BOTW: 2017.04.13

Korchnoi Zurich Challenge 2017
April 13-17, 2017

The Korchnoi Zurich Challenge is an interesting event that looks both back and forward. It looks back to honour Victor Kortchnoi, who lived in Switzerland for decades before his death last summer. It also looks forward, to events with mixed and faster time controls which are favoured by many players, most spectators, and (importantly) by chief sponsor Oleg Skvortsov, who we see playing an exhibition game against Vishy Anand the day of the opening ceremony. Skvortsov is actually quite a good player, and forced Anand to be at his brilliant best to win (see game below).

The event is actually several tournaments. There is a 7-round Open Swiss with twelve 2600+ players, including: GMs Alexei Shirov, Eltaj Safarli, Loek van Wely and Alexander Motylev. That would be interesting enough, but the centerpiece is a series of three 8-player RRs featuring a terrific field:

  1. Vladimir Kramnik (RUS)2811
  2. Hikaru Nakamura (USA)2793
  3. Viswanathan Anand (IND)2786
  4. Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS) 2751
  5. Peter Svidler (RUS)2747 
  6. Boris Gelfand (ISR)2724
  7. Grigoryi Oparin (RUS)2604
  8. Yannick Pelletier (SUI)2543

They play three RRs at three different time controls:

    • "Opening Blitz": 4 + 2 (to decide the pairings)
    • "New Classical": 45 + 30 
    • "Blitz": 10 + 5

New Classical:
Thursday, April 13 5pm local (11 am EST)
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 14-16: 12:30 and 5 pm local (6:30am and 11 am EST)

Blitz: Monday April 17


Live Games with commentary by GM Danny King

GRENKE Chess Classic
April 15-22, 2017

An 8-player RR featuring:

  1. Magnus Carlsen
  2. Fabiano Caruana
  3. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
  4. Levon Aronian
  5. Arkadij Naiditsch
  6. Hou Yifan,
  7. Matthias Bluebaum
  8. Georg Meier.

Starts April 13 and is played along side the Classic. It has almost no publicity on the Classic's homepage, but there are some excellent players: Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Nikita Vitiugov, Maxim Matlakov, Etienne Bacrot, Richard Rapport, Gata Kamsky and many more.

Reykjavik Open 2017
April 19-27, 2017

A 10-round Open Swiss that for the last few years has been vying for the bragging rights as the World's Strongest Open.

May be a bit weaker than past years, with only 14 2600+ players, but there are three 2700s playing: Anish Giri, Dmitry Andreikin and Baadur Jobava, and some of the others have been in the world's top 5 before, including Shirov, Kamsky and Beliavsky.

16 Candians are playing:

IM Aman Hambleton, IM Leon Piasetski, FM Michael Kleinman, FM Victor Plotkin, FM John Doknjas, FM Michael Dougherty, FM Dale Haessel, Peter Murray, Mark Plotkin, Joshua Doknjas, Jonathan Yu, Derick Tesigye, Andre Zybura, Anthony Boron, Neil Doknjas and Martin Fournier



4th Vugar Gashimov Memorial
April 20 - May 1, 2017

A 10-player RR featuring the world #2 and #3 and with Topalov and Radjabov as the bottom two players! 

  1. Wesley So 2822
  2. Vladimir Kramnik 2811
  3. Sergey Karjakin 2783 
  4. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov  2772
  5. Michael Adams 2761
  6. Pentala Harikrishna 2758
  7. Pavel Eljanov 2751
  8. Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2745
  9. Veselin Topalov 2741
  10. Teimour Radjabov 2710


60 Minutes: "Chess Country"

March 26, 2017 episode of CBS's long-running long-format news program "60 Minutes" had a report on a current attempt to teach chess in a place where it had no history.

Chess teacher Dr. Jeff Bulington was hired by an anonymous benefactor to teach chess for 10 years in Franklin County in rural Mississippi, a place where (seemingly) no one had ever played chess. 

The report is a 14-minute version of a familiar movie-ready story line: inspiring teacher trains underprivelidged children to challenge their better off and overconfident rivals at the Big National Competition. It's the plot of at least two chess movies -- "Brooklyn Castle" and "Queen of Katwe" -- and is either hackneyed or inspiring depending on the sympathy viewers feel for the kids and the awe they feel toward the teacher. In the case of teacher Jeff Bulington, they've got a winner:

Interviewer: In the middle of nowhere. You’re a logical guy, and it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.
Jeff Bulington: If there are people there, it’s not “nowhere.” This is somewhere. It’s just a somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of attention.


Transcript and Photos

The Korchnoi Zeurich Challenge began with a game between sponsor Oleg Skvortsov and Vishy Anand. Normally, such a game would be an embarassment for everyone, with the amateur playing like an amateur. But Skvortsov is good, so Anand got to be brilliant
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 Round:  Result: