2019-02-16

Inaugural Cairns Cup 2019

Inaugural Cairns Cup 2019 is an elite tournament for the top female players from around the world for one of the largest prize funds for an all-female tournament. The nine-round classical chess tournament, to take place from February 5th to 16th, hosted in the Saint Louis Chess Club.

Official site

Inspired by its mission to further promote the game of chess to women and girls, the Saint Louis Chess Club created and named the Cairns Cup in honor of Chess Club co-founder Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, whose maiden name is Cairns. The tournament format is similar in style to the prestigious Sinquefield Cup, with the 10 best female players from around the world earning invitations to compete at the Saint Louis Chess Club’s renowned facility for the $150,000 prize fund. The top three finishers will receive $40,000, $30,000, and $20,000 respectively.

The inaugural tournament field features women from seven different countries and consists of legendary champions, including former Women’s World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, former Women’s World Blitz Champion Nana Dzagnidze, 4-time U.S. Women’s Champion Anna Zatonskih, and 7-time U.S. Women’s Champion Irina Krush.


Watch the games of the Inaugural Cairns Cup 2019 with computer analysis LIVE on ChessBomb.

Read the reports on the event:
Jennifer Shahade Historic Cairns Cup Women’s Tournament Opens with Saint Louis Chess Club’s $100,000 Gift to US Chess
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 1
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 2
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 3
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 4
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 5
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 6
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 7
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 8
Peter Doggers - Inaugural Cairns Cup Takes Off With 4 Decisive Games
PeterDoggers - Cairns Cup Slows Down In Results, Not In Content
PeterDoggers - Cairns Cup: Kosteniuk Leads, Gunina Shines
PeterDoggers - Cairns Cup: Gunina Catches Kosteniuk After 'Insane' Round
Mike Klein - Cairns Cup: Gunina Overtakes Kosteniuk For Lead

2019-02-15

Nordic Youth Chess Championship 2019

The 2019 Nordic Youth Chess Championship will be held in Borgarnes, Iceland February 15th - 17th.

Official site

Schedule in UTC:

Friday, February 15:       10.00-14.00    1. round
                                    16.00-20.00    2. round
Saturday, February 16:    10.00-14.00    3. round
                                     16.00-20.00    4. round
Sunday, February 17:      10.00-14.00    5. round
                                     16.00-20.00    6. round

Watch the games of the Nordic Youth Chess Championship 2019 with computer analysis LIVE on ChessBomb.

2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 8




Round eight had plenty of fighting chess, but only one player was able to secure a victory.  French GM Marie Sebag scored her first win of the tournament against GM Irina Krush. IM Zhansaya Abdumalik came close to knocking off the tournament leader but stumbled just before making time control.  GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, on the other hand, had plenty of chances against Dzagnidze before the Georgian GM managed to hold her to a draw. Let’s take a look at the results and a full breakdown of today’s games.  

Read the full recap >
GM Valentina Gunina - IM Zhansaya Abdumalik ½-½ 

Both these players have shown a pension for sharp chess, and it likely came to no one’s surprise that a sharp fight ensued right away.  White played an aggressive English line which plays for development at the cost of king position. Valentina tried to target Zhansaya’s c-pawn early in the game, but soon her pieces became highly disorganized.  Abdumalik played pointedly by sacrificing a pawn for an initiative, and this decision paid dividends with Gunina’s queen scampering around the board. Eventually, the Russian GM was forced to pitch a piece in order to stave off the attack.  Zhansaya played extremely well in mutual time trouble for some time, but just before making time control she failed to find the most accurate continuation. As a result, Valentina found a way to sac an exchange and untangle her position. The players agreed to a draw in a position that was equal but quite unclear, perhaps with neither wanting to take much more risk.  Gunina has to feel a great sense of relief, while Abdumalik has to be disappointed not to have converted after once again outplaying her opponent. 
GM Valentina Gunina survived quite a scare against IM Zhansaya Abdumalik
GM Nana Dzagnidze - GM Alexandra Kosteniuk

