Author Archives: Akshat

The US Junior Championship – A Quick Walk Through History

  A couple of months ago, I was asked to write a brief article on the US Junior Championship as part of the Saint Louis Chess Club’s 10-year anniversary celebration. Today, as the US Junior 2018 is set to kickoff, I thought it would be timely to republish my article here on the blog. Here’s…

Continue Reading → ~ Fabiano Caruana, Candidates 2018

Highs and lows from the Candidates (Part 2)

  Continuing where we left off in the previous posting: A very sound, strategical win by Wesley over Aronian:   A tactical melee between Aronian and Caruana, in which the American displayed excellent nerves to fend off the attack and emerge with the victory:   A brilliant win by Karjakin, in which he displays incredible…

Continue Reading → ~ Chess - Candidates 2018 - GM Vladimir Kramnik

Highs and Lows from the Candidates (Part 1)

  Continuing where we left off in the previous posting, I’d like to take a look at some of the best and worst moments from the 2018 Candidates. Let’s start from the very beginning, where we saw 3 decisive games in the 1st round itself. A fine win by Caruana over So:   A blunder…

Continue Reading → ~ Candidates 2018

Recap of the Candidates

  The recently concluded Candidates Chess tournament was easily the most exciting and dramatic since the 2013 edition. Several players were in contention to win the tournament till the very end, and it was anyone’s guess who would emerge victorious. In the end, GM Fabiano Caruana deservingly triumphed, winning his last game as Black against…

Continue Reading → ~ Pawn Against An Army ~ Chess Unfair Play

How Chess Sites Can Fairly Address Suspected Unfair Play

  Last week, following the issue covered here, I was approached by Ben Johnson of the Perpetual Chess Podcast, and one of the questions he asked me was “How do you think chess sites should deal with suspected cheaters?” At that time I told him it’s hard for me to answer this question since…

Continue Reading → ~ Credit-Adam Gault, Getty Images

Locked Out from
– a set of games in 2015 were unfair claims

  Exactly one day after the “Titled Tuesday” concluded on April 17, I found myself unable to log into my account. I tried many times to reset the password, but I never received the confirmation email. Without really thinking too much about it, I fired off an email asking how can I resolve this…

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A Young Grandmaster’s Reflection On His Time In Saint Louis

The article was first published on Saint Louis Chess Club blog. Back in July of 2016, my family decided to move from New Jersey to Saint Louis in order to help support my chess ambition. Moving to the chess capital of the country was an exciting change as it allowed me to be closer to…

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Summer Roundup – Ups and Downs

Summer is when the chess tournament circuit comes alive in the US, and players congregate all over the country to take advantage of the increased tournament opportunities. My summer travels began in Wisconsin, where I played the inaugural edition of the Wisconsin Chess Festival. I wrote about my experience here for the US Chess website. Thereafter,…

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Akshat Chandra

Playing Chess in Batman City!

The Clark Street Capital Grandmaster Invitational was a 20-player tournament held from April 12-16 and sponsored by chess aficionado Jon Winick of Clark Street Capital. The tournament was organized by the Chicago Chess Center with the aim of providing the local Chicago chess players with an opportunity to compete for and, potentially, earn norms. Despite…

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Recapping The 2016 World Rapid and Blitz Championship

As the year 2016 drew to a close, several of the world’s chess elite descended upon Doha, Qatar to compete in the World Rapid & Blitz Championship. Making his first appearance in a competitive tournament after retaining his World Championship Title in November was Magnus Carlsen, who seemed eager and determined to earn back his…

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St. Louis - Akshat Chandra

“How Faith and a Move to St. Louis created a Grand Master”

As printed on the website of St. Louis Public Radio In January 2010, I played in the Delhi International Chess Grand Master Open, my first major tournament. I was 10 years old and brimming with optimism and hope, having started playing chess a few months earlier on my visit to India. In the first round,…

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The End of One Quest, The Start of Another

