Vassily Ivanchuk’s recent interview with the Ukrainian daily newspaper “Den” isn’t your standard chess interview. In fact, Ivanchuk doesn’t talk about current chess events at all, instead displaying a deep interest in literature while also explaining, for instance, why Julius Caesar would have considered chess players happy.
Hikaru Nakamura’s tournament victory was described as “the birth of a supernova” by Yury Vasiliev in two final reports from the Tata Steel 2011 Tournament. The Russian journalist was on the ground in Wijk aan Zee to provide photo reports and comments from players and observers throughout the event.
After regretting commentating on two short draws, Sergey Shipov got more than he bargained for in Round 3: Hikaru Nakamura defeated Alexei Shirov in an epic 7-hour battle, with both players coming up with some brilliant (and at times less brilliant!) moves, before the American grandmaster finally prevailed.
While the final round of the Tal Memorial provided all the human drama you could hope for, the chess itself at times perhaps left something to be desired. For instance, Shipov describes Grischuk – Nakamura as “a game of woefully poor quality”.
The sensation of the eighth round was Sergey Karjakin’s crushing win over Vladimir Kramnik. Shipov’s report begins, “generational change is inevitable”. Other highlights include the awakening of the “lion” Shirov, and Nakamura and Gelfand paying tribute to Capablanca and Alekhine.
An indication of how much Grandmaster Shipov is enjoying himself is the number of “translator’s notes” I need to add, and this report beat all records. Wang Hao has become “Ivan”, Nakamura scored a victory over Armenian chess, and Eljanov’s play provoked the comment: “Study theory, gentlemen!”
Moscow’s Tal Memorial honours Mikhail Tal, the “Magician from Riga”, who blazed a path to win the World Championship half a century ago this year. Recalling those days, and how chess has changed since, has been a theme of Ilya Odessky’s tournament reports.
While round 6 didn’t set any records for fighting chess, Grandmaster Shipov does a good job of explaining the opening subtleties that pass the average chess fan by. Highlights include an unfortunate “butterfly effect”, and Gelfand choosing a line that’s “not going to trouble giants”.
Shipov’s impressions of Round 5 included holding back some analysis for his friend Boris, dismissing the “iron lumps” of computers and describing Shirov and Nakamura as players capable of “turning even a dry endgame into a fierce and ultra-complex thriller”.