Monthly Archives: December 2010

Coquille Valley Chess Tournament

By Nancy Keller

Better than in-school detention, this week there was an in-school chess tournament at Coquille Valley Middle School.

For kids, it gave them the chance to skip classes with a valid excuse and play for the “giant candy bar” prizes.

Some Elementary School Players Showing Off Their Prizes

Some Elementary School Players Showing Off Their Prizes

For Coach Keller, it gave her an opportunity to test interested chess players skills and start eyeing those with the potential of being on this year’s state team.

“I realize some kids play just to skip classes but I am always amazed that a proportion of them become very interested in chess after the fun tournament, especially when they discover they have talent. This tournament, everyone gets to play and not depend on transportation issues or weekend family plans. This allows me to find those hidden gems of excellent chess players.” With nearly seventy participants, the tournament was held in the cafeteria until lunch and then played in sections for the afternoon in the smaller art room. To finish the chess tournament, the elementary players gave up Friday’s lunch recess. Lynn Kindred and Angelina Perkins helped supervise and officiate disputed games and moves. It was a tournament filled with excitement and as always, has generated strong
interest in chess.

“I suspect a lot of these kids will be asking their parents and family to play them chess this Christmas vacation and I hope Santa has a lot of chess development computer games and books!”

Coqulle Chess Club Junior High Chess Champion: Aaron Grabinsky
Coquille Chess Club Elementary Chess Champion: Josiah Perkins
Coquille Valley Middle School Junior High Chess Champion: Jace Sperling
Coquille Valley Intermediate School Elementary Chess Champion: Ted Wright

Eighth Grade:
1st place: Sarai Perkins
2nd place: Kaitlyn Davidson, Seth Lambson
3rd place: Jordan Isenhard

Seventh Grade:
1st place: Aaron Grabinsky
2nd place: Emily Terry, Tyler Neuschwander, Noelani Daily
3rd place: Devon Berg, Kyle Bowman

Sixth Grade:
1st place: Jace Sperling, Kaden Johnson
2nd place: James Hopper, Tyler Overby, Jay Bussen
3rd place: Emily Clemons, Kaleb Flores, Dillon Chambers, Mason Collard

Fifth Grade:
1st place: Dustin Neuwirth
2nd place: Jake Hurt
3rd place: Grady Hampel, Ben Lack, Jakob Grant

Fourth Grade:
1st place: Jed Wright
2nd place: Kassidy Duke
3rd place: Taylor Waleke

Third Grade:
1st place: Sam Huffman
2nd place: Hannah Perkins, Caleb Prince
3rd place: Trinity Frye, Peyton Forbes, Jacob Warren

Corvallis Winter Open

The Corvallis Winter Open was a hotly contested battle between 18 players, with a median rating 1611 and all players rated over 1150. Several Oregon juniors joined in fray: Calvin Parnon (9th grade, Crescent Valley HS + homeschool), Max Sun (5th grade, Hoover Elementary), David Wen (8th grade, Cheldelin MS), Matt Dalthorp (9th grade, Crescent Valley HS), Caleb Kesey (12th grade, Pleasant Hill HS), Leo Sun (3th grade, Hoover Elementary), and Craig Still (8th grade, Cheldelin MS).

It was a Sunny mid-December day, as all three Suns (father Bing and sons Max and Leo) put in great performances. By rating, fifth grader Max was in the middle of the pack at 1647 USCF (1702 NWSRS), but he ended up tied for third place at 3.5/5. He beat old-timer Harry Demarest in an entertaining Petroff’s defense — Harry’s favorite. You may be thinking, “The Petroff? Entertaining? What planet are you from?!” Standard Petroff may be dull, but Max played Cochrane’s gambit (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nxf7) — a great psychological ploy against Petrov aficionados, who tend to relish stodgid* play. By sacrificing a knight for two pawns and a wide open position, Cochrane’s gambit is anything but stodgid. It may not be the most sound opening in the repertoire but it guarantees a lively game and forces Black to play well outside his or her comfort zone. With clever tactics in the center, Max overwhelmed Harry’s defenses, making the veteran look like a patzer. Nice job, Max.

When I submitted the results to USCF, I got a warning message about Leo Sun in response: “Possible Bad ID: Player’s performance rating is more than 500 points above his current rating.” HA! USCF obviously doesn’t know Leo very well, or they wouldn’t be surprised at his performance. This was a very tough tournament for a third grader, but after losing games to two players who were way higher rated (900 points USCF, 450 points NWSRS), Leo won against an evenly matched opponent and then drew against a much higher rated opponent in the final round.

Bing Sun, who is well-known in Oregon scholastic chess for his TDing work, proved himself to be a fine chess player too. In his first USCF-rated tournament, he earned an initial provisional rating of 1795.

One of Bing’s two losses was against 8th grader David Wen who finished the day tied for Max in third place.

12th grader Caleb Kesey was a 260 point underdog against Robert Hughes in the third round. He stumbled into an opening trap in a peculiar line of the French defense and lost his queen for a rook and knight. But Caleb has a steady mind and doesn’t get flustered easily. He kept fighting. In a chaotic time scramble, he pushed two passed pawns relentlessly up the board. By the time he got both pawns to the 7th rank, he had only 34 seconds left on his clock, but his opponent only had 2 seconds left. Caleb wins.

9th grader Matt Dalthorp faced tournament ratings favorite Jacob Reid (1898 USCF) in the first round. Jacob played the slightly off-beat Kupreichik variation of the Sicilian defense. Unfortunately for Jacob, he did not get castled fast enough and left Matt just enough time to launch a winning assault against the king. After black’s 12th move Bxg4, they arrived at the position in the diagram with white to move.

White to move and win

On his previous move Black had captured the g4 pawn, thinking that if white captured the bishop, he could recapture with his knight to fork the queen and bishop. Black would regain the piece and win two pawns to boot. But Matt found a winning line for white: e5! Black recaptures the pawn Nxe5, but this rips open the position when white is fully developed with his pieces aiming at the black king. Black is several moves behind in development, and his king is stuck in the middle. First the black bishop falls: 14. fxg4 Nxg4 15. Qe2 Nxe3 16. Qxe3. Now, White is threatening the rook on a8, so 16…Rb8. Completely winning here would be 17. Bc6+ Nxc6 18. Nxc6 Qb6 19. Qe4 etc, but good enough was what Matt played: 17. Qxe5 dxe5 18. Bc6+ Qd7 19. Bxd7+ Kxd7 20. Nxb5+. White is up a piece for two pawns but has the stronger position. However Black has a mass of passed pawns in the center, and many counter-chances. Matt ended up making a few inaccuracies in the endgame and lost in a heart-breaker.

Full results at USCF.

* If “stodgid” is not a real word, it ought to be. It is an adjective describing Petrov’s defense as it’s intended to be — solid, but dull, drawish, and perhaps even stultifying.

Portland Area HS League, Round 6

by Ed Addis
Portland Area HS League teams play one match per week against another team in the league. Wednesday night (Dec 15) they played their sixth round.

Upper Division
In the Upper Division first place Clackamas yielded just one draw against a depleted LaSalle team. Second place Horizon Christian lost on first board, won the next three, and got a free point for a forfiet on board 5 against Westview. Lake Oswego (last year’s state champion team) had a tough time on the top two boards scoring only half a point, but their bottom three boards came through with wins against Cleveland. Fourth place Lincoln roughed up Sherwood by a score of 4 to 1.

Lake Oswego and Sherwood played their delayed first round matches after all the 6th round games were completed — not sure when they got done but it must have been closing in on 9 PM. In the Upper Division Lake Oswego showed no mercy to Sherwood beating them by 4 to 1. In the Lower Divison Sherwood turned the tables on Lake Oswego winning by the same 4 to 1 score.

Upper Division Standings Through Round 6

Place School Match Pts.
1 Clackamas #1 5
2 Lake Oswego #1 4.5
3 Horizon Christian 4
4 Lincoln #1 3.5
5 Cleveland 2
6 LaSalle #1 2
7 Westview 2
8 Sherwood #1 1

Upper Division
In the Lower Divison, first place Jesuit crushed third place Lincoln 5 to 0 as Lincoln could not find players to fill the last two boards. Second placed Clackamas stayed even with Lake Oswego on the first four boards, but lost the match when they were forced to forfeit the 5th board. Fourth place Sherwood caught a big break as they lost on board 1 and 3, but won on board 2 and got free points due to forfeits on boards 4 and 5. Fifth place Access Academy ran through the three players fielded by LaSalle and picked up two free points from forfeits on the bottom boards.

Lower Division Standings Through Round 6

Place School Match Pts.
1 Jesuit 6
2 Sherwood #2 4
3 Clackamas #2 3
4 Access Academy 3
5 Lake Oswego 3
6 Lincoln #2 2
7 Wilson 2
8 LaSalle 1

After The Seventh Round…
The League members decided to eliminate the Upper and Lower Divisions after we have completed the 7th round. All 16 teams will then play a 7 round second half using the swiss system for pairings. One provisions that we will have is that the first team of a school (composed of their top 5 players) will not be paired against their second team.

London, Final Results

The London Classic finished with Magnus Carlsen winning in style after recovering from a miserable start. He quickly and efficiently dismantled tail-ender Nigel Short’s French defense in the final round to move into clear first place. For his efforts he won a beautiful crystal trophy and a fat check for €50,000 ($67,000). It’s tough to make a living playing chess, but Magnus is doing just fine. So is Vishy Anand, who took in $1,570,000 when he beat Mr. Topalov in their world championship match earlier in 2010. This week he tied for second with Luke McShane, winning $27,000.

Final Standings:

Pl Name Rtg Home Pts Born
1 Carlsen, Magnus 2802 NOR 13 1990
2 Anand, Viswanathan 2804 IND 11 1969
2 McShane, Luke J 2645 ENG 11 1984
4 Nakamura, Hikaru 2741 USA 10 1987
5 Kramnik, Vladimir 2791 RUS 10 1975
6 Adams, Michael 2723 ENG 8 1971
7 Howell, David W L 2611 ENG 4 1990
8 Short, Nigel D 2680 ENG 2 1965

Standings, games, videos, pictures, reports, etc. can be found at the official website.

Musings…Many super-strong chess tournaments are riddled with what is affectionately known as “grandmaster draws” — games that end in a draw in less than 20 moves, before any real action has occurred and there is still plenty of play left. The players agree to a draw because they want to rest and they don’t want to risk losing. The London Chess Classic was refreshingly different. Virtually all the games were hard-fought, and the event featured an unusually high number of great, exciting games. Why so many good games? Three reasons, listed with the with the more effective and less controversial on top:

  1. organizers invited players who are fighters and would rather battle for the win than take a safe, uncontested draw in order to relax.
  2. “Sofia rules” were in effect. With Sofia rules, draw offers must be approved by an arbiter. Quick draws when there is still play left in the position are not allowed.
  3. They used “Bilbao scoring” with three points for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss, so a win is three times as valuable as a draw. In the traditional 1, 1/2, 0 scoring, a win is only twice as valuable as a draw. Bilbao scoring encourages players to fight for a valuable win rather than agree to a premature draw.

London, Round 6

All games were drawn today.

Kramnik-Carlsen, 1/2-1/2
Carlsen played the Chigorin defense to Kramnik’s Queen’s gambit. Kramnik gradually built up a solid positional advantage with a great supported passed pawn in the center, while Carlsen had a pair of passed pawns on the a- and b-files. As they say, “In the middle game, center pawns are better; in the endgame, outside passed pawns are better.” Advantage Kramnik. Later, when it looked like a sure Kramnik win, Carlsen tempted him into trading R + N for R + N. At first glance, it looks great for White — he’s up a bishop to a pawn. But the win was a difficult one, and Kramnik could not find the winning plan. Can you?

