World champion Magnus Carlsen and America’s Wesley So have tied for first in the St Louis Rapid & Blitz online tournament. So scored an impressive victory in the rapid event with an undefeated 6.5/9, ahead of Carlsen on 6 and Russians Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alexander Grischuk on 5. In the blitz, Carlsen shared first with Hikaru Nakamura on 12/18, ahead of So on 11.
Newcomer Alireza Firouzja finished last in the rapid with 2.5/9 but scored a more respectable 7.5/18 in the blitz.
In other news, OSG Baden-Baden have won Germany’s Schachbundesliga championship, a competition that featured a limited number of teams willing to play overthe-board chess. Baden-Baden features a stellar line-up including Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Levon Aronian and Richard Rapport.
In the US, Nikita Vitiugov and Steven Zierk won the strong Pacific Northwest Chess Center Artist Point tournament, an online event with slow time limits.
Closer to home, Kevin Bonham has won the General Store Open Rapid And Lightning in Ranelagh, Tasmania, with the highest overall score. Bonham won the blitz with 6/7, equal with Toby Straton, while Alastair Dyer dominated the rapid with a perfect 6/6.
Sravan Renjith has won the Nell Van De Graaff Classic in Queensland with 6.5/7, ahead of Dusan Stojic and
Ben Peach on 6.
And an interesting experiment is underway to try to reduce the number of draws in chess by slightly changing the rules. Early results indicate that just banning castling has a dramatic effect. Stay tuned.
Magnus Carlsen-Alexander Grischuk, St Louis Blitz 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bf4 Ne4 7.Rc1 Nc6 8.Nd2 g5 9.Be3 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Ba3 11.Rb1 f5 12.g3 O-O 13.f4 Qe7 14.Bf2 gxf4 15.Bg2 Bd6 16.Bxd5+ Kh8 17.Nf3 Nd8 18.Qd2 c6 19.Bb3 Ne6 20.d5 cxd5 21.Bxd5 fxg3 22.hxg3 f4 23.gxf4 Bxf4 24.Qd3 Rf7 25.Rb4 Bd6 26.Rbh4 Kg8 27.Nd4 Qf6 28.Nxe6 Bxe6 29.Bd4 Be5 30.Rh6 (See diagram, below left) 1-0
This week’s problem (below right): Christopher Reeves, 1969. Mate in two.
Last week’s solution: 1.Qxe5! threatens 2.exd7. If 1... dxc6+ 2.Nxc6, 1...dxe6 2.Qxe6, 1...d6 2.Qf6, 1...d5 2.Qc7, 1...Rd5+/Re3 2.Nxd5 and 1...Rd6 2.Qf6.