Friday, September 12, 2014

Illingworth GM Hunting in Hungary

UPDATE (16 Sep): Max scored 3.5 from the last 4 rounds of his event. Thus, he not only won that tournament but also gained himself a GM norm!

(Original text below)

International master Max Illingworth, who starred for Australia at the Tromsø Olympiad last month, is extending his European stint in the hunt for another GM norm. And obviously in the process, hopefully, also raise his rating ever closer to that magic 2500.

Max is currently in the First Saturday GM event in Hungary. After 5 rounds there, the Sydneysider is undefeated on 3.5 points. With 4 rounds to go, he'll be desperately needing to double that tally for that prized grandmaster norm. Looking at his upcoming opponents, I must say that his chances are very good, indeed.

Good luck Max!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Carlsen Will Play in Sochi

And it's on!

After days of uncertainty, the World Championship match between Carlsen and Anand is finally set to happen after the defending title holder signed the contract.

No doubt many will be relieved, happy that a potential split in world chess has been averted. On the other hand, FIDE will be quite satisfied by the outcome; they can carry on business-as-usual. Others, particularly the average fan, will just be glad that there is yet another big event to look forward to.

I am, however, slightly disappointed. I was hoping that Carlsen would stick to his guns. I was very curious about what would happen next if he didn't sign. That surely would have made things a lot more interesting.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Japan's First International Master

As far as chess news go this is hardly up there with Caruana's incredible 5/5 at the ongoing Sinquefield Cup, Carlsen possibly losing the world championship title by default or whatever else is happening in the world of chess. But since I am in the country, I might as well mention this little bit of news.

Japan is set to gain its first ever international master - Nanjo Ryosuke. News was broken by FM Shinya Kojima over on his blog. The irony, of course, is that FM Kojima himself was once touted as possibly Japan's first IM!

Obviously, Nanjo-san is not the first ethnic Japanese to achieve the international master title. There is, for example, Australia's Junta Ikeda as well as GM Nakamura who, I think, held the title once, too, before becoming a grandmaster in 2003 (at the time breaking Fischer's record as the youngest American to earn the title).

As they say here, "おめでとう"!