It’s an all-Russian battle in the Speed Chess Championship this week as two of the world’s best grandmasters face off. Ian Nepomniachtchi is the higher seed, but he could be the underdog against his countryman Alexander Grischuk.
Chess fans can expect one of the closest matches in the entire Speed Chess tournament, as the margin of victory should be razor-thin.
Watch the match live today, Tuesday, August 7 at 9 a.m. Pacific (12 p.m. Eastern, 4 p.m. UTC, 6 p.m. CEST)
The following viewing options will be available:
Twitch.tv/chess: the official broadcast with IM Daniel Rensch and GM Robert Hess—watch here to see the Twitch chat.
Chess.com/TV: watch here to see the Chess.com chat.
The match is the fifth of 15 action-packed events in the main Speed Chess Championship bracket.
The match format:
90 minutes of 5/1 blitz.
60 minutes of 3/1 blitz.
30 minutes of 1/1 bullet.
3-minute breaks between segments.
Higher seed starts with White, and colors alternate thereafter.
Highest cumulative point total wins. If points are tied after the bullet segment, a four-game 1/1 tiebreaker match will be played.
If the match is still tied after the additional four 1/1 games, a single armageddon game will be played: White 5+0, Black 3+0, Black gets draw odds. The player with the highest Chess.com blitz rating at the start of the Armageddon chooses his color.
Full match rules are available here.
The match prizes:
Winner: $1,000 and advances to round two of the SCC.
An additional $1,000 split by win percentage.
Additional prize funds donated by the Twitch community during the live show will be split evenly between the two players.
Who’s the favorite to win?
The Chess.com SmarterChess predictions show that Grischuk is a 63 percent favorite to win the match, but the margin expected is a paltry two games. Translation? Anything can happen. The SmarterChess statistical model bases its predictions on prior performance by the players in selected Chess.com events.
Be sure to read FM Mike Klein’s interviews of the two players to preview the match.
Next up for the Speed Chess Championship is Andriasyan vs Vidit Gujrathi: Thursday, August 30, 9 a.m. PDT.
You can find all the information on the 2018 Speed Chess Championship here, including rules, format, players, and complete schedule.
Let us know your match predictions in the comments or on Facebook.
England cricketer Ben Stokes mocked two gay men and flicked a cigarette butt at one of them before brawling with two other men, a court has heard.
The Durham all-rounder, who will miss the second Test against India at Lord’s, denies affray.
Bristol Crown Court heard Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 27, were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes in Bristol on 25 September 2017.
They also deny affray and are on trial alongside Mr Stokes.
The fight outside a nightclub was “a sustained episode of significant violence” in which Mr Stokes “lost control”, jurors were told.
Broken eye socket
Nicholas Corsellis, prosecuting, said Mr Stokes, 27, had “knocked Mr Hale unconscious and then – after time to pause for thought, to calm – he did exactly the same to Mr Ali”.
The prosecutor described Mr Stokes’s actions as “well beyond acting in self-defence or defence of another”.
The cricketer has maintained that “at all times he acted in self-defence of himself or others” and believed the force he used was “reasonable and entirely justified”.
An altercation took place in the Clifton Triangle area of the city just after 02:00 BST after the three defendants had left a nightclub, Mr Corsellis said.
The court heard Mr Ali had sustained “significant injuries”, including a broken eye socket.
Mr Corsellis told the jury a bottle was used at the beginning by Mr Ali, and a broken street sign brought into the fray towards the end by Mr Hale.
The defendants had been drinking in Mbargo nightclub, with the fight taking place after it closed, jurors heard.
Mr Stokes and his teammate Alex Hales had left the nightclub at 00:46 but returned at 02:08.
Bouncer Andrew Cunningham explained to the pair the club was closed and they would not be allowed in.
However, an “obviously upset” Mr Stokes became “aggressive” and insulted Mr Cunningham about his appearance, jurors heard.
Mr Cunningham said Mr Stokes’s attention then turned to two “openly gay” men – Kai Barry and William O’Connor – outside the venue.
He claimed the cricketer had mimicked their voices and mannerisms in what he described as “a derogatory way”.
Mr Corsellis said footage showed Mr Stokes “copying hand gestures made by the men”, while the bouncer claimed the cricketer had flicked a cigarette butt at Mr O’Connor.
“Mr Stokes’s behaviour outside the nightclub sets an important tone for what happened that night,” the prosecutor said.
“He was clearly frustrated and annoyed. He took to acting in a provocative and offensive way.”
Only the defendants know precisely how the fight started, Mr Corsellis told the court, which was shown further footage of the incident.
A video showed Mr Ali hitting Mr Barry on the shoulder with a bottle.
Mr Stokes threw at punch at Mr Ali, and the pair fell to the ground, the jury were told.
Then Mr Hale tried to drag Mr Stokes off Mr Ali, the court heard. Mr Hale told police he had been “smashed to the floor”.
Mr Corsellis alleged Mr Stokes did not act in self-defence but had pursued the other men in “retaliation”.
“Everybody except him wants it to stop,” he told the jury.
He said that in the footage Mr Stokes’ England teammate Mr Hales could be heard to say: “Stokes, Stokes, that’s enough.”
Mr Ali said “move away, move away” and Mr Hale said “stop, stop”, Mr Corsellis told the court.
An eyewitness, Laura Sweeney, said she saw Mr Hale pull a metal leg from a road sign and run towards the other men.
After he was arrested Mr Stokes was interviewed by police, and in a prepared statement said he saw two men speaking to two gay men in a “harsh and abusive” way.
The statement said he “took exception to this and said ‘leave it out'”.
Chip on shoulder
Mr Hale then “grabbed and pulled” him, and Mr Stokes “felt the need to defend himself as he thought he was going to be attacked” and hit him “more than once”, jurors were told.
In a second statement Mr Stokes denied being “aggressive” towards Mr Cunningham, accusing him of being “rude” and suggested he had a “chip on his shoulder”.
“He denied mimicking or behaving in a derogatory manner towards Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor, saying that they had engaged in joking with each other and denied flicking a cigarette butt at anyone,” the court heard.
Mr Stokes, of Castle Eden, Durham, was arrested in the early hours along with Mr Ali, of Bristol, and Mr Hale, of Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.
The fight took place several hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies at the city’s County Ground.
Laffeyette Smith’s tattooed hands reached across a chess board as he moved his king while his opponent, Jamar Holmes, groaned as he realized he had made a mistake.
A slight grin crept onto Smith’s face as Holmes cried, “I’ve got to take a walk,” and stepped away from the chess table with his arms folded over his head. Holmes had thought he was on the verge of his first victory against Smith, but his mistake had led to a stalemate.
Within seconds, Holmes was back with his arm extended for a handshake, and the two started playing again.
“I had him early and nearly lost,” Smith said. “I need to slow down.”
It’s a piece of advice Smith had for the chess game. And for life.
The two men belong to Make A Chess Move, a non-profit club based in Northeast Denver that teaches young people how to play chess and how to apply the strategy in the game to decision-making in life.
“That’s our motto — make your next move your best move,” Phillip Douglas, Make A Chess Move’s founder and executive director, said.
On July 22, Make A Chess Move was dealt a hard life lesson because Douglas himself did not make the best decision.
That day the organization held its annual luncheon with a lofty goal of raising $5,000 to kick off activities for the 2018-2019 school year. It was the first big fundraiser after gaining federal tax-exempt status in April.
Douglas had placed the donation envelopes with money in his car after cleaning up the site of the luncheon. Then he went to spend the night with his children. When he woke the next morning, the car had been broken into and the donations — along with two chessboards — were missing.
“I was happy they took the chessboards, but damn…the money,” Douglas said.
He filed a report with the Aurora Police Department. No one who gave Make A Chess Move their credit card information has reported identify theft, said Ken Forrest, a police spokesman. Police are investigating but have no suspects.
Because Douglas hadn’t opened the envelopes, he has no idea how much money had been donated.
Sonya Ulibarri, a board member, said they had to try to recoup the losses.
“What lesson would we be teaching the kids if we didn’t try to get it back,” she said.
Douglas said he was angry at himself for leaving the money in the car. But the board of directors told him they would do their best to raise more money and make up for the loss.
“We can’t let what put us down keep us down,” Douglas said, “We’ve got to bounce back. Everything is a lesson.”
Douglas has spent the better part of his life bouncing back from mistakes.
Born and raised in the Five Points neighborhood, Douglas grew up in a Crips gang family. He learned to play chess from an older brother, and when his older brother was sent to jail, Douglas began practicing with the goal of one day beating his big brother when he was released.
But Douglas also got caught up in the criminal lifestyle.
In 2007, he and some family members were indicted in a federal drug trafficking case. Douglas refused to cooperate and was sent to federal prison. When he got home in 2010, he decided to do more with his life. He started working for various programs dedicated to changing young people’s lives.
Then in 2012, another life-changing event happened.
Douglas’s mentee, De’Quan Walker Smith, also a Crips gang member, was gunned down in the streets. De’Quan Smith was brilliant and a history buff with an incredible recall for dates and events.
“He was also out in the streets and not making the best moves out there,” Douglas said.
In honor of his friend, Douglas founded Make A Chess Move to draw parallels between the game and life and to try to draw young people toward a new way of thinking.
Today, four of De’Quan Smith’s cousins, including Lafeyette Smith, are in the club.
Lafeyette Smith, who has his late cousin’s nickname tattooed on his hands along with his birth and death dates, said an older cousin introduced him to the club when he was a freshman at Manual High School. But he didn’t get too involved and by the next year he was serving time in a juvenile detention facility.
When Smith got out of detention, he tried chess again. But he got more serious after getting shot twice while attending a concert.
“My cousin said, ‘You’re running out of options. You better join,’” Smith said. “I ended up liking it.”
In the coming weeks, Smith will begin his sophomore year at Miles College in Birmingham, Ala. He’s the first member of the Smith family to go to college, and he credits chess for helping get him there.
“It helped me break down the mental process of how I make my steps,” Smith said. “If I move pieces on one end of the board, it could affect something on the other side that’s right in front of me.”
On Wednesday night, Smith was one of 12 people — ages 11 to 24 — playing in an open tournament for the chance to win $50 in a community room at the Mental Health Center of Denver. Outside, soul music played on a loud speaker, a woman fussed to another about something going on in her life and the scent of garlic wafted from a cooking class next door. Inside, the room was quiet except for the clicks of pieces being moved across the boards.
Elijah Beauford, 19, won his first game and was waiting for the second round. Money is the reason he started playing.
He noticed Douglas playing other students in the Manual High School cafeteria with a $100 bill lying on the table. Anyone who could beat Douglas would get the money.
Beauford said he still hasn’t beaten Douglas but he’s getting better. And now he works as a facilitator for Make A Chess Move, spreading the love of the game and the life lessons.
“It’s a metaphor,” Beauford said. “In society, you have to be one step ahead of everybody else or you’re going to get left behind. Once you master it and you know how to control yourself, the game gets easier. Like in life.”
How to help: Make A Chess Move started a GoFundMe campaign to make up for the theft and reach its goal of raising $5,000 before the start of the 2018-2019 school year.
Homer locals hoping to expand chess program statewide Midland Reporter-Telegram HOMER, Alaska (AP) — Picture this: two people playing chess. Did your mind automatically conjure an image of two elderly men, possibly in tweed or cardigans, hunched over a chessboard in a local park? If it did, you wouldn’t be alone. Here in Homer …
Inspired by the Grand Chess Tour, the FIDEC (Ivory Coast Chess Federation) teamed up with the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) to bring out the best of African chess. These efforts culminated in the Cote d’Ivoire Rapid (25+10d) & Blitz (5+3d) Invitational that took place July 25–29. The field included 10 players from 10 different African nations, each of them being the top-rated player from their respective countries. The field was as follows:
GM Amin, Bassem Egypt 2680
GM Haddouche, Mohamed Algeria 2495
IM El Adnani, Mokliss Morocco 2450
IM Rakotomaharo, Fy Antenaina Madagascar 2421
GM Solomon, Kenny South Africa 2418
IM Ssegwanyi, Arthur Uganda 2389
GM Belkhodja, Slim Tunisia 2386
IM Kayonde, Andrew Zambia 2385
IM Silva, David Angola 2319
IM Adu, Oladapo Nigeria 2270
With a total prize pool of $15,000, the event also brought the largest purse for a rapid/blitz event in the history of Africa. But of arguably greater consequence is that it provided the ideal stage for some lesser-known players to showcase their skill and prove what many already suspect: that African players are alarmingly underrated.
This was also a historic moment for African chess, because the St. Louis Chess Club provided live commentary. This was my first time doing commentary, and it was thrilling to play over games where I had to articulate what went through my mind on the spot.
First, as it pertains to live commentary, I would not be surprised if this quicker-time-control format overtook classical chess in the future. Blitz chess, in particular, allows for a much more engaging experience with the viewer. When I first learned that I would be the commentator, I quickly turned to one of the most entertaining chess events I ever saw: the 1988 World Blitz Championship in Saint John, New Brunswick. Not only was the event top level, but so was the production value and the commentary. The fact that I still hold it in such high esteem and have watched the whole thing several times speaks volumes. I would not go so far as to say that blitz will rule the chess world (as Vladislav Tkachiev proposed in a very interesting interview), but it could definitely be carved out and perfected as a niche.
Secondly, I am impressed by the raw talent and uncompromising style of the participants — which I assume is a microcosm for the continent, as it was a truly representative event. I am optimistic about the future of African chess and hope the players, especially the youngest ones, get the needed support and opportunities to work and perfect their craft. At the end of the tournament, it was grandmaster Amin Bassem who came out on top of both the rapid and blitz portions. As African chess continues to grow and prosper, I am optimistic that we will see more top-level events like this one.
Even though the Cote d’Ivoire Rapid & Blitz has come to an end, the St. Louis Chess Club will start up another round of commentary for the last two stops on the Grand Chess Tour: the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz, and the Sinquefield Cup. Don’t miss all the action live, starting Aug. 10 on grandchesstour.org.
Robert Hungaski is a grandmaster from New York City. He has won several medals at the Pan-American Junior Chess Championships and served as the coach for the U.S. team at the World Youth Championships in 2013 and 2014. Hungaski has been Grandmaster in Residence at the Saint Louis Chess Club once before and recently joined the broadcast team for the Cote d’Ivoire Rapid & Blitz.
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The Tunisian Chess Federation issued a letter Tuesday stating players from all countries are invited, “without exception,” to an international chess championship it will host next year. The letter came in light of mounting pressure to allow a seven-year-old Israeli chess champion to attend the 2019 World School Championship chess tournament in Sousse, Tunisia, despite Tunisia’s current policy of not allowing entry to Israelis.
The federation had responded to an inquiry by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), which threatened to revoke Tunisia’s hosting privileges if the country did not issue visas to Haifa native Liel Levitan and other Israelis ahead of the event.
FIDE was approached by the Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs earlier this month, seeking clarification on whether Levitan would be allowed entry to participate in the tournament.
StandWithUs started an online petition that prompted hundreds of letters from people across the world asking the country to reverse its policy. Tunisia and Israel do not have diplomatic relations, and Israelis are required to have pre-arranged visas before entry.
The letter added that “as a sports federation, we will be very proud and honored to receive participants from all over the world and we will ensure hospitality to all.”
While Levitan was referred to only as the “Israeli child,” or the “Israeli participant,” the Tunisian Chess Federation said it had not yet received notice of participation or preregistration from Levitan, as of Tuesday. Still, the organization emphasized that preregistration was open to all participants.
StandWithUs Public Affairs Director Gilad Kabilo said the organization is in touch with Levitan’s family, which is currently on vacation, and that she still has adequate time to register for the tournament.
Kabilo said this is the first example of civil action he can recall that has led to this type of response.
“You don’t get a lot of examples of that in the real world, unfortunately,” he said.
The statement from the chess federation did not specifically indicate whether Levitan or any other Israeli would be granted a visa.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev released a letter Tuesday to FIDE deputy president Makropoulos Georgios urging him to stop any planned boycott of Levitan.
“I believe that sports should bring people of different nationalities together,” Regev said. “Therefore, I ask you, our dear friend, to follow [International Judo Federation] president Mr. Marius Vizer’s justified and brave decision to cancel the Grand Prix and Grand Slam in Tunisia and Abu Dhabi – Arab states that do not abide by the customary Sports Charter. Mr. Vizer’s decision should set an example to all international sports organizations. Israeli sports competitors should not be banned. They should be given equal opportunity.”
Kabilo said the federation’s statement is unprecedented progress for Arab countries to welcome Israeli athletes to competitions.
“We’ve been looking at the issue of boycotting Israeli athletes for a long time,” Kabilo said. “Honestly, I don’t know of an instance where online civil action led to a world sports body to pressure an Arab country to let Israelis play and get a written commitment to that effect.”