David Howell scored a rare English victory in top-level international competition this week when the three-time British champion won chess.comThe weekly entitled Tuesday. The 31-year-old from Sussex had just returned from Warsaw, where he performed well in World Rapid on 8/13, but faded in World Blitz on 10/21.
Titled Tuesday is free to all Titled Fide players, up to 2200-rated Candidate Masters, and regularly attracts hundreds of participants, who play an 11-round Swiss with a time limit of three minutes per game plus one. second increment.
This week’s top seeds were five-time US blitz No. 1 champion Hikaru Nakamura, along with Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alexander Grischuk. Nakamura is Titled Tuesday’s most prolific winner and competed despite the fact that he was still stuck in Warsaw after testing positive and withdrawing from the World Blitz.
Howell’s shrewdest move on Tuesday turned out to be his third-round inadvertent loss to an outsider, creating for himself a “Swiss gambit” in which one player trails the pack in points but benefits from weaker opponents while his rivals are paired.
the crack came in the final round where Howell met No.5 seed Jeffery Xiong in a sharp Scottish game in which Black went for the ambitious 12…Qg6? instead of the safe 12…f6. The queen seemed active, but Harry, the h-pawn, and a white rook caught her in just six moves and Howell soon finished the game. His web handle is howitzer14, and he is believed to be the first English-language winner in all years of Titled Tuesday, which began as a monthly event in 2014 and has since gone weekly.
It has been an atypical week for Nigel Short, who was hospitalized for coronavirus last month and tweeted a selfie from his hospital bed with the caption: “Good morning everyone. How is your day going?”
This week, Short felt recovered enough to accept an invite to the Vergani Cup in Cattolica, Italy (Beniamino Vergani is best known for finishing 22nd and last with 3/21 in the big tournament at Hastings 1895). The 1993 world title challenger’s shaky start could have been much worse: In the second round he missed a tactic and was losing to low-rated 14-year-old Lorenzo Candian, escaping only because the teenager’s mobile phone rang. , which caused an automatic default under Fide Tournament Rules.
At the 2008 European Union championship in Liverpool, Short had dropped a point on his mobile phone. He had turned it off at the start of the game and placed it on the table in full view of his opponent, Keti Arakhamia-Grant, but the low battery warning overrode the power off state.
The next round in Cattolica went better and Short won the point when his opponent, under pressure from both the position and the clock on move 36, failed to see that he could draw with Kg8 or Rf5 and instead met with defeat.
another win came Sixth day of Thursday, which, despite some inaccuracies, was played in the simple yet elegant style of Short’s best years. As a result, he jumped into a multiple tie for second place at 4.5/6, behind Iran’s No. 2 Amin Tatatabaei at 5/6.
Before their seventh-round match on Friday, Short tweeted: “This tournament is an experiment in whether I’m suffering from brain fog.” Their energetic attack victory over 10-time Greek champion Vasilios Kotronias was anything but a long Covid indicator as the 56-year-old pieces hit White’s exposed king, though Short missed the possible brilliant ending 24…Qxf2+ 25 Re2 Bf8! 26 Rxf2? Bb4 partner. Kotronias is Greece’s best known player and Short’s home is in Athens, so this was a significant win.
The final two rounds, with Short now tied at six for the lead at 5.5/7, will be tense and challenging. Round 8, starting at 3pm on Saturday, and Round 9, at 9:30am on Sunday, should be interesting to watch, especially for English chess fans.
Hastings was cancelled, the London Classic had no Open, next weekend’s 4NCL league weekend was postponed, and England’s other 2,600+ grandmasters have been inactive from major competitions. It sounds like an echo of a century ago, in the 1920s, when Bradford bank clerk Fred Yates and badminton baronet Sir George Thomas stood virtually alone as regulars on the European tournament circuit.
At last Titled Tuesday, GM Gawain Jones (running VerdeNotte), who normally does well, retired after starting 1/4; and otherwise there were only two IM and one CM from England. However, Titled Tuesday is clearly an invaluable free training tool for some of the world’s fast-rising stars. It has been suggested that English players do not like the event due to its start at 6 p.m.
It should be possible to encourage many more English titled players to take part in Titled Tuesday. ECF awards for the best scores by English junior and women’s players, groups for which the national federation has dedicated funds; the requirement that the more than 2,600 GMs play in the event as part of their preparation for the Olympics and European team championships; prizes for top-ranked sub-2600s: some or all could work. There would also be a ripple effect as strong players without Fide titles would have an incentive to qualify for them.
At some point in the near or distant future, when Covid-19 is a distant memory, there will be better alternatives for strong English players than an online masters tournament. But for now, Titled Tuesday is a cheap, available, and useful experience that the ECF should do much more to support. Had the event existed in the 1970s, the English Golden Generation would have been launched.
New World Rapid Champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov helped hone the skills that defeated Carlsen et al by competing on Titled Tuesday most weeks for many months. This week, the 17-year-old was honored in Uzbekistan with a cash prize of €20,000 and the keys to a two-bedroom apartment, at a ceremony held at the National Olympic Committee in Tashkent.
3797: 1 Nxf4! Kxf4 2 Kd3 (stops Bd4) Bh4 (planning Bf2) 3 g3+! Bxg3 4 Ke2 (stops Bf2) Bh2 5 Kf1! (stops Bg1) and the a5 pawn queens.