eNewsletter No. 16 – January 2018

Dear ECF Member

Welcome to the first monthly e-newsletter for 2018 and I wish all members a happy, healthy and successful 2018. There is plenty to look forward to in England this year with the Olympiad taking place in Batumi Georgia in September, the World Championship in London (venue to be confirmed) in November followed by the London Chess Classic (final leg of the Grand Chess Tour). And of great importance are our British Championships in July hosted in Hull, the UK City of Culture 2017. Link for qualification here: http://www.britishchesschampionships.co.uk/qualifiers-2018/

The world rapidplay and blitz championships were held over the Christmas holiday period in Riyadh. Before a clock was started there was controversy with Israeli players denied visas to attend the tournament; the ECF has called on FIDE not to hold any events in future in countries which refuse players from Israel or any other federation to participate: https://www.englishchess.org.uk/press-release-january-2-2018/. Then in Round 1 of the blitz in the game between Ernesto Inarkiev and Magnus Carlsen had one of those incidents that required the chess equivalent of the third umpire in cricket. See here an interview with Malcolm Pein who was on the Appeals Committee about the tournament and incident: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jOxikH23Uw (3m 40s into the video) and here for a link to the Appeals Committee ruling: http://www.fide.com/images/stories/NEWS_2018/FIDE_NEWS/WRBC2017/Inarkiev_Claim.pdf

In this edition we get the year off with a sharp opening in a hard-hitting interview with England Number 3 David Howell who offers advice for club players and gives frank insights into the life of a professional chess player.

It’s interesting how many players (including myself) know so little about the Laws of Chess so it won’t do any harm for club players to familiarise themselves with the work of arbiters and this month we have a section on our officials in England. There are some interesting quizzes on the link we have below to see how much you know. 

We also feature a roundup of Hastings, an excellent book review from Gary Lane and news of a revival of a great tournament in Newcastle.

Please contact me at manager.publicity@englishchess.org.uk with any ideas on features you would like covered in the e-newsletter.

— Mark Rivlin

Across the Board
Mark Rivlin interviews David Howell – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/David-Howell-Interview.pdf

Classic Rocks
This year’s London Chess Classic at the Olympia Conference Centre was won by Fabiano Caruana who beat Ian Nepomniachtchi in a tie-break. Magnus Carlsen’s last round win over Levon Aronian secured the 2017 Grand ChessTour first prize. The event was bigger than ever with a strong FIDE Open and other amateur events and an array of coaching, matches and events for junior players from the Chess in Schools and Communities programmes. 

Here are links to the various Classic events —

Arbiter rules!
How well do you know the Laws of Chess? The Chess Arbiters’ Association has a new website (http://www.chessarbitersassociation.co.uk)  and for a Laws brush-up try http://www.chessarbitersassociation.co.uk/html/quizzes.html
Quiz 20 is popular for a chuckle (one stage below an actual laugh). Quiz 18 is also useful on Law changes. There is an Arbiters’ course coming up in March, more here –

Bravo Alpha Zero
Computer says ‘no chance’ after Deep Mind’s AlphaZero annihilated Stockfish 72-28 with no losses. Not bad for a machine that had learned the moves in just four hours a few weeks earlier. Whether this means that robots will replace humans in cold church halls in the Under 140 section of a weekender congress remains to be seen. More here – https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-future-is-here-alphazero-learns-chess

Blitz Lukes good for McShane
The European Individual Rapidplay and Blitz Championships played in Katowice attracted over a thousand entries in both sections. GM Luke McShane won €1000 after finishing joint second in the Blitz with 17.5/22, half a point behind winner GM Sergei Zhigalko. In the Rapidplay Luke finished 39th with 8/11. More here – 
http://www.chess-results.com/tnr321655.aspx?lan=3&art=9&fed=ENG&wi=821&snr=6 and here – http://www.chess-results.com/tnr320870.aspx?lan=1&art=1&wi=821 and here – https://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=9442

