Grenke Chess Classic and Moscow Open

Heinrich Basson Heinrich Basson is a chess enthusiast from South Africa. He is an avid club player with a current FIDE rating of 1899. He follows world chess events closely and analyzing the matches and writing about chess are some of his hobbies.

There were two world-class tournaments which recently took place and finished within the past week, Grenke Chess Classic and Moscow Open. Let us take a quick look at what happened in both tournaments.

The Grenke Chess Classic had some brilliant chess and after the 7 round round-robin event it was GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Arkadij Naiditsch who both finished on 4.5 out of 7 and in the lead. GM Michael Adams and GM Fabiano Caruana finished on 4 out of 7, only trailing the leaders by half a point. A very close tournament it was indeed. GM Carlsen and GM Naiditsch were tied for first, and a tie-break had to be played. After 4 rounds of the tie-break it was 2 points all, which lead to a final armageddon game which was won by GM Carlsen, giving him a 3-2 win on tie-break. Another great title for the world champion.

The Moscow Open was also a very strong tournament. It had an Open A event, which was the main open event. There was an Open B event, which was the female open event. There were also other open events for rating classes and a male and female student round-robin event. Definitely a world-class tournament! The main event was super strong with plenty of GM’s participating. It was won by GM Ernesto Inarkiev with 8 out of 9, gaining him 23.5 rating points. In 2nd place we had a tie between 4 players, namely GM Anton Korobov, GM Francisco Vallejo Pons, GM Tigran Petrosian and GM Vladislav Artemiev. They all had 7 points. The Open B event was won by WGM Tingjie Lei, also with 8 out of 9 and gaining 14.6 rating points. In 2nd place we also saw 4 players on 7 out of 9. This was definitely a brilliant tournament and definitely one to follow each year.

As I am writing this the Zurich Chess Challenge is on the go and the FIDE Grand Prix series in Tbilisi is also starting today. The Zurich Chess Challenge really will be a close tournament, GM Nakamura has been in some great form lately and GM Anand and GM Kramnik will be solid as always, it will be a tough tournament and everyone has their chances. In the latest FIDE Grand Prix series GM Anish Giri, GM Alexander Grischuk and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave might be in with good chances of a podium spot, although any of the 12 participants can take the title and points. GM Baadur Jobava will also be fighting to increase his rating to above 2700 again.

Enjoy the chess in the coming two weeks and be sure to check out Chessbet each day!

Survey Results

Chessbet Crew

About two weeks ago we made a user survey among the participants here on Chessbet to see what you think about our service and to gain insights on how we can become better. We value your input a lot and, as promised, we have now drawn ten winners among the respondents, who have won fifteen-day Pro Subscriptions with our sponsor Chess Openings 24/7 (more info below!). We thought it would be interesting to share some of the results with you, so below we have brought up some of the highlights.

Why are you participating on Chessbet?
First, how engaged is the typical Chessbet user, why is he participating and what kind of bets does he want to see? 57% percent of the respondents said that they visit Chessbet more or less on a daily basis, which indicates a high interest (thanks!) among our avid users.  When asked why they participate on Chessbet, 76% said that they want to win prizes, 62% answered that they want to see how good they are at predicting the games and 35% that they want to compete in the leaderboard (more than one choice was allowed for this question, that’s why the percentages add up to more than 100%).

What kind of bets do you want?
We then proceeded to asking what kind of bets you want to see on Chessbet. Here 88% replied that they want to predict game results, 49% said that they want to predict tournaments winners, 22% want to predict who will place higher of two players, whereas only 19% said that they want free bets for play money with odds (for this question also more than one choice was possible). In other words, most of you seem to like the current format, but we will try to add the possibility to predict tournament winners as well.

The possibility to miss bets
There were some interesting results when we asked if you want to have the possibility to miss some bets, but still have the chance to get the maximum number of points in the race. 67% replied that they want to have this option and 33% that they don’t want it. For future races we will try to adjust the rules so we will accommodate the wish of the majority.

Introducing a fee
The next question was whether you would be willing to pay a small fee for better prizes, betting tips and no ads. Here 25% replied yes, 28% said they were not sure (probably they want to see more details) and 46% said no. Chessbet today is a free service thanks to the prize sponsors and to volunteer work (Iet us know if you want to help out some way!) by the team behind it. Nevertheless, it is quite time consuming and there are costs involved with running the site. The income from ads is small (we’re only paid when somebody clicks on them) so we are looking into other solutions to be able to continue running the site. One such solution could be to introduce the mentioned fee, which would allow us to provide a better service than today.

