Chess #1392

Topics CHESS | Weekend Reads

The really scary situation is at the World Seniors, which was underway in Prague before the virus hit Europe
As with other sports, the virus has impacted chess. Many big traditional opens like Dubai Open, the Sharjah Open, the Bangkok Open, the Vietnam Open and the Reykjavik Open have been cancelled. The World Cadet and Youth Blitz and Rapids have also been cancelled. These events have participants running into four figures, with accompanying seconds, parents and fans. 

As of now, the Grenke Open, scheduled for mid-April in Germany is on. But Germany has issued advisories against large public gatherings and Grenke is massive. So there’s a high chance that it will also be cancelled. 

It’s easier to manage round-robin with few players. So, the Grenke Classic, which is an invitational round-robin, may stay on the calendar though many participants would have a hard time to travel. The Lausanne Women’s Grand Prix is being played out, though the 12 participants will run into screening and quarantine issues when they return to their respective homes. With one round left, Nana Dzagnidze and Aleksandra Goryachkina share the lead with 6.5 points from ten rounds. 

The really scary situation is at the World Seniors, which was underway in Prague before the virus hit Europe. Participants are by definition, seniors, who are at the most risk. This is now scheduled for an early end, with only seven rounds played. 

The Candidates has been impacted with the withdrawal of Teimour Radjabov who was replaced by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Ding Liren had to get to Russia early to endure quarantine. The other Chinese qualifier, Wang Hao, happened to be in Tokyo. He had to cancel a scheduled training camp. MVL will play but he would also be under-prepared given just ten days to get his act together. 

The Candidates starts this weekend in Yekaterinburg. It is a young field. Fabiano Caruana would be favourite, with Ding Liren and Alexander Grischuk considered the next best favourites. The Russian authorities have worked with Fide to provide screening for all visitors, and set up a permanent medical station in the hall and masks, hand sanitisers, etc, being provided. It probably helps that the Fide President, is a former Prime Minister of Russia. Fide has waived the requirement for handshakes! Spectators will not be allowed in the playing hall but they can sit in the commentary studio, play blitz games or attend lectures at the venue.

The Diagram, Black to Play (White: Ju Wenjun Vs Black : Dzagnidze , Lausanne GP 2020) is a nice example of exact endgame calculation. Black played 61. — Nc3+! 62. Kd3 Kxf3! 63. Kxc3 Ke2 64. Nb4 f3 65. Nd3 g4 66. Nf4+ Ke1 67. Nd3+ Kf1 68. Ne5 g3 69. Nxf3 g2 70. Kb4 Kf2 71. Ng5 Kg3 72. Kc5 g1=Q and 0-1, 82 moves.   

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