Monday, May 17, 2010

Recent and Upcoming Chess Happenings

World Championship

The world championship recently wrapped up in Sofia, Bulgaria. Anand managed to retain his title with an exciting victory over Topolov with the black pieces in the last game. The final score was 6.5 – 5.5 and we were spared from having to see the title decided in rapid games. I was able to check in on some of the live games while they were in progress, and they were almost always exciting hard fought battles. Both competitors deserve credit for the fighting spirit displayed.

It is good that there is now one undisputed world champion. Hopefully FIDE will not mess around with the world championship cycle and create havoc, like they have in the past. It was disappointing that I did not see any news coverage in the mainstream media about this event at all.

FIDE Election

I don’t know what to make of the current FIDE president election. It appears to be between the incumbent Ilyumzhinov and former world chess champion Karpov. Both are Russian and whichever one manages to get the Russian nomination will probably win. It is turning into a sleazy campaign and does not lead me to think that FIDE will eliminate the corruption within it’s system anytime soon.

US Championship

Three rounds are complete and the two favourites have to be Nakamura and Kamsky who share the lead with 2.5/3 after drawing with each other. The new format this year for this tournament is unusual as it combines a Swiss for the first 7 rounds after which the top 4 will continue in a round robin format. Top player could play each other more than once. I hope the format works out but I wonder how fair it will seem if tie breaks have to be used after round 7 to determine who continues in the round robin format. I expect and hope that Nakamura wins the title.

Lloydminster Chess

Of course the big event in Lloydminster will be when the above named GM Nakamura plays in our annual Battle at the Border Chess tournament Sept 4-6. It will be the biggest chess event to ever hit the Midwest. I have already started my training regime in preparation for this tournament, which includes playing the occasional online blitz game at chesscube and reminding myself that I really should finish that chess book that I started months ago. I did play some live chess against Al Tinio last week and although I had winning positions in at least two of the games I ended up being skunked 4.5-0.5 in 15 min games. I expected him to be even rustier then me but he’s been playing online.

Calgary Chess

The Calgary International is this weekend and should be exciting. Famous Philippine GM Eugene Torre, a close friend of Bobby Fisher, is playing. They have a reserve section that I could play in but I don’t have enough desire at the moment.