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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 20, 2011

Nakamura and World Champion Anand take early lead in Holland tournament

By Peter Henner

One of the strongest and most prestigious chess tournaments in the world is held in the little Dutch town Wijk aan Zee. This tournament began as a small Dutch tournament in 1938, and has evolved into a major international tournament, including three separate Grand Master tournaments, with the strongest players in the world competing in the A section.

The tournament has now acquired major corporate sponsorship. From 1999 through 2010, it was known as the Corus tournament, after its sponsor, a European steel and aluminum producer. Corus has now been acquired by the large Indian conglomerate Tata Steel, and the tournament is now called the Tata Steel chess tournament.

The 2011 tournament features 14 of the strongest players in the world: highest-rated M. Carlson, World Champion V. Anand, former World Champion V. Kramnik, as well as A. Grischuk and L. Aronian, who have qualified for the current world championship matches, to be held later this year.

The United States is represented by Hikaru Nakamura, the top rated United States player who has scored some stunning international successes in recent months. After four rounds, Nakamura is tied for the lead at 3-1 with world champion Anand.

One of the sensations of the tournament is the play of 16-year-old Dutch player A. Giri, who stunned Carlson in a very short game (only 22 moves) while playing black. 

In round three, Nakamura won the €500 prize for the best game of the day, in a long 93-move game against Alexei Shirov (a former Russian who is now a Spanish citizen).  Nakamura explained that the length of the game was his own fault.

“I somehow began playing hesitantly halfway through,” he said, “causing the game to last seven instead of two hours.”

Women World contenders protest tournament conditions

18 of the women who competed in the 2010 World Championship in Turkey, including Americans Alexandra Kosteniuk and Anna Zatonskih, have submitted a strongly worded letter to FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs), protesting the playing conditions at the site.

The Turkish Chess Federation, which sponsored the tournament, has refused to respond to the letter, which alleges that the players were overcharged for substandard hotel accommodations, deprived of the opportunity to purchase adequate food, and forced to play in an extremely noisy environment. FIDE has promised to respond to the accusations in the next few days.

Schenectady Champ update

One preliminary section of the Schenectady Championship has concluded. The A section was won by Patrick Chi (8-1), with John Phillips (7-2) and Bill Little (6-3) also qualifying for the Final section.

The B section is still up for grabs. Phil Sells has qualified with a score of 7-0, but still has one game left against Richard Moody (4 ½ - 2 ½). Moody can clinch at least a tie for a qualifying place with a victory, but a loss would mean that both John Barnes and Alan Le Cours, with 5-2, will get the other two berths in the finals.

Albany Chess Club news

The Albany Championships are also nearing completion. Gordon Magat has clinched at least a tie for first in Section 1, with a score of 4 ½ - ½, drawing only with Timothy Wright, who has 3 ½ - ½, with one game left.

Section 2 is still wide-open, with the three top-rated players, Dean Howard, Jonathan Lack, and myself all having two games left.

On Wednesday, Jan. 26, the club will offer a lecture on the King’s Gambit at 7:30 p.m. at the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church on Western Avenue.  The public is invited.

Eighth-grader wins 2011 Williams College Open

Trevor Murphy conducts a tournament on behalf of the Williams College Chess Club, on the second Sunday of January. Williamstown is only an hour from the Capital District, and the tournament frequently draws Capital District players.

This year, the tournament had only 10 players (including Murphy himself, who played to make sure there was an even number of players). The tournament was won by eighth-grader Aaron Schein, rated 1842, who won all three of his games.

This week’s problem

This week, rather than find a forced mate or quick win, you are asked to explain why a move cannot be made.

Alexei Shirov, in his game against Nakamura in the Tata Steel Tournament, has just played 41…Bd5, capturing a pawn on d5, but Nakamura can apparently just capture Shirov’s bishop. However, had Nakamura recaptured the bishop with 42 cd, Shirov would have won the game. Why?

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