Betting for real money
The last question of the survey asked if you would be interested to bet for real money on Chessbet, if we introduced this option. Obviously, for many users predicting the games would be even more interesting with the chance to earn some cash… 33% replied that they were interested in betting for real money, 30% said they were not sure, whereas 36% answered that this was not interesting to them. We will investigate the option to add this feature on Chessbet, as it’s quite complicated.

Prize winners
Finally, the prize winners that were drawn among the survey respondents can be found on our Prizes & Winners page. Congrats!

Grenke Chess Classic – before the final round

Martin Lokander Martin Lokander is an up and coming 18 years old Swedish FM with a rating of 2365. Despite being a full-time student he plays a lot (about 120 games/year!) and also closely follows top level chess events.

We’re about to witness the final round of the Grenke Chess Classic, and it’s about to be a nailbiter. The surprise of the tournament, GM Arkady Naiditsch is in shared lead together with Magnus Carlsen, whom he managed to beat. However, Caruana has a good chance of joining them in the lead, as he plays David Baramidze who has been struggling with 4 consecutive losses.

Adams – Anand isn’t really interesting for the tournament, and anything but a draw would be surprising for me. Anand can’t be satisfied with his tournament, and while Mickey had his chances he’s been unable to put the ball in the back of the net.

Naiditsch – Aronian is certainly an interesting game, seeing that Aronian has been struggling for the entire last year. His games against Anand and Adams were definitely shaky, although he eventually managed to sort things out. If Naiditsch would be able to win tomorrow, which I definitely think he is capable of, it would be a huge sensation for him. However, a draw is the most probable result.

Carlsen – Bacrot is probably the game with most eyes on it. Carlsen is Carlsen, and as White he’s extremely dangerous. But to be fair, Bacrot has been very solid this tournament and he’s even been very close to winning certain games. Carlsen-fans will be disappointed, but I think Bacrot will be able to hold once again.

Baramidze-Caruana will probably see some slightly unusual choice of opening from Caruana, who will probably do his outmost to beat Baramidze with the Black pieces. Baramidze is suffering from 4 consecutive, terrible losses, and Caruana comes straight from a quick draw with the World Champion. My money is Caruana.

Would my predictions work out, we will have a shared win between Carlsen, Naiditsch and Caruana.

January chess round-up

Heinrich Basson Heinrich Basson is a chess enthusiast from South Africa. He is an avid club player with a current FIDE rating of 1899. He follows world chess events closely and analyzing the matches and writing about chess are some of his hobbies.

So 2015 is well under way now and the new year kicked off with plenty of chess action all around. Let us look at some events and the relevant results.

The annual Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands was held in January. The Masters and Challengers events were both 14-player round robin events. In the Masters event we saw GM Magnus Carlsen take the title with a score of 9 out of 13, he was followed by four players on 8.5 out of 13. GM Baadur Jobava had a tough tournament, finishing on 3 out of 13 and losing 31 rating points, but I am sure he will bounce back and regain the lost rating points in future tournaments. The Challengers event was won by GM Yi Wei with a brilliant score of 10.5 out of 13. He now has the opportunity to play in next years’ Masters event, which will be very interesting indeed.

The Rilton Cup in Sweden ended on 5 January and was won by GM Jon Ludvig Hammer with a score of 7 out of 9. Second place went to GM Tiger Hillarp Persson also on 7 points, with 5 players finishing on 6.5 points.

We also saw the Hastings International Chess Congress in England taking place and GM Jun Zhao of China won the event with a score of 8 out of 9 and a 2852 performance rating. He was a whole point ahead of 2nd place, as 3 players ended on 7 out of 9, still a brilliant score.

The Gibraltar Masters event which finished on 05 February was one of the strongest open events in the world and saw many titled players participate. The event was won by GM Hikaru Nakamura with a brilliant score of 8.5 out of 10. GM David Howell finished 2nd with 8 out of 10, followed by 9 players on 7.5 points tied for third. It was a great event with many world-class games, so be sure to replay some of the games in your chess studies.

There is also plenty of chess action in February. Currently we have the Grenke Chess Classic and Moscow Open on the go. We also have the next FIDE Grand Prix event taking place in Tbilisi, Georgia from 14 February until 28 February. The European Individual Championships will take place in Jerusalem, Israel from 23 February until 09 March. The Zurich Chess Challenge takes place in Switzerland from 14 February until 19 February. The World Senior Team Championships will take place in Dresden, Germany from 24 February until 04 March.

Enjoy all the February chess action and be sure to visit the Chessbet website each day.

Grenke Chess Classic (after 3 rounds)

Martin Lokander Martin Lokander is an up and coming 18 years old Swedish FM with a rating of 2365. Despite being a full-time student he plays a lot (about 120 games/year!) and also closely follows top level chess events.

3 rounds of the Grenke Chess Classic have been played, and there are two notable things that are heavily discussed.

First of all, Naiditsch beat Carlsen AGAIN, and especially the extremely provocative 10…Bxg4?!!? is being criticized all over the world. I’m far from sure what Carlsen had in mind, but it looks like a kind of position where it’s not too easy to prove the sacrifice wrong. As the game proved, Carlsen eventually managed to outplay Naiditsch in the middlegame until something went horribly wrong in the endgame. As Carlsen himself noted on Twitter, this is the 4th straight tournament where Carlsen loses in round 3! Certainly food for thought.

What’s more worrying is Levon Aronian. A year ago Levon reached his peak live rating of 2835.5, and today he’s not even top 10 in the World. A remarkable decline for someone who should be at his peak!

4 more rounds to go, and I’d still take Carlsen as favourite to claim the tournament but his start is certainly worrying.

December Chess Update

Heinrich Basson Heinrich Basson is a chess enthusiast from South Africa. He is an avid club player with a current FIDE rating of 1899. He follows world chess events closely and analyzing the matches and writing about chess are some of his hobbies.

So December is done and it was a month with some interesting chess tournaments throughout. Let us take a look back at some of the action and also see what tournaments are being held in January 2015.

The Qatar Masters Open which finished early in December was won by GM Yu Yangyi from China, with GM Anish Giri and GM Vladimir Kramnik finishing 2nd and 3rd. A very strong tournament and definitely one which should be closely followed each year. We also saw the London Chess Classic tournament with a 6 player round-robin and a strong FIDE Open being played in December. The round-robin event was won by GM Viswanathan Anand with GM Vladimir Kramnik and GM Anish Giri in 2nd and 3rd places. The FIDE Open was won by GM Kamil Dragun and IM Jinshi Bai with 7.5 out of 9. We also saw the World Mind Games held in China, which focused mostly on rapid and blitz chess, and the European Rapid and Blitz championships being held in December. The Al-Ain Chess Classic was also held during December, another very strong open event. It was won by GM Gaioz Nigalidze from Georgia with 7 out of 9. The Groningen Chess Festival finished on 30 December, and the winner there was IM Alexander Donchenko from Germany with a score of 8 out of 9, a full point ahead of 2nd place. During this time of the year there are numerous other tournaments on the go, I just mentioned a few.

There is also some interesting chess action during January 2015. The 90th Hastings International Chess Congress is currently on the go until 6 January. We also have the Chennai Open in India currently on the go until 6 January. The New Zealand Open Championship will be held from 01 January until 09 January. We also have the Australian Open from 02 January until 11 January. In Czech Republic the Prague Open will be held from 09 January until 16 January. Another interesting open event you can look forward to is the Gibraltar Chess Festival which will be from 27 January until 05 February. I again just named a few interesting tournaments for you to keep an eye on.

All the best wishes for 2015 and be sure to check out the Chessbet website every day for new chess matches and to make your predictions.

London Chess Classic Summary

Martin Lokander Martin Lokander is an up and coming 18 years old Swedish FM with a rating of 2365. Despite being a full-time student he plays a lot (about 120 games/year!) and also closely follows top level chess events.

The last super tournament of the year is over, and the official winner is Viswanathan Anand, after outplaying Michael Adams in *sigh* a Berlin Endgame.
When half of the field share first place with a +1 score, I can’t really see it as a real “super tournament victory” as compared to Sinquefield or any other big tournament. Unfortunately, this leaves me with the strange feeling that this was more of a nice chess gathering with some interesting games. 5 rounds is really way too short for a tournament of this standard.

When even Hikaru Nakamura plays the Berlin Endgame, I think it might be time for a Berlin ban? I was disappointed to see such a high amount of Berlin Endgames, and even though I generally find this endgame fascinating, I feel like I’ve had enough of it. What happened to the Najdorf?

Now there’s a short break in tournaments, but in about a month my favourite super tournament begins, the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. What’s more important is that at the time of writing, Hikaru Nakamura is bashing Yaacov Norowitz on, and that’s way more interesting than the Berlin Endgame so I think it’s time for me to sign off this blog post for now.

