Monday, December 22, 2014

Bruzon wins Carlos Torre Memorial

Full standings here:

GM Nigalidze leads Al Ain after 5

Full standings here:

Magnificent performance by India at World Youth Chess Olympiad

India clinch gold in World Youth Under-16 Chess Olympiad
Dec 22, 2014 19:55 IST

Top seeds India bagged the gold medal in the World Youth Under-16 Chess Olympiad at Gyor in Hungary in a tight contest today.

India beat Turkey 3.0-1.0 in the 10th and final round to clinch the title ahead of Russia and Iran at the FIDE tournament held at the University of West Hungary.

Iran were the leaders in the penultimate round but lost their 10th and final round tie against hosts Hungary 1.5-2.5 to settle for the silver in the 54-team tournament.

In the final round, India were 0-1 down initially with International Master Diptayan Ghosh losing to Vahap Sanal, but all the other three Indians -- IM Murali Karthikeyan, IM Aravindh Chithambaram and Kumaran Balaji won their respective matches to clinch the gold.

Karthikeyan beat Ali Marandi while Chithambaram and Balaji got the better of Volkan Sevgi and Tuna Tuncer respectively.

Chithambaram was the best among the Indians in the 10-round tournament, scoring eight points in the nine games he played with eight wins and a loss. Karthikeyan also scored eight points but he played 10 matches with six wins and four draws.

Ghosh secured 5.5 out of nine while Balaji won 4.5 points out of nine. WFM G K Monnisha was the fifth player in the Indian team and she collected 0.5 points from her three matches.


First title for St Louis

DAVID R. SANDS: St. Louis claims first crown in U.S. Chess League play
By David R. Sands - The Washington Times - Monday, December 22, 2014

In St. Louis this year, the Cardinals were good, but the Arch Bishops were better.

The baseball team may have come up short in the playoffs, but the Gateway City’s U.S. Chess League franchise went all the way, winning its first league championship in a blitz playoff against the Dallas Destiny Dec. 3.

St. Louis has become the hot new city of American chess, anchored by the stunning St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center and the successes of the Webster University college team.

Read more:

Jan-Krzysztof Duda wins European Rapid Championship

The 16-years old Polish Grandmaster Jan-Krzysztof Duda won the European Rapid Chess Championship 2014 that was held on 20-21st December at the Centennial Hall in Wroclaw, Poland.

783 players from 32 European federations (FIDE Zones 1.1 to 1.10) competed in the 11-round Swiss event with the time control G-15′+10”. The field included 73 Grandmasters and 192 international title holders.

Eventually four players shared the first place with 9,5 points each: Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Andrei Volokitin,Grzegorz Gajewski and Vladislav Kovalev.

Duda had the best tie-break score and is declared Champion. Volokitin took the silver medal, Gajewski is awarded with bronze.

Monika Socko is the best placed woman, while GM Wlodzimierz Schmidt is top senior.

Final standings:

1-4. GM DUDA Jan-Krzysztof POL R 2467, GM VOLOKITIN Andrei UKR R 2643, GM GAJEWSKI Grzegorz POL R 2633 and GM KOVALEV Vladislav BLR R 2618 – 9,5

5-9. GM WOJTASZEK Radoslaw POL R 2684, IM WARAKOMSKI Tomasz POL R 2491, GM KOROBOV Anton UKR R 2673, GM LYSYJ Igor RUS R 2613 and GM NEIKSANS Arturs LAT R 2581 – 9,0

10-29. IM BORTNYK Olexandr UKR R 2559, GM KOVALENKO Igor LAT R 2721, GM VALLEJO PONS Francisco ESP R 2689, GM MOISEENKO Alexander UKR R 2670, FM ALEKSEENKO Kirill RUS R 2520, GM INARKIEV Ernesto RUS R 2653, GM FEDORCHUK Sergey A. UKR R 2664, GM NAVARA David CZE R 2633, GM DEVIATKIN Andrei RUS R 2587,GM MATLAKOV Maxim RUS R 2684, GM BARTEL Mateusz POL R 2674, GM SWIERCZ Dariusz POL R 2609, GM KEMPINSKI Robert POL R 2584, GM SOCKO Monika POL R 2441, GM KANEP Meelis EST R 2464, IM BERZINSH Roland LAT R 2470, GM AZAROV Sergei BLR R 2611, IM KANTANS Toms LAT R 2477, GM BINDRICH Falko GER 2610 and GM KRASENKOW Michal POL R 2559 – 8,5 etc

Earlier GM David Navara won the European Blitz Chess Championship 2014

Baklan wins Sunway Sitges Chess Festival 2014

The 1st Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival 2014 took place on 13-21st December, 2014, at the luxurious Sunway Playa Golf Sitges Hotel & Spa, situated on the Promenade of Sitges (40 km. south of Barcelona), in front of the sea and beside the golf club, in the residential quarter of Sitges.

The 9-round Swiss event was split into two sections:
- Group A open to all players and valid for title norms
- Group B reserved for U2000 players

Ukrainian GM Vladimir Baklan emerged a clear winner of the Master Section with 7/9 points and grabbed the first prize of 2000 €.

Second place in Open A was shared in a four-way tie by GM Sebastian Maze (France), GM Ildar Ibragimov (USA),GM Tomas Oral (CZE) and FM Rail Makhmutov with 6.5/9 points each.

Andres Cami Navarro Gutierrez wins Open B with 7/9 points. You can see the full standings in Open A and Open B below.

Official website
Open A final standings (top finishers):

1 GM BAKLAN Vladimir UKR 2655 Ukraine 7

2 GM MAZE Sebastien FRA 2564 França 6,5
3 GM IBRAGIMOV Ildar USA 2548 Estats Units 6,5
4 GM ORAL Tomas CZE 2498 República Txeca 6,5
5 FM MAKHMUTOV Rail RUS 2428 Rússia 6,5

6 IM SKOMOROKHIN Roman RUS 2364 Rússia 6
7 GM AROSHIDZE Levan GEO 2537 Banyoles 6

8 GM ROMANOV Evgeny RUS 2638 Rússia 5,5
9 GM NARCISO DUBLAN Marc CAT 2515 Barberà 5,5
10 FM MARTINEZ ALCANTARA Jose Eduar PER 2448 Cerdanyola del Vallès 5,5
11 IM BAILET Pierre FRA 2484 França 5,5
12 IM DUCARMON Quinten NED 2488 Sant Josep De Badalona 5,5
13 WGM CHAROCHKINA Daria RUS 2370 Izmailovo Sports School 5,5
14 FM AKBARINIA Sayed Arash IRI 2366 Iran 5,5
15 IM RODRIGUEZ LOPEZ Rafael ESP 2277 Universidad de Vigo 5,5
16 FM DELORME Alban FRA 2328 França 5,5

17 GM PERALTA Fernando ARG 2582 Sant Josep De Badalona 5
18 IM DELORME Axel FRA 2502 Barcelona UGA 5
19 IM TERRIEUX Kevin FRA 2425 França 5
20 FM SORM Daniel CZE 2319 República Txeca 5
21 FM GOMEZ JURADO Luis Alberto CAT 2349 Montcada 5
22 IM VALDES ROMERO Leonardo CRC 2402 Mollet 5
23 IM MEISTER Peter GER 2408 FC Bayern München 5
24 DE ROVER Yong Hoon NED 2315 Sc Purmerend 5
25 HAUG Johannes NOR 2121 Øbro Skakforening 5

26 GM ROMANISHIN Oleg M UKR 2487 Ucraïna 4,5
27 GM PEREZ MITJANS Orelvis CAT 2463 Sant Josep de Badalona 4,5
28 GUIX TORRES David CAT 2065 Les Franqueses 4,5

29 FM KOKSAL Ege TUR 2328 Turquia 4
30 FM SADYKOV Ramil RUS 2403 Rússia 4
31 VAARALA Eric SWE 2281 Suècia 4
32 ARYAN Chopra IND 2337 Índia 4
33 FM CHALMETA UGAS Ramon CAT 2222 Sant Boi 4
34 FM AYAS FERNANDEZ Antonio CAT 2265 Sitges 4
35 GM POGORELOV Ruslan UKR 2326 Ucraïna 4

Thought of the day

Family is the most important thing in our lives. Everyone’s education starts in the family. Love, respect and morals also begin there. Family is forever.

It’s easy to take our parents for granted. We forget the sacrifices they have made for us, and the effort it takes to raise happy, healthy children. Respect is a foundation to love, and one of the best ways to show your parents that you love them is to treat them with respect.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to all!

Exclusive interview with Wesley So's Mother by Chessdom

Interview with Leny So by
December 2014

Chessdom: Hello Leny. Thank you very much for doing this interview. We just heard the news about your son Wesley becoming a full time professional. We interviewed his former coach, GM Susan Polgar. We would like to know your perspective.

Are you and your husband chess players?

Leny So: I am not a chess player but I can play a little. I find it interesting and mentally stimulating. It was my husband, a hobby chess player, who taught Wesley chess when he was about 6. But we, as parents, did everything we could to support and nurture him throughout his whole life to give him a chance to succeed.

Q: Did you recognize Wesley’s talent early on?

LS: Yes, we knew he has a special God given talent in chess. We bought him various toys, but it was the chess that caught his interest. He is a very bright boy. He had many early successes and became a very strong player in his early teens. But his talent was not fully realized until later because he did not get proper training and assistance in chess. He needed help.

Q: So what happened? How did the big jump happen?

LS: My husband met GM Susan Polgar and her husband when he accompanied Wesley to the SPICE Cup in the US some years ago. After talking to them at length various times during this event, he understood that Wesley can benefit greatly from their world class chess training system. Our son was still too young at that time to enter university. But we had this idea in mind. And some years later when the time was right, Wesley joined SPICE at Webster University. That was the best decision for him and his chess career.

Q: So what did they do to help Wesley?

LS: First of all, they took Wesley in and treated him like their own son. Secondly, they knew right away what Wesley needed to do to become an elite player. They knew how to help him improve in many areas, on and off the chess board. They also have a very structured chess training / learning system at Webster University. They created for him baby steps to reach one goal at a time such as to break 2700, 2725, 2750, then top 10, etc. Wesley needed to be in a disciplined, positive, and structured environment. He came in as a talented boy and after 2 years became an accomplished man.

Q: So did you talk to Wesley about becoming a full time professional chess player?

LS: Yes, but only after he graduates from Webster University. We had hoped it did not mean that he would give up his education. No matter how good he is as a chess professional, it cannot replace education and a university degree. All of us encouraged him to stay in school. He still has so much to learn.

Unfortunately, there were poor advices given to Wesley which is not to our liking. I have a negative feeling as a mother that this is a very huge mistake on Wesley. It hurts me terribly.

Likewise, he has full plate, has to study and play chess, being distracted is not helpful.

Wesley is an adult and he has made his choice. Unfortunately, we could easily imagine better choices, or better ways for him to have expressed his choice or brought it about. All we can do as parents is to re-express our hope that he will make well-thought-out choices in the future, and display regard for their effects. We also like to reiterate to him our constant message as parents– reassurance of our continued love and welcome for him, and a gentle reminder to keep his upright upbringing and display continued awareness, concern for, sense of gratitude and sensitivity to the welfare and feelings of other people.

Leny So

Q: What is next? What will you do?

LS: We love our son and we will support him any way we can.

We taught him to be a loyal, honest, caring, and loving person, and always remain humble no matter how good he is. We taught him the value of professionalism and strong integrity.

Q: I know that this is a difficult time for you and your family. Is there anything else you wish to say?

LS: So family is very grateful to Paul Truong and GM Susan Polgar for what they have done for Wesley and his development as a person, teaching him to be responsible and reaching top ten in the world. I also thank his friends, supporters, Webster University, Reginald Tee, NCFP and President Pichay, and many more. I hope Wesley will never forget what everyone had sacrificed to help him for so many years. We will remain strong as a family and support our son anyway we can.

Q: Once again, thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

LS: Thank you very much.

Another exclusive interview by Chessdom:

52nd University of Groningen Chess Open 2014 LIVE!

Battle of Generations Shchelkunchik-2014 LIVE!

3rd Al Ain Chess Classic 2014 LIVE!

Endgame chess tactic

White to move. How should white proceed?


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Our LAST SALE + FREE DVD! - Happy Holidays from the OCL team! ... and more

Our LAST SALE + FREE DVD! - Happy Holidays from the OCL team!

Posted on December 19,2014 By GM Damian Lemos in All Articles w/ Videos, General Chess Articles. Happy Holidays! In the holiday spirit, we want to keep promoting chess and offering premium content for anyone that wants to learn the game and improve. This week we're giving away the chess DVD download ¨The Killer Dragon - Volume 1¨ by GingerGM Simon Williams, this FREE DVD will teach you about one the most dangerous openings available to black against 1. e4. The Dragon is extremely aggressive and places strong pressure on white from the early[...]

What is Zugzwang and How do I Use it?

Posted on December 19,2014 By GM Levan Aroshidze in Strategy & Game Review, General Chess Articles, Beginner's Corner. Zugzwang is a situation when a player is in a disadvantage because it's his turn to play, but all available moves are bad. Zugzwang appears relatively rarely in practice. Zugzwang positions normally arise in the endgames, when the number of pieces and possible moves is reduced. Sometimes creating a Zugzwang position is the only possible way to win the game. In order to discover Zugzwang's motivations, you need to plan not only your own play, but[...]