Kramnik-Carlsen. White to move. Can you find the winning plan?

Right now, the white bishop has to sit on the a2-g8 diagonal to keep an eye on black’s passed pawn, while the white king has to protect the two white pawns. If the white bishop and king could trade jobs, the king could actually capture the black a-pawn. None of this can happen, though, until the black pawns are frozen at g5 and h6. White needs to find a way to force black to move his pawn to g5. Kramnik was able to get Carlsen to move his g-pawn, but then Carlsen trapped Kramnik’s king in the corner for the draw. (Another possibility for white is to plop his king down on f4 while black’s king is well away from the backward white pawn. Then, white plays g5, forcing black to capture the pawn and clear a path for the white king or decline the capture, allowing white to move the pawn to g6, where it can be safely guarded by the bishop while the king marches to e6 and f7, where he can then grab the black pawn to allow his own pawn to promote.)

Short-Howell, 1/2-1/2
Nigel Short, who had four losses and only one draw in the past five games, decided to have some fun in the penultimate round and played the King’s Gambit against David Howell. White gives up the important f-pawn in the opening and weakens his kingside. To what end? A wide open game with great attacking chances for both sides. White starts out in a hole, but it virtually guarantees a fun game. Nigel figures that if he can’t win a game, he might as well play a wild opening just for fun.

McShane-Nakamura, 1/2-1/2
McShane played an offbeat move (1. g3) to start the game, but the players transposed into a more-or-less standard English opening after a few moves. The American Nakamura would move into the lead in the tournament standings with a win against McShane. He won a pawn and had a strong position, but McShane wiggled his queen into the heart of black’s camp to force a perpetual check. Draw!

Adams-Anand, 1/2-1/2
Anand played a Sicilian Najdorf against Adams. The Najdorf has a reputation for being one of the sharpest openings on planet earth. This time, though, neither player could apply any really pressure or gain an advantage, and the game ended in a quiet draw.

Standings going into Wednesday’s final round:


Name Pts
1 MCSHANE, Luke 10
ANAND, Viswanathan 10
CARLSEN, Magnus 10
4 NAKAMURA, Hikaru 9
KRAMNIK, Vladimir 9
6 ADAMS, Michael 7
7 HOWELL, David 3
8 SHORT, Nigel 2

Final matchups are:

Anand – Kramnik

Nakamura – Adams

Howell – McShane

Carlsen – Short

NOTE: Bilbao scoring is used in this event: win = 3 pts., draw = 1 pt.

Chess Odyssey Friday Quads

Mike Terrill and Pete Prochaska had good turnout for the Friday quads this week. In the top section, Dhruva Chatterjee (7th grade, Wilsonville) beat his dad Sandip to take first place with a perfect score. Right now father and son are close to equal playing strength — but it won’t last. Middle schoolers improve rapidly. Dad’s don’t. (Good luck keeping up with him, Sandip!)

Full results at NWSRS.

Chess Vision Quads

Tony Hann’s popular Chess Vision Quads are held at the Portland Chess Club every other Sunday. Last week, Clemen Deng won with a perfect score in the upper section. In the lower section, first grader Ankur Moolky mowed down all his opponents in downright scary fashion: perfect score 5/5. Watch out, Praveer, Ankur’s coming!

[Praveer Sharan is the top primary school player in Oregon — and the nation. Last spring he won the national elementary school championship for grades K-2.]

UPDATE: Full results at NWSRS.

Corvallis PE+

Lisa Still hosted her 8th annual PE+ tournament on December 8. The first version in 2003 was called “PE+ Citywide” to distinguish it from a school “in-house” tournament. She soon had to drop “citywide” from the title because the event was attracting players from all over the state.

This year’s event was divided into seven small sections (small section = lots of trophies; PE+ is famous for abundant awards).

The Championship Prep section was a G/75 quad with David Wen (8th grade, Cheldelin Middle School in Corvallis), Matt Dalthorp (9th grade, Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis), Kareem El Badry (11th grade, Roseburg High School), and James Chen (6th grade, Leslie Middle School in Salem). In the final standings, Matt, James, and David tied for first with 2 points, while Kareem placed fourth.

Kareem plays exciting, attacking chess. In the first round, he played the Sicilian Dragon against Matt. The dragon is one of the sharpest openings in existence, with great attacking chances for both sides. Matt responded with the ultra-sharp Yugoslav attack. Grandmaster Sam Collins says of Yugoslav attack: “Complex stuff. Someone is getting matied, but theory hasn’t quite decided who.” Bobby Fischer gives the formula: “pry open the KR file, sac, sac, mate,” which is precisely what Matt did. In his game against David, Kareem launched a wild, double-edge attack but couldn’t quite find a win. The best line available to him was a perpetual check, but he missed it. When the attack fizzled out, Kareem was down a rook, and David had little trouble converting his advantage to a win. It may not have worked out for Kareem this time, but with his no-holds-barred approach to fighting chess, he’ll have his share of great days too — and always his games will be exciting.

In the final round Matt and David played a line of the French Defense and tested some lines they discussed in chess club earlier in the week. The game was a wonderful validation of Tartakower’s maxim: “The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake.” Matt dropped a knight early in the middle game but kept on fighting. Later he made the second-last mistake, when dropped another piece as he was trying to set up a desperation attack. Then, the long-awaited attack was launched: Rb8+. Block with the bishop or move the king? David then made the last mistake: Kh7, and Matt finds checkmate in three.

James started the day lowest-rated player in the section by nearly 200 points USCF and nearly 150 points NWSRS, but he showed he is a true Force To Be Reckoned With. He played incredibly solid chess to beat Matt in the second round and then beat Kareem in the final round to earn a share of first place. In the process he improved his USCF rating by a whopping 169 points. Incredible performance. Warning to anyone who has to play James Chen in the future: Watch out! He’s a terror on the chessboard.

In the Advanced Section, Carson Denison (8th grade, Cheldelin Middle School in Corvallis), Brett Horton (8th grade, Delphian School in Sheridan), and Leo Sun (3rd grade, Hoover Elementary in Corvallis) shared first place with 2.5/3. Carson plays in the impressive Cheldelin Middle School chess club. Today he came out on top after beating local rival Ian Dickson (9th grade, CVHS). Leo is just in third grade, but he regularly thrashes opponents who are many years his senior. He’s perfectly comfortable in the Advanced Section and does enjoy being at the top of the standings. Brett is an up-and-coming leader on the up-and-coming Delphian squad. Picking up nearly 100 ratings points, he joins James as a Force To Be Reckoned With.

The Amazing Delphian Team Showing Off Their Hardware

In the U900 Kings and Queens section, another pair of Delphians — 9th grade classmates Connor Oak and Michael Clarizio — shared first place with Nicholas Kapple (8th grade, Cheldelin) at 4/5. Delphian JJ Gonzalez (9th grade) win the U900 Rook Section with a perfect 5/5. Another Delphian, Korbin Springer (7th grade), won the Novice Section for players in grade 6 or higher. In the Novice Knights and Novice Pawns sections, the winners are again Corvallis kids: Charlie Benning (4th grade, Hoover Elementary) and Kai Schlegelmann (2nd grade, Mountain View Elementar).

Full results at NWSRS.

In addition to section winners and individual performance trophies, a bunch of other awards were given out:

The Team Competition was extremely close, but was resolved as follows:
1st Place: Santa’s Elves 16 points and won the Delphian Playoff.
2nd Place : The Delphian Dratgons (16 points, but lost the blitz playoff)
3rd Place: The Knights of the Square Table with 15 points.
4th Place: The Flyin Sammiches from Delphian with 14.5 points.

Sportsmanship medals were given to the following kids:
Kevin Dai from Hoover
Dyshawn Hobson from Mt. View
Paul Denison from Mt. View
Dohyun Park from Cheldelin
Aaron Celeste from Cheldelin
Holden Garner from Lincoln
Grace Carroll from Adams
Artemas Phillips from Franklin
and Rowan Bennett from Delphian.

Team Chess Pins were given to the members of the team with the best team name:
Knights of the Square Table — members Artemas Phillips from Franklin; Charlie Benning, Cole Schneidecker, Kevin Dai, and Leonardo Sun from Hoover, and Tanner Barlow from Jefferson.
Runner-up team names were the Flyin Sammiches and Santa’s Elves

A medal for the best T-shirt or Costume was given to Noah Costa-Bolton, mostly for the gorilla feet slippers.

Trophies for top grade level performances were given as follows:

Championship Prep Section
Top 6 – 8th Grader: David Wen
Top 9th – 12th Grader: Matt Dalthorp

Advanced Open Section:
Top 2nd – 3rd Grader — Leonardo Sun from Hoover
Top 4th – 5th Grader — John Ornes from Mt. View
Top 6th – 8th grader –Carson Denison from Cheldelin
Top 9th – 12th grader –Ian Dickson from Crescent Valley

U900 Kings and Queens Section:
Top K-1st Grader — Quinn Reynolds from Ashbrook
Top 2nd – 3rd Grader — Paul Denison from Mt. View
Top 4th – 5th Grader — Crystal Still from Mt. View
Top 6th – 8th Grader — Nicholas Kapple from Cheldelin
Top 9th – 12th Grader — Michael Clarizio from Delphian School

U900 Rooks:
Top 2nd – 3rd Grader — Austin Cole from Mt. View
Top 4th – 5th Grader — Foster Kirsch from Mt. View
Top 6th – 8th Grader — Berkley Noble from Cheldelin
Top 9th – 12th Grader — JJ Gonzalez from Delphian

Novice Royalty:
Top 4th – 5th Grader — Dakota Rockl from Delphian
Top 6th – 8th Grader — Korbin Springer from Delphian

Novice Knights:
Top 4th – 5th Charlie Benning from Hoover
Top 2nd – 3rd Jacob Rautendranz from Mt. View

Novice Pawns:
Top 2nd – 3rd Grader — Kai Schlegelmann from Corvallis
Top K – 1st Grader — Rowan Bennett from Delphian

Gold Chess Pins were given to kids attending their first rated tournament:
Kindergarten:
Rowan Bennett from Delphian School in Sheridan
Second Grade:
Hunter Barclay from Adams Elementary
Quinn Bennett from Delphian School
Zachary Rautenkranz from Mt. View
Third Grade:
Max Franklin from Mt. View
Holden Garner from Lincoln
Elijah Shaw from Mt. View
Mikkos Willard Argyres from Adams
Fourth Grade:
Charlie Benning from Hoover
Charles DeRose from Liberty Elementary in Albany
Ethan Jordan from Delphian
Jeff Wang from Adams
Fifth Grade:
Grace Carroll from Ashbrook
Dakota Rockl from Delphian
Sixth Grade
Laurin Suchaneck from Linus Pauling Middle School
Seventh Grade
Dohyun Park from Cheldelin Middle School
Korbin Springer from Delphian
Eighth Grade
Noah Costa-Bolton from Delphian
Berkley Noble from Cheldelin
Nicholas Stone from Memorial Middle School in Albany

Southern League, Round 3

by Nancy Keller

Round 3 of the Southern Oregon Chess League was held in Sutherlin this Saturday and once again, Coquille dominated at both the Varsity and Junior Varsity levels. Coquille did not have a single loss on any board as they played against Marshfield, Myrtle Point, Sutherlin and Oakland.

