Chess Classic Mainz 2008
The 2008 Chess Classic is taking place from July 28 to August 3 in the
Rheingoldhalle of the Congress Centre, Hilton Hotel in Mainz, Germany.
The event includes tournaments and Opens in traditional and Random Chess,
with stars like the current World Champion and world's number one Vishy
Anand, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Russian GM Alexander Morozevich and the
strongest female player of all time Judit Polgar.
2nd FiNet Chess960 Women's Rapid World Championship
Alexandra Kosteniuk wins final to become World Champion
By Johannes Fischer
It was an exciting end of an entertaining and interesting event. In the final
of the 2. FiNet Chess 960 Rapid World Championship Alexandra Kosteniuk and Kateryna
Lahno played four hard fought, entertaining games. Sometimes Lahno Kosteniuk
proved to be lucky, sometimes Lahno. But in all four games of the match, Kosteniuk
set the pace in the end she deservedly won became World Champion.
The first game already set the tone of the match. Kosteniuk with White, proceeded
aggressively and in the middlegame her passed d-pawn and her prospects on the
kingside seemed to give her good chances – though she probably was not
too happy about her exposed king.
But in the tactical complications that ensued after Kosteniuk tried to break
through on the kingside White had to give a couple of pawns. When the queens
went off the board Kosteniuk put all her faith into the strong passed pawn on
the d-file. As both players were desperately short of time by now Lahno failed
to find the proper defense – which was there – and lost.
However, fortune smiled upon her in the second game. Kosteniuk with Black again
gained the initiative but after winning a pawn with a tactical combination suddenly
found herself confronted with a lot of counterplay by White. While still keen
on converting her extra pawn into a win she took too many chances and in the
end was mated by Lahno.
Unperturbed, Kosteniuk continued to play well in game three, which opened
with 1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 and thus led to a bizarre “King’s Gambit”.
In fact, Kosteniuk played in a good King’s Gambit style to gain a lead
in development and started to open files against the enemy king. However, though
her position looked overwhelming she failed to deliver the decisive blow and
Lahno could escape into a draw. Thus, after three games the score was 1.5:1.5
and the fourth game was to decide the match.
Maybe it was the pressure of the match, maybe it was the disappointment of
the chances she had missed in the previous games, but in the crucial fourth
game Kosteniuk seemed to be determined. Perhaps a bit too determined. The opening
being barely over she decided to go for complications which could have easily
backfired had Lahno found the right moves. But maybe the pressure of the situation
also affected Lahno’s nerves. At any rate, in a complicated tactical position
she blundered a piece and after a couple of irrelevant moves finally decided
to resign which made Alexandra Kosteniuk the new World Champion in Chess960.
However, despite winning the title, Kosteniuk did not get carried away. In
the press conference after the game she said, that she “was not too happy
about the chess. I had a number of promising positions and made too little of
them.” That might be true, but that she still won just shows her class.
The match for third place between Natalia Zhukova and Viktorija Cmilyte came
to a quicker end. Both players had decided to take part in the FiNet Open, in
which Natalia Zhukova with 3.5 points from 5 games did pretty okay. However,
against Cmilyte she again had troubles with the clock and clearly lost 1:3.
But in the press conference after the match Zhukova did not seem to be too
shaken by her disastrous tournament and was keen to play the second half of
the FiNet Open tomorrow: “Of course, I want to qualify for the next World
She seems to know what a good tournament is.
- All games
Note that Chess360 can only be replayed with Fritz 11 or ChessBase
4th Livingston Chess960 Computer World Championship
Rybka and Shredder qualify for the finals
By Eric van Reem
On the second day of the Livingston Chess960 Computer World Championship, title
holder Rybka showed her (remember? Rybka is a she) class by scoring 5.5 points
out of six games. With 9/12 games programmer Vasik Raijlich clearly won the
preliminaries and will meet Shredder, the program by Stefan Meyer-Kahlen on
Friday. Shredder scored 6.5 points. The ICC qualifiers Naum and Shredder played
some very good games, occasionally teased Rybka and Shredder, but in the end
the favourites came out on top.
The computer Chess960 world championship in Mainz
Today, another round robin was played and after a suspense-packed first day,
Rybka had a perfect start by winning 2-0 against Shredder. The first game really
hurt Shredder, because Rybka played a very powerful game, but the second one
was equal, until Shredder pushed too hard for a win, made a mistake and lost
in the end. Aleksandar Naumov, who scored 3.5 points on the first day with Naum,
had a disappointing start of the day. He only scored half point in his mini-match
against Deep Sjeng. The last game was interesting for endgame lovers. A mind-boggling
knight endgame seemed to be drawish, but Deep Sjeng kept pushing and won after
more than 100 moves. So the Belgian program was back in business again. Shredder
won 1.5-0.5 against Naum and Sjeng lost 1.5-0.5 against Rybka, although Sjeng
must have missed a way to win the endgame in the second game. “This was
actually the most interesting game of the day for Rybka”, Raijlich said,
“because this was a really nice endgame”.
With only two games left, after ten rounds, the situation was as follows: Rybka
7 points, Naum and Shredder 4,5 points and Sjeng 4 points. Rybka won 2-0 against
Naum and got her revenge for the loss on Wednesday. Shredder won 2-0 against
Deep Sjeng. On Friday, we will see a repetition of last year’s final.
Will Rybka win the second Chess960 title in a row? The programs will battle
it out in four games.
Some comments from Vaclav Gerhard Vasik: “Today I scored more points
(Elo performance 3350!), but even in computer chess, some days are better than
others. Yesterday I scored only 3.5 points, but that is ok. I was not worried
about Rybka’s performance yesterday. Tomorrow, when I play the final,
Rybka must be ready. That is the important day”.
Throwing the dice
There are many procedures for creating the starting position for a game of
Chess960. You can use the new DGT Chess960 clock, which is probably the easiest
way to create a position, there are coin-tossing methods but have you ever heard
of the the eight-card method? Using a deck of playing cards, the king, queen,
two jacks, two aces, and two tens can be selected. It is decided which pieces
are represented by which cards (as the king and queen are obvious.) The deck
is shuffled, cut, and dealt. Care must be taken as to keep the bishops on opposite
colors, and the king between the rooks. To deal with a card that would be illegal,
just hold that piece to the side until it is legal to place. When a legal square
opens, place the held piece. Sometimes, two pieces are held but it is not confusing
and quite a speedy and random method.
There a a few more (and more fun) methods. Since so many grandmasters wander
around the Rheingoldhalle during the Chess Classic, it has become a nice tradition
that tournament director Eric van Reem asks one of them to determine a Chess960
position by rolling the dice. On the first day world champion Vishy Anand rolled
the dice, and today big names like Hikaru Nakamura and Judit Polgar were happy
to create a position for the computer tournament. The two Dutch Chess960 ambassadors,
Bianca Mühren and Dennis De Vreugt created interesting positions.