Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2013 World Chess Cup: And then there were four

The FIDE World Cup is currently in progress in Tromso, Norway  It started as early as August 10th with 128 players. The importance of this tournament is that the two players that reach the finals qualify for the 2014 Candidates to select the Challenger to the World Champion in the next cycle.

The format pits two players in a match consisting of two games (90 min for 40 moves + 30 min for the rest, with 30 seconds increment). The one who scores most points go on to the next round. If there is a tie after the two standard games tiebreaks consisting of two rapid games (25 min + 10 sec), then two accelerated games (10 min + 10 sec), and finally an Armageddon will decide who progresses.

We are now at the semi-finals stage and many big names have been eliminated, inevitably  so as the match format means a single loss will be disastrous. The big names includes Ivanchuk, Morozevich, Nakamura, Caruana, Grischuk and Aronian. Only Kramnik has survived together with such lesser names as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Dmitri Andreikin and Evgeny Tomashevsky.

The semi-final matches are Kramnik against  Vachier-Lagrave and Andreikin against Tomashevsky. The first two classical games in both matches were drawn  so they will go on to the tie-breaks. The first two tie-break games will be played at 25 minutes with 10 seconds increment. If still tied, then another two blitz games of 10 minutes and 10 seconds increment. If the tie is still not broken another two games of 5 minutes with three seconds increment will take place. And finally if there is no decision is reached, a final game of sudden death with 5 minutes for white while the opponent with the black pieces  receive 4 minutes and draw odds. Draw odds means that in case of a draw, the black player wins the match, so the player choosing to take white must win.

The winner of the World Cup takes home USD 120,000 while the runner-up receives USD 80,000.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

2nd Battle Chess SelangorKU

I was invited by Fadli aka "Stonemaster" to the 2nd edition of Battle Chess SelangorKU. The previous tournament I attended, the 3rd MBPJ Open was very well run so I gladly accepted.

The tournament was so well attended, over 400 participants for the various sections. The open section itself attracted 149 players, no doubt due to the attractive RM1000 first prize. Just to name a few of the many strong players who came - Ronnie Lim, Lim Zhuo Ren, Sumant Subramaniam, Wong Jianwen, Evan Capel, Shakir, the Fong siblings Yit San, Yit Ho and Mi Yen, Nabila, Nabil and Najiha. Philippines  was also well represented with Nelson Villanueva , Diano Eden, Bagamasbad Efren who recently finished third in the Malaysian Chess Festival Seniors, and Ian Udani.

The bad news was that the air-conditioning in the hall was next to zero. After the first round we had to vacate the hall into the corridor outside. There was no air-conditioning there either. To make things worse, it seemed that this was one of the hottest day I could remember for a long time. The next bad news was that a hundred tables had gone missing. 

The organizer had to start the first round for the Open and Under-18. After completion, the first round for the Under-12 started. By 12:20 PM, the second round for the Open was still not announced. I decided that I could not take another six rounds of suffering and left.

To be fair, I think Fadli is the most hard working chess organizer. A lot of effort into looking for sponsors is why he is able to offer excellent prizes and therefore attract many participants.  One time he told me that our Malaysian IMs were not sufficiently appreciated and not enough done for them. Therefore as his personal contribution, he always gives me free entry to his tournaments. Fadli is the only chess organizer who personally invites me to his tournaments. I would play in his future tournaments again.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

R.I.P. IM Rodolfo Cardoso

Philippines first International Master Rodolfo Tan Cardoso has passed away yesterday of a heart attack. He was 75 years old.

Cardoso was one of the first Asian masters that I read about when I first learnt to play chess. Though I do not know him very well, we met a long time ago I think at one of the Asian Cities tournaments. He was a kind and polite man.

Read more here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Game from KLK Seniors

This will be the 10th edition of the Malaysian Chess Festival which comprises the Open, Seniors , Amateur, Svensen's  Age Group as well as the Astro Team event.

I came second again in the Seniors tournament. GM Dmitry Kaiumov won the event as usual despite a loss to me in the third round. After that he won every game except the last round while I had a couple of draws and a shock defeat in the fifth round.

Below is the critical stage of the game against the grandmaster