There are many chess players with ELO rating under 2000 around the world who would like to increase their chess capabilities. And reach the level of 2000 ELO points. Just like me.
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Chess tournaments


Whirlwind Rapid Play Ends International Match

Whirlwind Rapid Play Ends International Match

Chess club Saint LouisTornado warnings sent the four grandmasters in the international match to the basement more than once at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis Wednesday, but the unusual had already hit the boards.

GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Ray Robson each won with black in the first of their two rapid games on the final day of competition. Nakamura finished with a 6.5 to 3.5 score against former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov and Robson had a 6 to 4 score over Ben Finegold.

In the first of two rapid games, Nakamura played the Slav against GM Ruslan Ponomariov’s d4, and GM Ben Finegold played d4 followed by Nc3 on his second move, the Veresov, according to commentator WGM Jen Shahade.

Ponomariov may have been thrown off his game briefly as he had never experienced a tornado. As the games were halted, he joined others and watched as the weather maps lit up red, which signified tornado warnings. In the meantime, his second, GM Ivan Salgado Lopez of Spain and GM Alejandro Ramirez played blitz during the delay. Once play resumed, Nakamura was able to quickly dispatch the former FIDE World Champion.

But Ponomariov provided tornado action in the final rapid match, busting out the Benko, an opening IM John Donaldson said was one of the Ukrainian’s childhood favorites.

“I wanted to have some fun because I already lost the match,” Ponomariov said. “Why not have fun?”

He said he thought it would be an easier line for him to play since he knew it.

“Somehow even in this game, Hikaru played faster than me,” Ponomariov said.

The young Ukrainian expressed thanks for “such an opportunity to play such games.”

Discussing about what he learned from the match, Ponomariov talked about Nakamura’s play.

“It’s interesting to see Hikaru fights in every game and finds ways to put pressure on the position,” he said.

He also will talk about his experience and the organization of the match when he returns to Ukraine. He asked about DVDS “to show, not just tell” about the club and the event.

Nakamura also complimented the former world champion on his play. The Saint Louis grandmaster noted he was usually the one dealing with jet lag and time zone changes to play such matches.

“I think Ruslan was better prepared than me in general,” he said. “I think I was a bit fortunate, especially game three.”

Finegold said the weather break gave the GMs a rare opportunity.

“We got to chat a little bit,” the club’s resident GM said.

But the chatting did not get in the way of chess. In their first game, Finegold and Robson played 97 moves before the game settled.

“The candidates matches—the players should be ashamed of themselves,” Finegold said about several short draws. “Hikaru played for wins, Ruslan played aggressive chess and Ray played for the win.”

Finegold pointed out there were draw offers in their games, but there also was a draw by the 50-move rule and repetition of the position.

Asked about what he learned from the match, the young Robson said he had to improve every aspect of his game.

The next event at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is the U.S. Junior Closed Championship from June 15-25.


Ponomariov, Robson Still Lead in Saint Louis

Ponomariov, Robson Still Lead in Saint Louis

Ray RobsonIn both games, white played e4; in both games white refused to trade queens to remove black’s castling privilege; and both games ended in a draw.

“I had a pleasant position—two bishops,” said Grandmaster Ruslan Ponomariov about his game against GM Hikaru Nakamura Wednesday at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. “This game requires a lot of analysis. Somehow Hikaru found a way.”

In the other game, resident GM Ben Finegold played the Philidor defense and drew by repetition on move 29 against young GM Ray Robson. Finegold said his 17. Qg4 and 18. Qg6 was home preparation.

Nakamura said he tried to surprise his opponent with an offbeat variation in response to the Ukrainian’s Berlin defense against the Ruy Lopez.

“I decided to try the idea of Nd2, Nb3,” Nakamura said in post-game commentary with International Master John Donaldson and Woman Grandmaster Jen Shahade. “I completely underestimated all the counterplay he gets. It was all very unpleasant to say the least.”

Nakamura said his 24th move, Qh3, was ugly, “but the only way to hold the game.” Ponomariov traded queens, giving his opponent doubled h pawns.

“The computer says black is better, but it’s hard for us humans to play these positions,” Nakamura said. “When you’re playing someone strong like Ruslan is, you can’t make dubious moves in the opening like I did.”

Ponomariov, a former world champion, leads the 10-game match 1.5 to .5.

Finegold said he may have played Philidor’s defense “maybe 20 years ago” and saw Robson had played against it only two times.

“He’s pretty good at openings,” Finegold said.

Finegold played the modern order of moves with 1.d6. On move four, Robson could have brought about a trade of queens, forcing Finegold to recapture with the king on d8, losing the right to castle.

“I thought about it a little,” Robson said after the game, “but I’ve not looked at that line; Black seems to do OK. Some recommend it for white. I haven’t looked at it.”

Finegold said the opening “looked like an open Sicilian where both players played weird.”

Robson said that at the end of the game he wanted to place his bishop on d3, but Finegold’s knight on c5 prevented it.

After Finegold originally placed his knight on the c5 post on move 12, he said Robson had to play 13. NxNf6.

Robson leads the match 1.5 to .5.

To follow the games live, visit saintlouischessclub.org/nakamura-v-ponomariov-robson-v-finegold/live.

Live commentary by IM John Donaldson and WGM Jennifer Shahade can be found at livestream.com/uschess. Rounds and commentary are open to club members, and memberships start at just $5/month for students or $12/month for adults.

And again, videos with analysis and interviews are here:


ELO2000.com Chess Tournament No.2 – Final Report

ELO2000.com Chess Tournament No.2 – Final Report

Chess setThe second ELO2000.com chess tournament, which was organized via My Chess application on Facebook, has been finished. There were 10 players in this tournament and I hope that all of us enjoyed it. Would you like to know the results? As I won the tournament, I am happy to share the results with you, guys ;)

The final standing of ELO2000.com tournament #2:
1. Petr Slavik (Czech Republic) – 7.5 points
2. Rusiri Wickramasinghe – 6.5
3. Deniz Cimen – 6
4. Humberto Anton – 5, SB 21.5
5. Rip Nazir Fleetani Rodriguez (Spain) – 5, SB 17.0
6. Rob Rutten (Belgium) – 5, SB 16.0
7. Datuna Pertaia – 4.5
8. Keneve Houston (Spain) – 3.5
9. Oleg Rozhkov (Russia) – 2
10. Marko Zummer Murr-Ghost (Slovakia) – 0

I am going to show you my only lost game. I think I had great knights on d6 and some positional advantage, but I was not able to transfer it into anything concrete.

Other two ELO2000.com tournaments are running at the moment. I will post reports from them soon!


We Organize a Chess Tournament in Our City

We Organize a Chess Tournament in Our City

Chess piecesI live in a small city which has about 6,000 citizens. The city has a chess playgroup, where a coach teaches about 5 children how to play chess. Sometimes they play a tournament in this group and that’s all when we can speak about chess activities in our city. My friend and me decided to change it a bit.

Our idea is to find whether there are other adult chess players in our neighbourhood and if there will be enough of them then we could create local chess team.

So we spoke to the coach and together with a director of the city children’s house a chess tournament will be organized next Saturday.

We do not expect to mach players, even the number of attendees is limited up to 12 (because of available chess material and chess clocks), but we are looking forward to this event. The tournament is not official and we do not expect any strong players with titles. But on the other side, I hope that some occasional chess players will find a way to the tournament hall and join us to have some fun over the chessboards.

I will post here a short report from this tournament next weekend.

BTW: If you live in similarly small city – do you have a regular chess tournament there? Or do you know how many chess players do you have among your neighbours?

Photo by slayerphoto.


Nakamura vs. Ponomariov, Finegold vs. Robson Matches in Saint Louis

Nakamura vs. Ponomariov, Finegold vs. Robson Matches in Saint Louis

Chess club Saint LouisFor the first time ever, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis will host an international chess match featuring the top players in the world. Be there to witness a living legend and one in the making.

The CCSCSL will host a 10-game match (six classical, four rapid) between St. Louis Grandmaster (GM) Hikaru Nakamura, ranked No. 8 in the world, and GM Ruslan Ponomariov, ranked No. 11 in the world, May 16-25. Nakamura moved up to No. 7 on the live list after GM Veselin Topalov’s rating tumbled following his Candidates Match loss to GM Gata Kamsky.

The second match will be played between GM Ray Robson and GM Ben Finegold. Unfortunately, GM Viktor Korchnoi, who was originally scheduled to take on GM Ben Finegold in a 10-game match, has been forced to withdraw due to health concerns. Organizers said the ailment was not serious in nature, but that it impaired Korchnoi’s ability to travel internationally.

The players will take part in a live, virtual press conference at 10 a.m. CDT on May 16. Journalists and fans from all over the world can log onto livestream.com/uschess to submit questions to the players and watch their answers streamed live online.

Robson, 16, became the youngest grandmaster in U.S. history in 2009 when he was just 14. He had a solid performance at this year’s U.S. Championship finishing third in his round-robin field of eight, just a half point shy of qualifying for the finals.

Round one of the 10-game matches will take place at 1 p.m. CDT on May 17. Commentary for the live games will be provided by IM John Donaldson and WGM Jennifer Shahade. Spectators can watch the action live at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, located in the heart of the Central West End, or see all the action online at saintlouischessclub.org/live.

Visit saintlouischessclub.org for more details.

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