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FIDE WCCM Game 10: An Intense Fight, the Same Result

FIDE - Fri, 11/23/2018 - 09:36

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score Carlsen ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½  ½     4.5 Caruana ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½  ½  ½      4.5

Game 10: An Intense Fight, the Same Result

Game 10 of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 ended in a draw, but it was not for lack of effort on the part of Magnus Carlsen, 27, the World Champion from Norway, or Fabiano Caruana, 26, the American challenger.


For hours, the players waged an intense battle, walking a razor’s edge between success and ruin. In the end, however, after 54 moves and more than five hours, neither player could deliver a knockout blow.

The match score stands at five points apiece. All the games in the match have been drawn. It is the most consecutive draws to start a title match in history.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

Those who may not have watched the match carefully might think that all the draws are a sign that the match has been dull. It has not been. Game 10 was an excellent example Caruana had White and, as he has throughout the match, he opened with 1 e4. Carlsen stuck with the Sicilian Defense (1 … c5) as he has played in each game that he has had Black. As in Game 8, Caruana went into the Open Sicilian and Carlsen responded with the Sveshnikov or Pelikan Variation.

The game was identical through Move 11. Caruana then varied with 12 b4, launching an attack on the queenside. Carlsen responded energetically and by Move 20, his initiative on the kingside offered him equal chances.

Three moves later, however, Carlsen made a small error with 23 … Qg5. If Caruana had replied 24 Qd4, it would have forced Carlsen to defend his e pawn, slowing his attack. Instead, Caruana erred with 24 g3, creating severe light-squared weaknesses in his kingside. With time growing short as the players approached the first time control at Move 40, the pace of the game picked up. Light-squared bishops were exchanged, slightly easing Caruana’s defensive task, but Carlsen retained a formidable pawn center, which counter balanced a strong White passed pawn on the queen side.

The position remained dynamically balanced until just after the first time control, when Carlsen made another small error with 45… Kd4. That miscalculation allowed Caruana to win a pawn, but it also led to simplification of the position. In the end, Caruana had no chance to win and the players agreed to a draw. The match will now certainly go the distance in regulation. But it seems more and more likely that it will be decided in tie-breaker games.

Game 11 is Saturday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.


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Game 9: Still Deadlocked

Another game, another draw.

Wednesday, Game 9 of the World Championship between the champion, Magnus Carlsen, and the challenger, Fabiano Caruana, produced the same result as the first eight games: A draw. The nine consecutive draws to start a World Championship match are a record.


The match has become a clash between the irresistible force (Carlsen) and the immovable object (Caruana).

In Game 9, Carlsen, 27 and from Norway, had White and, as he had in Game 4, he began with the English opening (1 c4). Caruana, 26, from the United States, replied with the same system that he had used in the earlier game and the players followed the same path until Carlsen varied with 9 Bg5. The move did not change the evaluation of the position much and by Move 16, Caruana was already trying to repeat the position to force a draw by playing Bd5 and Be4 to continually attack Carlsen’s queen.


Naturally, Carlsen avoided that by playing 17 Qd1. Caruana immediately exchanged his light-squared bishop for Carlsen’s knight with 17… Bf3. That turned out to be a small error as, after a further series of exchanges, Black had a broken, and therefore slightly worse pawn structure. That was not a serious problem for Caruana, however, and after more trades, the players wound up in an endgame in which chances were roughly equal.

The game continued for another 25 moves, but there was no real hope for either player to win and they finally agreed to a draw after 56 moves and three-and-a-half hours.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The Match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

The lack of decisive results has not dampened press coverage of the match. In the day before Game 9, articles appeared in The New York Times, NBC News, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, FiveThirtyEight, and Deadspin, to name a few.


There is certainly no shortage of tension, particularly with only three games left in the regulation, or slow, part of the match. The last match in 2016, went to tie-breakers before Carlsen prevailed over Sergey Karjakin. That turned out to be a really exciting finish. The current Match seems to be heading for the same ending.

Game 10 is Thursday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 8: Dubious Record Tied

With a draw on Monday in Game 8 of the World Championship match in London, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana equaled the record for the most consecutive draws to start a title contest. In 1995, Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand also drew the first eight games of their title match in New York City.

The match score stands at four points apiece.


Though Game 8 did not lead to a decisive result, it was a fight as the players contested a different opening than in the previous seven games.

Caruana, the American challenger, had White for the fourth time in the match. As he had in the previous games with White, he opened with 1 e4 and Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, once again answered with the Sicilian Defense (1… c5). Instead of the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5), Caruana finally ventured into the Open Sicilian by playing 3 d4. Carlsen answered with the Sveshnikov, or Pelikan, Variation (5… e5). Instead of 7 Bg5, which can lead to heavily analyzed and very complicated positions, Caruana chose 7 Nd5. Though that continuation is considered more strategic than the other approach, it also can be dangerous for Black.

Carlsen’s 8… Nb8 is odd-looking, but it is also considered the best move because the more “normal” 8… Ne7 can land Black in some hot water after 9 c3.


Both players continued to follow the paths considered best until Carlsen played 18… g5. The move is consistent with some plans in the variation of the Sveshnikov that the game was following, but the move neglected Black’s development and allowed Caruana to gain time. He took advantage with an enterprising pawn sacrifice (21 c5), after which White had a dangerous passed pawn.

Carlsen might have been in real trouble if Caruana had not played 24 h3. Instead, 24 Nc4, continuing to build pressure on Carlsen’s center, would have given White a clear edge. Caruana’s error gave Carlsen just enough time to shore up his defenses.


Though the game continued until Move 38 before the players agreed to a draw, most of the drama was already gone. The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

A close contest between Carlsen, who is ranked No. 1, and Caruana, who is No. 2, would certainly have been a logical expectation before the match began. But the inability of either player to pose a real threat to the other – with the exception of Game 1, when Caruana was in real trouble – may be a bit vexing for fans, and even for top players. As Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, ranked No. 6, told Chess.com at one point during Game 7, “I’m not gonna hide; the position is pretty dull.”


If Carlsen and Caruana are to avoid going into the history books with a somewhat unwanted record – most consecutive draws to start a World Championship match – they are going to have to do remarkable in Game 9, which will be Wednesday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.   PHOTO GALLERY

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Game 7: The Draws Continue

More than half the games in regulation have been played in the World Championship match in London and neither player has been able to notch a victory.


The latest effort was Sunday in Game 7. Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, had White for the second game in a row and, for the second time in the match, he opened with 1 d4.

As he had in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, steered the game into a Queen’s Gambit Declined. The players repeated the moves from Game 2 until Carlsen, who had been outplayed in the earlier game, deviated by playing 10 Nd2. That move has been played many times before, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Caruana’s reply, 10 … Qd8, was not the best, and Carlsen soon had a slight edge. But it was no more than that and, as the game progressed, Caruana was never in any danger.

After a wholesale exchange of pieces from moves 18 to 25, chances were equal. Though the game continued until Move 40, a draw already seemed like a foregone result.

The match is now tied at 3.5 points apiece.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match has now reached the same point as the match in 2016, which also started with seven draws. At that point, Carlsen tried too hard to beat Sergey Karjakin, who was then the challenger, and lost. It would be surprising if that happened again. At the same time, except for Game 1, when Caruana was in real trouble, neither player has come close to victory. Fans, and even the players themselves, have to be wondering when or if one of the players will crack.



FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.
Game 8 is today at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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FIDE WCCM Game 6: The World Champion Escapes.

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, was on the ropes in Game 6 of the title match in London. But in a long endgame, Fabiano Caruana, the challenger, could find no way to break down Carlsen’s defenses and he was finally able to escape with a draw.

The result left the match tied the halfway point at three points apiece; all six games in the contest have ended in draws.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund).


In Game 6, Carlsen, who is from Norway, had White and started with 1 e4. It was Carlsen’s third game with White and, in all three games, he has chosen a different opening move. Caruana, who is American, replied 1 … e5 and after Carlsen continued 2 Nf3, Caruana chose the Petroff, or Russian, Defense. That was not a surprise as Caruana had employed the defense with great success when he won the Candidates tournament in Berlin earlier this year to qualify for the title match. 


The game continued down an obscure branch of the Petroff that Carlsen had doubtless studied carefully. Caruana demonstrated he also was well prepared as he navigated some of the intricacies with no problem.

After 15 moves, the position was symmetrical and the game seemed headed for a draw, which also was no surprise, as the Petroff has long had a reputation of being drawish. The game continued, however, partly because there is a rule in the match that games must be at least 30 moves, and also because neither player had any interest in agreeing to an early peace.

On Move 22, Carlsen made what turned out to be a small, but subtle error by positioning his light-squared bishop on a file that could be opened. Caruana was able to gain time to develop his rooks by attacking the bishop and that allowed him to take over the initiative.

Carlsen was in no immediate danger, but Caruana had nagging pressure against White’s position. By Move 34, the players had reached an endgame in which each had his bishop pair and a knight and a set of six pawns.

Just after the first time control at Move 40, Carlsen made another small error and was forced to trade one of his remaining pieces for three of Caruana’s pawns. Nominally, that is about an even trade, but, at the tail end of the sequence, Caruana was able to win another of Carlsen’s pawns.

Carlsen was clearly in trouble, but Caruana only had two pawns left and if Carlsen could trade them, the game would be a draw. The exchange of one pawn was impossible to prevent, but Carlsen could not easily get to the second. Computer evaluations showed a clear edge for Caruana.

Computers do not understand endgames very well, however. And Carlsen is one of the greatest endgame virtuoso’s in history. He found a plan that involved sacrificing his last queenside pawn to allow his king to infiltrate Caruana’s king side. Though Carlsen’s king now had almost no room to maneuver, it could support the advance of his h pawn if Caruana tried to go after Carlsen’s f pawn to clear the path for his own remaining f pawn.

For nearly 20 moves, Caruana tried to outflank Carlsen, but it was not possible. Carlsen had built a fortress. The game was drawn on Move 80, after six-and-a-half hours of play. A curious facet of the match is that Black has had equal chances or an edge in every one of the games; neither player’s strategy with White has been effective.


FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

Game 7 is on Sunday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

Caruana will once again have Black. The way that the match has unfolded, that may be an advantage.

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Game 4: The Defense Holds Again

Game 4 of the World Championship on Tuesday ended as the first three had – with a draw. It was also the shortest game of the match, lasting 34 moves and three hours.


As in Game 3, neither player made any obvious or big error. Indeed, Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, who had White, chose the English (1 c4), an opening that generally does not put much pressure on Black. After Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, replied with 1 … e5 (essentially the Sicilian Defense with colors reversed), he had little trouble developing his pieces or establishing equal chances.

By Move 20, the queens, both sets of knights and the light-squared bishops had all been exchanged and though there was some imbalance in the pawn structure, neither player had particularly good prospects for a breakthrough. They agreed to a draw soon after.

The match now is tied at two points apiece.


The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

After a great deal of excitement in Game 1, which lasted 115 moves and which Caruana nearly lost, the match has settled down, with neither player having any significant winning chances in the last three games.


That is not really a surprise.

The players in World Championship matches are always incredibly well prepared and they are also reluctant to take big risks because falling behind in such a match is very dangerous.

Carlsen and Caruana are also fairly evenly matched, judging both by their rankings, Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and the difference in their ratings – three points, which is only a whisker.

As the match progresses, the tension will mount. Normally, that would favor the champion, who not only has more match experience, but also would have an advantage in the tie-breakers, as they are played at faster time controls, at which he excels and at which Caruana is not nearly as proficient.


However, in the 2016 title match against Sergey Karjakin of Russia, it was Carlsen who cracked first as he lost his patience and overpressed in Game 8, eventually losing. He had to fight back in Game 10 to tie the match before prevailing in the tie-breakers. Has Carlsen learned from that experience? Time will tell.

Wednesday is a rest day. The match resumes with Game 5 on Thursday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 3: An error-free day

After three games of the World Championship, neither player has made a dent in the other’s armor. All the games have ended in draws.


On Monday, in Game 3, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, had White for the second time in the match and, for the second time, he opened with 1 e4. As he had in Game 1, Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, replied with the Sicilian Defense (1 … c5) and Caruana again replied with the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5). The players repeated the same first five moves before Carlsen deviated first by moving his queen instead of his king knight.
The change was subtle and did not result in any major shift in the dynamic balance of the position. Indeed, unlike in the first game, when Caruana got into trouble, in this game he was never in any real danger. But neither was Carlsen. As the game proceeded and pieces and pawns were gradually exchanged, chances remained equal as neither player made any mistake.


In the end, Caruana sacrificed his remaining piece, a knight, to eliminate the last pawn that Carlsen had any chance to promote to a queen. With no winning chances for either side, the players agreed to a draw after 49 moves.
The match now is tied at 1.5 points apiece.
The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)



The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

Though the match is only three games old, one theme has already emerged: Black is having no trouble equalizing out of the opening. (Indeed, the player with Black has, if anything, had an advantage in each game.)

In this respect, Caruana may already be a bit worried about his match strategy as he has avoided mixing things up with Carlsen on the White side of a Sicilian Defense by playing 3 d4, the most popular third move. Though the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5) certainly holds dangers for Black, it may be necessary for Caruana to enter the myriad complications of the main lines of the Sicilian after 3 d4 if he hopes to crack Carlsen’s defense.

Or Caruana may have to resort to a different first move altogether, such as 1 d4. His opening choice in Game 5, when he again has White will be very interesting.



In the meantime, there is Game 4, which is Tuesday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 2: A Fair Result

Two games into the World Championship and neither player in the title match has managed to score a win, but both have now been under pressure.

Saturday, in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, who had Black, emerged from the opening with a small but distinct advantage because the pawns of Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, were far advanced and difficult to defend. But Carlsen was able to force an endgame in which each player only had a rook and all the remaining pawns were on one side of the board, making Carlsen’s defensive task much easier.



After the first time control and 49 moves, the players agreed to the draw.

The match is tied at a point apiece.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.



The opening in Game 2 was a Queen’s Gambit Declined, with Carlsen choosing to play 5 Bf4 rather than the slightly more traditional 5 Bg5. It is an opening that he has used before and with great success, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Indeed, with 6 … c5, Caruana attacked Carlsen’s center. This is a known and sharp line , but Caruana proved better prepared with Carlsen consuming much time in solving new problems. Caruana soon established an edge by breaking up Carlsen’s queen side pawns.

A series of exchanges followed that saddled Carlsen with broken pawns on the kingside and a far advanced, but weak d pawn that would inevitably fall. But the reduced material, and Carlsen’s lead in development, allowed him to avoid real trouble.



Though Caruana had an extra pawn, he agreed to a draw after 49 moves. He probably saw no reason to try to repeat the 115-move marathon of Game 1, when Carlsen had an extra pawn and tried to squeeze out a victory in a position that offered no real hope for success.

There is a rest day on Sunday before the match resumes with Game 3 on Monday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 1: A Near Miss for Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, nearly got the perfect result – a win – on Friday in Game 1 of his title match against Fabiano Caruana. But at several critical moments, Carlsen missed his best moves, allowing Caruana to eke out a draw.

Though the result was a disappointment for Carlsen, it was anything but that for fans. The game stretched 115 moves and nearly six hours before the players split the point.



Carlsen, 27, who is from Norway, is making his third title defense, having captured the crown in 2013, when he beat Viswanathan Anand of India. Caruana, 26, who is American, is playing his first match for the title. Carlsen is ranked No. 1 in the world, while Caruana is No. 2. It is the first time since 1990, when Garry Kasparov faced Anatoly Karpov, that Nos. 1 and 2 have faced off for the undisputed title. The match, which is being held in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building, is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The match is being televised on Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.

The match has received worldwide media exposure, with articles in The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and ESPN, among others.

Carlsen and Caruana are well acquainted, having played each other at classical, or slow, time controls almost three dozen times. They know each other’s style; they have no secrets. But, in World Championship matches, where the pressure is at the highest level, every small edge counts, and so anything a player can do to surprise his opponent is significant. Other than playing psychological games, or resorting to gamesmanship, which neither Carlsen or Caruana is known to do, the only real way to surprise the opponent is with opening strategy and opening choices.



In Round 1, the edge almost certainly went to Carlsen. Against 1 e4 by Caruana, who had White, Carlsen chose the Sicilian Defense, perhaps the most double-edged reply. It has not been a standard part of Carlsen's repertoire for some time and is a provocative choice in such a high-stakes match.

(The opening choice may also indicate that Carlsen prepared for the match with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, a noted Sicilian expert, who is a month older than Carlsen. The members of each player’s team of seconds is usually a well-guarded secret because it can tip the opponent off about the pre-match preparation.)

After Carlsen played 2… Nc6, perhaps indicating perhaps that he wanted to enter the Sveshnikov Variation, Caruana countered with 3 Bb5 -- the Rossolimo Variation, which Anand used against Boris Gelfand during their 2012 title match. Caruana’s opening choice was possibly meant to avoid the maze of complications of the Sveshnikov, but it backfired as Carlsen gradually took control.

As the first time-control approached on Move 40, Caruana's time was dwindling rapidly and his position was under pressure as Carlsen managed to open up the file in front of Caruana’s king. Caruana decided that his best chance lay in a flight of his king to the other side of the board, but, according to the various computer engines analyzing the position, that was a mistake. Carlsen could have then swung his queen to the other side of the board and picked off one or two of Caruana’s pawns. In the endgame, his queenside pawns, supported by his dark-square bishop, would have been dangerous, if not lethal. The computers evaluated Carlsen having a strategic advantage of the equivalent of about two pawns – more than enough to be decisive at this level of competition.



But Carlsen did not see the strategy and continued to concentrate on the kingside. On his 40th move, he made a fateful decision – he exchanged his dangerous passed f pawn for Caruana’s c pawn. Though Carlsen retained an advantage, it was now minimal.

After the further exchange of Caruana’s knight for Carlsen’s bishop, as well as a pair of pawns, the players ended up in a rook-and-pawn endgame where Carlsen’s chances to win were insufficient, despite having an extra pawn. Carlsen, as is his habit, continued to press for another 60 moves before he agreed to a draw. It was one of the longest games in World Championship history, eclipsed by one of 124 moves in 1978 between Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi, and another of 122 moves between Carlsen and Anand in 2014.

Game 2 is Saturday and starts at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12    Score     Carlsen  ½                       0.5  Caruana  ½                       0.5


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Opening Ceremony of FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018

The official opening ceremony of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 was held on November 8th at a prestigious red-carpet event at the iconic Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK.





Guests from all over the world, including Woody Harrelson, Hou Yifan, Judit Polgar descended onto London for the glittering evening, hosted by British television presenter, George Lamb. Entertainment included a modern contemporary dance between two men featuring the unity and struggle of two strong characters, like in the game of chess, and a breath-taking performance by the talented Stephen Ridley – a young charismatic pianist, composer and singer.



The highlight of the evening was the introduction of the competitors, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana of USA. The Chief Arbiter of the Match Stepahne Escafre conducted the ceremony of the drawing of lots. Magnus Carlsen will have the black pieces in the first game. The first move of the World Chess Championship match will be played on November 9th, at 3 pm local time.





President of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich, CEO of World Chess, Ilya Merenzon, as well as Vice President and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation, CEO of PhosAgro, Andrey Guryev, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab, Aldo del Bo, CEO of S.T. Dupont, Alain Crevet joined the players on the stage.

Taking place from 9-28 November, the world’s most esteemed chess tournament consists of a 12-game Match, avidly followed and analysed by a global audience of hundreds of millions of chess fans, which will see current World Chess Champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, defend his title against US challenger, Fabiano Carlsen. No player born in the United States has won or even competed for a World Championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972, so all eyes will be on the two players. Those following the games online will also be catered for; they will be able to watch the moves for free on worldchess.com/london, the official broadcasting platform. They can also sign up for a $20 premium account, giving fans access to multi-camera views, commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, the opportunity to ask questions during press conferences and more.



The last World Championship match, held in New York, in 2016, enjoyed record-breaking coverage with the total audience for the whole event topping 1.5 billion people.

Leading partners supporting the Championship Match 2018 include:

PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner
Kaspersky Lab as World Chess and FIDE’s Official Cybersecurity Partner
PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner
S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument
Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match
Unibet as the Official Betting Partner
Beluga as the Official VIP Partner

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Categories: Ενημέρωση

Caruana – Carlsen 2018 game 10 LIVE!

Chessdom - Thu, 11/22/2018 - 16:20

Replay: Caruana – Carlsen game 1 / Carlsen – Caruana game 2 / Caruana – Carlsen game 3 / Carlsen – Caruana game 4 / Caruana – Carlsen game 5 / Carlsen – Caruana game 6 / Carlsen – Caruana game 7 / Caruana – Carlsen game 8 / Caruana – Carlsen game 9

Hello everyone and welcome to the live coverage of the 2018 World Chess Championship match between the reigning champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and the challenger Fabiano Caruana (USA). In this live blog + live games from WCC 2018 we will be covering the event Carlsen – Caruana with the latest news, developments, interviews, and in-game details.

The most important feature here will be the lines of analysis by Lc0 – the open Neural Network, and the TCEC champion Stockfish running on a Super Computer of 128 cores.

 

Refresh the page to get the latest updates

 

Current move eval: Move 44: Lc0 +1.07 , SF[128] +0.18

Update 21:05 CET

Carlsen handled the endgame well and the 10th consecutive draw of this match is a fact. Two more games remain from the classical time control, in game 11 Carlsen will have white.

Update 20:51 CET

44… Kd4 is a strange risk by Carlsen, allowing 45. Rb5 . Some difficult lines ahead, with 45. …e3 probably the only move that leaves decent chances for draw, …Rd6 is possible and …Kc4 looks much more difficult to handle

Lc0 +1.07: 45. Rb5 Rd6 46. Ra4+ Ke5 47. Rab4 Ke6 48. c3 Rc6 49. Rd4 Rd6 50. Rdb4 Rc6 51. Rd4 Rd6 52. c4 dxc4 53. Rxe4+ Kf7 54. Rxc4 Rdxb6 55. Ra5 g5 56. Rc8 Kg7 57. Raa8 Rb1 58. Kxf3 Rg1 59. Rg8+ Kh7 60. Rh8+ Kg7 61. Rag8+ Kf7 62. Rb8 Rxb8 63. Rxb8 Re1 64. Rd8 Re6 65. Rd4 Rf6+ 66. Ke3 Ra6 67. Rd7+ Kg8 68. Ke4 Rf6 69. f3 Rf4+

SF128 +0.18: 45. Rb5 e3 46. Ra4+ Ke5 47. fxe3 Rbxb6 48. Rxb6 Rxb6 49. Kxf3 Rc6 50. Ra7 g5 51. hxg6 Rf6+ 52. Ke2 Rxg6 53. Ra4 Rg5 54. Rf4 h5 55. gxh5 Rxh5 56. Rd4 Rh2+ 57. Kd3 Rh3 58. Ra4 Rh2 59. Ra5 Kd6 60. Ra6+ Ke5 61. Rg6 Rh5 62. Rg4 Rh2 63. Rg5+ Kd6 64. Rg6+ Kd7 65. Ra6 Rh5 66. Kd4 Rh2 67. Ra7+ Kd6 68. Ra2 Rh4+ 69. Kc3 Rh2 70. Ra6+ Ke5 71. Ra8 Rg2 72. Re8+ Kd6 73. Rd8+ Kc5 74. Kd3 Rg3 75. Rd7 Rh3

Update 18:53 CET

Caruana does not believe in taking the pawn and goes g3

Lc0 -0.09: 24. .. Bf6 25. Bxb5 Bg4 26. Be2 f3 27. Bb5 Be5 28. Bd4 h5 29. Rg1 Bh3 30. a6 Qf6 31. Bxe5 Qxe5 32. Re3 h4 33. Bf1 Bxf1 34. Qxf1 hxg3 35. Rxg3 Qxd5 36. Qa1 Rf7 37. Qa4 Re7 38. Rg4 Rae8 39. h3 Qh5 40. Kh2 Qe5+ 41. Kh1 d5 42. Re1 e3 43. Rxe3 Qh5 44. Rg3

SF128 +0.00: 24. .. b4 25. gxf4 Qxf4 26. Rg3 Bh4 27. Rb3 Bf6 28. Rg1 Be5 29. Rg2 Bc3 30. Be3 Qf7 31. Bh6 Ra7 32. Rxg7+ Bxg7 33. Bxg7 Qxg7 34. Rg3 Bh3 35. Qd4 Kh8 36. Rxg7 Rxg7 37. a6 Re8 38. a7 Ra8 39. Qxb4 Raxa7 40. Qb8+ Rg8 41. Qxa7 Bg2+ 42. Kg1 Bh3+

Example line with …Kc4 : 45. .. Kc4 46. Raa5 Rd6 47. Rc5+ Kd4 48. c3+ Ke5 49. c4 Rbxb6 50. Rxd5+ Rxd5 51. Rxd5+ Ke6 52. Kf4 Rb2 53. Re5+ Kd6 54. Rxe4 Rxf2 55. Ke3 Rf1 56. Rf4 Rc1 57. Rd4+ Kc5 58. Rd7 Rc3+ 59. Kf2 Kxc4 60. Kg3 Ra3 61. Rxg7 Kd4 62. Rg6 f2+ 63. Kxf2 Ke5 64. Rxh6 Kf4 65. Rg6 Ra2+ 66. Ke1 Rh2 67. h6

Update 18:25 CET

Carlsen loses his advantage with one move, Qg5. Chances for Caruana!

Lc0 +1.09: 24. Bxb5 Rf6 25. Re1 Bf5 26. Ra4 f3 27. g3 Qg4 28. Re3 Rh6 29. Qg1 Bg5 30. a6 Qh5 31. Bf1 Bxe3 32. Bxe3 Qe8 33. Rb4 Rf6 34. Bb5 Qc8 35. Qb1 Rxa6 36. Bxa6 Qxa6 37. h4 h6 38. Kh2 Kh7 39. Rb7 Qc4 40. Qa1 Rg6 41. h5 Rg4 42. Re7 Bc8 43. Qf6 Qf1 44. Qxh6+ Kg8 45. Re8+ Kf7 46. Rf8+

SF 128 +1.26: 24. Bxb5 Bd8 25. Bxd8 Qxd8 26. Qd2 Qc7 27. Rfa1 Qc5 28. Rb3 Bb7 29. c4 Bc8 30. a6 Ra7 31. Kg1 h6 32. h3 Re7 33. Qb4 Qd4 34. Qc3 Qc5 35. Re1 Rff7 36. Qb4 Qb6 37. Qa3 e3 38. fxe3 f3 39. Rf1 fxg2

Update 17:10 CET

Now this is a surprise! Caruana plays 19. Ra3?! Definite blunder according to the neural network Lc0, which immediately goes to +0.14, dropping half a pawn eval. For SF128 the drop is bigger and it shows a full pawn less of evaluation -0.14! If Carlsen was still in prep on move 18, has he considered this move?

Lc0 line 1: 19. .. e4 20. Bd4 Qg6 21. Kh1 Bf6 22. Rc3 Kh8 23. Re1 Qh6 24. Bf1 Qg6 25. h3 h6 26. Rb3 Bxd4 27. Qxd4 e3 28. fxe3 Qg3 29. Rbb1 f3 30. Qg4 Qf2 31. gxf3 Ne5 32. Qg2 Qh4 33. Nxe5 dxe5 34. Red1 Rf5 35. d6 Bd7 36. Rxb7 Rg5 37. Qh2

Lc0 line 2: 19. .. Qg6 20. Re1 Nf6 21. Bc7 e4 22. Nb6 Ra6 23. Nxc8 Rxc8 24. Bb6 f3 25. Bf1 Bd8 26. Bxd8 Rxd8 27. Qb1 Rd7 28. c4 Ra8 29. h3 Re7 30. Qb4 Rd7 31. Qb1 Re7 32. Qb6 Rd7 33. Kh1 fxg2+ 34. Bxg2 Rf8 35. Rae3 Qh6 36. Kg1 Qf4 37. Bxe4 Nxe4 38. Rxe4 Qg5+ 39. Rg4 Qd2 40. Qe3

SF128: 19. .. Qg6 20. Rb3 Nf6 21. f3 Bh3 22. Rf2 Bf5 23. Bd3 Rf7 24. Bxf5 Qxf5 25. Re2 Rc8 26. Qd3 Qxd3 27. cxd3 Nxd5 28. Bf2 Bf8 29. Re1 g6 30. Kf1 Rcc7 31. Rb5 Nc3 32. Rb6 Rfd7 33. Rb3 Nd5 34. Rb5 Nc3

Update 16:55 CET

Carlsen plays 18…Qe8 relatively fast, leaving the audience to wonder if he is still in preparation.

Lc0 line 1 +0.71: 19. Bc7 Qg6 20. Re1 Nc5 21. Bh5 Qf6 22. Bb6 Na6 23. Rb1 Bf5 24. Bg4 g6 25. Be2 Rf7 26. f3 Rc8 27. Rb5 Nc7 28. Rb3 Bf8 29. Bd3 Na6 30. Rb5 Nc7 31. Rb3 Na6 32. Qb1 Qg5 33. Bf1 Qf6 34. Bd3 Qg5 35. Bf1 Qf6 36. Bf2 Nc5 37. Rb5 e4 38. Rxc5 e3 39. Bxe3 dxc5 40. Bf2 h6 41. Qb3 Kh7 42. h4 Rd8 43. Nd2 Rfd7 44. c4 Ra8 45. Ne4 Bxe4 46. Rxe4 Re7 47. Rxe7+ Qxe7 48. Qb5 h5 49. Bd3 Qc7 50. Be1 Bg7 51. Be4 Bd4+ 52. Kf1 Kh6 53. Bd2 Be3 54. Bc3

Lc0 line 2 +0.61:19. Re1 Qg6 20. Bc7 Nc5 21. Bh5 Qf6 22. Bb6 Nd7 23. Bc7 Nc5 24. Nb6 Ra6 25. Nxc8 Rxc8 26. Bb6 Bd8 27. Bg4 Bxb6 28. Bxc8 Bxa5 29. Rf1 g6 30. g3 Kg7 31. Qf3 Bd2 32. Rxa6 bxa6 33. Qe2 Bc3 34. Qf3 Bd4 35. c3 e4 36. Qxf4 Qxf4 37. gxf4 Bxc3

SF Dev spikes after several minutes thinking time and changes the evaluation from 0.41 to 0.84. Probably the best continuation so far:

SF Dev 128: 19. Re1 Nxb6 20. Nxb6 Ra7 21. Bd3 f3 22. c4 fxg2 23. Nxc8 Qxc8 24. Qh5 h6 25. Qg6 Rf6 26. Qh7+ Kf7 27. Ra3 Qg8 28. Qe4 Qa8 29. Rea1 Qc8 30. Bc2 Ke8 31. Kxg2 Qc5 32. f3 Qd4 33. Qh7 Qxc4 34. Kh1 Bf8 35. Rb1 Qf4 36. Qd3 Kf7 37. Qb5 Kg8 38. Be4 Qd2 39. Rba1 Qd4 40. Qe8 Kh8 41. R3a2 Qc3 42. Qb8 Qe3 43. Rf1 Rf7 44. Qe8 Rf6 45. Raa1 Ra6 46. Rg1 Ra7 47. Rac1 b5 48. Qxb5 Rxf3 49. Bxf3 Qxf3+ 50. Rg2 Rf7 51. Qe2

Update 16:45 CET

We are at move 18 and both engines seem worried for black. 18… Qb6 and 18… Nxb6 are on the table, with Lc0 and SF128 giving preference to the queen move. Deep lines show the difficulty that Magnus Carlsen is going to face in the next moves

Lc0 +0.71: 18. .. Qe8 19. Bc7 Qg6 20. Re1 Nc5 21. Bh5 Qf6 22. Bb6 Na6 23. Rb1 Bf5 24. Bg4 g6 25. Be2 Rf7 26. f3 Rc8 27. Bd3 Bf8 28. Rb5 Nc7 29. Rb3 Na6 30. Rb5 Nc7 31. Rb3 Na6 32. Qb1 Qg7 33. Nd2 Nc5 34. Bxc5 Rxc5 35. Rb5 Rfc7 36. c4 Qd7 37. Be4 Be7 38. Qb3 Qc8 39. h3 Bd7 40. Rxc5 Rxc5 41. Ra1 Bd8 42. Qb4 Qc7 43. a6 bxa6 44. Rxa6 Ra5 45. Qxd6 Rxa6 46. Qxa6 Qc5+ 47. Kh1 Bb6 48. Qa1 Qe3 49. c5 Bxc5 50. Nc4 Qd4

Update 16:03 CET

For the second time in the match the open Sicilian. This time it is Fabiano Caruana who deviates with 11. b4, a move that is not very typical for the Sveshnikov at this stage.

Lc0 +0.29: 12. .. a6 13. Na3 b6 14. Nc4 a5 15. bxa5 bxa5 16. Bd2 Bb7 17. Qe1 Qc8 18. Bxa5 Bxd5 19. Ne3 Be6 20. Bf3 Ra7 21. Qd2 h6 22. Bb4 Rd8 23. a5 Nc5 24. Nd5 Bg5 25. Qe2 f5 26. Nb6 Qa6 27. Bc3 Rc7 28. Rfd1 e4 29. Bh5 g6 30. h4 Bxh4 31. Qe3 Bg5 32. Qd4 Kh7 33. f4

Lc0 line 2 +0.3: 14. 12. .. f5 13. a5 a6 14. Na3 f4 15. Nc4 e4 16. Nd2 Nf6 17. Ra3 Qe8 18. Nc4 f3 19. gxf3 Bh3 20. f4 Bxf1 21. Kxf1 Qf7 22. Nb6 Rae8 23. Rg3 Bd8 24. Nc4 Qd7 25. Ne3 b6 26. b5 bxa5 27. bxa6 Bb6 28. Bb2 Rb8

SF128 +0.07: 12. .. a6 13. Na3 b6 14. f4 f5 15. Nc4 a5 16. Rb1 axb4 17. Rxb4 Qc7 18. Kh1 Ba6 19. Be3 Bxc4 20. Bxc4 exf4 21. Bxf4 Nc5 22. Bb5 Bf6 23. Bc6 Rab8 24. Qf3 Be5 25. Be3 Na6 26. Rc4 Nc5

Update 15:30 CET

Game 10 of the Caruana – Carlsen World Chess Championship 2018 match is here. After a record breaking streak of games, we are getting closer to a decisive result. For several games in a row Caruana had solid advantage. Yesterday, Carlsen was close to winning. Will we see the first decisive game of the match today?

Watch live video from TCEC_Chess_TV on www.twitch.tv

Categories: Ενημέρωση

WWCC in Khanty-Mansiysk: Ju Wenjun equalizes the score in the Final

FIDE - Thu, 11/22/2018 - 02:00



WWCC in Khanty-Mansiysk: Ju Wenjun equalizes the score in the Final

The fourth game of the Women's World Championship between the defending champion Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia) was played on November 22 in Khanty-Mansiysk. Lagno had White.

The players went for the Rossolimo Sicilian, where Black managed to create counterplay by carrying out the f7-f5 breakthrough. Concrete play emerged on both sides of the board. In the middlegame Lagno was spending a lot of time, however, by the move 16 Black's position was already better due to the semi-open g-file and dangerous attacking prospects.


After White's queenside play was exhausted, Kateryna switched to the other side of the board. However, the raid of her knight could become crucial, had the Chinese found the most principled reply. Ju Wenjun preferred a more solid move.

The computer does not approve Black's decision to trade the dark-squared bishop for the knight, however, it allowed Ju Wenjun to triple her major pieces on the g-file.


White needed to play with extreme precision to hold the balance, which proved an overwhelming task under the heavy time pressure. One blunder made White's position hopeless. The game ended in Black's favor after a swift attack with a rook sacrifice.

The match score is now 2-2. The tie-break will be played on November 23 at 1 pm local time. Ju Wenjun will start with the white pieces.


The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+10 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.
Official website


WWCC in Khanty-Mansiysk: Game 3 of the final match ends in a draw

The third game of the final match between Ju Wenjun and Kateryna Lagno was played on November 21 The defending champion had White.

It was a sharp battle in the Benoni Defense. White sacrificed a pawn and was ready to sacrifice an exchange for Black's dark-squared bishop. In the opening Ju Wenjun acted considerably quicker than her opponent. White got excellent compensation for the pawn and seized the initiative.

On the move 16 Lagno opted for a very sharp pawn push, creating serious complications. Her opponent began to tank, calculating countless variations, and soon the players were even on the clock. Black made a serious mistake at some point, but White missed the most principled reply, opting for a safer approach. The players ended up in a mutual time trouble, which led to an imperfect play from both sides. Black should have avoided trading her central knight, which would give her good chances to equalize. Soon the position with queens, rooks, and opposite- colored bishops emerged.


With aggressive play White could create fatal problems for Black, but Ju Wenjun preferred to trade the queens, losing some of her advantage. Still, with perfect play White could have obtained a decisive edge. However, she missed her chances, and Lagno managed to hold a draw.

The match score is 2-1 in Kateryna Lagno's favor.


The fourth game will be played on Thursday, November 22, Lagno being White.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the match is tied after four games, a tie-break will ensue.

Official website


WWCC in Khanty-Mansiysk: Kateryna Lagno wins the second game of the Final

The second game of the final match between Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia) was played on November 20 in the Ugra Chess Academy. Lagno played White.

In the Catalan Opening with the early exchange of the queens White employed a temporary pawn sacrifice, obtaining the bishop pair in return. She regained the material soon, however, one of her bishops was exchanged for a knight, and an ending with rooks and opposite-colored bishops ensued.



White's position was slightly better due to favorable pawn structure and more active pieces. Kateryna traded a pair of rooks and made a pawn break on the kingside. Ju Wenjun was forced to defend passively on both sides of the board.


With precise maneuvers Lagno won a pawn, and then the opponent's mistakes allowed White to claim the game. Ju Wenjun resigned on the move 59.  
After two games, Kateryna Lagno leads the match 1.5 to 0.5.   The third game will be played on Wednesday, November 21 Ju Wenjun will have the white pieces.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the match is tied after four games, a tie-break will ensue.


Official website


Women’s World Championship: First game of the final match ends in a draw

The first game between the defending World Champion Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia) was played on November 19 in Khanty-Mansiysk. The World Champion had White.


A hybrid of the King's Indian and Gruenfeld Defense arose. The game quickly became very concrete, and demanded a lot of calculation from both players. White claimed an opening advantage, as Black's dark-squared bishop remained enclosed on the kingside. The players abstained from castling for quite a while. If White had maintained the grip and traded the queens, Black's position would become precarious, however, Ju Wenjun played a little too soft, and Lagno was able to carry out a freeing break.


Both sides were under the heavy time pressure and missed a number of promising opportunities in the subsequent sharp battle. At some point, the champion made a serious mistake, but was not punished for it. Kateryna decided to simplify the game, once again giving White an edge, however, Ju Wenjun played very solidly, with a draw in hand. A draw was agreed to on the move 36.


The second game will be played on Tuesday, November 20. Kateryna Lagno has White.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the match is tied after four games, a tie-break will ensue.

Official website

Kateryna Lagno advances to the Final

The tie-break between Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk took place on November 17 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Lagno played White in the first game. In the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez Muzychuk improved her play compared to the previous game, and White did not get anything real out of the opening. Lagno went for the most principled continuation, trading an exchange for two pawns, but after the queens went off the board, it was White who needed to play accurately to hold the balance. However, Mariya returned the material, transposing to the opposite-colored bishop ending, which turned out difficult for Black. In the time trouble Muzychuk was unable to defend precisely. Lagno won two pawns and then stretched Black's defense to break through her blockade. Muzychuk resigned on move 62.

 
White went for the Anti-Berlin setup in the second game. Both players castled queenside. Black's position in the middlegame looked more pleasant, as the white bishop was out of play. Black developed a strong attack against the king, utilizing remote positions of White's pieces. The monarch was forced to run, losing a lot of material along the way. Muzychuk gave up having made her 28th move.


Kateryna won the match 3-1 to qualify for the Final of the Women's World Championship.


Therefore, the fate of the chess crown will be decided in the final match between Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia). The Chinese player will start with the white pieces.
November 18 is a rest day.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the score after four games is 2-2, a tie-break will ensue on the November 23.

Official website

Ju Wenjun advances to Final, Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk to play tie-break

The return games of the Semi-final were played on November 16 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Ju Wenjun had White against Alexandra Kosteniuk and obtained a stable advantage after the opening. In a Hedgehog position White maneuvered slowly, refraining from any breakthroughs almost until the control move, and even then did not follow it up with more energetic action. Black carried out her break on the queenside, which simplified the position considerably. In the subsequent game, the World Champion did not give her opponent a fighting chance, and the game was drawn in a rook ending.


Ju Wenjun won her match 1.5-0.5 and advanced to the Final.
 
Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk discussed the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez. Lagno sacrificed a pawn, which seemed to have taken Muzychuk by surprise, as the Ukrainian began to spend a lot of time on her moves. Later White regained material under favorable circumstances, and obtained a pleasant ending with rooks and a bishop. However, the opposite-colored bishops helped Black to hold a draw.

This match will be played out on tie-break tomorrow. Lagno plays White in the first game.


The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Official website

Ju Wenjun begins Semi-final with a win

  The Semi-final of the Women's World Championship started in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 15.

The defending World Champion Ju Wenjun had Black against Alexandra Kosteniuk. The players went for the French defense. After the opening, White's position looked promising, as she enjoyed a spatial advantage. However, Black regrouped nicely and won White's overextended a-pawn. Alexandra did not find the best move at the critical moment, and her position deteriorated quickly. However, then the Chinese missed the strongest continuation, which could give her a decisive edge. Further simplifications followed, but the extra pawn remained and eventually proclaimed itself. Ju Wenjun celebrated victory.


Mariya Muzychuk made a draw with Kateryna Lagno. In the Berlin Variation of the Ruy Lopez neither side could claim any advantage. A draw on the move 23 became a logical conclusion of the game.



The return games will be played on November 16. If the matches are drawn after two games, the tie-break will ensue on the next day.

Official website


Alexandra Kosteniuk and Mariya Muzychuk advance to Semi-final of Women’s World Championship

The Quarterfinals of the Women's World Championship were concluded on November 14 with two tie-breaks: Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated Anna Muzychuk, and Zhansaya Abdumalik lost to Mariya Muzychuk.

Kosteniuk played the first game with White and obtained a promising position after the opening. Then Black managed to activate her pieces and got a strong counterplay. However, being under heavy time pressure, Muzychuk made several mistakes, giving Kosteniuk a decisive advantage.


Muzychuk started the second game with 1.f4 and got an overwhelming advantage already in the opening. However, with very tenacious defense Alexandra managed to hold a difficult endgame. Looking for possible winning chances, Muzychuk avoided a number of drawing lines, and Black even got an edge. In the end Kosteniuk secured a draw from the position of strength and advanced to the Semi-final with the overall 1.5-0.5 win.


Mariya Muzychuk started the tie-break with a Black victory: Abdumalik failed to convince in the opening and then was gradually outplayed in the endgame. In the return game Abdumalik managed to create a complicated battle. Muzychuk sacrificed a piece, but her compensation proved insufficient. With some adventures in the mutual time trouble Abdumalik converted an extra piece, and the players proceeded to "10+10" stage.

 
The first 10-minute game was highly dramatic. Zhansaya Abdumalik was defending for the entire game and was very close to a draw. In the endgame R+N vs R she had the right to claim a draw according to the 50-move rule, despite being mated in two moves. However, instead of claiming a draw, Abdumalik resigned.


However, Zhansaya demonstrated her fighting spirit and came back in the second game. The match continued by two more blitz games with faster time control.

Mariya Muzychuk won the first 5+3 blitz as White, then got a much better position as Black and forced a draw by perpetual, thus advancing to the next stage.


Semi-final pairings:

Alexandra Kosteniuk - Ju Wenjun
Mariya Muzychuk - Kateryna Lagno

All players who had advanced to the Semi-final except for the future champion automatically qualified for the 2019 Women's Candidates Tournament.

Official website



Ju Wenjun and Kateryna Lagno become the first semi-finalists of Women’s World Championship


The return games of the Quarterfinals were played on November 13 in the Ugra Chess Academy.

Lei Tingjie and Kateryna Lagno entered a complex Ruy Lopez position. According to the Russian, Lei surprised her in the opening, however, Black managed to obtain a harmonious position. The Chinese made a mistake in a time trouble, and was forced to part with material. Lagno gradually overcame the resistance, won the second game as well and advanced to the semi-final.



Ju Wenjun won as Black against Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova. The World Champion found the strongest continuation in the position with opposite side castling, after which White had to give up a pawn. Later White made another mistake and lost even more material, however, in a clearly winning position Ju Wenjun made a mistake herself, giving White significant drawing chances. Still, Tokhirjonova's defense of the resulting endgame was not precise, and Black eventually won this dramatic game. Ju Wenjun also proceeded to the semi-final.



Mariya Muzychuk once again showed her incredible fighting spirit, winning as Black against Zhansaya Abdumalik to equalize the match score. After the opening Muzychuk sacrificed an exchange for a pawn. The bishop pair gave Black sufficient compensation, and Muzychuk gradually outplayed her opponent in the middlegame. Abdumalik had to return the material with interest, but there was no way out for White. This match will continue on tie-break tomorrow.



Anna Muzychuk and Alexandra Kosteniuk made a second draw and will also play the tie-break.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

A. Kosteniuk - A. Muzychuk

Z. Abdumalik - M. Muzychuk

All players in the Semifinal except the future champion qualify for the 2019 Women's Candidates Tournament

Official website





Round 4: Kateryna Lagno and Zhansaya Abdumalik begin with victories

The Quarterfinals of the Women's World Chess Championship started in Khanty-Mansiysk on November 12.

Kateryna Lagno celebrated a convincing victory over Lei Tingjie. The Chinese player went for a very passive opening setup as Black. White gradually developed her advantage and kept pushing even after the exchange of queens, utilizing her strong bishop pair. After white rooks broke to the 7th rank, Black's position became totally lost.



Former World Champion Mariya Muzychuk, playing White, lost to the 18-year-old Zhansaya Abdumalik. The Ukrainian sacrificed a pawn for the initiative and soon regained the material with interest. However, holding onto the extra pawn was difficult because of the insecure position of her king. Abdumalik utilized a first clear inaccuracy of her opponent, delivering a nice tactical shot. Muzychuk lost a piece and resigned on the 57th move.



A. Kosteniuk-A. Muzychuk ended in a draw. In the Sveshnikov/Chelyabinsk variation of the Sicilian, Black sacrificed a pawn, obtaining sufficient counterplay in return. A draw was agreed after series of exchanges.



Another rising star of the championship, Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova successfully held as Black against Ju Wenjun. The World Champion had an advantage after the opening, but it somehow evaporated in the middlegame. The resulting rook ending with an extra pawn to White was drawn, and the players signed a peace treaty soon after the control move.



The second games of the round will be played on November 13, the tie-breaks will follow on the next day.

It is to be recalled that all the semifinalists except the future champion will qualify for the upcoming 2019 Women’s Candidates Tournament.

Pairings and results https://ugra2018.fide.com/pairings/
Photos https://ugra2018.fide.com/2018/11/12/photo-round-4-game-1/
Videos https://ugra2018.fide.com/category/video-en/


Round 3 of the Women’s World Championship is over

The tie-break of the Women's World Championship was played on November 11 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

The 19-year-old Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova surprisingly defeated the higher rated Valentina Gunina. Tokhirjonova won both rapid games in sharp tactical struggle, which is usually considered Gunina's territory.



Lei Tingjie was stronger than Alisa Galliamova in both 25-minute games and advanced to the Quarterfinal.



Anna Muzychuk and Antoaneta Stefanova drew their first game. In the second game Muzychuk played Black and celebrated a victory, joining her sister at the next stage.



Zhansaya Abdumalik convincingly defeated Jolanta Zawadzka in the first game, and secured a draw from the position of strength in the second game. The player from Kazakhstan is also in the Quarterfinal.



Alexandra Kosteniuk outplayed Harika Dronavalli in the first rapid game, but did not manage to hold a slightly worse endgame in the second one. In 10+10 blitz games the Russian was stronger in the first game and confidently drew the second one, thus advancing to the 4th round.



Natalija Pogonina and Kateryna Lagno produced the first Armageddon at the Championship. They made two draws in rapid chess and moved on to blitz. Long blitz games brought another two draws. In 5+3 games the players exchanged blows: Natalija lost the first game, but showed her famous fighting spirit and came back in the second one. In the “sudden death” game Kateryna Lagno took White and managed to outplay her opponent in the endgame.



Quarterfinal pairings:

Ju Wenjun - Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova
Mariya Muzychuk - Zhansaya Abdumalik
Kateryna Lagno - Lei Tingjie
Alexandra Kosteniuk - Anna Muzychuk

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

Two quarterfinalists are determined, six tie-breaks are ahead

The return games of the third round of the Women's World Championship were played on November 10.

The reigning World Champion Ju Wenjun was first to advance to the Quarterfinals, drawing the second game with her 22-year-old compatriot Zhai Mo and thus securing the overall match win.



Former World Champion Mariya Muzychuk eliminated the most sensational player of the first two rounds, the 18-year-old Mobina Alinasab. In the second game of the match the Ukrainian got an advantage after the opening, gradually improved her position and won a good fighting game, winning the match 1.5 to 0.5.



Valentina Gunina managed to level the score against Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova, and the outcome of the match will be decided on the tie-break tomorrow. According to the Russian, this will be her first tie-break ever.



The 18-year-old Zhansaya Abdumalik, who plays her first World Championship, also succeeded in coming back in her match against Jolanta Zawadzka. The fight will be continued on the tie-break.



After a lengthy struggle Antoaneta Stefanova squeezed a victory over Anna Muzychuk, thus tying the match score and advancing to the tie-breaks.



The classical part of the matches Harika-Kosteniuk, Lagno-Pogonina, and Galliamova-Lei Tingjie ended in draws, rapid and possibly blitz games to follow tomorrow.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

Muzychuk Anna - Stefanova Antoaneta
Pogonina Natalija - Lagno Kateryna
Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim - Gunina Valentina
Galliamova Alisa - Lei Tingjie
Kosteniuk Alexandra - Harika Dronavalli
Abdumalik Zhansaya - Zawadzka Jolanta

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


Round 3 begins in Khanty-Mansiysk

The first games of the Round 3 of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 9.

Antoaneta Stefanova suffered an opening disaster against Anna Muzychuk. According to the Ukrainian, facing the Petroff defense was rather surprising. “I am not sure whether Antoaneta ever played this opening before, and she clearly was not ready for the variation I chose. Her 9th move was inaccurate and allowed me to seize space and obtain a good game”, said Anna afterwards.

Already around the move 15 Black was in a serious trouble, and White successfully utilized advantages of her position. The former World Champion resigned on the move 26, unable to defend against mating threats.



Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova produced a mild sensation beating Valentina Gunina. Their game was double-edged, but in the mutual time trouble the Russian probably overestimated her chances, refusing a number of drawing options, made a fatal mistake and lost very quickly.



Jolanta Zawadzka surprised Zhansaya Abdumalik in the opening and got a promising position as White. The grandmaster from Poland produced a quality strategic game, won an exchange and eventually celebrated a win.



Ju Wenjun had Black against Zhai Mo. The younger Chinese player miscalculated a combination in the middlegame, lost an exchange, and was unable to survive.

Mobina Alinasab obtained a serious advantage after the opening against Mariya Muzychuk, and methodically applied pressure against Black's position. The game transposed to a queen ending with an extra pawn to White, however, when Alinasab was on a brink of a victory, she committed a big mistake, allowing Black to survive with a rather miraculous perpetual check.



Alexandra Kosteniuk held as Black against Harika Dronavalli, defending a difficult endgame without a pawn. The games Galliamova-Lei Tingjie and Pogonina-Lagno also ended peacefully.



The second games of the round will be played on Saturday, November 10. The tied matches will proceed to the tie-breaks on November 11.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


16 players continue fighting for the chess crown

The tie-breaks of the second round of the World Women's Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk were played on November 8. Once again all matches except one were decided in rapid chess.

The Russians Kateryna Lagno and Alexandra Kosteniuk won their matches against Hoang Thanh Trang and Ni Shiqun respectively with the same score – 2-0.

Zhansaya Abdumalik also won both games against Zhao Xue; in the second game the Chinese player lost on time in a drawn position, but it did not affect the outcome of the match.

Antoaneta Stefanova defeated Dinara Saduakassova in the first game, and secured the match win with a draw from the position of strength in the second game.



Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova defeated the former World Champion Tan Zhongyi in the first game and held the balance in the second game.

Harika Dronavalli missed a victory in the first game with Bela Khotenashvili, but showed strong character, winning the second game and a match.



The match between Mariya Muzychuk and Ekaterina Atalik was quite dramatic. Atalik probably missed some chances in the first game, which ended in a draw, and suffered an opening disaster in the second game. Muzychuk won and advanced to the third round.

Natalija Pogonina succesfully defended two difficult positions against Zhu Jiner in rapid chess, and then crushed the opponent in the first 10-minute game. In the second game the Chinese fought desperately, but was unable to get realistic winning chances, and eventually lost.



Round 3 matches:

Zhai Mo - Ju Wenjun
Jolanta Zawadzka – Zhansaya Abdumalik
Natalija Pogonina – Kateryna Lagno
Anna Muzychuk – Antoaneta Stefanova
Harika Dronavalli – Alexandra Kosteniuk
Alisa Galliamova - Lei Tingjie
Mobina Alinasab - Mariya Muzychuk
Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova – Valentina Gunina

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 



Favorites keep leaving Khanty-Mansiysk

The second games of the second round of the Women’s World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk were played on November 7.

Having defeated Anastasia Bodnaruk in both games, Anna Muzychuk became the first qualifier to the third round.

Mobina Alinasab continues to surprise chess fans: although her position after the opening looked rather suspicious, the Iranian outplayed Monika Socko in the middlegame and won the match 2-0.



However, the main surprise of the round occurred in the match between Humpy Koneru and Jolanta Zawadzka – the grandmaster from Poland, playing Black, defeated the rating favorite and advanced to the third round.



Lei Tingjie was stronger than Nana Dzagnidze in the second game of their match and also moved on to the third round.

Aleksandra Goryachkina failed to strike back in the Russian derby against Alisa Galliamova. The more experienced Galliamova had the initiative throughout the game and won convincingly.



Ju Wenjun successfully defended a difficult position against Irina Krush and secured the overall victory – 1.5 to 0.5.

Valentina Gunina won a complicated game as Black against Anna Ushenina, and advanced to the next stage, winning her match 1.5 to 0.5.



Zhai Mo won both games against Nino Batsiashvili and joined a group of her compatriots in the third round.

Ekaterina Atalik was close to defeating Mariya Muzychuk for the second time in a row, however, she made a mistake in a very sharp position and lost. This match will be continued tomorrow on the tie-break.

Natalija Pogonina also managed to level the score against Zhu Jiner. The winner of their match will also be determined in speed chess.



The following matches featured two draws and will be decided on the tie-break: Lagno-Hoang Thanh Trang, Khotenashvili-Harika, Tokhirjonova-Tan Zhongyi, Abdumalik-Zhao Xue, Stefanova-Saduakassova, and Kosteniuk-Ni Shiqun.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

Hoang Thanh Trang - Lagno Kateryna
Kosteniuk Alexandra - Ni Shiqun
Muzychuk Mariya - Atalik Ekaterina
Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim - Tan Zhongyi
Harika Dronavalli - Khotenashvili Bela
Saduakassova Dinara - Stefanova Antoaneta
Zhu Jiner - Pogonina Natalija
Zhao Xue - Abdumalik Zhansaya

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

Women's World Championship, Round 2: Surprises keep coming

The first games of the second round of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 6.

The 15-year-old Zhu Jiner continues to surprise chess fans. The Chinese started the second round with a convincing victory over the Russian champion Natalija Pogonina.

Mobina Alinasab produced another upset, winning as Black against Monika Socko. The Iranian outplayed her experienced opponent in the opening and developed her advantage in the middlegame. Socko's position was already precarious when she blundered a knight and resigned immediately.



The World Champion Ju Wenjun played a textbook game against Irina Krush, flawlessly converting a spatial advantage in a rook ending into a win.



Nino Batsiashvili had a promising position against Zhai Mo, however, she chose a wrong moment for a central break, and lost two pawns. The Chinese converted the material advantage confidently.

Anastasia Bodnaruk had White against Anna Muzychuk. In the opening the Russian sacrificed an exchange, however, the compensation proved insufficient, and the Ukrainian gradually overplayed her opponent.



Alisa Galliamova showed deep opening preparation against Aleksandra Goryachkina and obtained a very promising position. With series of timely executed tactical blows White won a piece and then the game.

Ekaterina Atalik outsmarted Mariya Muzychuk in a complicated minor piece ending. The former World Champion from Ukraine had to give up a piece for Black's passed pawn. During the concluding stage of the game Ekaterina showed her skill in checkmating with a knight and bishop.



The following games were drawn: Abdumalik-Zhao Xue, Zawadzka-Koneru, Dzagnidze-Lei Tingjie, Gunina-Ushenina, Kosteniuk-Ni Shiqun, Tokhirdjonova-Tan Zhongyi, Stefanova-Saduakassova, Khotenashvili-Harika, and Lagno-Hoang Thanh Trang.

 

The return games will be played on November 7.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

 

Round 1 of Women’s World Championship Completed in Khanty-Mansiysk

There were 11 tie-breaks on November 5: Lei Tingjie-Gara, Sadaukassova-Matnadze, Krush-Gaponenko, Zhukova-Ni Shiqun, Atalik-Cori, Foisor-Stefanova, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vera Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Padmini-Abdumalik, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian.

Only one match out of 11 was not decided in rapid chess.

Dinara Saduakassova defeated Ana Matnadze with the perfect 2-0 score. Lei Tingjie won against Anita Gara in a similarly convincing way. Inna Gaponenko lost the first game to Irina Krush, and was unable to come back in the second one, thus losing the rapid match 0-2.



Antoaneta Stefanova also won 2-0 against Sabina-Francesca Foisor. Deysi Cori was unable to hold Ekaterina Atalik: the Turkish player won 2-0.

Anastasia Bodnaruk defeated Sabrina Vega Gutierrez in the first rapid game. The Russian had winning chances in the second game as well, but it ended in a draw, which allowed Bodnaruk to advance to the next round.



Harika Dronavalli and Sopiko Khukhashvili ended their first game peacefully. The second game started calmly, but the endgame was head-spinning and full of mutual errors. After the dust has settled, the Indian took the upper hand and advanced to the second round.



Zhansaya Abdumalik and Rout Padmini drew their first game, but in the second one the player from Kazakhstan was stronger and proceeded to the next stage.

Hoang Thanh Trang started her tie-break against Elina Danielian with a win, and solidified her success with a draw in the second game.

Guliskhan Nakhbayeva dramatically lost to Alisa Galliamova in the first rapid game, and did not manage to equalize in the second one. A repeated Russian champion moves on to the next stage.



Only Natalia Zhukova and Ni Shiqun made two draws in rapid games, and their match advanced to slow blitz games (10+10). The struggle in the first game was very tense, but the Chinese player managed to equalize, then to seize the initiative, and eventually won the game. In the second game she held a draw from the position of strength and won the match.



Round 2 pairings:

Ju Wenjun – Krush, Zawadzka – Koneru, Lagno – Hoang Thanh Trang, Bodnaruk – A. Muzychuk, Kosteniuk – Ni Shiqun, Galliamova – Goryachkina, M. Muzychuk – Atalik, Tokhirjonova – Tan Zhongyi, Gunina – Ushenina, Socko – Alinasab, Dzagnidze – Lei Tingjie, Khotenashvili – Harika, Stefanova – Saduakassova, Zhu Jiner – Pogonina, Abdumalik – Zhao Xue, Zhai Mo – Batsiashvili.

 
Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

21 players advance to the second round of Women’s World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk

The second games of the first round of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 4.

The following players advanced to the 2nd round with the perfect score: Ju Wenjun, Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Kateryna Lagno, Humpy Koneru, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Nana Dzagnidze, Nino Batsiashvili, Zhao Xue, Zhai Mo, and Zhu Jiner. The last two players defeated the higher rated Olga Girya and Lela Javakhishvili respectively.



Valentina Gunina, Tan Zhongyi, Monika Socko, Jolanta Zawadzka, Aleksandra Goryachkina, Natalija Pogonina, Anna Ushenina, and Bela Khotenashvili won their matches 1.5 to 0.5. Alina Kashlinskaya did not manage to come back after the defeat yesterday, and Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova also advanced to the next round with a draw in their second game. Mobina Alinasab caused the biggest upset of the championship so far, holding to a draw against Elisabeth Paehtz and thus advancing to the second round.



The rest of the players will face the tie-breaks on November 5:

Lei Tingjie-Gara, Saduakassova-Matnadze, Krush-Gaponenko, Zhukova-Ni Shiqun, Atalik-Cori, Foisor-Stefanova, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vera Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Padmini-Abdumalik, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com  


First games of Women's World Championship played in Khanty-Mansiysk

Prior to the start of the first round, the official flag of FIDE was raised in front of the Ugra Chess Academy. This very flag was presented to Ugra Chess Federation President Vassily Filipenko during the closing ceremony of the Chess Olympiad in Batumi. As Khanty-Mansiysk will host the next Chess Olympiad in 2020, for the next two years the flag of FIDE will remain in the capital of Ugra.



Varvara Tsaregorodtseva, the 9-year-old student of the Ugra Chess Academy, U9 champion of Ugra among girls, made a symbolic first move in the game between Zhai Mo from China and the Ugra representative Olga Girya. The result of this game, however, was disappointing for local fans, as Olga Girya lost in sharp struggle.



Most rating favorites won their games, however, there was a couple of upsets. Elisabeth Pazhtz lost as White to Mobina Alinasab, a player rated significantly lower than the German. Maili-Jade Ouellet made a draw with Aleksandra Goryachkina.



A number of decisive games among closely rated players was quite high. Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova defeated Alina Kashlinskaya, Anna Ushenina won against Lilit Mkrtchian, Ni Shiqun lost to Natalia Zhukova, Monika Socko proved stronger than Yuliya Shvayger, and Lela Javakhishvili lost to Zhu Jineer.



The following games ended in a draw: Krush-Gaponenko, Vega Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Foisor-Stefanova, Saduakassova-Matnadze, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vo Thi Kim Phung-Khotenashvili, Guseva-Zawadzka, Padmini-Abdumalik, Atalik-Cori, Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Lei Tingjie-Gara.



The second games of the first round are played on Sunday, November 4. Any match that ends 1- 1 will proceed to a tie-break on the next day.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


FIDE Women’s World Championship Officially Opened in Khanty-Mansiysk

On November 2, the FIDE Women's World Championships started in Khanty-Mansiysk. The Opening Ceremony of the event was held in the Concert and theater center “Ugra-Classic”.

Guests and participants had a chance to enjoy fairy-tale organ melodies performed by Elena Kozemirenko before the official part of the ceremony.

The first part of the ceremony started with the presentation of 28 participating countries.

In the official part of the ceremony, Chief Federal Inspector of Ugra Dmitry Kuzmenko and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich greeted players and guests.



Dmitry Kuzmenko read out a greeting letter from the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

Arkady Dvorkovich greeted everyone in Khanty-Mansiysk and thanked the Government of Ugra and its Governor Natalya Komarova in person, organizers, the Ugra Chess Federation, and all the people involved for hosting this event on the highest level. He also reminded the players that the format of the Women’s World Championship cycle would be changed.



“I will make sure that in the future the Women's World Championship cycle will be a standard one, and three semi-finalists except for the winner will qualify for the Candidates Tournament which will determine the challenger for the next World Championship Match with higher prizes and better conditions. I would like to reassure you that we will pay more attention to the women's chess in the future. So everyone could enjoy chess in all its beauty as it is art, sport, and science”, says Arkady Dvorkovich.

After his speech, FIDE President declared the Championship open.



Before the start of the entertaining part of the ceremony the drawing of lots was carried out. The Championship’s Chief Arbiter Igor Bolotinsky invited the top seed of the Women's World Championship, the reigning world champion Ju Wenjun of China, who picked a black pawn. It means that the players with odd starting numbers will start the first game of the first round with the black pieces.

The procedure of drawing lots was followed by bright and spectacular performances of singers and musicians.

After the Opening Ceremony, a short press briefing with Governor of Ugra Natalya Komarova and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich was organized.

The first round of Championship starts on November 3 in the Ugra Chess Academy.

There shall be five rounds of matches, comprising two games per round, with the winners progressing to the next round. The 6th (final) round shall be played over four games. If the score is equal after regular games of each match, tie-break games shall be played.

Schedule: November 2 - Players Meeting / Opening Ceremony, November 3-5 - Round 1, November 6-8 - Round 2, November 9-11 - Round 3, November 12-14 - Round 4 (Quarterfinals), November 15-17 - Round 5 (Semi-final), November 18 - Free day, November 19-23 - Round 6 (Final), November 23 - Closing Ceremony.

Prize fund is USD 450,000.

Official website







Round 4: Kateryna Lagno and Zhansaya Abdumalik begin with victories

Categories: Ενημέρωση

FIDE WCCM Game 9 review: Compromise, Defence and Frustration

FIDE - Thu, 11/22/2018 - 02:00

FIDE WCCM Game 9 review: Compromise, Defence and Frustration

The deadlock continues at the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana as the ninth game was drawn after 56 moves.


The world champion found a new idea in the opening which unsettled Caruana. After consuming much time, the challenger made a practical decision to simplify the position, even if he stood slightly worse. Carlsen attempted a kingside assault, but with accurate defence Caruana blocked it out and a draw was inevitable.

The first surprise came as the players reached the board: Magnus Carlsen had a plaster above a swollen right eye, the result of a collision on the football pitch. It did not seem to affect his play.


The world champion played the English opening, repeating the variation from game 4. Carlsen was the first to deviate with 9 Bg5, a line not favoured by the computers, but a very human-looking move as it slightly weakened Caruana's kingside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 9 Bg5

If the idea was partly to bring the challenger out of his opening preparation, then it succeeded.

Caruana felt uncomfortable, and he took the fundamental decision to exchange off his centrally placed bishop for a knight, clarifying the position, but accepting a permanent, if slight, disadvantage.

Carlsen-Caruana, position just before 17...Bxf3

This was criticised by many commentators, but Caruana understood that it gave him a well-defined defensive task instead of facing the uncertainty of an unclear middlegame which Carlsen would have rehearsed.

Carlsen admitted after the game that he had 'mixed feelings' when this exchange was made. On the one hand he was the only one with any serious winning chances; on the other, the drawing margin increased with the presence of opposite-coloured bishops.

