The Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2019 took place from 12th to 27th January in the small Dutch town of Wijk aan Zee. 14 players with an average rating of 2753 Elo participated in the “Masters” section (see the line up below).
After a slow start, Magnus Carlsen won the Super-Tournament for a 7th time with a score of 9/13. By doing so, he silenced all the critics who had recently talked about his rather unambitious performances in classical chess. Apart from Anish Giri, who played the tournament with a fighting attitude and made it to five wins (four of them with Black!), no player came close to Carlsen.
In the final round, Magnus Carlsen managed to draw quite comfortably with Black against Anish Giri which left Giri half a point behind, with 8,5/13. Ian Nepomniachtchi, Ding Liren and Vishy Anand all scored 7,5/13 and shared third place in the tournament.
Yet, the major surprise came shortly after the tournament was over as former World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik announced his retirement from classical chess at the age of 43. He performed horribly in Wijk aan Zee with 4,5/13 losing his last game against Sam Shankland, but his decision to quit professional chess had already been taken a few months earlier:
“I already decided to finish my professional chess career a couple of months ago and now, after having played my last tournament, I would like to announce it publicly.”
Kramnik explained that his motivation for playing chess at the highest level, and all the hard work that entails, has dropped over the last couple of months.
The good news, however, is that he won’t leave chess completely. In his announcement, he comments that he wants to concentrate on some projects “in the field of chess for children and education”.
Moreover, we’ll likely still be able to watch him in action every now and then: “I might still like to play a rapid or blitz chess tournament at times, or do a simultaneous like the Tata Steel Chess simultaneous in the Dutch parliament building this afternoon and will participate in various events connected with chess, popularising this great game.”
Almost all top players in the world were shocked by Kramnik’s announcement, praised Kramnik’s influence on modern chess over the years and expressed their sadness about seeing Kramnik, the player who dethroned Garry Kasparov in 2000 and defended his World Champion title for seven years, leaving the stage.
Gibraltar Masters: iChess-GM In Action
The Gibraltar Masters 2019 took place from 22nd to 31st January 2019. It’s an extremely strong 10-round tournament, including top players such as Levon Aronian, Wesley So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Hikaru Nakamura and Michael Adams.
This year, Vladislav Artemiev won the tournament with a stunning performance and a score of 8,5/10, beating Super-GM Yu Yangyi from China with Black in the final round.
Regular iChess contributor GM Damian Lemos, also participated in the tournament. He not only managed to draw against several strong GMs rated around 2600 Elo, but also got a 2600-scalp against GM Varuzhan Akobian (2643).
Let’s take a look at this game:
Blog Article of The Week
It occurs after the moves 1.d4 f5.
It is a fighting chess opening as the Black player immediately unbalances the position as early as move one by moving his f-pawn. This is a favorite opening of the GingerGM Simon Williams. If you like exciting and active play, this could be the opening for you!
Many beginner and club players don’t see this opening very often, meaning you’ll have the edge. It is a very rich and complex opening that is sure to give you many unique positions that are different from the typical positions that arise in other openings.
Our free opening guide on the Dutch Defense provides you with all you need to know about this fascinating opening:
- Is the Dutch Defense an outdated opening of the past which can no longer be taken seriously?
- Can you still play the opening in a time where strong chess engines and huge databases are the predominant sources for opening preparation?
- What are the overall advantages of playing the Dutch Defense?
- How can Black launch an early attack in this opening?
- Which opening traps and typical tactical motifs should both sides be aware of?
- What are the main lines and the latest theoretical developments for both sides?
The iChess Club – It’s Your Move!
We’ve recently launched iChess.club, a premium membership for our top fans and customers that gives you tons of exclusive benefits such as:
- 40% off all items in our shop, anytime
- Exclusive premium videos just for our fans (we’ll be releasing a dozen+ a month)
- Free shipping for those of you who like physical DVDs
- 5% additional discount for products on sale
- Sale extender allowing you to check out with a sale product for up to 30 days after a sale has ended!
- $50 in free store credit for the first 200 members who sign up!
- An additional $19.97 in store credit each month you renew.
- Access to live private webinars
- A 30+ minute preview of every single product in our shop (we’ll be live with that feature by next month, non-members will only see the first 3 minutes.)
If you’d like to watch some preview of our exclusive iChess.club videos, you can take a look at the following articles:
- Strike With The English Opening Against The Symmetrical Variation – GM Mihail Marin (iChess.club)
- Sicilian Dragon: Latest Trends In The Yugoslav Attack With 9.0-0-0 – GM Romain Edouard (iChess.club)
- Caro Kann: Theoretical Developments In The Classical Variaiton – GM Alex Lenderman (iChess.club)
Click here to sign up now – It’s Your Move!
Last Newsletter’s Puzzle:
Here’s the solution to the last newsletter’s puzzle:
This Newsletter’s Puzzle:
It is White to move. What should he play?
Answer next time!