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Author Archive for Leonard Barden

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Chess: Magnus Carlsen aims for strong showing at illustrious Wijk aan Zee

The world champion had a disappointing 2017 in classical elite tournaments but has a chance to turn things around when the ‘Wimbledon of chess’ beginsMagnus Carlsen, the world champion, attempts to break an alarming sequence of setbacks in classical el…

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The 48-year-old former world champion scored 10.5/15 at the three-day event which was mired in controversy over the visa problems experienced by some of the competitorsIndia’s former world champion Vishy Anand, now a veteran aged 48, rolled back the ye…

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Chess: lucrative world speed events to open in Saudi Arabia amid controversy

Magnus Carlsen is among those scheduled to appear at the event in Riyadh which has been dogged by issues surrounding visas for Israeli participants and the dress code for women competitorsThe 2017 world rapid (half-hour games) and blitz (five-minute) c…

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Magnus Carlsen under the weather and out of form at London Classic

World champion struggles badly again yet emerges with four-event Grand Tour trophy and £245,000 prize after testing tournament in LondonMagnus Carlsen won only twice in nine games, and survived several perilous moments, at this week’s London Classic. H…

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The US No1 rose to second in the world behind Magnus Carlsen with wins in round four and five and Caruana now looks set to do well in the 2018 candidatesThis week’s London Classic at the Olympia Conference Centre has produced an epidemic of draws, with…

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The world champion will play a 12-game series in November next year against the winner of the candidates seriesMagnus Carlsen’s next defence of his world crown will be a 12-game series in London from 9-28 November 2018. The decision, already widely rum…

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Leonard Barden on Chess

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Teimour Radjabov are in with a chance of securing a spot in the event to determine the challenger for Magnus Carlsen’s world titleThe Fide Grand Prix has its final round in Palma de Mallorca on Saturday, with two of the eight…

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The Surrey team won their first two matches of the 4NCL season 8-0 and 7.5-0.5, with Matthew Sadler the only member of the team who dropped half a pointThe Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) began its new season at Telford last weekend where it left off,…

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Hungary hammering leaves England wondering where the young talent is

England came a lowly 16th at the European Team Championships in Crete and the decline has led to introspection over a lack of young blood ready to step upEngland’s woeful performance at this week’s European team championship in Crete began with a 2-2 d…

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Leonard Barden on Chess

Nigel Short’s mistake led to a 2-2 draw with Moldova and David Howell’s push for a win against Italy turned what looked a safe half-point into defeatEngland were close to a medal last year at the 150-nation Baku Olympiad, so there were hopes as No4 see…

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Leonard Barden on Chess

Nigel Short’s mistake led to a 2-2 draw with Moldova and David Howell’s push for a win against Italy turned what looked a safe half-point into defeatEngland were close to a medal last year at the 150-nation Baku Olympiad, so there were hopes as No4 see…

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Leonard Barden on Chess

England’s 4NCL will stage it opening weekend on 11-12 November, with Guildford the favourites to retain the title, while the Bundesliga in Germany is already under wayAutumn for competitive players marks the start of a new season. Britain’s club amateu…

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The 2016 world title challenger needs ranking points to challenge Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So for a place at the 2018 Candidates so his decision to sit out several rounds appears to be a strange oneThe European Club Cup in Antalya, Turkey, has its se…

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The 2016 world title challenger needs ranking points to challenge Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So for a place at the 2018 Candidates so his decision to sit out several rounds appears to be a strange oneThe European Club Cup in Antalya, Turkey, has its se…

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The world champion took first prize with an unbeaten 7.5/9 which was enough to increase the gap between him and his closest rival, Levon Aronian, to 36 points

Magnus Carlsen has seen off his rivals, at least for the moment. Following his early elimination from the World Cup in Tbilisi the 26-year-old world champion made the bold decision to travel to Douglas for the Chess.com Isle of Man Open. He left behind his normal entourage of parents, manager and trainer but brought his girlfriend, Synne Christin Larsen.

