Birthdays are unlucky

by Sabrina Chevannes
12/12/2016 – We all witnessed Nakamura’s painful defeat against Wesley So in round 1, which meant that he Hikaru’s birthday did not go the way he intended. We all watched him put Vishy through the same pain yesterday on his 47th birthday, meaning that birthdays seem to be unlucky in chess! Sabrina Chevannes reports...

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London Chess Classic 2016 / Round three report

However, they are not the only chess players to be celebrating their birthdays during this year’s London Chess Classic. 

In the Fide Open, I noticed three English players all celebrated their birthdays during the tournament. Chris Rice had a fantastic start to the tournament with a draw against Peter Wells and then beat an FM, but lost on his birthday yesterday. On Saturday, it was FM Peter Bachelor’s birthday and he lost to a 2000 player. However, there seemed to be one person who found luck on his birthday; Charlie Nettleton (rating 1963) beat a young and talented Indian IM on his birthday on Friday.  

Gawain Jones shares his birthday with Vishy Anand, but was out celebrating and having a good time in London. But who knows how he would have done in the first round of the British Knockout final if he had qualified…

Picture by Sue Maroroa Jones


I wonder if anyone else is due to celebrate their birthday in this year’s Classic. Or perhaps one has gone that I missed – do mention something in the comments, if you are aware of any!

Today was an exciting day for my friend and former teammate, WIM Natasha Regan, who was presented with the award of ECF Book of the Year for her book Chess for Life, which she wrote with GM Matthew Sadler. 

The book is unique and explores how chess players can improve over age and what factors affect the development. Their tagline describes the book pretty well:

“Understanding how chess skills develop and change with the passage of time.” 

Despite the book only being released recently, it has already captured the interest of many, including some very strong chess players. I even caught Vladimir Kramnik checking it out…

However, the book is not just for the older generation, but can also be attractive to juniors. Many lined up today for the book signing and were very excited to meet the legend that is Matthew Sadler. 

Today was also the first day of the final of the British Knockout and David Howell and Nigel Short battled it out in what looked like a very stressful match. David looked like he was trying to press through an advantage for quite a while, but found himself in familiar territory and got into time trouble when the position took a turn for the worse. It was then Nigel who was trying to push for the win. 

After 6 hours, the game was eventually drawn and both players were exhausted. This will be an extremely interesting match, with the history that Nigel and David have. Nigel has worked as David’s coach on a few occasions, namely for the World Junior Championships in Argentina in 2009. This event was actually won by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave! Nigel and David have also played on the same Olympiad team for several years, so presumably know each other’s games very well. So, there should be a lot of psychological games being played throughout this match. 

Many of the players have not been so keen to socialise in the first part of the tournament with the rounds starting at different times, but I did get a chance to go to the popular “Yas Restaurant” for some shisha last night! This place has been frequently visited by chess players each year, as it is just across the road from Olympia. Serving great Persian food and alcohol until 4am, this is a popular choice for a late-night snack!

Born in 1986 in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, England, Sabrina now lives in London where she is managing director of the London Academy of Chess and Education. With over 300 members of the academy, she has one of the largest following of students in the UK. Sabrina is a Women International Master and an active chess player.


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