I was very sad to see Gata Kamsky fall apart at the second round of the Candidate Matches in Elista. (June 6-14) He still deserves kudos on his win against Bacrot. I was a bit frozen on the subject of his loss for the past few days; sorry to CLO readers who feel I should report just as speedily on a win as on a loss! I am definitely not an objective journalist when Gata or any of our top players are tested against the world elite.
I spoke to Gata a few days before his match with Gelfand, and although he seemed relaxed, I can't say that I thought it was a good sign when he asked me if I had any good ideas for White against the Najdorf. Seriously, Gata really should have had a second in Elista for both moral support and preparation. We shouldn't let this kind of thing happen again. Here is Gata's uninspiring fifth round loss that clinched the match in Gelfand's favor:
All of the higher rated players won their matches: Levon Aronian beat Alexei Shirov, Peter Leko beat Bareev, and Alexander Grischuk won against Rublevsky. So Aronian, Leko, Grischuk and Gelfand advance to the World Championships in Mexico.
It's been almost a year since the birth of Chess Life Online (June 30, 2006!), and the Chess Journalists of America awards are coming up. I am going to nominate several CLO articles for prizes, but if the readers have any favorites, please e-mail me and I will take your thoughts into account. Thanks!
Busy chess summer
If there's a season for chess, it's definitely the summer- and with the U.S. Junior Championships U.S. Cadet Championships, ,World Open, U.S. Open, 2007 U.S. Women's Championship and the Executive Board elections all going down in July, things are about to heat up.
The next thing on my calender is a simultaneous in conjunction with a Surrealist chess exhibit at the Nassau County Museum in Long Island on June 24. Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or event organizer Gary Paston (516-922-6610) if you are interested in playing. On June 25, Monday evening, I'm going to conduct an advanced [DOCUMENT:43]all ladies chess class at the Marshall Chess Club.[/DOCUMENT] (word doc.)
Hikaru Nakamura claims he's coming to win the World Open. I'll vote for him as long as he stops playing other games. As for the U.S. Women's, I have still not received official word on whether or not recent mother Anna Zatonskih will defend her title. If she does not play, Irina Krush will be the clear favorite. I'll also be at the wonderful Curacao Chess Festival for a few days along with CLO columnist Joel Benjamin and U.S. Champion Alexander Shabalov.
The U.S. Open will be in Cherry Hill, New Jersey near my hometown and current residence, Philadelphia. As usual, it will feature an exciting menu of side events and for those interested in chess politics, committee meetings and new board members. Speaking of which, DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!(I will remind you again.) By the way, for those who are wondering, Cherry Hill is only 20 miles from Philadelphia, so fly into the Philly airport, not Newark.
To end this blog of odds and ends, are a few more promised photos from my trip to South Africa in late April/early May. (Read my original blog on South Africa.)
Me with the South African Ladies Closed Champion, 17-year-old Carmen De Jager. An example of South African hospitality is that the De Jager family hosted a dinner party for me and used the colors of my book to decorate the table!
Me in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Although they are controversial, I support girls' tournaments because it gives girls a chance to compete in a positive way and to make friends.
Music and fun at the waterfront in Cape Town.
Is it too late to get the King of Prussia Mall, right by this year's World Open, to do something like this?
There is a lot of construction of stadiums and hotels in South Africa, in preparation for the 2010 World Cup.
13-year-old Melissa Greeff, the South African Ladies Open Champion for the second year in a row.
A dinner party in Cape Town turned into a tandem chess match. (Not bughouse! Tandem chess is blitz chess with two players on each team, alternating moves. You're not allowed to talk with your partner.) The funny thing is that women seemed to take better to this type of chess, as the men tended to get overly annoyed when their partners couldn't find the right moves!
My simul at the Cresta Shopping Center in Johannesburg was set up in a stunning fashion. I drew two games and won fifteen.