Grischuk Plays Steinitz Memorial, Chessbrah Invitational Back-To-Back
Alexander Grischuk is playing two tournaments in one weekend. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

Grischuk Plays Steinitz Memorial, Chessbrah Invitational Back-To-Back

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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11 | Chess Event Coverage

Over-the-board chess has shifted to the internet and this weekend is more crowded than ever with both the FIDE Online Steinitz Memorial and the Chessbrah Invitational. GM Alexander Grischuk plays both.

Steinitz Memorial

The Steinitz Memorial has both a male and a female group of players with 10 players each. Both are playing a double round-robin with 18 rounds of blitz, with six rounds on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

The total prize fund is 30,000 euros ($32,465), with 18,000 for the open section (4,500 for the winner) and 12,000 for the women's section (3,000 for the winner).

How to watch?
You can follow the games of the Steinitz Memorial's women's tournament here at 6 a.m. Pacific / 15:00 CEST, followed by the men's tournament here at 9:30 a.m. / 18:30 CEST. GM Ben Finegold is providing commentary on his Twitch channel.


GM Alexandra Kosteniuk dominated the women's group on the first day of play, scoring 5/5 before finally conceding half a point. Her games are clearly showing her experience in blitz as many of her rivals are committing blunders that Kosteniuk just isn't.

The closest to a win was IM Elisabeth Paehtz, but she couldn't avoid a collapse when the seconds were ticking away:

Alexandra Kosteniuk
Alexandra Kosteniuk. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Meanwhile, the Peruvian WGM Deysi Cori has been struggling so far and hasn't managed to score a single point in a tournament that has seen a remarkably low draw percentage (20 percent) so far. 

FIDE Women's Online Steinitz Memorial Round 6 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Kosteniuk, Alexandra 2521 2856 ½ 1 1 1 1 1 5.5/6
2 Tan Zhongyi 2510 2609 1 0 0 1 1 1 4.0/6
3 Lei Tingjie 2530 2564 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 3.5/6 12.5
4 Lagno, Kateryna 2608 2516 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 3.5/6 8.5
5 Sebag, Marie 2482 2553 0 1 0 ½ 1 1 3.5/6 8.25
6 Stefanova, Antoaneta 2485 2502 0 0 ½ 1 1 1 3.5/6 5.25
7 Abdumalik, Zhansaya 2409 2393 0 0 ½ 0 1 1 2.5/6
8 Khademalsharieh, Sarasadat 2431 2391 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 2.0/6 6
9 Paehtz, Elisabeth 2396 2367 0 0 1 0 0 1 2.0/6 3.5
10 Cori T., Deysi 2391 1684 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0/6

All games of day 1

Unsurprisingly, it's Carlsen who is leading the men's group after the first day of play, despite some ups and downs in the quality of his play.

"This was bad, and I felt that this wasn't my day. In general, too much nonsense," Carlsen said on Norwegian television. It is tempting to refer to the "nonsense" that happened in the first round in his game with GM Peter Svidler

The background of it is Svidler's banter about Carlsen's 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 h5!? which the world champion recently played. Reacting to Svidler's friendly criticism, Carlsen tweeted before the tournament: "My boy [Svidler] better be ready for 1.c3 e5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.h4 in the first round."

And that's what happened: Carlsen stuck to his plan, and Svidler played along.

Peter Svidler
Peter Svidler didn't shy away from facing the "nonsense." Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Blitz games will always have blunders, and perhaps online blitz tournaments are even more prone to howlers such as the following. Even the best player on the planet is not immune.

Anton Korobov
Anton Korobov received a nice gift from the world champ. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

FIDE Online Steinitz Memorial Round 6 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Carlsen, Magnus 2887 2818 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 4.0/6
2 Bu Xiangzhi 2760 2756 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 3.5/6 10.25
3 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2716 2814 0 ½ 0 1 1 1 3.5/6 10.25
4 Dubov, Daniil 2720 2756 0 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 3.5/6 9.5
5 Xiong, Jeffery 2724 2713 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 0 3.0/6 8.25
6 Svidler, Peter 2754 2713 ½ 0 ½ 1 0 1 3.0/6 8
7 Korobov, Anton 2667 2704 1 0 ½ 0 1 0 2.5/6 8.25
8 Grischuk, Alexander 2765 2667 ½ 1 0 0 0 1 2.5/6 7.5
9 Le Quang Liem 2690 2687 0 0 ½ 0 1 1 2.5/6 7.25
10 Anton Guijarro, David 2590 2647 0 ½ ½ 1 0 0 2.0/6

All games of day 1

The Steinitz Memorial, played on Chess24, continues on Saturday, May 16 with the women's tournament at 6 a.m. Pacific / 15:00 CEST, followed by the men's tournament at 9:30 a.m. / 18:30 CEST.

Chessbrah Invitational

The Chessbrah Invitational is another blitz tournament with top grandmasters held this weekend. After a preliminary phase played on Friday, a knockout phase will be played on Saturday. 

The participants are GMs Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Alexander Grischuk, Anish Giri, and Alireza Firouzja. The total prize fund is $5,500 euros with $1750 going to the winner. 

How to watch?
You can follow the games of the Chessbrah Invitational on the Chess.com Live Server starting from 10:30 a.m. / 19:30 CEST. The Chessbrahs are providing commentary on their Twitch channel with e.g. GMs Aman Hambleton and Aryan Tari.


As the tournament takes place roughly at the same time as the men's group of the Steinitz Memorial, the participation of Grischuk in both tournaments seemed somewhat confusing at first. However, the Chessbrahs made sure their matches were staggered and Grischuk was scheduled at a time when his Steinitz games would be over.

Friday started with the first round, which was a best-of-four with games played at three minutes and a two-second increment. After that, a loser's bracket was played where the increment was dropped, so 3+0 games only, with the winner going to the semifinals after all.

In the first match, Firouzja defeated Vachier-Lagrave 2.5-1.5. The Iranian youngster won the first two games, lost the third but then held the draw in the fourth.

MVL was in an experimenting mood as he tried the King's Indian as Black, and went 1.d4 as White. His win with the KID was arguably the most fascinating of the four games:

This was followed by Nepomniachtchi beating Caruana also with 2.5-1.5, and then Giri winning against Grischuk with the same numbers. After three draws, Giri struck with a game that saw huge errors in a hectic final phase.

Perhaps playing two tournaments on one day was a bit too much after all for Grischuk? Well, read further...

The loser's bracket then saw MVL and Caruana playing 1-1, Grischuk and MVL playing 1-1 and then Grischuk beating Caruana 2-0, meaning that the Russian GM made it to the semifinals after all. Here's his last game against Caruana that clinched it:

On Saturday we'll first see the semifinals, once again best of four matches with 3+2 games, and then a final, which is a best of 10, also with 3+2 games. The games are played on the Chess.com Live Server starting from 10:30 a.m. / 19:30 CEST and you can watch the commentary on the Chessbrah Twitch channel.

European Online Chess Championship

It's not just elite chess that's going on. Saturday, May 16 is also the day when the European Online Chess Championship takes off on Chess.com for unrated players and players rated 1000-1400. Every two days, a higher rating group will play its tournament until we'll see the grandmasters in action starting from Friday, May 29. More info can be found here.  

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