The November Autumn Invitational was a Round Robin (RR) held at the Saint Louis Chess Club from Nov 17-22. It was a 6-day event, and so had more meaning for me than a typical tournament since I needed a 6-day Grandmaster (GM) norm in order to become a GM. I already had more than required collection of 5-day…

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Amy Lee & Maurice Ashley -

2016 Millionaire Chess – Competing on Millionaire Monday

The 3rd, and perhaps final, edition of the Millionaire Chess Open was held from October 6 -10 at Atlantic City. I had the good fortune of being able to participate this time, after being unable to play last year in the 2nd edition of Millionaire Chess. The tournament has been organized for the last 3…

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Akshat Chandra - Gersh Kuntzman - Chess

SEE IT! Our old man loses to a 16-year-old Chess Master!

This article was written by Editor of New York Daily News, Gersh Kuntzman, with whom I played a Chess game. Article By GERSH KUNTZMAN Nothing makes you feel dumber than losing at chess to a 16 year old. I have a good excuse, of course: I’m lousy at chess. And here’s an even better excuse: I…

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Awesome Thank You Note from RISE!

  A couple of days ago, I received a wonderfully crafted Thank-You Note from the students at Rise Program.  Thank you so much, and I really appreciate it! Have a look at their creativity – love the bobbing pieces!

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Presentation at RISE Program of Woodbridge School District

Being the present National High School and US Junior Chess Champion, as well as the 2013 Junior High K-9 National Chess Champion, provides one with special credentials as well as a sense of responsibility to promote chess in academic circles. Today, March 2, 2016, I had an opportunity to present to a very special program at the Woodbridge…

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Media Mention – Top 10 Blitz Player on and 1st Ranked Junior Rapid Player in the US

Pretty cool that I’m the only Junior player in the world to make the Top 10 Blitz Ranking List on the server 🙂 That goes well with the #1 Rapid Junior Player rank in the US!    

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Tom In his Own Words

This Post continues on my previous posting about Tom, which can be viewed here. The same post on US Chess Federation site can be viewed here. Hi, My name is Tom Nordeman, I was born April 9, 1983, and I am the oldest of five children. When I was six months old I was diagnosed with…

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Knowing Tom

While at the Philadelphia Open a few months ago, I came into contact with a local chess enthusiast – Tom Nordeman. An ardent chess player, Tom, in his own words, says that he is “intrigued by chess because it is so complex.” He discovered chess when he started high-school, and since then, the game has remained a close friend of his.…

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Media Mentions

Some recent coverage of the US National High School Championship and the US Junior Closed Championship.  

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The US Junior Championship 2015
Winning the strongest US Junior event ever in my first appearance!

The US Junior Closed Chess Championship is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the United States – next only to the US Championships. This was my first time playing the US Junior, and I was looking forward to competing in this event. The chief attraction of the invitational Junior Championship is that the winner…

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Winning the National High School Championship 2015!

The National High School Championship K-12 is by far the strongest national scholastic event in the US. The 2015 edition was held in Columbus, Ohio, from April 10 to 12, with the National High School Blitz Championship a day earlier on April 9. I was the top-seed, and this meant that I would be be playing only…

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Titled’s Online Blitz Tournament

Blitz chess is the most exciting format of a chess game. Players usually have between 3 and 5 minutes for the entire game, and several times the game gets decided in wild time scrambles. The experience is extremely exhilarating for the players, and audience as well. With less time to think, the game is mostly played on…

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“Training” with the US Chess Champion,
5-hours with GM Gata Kamsky

In January, I played one of Mike Regan’s 5-round tournaments, the Championship section of the Chesapeake Open at Rockville, Maryland. This year’s edition was quite strong, and happened to attract none other than the reigning US Chess Champion, GM Gata Kamsky! Gata is a 5x US Champion, and was regularly among the world’s elite for several years. His rating has dipped a…

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Garry Kasparov and Akshat Chandra

Meeting the Legend Once Again!
A session with Garry Kasparov

Last month, a group of 5 young players were invited to an evaluation session by Garry Kasparov as part of the “Young Stars-USA” program sponsored by Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) and the St. Louis Chess Club (CCSCSL). This was my second time at the session, having attending the last one about a year ago. Meeting Garry truly…

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Reflecting on the Qatar Masters 2014
I won’t back down!

The Qatar Masters 2014 held in Doha late November, turned out to be the strongest Open tournament ever. Out of a total of 154 players, 92 of them were GM’s, of which 56 were over 2600 and 14 over 2700. Unfortunately for me, it was one of the worst performances of mine in recent memory. Since my…

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AKshat Chandra and Yu Yangyi

Final impressions of the Qatar Masters

The recently concluded Qatar Masters 2014 was surprisingly won by Chinese GM Yu Yangyi. I say surprisingly because when there are players like Kramnik and Giri playing, one seems to forget about everyone else. As the tournament drew to a close, Yangyi upped his level of play and skillfully composed a symphony of wins in…

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Vladimir Kramnik - Akshat Chandra - Chess

Dueling in the Dunes!The Qatar Masters Open 2014

Please check my latest article on the World’s Strongest Open Tournament – The Qatar Masters 2014 – on Chessbase.  Some of it is below: The Middle East is rapidly emerging as the host of several high profile tournaments. Over the last two years the region has hosted prestigious tournaments such as the World FIDE Blitz/Rapid…

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The Missed Combination Of A Lifetime

(Actual Position – Black to move now in a combination which secures a decisive advantage) An article I wrote was published on Chessbase.  I had posted the combination puzzle as ‘Insane Tactic‘ on the blog earlier. For the article, I was able to interview GM Liem Le Quang. The Editor of Chessbase, Frederic Friedel, created the exact…

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John Nunn and Mark Hebden - Akshat Chandra - Chess

To Take, or Not to Take?

I came across a game between British GMs John Nunn (left) and Mark Hebden from the recently concluded World Seniors Championship. There was a very neat finish to the game, and so I thought I’ll share it. In a lost endgame position, Hebden tried his last chance with …Rg1: How should White react? A) Kxg1 – Capture…

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Ni Hua - Le Quang Liem,

Insane Tactic

I was going through some games, and I came across one which had an extremely exciting and complicated position. The game was between former Chinese Super GM Ni, Hua (Left), and Vietnamese Super GM Le Quang, Liem. Going back to the position before move h5, your move is to find the winning combination for Black. Take…

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Washington International 2014
Sand through my Hands

Rockville, Maryland. That’s where I was headed next for the Washington International 2014 chess tournament.  I was extremely excited for this chess tournament, and eager to make amends for the disappointing result at the North American Junior Chess in Canada a few days prior. My dad, brother, and I took the morning Amtrak train which dropped us off at…

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The Chicago Open 2014Stricter Rules on Players Leaving the Playing Area

Recently I learnt about a comment being floated by chess player Gopal Menon.  He is aggrieved at two incidents that occurred at the Chicago Open in May 2014 when he played me, and then another player later in the tournament.  First let’s look at what he wrote: Gopal Menon “After a very long and difficult week of chess…

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North American Junior U20A Missed Opportunity!

Sometimes you unexpectedly come across low-hanging fruit.  But that doesn’t mean you are still able to pluck and eat it.  This is the story of such a time. On July 26 I wrapped up the Czech Open, the last tournament on my month-long Europe tour and was all set to return back home! The tournament…

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Akshat Chandra - The Seventh Samurai

The Seventh Samurai

I came across a post written by a fellow chess enthusiast, Dana Mackenzie, on his blog, He really wrote an awesome article profiling me, and I want to express my gratitude to him. Thanks Dana ! He refers to me as the “Seventh Samurai,” a reference to the famous 1954 movie “Seven Samurai.” I must…

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Tied 1st at the Paracin International OpenMissed GM Norm by a Whisker!

  Checking in from Europe to give a little update. I tied first with 7.5/9 at the Paracin International Open in Central Serbia! 2700 GM Richard Rapport took first on better tiebreak. I missed my GM norm by a whisker, as my average opponent rating was a few points less then what was required. But…

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9-year old storms through GMs!

I thought I’ll share an article I just published on ChessBase.  It was about a 9-year old beating a couple of GM’s. I don’t know the young phenom, but such a feat is extremely rare and highly impressive at his age. That’s why I thought I’ll provide some coverage on it and highlight his accomplishment…

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Akshat Chandra and Mike Regan, Potomac Open, August 2013

Like Mike!

Sorry my dear readers! It’s been a crazy month and a half in which I played 4 norm tournaments, striking gold in one of them! But that’s not the subject I wish to discuss right now. After a long period of dormancy, I’m back to updating the blog with some new posts. Ever heard the expression…

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Achieving the 1st GM Norm!

The Marshall Chess Club organized a GM Norm Invitational tournament from April 04 to April 13. It was a 9 round, 10-player Round-robin, with 6.5 points required for a GM norm and 5 points for an IM norm. The participants included 3 GMs, 4 IMs and 1 FM. The players, by FIDE rating, were: GM…

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There can only be One.The US Championship 2014

The US Men’s and Women Championship is by far the most prestigious and honorable tournament in the United States. What makes it even more enticing is that it is held at the storied St. Louis Chess Club, where everything appears just perfect. This year’s men’s event is a Round Robin, unlike last year’s which fielded…

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Once a King Always a KingMental Strength and Grit – Carlsen wins Gashimov Memorial 2014

Has it really been 2 months since my last blog post ?!?!  Wow, time flies.  Doesn’t it? The first thing I want to say is that the Chess World lost a gem of a player and person in GM Vugar Gashimov, who passed away in January 2014.  Vugar, you’ll forever remain in our hearts.  His sudden…

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Funding a Quest!

Chess is one of the sports that is hard to find sponsors for. The game lacks the awareness and treatment that more popular sports receive, such as basketball, soccer, and tennis, even though the effort is no less to achieve mastery. In the US, government grants are not part of the culture. Young and strong emerging players…

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Tying for First at The US Amateur Team East 2014

The US Amateur Team East is held every year in Parsippany, NJ.  It’s the most well-attended annual team tournament in the country with ~1200 players showing up in 278 teams this year, and by far dwarfing other similar regional tournaments across the country!  Here’s an excerpt taken from a related USCF article regarding the main…

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Meeting the Legend for the First Time

On a recent January weekend, I attended the Kasparov Chess Foundation camp taught by Garry Kasparov himself !  As most of you would know, Garry was the 13th WCC, and previously held the record of the highest rating ever achieved (2851).  It was a tremendous privilege, and honor to actually see, and meet Garry in…

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Finding the path between Scylla and Charybdis When Wins turn into Draws against the 2600s

Those 2600s. Those darn, wily, 2600s 🙂 .  They’re always slipping out of my craftily woven webs, at the last possible moment.  They remind me of Scylla and Charybdis, ancient monsters in Greek mythology.  When passing through a strait, if ships drift too close to the port side, Scylla would feast on the ship and…

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Akshat Chandra - Boris Arkhangelsky - Chess

Reminiscing over the “Remi !”
The Day it All Started

It’s January 14, 2010. The weather is a bitter 37 degrees Fahrenheit (3 Celsius), with frosty winds gnawing at my face. Wearing my Choppers beanie, I enter the venue of my first GM Open tournament as a rated player. The 2010 edition of the annual Delhi GM Open (Parsvnath) tournament held in New Delhi, India.…

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Chess in Michigan – October 2013

The final tournament in my 3-tournament October Series was the Annual Fall Chess Festival in Dearborn, Michigan.  After a sub-par performance in my previous two tournaments , I was hoping to salvage something from the third tournament.  After two days of rest between tournaments, I was back on the road again, this time with my…

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World Chess Championship 2013 – A New Era Begins

As most of you know, the World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan ‘Vishy’ Anand and Magnus Carlsen came to an end 3 days ago.  Anand, the defending champ, ultimately proved to be no match for  Carlsen, the Norweigian phenom, who won 6.5-3.5, a staggering margin of 3 points. I guess the suprising part is not…

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I signed up on Twitter recently,  my account is @questToGM. Let’s see who’ll become my first follower … Ready,Set, Go ! 🙂

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Spice Cup 2013

Have you ever met a chess legend?  How about playing in a chess legend’s tournament? Well, that’s exactly what I was able to do, by playing in this year’s Spice Cup in St. Louis, organized and hosted by none other then the fabled Susan Polgar.  As most of you would know, Susan was the first…

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Losing & Winning the North American Youth Chess Championship

After coming home from the the Washington International Chess tournament, I was headed out again a couple of days later.  This time it was to Toronto for the North American Youth Chess Championship from Aug 14 to 18.  Normally I wouldn’t play these type of “Continental Youths,” for there is a significant rating risk as…

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Quebec Chess Championship 2013A Beautiful Setting

I feel compelled to write about my experience at the Quebec Chess Championship, as I wish to share with other Chess Players that things aren’t always “up and up” in our chess journey.  There are inevitable “Downs” too that accompany the “Ups,” and this chess tournament was certainly one of those.  It happens to everyone,…

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The World Open 2013A Bid to Sponsor My Quest Comes Short

The World Open is the richest prize money tournament in the US.  My focus has to be to climb the rating and norm charts and play the Open section, particularly since I had momentum coming off a strong performance at the New York International days earlier where I earned an IM Norm.  Playing a U2400…

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Catching an Apple at The New York International 2013 – my 1st IM Norm

I was looking forward to the New York International, which was being held at the St. John’s University in downtown Manhattan and organized by the venerable Marshalls Club.  After a subpar performance at the US Junior Open a few days earlier, I was hoping to make amends and turn in a better performance.  The tournament…

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World U16 Chess Olympiad 2013 Recap

The World Youth Olympiad is an annual team tournament held for youth 16 years and under.  The tournament brings together talented teams of youngsters from all parts of the world. It’s sort of like the kid’s Chess Olympics 🙂  This year’s edition was held in  Chongqing, China, and concluded yesterday.  Going into the tournament, the…

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SuperNationals V – Winning the K-9 National Chess Championship

Nashville! Nashville! Nashville! That was the one word buzzing amongst the chess kids during March and April.  The SuperNationals was here and Nashville was the destination for many of us chess players! To give you an idea, the SuperNationals brings together all age groups at once by combining the three National Scholastic championships for K-6,…

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Playing the Czech Open 2012

[youtube=] Video Courtesy : Juray Pechac & Michal Novotny, Pardubice Tourism Department, Czech Republic (I’m finally catching up on a great tournament I played last year – The Czech Open) Pardubice!  That was our next destination.  After bidding farewell to Belgrade, we boarded the bus to Prague, Czech Republic.  The bus started at noon, and was…

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Playing with Super GM Anish Giri !

A few days ago, I was on a chess server and I got paired with  chess prodigy GM Anish Giri.  It was Akshat Chandra vs Anish Giri.  I was electrified.  Here I was playing a 2700+ Top 20 player in the world.  We played out to a Draw, and after that I decided to strike up…

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Media Mention – US Chess – A GM Win

I will like to share that my article regarding my first GM win was published in the United States Chess Federation’s (USCF) Chess Life for Kids publication!  A mention also appeared on the USCF website. And the big thing was that Editor Glenn Petersen put me on the cover of the magazine!  For me that’s…

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Chess in Novi Sad, Serbia

After the Italian leg, it was time to go to Serbia!   Serbia, here I come ! Serbia is a special place for Chess.  Everyone appears to know chess.  Even the cab drivers talk about chess.  Serbia is no longer the force it used to be in Chess.  The war, newer job opportunities, and the…

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Chess in Braunau, Austria

The final chess tournament of my European Summer 2012 trip was in the small city of Branau Am Inn, Austria.  The weather was great during early August.  The great thing about the Braunau Open Chess Tournament was its high concentration of chess Grandmasters (GMs) – most of the higher rated players above me were GMs!  The…

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Forni Di Sopra…Scenic Chess

Next stop after Ortisei … Forni Di Sopra!  Forni Di Sopra is a small, lush village, located in the Dolomite region.  It’s very scenic with open views, and a beautiful place for a Chess tournament.  The ride to Forni Di Sopra from Ortisei itself was quite scenic and I must say long – we changed…

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Hard Loss…Now What? Recovering from a Chess Loss.

I‘m sure if one has played Chess long enough, we’ve all experienced “tough losses.”  In fact, I would venture to say that if you haven’t had a tough loss yet, then you haven’t played Chess long enough.  It happens to everyone and at all levels. What are tough losses?  There can be many versions in…

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Chess in the Paradise of Ortisei!

Our next tournament in June was Server 24 Chess in Ortisei – St. Ulrich. Ortisei is a beautiful small township nestled in a high valley and surrounded by mountains. A green emerald guarded by glistening and rugged peaks with long snow fingers. It’s no Brochure picture. I took it. I was there! Traveling in Italy…

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Gallipolli – Let the Guns Boom!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and now for the first time in the last two weeks I’ve got some time to share my experiences. I have playing in a tournament (Salento Chess 2012) close to the beautiful city of Gallipolli, located on the southern tip of Italy.  You may know the region for…

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World Championship Match Game 3

Game 3 was a lively affair, with Vishy coming tantalizingly close to a win! It looked like it would begin as a Gruenfeld but Vishy deviated from Game 1 with 3.f3!  A rather rare line at top level these days.  Surprisingly, Gelfand wasn’t fazed by this and blitzed out his preparation till move 16, sacrificing…

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World Championship Rest Day

After two games the World Championship Match sees it first rest day which the players will use to recuperate and refresh their preparation. The score is level at 1-1 after 2 hard fought draws. In the first game Gelfand employed the Gruenfeld. This was an interesting psychological decision, since Vishy himself  had opted for it in his first…

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The Big One! World Championship 2012 – Anand Vs Gelfand

Well it’s approximately 40 hours before the World Chess Championship 2012 match begins!  The current champion is GM Viswanathan ‘Vishy’ Anand from India, who will try to retain his title against the Israeli GM Boris Gelfand!  The overall score between them in previous encounters is 40/69, including rapid and blitz, in favor of Vishy.  As…

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Ups and Downs in Thailand!

  Bangkok Open at Dusit Thani Hotel 2012   Bangkok!  Yes, that’s where I recently finished a tournament.  In April, the weather was hot-pleasant.  Not humid.  Of course, you’ve to watch out for the water festival of Songkran from 13th to 15th.   The people are wonderful, at least the ones I met 🙂  Calm,…

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When Should We Accept Draws?

Hey!  I wasn’t feeling all too well and so I thought I’ll blog and share an interesting psychological situation with you guys.  A big dilemma that comes across a player is whether in a game s/he should accept a Draw or not.  While playing lower-rated players our ego tends to get in the way and…

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Hot in Vizag!

Vizag.  That was my next destination in November 2011, following the World Amateur Chess in  Antalya, Turkey.  Vizag is a bustling port city on the eastern coast of India, and about 2 hours flight from Delhi.  It was fairly hot and humid in the city.  Vizag was a GM caliber FIDE tournament and would last…

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Lifting the Cup!Victory in FIDE U2200.

My next tournament after Vizag was in Delhi itself. A U2200 Delhi Open Championship from Dec 07 to Dec 12. Players from all over India participated and even one from abroad. Coming off a satisfying performance in Vizag GM Open, I had the confidence and eagerness to go out and win the tournament. You can…

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