Category Archives: Chess
Weve been focused on the loss of professional sports worldwide because of the coronavirus, but competitions of all kinds are being postponed and canceled. On Wednesday, the N.H.L. became the latest North American league to announce a round of schedule changes, postponing its scouting combine, annual awards ceremony and draft, all of which had been set to take place in June. There was also deflating news about the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.
They may not be the Summer Olympics, but their enthusiasts are lamenting the same sudden voids in their lives as sports fans.
The National Spelling Bee scheduled for this week was postponed indefinitely. The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, scheduled for last weekend, has been moved to September. And perish the thought, the Eurovision Song Contest was canceled outright. How will the next Abba or Celine Dion, competitors in their unknown days, emerge on the music scene?
The World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, which starts its preliminary events in late May, is still on for now. Casinos on the Strip are closed for now, with many scheduled to reopen after March 31. People from all over the world converging in one place and passing cards around. What could go wrong?
One event proceeding as scheduled is the chess Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg, Russia. One of the most important events on the calendar, its winner will challenge the world champion, Magnus Carlsen, for his title.
Its a rare gathering of human beings in this time of social distancing, but precautions are being taken. There are no spectators, and news media members have limited contact with the players and must wear masks. There are no pre- or postmatch handshakes, with elbow bumps the favored replacement. Players and officials are being checked by doctors twice a day.
Still, the decision to press on certainly drew some critics. One of the eight qualified players, Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan, pulled out because of virus fears and was replaced by an alternate.
When the tournament started on March 17, things were unclear, said Milan Dinic, the press officer for the event. In Russia, they do not have many cases.
Theyre playing in complete isolation, Dinic said. If someone feels unwell, they will stop the event.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia were the early leaders in the event, which is to run through April 4. The lone American is Fabiano Caruana, who was the last challenger to Carlsen, losing in a tiebreaker after 12 consecutive draws in 2018. He is in third, within striking distance for another shot at the title.
Fabi is a perfectionist, said Mehreen Malik, his co-manager. I think hes been relaxed and very positive. There is all still to play for.
Chess tournaments are tough during the best of times and certainly much tougher now, Caruana said. Hopefully it gets peoples minds off of the epidemic.
The tournament is streaming online, and Chess.com and other sites report strong viewership numbers from quarantined folks desperate to watch some competition, any competition.
Top athletes need to train. But in all likelihood they are currently cooped up inside, perhaps with children underfoot. So theyre getting creative in using what they have.
Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City did leg lifts, with his children providing the weight. Curiously, while one wore a De Bruyne jersey, the other opted for Raheem Sterling.
The boxer Tyson Furys live-streamed workout with his wife, Paris, was repeatedly crashed by twirling, jumping and dancing children. Hey, thats cardio.
For the runner Ben Bruce, training was a treadmill session while shooting arcade basketball with his son feeding him. He reported going at a sub-10-minute pace while scoring 36. Listen to the man, and dont try that at home.
The Chicago Bulls player Zach LaVine, on the other hand, found his dog Grizzy was a good defensive player in quarantine. LaVine, however, got the shot to fall: 2-0. AirBud, youre up next.
As usual, there were more cancellations. The Kontinental Hockey League, based mostly in Russia, had stopped play in the middle of the playoffs. Now they have called the season off entirely. Well, Russian fans, theres always chess.
Horse racing is one of the last sports still trotting along, with races scheduled in Florida, Ireland and South Africa in coming days. But not in Victoria or New South Wales, Australia, where racing was shut down after a jockey flew on a plane with a confirmed coronavirus case among its passengers.
But Belarusian soccer plays on. Round 2 of its Premier League season begins Friday.
There may be light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel. Japans J-League, the top soccer competition, has set a date of May 9 to resume play. (And if youre even more desperate, the second division is to start May 2.)
It may not happen, of course, but well gratefully take the hopeful signs when they come. And maybe someday soon we will crowd out the cancellation news with a slew of sports relaunch stories.
