NCCL
North Circular Chess League
2022 Season

Chess News

Norway Chess Tournament
Magnus Wins Tournament for a Fourth Time
Carlsen wins Norway Chess 2022

Magnus Carlsen won the Norway Chess Tournament for a fourth time in a row after beating Veselin Topalov in Armageddon on Friday. The world champion would not have grabbed the title had Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defeated Teimour Radjabov in their classical game. Radjabov held the draw despite having almost no time on the clock, allowing Carlsen to once again win his home event.
Magnus Carlsen clinched his fifth Norway Chess title on Friday. This was his fourth consecutive victory in his home event, which had its tenth anniversary this year. The world champion beat Veselin Topalov in Armageddon to finish the tournament with 16½ points, leaving Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in sole second place, a full point behind. For a while, it seemed likely that Mamedyarov would overtake the eventual champion in the standing, as he had the initiative in his classical game against Teimour Radjabov. Importantly, the latter was under pressure both on the board and on the clock. At some point, Radjabov had less than 3 minutes with 14 moves to go before reaching move 40, when 10-second increments are implemented — i.e. he had to make difficult decisions which could lead to him being physically unable to reach the control. Black clearly needs to be careful in this position. Mamedyarov, who had played faster than his opponent, spent over 5 minutes before deciding on 29.Ng5 here, when 29.gxh5 was a tempting alternative. The cold-blooded engines evaluate this position as equal, but for Radjabov, finding all the right moves under the circumstances was certainly a difficult task. Radjabov, who will be playing the Candidates starting next week, was up to the task, and managed to hold the draw, which was agreed six moves later — Mamedyarov was an exchange down, and chose to take the mini-match to tiebreakers instead of risking a loss. By that point, Carlsen had drawn his classical game against Topalov, which meant he had already secured tournament victory. Carlsen has played in every single edition of the Norway Chess super-tournament, an event that has been held yearly since 2013. Notably — given the world champion’s track record — he did not manage a single tournament win until the fourth edition, in 2016. He finished ninth and fourth in 2017 and 2018 respectively, and has won every edition since then. Thus, the man from Tønsberg has won 5 out of the 10 editions of the Stavanger event. This year, he won three classical games and drew the rest, getting a TRP slightly above his stratospheric 2865 Elo rating. Remarkably, he lost 3 out of 6 Armageddon deciders, and nonetheless managed to win the whole thing. The world champion explained: "Winning on classical score rather than because I won Armageddon is quite satisfying. I think my play was pretty good for most of the tournament, and then I just completely ran out of steam at the end". Once the fight for first place was settled, both Carlsen and Radjabov drew with black in Armageddon to grab an extra half point in the standings table. For the first time in the tournament, all five classical games finished drawn. Vishy Anand got third place after beating Aryan Tari in the sudden-death decider.

Chessable Masters
Ding Beats Pragg in Close Final
Ding wins Chessable Masters

Ding Liren won the Chessable Masters after beating 16-year-old Praggnanandhaa in the final match’s tiebreaks. The Chinese had won the first set on Wednesday, but saw his opponent bouncing back in the second 4-game mini-match. A clear rating favourite, Ding defeated his prodigious rival in the deciding blitz tiebreaker.
In exactly three weeks, Ding Liren will play the first round of the Candidates Tournament (against Ian Nepomniachtchi with the white pieces). Only about a week ago, he was confirmed as the eighth participant at the double round-robin. The Chinese is stepping in as a substitute of Sergey Karjakin, whose participation in the event was banned by FIDE’s Ethics Commission. In order to meet the organizer’s requirement to have played at least 30 rated games during the last twelve months, Ding played a marathon of classical games in April. Amid this whirlwind, the humble grandmaster agreed to play in the fourth leg of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. Despite the rounds kicking off at midnight for the Chinese, he managed to win the online event after beating Praggnanandhaa in the two-day final match.
Defeating his 16-year-old opponent was no easy task, as the Indian, an agile tactician, has proven to thrive in the tour’s format. While Ding started playing at midnight, Pragg began to compete at 9:30 p.m. — moreover, during this tournament, the Indian was taking school exams, which meant he needed to wake up before 8:30 a.m., not too long after facing some of the very best players in the world the night prior. Despite losing this match (by a whisker), it was a remarkable perfomace by Praggnanandhaa. He beat Magnus Carlsen in the prelims, finished the single round-robin in fourth place, and knocked out Wei Yi and Anish Giri in the knockout. In two months’ time, Pragg will be part of India’s B team at the Chess Olympiad in Chennai. In Thursday’s second set, Pragg got ahead on the scoreboard after outplaying his more experienced opponent in a rook endgame. Game 3 was perhaps the most critical confrontation of the day, as Ding emerged from a sharp middlegame with a queen and a pawn against a rook and two minor pieces.
Both players had shown incredible nerves up to this point, when Ding had the upper hand thanks to his connected passers on the queenside. Here, however, he lost his advantage by playing 39.a5 — the subtle 39.Qd4 was winning. The idea behind placing the queen on d4 was that after, for example, 39...h5 40.b6 Ba6 White can safely push his pawn. The bishop is overloaded, but nonetheless has to capture on b7 to keep the game going, thus giving up the knight. Note that after 41...Rb8, White has 42.Qd6, attacking all three black pieces at once! In the game, Pragg displayed cold-blooded defence to coordinate his pieces and keep the balance following his rival’s imprecision. A draw was agreed on move 106, and another draw in game 4 meant the match would be decided in tiebreaks.

