Round 5 of the Isle of Man Masters produced another surprise when IM Lawrence Trent of England (rated 2427) held former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia (rated 2803) to a draw despite a rating disparity of nearly 400 points.

John Saunders report: Round 4 of the 2017 Isle of Man Masters, played at the Villa Marina, Douglas, on 26 September, featured less drama and pathos than round three but didn't lack for hard-fought chess. It's just that a lot of that hard fighting led to draws on the top boards. World champion Magnus Carlsen was held to a draw by the one-time FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan, and these two now share the lead on 3½/4 with five others: Pavel Elyanov (Ukraine), Santosh Gujrathi Vidit (India), Laurent Fressinet (France), Julio Granda Zuñiga (Peru) and Alex Lenderman (USA).

John Saunders reports:

Vladimir Kramnik's game wasn't on the show boards today unfortunately, but it has been keyed in and made available here. His opponent was the Mongolian woman grandmaster Altan-Ulzii Enkhtuul. Ditto, Hou Yifan - now updated to include her win against Yuliya Shvayger.

John Saunders reports: 

Round 3 of the Isle of Man Masters tournament, played on 25 September 2017 at the Villa Marina, Douglas, will live long in the memory for some remarkable upsets, notably 65-year-old US GM James Tarjan's victory over former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, and the defeat of two of three highest rated women players in the world, Hou Yifan and Ju Wenjun. At the close of play the tournament was left with four players on a maximum score of 3/3: Pavel Eljanov (UKR), Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB), Alex Lenderman (USA) and the reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen (NOR).

John Saunders reports: As if the defeat of former world champion Vladimir Kramnik by veteran US GM Jim Tarjan wasn't quite enough, round three of the Isle of Man Masters featured twin sensations on boards involving all-women clashes. The two top Chinese women players, Hou Yifan and Ju Wenjun, were defeated by Nino Batsiashvili of Georgia and Jovanka Houska of England (two countries which happen to share the same patron saint beating two Chinese dragons - hence the title of the piece).

John Saunders reports: A major sensation has just occurred in round three. Vladimir Kramnik, who won the world championship title from Garry Kasparov in 2000 without losing a game, has already lost two games in the space of three rounds at the isle of Man Masters. While losing to a fellow member of the elite, Fabiano Caruana, in round one could be considered a normal result, losing to a second US player, 65-year-old James Tarjan, now rated a very modest 2412, has to be considered a huge surprise.

John Saunders reports: The Isle of Man Chess tournament is not just about world stars - two other tournaments have started today at the Villa Marina: the Major and the Minor. May I take the opportunity to wish everyone playing in those tournaments a warm welcome to Douglas and hope you all have a great time.

John Saunders reports: Round two meant a return to the tried and trusted (if not universally popular) method of making the pairings. Let's park the whole pairings business for now, and for once I'll try to stick to the point, which is to tell you what happened in round two. I can't guarantee my good intentions will last or I won't go off on one of my Grandpa Simpson-style rambles down memory lane at some point. But, as his grandson famously said, "I can't promise to try but I'll try to try."

As well as being our tournament commentator, Fiona Steil-Antoni is a prolific and brilliant vlogger. Here's a link to her first vlog about her arrival at this year's tournament, with guests appearances from Simon WilliamsDavid Howell, Ivan Sokolov, Nils Grandelius, Lawrence Trent, Lennart Ootes, Anna Rudolf, Ana Srebrnic and others. Fiona captures the atmosphere behind the scenes of a big-time chess tournament and presents it in a bright and breezy way. Unmissable! 

The Round 3 pairings are available here.

Given that the views expressed in my comments here have been biased in favour of 'Brandom' (my Brexit-style nickname for the British/Isle of Man random pairing experiment), I thought it would only be fair to post a short summary of the arguments against. The best summary I have seen so far of the anti-Brandom argument has appeared in posts made by English IM Richard Bates on the English Chess Forum.

"I play and prepare on"
GM Hikaru Nakamura
Book your tournament trip today

Latest News

Round 9 Report
Published: 29 Oct 2018

Round 9 Report

John Saunders reports: the 2018 Isle of Man International was won by Radoslaw Wojtaszek of Poland after a play-off match with Arkadij Naiditsch of Azerbaijan. The two players led going into the last round and drew their ninth round game to finish on 7/9 while none of the four players on 6/8 managed to win in order to tie with them. They each take home a cheque for £37,500 with Wojtaszek also receiving a further £500 for winning the blitz play-off. The initial two-game blitz was tied on 1-1 but Wojtaszek chose White in the Armageddon game and duly won. Seven players finished on 6½: Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk (both Russia), Hikaru Nakamura, Jeffery Xiong (both USA), Wang Hao (China), Gawain Jones (England) and Baskaran Adhiban (India).

Read more ...
Round 8 Report
Published: 28 Oct 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).

Read more ...
Round 7 Report
Published: 27 Oct 2018

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.

Read more ...

Sponsored By The Scheinberg Family
With assistance from
Department of Economic Development Manx Technology Group
Organised by the Isle of Man International Chess Committee