China will be a powerhouse in 21st century chess so this may be a unique chance to see a bit of chess history in the making, just as the great Soviet Union teams which played and defeated USA and UK in the 1940s and 1950s showed the way for chess in the post-war world right up to the present day.
    There is yet more good news: running alongside the summit match at the same venue will be the Liverpool 800th Anniversary International Open, 3-9 September, with a prize fund of £10,000, a first prize of £2,500, and generous appearance fees for titled players. Click here for the open tournament website and here for a downloadable entry form.

16th Monarch Assurance Isle of Man International, 22-30 September 2007 [27/07/07]

The Monarch Assurance Isle of Man International takes place at the Ocean Castle Hotel from 22-30 September and features a very strong masters event, plus major and minor events for lower-rated players. Sadly, this is to be the last Monarch Assurance tournament, so this will be your last chance to sample some Manx hospitality and the wonderful scenery that the island is famous for. As usual there is a strong line-up: 14 grandmasters with 2600+ ratings are in the field, headed by Ivan Sokolov, Michal Krasenkow, Sergey Volkov, Vladimir Baklan and last year's winner Alexander Areshchenko. From the UK there will be Jonathan Speelman, Mark Hebden, Peter Wells, David Howell, Stewart Haslinger and others, and the women's line-up includes Olympiad gold medallist Inna Gaponenko, Elisabeth Paehtz and Dagne Ciuksyte. The official website has a list of titled entrants and details of how to enter, downloadable entry form, etc.



Haslinger Scores Final GM Norm*, South Wales International, 7-12 July [20/07/07]

The 4th South Wales International took place at Caerleon College, near Newport in Gwent, Wales, from 7-12 July. Four GMs - M Dzhumaev (UZB, 2500g), V Dobrov (RUS, 2504g), M Pavlovic (SRB, 2541g), P Wells (ENG, 2517g) - did battle with IM Stewart Haslinger, James Cobb, Charles Cobb, etc. Final Scores: 1st M Dzhumaev (UZB) 8/9 (£1,000), 2nd S Haslinger (ENG) 7½ (£600), 3rd P Wells (ENG) 7 (£300). Haslinger beat GM Dobrov in the last round to gain his final GM norm. *But I am reliably informed that he is still ten points short of the rating threshold (which is 2500) so he needs a good run of form to get him over the line. Richard Jones and Ioan Rees won the prize for the highest-placed Welsh players with 6 points. Official website: http://www.southwaleschess.co.uk/SWI/home.html - the games are now available (my thanks to Jack Rudd) • View/download gamesThanks to Mark Adams.  

Scottish Championships 7-15 July [19/07/07]

The 114th Scottish Championships are being held in Cumbernauld from 7-15 July. The championship itself is being held as a ten-player all-play-all, with only three players rated above 2250. Official Website (which has the games in text format). Final Scores : 1st Andrew Muir 8/9 (his first Scottish title), 2-3 Alan Grant, Colin McNab 7, 4 Douglas Bryson 6½, etc. View/download games

Middlesex vs Young England, 9-13 & 16-19 July [19/07/07]

A group of nine young English players is taking on a strong Middlesex side in a nine-round Scheveningen format tournament (each of nine players on each team players each member of the other team once). The tournament is being sponsored by Edexcel, Popularis and the John Robinson Trust. The Middlesex team includes GMs Bogdan Lalic and Aaron Summerscale and IMs Cox and Crouch. Latest: Middlesex lead 40½-31½ with one of the nine rounds to go. This event is being held in celebration of Middlesex County Chess Association's centenary. Tournament coverage and games are available here. I would like to tell you the venue of the match but it appears to be a closely-guarded secret, unmentioned in any press releases and reports that I have seen other than a general reference to the Strand.

Irish Open Championship, 30 Jun - 8 Jul [13/07/07]

This year's Irish Championship, sponsored by Island Oil & Gas and held at the Royal Dublin Hotel, O'Connell Street, Dublin, from 30 June to 8 July, was held as an open swiss of nine rounds for the first time. Thus non-Irish players were able to compete with the locals for the money prizes while only Irish-registered players were eligible to win the Irish Championship title. Four foreign grandmasters competed: Eduardas Rozentalis (LTU) and Mark Hebden, Stuart Conquest and Nick Pert (all ENG).
     Nick Pert and Mark Hebden shared first with Nick Pert, while Brian Kelly and Stephen Brady, who finished half a point behind the two winners (along with GMs Conquest and Rozentalis) shared the Irish title. Brian Kelly had led for much of the tournament and had he drawn instead of losing his final game with Mark Hebden, he would have achieved a GM norm. 1-2 M Hebden, N Pert 7/9, 2-6 B Kelly, S Brady, S Conquest, E Rozentalis 6½, etc.
     There were a number of surprise results in the course of the tournament: Gearóidín Ui Laighléis beat former Irish champion Eamon Keogh in round one, and two GMs bit the dust in round two: John Redmond beat Rozentalis and Gerry O'Connell beat Hebden. All 224 games are available for download (I have made some corrections and added ratings) • View/download gamesOfficial Sitethanks to Mark Orr and Ian Doyle

BCM for July [06/07/07]

BCM July 2007 Front CoverThe July issue of BCM is now available from the shop, with articles on the World Championship Candidates matches, Bosna Sarajevo, MTel Masters and much else besides.

Unfortunately, due to printing and distribution problems, subscribers will not receive copies until Saturday 7 July at the earliest. BCM apologies for the unusually late delivery, but rest assured it is just a one-off and your copy is now winging its way to you.