Superbet Chess Classic
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave wins Superbet
Lagrave wins Superbet Chess Classic

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won the Superbet Chess Classic after outscoring Wesley So and Levon Aronian in rapid playoffs. MVL had caught up with the co-leaders after beating Alireza Firouzja with black in their classical, round-9 encounter. The Frenchman beat both US grandmasters in the rapid-chess single round-robin that followed to claim the title.
Four games finished decisively on Saturday at the Superbet Chess Classic in Bucharest, and three of them were won by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The Frenchman first beat top seed Alireza Firouzja in their classical encounter to catch Wesley So and Levon Aronian in the lead of the standings table; and then defeated both So and Aronian in playoffs to claim the title at the Grand Chess Tour’s inaugural event of 2022. Thanks to his victory over Firouzja, MVL climbed to tenth place in the live ratings list, shortly after failing to qualify to the Candidates Tournament via the FIDE Grand Prix — he had also fallen short at the Grand Swiss and at the World Cup (barely in the latter). In the last semester or so, however, the Frenchman recovered from a slump in form in early 2021, winning both the Sinquefield Cup and the World Blitz Championship. The humble and humorous 31-year-old has proven to be capable of beating anyone in the elite circuit, but has lacked stability compared to the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren and Fabiano Caruana. Talking to Dhananjay Khadilkar after winning the Sinquefield Cup last year, MVL asserted confidently: "I have absolutely no doubt that I am part of the chess elite. I want to prove it tournament after tournament". It is unfortunate that we will not get to see Vachier-Lagrave’s principled, fighting style in this year’s edition of the Candidates, but after seeing his performance in Bucharest we can rest assured that he will continue to fight neck and neck with the very best in the world in the coming months and years.

American Cup 2022
Fabiano beats Aronian to win American Cup
Fabiano wins American Cup

GM Fabiano Caruana clinched clear 1st place in the inaugural 2022 American Cup, after defeating GM Levon Aronian in the second classical game of the final. In the Women’s Field, GM Irina Krush completed her campaign for the title as well, securing the victory after drawing the second game in her match against FM Alice Lee.
CARUANA - ARONIAN 1-0
A quiet line of the English Opening saw the players reach a dynamically balanced middlegame, with the pair of bishops for Caruana in exchange for a more harmonious position for Aronian. But a practical mistake by Levon to trade queens left him in a surprisingly awkward endgame to defend. Aronian then attempted to fix his problems with a pawn sacrifice in order to build a blockade, but he simply wasn’t in time as Caruana’s king, rook and bishop had plenty of room to infiltrate. With an extra pawn and the more active pieces, Caruana showed flawless technique to win the game and the match without needing a playoff.

Oslo Esports Cup
Irina beats Alice to win American Cup
krush wins American Cup

Women’s Field, GM Irina Krush completed her campaign for the title as well, securing the victory after drawing the second game in her match against FM Alice Lee.
LEE - KRUSH | ½-½
Utilizing a solid variation of the Slav Defense, Krush gave up a tempo in the opening in order to saddle Lee with an isolated queen pawn. Needing a win to force a playoff, the up-and-coming prodigy tried various piece maneuvers but just couldn’t make headway against Krush’s defenses. As more pieces came off the board the position became more and more drawish, until eventually the players found themselves in a dead drawn king and pawn endgame.
The 2022 American Cup continues with a star-studded blitz event Friday, April 29 starting at 12:50 PM CT. Catch all the action live with grandmaster commentators Yasser Seirawan, Cristian Chirila, and Alejandro Ramirez on uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.

Oslo Esports Cup
Duda Surprise Win In Oslo
Duda esports winner 2022

Polish star Jan-Krzysztof Duda pulled off a stunning late charge to clinch the $210,000 Oslo Esports Cup, the first Major of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour season. The 24-year-old took full advantage as both World Champion Magnus Carlsen and India’s boy wonder Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa – the two hot favourites – fell at the final hurdle. On a day of high-pressure chess, Duda stayed calm as everyone around him panicked. Round 7 started with four players in with a chance, but out of them only Duda managed to win a match in regulation time. He takes home $35,000 – $2,500 per point scored – and the Oslo Esports Cup NFT trophy. Duda also has the honour of ending Carlsen’s run of Tour victories.
Carlsen, who had his fate in his own hands, and Pragg both collapsed in just three games as they came up against opponents in inspired form. That left Vietnam’s speed specialist Liem Quang Le with a last chance to take the title in a high-stakes final game that decided everything. Liem, who beat Duda earlier in the tournament, needed to win his match against Jorden van Foreest within the regulation 4 games to take the title. Tiebreaks weren’t enough. But Webster University’s chess coach could only manage a draw as van Foreest held firm to hand Duda the title. It was a blockbuster end to an event of the highest-quality. Duda said: “It’s very nice to win the tournament, actually, I didn’t believe I had a real chance before today, before now. I’m just happy to play good chess here, most of the time. It’s quite surprising to me to win this event, and I find it quite lucky because of today’s results. I’m just very happy and pleased with my play.” Liem was left fighting for second-place in a tiebreak worth $2,500. The managed it in style breaking through in the second blitz game with the brilliant 24.fxe6 offering a queen sacrifice. Liem secured his second runners-up spot of the Tour so far. Before that, Pragg and Carlsen falling out of the running had been a huge double shock. The two front-runners throughout the 7-day event were expected to decide the event between them. When Carlsen stumbled as he entered the arena for game 1, Grandmaster David Howell said it was a bad sign for superstitious chess players. And so it proved. Pragg, who led the field until Round 5, fell first losing his first two games to Dutch star Anish Giri. The youngster kept his hopes alive by hanging on for a draw in Game 3, but it was over when he lost the final game. Carlsen, meanwhile, came up against an opponent in inspired form and playing exceptional chess. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is one of the world’s most dangerous players and unstoppable when in the mood. This was one of those days. Carlsen found himself in massive trouble in game 2 after giving up a pawn in the endgame with 36.a5 as he pushed for the win. It was a risk that left Mamedyarov with doubled passed pawns on the a-file and the computer said the Azerbaijani was winning. With Carlsen’s knight tied down and Mamedyarov’s piece now dominating the board, the champ was in a hopeless position and crashed to a rare endgame defeat. It was a huge result for the tournament standings and Carlsen now needed a comeback. At this point, with 2 games played and 2 to go, Duda suddenly emerged in pole position to win.
In Carlsen’s crucial third game, the champion found himself desperately trying to get up off the floor. Yet another big mistake with 41…d5 left his c-pawn hanging and his bishop boxed in. Mamedyarov capitalised and it was game, set and match. Carlsen resigned and offered a handshake. The Tour leader, stuck on 12 points, had almost-certainly failed to win a third event in a row. “It’s not nearly good enough,” he said. “I have no energy in my body whatsoever.” Over to Duda and Liem. A win for either of them could clinch it. At that moment Liem was locked in a chaotic third game with van Foreest that could have gone either way. Liem eventually escaped with a draw, but he was playing with fire. While this was happening, Duda was 2-0 up against the lowest-rated player in the event, world number 237 Eric Hansen, and just needed just a draw to secure the match. As the tension rose, the Pole had to tread carefully in the endgame. He wobbled – a lot – but Hansen couldn’t convert what looked like an advantage and Duda saved the draw to take the match 2.5-0.5. It meant Liem, at that point level 1.5-1.5 with van Foreest, with one final game where everything would be decided. Win, and Liem was champion. Any other result, and Duda would take the title.
Duda, watching from the sidelines, said he would sit back and “enjoy the show”. Liem pushed hard early on creating a chaotic position but van Foreest gradually took control before it ended in a draw. Not enough for Liem, but Duda was in dreamland.

