Maxime Vachier-Lagrave wins Dortmund 2016 with One Round To Go

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (MVL) is slated to win the Dortmund’s Sparkassen Chess Meeting after 6 rounds and a round more to go. Chess.com writes:

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave continued to look nigh untouchable in round six of Dortmund’s Sparkassen Chess Meeting. Victory (against Ruslan Ponomariov) moved him to 5.0/6 and clinched first place with a round to go. Clinching first would be a remarkable achievement in any tournament, but it is especially impressive in a seven-round tournament like Dortmund.

This enabled MVL to chart his way up in second place in the current Live Ratings list:

live-ratings-july-17-2016

Standings after round 6 follows:

Magnus Carlsen keeps winning in Bilbao Masters Final 2016 Round 4

After four rounds and twelve games in Bilbao Masters Final 2016, four of the games were decided (not drawn), all of which involved World Champion Magnus Carlsen, with 3 wins and 1 loss.

After the loss to Hikaru Nakamura in the opening round, Carlsen came back with a vengeance and won all of his next three games, the latest victim is the defending champion Wesley So.

That is the quality of games that Carlsen is showing in this year’s edition of Bilbao Chess. So high that someone actually tweeted his title should be CG (i.e., Chess God) instead of GM. Thus, he now is way ahead of the pack:

Bilbao Masters Final 2016 Standings after Round 4

#NameCountryRtgPts
1Magnus CarlsenNorway28559
2Hikaru NakamuraUnited States27876
3Anish GiriNetherlands27854
4Wesley SoUnited States27703
5Sergey KarjakinRussia27733
6Wei YiChina26963

Check out the Round 4 game between Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So below:

Magnus Carlsen in Sole Lead after Round 3 of Bilbao Masters Final 2016

Magnus Carlsen convincingly won against his would-be challenger in the world championship, Sergey Karjakin, to take the lead in the Bilbao Masters Final 2016 after Round 3.

The other games: Hikaru Nakamura vs. Wei Yi and Anish Giri vs. Wesley So were drawn.

With 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw, ranking after Round 3 are as follows:

Bilbao Masters Final 2016 Standings after Round 3

#NameCountryRtgPts
1Magnus CarlsenNorway28556
2Hikaru NakamuraUnited States27875
3Wesley SoUnited States27703
4Anish GiriNetherlands27853
5Sergey KarjakinRussia27732
6Wei YiChina26962

Replay all the games played so far.

Carlsen recovers with a win against Wei Yi, Round 2 Bilbao Masters Final 2016

World Champion Magnus Carlsen beats the Chinese Wei Yi in Round 2 of Bilbao Masters Final 2016, and just like that, he gets back into contention for the title. The rest of the games were drawn, again.

Wesley So drew his first two games in the tournament, first against Sergey Karjakin, and this time against Hikaru Nakamura.

Now, if it were a regular point-system, Wesley So would have been in second place and Carlsen in fifth in the ranking so far, which should look like as follows:

bilbao-2016-standings-r2

However, the three-point rule applies, thus Carlsen is up in second place with 3 points after that win against Wei Yi.

Nakamura Wins in Round 1 vs. Carlsen of Bilbao Masters Final 2016

After 12 losses and 18 draws in their previous match ups, Hikaru Nakamura finally won against Magnus Carlsen in a classical format game. That happened in the very first round of the Bilbao Masters Final 2016.

The rest of the games were drawn, thus leaving Nakamura on the lead at the start of this tournament.

APECC Non-Master Executive Chess Tournament — July 2016

The July 2016 edition of the APECC Non-Master Executive Chess Tournament was held last Saturday, July 9, 2016, in the Philippine Navy Officers’ Clubhouse, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. It was a rated, 18-player, 6-round Swiss system tournament for executives and professionals who are rated 2000 and below by the NCFP, with a total prize fund of PhP10,500 plus trophies and medals.

Check out the feature video below I created from the event:

Knockout (Matches) vs. Round Robin

Former challenger to the world chess crown, Boris Gelfand, when asked if anyone can beat Magnus Carlsen in the near future:

In matches, in general, anyone could. Carlsen is, of course, the clear favourite, but many would have a chance. As for tournaments – he wins the majority of them. Nevertheless, there are still contenders for his crown. I’m cautious in my predictions.

Perhaps, a majority of top grandmasters would agree that holding a tournament in a knockout (matches) format would yield a totally different result than when usually held in round-robin (or Swiss-system) format. That’s because different players perform differently between the two formats. Sometimes, a certain player acts as an Achilles heel against a particular opponent, but performs poorly when slated with the rest of the participants.

Thus, I think it would be interesting to follow tournaments that incorporate both formats. Maybe a round robin in the early stages that ultimately culminates in four-way knockout matches? Don’t you think?

The Sorry State of Philippine Chess

Eugene Torre vs. Joey Antonio in the Battle of Grandmasters 2008

Rappler asks Why has chess fallen in popularity in the Philippines?, and writes:

At the first Battle of Grandmasters in 2006, Wesley So won the first prize of P200,000. But as sponsorships dried up, so did prize money. On Tuesday, June 28 Joey Antonio won and took home a first prize of P18,000.

A sorry state, indeed. The article goes on to explain how Filipino grandmasters are flying out of the country in search of greener pastures.

When a good move is enough

Grandmaster Radosław Wojtaszek in an interview about Carlsen’s playing style:

I noticed that Magnus Carlsen’s playing philosophy is to make moves that are good enough rather than the best. Making the best move again and again absorbs a lot of time and energy. The genius is economical: he plays 30 good moves and two excellent ones. It works. I think that principle applies not only to chess.

The next time I hit the chess board, I’ll keep this in mind. O wait, but which one is the good move?