Thursday, December 18, 2014

Strong Field in Al Ain Chess Classic

Strong Field in Al Ain Chess Classic

A stellar field of 45 top ranked Grandmasters and 14 International Masters head the list of 153 players from 26 countries seeing action in the $50,000 Al Ain Classic Chess Championship from 19 to 26 December at the Hili Rotana hotel in Al Ain.

GM Yuri Kuzubov of Ukraine is top seed in the tournament which boasts 17 players in the high rating category above 2600, namely Ukrainians Yuriy Kryvoruchko, Alexander Areshchenko, Mikhailo Oleksienko, Evgenij Miroshnichenko and Vladimir Onischuk, Belarussian Sergei Zhigalko, Armenians Tigran L. Petrosian and Arman Pashikian, Ivan Sokolov of the Netherlands, Samuel Shankland of the USA, Constantin Lupulescu of Romania, Mikheil Mchedlishvili of Georgia and Viorel Iordachescu of Moldova.

Aside from the host country, the largest contingent is from India with 33 players followed by Azerbaijan with 22 players. National team member GM Rauf Mamedov heads the Azerbaijan delegation while GM Aghijeet Gupta and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi spearhead the Indian contingent. The tournament will be a 9-round Swiss System. Round 1 hostilities start 6pm tomorrow, 19 Dec. Two rounds are scheduled 10am and 5pm on Saturday followed by daily rounds starting 4pm. The last 9th round starts 2pm on Friday, 26 Dec. Games shall be broadcast live on the web. At stake are some US$50,000 for the first 20 places with a top prize of $11,000 for the champion and various category prizes.

Al Ain Chess Club President Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifah Al Nahyan (second from left) giving a press conference yesterday at the Hili Rotana hotel. In photo are, from left, Dr. Rashed Al Dhaheri, chairman of the UAE Chess Federation Constitutional Commission, Sheikh Sultan, Dr. Saif Al Nuaimi, General Secretary of the Al Ain Chess Club and Engr. Sultan Al Yabhoni, Deputy President of the Al Ain Chess Club.

1st Torneo Internazionale di Scacchi Tortoreto Lido

The 1st International Chess Tournament Tortoreto Lido is scheduled to take place from 26th May to 2nd June, 2015, in Villaggio Salinello, Lungomare Sirena 642, 64018 Tortoreto Lido (TE) – Italy.

Open A is reserved for the players with FIDE rating over 2000. Tournament system is 9 rounds, Swiss system, 90’ x 40 moves + 30’ until the end + 30’’ per move.

Open B is reserved for the players with FIDE rating under 2000. Tournament system is 8 rounds, Swiss system, 90’ x 40 moves + 30’ until the end + 30’’ per move.

All foreign players without FIDE rating have to show proof of their national ranking.

The event will offer 10,000 EUR in prizes. Top prizes in Open A are EUR 1400, 900, 700, 600, 500, 400 etc. There are also special prizes for women, seniors, juniors and elo sections.

Information and registration through and

Beach and Relax:

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Ten thousand square meters are available dedicated to any kind of sport: five-a-side football, basket, volley, tennis, table tennis, minigolf, fitness course, swimming pools and much more for adults and children.

Special Interview with Chessdom

Interview with Susan Polgar
Dec 18, 2014

Exclusive interview by Chessdom with Susan Polgar, Director or SPICE & Head Coach of the Webster University Chess Team.

Hello Susan! I realize that you are very busy preparing your teams for the 2014 PanAm InterCollegiate Chess Championship. Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to do this interview.

1. The first question has to be about the news of Wesley So becoming a full time professional chess player. How did you meet him?

I first met him when he participated in the SPICE Cup a number of years ago. Wesley was a very talented young player. He was already in the mid 2600’s at that time. But he was stuck at that level for many years.

Susan Polgar and Wesley So

2. So how did you recruit him to your SPICE program at Webster University?

Actually, I did not at that time. Just like with many other young talented players from around the world, I try to give them advice to improve if asked. One Sunday morning back in late 2011 or early 2012, I got a Google chess alert about Wesley So in one of the Filipino websites. In the article, Wesley said he decided to join my program. I was very surprised about it since I had no conversation with Wesley at that time regarding this issue.

I then contacted his parents who are now living in Canada. His Mom Leny confirmed it with me. He applied shortly after that and came to Webster in the Fall of 2012.

3. Wesley arrived at Webster University at #99 in the world. How did you help him get to the top 10?

I developed a special world class method of training using my personal chess knowledge and decades of experience. It required a lot of personal discipline and special training. It also required setting and accomplishing small goals.

As talented as Wesley was (the same with many other very talented young players), he had many weaknesses. Without fixing these weaknesses, as well as improvement his natural strengths, it would be very difficult to get to the next level.

There is a big difference between being in the 2600’s vs 2700’s, and especially 2800’s. He trusted my advice and training, followed it, and the rest is history.

This system will work for any top young player who wants to improve. This is why we have a long list of top notch talents who want to come to SPICE. But in addition to chess training, our students also learn many other important life skills which will help them with their future, both professionally and personally. It is a very unique program, and there is nothing like this anywhere else in the world.

4. How did the decision for Wesley to transfer to the USCF come about?

Wesley was fed up with the situation in the Philippines with his federation. He saw no future if he decided to remain with the NCFP.

He asked me for my opinion. I told him the pros and cons of switching federations. But I also told him that it has to be his decision. He is the best player to come out of the Philippines. Abandoning his federation will disappoint a lot of fans and supporters.

Of course the plus would be financial as he can play in the lucrative US Championship and Sinquefield Cup, etc. I was in a similar situation as Wesley. But I chose to live in the US for nearly 10 years without changing federation. So it is a tough call but I would support his decision, one way or the other. At the end, he decided to switch and it was fully his decision.

5. How did the decision for Wesley to turn full time professional come about?

There are very few top level scholarship spots open to world class GMs to get into Webster University – SPICE, and there are many talented applicants. We have very strict requirements for all students such as:

- Commitment to academic excellence
- Commitment to chess improvement, and the willingness to be coached
- Commitment to team work
- Commitment to follow all team rules
- Commitment to community service, etc.

The rules are the same for all students. Unless one appreciates the opportunity, and is willing to meet all the requirements, it is better to take a different direction.

We did everything we could to help Wesley reach the top 10 in the world, break the 2760 mark, win Millionaire Chess, along with many big tournaments in the past 2 years. After nearly 2.5 years of training at SPICE, now is the time for him to show what he is made of.

While I cannot speak about the specifics of his abrupt departure, all his teammates and I wish him the best. It is up to Wesley and his new team to get him ready to battle Carlsen, Caruana, Aronian, Grischuk, Topalov, Giri, etc., to break the top 5, and 2800.

6. Does Wesley have the talent to reach 2800 or the top 5 in the world?

He absolutely does. But it is not enough even with natural talent and hard work. There are many other factors. So many people want to reach the pinnacle and very few can get there. I speak from personal experience. It is now the job of his new team to get him there. I wish Wesley the best and I hope that he will make it.

7. What are the expectations for your teams at the upcoming PanAm InterCollegiate Chess Championship?

We are the #1 seed and the reigning national champions. But when you are the best, you have a big target on your back. So it will not be easy. But our students have been training very hard physically (including CrossFit training) and in chess. We will see if it will be enough.

8. What is the secret for the success of Webster – SPICE?

Just as in any business, whether if it is chess or not, to succeed, you need the 7 Ps:

1. Passion – If you do not love what you do, it will not work
2. Product – We have Webster – SPICE, the best product in College Chess
3. Process – Our training method is unique, world-class, and it works
4. People – We select our team members very carefully, and Webster has been very supportive
5. Purpose – We have a noble purpose, to provide young people a platform to learn, improve, and succeed
6. Preparation – We train hard year round to fulfill individual and team goals
7. Perseverance – Giving up in not in our vocabulary. If we do not succeed, we will work even harder

Susan Polgar, Wesley So, Le Quang Liem, Ashwin Jayaram, Ray Robson, Paul Truong

9. Who are some of your top talents at Webster at the moment outside of Wesley?

We have many such as Illia Nyzhnyk (our youngest student at the moment), Ray Robson, Le Quang Liem, Vasif Durarbayli, Georg Meier, Fidel Corrales, Manuel Leon Hoyos, Denes Boros, Andre Diamant, Ashwin Jayaram, etc. We will also have more 2600+ players coming soon. But if someone is interested in Webster – SPICE, they are welcome to write me at

10. Now that Carlsen has defeated Anand again to defend his title, who do you see as his potential challengers in the next cycle.

