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How much chess do you play?

October 26th, 2015 7 comments

The chess season in the UK runs from roughly October-May, so now seems like another good time to ask about your own playing habits. The majority of games are played in midweek league matches or weekend congresses, and there are also 9 round international tournaments on the continent almost every week (and a growing number here too).

If you had the time and the inclination you could play all year round, but at least one elite grandmaster would advise you against that: “When you play too much chess in a short period, bad things tend to happen” tweeted Hikaru Nakamura after a below par performance at the European Club Cup, which came shortly after his rather excellent one in Las Vegas. So our question this week is how many games of chess do you play in a year? Count all your over the board matches, FIDE rated or otherwise (but leave out all these blitz games on Lichess!) 0-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-75, 76-100 or 100+

 

Last week’s poll showed a clear preference for Magnus Carlsen to behave like Merv Hughes over Alastair Cook.

 

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World Cup Quiz Winners

October 19th, 2015 4 comments

It has been a couple of weeks since the World Cup finished in Baku, which also meant that we had reached the end of the road for our World Cup Quiz. Roughly 20 contestants made it through the initial qualifying questions, and there were several still on the same score by the time the semi-finals had finished. It transpired that nobody had guessed Karjakin or Svidler to win (thus landing a 3-pointer at the buzzer), so we contacted the highest scorers to make a further prediction on the final as a tiebreaker. When the dust settled on the rapid play matches we still had 2 contestants standing and, although probably not quite as exhausted as Svidler and Karjakin themselves, we decided that it would be unfair to find further ways to whittle it down to one winner.

Therefore I am happy to announce that the joint winners of our 2015 World Cup Quiz were Marija Čačić of Croatia and Lucas Van Foreest of the Netherlands. They have both kindly sent a picture of their prize… Read more…

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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

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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?

Read more…

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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.

Read more…

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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

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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:

Read more…

Categories: GM Repertoire Tags: