Archive for September, 2016

Giri On Fire Leading Tal Memorial; Kramnik Beats Anand

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Anish Giri has been on a tear in the Tal Memorial. Today he won his third game in a row (against Peter Svidler) to move to 3.5/4 and hop into clear first. As a bonus, he re-entered the top 10 after a fairly lackluster 2016.
Giri hasn’t won a sup…

Source: – Play. Learn. Share.

Giri On Fire, Leads Tal Memorial; Kramnik Beats Anand

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Anish Giri has been on a tear in the Tal Memorial. Today he won his third game in a row (against Peter Svidler) to move to 3.5/4 and hop into clear first. As a bonus, he re-entered the top 10 after a fairly lackluster 2016 thus far.
Giri hasn’t …

Source: – Play. Learn. Share.

1st ECU Education Chess Conference

Friday, September 30th, 2016

The 1st ECU Education Chess Conference will take place on 24-27 October in Batumi, Georgia, during the World Cadets U8, U10, U12 Championships 2016.

24 Oct 2016 Monday Arrival day
25 Oct 2016 Tuesday Day 1 Conference
26 Oct 2016 Wednesday Day 2 Conference
27 Oct 2016 Thursday Leaving day

- Raise awareness of the educational role of chess in schools.
- Provide an overview of international projects.
- Inform attendees of the latest developments in school chess.
- 1st ECU Education Conference

- Ministry of Education, Georgia
- Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, Georgia
- European Chess Union
- Georgian Chess Federation

Target groups
- Education authorities and head teachers
- Classroom teachers and chess tutors

Management team
Chairman of conference: Jasper Hall
Director of conference: Georgi Giorgadze
The presenter of survey: John Foley
Programs director: Valerian Gaprindashvili
Coordinators: Martin Huba, Nino Berulava

More information on the ECU website

European Chess Union


Tournaments in Ireland

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Irish Chess UnionThe Limerick Open takes place from the 29-31 October, 2016 in the luxurious Savoy Hotel, Limerick, Ireland. Past winners include GM Nick Pert, GM Petr Neumann, GM Alex Baburin, and GM Gergely Szabo. In its 11th year, the Limerick Open organisers will look to add to that impressive list of winners next month.

The 40th annual Kilkenny Congress will take place in Butler House, Kilkenny over the weekend of the 25-27 November. The event regularly attracts over 300 players including many top GMs such as past winners GM Michael Adams, GM John Nunn, GM Ivan Cheparinov, GM Luke McShane, GM Stuart Conquest, and most recently GM Bogdan Lalic, GM Sebastien Maze, GM Mark Hebden and GM Gawain Jones. As one of the biggest weekenders in Europe with a prize fund over 5,000 euro, the Kilkenny Congress will look to mark its 40th anniversary in style!

The 15th annual Gonzaga Classic will take place from 27-29 January and as usual, all the proceeds will go to charity. The event takes place right in the heart of Dublin city with its vibrant night life and tourist friendly attractions. The event has had many strong winners including IM Sam Collins who are part of the club itself and will look to surpass 200 entrants and raise over 3,000 euro for worthy causes.

Finally, the Bunratty Congress will take place from February 17-19 in the Bunratty Castle Hotel, Limerick. The largest event on the Irish calendar with over 350 entrants annually and a roll of honour that includes some of the top players in the world. 2016 GM Nigel Short, 2015 GM Wesley So, 2014 (and ’11) GM Gawain Jones, 2012-13 GM Michael Adams, 2010 Alex Baburin and 2008-09 Peter Svidler.


Chess game lengths and outcomes, data analysis

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Exploring a data set of over 650,000 chess tournament games ranging back to the 15th century, I wanted to look at how chess has changed over time. Nobility and scholars alike have played chess for over 1500 years, and chess has changed considerably since its inception in the 6th century AD. Since I only have reliable data on chess games from 1850-2014, I’ll start this analysis at 1850. Chess has been revolutionized several times since 1850. 1851 marked the first international chess tournament in London, leaving the German Adolf Anderssen as the official best chess player in Europe at the time. The 20th century saw several breakthroughs in chess theory as chess players began to treat chess as a science more than a pastime. With the advent of computers in the mid-1900s, chess players started analyzing games and …

Source: GameKnot online chess news

CHESS Magazine – October 2016

Friday, September 30th, 2016

CHESS Magazine – October 2016
Wesley So takes clear first at the Sinquefield Cup and tops the Grand Chess Tour standings

Magazine, 60 pages

UK’s most popular CHESS Magazine – established 1935! All the regular features of the UK’s best-selling CHESS magazine plus more! In this issue:

  • 60 Seconds with… Boris Avrukh – The famous Quality Chess author is enjoying life in Illinois
  • So Special – Wesley So is on course for Tour glory after the Sinquefield Cup
  • Best of British – Instructive annotations from Gawain Jones and David Eggleston
  • Colourful Chess – Yochanan Afek reports on an impressive chess festival in Jerusalem
  • Hull-timate Chess – Stephen Greep explains why chess in Hull is on the rise again
  • Why You Should Study Steinitz – Leading Steinitz expert Craig Pritchett on the 19th century great
  • Shock Absorption – Steve Giddins on handling those moments of horror at the board
  • The Scarborough Chess Congress – 40 Years On – Neil Pennock has always enjoyed this long-standing, popular event

Plus all the regular features such as: How Good is Your Chess?, Saunders on Chess, Find the Winning Moves, Never Mind the Grandmasters, Studies, Home & Overseas News, Calendar and Book Reviews.

To open these files you’ll need a PGN reader or Chess software such as HIARCS Chess Explorer, Fritz, Houdini or Chessbase.

The post CHESS Magazine – October 2016 appeared first on

Source: The Week in Chess

Chess Games by Alexander Morozevich – video collection

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Here is a collection of videos with Morozevich’s best games and combinations. My Ebook about Morozevich is at

Source: chessblogger

October 2016 FRL

Friday, September 30th, 2016

official logo

FIDE publishes October 2016 FIDE Rating List. The list of top players is published at Top lists page of FIDE ratings website. All players can check new ratings at the main page of FIDE ratings website.

Source: World Chess Federation – FIDE

World Youth Championships 2016: Round 7

Friday, September 30th, 2016

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Round 7. The Armenian Day

Official website 

If the Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk ended right now, the medal score would look as follows: Russia – 3 gold, 3 silver, and 1 bronze medal, Armenia – 2+1+1, and China – 1+0+1. India and Iran would win just one silver each. Comparing this virtual score to the rankings of the players before the start, one can see that the result of the Russians is more or less expected, while the most progressing team is clearly Armenia.

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Team Armenia

Mikhail Kobalia, the head coach of Russia, expressed hi concerns about achieving the overall victory as a team. The current position of the Russians is decent, and local environment undoubtedly helps, but the main rivals are starting to gain the momentum… especially the Armenians – a small, but very proud team!

In the 7th round, the players from Armenia shone in all tournaments. Our congratulations to Artashes Minasian, grandmaster and last USSR champion, who quietly prepares the worthy successors to the three-time Olympiad-winning team.

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The playing hall

Let us start the round recap with the main breakthrough of the championship, Haik Martirosyan. In the Open 16 section, he won six games out of six and showed no intention of slowing down…


In this double-edged position with attacks on the opposite wings, the Russian Maksim Sorokin made a small mistake: 22…exd5?! (22…Bd7!), giving the opponent time to reduce a threat level for his own king while effectively breaking through the strong-looking defenses of the black monarch.

23.Bxc4! Qxc4 24.Qh4 Be6 25.Qh7+ Kf8 26.Bh6 Bxh6 27.Qxh6+ Ke7 28.exd5?!(the Dvoretsky-style prophylaxis 28.b3! wins on the spot, pushing the black queen away) 28…Bf5+ 29.Kc1 Qb3 30.Qd2. Taking too much precaution. 30.Qg5+ Kd7 31.Rd2, maintaining a tempo of the attack, is a better technique.

30…b5 31.Rh7! b4? Black fights for the initiative, but it doesn’t work. Better is 31…Kd7 32.g4 b4 33.Rxf7 Kc8 34.gxf5 bxc3 35.Qxc3, although White should be winning with an extra pawn. However, Haik did not find the right way.


32.Qe2+? White wins after 32.Qe3+! Kd7 33.Rxf7+ Kc8, and now 34.Rxc7+! Kxc7 35.Nb5+, and the rest is a matter of technique. Now the game suddenly becomes even again.

32…Kd7 33.Ne4 Kc8 34.g4 Bxe4 35.Qxe4 Qxa4 36.Rxf7 (36.d6!? poses more problems) 36…Qa1+ 37.Kd2?! (37.Qb1=) 37…Qxb2+ 38.Ke3 Qc3+ 39.Kf4 Rd6!Here the players can basically shake hands, however, Martirosyan decides to continue pushing for a win.

40.Rd4 Qc1+ 41.Kg3 Qg1? Black takes too much liberty in his attack, and rejects the simple 41…a5, which would force White to take a draw with checks from e8 and b5.

42.Kh4 a5 43.Rxc7+! Kb8. Loses immediately. However, after 43…Kxc8 44.Qe7+ Kb6 45.Qxd6+ Ka7 46.Qc5+ Ka6 47.Qc4+ Ka7 48.Re4 Rb8 49.Qc7 White collects the queenside pawns and must win the pawn ending.

44.Qe8+. Black resigns, and the leader’s streak continues – 7 out of 7!

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In another top game of the round, two Iranians, Parham Marsoodloo and Amin Tabatabaei, fought hard for five hours, but finished with a draw. So the gap between Martirosyan and his rivals increases to 1.5 points – a very significant margin!

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Khomeriki Nino (GEO)

Another big win for Armenia was scored by Siranush Ghukasyan, who as Black defeated the main favorite of the Girls 18 championship and her good friend Nino Khomeriki. The first six rounds went almost perfectly for the Georgian, but today she ran into a surprise as early as on the move 4! Lengthy considerations in the opening did not bring any fruit – White failed to pose problems. And then she suddenly rushed into an unprepared attack.


24.Qg4?! White overvalues her position, thinking she has a lead in development and can put pressure on the e6 and g6 pawns. Actually White has no advantage and should aim at simplifications by 24.Ne4, etc.

24…Bxa4 25.Nh4? A blunder – Khomeriki simply overlooks Ghukasyan’s next move. 25.Nh5!? is true to the spirit of the position, intending to meet 25…N7b6 with 26.Ng7, aiming at the e6-pawn. It is unlikely to equalize the game, but Black wouldn’t have such a devastating attack as in the actual game.

25…f5! A revelation. Here Nino had 10 minutes left, and 9 of them were spent on calculating the knight sacrifice – 26.Ngxf5. However, after 26…exf5 White has nothing better than 27.Qh3, because after 27.Nxf5 the attack quickly loses its steam.

26.Qh3 Nf4 27.Bxf4 Bxf4 28.Ngxf5. Desperation. White’s position is not enviable, but she could still fight by 28.d5 or 28.Nf3. Alas, Nino decided to lose at once.

28…gxf5 29.Nxf5 Nf6 (safety first; the second knight can also be taken – 29…exf5 30.Bc4!? Qxc4 31.Rxe8+ Rxe8 32.Rxe8+ Nf8, and the material must tell)30.Rxe6 Rxe6 31.Rxe6 Rc1+ 32.Bf1 Bb5, and Black won easily.

“I lost this game myself”, admitted Khomeriki afterwards. Ghukasyan only gave a modest smile – the victory put her on 6 out of 7. Alexandra Obolentseva from Russia has the same amount of points, following her win against the Israeli Michal Lahav – a very easy win, as it looked to me. Stavroula Tsolakidou also won an important game today, moving on 5.5/7.

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Petrosyan Manuel (ARM) and Lorparizangeneh Shahin (IRI)

Happiness of the Armenian head coach would be complete if Manuel Petrosyan won his game in the Open 18 section. Petrosyan, despite playing Black, tried hard against the Iranian, but was unable to squeeze more than a draw. Meanwhile, his main rival Maksim Vavulin won, and the victory was once again achieved mostly thanks to determination. In an equal position, the Russian started to outplay his opponent, Vahap Sanal from India, move by move.


White has more space and his pawn structure is slightly superior. The prophylactic 24.b3 looks natural, followed by further improvement of the position. However, all of a sudden White delivers 24.Ndc6+!?

24…bxc6 26.Nxc6+ Kc8 27.Nxd8 Na4? What is it for? After the natural 27…Kxd8 28.b3 Nd5 29.f4 Ned7 White has adequate compensation, but nothing more than that. After the text-move, he gets a free attack. As they say, fear hath a hundred eyes.

27.Qb4 Ncxb2 28.Nc6 Nxd1? An untimely desire of symmetry. After 28…Qc4 29.Nxa7+ Kd7 30.Rd4 Qxc4 31.Rxc4 Ra8 32.e5 Rxa7 33.exf6 Bc4 White has an advantage, but Black is still kicking.

29.Nxa7+ Kd8 30.Rxd1 Nb6?! Only 30…Qc4 saves from immediate disaster.


31.Rxd6+! (White begins gathering the harvest; almost all black pieces are passive witnesses of this onslaught) 31…cxd6 32.Qxb6+ Ke7 33.Qxa6 Qe6 34.Nc6+ Kf7 35.Nd4 Qd7 36.Qc6 Rb8+ 37.Kc1 Qd8 38.Qd5+ Kg6 39.Nc6. Black resigns, and Vavulin moves on 6 out of 7.

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Lomasov Semen (RUS)

The leader of the Open 14 championship, Semyon Lomasov, has 7 out of 7, just like Martirosyan. Lomasov had a hopeless position against Felix Blohberger, but the insane pressure he puts on opponents worked again – in a position with an extra piece the Austrian blundered badly and lost in two moves.


Black is totally outplayed strategically, but now the fun part begins.

26…Bxg2!?? (26…Bd7 27.c6 bxc6 28.bxc6 Be6 etc is way too dry) 27.Kxg2 Ng4 28.Bf3 Qh4 29.Rh1? Not yielding anything. After 29.Ne4 Qxh2+ 30.Kf1 Qf4 31.Qd3 White would duly convert an extra piece. Now the fireworks begin.

29…h4 30.Qd3? A panic attack! After 30.Qd1 h3+ 31.Kf1 Qc4+ 32.Ne2 Nf6 Black is out of danger, but White is alive as well, while now he loses because of poor coordination of his forces.

30…h3+ 31.Kf1 e4! 32.Nxe4 Ne5 33.Qe3 Qxf3 34.Rg1? (after 34.Qxf3 Nxf3 35.Ke2 Ng5 36.f3 f5 37.Rg1 Nf7 Black ends up with an extra piece, but the text-move loses much more) 34…Qd1+ 35.Qe1 Qd3+ 36.Qe2 Qb1+ 37.Qe2 Qxb5+ 38.Qe2 Qb1+ 39.Qe1 Qxe1+, and White resigned in view of 40.Kxe1 Nf3+ and …Nxg1. A great example of overwhelming confidence!

