News Articles 2021

Short News

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    Horst Rittner (1930–2021) – 24 Jun 2021

    Horst Rittner, who for 26 years edited the German magazine Schach, presented chess on Eastern German TV and became correspondence chess world champion in 1971, has passed away in Berlin on 14 June, as has become known only now.

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    South Westphalia tries something new – 24 Jun 2021

    The chess district of South Westphalia in the centre of Germany has decided to suspend the 2021/22 team season and invite those who want to play to test new match formats with smaller teams or two shorter games instead of a long one. Some regional leagues are considering hybrid matches.

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    So wins Paris Rapid & Blitz ahead of Nepo – 22 Jun 2021

    Wesley So confirms the great form he has been showing in the Champions Chess Tour by winning both the rapid and the blitz at the Paris leg of the Grand Chess Tour, while challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi came in as clear second. No spectators were allowed at the Kasparovchess.com- broadcast event. Next is the Croatia Rapid and Blitz in Zagreb on 6–11 July where the wildcard is reserved for a Croatian citizen, Garry Kasparov, who will make a rare appearance at the board.

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    NYC kids campaign goes strong – 22 Jun 2021

    Providing 10,000 kids from disadvantaged families in New York City with chess instruction, learning software and a set is the goal of The Gift of Chess campaign, that has raised two thirds of its goal within a month and is covered by ABC.

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    Dansk Skoleskak appoints development director – 21 Jun 2021

    Andreas Weidinger, former head of the Danish Conservative People party youth and a climate policy expert, is the newly appointed Director of Development at Dansk Skoleskak, an innovator in school chess that is planning to open a “chess house” by 2025.

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    US Chess comes together – 21 Jun 2021

    The US Open can take place between 31 July and 8 August in Cherry Hill near Philadelphia. The venue hotel is already booked out. While the players are required to wear masks, participants of the US Chess governance meetings are not since all of them are supposed to be fully vaccinated.

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    Asia-themed tour event – 17 Jun 2021

    The next Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event from 26 June to 4 July will be the Goldmoney Asian Rapid with the majority of the participants born in Asia and earlier playing hours to the benefit of participants like 15-year old Dommaraju Gukesh who narrowly won the second Challengers Chess Tour event. The recently inactive female number one Hou Yifan receives a wildcard. The title sponsor is again a financial company, the Canadian precious metals platform Goldmoney.

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    FIDE Grand Prix stays with Merenzon – 17 Jun 2021

    Two places for the next Candidates Tournament shall be decided in a series of three Grand Prix events in February to April 2022, each with 16 players, a group and a knockout phase. The full series shall be held in one yet unknown city according to Ilya Merenzon from World Chess, still entrusted by FIDE with the organisation.

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    Carol Jarecki (1935–2021) – 15 Jun 2021

    Carol Jarecki, chess organiser and head arbiter of the 1995 PCA World Championship Kasparov vs Anand, the Kasparov vs Deep Blue-match in 1997 and many other events and also one of the most profound critical voices in FIDE, has passed away.

  • Photo: Schjærven Reklamebyrå

    Short news

    Design awards for Champions Tour logo – 15 Jun 2021

    The logos of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour and its ten chess24-hosted events, created by Schjærven Reklamebyrå in Oslo, have won two golden European Design Awards. The logos are generated from game data, e.g. the tour logo is based on the Armageddon game between Carlsen and Nakamura that concluded the first Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour in 2020.

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    Carlsen headlines bullet open – 15 Jun 2021

    The culture foundation Katara and the Qatar Chess Federation sponsor a $12,800 bullet (1 minute per player and game) tournament on Lichess with qualifiers on 20 June and a 16 players-k.o. on 23 June into which the 2020 winner Magnus Carlsen is seated.

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    From coach to investor – 14 Jun 2021

    Susan Polgar, the former woman world champion, has recently retired as head coach of the top US college chess team at Webster University, where Liem Quang Le has taken her job. She has relocated to Florida and started Chess Maven for business investments.

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    Billionaire apologized for computer assistance – 14 Jun 2021

    Nikhil Kamath, cofounder of the Indian trading platform Zerodha, won a game against Vishy Anand in a charity online simul. After being banned by Chess.com, the billionaire admitted that he had taken hints from Grandmasters, computers and even Anand himself during the game and apologized.

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    Krause remains German chess President – 13 Jun 2021

    When Michael S. Langer refused to run for the Presidency of the German Chess Federation, the reelection of Ullrich Krause was all but certain. The unpopular incumbent was still challenged by Olga Birkholz who, despite having hardly a programme, team or record in the national federation, collected 92 votes in Saturday’s online congress vs Krause’s 118. Birkholz ran and was elected as new Vice President Federation Development after the only candidate Boris Bruhn couldn’t secure a majority. Another Krause team-mate, Carsten Schmidt, fell through as Vice President Finance. That office was won by Gulsana Barbiyeva, a finance professional. New Vice President Sport is Ralph Alt, a former judge, who will work with GM Gerald Hertneck, who was elected as Top Sport Officer. After nearly 13 hours the assembly was postponed to 9 October.

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    ChessFest in London on 16–18 July – 11 Jun 2021

    The UK charity Chess in Schools and Communities runs a Alice in Wonderland-themed weekend of chess in Central London culminating on Trafalgar Square.

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    ECU announces 2021 events – 11 Jun 2021

    The European Club Cup will take place in Lake Ohrid (Macedonia) 17–25 September, the European Teams Championship in Terme Omilia (Slovenia) 11–22 November, and the European Rapid and Blitz in Katowice (Poland) 16–19 December. A decision about the European Youth Championship has been postponed by the ECU board to early July.

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    Caruana biggest fighter in top ten – 10 Jun 2021

    David Smerdon has published a Fighting Chess Index (FCI) based on the proportion of draws by a player and the average number of moves in their drawn games during the period 2015–2020. The Australian grandmaster and lecturer in Economics at the University of Queensland has published a list of the 50 players with the highest average rating in 2015–2020, among whom the now inactive Vladimir Kramnik has the highest FCI score. Fabiano Caruana is the highest top ten player on 4th place with Magnus Carlsen not far behind. Alireza Firouzja’s rating was too low to make this list, but if he would have his FCI would rank him just above Caruana. The clearly lowest FCI among the 50 top rated players is listed for Teimur Radjabov to whom FIDE recently awarded a spot in the Candidates Tournament 2022.

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    Carlsen plays World Cup – 10 Jun 2021

    Magnus Carlsen has confirmed his participation in the World Cup that starts on 14 July in Sochi where he will fight for a $88,000 first prize (according to the regulations 20% of the nominal prizes are retained by FIDE). His challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi is one of the few missing top players. If the world champion reaches the final, the second qualification spot for the Candidates Tournament 2022 goes to the winner of the match for 3rd place. Except for a few nominees of national federations the list is complete and the pairings shall be announced within two weeks.

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    Chessable supports chess-related research – 09 Jun 2021

    Karel van Delft, a Dutch psychologist, chess coach and author, has joined Chessable as science project manager and is calling university-based scientists who plan chess related projects.

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    25 million worldwide in school chess – 09 Jun 2021

    A joint working group of FIDE and ECU has presented a worldwide survey that estimates that more than 25 million pupils learn and play chess in schools. Since 15 million of these are in India and 5 million in China, the numbers on the other continents seem lower than circulated earlier. More than 90,000 school teachers and more than 140,000 chess instructors are estimated to be involved. It is not clarified if these numbers are current or prepandemic. The survey forms the basis for a new strategy and policies that shall be formulated in the next months.

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    Jordi Lopez returns to French Federation – 07 Jun 2021

    Jordi Lopez, who already worked full-time for the French Chess Federation 2007–2018, is back as Technical Director. His dismissal by former President Bachar Kouatly led to a lengthy law suit.

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    Dutch leagues to start on 17 September – 05 Jun 2021

    The Dutch Chess Federation is running relegation matches this June for the new regular season to start on 17 September.