A sharp f3 nimzo turned into an extremely strange position.  White had her king in the center, but Black had trouble developing.  Nana’s 21. G4 was quite aggressive, perhaps overly so, and Alexandra’s position looked quite promising.  Despite this, it proved not to be so simple to take advantage of White’s wayward king on d2. Even so, the ex-Women’s World Champ shocked the commentators by offering a queen exchange on the 29th move instead of moving her king to h8.  The resulting ending was definitely still better for Black, but Nana defended quite stubbornly. Alexandra’s decision to trade the f-pawn for the c-pawn seemed to help the Georgian accomplish her task, and while Kosteniuk played until there was only one pawn left, it simply wasn’t enough to win.  Dzagnidze remains at 50% after a long defense, while Alexandra will now have to beat Gunina to get first. 
GMs Nana Dzagnidze and Alexandra Kosteniuk had a long and intense fight
GM Marie Sebag - GM Irina Krush 1-0 

The French GM challenged Irina’s Classical Sicilian and got a very pleasant position where the American had issues with her d5 square, as well as a kingside attack looming.  Black tried to drum up counterplay by sacrificing a pawn, but Marie kept control by sacrificing an exchange. Her decision to trade to the endgame might have been premature, but Sebag still was clearly the one applying pressure.  In the time pressure phase, one slip by Irina allowed White to collect her first win of the tournament. 
French GM Marie Sebag was elated to score her first victory of the tournament
GM Harika Dronavalli - GM Bela Khotenashvili ½-½ 

An English opening transposed into one of the main lines of the maroczy bind.  Harika played down a queen trade line, one that hasn’t really offered White a whole lot.  The White king is definitely better than its counterpart, but it is difficult to use this advantage.  Bela played the Black side well, and once she activated her rook on the queenside she forced a perpetual.  A solid game by both players. 

IM Elisabeth Paehtz - IM Anna Zatonskih ½-½ 

Anna chose a petroff today, and after the opening the position looked roughly balanced.  Black’s move 26 queen retreat was not best, but Elisabeth returned the favor by moving the wrong rook to c1 a few moves later.  Keeping the d-rook centralized would have enabled her to have a large advantage in the resulting endgame, but the loss of one tempo proved quite meaningful.  While White might still claim a minor edge in the final position, it is very small, and the players decided to call it a day. Quite understandable by two participants who have been off form.  

So going into the last round, we have GM Gunina in 1st and Kosteniuk just half a point back.  Third place is shared by GMs Dronavalli and Krush. 
Below are the pairings for the final round.  There are plenty of interesting matchups, but all eyes will be on the game between Kosteniuk and Gunina.  The final round will begin at 1 pm local time, with commentary by GMs Yasser Seirawan, Maurice Ashley, and WGM Jennifer Shahade.
Watch all the action LIVE at
USChessChamps.com

Further Information:
Web: uschesschamps.com | Twitter: @STLChessClub
#CairnsCup

Venue: 
Saint Louis Chess Club
February 5-16, 2019

Press Contact:
Kiley Herndon
kherndon@saintlouischessclub.org

Photo Credits:
Photos and appropriate credits available on Flickr

Livestream:
USChessChamps.Com


Saint Louis Chess Club  |  Building Champions

4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108 | (314) 361.CHESS (2437)
The Saint Louis Chess Club acknowledges Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, whose generous support makes our tournaments possible.

The STLCC and WCHOF admit students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
Copyright © 2019 Saint Louis Chess Campus, All rights reserved.


Watch the games of the Inaugural Cairns Cup 2019


 with computer analysis LIVE on ChessBomb.



2019-02-14

Champions Showdown Features Ten Kings of Chess

Saint Louis Chess Club to host international matches February 20-24, 2019

 

SAINT LOUIS (February 14, 2019) – The 2019 installment of the Champions Showdown will feature five unique matchups between top world players, as well as up-and-coming chess stars. Five U.S. players have chosen opponents from around the world and will face-off in a head-to-head format with three days of rapid play and two days of blitz play from February 20-24, 2019 at the Saint Louis Chess Club. In the end, $300,000 in prize money will be divided with each winner receiving $36,000 and the opposing player receiving $24,000. 

