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Rapid Chess

Rapid events are common in Baltic states. The idea of rapid chess was introduced into practice years ago in Soviet Estonia. Later European and World Championships were held at the end of 1980-s.

The FIDE rapid and blitz Championships were organized few times in recent years.  There is official rating for both formats. Rapid games  is used in tiebreaks to determine the World Champion.  Usually the players who are dominating the field with normal time control are favorites also in blitz and rapid formats. Still there is always some talented players who are good in rapid format.

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Handicap tournament in Pyhajarve

In Pyhajarve at the last weekend of November was held the strongest handicap tournament ever. It was 15th in the row thanks to former Estonian prime minister Mr. Tiit Vahi. The venue was Pyhajarv Spa and I was the lucky winner. I participated years ago and was not successfull. Now there were not real ELO favorite and the winner was decided in the last day. Total with 34 players it was not easy to maintain the same playing strenght throughout the tournament. First day seven rounds were played, but most difficult was the next day with 20 rounds. The handicap system was following. Total time control was 20 minutes and players were in five groups. First group all grandmasters had against weakest group players only two minutes without an increment. As one of the weakest players put it, we are here to spoil someones’s tournament. Among participants were all strong Estonian players, cultures figures and business men alike. Visiting players included minister of economy Dana Rieznice from Latvia and now banker in Lviv, former famous number one player from Iceland Margeir Petursson. The tournament atmosphere was friendly and despite some last second fight on board all games finished with mutual agreement. If you check the games on live I remind you again that there were not increment, this is why so many mistakes were made at the end of the game. All results you may find on Yours truly was the lucky winner. I had some luck already in the first round. In the diagram position my opponent could win with 1…Rh2 and next move is Nf3 winning. Instead he took his rook and captured my pawn on a2 and after d7 he resigned.

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Vitaly Ceshkovsky memorial in Sochi or how I checked the venue for Magnus Carlsen

Vitaly Ceshkovsky was many times USSR champion and also a chess coach. His students were Kramnik and Macieja among others. The tournament was held in Loo village, 15 miles from Sochi. Sochi as we know is the venue for upcoming Anand Carlsen match. We were accommodated on Aqualoo spa complex which had all modern facilities. The main attraction the Black sea just under our nose. The tournament playing conditions were not good. Too noisy and because the weather was constantly changing, one day too hot other day too cold. Still nobody was complaining. After all this was truly holiday tournament. Only one bright star was among participants Baadur Jobava. He took the first place with easy. Older generation including me were too peacefull. I just got angry when suddenly in round 6 I made terrible mistake in the opening against Russian IM Gorbatov and lost. After that I won my last three games and shared 2-6 place. Jobava had 7,5 out of 9 and second to six place finishers got 6,5 points. There was live transmission of the games, but it had not the usual GUI, but they just forwarded the moves in pgn format. The overall infrastructure looks good around Sochi after Olympic Games. Only the weather is not going to be nice in November, when the World Ch Match takes place. In our tournament over 100 players took part and more then 30 grandmasters. Good place for norms, but mainly former Soviet Union players took part. Information abut the tournament was missing before it started and also after. As usual the marketing is not the best in Russia. Finally I like to show how I play when I am angry after loosing a game. In this game only one move was not the first choise of Houdini.

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New trends in chess according to Dubai World rapid and blitz championship. First part.

Magnus Carlsen won both championships. He was lucky, but the strongest players have usually more luck anyway. This tournament was unique, because in short time of period it provided so many games between top players. In circumstances where players could not properly prepare against their opponents. They just needed to show their general pre-tournament preparation. This gives wonderful material to analyze. First I like to review the rapid tournament. The time control was 15 minutes for the game plus 10 second increment per move. Magnus told in his interview that it was important to play quickly and make less blunders. It is of course general advice and does not help the player much. He wants to know first what opening lines to play. I assume that many top grandmasters have different opening repertoire for different time control.  This is definitely true about Alexander Morozevich who showed some lines he never used before. Still I was surprised that many players were stick with their usual game.  Magnus did what he does best, classical approach nothing extraordinary. Opening choices classical symmetrical 1…e5 after 1.e4 only. I remember once he played in team competitinon 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Nf6 3.e5 Nh5, but these days are over. Still we saw this line once in Dubai in blitz tournament played by GM Vakhidov against Vallejo Pons without success. Magnus played more actively with white pieces.

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Ilmar Raud Memorial

The 48th edition of the Ilmar Raud Memorial was held from 30th June to 6th July 2014 at the Viljandi Sports Center in Viljandi, a town in southern Estonia.

The event was played in memorial of Ilmar Raud, member of the Estonian team that scored bronze at the Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires.

GM Aleksei Aleksandrov from Belarus emerged a clear winner with 7,5/9 points, leaving the nearest contenders a full point behind. Yours truly shared second place. Final results here.

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Ivanchuk in a bad mood or how he won the Latvian Railway Open

The Riga Railway Open in rapid chess took place in the last weekend of March. Many strong GM-s were participating, but the result of the winner Ivanchuk made headlines. At the end he managed to get 13 points out of 14. Reminds Fischer in his best days. In the closing ceremony Alexei Shirov mentioned that Ivanchuk instead of playing in candidates tournament which just finished in Khanty Mansisk preferred Riga. Vassily Ivanchuk was one of the World best players in last 25 years, but never won the World champion title. Most likely because of his bad nerves. This time he was not even among the candidates. However he put his anger and revenge onto his opponents in Riga. He won first 9 games and only in last day allowed two draws. Still in his second round encounter things might be different if this time local hero Normunds Miezes could controll his nerves in winning position.

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American journey part three

Marshall chess club championship

The 97th Championship took place in the middle of December over two weekends and finished just before Christmas. My flight from Vegas was delayed because of harsh weather conditions. Back then I did not realize yet that more obstacles on my travelling are still to come. The winter was in full swing. The two weekend format gave a lot of time to prepare because of limited number of participants. It was obvious that most likely all top players are going to play each other. The eventual tournament winner Aleksandr Lenderman took some early byes. So did  Robert Hess. I had some shaky moments in the beginning when losing against Mathew Hermann in round three. This loss was really heartbreaking. Having computer evaluation more than +18 I managed to lose in mutual time trouble. Still after round five I was only half a point behind tournament leader Sergei Kudrin. We met in round six and because this game was in the next weekend I had a lot of time to prepare. Kudrin plays the same openings for years, so I had a lot of work to do.

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How to teach chess to children, useful tips


In sport there is always a winner and draw outcome is considered weakness. In chess however the draw is result of perfect game by both players. It is boring result, but when first explaining it to young student you need to emphasize that it is a normal outcome. We are actually looking to benefit from the process not from the result. This is why they say that you learn more from your losses and you do not gain much from your winning games.

Where to start, if you like teach your child to develop some good character traits.

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