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    Fröwis appointed as Austrian junior coach – 05 Jun 2021

    The IM, law graduate and twice Austrian champion Georg Fröwis is the new junior coach of the Austrian Chess Federation after Harald Schneider-Zinner retired in April.

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    More celebrity building on Chess.com – 03 Jun 2021

    Chess.com adds a new format to feature its content creators: The Winner Stays series that starts this Friday matches platform celebrities on three different levels, below 1400 rating, above 2400, and in between.

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    Carlsen and Nepo to play twice in Stavanger – 01 Jun 2021

    Norway Chess 2021 has secured the participation of both the world champion and his challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi for another double-round-robin edition on 7 to 18 September. The other players are Karjakin, Firouzja, Rapport and Tari.

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    Webinar on chess after Covid-19 – 01 Jun 2021

    For French speakers the agency Léonard offers a webinar this Thursday at 19.00 CEST on how chess can restart after the pandemic.

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    Carlsen broke the spell against So – 01 Jun 2021

    Magnus Carlsen won another Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event, the FTX Crypto Cup, and finally overcame Wesley So in a final that was still tied after ten games and was decided in an Armaggedon game. The world champion secured his participation in the Grand Final, $60,000 and the equivalent of $22,000 in Bitcoin.

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    Jobava qualifies in spite of fatal mouseslip – 30 May 2021

    36 European players, among them 14 Russians, each won three matches to qualify for the World Cup that starts on 10 July in Sochi. One of them is Baadur Jobava who resigned his White game immediately after his mouse pushed a pawn one square too far, but managed to win with Black and in the tie-break. The full prize-fund of €32,000 is illogically distributed among the 36 qualifying players after 9 rounds of rapid this Sunday. Both the qualifiers and the rapid were played in hybrid fashion from arbiter-supervised venues all over Europe.

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    Kasparovchess broadcasts Grand Chess Tour – 28 May 2021

    The Grand Chess Tour that starts on 5 June in Bucharest is exclusively broadcast by Kasparovchess. Ding Liren passed on his place on the tour to Richard Rapport. After becoming the world championship challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi is also not a full tour player any more. He will probably play at least one event with a wildcard like Magnus Carlsen.

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    Study competition to honour Jan Timman – 28 May 2021

    The Dutch Chess Federation announced a study composition contest with €600 in cash and more prices to honour the 70th birthday of Jan Timman on 14 December.

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    Strong Q1 performance at Play Magnus – 26 May 2021

    Higher turnover than expected in the first quarter 2021 and significantly increased spending per customer has driven the Play Magnus Group share price up. The only publicly traded chess company has increased its expectation for 2021 by $2 million.

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    Birkholz wants to head German Federation – 25 May 2021

    Olga Birkholz has declared her candidacy for President of the German Chess Federation. This is actually good news for the incumbent Ullrich Krause. Since Birkholz has even less support, he can expect a convincing looking majority in the vote that is held during an online general assembly on 12 June. Without a challenger Krause would have faced lots of abstentions, possibly more than half of the delegates.

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    Wildcard or rating won’t make you a Candidate – 25 May 2021

    FIDE has announced the ways how to qualify for the Candidates Tournament 2022: Two spots will go to the finalists of the World Cup held in July 2021 in Sochi, two spots to the winners of the Grand Swiss held in October 2021 on the Isle of Man, and two spots to the winners of a reformed Grand Prix planned between February and April 2022. The loser of the world championship match in November 2021 in Dubai will be invited and so will Teimour Radjabov, who refused to play in the last Candidates Tournament due to the pandemic. There is neither a wildcard for a player chosen by the organiser nor a spot for the highest rated player that has not qualified in any other way.

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    French clubs to benefit from sport voucher programme – 22 May 2021

    The French government issues a Pass Sport to mobilize the youth to return to sport. 5,4 million minors will receive the vouchers worth €50 that can be spent for memberships or courses, including those offered by chess clubs.

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    French league 2021 is saved – 20 May 2021

    The French Top 12 will take place on 24 June to 4 July in Ville de Châlons-en-Champagne in Eastern France. The French Chess Federation’s former president Diego Salazar fills in as organiser after Chartres turned down and is running its own invitationals instead.

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    Join Judit Polgar on 9 October – 19 May 2021

    Chess organisers everywhere are called to join the Global Chess Festival on 9 October 2021, run by the Judit Polgar Foundation and sponsored by Morgan Stanley. The choice of the second Saturday of October goes back to a proclamation of US President Ford to make 9 October 1976 the first National Chess Day.

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    Crypto themed charity chess – 18 May 2021

    Just after the announcement of the FTX Crypto Cup held on chess24, competitor Chess.com unveils the charity tournament Cryptochamps on 12 and 13 June with pundits from the world of digital currencies who will donate their Coinbase-sponsored prizes to charities of their choice.

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    PMG acquires Aimchess – 18 May 2021

    The Play Magnus Group has made its first technology-driven acquisition with the take-over of Aimchess, the brainchild of the Russian IT-entrepreneur Anton Gora and managed by Stanford-MBA-candidate Ross Venhuizen. Neither the prize nor the number of paying subscribers is known. Aimchess offers personalized training based on analysis of the client’s games. A similar app, ChessZebra, is in open beta-testing.

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    Bitcoin for the winner – 17 May 2021

    The next Champions Chess Tour event from 23 to 31 May is branded as the FTX Crypto Cup with a record prizefund of $220,000 in cash and an additional equivalent of $100,000 in Bitcoin for the winner thanks to a sponsorship by FTX. The trading platform for derivatives based on digital currencies has recently bought the naming right for the stadion of the NBA team Miami Heat for $135 million. The tournament will feature the first game between world champion Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi since the latter has become the challenger on Saturday at 18.00 CEST.

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    Hybrid regions cup in Slovakia – 14 May 2021

    The Slovak Chess Federation has launched a championship of regions that is played as a hybrid team event on four boards in six venues.

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    European Girls and Women Chess Weekend – 13 May 2021

    A full programme of online tournaments, coaching sessions and workshops in English and German for girls and women is offered from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon by the German Youth Chess Association with coaches and speakers from several countries. Participation is free.

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    35 hybrid venues across Europe – 12 May 2021

    272 participants are registered for the ECU qualifiers to decide 36 places in the Men’s World Cup to be held in Sochi in July. The European qualifiers are played in hybrid mode from at least 35 venues across Europe. Not all countries operate their own venue. The only Swiss participant Noël Studer will compete from Magdeburg in Germany. The start has been postponed from 22 May to 24 May because less than 288 players registered. After several uncorrected mouseslips at the Mitropacup move confirmation will be the default setting on Tornelo.

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    Italy dominates Mitropacup – 12 May 2021

    Probably inspired by the venue, e-sport centre QLASH, both Italian teams won the men resp. women Mitropacup. A survey of the players about their hybrid chess experience is underway and its outcome will be reported later.

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    ABChess is best online academy – 11 May 2021

    The FIDE Trainers Commission has elected ABChess Academy, run by Berik Akkozov from Kazakhstan, as the best online chess academy thanks to its gamification and AI integration.

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    Grandmasters replace bulls – 10 May 2021

    For the first time in seventy years, the Sanfermines festival in Pamplona, Spain, will take place without a running of the bulls. Instead, Magnus Carlsen will come to the Spanish town to compete in a €50,000 online blitz tournament hosted by chess24 with seven other players, four of which will be decided through a qualifier.

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    Covid charity for India – 10 May 2021

    Viswanathan Anand, Nihal Sarin, R. Praggnandhaa and Humpy Koneru give an online simul this Thursday to raiss funds for Covid relief in their hard-hit home country. The simul’s host Chess.com will match the donations.

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    Conference connects prison projects – 07 May 2021

    FIDE holds an online conference Chess for Freedom next Tuesday to present findings about chess in reintegraton programmes and to connect prison chess projects.