Shuvalova Polina (RUS)

In the Girls 16 category, Polina Shuvalova broke into a sole lead. The Chinese Zhu Jiner leads in the Girls 14 tournament with a full point gap. But who knows, who will have a national celebration tomorrow?

29 September 2016

Round 6: The 18-year-old Make Their Choice

Six championships bring six different and thrilling plots. There are no primary and secondary events in Khanty-Mansiysk, however the most attention is naturally paid to the elder categories.

A match between the main favorites of the Open 18 championship was scheduled for today – the moment of truth, I would say. In the Girls 18 championship, three strongest players were running parallel courses… And the outcome? A standstill in both events!

Vavulin Maksim (RUS) and Petrosyan Manuel (ARM)

The fight between Maksim Vavulin and Manuel Petrosyan was highly anticipated. These two players are showing the most well-rounded and determined game, and they also have a lot of history with each other. By now all our readers are probably aware of Petrosyan’s victory at the European Championship, as well as of Vavulin’s urge to avenge that loss. The Russian puts a great fight in Khanty-Mansiysk, plays uncompromising chess until the very last move, which sometimes brings him unexpected wins as a bonus. Petrosyan’s victories are less spectacular, but the outcome of his games is rarely in doubt. Interestingly, in today’s game it was Petrosyan who was desperate to win, as Vavulin’s tie-break is way better at the moment.

Manuel arrived wearing the warpaint – his left eye was heavily painted in iodine. Grandmaster Artashes Minanian, Armenian head coach, said the boy stumbled and fell. The injury did not reflect on Petrosyan’s fighting spirit. After the clocks were started, the Armenian closed his eyes, took his head in hands, and then confidently moved the queen’s pawn forward – 1.d4. Maksim responded with the Bogo-Indian Defense, and soon the players arrived at one of the critical positions of this subtle opening.


Here Petrosyan took a lengthy pause and then made the natural, but rather committal 18.g4! White is completely mobilized on the kingside and must look for attacking options. The immediate bishops sacrifice yields nothing: 18.Bxh6 gxh6 19.Qxh6 Qd8 20.g4 Nxg4 21.Ng5 Bf5 22.e4 Bxg5!, and Black parries the attack.

18…Bxg4 19.Nh2 Qh5 20.Bxh6!? (after 20.Qg3 Kh8 21.Bf3 Bxf3 22.Nxf3 Rd8 23.Ne5! Rf8! White cannot hope for more than a draw) 20…Bxh4!? That’s the spirit! Vavulin is not satisfied with 20…gxh6 21.Qxh6 Bg6 – the opponent has too many pieces near the black king.

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Vavulin Maksim (RUS) and Petrosyan Manuel (ARM)

21.Qh3 Qe7 22.Bf4 Qf6?! This escalates a crisis that completely cleans up the board. Black could opt for 22…e5 23.Bg3 Bxg3 24.fxg3 Qg5, and White has definite compensation for the sacrificed pawn, but both sides still have plenty of resources.

23.Bxd6 Rxb6 24.Rxb6 Bxe2 25.Nf3! (25.R1d2 Qxf2+ 26.Kh1 Bg5 and Be3) 25…Bxd1 26.Qxh4 (26.Rxd1 Bg5 27.Nxg5 Qxg5 28.Qg3 is just a transposition) 26…Qxh4 27.Nxh4 Bc2. Vavulin ends up with an extra pawn, but his pieces are lacking coordination (the knight on b8 is particularly miserable), so the most likely outcome is a draw.


28.Nf3 Rc8 29.Ne5! f6?! A blunder, after which Black cannot play for a win anymore. He had to settle the bishop first (29…Bf5!?), and only then pay attention to the white pieces. Petrosyan’s next move clarifies the situation.

30.Bh3! Kf8 31.Bxe6. Draw agreed. There players run out of ammunition after 31…Ke7 32.Rb6 Rd8 33.Ng4.

A decent grandmaster game, full of hidden pressure! Compare it with the game on the second table, with the evaluation jumping from “totally won” to “totally lost” a couple of times, and you will agree that there are only two suitable candidates for the gold in the Open 18 section. Vavulin or Petrosyan? Petrosyan or Vavulin? The Russian is slightly ahead, but there are still five games left to play, and the players are unlikely to win them all.

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Tsolakidou Stavroula (GRE)

In the Girls 18 section, there were three main contenders – Stavroula Tsolakidou from Greece, Nino Khomeriki from Georgia, and Alexandra Obolentseva from Russia. The chances of Tsolakidou seemed slightly inferior, as she hasn’t played with the rivals yet, while Khomeriki and Obolentseva already passed their individual duel (drawn). The Greek obviously realized that, and it looks like she simply burnt out…

In a technically winning endgame against Siranush Ghukasyan she kept deteriorating her position until it was no longer won, and then some. The shock was strong; before finally resigning the game, Tsolakidou played a dozen moves being down a rook…

Khomeriki Nino (GEO)

On other boards, both Khomeriki and Obolentseva won their games effortlessly. One could learn from the Georgian how to materialize a moral advantage – the opponents simply fear Nino! Take a look:


Surprisingly, the position is objectively equal because the black king is weak. After, for instance, 34.Rd1 Qg6 35.Rd7 Rad8 36.R1xd3! cxd3 the game ends in a draw: 37.Qb3+ Kh8 38.Qc3+, etc. The Chinese Hu Yu A wants more, so she plays34.Nh5?!

34…Re7 (covering the g7-square) 35.Rc1?? Why would you place the knight on h5 if you don’t use the Q+N battery? After 35.Rxd3! cxd3 36.Nf6+ Kf8 37.Nh5! Black is forced to repeat the moves: 37…Kg8 38.Nf6+, etc.

35…Rf8! (it turns out difficult for White to defend on f2, plus the knight went loose) 36.Ng3 Qf6 37.f3? Protecting the f2-square (perhaps 37.Nh1! is better?), but Black has other targets.

37…b4! Unexpected and elegant. White loses a rook, so she resigned.

Obolentseva played White against Mariola Wozniak, successfully combining attack with defense, even won an exchange, but pushed too hard in an attempt to trap a queen.


Black attacks b2 and h3. The Russian can retain all advantages of her position by 32.Bf6! Bxf6 33.Qxf6 Qxg3 34.Rd8+ Rxd8 35.Qxd8+ Kg7 36.Re4!, etc. Instead she plays for a trap – 32.Rd2, luring the queen on h3 with a one way ticket. The opponent takes the bait.

32…Qxh3! 33.f3? Black looks helpless against Rh2, trapping the queen, but it is just an illusion: 33…h6!!, and only White can have problems here. 34.Be7 (34.Bf6? Bxf6 35.Qxf6 Qg3+) 34…Rc4! 35.Rh2 (the only move) 35…Rxf4 36.Rxh3 Rd4!, and Black, despite being an exchange down, has excellent counterplay against White’s numerous pawn weaknesses.

Alas, the player from Poland replied by 33…Bf8?, and stopped the clock after 34.Rh2 Bc5+ 35.Kh1.

So now four players are in the lead with 5 points out of 6: Khomeriki, Obolentseva, Ghukasyan, and Michal Lahav from Israel. Tomorrow the favorites will be testing the ambitious newcomers.

My congratulations to those who have read this far! We are not done yet. First of all, let us celebrate the success from Haik Martirosyan (Armenia) and Semyon Lomasov (Russia) – they are the only participants of this tournament who won all six games! Martirosyan, who leads the Open 16 section, defeated the Italian Luca Minori with the extravagant 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 e5?!! Two moves with one pawn in the opening – what a challenging idea! White got a more pleasant endgame, but then played a bit too sharp, got a worse game and eventually lost a thread.

