Monday, March 31
NTD John McCumiskey
Congratulations to John McCumiskey for earning the esteemed title of USCF National Tournament Director (NTD)! John has long been the best respected director in Northern California and he completed the requirements for the top national honor by scoring well on a very difficult essay exam (on his second try). Although John is not the only NTD living in our midst, he is the only one who directs more than a couple of events each year. He serves as Chief TD for the CalChess Scholastics, the largest annual chess tournament west of the Continental Divide. John also directs weekend events for the Sacramento Chess Club and assists at the adult State Championship on Labor Day.
Sunday, March 30
Breaking News from Tulsa
CalChess Polgar Qualifier
Saturday, March 29
Round 5 Standings and Round 6 Pairings
- GM Yermolinsky (4.5) vs GM Kraai (4.0)
- NM Shankland (4.0) vs GM Ivanov (4.0)
- GM Kudrin (4.0) vs IM Bercys (4.0)
- GM Fedorowicz (4.0) vs IM Bhat (4.0)
- FM Bick (4.0) vs IM Ippolito (4.0)
- GM Becerra (3.5) vs IM Bonin (3.5)
- GM Perelshteyn (3.5) vs NM Schoonmaker (3.5)
- FM Ludwig (3.5) vs IM Finegold (3.5)
- FM Kleiman (3.5) vs GM Goldin (3.5)
- IM Pruess (3.5) vs IM Burnett (3.5)
- IM Bradford (3.5) vs FM Beelby (3.5)
- FM Naroditsky (3.5) vs IM Brooks (3.5)
- IM Shipman (3.0) vs IM Friedel (3.0)
- NM Aigner (3.0) vs IM Robson (3.0)
The final two rounds are at 9:00am and 2:00pm Central time. You can watch the top boards live on ICC and on MonRoi website.
Saturday in Chess Nirvana
Friday, March 28
Round 2 Standings and Round 3 Pairings
Here are the tentative pairings for round 3. There are 19 players with a perfect score, including all 8 Grandmasters. The big surprises so far have been Conrad Holt (2053), who has 2-0 after beating NM Carl Boor and IM Ron Burnett, and Jennifer Acon (1972), who beat FM Jim Dean and drew with FM Jake Kleiman. Amongst the top rated players, only IM Ben Finegold gave up half a point to FM Michael Langer.
- IM Ippolito (2.0) vs GM Becerra (2.0)
- GM Ivanov (2.0) vs IM Pruess (2.0)
- IM Bercys (2.0) vs GM Perelshteyn (2.0)
- IM Bhat (2.0) vs GM Kudrin (2.0)
- GM Goldin (2.0) vs IM Bradford (2.0)
- FM Robson (2.0) vs GM Yermolinsky (2.0)
- GM Kraai (2.0) vs IM Mulyar (2.0)
- IM Bonin (2.0) vs GM Fedorowicz (2.0)
- IM Friedel (2.0) vs FM Ludwig (2.0)
- IM Finegold (1.5) vs Conrad Holt (2.0)
- IM Zilberstein (1.5) vs NM Aigner (1.5)
- Brad Sawyer (1.0) vs FM Naroditsky (1.0)
Day 1 from Tulsa
Thursday, March 27
US Champ Qualifier Predictions
- Favorites (7): GM Becerra, GM Ivanov, GM Perelshteyn, IM Finegold, GM Kudrin, GM Yermolinsky and IM Bhat
- Second Tier (8): GM Goldin, GM Kraai, GM Fedorowicz, IM Friedel, IM Pruess, IM Ippolito, IM Bercys and FM Robson
- Dark Horses (11): IM Bradford, IM Zilberstein, IM Brooks, IM Lugo, IM Burnett, IM Bonin, FM Ludwig, FM Andrews, FM Langer, NM Shankland, FM Naroditsky
Toto, We're Not in California Anymore
Reno Has Been USCF Rated
- Getting to Reno http://main.uschess.org/content/view/8272/443
- Day 1 report http://main.uschess.org/content/view/8275/443
- Day 2 report http://main.uschess.org/content/view/8278/443
- Final report http://main.uschess.org/content/view/8303/443
- Fpawn Chess Blog http://fpawn.blogspot.com/search/label/Far%20West%20Open
Monday, March 24
Reno: The Next Generation
The legal age to win money in the Nevada casinos is supposedly 21, but that didn't stop three Northern California juniors from hitting the jackpot at the Far West Open chess tournament. The lifetime achievements of 6th grader FM Danya Naroditsky have been well chronicled, and still he managed to elevate his chess game to a higher level. Joining in the youth wave were a pair of talented 9th graders: Steven Zierk and Rohan Agarwal.
- Danya: tied for second place (behind GM Khachiyan) with undefeated 4.5/6 ; 2600+ USCF performance rating ; beat IM Mezentsev for first IM scalp ever ; drew GM Kudrin and GM Yermolinsky for first two GM draws ever ; cracked 2300 USCF rating to become the top rated junior in CalChess
- Steven: tied for second place at 4.5/6 and top U2200 by a full point ; 2400+ USCF performance rating ; beat WIM Tuvshintugs (2289) and drew FM Strugatsky (2450)
- Rohan: scored a solid 3.5/6 including win against Bryant (2314) and draw against Aigner (2271)
Three of my eight students won major money by finishing in the top two of their rating division. I already mentioned Danya and Steven. The other big winner was Yian, who took second place in the A section with 4.5/6 (behind San Francisco's own Evan Sandberg). Way to go! Two other students each finished with a score of 3.5/6: Nicholas in the A section and Samyukta in the B section. Finally, Alan only scored 2.5 points in the difficult Open section, but gained rating and a lot of experience from playing masters.
As you may have already noticed, I drew as black against Rohan in the last round to finish at 3.5 out of 6--a disappointing result considering that I was much better or even winning in both of my last two games, but lost one and drew the other. Both my USCF and FIDE ratings will drop about 6 or 7 points from this tournament. I really wish that I had beaten someone rated over 2050, but my pairings were not kind. I will need to play better next weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma!
I plan to work on the final report for Chess Life Online sometime on Tuesday. Look for it! (Edit: This report won't appear until Thursday. Sorry, I've been busy in between major chess tournaments.)
Saturday, March 22
Scores Through Round 4 of Far West Open
Danya drew against FM Michael Langer (2322) in round 4. Alan won against Igor Margulis (2145). Steven also won. Sam and Rohan both lost to higher rated opponents.
Partial standings after round 4 (out of 6):
Open: Khachiyan, Sevillano, Kretchetov at 3.5 ; Kudrin, Yermolinsky, D. Naroditsky, Aigner at 3.0 ; Shankland, Zierk, A. Naroditsky at 2.5 ; Donaldson, Pearson, Agarwal at 2.0
Class A: Yian at 3.0 ; Todd and Nicholas at 2.0
Class B: Samyukta at 2.0
Naroditsky Takes No Prisoners in Reno
Three other local kids have done well. Steven Zierk drew with FM Vladimir Strugatsky (2450) before losing to FM Alexandre Kretchetov (2402). Rohan Agarwal (see photo at right) beat strong NM John Bryant (2314) before losing to Bryant's father, IM Enrico Sevillano (who is 3-0). NM Sam Shankland drew with GM Alex Yermolinsky in round 3 and both are tied for second at 2.5.
I have two wins against 2000 average opponents and a miniature loss to GM Yermolinsky. You can read more about my loss to Yermo and the tournament overall in my second blog entry at the USCF homepage. If I feel like it, I may post an update late tonight after round 4.
Friday, March 21
Steven Zierk Wins Reno Blitz Tournament
The first round of the main tournament begins on Friday at 12noon. So far, I have met with students Steven, Adam and Nicholas with several others probably hiding from me somewhere in this large hotel complex. I will have three students in the Open section, three in the A section and two in the B section. Wish us all luck!
I just emailed off my first report to Chess Life Online, which should be posted on Friday morning. In the meantime, you may wish to follow the Foxwoods Open this weekend in Connecticut (check out the games link to MonRoi). Everyone's favorite IM Josh Friedel drew with GM Yury Shulman on board 1 this evening.
Wednesday, March 19
Hello From Reno!
Check this blog over the weekend for updates from the Far West Open. Round 1 is on Friday at noon PDT (sorry, no live games on the internet). I expect around 200 players to show up. Also make sure to visit the USCF homepage because I have been bribed by the webmaster to write "exclusive" reports and a summary at the end of the tournament. Unfortunately, IM Josh Friedel set the bar pretty high with his descriptive and humorous articles (here's a sample from last year).
For those of you driving up tomorrow or Friday, here is a preview. Have a safe trip!
Tuesday, March 18
You've Gotta Be Kidding Me!
To play through the entire game, click on this link to Chess Publisher.
Monday, March 17
Poll Results: Invite Famous Player to Bay Area
- Garry Kasparov at 27%
- Viswanathan Anand at 27%
- Magnus Carlsen at 15%
- Gata Kamsky at 7%
- Hikaru Nakamura at 7%
- Vladimir Kramnik at 5%
These results reflect the rating and reputation of the players themselves. Garry Kasparov was the world's top rated player for about 20 years until he retired three years ago. Since then, Viswanathan Anand has taken over the pinnacle of chess. However, 17 year old rising star Magnus Carlsen is hot on his heels and will be ranked about 5th in the world after successes at Corus (tied for 1st) and Linares (2nd place) during the first three months of 2008. The top American players, Gata Kamsky and Hikaru Nakamura, each received 7% of the votes in this unscientific poll. Last place fell to Veselin Topalov, who failed to garner a single vote after his role in the infamous "ToiletGate" scandal of 2006.
Given a choice between Kasparov and Anand, I would pick the Indian native Anand for one reason: Kasparov already visited the Bay Area once in 1999, drawing an overflow crowd to Stanford University for a discussion about the limits of human performance in chess. Perhaps many techies in the audience of 500+ came to see the man who lost to the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue just two years earlier. I participated behind the scenes, including a formal dinner in Palo Alto, and even had the honor to introduce the World Champion at a Q&A session with many of the Bay Area's elite juniors.
Photos from Silicon Valley Challenge
Sunday, March 16
Silicon Valley Challenge was a Success!
The 30 player Open section featured stiff competition at the top with 9 competitors rated 1800 and up. After four rounds of G/60, two players emerged from the fray with 4-0 scores: Fleford Redoloza rated 1897 (see photo at right) and this blogger. The perfect scores did not mean that the road to victory was easy. Redoloza, who got back into chess last fall after an extended break, defeated veteran expert Daniel Burkhard and two of the area's top K-6 players: Paul Richter (1988) and Alex Grossman (1720). On the other hand, I defeated three 1900s, facing especially tough resistance from teenagers Jay Kumar and Jeff Young, both who should reach 2000 by the end of the year. I intend to annotate the exciting last round game against my student Jeff and will post on this blog in a few days.
The other prizes in the Open section went to Jeff Young, Rohan Sathe, Jaydee Tenioso and Daniel Liu, all with three wins and one loss. The first three names should not surprise anyone, as they are all (under)rated above 1900. However, Daniel Liu came into the event rated just 1133 officially (1149 on the MSA website) and faced four straight opponents more than 400 points above him, beating three (including an A player) and losing only in an endgame to Sathe. He will gain over 200 USCF rating points for a performance rating over 2000! The funny story is that Daniel, the little brother of my student Rebekah, signed up for the U1400 section, but the sections had to be merged due to insufficient entries. Another player who had a good result yet didn't win a prize was 6 year old Tanuj Vasudeva (1547), who scored 50% against three A players and one B player. Daniel and Tanuj demonstrated that playing against stronger opponents is a win-win situation: either you gain rating points or experience--sometimes both!
Although those in the U1200 section had lower ratings, the competition among the 18 players was equally fierce. Congratulations to Kiarash Mavandad for winning with a perfect 4-0 score. William Weber, Vedaank Tiwari, Colin Ma and Vikram Vasan tied for second place at 3.0.
Thanks to organizer Charles Sun (see photo at left) and his always helpful parents for putting together another successful tournament. In spite of being a 10th grader at competitive Saratoga High School, Charles still finds the time to contribute to the chess community at least one weekend each year. The event ran smoothly and the venue in northeast San Jose was comfortable for both the players and the parents. Most, if not all, participants had a great time playing chess while indulging on extras such as complimentary croissants, chips, diet soda and water. Charles hopes to run another tournament when his school commitments allow. I'll be there!
Addendum March 20: The tournament has finally been USCF rated. Note that Daniel Liu's rating jumped from 1149 to 1372!
Friday, March 14
Mechanics' Institute Chess Room
Mechanics' Institute Chess Room
Oldest Chess Club in the United States!
57 Post Street, San Francisco CA, 4th floor (click for map)
Hours: weekdays 11-9, weekends 11-5, longer hours on tournament days
Browse to http://www.chessclub.org or call (415) 421-2258
Chess Director: IM John Donaldson
Wednesday, March 12
Local Chess Star Appears in Sports Illustrated
One answer to the last question is FM Daniel Naroditsky! The reigning World U12 Champion is featured under "Faces in the Crowd"--a column which recognizes high achieving athletes with a photo and a short profile. In between Australian rules football and basketball we find the chess master. Here's what SI wrote about Danya:
Daniel, a sixth-grader at Crystal Springs Upland School, won the boys' under-12 world championship; he is only the second American to win a world youth title. He has won two national scholastic championships and has earned the distinction of master from both the national and international chess federations.Danya the chess jock! Way to go young man. :-)
Tuesday, March 11
Fpawn Rating List - April 2008
Top 5 Students Overall
- FM Danya 2266
- Gregory 2194
- Steven 2099
- Alan 2043
- Jeff 1971
Top 5 Grades K-6
- FM Danya 2266
- Yian 1928
- Sam 1901
- James 1762
- Alex 1745
- Gregory 2194
- Adam 1923
- Arthur 1882
- Andrew 1737
- Samyukta 1648
- Steven 2099
- Alan 2043
- Jeff 1971
- Charles 1901
- KevinH 1802
Monday, March 10
Fpawn Travel Schedule in March
I have played in only one local tournament since December, but that will change soon with events on three straight weekends to close out March. I hope to see some of my students in San Jose on March 15 or in Reno on March 21-23. However, for me the highlight of the month will be the Qualifier for this year's US Championship in Oklahoma.
- Silicon Valley Challenge #4 in northeast San Jose on March 15. My protege Charles Sun is the organizer for this event and I encourage all of my students rated under 2000 to attend if possible. Entry form. Advance Entries.
- 8th Far West Open in Reno on March 21-23. This is one of my favorite events each year. Eight of my students have signed up so far in the Open, A and B sections. We'll have a small pizza party in my room. Website. Advance Entries.
- Qualifier for 2008 US Championship in Tulsa on March 28-30. Seven spots are available to join the field of 24 for this year's national championship. To date, 11 players with ties to Northern California are committed: GM Yermolinsky, GM-elect Bhat, IM Friedel, IM Pruess, IM Zilberstein, NM Shankland, FM Naroditsky, NM Aigner, IM Shipman plus experts Mackenzie and Kobernat. Website. Advance Entries.
An unfortunate consequence of my travel schedule is that I must cancel most regular chess lessons for about 2.5 weeks: Friday, March 14 through Monday, March 31. I may be able to spend time with some students at tournaments and I may schedule a couple of classes with elite (1900+) players on the few days that I am at home between trips. However, I also intend to prepare myself for the rigorous competition in Oklahoma by improving my openings and learning new middlegame strategies.