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    Italian E-sport cooperation – 06 May 2021

    QLASH, an E-sport company, provides the Italian Chess Federation with a venue for the Mitropacup, that is currently played as a hybrid event. The Italian teams compete under supervision of arbiters and the newly appointed national coach Loek van Wely from the QLASH House in Villorba near Venice, where the setting induces the players to think on the screen rather than the board.

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    Chess training study looks for participants – 06 May 2021

    The Development of Chess Expertise study by scientists in Austria and the UK invites competitive players to complete a questionnaire on motivation, chess activities and cognitive tasks. Those who spend the required 35–45 minutes can compare themselves with others. The questionnaire is available in English and in German and soon in Russian and Chinese.

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    Only one candidate in Germany – 04 May 2021

    Christian Kuhn has withdrawn his candidacy for President of the German Chess Federation due to health motives. The unpopular incumbent Ullrich Krause may still face a challenger until the election on 12 June. Traditionally, a lengthy “congress broshure” is published.

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    Carlsen’s first victory after 30 – 04 May 2021

    The world champion has finally won his first tournament since turning 30 last November, which is also his first victory in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour in its fifth event. Magnus Carlsen beat Nakamura in the final and now leads the overall standings. In a first for the tour, he played the first rounds in a hybrid form under supervision from offices of sponsor Meltwater. The event was named the New in Chess Classic after the magazine that has recently been acquired by the Play Magnus Group.

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    Polish championship in k.o. format – 29 Apr 2021

    The Polish Chess Federation shows its vitality by running its championship since 2020 in a media-friendly K.o.-format with 16 players and a €70,000 prize-fund. The venue is Bydgoszsz, birthplace of the Minister and member of Polish Parliament and former U10 Polish champion Łukasz Schreiber, who patrons the event.

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    Fuller picture of Play Magnus Group growth – 29 Apr 2021

    The Play Magnus Group has now 140 employees and full-time consultants, about thirty women among them, from more than thirty countries according to its first Annual Report 2020 full of information about its merger with chess24 in 2019, operative expenses, board members, shareholders, social engagements and more.

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    Gazprom extends FIDE sponsorship – 27 Apr 2021

    The gas, oil and electricity giant Gazprom, majority-owned by the Russian state, is now “General Partner” of FIDE until 2023. Gazprom has already been a FIDE sponsor since 2019 and will be a sponsor of the World Cups 2021 and 2023, the Chess Olympiad 2022, and all World Junior Championships, World Team Championships and Women’s Grand Prix during the period. There is no mention of the individual World Championship to which the two-year-ban of Russia by WADA applies.

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    Time to say Dubai – 26 Apr 2021

    Ian Nepomniachtchi has won the Candidates Tournament with a round to go and will challenge world champion Magnus Carlsen in a 14-round-match scheduled to start on 24 November in Dubai.

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    Céline Roos (1953–2021) – 23 Apr 2021

    WIM Céline Roos, the oldest of the Roos-siblings, passed away in Strasbourg. She was an English teacher, chess coach and translator. She blogged about literature, sometimes with reference to chess, and deconstructed a short story by Borges as based on a chess game.

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    ChessFellow pilots with KNSB – 22 Apr 2021

    The community app ChessFellow that is developed by a Dutch team and currently beta-testing is offered to all members of the Royal Dutch Chess Federation, that in return will get access to unregistered chess lovers who live in the Netherlands.

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    E-sport chess in Catalonia – 22 Apr 2021

    Organised sports in the Spanish region Catalonia are encouraged to partner with the Lliga Catalana d’esports. The Catalan Chess Federation is promoting chess as an e-sport in Chess.com-hosted events.

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    Chessable and chess24 sponsor FIDE – 19 Apr 2021

    The Play Magnus Group has signed a 5-year-contract with FIDE. The size of the deal with effect from the Candidates Tournament that starts this Monday isn’t disclosed but well in the seven figures. While Chessable is now an official sponsor of the World Championship Cycle, Chess Olympiad and World Blitz and Rapid Championship, chess24 becomes broadcasting partner for the same events. Chessable has also pledged to give $150,000 annually into a newly created FIDE Chessable Youth Development Fund.

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    Bologan wins tournament of parliamentarians – 17 Apr 2021

    Grandmaster Victor Bologan is not only the FIDE Executive Director but also member of the parliament of Moldova. He took first place in a Tornelo-hosted rapid tournament of members of national, regional and transnational parliaments of Europe ahead of rating favourite Loek van Wely, parlamentarian in the Dutch region Noord-Brabant. Antoaneta Stefanova from the Bulgarian parliament came in fifth in the ECU-organised event.

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    Stefanova becomes politician – 16 Apr 2021

    Antoaneta Stefanova, the FIDE Woman World Champion of 2004, is the next Eastern European woman grandmaster who enters a career in politics. She is elected into the Bulgarian parliament as member of the populist, anti-corruption, pro-European party Ima Takav Narod (There is Such a People), named after a song of the party founder and leader Slavi Trifonov.

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    English online festival – 15 Apr 2021

    The English Chess Federation announced a six-days-long Chess for All Festival on 30 May to 4 June in cooperation with Chess.com with coaching and competitive online sessions for beginners and advanced beginners and a marathon charity blitz.

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    Chess.com and Nakamura distance themselves from donor-moderator – 14 Apr 2021

    A high profile moderator and donor who goes by Chessbae94 was stripped off all moderator rights by Chess.com. Hikaru Nakamura apologized to the chess community for what were apparently her actions. Chessbae94 has been spending significant time and money to support chess streamers and bought herself influence that she used against streamers she didn’t approve of. Her behaviour has been controversial for some time. It escalated after she dished out copyright infringement claims against other streamers on behalf of Chess.com and Nakamura, which Eric Hansen from Chessbrah made public.

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    Caruana has Intel inside – 14 Apr 2021

    Intel is the new sponsor of Fabiano Caruana. The world nr 2 told Ad Age that he has another brand endorsement that will be revealed soon. In January Caruana surfaced in the campaign of Manhattan District Attorney candidate Tali Farhadian Weinstein.

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    TV ads feed appetite for chess – 14 Apr 2021

    Chess themed TV advertising is thriving in the aftermath of The Queen’s Gambit. As Ad Age reports, Hennessy clips with Maurice Ashley and the Wu Tan Clan got 300 million exposures. A Mobil 1 spot with basketballer Anthony Davis has been seen by 85 million. A Chanel clip with Keira Knightly was booked again after the Netflix show and has now been seen 700 million times.

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    Candidates tournament resumes with few restrictions – 13 Apr 2021

    The FIDE Candidates Tournament will resume on Monday in the same venue, the Hayat Hotel in Ekaterinburg, where it was interrupted on 26 March 2020. The players and their accompanying team members need negative PCR tests to fly to Russia this Wednesday and Thursday and will be tested again before the first round, but not afterwards unless they show symptoms. Masks won’t be required at the board. Even some audience will be allowed inside the hall, all to avoid the “extremely paranoid” atmosphere of the first part and in line with Russia’s back to business policy. Even though the organisers say that foreign reporters are welcome, only one – from Finland – is expected so far. The online shop Sima-Land is the main sponsor. The other event partners Kaspersky, PhosAgro, Algorand and Mercedes are joined by Chessable.

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    Praggnanandhaa won first Challengers – 11 Apr 2021

    Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa won the first tournament of the Challengers Chess Tour just launched on chess24. The 15-year-old Indian qualified for the next Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event starting on 24 April. The best female players Lei Tingje and Zhu Jiner shared the 11th place.

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    Brunettes outperform blondes – 09 Apr 2021

    The promotional blitz match between two female Russian teams, selected by the hair colour, was won 37:27 by the brunettes in the Central Chess Club of the Russian Chess Federation in Moscow. The players and most spectators didn’t wear masks.

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    Firouzja shines – 08 Apr 2021

    After winning two Titled Tuesday tournaments in a row, Alireza Firouzja, the 17-year-old French resident, was also victorious at the Chess.com-hosted Bullet Chess Championship, netting him $10,000 and raising his bullet rating to 3355.