Normally, this is exactly the kind of position that Carlsen excels in, squeezing the life out of his opponents in marathon games. But he rushed his kingside assault.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 25 h5

Advancing the h-pawn brings about a crisis: if White is able to play Kg2 and Rh1 then Black's position would be unpleasant, but Caruana defended excellently, making the bold decision to take the pawn, even if it damaged his kingside pawn structure.

Carlsen-Caruana, after 27...h4

A few moves later Caruana was able to return the pawn, opening up Carlsen's king. At that point the world champion could no longer entertain thoughts of attack and had to exchange pieces. The inevitable result was a draw in an endgame with opposite-coloured bishops.

Carlsen-Caruana, final position

Nine games played, nine games drawn. After the game Caruana was content: his defensive decision-making had proved successful. Carlsen was clearly dissatisfied. Having achieved a decent position he rushed his kingside assault and, frustratingly for him, the game burned out to a draw.


There are three games still to play in this 12-game match, but unless one of the players comes up with something special, we are heading for a rapid-play tie-break.

(Daniel King)
 
PHOTO GALLERY

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FIDE WCCM Game 8 review: Fire and Fizzle

The eighth game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana caught fire but then burned out quickly, ending in a draw after 38 moves.


The challenger had the better of the opening, sacrificed a pawn and appeared to be ready for an assault on the champion's king, but then at a crucial moment hesitated, giving his opponent time to defend. The attack faded, and the opportunity had gone. Carlsen declared that he was 'relieved', while Caruana was 'a little bit disappointed'.


The game started promisingly with Caruana going for an open Sicilian rather than 3 Bb5. Carlsen played the notorious Sveshnikov Variation, named after the Russian Grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov which has a reputation for leading to unbalanced and dynamic positions. The game did not disappoint.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 7 Nd5
Instead of playing into the main lines of 7 Bg5, the challenger opted for a more strategic approach that nevertheless kept the tension in the position. 7 Nd5 is an old move, but has not been researched in as much detail as other options. It turned out to be a shrewd choice.

A position arose where Caruana had clamped Carlsen's queenside, and to gain counterplay the champion had to attack on the kingside by advancing the pawns in front of his king. An extremely double-edged situation.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 21 c5
The position reached a climax when the challenger broke through the middle of the board with a pawn sacrifice.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 23...Bd6
The bishop on c3 rakes across the board in front of Black's king, and here 24 Qh5 or 24 Nc4 are both promising. Instead the challenger hesitated with 24 h3, preventing the advance of the g-pawn, but giving the champion the time to defend with 24...Qe8-g6 – a manoeuvre that Caruana admitted he had underestimated.

The moment had passed. After a few more moves the challenger could find nothing better than to exchange down into an endgame with opposite-coloured bishops.


Caruana-Carlsen, position after 38 Rg5

Here the players agreed to a draw as more pawns were about to be exchanged.


'At some point I thought I had a very promising position, but I didn't quite see exactly which moment I had something very good.' Caruana

'This was a tough game. He was the one who had all the chances, so I am happy to have survived it.' Carlsen

The match remains deadlocked with eight draws in eight games. The players have a rest day before going into game 9 on Wednesday.
(Daniel King)   PHOTO GALLERY

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Game 7: Preparation and Frustration

The seventh game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana was drawn in 40 moves.


Carlsen had the white pieces and repeated the Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined from game 2, but was surprised by an unusual early retreat of the queen by Caruana. Fearing preparation, the world champion did not want to risk too much, played solidly, and the challenger had little difficulty in equalising the position.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 10...Qa5-d8

A few moves before, Caruana had played the queen out to a5, which is the standard theoretical continuation. But returning to the starting square after a couple of moves is unexpected and unusual. The justification is that White's knight move to d2 is also a retreat, and must also redeploy.


If White is to exploit this unusual idea then Rd1 or even castling queenside should be tried. The way that Carlsen played, he felt he had only one real opportunity to unbalance the position and play for a win.



Carlsen-Caruana, position after 14...Ne5

Here the world champion castled, collected the pawn on c4 – and the position drifted towards equality.

'Castling is essentially an admission that the position is equal', the world champion admitted.


Instead, after the game, both players mentioned that they had been considering 15 Nce4 Bd7 16 Qc3 Nxe4 17 Nxe4 f6 18 Qxe5 fxg5 with a very unbalanced position. Carlsen felt that the two bishops should give Black adequate play, and his judgement was probably correct. There is also the computer suggestion 18...Bc6 which gives dangerous counterplay.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 22 Qxd1
Carlsen's unwillingness to unbalance the position allowed Caruana easy development and the opportunity to exchange pieces. In such a dry position, and with the players demonstrating excellent technique, a draw was the inevitable outcome.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 40 Kf2

Caruana declared his intention to retreat the bishop to a6 which would repeat the position for the third time. Draw.

This was a game with tense moments, but the balance was never significantly disturbed.


The challenger commented on the series of seven draws:

'After the first game, the games have been pretty tight, we haven't really given many chances to one another, and there haven't been huge mistakes or anything, so it's kind of natural that a lot of the games will end peacefully.' Fabiano Caruana

The world champion was obviously frustrated with the course of the game:

'After the last game I feel like I got away with murder so in that sense it's easier to be calm about a draw today. I'm not loving it but I'm not in any sort of panic mode either....I'm not at all thrilled about my play today but life goes on.' - Magnus Carlsen

Fabiano Caruana has come through two consecutive games with the black pieces with ease. For the final five games he has three whites compared to Carlsen's two. Advantage to the challenger?

(Daniel King)

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Game 6: Long, strong, miraculous.

The World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana remains deadlocked with six draws in six games. The lack of decisive results is not through want of trying. The sixth game went to 80 moves and lasted six and a half hours before the players agreed a draw, having eliminated most of the pieces from the board.


Magnus Carlsen opened with 1e4 (switching from 1 d4 and 1 c4 that we saw in his previous games with the white pieces) and Fabiano played his trusty Petroff. The World Champion played a tricky side line, but the challenger also knew the line well and an equal endgame arose.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 21...c5


With his last move, striking against the centre, it was quite clear that the challenger had no difficulties, and at this moment the world champion should have thought about steering the game towards a draw. But Carlsen said that with White 'You always feel like you have more room for error', and he carried out what he described as the classic positional manoeuvre, bringing the bishop round to b3 starting with 22 Bc2.

This was too slow, allowing Caruana to build an attack on the queenside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 29...Nc4


The position was still tenable for the world champion, but after a further series of inaccuracies, he had to give up a piece in the hope that challenger had too few pawns to force a win.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 48 g4

Although White has three pawns for the piece, it is impossible to hold onto them, and the only chance for a draw lay in constructing a fortress on the kingside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 68 Bc4

While the players were spinning their pieces around in circles to no great effect, the Norwegian super computer Sesse announced a mate in 30 moves on a couple of occasions. Here for example, 68...Bh4 is apparently a winning move – but this is way beyond human comprehension, certainly when playing against the clock and after so many hours play.


Caruana couldn't break down Carlsen's position, and after 80 moves a draw was agreed.

After the game, both players were amazed to learn of the miraculous winning chance. Caruana took it in his stride: 'Near the end, I thought it was a fortress...it was a bit of an accidental.


We are now half-way through the match: 12 classical games are scheduled, and it is still too close to call.

(Daniel King)

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Game 5: Thrust and Parry


The fifth game of the World Championship match had an exciting start, but burnt out to a draw after 34 moves.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales made the ceremonial opening move for Fabiano Caruana, and the American challenger used encyclopaedic opening knowledge to offer a gambit pawn to Magnus Carlsen in a rare line of the Rossolimo variation of the Sicilian. The world champion took his time at first, clearly adjusting to the unusual circumstances, but the confident way in which he dealt with this attempted opening ambush leads one to suspect that he was merely recollecting analysis.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 6 b4)


That's the little explosion that Caruana had prepared. In fact the idea is quite old (curiously, the assistant arbiter at the match, Nana Alexandria, had played this in the Soviet women's championship in 1969) and Carlsen himself had faced the gambit when still a teenager in 2005. Then he had played 6...cxb4. Today he went for the more unusual 6...Nxb4, suggesting that he too had researched this line.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 10 Bxa1)

Back in 1969, Alexandria's opponent had taken on b4, allowing the e5 pawn to be captured. Carlsen's response, 10...d6, was stronger, holding his centre together. Caruana rejected a line that would have given him a symbolic structural advantage and tested his opponent with a new move.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 12 Qe2)

The position is tricky, but Carlsen deftly handled the complications with 12...b4 13 Qc4 Qa5 14 exd6 Be6!

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 14...Be6)

Caruana had to go into the endgame with 15 Qc7, and that spelled the end of White's initiative.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 21...Rd8)

Although the challenger has an extra pawn, in fact he has to be careful as Carlsen threatens the pawns on b4 and d3. However, an accurately calculated sequence of checks liquidated pieces, activated his rook and removed any thoughts of Carlsen trying to win the game.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 29 Kf1)

White's rook on the seventh rank ties down the knight and guarantees the draw. Carlsen took no chances, withdrawing his king from a slightly vulnerable position, but in the process returning the extra pawn.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 34 g4+)

Here Caruana offered a draw, and there was no reason for Carlsen to decline.


Afterwards the challenger said that, 'This line is really interesting and if Black is cooperative it can also get very exciting, but Magnus knew the line quite well and I think played in a very logical way'. While admitting that the endgame wasn't much fun, 'I never thought I was worse'.

Carlsen thought that only he could be better in the endgame, but couldn't find a way to push for a win. 'If there is a way at all to play for the advantage, the path is very narrow.'

After five games – five draws. It's still all square in the match. Carlsen now plays with two white's over the next two games which gives him a chance to put pressure on the challenger.

(Daniel King)


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Game 4: Correct on the board, but a blunder off

The fourth game of the world chess championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabio Caruana was drawn in 34 moves. The challenger played with the black pieces and had little difficulty in neutralising the world champion's initiative - which was a source of frustration to Carlsen: 'It was a bit disappointing, I thought I was clearly better after the opening'.


The challenger, Caruana, certainly seemed happier with his play after the game. 'I never really felt that my position was in much danger.'

Carlsen opened with 1 c4 – a different first move to his previous game with the white pieces and the game went into a kind of reversed Sicilian.

(position after 6...Bc5)

Bringing out the bishop is the fashionable way of playing the position (6...Nb6 is the standard move) and Caruana has some experience of this line with both colours.

Perhaps the most important moment of the game came after 14 moves when Carlsen had to make a big strategic decision.

(position after 14...c6)

The logical continuation of White's play is to push forward with the minority pawn attack, 15 b5, but the world champion was dissatisfied with this option: 'I spent a lot of time here...but it didn't seem to work very well.'

Then again, he also wasn't entirely happy with his move 15 Re1, allowing Caruana to play 15...Bd7 preventing White's pawn break.

Carlsen admitted, 'When I'm allowing ...Bd7 it's half a draw offer. After that the position is very dry and very equal.'

Piece exchanges quickly led into an endgame in which neither side managed to break into the other's position.

'I felt the ending was more or less balanced from the beginning' (Caruana).

(position after 34 Rbc1)

Here Carlsen offered a draw which was accepted by Caruana. Black could take the pawn on b4 and the position would liquidate into a drawn rook and pawn endgame.

Perhaps the most startling news of the day was that St Louis Chess Club, a supporter of Fabiano Caruana, had posted a video of the challenger's training camp showing a computer screen with opening lines under consideration. Although the video was quickly removed, the information was already in the public domain.

After the game, Fabiano Caruana declined to comment on the matter. It remains to be seen whether the incident proves to be a distraction or just an embarrassment.

Four games played, and four draws made. Wednesday is a rest day. Game 5 will be played on Thursday 15th November at 15.00 in London.


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Game 3: A Missed Opportunity and Sturdy Defence

The third game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana ended in a draw after 49 moves. At first glance this seemed like a pacific affair, but there was plenty going on beneath the surface and in the press conference neither player was particularly satisfied with their play.


Against the challenger's 1 e4, Carlsen repeated the opening of the first day, a Sicilian, and once again the Rossolimo variation appeared on the board. Fabiano Caruana was the first to deviate from game 1, castling on the sixth move rather than playing 6 h3.

(position after 6 0-0)
Magnus appeared unphased and continued quickly with the subtle 6...Qc7, not committing his kingside pieces. The first really big decision came at move 9 when Carlsen offered a pawn.

(position after 9...0-0)
Perhaps concerned about a quick kingside initiative, Caruana declined the pawn sacrifice and continued to develop steadily. In stark contrast to game 1, play was concentrated on the queenside, well away from the players' kings. This was turning into a heavy-weight strategic struggle.

In order to speed up his development and coordinate his pieces, Carlsen decided to simplify the position, exchanging pieces and pawns. With hindsight this might not have been the best decision, although Caruana had just one moment to exploit the shortcomings in Black's position.

(position after 14...Rxa5)
Here, the challenger could have played 15 Rxa5 Qxa5 16 Bd2 Qc7 17 Qa1, and White's control of files on the queenside and his compact pawn structure would give him a pleasant basis on which to conduct the middlegame.
Instead, he played 15 Bd2, overlooking that the rook could simply return,15...Raa8, and Black keeps control over the files on the queenside. 'It was a bit of a blackout', admitted Caruana after the game.
The challenger appreciated that he had no advantage and decided to exchange pieces bringing the game closer to a draw. But he had under-estimated Carlsen's position.

(position after 37 Kd1)
Carlsen was pressing all over the board, using his slight space advantage – as we have seem him do on so many occasions in the past.

Caruana showed his best qualities at this moment, not panicking, but trusting in the solidity of his position, and he expertly steered the game towards a draw by exchanging pawns and then giving up his knight to reach a theoretically drawn position.

(position after 49 exf5)
White's king steps into the corner on h1, and it is impossible to drive it away.

When asked after the game whether he was satisified with the outcome of the opening, Carlsen laconically replied 'Nope', and went on to describe how the position would have been unpleasant to play if Caruana had found the right continuation.

After three games the match score is still even, game 4 takes place on Tuesday at 15.00 in London.
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Game 2 of the World Chess Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana was drawn in 49 moves.

Carlsen started the game solidly by playing 1 d4. A Queen's Gambit Declined appeared on the board with the World Champion trying out the complex Bf4 variation. Fabiano Caruana played an unusual line and was clearly more familiar with the opening as Carlsen consumed valuable time at the board. After Carlsen's 17th move Caruana still had 1 hour and 32 minutes on the clock while Carlsen had just 39 minutes. At that point the World Champion decided to compromise, allowing exchanges that left a simpler and drier position on the board. Although Carlsen had the slightly inferior position, he held the ensuing endgame comfortably.


The first surprise came for Carlsen with 10...Rd8.


Caruana explained afterwards that this is an old move that has fallen out of fashion: 'I was kind of excited to try this out'.
Magnus admitted in the press conference that his main thought on seeing this move was 'Oh s**t!'
The critical response is 11 Nd2, but fearing some deep preparation, Carlsen preferred unpretentious development with 11 Be2. His position was quite playable, but he underestimated a couple of Caruana's moves, fell behind on the clock, and that influenced his decision when it came to the critical juncture at move 17.


Here Carlsen had the chance to make a temporary piece sacrifice with 17 Nxf7, leading to highly complex positions. But given that Caruana was probably still following a prepared line, the World Champion decided to err on the side of caution.
'I thought at this point there was way better equity in playing it safe and trying to secure a draw' - Carlsen.
Caruana confirmed that he was still in his opening preparation: 'I knew this position was okay for Black...'
After Carlsen's safe move, pieces were exchanged, ultimately leading to a rook and pawn endgame where Caruana had an extra pawn, but no real winning chances and a draw was quickly agreed after three hours play.
After two games the match score remains level. The third game takes place on Monday at 15.00 in London.

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FIDE WCCM Game 9: Still Deadlocked

FIDE - Thu, 11/22/2018 - 02:00

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score Carlsen ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½        4.5 Caruana ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½  ½        4.5

Game 9: Still Deadlocked

Another game, another draw.

Wednesday, Game 9 of the World Championship between the champion, Magnus Carlsen, and the challenger, Fabiano Caruana, produced the same result as the first eight games: A draw. The nine consecutive draws to start a World Championship match are a record.


The match has become a clash between the irresistible force (Carlsen) and the immovable object (Caruana).

In Game 9, Carlsen, 27 and from Norway, had White and, as he had in Game 4, he began with the English opening (1 c4). Caruana, 26, from the United States, replied with the same system that he had used in the earlier game and the players followed the same path until Carlsen varied with 9 Bg5. The move did not change the evaluation of the position much and by Move 16, Caruana was already trying to repeat the position to force a draw by playing Bd5 and Be4 to continually attack Carlsen’s queen.


Naturally, Carlsen avoided that by playing 17 Qd1. Caruana immediately exchanged his light-squared bishop for Carlsen’s knight with 17… Bf3. That turned out to be a small error as, after a further series of exchanges, Black had a broken, and therefore slightly worse pawn structure. That was not a serious problem for Caruana, however, and after more trades, the players wound up in an endgame in which chances were roughly equal.

The game continued for another 25 moves, but there was no real hope for either player to win and they finally agreed to a draw after 56 moves and three-and-a-half hours.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The Match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

The lack of decisive results has not dampened press coverage of the match. In the day before Game 9, articles appeared in The New York Times, NBC News, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, FiveThirtyEight, and Deadspin, to name a few.


There is certainly no shortage of tension, particularly with only three games left in the regulation, or slow, part of the match. The last match in 2016, went to tie-breakers before Carlsen prevailed over Sergey Karjakin. That turned out to be a really exciting finish. The current Match seems to be heading for the same ending.

Game 10 is Thursday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 8: Dubious Record Tied

With a draw on Monday in Game 8 of the World Championship match in London, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana equaled the record for the most consecutive draws to start a title contest. In 1995, Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand also drew the first eight games of their title match in New York City.

The match score stands at four points apiece.


Though Game 8 did not lead to a decisive result, it was a fight as the players contested a different opening than in the previous seven games.

Caruana, the American challenger, had White for the fourth time in the match. As he had in the previous games with White, he opened with 1 e4 and Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, once again answered with the Sicilian Defense (1… c5). Instead of the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5), Caruana finally ventured into the Open Sicilian by playing 3 d4. Carlsen answered with the Sveshnikov, or Pelikan, Variation (5… e5). Instead of 7 Bg5, which can lead to heavily analyzed and very complicated positions, Caruana chose 7 Nd5. Though that continuation is considered more strategic than the other approach, it also can be dangerous for Black.

Carlsen’s 8… Nb8 is odd-looking, but it is also considered the best move because the more “normal” 8… Ne7 can land Black in some hot water after 9 c3.


Both players continued to follow the paths considered best until Carlsen played 18… g5. The move is consistent with some plans in the variation of the Sveshnikov that the game was following, but the move neglected Black’s development and allowed Caruana to gain time. He took advantage with an enterprising pawn sacrifice (21 c5), after which White had a dangerous passed pawn.

Carlsen might have been in real trouble if Caruana had not played 24 h3. Instead, 24 Nc4, continuing to build pressure on Carlsen’s center, would have given White a clear edge. Caruana’s error gave Carlsen just enough time to shore up his defenses.


Though the game continued until Move 38 before the players agreed to a draw, most of the drama was already gone. The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

A close contest between Carlsen, who is ranked No. 1, and Caruana, who is No. 2, would certainly have been a logical expectation before the match began. But the inability of either player to pose a real threat to the other – with the exception of Game 1, when Caruana was in real trouble – may be a bit vexing for fans, and even for top players. As Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, ranked No. 6, told Chess.com at one point during Game 7, “I’m not gonna hide; the position is pretty dull.”


If Carlsen and Caruana are to avoid going into the history books with a somewhat unwanted record – most consecutive draws to start a World Championship match – they are going to have to do remarkable in Game 9, which will be Wednesday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.   PHOTO GALLERY

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Game 7: The Draws Continue

More than half the games in regulation have been played in the World Championship match in London and neither player has been able to notch a victory.


The latest effort was Sunday in Game 7. Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, had White for the second game in a row and, for the second time in the match, he opened with 1 d4.

As he had in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, steered the game into a Queen’s Gambit Declined. The players repeated the moves from Game 2 until Carlsen, who had been outplayed in the earlier game, deviated by playing 10 Nd2. That move has been played many times before, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Caruana’s reply, 10 … Qd8, was not the best, and Carlsen soon had a slight edge. But it was no more than that and, as the game progressed, Caruana was never in any danger.

After a wholesale exchange of pieces from moves 18 to 25, chances were equal. Though the game continued until Move 40, a draw already seemed like a foregone result.

The match is now tied at 3.5 points apiece.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match has now reached the same point as the match in 2016, which also started with seven draws. At that point, Carlsen tried too hard to beat Sergey Karjakin, who was then the challenger, and lost. It would be surprising if that happened again. At the same time, except for Game 1, when Caruana was in real trouble, neither player has come close to victory. Fans, and even the players themselves, have to be wondering when or if one of the players will crack.



FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.
Game 8 is today at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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FIDE WCCM Game 6: The World Champion Escapes.

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, was on the ropes in Game 6 of the title match in London. But in a long endgame, Fabiano Caruana, the challenger, could find no way to break down Carlsen’s defenses and he was finally able to escape with a draw.


The result left the match tied the halfway point at three points apiece; all six games in the contest have ended in draws.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund).


In Game 6, Carlsen, who is from Norway, had White and started with 1 e4. It was Carlsen’s third game with White and, in all three games, he has chosen a different opening move. Caruana, who is American, replied 1 … e5 and after Carlsen continued 2 Nf3, Caruana chose the Petroff, or Russian, Defense. That was not a surprise as Caruana had employed the defense with great success when he won the Candidates tournament in Berlin earlier this year to qualify for the title match. 


The game continued down an obscure branch of the Petroff that Carlsen had doubtless studied carefully. Caruana demonstrated he also was well prepared as he navigated some of the intricacies with no problem.

After 15 moves, the position was symmetrical and the game seemed headed for a draw, which also was no surprise, as the Petroff has long had a reputation of being drawish. The game continued, however, partly because there is a rule in the match that games must be at least 30 moves, and also because neither player had any interest in agreeing to an early peace.

On Move 22, Carlsen made what turned out to be a small, but subtle error by positioning his light-squared bishop on a file that could be opened. Caruana was able to gain time to develop his rooks by attacking the bishop and that allowed him to take over the initiative.

Carlsen was in no immediate danger, but Caruana had nagging pressure against White’s position. By Move 34, the players had reached an endgame in which each had his bishop pair and a knight and a set of six pawns.

Just after the first time control at Move 40, Carlsen made another small error and was forced to trade one of his remaining pieces for three of Caruana’s pawns. Nominally, that is about an even trade, but, at the tail end of the sequence, Caruana was able to win another of Carlsen’s pawns.

Carlsen was clearly in trouble, but Caruana only had two pawns left and if Carlsen could trade them, the game would be a draw. The exchange of one pawn was impossible to prevent, but Carlsen could not easily get to the second. Computer evaluations showed a clear edge for Caruana.

Computers do not understand endgames very well, however. And Carlsen is one of the greatest endgame virtuoso’s in history. He found a plan that involved sacrificing his last queenside pawn to allow his king to infiltrate Caruana’s king side. Though Carlsen’s king now had almost no room to maneuver, it could support the advance of his h pawn if Caruana tried to go after Carlsen’s f pawn to clear the path for his own remaining f pawn.

For nearly 20 moves, Caruana tried to outflank Carlsen, but it was not possible. Carlsen had built a fortress. The game was drawn on Move 80, after six-and-a-half hours of play. A curious facet of the match is that Black has had equal chances or an edge in every one of the games; neither player’s strategy with White has been effective.


FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.


Game 7 is on Sunday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

Caruana will once again have Black. The way that the match has unfolded, that may be an advantage.

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Game 4: The Defense Holds Again

Game 4 of the World Championship on Tuesday ended as the first three had – with a draw. It was also the shortest game of the match, lasting 34 moves and three hours.


As in Game 3, neither player made any obvious or big error. Indeed, Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, who had White, chose the English (1 c4), an opening that generally does not put much pressure on Black. After Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, replied with 1 … e5 (essentially the Sicilian Defense with colors reversed), he had little trouble developing his pieces or establishing equal chances.

By Move 20, the queens, both sets of knights and the light-squared bishops had all been exchanged and though there was some imbalance in the pawn structure, neither player had particularly good prospects for a breakthrough. They agreed to a draw soon after.

The match now is tied at two points apiece.


The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

After a great deal of excitement in Game 1, which lasted 115 moves and which Caruana nearly lost, the match has settled down, with neither player having any significant winning chances in the last three games.


That is not really a surprise.

The players in World Championship matches are always incredibly well prepared and they are also reluctant to take big risks because falling behind in such a match is very dangerous.

Carlsen and Caruana are also fairly evenly matched, judging both by their rankings, Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and the difference in their ratings – three points, which is only a whisker.

As the match progresses, the tension will mount. Normally, that would favor the champion, who not only has more match experience, but also would have an advantage in the tie-breakers, as they are played at faster time controls, at which he excels and at which Caruana is not nearly as proficient.


However, in the 2016 title match against Sergey Karjakin of Russia, it was Carlsen who cracked first as he lost his patience and overpressed in Game 8, eventually losing. He had to fight back in Game 10 to tie the match before prevailing in the tie-breakers. Has Carlsen learned from that experience? Time will tell.

Wednesday is a rest day. The match resumes with Game 5 on Thursday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 3: An error-free day.

After three games of the World Championship, neither player has made a dent in the other’s armor. All the games have ended in draws.


On Monday, in Game 3, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, had White for the second time in the match and, for the second time, he opened with 1 e4. As he had in Game 1, Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, replied with the Sicilian Defense (1 … c5) and Caruana again replied with the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5). The players repeated the same first five moves before Carlsen deviated first by moving his queen instead of his king knight.
The change was subtle and did not result in any major shift in the dynamic balance of the position. Indeed, unlike in the first game, when Caruana got into trouble, in this game he was never in any real danger. But neither was Carlsen. As the game proceeded and pieces and pawns were gradually exchanged, chances remained equal as neither player made any mistake.

 


In the end, Caruana sacrificed his remaining piece, a knight, to eliminate the last pawn that Carlsen had any chance to promote to a queen. With no winning chances for either side, the players agreed to a draw after 49 moves.
The match now is tied at 1.5 points apiece.
The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)

 



The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

Though the match is only three games old, one theme has already emerged: Black is having no trouble equalizing out of the opening. (Indeed, the player with Black has, if anything, had an advantage in each game.)

In this respect, Caruana may already be a bit worried about his match strategy as he has avoided mixing things up with Carlsen on the White side of a Sicilian Defense by playing 3 d4, the most popular third move. Though the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5) certainly holds dangers for Black, it may be necessary for Caruana to enter the myriad complications of the main lines of the Sicilian after 3 d4 if he hopes to crack Carlsen’s defense.

Or Caruana may have to resort to a different first move altogether, such as 1 d4. His opening choice in Game 5, when he again has White will be very interesting.



In the meantime, there is Game 4, which is Tuesday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

PHOTO GALLERY

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Game 2: A Fair Result

Two games into the World Championship and neither player in the title match has managed to score a win, but both have now been under pressure.

Saturday, in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, who had Black, emerged from the opening with a small but distinct advantage because the pawns of Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, were far advanced and difficult to defend. But Carlsen was able to force an endgame in which each player only had a rook and all the remaining pawns were on one side of the board, making Carlsen’s defensive task much easier.



After the first time control and 49 moves, the players agreed to the draw.

The match is tied at a point apiece.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.



The opening in Game 2 was a Queen’s Gambit Declined, with Carlsen choosing to play 5 Bf4 rather than the slightly more traditional 5 Bg5. It is an opening that he has used before and with great success, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Indeed, with 6 … c5, Caruana attacked Carlsen’s center. This is a known and sharp line , but Caruana proved better prepared with Carlsen consuming much time in solving new problems. Caruana soon established an edge by breaking up Carlsen’s queen side pawns.

A series of exchanges followed that saddled Carlsen with broken pawns on the kingside and a far advanced, but weak d pawn that would inevitably fall. But the reduced material, and Carlsen’s lead in development, allowed him to avoid real trouble.



Though Caruana had an extra pawn, he agreed to a draw after 49 moves. He probably saw no reason to try to repeat the 115-move marathon of Game 1, when Carlsen had an extra pawn and tried to squeeze out a victory in a position that offered no real hope for success.

There is a rest day on Sunday before the match resumes with Game 3 on Monday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 1: A Near Miss for Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, nearly got the perfect result – a win – on Friday in Game 1 of his title match against Fabiano Caruana. But at several critical moments, Carlsen missed his best moves, allowing Caruana to eke out a draw.

Though the result was a disappointment for Carlsen, it was anything but that for fans. The game stretched 115 moves and nearly six hours before the players split the point.



Carlsen, 27, who is from Norway, is making his third title defense, having captured the crown in 2013, when he beat Viswanathan Anand of India. Caruana, 26, who is American, is playing his first match for the title. Carlsen is ranked No. 1 in the world, while Caruana is No. 2. It is the first time since 1990, when Garry Kasparov faced Anatoly Karpov, that Nos. 1 and 2 have faced off for the undisputed title. The match, which is being held in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building, is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The match is being televised on Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.

The match has received worldwide media exposure, with articles in The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and ESPN, among others.

Carlsen and Caruana are well acquainted, having played each other at classical, or slow, time controls almost three dozen times. They know each other’s style; they have no secrets. But, in World Championship matches, where the pressure is at the highest level, every small edge counts, and so anything a player can do to surprise his opponent is significant. Other than playing psychological games, or resorting to gamesmanship, which neither Carlsen or Caruana is known to do, the only real way to surprise the opponent is with opening strategy and opening choices.



In Round 1, the edge almost certainly went to Carlsen. Against 1 e4 by Caruana, who had White, Carlsen chose the Sicilian Defense, perhaps the most double-edged reply. It has not been a standard part of Carlsen's repertoire for some time and is a provocative choice in such a high-stakes match.

(The opening choice may also indicate that Carlsen prepared for the match with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, a noted Sicilian expert, who is a month older than Carlsen. The members of each player’s team of seconds is usually a well-guarded secret because it can tip the opponent off about the pre-match preparation.)

After Carlsen played 2… Nc6, perhaps indicating perhaps that he wanted to enter the Sveshnikov Variation, Caruana countered with 3 Bb5 -- the Rossolimo Variation, which Anand used against Boris Gelfand during their 2012 title match. Caruana’s opening choice was possibly meant to avoid the maze of complications of the Sveshnikov, but it backfired as Carlsen gradually took control.

As the first time-control approached on Move 40, Caruana's time was dwindling rapidly and his position was under pressure as Carlsen managed to open up the file in front of Caruana’s king. Caruana decided that his best chance lay in a flight of his king to the other side of the board, but, according to the various computer engines analyzing the position, that was a mistake. Carlsen could have then swung his queen to the other side of the board and picked off one or two of Caruana’s pawns. In the endgame, his queenside pawns, supported by his dark-square bishop, would have been dangerous, if not lethal. The computers evaluated Carlsen having a strategic advantage of the equivalent of about two pawns – more than enough to be decisive at this level of competition.



But Carlsen did not see the strategy and continued to concentrate on the kingside. On his 40th move, he made a fateful decision – he exchanged his dangerous passed f pawn for Caruana’s c pawn. Though Carlsen retained an advantage, it was now minimal.

After the further exchange of Caruana’s knight for Carlsen’s bishop, as well as a pair of pawns, the players ended up in a rook-and-pawn endgame where Carlsen’s chances to win were insufficient, despite having an extra pawn. Carlsen, as is his habit, continued to press for another 60 moves before he agreed to a draw. It was one of the longest games in World Championship history, eclipsed by one of 124 moves in 1978 between Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi, and another of 122 moves between Carlsen and Anand in 2014.

Game 2 is Saturday and starts at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12    Score     Carlsen  ½                       0.5  Caruana  ½                       0.5


Photos are available in the Gallery

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Opening Ceremony of FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018

The official opening ceremony of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 was held on November 8th at a prestigious red-carpet event at the iconic Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK.





Guests from all over the world, including Woody Harrelson, Hou Yifan, Judit Polgar descended onto London for the glittering evening, hosted by British television presenter, George Lamb. Entertainment included a modern contemporary dance between two men featuring the unity and struggle of two strong characters, like in the game of chess, and a breath-taking performance by the talented Stephen Ridley – a young charismatic pianist, composer and singer.



The highlight of the evening was the introduction of the competitors, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana of USA. The Chief Arbiter of the Match Stepahne Escafre conducted the ceremony of the drawing of lots. Magnus Carlsen will have the black pieces in the first game. The first move of the World Chess Championship match will be played on November 9th, at 3 pm local time.





President of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich, CEO of World Chess, Ilya Merenzon, as well as Vice President and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation, CEO of PhosAgro, Andrey Guryev, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab, Aldo del Bo, CEO of S.T. Dupont, Alain Crevet joined the players on the stage.

Taking place from 9-28 November, the world’s most esteemed chess tournament consists of a 12-game Match, avidly followed and analysed by a global audience of hundreds of millions of chess fans, which will see current World Chess Champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, defend his title against US challenger, Fabiano Carlsen. No player born in the United States has won or even competed for a World Championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972, so all eyes will be on the two players. Those following the games online will also be catered for; they will be able to watch the moves for free on worldchess.com/london, the official broadcasting platform. They can also sign up for a $20 premium account, giving fans access to multi-camera views, commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, the opportunity to ask questions during press conferences and more.



The last World Championship match, held in New York, in 2016, enjoyed record-breaking coverage with the total audience for the whole event topping 1.5 billion people.