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Martirosyan Haik M. (ARM)

Lomasov, the leader of the Open 14, outplayed another Italian, Matteo Pitzanti, simply wearing him down in a lengthy struggle. Pitzanti defended accurately until the first control, but then started to make mistakes. Now Lomasov is a full point ahead of the nearest rival.

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Shuvalova Polina (RUS)

The favorites in the other two tournaments also continued their winning streak. Tomorrow the Russian Polina Shuvalova plays at “her own by right” first table of the Girls 16 section against the Indian Hagawane Aakanksha, who is currently half a point ahead. In the Girls 14 tournament, Aleksandra Maltsevskaya defeated her compatriot and main rival Elizaveta Solozhenkina, and tomorrow will challenge the lead of the Chinese Zhu Jiner, who is half a point ahead, too. The situation in these tournaments is still completely unclear.

* * *
The 6th round started with the minute of silence to mourn the passing of Mark Dvoretsky. All chess players, arbiters, coaches, and parents honored memory of this brilliant teacher. What were they reflecting about? Some of them probably recalled their meetings and conversations with this ironic, sometimes prickly man, who possessed subtle understanding of not only chess, but also the bigger world around us. Others thought about his books and lectures, which became classical over the course of the years. And some of them probably never heard about Dvoretsky until now, but will undoubtedly come across his works on the way to chess perfection. Without this foundation, one simply cannot become a decent player, even in our era of computers.

A minute of silence in memory of Mark Dvoretsky

The coaches from former USSR were totally stunned by his death. For them it was like losing a parent, someone who holds the door to eternity for us all. He surely was a godfather for some of them, an inspiration to become a coach. Mark Izrailevich was always very open for his colleagues, always ready to share his experience, give an advice. He could do so much more… What is 68 years for someone totally dedicated to his profession? It seems reasonable to commemorate the great pedagogue who did so much for chess with founding a Mark Dvoretsky Award, either for the best juniors (Mark Izrailevich was amazing in turning promising juniors into World Champions) or, even better, for successful junior coaches…

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27 September 2016

Round Five. The Junction Point

The main favorites in nearly all categories of the FIDE World Youth Championships made strong steps forward, which may even be called decisive later on.

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Hakobyan Aram (ARM)

Let us start with the Open 14 section. The two Russians who were running at a full speed met on the first board – Andrey Esipenko and Semyon Lomasov. The former was a clear favorite before the start – being the European Champion and the Vice-Champion of the World, he is also rated 50 points above the second ranked player of the event and obviously has tremendous confidence in his ability. His opponent is ranked 5th, and was considered more of a dark horse.

The course of the tournament, however, did not quite support the prediction. Both players won four out of four, but Esipenko did not always win in a convincing way, often prevailing in attrition wars, while Lomasov’s games were very impressive, especially his second round victory.

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Esipenko Andrey (RUS)

Despite playing Black, Lomasov won the opening duel. First he carried out a favorable trade of the light-squared bishops – a key piece in White’s attacking setup, then offered a queen trade. Had Esipenko accepted the offer, the game could end quickly and peacefully. However, Andrey went for an attack by 17.Qg4, and burnt the bridges on the next move, sacrificing a pawn.

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Black’s reply 23…h5 looked like a wake-up call for White. While Esipenko spent time on regrouping his pieces, Lomasov blocked all roads leading to his king and started to utilize an extra pawn…

When the fate of the game was nearly sealed, Lomasov looked extremely nervous, as if he was scared to death to spoil everything with a random error, while Espineko seemed extremely confident. He will surely make use of this confidence – in the next six rounds, when he will be trying to catch up with the leader.

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Tabatabaei M.Amin (IRI)

The Open 16 section featured a similar plot – two leaders with the perfect score faced each other on the first board: Haik Martirosyan (#3, Armenia) versus Amin Tabatabaei (#2, Iran). The latter’s game in the first four rounds was nothing short of impeccable.

Martirosyan had White, and he started very cautiously, as if he was happy with a draw, not taking any risks, but then, after the queens were exchanged, suddenly grabbed the poisoned d5-pawn! Black quickly developed the initiative. Haik’s minor pieces look just pitiful on the diagram.

The handsome Iranian looked like a king, standing next to the table with arms crossed on a chest looking at his opponent’s misery. On the board, he did everything right – forced the opponent to make weaknesses and then put pressure on them. The only trump Haik had was his passed pawn on the h-file, which looked quite harmless for a long time.

Tabatabaei M.Amin (IRI) and Martirosyan Haik M. (ARM)

However, the pawn made it to the h6 and suddenly started to make a difference. White managed to activate his pieces, and Amin cracked under the pressure.

An exchange sacrifice 59.Rxf4! sealed the game. Black was unable to stop White’s pawns. Martirosyan won his fifth straight game.

There were no such clashes in the Open 18 category, only the final preparatory steps took place. The main favorites, Maksim Vavulin and Manuel Petrosyan scored another wins. The Armenian slowly and without flashes outplayed his compatriot Aram Hakobyan, while the Russian once again created a fire on board and outsmarted his opponent from Madagascar on the fifth hour of play.

Who do you think is playing for a win? It turns out, White does. In the course of the next 10 moves, Vavulin stalemated his king on a5, seizing an excellent outpost on c5 for his knight. Rakotomaharo lost the thread of the game, made several moves with the knight – e6-g7-f5-d6, and then lost two pawns one after another.

Vavulin Maksim (RUS)

Therefore, after the rest day we will have the high point of the 6th round – Petrosyan-Vavulin. Two months ago Manuel stole the European title from Maksim. Will the Russian strike back? We’ll see. The Armenian plays White, so the ball is on his side.

While the situation in Open categories is more or less clear, the Girls events are a complete mess. In the Girls 14 event the tandem of the Russian leaders fell apart. Elizaveta Solozhenkina moved to a sole lead, beating the American Annie Wang in a rook ending 3 vs 2, while Aleksandra Maltsevskaya drew against the Indian Nutakki Priyanka, never having a chance to play for a win.

Solozhenkina Elizaveta (RUS)

The rating favorite of the Girls 16 event Polina Shuvalova won a second game in a row. Finally she managed to get an opening advantage, then misplayed, allowing the opponent to equalize, and then outplayed Vera Prakapuk for the second time – no wonder, as Vera is rated almost 500 points lower! However, the competitors also won their games. Aakanksha Hagawane from India defeated Anna-Maja Kazarian, who was a sole leader before the 5th round, with a checkmate on the board!

On the second table, Oliwia Kiolbasa won against Amina Battsooj – the Mongolian blundered an exchange and resigned immediately.

Finally, the Greek Stavroula Tsolakidou took a sole lead in the Girls 18 section. Her today’s opponent Mariola Wozniak played poorly in the opening, grabbed a poisoned pawn, and by the move 13 was already in a big trouble.

Tsolakidou could have won faster, but a win is a win.

The first board game between Nino Khomeriki and Alexandra Obolentseva could also end in a crushing victory for one of the players. The Russian mishandled the opening, and the rating favorite of the event achieved a totally dominating position on the 13th move.

However, the Georgian spent too much time preparing breaks on the e-file and then on the h-file, so Black managed to consolidate and eventually held a draw. Perhaps after the rest day the girls’ play will be more purposeful!

Khomeriki Nino (GEO) and Obolentseva Alexandra (RUS)

P. S. Sad news arrived during the 5th round – Mark Dvoretsky, one of the greatest trainers of our time, passed away at the age of 68. Several generations of chess players grew up on his books and lectures, and dozens of famous grandmasters proudly proclaim themselves Dvoretsky’s students. Our condolences to the family members.

26 September 2016

Round 4. Thriller Time

Finally! The key clashes took place today in two age groups out of six. The Girls 18 category featured the most fierce and uncompromising battles between all the main contenders. The nearby boards also added some heat.

Goltseva Ekaterina (RUS)

Let us begin with the main course. Two former World Champions of younger categories faced each other on the first board: the 15-year-old Greek Stavroula Tsolakidou and the 15-year-old Alexandra Obolentseva from Russia. Both started with 3 out of 3 and by no means were strangers on the top board. The game started to produce sparks from the very beginning. Tsolakidou, playing White, tried to surprise the opponent with a rare line, but Obolentseva easily found the right solution, arranged her pieces harmoniously, and White’s first inaccuracy nearly became decisive. Black’s pawns started to advance, and White, additionally troubled by the time pressure, had to sacrifice a piece for a couple of pawns. A favorable situation for the Russian, who should have continued the attack, however, Alexandra went for simplifications, allowing Stavroula to come back into the game. For 50 more moves Alexandra tried to utilize her advantage, but in vain, and the all-important game ended in a draw.

This draw allowed Nino Khomeriki, the highest rated player of the event, to join the leaders. Her play in Khanty-Mansiysk impresses with simplicity and efficiency. She needs no fireworks to outplay her opponents. Today, despite playing Black, Nino quickly gained an advantage against Josefine Heinemann, then exchanged the most active pieces of the German, put pressure on her weaknesses, and demonstrated powers of a passed pawn when it was necessary. A very clean victory! Khomeriki now returns to the first board to play Tsolakidou in the next round, and to face Obolentseva a little bit later. These games must determine the champion.

Yao Lan (CHN)

The leaders of the Open 18 section played in a similarly uncompromising way. While the European Champion Manuel Petrosyan showed excellent technique against Zhanat Saiyn on the second board and won without any fireworks, the Russian Maksim Vavulin played a very risky game. The thing is, Valentin Dragnev from Austria, who commanded the White pieces, completely outplayed the favorite in the opening, leaving the Russian with bad pieces, numerous weaknesses and complete lack of counterplay. In addition, Vavulin experienced his usual time management problems. And suddenly… Quoting Mikhail Kobalia, Russian junior head coach, Vavulin is a slow starter, who comes into full strength only after three hours of play or so. Despite being in an objectively poor position, Maksim created wild complications, and his opponent finally lost a track. White still remained in control around the move 40, but after that started to slip, and fell apart in a few more moves. However, victories of the main contenders did very little for clarifying the tournament situation in this group.

Gazik Viktor (SVK)

Both Under 16 tournaments continued in a usual fashion, with little excitement and no surprises. The leader of the Open 16 event, Amin Tabatabaei from Iran, started today with 1.a3 and had a totally won position by the move 20. Haik Martirosyan, Luca Moroni, and Olexandr Triapishko also did not experience any problems winning their games. Parham Maghsoodloo, the rating favorite of the tournament, won in less than two hours!

The results on top boards of the Girls 16 section directly correlated with the rating order. Among the winners are Anna-Maja Kazarian, Oliwia Kiolbasa, Amina Battsooj, and Aakanksha Hagawane. Polina Shuvalova finally ended her drought, moving on 3 out of 4. She will eventually have to test the leader in one of the next rounds.

Maltsevskaya Aleksandra (RUS)

The Russians are in the lead in both Under 14 sections. However, while both boys, Andrey Esipenko and Semyon Lomasov, extended their winning streak, even if not in the most convincing way, the progress of the top girls, Elizaveta Solozhenkina and Aleksandra Maltsevskaya, was hindered. In both games the assessment was jumping up and down, but eventually froze at zero. Well, nobody can win forever!






25 September 2016

Round 3: The Final Time Out

In large open tournaments with an uneven lineup, the third round is usually the last more or less easy day, when the favorites have the luxury of facing a noticeably weaker opposition. Starting with the round four, each game on top boards will become a clash of contenders and will be of critical importance in the fight for the title.

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The playing hall

The aforementioned principle was observed in almost all groups of the World Youth Championships, with one exception – the Open 18 category. The top games in this category were extremely tense already today, and the favorites often had no advantage over nominal underdogs. For example, Manuel Petrosyan (2nd ranked) found himself under heavy pressure against Johan-Sebastian Christiansen (12). The Norwegian played very subtly in the opening and forced the black king to desperately look for a safe harbor. It is quite possible that the play of Christiansen could be improved somewhere along the way, however the time pressure took its toll, and the game ended in a draw by perpetual.

Dmitrij Kollars (3), playing White against Seyed Khalil Mousavi (14), tried hard to break away from the group into a sole lead. However, when it started to look as if the German established a comfortable advantage, the Iranian executed series of accurate moves, which gave him a strong initiative. Kollars barely managed to survive in a complex ending. Another large scale fight occurred on the third board, where Zhanat Saiyn (15) held Aram Hakobyan (10) to a draw.

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Christiansen Johan-Sebastian (NOR)

The Russian Maksim Vavulin managed to use this situation to his advantage. It seems the rating favorite from Russia in not on top of his form. Yesterday he barely survived as Black. Today he got nothing out of the opening as White. Moreover, had Arystanbek Urazayev shown some precision, Vavulin could end up in a big trouble. However, the player from Kazakhstan transposed the game into a deadly drawn rook ending, which ended… in a victory for the Russian on the 113th move! Bravo!

In contrast to the strongest group, almost half of the top games in other groups were pretty much one-sided. The leaders of the Open 16 section Amin Tabatabaei (2) and Haik Martirosyan (3) both won confidently. The Russian Olexandr Triapishko was also close to a victory, but misplayed in the time trouble and gave up half a point. Coming into the fourth round, four players have the perfect score.

Curiously, the main favorite, Parham Maghsoodloo from Iran, got stuck on +1. Yesterday the main reason for his draw was the opponent, who played White and made his peaceful intentions clear. Today Parham can only blame himself. An unpretentious opening as White lead to an equal position, and a draw was agreed already on the move 23.
Nevertheless, there is little doubt that Maghsoodloo will take part in a fight for the gold in this category. The tournament is long, and one does not have to rush. Just make sure you don’t wait until it is too late…

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Kollars Dmitrij (GER)

The leaders of the Open 14 group – Andrey Esipenko (1) and Semyon Lomasov (5) from Russia showed clear superiority over their opponents. The character of those games was somewhat different: Lomasov took the bull by the horns immediately, relying on his deep home analysis (starting with the move 12, he played all the strongest moves suggested by the machine), while Esipenko made a subtle exchange sacrifice on the move 14, and decided the game with a direct attack. Kirill Shevchenko (3), who had a brilliant start, was unable to maintain the tempo – the Italian Matteo Pitzanti (25) proved a tough customer, and despite having a material advantage, the Ukrainian did not get more than a draw.

In the girls tournaments, the favorites swept through the opposition with the Olympiad-like 4-0 score. And they did not just win – they did not give their opponents a glimmer of hope!

Stavroula Tsolakidou (2), who had already won the Under 16 championship and decided to test the Under 18 this year, astonished with clarity of her play – every move of the Greek player was precise and deadly. Aleksandra Obolentseva (4) impressed with her bravery and truly surgical precision in executing her ideas. Josefine Heinemann (7) played with incredible calmness and composure. But the most impressive of all was Nino Khomeriki (1) – it seems she could have won such a fine game in a simul, or playing blindfolded…

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Heinemann Josefine (GER)

It is a pity that the 12-year-old Russian Bibisara Assaubayeva (5) was unable to make a step forward as well. This little girl possesses the spirit of a true champion. She managed to get a nearly winning position against Michal Lahav (24), but did not cope with complications in the time trouble and suffered her first defeat. Well, misfortunes make us stronger.