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    E-sport contract for Andy Navrotescu – 07 Apr 2021

    Andreea “Andy” Navrotescu, a French streamer and WIM, has signed up with the French E-sport Team Vitality.

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    Austrian Federation returns money to the clubs – 06 Apr 2021

    The Austrian Chess Federation has decided to distribute €75,000 among its clubs for project #restart, after which the treasurer resigned. The former board has been abolished. The operative power is now concentrated in the presidium which consists of the new President Christof Tschohl and the Presidents of the nine regional federations.

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    Design the new Chess.com! – 06 Apr 2021

    The world’s biggest chess site will award $13,500 in prizes and probably job offers for the best ideas to redesign Chess.com.

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    20 youngsters selected for Challengers Tour – 05 Apr 2021

    Ten strong male juniors and ten female talents have been announced as participants of the Challengers Chess Tour by chess24 and its sponsor Julius Baer, a Swiss bank. Among the selected are Awonder Liang (USA), Nihal Sarin (India) and Vincent Keymer (Germany). Vladimir Kramnik and Judit Polgár serve as team captains and coaches together with Boris Gelfand and others. The tour consists of five online rapid tournaments with altogether $100,000 at stake and the winners qualifying for the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. The first of these tournaments starts on Thursday and ends on Sunday.

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    Carlsen has a new fun account – 04 Apr 2021

    Magnus Carlsen has created the new account DrGrekenstein on Lichess and streamed the April Blitz Titled Arena during which he routinely made two early king moves and played no castling chess with two tempi less.

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    Eloi Relange wins French election – 03 Apr 2021

    With 632 votes, 41% of the 1539 valid votes, Eloi Relange has been elected in Paris as new President of the French Chess Federation. The former poker professional and internet entrepreneur who is supported by the top players and ran a long and ambitious campaign follows the incumbent Bachar Kouatly who got 36,5% of the votes. Kouatly reached several important government contracts for the federation in the early part of his presidency but his conflicts of interest as the biggest chess entrepreneur – organiser of chess camps, courses and communal events and publisher of the dominant magazine Europe Echecs – outraged many, even though he didn’t claim a presidential salary. Relange is expected to reconcile the top players with the federation. It’s not known if he will keep or fire the efficient General Directrice Mathilde Choisy.

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    Tornelo platform of choice for hybrid events – 01 Apr 2021

    The second Hybrid Cities Cup on 17–18 April will be the next serious test of hybrid chess, followed by the European Small Nations Hybrid Championship, an individual tournament from 17 to 24 April, and the Mitropa-Cup, a competition between national teams, from 3 to 11 May. All three events will be held on Tornelo.

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    Deizisau wins European Club Cup – 01 Apr 2021

    GRENKE, the top German chess sponsor, supported two teams in the European Club Cup held online on Tornelo. Curiously, their international team, led by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, OSG Baden-Baden failed in the playoff phase. The second Grenke-sponsored team Deizisau, which consists of German top players, made it to the final and won ahead of several nominally stronger teams.

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    20 disqualified at University Championship – 31 Mar 2021

    The Fair Play Panel of the FIDE World University Championship hosted on Tornelo has disqualified 20 players for fairplay violations, not claiming proof of cheating. The most prominent culprit is the initial winner of the Women’s Rapid IM Yulia Osmak from Ukraine, who represented the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley that organised the championships. Osmak’s innocence is maintained by Ruslan Ponomariov, a former FIDE world champion.

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    New Arbiter Manual – 30 Mar 2021

    FIDE has published a fully revised Arbiter Manual with a new online chapter and improved clarity and guidance for arbiters, players and organisers. The revision was led by IA Shoreh Bayat who has recently been appointed Events Director by the English Chess Federation.

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    Norway Chess postponed to September – 30 Mar 2021

    The Norway Chess world class tournament in Stavanger has been rescheduled from May to 7–18 September after Norway has imposed stricter rules due to increasing Covid-19 infections. Earlier, the TePe Sigeman & Co Chess tournament in Malmö that was planned in May has been postponed to August or later.

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    Vienna won hybrid test match – 27 Mar 2021

    Teams from Vienna and Berlin sucessfully tested a hybrid set-up with Tornelo and regular boards. They also played rapid games directly on the computer. The classical games counted forfould and ended in a tie. Vienna won 20:12 thanks to dominating the rapid part.

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    Giri wins Carlsen Invitational – 21 Mar 2021

    Magnus Carlsen is still without a first place since turning 30 four months ago. He lost his semifinal at the fourth Meltwalter Champions Chess Tour tournament named after him against Ian Nepomniachtchi, but managed a clear win in the match for third place against Wesley So. Anish Giri won a close final against Nepo. In April a Challengers Chess Tour sponsored by Julias Baer, a Swiss bank, and promoted by Judit Polgár and Vladimir Kramnik with $100,000 in prizes will give top juniors and women a chance to qualify for future top events.

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    Curricular chess for 60,000 Indian university students – 21 Mar 2021

    The Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology and the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences in Bhubaneswar, that form one of India’s best private universities introduce chess as a curricular activity for its 60,000 students, making it the biggest university chess programme in the world.

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    One million raised for CARE – 20 Mar 2021

    Streamers Hikaru Nakamura, Anna Rudolf and Levy Rozman have raised above $1 million for the charity CARE during just three streams on the GMHikaru Twitch channel this year.

  • Short news

    Poor air quality induces draws – 20 Mar 2021

    Joris Klingen and Joos van Ommeren, two Dutch economists, have analyzed more than 17,000 Dutch league games played between 2002 and 2018 for which they could establish the local weather conditions. They found that an increase in particulate matter led to a small but significant increase in draws by 5,8% or a tendency to take less risks.

  • London Mindsports Centre

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    London gets Mindsports Centre – 19 Mar 2021

    Donors connected with bridge, go and chess have joint forces to establish the London Mindsports Centre at Ravenscourt Park in West London. With the Hammersmith Chess Club among its tenants, the renovated former Salvation Army Citadel now has several playing halls, offices and a café.

  • Short news

    French federation celebrates 100th birthday – 19 Mar 2021

    The French Chess Federation has been founded exactly 100 years ago in Paris, yet club and tournament chess is much older in France, and there were even earlier French championships. A free online conference with presentations in French and English takes place this Saturday.

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    Mexican online conference – 19 Mar 2021

    A First International Congress of Educational and Inclusive Chess in Spanish is held on 22–26 March online by activists from Xalapa, the capital of the Mexican state Veracruz. Participation is free.

  • Short news

    The bird-seller who beat a master – 18 Mar 2021

    Wired has an in-depth story on Levy Rozman pointing out an obvious cheater on his stream and the hate messages he received from the cheater’s country afterwards. The cheater was later invited to play a well paid public match, in which he lost all games clearly against top Indonesian woman Irene Sukandar.

  • Short news

    First German player signed E-sport contract – 17 Mar 2021

    Steve Berger, an IM from Berlin, is now representing the E-sport team Alternate Attax of the online computer shop ALTERNATE.

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    Bullet championship sponsored by SIG – 17 Mar 2021

    Chess.com has announced its annual Bullet Chess Championship on 5–7 April and qualifiers for high-rated bullet players on 31 March and 1 April. As winner of Chess.com’s Open Bullet Championship last December Hikaru Nakamura is the only player already assured of a place among the 16 finalists. The $25,000 prizefund is sponsored by Susquehanna International Group (SIG), a global trading company that has a gaming blog and a chess team that recently won the North American Corporate Chess League hosted by Lichess and the US Amateur Teams East in 2020.

  • Short news

    University world championship starts – 12 Mar 2021

    About 300 universities registered players or teams for the First World University Online Championship that starts on Saturday with an inidividual blitz.