Normal service will be resumed next month - actually it will be significantly better than just 'normal', as the August issue of BCM will see the start of a new column - Speelman on the Endgame - former world championship candidate and top ten player GM Jonathan Speelman is a world expert on the endgame and we are very excited to have him join our list of regular columnists.

Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup [06/07/07]

The Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup (http://worldcup.pivdenny.com/ru/) takes place in Odessa, Ukraine, from 4-6 July. Ten leading players (including five 2700+ super-GMs) meet in an all-play-all rapidplay event, with three games played per day (time control: 20 mins + 10 second increments. The tournament was being dominated by the two 'Chuks... Grischuk had a perfect day 1 (3/3, including a win over Ivanchuk), but Ivanchuk equalled his achievement with a perfect 3/3 on day 2. Final Scores: 1 Ivanchuk 7/9, 2 Grischuk 6½, 3-4 Radjabov, Shirov 4½, 5 Gelfand 5, 6 Drozdovskij 4, 7 Bacrot 3½, 8 Korchnoi 3, 9-10 Smirin, Tukmakov 2½ • View/download games



Internet Chess Club Features [04/07/07]

   The Internet Chess Club, in conjunction with Chess Tigers, organizers of the Mainz Chess Classic in Germany, are offering a unique chance to play in a free online qualifier to win a round trip ticket, 600 Euro ($811) cash, hotel room and breakfast at the Hilton Mainz Hotel from 15-20 August (5 nights and 6 days!). The winner also receive an automatic seat into two of the biggest and most prestigious series of rapid chess tournaments in the world, playing alongside many of the game's top grandmasters: the 6th FiNet Open, the world's biggest Chess960 (FischerRandom) tournaments, and the 14th ORDIX Open, one of the biggest and strongest rapid tournaments in the world. While there, you will also have the best seats in the house for the main evening attraction of two intriguing 6-game matches: Anand vs. Kasimdzhanov for the Grenkeleasing World Rapid Championship, and Levon Aronian vs. Etienne Bacrot, for the FiNet Chess960 World Rapid Championship. To win, you will need to play in a series of Chess960 ICC online qualifiers from 7-12 July, with the final 32-player KO running 14-15 July - further details here. This event is only open to ICC members and for those who sign up NOW for a free trial membership of the ICC - details here.
Watson on Books     Another current feature at the Internet Chess Club... for the next seven days you can hear the latest 'John Watson on Books' interview on ICC's ChessFM, in which his guest is ...me (John Saunders, editor of British Chess Magazine). You will find that I have rather a lot to say for myself on all sorts of things as well as books... don't miss it! It was an absolute delight being able to chat with IM John Watson. 

Hastings Chess Club Celebrates its 125th Anniversary [30/06/07]

Hastings Chess ClubHastings Chess Club celebrated its 125th anniversary on 30 June 2007 with a reception at the club in Cornwallis Terrace, Hastings. Hastings CC is rightly proud of its long tradition of chess, as are the people of Hastings. Consequently it was no surprise that local MP Michael Foster and town councillor Paul Smith were in attendance, both being terrific supporters of chess in the town. BCM's editor was there to bring you this full report with videos and still photos of the occasion.


Dortmund, 23 June - 1 July [01/07/07]

The Dortmund Sparkassen tournament is a hugely strong (category event) featuring eight elite players: Vladimir Kramnik, Vishy Anand, Shak Mamedyarov, Peter Leko, Boris Gelfand, Magnus Carlsen, Evgeny Alabekseev and Arkady Naiditsch. Play starts at 2pm GMT. Follow the action online via the official website, http://www.playchess.com/ (where Yasser Seirawan provides commentary: it costs about 1 euro a day) and the Internet Chess Club (where there is also live audio commentary).
View/download gamesFinal:
    Final Positions: 1 Kramnik 5/7, 2-4 Alekseev, Anand, Leko 4, 5 Mamedyarov 3½, 6 Carlsen 3, 7 Gelfand 2½, 8 Naiditsch 2.
Round 7 - all games drawn. Round 6 - Kramnik 1-0 Naiditsch, Gelfand 0-1 Leko, other games drawn. Kramnik 4½/6, Alekseev, Anand, Leko 3½. Round 5 - all games drawn. Round 4 - Anand 1-0 Naiditsch, Kramnik 1-0 Carlsen, other two games drawn. Round 3 - all games drawn. Round 2 - Alekseev defeated overnight leader Mamedyarov, while Kramnik beat Gelfand in an endgame. Anand ½-½ Leko, Naiditsch ½-½ Carlsen were the other results. Round 1 - Mamedyarov 1-0 Naiditsch, Kramnik-Anand, Gelfand-Alekseev and Carlsen-Leko were all draws.

Aerosvit-Foros, 17-30 June [30/06/07]

This impressive tournament in Crimea, Ukraine, features 12 GMs with an average rating of 2693: Peter Svidler, Vasyl Ivanchuk, Dmitry Jakovenko, Alexei Shirov, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Krishnan Sasikiran, Pavel Elyanov, Sergey Karyakin, Sergey Rublevsky, Lenier Dominguez, Loek Van Wely and Alexander Onischuk. Follow the action online via the official website and the Internet Chess Club
View/download games. Final: 1 Ivanchuk 7½/11, 2 Karyakin 7, 3-6 Onischuk, Svidler, Van Wely, Shirov 6, etc.  


