[The first part of this article can be found at Danny’s Puzzles #1]
I was impressed by the response that I got to my problem solving article. Unlike most of the articles I tirelessly put up on gingergm.com, I actually got some responses!
Unfortunately there were one or two problems. Firstly it was impossible to tell if people were using an engine or not, so the answers had to be taken on trust. Clearly the other problem is the higher rated players will come up with the best answers. As I stated in the original article, the prize won’t always be awarded to the player who comes up with the technically best answers.
In the first game, I asked what was White’s best continuation here.
It’s become an almost running joke inside my 4NCL team, Blackthorne Russia. Why this is the last weekend, why I’m fed up with these atrociously long train journeys and getting battered and losing rating points everytime I play.
A lot of the problem I have with 4NCL is that there is often a gap between the previous weekend of a month or so. In some other countries, they play the whole league format at the same time, which I believe is a fairer format. It was extremely noticeable in the final weekend, which was played in the glamorous location of a hotel in Telford, how out of shape I was chesswise. I don’t train at home really, so the only way I can get “into shape” is to play tournaments. So everytime I’ve turned up at the 4NCL the last few years, I’ve struggled. And I’m fed up with it.
[2018-05-31: Solutions can be found at Solutions to Danny’s Puzzles #1]
Rather than the usual boring articles where I rant on about every subject on the sun, I thought I’d change tack completely and try to produce something that is more interactive for the reader.
So the purpose of these articles is to give some scenarios that have might have occurred over the board, and ask the reader to come up with the solution to the problem. If you can give the answers in the comment section down below, then the best answer each week will win a free DVD from the Ginger GM shop.
“Be prepared” might be the scouts motto, but it could just as easily apply to Fabiano Caruana’s performance in the 2018 Candidates, where he outclassed the rest of the field, won comfortably in the end and qualified to take on the reigning World Champion, the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, in a match that will take place later in the year in London.
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
Not just the brilliant Stones record but also a sentiment that could capture the general chess public’s mood as the 2018 Candidates approaches.
Although I’m convinced that the majority of chess followers would relish the prospect of the ever inventive Levon Aronian, or perhaps the dashing attacking brilliance of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov winning through to take on Magnus Carlsen, there is also that unspoken dread that lingers in the background: the idea that we could be forced to endure the second instalment of Karjakin-Carlsen; the first edition of which surely threw up (both literally and figuratively) one of the most boring World Championship matches in history.
Hastings. Just the name itself is to evoke a chess tournament of somewhat legendary proportions - on a par historically with Wijk Aan Zee. However there’s no doubt that the tournament has gone downhill in recent years. Go back to the mid nineties and the early 2000s and the tournament was still a fairly strong event attracting strong grandmasters on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case and the most recent edition was the weakest I can ever remember.
You can put up a lot of reasons but the primary one is money. If you put up enough cash, then the stars will come, after all they still do to Wijk Aan Zee - hardly the most glamorous location either. And the problem is that Hastings as a town isn’t doing that great, money wise, so they don’t have money to put into the event.
Another candidates tournament is rolling around - Berlin 2018, with many of the usual suspects involved. The question arises: who is favourite going into the event?
There’s little question for me that Aronian is now the outstanding favourite to win that tournament and qualify to play Carlsen. It just feels like his time. He’s just got married, he’s just had one of the best years of his life chesswise and from a personal point of view.
To start with I’m going to concentrate on British chess - in the second part I’m going to be looking at more international events like the FIDE World Cup.
Luke McShane had a great chance to win the British and only fell at the final hurdle in the playoffs. It would be cruel to say that he’s become the “Jimmy White” of the British championships, but there’s also no doubt that it’s somewhat strange he hasn’t won the tournament by now given his evident strength.
A word that tends to often be overused when describing sporting collapses. However there’s no doubt that something strange happened to me in the last round of the British championships at Llaundudno. Whether it was choking, or fatigue, or a combination of those two I’m not really sure.
I do think that it’s not a coinicidence that the four who got into the play off were all under 35. Ok, three of them were the top three seeds, but you get the point.
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