Merry Christmas!

London Chess Classic: Last Round!

Martin Lokander Martin Lokander is an up and coming 18 years old Swedish FM with a rating of 2365. Despite being a full-time student he plays a lot (about 120 games/year!) and also closely follows top level chess events.

The last few rounds have been very solid, but not necessarily boring. Obviously the Berlin Endgames were a slight setback, but overall we can’t complain about the entertainment.

Adams has problems with the Black pieces. He beat Caruana and was very close to beating Kramnik as well, but his loss against Nakamura in the 4th round must’ve been a terrible experience. Lucky for him, he has the White pieces in the last round, facing Anand at 4 draws. Everything points to this being another Berlin Ruy Lopez with a draw as a result.

The big game is Giri versus Kramnik, and after Dubai Open it’s well known that the young Dutch GM has huge problems against the Russian legend. I don’t think Giri will take big risks because of his terrible head-to-head score, and since he has the White pieces I think the risk of a draw is high. I don’t think anyone will be shocked if this becomes a Berlin Ruy Lopez too.

The most entertaining game I think will be Caruana – Nakamura. Caruana hasn’t impressed at all (pretty much since Sinquefield/Bilbao), and Nakamura played an excellent game against Adams in round 4. What’s more important is that it won’t be a Berlin Endgame, and that’s pretty much all I want. I think there are good chances of Nakamura winning this game and clinching the tournament with a stunning comeback.

BET TIP: At the time of writing, there’s 8.4 odds on Nakamura winning the game (on MarathonBet) which is way too high if you ask me.

London Chess Classic after two rounds

Martin Lokander Martin Lokander is an up and coming 18 years old Swedish FM with a rating of 2365. Despite being a full-time student he plays a lot (about 120 games/year!) and also closely follows top level chess events.

The London Chess Classic has kicked off, and my wild predictions have been more or less catastrophic :)

Adams, the solid guy, hasn’t played a single draw (although I managed to predict a win for him!). I really thought Nakamura would bring down Kramnik today, especially since Kramnik’s preparation wasn’t too impressive, if you ask me. However, Nakamura went wrong and Kramnik played very well to convert a full point.

Giri and Kramnik are the leaders at 1½ points out of 2. They will play each other in the final round, and this might very well be a key game of the tournament. But to be fair, the tournament has just begun and Anand has barely played a move of his own :D.

Happy betting, and don’t miss my next post. It will be posted before the last round.

London Chess Classic 2014

Martin Lokander Martin Lokander is an up and coming 18 years old Swedish FM with a rating of 2365. Despite being a full-time student he plays a lot (about 120 games/year!) and also closely follows top level chess events.

The last of many super-tournaments this year. Although we lack the presence of undisputed World Champion Magnus Carlsen, London has attracted a very strong field and there’s bound to be some fighting chess. I won’t bore you with a long recap of the latest super tournaments, since most of the readers have been following these elite players the last couple of months anyway. Instead, I will give a few very wild predictions of what we might look forward to.

Adams is a bit of joker. He hasn’t been active for a while in the strongest tournaments, but winning the rapid tournament is certainly a good sign. However, since this is quite a short tournament (only 5 rounds), I wouldn’t be surprised if Adams’s solid style would get him at least 4 draws. And maybe one win!?

I haven’t got my mind straight on Giri’s form. Some of his recent results are amazing, but there’s still some instability, like we saw towards the end of Qatar Open. Something tells me that Giri might lose an early game (possibly against Hikaru in round 1!?) and he won’t be able to get more than 50 % in this tournament. I do however think he’ll manage a draw against his nemesis Vladimir Kramnik.

Neither do I think Caruana will impress (at least not with 5-0!). The initial blitz & rapid tournaments can’t have been a pleasant experience for him and these things will definitely affect his self-confidence.

Now, to my predicted winner of the tournament, Hikaru Nakamura. This might be a bit of a surprise for many and I agree that his recent results in classical chess haven’t been too spectacular, but you never know with Hikaru. If he would go and finish last I wouldn’t be surprised either, but his blitz & rapid certainly shows that he’s on a roll and if he gets off to a good start I definitely think he’s capable of winning the tournament.

These are of course very wild predictions and with my luck it could probably backfire in the opposite direction, but my main task is to provide some food for thought and confuse my competitors so I’ll win some prize myself! 😀