Very interesting issue of New in Chess. It marks the first time that I can remember China was featured on two consecutive covers. Shows the changing in the balance of power. They have certainly earned it with Hou Yifan playing at a high level and the Chinese men winning the gold medal in Tromso. The cover story catches a poignant image of Wang Yue and Ni Hua embracing in tears of joy.
It was redemption for Ni who lost a crucial game in the 2005 World Team Championship when only a draw would have clinched the gold medal. He lost to Alexander Morozevich and China had to be content with silver. Ni was reduced to tears.
Nine years later, he cried tears of joy instead of tears of sadness. There was a formula laid out in the article and everyone seemed to have a role. Ni (6.5/9) was the team’s spiritual leader while Wang Yue held down the opponent’s heavyweight (eight draws and one loss). Both Ding Liren (7.5/10) and Yu Yangyi (9.5/11) were the demolition crew. Wei Yi chipped in with 4/5. There were some incisive games played including the medal clincher in Dada-Yu.
The Russian women came into the tournament shrouded in controversy as the organizing committee had disqualified because of a late entry. After a very tense few days, the Norway committee relented and allowed the two-time defending champions to play… and they played superbly. With recent emigre Kateryna Lagno on top board, the Russians steamrolled to victory including a decisive win over rival China. As in 2012, the medal order was Russia-China-Ukraine.
If one thing can be celebrated at the Olympiad, it was the curtain-call for one of the brightest chess stars we’ve ever seen. After winning the silver medal for Hungary, Judit Polgar announced her retirement from international play. She has been involved in a number of pursuits to promote chess. Undoubtedly, her accomplishments as the first woman to reach the top ten will go unmatched for many decades.
While China and Russia lifted the gold medals in triumph and the Indian men got a historic bronze medal, the story on the Tromso Olympiad was less than flattering. There were a number of logistical challenges with housing and the playing conditions were less than ideal. Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam basically excoriated the organizing committee on a number of accounts.
About 175 teams donned their colors and honored their flags in Tromso, Norway. Most of the recent Olympiad tournaments have been in the European region and twice in Turkey (Middle Eastern geographically). The next two Olympiad are in Azerbaijan and Georgia, so the Olympiad will not get to see another part of the world anytime soon.
“Europeans often hold the conceit that they are superior to delegates from less affluent countries, but the truth is they are no less venal when confronted with temptation.”
~GM Nigel Short
The Olympiad story covered the colorful muckracking that took place in Tromso during the election. There was an overview of the politics that played out during the Olympiad. If you want details you can read post at The Chess Drum or you can read Nigel Short’s polemical article “Long Walk to Freedom” about the campaign. He was not on the Kasparov ticket as much as he was pointing out the banality of FIDE’s administration.
Nigel Short questioning the AGON agreement with Andrew Paulson.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.
Magnus Carlsen dropped this game against Arkadij Naiditsch, but not a cause for worry stated trainer, GM Simen Agdestein. Photo Paul Truong.
What would a New in Chess be without a focus on Magnus Carlsen. Hasn’t happened in a long time. In the next issue there will certainly be a feature on his rather subpar results going into a World Championship defense. While Viswanathan Anand seems to be in high gear, Carlsen seems to be taking a slide. However, Simen Agdestein’s article gives a positive take on Carlsen’s impact in Norway including chess-themed comic books. He dismissed all such talk about a slide as hyperbole.
“Anyway, Magnus had done a fantastic job for us. He played nine games and scored 6 points, with a rating performance of 2800, which of course is fantastic for all players in the world -except for Magnus But to talk about a disappointing performance, as the press did, sounded a bit stupid.”
~GM Simen Agdestein
One of the persons receiving a lot of attention lately is Fabiano Caruana. His win at the Sinquefield will certainly warrant consideration of a major article in the next issue. In this issue, his victory at Dortmund was covered. With a 5/7 score, he vaulted over the 2800 mark which was perhaps his career highlight. Little did he know that he would start the Sinquefield with 7/7 against the strongest field ever. At the current, he is at 2844 on the ELO scale. Very interesting interview conducted by Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam.
Parimarjan Negi , now a student at Stanford, is featured in “Just Checking”. Here the Indian expresses enjoyment of a wide variety of things. However, he answers one particular question that provokes thought.
What will be the nationality of the 2050 chess World Champion?
Will we still have a world championship?
Hmmmm. With all the discussion over the current cycle and some proposing a system like the tennis “Grand Slam” we may see a totally different system in 2050. Some have even recommended abolishing of all titles. For example, tennis and golf do not have titles, but rankings which change each season if you don’t maintain your level. Chess rewards those who have attained a standard at any point in their career… like earning a degree. Stay tuned.
Plenty of content in this issue!
- After the Gold Rush
- NIC’s Café
- Fair & Square
- Goodbye to Tromsø
- All for One, One for All
- Russian Women Win Again
- Long Walk to Freedom
- Good at Feeling Free
- Olympiad Highlights
- The Chess Book of the Decade
- Caruana Wins in Kramnik Town
- Beware: Brilliancy
- MVL Now Aka Mr.Biel
- The Great Folly
- Bu Untouchable
- Just Checking