Reykjavik Open
Praggnanandhaa beats Gukesh to win Reykjavik
Pragga Wins Reykjavik

An eventful Kvika Reykjavik Open came to an end as 245 players from 39 countries played their final moves of the event. The Indian sensation Praggnanandhaa was the soler winner clocking in with an impressive 7½ pionts in the 9 rounds. The prize giving ceremony was held at the Reykjavik Ciy Hall and Pawel Bartoszek, member of city council, welcomed players with some impressive flexing of his chess vocabulary when he weaved in that he didn’t rage quit and how his opening repertoire had stayed the same for too long. He gave out the prizes along with ICF president Gunnar Bjornsson and vice president Jóhanna Björg Jóhannsdóttir. Praggnanandhaa entered the final round of the Reykjavik Open sharing the lead with Max Warmerdam and Mads Andersen. Warmerdam and Andersen played on top board and signed a 16-move draw, while Pragg’s position deteriorated slowly but surely in his game against Gukesh. The latter eventually reached a winning position, but back-to-back blunders not only gave away his advantage but even allowed his opponent to get the full point. Thus, 16-year-old Praggnanandhaa became the ourtight winner of the event!
Gukesh got a favourable position out of the opening, as he had both the bishop pair and the initiative on his side. The younger of the Indian prodigies increased his advantage as the game progressed and did not take long to get a winning position. The ever-fighting Pragg never stopped looking for chances to complicate matters, though. Suddenly, on move 35, a blunder by Gukesh led to an equal position and, as it often happens in these situations, another grave mistake followed. Resignation came a move later. Pragg had won the game and the tournament! On board 3, Abhimanyu Mishra, the youngest grandmaster in history, had the black pieces against top seed Pouya Idani. The latter was clearly playing for a win against his young opponent rated over 100 points below him. But the risky approach backfired, as Abhimanyu ended up outplaying him in the complications to get a remarkable victory. Abhimanyu was one of four players who finished the tournament on a 7/9 score, a half point behind Pragg. This group also included Warmerdam, Andersen and Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson, who defeated former sole leader Lukasz Jarmula with the black pieces.

FIDE Berlin Grand Prix
So Beats Nakamura in Tiebreaker
Berlin Grand Prix third leg

With a 1½-½ victory in the rapid tiebreakers, Wesley So became the winner of the FIDE Grand Prix’s third leg in Berlin. So beat Hikaru Nakamura with the white pieces in game 2 of the playoff to take home €24,000 in prize money and finish the series in third place overall. Wesley So defeated Hikaru Nakamura in tiebreaks to win the third leg of the FIDE Grand Prix in Berlin. A couple of fighting, mistake-ridden rapid games were played on Monday, with So scoring a win with the white pieces after drawing the first encounter to clinch the title. Nakamura had already secured first place in the series, thus gaining a spot in the upcoming Candidates Tournament.
As the contenders themselves explained, fatigue had a lot to do with how the final match progressed. Two quick draws were signed on the first two days of the final, while the elite grandmasters made more mistakes than usual in the rapid tiebreaker. Motivation was also lacking, as it is clear that for such strong players the main drive in the series was to reach the Candidates. After winning the title, So confessed that his play was simply not deserving of getting a ticket to the tournament in Madrid. He also noted: "I’m only 28, and I’m hoping that next year, or in a couple of years, I will get a chance to play in the Candidates. The last time I played I was very inexperienced and finished second to last. I think if you qualify, you have to be ready to fight for first place".
Meanwhile, Nakamura, who had an outstanding return to over-the-board classical chess after focusing on his career as a streamer the last couple of years, mentioned that his success had something to do with luck. "I was quite fortunate in the first leg, as I got players who hadn’t played as much — they weren’t sharp". The 5-time US champion was referring to Alexander Grischuk and Etienne Bacrot, who were both in his pool at the first tournament of the series.
Nakamura got white in the first rapid game of the playoff. A 56-move encounter, it saw both players missing chances before a draw was reached in a rook endgame. In game 2, Nakamura blundered a piece in a queenless middlegame arising from a Berlin Defence 32...c6 leaves the bishop undefended. So got a decisive advantage by force with 33.Nxe5 dxe5 34.d6, and the rook cannot defend d7 anymore, allowing the knight to fork king and bishop in the next move — note that grabbing the knight with the rook on e5 would also fail due to the aforementioned fork. 34...Re6 35.Nd7+ Kg7 36.Nxb6 and Black was a piece to the good. A tenacious defender, Nakamura continued fighting until move 65. So was not going to let this great advantage slip away, though, as he converted his material edge into a deciding win.

Meltwater Charity Cup
Carlsen Beats Duda in Tiebreak to Win Charity Cup
Carlsen wins Charity Cup

After getting a clear victory on Friday and kicking off Saturday’s second set with a win, Magnus Carlsen seemed to be headed to a swift triumph in the final of the Charity Cup. However, Jan-Krzysztof Duda did not just give up, as he incredibly scored back-to-back wins to take the match to tiebreakers. In the blitz encounters, Carlsen regained his composure and won both games to claim his second consecutive title in the Champions Chess Tour. Shortly after defending the World Championship title for a fourth time by beating Ian Nepomniachtchi in Dubai, Magnus Carlsen mentioned that it is unlikely for him to play another match for the title unless wunderkind Alireza Firouzja becomes the challenger. Since then, the Norwegian clinched an eighth title in Wijk aan Zee and won the first two tournaments of the Champions Chess Tour online series. Armed with excellent home preparation following his match against Nepo, the world champion has demonstrated his superiority throughout the first quarter of the year. However, a few hiccups in the preliminary stages of the online series’ first two events and a difficult second half of the second set on Saturday leave some hope for potential world-title contenders. Jan-Krzysztof Duda, who both ended Carlsen’s 125-game unbeaten streak in 2020 and knocked the Norwegian out of the 2021 World Cup, was not far from mounting a comeback to get a third noteworthy victory over the world champion. In the end, Carlsen prevailed, although he later confessed that it had been “a huge relief” to clinch match victory after the scare. With the Candidates Tournament set to kick off on 17th June, we now wonder whether Carlsen would agree to face Duda in a match for the world title if the Polish star manages to win in Madrid. It was, after all, the victory over Carlsen in Khanty-Mansiysk which granted the 23-year-old from Wieliczka a spot in the Candidates. Duda had evened the score, but still needed to get 1½ points in the next two games to take the match to tiebreaks, since he had lost the first set. The 23-year-old knew he needed to show something special in game 3, and that is exactly what he did, quickly opening up the position by giving up a pawn and outplaying his famed opponent in the complex middlegame. A draw in game 4 meant the match would be decided in blitz tiebreakers.
Game One:
Two 5-minute games (with 3-second increments) would decide the winner of the series’ second event of the year. Carlsen had the white pieces first and resorted to the strategy that worked out for him in the first set — to get a small edge and try to outplay his opponent in a positional struggle. For a while, it seemed like the plan was going to work just fine, but the world champion erred and found himself in an equal position. It was only after Duda’s mistake on move 53 that the balanced was tipped in Carlsen’s favour. Black here needs to keep this construction, as White will not be able to break through without making major concessions. Duda’s forcing 48...Bxg3, on the other hand, allows 49.Kd2, and 49...Bc7 is not an effective intermediate move, as White gets to respond by giving an intermediate check himself with 50.Rxd5+ 50...Ke6 51.Rc5 and both the bishop and the rook are under attack. Duda resigned after 51...g3 52.Kxe1.
Game Two:
A second comeback was not in the cards for the Polish grandmaster, who could not level the score in the second blitz encounter. Carlsen was more tactically alert than his rival after four hours of tense-filled action, as he managed to clinch the Charity Cup title with an impressive 24-move victory!

FIDE Belgrade Grand Prix
Richard Rapport wins Belgrade Grand Prix
Rapport wins GP

A win with white in Sunday’s second game of the final gave Richard Rapport tournament victory at the second leg of the FIDE Grand Prix in Belgrade. Rapport beat Dmitry Andreikin after rejecting a draw by triple repetition in a double-edged position. This victory, combined with his reaching the semifinals in the first leg of the series, places him as a clear favourite to get a spot in the Candidates Tournament. There is only a 3.3% chance of Richard Rapport not qualifying to the Candidates Tournament after having won the second leg of the FIDE Grand Prix in Belgrade, as Chess by the Numbers has shared on Twitter. The Hungarian grandmaster is up to number 7 in the live ratings list and can almost be counted as the seventh player to get a spot in the Candidates.
Rapport’s almost-certain qualification to the Candidates cannot be fully ascribed to luck by any stretch of the imagination, though. The Hungarian star did not shy away from employing his usual creative playing style in the first two legs of the series, and has demonstrated that he is particularly well-versed in dealing with imbalanced, sharp positions. In the second game of the final match in Belgrade, Rapport had the white pieces and managed to get his opponent spending considerable amounts of time from as early as move 5. A tense struggle in the opening and early middlegame gave fighting chances to both players as the time control was approaching. On move 26, the contenders began to repeat moves, signalling an implicit draw offer. After the same position appeared twice on the board, though, Rapport decided to take his chances by deviating into a double-edged struggle — despite only having two minutes on the clock with over 10 moves to go to reach the time control. The brave decision paid off. Andreikin soon faltered, and Rapport made the most of his chances in an excellent display of calculation and technical abilities to take home tournament victory, €24,000 in prize money and a near-certain qualification to the Candidates.

Chess & Bridge 30th Anniversary
England vs Sweden Match
David Howell Beats Nils Grandelius
England vs Sweden

In London, a match facing David Howell and Nils Grandelius was held at the residence of the Swedish Ambassador. The occasion was the 30th anniversary of Chess & Bridge. The 10-game confrontation was won by DAVID Howell. Three games ended decisively, and all of them had plenty to offer chess-wise. On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, the London Chess Centre organized a match between two top grandmasters from England and Sweden, David Howell and Nils Grandelius. The competition took place on March 2nd-12th and was held at the Swedish Ambassador’s residence in London. No spectators were allowed.
In the 10-game confrontation, the two grandmasters proved to be equally matched opponents. After three draws, Howell grabbed the lead after winning a marathon 86-move encounter with the white pieces. David Howel
WON 5.5-4.5. Both players played some great chess and they were fighting to the very end!

Meltwater Championship Chess Tour
Airthings Masters
Magnus Carlsen Convincingly Wins
Carlsen wins Airthing Masters

Magnus Carlsen won the first event of the 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour as he beat Ian Nepomniachtchi in the finals of the Airthings Masters. After drawing the first set on Friday, the world champion won the second 4-game mini-match by a 2½-½ score. Nepo did not go down easy, though it was Carlsen who performed at a higher level at the critical points in games 2 and 3. The perennial favourite grabbed the title in the first event of this year’s Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. Magnus Carlsen was not only the highest-rated player in the field — by quite a margin — but also came from winning the first two editions of the online series organized by his own Play Magnus Group. Carlsen’s performance in the second set of the final was very convincing, much like what he had shown in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the knockout. However, things had not gone that smoothly for him at the start of the tournament. The Norwegian, who would later announce that he recently contracted Covid-19, lost two out of four games on the first day of action, and often mentioned he was feeling dissatisfied with his play during the prelims. Known for being a slow starter, the world champion had little trouble getting past Le Quang Liem and Vladislav Artemiev to reach the finals. His opponent in the 2-set deciding match was none other than Ian Nepomniachtchi, his latest challenger to the world crown in classical chess. Nepo came from winning the prelims and also showing strong performances in the first two stages of the knockout. On Thursday, Russia invaded Ukraine, which naturally affected all involved, especially the Russian players. Nepo was visibly disquieted, of course, but nonetheless put up a great fight on the first set of the finals, which ended in a draw. On the second set, though, it was Carlsen who showed stronger nerves to find the winning path during critical moments. After scoring a 2½-½ victory in Saturday’s mini-match, the world champion noted: "I felt I was playing better as the tournament went along".
The second event of the tour, also a ‘regular’ tournament, will kick off on March 19th.

FIDE Berlin Grand Prix
Nakamura Beats Aronian in Tiebreaks
Nak wins Grand Prix

Hikaru Nakamura defeated Levon Aronian in tiebreaks to win the first leg of the FIDE Grand Prix in Berlin. The hard-fought final match had seen two draws in the classical games. In the two rapid encounters that broke the tie, Nakamura showed better nerves in the last stage of the games to take home the title, 13 Grand Prix points and 24,000 Euros. The last time Hikaru Nakamura played a classical, rated game was in November 2019, when he lost a 2-game match against Veselin Topalov at the Hamburg leg of the Grand Prix. It was the end of a somewhat disappointing year for him, as he lost 10 rating points despite winning the US Championship with a remarkable 8/11 score ahead of Caruana, Dominguez and So. In the two years and three months that he stayed away from over-the-board classical tournaments, the 34-year-old became an internet sensation. Nakamura fully embraced the shift of the chess world to the online sphere. His Twitch and YouTube channels are massively popular — just to give an example of his success, a bit over a year ago, on 14 February 2021, his Twitch channel reached a milestone of one million followers. Nakamura planned to return to the classical circuit at the 2021 Grand Swiss in Riga, but decided to withdraw after Latvian authorities announced a hard lockdown. The grandmaster later received one of the two wildcards offered by FIDE for this year’s Grand Prix series, which prompted criticism to the Internation Federation for having invited an inactive player. At the first leg in Berlin, Nakamura finished undefeated and grabbed tournament victory after beating an in-form Levon Aronian in a hard-fought final match.
The tiebreaks:
Nakamura’s 2-0 victory in the rapid tiebreakers had a lot to do with avoiding mistakes in technical, simplified positions. Playing white in the first rapid encounter, the eventual winner of the match had a clear advantage at different points in the rook endgame. Inaccuracies by both players had the evaluation alternating between a clear advantage for white and equality. But it was Aronian who made the last mistake.
Nakamura-Aronian | Game 1
The first game of the tiebreaks started with the Ruy Lopez and Nakamura had a healthy extra pawn, pushing to win. Along the game Aronian equalized the position until he decided to go to a rooks endgame with one pawn down, giving Nakamura the advantage once more. As time started to push, Aronian “seemed to panic” as GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko commented. Only with a few seconds on their clocks, Aronian made a huge blunder and Nakamura managed to win the first game.
Aronian-Nakamura | Game 2
Game 2 of the final tiebreaks started with the Italian game. The pressure was on Aronian since he found himself in a must-win situation, but his position looked comfortably better. Nakamura though demonstrated an active defense and ultimately won the second game after Aronian totally blundered a mate in 4.

Club Results
Chess Board

21st June: Yet another lost for Chingford losing away 7-3 to a strong Enfield 1 team. Peter on board 1 was up against an oppenent nearly 300 points higher, in fact Chingford was well out graded on all boards, so drawn scores (one win each) by Andrew board 3 and Robi board 4 was a good result. Brian board 2 and John board 5 managed to draw their final games.
13th June: Unfortunately another lost for Chingford losing to as normal a strong Wanstead team. Although losing tonight match some good battles were had. Peter on board 1 drew both his games to a strong oppenent, also Brian on board 3 had a successful night winning in 8 moves with the Hippo and drawing his second game. Unfortunately both Robin and Steve lost their games. Final result Chingford 2.5-5.5 Wanstead 2.
30th May: This years season got underway with the knock-out rounds of the Finchley Cup and tough oppenents Barking. Chingford outgraded on all boards lost the first round 4-0. Brian won his second game against a strong player nearly 200 points higher. Two good draws in the second round for Peter and John. Final result Chingford lost 2-6.
19th April: Congratulations to Chingford winning the return friendly against Wanstead 2.5-3.5 with wins for Peter Rose on board 1 and new club member Steve Klein on board 5, draws were hard fought for on boards 2 Brian Spears, board 3 Andrew Morrell and on board 4 Robi Neogy. Well played to the team and now we look forward to the return of the North Circular Spring and Summer Rapidplay competitions.
4th April: Chingford challenged Wanstead to a 10 board friendly but unfortunately Chingford lost the first leg 3-7 Only two winners for Chingford on the evening, board 3 Robin Oakley and board 5 Robi Neogy well done to both players, Board 1 Peter Rose and board 2 Brian Spear drew their games all the remaining boards lost, but a great evenings chess was a had by all. Congratulations to Wanstead and we look forward to the return match next Tuesday on the 19th April.
21st March: Chingford board one player FM. Bob Eames gave a ten board simul and winning nine and drawing with Robin Oakley. Thanks to Bob for another great evening of exciting chess.
13th December: The home leg of the out of season friendly between Chingford vs Wanstead finshed in a 5-5 draw, and drawing the first leg the friendly ended in a draw. With excellent wins on the night for Gavin, Peter, Brian and Derek and draws for Robin and John, but whether win draw or lose all had a great evening of over-the-board chess.
30th November: Chingford were runners-up in the postponed 2020 Finchley Cup losing away 5.5-2.5 to Wanstead. A tough evening of chess laid ahead for Chingford being, as expected out-graded by Wanstead on all boards. Andrew Morrell had the only win for Chingford and he also drew his second game. David and Brian also drew their second game. Well done to all and congratulations to Wanstead.
19th October: Chingford drew their friendly match 3.5-3.5 with Wanstead.
An excellent result for Chingford as they defaulted a boardand. With wins for David, Peter and John and a draw for Gavin on board one.
7th September: Club reopened.

Club News
Chess Board

An over the board club friendly has been arranged between Chingford and Wanstead for 7.30pm Tuesday October 19th at Wanstead House. Any Chingford member wanting to play should contact Brain Spears.
Club is now open again on Monday nights at 7.00-10.30pm
Due to the Covid19 virus there was no AGM in 2020

Useful Sites
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Chess
News and Events

FIDE Logo

FIDE World Ranking List:
June 2022
*********
At the beginning of the month, FIDE published the new world ranking list. Since there have been more FIDE-rated tournaments recently there
has been some movement on
the list but Magnus Carlsen,
Hou Yifan, Alireza Firouzja and Zhou Jiner are still the best players in the various categories.
*****
Magnus Carlsen continues to lead the world ranking list by a large margin though he did not play in May and remains at 2864 Elo. The Norwegian's declared goal is to reach the 2900 mark
but this is difficult, also because other top players are so far away from the Norwegian with their ratings.

Number two on the list is Ding Liren, who in April already climbed back above 2800 with a series of games he played in China to meet the requirements to start in the Candidates. Alireza Firouzja, still the best youngster on the planet, lost a few points in Bucharest and fell back to 2793 and third place. Fabiano Caruana also lost a few points and is in fourth place.

Among the winners in the Top 10 is Levon Aronian. He gained 10 points and jumped from ninth to fifth place. Wesley So gained 8 points and moved up to sixth place while Ian Nepomniachtchi
(-7), Richard Rapport (-12) and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (-19)
lost points.

38 players have a rating of 2700+.

1
Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2864
2
Ding, Liren CHA 2806
3
Firouzia, Alireza FRA 2793
4
Caruana, Fabiano USA 2783
5
Aronian, Levon USA 2775
44
Adams, Michael ENG 2690
81
Jones, Gawain ENG 2665
98
Howell, David ENG 2650

Hou Yifan remains number one on the women's list and is 51 points ahead of Aleksandra Goryachkina who lost points and no longer has a rating of 2600+.

1
Hou, Yifan CHA 2650
2
Goryachkina, Aleks RUS 2599
3
Ju, Wenjun CHA 2560
4
Lagno, Kateryna RUS 2547
5
Muzychuk, Mariya UKR 2540
66
Hunt, Harriet ENG 2381
95
Houska, Jovanka ENG 2365

*****
FIDE Candidates 2022.
Venue and schedule announced

The schedule and venue of the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2022 have been announced by FIDE.
The double round-robin tournament will be played at the magnificent Palacio de Santoña, a centrally located historic building in Madrid.
The first round will take place
on 17th June.

Eight prominent grandmasters will compete in a double round-robin (all play all) tournament from 16th June to 6th July. The schedule includes four free days, one after every three rounds:

June 16: Technical meeting and opening ceremony
June 17-19: Rounds 1-3
June 20: Rest day
June 21-23: Rounds 4-6
June 24: Rest day
June 25-27: Rounds 7-9
June 28: Rest day
June 29 - July 1: Rounds 10-12
July 2: Rest day
July 3-4: Rounds 13-14
July 5: Potential tiebreaks

The first place is all that matters, as the tournament’s winner will become the World Championship Challenger and acquire the right to face World Champion Magnus Carlsen in a match.

chingford-logo

Finchley Cup
Chingford vs. Barking
30th May 2022

An unfortunate return to competition chess Chingford losing 2-6 to Barking in the Finchley Cup.

For full team results
click here
*****
Baum Cup
Chingford vs. Wanstead 2
13th June 2022

Unfortunately another lost for Chingford losing to as normal a strong Wanstead team.

Chingford 2.5-5.5 Wanstead 2.

For full team results
click here
*****
Baum Cup
Enfield 1 vs. Chingford
21st June 2022

Yet another lost for Chingford losing away 7-3 to a strong Enfeild 1 team.

For full team results
click here
*****



Chess

Club Events
What's On

in June

June 13 Baum Cup
Chingford
2.5

vs. Wanstead 2
5.5
June 21 Baum Cup
Enfield 1
7

vs. Chingford
3
June 27

Baum Cup
Ilford


vs. Chingford


 

2022-2023
Chess Calendar

January 2022
Jan 14-30 84th Tata Steel Masters
Jan 24-Feb 03 Gibchess Battle of the Sexes
February 2022
Feb 03-17 FIDE Grand Prix 1 - Berlin
Feb 19-26 Airthings Masters - chess24
Feb 28-Mar 14 FIDE Grand Prix 2 - Belgrade
March 2022
Mar 02-12 England vs. Sweden Challenge Match
Mar 03-Jun 19 Chess Bundesliga - Germany
Mar 19-26 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 2
Mar 21-Apr 03
FIDE Grand Prix 3 - Berlin
Mar 27-Apr 06 European Individual Champion
April 2022
Apr 06-12 Reykjavik Open - Reykjavik4
Apr 18-30 American Cup -Saint Louis
Apr 20-28 Meltwater Chess Tour 3: 1st Major
Apr 27-May 08 21 Mitropa Club Cup - Corsica
Apr 30-May 04 World Youth Rapid and Blitz
May 2022
May 01-10 Russian Team Championships
May 04-14 Superbet Chess Classic - Bucharest
May 05-16 World Senior Team Championship
May 18-23 Paris Rapid & Blitz
May 19-26 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 4
May 30-Jun 11 Norway Chess - Stavanger
June 2022
Jun 07-17 Prague International Chess Festival
Jun 16-Jul 07 Candidates Tournament - Madrid
Jun 25-Jul 06 Russian Championship Higher L
July 2022
Jul 10-17 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 5
Jul 11-22 Biel International Chess Festival
Jul 16-24 Dortmund Chess Days - Dortmund
Jul 19-26 Croatia Grand Tour Rapid & Blitz
Jul 26-Aug 08 World Chess Olympiad - Moscow
August 2022
Aug 12-20 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 6
Aug 13-21 British Championship - Torquay
Aug 20-31 European Women’s Chess Champ
Aug 24-30 Superbet Warsaw Rapid & Blitz
September 2022
Sep 01-15 Sinquefield Cup - St. Louis
Sep 05-18 World Youth (U14-18) Championship
Sep 10-25 Asian Games - Hangzhou
Sep 18-25 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 7
October 2022
Oct 02-10 European Chess Club Cup
Oct 13-20 Russian Rapid and Blitz Champion
Oct 14-21 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 8
Oct 23-26 European Women’s Rapid & Blitz
November 2022
Nov 11-20 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 9
Nov 15-28 World Senior Championship
Nov 30-Dec 04 Russian Rapid Grand Prix Final
December 2022
Dec 04-13 Russian Cup Final
Janruary 2023
Jan 15-30 Tata Steel Chess - Wijk aan Zee

Past Chess News
in Brief

carlsen win tata 2022 small
Magnus Carlsen beat Fabiano Caruana to claim his eighth tournament title in Wijk aan Zee with a round to spare. The world champion will not even need to show up for Sunday’s final round, as the organizers of the tournament confirmed that Daniil Dubov will not be playing despite testing negative to a second Covid-19 PCR test. Meanwhile, Arjun Erigaisi clinched the title in the Challengers, thus getting an invitation to next year’s main event.
MVL-2021 blitz small
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave beat Jan-Krzysztof Duda in a playoff to claim the World Blitz Championship, with Alireza Firouzja this time missing out despite scoring the same number of points and bagging the same $50,000 as his rivals. The event was almost stopped halfway after Hikaru Nakamura tested positive for COVID-19, but in the end it was only delayed an hour. The top earners in Warsaw ($70,000 each) were 17-year-old Bibisara Assaubayeva and Alexandra Kosteniuk, with Bibisara taking Blitz gold to her rival's silver, while Valentina Gunina made it double bronze.
bibisara 2021 blitz small
The women’s world title went to Kazakh star Bibisara Assaubayeva.
17-year-old, Bibisara Assaubayeva, almost eclipsed him. In terms of podium finishes and prize money she certainly did, since she followed Rapid silver and $30,000 by winning gold in the Blitz and another $40,000. She was one person from Kazakhstan with no reason to regret the event being switched to Poland!

Carlsen wins world champinship 2021
Magnus Carlsen picked up a fourth win at the World Championship match in Dubai to secure overall victory with three games to spare. Magnus Carlsen remains World Chess Champion after beating Ian Nepomniachtchi in Dubai with a crushing 7.5-3.5 scoreline. Nepomniachtchi blundered in a drawish position, but our commentators felt it was deliberate or subconscious chess suicide, since a draw would have meant a mission impossible — the Russian needing to win all three of the remaining games. Magnus has now held the title since beating Vishy Anand in 2013, and he'll have spent a decade as the champ when he next has to defend his title in 2023.
Wesley So 2021 US Champ
Wesley So beat both Fabiano Caruana and Sam Sevian in the playoffs of the 2021 US Championship to win the national title for a third time, since his transfer to the United States in 2014. A hard-fought tournament saw the three players sharing first place on 6½ points after 11 rounds. A round robin with a rapid time control took place on Tuesday to decide the winner of the national championship
Nick Perks wins 2021 UK Champ
This year, the British Chess Federation organised two national championships, an online championship in July/August, and an "Over-the-Board" championship
at the beginning of October. Nicholas
Pert won the Open Championship, Harriett Hunt became Women's Champion. Over-the-board: The British Championships 2021.

