Archive for November, 2017

Komodo – Houdini is the Superfinal of TCEC Season 10

Monday, November 20th, 2017

fb_tcec_cover_season_10Komodo and Houdini are the two finalists in this years edition of the premier event for computer chess – the Top Chess Engine Championship. The two engines finished top of the table at the Candidates stage with equal score 18,5/28, half a point ahead of Stockfish.

Standings and games of TCEC Candidates stage

The Superfinal Komodo – Houdini will be a 100 games match which starts this Monday 20th November at around 20:00 CET. Follow the Superfinal games with analysis at the official site

First time in history

This is the first direct 100 games match between Komodo and Houdini in TCEC history. Before that we have seen Rybka – Houdini (twice), Stockfish – Houdini (three times), and Komodo – Stockfish (four times). In total Houdini has five Superfinals and Komodo has four.

There is absolute equality in the titles won. Houdini and Komodo, as well as Stockfish, all have three titles each. This makes the Komodo – Houdini match a direct encounter for the lead in TCEC titles total count.

The Komodo – Houdini games in Season 10 so far

Houdini and Komodo played one game in Stage 1 and four games in Stage 2. Although the score is equal 2,5-2,5 , we saw two decisive games, large disbalances on the board and multiple brilliancies.

Replay the games with analysis:

Houdini – Komodo (English: King’s, 2.g3 c6 3.d4) 1/2-1/2

Houdini – Komodo (Queen’s Indian: Petrosian, 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.e3 g6) 1/2-1/2
Komodo – Houdini (Queen’s Indian: Petrosian, 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.e3 g6) 1-0

Houdini – Komodo (Spanish: Closed, Averbakh, 7.c3 O-O 8.h3) 1-0
Komodo – Houdini (Spanish: Closed, Zaitsev, 12.Bc2) 1/2-1/2

Record breaking viewership

TCEC Season 10 is now the most viewed computer chess event in history. For the last 24 hours of the event a total of 15 000 unique IPs visited the official website, with which the number of viewers of the event since the start a month ago crossed the 400 000 mark.

During the last days of the qualifications the Twitch video broadcast accounted for ~1800 simultaneous viewers. At the same time a similar number were on mobile phones, making the peak users online at any given moment at ~4000 people. On average they posted ~15 000 messages per day in the ever lively chat and discussion on the official website.

It is a tradition that Superfinals register much higher numbers than qualification stages. Komodo and Houdini have the chance to play the most popular engine vs engine match ever.

Expectations for the Superfinal

During Stage 2 of TCEC, Komodo and Houdini exchanged blows and finished equal on top of the table with 18,5/28. For the Superfinal both engines will play with new versions, looking for every small detail that can give them advantage in a direct 100 games match. With the balance on the board so far, we can expect yet another closely contested race.

Official website / Twitch TV channel / Replay games / Season 11 press release


Bloody Sunday Produces Six Winners, Aronian As Sole Leader

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Who is GM Simon Williams seconding? In today’s round four of the final leg of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, six of the nine players of the white pieces played h4, many with aggressive intentions.
Despite that being the Ginger …

Source: – Play. Learn. Share.

Bloody Sunday Produces Six Winners, Aronian As Sole Leader

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Who is GM Simon Williams seconding? In today’s round four of the final leg of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, six of the nine players of the white pieces played h4, many with aggressive intentions.
Despite that being the Ginger …

Source: – Play. Learn. Share.

Kings Island Open 2017

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

The 26th annual Kings Island Open was held from 10-12th November at the Embassy Suites Cincinnati Northeast in Blue Ash, Ohio, USA.

The event had 7 sections: Open, Under 2100, Under 1900, Under 1700, Under 1500, Under 1250 and Under 1000. All sections were played over five rounds of Swiss system, with the time control 40/110, SD/30, d10.

The FIDE rated Open section had 61 participants. Six players shared the first place on 4,0/5 points to earn 840 USD each.

Open section final standings:
1-6. GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez 2585 MO, GM Elshan Moradiabadi 2592 NC, GM Alexander Shabalov 2619 PA, Mika A Brattain 2516 OH, William J Sedlar 2373 OH and Joshua Gerald Posthuma 2309 MI – 4.0
7-15. FM Ben Li 2426 MI, Gopal Menon 2351 IL, Scott L Ramer 2317 OH, FM Maggie Feng 2353 OH, FM Aristo S Liu 2235 OH, FM Mauro Ampie 2436 IL, Mark Eidemiller 2292 PA, Vincent J Baker 2265 OH and Forest Chen 2238 TN – 3.5

The total prize fund was $30,000, based on 350 paid entries, with $21,000 minimum guaranteed.

Embassy Suites Cincinnati Northeast

Embassy Suites Cincinnati Northeast


Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix – Round 3

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

IMG 9913

Round 3: MVL misses victory against Aronian, Peter Svidler and Francisco Vallejo Pons score.

In the third round of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix, games between the four leaders Vachier-Lagrave – Aronian, Rajabov-Giri finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.

IMG 9868

Many spectators have gathered in the playing hall today to watch the games and see their favourite chess players. It was clear that many of them came today to support their local hero Francisco Vallejo Pons. The Spanish Grandmaster paid them back for six hours wait by winning his first game in the Grand Prix Series.

