What’s To Come

I have not played in a tournament in about a month and the half. For those who got worried, please don’t be. A lot of tournament play is to come in the near future. Hard work needs to be balanced with real tournament practice.

I have updated my Tournament Schedule, which you can find as one of the headers on the front page of my blog. The next two months will be packed with tournaments. On Saturday, I will be heading to Groningen to play in the Groningen Chess Festival. The event has a very rich history. I do not know if the tournament site will have live games, but I am sure it will have results.

I was looking to combine the event with another European tournament but then considered it wise to take Groningen as a practice event before a critical stretch in the beginning of 2011.

As I wrote earlier, I will be playing in the C Group, in Wijk Ann Zee, from January 14th to 30th. The tournament has been renamed, from Corus, to Tata Steel Chess 2011. Below is the list of participants in my group, copy-pasted from the tournament site. Ratings have not been updated.

Participants grandmaster group C

Name Country Rating
GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev KAZ 2620
GM Ivan Ivanisevic SRB 2613
GM Mark Bluvshtein CAN 2583
GM Daniele Vocaturo ITA 2581
GM Katherina Lahno UKR 2539
IM Ilya Nyzhnyk UKR 2538
GM Dariusz Swiercz POL 2522
IM Roeland Pruijssers NLD 2487
IM Benjamin Bok NLD 2453
IM Jan Willem de Jong NLD 2444
IM Mark van der Werf NLD 2432
IM Robin van Kampen NLD 2430
GM Sebastian Siebrecht GER 2421
IM Tania Sachdev IND 2382

The average rating for my group is 2503. It will make for an interesting event. The goal for all the top guys in the section will be to win the event and qualify for group B next year. With 13 rounds and 3 rest days, this will be my longest chess tournament ever!

When thinking about this year of professional chess, I saw a few tournaments as absolute musts to play in. One of those tournaments is the Aeroflot Open. With the top section having a minimum rating of 2550, the best way to describe the event is as a slugfest. There will be no easy games, and 9 hard fought ones. To make conditions more extreme, the weather is added and the tournament will take place from February 7th-17th, in Moscow. This tournament will most likely be the strongest one in my calendar. I will be rated in the second half of participants.

To make matters more interesting, I will be staying in Europe for the time between Tata and Aeroflot. The decision was not an easy one to make because it means that I will be in Europe for over five consecutive weeks. With a week to rest up between the two tournaments, it seemed more practical to stay in Europe in approximately the same time zones than to go back to Canada and readjust to three different time zones within a week.

I am very happy to announce that I will also be playing in the 2011 Canadian Open. The tournament will take place from July 9th to 17th. The tournament promises to be a great one, with three GMs already registered 7 months before the event started! I know that the organizers are working very hard to make the event a memorable one. The tournament will be held at The Westin Harbour Castle, located in downtown Toronto. The event was held held at the same location this past summer and everybody involved enjoyed the festivities. I encourage everybody to register early.

The 2011 Canadian Open might be the only Canadian event during my year. I am hoping that the Montreal International will return to action in the new year. The Montreal International was held for 10 consecutive years, ending the streak in 2010. The event put Canadian Chess on the map and attracted players such as GMs Ivanchuk, Bacrot, Kamsky and Eljanov, just to name a few. The event has given the new generation of Canadian GMs such as Pascal, Thomas and myself a chance to compete against the world’s best. We will always be grateful for that opportunity. We will be even happier to see the event and its charismatic organizer, Andre Langlois, back in 2011!

Current Tournaments to Follow

The world of chess is very exciting right now with two very strong tournaments taking place. The London Chess Classic has gotten even stronger this year with Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik and Nakamura being the top four by rating. Luke McShane is having a breakout tournament and has 3.5/5 so far, and is tied for first.

The event has the somewhat controversial football scoring system in place. I feel like it’s a great thing to try out. There are no short draws because suddenly a draw is not a neutral result, it is a small disappointment. Magnus is once again showing that he is the most exciting figure in chess. Magnus is tied for first with 3/5, but 9 points according to the football system. Magnus has no draws! Is that not what the chess world should have more of? With every game being a battle to the end? Magnus is being rewarded for playing every single game for a win.

Anand is also playing stellar chess at the event and is tied for first. Kramnik and Nakamura are a point back (according to the football system) and will surely try to get in on the fight for first. It will be an exciting finish.

The other strong event taking place right now is the Russian Championship Superfinal. Karjakin and Svidler are currently leading the tournament with 2.5/3. The event is not receiving a lot of coverage from media sources but you can follow it on TWIC.

The Women’s World Championship is an exciting event that is also taking place right now, with 8 players currently remaining. Canada’s representative, WIM Dina Kagramanov, was knocked out in the first round by one of the top seeds, GM Nana Dzagnidze.

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5 Responses to What’s To Come

  1. dougsly says:

    I will see you in Moscow at the Aeroflot and will be cheering you on. I am playing in the Moscow Open before that, too.

    just a patzer from Nelson, Doug

  2. Alejandro says:

    The Groningen Chess Festival link doesn’t work. You should change it to the one on your Tournament Schedule page, http://www.schaakstadgroningen.nl/ . Although my Dutch is not as fluent as I would like. Good luck!

  3. Denton Cockburn says:

    Good luck in your last game tomorrow!

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