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As the chess world gets used to a new champion, the everyday machinery of tournaments and matches is clanking back to life. New Norwegian world titleholder Magnus Carlsen is promising to be an active and visible champion, but is understandably taking a little personal "me time" after his decisive win last month dethroning India's Viswanathan Anand in Chennai, India.
He has held the world championship for six years, beating off challenges from GMs Vladimir Kramnik, Veselin Topalov and, just two years ago, Boris Gelfand. He has far more match experience and will have the considerable advantage of defending his crown for the fourth time in his hometown of Chennai, India, before a rabid fan base that will be strongly pulling for him.
Bouncing back from the disappointment of the recent U.S. Open, New York GM Alex Lenderman easily captured the top prize at last week's Atlantic Open, finishing alone in first at 4½-½ at the District's traditional end-of-summer tournament.
The fourth annual London Chess Classic is shaping up as one of the best events in many a year, but it was a dark day for British chess when the players sat down for Thursday's Round 4. All three Britons in the field — GMs Michael Adams, Gawain Jones and Luke McShane — went down to defeat on a rare day when every game ended in a decisive result.
It's a paradox: Our beloved game, so rigorously logical and immune to deceit at the chessboard, rests on a foundation of lies.
Norway’s Magnus Carlsen presents something of a problem for a humble chess columnist. His best wins tend to be slow, sadistic positional squeezes, anacondalike asphyxiations in which Carlsen will happily nurse the tiniest of endgame advantages — or sometimes no advantage at all — before forcing his exhausted opponent to concede on Move 79. It gets the job done, but doesn’t leave much for the annotator to remark on or for the reader to enjoy.
Through centuries of theoretical investigation and practical results, the relative value of the pieces on the board has been pretty firmly established. If the pawn has a value of one, then the minor pieces (knights and bishops) are worth a little more than three pawns, the rook five, and the queen somewhere between 9.5 and 10. In many games with players of even moderate strength, a material edge of plus-one — a single pawn — is enough to produce a winning advantage.
Young Chinese GM Hou Yifan has held on to her women's world championship crown, decisively defeating Indian challenger Humpy Koneru by a 5 1/2-2 1/2 score in their scheduled 10-game match in Tirana, Albania.
We are the world, or at least we will be for a couple of years. The Continental Chess Association, which organized the Continental Class Championships in Arlington featured in this column last week, announced it will be temporarily relocating its flagship World Open tournament to the area in 2013 and 2014 from its traditional home in Philadelphia.