Friday, May 3, 2013


Tournament Seeks to Turn the Game Into an Art Form

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The Alekhine Memorial tournament began last weekend as an unusual attempt to highlight chess as an art form.
The first half of the event was held in a temporary building at the Tuileries Garden in Paris just west of the Louvre, and it has now moved to the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
Andrei Filatov, a Russian billionaire, came up with the idea of affiliating chess tournaments with museums. Last year, he sponsored the world championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
“I think the synergy between chess and art holds great promise,” Filatov said last year in an interview with RBC Daily, a Russian newspaper.
Yet Filatov himself, who trained to be a chess coach and a referee before the Soviet Union collapsed and who is now a part owner of a shipping company, said he considered chess to be more of a sport. But because so many people play the game, he thought it could be used to promote museums, and vice versa.
Filatov is not the first to host a chess tournament at a museum. In 2010, the first round of the Women’s World Chess Championship was held at the Antakya Archaeological Museum in Turkey.
The Alekhine tournament, which is named after Alexander Alekhine, the fourth world champion, features a heavy-hitting lineup this year. It includes Anand, the current world champion; Gelfand; Levon Aronian, who is ranked No. 2 in the world; and Vladimir Kramnik, who is No. 3.
The early rounds have produced some excellent games. The best was a victory by Ding Liren of China, who at age 20 is a three-time national champion, over Aronian.
The first 11 moves have been played often. But Ding’s 12 Ne1 was interesting. Another option would have been 12 Ba6, when the game might have continued 12 ... Ra6 13 b5 Ra8 14 bc6 Nb8 15 Ne5 and White would have had a small edge.
The idea behind Aronian’s 12 ... Bc4 was to prevent Ding from getting his knight to d3 after the bishops were exchanged on c4. The drawback was that Aronian gave up control of e4 after he played 13 ... dc4.
Though it was not immediately clear, the sequence beginning with 28 ... Nc3 and ending with 31 ... Nd2, which won an exchange, was a mistake. Aronian should have tried to hunker down on defense by playing 28 ... Nec7.
Ding’s 32 Nd5 was the beginning of a brilliant combination culminating with 37 Bg7, ripping open the protection around Aronian’s king.
Ding avoided a pitfall by playing 45 Qh6 instead of 45 Rh6, when Aronian could have played 45 ... Qc1 and 46 ... Qh6. Aronian resigned after 46 Qf6 because there was no way to avoid mate.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: April 28, 2013
An earlier version of this column incorrectly referred to what Levon Aronian of Armenia should have played in the game against Ding Liren of China in the Alekhine tournament. His 26 .... Qa8 was correct, but instead of playing 28 ... Nc3, he should have played 28 ... Nec7.
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GM Gareev Defeats 29 in Blindfold Simul

phpuS9Vyw.jpegGM Timur Gareev Defeats 29 Players in Blindfold Simul
PRESS RELEASE: SAINT LOUIS (May 1, 2013) --  It took 10 hours and 39 minutes for Grandmaster Timur Gareev to topple the final king and leave the chess community in Saint Louis dazed and amazed.
On Tuesday, GM Gareev put on a 33-board blindfolded simultaneous exhibition at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, scoring 29 wins, four draws and zero losses.
The field, composed entirely of Saint Louis Chess Club members, had an average USCF rating of 1363, and featured of two experts, three class A players (1800-1999) and five class B players (1600-1799).
CCSCSL Executive Director Tony Rich (USCF 2020) was the highest-rated player in the field and one of only four players to draw the blindfolded virtuoso. “It was a truly an amazing experience to witness this remarkable display of concentration and memory,” Rich said.
GM Timur Gareev in action during the blindfold simul
GM Gareev is working toward setting a new blindfold simul world record of 64 boards before the end of 2013. The date for the record-breaking simul is tentatively set for December 21 on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. After switching federations from Uzbekistan to the U.S., he will be competing in his first-ever U.S. Championship. He enters the tournament as the No. 2-rated player in the field, second only to GM Gata Kamsky.
The 2013 U.S. Championship and 2013 U.S. Women’s Championship will be held simultaneously May 2 through May 13, with the Opening Ceremony taking place the evening of May 2 and the first round of play beginning at 1 p.m. CT on May 3.
Visit for more info.
Some of Timur's opponents in the simul
The participating players in the simul, their board numbers, and their current USCF ratings are as follows (the * denotes the players that played GM Gareev to a draw):

    August Meyer: 987
    * Steve Mislich: 1642
    Lou Cotton: unr.
    Ben Boaz: 1269
    Joe Wojcki: 1817
    Richard Pack: 1881
    Ken West: 1269
    Sal Falcone: unr.
    * William Little: 1515
    Ed Protzel: unr.
    Joe Baur: unr.
    Tim Baur: 487
    Abdul Shakoor: 1176
    Diamond Shakoor: 1259
    Micah Losee: 1770
    Julian Proleiko: 1735
    Josh Cardenas: 1334
    Jim Smith: 739
    Preethi Kembaiyan: 1228
    Yizheng He: 1160
    Adam Eubanks: 1321
    * Justin Hull: 1673
    Sathya Anand: 1423
    Katie Stujenske: 544
    Willy Kane: 1871
    Alex Marler: 2012
    Adonis “Mark” Reddick: 1548
    * Tony Rich: 2020
    Sarah Crawford: 476
    Jonathan Lake: 581
    Richard Pointer: 1594
    Brian Jerauld: 1762
    Ben Simon: 1437
The average was derived from the 29 rated players with the four unrated players omitted from the calculations. Of the four unrated players, only Ed Protzel is not a current USCF member.
The 2013 U.S. Championship and 2013 U.S. Women’s Championship will be held simultaneously May 2 through May 13. This marks the fifth consecutive year that each of these prestigious events will be held in Saint Louis.
The opening ceremony takes place on May 2, and the first round for both events will kick off at 1 p.m. CT on May 3.
Also, fans of the U.S. Chess Championships can participate in Fantasy Chess for free by visiting: The grand prize is round-trip airfare for two from anywhere in the continental U.S., two nights hotel, a private dinner with GM Yasser Seirawan and two private lessons with Seirawan as well.

About The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit