World Chess Beat (August 2008)

This new feature will provide briefs on some of the latest chess news around the world. Feel free to post comments and/or add chess news that would be of interest to the general audience on current events.

World Junior Championship (August 2nd-August 16th) – A strong field is assembled in Turkey for the Open and Girls Junior Championship. WGM Hou Yifan is playing in the Open section along with 22 GMs and four other Women GMs. There are 60 countries represented. (Official Site)

Mainz Festival (July 28th-August 3rd) – GM Hikaru Nakamura win the Mainz 960 tournament while GM Viswanathan Anand crushed GM Magnus Carlsen in the Mainz Rapid final. (ChessBase)

Viswanathan Anand (right) polishing off Magnus Carlsen.
Photo by ChessBase.

North Urals Cup (July 26th-August 3rd) – The strongest woment’s tournament in history saw GM Antoaneta Stefanova win the crown with IM Anna Ushenina (Ukraine) and GM-elect Marie Sebag (France). Top-seed GM Humpy Koneru was crippled by two early losses and had to settle for an even score. (Official Site)

Players’ Stage of North Urals Cup.
Photo by Vadim Smalkov.

Biel 2008 (July 17th – August 1st) – GM Evgeny Alekseev of Russia caught Cuba’s Lenier Dominguez in a tiebreak match to win the 41st edition of the tournament. GM Magnus Carlsen came in 3rd. (Official Site)

Lenier Dominguez battles Evgeny Alekseev in the tiebreak.
Photo by ChessBase.

The U.S. Open (August 2nd-August 10th) is happening as well. There are only two Grandmasters amongst a field of titled players and this is clearly a bad sign. The U.S. Open is clearly the longest-running tournament in America, but has lost much of its prestige due to the quest of GMs seeking greener pastures in Europe. Hikaru Nakamura is currently in Europe coming off of a win in the Mainz 960 (above). Most other Grandmasters have dispersed around the world to compete in a variety of tournament. The USCF will have to be creative to bring the magic that the tournament saw in the days of Samuel Reshevsky, Bobby Fischer and Walter Browne.



  1. Check out the game from the Mainz Rapids! Viswanathan Anand shows he’s still boss. Furthermore, I believe it’s much too early to speak of Magnus Carlsen being #1. People on blogs are getting carried away. He is not yet Anand’s class… ratings aside. Carlsen was totally crushed in this match… like a 100-point difference. The Polgar-Morozevich was exciting. I also like their 146-move draw in a book queen ending. There were four queens on the board at one point!


  2. The 2nd FIDE Grand Prix is happening in Sochi, Russia from July 30 to August 15, 2008. A powerful field! Participants are:

    GM Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR), Peter Svidler (RUS), Alexander Grischuk (RUS), Levon Aronian (ARM), Teimour Radjabov (AZE), Wang Yue (CHN), Vugar Gashimov (AZE), Boris Gelfand (ISR), Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS), Sergey Karjakin (UKR), Gata Kamsky (USA), Ivan Cheparinov (BUL), David Navara (CZE) and Mohamad Al Modiahki (QAT). The average rating of 2708.

    Official Site

  3. GM Li Chao has taken the lead at the World Juniors and is on an impressive 5½/6. To me this is no surprise. China is producing young talent by the bushel. GMs David Howell of England and Arik Braun of Germany are 2nd-3rd on 5-1. China’s WGM Hou Yifan is competing in the Open section is in on 4½/6. Official Site

  4. Two IMs lead a depleted U.S. Open field. With only a handful of GMs, Enrico Sevillano and Michael Mulyar are on a sizzling 6.5/7 and lead the two Grandmasters, Alexander Yermolinsky and Alexander Shabalov by half-point.

    Emory Tate is tied in an eight-pack of players with 6/7. He needs to come up with one of his patented wins and will probably get one of the GMs.

  5. Yes, Emory is in striking distance! He seems to be in great form and given the field, his chances of finishing high, or even winning, are quite realistic.

    As the players have gorged themselves on the numerous chess tournaments offered as part of the US Open (main tournament; Denker HS Champs, College Champs, Weekend Swiss, Daily Quads, Blitz tourney, etc.), the Other Side of chess has been going on simultaneously. That is the organizational work of the US Chess Federation.

