Posts Tagged ‘Bonn Germany’

India in the Chess Spotlight

October 1, 2008
Harikrishna after winning the 2008 Spice Cup.

Harikrishna after winning the 2008 Spice Cup.

   The sub-continent that invented the game of chess in the sixth century is now becoming the focus of chess in the twenty-first century. Viswanathan Anand, the current World Chess Champion, has ignited a nationalistic enthusiasm for the “Game of Kings” not seen since the Soviet era. Anand has received rock star status in his home country of India and bagged many prestigious awards including the Arjuna Award, the Padma Shri, the Rajiv Ghandi, and the Padma Bhushan. The effects of Anand’s success can be seen in recent chess news of his Indian compatriots.
   In September of 2008, 22 year old Koneru Humpy was the top ranked player in the Women’s World Chess Championships. While competing in the semi-finals she shocked the world by loosing in a blitz play-off against the 14-year-old Chinese wonder girl Hou Yifan. I believe her loss was a combination of folding under pressure and not having a coaching staff (Humpy is trained exclusively by her father). Despite this disappointing loss, Humpy  remains the second highest rated female player in the history of chess with an astronomical rating above 2600.
   On September 28, 2008, another Indian chess player made chess history in Lubbock, Texas. GM Pentala Harikrishna, India’s third highest ranked Grand Master, won the strongest chess tournament of its kind ever held on United States soil. The category-15 2008 Spice Cup ended in a four way tie with Harikrishna winning on tie breaks. GM Pentala Harikrishna did not loose a single game in this nine round event that touted an average player rating of 2605.
   On October 14, 2008, Viswanathan Anand will defend his title against Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn, Germany. Regardless of this matches outcome, Viswanathan Anand will continue to be recognised as the chess trailblazer who led India onto the world stage.

Can Kramnik Win With The Black Pieces? Will It Matter?

September 30, 2008
Vladimir Kramnik playing for a win.

Vladimir Kramnik playing for a win.

   Between 1989 and 2008 Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik played 51 head-to-head games under classical conditions. The results below show that Kramnik has yet to win a game as black when up against Anand. This is a remarkable statistic based on the number of match-ups these two chess players have had. Vladimir Kramnik’s win with white and draw with black strategy can hurt his tournament results but is exceptionally difficult to crack in match play. Unless he should find himself in danger of loosing the match, I would be very surprised if Kramnik changes his goal for the black pieces.

  Anand Draws Kramnik
Anand (White) – Kramnik (Black) 2 19 0
Kramnik (White) – Anand (Black) 2 22 6
Total 4 41 6

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