Tunisia could lose chance to host World Chess meet after banning Israelis – The Jerusalem Post

JUNIOR CHESS champion Liel Levitan wins the gold medal.

JUNIOR CHESS champion Liel Levitan wins the gold medal. .
(photo credit: Courtesy)


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Tunisia, the country currently scheduled to host the World Chess tournament, could have its hosting privilege revoked if it refuses a visa to a seven-year-old Israeli girl.

The country, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel, does not permit Israelis to enter its borders, and refuses to make an exception for Liel Levitan, the European School Individuals Chess champion in her age group, for the upcoming World Chess Federation (FIDE) tournament.

The restriction would force Levitan, and other Israelis who qualify, to forfeit their spots in the tournament. A similar situation in last year’s tournament, also held in Tunisia, disqualified Israelis from participating in the competition, simply because they could not enter the country.

In an email last week, FIDE secretary Polina Tsedenova said the organization is taking necessary measures to put pressure on the Tunisia to allow entry of all participants.

“We have requested an urgent explanation from the Tunisian Chess Federation,” Tsendenova wrote. “We are also sending them a separate letter requesting written confirmation that the 2019 World Schools Championship, which is scheduled to take place in Tunisia, will provide visas to all participants. Only after that the organization of the tournament will be confirmed for them.”

The email was sent in response to an inquiry by Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs.

According to the FIDE Code of Ethics, there is an assumption that every person involved in the game “attaches the greatest importance to fair play and good sportsmanship.”

In response to the ban, StandWithUs started a petition urging FIDE to let Levitan and other Israelis participate, and to abide by its rules of fairness and equality.

“This is unprecedented and represents a breakthrough in the accountability of international sports organizations regarding the mistreatment of Israeli athletes in world sporting events,” said StandWithUs spokesperson Gilad Kabilo.

Nakamura Smashes Speed Chess Records, 'Adopts' Hou Yifan – Chess.com

Expectations for Hikaru Nakamura, the top seed in the Speed Chess Championship, were high against Hou Yifan, the world’s highest-rated female player. Even so, he shattered those expectations, scoring 27.5-2.5, continually putting pressure on Hou Yifan on both the clock and the board and even securing wins from seemingly dead drawn and inferior or completely busted positions.

For her part, Hou Yifan produced continually interesting chess, rarely backing down from a fight. While the match score quickly felt non-combative, the chess never did.


The Chess.com SmarterChess Pre-match Predictions.

Nakamura Wins The Scraps: 5|1 Time Control

The first game illustrated well the sort of problems that would plague Hou Yifan throughout the match. She got a good position and was even much better, but in the endgame she made some inaccurate moves, seemingly a little too confident of the draw. As time pressure increased, decisions became more difficult and finally she cracked deep into the endgame.

While game two was a smooth victory with a nice …Nxb2! sacrifice for Nakamura, game three followed a similar narrative as game one. After Nakamura overpressed, Hou Yifan won a pawn and was pressing in the endgame before she fell victim to a classic breakthrough with 73.g5!

Hikaru Nakamura, Speed Chess Championship

Nakamura was the master of “little” tactics in this match. Constantly finding small tricks and ideas.

Then came the astonishing events of game four… Nakamura had outplayed Hou Yifan in an exciting rook endgame and had a mate in three available with 43…Rg2+! Instead, he hastily (rarely his speed doesn’t pay off…) played 43…Rg3+?? and after 44.Kh4 Rh2, Hou Yifan resigned. Seemingly mate was forced on h3. However, Hou Yifan could queen and defend h3 with 45.c8=Q! Nakamura did not realize this until about 10 seconds into the next game. His reaction was instantly viral.

Not realizing her missed opportunity, Hou Yifan continued unphased, and perhaps Hikaru’s knowledge of the blunder lead to some errors. The next two games were drawn, but in both Hou Yifan was winning or near to it.

Nakamura won the following two games in relatively clean fashion before another disaster struck Hou Yifan. In a dead-equal endgame with only one rook-pawn remaining, Hou Yifan sought the draw button but accidentally clicked on the resign button! Her reaction might best be classified as shocked and bemused.

By the rules, the unintentional resignation was fully valid, but as the only legal way for Hou Yifan to lose was manual resignation (timing out and disconnection would result in a draw as Nakamura had no material to checkmate), Nakamura generously agreed to score the game as a draw.

Score: 5|1 Time Control

Fed Player FIDE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Score
Hikaru Nakamura 2913 1 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 7.5
Hou Yifan 2607 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1.5

Nakamura “Adopts” Hou Yifan

Adoption: “An achievement in which a player scores ten consecutive wins against the same opponent.”

With a perfect 10-0 score in the 3|1 time control, Nakamura “adopted” Hou Yifan. Probably no top grandmaster has adopted so many grandmasters as Nakamura. He regularly refers to the achievement on his Twitch streams and has adopted such skilled players as grandmaster and Chessbrah Eric Hansen.

Among the ten wins, Nakamura’s prettiest finish was likely the following.

Hou Yifan certainly missed some opportunities, but none was more dramatic than this chance to weave a gorgeous mating net in the middle of an open board.

Hou Yifan, Speed Chess Championship

Opportunities like the above often came when Hou Yifan had mere seconds left.

Score: 3|1 Time Control

Fed Player FIDE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Score
Hikaru Nakamura 2913 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 10
Hou Yifan 2607 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Hou Yifan bettered her score slightly in the bullet time control, scoring two draws. Unfortunately, these came only after eight consecutive losses. Having averted the possibility of a “double adoption,” Hou Yifan conceded one more loss in the final game to end the bullet portion with an 11-1 defeat.

Your author’s favorite win by Nakamura was the following in which he sacrificed an exchange for a pair of the most beautiful steeds you will ever see.

Finally, one can never miss an opportunity to show a smothered mate.

Score: 1|1 Time Control

Fed Player FIDE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Score
Hikaru Nakamura 2913 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1 11
Hou Yifan 2607 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1

No matter the match score, fans were rooting enthusiastically for Hou Yifan who is often said to be one of the nicest grandmasters at elite super-tournaments and whose combative chess is always a joy to watch. One fan in the Spanish community even took the time to draw a portrait to show her fandom.

With this win, Nakamura has advanced to the #speedchess quarterfinals where he will play the winner of the Vachier-Lagrave vs. Dominguez match. To the surprise of many, Nakamura called Dominguez a slight favorite but said he expects the match to be close.


You can rewatch the full match with commentary from IM Danny Rensch and GM Robert Hess on twitch.tv/chess.

Watch Nakamura vs Hou Yifan – 2018 Speed Chess Championship #speedchess from Chess on www.twitch.tv

For his overwhelming victory, Nakamura earned $1,981.51 and Hou Yifan earned $148.18. 129.69 was donated by the chess community on Twitch.


Ask Israeli chess champion Liel Levi-tan about Middle East apartheid – Arutz Sheva

Liel Levi-tan comes from a family of great chess players. At the age of four, she started experimenting with this discipline. And she recently topped the European championships in Krakow, attended by several hundred elementary school students, at the age of seven.

At the end of the award ceremony, Liel declared: “I love chess. I think it’s a game for all ages, not just for adults. My dream is to become a world champion”.

From the first to the ninth of September, Liel was to take part in the chess world championship, scheduled in Monastir, Tunisia. But Liel will not participate, since she is an Israeli citizen. From the North African Arab state, the most “moderate” and successful of the “Arab spring” season, a sharp refusal has come: “We do not want Israeli chess players in the race”.

It is worth remembering that Beersheba, in southern Israel, is the world capital of chess players, the city with the highest per capita percentage of champions.

The International Judo Federation tried to push Tunisia to change its mind by suspending the Grand Judo Prix of Tunis a week ago. But this did not change the attitude of the Tunisian authorities.

Six of the seven states that appear in Trump’s executive Muslim order (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) forbid entry to any Israeli passport holder, as do ten other countries with a Muslim majority.
Shades of the Egyptian Judoka who, in Rio 2016, did not shake hands with his Israeli opponent – who had just defeated him. The Israeli judokas, protagonists a year ago in a tournament in Abu Dhabi, are forced to sing the anthem themselves. There are many similar cases, but for the first time a seven year old Israeli girl has been targeted.

A week ago, after the approval of the Israeli state-nation law, which inscribed the Jewish vocation of the state in a fundamental law, many European newspapers shouted about the “Israeli apartheid”, supporting the false claims of the Arab deputies of the Knesset – forgetting that they could never be in the Knesset if Israel was an apartheid state!.

Today, almost all Arab states no longer forbid the entry of Jews as such as occurred after 1948. But they continue to prohibit entry to Israeli citizens. Six of the seven states that appear in Trump’s executive Muslim order (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) forbid entry to any Israeli passport holder, as do ten other countries with a Muslim majority.

Not only that.

Many of these countries do not allow entry of non-Israeli citizens who have an Israeli visa in their passport. It does not appear that the international community has ever considered this behavior as a particularly resounding outrage to international standards. Nor that the newspapers have screamed at the “apartheid”, which also affects those Arab artists who have set foot in Israel, such as the Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal and the Syrian poet Adonis, through the Egyptian writer Ali Salem.

Last September, Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri, whose actor Kamel el Basha, at the Venice Film Festival, won the award for best actor in the film “The Insult”, was awaited by the Lebanese police at the Beirut airport on his return from Venice. Doueiri was arrested and interrogated for three hours by the military court, accused of “collaboration with Israel”. His “guilt” was to have filmed some scenes of the film in Israeli territory.

Then the Tunisian film producer Saïd Ben Saïd had to give up the direction of the Film Festival in Carthage, Tunisia. His “guilt”? Being a jury member of the Jerusalem Film Festival.

This is the only “apartheid” in the Middle East, that of the Arab-Islamic world against the Israelis, but nothing is said about  this. You see, anti-Semitism is not racism. It is socially acceptable.  

CHESS COLUMN: Don't bite on things you can't chew – Stillwater News Press


Chess Corner: Don’t bite on things you can’t chew

General MacArthur’s strategic approach to taking the Philippines away from the Japanese during World War II proved decisive. Even though the Japanese anticipated McArthur’s penetration strategy, they were unable to thwart it. A penetration attack seeks to “break up or penetrate a selected sector of the defender’s main line of position and move into his rear area.”

Black attacks and penetrates white’s position this week. With this hint in mind, please try to find black’s best move, or, if white missteps, black’s five-move mating line.

Black’s knight is under attack from white’s c4 pawn. The knight escapes by leaping over to e3 and gobbling white’s e3 pawn. The knight threatens white’s bishop on d8. If white wins the knight with its f2 pawn, black’s queen re-takes on e3 with check.

The white king either flees to h1 or f1. If h1, the black queen checks from e1. White’s knight temporarily blocks the queen check. But white’s “rear area” has been penetrated, and the queen takes the knight, mating white. Not a pleasant feeling.

If the white king avoids the queen check from e3 by stepping onto f1, black’s bishop joins in the attack and checks from d3. From here, mate is forced. White’s bishop blocks the check on e2; the black queen takes the white bishop with the support of its d3 bishop; the white king retreats to g1; and, the black queen checks from e1.


Chess Corner: Don’t bite on things you can’t chew

As diagram 2 demonstrates, the knight sacrifice has allowed black to penetrate the back rank – white’s “rear area.” Now all white can do is block the check with its knight, which the queen takes with mate.

White’s best plan is to ignore the knight and move its bishop to e2 or f3. From there, the position is roughly equally.

The lesson this week is if you don’t want to lose your rear in a game, don’t bite on things you can’t chew. General MacArthur is famous for saying “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” They don’t die because they don’t bite on things they shouldn’t.

Bevin shrugs off questions about his plans, draws comparison to Trump – Courier Journal


Kentucky’s governor talked to reporters about the chess club, the governor’s race and whether he’ll attend Fancy Farm.
Louisville Courier Journal

FRANKFORT, Ky.  – For the first time in weeks, Gov. Matt Bevin on Wednesday availed himself to questions from the capital press corps. Here are some topics he was asked about:

West Louisville Chess Club

Early this month the governor posted on his social media sites a video of the West Louisville Chess Club in which he said chess is “not something you necessarily would have thought of when you think of this section of town.”

Related: Gov. Matt Bevin’s ‘disturbing’ West End comments spark outrage

The governor was asked Wednesday about criticism of his comment by some African-American leaders and others. Bevin said, “Ask me serious questions … If somebody wanted to be offended they could have been offended.”

Re-election and Fancy Farm

The governor again declined to say whether he will seek re-election in 2019, though many Republican leaders believe that he will.

Also: The 2019 Kentucky gubernatorial race looms over Fancy Farm

“I will make a decision sometime between now and January. I’ll make an announcement, let’s put it that way,” Bevin said.

Asked if he will attend the annual political speaking at Fancy Farm on Aug. 4, Bevin said, “We’ll see.”

His Medicaid waiver

Bevin said his Medicaid waiver, which was struck down by a federal judge last month, will eventually prevail. 

Part of the waiver eliminates basic vision and dental care for able-bodied adults but allows them to earn points to pay for such care through a “My Rewards” program. It gives points for activities such as volunteer work and taking online classes.

Read this: Bevin will reverse cuts to Medicaid dental, vision services, state says

“Understand this, and understand it completely, it is the absolute intent that this …  waiver upon being approved — and it will be — is going to result in the exact same thing, which is people accessing their eye and oral care for working aged, able-bodied people on Medicaid through the ‘My Rewards’ program.”

Pension reform law

The governor said the administration is still planning to appeal a ruling striking down Kentucky’s new pension reform law.

Earlier: Judge rejects Gov. Matt Bevin’s request to revisit pension ruling

“We’re getting to it. There’s a whole lot of legal things. I’ve got so many cases going on right now, I’ve got a limited amount of bandwidth on the part of our general counsel. But it’s coming.”

Comparisons to Trump

In commenting on President Donald Trump’s controversial moves on international trade, the governor said, “What the president is dealing with at the federal level is the same thing I’m dealing with at the state level. … That is, cleaning up years and decades worth of other people’s disregard of what needed to done. … Here in Kentucky, I’m cleaning up the mess that was left behind by the previous governor and governors that preceded him and legislatures that have not done what they should have done as it relates to the pension crisis, as it relates to health care, as it relates to the drug problem, as it relates to education, as it relates to tax structure.”






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How To Watch Caruana vs Aronian Speed Chess Championship Today – Chess.com

What better way to begin the Speed Chess Championship main bracket this year than with one of the biggest names in chess today?

Fabiano Caruana, the top chess player in the United States, will challenge Magnus Carlsen this fall for the world chess championship. First, though, he has to deal with a tough first-round opponent in the Speed Chess Championship: Levon Aronian.

Watch the match live today, Tuesday, July 24 at 10 a.m Pacific time (1 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. UTC).

The following viewing options will be available:

  • Twitch.tv/chess: the official broadcast with IM Daniel Rensch and GM Robert Hesswatch here to see the Twitch chat.
  • Chess.com/TV: watch here to see the Chess.com chat.

caruana vs aronian speed chess

The match is the first of 15 action-packed events in the main Speed Chess Championship bracket.

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.

scc prizes

Who’s the favorite to win today? 

While Caruana is slotted higher in the bracket as a 5-seed facing the 12th-seeded Aronian, the Armenian grandmaster might be the favorite on the chessboard.

The Chess.com SmarterChess predictions give Aronian a 67 percent chance to defeat Caruana. The statistical model bases its predictions on prior performance by the players in selected Chess.com events.

The Chess.com SmarterChess predictions give Aronian a 68 percent chance to defeat Caruana. The statistical model based its predictions on prior performance by the players in selected Chess.com events.

Be sure to read FM Mike Klein’s in-depth news preview of the Caruana-Aronian match, complete with interviews of the players.

Next up for the Speed Chess Championship is the 1-vs-16 matchup between Hikaru Nakamura and Hou Yifan this Thursday, July 26, the second match of a jam-packed opening week for the SCC.

scc opening week

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.