70 Girls and 9 Coaches Attended Promoting to Queens on a Yacht
Jay Stallings, founder of the California Youth Chess League, planned four special events to promote women and girls chess in the 2020-2021 school calendar year and received a US Chess Women program grant in partnership with the Saint Louis Chess Club. Read about a previous Promoting to Queens event here. The fourth event was planned for the Spring. Due to the scourge of COVID-19, this event will be moved to a series of educational Zoom Webinars featuring some of the inspiring stars in this article, allowing for even more intensive and targeted instruction.
Coach Jay helps the coaches welcome the families to the red carpet!
Coach Eva Keshishian always had a crowd eager to earn Skills Stickers!
On beautiful day in February with just the right amount of clouds overhead, nine female coaches welcomed seventy excited girls onto FantaSea One, the flagship yacht in the fleet of FantaSea Yachts. Less than a month earlier, the owner of FantaSea Yachts had offered this beautiful yacht to be used for the third meeting of the Promoting to Queens program.
The Captain missed his First Mate!
Eyes widened as the guests explored the splendor of the four decks, each with its own function and beauty lounge, dining, party, sunshine!
The memorable day kicked off with a slideshow welcoming everyone, an educationally entertaining Quiz Show we called Americas Cup or Sinquefield Cup?
A real treat followed as Class A player Courtney Lauren Penn, now a movie producer, told the girls how chess had made her career possible. The girls were all smiles as she revealed her realization that you often had to lose in order to grow.
Interestingly, Courtney played in the K-12 Champ section at the first ever SuperNationals (1997, Knoxville) alongside future chess professionals Jennifer Shahade of US Chess, FunMaster Mike Klein of Chess.com/ChessKid.com, Adam Weissbarth of Silver Knights Chess, Macauley Peterson of ChessBase, and Todd Andrews of the Nashville Chess Center, among others.
All the while, coaches handed out Stellar Student stickers, of which over 160 would be needed for each team (Dolphins, Starfish, Sea Horses, and Penguins) to open their teams treasure chest! Curious? Read on!
Tatev Abrahamyan with young chessplayers
Tatev and Annie gave simuls on the Party Deck!
Throughout the five-hour event, the girls earned stickers through a wide range of chess (and some non-chess) activities playing against WGM Tatev Abrahamyan or IM Annie Wang in a simul, participating in a top-student simul (either as giver or player), earning skill stickers (like Q + K Mate), completing a chess puzzle (no, a real puzzle), and even creating fun Perler Bead chess pieces with their friends! In the end, as some teams reached their sticker goal, girls offered their extra stickers to the other teams so that they could open their treasure chests as well!
Promoting to Queen SWAG
Liora Ginzburg gives a simul
In the end, all chests were opened, and the girls were delighted to each receive a special Promoting to Queens charm bracelet!
This program was made possible by a grant from US Chess and the St. Louis Chess Club, with funding from the Crane Fund for Women & Children, and FantaSea Yachts (which also supplied the venue along with staffing, coffee, tea, and cookies too!).
Jay Stallings and Dr. Angela Nelson, of California Youth Chess League, organized the event.
Look for more news from Jay on his Zoom programming to close out the Promoting to Queens season.
The tournament was held as planned despite warnings from local authorities. On the same day as the event started, regional Governor Andrey Chibis announced that all mass public events that included participation of foreigners must be cancelled.
Still, about 100 young people on the 13th March sat down by the chess boards as part of the Polar Gambit 2020, an open international tournament for young people. On the list of participants were youngsters from Estonia, France and Ireland.
As the event came to a close, it became known that one of the players, a young man from Ireland, had contracted the coronavirus. As he was about to leave the Russian Arctic city on the 16th March he was taken from the check-in area at the local airport and subsequently isolated at the regional hospital.