Carlsen Wins Tour
The world’s first NFT chess trophy was awarded to Meltwater Champions Chess Tour winner Magnus Carlsen in an historic moment for the game. Norway’s chess superstar digitally signed the prize in a glittering ceremony held after he beat US Champ Wesley So in the final round of the $1.6 million Tour’s Finals event. Carlsen said: “It’s a nice trophy and I’m very happy to be breaking this ground.” On winning the Tour after 10 months of intense competition, Carlsen said: “It means a lot, there’s been a lot of ups and downs. “Especially at the start I was struggling so much, not winning any of the first four tournaments and frankly at the start I was losing to Wesley in the finals and it was deserved.
Carlsen wins Norway Chess
Magnus Carlsen beat Ian Nepomniachtchi in Armageddon to secure first place at the 2021 Norway Chess Tournament. This is the world champion’s third straight triumph in his home super-tournament. Alireza Firouzja had a great performance, ending the tournament with four wins in a row to get sole second place and climb to ninth place in the world ranking. Perennial favourite Magnus Carlsen won the ninth edition of the Norway Chess Tournament in Stavanger after getting an Armageddon victory over Ian Nepomniachtchi in the tenth and final round of the event. The world champion came from scoring four consecutive wins in classical games to snatch the lead away from long-time sole leader Richard Rapport. This is Carlsen’s third straight triumph in his home super-tournament, as the man from Tønsberg has won all editions that featured the current pointing system.
Carlsen wins Aimchess
A convincing performance in the finals of the Aimchess US Rapid gave Magnus Carlsen tournament victory in the last ‘regular’ event of this year’s Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. The world champion beat Vladislav Artemiev 2½-½ in the second set of the finals. The young Russian nonetheless made it into the grand finale of the series, despite only playing in 3 of the 9 qualifying tournaments. Magnus Carlsen obtained his third tournament victory in this year’s Meltwater Champions Chess Tour by taking down Vladislav Artemiev in the finals of the Aimchess US Rapid.
MVL wins Sinquefield Cup
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave couldn’t have asked for a better time to win the Sinquefield Cup. Scoring six points in nine rounds, he became the only player to outrightly win the event twice. Equally important for him, the win beckons a return to top form. In an interview with Dhananjay Khadilkar, he remarked, “I have absolutely no doubt that I am part of the chess elite”. MVL scoring six points in nine rounds, he became the only player to outrightly win the event twice.
Elina Danielian wins Womens European Championship
The European Women’s Championship came to an end on Friday, with Armenia’s Elina Danielian winning the title as the only player who collected 9/11 points in Iasi, Romania. In the final round, Danielian clinched clear first place by beating Estonian WIM Mai Narva on top board. Draws were seen on boards 2 to 6. Iulija Osmak (Ukraine), who had been at the top of the standings table for several rounds, had to settle for second place. Armenian GM Elina Danielian can look back on a long, successful career.
Vincent Keymer wins Kramnik Challenge
Two wins and a draw on the fourth day of action granted Vincent Keymer tournament victory at the Kramnik Challenge for young stars. Most importantly, Keymer beat Awonder Liang in the penultimate round — Keymer and Liang would end the event tied in points, and the result in their direct encounter was the tiebreak decider that gave the German prodigy first place.
Nakamura wins Saint Louis
In a remarkable exhibition of speed and control, Hikaru Nakamura won the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz Tournament with three rounds to spare, going through 27 rounds undefeated against a field completely made up of 2700+ rated players. Fabiano Caruana and Richard Rapport finished second and third respectively
So wins Chessable Masters
A draw in the second set of the finals was enough for Wesley So to secure first place at the second edition of the Chessable Masters. The Filipino-born grandmaster thus obtained his third title in this year’s Champions Chess Tour. Le Quang Liem finished in a remarkable second place, while Vladislav Artemiev got the bronze after beating Levon Aronian in the match for third place. A third title for Wesle So.
Duda wins FIDE World Cup
Jan-Krzysztof Duda was crowned champion at the 2021 FIDE World Cup in Sochi. The Polish grandmaster had an undefeated performance in the 24-day event and knocked out none other than world champion Magnus Carlsen in the semifinals. Carlsen, who had high praise for Duda, beat Vladimir Fedoseev for a second day in a row to claim third place. Jan-Krzysztof Duda earned his title the hard way, knocking out Alexander Grischuk, Vidit Gujrathi, Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin in the final four rounds of the lengthy event while remaining undefeated.
Aronian wins Asian Rapid
Levon Aronian scored back-to-back wins against Vladislav Artemiev to secure first place at the Goldmoney Asian Rapid tournament. Meanwhile, Ding Liren bounced back from his loss in the first set by remarkably beating Magnus Carlsen 3-0 in their second mini-match. However, it was the world champion who prevailed in the blitz tiebreakers to take third place. It was an impressive triumph by Levon Aronian
So wins Paris
Thanks to a remarkable performance in the second half of the blitz section, Wesley So won the Paris Rapid & Blitz Tournament with one round to spare finishing the tournament with three points clear of second-placed Ian Nepomniachtchi, after losing only one out of the 27 games played in the French capital. Wesley So’s triumph at the second event of this year’s Grand Chess Tour was nothing short of impressive.
Mamedyarov wins Superbet
In the last round of the Superbet Chess Classic, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov safely drew Maxime Vachier-Lagrave with the black to secure tournament victory. Wesley So, Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk shared second place a full point behind the Azerbaijani.
Carlsen wins Chess Tour
Magnus Carlsen won the 6th tournament of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour after beating Wesley So in an exciting final match which was only decided in Armageddon. This was the third time Carlsen and So faced each other in a final of the tour, and So was inches away from scoring an unlikely third victory in a row.
Carlsen wins new in chess
Only needing a draw in the second set of the finals against Hikaru Nakamura, Magnus Carlsen bounced back from a loss in game 1 with a win in game 3 — Nakamura could not win on demand in game 4, which meant Carlsen had won his first event of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour.
nepomniachtchi win
Ian Nepomniachtchi gained the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen in the upcoming World Championship match after winning the Candidates Tournament with a round to spare. Russia’s number 1 drew Maxime Vachier-Lagrave while second-placed Anish Giri was defeated by Alexander Grischuk. Given the tiebreak criteria, even if Giri catches up with Nepo in the last round, he would not be granted tournament victory. Russia’s highest-ranked player Ian Nepomniachtchi will be Magnus Carlsen’s challenger in the upcoming World Championship match, scheduled to take place at the end of this year in Dubai.
Giri Wins Carlsen Invitational
Anish Giri defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi in tiebreaks to win the second edition of the Magnus Carlsen Invitational. In the second set of the match, Nepo had kept the score tied by winning the fourth game on demand. But Giri defeated Nepomniachtchi in blitz tiebreakers after the players drew both sets of the final. Magnus Carlsen beat Wesley So in the match for third place.
So wins Opera
“I'd like to apologise to Magnus for ruining Valentine's Day," said Wesley So after defeating Magnus Carlsen in the final of the Opera Euro Rapid after also beating him in the Skilling Open final on the World Champion’s 30th birthday. Wesley So defeated Magnus Carlsen in the final of the Opera Euro Rapid tournament to bag a second consecutive victory in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. Teimour Radjabov convincingly beat Maxime Vachier-Lagrave to claim third place.
van Foreest wins Tata
There was no lack of excitement on the last day of action at this year’s Tata Steel Masters tournament. Jorden van Foreest defeated Nils Grandelius from the white side of a Najdorf to catch up with Anish Giri, who drew David Anton with the black pieces - these results meant an all-Dutch playoff would decide the winner. Two draws in the blitz tiebreakers were followed by an Armageddon decider, in which Giri got a major advantage but ended up losing in a wild time scramble.
David Howell
Already closing on a hundred editions, the Hastings International Chess Congress was organized this year despite the pandemic. Sponsored by Caplin Systems for a second time, the tournament was played online on Saturday and Sunday. In the end, David Howell won the event with a commanding performance, scoring seven wins and four draws to finish 1½ points ahead of second-placed Luke McShane.
Radjabov winner Airthings
Teimour Radjabov secured first place in the Airthings Masters after scoring two points in three games against Levon Aronian, as he had already won the first mini-match on Saturday. Meanwhile, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave defeated Daniil Dubov in a lively match for third place. After having won the first set of the match, Teimour Radjabov only needed to score two points in Sunday’s mini-match to take home the $60,000 first prize from the Airthings Masters
So Wins Skilling
Wesley So stunned Magnus Carlsen on his 30th birthday to win the blitz playoff to clinch 1st place and the $30,000 top prize in the Skilling Open, the first event on the $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour. Carlsen admitted that So was a deserved winner, as he showed great nerves to make the most of his chances in the blitz tiebreaker. It was not a great tournament for Carlsen — by his extremely high standards