Nepomniachtchi Wins Japhet Memorial Ahead Of Svidler, Ivanchuk –

Ian Nepomniachtchi won the 4th Gideon Japhet memorial in Jerusalem, Israel. In this strong rapid tournament, the Russian GM finished a point ahead of Peter Svidler and Vassily Ivanchuk.

The tournament was held in memory of Jerusalem’s Gideon Japhet (1928-2013), who was a lawyer and an avid enthusiast of chess and sports. It was organized by Jeruchess (Jerusalem’s chess club) in collaboration with the ACP (Association of Chess Professionals) and with the generous support and sponsorship of the Japhet family.

The event took place July 1-6 in the Lerner Sport Centre of the Hebrew University, and consisted of both a six-player rapid double round robin (the ‘crown group’) and a number of classical open tournaments. The strongest section was won by GM Arkadij Naiditsch.

This report focuses on the crown group, in which GMs Peter Svidler (Russia, 2781), Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia, 2770), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 2682), Boris Gelfand (Israel, 2678), Georg Meier (Germany, 2662) and Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine, 2597) played.

The tournament was hard fought, and in the end a plus two score (6/10) was enough for clear first place. Nepomniachtchi won three games, drew six and lost one.

After eight rounds, Meier and Nepomniachtchi were tied for first place with 4.5/8. Then came the decisive game, which was well played by Meier until his mistake on move 28.

A Facebook live video of this specific round.

Top seed (on rapid ratings) Svidler only scored 50 percent. He beat Meier and Nepomniachtchi in one game each, but lost both his encounters with Gelfand.

Gelfand wife son Israel

Gelfand with wife and son, who holds up a sign which says “Papa—our champion.” | Photo: Ritvo Photography.

Svidler’s win against Nepomniachtchi was a good game, though. There was quite a bit of theory involved in this 3.Bb5 Sicilian, where White was better out of the opening. Svidler, who had played the same position as Black in round one, found an improvement which a good way to profit from White’s lead in development.

Svidler facing the Temple Mount

Svidler facing the Temple Mount, with the Dome of the Rock in the background. On the day prior to the opening of the Gideon Japhet Cup, the top guest players were treated to a guided walking tour of the Old City, from Zion Gate to the Western Wall including the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. | Photo: Ritvo Photography.

Muzychuk is the world number one female player in rapid chess. In Jerusalem she managed to draw all games with the four strongest opponents, but lost both to Meier. Especially her black game with Nepomniachtchi was interesting.

Anna Muzychuk Jerusalem

Anna Muzychuk. | Photo: Ritvo Photography.

4th Gideon Japhet Memorial | Crown Group, Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Nepomniachtchi,Ian 2770 2751 ½0 ½1 ½½ 6.0/10
2 Svidler,Peter 2781 2673 ½1 ½½ 00 ½½ 5.0/10 25.5
3 Ivanchuk,Vassily 2682 2697 ½0 ½½ 11 ½½ 5.0/10 24.5
4 Gelfand,Boris 2678 2698 11 00 ½½ 5.0/10 24.5
5 Meier,Georg 2662 2701 11 5.0/10 23.5
6 Muzychuk,Anna 2597 2644 ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 00 4.0/10

Games via TWIC.

An interview with Svidler, by Emil Sutovsky.

An interview with Meier, by Emil Sutovsky.

One game from the open tournament deserves mention here. In the game between Tamir Nabaty and Ori Kobo a rare, but famous endgame appeared on the board: two knights vs pawn. It is well known that two knights cannot checkmate a king due to stalemate issues, but if the opponent has a single pawn, there are situations where White can win.

The endgame was studied by e.g. Troitzky and discussed, for instance, by the late Dutch grandmaster J.H. Donner in “Schaakbulletin” of February 1981 (an article which was included in the brilliant collection “The King.”)

