CHESS #1395

Topics CHESS | Chess Tournament

The Diagram (White: Maxime Vachier Lagrave Vs Black: Ian Nepomniachtchi, Candidates 2020) is a crucial seventh round encounter. How does white convert his edge? MVL played 28. Bxe7! Kxe7 29. g4! Rxb5 30. axb5 Rxb5 31. gxf5 Rxb1+ 32. Qxb1 exf5. Now 3
There is understandably a lot of bad blood in the aftermath of the Candidates fiasco. Nobody knows when the event will be completed — it did lead to April Fool’s rumours that it would be completed in Antarctica!

Teimour Radjabov’s stance in pulling out has been vindicated, and it’s clear he’s been unlucky. But what can Fide now do? It would be grossly unfair to everyone else in the cycle, to replay the Candidates from scratch. Can Fide seed Radjabov into the next Candidates cycle instead in a sort of deferred admission? Is that sufficient recompense for replacing him in this cycle?

Chess is a game with a large online presence anyhow and, of course, there’s been a surge of online interest. So major chess websites have been holding sequences of blitz events, lectures and exhibitions. In addition, Chessbase is covering the historic 1970 USSR vs Rest of the World match in detail on the 50th anniversary of the match, with “live” commentary on the games, and reminiscences from surviving participants such as Vlastimil Hort.

Like most other sports, chess will also have to reboot its basic competitive format to stay alive through this crisis. Unlike, say, cricket, tennis or soccer, where the live audiences and the stadia are keystone elements, chess can migrate more easily online. Most tournaments are broadcast live, and the audience is 99.9 per cent online, watching and analysing on their engines.

But players do need to travel extensively, and anti-cheating measures are going to be hard to implement evenly across online formats. Hence, youngsters looking for norms and titles might find themselves in limbo until this sorts out. And, of course, funding will be an issue in the middle of an economic downturn.

While coronavirus has not yet claimed any prominent chess victims, there was a tragedy last week. The 33-year-old WIM Arianne Caoili died in a road accident in Yerevan. Arianne, a charming Filipino-Australian with an economics PhD and a multi-faceted career, was also Levon Aronian’s wife. She will be greatly missed on the chess circuit.

The Diagram (White: Maxime Vachier Lagrave Vs Black: Ian Nepomniachtchi, Candidates 2020) is a crucial seventh round encounter. How does white convert his edge?

MVL played 28. Bxe7! Kxe7 29. g4! Rxb5 30. axb5 Rxb5 31. gxf5 Rxb1+ 32. Qxb1 exf5. Now 33. Qxf5 Qe6!? may be ok for black since the a-pawn could get dangerous. But MVL found 33. Ng3! Qb6 The Kt + Queen mount an attack with 34. Nxf5+ Kf8 35. Qa1! Qe6 [Qa1 creates threats down a3-f8, and also hits the a-pawn] 36. Ng3 Qg4 37. Kg2 Qxf4 38. Qxa7 Ke7 39. Qa3+ Kd8 40. Qd6 g5 41. hxg6 h5 42. g7 (1-0).



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