Beating The Pirc Modern Defences - GM Aaron Summerscale

Posted on December 18,2014 By OnlineChessLessons.NET Contributor in Strategy & Game Review, Chess Openings, All Articles w/ Videos. Control the center and attack your opponent! In the video "Beating The Pirc Modern Defences" by GM Aaron Summerscale, we are taught a simple, yet effective response that White can use against any Pirc or Modern style defense that Black plays. The set-up that is explained in the video is called the "150 Attack". The 150 Attack can be played through tricky move orders that can cause the Black opponent problems if they are not prepared for the types[...]

Weak Squares in the Game

Posted on December 18,2014 By GM Levan Aroshidze in Strategy & Game Review, General Chess Articles, Beginner's Corner. Weak Squares are the squares which can't be defended by the pawns. Generally, they are perfect locations for the minor pieces, especially if the weak square is in the central area. Recognizing importance of the weak squares and studying the technique of using them is an important step toward perfecting your chess strategy. Fixing and taking control over the weak squares may be as important as gaining a material advantage. Using the Weak Squares W[...] is a producer of thousands of free chess articles and free chess videos by FIDE chess masters. They recently released the renowned Empire Chess series that has been taking the chess world by storm. Please consider checking out their chess blog and chess shop with tons of free updated previews.

Granda Zuniga wins Valladolid

The 10th International Rapid Chess Tournament of Valladolid took place on 21st December, 2014, at the Holtel Novotel (Valladolid) in the northwestern Spain’s biggest city.

The event was an 8-round tournament with tempo of play 15′ + 15″ and gathered 100 participants from 10 different countries.

The top seeded GM Julio Granda Zuniga (Peru) was impressive with 7.5/8 points, drawing only against IM Slobodan Kovacevic in the third round and finishing with the amazing 5/5.

GM Ilmars Starostis (Latvia) and IM Alberto Andres Gonzales (Spain) shared second place with 6.5 points, but Starostis prevailed on a superior tie-break score and took the silver. You can see the full standings below.

Official website

Final standings (top finishers):

1 GM Granda Zuniga Julio E PER 2654 7,5
2 GM Starostits Ilmars LAT 2445 6,5
3 IM Andres Gonzalez Alberto ESP 2515 6,5
4 FM Alvarez Fernandez Enrique ESP 2345 6
5 GM Cifuentes Parada Roberto ESP 2461 6
6 GM Strikovic Aleksa SRB 2528 6
7 GM Hoffman Alejandro ARG 2474 6
8 IM Zlotnik Boris A RUS 2433 6
9 GM Paunovic Dragan SRB 2473 6
10 IM Barria Zuñiga Daniel CHI 2414 6
11 GM Campora Daniel H. ARG 2449 6
12 FM Andres Gonzalez Ivan ESP 2360 5,5
13 IM Kovacevic Slobodan SRB 2350 5,5
14 GM Del Rio De Angelis Salvador G ESP 2519 5,5
15 Rodriguez Garcia Carlos ESP 2214 5,5

Special Interview with Chessdom

Interview with Susan Polgar by Chessdom
Dec 18, 2014

Exclusive interview by Chessdom with Susan Polgar, Director or SPICE & Head Coach of the Webster University Chess Team.

Hello Susan! I realize that you are very busy preparing your teams for the 2014 PanAm InterCollegiate Chess Championship. Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to do this interview.

1. The first question has to be about the news of Wesley So becoming a full time professional chess player. How did you meet him?

I first met him when he participated in the SPICE Cup a number of years ago. Wesley was a very talented young player. He was already in the mid 2600’s at that time. But he was stuck at that level for many years.

Susan Polgar and Wesley So

2. So how did you recruit him to your SPICE program at Webster University?

Actually, I did not at that time. Just like with many other young talented players from around the world, I try to give them advice to improve if asked. One Sunday morning back in late 2011 or early 2012, I got a Google chess alert about Wesley So in one of the Filipino websites. In the article, Wesley said he decided to join my program. I was very surprised about it since I had no conversation with Wesley at that time regarding this issue.

I then contacted his parents who are now living in Canada. His Mom Leny confirmed it with me. He applied shortly after that and came to Webster in the Fall of 2012.

3. Wesley arrived at Webster University at #99 in the world. How did you help him get to the top 10?

I developed a special world class method of training using my personal chess knowledge and decades of experience. It required a lot of personal discipline and special training. It also required setting and accomplishing small goals.

As talented as Wesley was (the same with many other very talented young players), he had many weaknesses. Without fixing these weaknesses, as well as improvement his natural strengths, it would be very difficult to get to the next level.

There is a big difference between being in the 2600’s vs 2700’s, and especially 2800’s. He trusted my advice and training, followed it, and the rest is history.

This system will work for any top young player who wants to improve. This is why we have a long list of top notch talents who want to come to SPICE. But in addition to chess training, our students also learn many other important life skills which will help them with their future, both professionally and personally. It is a very unique program, and there is nothing like this anywhere else in the world.

4. How did the decision for Wesley to transfer to the USCF come about?

Wesley was fed up with the situation in the Philippines with his federation. He saw no future if he decided to remain with the NCFP.

He asked me for my opinion. I told him the pros and cons of switching federations. But I also told him that it has to be his decision. He is the best player to come out of the Philippines. Abandoning his federation will disappoint a lot of fans and supporters.

Of course the plus would be financial as he can play in the lucrative US Championship and Sinquefield Cup, etc. I was in a similar situation as Wesley. But I chose to live in the US for nearly 10 years without changing federation. So it is a tough call but I would support his decision, one way or the other. At the end, he decided to switch and it was fully his decision.

5. How did the decision for Wesley to turn full time professional come about?

There are very few top level scholarship spots open to world class GMs to get into Webster University – SPICE, and there are many talented applicants. We have very strict requirements for all students such as:

- Commitment to academic excellence
- Commitment to chess improvement, and the willingness to be coached
- Commitment to team work
- Commitment to follow all team rules
- Commitment to community service, etc.

The rules are the same for all students. Unless one appreciates the opportunity, and is willing to meet all the requirements, it is better to take a different direction.

We did everything we could to help Wesley reach the top 10 in the world, break the 2760 mark, win Millionaire Chess, along with many big tournaments in the past 2 years. After nearly 2.5 years of training at SPICE, now is the time for him to show what he is made of.

While I cannot speak about the specifics of his abrupt departure, all his teammates and I wish him the best. It is up to Wesley and his new team to get him ready to battle Carlsen, Caruana, Aronian, Grischuk, Topalov, Giri, etc., to break the top 5, and 2800.

6. Does Wesley have the talent to reach 2800 or the top 5 in the world?

He absolutely does. But it is not enough even with natural talent and hard work. There are many other factors. So many people want to reach the pinnacle and very few can get there. I speak from personal experience. It is now the job of his new team to get him there. I wish Wesley the best and I hope that he will make it.

7. What are the expectations for your teams at the upcoming PanAm InterCollegiate Chess Championship?

We are the #1 seed and the reigning national champions. But when you are the best, you have a big target on your back. So it will not be easy. But our students have been training very hard physically (including CrossFit training) and in chess. We will see if it will be enough.

8. What is the secret for the success of Webster – SPICE?

Just as in any business, whether if it is chess or not, to succeed, you need the 7 Ps:

1. Passion – If you do not love what you do, it will not work
2. Product – We have Webster – SPICE, the best product in College Chess
3. Process – Our training method is unique, world-class, and it works
4. People – We select our team members very carefully, and Webster has been very supportive
5. Purpose – We have a noble purpose, to provide young people a platform to learn, improve, and succeed
6. Preparation – We train hard year round to fulfill individual and team goals
7. Perseverance – Giving up in not in our vocabulary. If we do not succeed, we will work even harder

Susan Polgar, Wesley So, Le Quang Liem, Ashwin Jayaram, Ray Robson, Paul Truong

9. Who are some of your top talents at Webster at the moment outside of Wesley?

We have many such as Illia Nyzhnyk (our youngest student at the moment), Ray Robson, Le Quang Liem, Vasif Durarbayli, Georg Meier, Fidel Corrales, Manuel Leon Hoyos, Denes Boros, Andre Diamant, Ashwin Jayaram, etc. We will also have more 2600+ players coming soon. But if someone is interested in Webster – SPICE, they are welcome to write me at

10. Now that Carlsen has defeated Anand again to defend his title, who do you see as his potential challengers in the next cycle.

It is hard to say as the cycle is grueling. But the obvious names are Caruana, Aronian, Anand, Grischuk, Kramnik, Topalov, Nakamura, and possibly Giri, etc. But it will not be easy.

11. As for women, now that Judit has retired, who can pose as a threat to Hou Yifan.

Yifan is well above others at the moment. But Gunina, Koneru, Dzagnidze, Anna Muzychuk, and Lahno, etc. are in the next group.

12. Who is the favorite to win Tata Steel A group in January?

Obviously Magnus is the favorite. But do not count out Levon and Fabiano. There are others who can contend. It will be exciting.

Thank you very much for your time. Good luck to your teams at the upcoming PanAm InterCollegiate Chess Championship

Exclusive interview with Wesley So's Mother by Chessdom: