The international chess calendar has turned attention to two major events: The Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival (www.GibChess.com, Jan. 23- Feb. 1) and the 2018 Tata Steel Chess Festival (www.TataSteelChess.com, Jan. 12-28). The Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival features the warm Mediterranean weather and those entertaining, if thieving, Barbary macaques. This year it’s a 10-round Swiss, at 40/100; 20/50; 15/SD; +30 with a prize fund of about $270,000.
The featured players from the advance entry list are Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Vassily Ivanchuk, Anna Muzychuk, and the defending champ, American Hikaru Nakamura. Other Americans playing are James Tarjan, Varuzhan Akobian, Gregory Kaidanov, Chris Yoo, and Cambridge’s Marc Esserman.
Tata Steel is in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands and features a very strong 13-player round-robin. In the star studded field is the world champion, Magnus Carlsen; Americans Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So; former world champion Vladimir Kramnik; world championship candidate Shakhriyar Mamedyarov; and former women’s world champion Hou Yifan. An interesting question here is whether Carlsen can win a classical time control event, something he has not done in at least a year. The challenger section features the new world junior champion, Norwegian Aryan Tari; the Dutch’s #1 junior, Jorden Van Foreest; India’s #1 woman, Dronavalli Harika; and America’s best junior, Jeffrey Xiong. Dutch GM Robin van Kampen and Canadian GM Eric Hansen will lead the live commentary team.
The 2018 US and Women’s Championships (April 17-30) is once again hosted by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The club will supply the nearly $300,000 in prize money for both events.
MACA’s scholastic season is nearing conclusion, with the final Spiegel Qualifier scheduled for March 4 and the championships on March 18. Also, the final Spiegel Cup Series event is on Feb. 25, for more details check out the scholastic page on www.MassChess.org.
Coming events: Jan. 9, Waltham Anderson G/25; d5 4-Round Swiss www.WalthamChessClub.org; Jan. 21, Boylston Spiegel Cup January Scholastic, Cambridge: Jan. 28, MACA’s Winter Team Challenge, Marlborough, www.MassChess.org.
Recent results: Sixth Boston Chess Congress (221 Players), Premier Section, 1st-5th: Xherebukh Yaroslav, Alexander Ivanov, Edward Song, Mika Brattain, Alejandro Botta, 4/5; U2100, 1st, Jonathan Ingellis, 4.5/5;
Answer to today’s problem: P. Keres v. P. Schmidt, 1935, 1...Bxf2+! Always check the checks! 2.Kxf2 Rxc1 3.Rxc1 Bxf3 4.Nxf3 Qe3+ 5.Kf1 Qxc1+.Chris Chase can be reached at BostonGlobeChessNotes@gmail.com.