Leading partners supporting the Championship Match 2018 include:

PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner
Kaspersky Lab as World Chess and FIDE’s Official Cybersecurity Partner
PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner
S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument
Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match
Unibet as the Official Betting Partner
Beluga as the Official VIP Partner

OFFICIAL WEBSITE




Categories: Ενημέρωση

Carlsen – Caruana 2018 game 9 LIVE!

Chessdom - Wed, 11/21/2018 - 16:36

Replay: Caruana – Carlsen game 1 / Carlsen – Caruana game 2 / Caruana – Carlsen game 3 / Carlsen – Caruana game 4 / Caruana – Carlsen game 5 / Carlsen – Caruana game 6 / Carlsen – Caruana game 7 / Caruana – Carlsen game 8

Hello everyone and welcome to the live coverage of the 2018 World Chess Championship match between the reigning champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and the challenger Fabiano Caruana (USA). In this live blog + live games from WCC 2018 we will be covering the event Carlsen – Caruana with the latest news, developments, interviews, and in-game details.

The most important feature here will be the lines of analysis by Lc0 – the open Neural Network, and the TCEC champion Stockfish running on a Super Computer of 128 cores.

 

Refresh the page to get the latest updates

 

Current move eval: Move 59: Lc0 +0.00 , SF[128] +0.00

Update 19:30 CET

There goes the 9th draw of the World Chess Championship. Tomorrow is game 10 and Caruana will have white.
Update 18:30 CET

With precise play we are heading to draw 9 of the World Chess Championship

Update 17:30 CET

Opposite color bishops are now on the board, but with all heavy pieces present and slightly different pawn structures. Lc0 says chances are only present for white’s camp, black can only defend. It comes down to technique, with the speed of the last moves we can say both players are confident. At the same time, the last round of UT Dallas Open started, you can follow it live here

Update 16:45 CET

17… Bxf3 Caruana goes for direct resolution of the situation. Lc0 is not happy, neither is SF128. The top lines say:

Lc0 line 1, +1.21: 18. Bxf3 Nxd4 19. Bxd4 Qxd4 20. Qb3+ Kh8 21. e3 Qe5 22. Bxb7 Rab8 23. Bg2 Qg5 24. Qf7 Rf8 25. Qc4 Qc5 26. Qb3 g6 27. Rad1 Rbd8 28. Bf3 Qe7 29. Kg2 Kg7 30. h4 h5 31. Qc3 Qe5 32. Qc6 Qc5 33. Rd7+

Lc0 line 2, + 1.11: 18. Qb3+ Kh8 19. Bxf3 Nxd4 20. Bxd4 Qxd4 21. e3 Qe5 22. Bxb7 Rab8 23. Bc6 Bc5 24. Qa4 Red8 25. Rad1 g6 26. Bf3 Rxd1 27. Bxd1 Rb2 28. Bb3 Bxe3 29. Qc4 Kg7 30. Qf7+ Kh6

Update 17:15 CET

12. Bb2 is pointed as slight inaccuracy by SF128, dropping from +0.1 to +0.00. It now believes black has chances for advantage in some lines. Lc0′s neural network though says it is not so easy for black and still shows 0.00 eval.

Both engines point very different approaches for white.

Lc0: 12. .. Bb6 13. e3 Qe7 14. d4 Rad8 15. Qc2 Na5 16. Rfd1 c6 17. dxe5 Nc4 18. exf6 Qxf6 19. Rxd8 Rxd8 20. Re1 Qf5 21. e4 Qa5 22. Bc1 Na3 23. Bxa3 Qxa3 24. Ra1 h6 25. Bf1 Qc5 26. Rb1 Rf8 27. Nd4 Qe5 28. f4 Bxd4+ 29. cxd4 Qxd4+ 30. Kg2 b5 31. Rd1

SF128: 12. .. Bb6 13. d4 Bd5 14. e3 Na5 15. dxe5 fxe5 16. Qc2 c6 17. Nd2 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Qd5+ 19. Ne4 h6 20. Rad1 Qe6 21. c4 Nxc4 22. Nf6+ gxf6 23. Qg6+ Kf8 24. Qxh6+ Kg8 25. Qg6+ Kf8

Update 17:11 CET

After move 11 the engines are not impressed and believe black has equalized:

Lc0 +0.01: 11. .. Be6 12. Qa4 Bb6 13. Rb1 Qd7 14. Rb2 Bh3 15. Bxh3 Qxh3 16. Qc4+ Kh8 17. Qe4 Qd7 18. Nh4 Bc5 19. Be3 Bxe3 20. fxe3 b6 21. Rf5 Ne7 22. Rh5 h6 23. Rb1 Rad8 24. Rf1 Qe6 25. c4 Kg8

SF128 -0.03: 11. .. Be6 12. Nd2 Qd7 13. Qa4 Rab8 14. Nb3 Bf8 15. Bxc6 Qxc6 16. Qxc6 bxc6 17. Be3 a5 18. Nxa5 Rb2 19. Rfe1 Ra8 20. Nxc6 Raxa2 21. Rxa2 Rxa2 22. f4 Ra6 23. Nb8 Ra8 24. Nc6

Update 17:09 CET

Here is the novelty by Magnus Carlsen 9. Bg5, a very rare move which is not seen above 2300 ELO level. Fabiano blasts his answer on the board Nxc3, showing he is not surprised and ready.

Lc0 +0.03: 10. .. Qd6 11. Bc1 Bf5 12. Nd2 Qd7 13. Qb3 Rab8 14. Qb5 Be7 15. a4 a6 16. Qd5 Bd6 17. Qb3 Bh3 18. a5 h6 19. Qa4 Bxg2 20. Kxg2 Bf8 21. Ba3

Update 17:01 CET

Once again we have the English opening at the board, where will the players deviate? So far we have the repeat of the rare …Bc5 , a battle of the seconds ahead.

Update 16:30 CET

It is time for game 9 of Carlsen – Caruana. So far eight draws are on the board, but the feeling is that many of those could have been decisive games. Carlsen was closest to victory in round 1, where a series of blunders equalized the game. Caruana has had more games with decisive chances. He finds the right path to advantage and fails to close it in the late middlegame or the endgame.

This match can go in any direction. 30 mins to the start of game 9, join us for the key lines of Lc0 and SF128.

Watch live video from TCEC_Chess_TV on www.twitch.tv

Categories: Ενημέρωση

FIDE on the Women's World Championship Cycle

FIDE - Wed, 11/21/2018 - 13:30



Dear Friends,

FIDE and the newly elected President, Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich, consider the development of women's chess to be one of their most important priorities. We believe that this goal can be achieved by increasing the number of elite tournaments for women and by establishing a coherent and logical system to the Women’s World Championship cycle. We are pleased to note that the first official steps in this direction have been taken.

According to the existing regulations, in 2019 there should have been a Women’s World Championship match between the current winner of the 2018 Women’s World KO Championship and the winner of the FIDE Women`s Grand Prix Series 2017-2018. Unfortunately, the previous FIDE leadership were unable to hold the Grand Prix series thus threatening the 2019 Women`s World Championship match entirely.

It is therefore why the newly elected FIDE leadership have taken the necessary decision to hold the Women’s Candidates Tournament in the first half of 2019. The winner will then earn the right to play a match against the reigning Women’s World Champion. At the last Presidential Board meeting, FIDE reinforced its support for women’s chess by increasing the prize fund of the Women’s World Championship from €200,000 to a record-breaking €500,000.

FIDE has prepared amendments to the 2020 Women`s World Championship Cycle and subject to approval the new structure will look like this:

Women's Candidates Tournament - first half of 2019.

Women's World Championship Match - between the winner of FIDE World Women's KO Championship and the winner of Women's Candidates - end of 2019.

FIDE Women's grand prix - to be launched and conducted in 2019-2020.

Women's knockout world Cup - to replace Women's KO World Championship with the same financial terms: August 2020.

Women's Candidates Tournament - 2021 etc...

We would like to stress that the prize fund of the new Women`s World Cup will be no less than the prize fund of the current Women`s KO World Championship. All players who are qualified for the Women's World Championship 2020 will automatically proceed to the Women's World Cup 2020 and retain all rights.

We believe that, not only will the new Women’s World Championship cycle guarantee a new range of top-level events but will also bring it in line with the World Championship cycle. FIDE is already working with potential organizers to secure future locations.

FIDE is fully committed to its pledges to make positive reforms. We recognize that there may be some transitional issues, but in the end, having a clear system can only be a huge benefit to chess.

Together we will make chess better.














Categories: Ενημέρωση

Dvorkovich Implements The Power Vertical in FIDE

Chessdom - Wed, 11/21/2018 - 12:54

The 2018 4th quarter FIDE Presidential Board, and the first in mandate of new FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, was held from 8-9th November at the Chelsea football club in London.

Highlights:
- FIDE budget increased by 150%
- Still no bank account
- A new super-body formed for day-to-day ruling
- Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s people in this inner circle
- CAS case between Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and FIDE to be settled

Before the start of the session a new practice was introduced as the Presidential Board meeting was closed to the public. Even during the mandate of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Georgios Makropoulos all meetings were open.

Adding further to a new regime of secrecy, the Presidential Board muzzled any possible dissenting voices by insisting to “introduce and execute a non-disclosure agreements” on its members.

The list of all Presidential Board decisions is published on the FIDE website.

Arkady Dvorkovich (photo RIA Novosti / Arkady Natruskin)

A budget for 2019 of 5.546.000 EUR was presented and adopted with 3 million EUR allocated to development, 1,5 million grouped under the “General Secretariat” and 500.000 EUR for the Commissions. The budget is increased roughly by 150% compared to previous years. The bank account is still not re-opened in Switzerland.

The FIDE headquarters will be established in Lausanne. The budget for rent is consequently raised from 17.000 EUR (Athens office) to 150.000 EUR. Utilities and other office expenses also raised.

The budget for staff salaries jumped from 370.000 EUR to 600.000 EUR. 450.000 EUR will go towards the Reserve Fund

On the INCOME side, the Membership Fees and Registered Tournaments are cut down 50%. FIDE Title Application Fees are reduced by 40%. The budget is balanced by 4,5 million EUR of sponsorship.

A number of decisions delegated vast executive powers to the FIDE President.

In addition, a new super-body, the FIDE Management Board was established with the “key members of the FIDE executive as its members”:
▪ Arkady Dvorkovich as Chairman
▪ Igor Kogan, Russian billionaire and Dvorkovich’s 2018 Electoral Campaign Manager, as Deputy Chairman
▪ Zhu Chen, Treasurer
▪ Victor Bologan, Executive Director
▪ Emil Sutovsky, Director General
▪ Willy Iclicki, Chief Operating Officer
▪ Berik Balgabaev, Advisor to the FIDE President
▪ Mohamed Al-Mudahka, International Director
▪ Vadim Tsypin, Assistant to the FIDE President

The FIDE power is concentrated within this executive, with members from the former USSR, Israel and Qatar.

It is scandalous that the executive includes Berik Balgabaev and Willy Iclicki, originally members of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov team, who were involved in both the Glenn Stark case, which was effectively buried by the Russian propaganda machinery, and in initiating the bribery and consequent disgrace of the Serbian chess federation.

For Presidential advisers, at the moment only Berik Balgabaev has had funds of 96.000 EUR allocated to him.

Iclicki is appointed to oversee the Athens office until it is closed. His own appointed assistant is Sava Stoisavljevic, a close associate of Silvio Danailov and Vladimir Sakotic, who was suspended by the FIDE Ethics Commission for 6 months. In a sign of the moral meltdown here Stoisavljevic was actually suspended by the Ethics Panel in which Iclicki was member.

It appears that it takes as many as four people to do the work that was previously efficiently completed by just one – former Executive Director Nigel Freeman.

The attack on the standing of the FIDE Ethics Commission does not end there. An article published by the Russian Chess Federation effectively belittled the essential and hard work of the Commission over the last four year. This article conveniently omits the fact that CAS Lausanne, the world’s supreme sports court, upheld all the decisions of the FIDE Ethics Commission that were contested.

Also on the topic, the Presidential Board has decided to “settle the CAS case between Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and FIDE as soon as possible”.

Returning to the budget, an interesting provision of 50.000 EUR was projected for the expenses of “Re-audit for 2017-18″. Apparently, someone questioned the ill-mannered attempt to re-audit only the year when Georgios Makropoulos was the acting President, therefore the re-audit was extended for four years (not specified), and so the costs of this were raised as a consequence. Certainly, the most interesting item for this re-audit will be the mess of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s air-tickets, referred to FIDE by his Assistant Berik Balgabaev.

Finally, the decision No.20 is proposing to the General Assembly that all members of elected commissions (Constitutional, Ethics, Verification) “shall obtain endorsements from their national federations”. It is unclear why this pressure on the members of independent bodies is exerted. Even some members of the Presidential Board, such as Vice President Nigel Short, who was not elected by GA but appointed by Dvorkovich, are not endorsed by their national federations.

Categories: Ενημέρωση

FIDE on World Rapid and Blitz World Championships

FIDE - Wed, 11/21/2018 - 10:41


Dear chess friends,

We are doing our utmost to stage the World Rapid and Blitz Championships this year, and we know players are really looking forward to it. At the same time, FIDE shall ensure that all eligible participants can take part in the Championships regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, race or gender.

We apologize for the delay and certainly expect to have an event confirmed this week, and we will update the chess community accordingly.






Categories: Ενημέρωση

WWCC in Khanty-Mansiysk: Game 3 of the final match ends in a draw

FIDE - Wed, 11/21/2018 - 02:00


WWCC in Khanty-Mansiysk: Game 3 of the final match ends in a draw

The third game of the final match between Ju Wenjun and Kateryna Lagno was played on November 21 The defending champion had White.

It was a sharp battle in the Benoni Defense. White sacrificed a pawn and was ready to sacrifice an exchange for Black's dark-squared bishop. In the opening Ju Wenjun acted considerably quicker than her opponent. White got excellent compensation for the pawn and seized the initiative.

On the move 16 Lagno opted for a very sharp pawn push, creating serious complications. Her opponent began to tank, calculating countless variations, and soon the players were even on the clock. Black made a serious mistake at some point, but White missed the most principled reply, opting for a safer approach. The players ended up in a mutual time trouble, which led to an imperfect play from both sides. Black should have avoided trading her central knight, which would give her good chances to equalize. Soon the position with queens, rooks, and opposite- colored bishops emerged.


With aggressive play White could create fatal problems for Black, but Ju Wenjun preferred to trade the queens, losing some of her advantage. Still, with perfect play White could have obtained a decisive edge. However, she missed her chances, and Lagno managed to hold a draw.

The match score is 2-1 in Kateryna Lagno's favor.


The fourth game will be played on Thursday, November 22, Lagno being White.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the match is tied after four games, a tie-break will ensue.

Official website


WWCC in Khanty-Mansiysk: Kateryna Lagno wins the second game of the Final

The second game of the final match between Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia) was played on November 20 in the Ugra Chess Academy. Lagno played White.

In the Catalan Opening with the early exchange of the queens White employed a temporary pawn sacrifice, obtaining the bishop pair in return. She regained the material soon, however, one of her bishops was exchanged for a knight, and an ending with rooks and opposite-colored bishops ensued.



White's position was slightly better due to favorable pawn structure and more active pieces. Kateryna traded a pair of rooks and made a pawn break on the kingside. Ju Wenjun was forced to defend passively on both sides of the board.


With precise maneuvers Lagno won a pawn, and then the opponent's mistakes allowed White to claim the game. Ju Wenjun resigned on the move 59.  
After two games, Kateryna Lagno leads the match 1.5 to 0.5.   The third game will be played on Wednesday, November 21 Ju Wenjun will have the white pieces.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the match is tied after four games, a tie-break will ensue.


Official website


Women’s World Championship: First game of the final match ends in a draw

The first game between the defending World Champion Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia) was played on November 19 in Khanty-Mansiysk. The World Champion had White.


A hybrid of the King's Indian and Gruenfeld Defense arose. The game quickly became very concrete, and demanded a lot of calculation from both players. White claimed an opening advantage, as Black's dark-squared bishop remained enclosed on the kingside. The players abstained from castling for quite a while. If White had maintained the grip and traded the queens, Black's position would become precarious, however, Ju Wenjun played a little too soft, and Lagno was able to carry out a freeing break.


Both sides were under the heavy time pressure and missed a number of promising opportunities in the subsequent sharp battle. At some point, the champion made a serious mistake, but was not punished for it. Kateryna decided to simplify the game, once again giving White an edge, however, Ju Wenjun played very solidly, with a draw in hand. A draw was agreed to on the move 36.


The second game will be played on Tuesday, November 20. Kateryna Lagno has White.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the match is tied after four games, a tie-break will ensue.

Official website

Kateryna Lagno advances to the Final

The tie-break between Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk took place on November 17 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Lagno played White in the first game. In the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez Muzychuk improved her play compared to the previous game, and White did not get anything real out of the opening. Lagno went for the most principled continuation, trading an exchange for two pawns, but after the queens went off the board, it was White who needed to play accurately to hold the balance. However, Mariya returned the material, transposing to the opposite-colored bishop ending, which turned out difficult for Black. In the time trouble Muzychuk was unable to defend precisely. Lagno won two pawns and then stretched Black's defense to break through her blockade. Muzychuk resigned on move 62.

 
White went for the Anti-Berlin setup in the second game. Both players castled queenside. Black's position in the middlegame looked more pleasant, as the white bishop was out of play. Black developed a strong attack against the king, utilizing remote positions of White's pieces. The monarch was forced to run, losing a lot of material along the way. Muzychuk gave up having made her 28th move.


Kateryna won the match 3-1 to qualify for the Final of the Women's World Championship.


Therefore, the fate of the chess crown will be decided in the final match between Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia). The Chinese player will start with the white pieces.
November 18 is a rest day.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the score after four games is 2-2, a tie-break will ensue on the November 23.

Official website

Ju Wenjun advances to Final, Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk to play tie-break

The return games of the Semi-final were played on November 16 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Ju Wenjun had White against Alexandra Kosteniuk and obtained a stable advantage after the opening. In a Hedgehog position White maneuvered slowly, refraining from any breakthroughs almost until the control move, and even then did not follow it up with more energetic action. Black carried out her break on the queenside, which simplified the position considerably. In the subsequent game, the World Champion did not give her opponent a fighting chance, and the game was drawn in a rook ending.


Ju Wenjun won her match 1.5-0.5 and advanced to the Final.
 
Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk discussed the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez. Lagno sacrificed a pawn, which seemed to have taken Muzychuk by surprise, as the Ukrainian began to spend a lot of time on her moves. Later White regained material under favorable circumstances, and obtained a pleasant ending with rooks and a bishop. However, the opposite-colored bishops helped Black to hold a draw.

This match will be played out on tie-break tomorrow. Lagno plays White in the first game.


The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Official website

Ju Wenjun begins Semi-final with a win

  The Semi-final of the Women's World Championship started in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 15.

The defending World Champion Ju Wenjun had Black against Alexandra Kosteniuk. The players went for the French defense. After the opening, White's position looked promising, as she enjoyed a spatial advantage. However, Black regrouped nicely and won White's overextended a-pawn. Alexandra did not find the best move at the critical moment, and her position deteriorated quickly. However, then the Chinese missed the strongest continuation, which could give her a decisive edge. Further simplifications followed, but the extra pawn remained and eventually proclaimed itself. Ju Wenjun celebrated victory.


Mariya Muzychuk made a draw with Kateryna Lagno. In the Berlin Variation of the Ruy Lopez neither side could claim any advantage. A draw on the move 23 became a logical conclusion of the game.



The return games will be played on November 16. If the matches are drawn after two games, the tie-break will ensue on the next day.

Official website


Alexandra Kosteniuk and Mariya Muzychuk advance to Semi-final of Women’s World Championship

The Quarterfinals of the Women's World Championship were concluded on November 14 with two tie-breaks: Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated Anna Muzychuk, and Zhansaya Abdumalik lost to Mariya Muzychuk.

Kosteniuk played the first game with White and obtained a promising position after the opening. Then Black managed to activate her pieces and got a strong counterplay. However, being under heavy time pressure, Muzychuk made several mistakes, giving Kosteniuk a decisive advantage.


Muzychuk started the second game with 1.f4 and got an overwhelming advantage already in the opening. However, with very tenacious defense Alexandra managed to hold a difficult endgame. Looking for possible winning chances, Muzychuk avoided a number of drawing lines, and Black even got an edge. In the end Kosteniuk secured a draw from the position of strength and advanced to the Semi-final with the overall 1.5-0.5 win.


Mariya Muzychuk started the tie-break with a Black victory: Abdumalik failed to convince in the opening and then was gradually outplayed in the endgame. In the return game Abdumalik managed to create a complicated battle. Muzychuk sacrificed a piece, but her compensation proved insufficient. With some adventures in the mutual time trouble Abdumalik converted an extra piece, and the players proceeded to "10+10" stage.

 
The first 10-minute game was highly dramatic. Zhansaya Abdumalik was defending for the entire game and was very close to a draw. In the endgame R+N vs R she had the right to claim a draw according to the 50-move rule, despite being mated in two moves. However, instead of claiming a draw, Abdumalik resigned.


However, Zhansaya demonstrated her fighting spirit and came back in the second game. The match continued by two more blitz games with faster time control.

Mariya Muzychuk won the first 5+3 blitz as White, then got a much better position as Black and forced a draw by perpetual, thus advancing to the next stage.


Semi-final pairings:

Alexandra Kosteniuk - Ju Wenjun
Mariya Muzychuk - Kateryna Lagno

All players who had advanced to the Semi-final except for the future champion automatically qualified for the 2019 Women's Candidates Tournament.

Official website



Ju Wenjun and Kateryna Lagno become the first semi-finalists of Women’s World Championship


The return games of the Quarterfinals were played on November 13 in the Ugra Chess Academy.

Lei Tingjie and Kateryna Lagno entered a complex Ruy Lopez position. According to the Russian, Lei surprised her in the opening, however, Black managed to obtain a harmonious position. The Chinese made a mistake in a time trouble, and was forced to part with material. Lagno gradually overcame the resistance, won the second game as well and advanced to the semi-final.



Ju Wenjun won as Black against Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova. The World Champion found the strongest continuation in the position with opposite side castling, after which White had to give up a pawn. Later White made another mistake and lost even more material, however, in a clearly winning position Ju Wenjun made a mistake herself, giving White significant drawing chances. Still, Tokhirjonova's defense of the resulting endgame was not precise, and Black eventually won this dramatic game. Ju Wenjun also proceeded to the semi-final.



Mariya Muzychuk once again showed her incredible fighting spirit, winning as Black against Zhansaya Abdumalik to equalize the match score. After the opening Muzychuk sacrificed an exchange for a pawn. The bishop pair gave Black sufficient compensation, and Muzychuk gradually outplayed her opponent in the middlegame. Abdumalik had to return the material with interest, but there was no way out for White. This match will continue on tie-break tomorrow.



Anna Muzychuk and Alexandra Kosteniuk made a second draw and will also play the tie-break.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

A. Kosteniuk - A. Muzychuk

Z. Abdumalik - M. Muzychuk

All players in the Semifinal except the future champion qualify for the 2019 Women's Candidates Tournament

Official website





Round 4: Kateryna Lagno and Zhansaya Abdumalik begin with victories

The Quarterfinals of the Women's World Chess Championship started in Khanty-Mansiysk on November 12.

Kateryna Lagno celebrated a convincing victory over Lei Tingjie. The Chinese player went for a very passive opening setup as Black. White gradually developed her advantage and kept pushing even after the exchange of queens, utilizing her strong bishop pair. After white rooks broke to the 7th rank, Black's position became totally lost.



Former World Champion Mariya Muzychuk, playing White, lost to the 18-year-old Zhansaya Abdumalik. The Ukrainian sacrificed a pawn for the initiative and soon regained the material with interest. However, holding onto the extra pawn was difficult because of the insecure position of her king. Abdumalik utilized a first clear inaccuracy of her opponent, delivering a nice tactical shot. Muzychuk lost a piece and resigned on the 57th move.



A. Kosteniuk-A. Muzychuk ended in a draw. In the Sveshnikov/Chelyabinsk variation of the Sicilian, Black sacrificed a pawn, obtaining sufficient counterplay in return. A draw was agreed after series of exchanges.



Another rising star of the championship, Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova successfully held as Black against Ju Wenjun. The World Champion had an advantage after the opening, but it somehow evaporated in the middlegame. The resulting rook ending with an extra pawn to White was drawn, and the players signed a peace treaty soon after the control move.



The second games of the round will be played on November 13, the tie-breaks will follow on the next day.

It is to be recalled that all the semifinalists except the future champion will qualify for the upcoming 2019 Women’s Candidates Tournament.

Pairings and results https://ugra2018.fide.com/pairings/
Photos https://ugra2018.fide.com/2018/11/12/photo-round-4-game-1/
Videos https://ugra2018.fide.com/category/video-en/


Round 3 of the Women’s World Championship is over

The tie-break of the Women's World Championship was played on November 11 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

The 19-year-old Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova surprisingly defeated the higher rated Valentina Gunina. Tokhirjonova won both rapid games in sharp tactical struggle, which is usually considered Gunina's territory.



Lei Tingjie was stronger than Alisa Galliamova in both 25-minute games and advanced to the Quarterfinal.



Anna Muzychuk and Antoaneta Stefanova drew their first game. In the second game Muzychuk played Black and celebrated a victory, joining her sister at the next stage.



Zhansaya Abdumalik convincingly defeated Jolanta Zawadzka in the first game, and secured a draw from the position of strength in the second game. The player from Kazakhstan is also in the Quarterfinal.



Alexandra Kosteniuk outplayed Harika Dronavalli in the first rapid game, but did not manage to hold a slightly worse endgame in the second one. In 10+10 blitz games the Russian was stronger in the first game and confidently drew the second one, thus advancing to the 4th round.



Natalija Pogonina and Kateryna Lagno produced the first Armageddon at the Championship. They made two draws in rapid chess and moved on to blitz. Long blitz games brought another two draws. In 5+3 games the players exchanged blows: Natalija lost the first game, but showed her famous fighting spirit and came back in the second one. In the “sudden death” game Kateryna Lagno took White and managed to outplay her opponent in the endgame.



Quarterfinal pairings:

Ju Wenjun - Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova
Mariya Muzychuk - Zhansaya Abdumalik
Kateryna Lagno - Lei Tingjie
Alexandra Kosteniuk - Anna Muzychuk

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

Two quarterfinalists are determined, six tie-breaks are ahead

The return games of the third round of the Women's World Championship were played on November 10.

The reigning World Champion Ju Wenjun was first to advance to the Quarterfinals, drawing the second game with her 22-year-old compatriot Zhai Mo and thus securing the overall match win.



Former World Champion Mariya Muzychuk eliminated the most sensational player of the first two rounds, the 18-year-old Mobina Alinasab. In the second game of the match the Ukrainian got an advantage after the opening, gradually improved her position and won a good fighting game, winning the match 1.5 to 0.5.



Valentina Gunina managed to level the score against Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova, and the outcome of the match will be decided on the tie-break tomorrow. According to the Russian, this will be her first tie-break ever.



The 18-year-old Zhansaya Abdumalik, who plays her first World Championship, also succeeded in coming back in her match against Jolanta Zawadzka. The fight will be continued on the tie-break.



After a lengthy struggle Antoaneta Stefanova squeezed a victory over Anna Muzychuk, thus tying the match score and advancing to the tie-breaks.



The classical part of the matches Harika-Kosteniuk, Lagno-Pogonina, and Galliamova-Lei Tingjie ended in draws, rapid and possibly blitz games to follow tomorrow.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

Muzychuk Anna - Stefanova Antoaneta
Pogonina Natalija - Lagno Kateryna
Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim - Gunina Valentina
Galliamova Alisa - Lei Tingjie
Kosteniuk Alexandra - Harika Dronavalli
Abdumalik Zhansaya - Zawadzka Jolanta

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


Round 3 begins in Khanty-Mansiysk

The first games of the Round 3 of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 9.

Antoaneta Stefanova suffered an opening disaster against Anna Muzychuk. According to the Ukrainian, facing the Petroff defense was rather surprising. “I am not sure whether Antoaneta ever played this opening before, and she clearly was not ready for the variation I chose. Her 9th move was inaccurate and allowed me to seize space and obtain a good game”, said Anna afterwards.

Already around the move 15 Black was in a serious trouble, and White successfully utilized advantages of her position. The former World Champion resigned on the move 26, unable to defend against mating threats.



Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova produced a mild sensation beating Valentina Gunina. Their game was double-edged, but in the mutual time trouble the Russian probably overestimated her chances, refusing a number of drawing options, made a fatal mistake and lost very quickly.



Jolanta Zawadzka surprised Zhansaya Abdumalik in the opening and got a promising position as White. The grandmaster from Poland produced a quality strategic game, won an exchange and eventually celebrated a win.



Ju Wenjun had Black against Zhai Mo. The younger Chinese player miscalculated a combination in the middlegame, lost an exchange, and was unable to survive.

Mobina Alinasab obtained a serious advantage after the opening against Mariya Muzychuk, and methodically applied pressure against Black's position. The game transposed to a queen ending with an extra pawn to White, however, when Alinasab was on a brink of a victory, she committed a big mistake, allowing Black to survive with a rather miraculous perpetual check.



Alexandra Kosteniuk held as Black against Harika Dronavalli, defending a difficult endgame without a pawn. The games Galliamova-Lei Tingjie and Pogonina-Lagno also ended peacefully.



The second games of the round will be played on Saturday, November 10. The tied matches will proceed to the tie-breaks on November 11.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


16 players continue fighting for the chess crown

The tie-breaks of the second round of the World Women's Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk were played on November 8. Once again all matches except one were decided in rapid chess.

The Russians Kateryna Lagno and Alexandra Kosteniuk won their matches against Hoang Thanh Trang and Ni Shiqun respectively with the same score – 2-0.

Zhansaya Abdumalik also won both games against Zhao Xue; in the second game the Chinese player lost on time in a drawn position, but it did not affect the outcome of the match.

Antoaneta Stefanova defeated Dinara Saduakassova in the first game, and secured the match win with a draw from the position of strength in the second game.



Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova defeated the former World Champion Tan Zhongyi in the first game and held the balance in the second game.

Harika Dronavalli missed a victory in the first game with Bela Khotenashvili, but showed strong character, winning the second game and a match.



The match between Mariya Muzychuk and Ekaterina Atalik was quite dramatic. Atalik probably missed some chances in the first game, which ended in a draw, and suffered an opening disaster in the second game. Muzychuk won and advanced to the third round.

Natalija Pogonina succesfully defended two difficult positions against Zhu Jiner in rapid chess, and then crushed the opponent in the first 10-minute game. In the second game the Chinese fought desperately, but was unable to get realistic winning chances, and eventually lost.



Round 3 matches:

Zhai Mo - Ju Wenjun
Jolanta Zawadzka – Zhansaya Abdumalik
Natalija Pogonina – Kateryna Lagno
Anna Muzychuk – Antoaneta Stefanova
Harika Dronavalli – Alexandra Kosteniuk
Alisa Galliamova - Lei Tingjie
Mobina Alinasab - Mariya Muzychuk
Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova – Valentina Gunina

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 



Favorites keep leaving Khanty-Mansiysk

The second games of the second round of the Women’s World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk were played on November 7.

Having defeated Anastasia Bodnaruk in both games, Anna Muzychuk became the first qualifier to the third round.

Mobina Alinasab continues to surprise chess fans: although her position after the opening looked rather suspicious, the Iranian outplayed Monika Socko in the middlegame and won the match 2-0.



However, the main surprise of the round occurred in the match between Humpy Koneru and Jolanta Zawadzka – the grandmaster from Poland, playing Black, defeated the rating favorite and advanced to the third round.



Lei Tingjie was stronger than Nana Dzagnidze in the second game of their match and also moved on to the third round.

Aleksandra Goryachkina failed to strike back in the Russian derby against Alisa Galliamova. The more experienced Galliamova had the initiative throughout the game and won convincingly.



Ju Wenjun successfully defended a difficult position against Irina Krush and secured the overall victory – 1.5 to 0.5.

Valentina Gunina won a complicated game as Black against Anna Ushenina, and advanced to the next stage, winning her match 1.5 to 0.5.



Zhai Mo won both games against Nino Batsiashvili and joined a group of her compatriots in the third round.

Ekaterina Atalik was close to defeating Mariya Muzychuk for the second time in a row, however, she made a mistake in a very sharp position and lost. This match will be continued tomorrow on the tie-break.

Natalija Pogonina also managed to level the score against Zhu Jiner. The winner of their match will also be determined in speed chess.



The following matches featured two draws and will be decided on the tie-break: Lagno-Hoang Thanh Trang, Khotenashvili-Harika, Tokhirjonova-Tan Zhongyi, Abdumalik-Zhao Xue, Stefanova-Saduakassova, and Kosteniuk-Ni Shiqun.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

Hoang Thanh Trang - Lagno Kateryna
Kosteniuk Alexandra - Ni Shiqun
Muzychuk Mariya - Atalik Ekaterina
Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim - Tan Zhongyi
Harika Dronavalli - Khotenashvili Bela
Saduakassova Dinara - Stefanova Antoaneta
Zhu Jiner - Pogonina Natalija
Zhao Xue - Abdumalik Zhansaya

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

Women's World Championship, Round 2: Surprises keep coming

The first games of the second round of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 6.

The 15-year-old Zhu Jiner continues to surprise chess fans. The Chinese started the second round with a convincing victory over the Russian champion Natalija Pogonina.

Mobina Alinasab produced another upset, winning as Black against Monika Socko. The Iranian outplayed her experienced opponent in the opening and developed her advantage in the middlegame. Socko's position was already precarious when she blundered a knight and resigned immediately.



The World Champion Ju Wenjun played a textbook game against Irina Krush, flawlessly converting a spatial advantage in a rook ending into a win.



Nino Batsiashvili had a promising position against Zhai Mo, however, she chose a wrong moment for a central break, and lost two pawns. The Chinese converted the material advantage confidently.

Anastasia Bodnaruk had White against Anna Muzychuk. In the opening the Russian sacrificed an exchange, however, the compensation proved insufficient, and the Ukrainian gradually overplayed her opponent.



Alisa Galliamova showed deep opening preparation against Aleksandra Goryachkina and obtained a very promising position. With series of timely executed tactical blows White won a piece and then the game.

Ekaterina Atalik outsmarted Mariya Muzychuk in a complicated minor piece ending. The former World Champion from Ukraine had to give up a piece for Black's passed pawn. During the concluding stage of the game Ekaterina showed her skill in checkmating with a knight and bishop.



The following games were drawn: Abdumalik-Zhao Xue, Zawadzka-Koneru, Dzagnidze-Lei Tingjie, Gunina-Ushenina, Kosteniuk-Ni Shiqun, Tokhirdjonova-Tan Zhongyi, Stefanova-Saduakassova, Khotenashvili-Harika, and Lagno-Hoang Thanh Trang.

 

The return games will be played on November 7.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

 

Round 1 of Women’s World Championship Completed in Khanty-Mansiysk

There were 11 tie-breaks on November 5: Lei Tingjie-Gara, Sadaukassova-Matnadze, Krush-Gaponenko, Zhukova-Ni Shiqun, Atalik-Cori, Foisor-Stefanova, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vera Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Padmini-Abdumalik, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian.

Only one match out of 11 was not decided in rapid chess.

Dinara Saduakassova defeated Ana Matnadze with the perfect 2-0 score. Lei Tingjie won against Anita Gara in a similarly convincing way. Inna Gaponenko lost the first game to Irina Krush, and was unable to come back in the second one, thus losing the rapid match 0-2.



Antoaneta Stefanova also won 2-0 against Sabina-Francesca Foisor. Deysi Cori was unable to hold Ekaterina Atalik: the Turkish player won 2-0.

Anastasia Bodnaruk defeated Sabrina Vega Gutierrez in the first rapid game. The Russian had winning chances in the second game as well, but it ended in a draw, which allowed Bodnaruk to advance to the next round.



Harika Dronavalli and Sopiko Khukhashvili ended their first game peacefully. The second game started calmly, but the endgame was head-spinning and full of mutual errors. After the dust has settled, the Indian took the upper hand and advanced to the second round.



Zhansaya Abdumalik and Rout Padmini drew their first game, but in the second one the player from Kazakhstan was stronger and proceeded to the next stage.

Hoang Thanh Trang started her tie-break against Elina Danielian with a win, and solidified her success with a draw in the second game.

Guliskhan Nakhbayeva dramatically lost to Alisa Galliamova in the first rapid game, and did not manage to equalize in the second one. A repeated Russian champion moves on to the next stage.



Only Natalia Zhukova and Ni Shiqun made two draws in rapid games, and their match advanced to slow blitz games (10+10). The struggle in the first game was very tense, but the Chinese player managed to equalize, then to seize the initiative, and eventually won the game. In the second game she held a draw from the position of strength and won the match.



Round 2 pairings:

Ju Wenjun – Krush, Zawadzka – Koneru, Lagno – Hoang Thanh Trang, Bodnaruk – A. Muzychuk, Kosteniuk – Ni Shiqun, Galliamova – Goryachkina, M. Muzychuk – Atalik, Tokhirjonova – Tan Zhongyi, Gunina – Ushenina, Socko – Alinasab, Dzagnidze – Lei Tingjie, Khotenashvili – Harika, Stefanova – Saduakassova, Zhu Jiner – Pogonina, Abdumalik – Zhao Xue, Zhai Mo – Batsiashvili.

 
Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

21 players advance to the second round of Women’s World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk

The second games of the first round of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 4.

The following players advanced to the 2nd round with the perfect score: Ju Wenjun, Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Kateryna Lagno, Humpy Koneru, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Nana Dzagnidze, Nino Batsiashvili, Zhao Xue, Zhai Mo, and Zhu Jiner. The last two players defeated the higher rated Olga Girya and Lela Javakhishvili respectively.



Valentina Gunina, Tan Zhongyi, Monika Socko, Jolanta Zawadzka, Aleksandra Goryachkina, Natalija Pogonina, Anna Ushenina, and Bela Khotenashvili won their matches 1.5 to 0.5. Alina Kashlinskaya did not manage to come back after the defeat yesterday, and Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova also advanced to the next round with a draw in their second game. Mobina Alinasab caused the biggest upset of the championship so far, holding to a draw against Elisabeth Paehtz and thus advancing to the second round.



The rest of the players will face the tie-breaks on November 5:

Lei Tingjie-Gara, Saduakassova-Matnadze, Krush-Gaponenko, Zhukova-Ni Shiqun, Atalik-Cori, Foisor-Stefanova, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vera Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Padmini-Abdumalik, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com  


First games of Women's World Championship played in Khanty-Mansiysk

Prior to the start of the first round, the official flag of FIDE was raised in front of the Ugra Chess Academy. This very flag was presented to Ugra Chess Federation President Vassily Filipenko during the closing ceremony of the Chess Olympiad in Batumi. As Khanty-Mansiysk will host the next Chess Olympiad in 2020, for the next two years the flag of FIDE will remain in the capital of Ugra.



Varvara Tsaregorodtseva, the 9-year-old student of the Ugra Chess Academy, U9 champion of Ugra among girls, made a symbolic first move in the game between Zhai Mo from China and the Ugra representative Olga Girya. The result of this game, however, was disappointing for local fans, as Olga Girya lost in sharp struggle.



Most rating favorites won their games, however, there was a couple of upsets. Elisabeth Pazhtz lost as White to Mobina Alinasab, a player rated significantly lower than the German. Maili-Jade Ouellet made a draw with Aleksandra Goryachkina.



A number of decisive games among closely rated players was quite high. Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova defeated Alina Kashlinskaya, Anna Ushenina won against Lilit Mkrtchian, Ni Shiqun lost to Natalia Zhukova, Monika Socko proved stronger than Yuliya Shvayger, and Lela Javakhishvili lost to Zhu Jineer.



The following games ended in a draw: Krush-Gaponenko, Vega Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Foisor-Stefanova, Saduakassova-Matnadze, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vo Thi Kim Phung-Khotenashvili, Guseva-Zawadzka, Padmini-Abdumalik, Atalik-Cori, Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Lei Tingjie-Gara.



The second games of the first round are played on Sunday, November 4. Any match that ends 1- 1 will proceed to a tie-break on the next day.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


FIDE Women’s World Championship Officially Opened in Khanty-Mansiysk

On November 2, the FIDE Women's World Championships started in Khanty-Mansiysk. The Opening Ceremony of the event was held in the Concert and theater center “Ugra-Classic”.

Guests and participants had a chance to enjoy fairy-tale organ melodies performed by Elena Kozemirenko before the official part of the ceremony.

The first part of the ceremony started with the presentation of 28 participating countries.

In the official part of the ceremony, Chief Federal Inspector of Ugra Dmitry Kuzmenko and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich greeted players and guests.



Dmitry Kuzmenko read out a greeting letter from the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

Arkady Dvorkovich greeted everyone in Khanty-Mansiysk and thanked the Government of Ugra and its Governor Natalya Komarova in person, organizers, the Ugra Chess Federation, and all the people involved for hosting this event on the highest level. He also reminded the players that the format of the Women’s World Championship cycle would be changed.



“I will make sure that in the future the Women's World Championship cycle will be a standard one, and three semi-finalists except for the winner will qualify for the Candidates Tournament which will determine the challenger for the next World Championship Match with higher prizes and better conditions. I would like to reassure you that we will pay more attention to the women's chess in the future. So everyone could enjoy chess in all its beauty as it is art, sport, and science”, says Arkady Dvorkovich.

After his speech, FIDE President declared the Championship open.



Before the start of the entertaining part of the ceremony the drawing of lots was carried out. The Championship’s Chief Arbiter Igor Bolotinsky invited the top seed of the Women's World Championship, the reigning world champion Ju Wenjun of China, who picked a black pawn. It means that the players with odd starting numbers will start the first game of the first round with the black pieces.

The procedure of drawing lots was followed by bright and spectacular performances of singers and musicians.

After the Opening Ceremony, a short press briefing with Governor of Ugra Natalya Komarova and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich was organized.

The first round of Championship starts on November 3 in the Ugra Chess Academy.

There shall be five rounds of matches, comprising two games per round, with the winners progressing to the next round. The 6th (final) round shall be played over four games. If the score is equal after regular games of each match, tie-break games shall be played.

Schedule: November 2 - Players Meeting / Opening Ceremony, November 3-5 - Round 1, November 6-8 - Round 2, November 9-11 - Round 3, November 12-14 - Round 4 (Quarterfinals), November 15-17 - Round 5 (Semi-final), November 18 - Free day, November 19-23 - Round 6 (Final), November 23 - Closing Ceremony.

Prize fund is USD 450,000.

Official website







Round 4: Kateryna Lagno and Zhansaya Abdumalik begin with victories

Categories: Ενημέρωση

Arkady Dvorkovich at the Host City conference

FIDE - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 16:37


FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich is attending the Host City, which is the largest meeting of Cities and Sports, Business and Cultural Events.
The Host City is taking place in Glasgow on 20-21 November 2018 - at the Technology and Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde.
Official website

FIDE President at the FIDE stand at the Host City meeting.




Categories: Ενημέρωση

Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2019

Chessdom - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 16:24

World champion Magnus Carlsen, who is currently defending his title in London, will once again participate in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament next January, the organisation announced today.

Five other players of the world’s top ten grandmasters will participate: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (3), Ding Liren (4), Anish Giri (5), Vladimir Kramnik (7) and Viswanathan Anand (8).

The 81st edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament will take place from 11 – 27 January 2019. There will also be two Chess On Tour events. The Tata Steel Masters will play the 5th round in Theater de Vest in Alkmaar on Wednesday 16 January and will play the 10th round in the Pieterskerk in Leiden on Wednesday 23 January.

All rounds are open to the public free of charge and can also be followed online.

Participants Tata Steel Masters 2019:

GM Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2835
GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE 2817
GM Ding, Liren CHN 2816
GM Giri, Anish NED 2780
GM Kramnik, Vladimir RUS 2777
GM Anand, Viswanathan IND 2773
GM Nepomniachtchi, Ian RUS 2763
GM Radjabov, Teimour AZE 2757
GM Duda, Jan-Krzysztof POL 2738
GM Shankland, Samuel USA 2724
GM Fedoseev, Vladimir RUS 2714
GM Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi IND 2702
GM Van Foreest, Jorden NED 2613

The 14th player will be announced in December. The participants of the Tata Steel Challengers will be announced at the same time.

Categories: Ενημέρωση

28th Senior Chess Championship 2018 Tournament started

FIDE - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 10:02


28th Senior Chess Championship Bled (Slovenia) 2018 Tournament started.

For first time Slovenia is hosting the World Senior Chess Championship. The city of Bled (nearly 6.000 inhabitants) in northern Slovenia, situated between Jesenice and the capital Ljubljana, is hosting this important tournament.

In 1930s, dr. Milan Vidmar, a great son of Slovenian nation, wished to thank the chess world for all hospitality he received on his travels over the globe. He wanted to welcome his fellow players in Slovenia and be the best host ever seen. Knocking on many doors and writing a myriad of requests, he obtained what is the most important - money. Then he said: «We will play in Bled; the world should see how beautiful is our Slovenia! I will invite the best of the best; I will organize the tournament for all eternity! »

One of the participants was also Alexander Alekhine, the World Champion, who had not been defeated for ages. And not just him - Aron Nimzowitsch, Rudolf Spielmann, Savielly Tartakower, Geza Maroczy, Salo Flohr… the foreign masters who have shared a chessboard with Vidmar on many occasions. We should not forget the locals – next to Vidmar there were also a world traveler Bora Kostić and a future national star Vasja Pirc, a boy who has soon followed the footsteps of his great teacher.

The tournament was played in the extension of Grand Hotel Toplice Hotel, which has been guarding the lake to the present day. At least with its famous history, numerous celebrities and crowned heads staying there.



After the locomotion around the tournament calmed down, Bled has fallen off the radar for the next 18 years. However, the picturesque town has not been forgotten – the tournament of 1931 has lived on in chess players' memories. Soon, Slovenian political climate has changed – in the socialist Yugoslavia chess was much more respected than in the dead monarchy. Tournaments were organized one after another and sooner or later they remembered to plan one in Bled.

In 1949 Bled hosted a spectacular duel between Vasja Pirc and the fifth World Champion dr. Max Euwe; a decade later (1959) they organized first two round of the Candidate Tournament – the one, who sent Mikhail Tal on the chess Olympus after he bested three ex and future champions: Vasily Smyslov, Tigran Petrosian and Bobby Fischer.

Two years later, at the thirtieth anniversary of the first big tournament in Bled, another spectacular tournament was hosted at the location. Dr. Milan Vidmar, an arbiter, has said his goodbye by making one last appearance on the big scene.

During the next few decades there was an abundance of various tournaments – national championships, international duels and other tournaments. Chess players were shaking hands and sharing hotel rooms; some were resting on laurels of their success and the others were dealing with disappointments – yet everyone has been charmed by the town and the scene, which have not left anyone cold-hearted.

When competing for the organization of the 35th Olympiad (2002), the rich tradition ensured Bled's quick victory over the giants like St. Petersburg. The Olympiad that will be remembered by the last Russian gold and the brilliant games of Garry Kasparov during his last tournament for Russian national team.

Organizer of the Senior World Championship is European Chess Academy with GM Georg Mohr and GM Adrian Mikhalchishin (both Slovenia).

Playing hall: Grand Hotel Toplice with a nice view over the lake of Bled.

330 players out of 60 nations will battle for the titles of World Champion in the categories “Open +50”, “Women +50”, “Open +65” and “Women +65”. In all sections there will be an 11 round Swiss system tournament. 40 games are transmitted live on Internet.
Here the list of the former Senior World Champions who are playing also this year:

Open tournaments:
• Anatoly Vaisser (FRA, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016)
• Zurab Sturua (GEO, 2014)
• Giorgi Bagaturov (GEO, 2016)
• Evgeny Sveshnikov (RUS, 2017)
• Miso Cebalo (CRO, 2009)

Women tournaments:
• Nona Gaprindashvili (GEO, 1995, 2009, 2014-16)
• Tamar Khmiadashvili (GEO, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2010, 2017)
• Elena Fatalibekova (RUS, 2004)
• Galina Strutinskaia (RUS, 2011, 2012, 2015)
• Svetlana Mednikova (RUS, 2014)
• Tatjana Bogumil (RUS, 2016)
• Elvira Berend (LUX, 2017)

    

      

Chief arbiter of this tournament is IA Nebojsa Baralic (Serbia), Deputy Chief arbiter is IA Gerhard Bertagnolli (Italy).

Top seed players are the well-known grandmasters Zurab Sturua (GEO, 2529) in the Open +50 and Anatoly Vaisser (FRA, 2504) in the Open +65.
  Official Website

Photo Gallery









Categories: Ενημέρωση

28th Senior Chess Championship Bled (Slovenia) 2018 Tournament started

FIDE - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 10:02


28th Senior Chess Championship Bled (Slovenia) 2018 Tournament started.

For first time Slovenia is hosting the World Senior Chess Championship. The city of Bled (nearly 6.000 inhabitants) in northern Slovenia, situated between Jesenice and the capital Ljubljana, is hosting this important tournament.

In 1930s, dr. Milan Vidmar, a great son of Slovenian nation, wished to thank the chess world for all hospitality he received on his travels over the globe. He wanted to welcome his fellow players in Slovenia and be the best host ever seen. Knocking on many doors and writing a myriad of requests, he obtained what is the most important - money. Then he said: «We will play in Bled; the world should see how beautiful is our Slovenia! I will invite the best of the best; I will organize the tournament for all eternity! »

One of the participants was also Alexander Alekhine, the World Champion, who had not been defeated for ages. And not just him - Aron Nimzowitsch, Rudolf Spielmann, Savielly Tartakower, Geza Maroczy, Salo Flohr… the foreign masters who have shared a chessboard with Vidmar on many occasions. We should not forget the locals – next to Vidmar there were also a world traveler Bora Kostić and a future national star Vasja Pirc, a boy who has soon followed the footsteps of his great teacher.

The tournament was played in the extension of Grand Hotel Toplice Hotel, which has been guarding the lake to the present day. At least with its famous history, numerous celebrities and crowned heads staying there.



After the locomotion around the tournament calmed down, Bled has fallen off the radar for the next 18 years. However, the picturesque town has not been forgotten – the tournament of 1931 has lived on in chess players' memories. Soon, Slovenian political climate has changed – in the socialist Yugoslavia chess was much more respected than in the dead monarchy. Tournaments were organized one after another and sooner or later they remembered to plan one in Bled.

In 1949 Bled hosted a spectacular duel between Vasja Pirc and the fifth World Champion dr. Max Euwe; a decade later (1959) they organized first two round of the Candidate Tournament – the one, who sent Mikhail Tal on the chess Olympus after he bested three ex and future champions: Vasily Smyslov, Tigran Petrosian and Bobby Fischer.

Two years later, at the thirtieth anniversary of the first big tournament in Bled, another spectacular tournament was hosted at the location. Dr. Milan Vidmar, an arbiter, has said his goodbye by making one last appearance on the big scene.

During the next few decades there was an abundance of various tournaments – national championships, international duels and other tournaments. Chess players were shaking hands and sharing hotel rooms; some were resting on laurels of their success and the others were dealing with disappointments – yet everyone has been charmed by the town and the scene, which have not left anyone cold-hearted.

When competing for the organization of the 35th Olympiad (2002), the rich tradition ensured Bled's quick victory over the giants like St. Petersburg. The Olympiad that will be remembered by the last Russian gold and the brilliant games of Garry Kasparov during his last tournament for Russian national team.

Organizer of the Senior World Championship is European Chess Academy with GM Georg Mohr and GM Adrian Mikhalchishin (both Slovenia).

Playing hall: Grand Hotel Toplice with a nice view over the lake of Bled.

330 players out of 60 nations will battle for the titles of World Champion in the categories “Open +50”, “Women +50”, “Open +65” and “Women +65”. In all sections there will be an 11 round Swiss system tournament. 40 games are transmitted live on Internet.
Here the list of the former Senior World Champions who are playing also this year:

Open tournaments:
• Anatoly Vaisser (FRA, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016)
• Zurab Sturua (GEO, 2014)
• Giorgi Bagaturov (GEO, 2016)
• Evgeny Sveshnikov (RUS, 2017)
• Miso Cebalo (CRO, 2009)

Women tournaments:
• Nona Gaprindashvili (GEO, 1995, 2009, 2014-16)
• Tamar Khmiadashvili (GEO, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2010, 2017)
• Elena Fatalibekova (RUS, 2004)
• Galina Strutinskaia (RUS, 2011, 2012, 2015)
• Svetlana Mednikova (RUS, 2014)
• Tatjana Bogumil (RUS, 2016)
• Elvira Berend (LUX, 2017)

    

      

Chief arbiter of this tournament is IA Nebojsa Baralic (Serbia), Deputy Chief arbiter is IA Gerhard Bertagnolli (Italy).

Top seat players are the well-known grandmasters Zurab Sturua (GEO, 2529) in the Open +50 and Anatoly Vaisser (FRA, 2504) in the Open +65.
  Official Website

Photo Gallery









Categories: Ενημέρωση

WWCC in Khanty-Mansiysk: Kateryna Lagno wins the second game of the Final

FIDE - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 02:00



WWCC in Khanty-Mansiysk: Kateryna Lagno wins the second game of the Final

The second game of the final match between Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia) was played on November 20 in the Ugra Chess Academy. Lagno played White.

In the Catalan Opening with the early exchange of the queens White employed a temporary pawn sacrifice, obtaining the bishop pair in return. She regained the material soon, however, one of her bishops was exchanged for a knight, and an ending with rooks and opposite-colored bishops ensued.



White's position was slightly better due to favorable pawn structure and more active pieces. Kateryna traded a pair of rooks and made a pawn break on the kingside. Ju Wenjun was forced to defend passively on both sides of the board.


With precise maneuvers Lagno won a pawn, and then the opponent's mistakes allowed White to claim the game. Ju Wenjun resigned on the move 59.  
After two games, Kateryna Lagno leads the match 1.5 to 0.5.   The third game will be played on Wednesday, November 21 Ju Wenjun will have the white pieces.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the match is tied after four games, a tie-break will ensue.


Official website


Women’s World Championship: First game of the final match ends in a draw

The first game between the defending World Champion Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia) was played on November 19 in Khanty-Mansiysk. The World Champion had White.


A hybrid of the King's Indian and Gruenfeld Defense arose. The game quickly became very concrete, and demanded a lot of calculation from both players. White claimed an opening advantage, as Black's dark-squared bishop remained enclosed on the kingside. The players abstained from castling for quite a while. If White had maintained the grip and traded the queens, Black's position would become precarious, however, Ju Wenjun played a little too soft, and Lagno was able to carry out a freeing break.


Both sides were under the heavy time pressure and missed a number of promising opportunities in the subsequent sharp battle. At some point, the champion made a serious mistake, but was not punished for it. Kateryna decided to simplify the game, once again giving White an edge, however, Ju Wenjun played very solidly, with a draw in hand. A draw was agreed to on the move 36.


The second game will be played on Tuesday, November 20. Kateryna Lagno has White.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the match is tied after four games, a tie-break will ensue.

Official website

Kateryna Lagno advances to the Final

The tie-break between Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk took place on November 17 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Lagno played White in the first game. In the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez Muzychuk improved her play compared to the previous game, and White did not get anything real out of the opening. Lagno went for the most principled continuation, trading an exchange for two pawns, but after the queens went off the board, it was White who needed to play accurately to hold the balance. However, Mariya returned the material, transposing to the opposite-colored bishop ending, which turned out difficult for Black. In the time trouble Muzychuk was unable to defend precisely. Lagno won two pawns and then stretched Black's defense to break through her blockade. Muzychuk resigned on move 62.

 
White went for the Anti-Berlin setup in the second game. Both players castled queenside. Black's position in the middlegame looked more pleasant, as the white bishop was out of play. Black developed a strong attack against the king, utilizing remote positions of White's pieces. The monarch was forced to run, losing a lot of material along the way. Muzychuk gave up having made her 28th move.


Kateryna won the match 3-1 to qualify for the Final of the Women's World Championship.


Therefore, the fate of the chess crown will be decided in the final match between Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia). The Chinese player will start with the white pieces.
November 18 is a rest day.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the score after four games is 2-2, a tie-break will ensue on the November 23.

Official website

Ju Wenjun advances to Final, Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk to play tie-break

The return games of the Semi-final were played on November 16 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Ju Wenjun had White against Alexandra Kosteniuk and obtained a stable advantage after the opening. In a Hedgehog position White maneuvered slowly, refraining from any breakthroughs almost until the control move, and even then did not follow it up with more energetic action. Black carried out her break on the queenside, which simplified the position considerably. In the subsequent game, the World Champion did not give her opponent a fighting chance, and the game was drawn in a rook ending.


Ju Wenjun won her match 1.5-0.5 and advanced to the Final.
 
Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk discussed the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez. Lagno sacrificed a pawn, which seemed to have taken Muzychuk by surprise, as the Ukrainian began to spend a lot of time on her moves. Later White regained material under favorable circumstances, and obtained a pleasant ending with rooks and a bishop. However, the opposite-colored bishops helped Black to hold a draw.

This match will be played out on tie-break tomorrow. Lagno plays White in the first game.


The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Official website

Ju Wenjun begins Semi-final with a win

  The Semi-final of the Women's World Championship started in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 15.

The defending World Champion Ju Wenjun had Black against Alexandra Kosteniuk. The players went for the French defense. After the opening, White's position looked promising, as she enjoyed a spatial advantage. However, Black regrouped nicely and won White's overextended a-pawn. Alexandra did not find the best move at the critical moment, and her position deteriorated quickly. However, then the Chinese missed the strongest continuation, which could give her a decisive edge. Further simplifications followed, but the extra pawn remained and eventually proclaimed itself. Ju Wenjun celebrated victory.


Mariya Muzychuk made a draw with Kateryna Lagno. In the Berlin Variation of the Ruy Lopez neither side could claim any advantage. A draw on the move 23 became a logical conclusion of the game.



The return games will be played on November 16. If the matches are drawn after two games, the tie-break will ensue on the next day.

Official website


Alexandra Kosteniuk and Mariya Muzychuk advance to Semi-final of Women’s World Championship

The Quarterfinals of the Women's World Championship were concluded on November 14 with two tie-breaks: Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated Anna Muzychuk, and Zhansaya Abdumalik lost to Mariya Muzychuk.

Kosteniuk played the first game with White and obtained a promising position after the opening. Then Black managed to activate her pieces and got a strong counterplay. However, being under heavy time pressure, Muzychuk made several mistakes, giving Kosteniuk a decisive advantage.


Muzychuk started the second game with 1.f4 and got an overwhelming advantage already in the opening. However, with very tenacious defense Alexandra managed to hold a difficult endgame. Looking for possible winning chances, Muzychuk avoided a number of drawing lines, and Black even got an edge. In the end Kosteniuk secured a draw from the position of strength and advanced to the Semi-final with the overall 1.5-0.5 win.


Mariya Muzychuk started the tie-break with a Black victory: Abdumalik failed to convince in the opening and then was gradually outplayed in the endgame. In the return game Abdumalik managed to create a complicated battle. Muzychuk sacrificed a piece, but her compensation proved insufficient. With some adventures in the mutual time trouble Abdumalik converted an extra piece, and the players proceeded to "10+10" stage.

 
The first 10-minute game was highly dramatic. Zhansaya Abdumalik was defending for the entire game and was very close to a draw. In the endgame R+N vs R she had the right to claim a draw according to the 50-move rule, despite being mated in two moves. However, instead of claiming a draw, Abdumalik resigned.


However, Zhansaya demonstrated her fighting spirit and came back in the second game. The match continued by two more blitz games with faster time control.

Mariya Muzychuk won the first 5+3 blitz as White, then got a much better position as Black and forced a draw by perpetual, thus advancing to the next stage.


Semi-final pairings:

Alexandra Kosteniuk - Ju Wenjun
Mariya Muzychuk - Kateryna Lagno

All players who had advanced to the Semi-final except for the future champion automatically qualified for the 2019 Women's Candidates Tournament.

Official website



Ju Wenjun and Kateryna Lagno become the first semi-finalists of Women’s World Championship


The return games of the Quarterfinals were played on November 13 in the Ugra Chess Academy.

Lei Tingjie and Kateryna Lagno entered a complex Ruy Lopez position. According to the Russian, Lei surprised her in the opening, however, Black managed to obtain a harmonious position. The Chinese made a mistake in a time trouble, and was forced to part with material. Lagno gradually overcame the resistance, won the second game as well and advanced to the semi-final.



Ju Wenjun won as Black against Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova. The World Champion found the strongest continuation in the position with opposite side castling, after which White had to give up a pawn. Later White made another mistake and lost even more material, however, in a clearly winning position Ju Wenjun made a mistake herself, giving White significant drawing chances. Still, Tokhirjonova's defense of the resulting endgame was not precise, and Black eventually won this dramatic game. Ju Wenjun also proceeded to the semi-final.



Mariya Muzychuk once again showed her incredible fighting spirit, winning as Black against Zhansaya Abdumalik to equalize the match score. After the opening Muzychuk sacrificed an exchange for a pawn. The bishop pair gave Black sufficient compensation, and Muzychuk gradually outplayed her opponent in the middlegame. Abdumalik had to return the material with interest, but there was no way out for White. This match will continue on tie-break tomorrow.



Anna Muzychuk and Alexandra Kosteniuk made a second draw and will also play the tie-break.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

A. Kosteniuk - A. Muzychuk

Z. Abdumalik - M. Muzychuk

All players in the Semifinal except the future champion qualify for the 2019 Women's Candidates Tournament

Official website





Round 4: Kateryna Lagno and Zhansaya Abdumalik begin with victories

The Quarterfinals of the Women's World Chess Championship started in Khanty-Mansiysk on November 12.

Kateryna Lagno celebrated a convincing victory over Lei Tingjie. The Chinese player went for a very passive opening setup as Black. White gradually developed her advantage and kept pushing even after the exchange of queens, utilizing her strong bishop pair. After white rooks broke to the 7th rank, Black's position became totally lost.



Former World Champion Mariya Muzychuk, playing White, lost to the 18-year-old Zhansaya Abdumalik. The Ukrainian sacrificed a pawn for the initiative and soon regained the material with interest. However, holding onto the extra pawn was difficult because of the insecure position of her king. Abdumalik utilized a first clear inaccuracy of her opponent, delivering a nice tactical shot. Muzychuk lost a piece and resigned on the 57th move.



A. Kosteniuk-A. Muzychuk ended in a draw. In the Sveshnikov/Chelyabinsk variation of the Sicilian, Black sacrificed a pawn, obtaining sufficient counterplay in return. A draw was agreed after series of exchanges.



Another rising star of the championship, Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova successfully held as Black against Ju Wenjun. The World Champion had an advantage after the opening, but it somehow evaporated in the middlegame. The resulting rook ending with an extra pawn to White was drawn, and the players signed a peace treaty soon after the control move.



The second games of the round will be played on November 13, the tie-breaks will follow on the next day.

It is to be recalled that all the semifinalists except the future champion will qualify for the upcoming 2019 Women’s Candidates Tournament.

Pairings and results https://ugra2018.fide.com/pairings/
Photos https://ugra2018.fide.com/2018/11/12/photo-round-4-game-1/
Videos https://ugra2018.fide.com/category/video-en/


Round 3 of the Women’s World Championship is over

The tie-break of the Women's World Championship was played on November 11 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

The 19-year-old Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova surprisingly defeated the higher rated Valentina Gunina. Tokhirjonova won both rapid games in sharp tactical struggle, which is usually considered Gunina's territory.



Lei Tingjie was stronger than Alisa Galliamova in both 25-minute games and advanced to the Quarterfinal.



Anna Muzychuk and Antoaneta Stefanova drew their first game. In the second game Muzychuk played Black and celebrated a victory, joining her sister at the next stage.



Zhansaya Abdumalik convincingly defeated Jolanta Zawadzka in the first game, and secured a draw from the position of strength in the second game. The player from Kazakhstan is also in the Quarterfinal.



Alexandra Kosteniuk outplayed Harika Dronavalli in the first rapid game, but did not manage to hold a slightly worse endgame in the second one. In 10+10 blitz games the Russian was stronger in the first game and confidently drew the second one, thus advancing to the 4th round.



Natalija Pogonina and Kateryna Lagno produced the first Armageddon at the Championship. They made two draws in rapid chess and moved on to blitz. Long blitz games brought another two draws. In 5+3 games the players exchanged blows: Natalija lost the first game, but showed her famous fighting spirit and came back in the second one. In the “sudden death” game Kateryna Lagno took White and managed to outplay her opponent in the endgame.



Quarterfinal pairings:

Ju Wenjun - Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova
Mariya Muzychuk - Zhansaya Abdumalik
Kateryna Lagno - Lei Tingjie
Alexandra Kosteniuk - Anna Muzychuk

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

Two quarterfinalists are determined, six tie-breaks are ahead

The return games of the third round of the Women's World Championship were played on November 10.

The reigning World Champion Ju Wenjun was first to advance to the Quarterfinals, drawing the second game with her 22-year-old compatriot Zhai Mo and thus securing the overall match win.



Former World Champion Mariya Muzychuk eliminated the most sensational player of the first two rounds, the 18-year-old Mobina Alinasab. In the second game of the match the Ukrainian got an advantage after the opening, gradually improved her position and won a good fighting game, winning the match 1.5 to 0.5.



Valentina Gunina managed to level the score against Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova, and the outcome of the match will be decided on the tie-break tomorrow. According to the Russian, this will be her first tie-break ever.



The 18-year-old Zhansaya Abdumalik, who plays her first World Championship, also succeeded in coming back in her match against Jolanta Zawadzka. The fight will be continued on the tie-break.



After a lengthy struggle Antoaneta Stefanova squeezed a victory over Anna Muzychuk, thus tying the match score and advancing to the tie-breaks.



The classical part of the matches Harika-Kosteniuk, Lagno-Pogonina, and Galliamova-Lei Tingjie ended in draws, rapid and possibly blitz games to follow tomorrow.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

Muzychuk Anna - Stefanova Antoaneta
Pogonina Natalija - Lagno Kateryna
Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim - Gunina Valentina
Galliamova Alisa - Lei Tingjie
Kosteniuk Alexandra - Harika Dronavalli
Abdumalik Zhansaya - Zawadzka Jolanta

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


Round 3 begins in Khanty-Mansiysk

The first games of the Round 3 of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 9.

Antoaneta Stefanova suffered an opening disaster against Anna Muzychuk. According to the Ukrainian, facing the Petroff defense was rather surprising. “I am not sure whether Antoaneta ever played this opening before, and she clearly was not ready for the variation I chose. Her 9th move was inaccurate and allowed me to seize space and obtain a good game”, said Anna afterwards.