  • Short news

    chess24 cross-promotes with poker platform – 11 Mar 2021

    Top grandmasters Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler teamed up with top-earning poker professionals Isaac Haxton resp. Patrick Leonard for Battle of the Minds, a cross-promotion of chess and poker and the respective platforms chess24 and partypoker. The cooperation may seem a surprise, since the partypoker brand belongs to the UK gambling group Entain, which competes with Carlsen’s sponsor Kindred Group, that is also offering online poker but doesn’t contract poker professionals of Haxton’s and Leonard’s level. chess24 was founded by Enrique Guzman with earnings from his former company PokerStrategy and merged with Play Magnus in 2019.

  • Short news

    Lichess under fire – 10 Mar 2021

    Lichess was heavily affected when thousands of servers were lost in a fire at a data centre in Strasbourg on the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. Puzzles, Puzzle Storm, game GIF exports and push notifications went down. The Lichess team was able to restore them from backups within a few hours, but 24 hours of puzzle history were lost. The opening explorer will take a few days to restore its terrabytes of data.

  • Short news

    Breakthrough Prize Foundation presents tour event – 09 Mar 2021

    Ahead of the Magnus Invitational that starts on 13 March, the Champions Chess Tour announced a partnership with the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, philantropic vehicle of tycoons Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Sergey Brin (Google), Jack Ma (Alibaba) and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, who initiated the sponsorship. The fourth tournament of the tour will promote the Breakthrough Initiatives in space exploration and the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a global research competition for secondary school students.

  • Short news

    Queen’s Gambit headed for the stage – 09 Mar 2021

    Level Forward, an LA-based company that develops theatre plays and musicals for stage, movies and television with a mission to support gender and racial diversity, has acquired the stage rights of The Queen’s Gambit from the Walter Tevis Family Trust. The Netflix series hit shall be adapted into a musical, but neither a team nor date nor venue have been announced.

  • Short news

    2022 year of woman in chess – 08 Mar 2021

    The FIDE Council has declared 2022 the “Year of Woman in Chess” to boost female participation in all aspects of chess. Christelle Hafstad and Xu Yuhua have joined the Women’s Commission.

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    One million for development – 08 Mar 2021

    FIDE Managing Director Dana Reizniece-Ozola announced a budget of €1 million for development grants and invited applications from national federations, continental associations and commissions. In 2020 the Planning and Development Commission (PDC) granted €285,000 to 58 national federations. This amount is expected to rise as there will be FIDE elections in 2022.

  • Short news

    Saison blanche in France – 06 Mar 2021

    The French Chess Federation has nullified the team season 2020/21. The only otb event still planned is the Top 16 on 27 May to 6 June in Chartres.

  • Short news

    Hybrid qualifiers for Worldcup – 06 Mar 2021

    After the European Individual Championship in Reykjavik has been postponed from May to August or September, it cannot serve as a qualifier for the Worldcup that FIDE plans to hold in Russia in July. The ECU will therefore hold hybrid qualifiers for 36 places in the Worldcup and €30,000 in prizes on 22–30 May on Tornelo and is calling European federations to provide venues and arbiters.

  • Short news

    New playzone of chess24 open to premium members – 05 Mar 2021

    The reformed chess24 playzone that has been in the works since 2019 and has surfaced during the Champions Tour is now open to premium members. It is not connected with the old playzone and test games will not count for existing ratings.

  • Short news

    Sigeman tournament in April – 04 Mar 2021

    The TePe Sigeman & Co invitational in Malmö mixes young talents like Jorden van Foreest and Nihal Sarin with veterans like Anatoly Karpov and Alexey Shirov on 24–30 April. Together with the Candidates Tournament from 19 April in Russia and Norway Chess from 9 May, Northern countries lead the return to otb chess.

  • Short news

    Western professionals missing in Athletes Commission – 04 Mar 2021

    Seven women and six men have been announced by FIDE as members of its newly formed Athletes Commission. None of them is currently rated over 2700. European professionals are underrepresented, not a single one is from a Western country. Since there were only nine candidates for ten places, no vote was taken, and additional players were nominated by the FIDE Council which will select two more.

  • Short news

    27 opens to receive FIDE grant – 04 Mar 2021

    27 open tournaments planned during the next 11 months, exactly half of the applicants, have been selected to receive grants of up to 20% of their budget from FIDE which has raised the total from €100,000 to €120,000.

  • Short news

    Everyman Chess acquired by Play Magnus – 04 Mar 2021

    The Play Magnus Group keeps investing in content with the acquisition of Gloucester Publishers for an undisclosed amount. Gloucester Publishers was founded in the late 1940s as Pergammon Chess. In recent decades its main brand has been Everyman Chess, which has many successful adaptations by Chessable, and there are also the imprints Cadogan Chess and Chess Press. The UK publisher generated a turnover of approximately €635,000 and was profitable in 2020. The announcement comes two days after news that Play Magnus signed a long-term cooperation with the UK author and presenter Simon Williams.

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    Canty and Johnson got E-sport contracts – 04 Mar 2021

    James Canty III and Frank Johnson, both in the streamer programme of Chess.com, have signed up with the E-sport agencies Noble respectively Premier.

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    Charitable moves by Chess.com – 02 Mar 2021

    Chess.com partners with Chess in Slums Africa. The announcement comes after Pogchamps 3 brought in more than $50,000 in viewer donations, which the platform double-matched to more than $150,000. The celebrities tournament strengthened Chess.com’s presence and followership on Twitch and was won by the French streamer Sardoche.

  • Short news

    Chess-based videogame to treat ADHD – 01 Mar 2021

    Chess has been used in the therapy of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) for years. A group from the Puerta de Hierro hospital near Madrid has teamed up with the games company Gammera to develop the videogame The Secret Trail of Moon with chess elements as a cognitive training tool for adolescents with ADHD. A clinical trial that ended in January is currently analysed.

  • Short news

    World’s richest chess club expands – 27 Feb 2021

    The Saint Louis Chess Club uplifts its dining space and studio and expands its tournament and class-room spaces to an overall (including the World Chess Hall of Fame across the road) 2000 sqm to be ready for three event-filled months starting from 15 July with the US Juniors Championship. Here is an animation of the expansion.

  • Short news

    Independent leads Austrian Federation – 27 Feb 2021

    After decades of politicians at the helm, the Austrian Chess Federation has elected Christof Tschohl, an independent lawyer and privacy activist with an ambitious programme, as its president. His predecessor Christian Hursky didn’t stand for another term after he was critized for running top events in spite of the pandemic. Johann Pöcksteiner, one of ECU’s Vice Presidents, initially prepared a candidacy but decided not to run.

  • Short news

    Aronian changes to U.S. – 26 Feb 2021

    Three-times Chess Olympiad winner Levon Aronian has announced on facebook his move to Saint Louis and that he will change from the Armenian federation to represent US Chess. The 38-year-old had been courted for years by Rex Sinquefield, the financier of U.S. top chess, and finally gave in because his support in Armenia has dried up since the change of government in 2018.

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    Norway Chess announced for May – 25 Feb 2021

    The world-class tournament Norway Chess in Stavanger is planning to be back on 9–21 May with ten players instead of the reduced six in the delayed 2020 edition. Carlsen, Caruana, Ding, Aronian, Mamedyarov, So, Firouzja, Vachier-Lagrave and Tari are confirmed. chess24 is the platform partner.

  • Short news

    Fat Fritz repackaged – 25 Feb 2021

    Chessbase has repackaged Fat Fritz 2.0 into two installation files, the search engine based on Stockfish and the proprietary neural network. Why exactly the initial release violated the General Public License and what enraged the open source community in the statements of Fat Fritz developer-trainer Albert Silver and his distributor Chessbase is reported in detail by Peter Doggers.

  • Short news

    New Shogi-server based on Lichess – 24 Feb 2021

    Lishogi is the name of a new open source platform for Shogi, a traditional chess variant that is most popular in Japan and is very dynamic because you can set in captured pieces (as in crazyhouse chess). It is based on the Lichess open source code that has already led to the draughts (10x10) server Lidraughts.