Four players from the silver medal winning chess olympiad team, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, and Sam Shankland, along with new US Chess member Leinier Dominguez have chosen international chess stars to compete against this February. Opponents include former World Champion Veselin Topalov, as well as young rising stars like Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Richard Rapport. The tournament is sure to thrill fans, as well as give a look at the play of the U.S. players just ahead of the U.S. Chess Championships. 

“We really enjoy having these exhibition matches where players can experiment with their chess play and show us new strategies and tactics,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the Saint Louis Chess Club. “Each of these players have their own style and it will be exciting to see the results of each matchup.” 
 
NameRapid Blitz
FIDE Rating
Federation      NameRapid Blitz
FIDE Rating
Federation
Fabiano
Caruana
2772
2770
USAvsPentala
Harikrishna
2711
2641
India
Hikaru
Nakamura
2845
2894
USAvsJan-Krzysztof Duda2716
2818
Poland
Wesley
So
2797
2775
USAvsDavid
Navara
2688
2661
Czech Republic
Leinier Dominguez2816
2717
USAvsVeselin
Topalov
2717
2708
Bulgaria
Sam
Shankland
2622
2639
USAvsRichard
Rapport
2708
2695
Hungary
 
Each round will start at 1 p.m. CST and be broadcast live on uschesschamps.com. Fans can follow the expert commentary of GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Jennifer Shahade, and GM Maurice Ashley each day or visit the Saint Louis Chess Club to catch the action in person. 
 

# # #


About the Saint Louis Chess Club
The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons, and special lectures. 

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit saintlouischessclub.org.

Saint Louis Chess Club | Building Champions

4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108 | (314) 361-CHESS (2437)

The Saint Louis Chess Club acknowledges Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, whose generous support makes our tournaments possible.

The STLCC and WCHOF admit students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational & admissions policies, scholarship & loan programs, and athletic & other school-administered programs.
© 2019 Saint Louis Chess Campus. All rights reserved.
Forward  |  Unsubscribe  |  View in browser

2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 7




The 7th round saw two decisive results, but they were crucial ones.  Gunina won a 4th game in a row and moved into clear first place, while Kosteniuk drew the worse side of a french and fell back to 2nd.  The 3rd place player, GM Irina Krush, lost in convincing fashion to GM Bela Khotenashvili. Abdumalik-Dzagnidze and Paehtz-Sebag also could have seen White victories, but both players were unable to convert.  Let’s take a look at the results and a summary of today’s battles. 

Read the full recap >
GM Alexandra Kosteniuk - GM Harika Dronavalli ½-½ 

Harika played an early f6 in a Winawer French, a risky move which clearly surprised Alexandra.  The decision paid off well for Black, as they soon entered an endgame where Black’s chances could only be better.  White got her king stuck in the center at an inopportune moment, and Black found the nice shot 19… Rxf3! This lead to an ending where Black had an extra pawn in an opposite bishop ending.  Unfortunately for Harika, she made the decision to trade rooks in order to get a passed a pawn, but with no rooks left, Kosteniuk was able to blockade the queenside pawns fairly easily. Good defense by the former World Champion, but the Indian GM can’t be happy about not putting more pressure on her in the endgame.  

IM Anna Zatonskih - GM Valentina Gunina 0-1 

Anna opted to play for an isolated pawn position rather than face the Benoni which Valentina prepared.  This turned out to be a very nice decision, as she got a very comfortable position out of the opening, though clearly it was nothing super special.  Gunina showed why she was one of the tournament leaders, however, by outplaying her opponent and creating a powerful kingside attack. Anna’s position looked unenviable, but she found a nice exchange sac with 27. Nxe4 and 28. Nxg5!  This put her back in the game with great drawing chances, but with neither having much time until move 40, the point was truly up for grabs. Unfortunately for White, her kingside got broken up just before the players reached time control, which allowed Valentina to retake the initiative and her winning chances.  The Russian played accurately and put maximum pressure on Anna, who blundered into a line where her queen gets lost. This 4th victory in a row puts Gunina in clear first, while the American continues to struggle in this event. 
GM Valentina Gunina scored a 4th win a row and finally takes the clear lead in the event
GM Bela Khotenashvili - GM Irina Krush 1-0

