The 2022 FIDE Grand Prix Series wrapped up in Berlin on April 4. The two qualifiers to the 2022 Candidates Tournament were Grandmasters Hikaru Nakamura from the US and Richard Rapport of Hungary. The overall winner of the series was Hikaru Nakamura with a score of 23 GP points.
As I mentioned in my last post, our ambassador GM Levon Aronian was in a good situation to qualify after finishing second in the first leg of the series in Berlin behind Nakamura. In the third leg, Levon was in the same group as Nakamura, which meant only one of them could advance to the knockout stage. Levon started strong by defeating Nakamura in the first game, but stumbled in their second encounter. The last round loss ended Levon’s hopes to advance and secured Nakamura’s win in their group. Nakamura advanced all the way to the finals, ultimately losing in the tiebreaks to fellow American GM Wesley So. Richard Rapport qualified after placing second in the first leg and winning the second leg in Belgrade.
Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So
Photo Courtesy: World Chess
The Candidates Tournament is set to take place from June 17 until July 7 in Madrid, Spain. The winner of the tournament will go on to challenge Magnus Carlsen’s World Championship crown. The Grand Prix was set to be the last qualifier to the event but Russia’s Sergey Karjakin was banned for 6 month by FIDE Ethics Committee. His replacement will be the highest rated player on the May 2022 list who has played at least 30 games in the last year.
In other chess news, the 2022 Chess Olympiad which was set to take place in Moscow, Russia has moved to Chennai, India! Since chess is not part of the Olympics, we have our own Olympiad that takes place every two years. It is one of the few team events on the calendar and is a true celebration of chess. Almost every country sends a team for both the Women’s and Open Olympiad. It is truly wonderful to see the pride that the teams take in representing their countries and the rare occasion of equal male and female representation in a tournament (chess still remains a male dominated sport). I have been part of the US Women’s team since 2008 and it is my absolute favorite tournament to play in. While my rating has suffered quite a bit in the past few years, I am still hoping to qualify as a member of our team and represent the US on the big stage.
Right now, another one of my favorite tournaments, the Reykjavik Open, is taking place in Reykjavik, Iceland. I came across this really cute checkmate in two. See if you can find it.
White to move and checkmate in two moves.
Beerdsen, Thomas v Player, Edmund C
Kvika Reykjavik Open, 2022