  • Short news

    Tech Mahindra plans World League – 24 Feb 2021

    Former world champion Vishy Anand has been hired by Tech Mahindra, an Indian IT service provider, as advisor and facilitator-in-chief of a yet-to-be-launched World League. Eight franchise teams shall play each other online. The press release doesn’t mention a platform partner but claims to break new ground by integrating 5G, AI and virtual reality. It is not specified if the teams are to meet locally. Instead of hybrid chess Tech Mahindra calls it “phygital”, a neologism for blending digital and physical experience.

  • Short news

    Presidential debate in France – 23 Feb 2021

    The three candidates in the French Chess Federation election on 3 April will debate each other this Saturday at 14.00 CET on the Twitch channel of the club Cergy Pontoise.

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    Grenke Bank is Corporate World Champion – 21 Feb 2021

    Grenke Bank, a subsidiary of the leading German chess sponsor Grenke AG, has won the first Corporate World Championship that was held on Chess.com. Among 288 participating teams it was the only one with three women and only one man. The fundraising didn’t go quite as well as FIDE expected. Until now $6,840 have been collected for three social chess projects, but many companies have not yet decided on their donation and the fundraising site will stay open throughout the week.

  • Short news

    First rated hybrid event – 21 Feb 2021

    Barcelona won the Hybrid Cities Cup, the first FIDE-rated hybrid chess event. The first two rounds were played on DGT boards via Lichess, but the transmission into the platform didn’t work reliably. During the final third round the players still moved on the board and entered them with a mouse directly on a screen, which went without problems. A second similar event is planned for 13–14 March. A longer article will follow to describe what was learned.

  • Short news

    Stockfish pushes ahead – 19 Feb 2021

    In reaction to the Fat Fritz 2.0 release, a commercial programme that looks by and large like a Stockfish clone without giving all the due credit, Stockfish 13 has been released. The team claims a gain in strength of 35 rating points and has promised to publish updates more frequently. It also announced a cooperation with Leela to strengthen open source chess.

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    Indian federation has grand plans – 19 Feb 2021

    A long power fight in the All India Chess Federation between factions led by Venketrana Raja and Bharat Singh Chauhan seems to have been settled. Sanjay Kapoor, an affluent cricket official who already headed Uttar Pradesh’s chess association, was elected as president in a close online vote by 33:31 votes against Raja. Chauhan was reelected as secretary. Kapoor announced plans to introduce a national chess league, hold a women’s Grand Prix tournament, create a National Chess Centre and to bid for the Chess Olympiad 2026.

  • Short news

    Kramnik and Anand headline Dortmund revival – 19 Feb 2021

    The Dortmund Chess Days will be back on 13–18 July with a match between former world champions Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand in No-castling chess, an invitational Deutschland Grand Prix that matches German with international top players, and a junior cup tournament. Originally a strong open was planned which is postponed to post-pandemic times. The organisers partner with Chessbase to run the Sparkassen Playchess Open online.

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    Play Magnus expects quicker growth – 17 Feb 2021

    In its presentation on the fourth quarter of 2020, the Play Magnus Group has increased its expected bookings for 2021 from $14–16 million to $19–21 million and identifies Chessable with its fast output and higher revenue per customer as the main driver of growth. Thanks to sponsorship and media right deals the Champions Chess Tour has contributed 19% to group revenues in 2020, which doesn’t yet include new sponsorships by Meltwater and just announced Aker Biomarine. The tour final is planned not to be held online but otb in San Francisco in September, if the pandemic allows. The burn rate across the group increased in Q4 from $500,000 per month to $800,000 due to one-time-costs connected to the stock exchange listings, acquisitions and the set-up of a TV studio in Oslo. How much was paid for iChess and Interchess BV (the company behind New in Chess) is not revealed, but a combined $4,8 million can be estimated from the current cash position of $31 million. Acquisitions will remain important said CEO Andreas Thome and that the first priority is content followed by bringing technology and talent from start-ups into the group. The weak spot is the chess24 Playzone which has been in development since 2019 and has yet to launch. Localization efforts include the push of Chessable into the Spanish-speaking market and increased attention to India and Russia.

  • Short news

    Stockfish team shocked – 16 Feb 2021

    The team behind the open-source engine Stockfish has released a statement that condemns the publication of Fat Fritz 2.0, saying that in spite of claims of originality most of the code is copied from Stockfish and the modifications are not sufficiently documented as stipulated in the open-source license.

  • Short news

    More fundraising at Pogchamps 3 – 16 Feb 2021

    In the third Pogchamps tournament on Twitch the participating celebrity streamers and youtubers pick charities for which the two-weeks-long online event serves to raise donations. Host Chess.com has pledged to match the viewer donations by up to $100,000.

  • Short news

    CSR guidelines in chess – 15 Feb 2021

    FIDE has published Corporate Social Responsibility Guidelines, initiated by treasurer Zhu Chen, and added them as a chapter to its handbook on occasion of the Corporate World Championship next weekend. FIDE has teamed up with online fundraiser Softgiving to collect donations for three social projects.

  • Short news

    Harold Winston passed away – 15 Feb 2021

    Harold J. Winston, a lawyer and public defender in Chicago and avid chess organiser, who served as President of US Chess in 1987–1990 and from 1999 as chairman of the US Chess Trust, has passed away.

  • Short news

    Candidates to resume on 19 April – 15 Feb 2021

    FIDE has announced the schedule for the completion of the second half of the Candidates Tournament in Yekaterinburg from 19 to 27 April with rest days on 22 and 25 April. All eight players have confirmed their willingness to travel and play.

  • Short news

    So bests Carlsen again – 14 Feb 2021

    Wesley So has won the Opera Europe Rapid, the third tournament of the Champions Chess Tour. As in the Skilling Open, So beat Magnus Carlsen in the final and cashed in $30,000.

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    Naiditsch not welcome in German federation – 13 Feb 2021

    In 2015 Arkadij Naiditsch signed a 5-year-contract with the Azerbaijan Chess Federation that paid a €30,000 transfer fee to the German Chess Federation. After this contract has run out, the 35-year old German grandmaster and founder of the company Chess Evolution wants to return to his old federation, and Azerbaijan waives a transfer fee, but the board of the German federation rejected.

  • Short news

    282 teams at first Corporate World Championship – 12 Feb 2021

    Magnus Carlsen, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Anish Giri will come out for their sponsors Kindred Group, Sberbank resp. Optiver and lead an impressive list of players to compete at the first Corporate World Chess Championship that will be held online on 19 to 21 February on Chess.com. FIDE has attracted 282 companies to send teams of four players, at least one of whom has to be female and at most may not have a formal work relation. Instead of a fixed fee, the companies are expected to donate to a chess cause as much as they wish.

  • Short news

    Online arbitration course – 10 Feb 2021

    The ECU runs an online arbiter course 23–26 February. The certificate is required for those who want to arbitrate ECU online events.

  • Short news

    Failed castling incident – 07 Feb 2021

    When Alexander Grischuk entered the castling move (king to g1) in round one of the Opera Europe Rapid, the third tournament of the Champions Chess Tour, the mouse recorded his king on f1. The Russian had to play on from there and saved a draw against Anish Giri.

  • Short news

    MyChessApps acquired by Square Off – 07 Feb 2021

    The Bangalore app company (FollowChess, AnalyzeThis, iChess) is now part of Square Off, the Indian producer of electronic boards. Asim Pereira, profiled here, founder of MyChessApps and cofounder of Square Off, leaves the chess business.

  • Short news

    Spanish summer in Andalucía – 06 Feb 2021

    The Spanish Chess Federation is one of the most active chess federations during the pandemic. It is planning to hold championships in the same Andalucían places as in 2020, the youth in Salobreña during July and in August the adults and teams in Linares where the last championship had been overshadowed by Covid-19 infections.

  • Designed by Thomas Steinacker.