IMG 9912

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave came close to defeating Levon Aronian, but missed his chance to “pay back” his opponent for elimination from the semifinal of the World Cup. At the post-game interview, the French Grandmaster was sure he had an advantage and was blaming himself for exchanging queens. He underestimated Aronian’s counterplay in the centre, which turned out to be enough to keep the balance in the game.

IMG 9875

Jon-Ludvig Hammer spend almost half an hour on his move 16.Nf5 and, as it often happens when players think for too long, chose not the best continuation. After 16…Bf5 17.ef d5 Peter Svidler got an obvious advantage. The Russian Grandmaster still had to show a precise way to win the game and among other decisions was happy to find 34…Ng4 (instead of tempting 34…e1Q), which prevents White’s conterplay on the King’s side.

diagr 1

The game finished with checkmate on the board, a rare guest in top-level events.

IMG 9928

The longest game of round 3 Rapport-Li Chao finished in a draw. The Hungarian Grandmaster was pressing his opponent but Li Chao held the ground with black pieces.

IMG 9846

The first symbolic move was made by Carles Vich, President of the Balearic Chess Federation.

Official website

Photo Gallery

IMG 9732

Round 2: Four players share lead after the second round of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix.

Teimour Rajabov and Levon Aronian scored their first victories in the tournament and tie for the first place with Anish Giri and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who drew their game today.

IMG 9706

Paula Guinard, the Island Tourism Manager, made the first symbolic move in the game Giri – Vachier-Lagrave. This encounter turned out to be a very interesting theoretical battle in Najdorf, Poisoned Pawn Variation. After an exchange sacrifice, Anish Giri got a very promising position but failed to find the precise way to increase his advantage. In the post-game interview Giri noted that 26.h5 was not the right decision as after 26…Qc4, 27…Qc8 queens were exchanged and MVL had nothing to worry about.

IMG 9673

After a quiet draw in the first round Teimour Rajabov got a chance to play his favorite King’s Indian Defence against Francisco Vallejo Pons. According to Rajabov, he declined a draw offer in the middle game because he already liked Black’s position and his tournament situation required him to play. The Azerbaijani Grandmaster sacrificed a pawn in order to solve a problem of dark-square bishop and suddenly all his pieces became active. It seems Paco was not happy with his position when he chose to play 29.Nf2 and 30.e5 but after Black’s precise response his position became hopeless.

IMG 9716

A long theoretical line led to the spectacular position where Levon Aronian had more knowledge than Ernesto Inarkiev. The Russian Grandmaster was obviously surprised by 16.Nd5 followed by 17.b4 and spent almost an hour over the board on 17…Qa6. According to Aronian, he had not analyzed this move before so he tried to use his intuition to find the right choices afterwards. The Armenian Grandmaster was sure that after 25.g4 White’s position should be better as Black has no resources to continue his attack.

All other games finished in a draw.

Official website

Photo Gallery

IMG 9527

Round 1: Three decisive games in the first round of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix.

The 2017 FIDE World Chess Grand Prix series continued with the fourth and final tournament, which is taking place in Palma de Mallorca, from 16th to 25th of November.

The tournament is being held in the Hotel Iberostar Bahia de Palma, set right on the beach. In the post-game interviews many players were satisfied with the great location of the tournament and warm weather.

IMG 9521

The first symbolic move in the game Jakovenko-Aronian was made by Rodrigo Moscard?, General Manager of the Iberostar Spain and the Mediterranean, in the presence of Javier Ochoa, FIDE Honorary Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, players and honorary guests.

IMG 9552

Teimour Rajabov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are the only players who take part in the last stage and keep chances to qualify for the Candidates Tournament. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Alexander Grischuk are leading in the Grand Prix Series but have already finished their tournaments.

IMG 9585

In the first round Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Ernesto Inarkiev and Anish Giri outplayed their opponents, while 6 other games finished in a draw. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave showed better preparation in the opening against Boris Gelfand, where the two players resumed their theoretical battle in the Accelerated Dragon from the Moscow Grand Prix, and was satisfied with his position. He could not point out where things went wrong for the Israeli player and was not sure if it was the right idea for him to enter this line at all.

IMG 9578

Alexander Riazantsev comfortably equalized with Black pieces against Teimour Rajabov and the players agreed for a draw after 2 hours of play.

IMG 9500

Ernesto Inarkiev played a game full of prophylactic moves against Li Chao. The Russian player was enjoying a slightly better position and was trying not let his opponent to get any activity. This strategy worked out well for him, as the Chinese player still tried to break through by playing 19…c5 but this attempt failed. According to Inarkiev, after 20.Bc5 Black has no Be5 because of 21. de Rd1 22.Rd1 Qc5 23.Rd8 Kg7 24. Qb5! After 20…f6 Black’s position was lost.

IMG 9597

In the longest game of the day, Anish Giri won against Richard Rapport. The Dutch Grandmaster was not sure about his decision to castle long. It turned out that after unexpected 14…b5 white was in trouble. Surprisingly, a few moves after this Anish was more optimistic about his position and declined the draw offer of his opponent. Later on, Richard Rapport made few errors and went for a dubious sacrifice that was proven wrong in the game.

