The 98th British Chess Championship gets under way in Sheffield, England today. Although Michael Adams won the event last year it’s often been ignored by the top British players, but not this year. Funding arranged, and in part provided, by the President of the English Chess Federation, CJ de Mooi (oddly enough, a UK TV celebrity!), has meant almost all the top players are competing, including Adams’ great rival, Nigel Short.
We already reported today on some of Evgeny Bareev’s chess comments from his diary in “Soviet Sport”, but he also gave an account of how the Russian team, and other competitors, spent the rest day. The words are Bareev’s, while the photos come from Vladimir Barsky’s excellent report for the Russian Chess Federation website.
In his diary for “Soviet Sport” Russian team captain Evgeny Bareev related how Ian Nepomniachtchi was almost late for the match against China.
You wouldn’t envy the Russian or Azerbaijan players in Ningbo. As always, they’re playing under the burden of immense pressure – both from the media and their federation bosses (read on for how one player was accused of being unable to beat “a Bedouin”…) – and both lost again in the 7th round. Armenia won’t mind, however, as a narrow win against Hungary saw them edge closer to overall victory. They’re followed by China, 1.5 points back, and then Ukraine, who still have to play Armenia in the final round.
Harika Dronavilli has followed in the footsteps of Koneru Humpy to become India’s second woman with the full grandmaster title. Her draw against Anna Zatonskih in the final round of the tournament in Hangzhou was enough for her to claim a third GM norm.
20-year-old Harika’s talent and ambition have long been apparent. Back in 2005, when the 14-year-old won silver at the Asian Junior Girls Championship, she told an interviewer (see also the photos of Harika and her family):
After his Azerbaijan team drew 2-2 against Israel at the World Team Championship, the captain, Vladimir Tukmakov, tried to explain the reasons for their poor performance. He told 1news.az:
The fifth round of the supertournament in Biel saw an event we've already begun to consider a minor sensation - the defeat of Magnus Carlsen. The hero of the round was the young Frenchman, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who won the opening battle, forced the world's no. 1 rated player to switch to purely passive defence, and then finally, on the 96th move, sealed the win.
There were missed chances by both players, but Vachier-Lagrave's 78th move in the diagram position was a thing of wonder, and a sign that he certainly doesn't lack confidence:
It was all smiles this morning as Judit Polgar celebrated her 35th birthday at the World Team Championship in Ningbo, but veteran chess player (and WhyChess columnist) Yasser Seirawan showed no mercy as he inflicted a crushing defeat on the birthday girl. His ungentlemanly conduct saw Hungary only able to draw with USA, a fate they shared with favourites Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Armenia took full advantage to win and move 2 points clear with three rounds to go.