International News Today - Sept 8, 2011

Some old business. With the World Cup progressing, probably not enough attention was given to the Botvinnik Memorial (Rapid D-RR) with the 4 top players in the world (Anand, Carlsen, Aronian, and Kramnik). Carlsen missed lots of winning chances on day one and instead of 2.5 has to settle for 1.5. The biggest shock was yet to come as he lost all three games on day 2. I haven't seen any of these games, so not sure what happened to him. Anand played the steadiest chess and was rewarded with a first place score of 4.5. His reputation as the best rapid player in the world may be back. Aronian and Kramnik settled for second with even scores.

Round 3 of the World Cup finished on Monday, with Judit Polgar upsetting Karjakin in regular play, Vassily Ivanchuk coming back to salvage his match in overtime against Sutovsky, Navara and Moiseenko being awarded a Fair Play award for their match which Navara won in overtime. Many other highlights, but we'll move on to Round 4.

I had a chance to watch bits and pieces of all of the regulation games and the tie-breaker games. Three matches finished in regulation. David Navara seemed to have little trouble Zherebukh, winning both games. Peter Svidler had to have a little more luck, as Kamsky fell apart in both of his games from even positions. Brilliancy in Svidler's second victory. Timour Radjabov coasted with a second day draw to take his match from Jakovenko.

Some excitement today with 5 tie-breakers. Alexander Grischuk (over Potkin) and Vassily Ivanchuk (over Bu) both won in the first set of matches, while Vugar Gashimov advanced (vs Nielsen) after the second set of matches. This led to the dramatic final set of matches before the armageddon game. Judit Polgar won over Dominguez, while Ponomariov defeated Bruzon in matches that could have gone either way today. Great fighting chess in this 4th round.

So tomorrow we have a top bracket:
Svidler - Polgar and Ponomariov - Gashimov

and a bottom bracket:
Ivanchuk - Radjabov and Grischuk - Navara

How about a wild prediction of a Polgar - Navara final !!

In any event, 3 of the 4 round 5 winners will advance to the 2012 Candidates Matches (next fall some time).