Basically, the less advanced the opponent’s pawn is, the higher the winning chances obviously because white will have more tempi. Nabaty was lucky enough to have the opponent’s pawn on its starting square, when the process is relatively simple:

Gideon Japhet prize giving

Everyone at the prize giving in one photo. | Photo: Ritvo Photography.

Japhet Memorial gifts

The six crown group participants with a special gift. | Photo: Ritvo Photography.

CHESS#1309 – Business Standard

Business Standard

Business Standard
There will soon be major changes in chess politics. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who has served as President of Fide from 1995 onwards, did not file nomination for re-election. There will be three panels at the Batumi elections (Georgia) during the Olympiad

Joliet Catholic school offers chess club – The Herald-News

Omar Torreblanca and Makayla Martinez made the semifinals of the Saint Mary Nativity Chess Club tournament for 2018. Omar won the championship. The club is 10 years old and is open to grades first to eighth.
Omar Torreblanca and Makayla Martinez made the semifinals of the Saint Mary Nativity Chess Club tournament for 2018. Omar won the championship. The club is 10 years old and is open to grades first to eighth.

Omar Torreblanca and Makayla Martinez made the semifinals of the Saint Mary Nativity Chess Club tournament for 2018. Omar won the championship. The club is 10 years old and is open to grades first to eighth.

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Make Caruana Great Again, And Other News –

This month’s edition of In Other News spans the globe. We have several stories about American chess, including how you can help GM Fabiano Caruana visit the White House, and how GM Hikaru Nakamura rose from the grave.

You will also read about why English women are miffed, the newest Indian chess sensation, and other stories we missed from the last few weeks.

Caruana Bound For Washington, D.C.?

The White House has a longstanding policy to listen to its people, that is, if you and 99,999 others all request the same thing. The right to petition the government is one of the five freedoms enunciated in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and now you can help world championship challenger GM Fabiano Caruana take advantage of that clause.

World Chess (Agon) began the petition (neither this author nor takes a stance on it).

Fabiano Caruana

The Presidential Medal of Freedom? No, the Candidates’ winner’s medal. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

If you agree, just sign the petition (the terms do not seem to require American citizenship) and if the 100,000 signatures threshold is reached, the government promises to issue a response. It does not guarantee that President Donald Trump will actually meet with Caruana, but maybe he will at least send a letter to his countryman, the same that President Nixon did to Bobby Fischer.

The Complete 2016 World Championship

If looking forward to November’s big title bout is making you antsy, why not reflect back on the last world championship? It’s not the first book to be written about GM Magnus Carlsen’s defeat of GM Sergey Karjakin, but it does promise to tell the story “behind the scenes.” (Those seeking the most analytical account of the games can hardly do better than GM Vladimir Kramnik’s analysis in this previously-released work.)


“The Grandmaster: Magnus Carlsen and the Match That Made Chess Great Again” is the grandiose title from well-known boxing writer Brin-Jonathan Butler, who was on site for the match. Butler casts the encounter in similar light to the Fischer-Spassky epic, with Karjakin’s complicated Crimean past and Russo-Western relations analyzed in detail. The book drops a couple of days before Carlsen-Caruana in November in London.

Women Not Interviewed For Top ECF Post

The English Chess Federation is under fire. After complaints caused them to re-institute the abandoned post of women’s chess director, this article claims that several eligible female candidates were not even considered for the position. Both women are chess players themselves.

IM Jovanka Houska, the country’s top female player, is quoted as saying: “That is very strange because it is very important to have female presence on the board.” She then added more thoughts on Facebook about the support her country shows its top females.

Jovanka Houska

IM Jovanka Houska, England’s top female player. | Photo: Mike Klein/

Speaking to, she added: “I am not against having a male director of women’s chess. Although I think it might be better to have a female in that role. Nor was my Facebook post about the ECF. Ideally I want it enshrined that until participation rates of women increase, the ECF (and other federations) will continue with a clear policy of encouraging women at all levels to play. Women shouldn’t have to spend time fighting their federations. It should be unthinkable to utter the words ‘We might not be able to send a women’s team.’”