The favorite of the Under 16 tournament, Polina Shuvalova made a second misstep. Playing White against Nilufar Yakubbaeva (30), the Russian never had even a slightly better position. Polina seems to always be under time pressure and does not cope with nervousness well, while the ambitious rivals continue to extend the gap. After the first three rounds, three players have the perfect score – Yao Lan (6) from China, Anna-Maja Kazarian (7) from Netherlands, and Danitza Vasquez (14) from Puerto Rico. Yet, the tournament distance is long, and let us see for how long they will remain on top.

Kochukova Anna (RUS) and Kazarian Anna-Maja (NED)

The Russian leaders of the Under 14 group fired another winning salute. Elizaveta Solozhenkina (1) from St. Petersburg, daughter of grandmaster Evgeny Solozhenkin, stormed her opponent off the board with a strong pawn attack. It could become a textbook game, if Elizaveta did not blunder on the move 29, which forced her to win the game for a second time. Aleksandra Maltsevskaya won a long siege, proving that two rooks are stronger than a queen.



24 September 2016

Round Two: Rating Does Not Mean Anything

“Do not pay attention to ratings when talking about children”, a famous junior trainer told me. “It means nothing or almost nothing!” And indeed, many games played on a second day of the World Youth Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, including those on top boards, proved his point. There is no doubt that many more surprising results will keep arriving every single day.

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The playing hall

Do you want facts? Let’s go! Maksim Vavulin, the highest seed of the Open 18 category, lost his first half a point today. Or perhaps gained half a point? He looked sort of happy with the outcome after the game. His Black opening against the Croatian Jadranko Plenca was adventurous, to put it mildly, and in order to create counterplay Maksim sacrificed two pawns. Fortunately, his opponent did not find the best continuation in tactical complications, so the player from Moscow was able to transpose to a rook ending and draw the game by perpetual. Manuel Petrosyan immediately utilized this slip from his main rival, winning a seemingly effortless game. The international master from Yerevan is again prepared to deprive the Russian of the gold medal, just like he did recently at the European Championship. What will be Vavulin’s reply? He also needs to worry about Dmitrij Kollars from Germany, who showed a good technique today, beating a solid opponent from Austria.

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Petrosyan Manuel (ARM) and Erenberg Ariel (ISR)

The Iranian leaders of the Open 16 event also did not have an easy day, but the outcome of their games was different. Parham Maghsoodloo’s opponent was very persistent with his desire of making a draw, and the peaceful agreement was signed after about an hour of play. Unlike his teammate, Amin Tabatabaei was permitted to leave the tournament hall only after six tough hours that included many ups and downs. A blitzkrieg against Paulius Pultinevicius failed, and the players entered a complex endgame. For about twenty moves the evaluation was shaking like a boat  in a stormy sea. However, it was the Lithuanian who committed the final mistake of this game, playing under serious time pressure.

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Tabatabaei M.Amin (IRI)

Other favorites of the category did not miss this opportunity. There were very few draws on the top boards, and the perfect score after the first two rounds is shown by as many as 15 players! Among them are three Russians – Olexandr Triapishko, Sergei Lobanov, and Timur Fakhrutdinov. A real brawl is anticipated tomorrow…

The Open 14 event saw such brawl already in the second round! Two players from Moscow, Danila Pavlov and Andrey Esipenko, were paired on the first board. The latter was rated by 333 points higher, but had to spend a whole day and evening proving his superiority in an equal ending reached on the move 7. I suppose Andrey will not enjoy the post-game conversation with the Russian head coach, who was not impressed by his student’s opening choice! One should not slack, as the competitors are never asleep! The Ukrainian Kirill Shevchenko, for instance, won in great style today, sacrificing his queen and creating a spectacular mating net on the half-empty board.

Some upsets were observed in girls championships as well. The lead in the Under 18 group was seized by the Greek Stavroula Tsolakidou, who initially planned to take part in the Under 16 championship. Today she defeated the Russian Irina Drogovoz in a very ruthless manner. (The rating favorite of the group, Nino Khomeriki from Georgia, made a misstep yesterday, barely making a draw against a much lower rated opponent, and is now half a point behind the leaders.) Aleksandra Obolentseva defended the reputation of Russian chess on the second board and also moved to 2/2, while our 12-year-old star Bibisara Assaubayeva was unable to covert her advantage and settled with a draw on the board three.

Tsolakidou Stavroula (GRE)

The top seed of the Under 16 championship, Polina Shuvalova also fell behind in the first round, barely escaping with a draw. Today she won quite easily against the player from Czech Republic, but as many as nine players won both starting games and are on top of the leaderboard. However, grandmaster Sergey Zagrebelny, trainer of Shuvalova, informed us that she really enjoys a challenge. The girl has character! Only in the youngest category both Russian favorites, Elizaveta Solozhenkina and Aleksandra Maltsevskaya, have a very smooth sailing. The opponents cannot cope with the mistake-free play of our girls, and their victories look very natural and logical. How long will it last?

* * *

Junior events are very exciting. The participants are no kids, but they are not completely developed chess players either. Almost each one of them needs care from family, relatives, or coaches. And watching this army of highly emotional, concerned and often extremely impatient supporters is really curious.

In the morning they all attend breakfast in one of the two restaurants of the Olimplijskaya Hotel,  the home of the participants. Most of the players never show up, preferring to sleep instead, but some of them come as well, half-asleep and looking for coffee, fruits or cornflakes. Then there is preparation for the next game, and after that, shortly before a dinner, the adults bring their wards out for a walk. A quick meal afterwards, and the crowd rushes to the buses that bring both players and their support to the Ugra Tennis Center, the venue of the Championships. A final guidance 10-15 minutes before the game follows by a touching separation. Then the boys and girls enter the playing area, while their parents and coaches start wandering around. Most of them finally settle on the stands next to the chess arena and inevitably begin to worry.

Following all games online has become a habit these days. In Khanty-Mansiysk, however, only 24 games in all six events are relayed live – four top boards in each section. If your player is there – well, lucky you. If not, you better be a psychic! In order to prevent external assistance, the first five rows of the stands are closed for spectators, and one cannot see the situation on the board without powerful optics.  Some coaches wisely brought the equipment, either an opera glass or a field glass. They can look at the players’ faces and exchange opinions, however, the positions are still impossible to grasp…

When the round is finally over, the happy winners and the sad losers load the buses and return to the Olympijskaya Hotel. Then follows a joint supper, a crowded and very loud meal that includes game analysis and other chess-related discussions. After that the players finally have some time to relax – until the pairings of the next round appear, forcing them to return to their rooms and start over the preparation cycle. The parents usually do not rush back, looking for ways to deal with their stress instead. There is another game tomorrow, and who knows which is harder – playing chess or supporting the players?


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23 September 2016

The first move is made at the World Youth Championships

The first round of the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016 in Khanty-Mansiysk is played today.

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The symbolic first move in the game between Maksim Vavulin of Russia and R Vaishali of India was made by the governor of Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous okrug – Ugra Natalia Komarova. 228 players in the open section of the tournament and 181 players in the girls section were having their first games in the world championships.

Upon the end of the first move ceremony the governor went to another end of the playing hall to watch the game of the youngest participant of the championships – 9-year-old Georgy Ryabov representing Khanty-Mansiysk. Besides, the head of the region has greeted the FIDE officials, the organizers of the tournaments and the team of arbiters, wishing all of them the successful and smooth world championships.

The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves plus 30 minutes till the end of the game with 30 second increment from move 1.

Live games of the tournament are available on the official page of the event.

