Aronian Hangs Mate Against Kramnik In FIDE Candidates … –

After a great game by both players, Levon Aronian blundered a beautiful final move by Vladimir Kramnik today at the 2018 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament in Berlin. Tournament leader Fabiano Caruana held Shakhriyar Mamedyarov to a draw.


“As you saw from the opening I was a bit tired of sharp games and I wanted to play a normal, safe, equal position. It seems that whatever I do lately, it starts to get crazy,” said Vladimir Kramnik. “I don’t know why, how… It’s difficult to image out of this opening to get this mess on the board but I still managed. I guess I shouldn’t even try probably.”

Kramnik today tried to explain how it is possible that a player like he, who is still known as someone with a positional style, plays one crazy game after another after another at this Candidates’ tournament: it’s sort of happening to him.

Kramnik Candidates 2018 later asked him to elaborate, and in this interview (to be posted here later), the 14th world champion pointed out that his recent tournaments have been a bit like this, with more decisive games than draws.

Kramnik also commented on not attending the press conference after his previous game, which he lost to Karjakin.

“I came, I was waiting, and then Levon and Shakhriyar were just starting the press conference. I think organisers should do it in such [a] way that [the] players shouldn’t wait to give their press conference for, like, half an hour. It’s clear, you know, it was a tough game, I am tired, I am hungry, by the way. And then, first of all, I have to stand here, not to sit but to stand, for half an hour to wait for the press conference and then maybe another half an hour for my press conference… I just don’t find it right, you know. You should either have a alternative to have to press conference at the same time or a least maybe bring me somewhere, in a quiet place, with a little bit of sandwiches, coffee, so that I can rest. But staying here with everyone and just one your feet for half an hour…”

Kramnik pointed out that contractually he wasn’t doing anything wrong, saying he checked the contract on this.

“It’s written that ‘immediately after the game the player should make himself available for a press conference, and I did. It is not said that I have to wait for half an hour.”

Asked about how he is looking forward to tomorrow’s clash with Kramnik, Fabiano Caruana gave an interesting description of the man who once dethroned Garry Kasparov:

“What can you expect these days? Vlad is probably the most interesting player now at the top. He sometimes approaches positions in ways that I can’t even begin to comprehend. Like, I remember his game against Wesley from Wijk aan Zee. It looked like the most quiet position ever and he sacked a piece. For nothing, from a quiet Catalan. I had never seen an idea like this. So…he’s a great world champion, former world champion, but also one of the most unusual players these days; his talent has changed so much over the years. It will be an interesting game.”

But back to today’s round, in which Kramnik beat Levon Aronian in a very nice game that was somewhat spoiled by a huge blunder at the end. Kramnik’s winning combination wasn’t too difficult, but still pretty.

Aronian, who had more personal friends than ever supporting him today in the playing hall, was visibly annoyed by some of Kramnik’s evaluations of the positions during the press conference.

Aronian press conference Candidates

Aronian at the press conference. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

It seemed that the Armenian GM wanted to emphasize that he was the one who made the game interesting, since he made the choice to go for a sharp position instead of equalizing with …Be6.

“I thought, in the position, it’s interesting to try and get some chances,” Aronian said. He felt he was the one playing for a win at the moment he blundered.

Kramnik giving autographs

After the press conference Kramnik took the time for interviews and lots of autographs. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The top clash, between runner-up Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Fabiano Caruana, was pretty exciting as well. The Azerbaijani had the opportunity to take over the lead from his opponent, and clearly came to the board to fight.

“When you see today’s game, you see my mood before the game. I wanted to play! It was a nice try, and he defended well,” said Mamedyarov. 

Mamedyarov head in hands

Mamedyarov was ready for battle. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In a sideline of the Catalan, things got sharp for a moment but then the queens went off and Black was a pawn down. However, the compensation was clear, as Caruana pointed out: “It’s probably the worst pawn structure I’ve ever seen for White.”

Soon after, White gave up an exchange but won a second pawn. It was Mamedyarov who was playing for a win, but Caruana didn’t make mistakes.

He was quite down-to-earth about not winning against Ding: “Winning that game doesn’t improve my tournament situation so much. I mean, even if I win, I still have to overcome some very difficult games.”

Mamedyarov vs Caruana, Candidates 2018

A tough fight between the best-performing players so far. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The other two games were rather quiet, much quieter than the average game here in Berlin. (What a treat this tournament has been so far!)

Ding Liren vs Wesley So had a fairly interesting opening phase. The American player had prepared 6…b6 in the Queen’s Gambit Declined with Bf4 but got “confused” when his opponent didn’t immediately take the gambit pawn on c7. His decision to take on f3 and play …e5 worked out well.

Wesley So Candidates 2018

A good draw for So, and the 10th one for his opponent | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Alexander Grischuk faced an ultra-solid Sergey Karjakin today, who won the opening battle with his 10th and 11th move. Afterward, Grischuk admitted that he didn’t see any way to get an advantage with White from there.

“It’s very hard to beat Sergey, even in this tournament when he is not in his top form. With Black he made all draws and actually when he’s White I’m the only person who made a draw with him.”

Grischuk vs Karjakin, Candidates 2018

Grischuk got nothing out of the opening today. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

2018 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament | Round 10 Standings

Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
Caruana,F 2784 2895 ½½ ½ ½ ½½ 1 1 6.5/10
Mamedyarov,S 2809 2852 ½½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½½ 6.0/10
Grischuk,A 2767 2822 ½ ½ ½½ ½ 01 ½ 5.5/10
Karjakin,S 2763 2789 ½ ½½ ½ ½1 1 0 5.0/10 25
Ding Liren 2769 2789 ½½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½½ ½½ 5.0/10 24.5
Kramnik,V 2800 2747 0 0 10 ½0 ½ ½ 11 4.5/10
So,W 2799 2711 ½ 0 ½½ ½ 1 4.0/10
Aronian,L 2794 2680 0 ½½ ½ 1 ½½ 00 0 3.5/10

Games via TWIC.

The Chessbrahs’ coverage of round 10.

Round 11 pairings, on Friday:
Ding-Grischuk, So-Mamedyarov, Caruana-Kramnik, Aronian-Karjakin.

Previous reports:

Gai's Chess piece, jockeys honour 'Kiwi Dean' –

Mark Zahra powers Chess Star to victory in the Simpson Construction Valley Pearl (Image: Racing Photos)

Mark Zahra powers Chess Star to victory in the Simpson Construction Valley Pearl (Image: Racing Photos)

Mark Zahra will participate in much bigger races than the Simpson Construction Valley Pearl this weekend, but the jockey’s satisfaction at winning Friday night’s opening race at Moonee Valley was obvious.

All riders who competed in the $120,000 Listed event, in which Zahra rode Chess Star, wore black armbands in honour of Dean Cyprian, who died this week, aged 50.

Cyprian, who was known as ‘Kiwi Dean’, was a regular at trackwork at Flemington, where Chess Star is trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, and was one of the valued barrier attendants on raceday.

“It’s a tragic loss,” Zahra said. “My thoughts go to his family and all of his friends, especially the guys on the gates, they’re finding it a bit tough tonight.

“He was a great fella who put a lot of work into the industry and he’ll be sadly missed.”

Zahra was forced to earn his rider’s percentage aboard Chess Star, who was able to work to the front but still did a lot wrong.

Despite that, the $3 favourite held a 1.25-length margin over dead-heaters Thrillster ($15) and Wild Planet ($8) at the line.

Thunderdome ($31), who was just a half-head back in fourth position, was the hard-luck story of the race after being held up on the fence for much of the home straight.

“He’s very green and I really had to ride him to get to the front and then when he was there he was just pricking his ears,” Zahra said.

“I actually wanted the horse outside me to come up and give a bit of pressure just to get him going, then in the straight he was a bit all over the place, but he was strong enough to the line.”

The Valley victory came after minor placings at Bendigo and Moonee Valley at Chess Star’s only two other starts and was the first Black Type success for his Victoria-based sire, Sun Stud’s Fighting Sun.

Chess Star carries the distinctive Sun Stud colours, which Zahra will sport aboard Thronum in Friday night’s Group 1 William Reid Stakes and also Prairie Fire in Saturday’s $3.5 million Golden Slipper.

There was fallout from Chess Star’s win with Zahra suspended for eight meetings for causing interference over the concluding stages.

Three Groundbreaking Chess Exhibitions to Open at the World Chess Hall of Fame in Saint Louis in April – PR Newswire (press release)

These exhibitions each highlight the history, art and culture behind the sport of chess. One exhibition features hand-painted chess sets by contemporary artists, while another features some of the oldest Staunton chess sets in the world. The last exhibition highlights the contributions of Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield over the past decade as part of their mission to drive the renaissance of chess in the United States. The Purling & Staunton exhibits will close on September 16, 2018, while The Sinquefield Effect exhibit will be available to the public through February 24, 2019.

“Chess, at its core, is one of the world’s oldest art forms,” said Shannon Bailey, Chief Curator of the World Chess Hall of Fame. “These new exhibitions celebrate the canvas that is a chessboard and its evolution from traditional to contemporary. The Sinquefield Effect ties it all together, celebrating the renewal of chess as a cultural icon in the United States. We are thrilled to unveil these new exhibitions for the first time-ever in America, providing a new global lens to view chess and the intricacies of the game.”

The Opening Reception of these exhibits at the WCHOF will be held on April 12, 2018, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. To attend the unveiling, please RSVP to For more information, please visit 

Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London
Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London is a unique global collaboration, bringing together the WCHOF and the critically-acclaimed games and gifts maker Purling London to present multimedia chess sets, pieces, boards, and interactive experiences produced by artists from around the world. Painted Pieces features traditional Staunton chess sets transformed by celebrated contemporary artists into one-of-a-kind, hand-painted works. Featured artists include American painter Sophie Matisse, British artists Tom Hackney and Caio Locke, and influential street artists Thierry Noir and Mr Doodle.

The Sinquefield Effect: The Resurgence of American Chess
The Sinquefield Effect: The Resurgence of American Chess commemorates a decade of explosive chess growth led by the Saint Louis Chess Club (STLCC), a nonprofit founded by Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield. The exhibit will feature artifacts, photographs, videos, and more to showcase Saint Louis’ growing chess culture and the impact these institutions and the Sinquefields’ support have had on the area. Over the last ten years, the STLCC has drawn the attention of chess Grandmasters from around the world, and the STLCC has garnered the favor and respect of top players globally who have showed their support in assisting with a surprise project that will be unveiled at the exhibition’s opening reception.

The Staunton Standard: Evolution of the Modern Chess Set
Staunton chess sets have been the standard in tournament play since they were first introduced to the public in 1849. The Staunton Standard: Evolution of the Modern Chess Set celebrates the Staunton chess set with a historic exhibition displaying some of the earliest Staunton sets ever produced as well as more contemporary incarnations of the style and additional artifacts related to Howard Staunton’s legacy. This unique exhibition includes over 40 chess sets from the collection of longtime chess fan and competitor, Jon Crumiller, whose personal collection of antique sets numbers over 600. Additional exhibit artifacts will be on display from the permanent collection of the WCHOF and loans from Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, Duncan Pohl, Joram Piatigorsky and Frank Camaratta, the internationally-recognized expert in antique Staunton and other playing sets.

About the World Chess Hall of Fame
The World Chess Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization committed to building awareness for the cultural and artistic significance of chess. It opened on September 9, 2011, in the Central West End after moving from previous locations in New York, Washington, D.C., and Florida. The World Chess Hall of Fame is located at 4652 Maryland Avenue, housed in an historic 15,900 square-foot residence-turned-business, and features the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame, displays of artifacts from the permanent collection and exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games and rich cultural history of chess. The World Chess Hall of Fame partners with the Saint Louis Chess Club to provide innovative programming and outreach to local, national and international audiences.

For more information, please visit the World Chess Hall of Fame online at or call (314) 367-9243 (WCHOF).

Visit our social channels:
Facebook (@WorldChessHOF), Twitter (@WorldChessHOF), Instagram (@worldchesshof) and YouTube (

Join the conversation:
Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London: #PaintedPieces
The Staunton Standard: Evolution of the Modern Chess Set: #TheStauntonStandard
The Sinquefield Effect: The Resurgence of American Chess: #SinquefieldEffect


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Candidates' Tournament R9: Karjakin Prolongs Kramnik's Misery –

The 2018 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament is becoming a disastrous tournament for Vladimir Kramnik, who continues to play below par. Today he continued on for a long time in a lost position and eventually threw in the towel vs Sergey Karjakin. In a deep endgame, Fabiano Caruana missed a chance vs Ding Liren to increase his lead to a full point.


At the 2014 Candidates’ Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk, Sergey Karjakin started with 2.5/7, but scored five points in the second half. He could have won the tournament that he eventually would win two years later, if he had beaten Vishy Anand in the final round.

This year Karjakin’s start wasn’t great either, but with two wins in the last three games he is suddenly in contention again, provided that he finishes strong.’s interview with Karjakin after the game.

His win over Vladimir Kramnik put a big smile on his face today; not only because of the result, but also because he could show a nice opening idea.

That was the move 9.h4, a pawn push on the flank against Kramnik’s pet opening, the Semi-Tarrasch. Asked about this move, GM Simon Williams commented for

“It is a very weird day when the ‘Minister of Defence’ starts lobbing Harry up the board. These guys are learning, slowly.”

Kramnik 9.h4 Candidates

Kramnik facing 9.h4. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

Perhaps in an attempt to sidestep his opponent’s preparation, Kramnik replied with the creative 9…f5. Karjakin: “Very hard to expect but I don’t really believe it.”

After some logical moves by White, Kramnik went for another committal move (16…e5) which more or less sealed his fate. “Interesting, but too sharp and I think bad, but practically interesting,” said Karjakin, who kept his cool even when Kramnik played some tricky moves in his own time trouble to keep the game going.

When White consolidated with 32.Rh3 it was perhaps time to resign, but Kramnik decided to play until the time control. With both players away from the board, Kramnik came back to make his 41st move, but he was completely lost so he stopped the clock, signed the score sheets and stood up. Karjakin quickly came back to the board and the players shook hands.

The game between Levon Aronian and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov had finished just before them, and when Kramnik realized that their press conference was going to be held first, he decided to leave the building.

It was the first time in this tournament that someone skipped a press conference, which is a breach of contract. Kramnik might lose 10 percent of his prize money, as the regulations stipulate.

Karjakin wins two in a row, Candidates 2018

Karjakin wins two in his last three, and is back on 50 percent. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

Fabiano Caruana missed a golden opportunity to beat Ding Liren, and get a full-point lead in the tournament standings. Perhaps it’s some sort of consolation that this chance only appeared after an inaccuracy by his opponent, who, before that, had defended superbly and was very close to a draw.

However, if Caruana finds out that he had not one, but two wins, he might have some issues sleeping. Luckily for him there’s a rest day now to get ready for another big battle against Mamedyarov in the next round.

Caruana vs Ding Liren Candidates 2018

Caruana: “He defended very well.” | Photo: Peter Doggers/

Ding said he had completely missed 59. Ra1, and was lucky that with 59…Nc6 he wasn’t immediately lost.

The clearest win for Caruana came right at the end, when he had less than two minutes on the clock (plus 30 seconds increment per move). It didn’t exactly help that he had missed Black’s last move 65…Nc6-d8, and he failed to spot an important detail here:

Here Caruana’s chances for tournament victory would have increased with 66. Nf8+ Kg8 67. h6! with the idea 67…Kf8 68. h7! (it was that last move he missed).

“It’s kind of silly because I was looking at this,” said Caruana. “Somehow 68. h7 completely slipped my attention. Once you see it, it’s pretty obvious; it’s a pretty simple tactic if I had a few minutes. So I should have found it.”


Ding Liren Candidates press conference

After a narrow escape today, Ding has drawn all his games so far. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

The endgame was similar to the one in the classic encounter between Garry Kasparov and Tigran Petrosian in 1983. Here it is:

Levon Aronian kept a small edge vs Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a Catalan that was kind of similar to Mamedyarov’s game with Karjakin. Yesterday the Azerbaijani already suggested that the endgame is not his forte, and indeed he seemed to be suffering a bit today.

When Aronian spoiled his advantage with what he called “a crazy blunder,” the position was suddenly completely equal.

Aronian vs Mamedyarov, Candidates 2018

With a draw against Aronian, Mamedyarov remained half a point behind Caruana. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

The last game of this report was hardly a game. Wesley So and Alexander Grischuk drew in no time from the boring 5. Re1 line of the Berlin Ruy Lopez.

Grischuk: “After today’s game I am much, much happier than after yesterday’s game! I mean, I was so tired, it was an extremely exhausting game.”

So vs Grischuk, Candidates 2018

A brief and uneventful encounter between So and Grischuk. | Photo: Peter Doggers/

2018 FIDE Candidates’ Tournament | Round 9 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Caruana,F 2784 2905 ½ ½ ½½ ½ 1 1 6.0/9
2 Mamedyarov,S 2809 2859 ½ ½ ½ ½½ ½ 1 5.5/9
3 Grischuk,A 2767 2829 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 01 5.0/9
4 Ding Liren 2769 2788 ½½ ½ ½ ½ ½½ ½ ½ 4.5/9 20.50
5 Karjakin,S 2763 2792 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½1 4.5/9 19.25
6 Aronian,L 2794 2707 0 ½½ ½ ½½ 1 0 0 3.5/9 17.00
7 So,W 2799 2704 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 3.5/9 15.75
8 Kramnik,V 2800 2701 0 0 10 ½ ½0 1 ½ 3.5/9 14.75

Games via TWIC.

The Chessbrahs’ coverage of round 9.

Round 10 pairings, on Thursday:
Grischuk-Karjakin, Kramnik-Aronian, Mamedyarov-Caruana, Ding-So.

Correction: an earlier version of this report erroneously stated that Karjakin won two games in a row. However, there was a draw in between those wins.

Previous reports:

CBA Team Wins NJ Chess Championship – The Two River Times

Seniors from the Christian Brothers Academy chess team won the 2018 NJ Chess Championship. Seated from left are John-Gabriel Bermudez, Daniel Draganoff and Marc Sorrentino; standing are Thomas Greenwald, Michael Gilbride, Andrew Mullaghy and Matt Notaro.

LINCROFT – The all-senior chess team from Christian Brothers Academy beat multiple rivals over the March 3-4 weekend to capture their first state title since 2015.

Continuing their historic season, the CBA team, comprised of Daniel Draganoff, John-Gabriel Bermudez, Marc Sorrentino, Matt Notaro, and Michael Gilbride, won the New Jersey Team Championship at Union County Vocational-Technical School in Scotch Plains.

The team won all five of their matches to seal the victory.

In the final round of play, the CBA team defeated respected programs from High Technology High School, St. Joseph’s of Metuchen, Union Vocational-Technical, Sparta and Millburn.

Elmhurst Student Chess Tournament Attracts Over 200 Players –

ELMHURST, IL — The 22nd annual Elmhurst Chess Tournament attracted 242 students and was held March 7 in the York High School Commons. The district said members of the York Chess Team assisted on the tournament floor.

Organizers Chris and Debbie Khayat thanked all of the parent volunteers, the judges (who do not have students in the community), food support team, technical support team, teachers and parents who supported these school clubs with their time.

“Special thanks to York High School and their fantastic custodial staff for hosting this. A little different this year was the absence of the Elmhurst chess store, It’s Good to be King, which is in the midst of a move from City Centre to their new location on First Avenue. The store still provided many gift certificates for our evening raffle. Thank you all for offering chess clubs at our schools and providing this tournament for Elmhurst students,” Chris Khayat said in a release.

Here are the rankings for the top positions in the tournament:

Second Grade

  • Emmett Carroll, Visitation, 1st place
  • Sarah Abraham, Timothy Christian, 2nd place
  • Merritt Stolzenbach, Timothy Christian, 3rd place
  • Samuel Scarlett, Immanuel Lutheran, 4th place

Third Grade

  • Nicholas Stangarone, Visitation, 1st place
  • Gage Jacobs, Edison, 2nd place
  • Ben Ellens, Timothy Christian, 3rd place
  • Anthony Carroccio, Visitation, 4th place

Fourth Grade

  • Lukas Alexander, Lincoln, 1st place
  • Hunter Sepanich, Jackson, 2nd place
  • Kevin Wheeler, Hawthorne, 3rd place
  • Daniel Davies, Edison, 4th place

Fifth Grade

  • Brendan Carroll, Visitation, 1st place (tied)
  • Grant Huckabee, Jefferson, 1st place (tied)
  • Nathan Arcos, Timothy Christian, 2nd place
  • Patrick McGrail, Hawthorne, 3rd place
  • Jake Wede, Visitation, 4th place

Middle School

  • Elliot Mathew, 6th grade, Timothy Christian, 1st place
  • John Dietz, 7th grade, Bryan, 2nd place
  • Trent Parker, 6th grade, Bryan, 3rd place
  • Zack Fidrocki, 7th grade, Bryan, 4th place

Photos provided by District 205.

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