The Master's Bulletin, February 2014

Feb 18, 2014, 12:00 AM 19,198 Reads 1 Comment Other



(You can find the Master's Bulletin archive here)

Peter’s Chess Vibes


A Sudden Gap Between Big Events

After a period chock-full of tournaments (Tata Steel, Gibraltar, Zurich!) suddenly things are quiet, until the Reykjavik Open and of course the Candidates’ Tournament. Editor Peter Doggers writes that just two days after the Tata Steel tournament both he and Lennart Ootes traveled to the Gibraltar Chess Festival to produce the online live commentary. Good news: they will be doing the same for the Reykjavik Open. That event will be embedded on so don't miss it! [Subscribe / Single issue in our shop]

   In the Spotlight


Five Great Games From the Tata Challengers

And now for something completely different. You probably saw lots of games from the Tata Steel Masters group, let alone Zurich, but what about the Tata Challengers? An awesome tournament in itself! IM Lorin d’Costa picked his five favorite games and annotates! [Subscribe / Single issue in our shop]

   Beyond the Board...


...With GM Erwin l’Ami

In this brand new column we interview a different chess player every month. We go beyond the chess board and try to find out more about his or her personality, character and lifestyle! In this first edition we present 28-year-old Dutch grandmaster GM Erwin l’Ami (2649). [Subscribe / Single issue in our shop]

   Topical Theory


Bobby Fischer’s 6.h3 against the Najdorf

The little pawn move 6.h3 used to be a sideline that ‘couldn't be that bad, as it was played by Bobby Fischer.’ In recent years it has become immensely popular, and this month GM Danny Gormally will focus on the other main reply for Black, 6...e5 (last month 6...e6 was discussed). [Subscribe / Single issue in our shop]


Hey, Look, the Budapest Gambit!

The Budapest Gambit is a rare guest at top level chess, but in Wijk aan Zee it suddenly popped up in the game Gelfand-Rapport. Soon after, Jobava played it in his game with Wojtaszek too! GM Simon Williams shows the games and provides the theoretical background. [Subscribe / Single issue in our shop]

   Tasty Tactics


Tactical exercises for you to solve, selected by IM Robert Ris [Subscribe / Single issue in our shop]

   Middlegame Musings


With Two Pawn Sacs Into the Fourth Phase

Nakamura-Giri, from the Tata Masters, was a tense battle with quite an uncompromising opening followed by several original twists. IM Arthur van de Oudeweetering takes you through the game, and tells you all about “the fourth phase”! [Subscribe / Single issue in our shop]

   The Endgame Explained


A Hyper-Sharp Berlin Endgame

This month IM Robert Ris “felt obliged” to show an endgame by world # 2 Levon Aronian, who “displayed the highest quality in his games”. His ending with Arkadij Naiditsch didn't look interesting at first sight, but there were many beautiful, hidden ideas! [Subscribe / Single issue in our shop]

   Afek’s Corner


Endgame Studies

Every month we present you three endgame studies selected by IM Yochanan Afek: player, trainer, endgame study composer and writer. The studies are especially useful for the practical player. Next month we’ll publish the solutions. Good luck solving! [Subscribe / Single issue in our shop]

   In the News


Levon Aronian Wins 76th Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee

“This is my favorite tournament,” said Levon Aronian at the traditional press conference of the 76th Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. It was the fourth victory for the Armenian, who finished 1.5 points clear of the rest! Anish Giri played very well and in fact did not lose; the Dutch grandmaster tied for second place with Sergey Karjakin. Ivan Saric promoted from the Challengers group to the Masters Group; the Croatian GM scored 10.0/13. Jan Timman and Baadur Jobava tied for second place in this group. Read our final report here.


Zurich: Magnus Carlsen Victorious at First Tourney as World Champion

In his first tournament after clinching the world title, Magnus Carlsen duly continued with his usual habit: winning! The Norwegian was victorious at the Zurich Chess Challenge, where he scored an undefeated 4.0/5 (or rather 8.0/5 as the classical games counted double). Although his rapid play on the last day wasn't great (Fabiano Caruana won that part convincingly), Carlsen still ended first in the overall standings ahead of Caruana and Levon Aronian. 4th came Hikaru Nakamura, 5th Vishy Anand and 6th Boris Gelfand. Read our final report here.


Ivan Cheparinov Surprising Winner at Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

It wasn't one of the ten (!) 2700 grandmasters who went home with the first prize, although the winner once had such a rating: Ivan Cheparinov! The Bulgarian grandmaster, who stopped working as Veselin Topalov's second and who is a fine player himself, defeated Nikita "The Iceman" Vitiugov in the playoff final to clinch his first victory at the 12th Gibraltar Chess Festival. The two grandmasters had finished shared first with Vassily Ivanchuk, who lost to Vitiugov in the semi-final. Read our final report, with lots of video material, here.


Overtime Thriller as Meier Wins Death Match 21

The heavily-favored GM Georg Meier needed an extra game to squeek past the dogged played of GM Imre Balog in Death Match 21, played on Saturday, 15 February. Balog (FIDE 2554) won the 26th and final game of regulation, then Meier (FIDE 2636) won a complicated ending in the first game of the sudden-death bullet overtime to win 14-13. This was the first Death Match to require extra chess since edition 12 in March, 2013, when GM Marc Arnold beat GM Alexander Ipatov. Read the full report here!

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