Carlsen led all the way, used some offbeat openings like 1…g6 and 1…b6, won several creative games, made a trip to the top of Snaefell, the Isle’s highest point and captured the £50,000 first prize with an unbeaten 7.5/9, half a point ahead of Hikaru Nakamura of the US and India’s Vishy Anand. It was the Norwegian’s first victory in a classical tournament for more than a year.

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The world No2 beat Ding Liren 4-2 in the final and both players qualify for the event in Berlin next March which will decide the next challenger for Magnus Carlsen’s world title

Levon Aronian, the 34-year-old Armenian world No2 who has dominated recent tournaments, took the $120,000 first prize at the World Cup in Tbilisi by beating China’s Ding Liren 4-2 in the final. Both qualified for the eight-player Candidates in Berlin in March 2018 which will decide who challenges for Magnus Carlsen’s world title later next year.

Aronian stood better in four drawn classical games but was unable to convert against Ding’s stubborn defence. He switched to a more fluid attacking style in the fifth, a speed tie-break, provoked errors and broke through for a mating attack. Faced with a must-win sixth game, Ding mishandled a promising position and was overwhelmed by a swift counter.

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The 24-year-old is the first Chinese player ever to qualify for the Candidates and now has the chance to be Magnus Carlsen’s next world title challenger

Levon Aronian and Ding Liren will meet in the four-game final of the $1.6m World Cup in Tbilisi, starting at midday on Saturday with free live coverage of play available online.

For both the Armenian and the Chinese grandmaster the final may be an anticlimax after their desperate semi-final battles which ensured that both qualified for the 2018 Candidates in Berlin, the event which decides Magnus Carlsen’s next world title challenger.

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The 128-player tournament in Tiblisi, Georgia, includes 35 of the players ranked in the top 40 and offers an impressive prize of $140,000 for the winner as well as places in the 2018 candidates series

The 128-player, $1.6m World Cup starts in Tbilisi, Georgia, at midday on Sunday and is a mighty event, a must-watch for chess fans. Magnus Carlsen, the world champion, is competing, along with 35 of the top 40 elite grandmasters.

Its format of two-game mini-matches followed by speed tie-breaks at ever-faster rates is challenging. A single error and elimination looms. The rewards at the end are $140,000 for the winner and two places in the 2018 candidates which will decide Carlsen’s next title challenger. For Russia’s Vlad Kramnik, Armenia’s Levon Aronian and America’s Hikaru Nakamura, top 10 players who have little or no chance of qualifying for the candidates via the rating list or the Fide Grand Prix, the World Cup is the last chance saloon.

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The 54-year-old Kasparov took time to get going but his appearance at St Louis still overhadowed Aronian’s three-point margin of victory at the tournament

Winning a top tournament by a three-point margin normally captures the headlines but Levon Aronian’s impressive result at the St Louis speed event last week was sweepingly upstaged by Garry Kasparov’s return to competitive play after a 12-year absence.

This one-off comeback by the 54-year-old, whom many regard as the all-time No1 ahead of Bobby Fischer and Magnus Carlsen, sparked a tidal wave of interest, with six-figure internet audiences reportedly watching the live video. It was gripping stuff, too, as Kasparov showed his old skills with deep strategic plans yet for most of the event simply could not or would not handle his clock time sensibly. He took 22 minutes to his opponent’s four in a 25-minute rapid game, and spent two of his five minutes for blitz on a single move. He was often down to a few seconds at the end of his games.

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Leonard Barden on Chess

The format has been 11 rounds since 1904 but this time it has been cut to nine, with play condensed to two weekends and larger prizes are on offer

The British championship opens in Llandudno on Saturday afternoon (2.30pm start) and games can be viewed free and live online with expert and computer commentaries. The event has been played annually since 1904 but its 2017 format has two innovatory features which will influence the styles and tournament strategies of the qualifiers, who at the time of writing total 100, led by 12 grandmasters.

Total prizes have jumped from the usual £10,000 or so to an impressive £35,000, half of which goes to the top three finishers. This is still significantly less than the Russian (€72,000) or US ($194,000) contests but these are all-play-alls packed with elite GMs.

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