Chess, potpourri and nonsense!

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QATAR OPEN ENDS IN TWO WAY TIE!

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One of the strongest-and most watched-tournaments of the year ended today with an exciting catch-up victory by 21-year old Yu Yangyi (over So), enabling the 2014 winner of the Qatar Open to tie with the current world champion, 25-year old Magnus Carlsen. Congrats to both gentlemen!

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Carlsen , with White, could do no more than draw his game against former world champion Vlad Kramnik, obliging the Norwegian to nervously bite his nails while Yu ground down So in a spectacular struggle that did justice to both adversaries.  No doubt that this game will be talked about for a long time!

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(Photo by Katerina Savina. My Portuguese readers will recognize IA Carlos Dias in the upper right corner)  Soon after Yu defeated So, a two game blitz match was organized to determine who would win the Cup…this time the Chinese superstar was no match for Carlsen, who won easily both games.

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So the year ends on a high note for the Norwegian superstar, following on the heels of his win in London a few weeks earlier. HOWEVER, I am certain that Magnus is not entirely satisfied: both tournament victories were due to controvertial tie-break rules requiring fast-control games.

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Had there been no such games, then both London and Qatar could have seen a different winner!  Quite simply, the champion’s results from the past six months (1st= London; 2nd Sinquefield Cup; 8th Norway Chess) indicate that in classical chess Carlsen now occupies the same unenviable position as the world champions held in the 1960’s: first amongst equals!  The Norwegian ends the year with a lower Elo than he started it…My bet is that unless Carlsen actually starts to WORK harder on his game,  the chess world will not only soon see a Chinese world champion challenger…BUT very likely a Chinese world champion!

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Spectacular photo by MARIA EMELIANOVA of former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk

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MOST FOLLWED TOURNAMENT THIS YEAR?

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Everyone I spoke with was ecstatic with such an exciting tournament! If any sponsors are reading this, then PLEASE organize more of these mixed tournaments.  There must be more bang-for-the buck in terms of audiences, as well as much more excitement and interesting games.

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The principle is the same: not all tournament formats are equal. Listen to what the spectators want to see!

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