    Short news

    Stamp to commemorate Deep Blue win – 02 Feb 2021

    The German postal service is issuing a stamp to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first winning game of Deep Blue against the best human player Garry Kasparov on 10 February 1996 in Philadelphia. The Russian went on to win this match by 4:2, but lost the rematch in May 1997 by 2,5:3,5.

  • Short news

    European Club Cup – 02 Feb 2021

    ECU has announced a European Online Club Cup on 27–31 March. It’s a team event on four boards at 15 minutes + 5 seconds/move and hosted by Tornelo. A qualification through national results and club memberships are not required.

  • Short news

    New in Chess taken over by Play Magnus – 01 Feb 2021

    Interchess BV, the publisher of New in Chess magazine, Yearbooks and twenty other titles that are published in print and digitally every year, is taken over for an indisclosed cash amount by the Play Magnus Group. The acquisition is motivated by access to its quality content, some of which has already been adapted earlier by Chessable, that belongs to Play Magnus, and by adding €2 million turn-over and a positive cash-flow. The deal includes the New in Chess online shop and €400,000 worth of Play Magnus shares held by Interchess. The company and brands will stay operational and independent, and Allard Hoogland remains the publisher. New in Chess was founded in 1984 at the Dutch publishing house Elsevier and went independent a year later under publisher Wim Andriessen who gradually passed on the business to Hoogland in the 2000s.

  • Short news

    Dutch on top of Tata Steel Chess – 31 Jan 2021

    The two Dutch participants ended on top of the Dutch world class tournament Tata Chess Steel with 8,5 out of 13. In the end a nerve-wrecking blitz tie-break had to decide between Jorden van Foreest and Anish Giri. Van Foreest won the final Armaggedon game. It looked like he won on time in a lost endgame, but in reality the transmission broke down on move 58, Giri blundered and resigned on move 62. Giri had already lost a tie-break in Wijk aan Zee against Carlsen in 2018. Esipenko, Caruana and Firouzja all scored 8 points to leave Carlsen with a disappointing 6th place. Already before the event, the world champion had been concerned about his form.

  • Short news

    Stockfish won again – 31 Jan 2021

    Stockfish wins its ninth title in the 20th season of the TCEC (Top Chess Engine Championship). With 50,5:45,5 Stockfish is sure to win its third final win in a row against LeelaChessZero. The remaining four games are still played out.

  • Short news

    Donate-as-you-wish in corporate championship – 30 Jan 2021

    American Express, Facebook and Morgan Stanley are among the corporations that registered for the first World Corporate Chess Championship run online by FIDE on 19–21 February and hosted by Chess.com. It’s a team tournament on four boards, with at least one female on each team. Instead of a starting fee, a free donation is expected.

  • Short news

    FIDE commits to Dubai – 28 Jan 2021

    The classical world championship is announced for 24 November – 16 December in Dubai for a €2 million prizefund, twice what was at stake in the last three matches. The event is part of the Expo, that had been postponed by a year due to Covid-19. Tournaments at the early world exhibitions London 1851, Paris 1867 and Vienna 1873 were instrumental in internationalizing and popularizing chess. Carlsen’s challenger shall be known by the end of April, by when FIDE wants to have completed the second half of the Candidates Tournament in Ekaterinburg.

  • Short news

    Anna Cramling got esport contract – 27 Jan 2021

    The esport agency Panda has signed up the 18-year old Swedish Twitch streamer and Woman FIDE-Master Anna Cramling.

  • Short news

    Gamified puzzling on Lichess – 27 Jan 2021

    Covering Lichess puzzles a few weeks ago, we wrote that gamification would remain for other developers. With the release of Puzzle Storm the open-source platform has proved us wrong.

  • Short news

    University team events – 27 Jan 2021

    Kasparov Chess Foundation holds an online rapid competition for university teams on 6/7 February hosted by Lichess with a training camp by the former world champion as first prize. The event is partly a test run for the first FIDE World University Online Rapid and Blitz Championships planned between 13 and 28 March.

  • Short news

    Peterson hired by Play Magnus – 27 Jan 2021

    Macauley Peterson joined Play Magnus as Business Operations Associate. The Hamburg-based American former Editor-in-chief of Chessbase and Content Director of chess24 is mainly working with CFO Dmitri Schneider.

  • Short news

    Chess.com among 200 top websites – 26 Jan 2021

    The traffic and engagement on Chess.com during the last three months, exactly overlapping with the release of Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, has led it to climb from number 299 to number 198 in the world according to the web analytics service Alexa.

  • Short news

    Play Magnus secures Polgár factor – 26 Jan 2021

    Judit Polgár, the top female player in chess history who retired in 2014 to focus on promoting chess, especially in education, has been signed by the Play Magnus Group as Educational Ambassador, in which capacity she will launch the Julius Bär Challengers Chess Tour for talented juniors. She will also produce educational content for Chessable.

  • Short news

    Trendy conference for German speakers – 24 Jan 2021

    An experimental online conference is run next Saturday by the German Youth Chess Association that has just become independent from the German Chess Federation. The half-day long BarCamp offers short parallel workshops on various hot topics, all in German language. Registration is free.

  • Short news

    Carlsen rusty – 24 Jan 2021

    The world champion was beaten convincingly by Russian youngster Andrey Esipenko in round eight of the Tata Steel Masters that has been dismantled of the usual festival due to Covid-19. With five rounds to go Carlsen is stuck at 50 percent. 17-year old Alireza Firouzja overcame his first round loss against Carlsen and leads with 5,5 out of 8.

  • Short news

    Polgár serialized – 24 Jan 2021

    Rocambole, a French app that packages fiction and non-fiction for young readers into easily digestible five-minute-pieces, has been inspired by the success of the Netflix production Queen’s Gambit to commission a series on Judit Polgár. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave contributed a preface.

  • Short news

    Climate action website launched – 23 Jan 2021

    Following a call to the chess community to act against climate change, at the ChessTech 2020 conference a group was formed by climate activists from different countries: Chess for Future has now launched its website with examples of how to make chess carbon-neutral.

  • Short news

    Leadership change in Austria – 22 Jan 2021

    Christian Hursky announced that he will not seek another term as President of the Austrian Chess Federation. His decision to hold league matches this weekend against the will of half of the teams and several regional federations, escalated the criticism. The Social democrat politician served 13 years in the Vienna and Austrian federation and led some sporting successes. Christoph Tschohl, a lawyer and privacy advocate who hasn’t been engaged in the federation and is linked to the Presidents of the federations of Vienna and Vorarlberg, is tipped to be elected as Hursky’s successor in the assembly on 27 February.

  • Short news

    New French magazine – 22 Jan 2021

    Route64 is the name of an artfully lay-outed chess and lifestyle magazine with literary ambition, that avoids tournament reports and technical articles and has just launched in France. Three print issues are planned per year at a €25 cover prize. Route64 is also planning to publish books and podcasts and to organise events. The website has a daily chess history rubric.

  • Short news

    FIDE provides aid to open tournaments – 21 Jan 2021

    €100,000 in financial support have been earmarked by FIDE through its Global Strategy Commission to support the organisation of open tournaments in 2021. Their importance for the development of young players and the survival of professionals who don’t belong to the world top is cited. Further details shall be available by the end of January.

  • Short news

    SuperNationals canceled – 21 Jan 2021

    Even though the planned date in May was still 15 weeks away, US Chess has canceled the SuperNationals citing that the pandemic forecast suggests no significant improvement by then. The US championships for students from all elementary and secondary school grades are united every four years in the SuperNationals, making it the biggest chess tournament in the world. The sixth SuperNationals in 2017 had 5,577 participants. Scholastic chess in the US is by and large equivalent with club-driven junior chess elsewhere. Only the US Junior Championships for the U20 age group, with some players having entered college or university, are held apart.

