Chess: ‘Game of the Year’ decides title as Covid-19 hits Russian championship | Chess

A game cast in the romantic mold of the 19th century and the legendary Latvian Mikhail Tal has won the first prize in this week’s Russian championship.

Its creator Daniil Dubov, 24, Magnus Carlsen’s assistant for the 2018 World Championship, played what was widely hailed as the “Game of the Year”, as he eliminated Sergey Karjakin with a prepared gambit where Dubov made his first 13 moves and followed with sacrifices of bishop and queen.

Dubov’s 15 Bf6! and 19 Qxg6!! sacrifices were too difficult to defend in practical play. The g6/g3 square was the setting for two of the classic queen sacrifices in chess history, Frank Marshall’s Qg3 “gold pieces”!! Game against Stefan Levitsky in Breslau 1912 and Alexander Alekhine’s Qxg6! against Emmanuel Lasker in Zurich 1934.

Covid precautions have figured prominently in the handful of major international tournaments that have continued despite the pandemic. Some or all flexible glass screens, oversized tables, face masks, daily virus testing and no spectators were the norm in Biel, the German Bundesliga and Stavanger.

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All successfully completed their program, but the virus struck back at the historic Central Chess Club in Moscow when Mikhail Antipov was forced to withdraw on the rest day after six of 11 rounds. The reason for Antipov’s departure was only made public on the last day, and the result could have been worse – all the other competitors tested negative. The 23-year-old Muscovite, a 2015 junior world champion, had played more than half of his matches so his score stood, but he had already met all of the top four so the result was unaffected.

Ian Nepomniachtchi, the world No. 4, won his second national title with 7.5/11, ahead of Karjakin 7, Vladimir Fedoseev and Dubov 6.5. Nepomniachtchi turns 30, part of the 1990 chess birth year which also produced world champion Carlsen, French world number 5 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and 2016 world challenger Karjakin, for whom this week was another failed attempt at a tournament he never won.

Nepomniachtchi was less successful than Carlsen or the American duo Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So in the 2020 Online Tour, but he is well placed for the resumption of excessive play. The Russian is the mid-term co-leader of the Candidates, abandoned in April 2020 and scheduled to resume in the spring of 2021, so he has a serious chance of becoming Carlsen’s official challenger. If he does, he can expect stronger support than Karjakin got against Carlsen at New York 2016. There is now a new Fide President, Arkady Dvorkovich, who has been impressive in his work but also remains committed to helping Russia regain market leadership. the Soviet era.

The Russian Women’s Championship went to favorite Aleksandra Goryachkina as Polina Shuvalova, who won her first six matches, was unable to win another in the second half, where she was caught in the closing rounds and then lost an Armageddon tie-break.

England’s 4NCL online league attracted 228 teams across six divisions in its second season which ended this week with a surprise winner. ChessPlus Kingston was the second promoted team of ChessPlus, which organizes courses for current and potential chess teachers in 14 European countries.

The contacts of its founder John Foley produced a strong team for the final, led by two women whose careers have included Beth Harmon moments. Pia Cramling was one move away from defeating Viktor Korchnoi in his prime, while Dana Reizniece-Ozola beat world No. 1 Hou Yifan at the 2016 Olympiad.

CPK won the semi-final against Guildford youth team and then the final against Wood Green. The decisive came when CPK were leading 2-1 but Cramling had rook against rook and two pawns from England’s youngest general manager, Dan Fernandez. She considered quitting, but “I had told my students not to give up early” and Fernandez blundered in a draw.

The result is a disappointment for Wood Green’s Loz Cooper, arguably England’s best team manager, helping many up-and-coming talents.

Five-year-old Kushal becomes London champion

A five-year-old boy who learned the moves less than a year ago set an age record by winning the London Under-Eight Championship. The annual event, played online last weekend, began in the boom of the 1970s and launched the careers of England’s elite GMs Gawain Jones and David Howell.

Most chess talent tends to emerge at age seven, eight, or nine, sometimes age six. Globally, the top prodigy was Samuel Reshevsky, who gave simuls at six and later became America’s top player before Bobby Fischer – but some claim Reshevsky was born in 1909, not 1911.

Five-year-eight-month-old Kushal Jakhria, a first-year pupil at Pointer School in Blackheath, finished level with top seed Patrick Damodaran at 6.5/7 but had a better tie-break. Both had chances to win in their individual draw.

Two years ago Damodaran, then five himself, fell short by half a point. He is now England’s No.1 in the Under-Nine rankings, with a very respectable rating of 1,750, and has represented England in world events before. Jakhria, on the other hand, has no ranked games on the board yet, as he only started playing competitively during the pandemic.

His under-eight victory was not just once. Jakhria also scored 6/7 in the London Under-10s and has a lichess ranking in the top 9% of the site’s 250,000 rapid chess players.

The south-east London school of Jakhria has also produced England’s best-known junior, Shreyas Royal. Pointer chess coach Fide Master Alexis Harakis attributes his student’s success to his exceptional pattern memory, visual skills and stamina for his age.

3702: 1 Be2! h6 2 Rh4! h5 3 Kg5! Ke4 4 Bf3 mate.

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