Following his positive testing for the virus, all participants were put in isolation. That included Murmansk City Mayor Yevgeny Nikora, who had been shortly at the event to welcome participants.
Nikora was placed in total isolation at the Murmansk Regional Hospital. The same was the case with a journalist, a member of the local parliament and two of the event organizers, newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reports.
Among the latter is Andranik Musatyan, the Head of the Murmansk Chess Federation. Musatyan is not happy with the reaction from the health authorities and argues that all participants should have been put in hospital confinement.
Hundred people were at the tournament, but none of them were put under observation. For some reason only we are here, all the rest are in their homes, he complains.
Why must it be worse for me? I was at the event only for 15 minutes, opened the tournament and left, he says to Komsomolskaya Pravda.
Neither he, nor City Mayor Nikora, tested positive for the virus.
Musatyan, a well-known local politicianand businessman, is not impressed with the work of Rospotrebnadzor, the state consumer and welfare agency responsible for public health.
The sportsmen sat for up to eight hours over the chess boards, saw each other in the eyes, shookhands and sneezed at each other. If there is an epidemic, then the most dangerous ones must be isolated, he says.
This must all be sorted out by the Rospotrebnadzor, he underlines and calls the agency anunprepared, defunct and incomprehensible body.
Several of the foreign participants had left Murmansk by the time the Irish chess player tested positive. But a group of Frenchmen were still in the city and have subsequently been placed in quarantine.
This week, French General Consul on St.Petersburg came to visit the young players. Along with Murmansk Governor Andrey Chibis, Hughes De Chavagnac was a shown around in the hospital ward where they are isolated. If a third and final test shows negative result, the players will be allowed to leave Murmansk on the 30th of March, the Murmansk regional government says.
Most of the local Russian players that took part in the tournament are now in home quarantine.
However, not everyone that was on the site of the tournament have been followed up the health authorities. Guest of honor and chess grandmaster Valentina Gunina, who had come to Murmansk to lead and comment the tournament online translations, was reportedly not requested to enter quarantine.
There was a total mess, [and] nobody told me anything about what to do, nor what tests to take.
Murmansk by the 24th March officially had one case of coronavirus. On the 25th March, regional authorities announced that another two individuals are suspected to carry the virus.
A personal message from US Chess Executive Director Carol Meyer
Dear Friends in Chess:
During this time, unprecedented in all of our lives, I find myself seeking perspective in the disruption that has entered my personal and professional life. I write this from 41,000 feet, unexpectedly on my way to help my daughter drive 1,700 miles from a now-abbreviated internship.
I hope each of you is well and able to receive the services and items you need to get through this time of social distancing and forced isolation. For those of us who regularly work from home, we too are adjusting to having our families in our midst during the business day.
US Chess is committed to protecting the health and well-being of our players and those who support them in chess. The decision to cancel our three scholastic spring national events was not easy. As I have learned, chess players live to compete, and US Chess national events are a highlight of a players chess year and sometimes their career. Such disruption is unavoidable under our present circumstances. We rely on trusted, authoritative sources to make our decisions. I will miss being part of the spring events but look forward to our summer invitationals, the U.S. Open, and the K-12 Grades in December.
US Chess is concerned about protecting our staff team. While many of us routinely work from home, one third of our staff works in our Crossville, Tennessee headquarters. US Chess has shuttered its doors and required its entire team to work from home. This decision was made to protect our team, while supporting their work to continue to deliver services to our members. During this time, you might experience delays in having your phone call or email answered, but please know we strive to provide excellent customer service to everyone who reaches out to us. For faster response, I encourage you to email the appropriate staff person whose contact info is on the US Chess staff page.
The US Chess Executive Board (EB) has been very active during this time. It has canceled its in-person meeting in Dallas, Texas and will be holding a series of virtual meetings during the month of May. It is also looking for ways to help you keep playing chess via US Chess online-rated events. The EB will be offering interim rules this week on how US Chess Certified Tournament Directors can run official US Chess online-rated events.
While the disruption we are experiencing is temporary, its effect will be lasting. I hope you and your family remain healthy and can find the joy in having more time to spend together.
Chess boards will be ready and waiting again.
Chess Boards Will Be Set Up Again - uschess.org
Chess Market Size, Top Manufacturers, Product Types, Applications and Specification, Forecast to 2045 – Packaging News 24
The global Chess market reached ~US$ xx Mn in 2018 and is anticipated grow at a CAGR of xx% over the forecast period 2019-2029. In this Chess market study, the following years are considered to predict the market footprint:
The business intelligence study of the Chess market covers the estimation size of the market both in terms of value (Mn/Bn USD) and volume (x units). In a bid to recognize the growth prospects in the Chess market, the market study has been geographically fragmented into important regions that are progressing faster than the overall market. Each segment of the Chess market has been individually analyzed on the basis of pricing, distribution, and demand prospect for the following regions:
Each market player encompassed in the Chess market study is assessed according to its market share, production footprint, current launches, agreements, ongoing R&D projects, and business tactics. In addition, the Chess market study scrutinizes the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis.
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On the basis of age group, the global Chess market report covers the footprint, and adoption pattern of the segments including
The following manufacturers are covered:The House of StauntonChessSUACNCHESSChessBaronShri Ganesh (India) InternationalChessncraftsChessbazaar.comOfficial StauntonABC-CHESS.comYiwu Linsai
Segment by RegionsNorth AmericaEuropeChinaJapanSoutheast AsiaIndia
Segment by TypeWooden ChessGlass ChessPlastic Chess
Segment by ApplicationIndoor SportsIndoor EntertainmentOther
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The Tip-Off | Chess players proving they are and aren’t model citizens in a health crisis – SportsPro Media
Of the very, very few sporting events to take place anywhere in the last week, perhaps the most consequential is the ongoing FIDE Candidates Tournament. Eight chess grandmasters are facing off in Yekaterinburg, Russia for the right to play world champion Magnus Carlsen later this year.
FIDE and its promotional partner World Chess have been at pains to insist that it is doing all it can to ensure the safety of its players, with coronavirus tests, twice-daily health checks and abundant quantities of hand sanitiser. Curiously, in a sport that can so easily be played remotely, the competitors are sitting across the board inpersonbut some creative measures have been taken to encourage social distancing.
The most remarkable of these involved commissioning a collection of five-inch-tall Ken and Barbie-like models in each players image to be arranged for handshakes and other currently impossible protocols in official photographs. But as the Wall Street Journal has noted, there is one specific safety measure the proponents have not quite managed under intense concentration.
Of coursewe touch our faces, said world number sixMaximeVachier-Lagraveof France.That much is clear.
The sports industry is adapting to a period with pretty much no live sport. Staying a relevant, consistent, or even an uplifting part of peoples everyday lives through the social distancing and isolation needed to stave off the coronavirus pandemic is taking some creative thinking already.
For the most part, this has meant turning to two types of content: the archives, and shared digital events. Formula One andNascarhave launched enthusiastically into esports series involving current and former drivers as well as celebrities, with Formula Two driverGuanyuZhou winning the Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix on Sunday and theeNascariRacingPro Invitational Series has secured a linear TV deal with Fox Sports. Meanwhile organisations like world soccersFifahave opened up all manner of historic coverage for those who prefer their sport to be from the real world, albeit also from the past.
At this point, as can only be expected, these initiatives are fairly close to the minimum viable product phase and a high degree of improvisation. Still, there are a couple of questions that it will be worth asking as they continue.
First of all, who are they for and who will actually end up enjoying this content? Will esports output, for example, appeal to existing sports audiences hungry for something to follow, or existing esports communities hungry for something new? Do retro matches fill the gap for everyone, or just a specific niche? What can this tell us about the value of these types of offerings in the long term?
Secondly, what are rights holders aiming to accomplish? Retaining a measure of visibility and viability will be essential, to be sure, and there isa need to preserve a commercial link just as there is for thosepay-TVbroadcasters without live events to keepviewersonside withsubscription freezes. Yetasgovernment responses in country after country makeitlikelythat playing sport will take longer to return as a leisure activity than watching it on television, it will be just as important to thinkhard onhow toprotect some of those deeper connections, too.
Another event standing out across a barren sporting landscape is Major League Fishing in the US. 500,000 unique visitors watched a combined 19 million minutes of competition on the leagues in-house live stream,MLFNOW!,during the third round of the Bass Pro Tour in Lake Fork, Texasfrom 13thto 18thMarch, whenever that was.
Viewing numbers were up 20 per cent on events in February, which were themselves up 89 per cent on similar events year-on-year, while stage three also saw a 72 per cent rise insocial media impressions on the earlier contests.MLF says its sport is tailor-made for social distancing and took additional stepsto meet changing public health guidelines last week, including cancelling joint weigh-ins of each catch and altering accommodation arrangements. Round four of the Bass Pro Tour, ifyouneed things to put in your diary, runs from 3rdto 8thApril.
At a time when the current hiatus threatens financial insecurity for almost everyone, freelancers will be feeling that uncertainty more than most.
Credit is due, then, to the Professional Triathletes Organisation, which has instituted a series of radical measures to protect those men and women ranked 21 to 100 in its global rankings. Its Year-End Annual Bonus Programme will pay out immediately based on the current standings, rather than later in the season. The overall pot has grown from US$2 million to US$2.5 million, with the extra US$500,000 spread between those in those lower ranking brackets based on their position as of 1stJanuary or 15thMarch, whichever is higher.
Meanwhile, thetop ten triathletes in each list have committed to spending some of their downtime during the suspension of races making commercial appearances online to bring in additional funds for their fellow competitors.
On the subject of emergency pay responses, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is to forego his salary indefinitely in the wake of golfs flurry of cancellations and postponements, according to ESPN and Golfweek. Monahans gesturecomeswith a number of Tour executivestaking pay cuts of 25 per cent and all other staff facing salary freezes to 2019 levels.
Probably the closest any sports story has come to pulling attention away from any coronavirus-related updates was the news that Tom Bradys marathon, multiple Super Bowl-winning stint at the New England Patriots is at an end.
The Californian, who will be 43 by the time the new NFL season is scheduled to begin, has gone south to Florida and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and has made an immediate impact on the merchandising market. Fanatics has revealed that the top three bestselling jerseys across NFLShop.com and the Buccaneers online store have been mens and womens Tom Brady jerseys, with his day-over-day jersey sales rising 900 per cent.
The Bucs, unsurprisingly, are the strongest-performing team in the league in merchandise sales, selling twice as much inventory on Friday as the rest of the Fanatics network had in the previous two weeks. In Europe, ten times as many Brady jerseys were sold on Fridayas those for any other player.
the Whole atmosphere is hostile. All around us have masks, and there are security guards around us all the time. I will not be here, and I will not play.
It says Aleksandr Grisjtsjuk, one of the participants in the kandidatturneringen in chess.
It serves as a world cup qualifier, where the winner will face Magnus Carlsen for the world CHAMPIONSHIP match later in the year.
surgical masks: Some of the commentators use a face mask at work.
Photo: WORLD CHESS
the Organizer of the tournament has made several efforts to carry out the tournament, but the players are characterized by the situation.
After six rounds they have broken the advice from the World health organization (WHO) several times:
Several of the players takes care of the face (eyes, nose, and mouth). They sit closer than one metre from each other. Several of the players shake hands.
the HANDSHAKE: Anish Giri and Kirill Aleksejenko greet before the sixth round in kandidatturneringen.
Photo: WORLD CHESS dont Know if they will come home again
Players try to concentrate as normal. It involves taking in the face while they stare down at the chessboard and thinking on the next move.
For many of the players, this is their biggest tournament, and perhaps their only chance to qualify for a world CHAMPIONSHIP match. But after virusutbruddet that characterize the world view, also affects the worlds best players.
It is very difficult. It takes a lot of discipline not to follow what happens in the world, says Fabiano Caruana.
We have to follow what is happening. We can get information that we need to go somewhere, if not, were going to die. With so much at stake, it is important to keep up with the world than to play chess right now, says Dutch Anish Giri.
We are the only ones who hold on, everything else is stopped. It should have been deferred, says Grisjtsjuk.
MEASURES: Handshake before and after the parties are no longer mandatory, and the russians Jan Nepomnjasjtsjij and Aleksandr Grisjtsjuk greeted therefore.
The sjakkekspert Atle Green is not concerned for the health of the eight players, but believes its about ethics.
It is an unfortunate symbolism. I think it is uncomfortable that would no longer be competitive is not in solidarity with the rest of the world, says Green.
All sport in Russia stopped
at the hotel in Yekaterinburg sits the eight sjakkspillerne in a folketomt local. The only thing that comes with is the security guards, and several of them have on a face mask, which creates a strange atmosphere.
It is absurd. But I can understand the organizer. All are concerned for the world, but I dont think we are worried about the eight. We are more concerned about those who are in real danger, says Green.
the Tournament is played at a luxury hotel in Yekaterinburg, east of the Urals, and at the entrance to Siberia. When the tournament started 17. march was all sports shut down in Russia.
In a press release before start-up, announced the organizer, the FIDE, that the tournament would go as planned. They pulled up that there were only eight players, and published at the same time that the public does not get access to spillelokalet. Officials and the press must follow strict rules.
The international sjakkforbundet have not responded to The request.
All India Chess Federation staff yet to receive salaries owing to issues between factions – Scroll.in
The All India Chess Federation staff are yet to receive their February salaries due to various issues including the internal squabble between the factions led by president PR Venketrama Raja and secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan.
While Chauhan said clearance of cheques to pay staff salaries and for other payments depended on its banker (Indian Bank), AICF Treasurer Kishor M Bandekar claimed the secretarys signature was mandatory and he was not signing citing lack of authority.
Chauhan said only the AICF general body had the authority to decide on the payments, adding unless it was held nothing could be done.
All the payments have to be approved by the general body. Unfortunately, we are not able to convene the general body, he said.
He also said the Indian bank officials had told him that they were seeking legal opinion on the clearance of AICF cheques.
Bandekar, on the other hand, said it was Chauhan who was not signing the cheques.
I have been requesting the secretary to sign but he has been refusing saying he does not have the authority and that the general body has to decide, he said.
Salaries of the staff for February are due. Also, March salaries will be due soon. There are other dues and the issue will be taken up with the bank.
Bandekar said the AICF Secretary and Treasurer are among the two authorised signatories for signing cheques on behalf of AICF and due to technical issues the payments are pending.
The factions led by Venketrama Raja and Chauhan have been at loggerheads over various issues. Their bickering saw the AICF elections being taken to court.
The Madras High Court had appointed retired Supreme Court Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifulla last month as Returning Officer to conduct the Federation elections.
He had declared Ajay H Patel elected as President, Chauhan as Secretary, Naresh Sharma as Treasurer, M Arun Singh as Joint Secretary, and Vipnesh Bharadwaj as Vice President.
After the new office-bearers assumed office, the High Court set aside their election and asked Kalifulla to convene a Special General Body Meeting to conduct fresh elections after an appeal by President Venketrama Raja.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Chauhan against the High Courts order.
Earlier this month, the court-appointed election returning officer had ordered All India Chess Federation to deposit Rs 58.50 lakh towards providing remuneration to himself and other charges to begin the election process according to the National Sports Development Code.
Meanwhile, the AICF has shut its office in Chennai and staff are working from home following the coronavirus pandemic, which has also resulted in cancellation/postponement of various events in India and across the world.
The premier events on the US Chess calendar will be held later in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns; Hall of Fame events also affected.
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) against gatherings of 50 people or more, and local Saint Louis protocols, the US Chess Federation and tournament organizer the Saint Louis Chess Club jointly announce that the 2020 U.S. Championship and U.S. Womens Championship are postponed until later in the year. The events were originally scheduled for April 9-23.
Above all, both organizations are most concerned with the health and well-being of the participants, spectators, and staff. Following the recommendations of authoritative sources such as the CDC is the best way for us to protect all. While this will be disappointing to many in the chess world, we are confident that this decision is appropriate in these extraordinary circumstances.
Also affected by this postponement are the 2020 induction ceremonies for the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame and the World Chess Hall of Fame. These will take place in conjunction with the U.S. Championship/U.S. Womens Championship opening ceremony when that is rescheduled.Further details on the new event dates for the championships and the halls of fame will be provided later.
Please visit uschess.org, uschesschamps.com, and worldchesshof.org for up-to-date information. Your patience during this rapidly evolving process is appreciated.
Originally posted here:
US Championship and US Women's Championship are Postponed - uschess.org
Cinemas are closed. Shutters are down on malls. Stadia are empty. Coronavirus has pressed the pause button on the world.
Every day dawns with the news of the cancellation or postponement of a major sporting event. On Tuesday in Russia though, one of the biggest tournaments of the year in chess will get underway. The Candidates tournament opens at Yekaterinburg, which boasts some of the tallest buildings in Russia.
The next three weeks will tell who, from among the eight players, will stand the tallest and stake the claim to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the next World Championship, to be held later in the year.
For the uninitiated, the World chess champion has the privilege of playing the title match directly a bit like the Wimbledon champion getting seeded straight to the final. That has usually been the custom in chess for decades.
So it is indeed extremely difficult for someone to emerge as the new champion.
In the 134-year-history of the championship, there have only been 16 undisputed champions.
Carlsen became the 16th when he dethroned Viswanathan Anand in 2013 in the latters hometown of Chennai.
In late 2018 at London, the Norwegian genius was given a tough fight in the title match by Fabiano Caruana.
The match was tied 6-6 and it was through the tie-breakers that Carlsen emeged victorious. Caruana is very much the favourite to be the challenger once again.
The Italian-American is the World No. 2, with 2842 Elo points. He could face the stiffest challenge from Ding Laren, the World No. 3 from China with a rating of 2805.
Russians Alexander Grischuk (2777), Ian Nepomniachtchi (2774) and Kirill Alekseenko (2698), Dutchman Anish Giri (2763), Frances Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2767) and Chinas Wang Hao (2762) are the others in the fray.
I think Caruana is too strong for this field, says Mumbai-based Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay. As he proved in the last World Championship, he could pose the toughest challenge to Carlsen.
Caruanas toughest challenge at Yekaterinburg could come from Liren. He had arrived, along with his team, from China (the epicentre of Corona) and had been in quarantine.
Not that every chess player wanted to take on Corona and play at the Candidates. Teimour Radjabov of Azerjaiban had pulled out and had requested the world chess governing body FIDE to postpone the tournament (he was replaced by Vachier-Lagrave).
Caruana had found his flight to Russia was cancelled without notice but was able to board another later. FIDE was in no mood to change the schedule of the Candidates, stating that an eight-player tournament could not be compared to a large event.
One can follow the tournament live online and on chess.com, one can listen to the commentary of Anand, who is stuck in Germany, after competing in the Bundesliga chess league, because of travel restrictions.
The five-time World Champion is making his debut as a commentator. Given his deep knowledge, experience, the ability to analyse quickly, articulation and sense of humour, he should be a treat to listen to.
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Originally posted here:
Chess | Caruana favoured to come out on top - The Hindu