  • Short news

    Bundesliga adjusts plans – 21 Jan 2021

    Seven rounds of the German Schachbundesliga season that started in November 2019 have yet to be completed. The 15 clubs agreed to cancel planned weekend rounds in March, April and May. Instead they favour a central event with all rounds played in Berlin in June or early July, setting the stage for – if the pandemic allows – a busy German chess summer, with the Dortmund Chess Days and the national Championship Summit also planned in July. A proposal to limit the number of foreign players in Bundesliga didn’t find a majority.

  • Short news

    Grand Chess Tour without Carlsen and Nakamura – 20 Jan 2021

    Magnus Carlsen has declined to participate in the Grand Chess Tour that has planned otb classical, rapid and blitz events between June and August with a combined prizefund of $1,275 million citing his tight schedule with the Champions Chess Tour, Norway Chess and preparations for a world championship match planned in November. According to a report on chess24 this is not the only blow to the tour, since Hikaru Nakamura, arguably the second most popular player of the moment, is also missing out. The American keeps his focus on streaming. Both can yet participate in some events at short notice with wildcards.

  • Short news

    Database pioneer joins Tornelo – 20 Jan 2021

    Helmer Wieringa has been appointed to represent the platform Tornelo in Europe. The Dutchman developed a chess database for Elsevier and New in Chess in the early 1980s. Since retiring from the publishing industry he has developed and marketed apps for bridge and worked as a consultant.

  • Short news

    German federations launch joint channel – 20 Jan 2021

    With a broadcast of the first round of the second season of the German Online Chess League this Friday the German Chess Federation launches its presence on Twitch in cooperation with regional federations from Bavaria, Berlin and Lower Saxony. Other regional federations are expected to join the channel which starts with a focus on event broadcasts and presenting German clubs.

  • Short news

    Austrian League takes place – 19 Jan 2021

    The Austrian Chess Federation has decided to start its first league this Friday to Sunday in a hotel in Graz. The decision is based on the argument that the restrictions won’t be levied soon but currently allow the event. All players and officials have to undergo an antigen rapid test for Cocid-19 before the first round. Seven men’s teams and four women’s teams have registered. Men and women will compete in separate spaces without audience and without relegation. The top teams Jenbach and Maria Saal, who led the previous season before it was ended without the last three rounds played, are not taking part.

  • Short news

    Lubomir Kavalek (1943–2021) – 19 Jan 2021

    The Czech-born American grandmaster who reached 10th in the world ranking, organised the pathbreaking Tournament of Stars in Montreal in 1979 and World Cup series in 1988/89, coached Nigel Short in 1990–93 and penned acclaimed columns for the Washington Post and the Huffington Post, passed away in Reston, a suburb of Washington, due to cancer. An excellent obituary was written by Peter Doggers.

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    Minecrafter tournament breaks Twitch record – 18 Jan 2021

    The Canadian streamers Alexandra and Andrea Botez organised and streamed a tournament between streamers of the videogame Minecraft, named BlockChamps after the building blocks that are the essence of Minecraft, with which many gamers have created their own chess sets. The tournament stream attracted up tp more than 91,000 concurrent viewers, making it the most watched chess stream on Twitch. All streams together peaked above 150,000 concurrent viewers according to Chess.com.

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    Pogchamps 3 announced – 16 Jan 2021

    Chess.com has announced a third celebrities tournament to be broadcast on Twitch on 14–28 February. Apart from celebrity streamers (xQc, Pokimane) and youtubers (MrBeast) as in the first two editions an actor (Rainn Wilson) and a poker professional (Dan Negrescu) join the field which will share a doubled prize money of $100,000. In addition the event will be raising funds for non-profits, and Chess.com has pledged up to $100,000 to match incoming donations. The event already creates chess content on Twitch with the participants training while streaming or while their chess coaches are streaming.

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    GM Gildardo García died – 15 Jan 2021

    Ten-times Colombian champion Gildardo García passed away at the age of 66 at a clinic in Medellín after several weeks of battling Covid-19.

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    Optimizing competitions for spectators – 13 Jan 2021

    The Trophée Immopar, created thirty years ago in Paris, was arguably the first big chess event that was a viable tournament (not just a match) and at the same time a spectator event with live commentary, rapid time control and a k.o.-mode with tie-breaks, elements that are are still there in the Champions Chess Tour. This Thursday the creator and director of Trophée Immopar Dan-Antoine Blanc-Shapira will look back thirty years in a webinar, in French language, hosted by Léonard.

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    Play Magnus expects break even by end 2022 – 09 Jan 2021

    In an interview with Der Aktionär, a German investor magazine, Play Magnus CEO Andreas Thome said that he expects the group to become profitable by the end of 2022 but stressed that the priority is growth. He singled out Chessable as a driver of growth and that the e-learning platform is to launch an app next month.

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    Rating fees for rapid and blitz waived – 08 Jan 2021

    To highlight its general policy to reduce fees, the FIDE Council has temporarily waived the rating fee for rapid and blitz tournaments in 2021 and 2022.

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    All streamers welcome – 08 Jan 2021

    To promote chess streaming Chess.com runs the Arena Kings series of 24 blitz tournaments with $700 or $1,500 in prizes each, starting next Monday. To win money you have to stream all your games on Twitch.

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    Webster wins college championship – 07 Jan 2021

    The Pan-Am Intercollegiate Championship was held online on Chess.com and won by favourite Webster University with an average rating of 2624 on four boards. Three more college teams from the US chess capital Saint Louis and two teams from Texas had line-ups above 2550, with Alex Lenderman being the only player who grew up in the US and most others from Eastern Europe. The top individual score was claimed with 8 out of 9 by Andrew Tang from Princeton University.

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    Interim President at French federation – 04 Jan 2021

    After a majority of the French clubs refused to support the leadership of the current board, President Bachar Kouatly (who is also FIDE Deputy President) stepped down. The court of Nanterre nominated the diplomate Yves Marek as interim President until the twice postponed elections on 3 April. Kouatly is one of three candidates for Presidency, while Marek maintains his full neutrality.

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    Online and hybrid regulations published – 04 Jan 2021

    FIDE has published the Annex 6.4 to the Laws of Chess for online competitions which include a special section for hybrid competitions.

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    Dana Reizniece-Ozola joins FIDE management – 04 Jan 2021

    A new position of Managing Director has been created by FIDE to appoint Dana Reizniece-Ozola. The 39-year-old Woman Grandmaster was Latvian Minister of Economics 2014 to 2016 and consecutively Minister of Finance until 2019, when her party didn’t join the governing coalition. She led the liberation of the Latvian energy market formerly controlled by Gazprom and fought against money laundering. She is a board member of the European Chess Union ECU since 2014 and a member of the Latvian parliament since 2010, though she rests her mandate now in order to focus on her new role, in which Reizniece-Ozola will focus on development, especially in the areas of education and social inclusion, and on FIDE’s relations to international institutions and governments.

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    Radjabov wins Airthings Masters – 03 Jan 2021

    Teimur Radjabov is the surprise winner of the first major in the Champions Chess Tour after a final win against Levon Aronian, who had beaten Nakamura and Vachier-Lagrave earlier. Carlsen was eliminated in the quarter final by Dubov, who then succumbed to Radjabov. At the end of the tournament sponsored by Airthings, a Norwegian producer of air quality instruments, Play Magnus presented Meltwater as the new title sponsor of the Champions Chess Tour. Meltwater is a media analytics company that was founded in Oslo in 2001 and has since moved its headquarter to San Francisco.

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    Sasikiran wins Rilton Winners Cup – 02 Jan 2021

    With its 50th edition postponed by a year due to Covid-19 the Rilton Cup Open in Sweden invited former winners for a k.o.-tournament that was hosted by Chess.com. Krishnan Sasikiran came out victorious.

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    Ju Wenjun 4th in Chinese Championship – 02 Jan 2021

    Yu Yangyi is Chinese Champion 2020 thanks to a direct win against Wei Yi, who, together with Lu Shanglei, also scored 8 out of 11. Women’s world champion Ju Wenjun scored a credible fourth place. The Candidates Tournament participants Ding Liren and Wang Hao didn’t take part in Xinghua.