Irina played an early g6 move in a main line of the London System, which actually transposes to a Caro-Kann line she had success with earlier in the event, albeit not the exact same position.  She went astray early, however, with a dubious-looking Bd7-Qc8-a6 setup. Bela won a pawn on f4, then found a neat shot with 27. Bxh7+ winning another one. Krush won a pawn back, but she was still down one, and her king position left a lot to be desired.  The Georgian was merciless in pressing her advantage, and eventually Irina was no longer able to hang on. An impressive win by the Georgian, handing Krush her 1st loss, and moving out of last place. 
GM Bela Khotenashvili has had a rough tournament, but she won a great game today
IM Zhansaya Abdumalik - GM Nana Dzagnidze ½-½ 

Abdumalik seem to come better prepared for a Classical French, and she built up a nice opening advantage.  When she played 22. F5, the commentators were going crazy, and everyone was anticipating a crushing attack.  While indeed the young IM had a powerful initiative, a lot of accuracy was still required, and many of the variations were far from obvious.  Zhansaya was correct in her decision to lift a rook on move 28, but she lifted it to the wrong square, as Rf4 was a stronger choice than Rf3. She admitted after the game to have missed h3 in a critical variation, which would give her king space to hide.  Nana, to her credit, seized her chance immediately and forced a draw by sacrificing a piece for a powerful c pawn. Abdumalik won’t be happy to have let her chances slip, but overall it was just one move that really tripped her up. Dzagnidze has to be happy to survive, and just as in yesterday’s game with Anna, she took her chance quite well.  

IM Elisabeth Paehtz - GM Marie Sebag ½-½ 

These players might not be fighting for first place, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t ready to fight.  Elisabeth played the Nb3 line against Marie’s Najdorf, perhaps inspired by Gunina’s amazing victory against her two rounds ago.  Black got a nice-looking knight on c4, but didn’t accomplish much else, and, by the time Paehtz got in 15. G6!, it seemed as if the German player had excellent chances.  Elisabeth forced her opponent to trade queens, and the players liquidated to a rook ending which seemed to be winning for the German. White played it extremely well for a long time, and looked to be heading towards a fine victory.  Similar to yesterday's game, however, disaster struck for Paehtz in the rook endgame. First, she played the conservative 33. Ra3 instead of the more aggressive and accurate Ra7. This allowed Sebag to improve her king and passive b8 rook, and the French GM didn’t miss her chance.  Soon they traded to a single-rook endgame where Elisabeth pressed until the very end, but the position didn’t allow her to secure the victory. A miracle escape for Marie, while Elisabeth will be annoyed at letting a great chance for her first win to slip. 
IM Elisabeth Paehtz struggles in a rook ending for a 2nd day in row, failing to beat GM Sebag
Here are the standings heading into round eight.  Gunina pulls into clear first, but still has Kosteniuk right behind her, and they are slated to play in the final round.  Irina is a full point back, but is still in clear third.
Matchups for the penultimate round should be exciting.  Dzagnidze-Kosteniuk is a battle between the top two seeds, while IM Abdumalik will get a shot at knocking off the new leader.  Tune in at 1pm local time for the broadcast and live games.
Watch all the action LIVE at
USChessChamps.com

Further Information:
Web: uschesschamps.com | Twitter: @STLChessClub
#CairnsCup

Venue: 
Saint Louis Chess Club
February 5-16, 2019

Press Contact:
Kiley Herndon
kherndon@saintlouischessclub.org

Photo Credits:
Photos and appropriate credits available on Flickr

Livestream:
USChessChamps.Com


Saint Louis Chess Club  |  Building Champions

4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108 | (314) 361.CHESS (2437)
The Saint Louis Chess Club acknowledges Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, whose generous support makes our tournaments possible.

The STLCC and WCHOF admit students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
Copyright © 2019 Saint Louis Chess Campus, All rights reserved.


Watch the games of the Inaugural Cairns Cup 2019


 with computer analysis LIVE on ChessBomb.


Read the reports on the event:
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 1
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 2
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 3
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 4
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 5
Saint Louis Chess Club - 2019 Cairns Cup Recap – Round 6