Final result for Varsity:
1st Coquille
2nd Oakland
3rd Sutherlin
4th Marshfield

Final result for Junior Varsity:
1st Coquille
2nd Myrtle Point
3rd Sutherlin
4th Oakland

Varsity players:
Coquille: Jessi Ross, Tasha Keller, Stephen Mast, Jasmine Lambson and Ivy Hallmark.
Oakland: Jeff Miller, Desi Colley, Kaila Cowie and Christine Sarubbi
Sutherlin: Chris Warren, Natasha Kress and Tyler Wilson
Marshfield: Shawn Hutchinson, Dillon Matthew and Jeron Winters

Junior Varsity players:
Coquille: Aaron Grabinsky. Sarai Perkins, Kaden Johnson, Seth Lambson and Mason Collard.
Myrtle Point: Chase Kulm, Michael Schrader, Marissa Webb, Tyler Davenport, Miriam Webb
Sutherlin: Bryson Price, Anthony Buck and Joseph Chetwood
Oakland: Iza Cowie and Tyann Applebee

Extra Coquille players were brought for practice and to allow games to be played on absent boards. They also made up extra teams to fill in bye positions. Thanks Tanner Flood, Isaiah Hill, Dane Ramirez, Jenni Ross, Jacob Frasier, Josiah Perkins, Malachi Hallmark, Emily Clemons, Tyler Overby, Chelsea Reeves and Emily Terry.

Medford area brought two players Collin Goldman and Devin Kruse to make up a pseudo team filled in with Coquille players. They won all their games except against Coquille. Between good chess playing and pizza, everyone had a blast!

UPDATE: Full results at NWSRS.

London, Rounds 4 and 5

In the 4th round, Carlsen tried to play the English opening, but Nakamura wanted to play the Dutch. They argued about it over the board for several moves and settled on a Dutch-like English. Carlsen quietly, relentlessly, and effectively coordinated his pieces on the queenside and kept posing defensive puzzles for Nakamura to solve. At about move 30, Nakamura’s defense began to crack. By move 40, he was down a pawn and his position was shaky. A few moves later, he lost another pawn. Carlsen locked down Nakamura’s remaining bishop and pawn and methodically moved his king in front of his pawns to lead them down the board for the win.

Nigel Short played a Grand Prix attack against World champion Viswanathan Anand’s Sicilian defense. Although popular among amateurs, the Grand Prix is rarely played by the world’s top players. The game was fairly evenly balanced until Short sac’d his bishop to clear a path for his queen to attack Anand’s king, which looked lonely and nearly defenseless in the corner. It was all an illusion. Anand’s bemused queen rushed in and effortlessly brushed off the attack: “You sac’d your bishop for this?!” Short’s feckless queen bounced back to regroup for a move or two, intending to renew the attack along a different pathway. In the meantime, Anand’s jubilant rook pounced on the open c-file, delivered check on the back rank. This set the stage for Anand’s queen to enter the attack with checkmate two moves later. With his win, Anand moved into a tie for first place. If ends up winning the event, it will be his first tournament victory in nearly three years — an amazing statistic for the world champion. (In the meantime, he did win spectacular world championship matches against Kramnik and Topalov.)

Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik beat up on the lowest-rated player in the event, David Howell. The surprising tournament leader Luke McShane drew against Michael Adams to maintain a share of first place.

In the fifth round, Carlsen won yet again (against Howell). Nakamura also won, handing Short his fourth loss in five games. The other games were drawn.

After five rounds, the standings are:


W L D Points
1 MCSHANE, Luke 2 0 3 9
ANAND, Viswanathan 2 0 3 9
CARLSEN, Magnus 3 2 0 9
4 NAKAMURA, Hikaru 2 1 2 8
KRAMNIK, Vladimir 2 1 2 8
6 ADAMS, Michael 1 1 3 6
7 HOWELL, David 0 2 3 2
8 SHORT, Nigel 0 0 1 1

NOTE: Bilbao scoring is used for this event — win = 3 pts, draw = 1 pt.

The games can be found at chessdom.com. There is a lot of additional information, including pictures, videos, standings, pgn downloads, stories, schedule, etc. at the official site.

Monday is a rest day. Round 6 is Tuesday, and the final round is Wednesday.