IMG 9494

The local hero Francisco Vallejo Pons showed an interesting idea in the opening with 3…b5 against Ding Liren and after 8…Bd5 Black got a comfortable position. After most of the pieces were traded, the game finished in a draw.

Official website

Photo Gallery

IMG 9405

The final stage of the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2017 opens in Palma de Mallorca

The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca.

Palma de Mallorca is now looking forward to 9 days of intense chess battles, which will finally determine the two winners of the series – participants of the FIDE Candidates tournament.

IMG 9245

The Opening Ceremony was held at the landmark hilltop Bellver Castle, former residence for the Kings of Mallorca built in the 14th century in a Gothic style. At the castle’s unique circular yard guests had a good opportunity to mingle with each other and enjoy modern Spanish guitar music.

IMG 9337

Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, thanked FIDE for the opportunity to host the tournament and welcomed the participants. “Spain is a country with a great Chess tradition and a thousand-year long history of playing chess,” he added.

Sebastia Nadal, President of the Winter Chess: “It is very rewarding to know that one of the best Spanish chess players of our time, Francisco Vallejo Pons, who was born and who resides here in our islands, could take part in this cycle of the World Chess.”

IMG 9418

In the drawing of colours, the top player of the tournament Levon Aronian chose black pieces for the first round. The pairings for the first round are the following:

Dmitry Jakovenko – Levon Aronian
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – Boris Gelfand
Pavel Eljanov – Hikaru Nakamura
Ding Liren – Francisco Vallejo Pons
Evgeny Tomashevsky – Peter Svidler
Anish Giri – Richard Rapport
Ernesto Inarkiev – Li Chao
Teimour Radjabov – Alexander Riazantsev
Jon Ludvig Hammer – Harikrishna Pentala

The Palma Grand Prix is supported by Official Partner EG Capital Advisors, an international asset management company, Kaspersky Lab, World Chess and FIDE Official Cybersecurity Partner, S.T. Dupont, Official Writing Instrument, and Isklar, Official Water.

IMG 9452

First round starts tomorrow at Hotel Iberostar Bahia de Palma.

Opening Ceremony Photo Gallery

Official website

Source: World Chess Federation – FIDE

Carlsen Dominates Speed Chess; Defeats So

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

“Magnus Carlsen dominates speed chess” is a fairly accurate description of chess in 2017. Carlsen has destroyed multiple fast chess formats. After shared firsts (but no title on tiebreak) in the World Rapid and Blitz Championships in December, he …

Source: – Play. Learn. Share.

Svidler Moves To Shared First Place At Palma GP

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

Winning as Black today Peter Svidler moved to a plus one score at the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca. The Russian GM joined leaders Levon Aronian, Teimour Radjabov, Anish Giri and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
The other win was sc…

Source: – Play. Learn. Share.

London Chess Conference 2017

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

The fifth edition of the London Chess Conference will be held on 2-3rd December at the London Hilton Kensington Olympia.

It coincides with the London Chess Classic tournament when the world’s top players descend on London to battle for supremacy.

The theme of the conference this year is Scholastic Chess i.e. using chess for educational purposes.

London Chess Conference 2017

Keynote presentations on the themes of:
- What is Scholastic Chess.
- Chess and Intelligence
- A Centre for Chess Education Research

Workshops planning on:
- Chess and Primary School Mathematics,
- Evaluating Chess Education Projects,
- Settings Standards in Chess Education and
- Quality and Certification of Teacher Training.

Confirmed experts in various aspects of chess education include William Bart (University of Minnesota), Agnieszka Bron (Stockholm University), Fernand Gobet (University Liverpool), Jesper Hall (ECU Education Commission), Jakob Rathlev (Dansk Skoleskak) and Jorge Nuno Silva (University of Lisbon).

The London Chess Conference remains the world’s foremost meeting point for co-operation, the exchange of ideas and networking with like-minded people. Ancilliary events include the first meeting of the Academic Advisory Board of the ECU some of who will share their research wisdom. Also taking place will be the kick-off meeting of the CHAMPS Erasmus Plus project.

The CHAMPS (Chess and Mathematics in Primary Schools) Project is a new educational research and development project funded by Erasmus Plus led by a strategic partnership between educationists from the UK, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and Hungary. The results of the project will be presented at the 2018 Conference.

The event is sponsored by Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) and the European Chess Union (ECU). Erasmus Plus contributed towards CHAMPS project members attending the conference.

Official website


Stockfish Wins Computer Championship

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

The powerful, open-source chess engine Stockfish narrowly beat out two strong commercial engines to win the first Computer Chess Championship this week.

Stockfish placed clear first in the 10-engine round robin to reach the superfin…

Source: – Play. Learn. Share.

Stockfish Wins Computer Championship

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

The powerful, open-source chess engine Stockfish narrowly beat out two strong commercial engines to win the first Computer Chess Championship this week.
Stockfish placed clear first in the 10-engine round robin to reach the superfinal,…

Source: – Play. Learn. Share.