19 October 2019

Quarterfinals of FWFRCC Completed

Let's see -- where were we the last time I reported on the 'FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship' (FWFRCC)? That post, Phase Three of FWFRCC Completed (September 2019), was dated last month and explained,
What happens next for the six knockout winners? The first event in the following chart, 'Quarterfinals Stage 1', says, 'Six winners of the knockout qualifiers join Nakamura and Caruana'. [...] The three top players from [those] quarterfinals will join Magnus Carlsen in the four-player semifinal.

Chess.com published a video preview of the quarterfinals.

8 of the World's Best Fischer Random Players Will Battle for Glory and $$$ (1:31) • '[Published on] Oct 3, 2019'

The description of the video started,

The Fischer Random Quarterfinals start October 4th! Eight of the world's top Fischer Random players will battle for a chance to move on to join Magnus Carlsen in Oslo for big $$$ prizes.

For each of the three playing days, the same site published reports by GM Jonathan Tisdall, the American/Norwegian reporter introduced in last month's post on the knockout phase.

  • 2019-10-04: FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship Quarterfinals Kick Off (chess.com; ditto for the next two links) • 'Day one of the quarterfinal produced four match-winners [Nakamura, Fedoseev, Caruana, Nepomniachtchi], who advance to the third and final day of the stage. Day two is the Lazarus round, when the four losers fight to claim two return tickets to the event. The final day will see three players eliminated and the three survivors advancing for the live, over-the-board event in Norway.'

  • 2019-10-05: Second Chances In World Fischer Random Chess Quarterfinal • 'The four losers from day one of the quarterfinals squared off for a last shot at continuing towards the World Fischer Random title. This unusual route to the semifinals has been adopted to create three semifinalists from this stage of the event -- because "defending champion" Magnus Carlsen will join the competition to make up the fourth finalist.' [Winners: Firouzja and So]

  • 2019-10-06: Caruana, So, Nepomniachtchi Headed To World Fischer Random Semifinals

Fide.com also published a report on the quarterfinals, with an overview of all matches, including the winners, the opponents and the scores.

Fischer Random Championship: So, Caruana and Nepomniachtchi advanced to the semis (fide.com)

The official Schedule says the two semifinal matches will take place 27-29 October, followed by a rest day before the final three-day match (plus a match for third place) starts 31 October 2019.

28 September 2019

2019 Champions Showdown, St. Louis

September was one of the best months ever for chess960. On top of the latest action in the FWFRCC (that stands for 'FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship', as in my previous post Phase Three of FWFRCC Completed), we had the 2019 Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX (uschesschamps.com). What's 'Chess 9LX'? It's '9' plus the Roman numerals 'LX', i.e. '60', but the less said about that the better.

This is the fifth chess960 event from the Saint Louis Chess Club that I've covered on this blog. The others were:-

As for a summary of the 2019 event, here's a screen snapshot from the official 'Chess 9LX' site. The selection of the start positions followed the same procedure as for the 2018 event, which I quoted in the corresponding post.

The chess news sites covered the 2019 event in depth, although I imagine it was more for Kasparov's participation than for chess960. Here's the coverage by Chess24.com:-

In the first decade of the century, Mainz was the geographical center of chess960. In the second decade, it's been St. Louis. After the third decade starts in a few months, will the focus expand to new localities?

21 September 2019

Phase Three of FWFRCC Completed

Last month I covered the knockout phase of the 'FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship' (FWFRCC) in two posts:-

The posts included the Chess.com reports on the first three of the six individual knockout tournaments. Chess.com subsequently issued reports on the last three of the tournaments :-

The three reports on the winners were filed by GM Jonathan Tisdall. Old timers might remember that then-IM Tisdall reported for the USCF's Chess Life on the Kasparov - Karpov World Championship clashes of the 1980s.

What happens next for the six knockout winners? The first event in the following chart, 'Quarterfinals Stage 1', says, 'Six winners of the knockout qualifiers join Nakamura and Caruana'.


GM Jonathan Tisdall also prepared a preview of the remaining events:-

The report starts with a plug for the Norwegian sponsors of the series of events:-

The time has come to book your ticket to watch the live stages of the FIDE World Fischer Random Championship. The venue for the semifinals and final will be Norway's Henie Onstad Art Center, located just outside Oslo. The city previously hosted the remarkably successful pilot event, the unofficial title match between Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen in 2018.

It continues with details for the three days of quarterfinal matches. The three top players from the quarterfinals will join Magnus Carlsen in the four-player semifinal.

24 August 2019

Phase Three of FWFRCC Compressed

Last week's post, Phase Three of FWFRCC Underway (FWFRCC = FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship), showed a schedule which was not current. I suppose there was a conflict with the forthcoming 2019 World Cup at Khanty-Mansiysk, because the current round of FWFRCC qualifiers will now finish before the World Cup starts. The corrected schedule is shown below.

Schedule (frchess.com; revised)

In the intervening week since the last post, two more of the six qualifiers were held. Here are the Chess.com reports:-

By the time the next post on this blog appears, the last three events will have been played. The final knockout stage will take place from early October through early November.

17 August 2019

Phase Three of FWFRCC Underway

What's happened in the four weeks since I posted Phase Two of FWFRCC Underway (July 2019), where the long acronym stands for 'FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship'? After 'Phase Two', which brought titled players into the competition, Chess.com issued a report FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship Heats Up, which said,
The Fischer Random action speeds up even more as the first knockout bracket begins on Sunday, Aug. 11. The tournament is the first of six consecutive weekly knockouts with identical formats of 16 players each, including two invited top-grandmaster players per bracket.

The following chart shows the dates for the six weekly knockouts. The note 'TBD' against each date means the start time of each event was not known at the time the chart was completed.

Schedule (frchess.com)

The first knockout event was announced a few days later in Nepomniachtchi, Harikrishna Headline First [FWFRCC] Knockout Qualifier (chess.com):-

The first of six knockout qualifiers will be hosted on Chess.com this Sunday, Aug. 11, featuring some of the strongest players in the world including GM Ian Nepomniachtchi and GM Pentala Harikrishna who will headline a pack of sixteen players vying for their chance to qualify for the next phase, the live quarterfinals.

GMs Nepomniachtchi and Harikrishna are currently ranked world no.7 and no.22 for traditional chess. The result of that tournament was officialized in Nepomniachtchi Qualifies For [FWFRCC] (chess.com):-

Russian top GM Ian Nepomniachtchi outlasted 15 opponents to reach the quarterfinals of the 2019 [FWFRCC], defeating GMs Zhamsaran Tsydypov, Sam Sevian and Pentala Harikrishna and the untitled Yurii Marinskii, in a stacked field.

The report included live video commentary by GM Aman Hambleton. I'm not sure what 'stacked field' means, but it must be something good.

27 July 2019

Random Resources

A new video from Chess.com's IM Daniel Rensch explains the basics:-

Chess.com has also released a short puzzle test:-

That's a great idea, but it could be split into at least two puzzle series: 1) Do you know the castling rules?, and 2) Tactical devices that never arise from the traditional start position. Both of those ideas are easily expanded. Also worth a look is:-

  • Chess960 Dice (indiegogo.com; 'Chess based on talent not memory!')

HarryO of Chess960 Jungle, points out:-

Harry says, 'You announce "The NO LOOK 1.e4!" with your hands raised in the air'. One of the comments points to another sequence in the video where GM Nakamura plays 'The NO LOOK 1.c4!':-

From the 1978 Karpov Gambit in the Open Variation of the Spanish Game to "I didn't even look at the board." Thank you, Bobby Fischer!

I can't tell if 'Thank you, Bobby Fischer!' is sincere or sarcastic.

20 July 2019

Phase Two of FWFRCC Underway

Last month's post, Titled Players Join the FWFRCC, reported on the second phase of the biggest chess960 tournament ever held, where FWFRCC means 'FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship'. Although other variations of that awkward acronym are in use, that's the one I pulled from an early page announcing the event, and that's the one I'll continue to use.

The plans call for six days of play, two tournaments per day, 7 players qualifying per tournament. Half of the 12 tournaments have been held, with the results available at World Fischer Random Championship: Qualified Players. The page mentions, 'The last four [sic] FIDE World Fischer Random Titled Qualifier events will take place on August 4.' The full schedule is shown in the following image.

Schedule (frchess.com)

Some well known players have already qualified, like chess960 specialist GM Andrey Deviatkin in the third event, and former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov in the fifth. Chess.com, the host for the online events, doesn't require players to use their real names as identifiers, making it often problematic to recognize specific players. It does, however, require titled players to prove their identity. By the time of this blog's next report on the event, the third phase 'Knockout Qualifiers' should have already started.