Chess: David Howell draws 142-stroke marathon in Riga using rare ruler | Chess


David Howell is the only Englishman in Grand Swiss with 108 Covid players in Riga, and the three-time British champion, 30, got off to a promising 1.5 / 2 start in world qualifying. It seemed unlikely when he rushed early into a lost second-round position on Thursday against Latvian Arturs Neiksans, but Howell fought and eventually halved a 142-stroke, eight-hour marathon. The game ended in a draw using the rare rule of 50 moves played without capture or pawn move.

Howell is only seeded 34 but will return to the final Grand Swiss in Douglas, Isle of Man, in 2019, where a late push gave him an outside chance to qualify for the candidates until a final round loss. of the tournament. winner Wang Hao.

53-year-old Keti Arakhamia-Grant, the second oldest of 50 players in the Grand Suisse Women’s, won with flying colors in the opening round of the Women’s Grand Prix, beating Armenian No.1 Elina Danielian. The Scotswoman lost in the second round to Russian champion Valentina Gunina, while England’s No.1 Jovanka Houska was beaten in both of her matches. The Grand Swiss and Women’s Grand Swiss each have 11 rounds.

Indian teens are improving quickly and the trio of Nihal Sarin, 17, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, 16, and Dommaraju Gukesh, 15, came out early on. All three won or drew in the second round against much higher-ranked opponents, including Sarin’s precious half-point against world No.3 and seed Fabiano Caruana. A highlight of the third round (early Friday noon BST) will be Praggnanandhaa against Howell.

Grand Swiss has strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols to comply with Latvia’s month-long lockdown. A total of 17 players from the original entry have retired, including highly ranked Alexander Grischuk, Shak Mamedyarov, Richard Rapport and Hikaru Nakamura, as well as Grand Swiss Women’s No.1 seed Kateryna Lagno.

Alireza Firouzja is the most obvious beneficiary of the weakened Grand Swiss peloton. The 18-year-old former Iranian, who now represents France, is widely regarded as Magnus Carlsen’s heir to the future for the next several years. He is currently ranked World No.6, but in Riga he rose to No.3 in the rankings behind Caruana and World No.4 Levon Aronian, and has a realistic chance of taking one of two candidate spots or , failing that, one of the six Grand Prix places whose winners also qualify.

The only Covid-19 issue affecting the tournament so far has been that the chief referee, England’s Alex Holowczak, found out he had been in contact with someone positive for Covid-19 before arriving. in Riga. His tests have been negative and he has no symptoms, but he follows the rules of self-isolation while continuing to work closely with other officials.

Holowczak is 30 years old, very young by refereeing standards, and has proven to be very effective in his previous positions at Fide, notably as chief referee at the 2020 and 2021 Fide Online Olympics. ‘he will continue to officiate in the most important international events in the future, up to and including world championship matches. This would continue the English tradition of providing important Fide officials, from Leonard Rees, one of the founding fathers of the world body in 1927, to Harry Golomek, referee of several matches for the world title of Mikhail Botvinnik.

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Meanwhile, Norway’s Carlsen and Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi, whose $ 2 million 14-game championship streak kicks off in Dubai on November 24, are in their training camps preparing for the match. Carlsen is currently a prohibitive 1-4 to retain the crown he has held for eight years, while Nepomniachtchi is listed at 11-4 against.

If the rumor is true that Carlsen is spending a lot of preparation time at his camp in southwest Spain playing one-minute internet ball games, it could help the challenger. The 30-year-old is quoted in an upcoming interview in New in Chess: “My biggest advantage in the game is that I am better at chess”, which drew comments as José Capablanca in 1927, Alexander Alekhine in 1935 and Garry Kasparov in 2000 also had reasons for such a belief.

3787 1 Rh7! The game is over 1… a2 2 Bd5! and Black resigned because of a1 = Q 3 Kf7 + Kg5 4 Kf5 mate. If instead 1… Rxc6 2 Rxh6 + and 3 Rxc6 win. If 1… Kg5 2 Rf7! Kxh5 3 Kg7! and mat by g4 or Be8. If 1… Rh1 + 2 Kg4 Ke6 3 Bd5 + Rd6 4 Rxh6 + Kc5 5 Ra6 stops the black pawn and wins on material.

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