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Online Blitz

October 12th, 2015 45 comments

Today is the third and final day of the World Rapid Championships, with the Blitz equivalent taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday and seemingly receiving an extra injection of players straight from the Isle of Man. Most of us can only dream of being in Berlin, but I’m sure we all enjoy the occasional blitz binge after (during!?) a hard day at work or university. So our poll question this week is where is your favourite site to play online?

Chess24, ICC, Chess.com, Playchess, Gameknot, Red Hot Pawn, A combination of the above, somewhere else, or do you prefer over the board blitz at your local club?

The results of last week’s poll placed Nigel Short as your favourite chess commentator, with Jan Gustafsson and Yasser Seirawan also highly popular. However, the large number of votes for ‘Other’ suggested we did not give you enough options! Comments showed Daniel King and Peter Svidler may have been amassing a large chunk of these votes, while there was also some interesting discussion on the best pairings to make up a commentary team.

Poll Result

Categories: Polls Tags:

Favourite Commentator

October 5th, 2015 52 comments

Live tournament coverage has really taken off in the last few years, with all major tournaments now coming with a commentary team broadcasting alongside the action. The commentator’s job varies from explaining the player’s moves, to interviewing them post-game, to generally passing the time with anecdotes or question/answer sessions with viewers. So our poll question this week is who is your favourite commentator?

Nigel Short, Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, Jan Gustafsson, Emil Sutovsky, Evgenij Miroshnichenko, Maurice Ashley, Jennifer Shahade, Yasser Seirawan, Simon Williams, Sergei Shipov or someone else?

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World Cup Quiz – Round 1 update

September 14th, 2015 5 comments

The eagerly anticipated World Cup began in Baku on Friday afternoon, and the chess community can undoubtedly look forward to over three weeks of high quality competition and drama.

For Quality Chess aficionados, however, there was much more than a World Cup at stake. Just as the first turn is often the most exciting part of a Formula 1 Grand Prix, our readers were glued to the initial 10 seconds of action to see which opening move would prevail. It transpires that players choosing the closed games simply have too many fiddly move order options available to them, while if you want to play 1.e4 you tend to just play 1.e4. In the end the result was fairly decisive, with 1.e4 streaking to a 6 point lead after round 1.1 and holding on comfortably in the return leg.

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Categories: Prizes Tags:

What system should be used for the World Championship?

September 1st, 2015 31 comments

Magnus Carlsen recently provoked a lot of discussion on the format of the World championship by giving his support to a knock-out system (see the ChessBase report here). What do you think is the best format for the World Championship?

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The results of last week’s poll gave a healthy majority in favour of Carlsen retaining World Number One status, and with no clear indication of who is most likely to challenge him.

Poll-NumberOne

Categories: Polls Tags:

Will Magnus Carlsen remain World Number One?

August 24th, 2015 19 comments

With four other players now also rated over 2800, do you think Magnus Carlsen will hold on to the Number One spot until the end of the year?

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 Last week’s poll results:

Poll-talent

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Lars Schandorff’s new Semi-Slav book

July 24th, 2015 67 comments

Nikos Ntirlis writes: The Semi-Slav is one of the most fascinating openings in modern chess. It is the opening that helped Vladimir Kramnik to climb Mount Olympus as a youngster and make his appearance among the best players in the 90s and today it is Vishy Anand’s most trusted weapon. It helped him to get his first undisputed world title in 2007 and of course who can forget his amazing performance at the 2008 world championship match against Kramnik when the Indian scored two amazing wins with Black in the Meran variation! Of course Anand is still the man to watch for developments in the opening as he is still unleashing opening bombs like in his game against Aronian in Wijk aan Zee 2011!

We would expect such a popular opening complex to be well covered in modern literature, and this is the case. David Vigorito’s “Play the Semi-Slav” is still surprisingly relevant in many lines despite being now seven years old and other experts like Dreev and Sakaev have also presented well respected works on the opening. Still, the last couple of years have been outstandingly rich regarding developments of many key lines for both sides and what is worse, the Semi-Slav has become so deeply and widely analysed that the typical club player will feel lost trying to navigate himself in the complexities of this minefield of modern chess.

In my humble opinion, it is very difficult to find a better author on this subject than Lars Schandorff. His other works for Quality Chess like the two “Playing 1.d4” books as well as the slightly older “Grandmaster Repertoire 7 – The Caro Kann” have proved that he has a special talent to present complex opening lines in a very reader-friendly way. Another thing is also at least as important, Lars is a true expert on the Semi-Slav who has vast experience of defending the opening successfully against strong opposition for many years (a look at the database will convince you!) and thus he has acquired deep understanding.

So, what the reader can expect from The Semi-Slav by Lars Schandorff is fascinating chess, deep analysis and research, and a very friendly presentation of the latest developments of this very important modern opening, many of which cannot be found in other works, simply because 2-3 years back many lines were not even known! This is one such example:

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Categories: GM Repertoire Tags:

Petrosian on the Younger Generation by Danny McGowan

April 22nd, 2015 14 comments

While working on Python Strategy by Tigran Petrosian (excerpt here), I especially enjoyed reading his opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of other players. The ‘younger generation’ players alluded to in the title, namely Jan Timman, Zoltan Ribli and Ulf Andersson, were all born in 1951 and all went on to have hugely successful chess careers – and indeed all still play to a high level to this day. Petrosian made his comments in 1973 as the players were rising through the ranks. Timman was an International Master at the time, while Andersson and Ribli had been awarded the Grandmaster title in 1972 and 1973 respectively. It is interesting to compare Petrosian’s contemporary assessment of the trio with those we may hold now. So without further ado, I will hand you over to Petrosian:

I would particularly like to discuss the play of Timman, Ribli and Andersson. The Swede Andersson, the Dutchman Timman and the Hungarian Ribli are among the leading young players who will undoubtedly put pressure on the older generation in the next few years. And whenever I come together with them, there is something I would like to know. When we give up our place in the chess sun to the young talents, will it be because our play has changed for the worse on account of our age? Or will those who begin to surpass us be chessplayers who have risen to a new, higher level of mastery?

Ulf Andersson: small and slight, in outward appearance he seems more like a child who has strayed into the hall looking for a simultaneous display than a fully-fledged competitor in the main tournament. I somehow feel sorry for him. He crazily trails from tournament to tournament, and the easy opportunity to lead the life of a modern chess professional (who fortunately is not overburdened with worries about every crust of bread, unlike the professional of the not too distant past) has already left a grave imprint on his manner of play and his tournament psychology. In his games you rarely, very rarely see him aspiring to a full-blooded struggle. “Safety first” is not a motto before which chessplayers in such young years ought to bow. It leads to nothing good. And yet Andersson is capable of simply playing well. He possesses positional understanding, a keen eye for tactics, and vast theoretical knowledge to go with a well-worn tournament repertoire. In a word, all the signs of a top-class player are present. And at the same time – there are all the signs of creative stagnation.

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Categories: Fun Games Tags:

Chess Structures in Practice (Part Two) by Mauricio Flores Rios

April 16th, 2015 5 comments

I am back for a second and final guest blog post here on the QC blog. You will be able to see a copy of this post, and all my future posts on chess-structures.com, my new blog.

Just like many of you, I spent a fair amount of time last week going following the US Chess Championship played in St Louis. There was plenty of excitement, the live broadcast was very good and more important than anything, the tournament featured what was arguably the strongest combination of twelve players to ever compete in the US Championship. Despite having plenty of nice games to choose from, I think that the game I will show next was the nicest illustration of concepts from Chess Structures put into practice.

Alexander Onischuk (2655) – Daniel Naroditsky (2633)

US Chess Championship 2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bd6 6.Bg2 c6
The move order 6…0-0 7.0-0 Nbd7 8.Qc2 and only now 8…c6 seems to be more precise, making it harder for White to take control of the center.

7.Nc3 O-O 8.Bg5! Nbd7
8…dxc4 would be met by 9.Nd2 followed by 10.Nxc4.

9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Bb4+ 11.Nc3!
In case of 11.Bd2? Bxd2 12.Nexd2 e5! and Black equalizes.
We have reached the Caro-Kann Formation (Chapter 3), where White has more space and a better control of the center. The assessment of this position depends almost exclusively on whether Black can find a way to break in the center to release his spatial disadvantage. Otherwise, White will enjoy a lasting positional edge.

11…h6
Getting rid of the pin, aiming to create some counterplay with …Ne4.

It seems Black did not have better options, for example 11…c5 12. 0-0 cxd4 13. Qxd4 where White has superior coordination. Also 11…Qa5 12.Bd2 e5 is met by 13.a3! Bxc3 14.Bxc3 Qa6 15 0-0! with a big advantage.

12.Bf4 Ne4 13.Qc2 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Ba5 15.O-O

This is a good moment to evaluate the position. The structure has changed slightly since White now has doubled c-pawns (which also means he has a semi-open b-file). Black has been unable to release his position with either …c6-c5 or …e6-e5 and having his bishop trapped on c8 only adds to his misery. White has a very comfortable advantage.

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Categories: Fun Games Tags: