The major problem is corruption. It’s hard for athletes to get financial assistance to compete abroad, especially if they don’t have connections. For example, we would send teams to the Asian Games and there would be more officials on the plane than athletes.
— Wesley So

Wesley So, in an interview with Chess.com, describes corruption, particularly in sports, in the Philippines.

Top 20 Best Chess Players Ranking History (2000-2019)

Amazing to see just how Magnus Carlsen held on to the No. 1 spot since July of 2011, almost 8 years now, and never looked back since then. I wonder how this kind of video will pan out in the future.

Aeroflot Open Round 1 Called Off After Bomb Threat

Shortly after the start, the first round of the Aeroflot Open has been canceled due to a bomb threat at the venue, Hotel Cosmos in Moscow. The round has been postponed until tomorrow.

Scary! Now, even chess tournaments — at high levels that is — are subjects of bomb threats.

Grand Chess Tour 2019

Confirmed participants:

Tournaments and Dates:

  1. Cote d’Ivoire Rapid & Blitz, May 6 – 13, 2019, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
  2. Croatia GCT (Classical), June 24 – July 9, 2019, Zagreb, Croatia
  3. Paris Rapid & Blitz, July 26 – August 2, 2019, Paris, France
  4. St Louis Rapid & Blitz, August 8 – 15, 2019, St. Louis, Missouri USA
  5. Sinquefield Cup (Classical), August 15 – 30, 2019, St. Louis, Missouri USA
  6. Superbet Rapid & Blitz, November 4 – 11, 2019, Bucharest, Romania
  7. Tata Steel India Rapid & Blitz, November 20 – 27, 2019, Kolkata, India

Read more.

Tata Steel 2019

The 81st edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament is happening on the 11th of January until the 27th, 2019, in Wijk aan Zee (among others). Who are vying for the crown in the Masters category?

How WCC’18 Round 12 Could Have Ended?

A lot of people have been heavily criticizing Magnus Carlsen for offering a draw in a clearly winning position in Round 12 of the World Chess Championship 2018 against Fabiano Caruana. Others are mum and reserved their opinion after the tiebreaks.

But how “winning” Carlsen really was if he opted to continue with the play?

Chess.com ran the position among 8 engines, led by Stockfish and Komodo, for 56 games — double round robin, each engine playing both colors against every other engine. The results follow:

  • White wins: 3 games
  • Black wins: 27 games
  • Draw: 26 games

Of course, the 3 white wins were games between some of the weakest engines as black and the strongest engines for white. These were:

  • Stockfish–Laser
  • Ethereal–Laser
  • Stockfish–Fire

From these results, I’d say Magnus Carlsen, playing as black, and at his caliber, had an 80:20 chance of winning this game. The tiebreak games would not have been necessary. And the Carlsen victory would have been more convincing.

Magnus Carlsen retains title after 3 straight wins in rapid games

The challenger, Fabiano Caruana, didn’t get a chance. The defending champion, Magnus Carlsen, won it all to retain his World Chess Champion title.

After 12 grueling rounds of classical chess games in the World Chess Championship 2018 in London, the score was tied at 6 apiece. No one blinked an eye during those 12 games, all games were drawn. Thus, the match headed to the playoffs/tiebreak.

The first mode to break the tie was the best-of-four rapid games. Unfortunately for Caruana, he lasted only 3 games, as Carlsen won them all. Well, that was as decisive as it can get.

That makes us wonder: the World Chess Championship would have been better off played with all rapid games instead?

World Chess Championship Rapid Game 1 (Tiebreak)

World Chess Championship Rapid Game 2 (Tiebreak)

World Chess Championship Rapid Game 3 (Tiebreak)

WCC18: 12 Draws, Off to Tiebreak Games

The final round of the World Chess Championship 2018 in London between the world champion Magnus Carlsen and the challenger Fabiano Caruana ended in another draw. It seems to me that both players just waited till the 30-move rule for draws was over and rushed to agree on the draw, and opted to settle the deadlock via the tiebreak games.

That’s a total of 12 draws in this 12-game match. Rest day follows Round 12. Tiebreak follows with 4 rapid games. If another deadlock ensues, 5 pairs of blitz games will be played, and if nothing yet is settled by then — Armageddon. Regardless of how deep into the tiebreak the match goes, all tiebreak games happen in one day.

Here’s how the Round 12 happened: