Friday, June 7, 2013

Kamsky Wins U.S. Championship in Playoff; Karjakin Triumphs in Norway

By ,

It was a busy week in the world of chess, as the U.S Championships were winding down and the Norway Chess tournament had many of the world's top players in action as well. As I mentioned last week, Irina Krush won the U.S. Women's title outright, but the overall Championship was down to a playoff between perennial contender Gata Kamsky and the surprising Alejandro Ramirez. The playoff consisted of two rapid games, and Kamsky had the better of the play in both instances. But after being unable to reach a winning position with the white pieces, Kamsky was then surprised to see Ramirez find a stalemate tactic that allowed him to once again escape with a draw in the second rapid game, meaning we still 

The tournament then came down to an Armageddon game in which one player would take White and need to score a win in order to win the tournament, while the other player would have Black with draw odds. In order to determine the colors, the players essentially bid for Black (and the draw odds) by secretly writing how little time they'd be willing to take as Black against a White player with 45 minutes. Kamsky bid 20 minutes, but Ramirez bid 19:45, giving him the black pieces with a significant time disadvantage. In the end, that may have proved decisive, as Ramirez was down to his increment by the end of the game. Kamsky eventually found himself up three pawns, and despite the best defensive efforts of Ramirez, that proved to be enough to score a win. For more details on the games in the playoff match, check out this report with photos from ChessBase!
Meanwhile, an even bigger event was taking place in Norway, where most of the world's elite met to battle for the Norway Chess title. Sergey Karjakin got out to a blistering fast start, winning his first four games to open up a lead on the field. Not surprisingly, hometown hero Magnus Carlsen was one of the contenders who struck back, beating Karjakin in their individual match to give himself a real chance to catch the leader. But a late loss by Carlsen (to Wang Hao) left him just short at the end, as Karjakin won the tournament with a 6/9 score -- a half-point ahead of Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura. World Champion Viswanathan Anand was on hand as well (he finished with a solid 5/9 score), but there were no real fireworks in the Anand-Carlsen encounter, which ended in a draw. It would be a surprise to see any spectacular games between them before the World Championship match, as both sides will likely save their best preparation for that encounter.

It's that time again: here's a look at all the new content on the site that you might have missed this month! I have four new articles to share with you, with plenty more coming in June. Here's what was new on the site in May:
  • I added another Top Five Chess Books list, this time focusing on Tactics. This will become a recurring theme, as I'd like to share what I think is the best of my large collection of chess books and help you make purchasing decisions that make sense based on the types of books you're looking for.
  • For mobile users, I've added an article on Chess for Android Devices. Don't worry, Apple fans - articles on the iPhone and iPad are coming soon!
  • If you're looking for free chess programs, you might want to look at this list of the top Free Online Chess Games. Of course, if you have a Windows operating system, you might already have the free Chess Titans program installed and not even know it.
As always, let me know if there's anything specific you want to see on the site in June!

No comments:

Post a Comment