FIDE World Championship Tournament, Mexico, 13-29 Sept [13/06/07]

This year, as in 2005, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) is holding a tournament to decide the world championship. Hopefully this will be the last time they employ this unsatisfactory format to decide the supreme title. The tournament will be held in Mexico City from 13-29 September 2007, with tie-breaks (what a horrible thought) on 30 September. The tournament format is double-cycle all-play-all (i.e. each player plays all the others once with White and once with Black). The eight-player line-up: Vladimir Kramnik (RUS, reigning world champion); Viswanathan Anand (IND, world rated no.1); Alexander Morozevich (RUS); Levon Aronian (ARM); Peter Leko (HUN); Peter Svidler (RUS); Boris Gelfand (ISR); Alexander Grischuk (RUS). Prize fund: $1.3 million. Official website: http://www.chessmexico.com/.

FIDE World Championship Candidates, Elista, 27 May - 13 June [13/06/07]

16 qualified players travelled to Elista, Kalmykia, to compete for four places in the FIDE World Championship tournament in Mexico City later in the year. The round one pairings were Aronian (ARM) vs Carlsen (NOR), Adams (ENG) vs Shirov (ESP); Ponomariov (UKR) vs Rublevsky (RUS), Grischuk (RUS) vs Malakhov (RUS); Leko (HUN) vs M Gurevich (TUR), J Polgar (HUN) vs Bareev (RUS); Gelfand (ISR) vs Kasimjanov (UZB); Bacrot (FRA) vs Kamsky (USA). Each match was of six games. After the first match, there was a three-day break and then a second round of matches between the eight winners to decide the four players to join Kramnik (RUS), Anand (IND), Svidler (RUS) and Morozevich (RUS) in the Mexican tournament. Official website - click here. Another good place to follow the action is http://www.chessclub.com/chessfm/, where they offering free audio coverage for the first three rounds (from 12:00pm GMT daily).
  View/download games

Which is the best chessplaying software program? As well as the Candidates matches in Elista, there is also a computer match going on between Deep Fritz and Deep Junior. Click on the ICC link above if you wish to follow progress (we are not providing coverage here). Perhaps more interesting is a letter from IM Vasik Rajlich, author of the Rybka software program (see right-hand panel), addressed to FIDE, laying down a challenge for Rybka to play the winner of the Deep Fritz vs Deep Junior match. It is an interesting letter which challenges the fairness and transparency of the choice of software program in what FIDE calls the The Ultimate Computer Chess Challenge 2007. Read Vasik Rajlich's letter here.

Candidates Latest: Final Play-Offs (13 June): Alexander Grischuk will fill the eighth and last place in the world championship final line-up. He beat Sergey Rublevsky in a four-game decider, scoring 2½-½ and thus qualifying without need of playing the fourth game. Grischuk won the first and third games with Black; both were Scotch Games, so he was fully able to avenge his earlier defeat in this line. Rublevsky had strong pressure in the third game but he was unable to break down Grischuk's defence.
    Round 6, Finals: Levon Aronian became the third player to qualify for Mexico when he drew comfortably with Shirov in the final game of their match. Alexander Grischuk and Sergey Rublevsky also drew, which means they must come back for a rapidplay/blitz tie-break tomorrow. Grischuk played down the line of the Scotch Game which had been his undoing in the 4th game, but this time he had a neat trick to force perpetual check.
    Round 5, Finals: Two of the matches finished with a game to spare. Peter Leko was the first player to book a ticket to the world championship tournament in Mexico when Bareev made no attempt to win with Black. Boris Gelfand joined him when Gata Kamsky tried to avoid a drawish continuation by carrying on a pawn down and eventually losing. Grischuk made little headway with White against solid defence from Rublevsky and a draw was agreed, leaving their match at 2½-2½. Aronian-Shirov was a theoretical complex line of the Grunfeld where White gives up the exchange for a healthy initiative. Aronian, one up in the match, decided to take perpetual rather than trying to exploit possible winning chances.
    Round 4, Finals: One decisive game: Rublevsky beat Grischuk to make their match all square at 2-2. Grischuk's move 14 innovation (14...0-0 rather than 14...Nf5) left White with the two bishops which White traded in for an extra pawn. The other three games also went beyond the first time control (this competition is delivering first-class entertainment to the spectators). Shirov emerged from the opening a pawn up against Aronian and won a second just after the first time control. However, Shirov's pawn configuration was far from ideal and it was not "a matter of technique": Aronian managed to create enough problems to hold the draw. Shirov probably could have done better in various places but it is not easy to say where. Leko won a pawn against Bareev but it was not enough to win the game. Kamsky seemed to have much the worst of things against Gelfand but he showed his usual resilience to hold the draw.
   Round 3, Finals: Two decisive results - Leko beat Bareev to move to +2, and Gelfand beat Kamsky to move to take the lead in their match. Bareev's Caro Kann Defence is not looking resilient and once again he had troubles on the long a1-h8 diagonal. 12 of Leko's 41 moves were with his queen: he moved it out early to h4 and h3 and it was then chased back to d1 before embarking on a second mission into enemy territory at h5. OK if you are a super-grandmaster, but don't try this at home, folks. Kamsky usually has more trouble with his black defences, but his choice of opening with white looked particularly lame today. Aronian was a pawn down for much of his game with Shirov but he was the one pressing for a win for much of its course. He went two pawns down to set up a deadly pin but in the end he couldn't find enough to win the game. Grischuk appeared to be crushing the life out of Rublevsky but his advantage evaporated in time pressure. He may live to regret this miss.
    Round 2, Finals: All four games were drawn. Two (Bareev-Leko and Rublevsky-Grischuk) were quick draws, neither of which bodes well for the White players chances of getting back into their respective matches. The other two were highly eventful. Both White players, Shirov and Gelfand, looked to have strong winning chances after about 25 moves, but Aronian and Kamsky got back into the games and save the day.
   Round 1, Finals: Wins for the three higher-rated players (Leo, Aronian and Grischuk) but a couple of the games were quite close calls. Shirov tried an enterprising exchange sacrifice against Aronian but it was probably a bit too risky and Aronian ground him down. Leko played a strange plan which involved burying his own queen on h2 in order to put pressure on the black king. Bareev tried an incomprehensible piece sacrifice which didn't even look like working, but he overlooked a remarkable computer move (28...Ne4!) which should have turned the tables on the Hungarian. Grischuk was surely player of the day. He pushed Rublevsky back with queenside and central pawn advances, and then hit Rublevsky with a powerful temporary piece for pawns sacrifice. The finish was also very pretty. Kamsky-Gelfand was a fairly short and rather lifeless draw.
    Round 1, Tie-breaks: (16:43 British time) . The last of the rapidplay play-offs ended in sensation as Magnus Carlsen managed to win what had looked like a dead drawn Q+P v Q endgame to tie the play-off with Aronian at 2-2. Aronian appeared to have the draw well in hand for many moves, but the tenacious young Norwegian managed to generate just enough play to reach the endgame and then bamboozled the Armenian at the death. However, Aronian had the last laugh, easily winning the two-game blitz play-off (5 mins + 10 second increments) by 2-0. The other two rapidplay play-offs ended after only three games each, with Michael Adams and Rustam Kasimdzhanov both crashing out of the world championships. Adams lost his first two rapid games against Shirov and could not quite win the third one to stay alive. A very disappointing result for the English no.1 who led by a point with one game to go in the regulation games but then completely ran out of steam, losing three games in a row. Kasimjanov was completely outplayed by Boris Gelfand in game one, and then ran into some excellent defensive play from the Israeli super-GM in the second game. Kasim then overreached trying to get even in the third game and was gone.
     Round 6,
decisive result: Shirov 1-0 Adams, levelling the score, so they have to play a tie-break tomorrow. Draw games in Rublevsky-Ponomariov and Bareev-Polgar meant that both Black players were eliminated. Carlsen managed to salvage a draw from a perilous position against Aronian, so their match was tied. So we have three three tie-breakers on Sunday.
     Round 5,
decisive results. Carlsen 1-0 Aronian (tying the match at 2½-2½), Polgar 1-0 Bareev (pulling the score back to 2-3).
     Round 4,
decisive results - Aronian 1-0 Carlsen, Gurevich 0-1 Leko (Leko wins match), Bacrot 0-1 Kamsky (Kamsky wins match), Malakhov 0-1 Grischuk, Bareev 1-0 Polgar, Shirov 0-1 Adams.
     Round 3
, decisive results - Carlsen 1-0 Aronian (squaring the match), Leko 1-0 Gurevich, Kamsky 1-0 Bacrot, Ponomariov 0-1 Rublevsky.
     Round 2
, decisive results - Gurevich 0-1 Leko, Bacrot 0-1 Kamsky, Bareev 1-0 Polgar.
     Round 1,
decisive results - Carlsen 0-1 Aronian, Grischuk 1-0 Malakhov.

Round 1 matches (27 May - 3 June)
Carlsen 3-3 Aronian - Aronian 2-2 Carlsen (rapidplay) - Aronian 2-0 Carlsen (blitz) - Aronian goes through
Adams 3-3 Shirov - tie-break Adams ½-2½ Shirov - Shirov goes through
Ponomariov 2½-3½ Rublevsky - Rublevsky wins the match
Grischuk 3½-1½ Malakhov - Grischuk wins the match
Leko 3½-½ Gurevich - Leko wins the match
Polgar 2½-3½ Bareev - Bareev wins the match
Gelfand 3-3 Kasimjanov - tie-break Gelfand 2½-½ Kasimjanov - Gelfand goes through
Bacrot ½-3½ Kamsky - Kamsky wins the match

Round 2 matches (6-13 June)
Levon Aronian (ARM) 3½-2½ Alexei Shirov (ESP) - Levon Aronian qualifies for Mexico
Sergey Rublevsky (RUS) 3-3 Alexander Grischuk (RUS) - tie-break ½-2½ - Grischuk qualifies for Mexico
Peter Leko (HUN) 3½-1½ Evgeny Bareev (RUS) - Peter Leko qualifies for Mexico
Boris Gelfand (ISR) 3½-1½ Gata Kamsky (USA) - Boris Gelfand qualifies for Mexico

Time controls in Elista: regulation games: six games at 40 moves in 2 hrs, 20 moves in 1 hour, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves, with 30 second increments. Rapidplay play-offs: 4 games at 25 minutes + 10 second increments. Blitz play-offs: 2 games at 5 minutes + 10 second increments. Armageddon game: single game, 6 mins for White, 5 mins for Black, no increments, draw odds in favour of Black.