Riyadh all about it
The King Salman World Rapidplay and Blitz championships took place in the Saudi Arabia capital with a mouth-watering $2m prize fund. Vishy Anand won the Rapidplay and Magnus Carlsen took the Blitz. Luke McShane (7.5/15,Rapidplay; 10/21 Blitz), David Howell (8/15 Rapidplay; 11/21 Blitz) and Nigel Short (7/15 Rapidplay, 10/21 Blitz) made up the England contingent. More here – http://riyadh2017.fide.com/

Hastings – Battle lines drawn
The Hastings Masters tournament was a close-run affair this year with Indian GM Deep Sengupta sharing first prize with Chinese IM Yiping Lou, each with seven points. Three English GMs Daniel Gormally, Mark Hebden and Keith Arkell, and IM Stephen Mannion came joint sixth with six points. Congratulations also to FM Adam Taylor who earned an IM norm. More here – http://www.hastingschess.com/final-round-up-from-pam-thomas/

London’s calling
The 2018 World Championship will be in London, running from 9-28 November 2018 with Magnus Carlsen defending his crown against the winner of the Candidates which will take place in Berlin in March. More here: https://en.chessbase.com/post/world-championship-2018-to-be-in-london 
FIDE may have made a blunder with the release of the championship’s logo, designed by Moscow-based studio Shuka. This branding for world chess’s most prestigious event could be classed as provocative at best (it has been described as ‘pawnographic’) and it certainly resonates with tight positions I have found myself in across the board. More here – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/19/grandmasters-complain-londons-world-chess-championship-logo/  

About Tyne
After a gap of 20 years the Northumbria Chess Masters tournament returns to Newcastle with a new sponsor, Capital Bridging Finance Solutions and £2300 in prize money. The 9-round FIDE-rated Open tournament with opportunities for international title norms will run from February 14-18. 

Thanks to their generous support, enhancing the prospects for IM, GM and WGM norms from the event, the prize fund has been increased and a total of six GMs and eight IMs have already signed up to play, including GMs Vojtech Plat (CZE) Oleg Korneev (ESP), Jahongir Vakhidov (UZB) and England’s Daniel Gormally, Mark Hebden and Keith Arkell. Among the IMs are British Knockout qualifier Alan Merry and Dundee 150 winner Andrew Greet (SCO). This makes the event the strongest in North East England since the 2012 British Championship, and should promote the development of promising young players in the region as it plans to become an annual fixture of the tournament calendar. 

Entries are currently being accepted from players rated 2200+ (players lower than this level are being asked to join a waiting list), to meet with norm requirements and space restrictions. Interested players are encouraged to contact the tournament organiser, Tim Wall, via the tournament website at www.foresthallchess.org.uk or directly to timpeterwall@gmail.com

The highest eligible player at the event, a 9-round Swiss over 5 days, will qualify for the 2018 British Championship in Hull. Thanks are due also particularly to the ECF, the John Robinson Youth Chess Trust and the Friends of Chess for invaluable donations to support the participation of leading titled players, and the entry and coaching of leading local juniors in preparation for the tournament. More here –

Book review – Sicilian, you’re breaking my heart
IM Gary Lane reviews Dismantling the Sicilian, a modern repertoire for white by Jesus de la Villa and Max Illingworth –

Young talent
The 24th South of England 2018 Junior Championships are being held in Yateley Manor School on 27 and 28 January: There are sections for U15, 13,11,10,9, 8, and 7. More here – https://www.southofenglandjunior.com/

Weekend in Harrogate
The 17th 4NCL FIDE-rated congress takes place in the beautiful Yorkshire town of Harrogate on 19-21 January. More here – http://www.4ncl.co.uk/fide/information_17.htm

We need your feedback on proposed changes to the popular county championship format so please fill in the questionnaire here –

Rock around the clocks
The British Blitz championships are being held in the Autumn, this year with a £5000 prize fund. More here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/british-blitz-announcement/

Chess Magazine taster
Next month’s magazine taster here – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Chess-January-2018.pdf

Obituary: David Milton
Past secretary of Yorkshire Chess Association, David died on 24 December aged 71 following a lengthy fight against leukemia. Eulogies here from Steve Mann and Ihor Lewyk. More here – http://mannchess.org.uk/YNotices/DaveMiltonObit.htm and here –