    Recalling an earlier thread on the Drum Blog, if you want to get linked into the inner workings of all the things that happen to bring chess to life in the US, this is the event to attend. There are committee meetings and workshops on numerous facets of chess organization: College Chess, Rules, Women’s Outreach, How to Organize a Tournament, Chess in Education, Chess Journalists, Rules (let me repeat .. Rules) , and more!

    And of course on the final weekend, there is the annual meeting of the USCF’s governing body – the Executive Board, which as we know is elected by direct ballot of USCF members, and the State Delegates, who are selected by the procedures of their respective state chess organizations. There is also the annual USCF Awards Luncheon. (FYI – The Drum was recognized with an award a few years ago, selected by the Chess Journalists committee)

    What does it take to get involved? In my opinion two things – 1. The willingness to invest your precious time on the organization of chess – and/or 2. A chess organization activity that you already lead or participate in… in which case you can benefit from networking with like minded people. And if you have a vision of adding some diversity and different ideas to the the world of chess.. then get involved!

  6. Thanks RJT,

    I regret not being able to make the event. What you have shown in your post is that playing is not the only way to enjoy and help U.S. chess. This cannot be emphasized enough.

    I’m sure I need to attend some of those meetings. Many of those committees need participation. I’m in the Chess Journalists, but that organization is barely functioning. The award process is a joke and there is no nominating committee to identify the best journalism. Journalists have to submit their own work!

    I hope the rules committee gets more standards in places. There are too much inconsistencies in the rules during tournament play.

  7. China’s Wang Yue must still be beaming about the Olympics and perhaps he is conducting his own Olympics at Sochi and is now in joint first. Wang beat Boris Gelfand to share first with Ivan Cheparinov in the 2nd FIDE Grand Prix currently in progress. Here is the report from the official site about the Wang-Gelfand game in the 8th round.

    “This time Boris’ defeat was a logical sequence of the events in the game. In a well developed line of the Slav, Gelfand implemented a new move – 17.Nxe5 (instead of much tested 17.dxe5 and 17.d5), but met a strong reply – 18…Bc5! It seems the Israeli grandmaster did not smell the danger in time. Instead of 23.Rd4 he had to play the simple 23.e5!, in order to place the knight on e4. In this case the game would be most likely drawn.

    After the text move, Black’s simple maneuvers 24…Nc5 and 28…Qc5 called favorable simplifications, and Wang Yue got a better ending due to weakness of the a4-pawn.

    Wang Yue played very energetically in the endgame. Note his strong 32…f6!, which opened the path into the White’s camp for his rook. By 43…a4! he indirectly defended his b7-pawn – if the White’s king took it, Black’s c6 would quickly get to c3 with dangerous threats.

    I (Shipov) was also impressed by the unorthodox 45…h5!?, which prevented simplifications on the kingside. Wang Yue: “That was a great move. It refuted 44.h4, which was his last mistake.” Threatening to bring the king to ?5 (50…Kc7!), Wang Yue forced the opponent to abandon his waiting strategy. In the end the Black’s king suddenly broke through to the kingside.”


    In round 9, Wang toppled Teimour Radjabov, in a technical ending to stay ahead of the field with four games left. What is disconcerting to me is the commentary, “It’s about time to stop mentioning the Beijing Olympics and the Chinese number 8, and start confirming that Wang Yue is just a very strong chess player.” Why wouldn’t people confirm that Wang is already a very strong player at 2700+? Why is that such a revelation?

  8. Many games still in progress, but Emory Tate finishes the U.S. Open on 6.5/9 drawing with Michael Yang in a wild climax. It looks like Tate had a win here. However, 39…Qe1 40.Qd5+ and white lives a long time. White found an interesting idea in Ra1 sacrifice to find a drawing line.

    IM Emory Tate in a casual moment at 2008 U.S. Open

    IM Emory Tate in a casual moment at 2008 U.S. Open.
    Photo by Rodney Thomas.

  9. 6.5 out of 9 is still a strong score from one of our most active Black IM’s. I am glad that he continues to play attacking chess. I look forward to seeing him earn the GM title.

