Archive for March, 2016

Nakamura – The Verdict

March 31st, 2016 70 comments

Apologies to those of you who were waiting anxiously for the result of last week’s poll. Perhaps due to the Easter holidays, I forgot all about it.

It’s all ancient history now, but the question was: How do you interpret Nakamura’s “j’adoube”?


As you can see, by a 59-40 margin, the voters went for ‘dodgy’. I voted for ‘heat-of-the-moment slip’. And in my quiz answers I predicted Nakamura would be first to win a game and finish as top American. So it appears I am 0/3 about Nakamura.

Categories: Polls Tags:

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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Happy with the candidates

March 28th, 2016 59 comments

The Candidates ends today and with a very thrilling end indeed. It is 2013 all over again. Back then both Carlsen and Kramnik lost their last round game, after which Carlsen became the Candidate because of more losses (or wins if you insist).
Today we have a number of outcomes possible:
Karjakin or Caruana wins the game and qualifies.
The game is a draw and Anand does not win his game and Karjakin qualifies because of most losses.
The game is a draw and Anand wins his game, after which Caruana qualifies in the three way tie because of his win against Anand!
Some people (Greg Shahade for example) has come with ideas about a better Championship cycle. I am not against this at all, but I want to defend FIDE and say that we have a fantastic cycle as it is.
The World Cup is a really interesting event to follow. Very dramatic. The players qualified from it have not done poorly, historically. Gelfand won and Sergey Karjakin might win today.
The Grand Prix is great too. It involves players from top 25-30 that do not usually get invited to top events. The winner, Caruana, might win today as well.
To top up by rating might be the more dubious solution. Topalov has been a disaster twice, but then last time he qualified by winning the Grand Prix.
The Candidates is very exciting and all the players were conceivable winners in advance. They had 14 games to work out who was best, more than the World Championship match!
The fact that a lot of players are very close in strength (confirmed by rating as well) is a blessing. We have no Djokovic or Germany dominating.
At the end the Candidate has gone through a fantastic cycle to play the World Champion and will have deserved it fully.
Should the World Champion enter earlier. Tradition says no. I think he should be forced to play the World Cup, which would increase in value. And I would like more spots in the Candidates to go to people who qualify. But all in all, this is the best system we have ever had.

Categories: Polls Tags:

The touch-move debate

March 22nd, 2016 16 comments

The Nakamura touch-move incident at the Candidates is our poll topic this week. The facts are not in dispute, as the video is clear. Nakamura touched the king, so he had to move it, and he did. It’s the interpretation of his after-the-touch “j’adoube” that’s in question. A heat-of-the-moment slip or something dodgier? You can listen to Nakamura’s side of the story in this video. I believe Aronian is waiting until after the event to give his view.

I will just leave it with 2 options, though no doubt there could be dozens of different levels of alleged dodginess.

Categories: Polls Tags:

Touch move at the Candidates

March 18th, 2016 39 comments

In case you did not see it. In a rook ending yesterday, Nakamura touched the king and seemed to act as if it was correcting the piece. In the video you can see the change of posture. I do not want to criticise him; it is hard to deal with your dream dying in a millisecond and these guys are under a lot of pressure. It took him 2-3 seconds to recompose himself and play on, just as Aronian jumped in very quickly calling it touched move. Aronian had no bad words about his opponent after the game, which says a lot. Our brain works in loops of 3 seconds, where we deal with the inputs just recieved; Nakamura did not get to the end of such a loop before he instinctively wished he had just corrected the piece. With my experience it shows nothing about his moral fibre at all.

Read more…

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Agon versus the World

March 15th, 2016 32 comments

Generally my interest in the Candidates, and chess tournaments in general, is in the moves played, not the business or legal issues. But it seems an important business and legal issue is developing in chess, and it affects seeing the moves, so let’s see what readers think about ‘the Agon debate’.

For those who have not followed the story, the quick version is that Agon is the company that’s running the Candidates (and the World Championship) and they are claiming that only they (and their approved partners) have the right to broadcast the moves live. Other chess sites (such as chessdom and chess24) disagree, and are showing the moves despite Agon’s attempted ban. The dispute may end up debated in various courts around the world.

You can read Agon’s view here. And, for an opposing view from one of the chess sites, here is the view of chessdom.

There seem to be too many different aspects in this debate to make it sensible to reduce it to one poll question. There is the legal side: can Agon sue and win? A moral side? And a practical question: will Agon’s approach be successful commercially? And no doubt there are many other ways of looking at it.

And what’s my view and the official Quality Chess view? No comment. I would rather hear what you think. Also, there’s probably some book I should be working on…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Yusupov – Revision & Exam

March 14th, 2016 63 comments

I am feeling a bit guilty that I have been poor at updating the publishing schedule – and that the last one did not have any dates on it. At this point it looks like Kotronias on the King’s Indian 4 – Classical Systems will be out on the 13th of April. Things can always go wrong with the printing process of course, but let’s presume they don’t. So less than a month away. An excerpt is now available.

But what I really wanted to talk about is this beauty:


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.


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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