Friday, November 22, 2013

New World Champion

The new World Chess Champion is Magnus Carlsen from Norway. A draw in the tenth game against the reigning champion Anand was all that the Norwegian needed. Carlsen who will celebrate his 23rd birthday in a few days time is the 16th World Chess Champion.

I found it sad to watch Anand struggling against his much younger opponent. In his two other previous defences against Topalov and Gelfand, Anand looked very vulnerable. He was saved because these two started getting nerves late in the matches and made more mistakes. Anand is way past his best and against a Carlsen who is just getting into his prime, he simply had no chance. The score of three wins , seven draws and no losses for Carlsen attests to this fact.

The next big question is whether Anand will continue to compete or will he just decide that there is nothing more for him in chess and retire. In the post-game press conference, Anand was asked if he will play in the next Candidates. He did not give a definitive answer.

World Championship: It's all but over

There is a often quoted saying - "it is not over until the fat lady sings".  Well, yesterday she was just getting ready to get on stage.

Game 9 was the most exciting of the games played in this championship thus far. Anand as white, played a variation of the Nimzo-Indian which led to a very sharp position. At one stage Anand had advanced his e,f and g-pawns to the fifth rank and looked set to launch a scary attack. Magnus banked on his far advanced passed b-pawn to distract the champion from his king-side.

Amazingly, Magnus Carlsen found a number of "only" moves to avoid being mated on the black squares. Anand allowed the black b-pawn to queen as he had little choice but to pursue his attack to the end. Unfortunately, once again, he blundered and had to resign immediately.

With this third win,  Carlsen needs only to draw one of the last three games to become World Champion. There is little doubt even to the most ardent Anand fan, that Carlsen will be the new World Champion

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Carlsen scores again

In the current Anand - Carlsen world championship match, Carlsen has scored the full point in th 6th game.

Anand in a stable position with both sides having a queen and one rook, just blundered away a pawn with the move 38. Qg3. The resulting pawn down rook ending should be drawable. Anand sacrificed a second pawn to try to reach a balanced position but another mistake 57. Rg8+ allowed Carlsen to set up a winning position (60...h3) with a far advanced f-pawn.

Anand resigned on the 67th move when it was clear that Carlsen's f-pawn would queen. Carlsen now leads 4-2 at the half-way mark. There are just six more games left and personally I feel it will be impossible for Anand to win two games to level the match.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Carlsen draws first blood

In the current Anand - Carlsen world championship match, Carlsen has just won the 5th game when Anand had to resign on the 58th move in a lost rook ending.

Carlsen had a very slight edge out of the opening but the plan of 23. Rhf1 and 24. Rf4 did not seem enough to pressure black. Anand attributed his loss to 34....Rd4 which to me seems a perfectly good move but then again I am not the world champ! The champion's last chance to hold seems to be on the 45th move when instead of 45...Rc1+ he should have played 45...Ra1 and pick up the white a-pawn.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Carlsen's theme song

I just read in Susan Polgar's blog that Anand has this Queen song (We are the champions) playing in his room.

Want to know what Carlsen's song is? I imagine it could be this one.

The third game in the match will continue this afternoon at 5:30 PM Malaysian time. Previous games were all drawn.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Chennai: Anand vs Carlsen

The World Championship match between champion Anand and his challenger, Carlsen is to begin tomorrow in Chennai, India

Today was the opening ceremony , photos here.

Anand revealed his seconds ( Krishnan Sasikiran, Sandipan Chanda, Peter Leko (Hungary), and Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland) . There is no rule that says the contestants have to do so and Carlsen preferred not to. It is well known that amongst his seconds are Russian Ian Neponiatchi and Frenchman Laurent Fressinet. Rumors that Vladimir Kramnik is also working for Carlsen seems a bit more far fetched.

Carlsen has flown in his entire family (parents and three sisters) to be with him as well as a bodyguard and chef for this important match. He can afford it; he received 100,000 Euros just to come to Chennai. This is a clause drawn up by FIDE; if the match is held in one of the participant's home country then his opponent is entitled to receive this "compensation". Presumably this is to offset the advantage of playing in one's own country but I do not agree this is any form of advantage. If anything, Anand is under more pressure in India. He is under scrutiny by every Indian media and chess fans expects him to retain the crown. That is a very high expectation to live up to.

The games starts at 3:00 PM in Chennai which works out to 5:30 PM Malaysian time. Good news for our local chess fans.

Who will win the match? Everyone I asked favored Carlsen. That's my pick too even though I am a big fan of Anand, it is time for the older generation to give way to the new.

Watch the match live here.

You can download an app to follow the games on your Android device.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Blitz Chess Fever

Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya organized a carnival early this morning at Taman Wawasan in Puchong. Amongst the games that were involved are basketball, futsal, congkat, carrom , coloring and well, chess.

Organized by Cerdik Catur Enterprises, this was a 10 round blitz event with a RM250 first prize. Total prizes were up to ten. Since this is right where I live, I turned up at 9:00 AM and found a strong list of contenders. Mohd Saprin fresh from his victory at UPSI, Kamaluddin Yusoff, the Azman siblings , our SEA Games rep Ronnie Lim, Syazwan and  Yeoh Li Tian and his father also turned up.

Yeoh Li Tian drew the first round against his father and was unstoppable after that with eight straight wins. A last round draw with Fadzil Nayan and he pocketed the first prize.

I was second and earned RM150 while Kamaluddin Yusoff took third prize of RM100. Nur Nabila was fourth.

Final Standings

Part of the crowd at the festival

Kamaludin Yusuf doing well at this moment but blundered a rook three moves later
Syazwan had a solid position but could not hold against a confident Li Tian