Already around the move 15 Black was in a serious trouble, and White successfully utilized advantages of her position. The former World Champion resigned on the move 26, unable to defend against mating threats.



Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova produced a mild sensation beating Valentina Gunina. Their game was double-edged, but in the mutual time trouble the Russian probably overestimated her chances, refusing a number of drawing options, made a fatal mistake and lost very quickly.



Jolanta Zawadzka surprised Zhansaya Abdumalik in the opening and got a promising position as White. The grandmaster from Poland produced a quality strategic game, won an exchange and eventually celebrated a win.



Ju Wenjun had Black against Zhai Mo. The younger Chinese player miscalculated a combination in the middlegame, lost an exchange, and was unable to survive.

Mobina Alinasab obtained a serious advantage after the opening against Mariya Muzychuk, and methodically applied pressure against Black's position. The game transposed to a queen ending with an extra pawn to White, however, when Alinasab was on a brink of a victory, she committed a big mistake, allowing Black to survive with a rather miraculous perpetual check.



Alexandra Kosteniuk held as Black against Harika Dronavalli, defending a difficult endgame without a pawn. The games Galliamova-Lei Tingjie and Pogonina-Lagno also ended peacefully.



The second games of the round will be played on Saturday, November 10. The tied matches will proceed to the tie-breaks on November 11.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


16 players continue fighting for the chess crown

The tie-breaks of the second round of the World Women's Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk were played on November 8. Once again all matches except one were decided in rapid chess.

The Russians Kateryna Lagno and Alexandra Kosteniuk won their matches against Hoang Thanh Trang and Ni Shiqun respectively with the same score – 2-0.

Zhansaya Abdumalik also won both games against Zhao Xue; in the second game the Chinese player lost on time in a drawn position, but it did not affect the outcome of the match.

Antoaneta Stefanova defeated Dinara Saduakassova in the first game, and secured the match win with a draw from the position of strength in the second game.



Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova defeated the former World Champion Tan Zhongyi in the first game and held the balance in the second game.

Harika Dronavalli missed a victory in the first game with Bela Khotenashvili, but showed strong character, winning the second game and a match.



The match between Mariya Muzychuk and Ekaterina Atalik was quite dramatic. Atalik probably missed some chances in the first game, which ended in a draw, and suffered an opening disaster in the second game. Muzychuk won and advanced to the third round.

Natalija Pogonina succesfully defended two difficult positions against Zhu Jiner in rapid chess, and then crushed the opponent in the first 10-minute game. In the second game the Chinese fought desperately, but was unable to get realistic winning chances, and eventually lost.



Round 3 matches:

Zhai Mo - Ju Wenjun
Jolanta Zawadzka – Zhansaya Abdumalik
Natalija Pogonina – Kateryna Lagno
Anna Muzychuk – Antoaneta Stefanova
Harika Dronavalli – Alexandra Kosteniuk
Alisa Galliamova - Lei Tingjie
Mobina Alinasab - Mariya Muzychuk
Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova – Valentina Gunina

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 



Favorites keep leaving Khanty-Mansiysk

The second games of the second round of the Women’s World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk were played on November 7.

Having defeated Anastasia Bodnaruk in both games, Anna Muzychuk became the first qualifier to the third round.

Mobina Alinasab continues to surprise chess fans: although her position after the opening looked rather suspicious, the Iranian outplayed Monika Socko in the middlegame and won the match 2-0.



However, the main surprise of the round occurred in the match between Humpy Koneru and Jolanta Zawadzka – the grandmaster from Poland, playing Black, defeated the rating favorite and advanced to the third round.



Lei Tingjie was stronger than Nana Dzagnidze in the second game of their match and also moved on to the third round.

Aleksandra Goryachkina failed to strike back in the Russian derby against Alisa Galliamova. The more experienced Galliamova had the initiative throughout the game and won convincingly.



Ju Wenjun successfully defended a difficult position against Irina Krush and secured the overall victory – 1.5 to 0.5.

Valentina Gunina won a complicated game as Black against Anna Ushenina, and advanced to the next stage, winning her match 1.5 to 0.5.



Zhai Mo won both games against Nino Batsiashvili and joined a group of her compatriots in the third round.

Ekaterina Atalik was close to defeating Mariya Muzychuk for the second time in a row, however, she made a mistake in a very sharp position and lost. This match will be continued tomorrow on the tie-break.

Natalija Pogonina also managed to level the score against Zhu Jiner. The winner of their match will also be determined in speed chess.



The following matches featured two draws and will be decided on the tie-break: Lagno-Hoang Thanh Trang, Khotenashvili-Harika, Tokhirjonova-Tan Zhongyi, Abdumalik-Zhao Xue, Stefanova-Saduakassova, and Kosteniuk-Ni Shiqun.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

Hoang Thanh Trang - Lagno Kateryna
Kosteniuk Alexandra - Ni Shiqun
Muzychuk Mariya - Atalik Ekaterina
Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim - Tan Zhongyi
Harika Dronavalli - Khotenashvili Bela
Saduakassova Dinara - Stefanova Antoaneta
Zhu Jiner - Pogonina Natalija
Zhao Xue - Abdumalik Zhansaya

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

Women's World Championship, Round 2: Surprises keep coming

The first games of the second round of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 6.

The 15-year-old Zhu Jiner continues to surprise chess fans. The Chinese started the second round with a convincing victory over the Russian champion Natalija Pogonina.

Mobina Alinasab produced another upset, winning as Black against Monika Socko. The Iranian outplayed her experienced opponent in the opening and developed her advantage in the middlegame. Socko's position was already precarious when she blundered a knight and resigned immediately.



The World Champion Ju Wenjun played a textbook game against Irina Krush, flawlessly converting a spatial advantage in a rook ending into a win.



Nino Batsiashvili had a promising position against Zhai Mo, however, she chose a wrong moment for a central break, and lost two pawns. The Chinese converted the material advantage confidently.

Anastasia Bodnaruk had White against Anna Muzychuk. In the opening the Russian sacrificed an exchange, however, the compensation proved insufficient, and the Ukrainian gradually overplayed her opponent.



Alisa Galliamova showed deep opening preparation against Aleksandra Goryachkina and obtained a very promising position. With series of timely executed tactical blows White won a piece and then the game.

Ekaterina Atalik outsmarted Mariya Muzychuk in a complicated minor piece ending. The former World Champion from Ukraine had to give up a piece for Black's passed pawn. During the concluding stage of the game Ekaterina showed her skill in checkmating with a knight and bishop.



The following games were drawn: Abdumalik-Zhao Xue, Zawadzka-Koneru, Dzagnidze-Lei Tingjie, Gunina-Ushenina, Kosteniuk-Ni Shiqun, Tokhirdjonova-Tan Zhongyi, Stefanova-Saduakassova, Khotenashvili-Harika, and Lagno-Hoang Thanh Trang.

 

The return games will be played on November 7.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

 

Round 1 of Women’s World Championship Completed in Khanty-Mansiysk

There were 11 tie-breaks on November 5: Lei Tingjie-Gara, Sadaukassova-Matnadze, Krush-Gaponenko, Zhukova-Ni Shiqun, Atalik-Cori, Foisor-Stefanova, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vera Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Padmini-Abdumalik, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian.

Only one match out of 11 was not decided in rapid chess.

Dinara Saduakassova defeated Ana Matnadze with the perfect 2-0 score. Lei Tingjie won against Anita Gara in a similarly convincing way. Inna Gaponenko lost the first game to Irina Krush, and was unable to come back in the second one, thus losing the rapid match 0-2.



Antoaneta Stefanova also won 2-0 against Sabina-Francesca Foisor. Deysi Cori was unable to hold Ekaterina Atalik: the Turkish player won 2-0.

Anastasia Bodnaruk defeated Sabrina Vega Gutierrez in the first rapid game. The Russian had winning chances in the second game as well, but it ended in a draw, which allowed Bodnaruk to advance to the next round.



Harika Dronavalli and Sopiko Khukhashvili ended their first game peacefully. The second game started calmly, but the endgame was head-spinning and full of mutual errors. After the dust has settled, the Indian took the upper hand and advanced to the second round.



Zhansaya Abdumalik and Rout Padmini drew their first game, but in the second one the player from Kazakhstan was stronger and proceeded to the next stage.

Hoang Thanh Trang started her tie-break against Elina Danielian with a win, and solidified her success with a draw in the second game.

Guliskhan Nakhbayeva dramatically lost to Alisa Galliamova in the first rapid game, and did not manage to equalize in the second one. A repeated Russian champion moves on to the next stage.



Only Natalia Zhukova and Ni Shiqun made two draws in rapid games, and their match advanced to slow blitz games (10+10). The struggle in the first game was very tense, but the Chinese player managed to equalize, then to seize the initiative, and eventually won the game. In the second game she held a draw from the position of strength and won the match.



Round 2 pairings:

Ju Wenjun – Krush, Zawadzka – Koneru, Lagno – Hoang Thanh Trang, Bodnaruk – A. Muzychuk, Kosteniuk – Ni Shiqun, Galliamova – Goryachkina, M. Muzychuk – Atalik, Tokhirjonova – Tan Zhongyi, Gunina – Ushenina, Socko – Alinasab, Dzagnidze – Lei Tingjie, Khotenashvili – Harika, Stefanova – Saduakassova, Zhu Jiner – Pogonina, Abdumalik – Zhao Xue, Zhai Mo – Batsiashvili.

 
Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

21 players advance to the second round of Women’s World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk

The second games of the first round of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 4.

The following players advanced to the 2nd round with the perfect score: Ju Wenjun, Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Kateryna Lagno, Humpy Koneru, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Nana Dzagnidze, Nino Batsiashvili, Zhao Xue, Zhai Mo, and Zhu Jiner. The last two players defeated the higher rated Olga Girya and Lela Javakhishvili respectively.



Valentina Gunina, Tan Zhongyi, Monika Socko, Jolanta Zawadzka, Aleksandra Goryachkina, Natalija Pogonina, Anna Ushenina, and Bela Khotenashvili won their matches 1.5 to 0.5. Alina Kashlinskaya did not manage to come back after the defeat yesterday, and Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova also advanced to the next round with a draw in their second game. Mobina Alinasab caused the biggest upset of the championship so far, holding to a draw against Elisabeth Paehtz and thus advancing to the second round.



The rest of the players will face the tie-breaks on November 5:

Lei Tingjie-Gara, Saduakassova-Matnadze, Krush-Gaponenko, Zhukova-Ni Shiqun, Atalik-Cori, Foisor-Stefanova, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vera Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Padmini-Abdumalik, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com  


First games of Women's World Championship played in Khanty-Mansiysk

Prior to the start of the first round, the official flag of FIDE was raised in front of the Ugra Chess Academy. This very flag was presented to Ugra Chess Federation President Vassily Filipenko during the closing ceremony of the Chess Olympiad in Batumi. As Khanty-Mansiysk will host the next Chess Olympiad in 2020, for the next two years the flag of FIDE will remain in the capital of Ugra.



Varvara Tsaregorodtseva, the 9-year-old student of the Ugra Chess Academy, U9 champion of Ugra among girls, made a symbolic first move in the game between Zhai Mo from China and the Ugra representative Olga Girya. The result of this game, however, was disappointing for local fans, as Olga Girya lost in sharp struggle.



Most rating favorites won their games, however, there was a couple of upsets. Elisabeth Pazhtz lost as White to Mobina Alinasab, a player rated significantly lower than the German. Maili-Jade Ouellet made a draw with Aleksandra Goryachkina.



A number of decisive games among closely rated players was quite high. Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova defeated Alina Kashlinskaya, Anna Ushenina won against Lilit Mkrtchian, Ni Shiqun lost to Natalia Zhukova, Monika Socko proved stronger than Yuliya Shvayger, and Lela Javakhishvili lost to Zhu Jineer.



The following games ended in a draw: Krush-Gaponenko, Vega Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Foisor-Stefanova, Saduakassova-Matnadze, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vo Thi Kim Phung-Khotenashvili, Guseva-Zawadzka, Padmini-Abdumalik, Atalik-Cori, Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Lei Tingjie-Gara.



The second games of the first round are played on Sunday, November 4. Any match that ends 1- 1 will proceed to a tie-break on the next day.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


FIDE Women’s World Championship Officially Opened in Khanty-Mansiysk

On November 2, the FIDE Women's World Championships started in Khanty-Mansiysk. The Opening Ceremony of the event was held in the Concert and theater center “Ugra-Classic”.

Guests and participants had a chance to enjoy fairy-tale organ melodies performed by Elena Kozemirenko before the official part of the ceremony.

The first part of the ceremony started with the presentation of 28 participating countries.

In the official part of the ceremony, Chief Federal Inspector of Ugra Dmitry Kuzmenko and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich greeted players and guests.



Dmitry Kuzmenko read out a greeting letter from the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

Arkady Dvorkovich greeted everyone in Khanty-Mansiysk and thanked the Government of Ugra and its Governor Natalya Komarova in person, organizers, the Ugra Chess Federation, and all the people involved for hosting this event on the highest level. He also reminded the players that the format of the Women’s World Championship cycle would be changed.



“I will make sure that in the future the Women's World Championship cycle will be a standard one, and three semi-finalists except for the winner will qualify for the Candidates Tournament which will determine the challenger for the next World Championship Match with higher prizes and better conditions. I would like to reassure you that we will pay more attention to the women's chess in the future. So everyone could enjoy chess in all its beauty as it is art, sport, and science”, says Arkady Dvorkovich.

After his speech, FIDE President declared the Championship open.



Before the start of the entertaining part of the ceremony the drawing of lots was carried out. The Championship’s Chief Arbiter Igor Bolotinsky invited the top seed of the Women's World Championship, the reigning world champion Ju Wenjun of China, who picked a black pawn. It means that the players with odd starting numbers will start the first game of the first round with the black pieces.

The procedure of drawing lots was followed by bright and spectacular performances of singers and musicians.

After the Opening Ceremony, a short press briefing with Governor of Ugra Natalya Komarova and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich was organized.

The first round of Championship starts on November 3 in the Ugra Chess Academy.

There shall be five rounds of matches, comprising two games per round, with the winners progressing to the next round. The 6th (final) round shall be played over four games. If the score is equal after regular games of each match, tie-break games shall be played.

Schedule: November 2 - Players Meeting / Opening Ceremony, November 3-5 - Round 1, November 6-8 - Round 2, November 9-11 - Round 3, November 12-14 - Round 4 (Quarterfinals), November 15-17 - Round 5 (Semi-final), November 18 - Free day, November 19-23 - Round 6 (Final), November 23 - Closing Ceremony.

Prize fund is USD 450,000.

Official website







Round 4: Kateryna Lagno and Zhansaya Abdumalik begin with victories

Categories: Ενημέρωση

FIDE WCCM Game 8: Dubious Record Tied

FIDE - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 02:00

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score Carlsen ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½         4 Caruana ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½          4

Game 8: Dubious Record Tied

With a draw on Monday in Game 8 of the World Championship match in London, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana equaled the record for the most consecutive draws to start a title contest. In 1995, Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand also drew the first eight games of their title match in New York City.

The match score stands at four points apiece.


Though Game 8 did not lead to a decisive result, it was a fight as the players contested a different opening than in the previous seven games.

Caruana, the American challenger, had White for the fourth time in the match. As he had in the previous games with White, he opened with 1 e4 and Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, once again answered with the Sicilian Defense (1… c5). Instead of the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5), Caruana finally ventured into the Open Sicilian by playing 3 d4. Carlsen answered with the Sveshnikov, or Pelikan, Variation (5… e5). Instead of 7 Bg5, which can lead to heavily analyzed and very complicated positions, Caruana chose 7 Nd5. Though that continuation is considered more strategic than the other approach, it also can be dangerous for Black.

Carlsen’s 8… Nb8 is odd-looking, but it is also considered the best move because the more “normal” 8… Ne7 can land Black in some hot water after 9 c3.


Both players continued to follow the paths considered best until Carlsen played 18… g5. The move is consistent with some plans in the variation of the Sveshnikov that the game was following, but the move neglected Black’s development and allowed Caruana to gain time. He took advantage with an enterprising pawn sacrifice (21 c5), after which White had a dangerous passed pawn.

Carlsen might have been in real trouble if Caruana had not played 24 h3. Instead, 24 Nc4, continuing to build pressure on Carlsen’s center, would have given White a clear edge. Caruana’s error gave Carlsen just enough time to shore up his defenses.


Though the game continued until Move 38 before the players agreed to a draw, most of the drama was already gone. The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.

A close contest between Carlsen, who is ranked No. 1, and Caruana, who is No. 2, would certainly have been a logical expectation before the match began. But the inability of either player to pose a real threat to the other – with the exception of Game 1, when Caruana was in real trouble – may be a bit vexing for fans, and even for top players. As Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, ranked No. 6, told Chess.com at one point during Game 7, “I’m not gonna hide; the position is pretty dull.”


If Carlsen and Caruana are to avoid going into the history books with a somewhat unwanted record – most consecutive draws to start a World Championship match – they are going to have to do remarkable in Game 9, which will be Wednesday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.   PHOTO GALLERY

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Game 7: The Draws Continue

More than half the games in regulation have been played in the World Championship match in London and neither player has been able to notch a victory.


The latest effort was Sunday in Game 7. Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, had White for the second game in a row and, for the second time in the match, he opened with 1 d4.

As he had in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, steered the game into a Queen’s Gambit Declined. The players repeated the moves from Game 2 until Carlsen, who had been outplayed in the earlier game, deviated by playing 10 Nd2. That move has been played many times before, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Caruana’s reply, 10 … Qd8, was not the best, and Carlsen soon had a slight edge. But it was no more than that and, as the game progressed, Caruana was never in any danger.

After a wholesale exchange of pieces from moves 18 to 25, chances were equal. Though the game continued until Move 40, a draw already seemed like a foregone result.

The match is now tied at 3.5 points apiece.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match has now reached the same point as the match in 2016, which also started with seven draws. At that point, Carlsen tried too hard to beat Sergey Karjakin, who was then the challenger, and lost. It would be surprising if that happened again. At the same time, except for Game 1, when Caruana was in real trouble, neither player has come close to victory. Fans, and even the players themselves, have to be wondering when or if one of the players will crack.



FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.
Game 8 is today at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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FIDE WCCM Game 6: The World Champion Escapes.

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, was on the ropes in Game 6 of the title match in London. But in a long endgame, Fabiano Caruana, the challenger, could find no way to break down Carlsen’s defenses and he was finally able to escape with a draw.


The result left the match tied the halfway point at three points apiece; all six games in the contest have ended in draws.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund).


In Game 6, Carlsen, who is from Norway, had White and started with 1 e4. It was Carlsen’s third game with White and, in all three games, he has chosen a different opening move. Caruana, who is American, replied 1 … e5 and after Carlsen continued 2 Nf3, Caruana chose the Petroff, or Russian, Defense. That was not a surprise as Caruana had employed the defense with great success when he won the Candidates tournament in Berlin earlier this year to qualify for the title match. 


The game continued down an obscure branch of the Petroff that Carlsen had doubtless studied carefully. Caruana demonstrated he also was well prepared as he navigated some of the intricacies with no problem.

After 15 moves, the position was symmetrical and the game seemed headed for a draw, which also was no surprise, as the Petroff has long had a reputation of being drawish. The game continued, however, partly because there is a rule in the match that games must be at least 30 moves, and also because neither player had any interest in agreeing to an early peace.

On Move 22, Carlsen made what turned out to be a small, but subtle error by positioning his light-squared bishop on a file that could be opened. Caruana was able to gain time to develop his rooks by attacking the bishop and that allowed him to take over the initiative.

Carlsen was in no immediate danger, but Caruana had nagging pressure against White’s position. By Move 34, the players had reached an endgame in which each had his bishop pair and a knight and a set of six pawns.

Just after the first time control at Move 40, Carlsen made another small error and was forced to trade one of his remaining pieces for three of Caruana’s pawns. Nominally, that is about an even trade, but, at the tail end of the sequence, Caruana was able to win another of Carlsen’s pawns.

Carlsen was clearly in trouble, but Caruana only had two pawns left and if Carlsen could trade them, the game would be a draw. The exchange of one pawn was impossible to prevent, but Carlsen could not easily get to the second. Computer evaluations showed a clear edge for Caruana.

Computers do not understand endgames very well, however. And Carlsen is one of the greatest endgame virtuoso’s in history. He found a plan that involved sacrificing his last queenside pawn to allow his king to infiltrate Caruana’s king side. Though Carlsen’s king now had almost no room to maneuver, it could support the advance of his h pawn if Caruana tried to go after Carlsen’s f pawn to clear the path for his own remaining f pawn.

For nearly 20 moves, Caruana tried to outflank Carlsen, but it was not possible. Carlsen had built a fortress. The game was drawn on Move 80, after six-and-a-half hours of play. A curious facet of the match is that Black has had equal chances or an edge in every one of the games; neither player’s strategy with White has been effective.


FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.


Game 7 is on Sunday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

Caruana will once again have Black. The way that the match has unfolded, that may be an advantage.

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Game 4: The Defense Holds Again

Game 4 of the World Championship on Tuesday ended as the first three had – with a draw. It was also the shortest game of the match, lasting 34 moves and three hours.


As in Game 3, neither player made any obvious or big error. Indeed, Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, who had White, chose the English (1 c4), an opening that generally does not put much pressure on Black. After Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, replied with 1 … e5 (essentially the Sicilian Defense with colors reversed), he had little trouble developing his pieces or establishing equal chances.

By Move 20, the queens, both sets of knights and the light-squared bishops had all been exchanged and though there was some imbalance in the pawn structure, neither player had particularly good prospects for a breakthrough. They agreed to a draw soon after.

The match now is tied at two points apiece.


The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

After a great deal of excitement in Game 1, which lasted 115 moves and which Caruana nearly lost, the match has settled down, with neither player having any significant winning chances in the last three games.


That is not really a surprise.

The players in World Championship matches are always incredibly well prepared and they are also reluctant to take big risks because falling behind in such a match is very dangerous.

Carlsen and Caruana are also fairly evenly matched, judging both by their rankings, Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and the difference in their ratings – three points, which is only a whisker.

As the match progresses, the tension will mount. Normally, that would favor the champion, who not only has more match experience, but also would have an advantage in the tie-breakers, as they are played at faster time controls, at which he excels and at which Caruana is not nearly as proficient.


However, in the 2016 title match against Sergey Karjakin of Russia, it was Carlsen who cracked first as he lost his patience and overpressed in Game 8, eventually losing. He had to fight back in Game 10 to tie the match before prevailing in the tie-breakers. Has Carlsen learned from that experience? Time will tell.

Wednesday is a rest day. The match resumes with Game 5 on Thursday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 3: An error-free day.

After three games of the World Championship, neither player has made a dent in the other’s armor. All the games have ended in draws.


On Monday, in Game 3, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, had White for the second time in the match and, for the second time, he opened with 1 e4. As he had in Game 1, Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, replied with the Sicilian Defense (1 … c5) and Caruana again replied with the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5). The players repeated the same first five moves before Carlsen deviated first by moving his queen instead of his king knight.
The change was subtle and did not result in any major shift in the dynamic balance of the position. Indeed, unlike in the first game, when Caruana got into trouble, in this game he was never in any real danger. But neither was Carlsen. As the game proceeded and pieces and pawns were gradually exchanged, chances remained equal as neither player made any mistake.

 


In the end, Caruana sacrificed his remaining piece, a knight, to eliminate the last pawn that Carlsen had any chance to promote to a queen. With no winning chances for either side, the players agreed to a draw after 49 moves.
The match now is tied at 1.5 points apiece.
The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)

 



The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

Though the match is only three games old, one theme has already emerged: Black is having no trouble equalizing out of the opening. (Indeed, the player with Black has, if anything, had an advantage in each game.)

In this respect, Caruana may already be a bit worried about his match strategy as he has avoided mixing things up with Carlsen on the White side of a Sicilian Defense by playing 3 d4, the most popular third move. Though the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5) certainly holds dangers for Black, it may be necessary for Caruana to enter the myriad complications of the main lines of the Sicilian after 3 d4 if he hopes to crack Carlsen’s defense.

Or Caruana may have to resort to a different first move altogether, such as 1 d4. His opening choice in Game 5, when he again has White will be very interesting.



In the meantime, there is Game 4, which is Tuesday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 2: A Fair Result

Two games into the World Championship and neither player in the title match has managed to score a win, but both have now been under pressure.

Saturday, in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, who had Black, emerged from the opening with a small but distinct advantage because the pawns of Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, were far advanced and difficult to defend. But Carlsen was able to force an endgame in which each player only had a rook and all the remaining pawns were on one side of the board, making Carlsen’s defensive task much easier.



After the first time control and 49 moves, the players agreed to the draw.

The match is tied at a point apiece.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.



The opening in Game 2 was a Queen’s Gambit Declined, with Carlsen choosing to play 5 Bf4 rather than the slightly more traditional 5 Bg5. It is an opening that he has used before and with great success, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Indeed, with 6 … c5, Caruana attacked Carlsen’s center. This is a known and sharp line , but Caruana proved better prepared with Carlsen consuming much time in solving new problems. Caruana soon established an edge by breaking up Carlsen’s queen side pawns.

A series of exchanges followed that saddled Carlsen with broken pawns on the kingside and a far advanced, but weak d pawn that would inevitably fall. But the reduced material, and Carlsen’s lead in development, allowed him to avoid real trouble.



Though Caruana had an extra pawn, he agreed to a draw after 49 moves. He probably saw no reason to try to repeat the 115-move marathon of Game 1, when Carlsen had an extra pawn and tried to squeeze out a victory in a position that offered no real hope for success.

There is a rest day on Sunday before the match resumes with Game 3 on Monday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 1: A Near Miss for Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, nearly got the perfect result – a win – on Friday in Game 1 of his title match against Fabiano Caruana. But at several critical moments, Carlsen missed his best moves, allowing Caruana to eke out a draw.

Though the result was a disappointment for Carlsen, it was anything but that for fans. The game stretched 115 moves and nearly six hours before the players split the point.



Carlsen, 27, who is from Norway, is making his third title defense, having captured the crown in 2013, when he beat Viswanathan Anand of India. Caruana, 26, who is American, is playing his first match for the title. Carlsen is ranked No. 1 in the world, while Caruana is No. 2. It is the first time since 1990, when Garry Kasparov faced Anatoly Karpov, that Nos. 1 and 2 have faced off for the undisputed title. The match, which is being held in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building, is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The match is being televised on Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.

The match has received worldwide media exposure, with articles in The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and ESPN, among others.

Carlsen and Caruana are well acquainted, having played each other at classical, or slow, time controls almost three dozen times. They know each other’s style; they have no secrets. But, in World Championship matches, where the pressure is at the highest level, every small edge counts, and so anything a player can do to surprise his opponent is significant. Other than playing psychological games, or resorting to gamesmanship, which neither Carlsen or Caruana is known to do, the only real way to surprise the opponent is with opening strategy and opening choices.



In Round 1, the edge almost certainly went to Carlsen. Against 1 e4 by Caruana, who had White, Carlsen chose the Sicilian Defense, perhaps the most double-edged reply. It has not been a standard part of Carlsen's repertoire for some time and is a provocative choice in such a high-stakes match.

(The opening choice may also indicate that Carlsen prepared for the match with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, a noted Sicilian expert, who is a month older than Carlsen. The members of each player’s team of seconds is usually a well-guarded secret because it can tip the opponent off about the pre-match preparation.)

After Carlsen played 2… Nc6, perhaps indicating perhaps that he wanted to enter the Sveshnikov Variation, Caruana countered with 3 Bb5 -- the Rossolimo Variation, which Anand used against Boris Gelfand during their 2012 title match. Caruana’s opening choice was possibly meant to avoid the maze of complications of the Sveshnikov, but it backfired as Carlsen gradually took control.

As the first time-control approached on Move 40, Caruana's time was dwindling rapidly and his position was under pressure as Carlsen managed to open up the file in front of Caruana’s king. Caruana decided that his best chance lay in a flight of his king to the other side of the board, but, according to the various computer engines analyzing the position, that was a mistake. Carlsen could have then swung his queen to the other side of the board and picked off one or two of Caruana’s pawns. In the endgame, his queenside pawns, supported by his dark-square bishop, would have been dangerous, if not lethal. The computers evaluated Carlsen having a strategic advantage of the equivalent of about two pawns – more than enough to be decisive at this level of competition.



But Carlsen did not see the strategy and continued to concentrate on the kingside. On his 40th move, he made a fateful decision – he exchanged his dangerous passed f pawn for Caruana’s c pawn. Though Carlsen retained an advantage, it was now minimal.

After the further exchange of Caruana’s knight for Carlsen’s bishop, as well as a pair of pawns, the players ended up in a rook-and-pawn endgame where Carlsen’s chances to win were insufficient, despite having an extra pawn. Carlsen, as is his habit, continued to press for another 60 moves before he agreed to a draw. It was one of the longest games in World Championship history, eclipsed by one of 124 moves in 1978 between Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi, and another of 122 moves between Carlsen and Anand in 2014.

Game 2 is Saturday and starts at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12    Score     Carlsen  ½                       0.5  Caruana  ½                       0.5


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Opening Ceremony of FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018

The official opening ceremony of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 was held on November 8th at a prestigious red-carpet event at the iconic Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK.





Guests from all over the world, including Woody Harrelson, Hou Yifan, Judit Polgar descended onto London for the glittering evening, hosted by British television presenter, George Lamb. Entertainment included a modern contemporary dance between two men featuring the unity and struggle of two strong characters, like in the game of chess, and a breath-taking performance by the talented Stephen Ridley – a young charismatic pianist, composer and singer.



The highlight of the evening was the introduction of the competitors, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana of USA. The Chief Arbiter of the Match Stepahne Escafre conducted the ceremony of the drawing of lots. Magnus Carlsen will have the black pieces in the first game. The first move of the World Chess Championship match will be played on November 9th, at 3 pm local time.





President of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich, CEO of World Chess, Ilya Merenzon, as well as Vice President and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation, CEO of PhosAgro, Andrey Guryev, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab, Aldo del Bo, CEO of S.T. Dupont, Alain Crevet joined the players on the stage.

Taking place from 9-28 November, the world’s most esteemed chess tournament consists of a 12-game Match, avidly followed and analysed by a global audience of hundreds of millions of chess fans, which will see current World Chess Champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, defend his title against US challenger, Fabiano Carlsen. No player born in the United States has won or even competed for a World Championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972, so all eyes will be on the two players. Those following the games online will also be catered for; they will be able to watch the moves for free on worldchess.com/london, the official broadcasting platform. They can also sign up for a $20 premium account, giving fans access to multi-camera views, commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, the opportunity to ask questions during press conferences and more.



The last World Championship match, held in New York, in 2016, enjoyed record-breaking coverage with the total audience for the whole event topping 1.5 billion people.

Leading partners supporting the Championship Match 2018 include:

PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner
Kaspersky Lab as World Chess and FIDE’s Official Cybersecurity Partner
PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner
S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument
Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match
Unibet as the Official Betting Partner
Beluga as the Official VIP Partner

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FIDE WCCM Game 8 review: Fire and Fizzle

FIDE - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 02:00



FIDE WCCM Game 8 review: Fire and Fizzle

The eighth game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana caught fire but then burned out quickly, ending in a draw after 38 moves.


The challenger had the better of the opening, sacrificed a pawn and appeared to be ready for an assault on the champion's king, but then at a crucial moment hesitated, giving his opponent time to defend. The attack faded, and the opportunity had gone. Carlsen declared that he was 'relieved', while Caruana was 'a little bit disappointed'.


The game started promisingly with Caruana going for an open Sicilian rather than 3 Bb5. Carlsen played the notorious Sveshnikov Variation, named after the Russian Grandmaster Evgeny Sveshnikov which has a reputation for leading to unbalanced and dynamic positions. The game did not disappoint.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 7 Nd5
Instead of playing into the main lines of 7 Bg5, the challenger opted for a more strategic approach that nevertheless kept the tension in the position. 7 Nd5 is an old move, but has not been researched in as much detail as other options. It turned out to be a shrewd choice.

A position arose where Caruana had clamped Carlsen's queenside, and to gain counterplay the champion had to attack on the kingside by advancing the pawns in front of his king. An extremely double-edged situation.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 21 c5
The position reached a climax when the challenger broke through the middle of the board with a pawn sacrifice.

Caruana-Carlsen, position after 23...Bd6
The bishop on c3 rakes across the board in front of Black's king, and here 24 Qh5 or 24 Nc4 are both promising. Instead the challenger hesitated with 24 h3, preventing the advance of the g-pawn, but giving the champion the time to defend with 24...Qe8-g6 – a manoeuvre that Caruana admitted he had underestimated.

The moment had passed. After a few more moves the challenger could find nothing better than to exchange down into an endgame with opposite-coloured bishops.


Caruana-Carlsen, position after 38 Rg5

Here the players agreed to a draw as more pawns were about to be exchanged.


'At some point I thought I had a very promising position, but I didn't quite see exactly which moment I had something very good.' Caruana

'This was a tough game. He was the one who had all the chances, so I am happy to have survived it.' Carlsen

The match remains deadlocked with eight draws in eight games. The players have a rest day before going into game 9 on Wednesday.
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Game 7: Preparation and Frustration

The seventh game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana was drawn in 40 moves.


