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Chess: ‘Sport of the 12 months’ decides title as Covid-19 hits Russian championship


A recreation solid within the romantic mould of the nineteenth century and of the legendary Latvian Mikhail Tal determined first prize at this week’s Russian championship.

Its creator Daniil Dubov, 24, an aide to Magnus Carlsen for the 2018 world championship, performed what has been broadly hailed because the “Sport of the 12 months”, as he took down Sergey Karjakin with a ready gambit the place Dubov blitzed out his first 13 strikes and adopted up with sacrifices of bishop and queen.

Dubov’s 15 Bf6! and 19 Qxg6!! sacrifices have been too onerous to defend in sensible play. The sq. g6/g3 was the setting for 2 of the traditional queen sacrifices of chess historical past, Frank Marshall’s “golden cash” Qg3!! recreation in opposition to Stefan Levitsky at Breslau 1912 and Alexander Alekhine’s Qxg6! in opposition to Emanuel Lasker at Zurich 1934.

Covid precautions have featured prominently within the handful of main worldwide tournaments which have continued regardless of the pandemic. Some or all of flexi-glass screens, giant measurement tables, face masks, day by day virus assessments and no spectators have been the norm at Biel, the German Bundesliga, and Stavanger.

Have computer systems killed chess?

All efficiently accomplished their schedules, however the virus struck again at Moscow’s historic Central Chess Membership when Mikhail Antipov was compelled to withdraw on the remaining day after six of the 11 rounds. The rationale for Antipov’s departure was made public solely on the ultimate day, and the result may have been worse – all the opposite rivals examined unfavorable. The 23-year-old Muscovite, junior world champion in 2015, had performed greater than half his video games, so his rating stood, however he had already met all the highest 4 finishers so the consequence was unaffected.

Ian Nepomniachtchi, the world No 4, gained his second nationwide title with 7.5/11,forward of Karjakin 7, Vladimir Fedoseev and Dubov 6.5. Nepomniachtchi is 30, a part of chess’s 1990 classic delivery yr which additionally produced the world champion, Carlsen, France’s world No 5, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and the 2016 world challenger Karjakin, for whom this week was one other failed try at a event he has by no means gained.

Nepomniachtchi has been much less profitable than Carlsen or the American duo Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So within the 2020 on-line Tour, however he’s nicely positioned for when over-the-board play resumes. The Russian is joint midway chief within the Candidates, deserted in April 2020 and deliberate for resumption in spring 2021, so has a critical probability to grow to be Carlsen’s official challenger. If he does, he can count on stronger assist than Karjakin bought in opposition to Carlsen at New York 2016. There’s now a brand new Fide president, Arkady Dvorkovich, who has been spectacular within the job but additionally stays dedicated to serving to Russia regain its pre-eminence of the Soviet period.

The Russian girls’s championship went to the favorite, Aleksandra Goryachkina, as Polina Shuvalova, who gained all her first six video games, couldn’t win one other within the second half, the place she was caught within the last rounds then misplaced an Armageddon tie-break.

England’s 4NCL on-line league attracted 228 groups in six divisions in its second season which ended this week with a shock winner. ChessPlus Kingston have been the promoted second group of ChessPlus, which organises programs for precise and potential chess lecturers in 14 European nations.

Its founder John Foley’s contacts produced a robust group for the finals, led by two girls whose careers have included Beth Harmon moments. Pia Cramling was inside one transfer of defeating Viktor Korchnoi at his peak, whereas Dana Reizniece-Ozola beat the world No 1, Hou Yifan, on the 2016 Olympiad.

CPK gained the semi-final in opposition to Guildford’s youth group, then the ultimate in opposition to Wooden Inexperienced. The clincher got here when CPK led 2-1 however Cramling had rook in opposition to the rook and two pawns of England’s youngest GM, Dan Fernandez. She thought-about resigning, however “I had been telling my college students not to surrender early” and Fernandez blundered right into a draw.

The result’s a disappointment for Wooden Inexperienced’s Loz Cooper, in all probability England’s greatest group supervisor, who helps many rising skills.This weekend Cooper is managing 4 groups of England girls and ladies within the 42-team Euro Membership Cup for girls.

Kushal, aged 5, turns into a London champion

A five-year-old boy who learnt the strikes lower than a yr in the past has set an age report by successful the London under-eight championship. This annual occasion, performed on-line final weekend, began within the Nineteen Seventies growth and launched the careers of England’s elite GMs Gawain Jones and David Howell.

Most chess skills are likely to emerge at seven, eight or 9, sometimes at six. Globally, the highest prodigy was Samuel Reshevsky, who gave simuls at six and later turned the very best US participant earlier than Bobby Fischer – however there have been claims that Reshevsky was born in 1909, not 1911.

Kushal Jakhria, 5 years eight months previous and a primary yr pupil on the Pointer Faculty, Blackheath, completed degree with the highest seed, Patrick Damodaran, on 6.5/7, however had a greater tie-break. Each had successful possibilities throughout their drawn particular person recreation.

Two years in the past Damodaran, then 5 himself, missed out by half a degree. He’s now England’s No 1 ranked under-nine, with a really respectable 1750 ranking, and has already represented England in world occasions. Jakhria, in distinction, has no over-the board graded video games but, as he solely started aggressive play in the course of the pandemic.

His under-eight victory was not only a one-off. Jakhria additionally scored 6/7 within the London under-10, and has a lichess ranking within the prime 9% of the web site’s 250,000 fast chess gamers.

Jakhria’s South-East London college has additionally produced England’s best-known junior, Shreyas Royal. The Pointer chess coach, Fide Grasp Alexis Harakis, attributes his pupil’s success to his distinctive sample reminiscence, visible expertise and stamina for his age.

3702: 1 Be2! h6 2 Rh4! h5 3 Kg5! Ke4 4 Bf3 mate.



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