World Rapid - Day 2: Fedoseev and Ju Wenjun lead the pack

by Alex Yermolinsky
12/28/2017 – The second day at the King Salman World Rapid Championship continued its thrilling run with a clash between the leaders Fedoseev and Jobava won by the Russian. He continues as sole leader with 8.0/10. Half a point behind him are Wang Hao, Peter Svidler, and a rejuvenated Vishy Anand, who beat Magnus Carlsen in a big game. In the Women's section, Ju Wenjun leads with 8.0/10. Report and analysis by GM Alex Yermolinsky. | Photo:

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A promising start of the tournament saw two unheralded players sharing the lead after Day One. Both Fedoseev and Jobava are notorious risk takers, so a "strategic" draw wasn't an option. Things got wild early and until the very end could have gone either way.

The players arrive at the venue. In front are female talent 13-year-old Bibisara Assaubayeva, her mother, and Vladimir Fedoseev. | Photo:

The key match was in round 6, the first of Day 2, pitting both leaders, Vladimir Fedoseev and Baadur Jobava, against each other. There could only be one, and the Russian emerged victorious in a topsy-turvy game.

Vladimir Fedoseev 1-0 Baadur Jobava

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.27"] [Round "6"] [White "Fedoseev, Vladimir"] [Black "Jobava, Baadur"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D11"] [WhiteElo "2718"] [BlackElo "2690"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3r2k1/1p4b1/4n1p1/PqppP1P1/4pP2/4P1N1/2Q3K1/4B2R b - - 0 43"] [PlyCount "38"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] {[#]} 43... Qd3 44. Qxd3 $5 {As strange as it might seem this decision was motivated by a desire to win.} ({After} 44. Qf2 Rf8 {White breaks out with} 45. f5 {but he cannot get more than a draw:} gxf5 (45... Bxe5 46. Rh6) 46. Nxf5 Bxe5 47. Ne7+ Kg7 48. Nf5+ Kg8 ({If Black so wishes he can take the intiative in his hands,} 48... Rxf5 49. Qxf5 Nf4+ 50. exf4 Qf3+ {but the result will be the same after} 51. Kg1 Bd4+ 52. Kh2 Qe2+ 53. Kg3 Qf3+ 54. Kh2) 49. Ne7+) 44... exd3 45. Kf3 Rf8 ({I wonder if Black could have resorted to a radical measure, } 45... Nxg5+ $5 46. fxg5 Bxe5 {breaking up White's pawn mass and freeing his king.}) 46. Kg4 d4 $2 {Very unfortunate.} ({Instead, the logical} 46... c4 47. Bc3 Nc5 {would have kept White from realizing his attacking ambitions, as} 48. f5 gxf5+ 49. Nxf5 Ne4 {is clearly bad for him.}) 47. Bd2 c4 48. exd4 Nxd4 49. Ne4 Nb3 50. Bc3 Rd8 51. f5 ({Much more accurate was} 51. Nf6+ Kf7 52. f5 { which would force Black to give up his knight:} Nd4 53. e6+ Nxe6 54. fxe6+ Kxe6 55. Re1+ Kf7 56. Rb1 $18) 51... gxf5+ ({A spectacular line} 51... d2 52. f6 d1=Q+ 53. Rxd1 Rxd1 54. e6 Bf8 55. f7+ Kh7 56. Nf6+ {would also end in perpetual.}) 52. Kxf5 Nd4+ 53. Kg6 Nc6 54. Nf6+ Kf8 55. e6 Ne7+ $2 {Baadur was unlucky to make the last error.} (55... d2 56. Rd1 (56. Bxd2 Rxd2 57. Nd7+ Ke7 58. Kxg7 c3 $17) 56... Rd3 57. Nh7+ Kg8 58. Nf6+ Bxf6 (58... Kf8 {is yet another perpetual check.}) 59. gxf6 Rg3+ 60. Kf5 Rxc3 61. Rxd2 $11) 56. Kh7 { [#]The white king's journey ends in victory.} Bxf6 57. gxf6 d2 58. Bb4 d1=Q 59. Rxd1 Rxd1 60. Bxe7+ Ke8 61. Bc5 Rf1 62. Kg7 1-0

Vladimir Fedoseev and Baadur Jobava | Photo:

Baadur took this loss hard. For the rest of Day Two he was unrecognizable, only scoring 1 / 5. For Fedoseev it was more wind in his sails, and his next win was far more convincing.

Vladimir Fedoseev 1-0 Yuri Kuzubov

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.27"] [Round "7"] [White "Fedoseev, Vladimir"] [Black "Kuzubov, Yuriy"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E11"] [WhiteElo "2718"] [BlackElo "2699"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. a4 $5 {An interesting twist in a line that seems beaten to death.} b6 (8... a5 9. Bc3 b6 10. Nbd2 Bb7 11. Ne5) 9. Na3 Bb7 10. b4 $5 Ne4 11. Be1 a5 $6 {This pawn is going to be more than a little weak.} 12. bxa5 bxa5 13. Ne5 {[#]} Ba6 { I think this is a mistake.} ({Better was to challenge that knight right away, while keeping the c6-pawn protected.} 13... Nd7 14. Nd3 {and only now Black plays} Ba6 {then White's space grab} 15. f3 Nd6 16. c5 Nf5 17. Nc2 {can be answered with} e5 $1) 14. c5 f6 {Now Fedoseev demonstrates what his knight can do.} 15. Nec4 $1 Bxc4 16. Nxc4 Nd7 {The b6-square had to be covered.} (16... Nxc5 17. Bxa5 Rxa5 18. Nxa5 Qxa5 19. dxc5 Nd7 20. e4 Nxc5 $16) 17. Bxe4 $1 { So simple...} dxe4 18. Qb3 f5 ({The only way to avoid material loss was} 18... Kf7 {but Black's position is truly horrible after} 19. Bc3 Qc7 20. f3 exf3 21. exf3 Rfb8 22. Qa2 Nf8 23. Rab1 {etc.}) 19. Nxa5 $18 Bf6 20. Qxe6+ Kh8 21. Rb1 Qc8 22. e3 Ne5 23. Qxc8 Nf3+ 24. Kg2 Rfxc8 25. Nc4 Rxa4 26. Nd6 Rf8 27. Nxf5 Ra2 28. Nd6 Re2 29. Bc3 Bg5 30. Rb2 Ne1+ 31. Rxe1 Rfxf2+ 32. Kh3 Rxb2 33. Bxb2 Rxb2 34. Nf7+ 1-0

The Nimzoindian Defence — The easy way

Danish GM Jacob Aagaard introduces you to the secrets of the Nimzoindian Defence (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4). In 15 lessons that last 4 hours and 4 minutes Aagaard shows you how you can successfully play this opening by understanding key ideas instead of memorizing long tedious variations.


Vladimir Fedoseev shares his impressions of his overall play from the first two days

This is how Fedoseev got to 6½ / 7. Of course it couldn't go on forever. Vladimir followed with three draws, and he still stands alone in the lead with 8 / 10.

The marathon distance of 15 rounds leaves some room to recover after a mediocre start. Levon Aronian put a ray of hope in the hearts of his supporters by winning a smooth game to open the second day of his campaign.

Levon Aronian 1-0 Mikheil Mchedlishvili

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.27"] [Round "6"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Mchedlishvili, Mikheil"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A42"] [WhiteElo "2805"] [BlackElo "2603"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] 1. c4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. e4 d6 4. Nc3 {The Kings Indian?} c5 5. Nf3 {The Maroczy Bind Accelerated Dragon?} Nc6 {No, the Georgian plays a rare sideline.} 6. d5 Nd4 7. Nxd4 cxd4 8. Nb5 Qb6 9. Bf4 $5 {[#]} ({Standard is the immediate} 9. c5) 9... Kf8 $2 {I think Mchedlishvili tried to transpose to a known variation that starts with 9.c5 dxc5 10.Bf4, where, indeed, the king move is an appropriate response.} ({Instead, Black should play} 9... a6 10. c5 Qd8 $1 { and now White has a choice between the rather speculative} 11. Nxd6+ ({and} 11. Nxd4 dxc5 12. Nb3 Bxb2 13. Rb1 Bc3+ 14. Bd2) 11... exd6 12. Bxd6 Ne7 13. Bd3) 10. b4 $1 {Levon finds the best way.} a6 11. c5 dxc5 (11... Qd8 12. Nxd4 dxc5 13. Nb3 cxb4 14. Rc1 $44) 12. Nc7 Rb8 13. bxc5 Qxc5 14. Rc1 ({Perhaps, a bit more accurate was} 14. Qd2 Qc3 15. Qxc3 dxc3 16. Ne8 $1 ({not} 16. Ne6+ fxe6 17. Bxb8 Nf6 {which greatly helps Black's development}) 16... Ra8 17. Nxg7 Kxg7 18. Rc1 $16) 14... Qa5+ 15. Qd2 Qxd2+ 16. Kxd2 Bh6 $1 {This trick allows Black to stay in the game.} 17. Bxh6+ Nxh6 18. Be2 e5 (18... e6 19. d6 f6 20. Rc4 e5 21. Rb1 Nf7 22. Rb6) 19. Rb1 Ke7 {It was no time to defend.} ({Black had to go for broke with} 19... f5 20. f4 Nf7) 20. Rb6 (20. Nxa6 $2 Ra8 21. Nb4 f5 $15) 20... Rd8 21. Rhb1 Rd6 22. a4 $1 {Aronian builds up an unbreakable bind.} f5 23. Rxd6 Kxd6 24. Nxa6 Ra8 25. Rb6+ Ke7 26. d6+ Kd8 27. Nc5 {This is why the a-pawn had to go forward. The rest requiures no comments.} fxe4 28. Bb5 Nf5 29. Nxb7+ Bxb7 30. Rxb7 e3+ 31. fxe3 dxe3+ 32. Ke2 Nd4+ 33. Kxe3 Nxb5 34. axb5 Ra2 35. Rxh7 Rb2 36. Ke4 Rxb5 37. Rg7 1-0

The Accelerated Dragon by Nigel Davies

The Accelerated Dragon is much more than just a dynamic yet solid means of countering 1.e4. By knowing how to counter the Maroczy Bind Black can counter both the English and Reti Openings and even develop the basis of a defence against 1.d4.

Whilst having been used extensively by superstars such as Bent Larsen and Tigran Petrosian, Davies argues that the Accelerated Dragon is an even more effective proposition for club players. As he explains on this DVD, many White players are under the mistaken impression that the positions are like a regular Sicilian Dragon. And if this is the case they can find himself being demolished right out of the opening.

The resting area is a luxurious space with magnificent rugs, where the VIPs and players alike, came to enjoy it. | Photo:

Unfortunately Levon couldn't quite build up on this success. There followed two draws where he had winning chances at some points, then a good win with Black over Peter Leko. A disaster struck in the last game when he couldn't defend a long endgame.

