Hello ChessUp Community!
In this week’s newsletter, I want to share news about some high level events that are happening right now.
There are different formats and time controls in chess. I discussed the World Cup and the knock-out format previously but the format that we most often see at the top level is the round robin. A round robin tournament is one where every player plays against the others regardless of the results; a double round robin is when every player plays the others twice: once with the white pieces and once with the black pieces. The winner gets 1 point, the loser 0 and in the case of a draw, each player gets ½ a point. The player with the most points at the end of the event is crowned the winner.
Time Controls in Chess
There are also different time controls in chess. All tournament games are timed and each player needs to press the clock after completing the move. Running out of time results in a loss.
- A classical tournament is one with long time controls: usually the players get 90 minutes each to make 40 moves, then another 30 after completion of the 30 moves. In addition, after each move the players get 30 seconds added to their clocks. Serious tournaments such as the World Championship, the World Cup, etc use classical time controls.
- Rapid and blitz events are generally more fun and produce more dramatic and entertaining chess as the players don’t have as much time to think and tend to err more often. Anything above 10 but below 60 minutes is considered rapid chess.
- Anything below 10 minutes is considered blitz. The most common time control for blitz is 3 minutes with 2 seconds increment after each move.
- Bullet chess is a popular online variant of blitz but we don’t have bullet chess tournaments over-the-board. Bullet chess is a time control with less than 3 minutes per side. The most popular online variant is 1 minute per side, sometimes with 1 second increment after each move. There is also hypberbullet with 30 seconds per player!
The Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz and the Sinquefield Cup
The fourth stop of the Grand Chess Tour (GCT) just wrapped up at the Saint Louis Chess Club. Five time US champion and popular streamer Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura swept the event, securing the win with 3 rounds to spare, a phenomenal feat against such strong opposition.
Top level games can be overwhelming as the games are nearly perfect and many of the decisions are too deep to understand, but I would highly suggest checking out the games from this event.
I have worked for the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz for many years as a journalist, and it has definitely been my favorite tournament to be part of. It is always so thrilling to be in the same playing as the World Champion and the rest of top level players and watch them live in action. When former World Champion GM Garry Kasparov returned to over-the-board chess in 2017 to play in the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz, chess fans were lining up for a chance to go upstairs to the playing hall and watch him in action. Kasparov is an absolute legend of the game, and even though he retired from competitive chess in 2005, the intensity he exudes when playing could be felt from the sidelines.
The final leg of GCT, the Sinquefield Cup, will kick off on Tuesday in Saint Louis. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, live spectators will not be allowed at the chess club, but you can watch the live coverage and the games online. I will discuss it in more detail in the upcoming newsletters.
The answer to last week’s puzzle is 30.Bd8!! While there are several ways to win the position, I thought this move was aesthetically pleasing. The point is to block Black’s rooks from defending the e8 square, so that Qe8 by White in checkmate. For example, if Black captures with the rook, after we trade the rooks once, I will check on e8 with the queen and after my opponent captures, the rook will capture back resulting in a checkmate. You can see the full game here.
This week’s puzzle is from a game between two top American players from the recently completed Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz .I encourage you to write your answer in the comments section below.
Sam Shankland vs Fabiano Caruana 0-1
Black to play and checkmate in two moves
You can find the answer along with the link to the full game in the next issue of the newspaper. In the meantime, give us a follow on our social media channels for more chess content.
Follow us on social media