  10. Yes Frank i must agree and im sure Emory will get his well deserved Gm title soon, also i dont believe theses european ideas are good enough to keep up with Emory’s African Genius and can lead to confusion at times during his games , i believe this has contributed to him not having attained that title yet. Dzindzi just lost to a machine perhaps because of similar flaws in their science.

  11. Lionel,

    I’m not sure what you mean by European ideas in chess. Whatever we think of chess, the battle of the ideas have to be proved over the board.

    On Dzindzi… he plays 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c5 4.d5 Bxc3+!? 5.bxc3 f5!? which is certainly unconventional mode and it is named after him. In all fairness, I don’t think anyone else on the planet would do any better against the computer (with pawn odds).

    Emory will get his GM title when he is able to balance out his style, play reliable openings and not rely too heavily on tactics.

  12. There is now a four-way tie for 1st at the FIDE Grand Prix event in Sochi. Five decisive game and two hard-fought draws creates a tightened race where only 1/2-point separates the top seven places. Mohamed al-Modiahki is a strong player, but he appears overmatched. Only worse is Vassily Ivanchuk’s performance who is on an even score as the top seed.

    Video by

  13. A wrap-up of the Mainz tournament from award-winning journalist Macauley Peterson. It includes brief interview segments with Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen. Peterson was name the “Chess Journalist of America” at the U.S. Open.

    Video by Macauley Peterson/Chess.FM.

  14. World Junior is heating up with IM Arik Braun taking sole lead after a win over WGM Hou Yifan. He holds a half-point lead over GMs David Howell of England and Maxim Rodshtein of Israel. The Asians are making a strong showing with three Chinese players in the top 15.

    Fourteen players are tied with 6/9. Azerbaijan’s Rauf Mamedov is having a disappointing tournament as the top seed at 5.5/9. The large contigent of Indians have not fared well, but GMs Parimarjan Negi and Abhijeet Gupta hope to make a surge in the last few rounds.

    Update: In round 10, Rodshtein has pulled ahead of the field with a key win over Braun. So has edged closer to the top with a win over Howell. Rodshtein is on 8/10 with Braun and So on 7.5/10. Three more rounds remaining!

    Parimarjan Negi (sitting) chats with fellow GM, Abhijeet Gupta. Parimarjan Negi (sitting) chats with fellow GM, Abhijeet Gupta.

    Official Site

  15. We mean the romantics,classicist, and hypermoderns as a group they represent the “traditionalist”. Now that we have our own science,Ultramodern Theory,true genius of players like Maurice,Emory, and some of the other african pioneers will have the chance to blossom and produce new chess. Those european descent have been challenging our theory over-the-board for 10 years now and we have proven sucessful in the form of the”ULTRAMODERNIST” on the icc. Yes,i recognize the dzindzi-indian game and they credit him for that ,yet they have not credited us for our ultraconcept g4-h5-ng5, which we demonstrated vs them on the icc instead they continue to pretend as though they created it. Their machines are limited by the restrictive methods of the hypermoderns so they are vulnerable as well with or without a pawn.

  16. Lionel,

    The only way any chess player will be convinced of “ultramodern” ideas is if they play normal tournament games (anywhere in the world) and get strong results against strong players. I’m not saying your ideas are not legitimate, but as long as they are only theory and are not put into practice in tournament conditions no one will know what you are talking about and no one will care unless you produce results. That is true when presenting any type of theory that one claims to be superior to another.

    What I admire about Bernard Parham and his “Matrix Theory” is that he plays it in tournaments (at every single opportunity) and he has written his theory and made it available for people to examine and critique. I interviewed him and his has some very interesting ideas and his games and theories can be studied. Nakamura also has tried the “Parham Attack” and ignited a debate.

    Put your ideas out that so they can be tested and we can debate the merits and demerits. Post a ultramodern game here so we’ll know what you mean. It does no good to hide them or to say that only select people can master the ideas. This is the same mistake Chinese made when some masters claimed that non-Chinese could not master martial arts. Bruce Lee worked against these masters to bring unorthodox methods later named “Jeet Kune Do.” He created a new theory, but allowed others to critique it. Of course, no one was able to disprove Bruce Lee.

    Place any more comments about “ultramodernism” here…

  17. Levon Aronian has won the 2nd Grand Prix tournament held in Sochi, Russia. The Armenian scored key victories in the second half to overtake earlier frontrunners and ending on 8.5/13. Teimour Radjabov ended on 8/13 and Wang Yue and Gata Kamsky had 7.5/13. Wang leads the overall Grand Prix with strong performances in Baku and Sochi.

    Offical Site

  18. ok ,thanks brother shabazz i wasnt really looking at it that way,so ill come beat their gms in their tournaments and retire from competitive chess and leave UM theory for the younger generations, ill send some ultragames as well , Peace and Love to you all.

  19. Best support to you Brother Lionel in producing your theories against GMs!!!
    Kimani Stancil

  20. Note: Any further discussion on “ultramodernism” should go on above thread. Thanks.

    Absolute madness going on at World Junior. The leaderboard has changed yet again. David Howell had taken the lead after beating former leader Maxim Rodshtein of Israel. India’s Abhijeet Gupta also now shares the lead after beating former leader Arik Braun of Germany. Howell has the best tiebreaks of those with 9-3.

    Gupta’s compatriot Parimarjan Negi also pulled in to joint first with a win over Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam. This is the first time the Indian duo has been in the lead and they may have peaked at the right time. Both have winning streaks. Rauf Mamedov of Azerbaijan has bounced back after a poor start.

    Pairings Round 13 on 2008/08/15 at 10:00

    Bo. Name Rtg FED Pts Res. Pts Name Rtg FED
    1 GM HOWELL David 2561 ENG 9 9 GM GUPTA Abhijeet 2551 IND
    2 IM BRAUN Arik 2533 GER 8½ 9 GM NEGI Parimerjan 2529 IND
    3 GM SAFARLI Eltaj 2527 AZE 8½ 8 GM RODSHTEIN Maxim 2605 ISR
    4 GM AMIN Bassem 2561 EGY 8 8 GM MAMEDOV Rauf 2627 AZE
    5 GM NGUYEN Ngoc Truong Son 2579 VIE 8 8 GM SO Wesley 2577 PHI
    6 WGM HOU Yifan 2557 CHN 8 8 GM LE QUANG Liem 2577 VIE
    7 GM LAZNICKA Viktor 2601 CZE 7½ 8 IM MELKUMYAN Hrant 2507 ARM
    8 GM ZHIGALKO Sergei 2583 BLR 7½ 7½ IM ASHWIN Jayaram 2436 IND
    9 IM SJUGIROV Sanan 2545 RUS 7½ 7½ IM KARTHIKEYAN Pandian 2402 IND
    10 GM RAMIREZ Alejandro 2531 CRC 7½ 7½ GM WEN Yang 2487 CHN


    In the Girls Junior Championship Dronavali Harika is dominating the field with 10-2 followed by WGM Mariya Muzychuk of the Ukraine on 9/12. International Master Harika only needs a draw to clinch.


  21. Indians triumph and World Junior Championships!

    GM Abhijeet Gupta and IM Dronvali Harika have won the World Junior Open and Girls Championships. Singh defeated leader David Howell to end on 10-3. Parimarjan Negi of India placed 2nd with 9.5/13. In the girls competition, Harika ended with a draw against WGM Katerina Nemcova to earn a well-deserved title. Harika was the top-seed and led the tournament throughout.

  22. The Tal Memorial is taking place and Alexander Morozevich is leading after five rounds. The tournament is honor of one of the world’s most celebrated champions, Mikhail Tal.

    The Tal Memorial is taking place from August 17th-31st in Moscow, Russia at the Exhibition Hall of GUM mall on Red Square. There are 10 players which include: Alexander Morozevich (#2 on FIDE ELO list), defending tournament champion Vladimir Kramnik (#3), Vassily Ivanchuk (#4), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (#8), Alexei Shirov (#9), Peter Leko (#10), Gata Kamsky (#17), Boris Gelfand, (#18), Ruslan Ponomariov (#19), and Evgeny Alekseev (#26).

    Here are the games from round five. Mamadyarov had a nice win against Kamsky. (See Games)

  23. Vassily Ivanchuk won the Tal Memorial by a point over Morozevich, Gelfand, Ponomariov and Kramnik. Hard to figure out. Here is a guy who should have been in a championship match at some point in his career, but has not broken through. However he wins another strong tournament. He’s also #2 in the world on the live rating list.

