Chinese prodigies Hou and Yi will play in León

Posted by on Gen 30, 2014 in Chess News & Events |

Nearly all top chess stars over the past 27 years have played the Magistral Ciudad de Leon. And that collection will be enriched in 2014 (5-9 June) with two of the biggest all times prodigies.

Both are Chinese: Yifan Hou, current Women’s World Champion, and Yi Wei (14 years old), who’s future looks very bright.

The tournament moves back to the four player format, with the two top Spanish stars: Paco Vallejo (the winner in 2012) and Ivan Salgado, current Spanish champion.

Marcelino Sion, the tournament director, breathes easy now, after three very tense years: “It is going to be a very special edition. Although the tournament has been in danger for the last three years due to the financial crisis, we have managed to return to the four player format with very charismatic players, specially the two Chinese. I am convinced that, in the future, historians will add Yifan Hou and Yi Wei as two amazing examples to the list of wonder kids which chess has produced over the years, as well as in music and mathematics”.

Hou Yifan

Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan

That prediction has a very solid base. No woman, not even the Hungarian Judit Polgar (the only woman that has been among the world’s top ten) has achieved so many successes as Yifan Hou as such a young age.

She is the youngest ever to win the world title (at the age of 16), as well as the youngest female player ever to qualify for the title of Grandmaster (14), to participate in the FIDE Women’s World Championship (Yekaterinburg 2006) and the Chess Olympiad (Torino 2006), both at the age of 12.

In June 2007, she became China’s youngest National Women’s Champion ever, at 13 years of age. She lost the world crown in 2012, but managed to regain it in 2013. She is now 20, and her life is not only chess, as she studies International Relationships at the University of Beijing, and speaks fluent English.

Potentially, her limits are still far away. She even looks capable of climbing as high as Judit Polgar. Actually she beat the Hungarian in Gibraltar 2012, where Hou achieved the best women result ever. But we still do not know if chess will be her priority in years to come.

However, Hou’s great achievements could become small compared to what is expected from Yi Wei, providing he overcomes his adolescence with no serious problem. His results so far remind us of those of Magnus Carlsen at the same age.

The list of his prominent victims in 2013 includes Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Alexei Shirov and Ian Nepomniachtchi. Some strong grandmasters even think Yi Wei will be the main opponent for Carlsen in the long run.

But there will be more than just the Chinese stars to pull in the crowds. Vallejo and Salgado are also interesting players, for different reasons.

Vallejo, 31, former U18 world champion, is in a kind of a sabbatical period, playing a very few tournaments per year. But his results are not bad. For instance, he was 7th at the last European Championship.

Paco Vallejo

Paco Vallejo

Salgado, 22, silver medal at the U18 World Championship in 2009, shows solid progression and strong discipline. He has moved to Sofia (Bulgaria) in order to work with his colleague and friend Ivan Cheparinov. Vallejo’s big talent and Salgado’s hard work make them capable to eclipse the two Chinese stars in Leon.

The semi-finals will be played on Friday and Saturday (June, 6-7), and the final on Sunday, at the magnificent Auditorium. As in the former 26 editions, Joaquin Espejo will be the main arbiter.

All matches will be played to the best of four games (20 minutes per player + 10 seconds per move) with a series of 5 minute games in a case of tiebreak.

The tournament keeps all the traditional sponsors, and this year is linked to an historical event: Leon had one of the oldest European Parliaments which opened in 1188. Among the parallel activities, there is a very original competition called Chess and Business, organized by El Inversor Inquieto, which has been successful so far:

More information:

Leontxo Garcia (Press Officer)


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Magnus Carlsen to play in Caxias do Sul, Brazil

Posted by on Gen 29, 2014 in Chess News & Events |

World Champion Magnus Carlsen will visit Brazil from 4th March to participate in the 13th Torneio Aberto Internacional de Xadrez “Festa da Uva” in Caxias do Sul, IM Dragan Stamenkovic of Ponto do Xadrez confirmed for Chessdom.

The first event will be a blind simul with visually impaired players on 6th March, followed by a lecture.

Next is a 4-player knockout tournament with Semifinal on 6th March and Final on 7th March. His opponents will be Grandmasters Gilberto Milos, Rafael Leitao and Andres Rodriguez (Uruguay). A press conference is to follow after the Final at 16h local.

The same evening from 19h Magnus Carlsen will give a simul with 35 players. The seats were sold out within half a day despite the price of 130 EUR!

On 8-9th March Carlsen will play in the 13th Open Rapid Tournament.

Anand - Carlsen game 2 1

The tournament format is slightly unusual, but already applied in 2010 and 2012 when the guests of honour were Vassily Ivanchuk and Judit Polgar.

The first two rounds will be played with the time control 16 min per player. Rounds 3-4 will be played with the time control 30 min per player. Rounds 5-9 will be played with the time control 60 min per player.

In the last two rounds (8 and 9), draws will not be possible! In case of a tie, an Armageddon game will settle the score.

The organizers are expecting around 400 participants from the whole country. Already 80 players are signed in, with 14 Grandmasters among them.


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Anand to play FIDE Candidates

Posted by on Gen 21, 2014 in Chess News & Events |

Soon after his lost World Championship match he wasn’t completely sure, but today it became official that Viswanathan Anand will play the FIDE Candidates tournament in March in Khanty-Mansiysk. The other participants are Vladimir Kramnik, Dmitry Andreikin, Veselin Topalov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Levon Aronian, Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler. The news was brought out today by the World Chess Federation.

Today on the FIDE website the following was posted:


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Anand in Die Zeit: “Go there, sit down, play well”

Posted by on Ott 30, 2013 in Chess News & Events |

In ten days from now, Anand-Carlsen will take off in Chennai — you will hardly have missed that! This particular chess event is so big, that many mainstream media are posting preview articles. One of these is the major German newspaper Die Zeit, who on Tuesday published an interview with the defending champion Vishy Anand, who speaks about his preparation.


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The new versions of Houdini and Stockfish play a 144 moves thriller

Posted by on Ott 28, 2013 in Chess News & Events |

stockfish-4Stage 3 of TCEC is in progress, with 10 engines competing in a double round robin. TCEC is often called the “strongest computer chess championship”, and there is a very logical reason for that – in the event are competing not only the strongest engines, rather their new experimental releases.

Houdini is playing with an experimental version stronger than Houdini 3, namely the 9601 modification. Many speculate that this is the future basis of Houdini 4 and that its creator Robert Houdart uses TCEC for a public test.

Stockfish, the strongest open source engine, also released version 4 for the first stage of TCEC. Now is Stage 3 the version is upgraded to the experimental 151013.

Being top of the computer rating list and with new versions, Stockfish and Houdini played the longest game of the Stage – thrilling 144 moves! You can replay the game here (select from drop down menu)

Every game of TCEC remains excitement, but many questions remain unanswered. Will Komodo manage to prove it is best prepared for this Season? Were the Stockfish and Houdini version upgrades provoked by the performance of Komodo? Can Naum’s new 4.6 version qualify for yet another stage? Will the newcomer Bouquet bring more surprises? Can the only U3000 ELO engine in the field create another stun? Are Critter and Hiarcs the surprise of the stage? Watch the developing story game by game live on the official website.


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Play online chess with WGM Iva Videnova, today at 16:00 CET

Posted by on Ott 20, 2013 in Chess News & Events |

Iva Videnova

WGM Iva Videnov

WGM Iva Videnova, champion of Bulgaria for 2013 and second board at the Chess Olympiad, will play a Master Challenge at Chess Arena. In a form of a queue, she will play against the active Arena members. Participation is open for everyone, you can join free here

So far in the Master Challenge have played GM Tamir Nabaty, GM Simonian, GM Avetik Grigoryan, GM Alexander Ipatov, GM Petar Arnaudov, IM Spas Kozhuharov, IM Aman Hambleton, WGM Iva Videnova, and IM Veselin Pantev. All of them share a general feeling that Chess Arena is currently the platform with strongest players online, the average ELO estimated of well over 2000.

Next Tuesday at 14:00 CET the invited player is GM Bauer. Signup is open here.

More “Play with a Master” sessions will be available every day, in the next week the schedule includes 1 GM, 5 IM, 4 FM, and 1 NM.

Register for the games with WGM Iva Videnova here


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Play online chess vs GM Christian Bauer (today!)

Posted by on Ott 18, 2013 in Chess News & Events |

chessdom chess arenaChessdom Chess Arena, the brand new free online chess platform, is gaining speed every day. Despite being in early beta, with very limited functionality, Chess Arena presents multiple nice features to the users. One of the favorite aspects is the Master Challenge where all players have a chance to play against IMs, WGMs, and GMs.

So far in the Master Challenge have played GM Tamir Nabaty, GM Simonian, GM Avetik Grigoryan, GM Alexander Ipatov, GM Petar Arnaudov, IM Spas Kozhuharov, IM Aman Hambleton, WGM Iva Videnova, and IM Veselin Pantev. All of them share a general feeling that Chess Arena is currently the platform with strongest players online, the average ELO estimated of well over 2000.

Play online chess vs GM Christian Bauer (today!)

GM Christian Bauer (see his games here) is going to be the invited player at the Master Challenge today. With standard ELO of 2621 and blitz ELO of 2670, GM Bauer is going to have a tough test vs the Chessdom Arena users. The competition starts at 14:00 CET join the race here

More “Play with a Master” sessions will be available every day, in the next week the schedule includes 1 GM, 5 IM, 4 FM, and 1 NM.

Christian Bauer

GM Christian Bauer


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Antoaneta Stefanova: I always feel privileged to play in Indonesia

Posted by on Ott 17, 2013 in Chess News & Events |

Antoaneta Stefanova has a rating of 2496 which ranks her first amongst the many women playing in IOCC 2013.

The 34 year old Bulgarian native is former World champion who last year was again a finalist but unlucky loser in the 2012 World Championship against Ukraine surprise winner Anna Ushenina.

Chessdom: How many times have to been to Indonesia?

Stefanova: This is my third time in Indonesia. The first was in Surabaya and second time I was also in Jakarta, if I am not mistaken, in 2003.


Chessdom: That makes you a frequent visitor! Can we say then that Indonesia is near enough for you to come more often?

Stefanova: I like Indonesia and always feel privileged to play in tournaments here so this benefit is continuing. I also really like the people here.

Chessdom: So what are your impressions so far about Indonesia Open Chess Championship 2013?

Stefanova: This tournament is very strong and interesting because there are many very good players participating.

chelsie vs stefanova

Chessdom: You have been a world champion and very much still able to win the title. What then would you hope to achieve here?

Stefanova: I never set myself concrete targets in tournaments. I always just try and play good chess and then the results would be there.

Chessdom: Are you feeling jet lag?

Stefanova: Yes, I come from a country that is quite far away, that is of course Bulgaria. But I did come two days earlier and am starting to adjust now.


Chessdom: What do you feel about playing two games a day?

Stefanova: This is going to be a problem for me because I am not used to this at all. But I hope I can manage. Unfortunately there is non free day for recovery as well and it would have been nice to be able to see a bit of Jakarta. I do hope in future the organisers would consider single rounds and a rest day in line with tournaments of equal standing in the world so that IOCC will be considered to be among the best if not the very best.

Chessdom: Last year you were the unlucky loser in the World Championship final. What are your aspirations regarding the world championships?

Stefanova: I always play to be the best I can be but I also understand that with every year there are more and more very strong young players emerging. Last year I was still able to be a World Champion – in Rapid chess. This year I have not been at my best and hope that I will do better next year.

Antoaneta Stefanova

Chessdom: What are you physical and technical preparations before a tournament?

Stefanova: My usual routine is gym, yoga, and swimming, and of course doing chess work. Following the games in tournaments and playing in tournaments is also very important as it keeps up your motivation.

Chessdom: Next year we have a FIDE election. If you could, who would you vote for?

Stefanova: I think Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has done a lot of good things for chess and has shown a very big commitment over a long time. So I would vote for him for the many positive things he has done.


Chessdom: What do you think of the future prospects of womens chess in Indonesia?

Stefanova: The Indonesian girls are very young and talented. They have trainers and opportunities to play regularly in strong tournaments. This is very important as for a chessplayer to develop, he or she needs to play against strong opponents. In my opinion they should look to play more in mixed events. For sure with their age, talent and the support being given, they have every opportunity to be best.



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