2017 Winter Classic heats up

by Albert Silver
3/17/2017 – The St Louis Chess Club has become a regular source of grandmaster and master norms via a steady flow of tournaments held there. Right now the Winter Classic is underway, and has two strong GM events, one which brings intriguing names such as Jeffery Xiong, Vladimir Fedoseev, and David Howell. Not content to just host them, videos are produced after every round with the players commenting a game.

The Sicilian Tajmanov-Scheveningen The Sicilian Tajmanov-Scheveningen

The Sicilian has been known for decades as the most reliable way for Black to obtain an unbalanced but good position. Among the most popular Sicilians at the top level the two that certainly stand out are the Najdorf and the Paulsen.


It is not without irony that the competition’s name, not new, should coincide with one of the worst blizzards in recent history, bringing the US east coast to a standstill under a massive blanket of snow, ice, and sleet.


A short time-lapse showing the incredibly swift accumulation of snow, condensing hours into seconds. Impressive.

Both competitions bring ten players, who will fight for the gold for nine rounds played at 40 moves in 90 minutes, followed by 30 minutes, plus a 30-second increment from move one.

The A tournament has the strongest field with an average 2639 rating, and pits top juniors such as Jeffery Xiong Samuel Sevian and Li Ruifeng, as well as Sam Shankland, against an assortment of talented foreign GMs, such as David Howell and Vladimir Fedoseev, who just won the prestigious Aeroflot Open.

After six rounds, Englishman David Howell has taken the sole lead with 4.0/6, though he is followed very closely by a pack of three wolves: Vladimir Fedoseev, Polish player David Swiercz, and Jeffery Xiong.


Vladimir Fedoseev and Irina Krush present their respective wins in the early rounds, with detailed commentary

Sam Shankland, facing Yaro Zherebukh, suffered his only defeat here, and stands at 50% with 3.0/6. Zherebukh also stands at 50%, having himself lost to Ipatov.

The strong Emilio Cordova hails from Peru and is 26-years old

Standings in Winter Classic 'A' after 6 rounds

GM Robert Hess is one of the top ratings in the 'B' event and is at 50% with 3.0/6

Irina Krush watches the action on Hess's board. On her left is the game between Ukrainian Andrey Baryshpolets and Cemil Ali Marandi from Turkey. Baryshpolets has had a superb start with 5.0/6, and is the clear leader with a full point advance over his nearest rival.

Andrey Baryshpolets vs Ioan-Cristian Chirila


Benjamin Finegold, who defeated Irina Krush in their game above, also has been commenting every game of his in his personal YouTube channel.

ChessBase editor Alejandro Ramirez is playing as well, and defeated Akshat Chandra here

Standings in Winter Classic 'B' after 6 rounds


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.


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nijimba nijimba 3/17/2017 11:52
I m talking of the B classic obviously
nijimba nijimba 3/17/2017 11:51
Not even one has 2600
guesting guesting 3/17/2017 11:04
Any player that reaches de 2600 should be called a strong player. Above theys are the elite 2700 barrier, and above they only the exceptional players.
Miguel Ararat Miguel Ararat 3/17/2017 10:47
Thank you for the article. Here in the US we are happy to see our young chess players against seasoned GM's
Bertman Bertman 3/17/2017 05:35
I think you are misreading it. "Strong" is a characterization of the event, not the GMs.
chickenpee chickenpee 3/17/2017 01:12
Once more with feeling...
If you have to call it a "strong" GM event, it isn't.
If you have to call the GM's "strong," they aren't.