    Alexei Shirov came in last… also hard to figure out. He was robbed of his championship shot, but his brilliant tactics are tarnished by his sporadic results. Shirov is one of the few GMs to have studied under Tal, but his mentor would not be pleased with his performance.


    Wang leading crush of Legends!

    If anyone had any doubts about Wang Yue’s strength, they should be quashed now. He is having another strong outing scoring at a 3034 performance in the Rising Stars vs. Experienced Players match held in Amsterdam. His score is an amazing +6.

    Wang is leading his team to a 24.5-10.5 drubbing and continues his club up the FIDE rating chart. With his continued performance, he will get an invite to Amber Blind/Rapid tournament. He has already accepted an invitation to play in Corus “A”. There are four rounds left to play.

    This tournament features young stars Wang, Ivan Cheparinov, Fabiano Caruana, Erwin L’Ami, Daniel Stellwagen and legendary veterans Evgeny Bareev, Simen Agdestein, Viktor Korchnoi, Artur Jussupow and Ljubomir Ljubojevic.


  24. Hikaru Nakamura is in Canada playing in the Montreal Empresa. Also in the field are GMs Varuzhan Akobian, Pascal Charbonneau, Yury Shulman, Mark Bluvshtein, Igor Nataf, Sebastian Maze, Anton Kovalyov. The field is completed by IMs Thomas Roussel-Roozmon and Igor Zugic.

    Nakamura polished off Akobian in their encounter will a nice tactic. This Nakamura-Akobian position was shown on’s site. After 30…Kxd6 the following position was reached.

    Nakamura uncorked the nice 31.Nxf6! I must admit I saw it immediately, but is a beautiful shot and shows that venom lurks in seemingly drawn positions. Nakamura is posting comments about the tournament on his blog. It’s good to see him keeping us informed on his progress.

  25. Women’s World Championship kicked off today in Russia and India’s Humpy Koneru has a chance to do something very special for her nation of one billion. If she wins the crown, India will own the World Championship, women’s championship and both junior championships.

    Unfortunately, Georgia will not send a team due to the political tensions with Russia. The Georgian team stated that would not play if the tournament was in Russia, but it was too late to change the venue. Both championship Nona Gasprindashvili and Nona Alexandria supported the protest.

    A total of 64 participants will be competing for the title. Xu Yuhua is the defending champion and there will be a strong Asian contingent looking to carry on a winning tradition after the Soviet-bloc nations dominated for decades.

    Official Site:

    Opening Ceremony

    Playing venue of Women’s World Championship.

    IM Elizabeth Paehtz (Germany) losing to WGM Ilaha Kadimova (Azerbaijan)

  26. Fascinating video showing the generation gap between players. Viktor Korchnoi is at a loss to explain why the younger stars play the way they do. The discussion of computers is at the forefront of the debate. Korchnoi who still plays at a high level, implies that computer use has someone caused young players to play similar styles. Maybe he’s trying to figure out why the veterans are taking such a beating. I’ve never seen him so animated.

    In the American Presidential campaign Senator John McCain has touted his “experience” as why he should win the office of the President. Barack Obama said in his acceptance speech that he doesn’t question McCain’s experience, but his judgement. Maybe the young stars were listening. They may not have the experience, but they certainly are using better judgment at the board.

    Offical Site:

  27. NH Chess Tournament 2008

    The Rising Stars trounced the Veterans 33½-16½ and were paced by Wang Yue’s who posted a 2892 performance. He will get a spot at the next Amber tournament.

    Rising Stars:
    1. Wang Yue (CHN, 2704) – 8½/10; 2. Cheparinov (BUL, 2687) – 7½; 3. Caruana (ITA, 2630) – 6½; 4. L’Ami (NED, 2638) – 6; 5. Stellwagen (NED, 2616) – 5.

    1-2. Bareev (RUS, 2655); Agdestein (NOR, 2583) – 4; 3. Ljubojevic (SRB, 2555)- 3½; 4-5. Korchnoi (SUI, 2602), Jussupow (GER, 2587) – 2½.

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