Loaded U.S. chess teams in hunt for Olympiad gold – Washington Times

The American squad starts play Thursday in the 42nd Chess Olympiad in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku laboring under an unusual burden ? sky-high expectations.

The U.S. has not reached the podium in the biennial event since 2008, and the country?s last gold medal came in 1976 in Israel, when the Soviet Union and other Eastern European nations boycotted the event.

But anchored by three young stars in the world?s top 10 ? GMs Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So ? the Yanks sport an average rating of 2740, second only to Russia. Defending champion China, Ukraine and the host Azerbaijani team are also expected to be in the mix, but the powerful Armenian team, which won gold in 2006, 2008 and 2012, is a no-show owing to continuing political tensions between Yerevan and Baku.

Both world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Russian Sergey Karjakin, his challenger in the title match in November n New York City will be playing for their countries, though it?s unlikely they?ll square off in Baku.

GM Irina Krush and new U.S. women?s champ IM Nazi Paikidze will anchor the women?s team, but they can expect a tough time getting past three-time defending champion Russia and a high-powered Chinese team.

Not surprisingly, four of the five all-time best individual performers in Olympiad history are world champions, led by Latvia-born Soviet star Mikhail Tal, who lost just twice in 101 games. The only outlier among the top five may be a surprise to some ? American GM Isaac Kashdan, a key member of the storied U.S. teams that took home four straight Olympiad golds starting in 1931. Today?s game comes from the 7th Olympiad in 1937, where Kashdan went 13-1-2 playing third board for yet another victorious U.S. team.

A precise positional player often compared to the great Cuban champion Capablanca, Kashdan here allows the queens to come off early in the game against strong Finnish master Eero Book and still manages to pull off a neat mating combination in just over 30 moves. In a drawish position, White?s gamble on a queenside push backfires with 21. a4?! bxa4! 22. Bxa6 Rb8 when his own king comes under fire on the half-open b-file. White appears to be gaining space, but Kashdan finds a deadly counterpunch.

Thus: 26. b5 a3! (threatening 27?a2! 28. Nxa2 Ra8, winning a piece) 27. Na2 Ne4 28. Bxd6! Bb2+ (Nxd6? 29. Rxd6! cxd6 30. c7 is White?s idea) 29. Kb1 Nxc6! 30. Bxc7 Nb4!! (a wonderful idea, leaving the rook en pris) 31. Bxb8 (Nxb4 Nc3 mate) Nc3+! 32. Nxc3 Bxc3, and White resigns as there?s no defense against the threat of 33?a2+ 34. Kc1 a1=Q mate.

?

As recounted last week, today?s diagram comes from the recent world chess problem-solving championships in Belgrade. Competitors were given seven minutes to find the key. The solution: 1. Bc7!, threatening 2. Rg1 mate and the only bishop move that neutralizes the Black bishop on a7 while not interfering with other White mating motifs (1. Be5? Ne6 and 1. Bd6? Nd3). All Black defenses allow the twice-attacked White queen to mate: 1?Na4 2. Qe4 mate; 1?Nd3 2. Qxd7 mate; 1?Ne6 2. Qf5 mate; 1?Qxc7 2. Qf5 mate; and 2?f2 Qg2 mate.

How?d you do?

Book ? Kashdan, 7th Olympiad, Stockholm, July 1937

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Qe2 Qe7 6. d3 Nf6 7. Bg5 Qxe2+ 8. Bxe2 Be7 9. Nc3 Bd7 10. d4 h6 11. Bh4 O-O 12. h3 Nc6 13. O-O-O a6 14. Rhe1 Rfe8 15. Bf1 b5 16. d5 Na5 17. b4 Nb7 18. g4 g5 19. Bg3 Bf8 20. Rxe8 Rxe8 21. a4 bxa4 22. Bxa6 Rb8 23. Nd4 Bg7 24. Nc6 Bxc6 25. dxc6 Nd8 26. b5 a3 27. Na2 Ne4 28. Bxd6 Bb2+ 29. Kb1 Nxc6 30. Bxc7 Nb4 31. Bxb8 Nc3+ 32. Nxc3 Bxc3 Black resigns.

? David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by email at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

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Loaded U.S. chess teams in hunt for Olympiad gold – Washington Times


World’s biggest chess championship faces axe over ?300k tax bill – Telegraph.co.uk

“But the Government should recognise that. The Government pours ?300 million a year into physical sport but spends nothing on mental sport, and then goes after the guy who does.

“They should value the?Chess?Challenge. I’m not doing this for money – my profit is seeing children’s education being improved.”

This year 45,000 boys and girls nationwide have competed in the challenge, and last weekend the top 60 players gathered in Loughborough, Leics, to battle it out for the top prize of ?2,000. Former winners include Yang-Fan Zhou, who is on the brink of earning the esteemed grandmaster title and Stephen J Gordon, a grandmaster who was British Under-21 champion three years running.

“What we try to do is produce champions, the children who go on to run the country,” Mr Basman said. “We have had the top girl in England, Akshaya Kalaiyalahan, come through in the competition.”

The English?Chess?Federation argues that VAT charges risk putting children off. A spokesman said: “VAT charges on entry fees hit lower-income parents with more than one child playing chess?particularly hard when they enter large or high-profile competitions to gain the experience and skills they need to succeed at a higher level.”

An HMRC spokesman said they did not comment on individual cases.

World’s biggest chess championship faces axe over ?300k tax bill – Telegraph.co.uk


PhosAgro Announces Sponsorship of the 2016 FIDE World Chess Championship – PR Newswire (press release)

MOSCOW, August 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ —

On the eve of the World Chess Championship match scheduled for 11-30 November in New York City, PhosAgro (Moscow Exchange, LSE: PHOR), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated phosphate-based fertilizer producers, announces that it has signed a strategic partnership with World Chess by Agon Limited, which holds global commercial rights for the organisation of championship matches of the World Chess Federaton (FIDE). The World Chess Championship Match will take place between Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and Sergey Karjakin (Russia) in New York City.

The contract was signed by PhosAgro CEO and Russian Chess Federation Board of Trustees Member Andrey Guryev and Ilya Merenzon, CEO of Agon Group.

Andrey Guryev said: “Sponsorship of this chess tournament is part of PhosAgro’s long-standing corporate responsibility programme, which supports education, science, medicine, sports and healthy lifestyles.?The Company has a long history of cooperating with chess federations, including as the sponsor of the 2014 World Chess Championship match in Sochi. ?

“I personally am a big fan of chess and for me it is a great honour to be able to lead a company that has a tradition of supporting the sport. Chess is a great way to improve problem solving and strategic thinking skills, which are key for a fast-developing company like PhosAgro to remain competitive in a global market by always thinking several moves ahead.

“I look forward to a great contest between two of the youngest opponents in the history of chess.”

Chess, and the World Chess Championship match in particular, are the ideal marketing platform to increase awareness of the PhosAgro brand globally. Hundreds of millions of the most educated, and therefore most successful, people in the world will follow the match.?This audience, which is important to PhosAgro as a global company with a presence in 100 countries, whose securities trade on the Moscow and London Stock Exchanges, and that has the ambitious goal of expanding its base of investors, partners and clients.

The Championship Match, which will be held in New York for the first time since 1996, will take place in the South Street Seaport district, a five minute walk from Wall Street, in the historic Fulton Market Building.?The arena will feature dedicated spectator and VIP lounges with panoramic views of the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as retail space, a restaurant, TV studios and much more.

Ilya Merenzon said: “I am delighted that PhosAgro has become a strategic partner to chess as we continue to increase the popularity of the sport around the world. Chess is the ultimate battle of minds; a pure strategic contest for the smartphone generation and is associated with attributes such as intelligence, sophistication and discipline.

“World Chess is open for business and offers an unrivalled opportunity for brand partners to be associated with this global sport that is played and admired by countless people around the world.”

Notes to Editors

PhosAgro is one of the leading global vertically integrated phosphate-based fertilizer producers. The Company focuses on the production of phosphate-based fertilizers, feed phosphate and high-grade phosphate rock (P2O5 content of not less than 39%).

The Company is the largest phosphate-based fertilizer producer in Europe, the largest producer of high-grade phosphate rock worldwide and the third largest MAP/DAP producer in the world (excluding China), according to Fertecon. PhosAgro is also one of the leading producers of feed phosphates (MCP) in Europe, and the only producer in Russia. It is Russia’s only producer of nepheline concentrate.

PhosAgro’s main products include phosphate rock, 33 grades of fertilizers, feed phosphates, ammonia, and sodium tripolyphosphate, which are used by customers in 100 countries spanning all of the world’s inhabited continents. The Company’s priority markets outside of Russia and the CIS are Latin America, Europe and Asia.

PhosAgro’s shares are traded on the Moscow Exchange, and global depositary receipts (“GDRs”) for shares trade on the London Stock Exchange (under the ticker PHOR). Since 1 June 2016, the Company’s GDRs have been included in the MSCI Russia and MSCI Emerging Markets indexes.

About FIDE:?

The World Chess Federation or F?d?ration Internationale des Echecs, (FIDE), is recognised by its members and the International Olympic Committee as the international federation in the domain of chess, the supreme body responsible for the sport?of chess and its Championships. FIDE has the sole rights to organise the World Chess Championships and the Chess Olympiads.

About Agon Limited:?

Agon Limited is the official partner of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and owner the World Chess brand as well as commercial rights holder to the FIDE World Chess Championship cycle. The company aims to develop and commercialize chess, create favorable environment for partners, players, and brands, and to significantly expand the broadcast coverage of the sport.

SOURCE PhosAgro

PhosAgro Announces Sponsorship of the 2016 FIDE World Chess Championship – PR Newswire (press release)


World’s biggest chess championship faces axe over ?300k tax bill – Telegraph.co.uk

But so-called “mind-sports” were not included in the Revenue exemption, leading to an appeal by the English Bridge Union which was thrown out.

Entry into the UK Chess Challenge costs schools ?40 for 30 pupils and ?15 for every 15 thereafter.

“I’m not saying?chess?should be a considered a sport,” Mr Basman said. “It is not a sport – it is a valuable mental activity that benefits children.

“But the Government should recognise that. For organised?chess?tournaments like the UK?Chess?Challenge to continue to benefit our children it needs this help.

“The Government pours ?300 million a year into physical sport but spends nothing on mental sport, and then goes after the guy who does.?

“They should value the?Chess?Challenge. I’m not doing this for money. My profit is seeing children’s education being improved.”

The annual competition spans eight months and has a prize fund of ?12,000.?This weekend the top 60 players will gather?in?Loughborough, Leics, to?battle it out?for the top prize of ?2,000.

Former winners include several of England’s young stars, including?Cambridge University student?Yang-Fan?Zhou, who is on the brink of taking the esteemed Grandmaster title.

“What we try to do is produce champions, the children who go on to run the country,”?Mr Basman said.?”We have had the top girl in England, Akshaya Kalaiyalahan,?come through in the competition.

“She is now a teenager but first played when she was six because she was desperate to win one of our mascots.

World’s biggest chess championship faces axe over ?300k tax bill – Telegraph.co.uk


World’s biggest chess championship faces axe over ?300k tax bill – Telegraph.co.uk

But so-called “mind-sports” were not included in the Revenue exemption, leading to an appeal by the English Bridge Union which was thrown out.

Entry into the UK Chess Challenge costs schools ?40 for 30 pupils and ?15 for every 15 thereafter.

“I’m not saying?chess?should be a considered a sport,” Mr Basman said. “It is not a sport – it is a valuable mental activity that benefits children.

“But the Government should recognise that. For organised?chess?tournaments like the UK?Chess?Challenge to continue to benefit our children it needs this help.

“The Government pours ?300 million a year into physical sport but spends nothing on mental sport, and then goes after the guy who does.?

“They should value the?Chess?Challenge. I’m not doing this for money. My profit is seeing children’s education being improved.”

The annual competition spans eight months and has a prize fund of ?12,000.?This weekend the top 60 players will gather?in?Loughborough, Leics, to?battle it out?for the top prize of ?2,000.

Former winners include several of England’s young stars, including?Cambridge University student?Yang-Fan?Zhou, who is on the brink of taking the esteemed Grandmaster title.

“What we try to do is produce champions, the children who go on to run the country,”?Mr Basman said.?”We have had the top girl in England, Akshaya Kalaiyalahan,?come through in the competition.

“She is now a teenager but first played when she was six because she was desperate to win one of our mascots.

World’s biggest chess championship faces axe over ?300k tax bill – Telegraph.co.uk


India capable of making strong moves at Chess Olympiad … – Sportstarlive

It is the Olympics for chess players. It is also the equivalent of tennis?s Davis and Fed Cups. As many as 176 countries will compete at the Chess Olympiad, the opening move of which will be made at the Azerbaijan capital of Baku on Thursday. And India is a serious contender for medals, even in the absence of its best players.

In the last edition of the Olympiad in Norway two years ago, India?s men had won the bronze, after starting out as the 19th seed. In spite of the large number of participating countries, only 20 countries have ever won a men?s team medal in the 82-year-history of the Olympiad.

This time, India is seeded 11th. The team would have to play once again above its strength to reach the podium, but the five young men are certainly capable of that. They would be up against some of the biggest names in chess who have come together to form quite a few dream teams.

Russia is the top seed, with an average Elo rating of 2760. The team would be led by Vladmir Kramnik, who had announced his arrival on the global chess scene with a sensational show at the 1992 Olympiad in Manila. Included only because of the insistence of Garry Kasparov, he scored 8.5 points out of nine to help Russia, competing for the first time as a country after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, take the gold; he was just 17 then.

The Americans, with an average rating of 2740, are seeded second. In their team are two of the world?s biggest names in chess, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura.

China, which had surprised many by winning its maiden gold last time, is seeded third, with an average rating of 2735. India has a rating of 2651. Among those seeded above the team are Azerbaijan, Ukraine, France and Poland.

Harikrishna to lead

World No. 16 P. Harikrishna will lead the Indian challenge. Vidit Gujarathi, B. Adhiban, S.P. Sethuraman and Karthikeyan Murali are his teammates, while R.B. Ramesh is the coach once again.

India is seeded higher in the women?s event. With an average rating of 2410, it is seeded fifth, behind China (2528), defending champion Russia (2493), Ukraine (2485) and Georgia (2474).

Dronavalli Harika, ranked fifth in the world, is the biggest star in the team. The others in the team are Padmini Rout, who had won an individual medal at the last Olympiad, former World junior champion Soumya Swaminathan, Tania Sachdev and Pratyusha Bodda.

Koneru Humpy, the World No. 2, is of course conspicuous by her absence. She has never enjoyed a great relation with chess administrators in the country. She had demanded FIDE to take action against her last year following her withdrawal from the Commonwealth championship in Delhi. The complaint, however, was dismissed.

Five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand hasn?t shown much interest at the Olympiad, either. He has said in the past that he was not very comfortable with the format.

But most of the top stars, including World champion Magnus Carlsen, would be in Baku. He will lead Norway, which, however is not among the leading nations, with an average rating of 2613.

India capable of making strong moves at Chess Olympiad … – Sportstarlive