Alexey Shirov Back on Board
The fifth edition of the MTel Masters took to the streets. Once again, six grandmasters competed in a glass cage, but this time the ‘aquarium’ was erected in front of the National Theatre in the centre of Sofia. With an unrestricted view of the players, the spectators saw a gripping finale that was decided by one wrong move in the crucial encounter between Alexey Shirov and Magnus Carlsen. Shirov not only won the event, the Spaniard also earned a ticket to the Grand Slam Final in Bilbao and jumped to fifth place in the Live Ratings. Shirov’s comeback was in stark contrast with the free fall of last year’s winner Vasily Ivanchuk, whose rating briefly dropped below 2700, even.
Aronian Clinches Second GP Victory
The fourth FIDE Grand Prix tournament was supposed to take place in Montreux, Switzerland, but the Swiss town was the second location to withdraw from the GP. By the end of February, FIDE announced a new host city: Nalchik, the same place where the Women’s World Championship was held in September last year. In the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, Levon Aronian clinched the title in a dream scenario, with the two leaders facing each other in the last round. In the crucial encounter, Armenia’s number one defeated Peter Leko to win the 30,000 euro first prize.
A New Hope
The 2009 U.S. Championship was played in the Saint Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center and will most likely return there next year. Much to the delight of our man on the spot, Joel Benjamin, who writes that ‘the U.S. Championship reached a new level’. The new champion is Hikaru Nakamura, who claimed his second title when he managed to shake off the sensation of the championship, GM-elect Robert Hess, in the final round.
Heart of a Soothsayer
Chess-lover and successful businessman Sergey Nikolaev feared a violent death, but could do nothing to prevent it. On October 20, 2007, the affable native of Yakutsk was brutally murdered in Moscow by skinheads. Nikolaev was 46 years old. Genna Sosonko recalls his meetings and conversations with a unique personality whom very few people really knew.
Back to Foxwoods
‘Recently I participated in numerous blunder parties and was active in Elo donation charity, which encouraged the U.S. government to temporarily lift the ban on me’, writes Loek van Wely. The Dutch GM finished third in Foxwoods. Darmen Sadvakasov won.
A Great Happiness
Among the new material in the expanded new edition of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a touching ‘In Memoriam’ written by David Bronstein’s widow Tatiana Boleslavskaya.
No, this is not a typo. With his usual lucidity and intelligence Jonathan Rowson argues that tactical play and positional play are inextricably linked and always come together.
Oil, Gas and Chess
‘64’ editor-in-chief Mark Glukhovsky explains how a 70 per cent decline of the Russian stock market led to a serious reduction of the number of participants in the Russian Team Championship.
Inspired by Ivan Sokolov’s Winning Chess Middlegames, Jan Timman returns to an old favourite, Hans Kmoch’s Pawn Power in Chess.
For Hans Ree, ‘Botvinnik-Smyslov’ was almost a hallowed phrase in his early chess years.
What was the politically most incorrect remark an opponent ever made to Antoaneta Stefanova after a game?
Did they play your opening?
In this issue games with the following openings were annotated by world class players:
Shirov-Dominguez, by Shirov
Sadvakasov-Shankland, by Sadvakasov
Robson-Gulko, by Benjamin
Hess-Ehlvest, by Hess
Hess-Shulman, by Benjamin
Kamsky-Akobian, by Benjamin
Leko-Gelfand, by Leko
Shirov-Volokitin, by Shirov
Alekseev-Yakovenko, by Yakovenko
Svidler-Ivanchuk, by Svidler
Grischuk-Kamsky, by Grischuk
Nakamura-Friedel, by Nakamura
Caruana-Ni Hua, by Caruana
Topalov-Wang Yue, by Topalov
Shulman-Van Wely, by Van Wely
Shulman-Shabalov, by Shulman
Carlsen-Topalov, by Carlsen
Aronian-Leko, by Aronian
Akobian-Benjamin, by Benjamin