The popularity of chess on the Internet has transformed the status of chess in the world. Nowadays, there is almost always a major tournament going on featuring the top rated players. The highest rated 10-15 players published monthly by FIDE, the International Chess Federation, are the main personnel of these tournaments, with some tournaments inviting local champions or an occasional dark horse entry.
The life of these grandmasters must be a very stressful one. They must move from tournament to tournament over thousands of miles of travel, keeping track of the performances of imminent rivals, planning openings and rebuttals against them, and then enduring hours of complicated calculations in situations where a minor mistake can spell doom. Hikaru Nakamura, in an interview in Chess Life, said he thinks little of the future, but simply takes on the tournaments as they appear. Veselin Topalov, a former world champion, in a recent interview in New in Chess magazine, said that he will not be content with being No. 3 or 4, but will fight for more — hence the No. 1 spot. That particular diadem is up for contention when Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Viswanathan Anand of India face each other in November.
Carlsen is the dominant player of his day, but sometimes appears sleepy and is capable of faults in his vaunted end game. The world champion, Anand, is playing regularly to keep trim but is having mediocre results. In recent weeks, these two have met each other at Norway Chess 2013, the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece, and at the Tal Memorial in Moscow.
Norway Chess 2013 was sponsored and largely staged by non-chess players. There are very few chess players in Norway and Carlsen, in this respect, is something of an anomaly. However, the promoters were not amateurs in welcoming the players and making them comfortable. Oil money provided generous prizes. A gigantic portrait of Carlsen appeared at the airport as well as life-size portraits of each player. The tournament was played at five venues.
Alas, the local champion could not win this one, though Carlsen lagged by only a half point. Sergey Karjakin of Russia won the preliminary blitz event and, starting out with four victories, monopolized first place. At Thessaloniki, the result fell to a dark horse, Leinier Dominguez Perez, Cuba’s No. 1. He was seeded near the bottom but prevailed after losing the first game and posting an 8-3 score. At the Tal Memorial, 45-year-old Boris Gelfand of Israel led the pack.
One wonders whether the leading world grandmasters play musical chairs, and whether they are so capable in their art, that chance takes a hand in the standings.
Brevity: G. Perigal vs. H. Popert (1840) 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.0–0 Bb6 8.cxd4 d6 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.e5 dxe5 11.Ba3 Na5 12.Re1 Nxc4 13.Qa4+ c6 14.Qxc4 Be6 15.Rxe5 Qd7 16.Rxe6+ fxe6 17.Ne5 Qc8 18.Re1 Nd5 19.Nxd5 cxd5 20.Qb5+; 1-0
Winners: Sven Brask CC’s Name It Yourself Open: 1st, Andre Hoy, 3.5-.5, 2d-3d, David Harris, Jack Correia, 3-1; Boylston CC’s Weaver Adams Championship: Tie for 1st, Joel Wald and Brandon Wu, both 3-1.
Coming Events: 18th Annual Bradley Open, July 19-21, Sheraton Hotel, 1 Bradley Airport, Windsor Locks, Conn., www.chesstour.com, e-mail
DirectorAtChess.US; Boylston CC Thursday Night Swiss, July 11, 18, 25, Aug. 1 and Grand Prix, July 13, both at 240B Elm St., Somerville, www.boylstonchessclub.org.