News Archive - 2018

Round 8 Report

John Saunders reports: another pulsating day’s chess saw four 2700+ rated players bite the dust, all bar one beaten by players less highly rated than themselves, and in one case more than 200 points adrift. Two leaders emerge from the smoke of battle, Arkadij Naiditsch (Azerbaijan) and Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland), who now both have 6½/8, while four more players are half a point behind them and are still in with a chance of a share in the top prize – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Wang Hao (China), Gawain Jones (England) and Jeffery Xiong (USA).

Round 7 Report

John Saunders reports: another remarkable round at the Villa Marina saw the number of leaders increase by one – the same names as per the round six leader board, plus England’s perennial numero uno, Mickey Adams. There was some fantastic chess played, which it gives me great pleasure to report upon. Before we move on, let’s just record the seven leaders’ names for the record: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland), Wang Hao (China), Arkadij Naiditsch (Azerbaijan), Mickey Adams (England) and Jeffery Xiong (USA) all have 5½ out of 7.

Written by Mike Klein | Read the full report at

In the last three rounds of the 2018 Isle of Man International, the number of leaders has gone from two to four to six. You might want to go ahead and check those playoff regulations now. There might have been an unlikely seventh, but the "Minister of Defense," Sergey Karjakin, saved a completely lost game.

Round 5 Report

John Saunders reports: an eventful round saw the leader board expand to four players on the top score of 4½/5. They are Wang Hao (China) and Arkadij Naiditsch (Azerbaijan), who drew their individual game, plus Jeffery Xiong (USA) and Abhijeet Gupta (India) who both beat higher rated opposition in the shape of Richard Rapport (Hungary) and Santosh Gujrathi Vidit (India) respectively. A further seven players are now on 4 points: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Sergey Karjakin (Russia), Rinat Jumabayev (Kazakhstan), Mircea-Emilian Parligras (Romania), Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland), Rasmus Svane (Germany), Hikaru Nakamura (USA). The leading contenders for the top women’s prize are currently Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) and Elisabeth Paehtz (Germany) who are both on 3/5.

Written by Mike Klein | Read the full report at

Grab your saddle. The fifth round of the 2018 Isle of Man International was all about knights versus pawns. The final verdict? A draw.

Jeffery Xiong's three pawns overcame Richard Rapport's knight for the American to join the lead. But Sergey Karjakin's two knights, his final two pieces, were enough to checkmate Sam Sevian precisely because of the American's remaining pawn. And finally, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave offered his knight for three pawns, but had to settle for a perpetual in an all-knights ending!

Round 4 Report

John Saunders reports: after the fourth round of the Isle of Man International at the Villa Marina, we now have two joint leaders, Arkadij Naiditsch (Azerbaijan) and Wang Hao (China) on the maximum score of 4/4. Following them on 3½ are Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland), Richard Rapport (Hungary), Santosh Gujrathi Vidit (India), Jeffery Xiong (USA), Mircea-Emilian Parligras (Romania) and Abhijeet Gupta (India).

Written by Mike Klein | Read the full report at

While other world top-10s have had their struggles at the 2018 Isle of Man InternationalGM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave keeps making it look easy through three rounds. Even a birthday celebration couldn't stop his lucid play. He's faring just as well as a 28-year-old as he did at 27. 

Round 2 Report

John Saunders reports: another gruelling round of chess at the world’s strongest open and the rating favourites are still finding it very difficult imposing themselves on their supposedly less accomplished opponents. Of the leading players, Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave proceeded to 2/2 but former world champions Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik both dropped half points (though it might be more accurate to say that Vishy saved a half point).

Written by Mike Klein | Read the full report at

It's been several years since the Isle of Man International was a combination chess and poker event, but GM Levon Aronian showed in today's round two that there's still room for bluffing. On top board, he played a calculated risk that worked to move him to 2.0/2, where he was joined one board lower by a birthday boy. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave gave himself the best 28th birthday gift—a winning rook ending.

Written by Mike Klein | Read the full report at

It turns out you don't need randomized pairings to make for an eventful opening of a chess tournament.

The 2018 Isle of Man International, the strongest open tournament in history, fielded a score of 2700s. But after only the first round, nearly half are already smarting from an early draw. Nine of the 20, including one of the two top seeds, couldn't escape the opening day without ceding a draw to an IM who was 300 points lower rated.

John Saunders reports: It’s that time again – the Isle of Man Chess International starts on 20 October 2018 at the Villa Marina, Douglas, and runs for nine days up to 28 October. Once again the line-up is going to be incredible...

... with a couple of exceptions. Last year you will recall one of the key face-offs was between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana in the penultimate round. This year these two young gentlemen will be meeting elsewhere in the British Isles to decide the little matter of the world chess championship title. That match starts on 9 November, just 12 days after hostilities end in Douglas and precluded their prior appearance on our small but perfectly formed island in the Irish Sea. Caruana had provisionally entered the 2018 Isle of Man event but he must ultimately have realised it would have been too much to take on with less than a fortnight to his date with destiny in London.

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FIDE Grand Swiss: Round 11 Report and Prizegiving
Published: 21 Oct 2019

Round 11 Report

John Saunders reports: the FIDE Grand Swiss ended in a tie for first place between Wang Hao (China) and Fabiano Caruana (USA) on 8 points out of 11. Wang Hao, who defeated David Howell in the final round whilst other leading games were drawn, was placed first on tie-break and he qualifies for a place in the 2020 Candidates’ tournament in Ekaterinburg. Six players tied for third place on 7½: in tie-break order, Kirill Alekseenko (Russia), Levon Aronian (Armenia), David Antón Guijarro (Spain), Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Hikaru Nakamura (USA) and Nikita Vitiugov (Russia). The top women’s prize was shared by Harika Dronavalli (India) and Dinara Saduakassova (Kazakhstan) who both scored 5½ points, with the Indian player receiving the trophy on tie-break. A fuller report will follow.

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FIDE Grand Swiss: Round 10 Report
Published: 21 Oct 2019

Round 10 Report

John Saunders reports: the penultimate round of the FIDE Grand Swiss had everything. The eight boards with players still having an interest in qualifying for the Candidates’ tournament featured seven decisive results, with the only draw being a well-contested game between Hikaru Nakamura and Levon Aronian. A sole leader emerged in the form of world number two Fabiano Caruana, who defeated David Antón Guijarro to reach 7½ points, while the world champion Magnus Carlsen beat Maxim Matlakov via an overwhelming position which became a much more problematic one before he found a way to win and equal Ding Liren’s record of 100 top-level classical games without a loss. Carlsen thus progressed to 7 points along with Nakamura and Aronian, and they were joined by Wang Hao, Kirill Alekseenko, David Howell and Nikita Vitugov who won their games to reach the same score. Thus there are eight players left to contest first prize and/or the Candidates’ qualifying place in the eleventh and last round.

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