Vladislav Artemiev 1-0 Levon Aronian

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.27"] [Round "10"] [White "Artemiev, Vladislav"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A45"] [WhiteElo "2691"] [BlackElo "2805"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6k1/6p1/R6p/5K2/3N2P1/p7/8/5r2 w - - 0 64"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] [SourceTitle ""] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceQuality "1"] {[#]} 64. Ke5 $1 {The young Russian avoids a devilish trap.} (64. Kg6 {seemed strong, but Aronian prepared} Rf6+ $1 65. Rxf6 gxf6 66. Kxf6 a2 67. Nc2 h5 $1 ( {not} 67... Kh7 $2 68. Kf7 h5 69. g5 $18) 68. gxh5 Kh7 69. Kg5 Kg7 70. h6+ Kh8 {and the White knight is too far away to help weave the mating net.}) 64... Rg1 65. Kf4 Rf1+ 66. Nf3 Ra1 67. Kf5 Kh7 68. Ra7 a2 $5 {I'm not sure about this one. Leaving the rook without tempo moves gives White grounds to play for Zugzwangs.} 69. Kf4 (69. Nh2 $5 {and Black would have to find a study-like draw } h5 $3 70. g5 (70. gxh5 Rb1 71. Rxa2 Rb5+ 72. Kg4 g6) 70... Rb1 71. Rxa2 Rb5+ 72. Kf4 Rb4+ 73. Kg3 Kg6 74. Nf3 h4+ 75. Kh3 Rf4 76. Ra3 Kh5 $11) 69... Kg8 $2 ({Once again, a forced draw was there:} 69... h5 70. g5 h4 71. Kg4 h3 72. Kh5 Kg8 73. Nh2 Kf8 74. Kg6 Ke8 75. Kxg7 Rg1 $11) 70. Ke3 Kh7 71. Ke2 Kg6 72. Ra6+ Kh7 73. Kf2 Kg8 74. Ne1 Kh7 75. Ng2 Kg8 ({Aronian must have been very tired. Otherwise, how could he keep on missing} 75... h5 $1 {This time it's really easy:} 76. g5 Rb1 77. Rxa2 Rb5) 76. Nf4 Kh7 77. Ra7 Kg8 78. Kg2 h5 {Too late.} (78... Kh7 79. Nh5 Kh8 80. Kh2 {is one of the Zugzwangs awaiting Black.}) 79. Nxh5 Kh7 80. Ra6 g6 81. Nf4 Re1 82. Rxa2 Kh6 83. Ra5 Rb1 84. g5+ Kg7 85. Ra7+ Kg8 86. Ra6 Rb5 87. Rxg6+ Kf7 {For a moment it looked troublesome, but Artemiev quickly found the solution} 88. Rf6+ $1 (88. Kg3 $2 Rf5) 88... Ke7 89. Re6+ {With g5-g6 coming up next Aronian resigned.} 1-0

Vladislav Artemiev deserves a lot of credit to righting his ship after a bad Day One. His 4½ points scored today put the young Russian  right back into contention, with the only draw coming as Black against Mamedyarov. Artemiev has developed into a fearsome Rapid and Blitz player. He won the Rapid section of the recent Nutcracker tournament with 6½ / 8, and his Blitz rating is second only to Carlsen's. Expect more great things from Artemiev in Riyadh!

Dvoretsky's Engame Manual

Russian International Master Mark Dvoretsky is perhaps the most respected chess instructor in the world today. His latest work, Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual, is sure to become a classic on one of the most difficult and subtile phases in chess. It covers all the most important positions required for endgame mastery, from elementary king-and-pawn endings to complex rook or queen endgames that have baffled even top grandmasters.

Speaking of Carlsen, he's still in the hunt, although his tournament took a body blow in Round 9 at the hands of his old rival, Vishy Anand.

Viswanathan Anand | Photo:

Vishy Anand's form has been magnificent, drawing awed comments by fellow GMs, as he has played with a seeming relaxed confident approach that is hidden under the pensive look. His performance after ten rounds is over 2900, bested only by leader Fedoseev himself.

Anand continues to impress by keeping his composure and not shunning away from complications, a welcome change from his less than mediocre showing at the London Classic.