Of course, I will post on this blog about all three tournaments. Stay tuned!
Saturday, March 8
Anand Wins Linares, Carlsen Moves up to Top 5
The super-Grandmaster tournament of Linares has drawn to a close with a familiar face at the top. Viswanathan Anand, the 38 year old World Champion from India, dominated a field of seven opponents, ranging from the Ukrainian veteran Vassily Ivanchuk (same age) to the Norwegian teenager Magnus Carlsen (just 17 years old). Anand finished in first with a solid result of 4 wins, 1 loss and 9 draws for 8.5 out of 14. The youngster Carlsen took second place honors at half a point behind while the Armenian Levon Aronian and the Bulgarian Veselin Topalov shared third place with 7.5 each.
- 8.5 Anand
- 8.0 Carlsen
- 7.5 Aronian and Topalov
- 7.0 Radjabov
- 6.5 Ivanchuk
- 5.5 Leko and Shirov
Here are my favorite games from the tournament. Serious chess students, especially those rated above 1800, should get in the habit of playing through Grandmaster games on a regular basis. By studying these top level contests, you improve your intuition in many different kinds of positions, which will hopefully open your eyes to new strategies in your own games. You may also download a PGN file of these 13 games to use in Fritz or ChessBase. On ICC, type "liblist Linares08" to see all of the games or check out the ChessFM website for daily video reports.
- Shirov 0-1 Anand (1) -- Shirov's king perishes by move 30 after a Rxc3 sacrifice
- Anand 0-1 Aronian (2) -- Anand gets checkmated facing the Marshall attack
- Carlsen 0-1 Anand (3) -- This technical battle in the Semi-Slav decides first place
- Shirov 1-0 Topalov (4) -- Shirov makes excellent use of king to fight in the endgame
- Leko 0-1 Anand (5) -- Anand's technique prevails in a wild opposite wing pawn race
- Topalov 0-1 Carlsen (5) -- Carlsen essays the Alekhine's defense to stun Topalov
- Carlsen 1-0 Aronian (7) -- Ruy Lopez becomes a wild battle with both kings in danger
- Ivanchuk 0-1 Carlsen (8) -- Counterplay overcomes opening disaster in time pressure
- Anand 1-0 Shirov (8) -- In a Sveshnikov, Anand's endgame skills win once again
- Topalov 1-0 Shirov (11) -- Topalov brilliantly smashes the Gruenfeld
- Shirov 1/2 Aronian (12) -- Bishop pair survives underpromotion to N in Marshall attack
- Carlen 1-0 Topalov (12) -- Carlsen checkmates Topalov with an unsound attack
- Topalov 1-0 Leko (13) -- Topalov scores one for white against the Marshall attack
Of course, the big winner is the reigning World Champion Anand. He once again proved that, in the absence of former #1 Garry Kasparov, he's the man to beat. The other big news is the continued success of Carlsen (see photo at the right), coming on the heels of his first place finish in Corus at Wijk aan Zee earlier this year. Various websites report that Magnus will be ranked in the Top 5 of the World on the April FIDE rating list! At this rate, he will soon pass Kramnik and Anand to take over the #1 ranking! Will the best chess player on the planet soon be a teenager?
Friday, March 7
Silicon Valley Executives Play Chess
Thanks to Susan Polgar's blog, I came across a recent article in the Filipino online newspaper Sun Star that lists Silicon Valley executives who play chess outside their busy professional careers. Here is just a sample; read the entire article for even more names.
- Paul Allen is an avid chess player and co-founder of Microsoft together with another chess player, Bill Gates.
- Larry Ellison (see photo) is the co-founder and CEO of Oracle. He used to play tournament chess and says he puts a lot of time on his game.
- Peter Thiel co-founded PayPal and was its CEO. He was at one time a promising chess player (rated 2287). I faced him six times from 1996 to 2001, scoring 4-2.
- Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar was fascinated by chess. One of the first web-based programs he wrote was chess-by-email service.
- Roelof Botha is a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital. He plays master level chess.
- David Cowan of Bessemer Ventures is a self-admitted "chess nerd" who says that he is addicted to Yahoo! chess.
Thursday, March 6
More on NM Nip
Wednesday, March 5
NM Nicholas Nip, First 9 Year Old USCF Master!
Nicholas Nip has broken the US Chess Federation's record for the youngest master at the tender age of 9 years and 11 months, shattering the previous record of 10 years and 79 days held by Hikaru Nakamura. His new rating on the MSA website stands at 2207. Nicholas earned the final 20 rating points on March 5 in a G/60 quad tournament at the Mechanics' Institute in San Francisco, defeating FM Ron Cusi (2339) in the climactic game.
The youngest master record is considered one of the most hallowed marks of the USCF. Future World Champion Bobby Fischer was considered a prodigy when he became a master at the age of 13. The rise of computers and prominence of scholastic chess has pushed this record younger and younger. In 1995, two young rivals from the Bay Area earned the master rank before their 11th birthdays. Jordy Mont-Reynaud did it in 10 years and 209 days and then, merely a few months later, Vinay Bhat shaved yet another 33 days off the record. Future Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura lowered the mark almost another 100 days in 1998, a record that nobody has come close to touching until today.
Much of the credit for Nicholas' rapid improvement from a talented yet inexperienced first grader in 2005 to National Master goes to his supportive parents who travelled with him and coaches Liina Vark and Eric Hicks of Academic Chess. The teachers identified his potential in kindergarten and developed it with tender nurturing care over the years. Hicks has told me several times over the years that one reason Nicholas improved quickly is his ability and desire to study on his own, often with the help of a computer. Certainly those of us who have witnessed his meteoric rise first hand can attest to Nicholas' love for the game of chess. He would always be eager to hang around chess players and he quickly became a favorite of many older children at the Mechanics' Institute.
What does the future hold for Nicholas? The fact that he has already defeated nine (9!) different established masters, including this writer, at slow tournament time controls bodes very well. He also has a solid FIDE rating of 2143 which will surely increase over time. Perhaps it is the pedigree of former youngest masters that offers the most hope for the future for young Nicholas. Here's wishing you all the best!
(Photo of Nicholas giving a simul at the 2007 CalChess Scholastics from ChessDryad.)
A.J. Fink Amateur Results
My students all finished at 3.5 or 3.0 points. The best performance belonged to 9th grader Rebekah (1570), who scored 3.5 against a tough field including five opponents rated above 1850. On her way to the top U1600 prize, she defeated adult Hovik Manvelyan (1871) and teenager Daniel Quan (1887). After this impressive result, Rebekah's rating jumped to 1656 and soon she will appear in the top 30 of the country for girls under 16! The other strong performance came from 10th grader Michael L. (1772), who ended up with the same score as Rebekah and shared 2nd place U1800. Michael faced three of the top six seeded players back to back to start the tournament, earning a win against Solomon Beilin (1917) and then a draw against the noted Russian expert Yefim Bukh (1921).
(Photo of Rebekah from 2007 CalChess Scholastics by Richard Shorman of ChessDryad.)
Tuesday, March 4
Monday, March 3
GM Kaidanov Visits the Mechanics' Institute
During the master class in the morning, the veteran Grandmaster reviewed some of his own games from the recent Moscow Open. He focused on the thinking process required to first generate reasonable candidate moves and then calculate the best lines. It was a difficult class for all; one self-proclaimed genius in the audience would miss an obvious zwischenzug in his variation. Even the GM was not immune to self-criticism; he shared the hilarious yet humiliating story of a legally blind Russian FM rated 2500 FIDE who outplayed him with black (a draw) and later lectured Kaidanov on finer points of positional strategy! Perhaps appropriately, the public lecture in the afternoon focused on psychology in chess and the chess teacher's role in identifying weaknesses in a student's personality.
The ten students invited for the class included several of America's best for their age. Often overlooked from the East Coast, these California kids can hold their own against anyone across the country and even the world. Four of the participants have held the #1 or #2 national ranking for their age in recent months; six are presently in the top 10. All are rated over 2000 USCF or have performed at that level in recent tournaments.
- NM Sam Shankland, 16, 2295 -- top rated junior in CalChess and #6 age 16 in USA
- FM Daniel Naroditsky, 12, 2261 -- World Youth U12 and CalChess High School champion; #1 age 12
- Gregory Young, 12, 2194 -- US Junior High co-champ; #2 age 12
- Nicholas Nip, 9, 2187 -- on track to shatter record for youngest USCF master; #1 age 9
- Rohan Agarwal, 14, 2095
- Michael Zhong, 16, 2086 -- US High School co-champion
- Alan Naroditsky, 16, 2042
- Louiza Livschitz, 16, 2009 -- top CalChess girl; #9 Girls U21
- Yian Liou, 10, 1928 -- #7 age 10
- Adam Goldberg, 13, 1923
(Thanks to Yian Liou's parents for taking the photographs. The kids in the lower photo are, from left to right: Gregory, Adam, Yian, Alan, Daniel and Rohan. I am privileged to work with the first five.)
Saturday, March 1
Anand and Carlsen Draw, Still Occupy Top Spots at Linares
The 38 year old Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand continues to lead the world's most prestigious annual chess tournament. The world's #1 rated player presently has a score of "plus 3" or 6.5 out of 10 after four wins, five draws and one loss. Two fellow competitors remain within striking distance of Anand as four rounds remain in the second half of the schedule: Norwegian teenager Magnus Carlsen at 6.0 and Armenian Levon Aronian at 5.5. However, "Vishy" has already faced both rivals, drawing with Aronian in round 9 and drawing with Carlsen in round 10.
- Aronian 1/2 Anand (9) -- Queen's Indian
- Carlsen 1-0 Shirov (9) -- Carlsen wins a drawn endgame out of the Ruy Lopez when Shirov accidentally allows him to queen
- Topalov 1/2 Radjabov (9) -- Ruy Lopez, Schliemann
- Leko 0-1 Ivanchuk (9) -- Caro Kann defense
- Anand 1/2 Carlsen (10) -- Highly anticipated game between the two leaders fizzles out in a 22 move draw in the Sveshnikov variation
- Radjabov 1/2 Aronian (10) -- Semi-Slav defense
- Shirov 1/2 Leko (10) -- Shirov and Leko continue the theoretical discussion of the Marshall attack in the Ruy Lopez, with black's bishop pair sufficient to draw
- Ivanchuk 1/2 Topalov (10) -- Topalov finds trouble in his favorite Najdorf variation yet escapes with half a point when Ivanchuk blunders two pawns
(Click on the links to view the moves in Chess Publisher's game viewer.)
The tenth round was the first one to come to a peaceful conclusion in all four games. Perhaps the players wanted some extra time to rest, as the tournament stops for a rest day on Sunday. On the bright side, 20 out of 40 games have been decisive so far, a statistic that is uncommon for events at the world's highest level. Some more observations from the past three days:
- Ivanchuk has serious difficulty managing his nerves. He obtained excellent middlegame positions against both Carlsen (round 8) and Topalov (round 10), but lost the former due to time pressure and hung two pawns to draw in the latter.
- On the other hand, Carlsen too often gets dubious positions in the opening. His father admitted on his blog that Magnus forgot theory at move 8 against Ivanchuk. Still, he finds a way to complicate the game and sometimes wins. GM Hikaru Nakamura bluntly said on ICC: "Smallville(GM)(166): Carlsen simply proves that older dudes need to play more 1-minute chess."
The next round begins on Monday morning at 7am PST and the tournament wraps up on Friday. If you're interested in listening to Grandmaster commentary, check out the daily video reports on the ICC ChessFM website (membership required).