Carlsen had the white pieces and repeated the Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined from game 2, but was surprised by an unusual early retreat of the queen by Caruana. Fearing preparation, the world champion did not want to risk too much, played solidly, and the challenger had little difficulty in equalising the position.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 10...Qa5-d8

A few moves before, Caruana had played the queen out to a5, which is the standard theoretical continuation. But returning to the starting square after a couple of moves is unexpected and unusual. The justification is that White's knight move to d2 is also a retreat, and must also redeploy.


If White is to exploit this unusual idea then Rd1 or even castling queenside should be tried. The way that Carlsen played, he felt he had only one real opportunity to unbalance the position and play for a win.



Carlsen-Caruana, position after 14...Ne5

Here the world champion castled, collected the pawn on c4 – and the position drifted towards equality.

'Castling is essentially an admission that the position is equal', the world champion admitted.


Instead, after the game, both players mentioned that they had been considering 15 Nce4 Bd7 16 Qc3 Nxe4 17 Nxe4 f6 18 Qxe5 fxg5 with a very unbalanced position. Carlsen felt that the two bishops should give Black adequate play, and his judgement was probably correct. There is also the computer suggestion 18...Bc6 which gives dangerous counterplay.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 22 Qxd1
Carlsen's unwillingness to unbalance the position allowed Caruana easy development and the opportunity to exchange pieces. In such a dry position, and with the players demonstrating excellent technique, a draw was the inevitable outcome.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 40 Kf2

Caruana declared his intention to retreat the bishop to a6 which would repeat the position for the third time. Draw.

This was a game with tense moments, but the balance was never significantly disturbed.


The challenger commented on the series of seven draws:

'After the first game, the games have been pretty tight, we haven't really given many chances to one another, and there haven't been huge mistakes or anything, so it's kind of natural that a lot of the games will end peacefully.' Fabiano Caruana

The world champion was obviously frustrated with the course of the game:

'After the last game I feel like I got away with murder so in that sense it's easier to be calm about a draw today. I'm not loving it but I'm not in any sort of panic mode either....I'm not at all thrilled about my play today but life goes on.' - Magnus Carlsen

Fabiano Caruana has come through two consecutive games with the black pieces with ease. For the final five games he has three whites compared to Carlsen's two. Advantage to the challenger?

(Daniel King)

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Game 6: Long, strong, miraculous.

The World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana remains deadlocked with six draws in six games. The lack of decisive results is not through want of trying. The sixth game went to 80 moves and lasted six and a half hours before the players agreed a draw, having eliminated most of the pieces from the board.


Magnus Carlsen opened with 1e4 (switching from 1 d4 and 1 c4 that we saw in his previous games with the white pieces) and Fabiano played his trusty Petroff. The World Champion played a tricky side line, but the challenger also knew the line well and an equal endgame arose.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 21...c5


With his last move, striking against the centre, it was quite clear that the challenger had no difficulties, and at this moment the world champion should have thought about steering the game towards a draw. But Carlsen said that with White 'You always feel like you have more room for error', and he carried out what he described as the classic positional manoeuvre, bringing the bishop round to b3 starting with 22 Bc2.

This was too slow, allowing Caruana to build an attack on the queenside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 29...Nc4


The position was still tenable for the world champion, but after a further series of inaccuracies, he had to give up a piece in the hope that challenger had too few pawns to force a win.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 48 g4

Although White has three pawns for the piece, it is impossible to hold onto them, and the only chance for a draw lay in constructing a fortress on the kingside.

Carlsen-Caruana, position after 68 Bc4

While the players were spinning their pieces around in circles to no great effect, the Norwegian super computer Sesse announced a mate in 30 moves on a couple of occasions. Here for example, 68...Bh4 is apparently a winning move – but this is way beyond human comprehension, certainly when playing against the clock and after so many hours play.


Caruana couldn't break down Carlsen's position, and after 80 moves a draw was agreed.

After the game, both players were amazed to learn of the miraculous winning chance. Caruana took it in his stride: 'Near the end, I thought it was a fortress...it was a bit of an accidental.


We are now half-way through the match: 12 classical games are scheduled, and it is still too close to call.

(Daniel King)

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Game 5: Thrust and Parry


The fifth game of the World Championship match had an exciting start, but burnt out to a draw after 34 moves.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales made the ceremonial opening move for Fabiano Caruana, and the American challenger used encyclopaedic opening knowledge to offer a gambit pawn to Magnus Carlsen in a rare line of the Rossolimo variation of the Sicilian. The world champion took his time at first, clearly adjusting to the unusual circumstances, but the confident way in which he dealt with this attempted opening ambush leads one to suspect that he was merely recollecting analysis.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 6 b4)


That's the little explosion that Caruana had prepared. In fact the idea is quite old (curiously, the assistant arbiter at the match, Nana Alexandria, had played this in the Soviet women's championship in 1969) and Carlsen himself had faced the gambit when still a teenager in 2005. Then he had played 6...cxb4. Today he went for the more unusual 6...Nxb4, suggesting that he too had researched this line.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 10 Bxa1)

Back in 1969, Alexandria's opponent had taken on b4, allowing the e5 pawn to be captured. Carlsen's response, 10...d6, was stronger, holding his centre together. Caruana rejected a line that would have given him a symbolic structural advantage and tested his opponent with a new move.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 12 Qe2)

The position is tricky, but Carlsen deftly handled the complications with 12...b4 13 Qc4 Qa5 14 exd6 Be6!

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 14...Be6)

Caruana had to go into the endgame with 15 Qc7, and that spelled the end of White's initiative.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 21...Rd8)

Although the challenger has an extra pawn, in fact he has to be careful as Carlsen threatens the pawns on b4 and d3. However, an accurately calculated sequence of checks liquidated pieces, activated his rook and removed any thoughts of Carlsen trying to win the game.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 29 Kf1)

White's rook on the seventh rank ties down the knight and guarantees the draw. Carlsen took no chances, withdrawing his king from a slightly vulnerable position, but in the process returning the extra pawn.

Caruana-Carlsen (position after 34 g4+)

Here Caruana offered a draw, and there was no reason for Carlsen to decline.


Afterwards the challenger said that, 'This line is really interesting and if Black is cooperative it can also get very exciting, but Magnus knew the line quite well and I think played in a very logical way'. While admitting that the endgame wasn't much fun, 'I never thought I was worse'.

Carlsen thought that only he could be better in the endgame, but couldn't find a way to push for a win. 'If there is a way at all to play for the advantage, the path is very narrow.'

After five games – five draws. It's still all square in the match. Carlsen now plays with two white's over the next two games which gives him a chance to put pressure on the challenger.

(Daniel King)


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Game 4: Correct on the board, but a blunder off

The fourth game of the world chess championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabio Caruana was drawn in 34 moves. The challenger played with the black pieces and had little difficulty in neutralising the world champion's initiative - which was a source of frustration to Carlsen: 'It was a bit disappointing, I thought I was clearly better after the opening'.


The challenger, Caruana, certainly seemed happier with his play after the game. 'I never really felt that my position was in much danger.'

Carlsen opened with 1 c4 – a different first move to his previous game with the white pieces and the game went into a kind of reversed Sicilian.

(position after 6...Bc5)

Bringing out the bishop is the fashionable way of playing the position (6...Nb6 is the standard move) and Caruana has some experience of this line with both colours.

Perhaps the most important moment of the game came after 14 moves when Carlsen had to make a big strategic decision.

(position after 14...c6)

The logical continuation of White's play is to push forward with the minority pawn attack, 15 b5, but the world champion was dissatisfied with this option: 'I spent a lot of time here...but it didn't seem to work very well.'

Then again, he also wasn't entirely happy with his move 15 Re1, allowing Caruana to play 15...Bd7 preventing White's pawn break.

Carlsen admitted, 'When I'm allowing ...Bd7 it's half a draw offer. After that the position is very dry and very equal.'

Piece exchanges quickly led into an endgame in which neither side managed to break into the other's position.

'I felt the ending was more or less balanced from the beginning' (Caruana).

(position after 34 Rbc1)

Here Carlsen offered a draw which was accepted by Caruana. Black could take the pawn on b4 and the position would liquidate into a drawn rook and pawn endgame.

Perhaps the most startling news of the day was that St Louis Chess Club, a supporter of Fabiano Caruana, had posted a video of the challenger's training camp showing a computer screen with opening lines under consideration. Although the video was quickly removed, the information was already in the public domain.

After the game, Fabiano Caruana declined to comment on the matter. It remains to be seen whether the incident proves to be a distraction or just an embarrassment.

Four games played, and four draws made. Wednesday is a rest day. Game 5 will be played on Thursday 15th November at 15.00 in London.


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Game 3: A Missed Opportunity and Sturdy Defence

The third game of the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana ended in a draw after 49 moves. At first glance this seemed like a pacific affair, but there was plenty going on beneath the surface and in the press conference neither player was particularly satisfied with their play.


Against the challenger's 1 e4, Carlsen repeated the opening of the first day, a Sicilian, and once again the Rossolimo variation appeared on the board. Fabiano Caruana was the first to deviate from game 1, castling on the sixth move rather than playing 6 h3.

(position after 6 0-0)
Magnus appeared unphased and continued quickly with the subtle 6...Qc7, not committing his kingside pieces. The first really big decision came at move 9 when Carlsen offered a pawn.

(position after 9...0-0)
Perhaps concerned about a quick kingside initiative, Caruana declined the pawn sacrifice and continued to develop steadily. In stark contrast to game 1, play was concentrated on the queenside, well away from the players' kings. This was turning into a heavy-weight strategic struggle.

In order to speed up his development and coordinate his pieces, Carlsen decided to simplify the position, exchanging pieces and pawns. With hindsight this might not have been the best decision, although Caruana had just one moment to exploit the shortcomings in Black's position.

(position after 14...Rxa5)
Here, the challenger could have played 15 Rxa5 Qxa5 16 Bd2 Qc7 17 Qa1, and White's control of files on the queenside and his compact pawn structure would give him a pleasant basis on which to conduct the middlegame.
Instead, he played 15 Bd2, overlooking that the rook could simply return,15...Raa8, and Black keeps control over the files on the queenside. 'It was a bit of a blackout', admitted Caruana after the game.
The challenger appreciated that he had no advantage and decided to exchange pieces bringing the game closer to a draw. But he had under-estimated Carlsen's position.

(position after 37 Kd1)
Carlsen was pressing all over the board, using his slight space advantage – as we have seem him do on so many occasions in the past.

Caruana showed his best qualities at this moment, not panicking, but trusting in the solidity of his position, and he expertly steered the game towards a draw by exchanging pawns and then giving up his knight to reach a theoretically drawn position.

(position after 49 exf5)
White's king steps into the corner on h1, and it is impossible to drive it away.

When asked after the game whether he was satisified with the outcome of the opening, Carlsen laconically replied 'Nope', and went on to describe how the position would have been unpleasant to play if Caruana had found the right continuation.

After three games the match score is still even, game 4 takes place on Tuesday at 15.00 in London.
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Game 2 of the World Chess Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana was drawn in 49 moves.

Carlsen started the game solidly by playing 1 d4. A Queen's Gambit Declined appeared on the board with the World Champion trying out the complex Bf4 variation. Fabiano Caruana played an unusual line and was clearly more familiar with the opening as Carlsen consumed valuable time at the board. After Carlsen's 17th move Caruana still had 1 hour and 32 minutes on the clock while Carlsen had just 39 minutes. At that point the World Champion decided to compromise, allowing exchanges that left a simpler and drier position on the board. Although Carlsen had the slightly inferior position, he held the ensuing endgame comfortably.


The first surprise came for Carlsen with 10...Rd8.


Caruana explained afterwards that this is an old move that has fallen out of fashion: 'I was kind of excited to try this out'.
Magnus admitted in the press conference that his main thought on seeing this move was 'Oh s**t!'
The critical response is 11 Nd2, but fearing some deep preparation, Carlsen preferred unpretentious development with 11 Be2. His position was quite playable, but he underestimated a couple of Caruana's moves, fell behind on the clock, and that influenced his decision when it came to the critical juncture at move 17.


Here Carlsen had the chance to make a temporary piece sacrifice with 17 Nxf7, leading to highly complex positions. But given that Caruana was probably still following a prepared line, the World Champion decided to err on the side of caution.
'I thought at this point there was way better equity in playing it safe and trying to secure a draw' - Carlsen.
Caruana confirmed that he was still in his opening preparation: 'I knew this position was okay for Black...'
After Carlsen's safe move, pieces were exchanged, ultimately leading to a rook and pawn endgame where Caruana had an extra pawn, but no real winning chances and a draw was quickly agreed after three hours play.
After two games the match score remains level. The third game takes place on Monday at 15.00 in London.

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Caruana – Carlsen 2018 game 8 LIVE!

Chessdom - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 16:38

Replay: Caruana – Carlsen game 1 / Carlsen – Caruana game 2 / Caruana – Carlsen game 3 / Carlsen – Caruana game 4 / Caruana – Carlsen game 5 / Carlsen – Caruana game 6 / Carlsen – Caruana game 7

Hello everyone and welcome to the live coverage of the 2018 World Chess Championship match between the reigning champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and the challenger Fabiano Caruana (USA). In this live blog + live games from WCC 2018 we will be covering the event Carlsen – Caruana with the latest news, developments, interviews, and in-game details.

The most important feature here will be the lines of analysis by Lc0 – the open Neural Network, and the TCEC champion Stockfish running on a Super Computer of 128 cores.

 

Refresh the page to get the latest updates

 

Current move eval: Move 33: Lc0 +0.9 , SF[128] +0.41

Update 19:35 CET

We come to the 8th draw of the match. Carlsen dodged a bullet, after Caruana missed 23. Rae1 and later blundered with 24. h3

Update 18:27 CET

And Caruana misses it! Total drama for the American player, goes 24. h3? and blunders

Lc0: 25. Nc4 Qg6 26. Nxd6 Qxd6 27. h4 gxh4 28. Qxf4 Qxf4 29. Rxf4 h5 30. Re1 Bg4 31. Rf6 Rxf6 32. Bxf6 b5 33. Re7 Rf8 34. Bxh4 Rf7 35. Re5 Rf5 36. Re8+ Rf8 37. Re7 Rf7 38. Re5 Rf5 39. Re8+ Rf8 40. Re4 Rf5 41. Re6 Rxd5 42. Rxa6 Rd1+ 43. Kh2 Rd2 44. Rg6+ Kf7 45. Rf6+ Ke8

SF128: 25. Nc4 Rd8 26. Rfe1 Qg6 27. Nxd6

Update 18:15 CET

23. Rad1 ?! for Caruana is ok, but much better was 23. Rae1. In the current position Qh5 is critical:

Lc0: 24. Qh5 Bg6 25. Qh3 Rf7 26. Rfe1 Bf5 27. Qh6 Bc2 28. Rd2 Bf8 29. Qh3 Bf5 30. Qh5 Bg6 31. Qd1 Bg7 32. d6 Qf8 33. Bxg7 Kxg7 34. Na4 Rf5 35. Re7+ Kh6 36. Nb6 Rd8 37. Nd7 Rxd7 38. Rxd7 f3 39. gxf3 Rxf3 40. Re7 c4 41. d7 Rd3 42. Re3 Qc5 43. Rxd3 cxd3

SF128: 24. Qh5 Bd3 25. h4 Be2 26. Kf2

The second possibility is Nc4 with 24. Nc4 g4 25. Qf2 f3 26. Rfe1 Rc8 27. gxf3 gxf3 28. Kh1 Bg6 29. Re6 Bf4 30. d6 Qg5 31. Ne5 Qg2+ 32. Qxg2 , but besides those Caruana has no other option on the plate.

Update 17:45 CET

20… Bf5 is acknowledgement for Carlsen that he has a bad position and needs active play, however, it is also a blunder increasing ever further Caruana’s advantage.

A critical line now 21. c5 Bf6 22. c6 Qc7 23. Rc1 Nxf3+ 24. Qxf3 Bxc3 25. Qxc3 Rf7 26. h3 Rbf8 27. Rce1 h5 28. Re2 Rg7 29. b4 Qd8 30. Kh1 Rc7 31. Kh2 Rg7 32. Qf3 Rh7 33. Ree1 Rff7 34. Qc3 Rhg7 35. Qd4 Rf8 36. Kg1 Rgf7 37. Re6 Rh7 38. Re2 Rg7 39. Rff2 Qc7

Update 17:38 CET

Close to 1 hour advantage on the clock for Caruana suggests that Carlsen is well aware of the difficult position he got himself in. Lc0 pointed the difficulty after move 18 to have a good move. Carlsen tried to be active with …g5 and the immediate reply of Caruana showed that the Norwegian has gone right into Caruana’s home preparation.

Update 17:30 CET

Stockfish running on 128 cores, the highest analysis ever made available for online games, suggests the following line with +1.4 eval

Update 17:18 CET

And Fabiano Caruana is spot on! With little hesitation he plays the critical line.

Update 17:15 CET

SF128: 20. Bc3 Qc7 21. b4 Bf6 22. Rc1 Bf5 23. Bxe5 Bxe5 24. Bg4 Bb2 25. Bxf5 Rxf5 26. Rc2 Bg7 27. Qd3 Rbf8 28. c5 dxc5 29. d6 Qc6 30. d7 Bd4+ 31. Kh1 R5f7 32. bxc5 Bf6 33. Qc4 Bd8 34. Rd2 Kg7 35. Rd6 Qb5 36. Qxb5 axb5 37. a6 bxa6 38. Nd5

Update 16:56 CET

And we have the first !boom of the game, Carlsen goes …g5 and engines do not like it at all. Lc0 is at +1,4 and SF 128 is at +0.52. Of course, Caruana has to find 19.c4 now, although g3 or Kh1 are also perfectly fine for keeping the advantage.

Lc0: 19. c4 Bf6 20. Bb4 f4 21. Be4 Ng4 22. Nxc8 Rxc8 23. Qxg4 Rxc4 24. Bxd6 Qxd6 25. Rae1 Kh8 26. Bf3 Qc5+ 27. Kh1 Qxa5 28. h3 Qc5 29. Kh2 Rb4 30. Rc1 Rc4 31. Rcd1 Qc8 32. Qh5 Qd7 33. Rfe1 Rd4 34. Rxd4 Bxd4 35. Qxg5 Qg7 36. Qe7 Bxb2 37. d6 Ba3 38. Bxb7 Bb4 39. Re6 Qg3+

SF 128: 19. c4 Bf6 20. Bc3 Qc7 21. Qc2 f4 22. Be2 Ng6 23. Bxf6 Rxf6 24. b4 Bf5 25. Qc3 Qg7 26. Rae1

Update 16:47 CET

Lc0 continues to the excited

Lc0 line 1 +0,5: 17. .. exf3 18. Bxf3 Bf6 19. c3 Bd7 20. Be2 Qe7 21. Qc2 Bg5 22. c4 f4 23. Nxd7 Qxd7 24. Kh1 Rbe8 25. Rf2 f3 26. Bxg5 Qg4 27. gxf3 Qxg5 28. Raf1 Qe3 29. f4 Rf6 30. f5 Ref8 31. b4 g6 32. Rg2 Qd4 33. Rgf2 Qe3 34. c5 Qd4 35. cxd6 Qxd5+ 36. Kg1 Qxd6 37. Qe4 gxf5 38. Qxb7

Lc0 line 2 +1.01 17. .. Nd7 18. Be3 Bf6 19. Nc4 b5 20. axb6 Nxb6 21. Na5 Qc7 22. Nc6 Ra8 23. c4 Nd7 24. Ra2 Bb7 25. Na5 Rab8

SF 128 keeps calm, but also grows to +0.41 with 17. .. exf3 18. Bxf3 f4 19. Be2 Bg5 20. Nxc8 Qxc8 21. Bc3 Qc5+ 22. Qd4 Qc7 23. Qb4 Rbe8 24. Rae1 g6 25. Bd1 f3 26. gxf3 Rf4 27. Qb3 Qd7 28. Kh1 Rh4 29. Bxe5 dxe5 30. Rg1 Bf4 31. Rg2 Rf8 32. c3 Qh3 33. Re4 Rh5 34. Qb6 Bxh2 35. Qe6+ Qxe6 36. dxe6 Bf4+ 37. Kg1 Re8 38. Rb4 Rh4 39. Rxb7 Rxe6

Update 16:25 CET

Lc0 starts to get impressed by the position of white, with the eval climbing to +0.52

Lc0: 14. .. e4 15. Nc4 Ne5 16. Nb6 Rb8 17. f4 exf3 18. Bxf3 Bf6 19. c3 Bd7 20. Be2 Qe7 21. Qc2 Bg5 22. Rf2 f4 23. Nxd7 Nxd7 24. Bg4 Ne5 25. Be6+ Kh8 26. Raf1 f3 27. gxf3 Bh4 28. Rg2 Nxf3+ 29. Kh1 Nxd2 30. Rxf8+ Rxf8 31. Qxd2 Rf1+ 32. Rg1 Qf6 33. Qe2

SF 128 is still at +0.21 and has different approach

SF 128 10. .. O-O 11. O-O Nd7 12. Bd2 a6 13. Na3 a5 14. f4 f5 15. c3 Bf6 16. fxe5 Nxe5 17. Kh1 g5 18. Nb5 f4 19. c4 b6 20. Bc3 Qe7 21. b4 axb4 22. Bxb4 Rd8 23. a5 Bg7 24. Bc3 bxa5 25. Rxa5 Ra6 26. Qc2 Rxa5 27. Bxa5 Re8 28. Bb4

Update 16:10 CET

SF 128 +0.22: 10. .. O-O 11. O-O Nd7 12. Bd2 a6 13. Na3 a5 14. f4 f5 15. c3 Bf6 16. fxe5 Nxe5 17. Kh1 g5 18. Nb5 f4 19. c4 b6 20. Bc3 Qe7 21. b4 axb4 22. Bxb4 Rd8 23. a5 Bg7 24. Bc3 bxa5 25. Rxa5 Ra6 26. Qc2 Rxa5 27. Bxa5 Re8 28. Bb4

Lc0 +0.31: 10. .. O-O 11. O-O Nd7 12. Bd2 a6 13. Na3 a5 14. Nb5 f5 15. f4 Bf6 16. Be3 exf4 17. Bxf4 Ne5 18. Kh1 g5 19. Bd2 Qe7 20. Qe1 Bd7 21. Bxa5 Ng6 22. Bb4 Be5 23. Nc7 Rac8 24. Ne6 Bxe6 25. dxe6 Qxe6 26. Qd2 g4 27. Rad1 Rf6 28. b3 Kg7 29. Bc4 Rxc4 30. bxc4 Qxc4 31. Rb1 f4 32. Qd3 Qc6 33. Bd2 Nh4 34. Rf2 g3 35. hxg3 fxg3 36. Re2

Update 16:03 CET

Now we are in the Sveshnikov variation 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 , they continue in the main line

Update 16:00 CET

The first move is 1.e4 by the guest of honor Demis Hassabis from Google Deep Mind’s Alpha Zero.

For everyone’s surprise it is Sicialian, but not Rossolimo, but the Open Sicilian 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4
Update 15:35 CET

Fabiano Caruana has the white pieces today. Will we see another theoretical battle in the Rossolimo variation? Or will Caruana try 1.d4 or 1.c4 to mix things up?

Update 15:30 CET

It is time for game 7 of the World Chess Championship 2018. After seven consecutive draws the audience is hungry for a win by any of the players. However, the stakes are high and it is less likely that players will take risks. A decisive result at any point from now on might very well mean the match is over.

Watch live video from TCEC_Chess_TV on www.twitch.tv

Categories: Ενημέρωση

WWCC in Khanty-Mansiysk: First game of the final match ends in a draw.

FIDE - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 02:00



Women’s World Championship: First game of the final match ends in a draw

The first game between the defending World Champion Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia) was played on November 19 in Khanty-Mansiysk. The World Champion had White.


A hybrid of the King's Indian and Gruenfeld Defense arose. The game quickly became very concrete, and demanded a lot of calculation from both players. White claimed an opening advantage, as Black's dark-squared bishop remained enclosed on the kingside. The players abstained from castling for quite a while. If White had maintained the grip and traded the queens, Black's position would become precarious, however, Ju Wenjun played a little too soft, and Lagno was able to carry out a freeing break.


Both sides were under the heavy time pressure and missed a number of promising opportunities in the subsequent sharp battle. At some point, the champion made a serious mistake, but was not punished for it. Kateryna decided to simplify the game, once again giving White an edge, however, Ju Wenjun played very solidly, with a draw in hand. A draw was agreed to on the move 36.


The second game will be played on Tuesday, November 20. Kateryna Lagno has White.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the match is tied after four games, a tie-break will ensue.

Official website

Kateryna Lagno advances to the Final

The tie-break between Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk took place on November 17 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Lagno played White in the first game. In the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez Muzychuk improved her play compared to the previous game, and White did not get anything real out of the opening. Lagno went for the most principled continuation, trading an exchange for two pawns, but after the queens went off the board, it was White who needed to play accurately to hold the balance. However, Mariya returned the material, transposing to the opposite-colored bishop ending, which turned out difficult for Black. In the time trouble Muzychuk was unable to defend precisely. Lagno won two pawns and then stretched Black's defense to break through her blockade. Muzychuk resigned on move 62.

 
White went for the Anti-Berlin setup in the second game. Both players castled queenside. Black's position in the middlegame looked more pleasant, as the white bishop was out of play. Black developed a strong attack against the king, utilizing remote positions of White's pieces. The monarch was forced to run, losing a lot of material along the way. Muzychuk gave up having made her 28th move.


Kateryna won the match 3-1 to qualify for the Final of the Women's World Championship.


Therefore, the fate of the chess crown will be decided in the final match between Ju Wenjun (China) and Kateryna Lagno (Russia). The Chinese player will start with the white pieces.
November 18 is a rest day.

The final match consists of four games with classical time control. If the score after four games is 2-2, a tie-break will ensue on the November 23.

Official website

Ju Wenjun advances to Final, Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk to play tie-break

The return games of the Semi-final were played on November 16 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

Ju Wenjun had White against Alexandra Kosteniuk and obtained a stable advantage after the opening. In a Hedgehog position White maneuvered slowly, refraining from any breakthroughs almost until the control move, and even then did not follow it up with more energetic action. Black carried out her break on the queenside, which simplified the position considerably. In the subsequent game, the World Champion did not give her opponent a fighting chance, and the game was drawn in a rook ending.


Ju Wenjun won her match 1.5-0.5 and advanced to the Final.
 
Kateryna Lagno and Mariya Muzychuk discussed the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez. Lagno sacrificed a pawn, which seemed to have taken Muzychuk by surprise, as the Ukrainian began to spend a lot of time on her moves. Later White regained material under favorable circumstances, and obtained a pleasant ending with rooks and a bishop. However, the opposite-colored bishops helped Black to hold a draw.

This match will be played out on tie-break tomorrow. Lagno plays White in the first game.


The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Official website

Ju Wenjun begins Semi-final with a win

  The Semi-final of the Women's World Championship started in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 15.

The defending World Champion Ju Wenjun had Black against Alexandra Kosteniuk. The players went for the French defense. After the opening, White's position looked promising, as she enjoyed a spatial advantage. However, Black regrouped nicely and won White's overextended a-pawn. Alexandra did not find the best move at the critical moment, and her position deteriorated quickly. However, then the Chinese missed the strongest continuation, which could give her a decisive edge. Further simplifications followed, but the extra pawn remained and eventually proclaimed itself. Ju Wenjun celebrated victory.


Mariya Muzychuk made a draw with Kateryna Lagno. In the Berlin Variation of the Ruy Lopez neither side could claim any advantage. A draw on the move 23 became a logical conclusion of the game.



The return games will be played on November 16. If the matches are drawn after two games, the tie-break will ensue on the next day.

Official website


Alexandra Kosteniuk and Mariya Muzychuk advance to Semi-final of Women’s World Championship

The Quarterfinals of the Women's World Championship were concluded on November 14 with two tie-breaks: Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated Anna Muzychuk, and Zhansaya Abdumalik lost to Mariya Muzychuk.

Kosteniuk played the first game with White and obtained a promising position after the opening. Then Black managed to activate her pieces and got a strong counterplay. However, being under heavy time pressure, Muzychuk made several mistakes, giving Kosteniuk a decisive advantage.


Muzychuk started the second game with 1.f4 and got an overwhelming advantage already in the opening. However, with very tenacious defense Alexandra managed to hold a difficult endgame. Looking for possible winning chances, Muzychuk avoided a number of drawing lines, and Black even got an edge. In the end Kosteniuk secured a draw from the position of strength and advanced to the Semi-final with the overall 1.5-0.5 win.


Mariya Muzychuk started the tie-break with a Black victory: Abdumalik failed to convince in the opening and then was gradually outplayed in the endgame. In the return game Abdumalik managed to create a complicated battle. Muzychuk sacrificed a piece, but her compensation proved insufficient. With some adventures in the mutual time trouble Abdumalik converted an extra piece, and the players proceeded to "10+10" stage.

 
The first 10-minute game was highly dramatic. Zhansaya Abdumalik was defending for the entire game and was very close to a draw. In the endgame R+N vs R she had the right to claim a draw according to the 50-move rule, despite being mated in two moves. However, instead of claiming a draw, Abdumalik resigned.


However, Zhansaya demonstrated her fighting spirit and came back in the second game. The match continued by two more blitz games with faster time control.

Mariya Muzychuk won the first 5+3 blitz as White, then got a much better position as Black and forced a draw by perpetual, thus advancing to the next stage.


Semi-final pairings:

Alexandra Kosteniuk - Ju Wenjun
Mariya Muzychuk - Kateryna Lagno

All players who had advanced to the Semi-final except for the future champion automatically qualified for the 2019 Women's Candidates Tournament.

Official website



Ju Wenjun and Kateryna Lagno become the first semi-finalists of Women’s World Championship


The return games of the Quarterfinals were played on November 13 in the Ugra Chess Academy.

Lei Tingjie and Kateryna Lagno entered a complex Ruy Lopez position. According to the Russian, Lei surprised her in the opening, however, Black managed to obtain a harmonious position. The Chinese made a mistake in a time trouble, and was forced to part with material. Lagno gradually overcame the resistance, won the second game as well and advanced to the semi-final.



Ju Wenjun won as Black against Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova. The World Champion found the strongest continuation in the position with opposite side castling, after which White had to give up a pawn. Later White made another mistake and lost even more material, however, in a clearly winning position Ju Wenjun made a mistake herself, giving White significant drawing chances. Still, Tokhirjonova's defense of the resulting endgame was not precise, and Black eventually won this dramatic game. Ju Wenjun also proceeded to the semi-final.



Mariya Muzychuk once again showed her incredible fighting spirit, winning as Black against Zhansaya Abdumalik to equalize the match score. After the opening Muzychuk sacrificed an exchange for a pawn. The bishop pair gave Black sufficient compensation, and Muzychuk gradually outplayed her opponent in the middlegame. Abdumalik had to return the material with interest, but there was no way out for White. This match will continue on tie-break tomorrow.



Anna Muzychuk and Alexandra Kosteniuk made a second draw and will also play the tie-break.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

A. Kosteniuk - A. Muzychuk

Z. Abdumalik - M. Muzychuk

All players in the Semifinal except the future champion qualify for the 2019 Women's Candidates Tournament

Official website





Round 4: Kateryna Lagno and Zhansaya Abdumalik begin with victories

The Quarterfinals of the Women's World Chess Championship started in Khanty-Mansiysk on November 12.

Kateryna Lagno celebrated a convincing victory over Lei Tingjie. The Chinese player went for a very passive opening setup as Black. White gradually developed her advantage and kept pushing even after the exchange of queens, utilizing her strong bishop pair. After white rooks broke to the 7th rank, Black's position became totally lost.



Former World Champion Mariya Muzychuk, playing White, lost to the 18-year-old Zhansaya Abdumalik. The Ukrainian sacrificed a pawn for the initiative and soon regained the material with interest. However, holding onto the extra pawn was difficult because of the insecure position of her king. Abdumalik utilized a first clear inaccuracy of her opponent, delivering a nice tactical shot. Muzychuk lost a piece and resigned on the 57th move.



A. Kosteniuk-A. Muzychuk ended in a draw. In the Sveshnikov/Chelyabinsk variation of the Sicilian, Black sacrificed a pawn, obtaining sufficient counterplay in return. A draw was agreed after series of exchanges.



Another rising star of the championship, Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova successfully held as Black against Ju Wenjun. The World Champion had an advantage after the opening, but it somehow evaporated in the middlegame. The resulting rook ending with an extra pawn to White was drawn, and the players signed a peace treaty soon after the control move.



The second games of the round will be played on November 13, the tie-breaks will follow on the next day.

It is to be recalled that all the semifinalists except the future champion will qualify for the upcoming 2019 Women’s Candidates Tournament.

Pairings and results https://ugra2018.fide.com/pairings/
Photos https://ugra2018.fide.com/2018/11/12/photo-round-4-game-1/
Videos https://ugra2018.fide.com/category/video-en/


Round 3 of the Women’s World Championship is over

The tie-break of the Women's World Championship was played on November 11 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

The 19-year-old Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova surprisingly defeated the higher rated Valentina Gunina. Tokhirjonova won both rapid games in sharp tactical struggle, which is usually considered Gunina's territory.



Lei Tingjie was stronger than Alisa Galliamova in both 25-minute games and advanced to the Quarterfinal.



Anna Muzychuk and Antoaneta Stefanova drew their first game. In the second game Muzychuk played Black and celebrated a victory, joining her sister at the next stage.



Zhansaya Abdumalik convincingly defeated Jolanta Zawadzka in the first game, and secured a draw from the position of strength in the second game. The player from Kazakhstan is also in the Quarterfinal.