Reports Of Nakamura’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

He’s not the first celebrity to have his life summarily truncated online. GM Hikaru Nakamura’s chessic rebirth came by winning in Paris, but how did he celebrate his actual rebirth? After posting this “proof of life” on Twitter, he then wrote a Facebook update about eating poutine in Vancouver. A lover of sushi, it’s unlike Nakamura would choose cheese curds as a “last meal.”


And just for completeness, it appears Abe Vigoda is still dead.

U.S. Olympiad Teams Announced

Before the masses complain about the heavy American-ness of this In Other News edition, keep in mind they are the gold-medal defending team. And to that end, they didn’t feel the need to mess with success.


The U.S. quintet is back, although this time they gain a 2700. | Photo: Mike Klein/

All five returning members of the 2016 first-place squad are back. Some differences: Caruana is now a world-championship challenger, GM Sam Shankland is a U.S. champion and member of the 2700 club, and GM Ray Robson is now a college graduate. As previously discussed, Nakamura is still alive, and GM Wesley So leads the Grand Chess Tour.

No Shortage Of Hyperbole For Praggnanandhaa

ESPN India didn’t take long to feature the world’s newest grandmaster, or to dub him his country’s newest chess hero.

Although he narrowly missed the all-time record for youngest grandmaster, the feature profiles the team around him. It also offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at R Praggnanandhaa’s runup to the title (the “R” already seems superfluous as the chess community seems willing to have him go the way of Madonna or Pele and only use one name, or just half a name — “Prag”).


A “Prag” Spring opened up the GM title for this 12-year-old boy. | Photo: Mike Klein/

Among other things we learn: He can’t count how many countries he’s been to, he only goes to school a few months out of the year, he seems to have more a friendship than a rivalry with countryman IM Nihal Sarin, and, no surprise, he wants to be world champion. So do 1.3 billion other people.

A Multimedia Chess Tour

We close with a rapid-fire trio of media for you to digest:


Raunak, Divya dominate international chess meets in Dubai, Delhi – Times of India

NAGPUR: It turned out to be a great day for Maharashtra’s youngest International Masters-Raunak Sadhwani and Divya Deshmukh. Both the 12-year-old chess prodigies brought home a yellow metal each from the international rating tournaments, which concluded at Dubai and New Delhi respectively in the U-14 and U-16 categories on Tuesday.

While country’s latest International Master (IM) Raunak won the gold medal in the 15th Dubai Juniors Chess Tournament, Maharashtra’s youngest Women International Master (WIM) Divya dominated U-16 girls’ group of the Commonwealth Chess Championship, which concluded at New Delhi. Divya participated in both the Open and U-16 categories and earned respect of her experienced opponents before emerging victorious in the age group. With this triumph, Divya scored a hat-trick of gold medals in the Commonwealth event. She achieved the same in 2015 and 2017.

With the latest Fide title in his pocket, Raunak was invited as a top seed in the Dubai Juniors meet. The 2409-rated city master maintained his billing and remained unbeaten in the nine-round meet to bring home the glittering trophy and a prize money of $2000. For his desired finish, Raunak prevailed over eight players and drew a game to collect 8.5 points in the field of 140 masters from 18 countries. Giving a performance rating of 2056, Raunak also earned 6.9 Elo points.

Raunak started with fluent wins over Aamer Saeed Alyileili and Ahmed Alawlaqi of UAE in the initial two rounds of the meet. He utilized his opening advantage with the white pieces well to get past Anoop Hadimani in the third round, while defeated 12th seeded Assanov Arlan of Kazakhstan in the following round.


In an exciting fifth-round battle against fourth seeded Hakobyan Eduard of Armenia, Raunak’s English opening game came handy to garner full point. The 12-year-old played a hard fought draw against second seed Fide Master (FM) Ahmadzada Ahmad of Azerbaijan in the next round.

The marathon 62-move draw in the sixth round, however, pushed Raunak to the second table. Fighting his way to the top again, Raunak outclassed Iraq’s Ismail Khalel Tariq in the seventh round. He then utilized his Sicilian defence well against third ranked Babazada Khazar of Azerbaijan in the penultimate round. A win away from the title, Raunak took no chances and posted a quick 35-move win over Thailand’s Alriyami Faris Rashid in the final round to get the desired finish.

“Winning a championship as a top seed is a great feeling. I am happy with my performance. This triumph will definitely boost my confidence. I am thankful to my coach GM Swapnil Dhopade sir who has always taken lot of efforts to improve my game,” he said while speaking to TOI before flying back home from Dubai.

“Now it’s time to achieve greater things and I am getting ready towards my ultimate goal of becoming Grandmaster,” he added.

Raunak’s coach and Vidarbha’s first GM Swapnil Dhopade said, “Raunak is in great form, very happy for him. The Dubai Juniors triumph was bit different for him because here he was the top seed. He handled the pressure well. I am thrilled to see that he came up with flying colours.”

Two-time World Cadet chess champion Divya started as a top seed in the U-16 girls’ group and played some attacking moves to emerge on top. She won her first Commonwealth gold in the U-10 group in 2015, while repeating the act in the U-12 section last year.

For her maiden gold medal in the U-16 international tournament, Divya won five rounds and split the points twice to collect six points from the seven-round meet. After starting the event with a draw against Vrushti Shah of Gujarat, Divya won three rounds on the trot against M Tejasvi, Trisha Srivastav, Priyanka Routray and WFM Lakshmi C to again jump to the top.

She played out a sixth-round draw against third seed Meenal Gupta of Jammu & Kashmir before posting a fluent win over Sanskriti Goyal in the final round for the triumph.

At Delhi, Divya played in two simultaneous tournaments. In the morning session, Divya participated in the U-16 category, while played in the Open group of the Commonwealth meet in the evening session. In the field of 165 players from 12 countries including 15 Grandmasters and 22 IMs of the Open category, Divya finished at a creditable 61st position. She finished the nine-round meet at five points after winning four rounds, suffering three defeats and splitting the points twice.

“I am happy with this gold medal but wish to improve various aspects of my game. I need to learn many new moves on the board,” said Divya.

She suffered a last round defeat against experienced GM Praveen Thipsay, who in 1997 became country’s third GM after V Anand and Dibyendu Barua. Despite the defeat, Divya went straight to Thipsay seeking his guidance.

Take on chess at a young age – Randburg Sun

Ezra d’Alton finished second in the U8 category.

Youth Day saw little brains buzzing when the littlies got together for a chess tournament.

In celebration of the important day on 16 June, young chess enthusiasts gathered at House of Chess on Malibongwe Drive for a rated chess tournament. The tournament was for U10 players only and aimed to introduce players to tournament play.

Kajol Naidoo finished in second position in the U10 tournament.

Chessnuts Chess Club president and organiser, Estelle Oberholzer explained that playing in a chess tournament should be fun and challenging. “But many players who are new to tournament play feel overwhelmed by the rules and format.

“Tournaments like these help players see what tournament play is all about, and develop the sport amongst the youth in our country.”


Sienne Scullard finished in third position in the U10 category.

Fifty-eight players played five rounds of chess on the day. The U8 winners were Dawid Bezuidenhout in first place, Ezra d’Alton in second place, and in third place was Ariel Meij. In the U10 category, Caleb Levitan and Judah Levitan finished in joint first position, Kajol Naidoo was in second place and in third place was Sienne Scullard.

The best female players were Anneke Steyn, Kupa Chinoruma and Linda van der Walt, and best new players were Michael Comara and Malilika Bhan.

Various studies have shown that chess improves reading and mathematical ability amongst learners, and helps develop life skills, making it a fitting endeavour for a Youth Day celebration.

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