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The capital of Ugra is a well-known chess venue. It hosted the World Cup several times, the 39th World Chess Olympiad, Candidates tournament, the final leg of the FIDE Grand-Prix series and many other major international chess events. In year 2016, which is officially announced to be the Year of Childhood in Ugra, Khanty-Mansiysk hosts the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016. The tournament will be held from September’21 until October’04.

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The officials and organizers of the tournament talked about getting ready for the event

Today, on September 22, the press-conference with the officials and organizers of the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016 was held in the media-center of the Ugra Tennis Center.


The speakers of the press-conference were the chief executive officer of FIDE Geoffrey Borg, the director of Russian office of FIDE Berik Balgabaev, the director of the department of physical culture and sports of Ugra Igor Gubkin and the executive director of the tournament Valery Radchenko.


– Geoffrey, you’ve been to Khanty-Mansiysk so many times and, of course, you know all the nuances of hosting chess events. What can you say about this venue where the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016 takes place?

– First of all, I would like to thank the governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova for supporting FIDE and chess events in the region. It is always a pleasure to be back in Khanty-Mansiysk again. Of course, this tournament presents its own challenges, because this is the first time Khanty-Mansiysk hosts the international youth tournament of this level. But we have an excellent team with “UgraMegaSport” and Ugra Chess Federation. They have lots of experience and it is very easy to organize chess events here. Whereas in normal times I spend most of the first days of the tournaments troubleshooting problems with the lights and the temperature in the playing hall, accommodation, etc., here we have most of this problems solved before the start of the tournament. It is much easier to organize here with all this experience. Today we’ve spent more time discussing the future tournaments which will come very soon – the Women Grand-Prix in November 2016 and Team Championships in May 2017.

– Do you think that some of the participants of these Championships will be able to compete in the Chess Olympiad 2020, which will also be held in Khanty-Mansiysk?

– We already have players here who have played in the Chess Olympiad in Baku last week. The average age of chess is coming down very quickly. Some very young players are already members of their national teams not the junior teams. So, I think in 2020 they will be candidates for the medals of the Olympiad. We had 4 8-year-old players in Baku. The perception of chess in general is that only old people are playing it. But this is not so. Chess is very demanding nowadays as there is a lot of energy lost during the games. It is a physical sport. We are walking a lot between our moves, we are not just sitting for 5 hours. The second thing is that it takes a lot of nerves. It is like you are having an exam every day. The stress is just crazy. Sometimes Magnus Carlsen looks like he is sleeping at the board. But Magnus is a very active athlete. He is doing tennis, football and basketball. This is just an image he wants to portray that he is lazy and tired. Sometimes it is only a psychological game.


– Berik, during your visit you have inspected the venues of Khanty-Mansiysk that will be hosting the Chess Olympiad 2020 in four years. What is to be done by Ugra to get ready for the Olympiad?

– The Chess Olympiad 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk was a great success. We feel very comfortable here. I am sure, the participants of the tournament will have the same feelings about this venue. I know almost all the infrastructure of Khanty-Mansiysk and this place fits very well for hosting chess events. Still the Olympiad 2020 will be different from the Olympiad 2010. First of all, the number of the participants will substantially increase. During this visit we managed to discuss the coming Olympiad and to inspect the possible venues where the games could be played.

– Igor, chess is one of the sports that gets the biggest support in Ugra. Is it possible to call Khanty-Mansiysk a chess capital of Russia?

– The development of chess in Ugra has a long and good history. In 2010 we have hosted the World Chess Olympiad and in 2020 we will do this once again. Khanty-Mansiysk is the fourth city in the world that will host the Chess Olympiad twice. Starting from this tournament every year Ugra will host major international chess events. We consider them to be a part of the preparation process for the main tournament – Chess Olympiad 2020.


– Valery, please tell us how did you manage to organize a tournament with 412 participants. What problems did you face?

– A lot of work was done to get ready for the event, as we were also providing visa support for the players. We have been doing this for several months, of course, with the help of the department of physical culture and sports of Ugra and Igor Gubkin. The main difficulty concerned catering for the participants. We needed to keep in mind that we are dealing with people representing different countries, religions and cultures. Besides, time difference also mattered a lot. Some players are already awake at 5 in the morning so we had to organize their breakfast earlier than was planned before. Besides, we added more sweets, cereals and yogurts to their meals.

22 September 2016

The World Youth Championships is declared open

Official website

On September’21 the FIDE World Youth U14, U16 and U18 Championships 2016 have started. The official Opening Ceremony of the event was held in the concert and theater center “Ugra-Classic”. The bright and spectacular show was seen by more than a thousand people. Among them 412 participants of the World Championships, who came to Ugra from 61 country of the world.

The ceremony started with the presentation of the participating countries. Upon its end the official part of the ceremony has begun. The governor of Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous Okrug Natalia Komarova and the chief executive officer of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Geoffrey Borg – who were also among the audience – have addressed the participants of the tournament.

“Khanty-Mansiysk has been hosting many major chess events such as the Chess Olympiad, the World Cup and the Candidates Tournament. But this year which we have declared to be the year of Childhood in Ugra, we are very pleased to see the young chess players here in Khanty-Mansiysk, – said the head of the region. – We are hosting now the most talented young chess players of the world and our goal for the coming days is to show as much hospitality to them as possible. We are thankful to FIDE for giving us the honor to host this tournament. Several preceding championships were held in southern countries of the world. But we are sure that our hospitality will compensate the lower temperature. And I am sure that our hospitality will also motivate you to the victories you’re going to accomplish. By hosting these championships and several coming tournaments we are going to learn from the chess players how to calculate several moves ahead, as this is a great responsibility for us to host the forthcoming Chess Olympiad 2020. I wish all the participants success and all the guests to enjoy this chess festival!”

“I would like to thank the governor for the continuous support of FIDE and chess events in Khanty-Mansiysk, – took the floor Geoffrey Borg. – We feel very comfortable for organizing so many chess events in Khanty-Mansiysk, because they understand everything that goes on in our chess world. We have an experienced team of friends and people working in Khanty-Mansiysk, who know us very well now for over 15 years. Organizing chess events here in Khanty-Mansiysk is a pleasure not a duty. We have a calendar of events for the next 4 or 5 years, which is really busy. We start with the FIDE World Youth Championships today and in two-months time comes the final leg of Women’s Grand-Prix series. In 2017 we have the Men and Women World Team Chess Championships 2017. In 2018 comes Women World Championships Knock-out 64 players and in 2019 – World Cup for men. Finally – but, of cause, not literally finally as we will continue to have more events thanks to the generous support of Khanty-Mansiysk government – Chess Olympiad 2020. So I am sure we are all happy to show our appreciation for the governor and the support of Khanty-Mansiysk for all these chess events. I wish you all the best, do what you can to represent your country and to represent FIDE. Good luck to everybody!”

Before the start of the entertaining part of the ceremony, the drawing procedure was carried out. The governor of the region drew the black pawn for top players of the championships.

After the official part, the opening ceremony was followed by a concert performed by numbers of the best city artists. The event showed the synthesis of different genres of performing arts. The program included some rock music played by the band from Ugra on traditional Russian instruments. A mixture of electronic and rock music with folk tunes has greatly impressed the audience. The same mixture of styles and genres was seen in other song and dance performances.

To finish the ceremony on the high note the opera singers sang the final song on the show and the master of ceremonies has congratulated the participants and team members with the official opening of the World Youth Championships and wished them a successful tournament!

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21 September 2016

The biggest number of the participants of the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships has arrived to the capital of Ugra. The players and their accompanying persons were greeted in the airport in a traditional Russian way – with songs, accordion playing and local Siberian treats – nuts and cranberries.

The opening ceremony of the Championships will take place today in the concert and theater center “Ugra-Classic”. And tomorrow the first round of the tournament will be played. 412 players from 62 countries have arrived to Khanty-Mansiysk to participate in the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships.

Follow the latest news from the Championship at the official website

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Source: World Chess Federation – FIDE

Complaints and Decisions relating to Bulgarian Chess Federation

Friday, September 30th, 2016

official logo

Following the discussion held at the FIDE General Assembly (FIDE GA) in Baku earlier this month, FIDE publishes a timeline of the facts on the basis of which a significant number of complaints and allegations have been brought over the past two years before its organs, namely the Ethics Commission (ETH) and FIDE GA, concerning the Bulgarian Chess Federation (BCF) and members of BCF’s administration.

Financial and administrative irregularities during the organisation of the 2013 European Youth Chess Championship in Budva: A number of financial and administrative irregularities and violations during the organization of the 2013 European Youth Chess Championship in Budva, Montenegro were discovered by the current administration of ECU and Montenegro Chess Federation that decided to submit complaints to ETH (ETH cases nr. 13/2014 and 14/2014) and to initiate parallel investigations before the competent local national authorities.

Establishment of an imposter company in Delaware: As regards the mentioned financial and administrative irregularities, it has been proven that a fictitious entity under the corporate name “European Chess Union LLC” (ECU LLC) was established by unknown persons in Delaware/USA, with which ECU, the continental association affiliated with FIDE, has no connection.

Opening of at least one bank account connected to the imposter ECU LLC, issuance of false/fictitious invoices and directing of payments: Moreover, it has been demonstrated that at least one bank account was opened for the fake ECU LLC. This bank account was opened by unknown persons in Slovenia and a number of payments were directed, on the basis of false/fictitious invoices to the account of the fake ECU LLC.

ETH decision and sanctions: In connection with the mentioned financial and administrative irregularities, members of the ECU administration at the time of the irregularities also holding offices in their respective national chess federations, namely former ECU President and President of Bulgarian Chess Federation Mr. Silvio Danailov, former ECU General Secretary Ms. Sava Stoisavljevic and former ECU Executive Director and President of Montenegro Chess Federation Mr. Vladimir Sakotic were found guilty of breaching the FIDE Code of Ethics and sanctions were imposed on them pursuant to ETH Decision of 9.9.2016.

More specifically, as regards the sanctions imposed, Mr. S. Danailov is suspended for a period of eighteen (18) months from holding any office or position within FIDE, as well as from participating in any meeting of FIDE as delegate or in any other capacity. This suspension does not preclude Mr. Danailov from exercising his powers as BCF President within Bulgaria internally, but he shall not represent BCF externally in its relations with FIDE. Mr. V. Sakotic and Ms. Sava Stoisavljevic are suspended for a period of three (3) years and six (6) months respectively from holding any office or position within FIDE, from participating in any meeting of FIDE as delegate or another capacity, as well as representing any organisation in its relations with FIDE. In all the above instances, reference to FIDE includes its member federations, continental associations and other affiliated international organisations.

Unlawful ban of Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov: Following a press conference given by Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov in Bulgaria in May 2015 disclosing information on irregularities concerning tournaments organized in Albena and Golden Sands in 2014, the aforementioned persons were banned by the BCF for 3 and 5 years respectively without being afforded the right to be heard and without charges, for violation of the BCF Statutes and Code of Ethics due to the public criticism expressed by them against the BCF administration and management. Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov successfully challenged BCF’s decision before the Bulgarian Courts (first instance) and submitted a complaint before the ETH (ETH case nr. 4/2015).

ETH decision and sanctions: In connection with the above, the ETH found that the BCF Managing Committee, in suspending all the rights of participation in chess activities in Bulgaria of Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov, failed to prosecute the alleged violations in compliance with fundamental principles of law. The ETH therefore nullified the sanctions imposed by the BCF on Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov on 5.6.2015 and decided to conduct anew an enquiry in regard to the alleged violations (ETH decision of 15.06.2016).

Failure of BCF to challenge ETH decision before the CAS: BCF did not elect to challenge ETH decision of 15.06.2016 before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne/Switzerland, thus the decision became final and binding on the parties.

Non-compliance of BCF with ETH decision and FIDE GA decision in Baku: Due to BCF’s refusal to comply with ETH decision of 15.6.2016, the FIDE GA in Baku adopted the ETH recommendation to temporarily exclude the BCF, if the latter does not fully comply with the ETH decision and does not confirm such compliance to the FIDE Executive Director by October 12, 2016, and maintain it so excluded until such compliance and such confirmation have taken place (FIDE GA decision). On 20.09.2016 BCF informed FIDE of BCF Board’s decision taken on 16.09.2016 according to which the BCF completely accepts the decision of the ETH and undertook to restore the rights of Messrs. K. Georgiev, M. Stoynev and S. Stoichkov. Due to a number of pending issues, FIDE is currently monitoring full compliance of BCF with ETH decision dated 15.06.2016 and FIDE GA decision in Baku.

ECU investigation on transactions between ECU and BCF: After August 2014 ECU’s newly elected administration launched an investigation concerning chess tournaments that were organized in Bulgaria (Albena and Golden Sands) and improperly designated by the former administration of ECU as official ECU tournaments and a number of unauthorized transactions between BCF and ECU.

Complaint of BCF to ETH in relation to ECU’s investigation: BCF submitted a complaint to ETH claiming that ECU’s investigation in connection with the above chess tournaments allegedly organised under the aegis of ECU and the unauthorized transactions between ECU and BCF during the years 2011-2014 constituted an interference in BCF’s internal matters and that ECU administration’s actions were part of a conspiracy against BCF and its President. (ETH case nr. 5/2015)

ETH decision dismissing all claims against ECU President and General Secretary: By its decision dated 15.06.2016 ETH dismissed all claims raised by the BCF against ECU President Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili and ECU General Secretary Mr. Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou concerning an alleged interference in the internal affairs of the BCF. According to the decision, both Mr. Azmaiparashvili and Mr. Tsorbatzoglou acted with the mandate of the ECU Board and GA and in furtherance of the legitimate interests of the ECU only. No evidence was found of the respondents’ actions being part of any conspiracy to discredit the BCF.

Refusal of BCF to cooperate with ECU: To date BCF refuses to cooperate with ECU in disclosing the administrative and financial irregularities committed in connection with the chess tournaments in Albena and Golden Sands and the unauthorized transactions between BCF and ECU.

ECU GA decision to expel the BCF: The ECU GA decided on 10.09.2016 to expel BCF from ECU due to its refusal to cooperate with ECU in clarifying the matter of the chess tournaments in Albena and Golden Sands and the unauthorized transactions between ECU and BCF during the years 2011-2014. The ECU GA in 2015 confirmed that the tournaments organized in 2014 in Albena and Golden Sands were not official ECU tournaments. At the same time, large amounts supposed to have been paid to ECU were never actually paid to ECU but instead sent to bank accounts of other entities, such as the “fake” ECU LLC. (ECU GA decision and Notice of 07.07.16 sent by ECU to BCF concerning the proposal for suspension of ECU membership of the BCF)

FIDE GA decision in Baku and filing of a new case before the ETH: The FIDE GA approved the ECU report (Report of Continental President for Europe and Letter from ECU President and 14 Exhibits) and actions taken by ECU against BCF. The FIDE GA unanimously decided to refer the ECU decision on BCF’s membership expulsion and the relating evidence to ETH for ETH to examine, as a new case, whether a breach of the FIDE Code of Ethics has been committed by the BCF and/or any individual found to be involved in unlawful activity and present its findings and sanctions, if any, or recommendations for further action by FIDE organs.

Source: World Chess Federation – FIDE