Vladimir Kramnik graces the cover of the most recent issue of New In Chess. His win at Dortmund was his 10th, beating the field by an impressive 1.5 points. Perhaps only one other Russian has enjoyed a better 2011 campaign and that is Peter Svidler whose recent World Cup and European Cup victories have solidified his legend (next issue). In this issue, there was an essay on Svidler winning his sixth Russian Championship.
While Russia’s success was prominently mentioned, one blemish was the disappointing fourth place as the World Team Championship in Ningbo, China. This resulted in team captain Evgeny Bareev resigning from his post. Armenia’s win at the World Team Championship in Ningbo, China was profiled. The success of such a small nation is a thing of marvel in the chess world, but two-time defending Olympiad champion won in dominating style. They were royally feted upon their return to Armenia’s capitol, Yerevan.
There are some interesting articles including Magnus Carlsen’s win at Biel and an accompanying discussion on the future of classical chess. Carlsen remarked, “Unless someone goes completely crazy we are not going to see the end of classical tournament any time soon.” Garry Kasparov also discussed the issue in his essay titled, “Fix What is Broken.” Again he excoriates FIDE for many failures including the 90% draw rate at the recent Candidates Matches. The article is incisive and in the usual biting tone of Kasparov.
Deep computer-aided preparation has leveled the opening playing field considerably and preparation now routinely reaches the endgame. Yet the computer era has yet to replicate the high drawing percentages of the 1970s and 1980s! A brief glance at the database shows the percentage of drawn games between player in the top fifty dropped substantially in the 1990s, from over sixty percent to the low fifties. The rate has been on the rise in the last decade, approaching sixty once more, though I take this as a shift in the attitudes of the players as much as anything else.
Another interesting article by Jan Timman features Hou Yifan and her progress. She will defend her crown against India’s Humpy Koneru in December and recently won the Women’s Grand Prix tournament in Shenzhen, China. This was after three poor outings and a tumble under 2600.
In this article, Timman fantasizes about a match between Hou and Judit Polgar. The two almost met in the recent World Cup, but a pairing change negated this highly-anticipated match. It is clear to say that the Chinese World Champion is far behind where Polgar was at age 14. Polgar was already in the top 50 and was had gained the respect from strong GMs after many received royal floggings from her.
- NIC’s Café
- The Patriarch
- Classic Carlsen Best in Biel
- Interview (Magnus Carlsen)
- The Man behind the Curtain
- Mr. Dortmund’s Tenth Trophy
- Brilliant Bureaucrats
- Harmonious Armenia
- Land of Hope and Former Glory
- The Champion on the Sofa
- Peering beneath the Surface
- Hard Times
- Hou Yifan’s Progress
- Fix What Is Broken
- Just Checking