Magnus Carlsen 0-1 Vishy Anand

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.27"] [Round "9"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E53"] [WhiteElo "2837"] [BlackElo "2782"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 c5 9. Nf3 Qc7 10. Be2 b6 11. Bb2 Bb7 12. O-O Nbd7 13. c4 Rac8 14. Rc1 Rfd8 15. Qb3 Ng4 16. g3 Ngf6 17. Rfd1 Ne4 18. Ne1 {[#] A complex Nimzo-Indian setup. } Nd6 {A bit provocative.} ({There wasn't anything wrong with} 18... Ndf6 { to prevent the white d-pawn from going forward.}) 19. d5 $5 exd5 20. cxd5 c4 $1 {Vishy doesn't hesitate with his own play.} 21. Qc2 b5 22. Ng2 {Magnus begins to maneuver.} ({The line} 22. e4 Re8 23. f3 f5 {is the key to understanding why White cannot just run his opponent over. The central pawns aren't that well supported.}) 22... Nc5 23. Nf4 Qe7 24. Bg4 Rc7 25. Qc3 f5 {Once again, Anand doesn't look back.} 26. Bf3 Rcd7 27. Qb4 Nb3 28. Ne6 (28. Rc2 a5 { and who's making progress now?}) 28... Nxc1 29. Rxc1 Nc8 30. Qxb5 Rxd5 { The return sacrifice was forced} ({as} 30... Bxd5 31. Nxd8 Bxf3 32. Qxc4+ Bd5 33. Qxc8 {wins White a clear pawn.}) 31. Bxd5 Rxd5 32. Qb4 Nd6 {[#]} 33. Nc5 $4 {Another one of those inexplicable blunders that creep into the World Champion's play every now and then.} ({White would have been out of danger had he chosen} 33. Nf4 Rb5 34. Qc3 {where the pressure against g7 is keeping the black queen away from joining forces with her bishop. Meanwhile,} Rxb2 35. Qxb2 Qe4 {doesn't quiute work for Black on account of} 36. Kf1) {All Anand could do was to shrug his shoulders and accept the unexpected gift.} 33... Rxc5 34. Qxc5 Qe4 0-1

Vishy Anand goes over his second day | Source: ChessCast

There are many more players to mention and games to show, but the parameters of this report cannot be stretched indefinitely. Everything is going to be decided in the last five rounds to be played Thursday.

My parting gift is the following spectacular attack from the 15-year-old Andrey Esipenko, played against his highly decorated compatriot. Frank Marshall would have been proud.

Sergey Karjakin 0-1 Andrey Esipenko

[Event "FIDE World Rapid-ch Men 2017"] [Site "Riyadh"] [Date "2017.12.27"] [Round "8"] [White "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Black "Esipenko, Andrey"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B11"] [WhiteElo "2760"] [BlackElo "2564"] [Annotator "AlexYermo"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2kr1b1r/pp1n1ppp/1qn1p3/2p1P2N/3pQP2/3P3P/PPPB2P1/1K1R1B1R b - - 0 15"] [PlyCount "29"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] {[#]} 15... c4 $1 {A thematic breakthrough.} 16. dxc4 (16. Ka1 c3 $1 17. bxc3 Qa5 18. cxd4 Nb4 19. Bxb4 Bxb4 {mates.}) 16... Ba3 17. Bc1 Nc5 18. Qf3 d3 $1 { Another one! It's amazing how the pawns are sacrificed to clear out squares for the knights.} 19. cxd3 Na4 20. Rd2 (20. d4 Nxb2 21. Qb3 {cannot be taken seriously:} Nxd1 22. Qxb6 axb6 23. Bxa3 Rxd4) 20... Nd4 21. Qf2 Nc3+ 22. Ka1 { [#] Can you see the finish?} Qb3 $3 {How about that.} 23. bxc3 Qxc3+ 24. Bb2 Bxb2+ 25. Rxb2 Qc1+ 26. Rb1 Nc2+ 27. Qxc2 Qxc2 28. g3 b5 29. cxb5 Rd4 0-1