† Lady Thelma Milner-Barry (1921-2007) [05/06/07]

Lady Thelma Milner-BarryLady Thelma Milner-Barry, widow of the renowned British chessplayer and wartime cryptanalyst Sir Stuart Milner-Barry (1906-1995), sadly died on 2 June 2007, aged 85 (born 10 August 1921). Lady Thelma, whose maiden name was Thelma Tennant Wells, married Milner-Barry in 1947 by which time he had become a senior civil servant at HM Treasury. Though not a competition chessplayer herself, Lady Thelma shared her husband's strong sense of public duty and became the (then) British Chess Federation's first Director of Women's Chess in 1986, serving on the federation's management board until 1994. After her husband's death she maintained her links with the chess world, attending such events as the annual Varsity match. She will be greatly missed. BCM sends its condolences to her family • obituary by Stewart Reuben at the ECF website



FIDE vs Short [09/05/07]

Following the report that FIDE intends to summon Nigel Short before the FIDE Ethics Commission regarding comments he is alleged to have made about the activities of FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos and FIDE VP Zurab Azmaiparashvili, the English Chess Federation has responded with a strongly-worded reply and prospective counter-charge against Makropoulos and Azmaiparashvili. ECF letter to FIDEMalcolm Pein's Telegraph reportBCM Blog


Britbase Bonanza [24/04/07]

It's a good day to replenish your chess database with games old and new. Either click here for the main Britbase page, or click on the following links. We've got the games from the recent Welsh Championships, the Southend Easter Open and then, going back in time, the 1st Lloyds Bank Masters tournament from 1977 and, even further, the 7th Islington Open in 1971. My thanks to everyone involved in keying the games and making them available • Welsh Championship 2007 Southend Open 2007Lloyds Bank Masters 1977Islington 1971

Susan Polgar on UK TV [16/04/07]

UK readers: look out for former women's world champion Susan Polgar on British TV on Tuesday night. She appears on the science news programme 'Horizon' on BBC2 at 9pm (Tuesday 17 April). The programme investigates ways of measuring intelligence and puts seven high fliers in their fields to various tests of intelligence. It will be interesting to see how she fares in competition with a musical prodigy, a quantum physicist, an artist, a dramatist, an RAF fighter pilot and a Wall Street trader • Susan Polgar blogBBC Horizon website


Easter Congresses [15/04/07]

    The West of England Chess Union Championship, reported on the Chess Devon website, resulted in victory for GM Matthew Turner with 6/7. View/download all games and results here.
     The Jack Speigel Memorial tournament at Southend (website here) was very strong with five UK GMs. Mark Hebden came through a keenly contested event (only six draws in 28 games) to win with 5½/7. View/download all games. Scores: 1 M Hebden 5½/7, 2-3 G Flear, J Plaskett 4½, 4 L Trent 4, 5-7 C Ward, A Greet, N McDonald 2½, 8 J Cox 2. Ages of numbers one, two and three: 49, 48 and 47 - it seems the UK's old stagers still have the whip-hand over the youngsters. Southend Open: 1 Bob Eames 6/7, 2-5 Matthew Broomfield, Terry Chapman, Chris Fegan, John Anderson 5½, etc.
   The 53rd Welsh Championship held over Easter was won by James Cobb with 6/7, with Michael White and Sven Zeidler joint 2nd on 5. It was James Cobb's third title, having won in both 1999 and 2001. Ioan Rees was Under 21 champion (4½/7) and Abigail Cast Welsh women's Champion (3½/7). I don't yet have the games from the Welsh Championship but I'm hoping to be able to supply them soon. I do have the games of the Tom Weston Major (won by John Bowers and Jason Garcia) and the John Bishop Minor (won by Daniel Gottschalk) which will go up at the same time. My thanks to John Thornton for the information and data.
   At the Bolton Easter Congress, the open winner was Jeff Horner (Bolton) with 4½/6 ahead of GM Nigel Davies (3Cs) on 4 and Don Mason (Shirley) and Mike Surtees (Bolton) on 3½. Major U160: 1 Chris Vassiliou (Chorlton) 4½/6. Knights U120: 1st Daniel Broughton (West Bridgeford) 5/6. Busy persons blitz (60 players): 1-3 Adam Ashton (3Cs), Don Mason (Shirley), Alex Longson (3Cs) 7/8. A total of 96 competitors competed in the main congress. My thanks to Rod Middleton for supplying information.
    The open event at the 30th Surrey Easter Congress, held at the Nonsuch High School, Cheam, was won by GM Alex Cherniaev with 6½/7, ahead of 2-4 Chris Briscoe, IM Graeme Buckley and Ralf Gruettner on 5. Full results of all events can be found at http://www.surreychesscongress.co.uk/

Anand Charity Online Simul [13/04/07]

Announcing a once-in-a-lifetime chance to play chess against world rated no.1 Vishy Anand coming up soon... the Indian chess superstar is giving an online simul on ICC on Saturday 21 April (at 5pm GMT, noon ET) on behalf of a charity that is close to his heart called Vidyasagar (www.vidyasagar.co.in), a non-profit organization that strives for inclusion of children with autism and cerebral palsy. To find out the special appeal Anand has for Vidyasagar, you can watch this video on YouTube. If you want to take part in the simul, which is being held on the Internet Chess Club, you need to bid for a ticket on eBay here. The winning bidders of this and the 14 other eBay auctions will each earn a seat to play Anand on ICC. The time control will be 90 minutes with a 5 second increment. Seats will only be available to players under the rating of 2200 and they will play with the black pieces. There are prizes (including subscriptions to BCM) for those who raise the most money in the auction for places.


31st Blackpool Congress, 16-18 March [11/04/07]

The Blackpool Congress (which I refuse to call by its official name of 'Blackpool Chess Conference' on the grounds that it is silly) took place over the weekend of 16-18 March and was won by the Norwegian player Harald Borchgrevink with 4½/5 ahead of Jeff Horner, Mark Hebden, Alex Cherniaev, Jonathan Hawkins, Mike Surtees and Jonathan Blackburn on 4. The surprise winner (an employee at the Norwegian consulate in Edinburgh) has written an entertaining report on how he did it which may be found here. It seemed to involve drinking before, during and after the game. Congress website (with results) • View/Download 45 Blackpool games


Coulsdon Easter Internationals, 31 Mar - 4 Apr [08/04/07]

Two ten-player all-play-alls were held at the Coulsdon Chess Fellowship in the five days preceding Easter. GM Alex Cherniaev won a category 4 tournament with 7½/9 ahead of IM Tom Rendle on 6½. Meanwhile Robin Haldane won the Challenger's tournament with 7/9. My thanks to Scott Freeman for sending the games. View/Download games


Liverpool 2007: 800th Anniversary Match [13/03/07]

The city of Liverpool is going to celebrate its 800th year of existence with a highly prestigious summit chess match over six rounds from 4-9 September 2007. This is likely to be the most important chess fixture in Britain since the 2000 Kasparov-Kramnik world championship match. Four teams of eight players, representing Britain, China, India and the European Union, will take part at the prestigious venue of St George's Hall in Liverpool. The top four boards are open, two are for juniors and two for women players. Early indications are that the teams will be close to full strength, with the exception that Anand and possibly Adams may be involved in the World Championship tournament in Mexico. The Chinese squad has already been announced and it is superb, including Bu Xiangzhi, Wang Yue and Ni Hua, plus the sensational 13-year-old Hou Yifan who is on course to rival Judit Polgar if she continues to improve at the current rate of progress. A good place to follow news about this event is at the Atticus CC forum, where chief organiser David Robertson puts up regular items of news - click here. The official website (currently in preparation) will be http://www.liverpoolchessinternational.co.uk/

The President's Brain is Missing [13/03/07]

Announcing a new prize competition - anyone locating the FIDE President's brain will receive a copy of Garry Kasparov's new book... visit the BCM editor's blog - http://johnchess.blogspot.com/ - to find out more...

Chance to Win Kasparov's New Book... [13/03/07]

UK-based readers: you have a chance to win a copy of Garry Kasparov's new book 'Revolution in the 70s' today... there is a competition in the 'G2' section of today's Guardian newspaper where columnists Daniel King and Ronan Bennett are offering the new book as a prize for the person who comes up with the best plan (i.e. not just the best first move) in the published position. Latest: It is now up at the Guardian chess website - click here.


Varsity Match, Oxford vs Cambridge, 10 March [11/03/07]

The 125th annual Varsity Match, the world's oldest regular chess fixture, sponsored by Vantis and Henry Mutkin, took place at the RAC Club, Pall Mall, London, on 10 March. Oxford University, led by super-GM Luke McShane and Ukrainian WIM Olena Boytsun were widely expected to beat Cambridge, who has only one player with a 2200+ rating, but it was the Light Blues who pulled off a surprise win, thereby making the all-time score Cambridge 56 wins, Oxford 51 wins, with 18 matches drawn.
    Match Scores (Oxford names first - Oxford had White on the odd-numbered boards):
Luke McShane (g2615) 1-0 David Hodge (2183);
Olena Boytsun (wm2281, UKR) 0-1 Duane Rowe (2203, JAM);
Alvar Kangur (2231, EST) 0-1 Thomas Nixon (2195);
Tom Eckersley-Waites (2159) 1-0 Richard Mycroft (2141);
Robert Heaton (2095) 0-1 Adam Eckersley-Waites (2167);
Steffen Schaper (2159, GER) 0-1 Gustav Holzegel (2180, GER);
Christopher Rawlinson (2053) ½-½ Andreas Werner (2074, GER);
Edward Stembridge (2002) ½-½ Elizabeth Roberts (e1500).
    Cambridge University thus won by 5-3. Jamaican international Duane Rowe struck a heavy blow for Cambridge, crushing Olena Boytsun in only 18 moves, and this seemed to inspire his colleagues. Tom Eckersley-Waites levelled the scores for Oxford, but his twin brother Adam, plus the Cambridge boards three and six put Cambridge 4-1 ahead. This meant that they could not lose but the remaining three boards looked good for Oxford. McShane duly cashed in his 432(!) rating point differential, but Cambridge's bottom board Elizabeth Roberts made light of a 502 rating difference to draw from a bad position to give Cambridge the half point they needed to clinch the match. View/Download games.

Morelia/Linares, 17 Feb - 10 Mar [10/03/07]

The annual Morelia/Linares super-torneo has begun in Morelia, Mexico. The first cycle takes place from 17-25 February (rest days 20th and 23rd) and then the tournament crosses the Atlantic to Linares, where play takes place from 2-10 March. Line-up: Topalov (2783), Anand (2779), Ivanchuk (2750), Leko (2749), Aronian (2744), Morozevich (2741), Svidler (2728), Carlsen (2690). Teimour Radjabov was in the original line-up but withdrew after his father's hotel room was robbed (in Patzcuaro, Mexico, on 10 February) and 'many important and valuable' items were taken. Radjabov says that the local police did not even carry out an investigation and that he and his father received little support from the organisers following the robbery [click here for the report on ChessBase's website]. The organisers were somewhat fortunate in having Vasyl Ivanchuk on hand to replace Radjabov - Ivanchuk's rating is actually higher than Radjabov's.
     View games Download GamesOfficial Website
   Round 14 - Anand secured first place with a comfortable draw against Ivanchuk. Carlsen lost his last round game to Leko but still managed to share second second place with the amazing Morozevich, who inflicted Svidler's only defeat of the tournament. Morozevich was the other player in second place; a remarkable recovery considering that he was down and out with only 2/7 in Morelia. His score of 5½/7 in Linares was phenomenal. Leko's last round win meant that he shared last place with world number one Topalov. Final Scores: Anand 8½/14, Carlsen, Morozevich 7½, Aronian, Svidler 7, Ivanchuk 6½, Leko, Topalov 6... [more]

4NCL, Wokefield Park, 3-4 March [05/03/07]

Guildford-ADC 1 remain odds-on favourites to regain the 4NCL (British Team League) title for 2007/8. Indeed, it seems likely that there first and second teams will finish first and second in the Division 1 table after another highly successful weekend at the new Wokefield Park venue, near Reading, Berkshire. Meanwhile, 3Cs Oldham, Bristol and South Wales Dragons are likeliest contenders for the drop. Round 7 results: Barbican 3½-4½ Slough Sharks, The ADs 3½-4½ Hilsmark Kingfisher, Guilford-ADC 2 6-2 Bristol, Betsson 4-4 3Cs Oldham, NW Eagles ½-7½ Guildford-ADC 1, S Wales Dragons ½-7½ Wood Green. Round 8 results: Hilsmark Kingfisher 4½-3½ Betsson, Guildford-ADC 1 6½-1½ Barbican, Wood Green 3-5 Guildford-ADC 2, Slough Sharks 4-4 NW Eagles, 3Cs Oldham 3½-4½ The ADs, Bristol 3-5 S Wales Dragons. Scores after round 8 (of 11): 1 Guildford-ADC 1 16/52, 2 Guildford-ADC 2 14/43, 3 Hilsmark Kingfisher 14/38, 4 Slough Sharks 11/33, 5 Barbican 8/31½, 6 North West Eagles 8/30½, 7 Betsson 7/32½, 8 Wood Green 6/32½, 9 The ADs 5/23, 10 3Cs Oldham 3/28½, 11 Bristol 2/20, 12 South Wales Dragons 2/19½. Official site: http://www.4ncl.co.uk/



4NCL in the Fast Lane... [20/02/07]

Here's an interesting 4NCL development in a press release just received...
"The 4NCL are thinking about holding a team rapidplay tournament over the weekend of 30 June - 1 July. The tournament would probably be based on teams of four players with an entry fee of around £40-50 to cover running costs, prizes etc, and would be open to all teams who wish to enter, whether or not they currently play in the 4NCL. We have provisionally booked Harben House conference centre (a member of the De Vere Venues chain which the 4NCL already uses for its weekends)  near Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire just off the M1 and not far from Milton Keynes, which has fast rail connections to Birmingham, Manchester and London. More details on the venue can be found on www.deverevenues.co.uk."

   "The 4NCL would like to get an early idea of the likely level of interest for such a tournament in order that the venue booking can be confirmed, so it would be very helpful if interested teams could get in touch as soon as possible with Paul Littlewood, David Welch or Mike Truran, whose contact details can be found on www.4ncl.co.uk."



BCM Blog Has Moved [13/02/07]

Note that the BCM Editor's blog has moved to http://johnchess.blogspot.com/ - it has just been updated with a slightly naughty story entitled 'No Draws in Pasadena'.


Britbase is 10 years old... [10/02/07]

Britbase, the British chess games archive, has reached its tenth birthday. Not particularly old, certainly when you compare it with our 126-year-old magazine - but positively ancient in internet terms. It was the first website of its kind and has since been followed by many other national archives in other countries (there are links from Britbase). I set it up in the hope that as many game scores as possible of significant British chess events could be collected together in the one place and be made freely available to web users. That is still the philosophy, and I've just uploaded more than 2,000 games from recent events sent by British congress organisers (whom I duly thank). Note that I have made corrections, standardised names and added extra data (such as ratings) to the games. As well as downloads, Britbase now features game viewers so that the games can be played through in situ. Latest: Games from Gibraltar 2007, Hastings 2004/5 to 2006/7, Coulsdon 2006, Newport 2007 and Bristol 2006.


5th Gibraltar Festival, 23 Jan - 1 Feb [10/02/07]

The annual Gibraltar tournament, a nine-round swiss, begins on Tuesday 23 January. Latest: Round 9 - Vladimir Akopian (who beat the erstwhile leader Sokolov in round 8) beat 16-year-old Yuri Kuzubov (who beat Milov in round 8) in only 23 moves to secure first place on his own with 7½/9. Sutovsky, Nakamura and Areshchenko finished 2nd= on 7. IM Thomas Rendle's last round draw with Gurevich was good enough to secure him his first GM norm. England's Jovanka Houska shared the women's prize with former world champion Antoaneta Stefanova (they received £3,000 each). View Masters games Download Masters games View games of subsidiary events Download games of subsidiary eventsOfficial website www.gibraltarchesscongress.com/Gib2007www.monroi.com

Anyone for Cheating? [30/01/07]

Allegations of move-signalling (similar to the system that the horse racing fraternity call 'tic-tac') in games at Corus Wijk aan Zee 2007 have been raised in an article by Martin Breutigam in a German newspaper. Click on the link above for the BCM editor's take on this controversy. Google news links to chess and cheating How to be a tic-tac manWikipedia on 'tic-tac'BBC page on how to perform racing tic-tacLeonard Barden in the GuardianNigel Short interview (DNA Sport India website)


Corus Wijk aan Zee, 13-28 Jan [28/01/07]

The annual Corus Wijk aan Zee tournament began on 13 January. Final scores: The tournament ended in a triple tie for first between Levon Aronian (ARM), Teimour Radjabov (AZE) and Veselin Topalov (BUL). As far as is known, there is no tie-break for the top section at Wijk aan Zee. Radjabov and Topalov drew after a cagey game. Aronian beat Tiviakov. Kramnik finished only half a point behind the leaders after beating Van Wely in the last round. Svidler lost in 32 moves to Karyakin. Standings: 1-3 Aronian (2744), Radjabov (2729), Topalov (2783) 8½/13, 4 Kramnik (2766) 8, 5 Anand (2779) 7½, 6 Svidler (2728) 7, 7-8 Karjakin (2678), Navara (2719) 6½, 9 Ponomariov (2723) 6, 10-12 Motylev (2647), Tiviakov (2667), Van Wely (2683) 5, 13-14 Carlsen (2690), Shirov (2715) 4½. View games (all sections)Download games (PGN, all sections) • Official website: www.coruschess.com • Video Reports: www.chessvibes.com


4NCL, Coventry, 13-14 Jan [16/01/07]

Results of the Sunday games (Round 6): Hilsmark 4½-3½ Barbican, Guildford-ADC2 5½-2½ 3Cs Oldham, Wood Green 3-5 Guildford-ADC1, Betsson 5-3 NW Eagles, SW Dragons 3½-4½ The ADs, Bristol 2½-5½ Slough Sharks. Results of the Saturday games in the 4NCL (Round 5): 3Cs Oldham 7-1 South Wales Dragons, Barbican 5½-2½ Betsson, Guildford-ADC 1 7½-½ Bristol, NW Eagles 3½-4½ Wood Green, Slough Sharks 3-5 Hilsmark Kingfisher, The ADs 1-7 Guildford-ADC 2. Leaders after Round 6: 1 Guildford-ADC1 12 mpts/38 gpts, 2 Guildford-ADC2 10/32, 3 Hilsmark Kingfisher 10/29, 4 Barbican 8/26½, 5 Slough Sharks 8/24½, 6 NW Eagles 7/26, 7 Betsson 6/25, 8 Wood Green 4/22, 9 The ADs 3/15, 10 3Cs Oldham 2/21, 11 Bristol 2/15, 12 South Wales Dragons 0/14. Official website: http://www.4ncl.co.uk


London-Moscow Ice Match Ends in Grandmaster Thaw [11/01/07]

Nigel Short on iceA novel exhibition match was held in London and Moscow on 11 January, with teams from each city playing on giant pieces carved from ice and linking up via giant TV screens. The match was held to foster cultural relations between the two cities and promote the Russian Winter Festival. The London event was staged in Trafalgar Square, with GM Nigel Short, famous writer Peter Ackroyd and chess prodigy 8-year-old Darius Parvizi-Wayne playing the moves for London, and with former world champion Anatoly Karpov, Russian author Viktor Erofeev, gymnast Alina Kabaeva and chess prodigy Konstantin Savenkov representing Moscow. Because of the unseasonably mild weather in both cities, the pieces started melting almost as soon as the match was underway. After about an hour's play a draw was agreed.


David Howell - UK's Youngest Ever GM [06/01/07]

David Howell and Sergey KaryakinDavid Howell qualified as the UK's youngest ever grandmaster today (5 Jan) by drawing his ninth round game against Emanuel Berg in the Rilton Cup in Stockholm. David Howell is 16 years 52 days old and rated 2501 on the January 2007 FIDE rating list. He has improved on Luke McShane's age record of 16½ when he secured his final norm during the Politiken Cup in Denmark in July 2000. If Howell's feat is confirmed, it would probably put him in a list of the top 20 youngest players to qualify for the grandmaster title worldwide - and he achieved it at a younger age than Garry Kasparov.

The picture (left) shows David Howell shaking hands with Sergey Karyakin, who holds the world record for being the youngest player to become a grandmaster - he did it aged 12 years 7 months.

Click here for a list of the youngest ever GMs • Leonard Barden on Howell's achievement Rilton Cup website


82nd Hastings International Congress, 28 Dec - 7 Jan [06/01/07]

The annual Hastings Congress began on Thursday 28 December at the Horntye Park Sports Complex in Hastings. The event is once again being sponsored by long-term supporters Hastings Borough Council. Additional sponsorship comes from Carr Taylor Vineyards, Deutsch Ltd. KC Computers, Medoil plc,the Pig in Paradise and White Rock Hotel. Hastings is the world’s longest running chess event - there has been an annual event since the 1920s and most of the world champions have taken part. The Congress includes a nine-round Masters tournament attracting GMs who compete for a first prize of £2,000 and which runs until 5 January. This year’s field includes players from 21 countries, including 12 GMs and 2 WGMs. Latest: Gagunashvili and Neverov tied first with 7/9. 12-year-old Srinath Narayanan (IND) made an IM norm. 36-year-old, 2121-rated Chris Briscoe of Surbiton Chess Club also made an IM norm with his remarkable 6/9. Other norms: IWM - Petra Schurman (NED), IA - Oscar Ruiz (MEX). Round 9 results and crosstableView all gamesDownload all games (PGN) • Official website: www.hastingschess.org.uk (thanks to Lara Barnes and Steve Giddins for results and games)