It is hard to say as the cycle is grueling. But he obvious names are Caruana, Aronian, Anand, Grischuk, Kramnik, Topalov, Nakamura, and possibly Giri, etc. But it will not be easy.

11. As for women, now that Judit has retired, who can pose as a threat to Hou Yifan.

Yifan is well above others at the moment. But Gunina, Koneru, Dzagnidze, Anna Muzychuk, and Lahno, etc. are in the next group.

12. Who is the favorite to win Tata Steel A group in January?

Obviously Magnus is the favorite. But do not count out Levon and Fabiano. There are others who can contend. It will be exciting.

Thank you very much for your time. Good luck to your teams at the upcoming PanAm InterCollegiate Chess Championship

Who said chess isn't popular?

Who said chess wasn't popular? Banks Elementary's new after-school club has a waiting list
By Kelsey O'Halloran
on December 17, 2014 at 8:15 AM, updated December 17, 2014 at 1:26 PM

As Jacob munches on Goldfish crackers, his brown eyes trace the checkerboard battlefield.

The Banks Elementary School third-grader had never played chess before October, when first-grade teacher Bobby Tabb launched an after-school chess club that drew more than 40 kids to its first meeting.

The club's attendance has held steady since then, and many kids' interest in the complex board game has only grown.

"The big thing here is being able to teach them a game they can play for the rest of their lives," Tabb said. "Having to think ahead about more than just one move... is such a good life skill."

Fourth-grader Haley Calmettes said she tries to guess what's going to happen first when playing chess by analyzing the different strategies her opponents use.

"It's really just fun interacting with different people — seeing their strategy and using it," Haley said.

Tabb started playing chess against his two brothers in middle school and went on to be first board — essentially the captain and best player — on his high school chess team at Jefferson High School in West Virginia. The team won two state championships during his high school career.

Tabb said his high school chess coach was "a big influence in my life, and we're still close today."

Tabb has long wanted to start a chess club of his own — he taught his son, Chase, to play when he was three years old. When Chase transferred to Banks Elementary from Fern Hill for first grade this year, Tabb decided that they could spend time together after school at chess club.

He sent sign-up information home to parents, expecting to have, maybe, 20 students interested in the game.

Instead, 42 students brought back signed forms, and 16 were placed on a waiting list after turning in forms late. Out of the school's roughly 550 students, more than 10 percent had shown an interest in playing chess.

While three students have dropped out since the first meeting in October, Tabb said he's been surprised by the "sheer number" of kids who arrive every Thursday, and pleased by their positive behavior and lack of disciplinary issues.

"I think all the kids wanted to be here," he said. The club provides an after-school activity for students who may not play sports.

The task of teaching a crowd of kids how to play chess has been fairly easy, Tabb said. He started them out playing with only pawns and slowly added in pieces, teaching them each one as they went.

Full article here.

Making moves to become Chess Grandmaster

Teen makes moves to become chess Grandmaster
Phil Reisman
6:40 p.m. EST December 17, 2014

Look at Joshua Colas.

He's a rake-thin black kid, bespectacled, neatly dressed and self-possessed. There's nothing flashy about him. You might think he's just a regular 16-year-old high school junior — and in many respects he is.

But then drive to a certain building on South Lexington Avenue in downtown White Plains, take the elevator to the sixth floor and knock on the door to the modest apartment at the end of the hall where Joshua lives with his mother, father, brother and sister. Walk inside and be amazed.

The family living room is filled with trophies — scores of gleaming trophies of various shapes and sizes, all belonging to Joshua. It hardly seems possible that there could be enough space for more trophies, but surely more are destined to come his way.

So now you are looking at Joshua with fresh eyes. Maybe you are looking at history in the making. To say Joshua is a chess whiz on White Plains High School's chess team would be an understatement. He's a chess champion, a prodigy whose ambition is to become one of the best players in the world, if not the best.

His father, Guy Colas, a self-described "average player," taught him to how to play when he was 7 years old. The kid immediately took to it.

"Well, I'd say it took about a couple of months before I started to beat him," Joshua said one night this week.

"Now he beats me blindfolded," his father said.

"I just memorize the board," Joshua said. "I know where all the pieces are at. I have a photographic memory."

Guy Colas said, "It blew my mind when I saw him doing it. I asked him, 'How do you do it, Joshua?' "

Joshua compared it to knowing the way home. Do it enough times, and the route becomes second nature.

That's easy for him to say.

When I spoke to Joshua, he was seated in the living room with his dad and his mother, Yanick, both of whom are originally from Haiti. Dominating the room was an extremely large trophy, the latest fruit of victory earned at the 2014 National Chess Championships held over the weekend in Orlando, Florida. When I told the Colas that I thought about challenging Joshua to a match, they laughed loudly — and that was the end of that idea.

Full article here.

Zadar Open 2014 LIVE!

17th Chess Festival “Citta di Padova” 2014 LIVE!

World Youth U-16 Olympiad 2014 LIVE!

Brilliant quickie chess tactic

White to move. How should white proceed?


The Pawn Majority as a Strategic Element ... and more

The Flank Attack: How to use and defeat them

Posted on December 16,2014 By GM Levan Aroshidze in Strategy & Game Review, General Chess Articles, Beginner's Corner. As we know, a chessboard is separated into three parts: the Queen's flank, the center and the King's flank. Normally, the center is always under particular attention from the both sides, due to its high strategic importance. This makes it quite tough to take total control over the center and create a winning attack, while it's relatively easier to build the initiative on the flanks. A flank attack may have various goals, for example, opening the[...]

Greatest Games of Chess Ever Played - Part 2

Posted on December 15,2014 By OnlineChessLessons.NET Contributor in Strategy & Game Review, All Articles w/ Videos, Classic Games (Pre 2010). Learn how to systematically crush your opponent! In the video "Greatest Games of Chess Ever Played – Part 2" by GM Roman Dzindzichashvili, we are treated to an analysis of a game played between Vasily Smyslov and Samuel Reshevsky. Smyslov was a Grandmaster, world champion, and one of the greatest chess players of all time. His chess legacy includes many opportunities that we can all learn from, including novelties in chess theory, strategy, and e[...]


Posted on December 10,2014 By GM Damian Lemos in Non-Chess related, All Articles w/ Videos, General Chess Articles. This week we’re giving away another premium DVD as well as doing 50% off all Empire Chess DVDs. I want to help you get better at chess and you can't do everything on your own. You have to organize your training method and diversify your training materials - this is exactly what we have done with the Empire Chess DVD series. The holiday season is in full swing and this week we’re giving away the Empire Chess DVD “How Grandmasters refute gambits” b[...]

The Pawn Majority as a Strategic Element

Posted on December 09,2014 By GM Levan Aroshidze in General Chess Articles, Beginner's Corner. Some pawn exchanges in the center normally lead to asymmetrical pawn structures - when opponents get pawn majorities (4 pawn against 3 of opponent, 3 against 2 and etc.) on different sides of the board. Pawn majority is a very important strategic element that may have a decisive impact on the result of the game. It is a kind of lighthouse, which is showing the direction where you could develop your play. In another words – a pawn majority can be[...] is a producer of thousands of free chess articles and free chess videos by FIDE chess masters. They recently released the renowned Empire Chess series that has been taking the chess world by storm. Please consider checking out their chess blog and chess shop with tons of free updated previews.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Interview with GM Zoltan Almasi

Asian Seniors and Amateur Chess Championships 2014 concluded

Buddhika Amarasinghe of Sri Lanka won the Asian Amateur Chess Championship 2014 convincingly with a 7.5/9 score to win by a clear margin.

This event was held from December 5-12, 2014 at the beautiful Citrus Resort Hotel. It was organised by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka on behalf of the Asian Chess Federation.

Ten countries participated in this event: Brunei, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and hosts Sri Lanka participated. Osheen Se Silva (silver) and P.D. Senanayake (bronze) tied with seven points in the Asian Amateur Chess Championship.

Play offs were conducted for finding the Asian Amateur Women and unrated prizes. Sri Lanka Women’s National Champion Dasuni Hansika Mendis won the Championship convincingly.

Naduni Abeywardena of Sri Lanka won the Silver Medal while Miyuni Kavinya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka won the Bronze Medal. Young Dinithi Panchali Rathnayake, Women Candidate Master from Sri Lanka won the unrated category while Nihaya Ahmed from Maldives won the Silver Medal. Himya Ibrahim won the bronze in unrated category.

Baimurzin Aitkazy of Kazakhstan was extraordinary in his 8.5 out of 9 score as he became the Asian Senior Championship at Sri Lanka. He ceded a draw to Sawadkuhi Massoud of Iran and won all other games.

Ten countries participated in this event: Brunei, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and hosts Sri Lanka participated in the Asian Amateur and Asian Senior Championships.

FIDE Master Sawadkuhi Massoud of Iran won the second place with 7 points. But, on the regulations he opted for the Asian Senior over 65 years Chess Championships, and he also opted for the second place cash Award.

Ismail Ahmed, 6.5 points of Malaysia won the 3rd place but awarded the silver due to Mr. Massoud opted for Gold in over 65 event.

Women Candidate Master Mrs. Helan Milligan with 6 points opted the Bronze medal instead of the Asian Senior Women Championship with another hope of a title.

TDR Pieris of Sri Lanka tied with Ms Milligan but had to be 4th on the tie breaker.

Abdulla Ibrahim and Ahmed Naeem, both from Maldives won the Silver and Bronze Medals of the Asian Senior Championships 2014 respectively.

News by Sri Lanka Chess Federation and Arvind Aaron

GM Maletin wins Russian Rapid Cup

Grandmaster Pavel Maletin claimed the 2014 Russian Rapid Cup after beating Alexander Riazantsev 2-1 in the final match.

The final Rapid Grand-Prix 2014 – Cup of Russia was held on 13-16th December in Rostov-on-Don. The format was knockout tournament with 16 qualified players.

The time control was 15′+10”. Each match consisted of two games and in case of a tie there was an Armageddon blitz to decide the winner.

Pavel Maletin started the campaign with 1,5-0,5 win over Dmitry Bocharov and then in the next round eliminated the elo-favorite Alexander Morozevich by 2-1.

In the semifinal Maletin outplayed Sanan Sjugirov 1,5-0,5, while Riazantsev defeated Sergei Rublevsky with the same score.

The total prize fund was 1,5 million rubles.

Maletin is also the reigning Russian Rapid Champion.

Official website

WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan is 2014 Iranian women’s champion

The 2014 Iranian National Chess Championship for women was organized by the Tehran Chess Association on 7-16th December 2014 in Tehran, the capital and largest city of Iran.

The event was an 11-round Swiss tournament with tempo of play 90′ + 30″.

WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan and WIM Mitra Hejazipourtied for the first with 9.5/11 points, but Pourkashiyan prevailed in the direct encounter and lifted the trophy on a superior tie-break score.

20-year-old Hanieh Khalaji finished clear third with 8/11 points, leaving the nearest followers 1.5 point behind. Khalaji had a great tournament, adding 52 Elo points to her rating and drawing against the new Iranian champion. You can see the full standings below.

Official website

Final standings (top finishers):

1 WGM Pourkashiyan Atousa 2312 9,5
2 WIM Hejazipour Mitra 2297 9,5
3 Khalaji Hanieh 1944 8
4 Hakimifard Raana 2001 6,5
5 Zahedifar Anahita 1952 6,5

Nepomniachtchi wins WMG Basque Championship, Hou Yifan wins Women's Section

Official website: