Last week’s poll asked ‘Has your rating gone up or down since a year ago?’ The ‘almost unchanged’ answer was unsurprisingly most common, but when you add up the other answers you see 87 gained significantly, while 79 went down significantly. And the big gainers (up over 80 points) are an impressive 10% of the vote (I know it says 9% below, but that’s because the poll software decided to round 9.963% down to 9%). So not bad at all, especially as I suspect that many blog readers here are not young kids who might expect their ratings to increase naturally.
But compare the real results on rating changes with a poll question from the start of 2016: ‘Do you think your rating will go up or down in 2016?’ The optimists vastly outnumbered the pessimists.
Next week the US Championship starts in its now traditional location in St Louis. With 3 of the top 6 players in the world competing – So, Caruana and Nakamura – I find the US Championship the most interesting national championship in the world. The strength in depth is also there, with Kamsky, Robson, Shankland, Onischuk and Xiong in the 12-player event. If So has a ridiculously brilliant tournament he could challenge Carlsen’s World Number 1 position, as the gap is 16 Elo points. But my question is: Who will win the 2017 US Championship?
In this weeks vlog, the experienced Greek GM Stelios Halkias talks a bit about his favourite Quality Chess books and gives to our viewers practical advice on various aspects of chess. It is the kind of things that led Stelios to perform over 2700 elo in the latest Baku Olympiad. He then goes on to show us one of his favourite positions from this Olympiad and gives us a tactical puzzle to solve which the great Nigel Short failed to do when shown!
Grandmaster Jacob Aagaard is going to India to promote his Grandmaster Preparation series in March/April. His tour will give lectures and training seminars in Mumbai (26-27 March), Ahmadabad (28-29 March), New Delhi (30-31 March), Kolkata (2-3 April) and Chennai (4-5 April).
Last week’s poll question was ‘Did you follow the Women’s World Championship to some degree?’ There was a decent range of responses, but I think it fair to say the event did not have huge numbers of avid spectators. If you take the votes for ‘didn’t follow it at all’ and ‘I vaguely know who was in the semifinals and the final’ then you are already over 50% of the vote.
For this week’s poll we will check how your chess results have been going: Has your rating gone up or down since a year ago? Many, perhaps most, of our books have ‘improving your chess’ as part of their point, so if you are reading this blog then there seems a decent chance you are interested in improving your chess results. So let’s see how you have been doing over the past year.
As you may have noticed, we have had some technical problems this week, since Monday morning. The blog was down for some time, but you will not know that we also had email issues. The problem was caused by a server failing, so it was not just Quality Chess affected, but whichever companies were using the same server. It all seems to be cured now.
I believe a couple of comments disappeared from the blog, so sorry if yours was one of those lost. Or if you emailed us earlier this week and we appear to be ignoring you, then please send again. But websale orders appear to have been received and processed fine.
Last week’s poll question was “How many books in the Yusupov series have you completed?” The result is clear: ‘zero’ was top followed by ‘1-3’ with the rest lagging a long way behind. Sure, a number of those who voted ‘zero’ will not own any of the books, but there are certainly many who have bought the books but not gotten around to working through them yet. So the Yusupov Challenge is much needed.
This week’s poll question is: “Did you follow the Women’s World Championship to some degree?” This is a follow-up question to last month’s “Will you be following the Women’s World Championship live?” when the main answer was ‘no’. But maybe a few of the dramatic incidents caught your attention and encouraged you to follow the action? Or maybe you prefer to check out the games after they are finished, rather than follow it live. There are so many ways to follow a chess event these days, it is almost impossible to make a good guess about the size of the audience.