Alexandra Kosteniuk outplayed Harika Dronavalli in the first rapid game, but did not manage to hold a slightly worse endgame in the second one. In 10+10 blitz games the Russian was stronger in the first game and confidently drew the second one, thus advancing to the 4th round.



Natalija Pogonina and Kateryna Lagno produced the first Armageddon at the Championship. They made two draws in rapid chess and moved on to blitz. Long blitz games brought another two draws. In 5+3 games the players exchanged blows: Natalija lost the first game, but showed her famous fighting spirit and came back in the second one. In the “sudden death” game Kateryna Lagno took White and managed to outplay her opponent in the endgame.



Quarterfinal pairings:

Ju Wenjun - Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova
Mariya Muzychuk - Zhansaya Abdumalik
Kateryna Lagno - Lei Tingjie
Alexandra Kosteniuk - Anna Muzychuk

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

Two quarterfinalists are determined, six tie-breaks are ahead

The return games of the third round of the Women's World Championship were played on November 10.

The reigning World Champion Ju Wenjun was first to advance to the Quarterfinals, drawing the second game with her 22-year-old compatriot Zhai Mo and thus securing the overall match win.



Former World Champion Mariya Muzychuk eliminated the most sensational player of the first two rounds, the 18-year-old Mobina Alinasab. In the second game of the match the Ukrainian got an advantage after the opening, gradually improved her position and won a good fighting game, winning the match 1.5 to 0.5.



Valentina Gunina managed to level the score against Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova, and the outcome of the match will be decided on the tie-break tomorrow. According to the Russian, this will be her first tie-break ever.



The 18-year-old Zhansaya Abdumalik, who plays her first World Championship, also succeeded in coming back in her match against Jolanta Zawadzka. The fight will be continued on the tie-break.



After a lengthy struggle Antoaneta Stefanova squeezed a victory over Anna Muzychuk, thus tying the match score and advancing to the tie-breaks.



The classical part of the matches Harika-Kosteniuk, Lagno-Pogonina, and Galliamova-Lei Tingjie ended in draws, rapid and possibly blitz games to follow tomorrow.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

Muzychuk Anna - Stefanova Antoaneta
Pogonina Natalija - Lagno Kateryna
Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim - Gunina Valentina
Galliamova Alisa - Lei Tingjie
Kosteniuk Alexandra - Harika Dronavalli
Abdumalik Zhansaya - Zawadzka Jolanta

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


Round 3 begins in Khanty-Mansiysk

The first games of the Round 3 of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 9.

Antoaneta Stefanova suffered an opening disaster against Anna Muzychuk. According to the Ukrainian, facing the Petroff defense was rather surprising. “I am not sure whether Antoaneta ever played this opening before, and she clearly was not ready for the variation I chose. Her 9th move was inaccurate and allowed me to seize space and obtain a good game”, said Anna afterwards.

Already around the move 15 Black was in a serious trouble, and White successfully utilized advantages of her position. The former World Champion resigned on the move 26, unable to defend against mating threats.



Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova produced a mild sensation beating Valentina Gunina. Their game was double-edged, but in the mutual time trouble the Russian probably overestimated her chances, refusing a number of drawing options, made a fatal mistake and lost very quickly.



Jolanta Zawadzka surprised Zhansaya Abdumalik in the opening and got a promising position as White. The grandmaster from Poland produced a quality strategic game, won an exchange and eventually celebrated a win.



Ju Wenjun had Black against Zhai Mo. The younger Chinese player miscalculated a combination in the middlegame, lost an exchange, and was unable to survive.

Mobina Alinasab obtained a serious advantage after the opening against Mariya Muzychuk, and methodically applied pressure against Black's position. The game transposed to a queen ending with an extra pawn to White, however, when Alinasab was on a brink of a victory, she committed a big mistake, allowing Black to survive with a rather miraculous perpetual check.



Alexandra Kosteniuk held as Black against Harika Dronavalli, defending a difficult endgame without a pawn. The games Galliamova-Lei Tingjie and Pogonina-Lagno also ended peacefully.



The second games of the round will be played on Saturday, November 10. The tied matches will proceed to the tie-breaks on November 11.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


16 players continue fighting for the chess crown

The tie-breaks of the second round of the World Women's Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk were played on November 8. Once again all matches except one were decided in rapid chess.

The Russians Kateryna Lagno and Alexandra Kosteniuk won their matches against Hoang Thanh Trang and Ni Shiqun respectively with the same score – 2-0.

Zhansaya Abdumalik also won both games against Zhao Xue; in the second game the Chinese player lost on time in a drawn position, but it did not affect the outcome of the match.

Antoaneta Stefanova defeated Dinara Saduakassova in the first game, and secured the match win with a draw from the position of strength in the second game.



Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova defeated the former World Champion Tan Zhongyi in the first game and held the balance in the second game.

Harika Dronavalli missed a victory in the first game with Bela Khotenashvili, but showed strong character, winning the second game and a match.



The match between Mariya Muzychuk and Ekaterina Atalik was quite dramatic. Atalik probably missed some chances in the first game, which ended in a draw, and suffered an opening disaster in the second game. Muzychuk won and advanced to the third round.

Natalija Pogonina succesfully defended two difficult positions against Zhu Jiner in rapid chess, and then crushed the opponent in the first 10-minute game. In the second game the Chinese fought desperately, but was unable to get realistic winning chances, and eventually lost.



Round 3 matches:

Zhai Mo - Ju Wenjun
Jolanta Zawadzka – Zhansaya Abdumalik
Natalija Pogonina – Kateryna Lagno
Anna Muzychuk – Antoaneta Stefanova
Harika Dronavalli – Alexandra Kosteniuk
Alisa Galliamova - Lei Tingjie
Mobina Alinasab - Mariya Muzychuk
Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova – Valentina Gunina

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 



Favorites keep leaving Khanty-Mansiysk

The second games of the second round of the Women’s World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk were played on November 7.

Having defeated Anastasia Bodnaruk in both games, Anna Muzychuk became the first qualifier to the third round.

Mobina Alinasab continues to surprise chess fans: although her position after the opening looked rather suspicious, the Iranian outplayed Monika Socko in the middlegame and won the match 2-0.



However, the main surprise of the round occurred in the match between Humpy Koneru and Jolanta Zawadzka – the grandmaster from Poland, playing Black, defeated the rating favorite and advanced to the third round.



Lei Tingjie was stronger than Nana Dzagnidze in the second game of their match and also moved on to the third round.

Aleksandra Goryachkina failed to strike back in the Russian derby against Alisa Galliamova. The more experienced Galliamova had the initiative throughout the game and won convincingly.



Ju Wenjun successfully defended a difficult position against Irina Krush and secured the overall victory – 1.5 to 0.5.

Valentina Gunina won a complicated game as Black against Anna Ushenina, and advanced to the next stage, winning her match 1.5 to 0.5.



Zhai Mo won both games against Nino Batsiashvili and joined a group of her compatriots in the third round.

Ekaterina Atalik was close to defeating Mariya Muzychuk for the second time in a row, however, she made a mistake in a very sharp position and lost. This match will be continued tomorrow on the tie-break.

Natalija Pogonina also managed to level the score against Zhu Jiner. The winner of their match will also be determined in speed chess.



The following matches featured two draws and will be decided on the tie-break: Lagno-Hoang Thanh Trang, Khotenashvili-Harika, Tokhirjonova-Tan Zhongyi, Abdumalik-Zhao Xue, Stefanova-Saduakassova, and Kosteniuk-Ni Shiqun.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Tie-break pairings:

Hoang Thanh Trang - Lagno Kateryna
Kosteniuk Alexandra - Ni Shiqun
Muzychuk Mariya - Atalik Ekaterina
Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim - Tan Zhongyi
Harika Dronavalli - Khotenashvili Bela
Saduakassova Dinara - Stefanova Antoaneta
Zhu Jiner - Pogonina Natalija
Zhao Xue - Abdumalik Zhansaya

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

Women's World Championship, Round 2: Surprises keep coming

The first games of the second round of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 6.

The 15-year-old Zhu Jiner continues to surprise chess fans. The Chinese started the second round with a convincing victory over the Russian champion Natalija Pogonina.

Mobina Alinasab produced another upset, winning as Black against Monika Socko. The Iranian outplayed her experienced opponent in the opening and developed her advantage in the middlegame. Socko's position was already precarious when she blundered a knight and resigned immediately.



The World Champion Ju Wenjun played a textbook game against Irina Krush, flawlessly converting a spatial advantage in a rook ending into a win.



Nino Batsiashvili had a promising position against Zhai Mo, however, she chose a wrong moment for a central break, and lost two pawns. The Chinese converted the material advantage confidently.

Anastasia Bodnaruk had White against Anna Muzychuk. In the opening the Russian sacrificed an exchange, however, the compensation proved insufficient, and the Ukrainian gradually overplayed her opponent.



Alisa Galliamova showed deep opening preparation against Aleksandra Goryachkina and obtained a very promising position. With series of timely executed tactical blows White won a piece and then the game.

Ekaterina Atalik outsmarted Mariya Muzychuk in a complicated minor piece ending. The former World Champion from Ukraine had to give up a piece for Black's passed pawn. During the concluding stage of the game Ekaterina showed her skill in checkmating with a knight and bishop.



The following games were drawn: Abdumalik-Zhao Xue, Zawadzka-Koneru, Dzagnidze-Lei Tingjie, Gunina-Ushenina, Kosteniuk-Ni Shiqun, Tokhirdjonova-Tan Zhongyi, Stefanova-Saduakassova, Khotenashvili-Harika, and Lagno-Hoang Thanh Trang.

 

The return games will be played on November 7.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

 

Round 1 of Women’s World Championship Completed in Khanty-Mansiysk

There were 11 tie-breaks on November 5: Lei Tingjie-Gara, Sadaukassova-Matnadze, Krush-Gaponenko, Zhukova-Ni Shiqun, Atalik-Cori, Foisor-Stefanova, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vera Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Padmini-Abdumalik, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian.

Only one match out of 11 was not decided in rapid chess.

Dinara Saduakassova defeated Ana Matnadze with the perfect 2-0 score. Lei Tingjie won against Anita Gara in a similarly convincing way. Inna Gaponenko lost the first game to Irina Krush, and was unable to come back in the second one, thus losing the rapid match 0-2.



Antoaneta Stefanova also won 2-0 against Sabina-Francesca Foisor. Deysi Cori was unable to hold Ekaterina Atalik: the Turkish player won 2-0.

Anastasia Bodnaruk defeated Sabrina Vega Gutierrez in the first rapid game. The Russian had winning chances in the second game as well, but it ended in a draw, which allowed Bodnaruk to advance to the next round.



Harika Dronavalli and Sopiko Khukhashvili ended their first game peacefully. The second game started calmly, but the endgame was head-spinning and full of mutual errors. After the dust has settled, the Indian took the upper hand and advanced to the second round.



Zhansaya Abdumalik and Rout Padmini drew their first game, but in the second one the player from Kazakhstan was stronger and proceeded to the next stage.

Hoang Thanh Trang started her tie-break against Elina Danielian with a win, and solidified her success with a draw in the second game.

Guliskhan Nakhbayeva dramatically lost to Alisa Galliamova in the first rapid game, and did not manage to equalize in the second one. A repeated Russian champion moves on to the next stage.



Only Natalia Zhukova and Ni Shiqun made two draws in rapid games, and their match advanced to slow blitz games (10+10). The struggle in the first game was very tense, but the Chinese player managed to equalize, then to seize the initiative, and eventually won the game. In the second game she held a draw from the position of strength and won the match.



Round 2 pairings:

Ju Wenjun – Krush, Zawadzka – Koneru, Lagno – Hoang Thanh Trang, Bodnaruk – A. Muzychuk, Kosteniuk – Ni Shiqun, Galliamova – Goryachkina, M. Muzychuk – Atalik, Tokhirjonova – Tan Zhongyi, Gunina – Ushenina, Socko – Alinasab, Dzagnidze – Lei Tingjie, Khotenashvili – Harika, Stefanova – Saduakassova, Zhu Jiner – Pogonina, Abdumalik – Zhao Xue, Zhai Mo – Batsiashvili.

 
Official website ugra2018.fide.com 

21 players advance to the second round of Women’s World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk

The second games of the first round of the Women's World Championship were played in the Ugra Chess Academy on November 4.

The following players advanced to the 2nd round with the perfect score: Ju Wenjun, Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Kateryna Lagno, Humpy Koneru, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Nana Dzagnidze, Nino Batsiashvili, Zhao Xue, Zhai Mo, and Zhu Jiner. The last two players defeated the higher rated Olga Girya and Lela Javakhishvili respectively.



Valentina Gunina, Tan Zhongyi, Monika Socko, Jolanta Zawadzka, Aleksandra Goryachkina, Natalija Pogonina, Anna Ushenina, and Bela Khotenashvili won their matches 1.5 to 0.5. Alina Kashlinskaya did not manage to come back after the defeat yesterday, and Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova also advanced to the next round with a draw in their second game. Mobina Alinasab caused the biggest upset of the championship so far, holding to a draw against Elisabeth Paehtz and thus advancing to the second round.



The rest of the players will face the tie-breaks on November 5:

Lei Tingjie-Gara, Saduakassova-Matnadze, Krush-Gaponenko, Zhukova-Ni Shiqun, Atalik-Cori, Foisor-Stefanova, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vera Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Padmini-Abdumalik, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian.



The tie-break will start with two games with rapid time control: 25 minutes plus 10 second per move. If the match is still tied, it will continue with two slow blitz games – 10 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. After that, if the winner is still not determined, two 5+3 blitz games will follow. Finally, those matches that are still tied, will proceed to the Armageddon game.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com  


First games of Women's World Championship played in Khanty-Mansiysk

Prior to the start of the first round, the official flag of FIDE was raised in front of the Ugra Chess Academy. This very flag was presented to Ugra Chess Federation President Vassily Filipenko during the closing ceremony of the Chess Olympiad in Batumi. As Khanty-Mansiysk will host the next Chess Olympiad in 2020, for the next two years the flag of FIDE will remain in the capital of Ugra.



Varvara Tsaregorodtseva, the 9-year-old student of the Ugra Chess Academy, U9 champion of Ugra among girls, made a symbolic first move in the game between Zhai Mo from China and the Ugra representative Olga Girya. The result of this game, however, was disappointing for local fans, as Olga Girya lost in sharp struggle.



Most rating favorites won their games, however, there was a couple of upsets. Elisabeth Pazhtz lost as White to Mobina Alinasab, a player rated significantly lower than the German. Maili-Jade Ouellet made a draw with Aleksandra Goryachkina.



A number of decisive games among closely rated players was quite high. Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova defeated Alina Kashlinskaya, Anna Ushenina won against Lilit Mkrtchian, Ni Shiqun lost to Natalia Zhukova, Monika Socko proved stronger than Yuliya Shvayger, and Lela Javakhishvili lost to Zhu Jineer.



The following games ended in a draw: Krush-Gaponenko, Vega Gutierrez-Bodnaruk, Foisor-Stefanova, Saduakassova-Matnadze, Harika-Khukhashvili, Vo Thi Kim Phung-Khotenashvili, Guseva-Zawadzka, Padmini-Abdumalik, Atalik-Cori, Hoang Thanh Trang-Danielian, Nakhbayeva-Galliamova, and Lei Tingjie-Gara.



The second games of the first round are played on Sunday, November 4. Any match that ends 1- 1 will proceed to a tie-break on the next day.

Official website ugra2018.fide.com 


FIDE Women’s World Championship Officially Opened in Khanty-Mansiysk

On November 2, the FIDE Women's World Championships started in Khanty-Mansiysk. The Opening Ceremony of the event was held in the Concert and theater center “Ugra-Classic”.

Guests and participants had a chance to enjoy fairy-tale organ melodies performed by Elena Kozemirenko before the official part of the ceremony.

The first part of the ceremony started with the presentation of 28 participating countries.

In the official part of the ceremony, Chief Federal Inspector of Ugra Dmitry Kuzmenko and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich greeted players and guests.



Dmitry Kuzmenko read out a greeting letter from the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

Arkady Dvorkovich greeted everyone in Khanty-Mansiysk and thanked the Government of Ugra and its Governor Natalya Komarova in person, organizers, the Ugra Chess Federation, and all the people involved for hosting this event on the highest level. He also reminded the players that the format of the Women’s World Championship cycle would be changed.



“I will make sure that in the future the Women's World Championship cycle will be a standard one, and three semi-finalists except for the winner will qualify for the Candidates Tournament which will determine the challenger for the next World Championship Match with higher prizes and better conditions. I would like to reassure you that we will pay more attention to the women's chess in the future. So everyone could enjoy chess in all its beauty as it is art, sport, and science”, says Arkady Dvorkovich.

After his speech, FIDE President declared the Championship open.



Before the start of the entertaining part of the ceremony the drawing of lots was carried out. The Championship’s Chief Arbiter Igor Bolotinsky invited the top seed of the Women's World Championship, the reigning world champion Ju Wenjun of China, who picked a black pawn. It means that the players with odd starting numbers will start the first game of the first round with the black pieces.

The procedure of drawing lots was followed by bright and spectacular performances of singers and musicians.

After the Opening Ceremony, a short press briefing with Governor of Ugra Natalya Komarova and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich was organized.

The first round of Championship starts on November 3 in the Ugra Chess Academy.

There shall be five rounds of matches, comprising two games per round, with the winners progressing to the next round. The 6th (final) round shall be played over four games. If the score is equal after regular games of each match, tie-break games shall be played.

Schedule: November 2 - Players Meeting / Opening Ceremony, November 3-5 - Round 1, November 6-8 - Round 2, November 9-11 - Round 3, November 12-14 - Round 4 (Quarterfinals), November 15-17 - Round 5 (Semi-final), November 18 - Free day, November 19-23 - Round 6 (Final), November 23 - Closing Ceremony.

Prize fund is USD 450,000.

Official website







Round 4: Kateryna Lagno and Zhansaya Abdumalik begin with victories

Categories: Ενημέρωση

FIDE WCCM Game 7: The Draws Continue

FIDE - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 02:00

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score Carlsen ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½           3.5 Caruana ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½           3.5
Game 7: The Draws Continue

More than half the games in regulation have been played in the World Championship match in London and neither player has been able to notch a victory.


The latest effort was Sunday in Game 7. Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, had White for the second game in a row and, for the second time in the match, he opened with 1 d4.

As he had in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, steered the game into a Queen’s Gambit Declined. The players repeated the moves from Game 2 until Carlsen, who had been outplayed in the earlier game, deviated by playing 10 Nd2. That move has been played many times before, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Caruana’s reply, 10 … Qd8, was not the best, and Carlsen soon had a slight edge. But it was no more than that and, as the game progressed, Caruana was never in any danger.

After a wholesale exchange of pieces from moves 18 to 25, chances were equal. Though the game continued until Move 40, a draw already seemed like a foregone result.

The match is now tied at 3.5 points apiece.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match has now reached the same point as the match in 2016, which also started with seven draws. At that point, Carlsen tried too hard to beat Sergey Karjakin, who was then the challenger, and lost. It would be surprising if that happened again. At the same time, except for Game 1, when Caruana was in real trouble, neither player has come close to victory. Fans, and even the players themselves, have to be wondering when or if one of the players will crack.



FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.
Game 8 is today at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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FIDE WCCM Game 6: The World Champion Escapes.

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, was on the ropes in Game 6 of the title match in London. But in a long endgame, Fabiano Caruana, the challenger, could find no way to break down Carlsen’s defenses and he was finally able to escape with a draw.


The result left the match tied the halfway point at three points apiece; all six games in the contest have ended in draws.


The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund).


In Game 6, Carlsen, who is from Norway, had White and started with 1 e4. It was Carlsen’s third game with White and, in all three games, he has chosen a different opening move. Caruana, who is American, replied 1 … e5 and after Carlsen continued 2 Nf3, Caruana chose the Petroff, or Russian, Defense. That was not a surprise as Caruana had employed the defense with great success when he won the Candidates tournament in Berlin earlier this year to qualify for the title match. 


The game continued down an obscure branch of the Petroff that Carlsen had doubtless studied carefully. Caruana demonstrated he also was well prepared as he navigated some of the intricacies with no problem.

After 15 moves, the position was symmetrical and the game seemed headed for a draw, which also was no surprise, as the Petroff has long had a reputation of being drawish. The game continued, however, partly because there is a rule in the match that games must be at least 30 moves, and also because neither player had any interest in agreeing to an early peace.

On Move 22, Carlsen made what turned out to be a small, but subtle error by positioning his light-squared bishop on a file that could be opened. Caruana was able to gain time to develop his rooks by attacking the bishop and that allowed him to take over the initiative.

Carlsen was in no immediate danger, but Caruana had nagging pressure against White’s position. By Move 34, the players had reached an endgame in which each had his bishop pair and a knight and a set of six pawns.

Just after the first time control at Move 40, Carlsen made another small error and was forced to trade one of his remaining pieces for three of Caruana’s pawns. Nominally, that is about an even trade, but, at the tail end of the sequence, Caruana was able to win another of Carlsen’s pawns.

Carlsen was clearly in trouble, but Caruana only had two pawns left and if Carlsen could trade them, the game would be a draw. The exchange of one pawn was impossible to prevent, but Carlsen could not easily get to the second. Computer evaluations showed a clear edge for Caruana.

Computers do not understand endgames very well, however. And Carlsen is one of the greatest endgame virtuoso’s in history. He found a plan that involved sacrificing his last queenside pawn to allow his king to infiltrate Caruana’s king side. Though Carlsen’s king now had almost no room to maneuver, it could support the advance of his h pawn if Caruana tried to go after Carlsen’s f pawn to clear the path for his own remaining f pawn.

For nearly 20 moves, Caruana tried to outflank Carlsen, but it was not possible. Carlsen had built a fortress. The game was drawn on Move 80, after six-and-a-half hours of play. A curious facet of the match is that Black has had equal chances or an edge in every one of the games; neither player’s strategy with White has been effective.


FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is also supported by PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner; Kaspersky Lab as the Official Cybersecurity Partner; PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match; Unibet as the Official Betting Partner.


Game 7 is on Sunday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

Caruana will once again have Black. The way that the match has unfolded, that may be an advantage.

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Game 4: The Defense Holds Again

Game 4 of the World Championship on Tuesday ended as the first three had – with a draw. It was also the shortest game of the match, lasting 34 moves and three hours.


As in Game 3, neither player made any obvious or big error. Indeed, Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, who had White, chose the English (1 c4), an opening that generally does not put much pressure on Black. After Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, replied with 1 … e5 (essentially the Sicilian Defense with colors reversed), he had little trouble developing his pieces or establishing equal chances.

By Move 20, the queens, both sets of knights and the light-squared bishops had all been exchanged and though there was some imbalance in the pawn structure, neither player had particularly good prospects for a breakthrough. They agreed to a draw soon after.

The match now is tied at two points apiece.


The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

After a great deal of excitement in Game 1, which lasted 115 moves and which Caruana nearly lost, the match has settled down, with neither player having any significant winning chances in the last three games.


That is not really a surprise.

The players in World Championship matches are always incredibly well prepared and they are also reluctant to take big risks because falling behind in such a match is very dangerous.

Carlsen and Caruana are also fairly evenly matched, judging both by their rankings, Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and the difference in their ratings – three points, which is only a whisker.

As the match progresses, the tension will mount. Normally, that would favor the champion, who not only has more match experience, but also would have an advantage in the tie-breakers, as they are played at faster time controls, at which he excels and at which Caruana is not nearly as proficient.


However, in the 2016 title match against Sergey Karjakin of Russia, it was Carlsen who cracked first as he lost his patience and overpressed in Game 8, eventually losing. He had to fight back in Game 10 to tie the match before prevailing in the tie-breakers. Has Carlsen learned from that experience? Time will tell.

Wednesday is a rest day. The match resumes with Game 5 on Thursday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 3: An error-free day.

After three games of the World Championship, neither player has made a dent in the other’s armor. All the games have ended in draws.


On Monday, in Game 3, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, had White for the second time in the match and, for the second time, he opened with 1 e4. As he had in Game 1, Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion from Norway, replied with the Sicilian Defense (1 … c5) and Caruana again replied with the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5). The players repeated the same first five moves before Carlsen deviated first by moving his queen instead of his king knight.
The change was subtle and did not result in any major shift in the dynamic balance of the position. Indeed, unlike in the first game, when Caruana got into trouble, in this game he was never in any real danger. But neither was Carlsen. As the game proceeded and pieces and pawns were gradually exchanged, chances remained equal as neither player made any mistake.

 


In the end, Caruana sacrificed his remaining piece, a knight, to eliminate the last pawn that Carlsen had any chance to promote to a queen. With no winning chances for either side, the players agreed to a draw after 49 moves.
The match now is tied at 1.5 points apiece.
The match is best-of-12 games with a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points will be the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breaker games.)

 



The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at the College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Depont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that is in more than 100 countries.

Though the match is only three games old, one theme has already emerged: Black is having no trouble equalizing out of the opening. (Indeed, the player with Black has, if anything, had an advantage in each game.)

In this respect, Caruana may already be a bit worried about his match strategy as he has avoided mixing things up with Carlsen on the White side of a Sicilian Defense by playing 3 d4, the most popular third move. Though the Rossolimo Variation (3 Bb5) certainly holds dangers for Black, it may be necessary for Caruana to enter the myriad complications of the main lines of the Sicilian after 3 d4 if he hopes to crack Carlsen’s defense.

Or Caruana may have to resort to a different first move altogether, such as 1 d4. His opening choice in Game 5, when he again has White will be very interesting.



In the meantime, there is Game 4, which is Tuesday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 2: A Fair Result

Two games into the World Championship and neither player in the title match has managed to score a win, but both have now been under pressure.

Saturday, in Game 2, Fabiano Caruana, the American challenger, who had Black, emerged from the opening with a small but distinct advantage because the pawns of Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian World Champion, were far advanced and difficult to defend. But Carlsen was able to force an endgame in which each player only had a rook and all the remaining pawns were on one side of the board, making Carlsen’s defensive task much easier.



After the first time control and 49 moves, the players agreed to the draw.

The match is tied at a point apiece.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The venue for the event is in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building. Fans can watch online at Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.



The opening in Game 2 was a Queen’s Gambit Declined, with Carlsen choosing to play 5 Bf4 rather than the slightly more traditional 5 Bg5. It is an opening that he has used before and with great success, so it could not have been a surprise to Caruana.

Indeed, with 6 … c5, Caruana attacked Carlsen’s center. This is a known and sharp line , but Caruana proved better prepared with Carlsen consuming much time in solving new problems. Caruana soon established an edge by breaking up Carlsen’s queen side pawns.

A series of exchanges followed that saddled Carlsen with broken pawns on the kingside and a far advanced, but weak d pawn that would inevitably fall. But the reduced material, and Carlsen’s lead in development, allowed him to avoid real trouble.



Though Caruana had an extra pawn, he agreed to a draw after 49 moves. He probably saw no reason to try to repeat the 115-move marathon of Game 1, when Carlsen had an extra pawn and tried to squeeze out a victory in a position that offered no real hope for success.

There is a rest day on Sunday before the match resumes with Game 3 on Monday at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

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Game 1: A Near Miss for Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen, the World Champion, nearly got the perfect result – a win – on Friday in Game 1 of his title match against Fabiano Caruana. But at several critical moments, Carlsen missed his best moves, allowing Caruana to eke out a draw.

Though the result was a disappointment for Carlsen, it was anything but that for fans. The game stretched 115 moves and nearly six hours before the players split the point.



Carlsen, 27, who is from Norway, is making his third title defense, having captured the crown in 2013, when he beat Viswanathan Anand of India. Caruana, 26, who is American, is playing his first match for the title. Carlsen is ranked No. 1 in the world, while Caruana is No. 2. It is the first time since 1990, when Garry Kasparov faced Anatoly Karpov, that Nos. 1 and 2 have faced off for the undisputed title. The match, which is being held in central London at The College in Holborn, an historic, Victorian-style building, is organized under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, or FIDE, the game’s governing body, and World Chess, the official organizer of the World Championship cycle.

The match is being televised on Worldchess.com, the official site of the championship.

The best-of-12 game match has a prize fund of a million euros (about $1.1 million), with 60 percent for the winner. Each win is worth a point and each draw a half point. The first player to reach 6.5 points is declared the winner. (If the match should be tied after 12 games, the players will proceed to a series of tie-breakers and the winner of the match would receive 55 percent of the prize fund.)

The match’s sponsors include PhosAgro, a giant, Russian-based international fertilizer company; Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s top information security companies; S.T. Dupont, a leading French luxury goods manufacturer; Prytek, a Russian venture capital company specializing in technology and financial services; and Unibet, an online gambling operator that operates in more than 100 countries.

The match has received worldwide media exposure, with articles in The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and ESPN, among others.

Carlsen and Caruana are well acquainted, having played each other at classical, or slow, time controls almost three dozen times. They know each other’s style; they have no secrets. But, in World Championship matches, where the pressure is at the highest level, every small edge counts, and so anything a player can do to surprise his opponent is significant. Other than playing psychological games, or resorting to gamesmanship, which neither Carlsen or Caruana is known to do, the only real way to surprise the opponent is with opening strategy and opening choices.



In Round 1, the edge almost certainly went to Carlsen. Against 1 e4 by Caruana, who had White, Carlsen chose the Sicilian Defense, perhaps the most double-edged reply. It has not been a standard part of Carlsen's repertoire for some time and is a provocative choice in such a high-stakes match.

(The opening choice may also indicate that Carlsen prepared for the match with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, a noted Sicilian expert, who is a month older than Carlsen. The members of each player’s team of seconds is usually a well-guarded secret because it can tip the opponent off about the pre-match preparation.)

After Carlsen played 2… Nc6, perhaps indicating perhaps that he wanted to enter the Sveshnikov Variation, Caruana countered with 3 Bb5 -- the Rossolimo Variation, which Anand used against Boris Gelfand during their 2012 title match. Caruana’s opening choice was possibly meant to avoid the maze of complications of the Sveshnikov, but it backfired as Carlsen gradually took control.

As the first time-control approached on Move 40, Caruana's time was dwindling rapidly and his position was under pressure as Carlsen managed to open up the file in front of Caruana’s king. Caruana decided that his best chance lay in a flight of his king to the other side of the board, but, according to the various computer engines analyzing the position, that was a mistake. Carlsen could have then swung his queen to the other side of the board and picked off one or two of Caruana’s pawns. In the endgame, his queenside pawns, supported by his dark-square bishop, would have been dangerous, if not lethal. The computers evaluated Carlsen having a strategic advantage of the equivalent of about two pawns – more than enough to be decisive at this level of competition.



But Carlsen did not see the strategy and continued to concentrate on the kingside. On his 40th move, he made a fateful decision – he exchanged his dangerous passed f pawn for Caruana’s c pawn. Though Carlsen retained an advantage, it was now minimal.

After the further exchange of Caruana’s knight for Carlsen’s bishop, as well as a pair of pawns, the players ended up in a rook-and-pawn endgame where Carlsen’s chances to win were insufficient, despite having an extra pawn. Carlsen, as is his habit, continued to press for another 60 moves before he agreed to a draw. It was one of the longest games in World Championship history, eclipsed by one of 124 moves in 1978 between Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi, and another of 122 moves between Carlsen and Anand in 2014.

Game 2 is Saturday and starts at 3 PM local, or GMT, time.

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12    Score     Carlsen  ½                       0.5  Caruana  ½                       0.5


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Opening Ceremony of FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018

The official opening ceremony of the FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 was held on November 8th at a prestigious red-carpet event at the iconic Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK.





Guests from all over the world, including Woody Harrelson, Hou Yifan, Judit Polgar descended onto London for the glittering evening, hosted by British television presenter, George Lamb. Entertainment included a modern contemporary dance between two men featuring the unity and struggle of two strong characters, like in the game of chess, and a breath-taking performance by the talented Stephen Ridley – a young charismatic pianist, composer and singer.



The highlight of the evening was the introduction of the competitors, Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana of USA. The Chief Arbiter of the Match Stepahne Escafre conducted the ceremony of the drawing of lots. Magnus Carlsen will have the black pieces in the first game. The first move of the World Chess Championship match will be played on November 9th, at 3 pm local time.





President of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich, CEO of World Chess, Ilya Merenzon, as well as Vice President and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Chess Federation, CEO of PhosAgro, Andrey Guryev, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab, Aldo del Bo, CEO of S.T. Dupont, Alain Crevet joined the players on the stage.

Taking place from 9-28 November, the world’s most esteemed chess tournament consists of a 12-game Match, avidly followed and analysed by a global audience of hundreds of millions of chess fans, which will see current World Chess Champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, defend his title against US challenger, Fabiano Carlsen. No player born in the United States has won or even competed for a World Championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972, so all eyes will be on the two players. Those following the games online will also be catered for; they will be able to watch the moves for free on worldchess.com/london, the official broadcasting platform. They can also sign up for a $20 premium account, giving fans access to multi-camera views, commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, the opportunity to ask questions during press conferences and more.



The last World Championship match, held in New York, in 2016, enjoyed record-breaking coverage with the total audience for the whole event topping 1.5 billion people.

Leading partners supporting the Championship Match 2018 include:

PhosAgro, a leading chemical company as the Official Strategic Partner
Kaspersky Lab as World Chess and FIDE’s Official Cybersecurity Partner
PRYTEK as Technology Transfer Partner
S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument
Isklar as the official mineral water of the Championship Match
Unibet as the Official Betting Partner
Beluga as the Official VIP Partner

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