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Candidates 2016 Quiz – Results

March 30th, 2016 12 comments

It’s results time on our Candidates Quiz. Thanks for all your entries. The correct answers were:

1) Who will win the Candidates tournament? Karjakin
2) What will the winning score be? 8.5
3) Who will score the first win? Anand
4) How many games will reach move 60? 11
5) Which American will finish higher – Caruana or Nakamura? Caruana
6) Which Russian will finish higher – Karjakin or Svidler? Karjakin
7) How many games will Anand win? 4
8) How many games will Giri draw? 14
9) How many games will be the longest winning streak? 2
10) How many games will be the longest losing streak? 2

And our winner is… Read more…

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Candidates 2016 Quiz

March 8th, 2016 27 comments

Last week’s poll question led to a clear answer: the Candidates events are generally more exciting than World Championship matches.

Poll-Candidates-WC

So it’s good news that the 2016 Candidates starts in Moscow on Friday. Last year we had a quiz about the World Cup. It seemed like fun, so we will have another go for the Candidates.

Same prize as last time: Quality Chess will send a box of 20 books to your home, wherever in the world that may be. 10 of them chosen by you, 10 of them chosen by us. All you have to do is answer the following questions:

Read more…

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Still Playing the Trompowsky

January 28th, 2016 4 comments

My attention was drawn to IM Andy Martin’s choice of BCM Game of the Month for February 2016. That’s a link to a YouTube video of Andy going through the game – I haven’t had time to watch the video yet. But what’s this got to do with Quality Chess? The game uses, with devastating effect, a novelty IM Richard Pert suggested in Playing the Trompowsky.

White: IM Nigel Povah Black: Pavel Asenov

4NCL Division 2, Birmingham, 23.01.2016

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5 3.d5 Qb6 4.Nc3 Qxb2 5.Bd2 Qb6 6.e4 e5 7.f4 d6 8.Rb1
Pert’s move order was 8.Nf3, transposing to this game after 8…Nbd7 9.fxe5 dxe5 10.Rb1.

8…Qc7 9.fxe5 dxe5 10.Nf3 Nbd7 11.Nb5 Qb8
Quite possibly Asenov was still in his “prep” as this line was recommended for Black by Dembo in “Fighting the Anti-King’s Indians”, as Richard mentioned. IM Nigel Povah has been playing the Trompowsky consistently for at least 20 years, so it is unlikely that the promising young English player playing Black was surprised by the choice of opening.

11…Qb6 is safer.

Read more…

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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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ECF Book of Year is won by… Boris Gelfand

October 7th, 2015 34 comments

Gelfand 1_Badge OUTL A-W.indd

We mentioned a few weeks ago that two Quality Chess books reached the shortlist of four for the ECF Book of the Year prize. Mauricio Flores Rios made the shortlist alongside Garry Kasparov and Joel Benjamin, but it was Boris Gelfand’s Positional Decision Making in Chess which won the prize. So congratulations to Boris and Jacob, commiserations to Mauricio.

The judges’ full comments can be read here but a few highlights were:

“A fascinating insight into how the chess mind of a great player works… Gelfand comes over as modest but confident in his abilities, with tremendous ability, experience and knowledge. But despite all this, even he sometimes finds chess a difficult game, which gives comfort to us all.”

This is the fourth Quality Chess winner of the ECF prize:

2007: San Luis 2005 – Gershon & Nor
2010: Attacking Manual 1&2 – Jacob Aagaard
2013: How I Beat Fischer’s Record – Judit Polgar
2015: Positional Decision Making in Chess – Boris Gelfand

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World Cup Quiz – The Survivors

September 23rd, 2015 18 comments

Our World Cup Quiz (previous instalments here and here) attracted almost 200 entrants, but you may recall there were three qualifying questions to narrow the field:

A: What will the most common opening move be in round 1: 1.e4 or 1.d4 or neither?
B: Which of these home players will go further: Mamedov or Safarli?
C: Which opening will be more common in round 3: Najdorf or Catalan?

In the previous instalment we knew two of the correct answers. Now we know all three: 1.e4, Mamedov and Najdorf.

21 contestants survived the cull. I won’t name names, but in chess terms they range from unrated to mid-2400s. Which of them will be our champion? Too early to say.

There were several GM entrants, but they all fell, usually due to their faith in 1.d4.

A hypothetical question: Should World Cup competitors be allowed to enter our World Cup Quiz? I would say “Yes”, but since they both crashed out of our quiz in the qualifying round, we’ll say it’s hypothetical.

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Two out of four…

September 18th, 2015 9 comments

A few weeks back (as we assume you have noticed) the English Chess Federation released their shortlist of nominees for book of the year (going from 1st August 2014 to 31st July 2015). Each publisher is allowed to send two books to the judges. A shortlist of four books is then announced.

Both books we put forward this year were shortlisted. Here is what the judges had to say:

Chess Structures – A Grandmaster Guide
Mauricio Flores Rios | Quality Chess pp464 £21.95

“The book was ‘born out of my desire to guide players who, like me, struggle to apply their strategic knowledge to a practical game’. Rios shows exceptional clarity of organisation and selection of (nearly all contemporary) illustrative games. Each of the 140 games starts with ‘Learning Objective’ and concludes with ’Final Remarks’. In all, ‘28’ chess structures are covered and the book finishes with 50 exercises. It is hard to imagine any student not learning from this book; but the problems of using this knowledge over the board, even for a world-class player, are discussed in the Gelfand book below.”

Positional Decision Making in Chess
Boris Gelfand | Quality Chess pp284 £23.99

“This remarkable book, written in collaboration with Jacob Aagaard, is an attempt to show how a world-class player (there are few with Gelfand’s extensive top-level experience) thinks during the course of a game. As the title suggests, the games selected concentrate on aspects of positional play such as space advantage or the squeeze. Very interestingly, Gelfand admits to being strongly influenced by Akiba Rubinstein, a great player in the first half of the 20th century; a number of Rubinstein’s games are included. Throughout, Gelfand is very honest about his thoughts and recollections during the games presented. As a result the book is a fascinating insight into the mind of a great chess player at work.”

Quality Chess has previously won the ECF Book of the Year award with:

2007: San Luis 2005 – Gershon & Nor
2010: Attacking Manual 1&2 – Jacob Aagaard
2013: How I Beat Fischer’s Record – Judit Polgar

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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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