Fantastic finale in Biel?
National Championships of Ukraine and Britain decided!
French players banned for cheating.
9 year old beats Grandmaster!
Of course, we would love for the tournaments to have dramatic finales and National Championships usually do have moments of interest as the players tend to know each other and their playing styles very well. The Ukrainian Championship is a strong (2724-2584) 12 player round robin with Ruslan Ponomariov the highest rated player. It has just started while the British Championship is drawing to a close with Jones and Gordon leading the way while Howell leads the chasing pack. The Biel super-GM event is also drawing to a dramatic conclusion with rating favourites Carlsen and Nakamura having to come from behind Giri and Wang Hao.
The big cheating scandal from the 2010 Olympiad concerning French players has finally been resolved with bans being handed out for all 3 Grandmasters. Thankfully, chess is not riddled with cheating scandals but in some ways that makes each one seem worse. When a cyclist is suspended for using a banned substance, I tend to think, 'here we go again, another one caught....I wonder how many others don't get caught'. But with chess, it's more like, 'oh my God, how did they do that, and why?' Actually, now that I think about it, I wonder how much cheating does go unnoticed at chess events? As an amateur enthusiast, I would hope very little.
As a coach of mainly young players, the most impressive headline to me would be the last one. I am constantly being amazed by the talents of young players. Here in Melbourne this past Sunday we ran a 7 round 15 minute per player tournament. In the under 10 section, second place was taken by a 4 year old! I saw the headline in the excellent Chicago Chess Blog of Bill Brock. I've been reading this blog for a while now, and find it really enjoyable reading, with excellent local coverage from the Chicago area. A 9 year old beating a Grandmaster is an incredible feat, though the record for the youngest player to beat a Grandmaster in a regular tournament game goes to a player already mentioned in this article, David Howell. Howell was only 8 when he beat GM John Nunn....unbelievable! And another previously mentioned player in this piece, Ruslan Ponomariov was the youngest to hold a World Championship at 18 (though some would dispute the legitimacy of this title).