Open standings after ten rounds (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Fedoseev Vladimir 8,0 0,0
2 Anand Viswanathan 7,5 0,0
3 Svidler Peter 7,5 0,0
4 Wang Hao 7,5 0,0
5 Pantsulaia Levan 7,0 0,0
6 Carlsen Magnus 7,0 0,0
7 Yu Yangyi 7,0 0,0
8 Mamedov Rauf 7,0 0,0
9 Safarli Eltaj 7,0 0,0
10 Bu Xiangzhi 6,5 0,0
11 Kuzubov Yuriy 6,5 0,0
12 Kravtsiv Martyn 6,5 0,0
13 Quparadze Giga 6,5 0,0
14 Nepomniachtchi Ian 6,5 0,0
15 Saric Ivan 6,5 0,0
16 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 6,5 0,0
17 Rakhmanov Aleksandr 6,5 0,0
18 Cheparinov Ivan 6,5 0,0
19 Korobov Anton 6,5 0,0
20 Wang Yue 6,5 0,0

Complete standings

Also opening the first game on the Women's top board between Elina Danielian (left) and Ju Wenjun was Princess Ilama Al-Sudairi, who also has an active role in the Saudi Chess Federation. | Photo:

Women standings after ten rounds (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Ju Wenjun 8,0 0,0
2 Goryachkina Aleksandra 7,5 0,0
3 Danielian Elina 7,5 0,0
4 Dzagnidze Nana 7,5 0,0
5 Pham Le Thao Nguyen 7,0 0,0
6 Lei Tingjie 7,0 0,0
7 Paehtz Elisabeth 7,0 0,0
8 Kosteniuk Alexandra 7,0 0,0
9 Harika Dronavalli 7,0 0,0
10 Khotenashvili Bela 6,5 0,0
11 Guo Qi 6,5 0,0
12 Charochkina Daria 6,5 0,0
13 Tokhirjonova Gulrukhbegim 6,5 0,0
14 Fataliyeva Ulviyya 6,5 0,0
15 Sebag Marie 6,5 0,0
16 Abdumalik Zhansaya 6,5 0,0
17 Huang Qian 6,5 0,0
18 Zimina Olga 6,5 0,0
19 Atalik Ekaterina 6,5 0,0
20 Karavade Eesha 6,0 0,0

Complete standings

Day Two Commentary

All games



Yermo is enjoying his fifties. Lives in South Dakota, 600 miles way from the nearest grandmaster. Between his chess work online he plays snooker and spends time outdoors - happy as a clam.


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AlexYermo AlexYermo 12/30/2017 02:34
@Pionki A nice win over Mchedlishvili.
peterfrost peterfrost 12/29/2017 04:57
I agree completely with @Algorithmy. The visual image portrayed of our sport and it's elite players in this event is outstanding. I have wanted to draw my non-chess friends to the screen and say "this is my sport in action". What a contrast to the World Cup where many players looked casual at best and slovenly at worst. However disappointed we might be in the discriminatory approach of the host country to a variety of important issues, they have shown us that a proper dress code strictly enforced can have a hugely favourable impact on the final product. All potential sponsors viewing this event would be impressed.
Malcom Malcom 12/28/2017 05:00
As for the report, excellent work from maestro Yermolinsky as always! Others should learn from him.
Malcom Malcom 12/28/2017 04:59
Yeah "algorithmy"...organized by DIRTY money and with no respect whatsoever for female equality or respect. Yup, I guess we do have a lot to learn from them indeed. TWIT!
Pionki Pionki 12/28/2017 11:11
What exactly was that success that Levon could not build up upon?
psamant psamant 12/28/2017 10:04
Wow, what a game Andrey Esipenko played against Sergey Karjakin! The combination was long and far from simple to calculate
algorithmy algorithmy 12/28/2017 09:17
Excellent report Yermo, as usual!
algorithmy algorithmy 12/28/2017 09:15
I think this is the first time when Chess truly looks like a professional game; decent prize fund, dress code, and superb organizing. Come on! And for this to be done by a country like Saudi Arabia which has no chess history really puts Russia, China, America into shame!