Welcome to the FIDE newsletter

Welcome to the FIDE Newsletter #13. In this issue, we invite you to share with us which game from the Online Olympiad you would consider worthy of the Gazprom Brilliancy Prize for the best game. We also report on an important festival held in Ukraine, sponsored by Schweppes as part of the agreement between FIDE and the Coca-Cola company. And we go through the national championships that took place over the past couple of weeks in Germany, Iceland, and Latvia.


Gazprom Brilliancy Prize

The first Online Olympiad came to an end, but since the event had its own dedicated website and numerous reports have been published there and elsewhere, we won’t devote much space to it in this newsletter. As everybody knows by now, the final was impacted –in the worst possible moment – by a global internet outage, one of the biggest ever, leading to the unprecedented decision of awarding gold medals to both finalists, Russia and India.

This incident caused rivers of ink to flow and, unfortunately, all this distracted the public attention from the real important things: the many exciting moments and great games that this competition gave us. So, let’s get back to the chessboard, and discuss what we all are passionate about: chess games. Gazprom, General Partner of the first Online Chess Olympiad, is the sponsor of the Brilliancy Prize for the best game of the competition, and a beautiful trophy has been specially designed for the occasion.

In order to designate a winner, FIDE has invited a panel of popular Streamers and YouTubers to be the judges. They will announce their votes along the week in their respective channels, and the final winner will be announced on Friday, once all their votes have been gathered. Judges have been asked to give 3 points to their favorite game, 2 to their second favorite, and 1 to the third.

This is the list of judges:

Anna Cramling   Antonio Radic
Sweden / Twitch   Croatia / Youtube
Anna-Maja Kazarian   Sagar Shah & Amruta Mokal
Netherlands / Twitch   India / Youtube
Jesse February   Daniel King
South Africa / Twitch   UK / Youtube
Maria Emelianova   Michael Rahal
Russia / Twitch   Spain / Youtube
Daniel Naroditsky    Simon Williams
USA / Twitch   UK / Youtube
Ayelen Martinez   Eric Rosen
Argentina / Twitch   USA / Twitch
Carlos Matamoros   Fiona Steil-Antoni
Ecuador / Twitch   Luxemburg / Twitch

Do you have a favorite game from the Olympiad? We invite you to post the critical position from your favorite game on social media, tagging FIDE and/or using the hashtag #ChessOlympiad. We will make sure that the judges take your suggestions into account. 
Ukraine Independence Day Schweppes 2020

Thanks to the cooperation agreement between FIDE and The Coca-Cola Company, Schweppes became the main sponsor of the chess festival that was held in Ukraine. The event included an online tournament, combined with simul exhibitions in the five largest cities in the country.

The “Ukraine Independence Day Schweppes 2020”, a 10-round online Swiss tournament, took place on August 22 with a total of 321 participants. Among them, there were 65 titled players taking part including 16 GMs. After ten rounds of fierce battles GM Alexander Zubov, one of the best Ukrainian rapid and blitz players, emerged as a winner with an excellent score of 9/10 (8 wins, 2 draws).

Egor Bogdanov and Vladimir Onischuk finished a half-point behind the winner and tied for the second with the former taking silver thanks to better tiebreaks. Three women’s prizes set in the event were taken by Natalia Zhukova (1st), Nastya Rakhmangulova (2nd), and Evgeniya Doluhanova (3rd).

Five 20-board simul exhibitions took place in public places in Kyiv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Odessa, and Lviv featuring some of the most prominent Ukrainian players. Chess fans had a chance to qualify for one of the simuls by taking part in the online tournament.
Analysis Engines Workshop

Technology advances fast, and chess trainers need to have a good grasp of the latest developments in many fields: chess engines, databases, different learning platforms. “While logic and experience can get someone far, there is currently a huge gap of knowledge of what really the chess engines can and what they cannot do, which deprives the trainer to use them in their full potential”, explains Peter Long, Secretary of the Trainers Commission (TRG).

To address this need, the TRG Commission has organized several 1-day workshops dedicated for explaining to chess coaches how to make the most of all these tools in their day-by-day lives. The lecturer is Nikolaos Ntirlis, a renowned chess author and a highly specialized professional in the fields of data analysis, adult learning theories, and sales engineering.

The first of these seminars took place on August 29, but chess coaches still have the chance to join one of the two upcoming workshops: on September 5, or September 12 (starting from 9am CET). The price is €30 for licensed trainers. and €50 for others. You can find more information in this brochure, as well as the TRG website.
Matthias Bluebaum, winner of the "German Masters" 2020
"German Championship" and "German Masters"

The German Chess Championship Summit took place in Magdeburg from August 14th to 22nd and brought together amateurs, professionals, and officials in one place.It was the first big chess event in Germany since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, and of course, the event was conducted under strict health and safety measures.

Since 2019 this event is played under an original format, consisting of two main competitions:

The official titles of "German Champion" and "German Women's Champion" are decided in a championship between the champions of the various German state associations.

However, the highlight of the festival event is the “German Masters”, split in open and women's tournaments. In each event, the eight strongest German players compete in a round-robin format for an unofficial title of the best chess player in the country. From these eight players, seven are seeded by rating, joined by the “German Champion” from the previous year.

In total, 10 tournaments took place at the summit this year:

German Masters
Women's German Masters
German Championship
Women's German Championship
German Lightning Championship
Women's German Blitz Championship
German Cup
German Seniors Championship
German Seniors Lightning Championship
German Seniors Rapid Championship

In addition, the German national team played their Online Olympiad matches from the venue of the summit.
GM Matthias Blübaum won the German Masters and became the new German number one in the Live Elo rating. The big surprise happened at the Women's event, where the underdog WIM Fiona Sieber triumphed despite being ranked last on the starting list. The second youngest German Grandmaster Luis Engel qualified for the Masters 2021, after taking the German Championship title and turning in an impressive performance of 2729.


German Masters (Open)
Blübaum Matthias

2 GM Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter 4
3 GM Huschenbeth Niclas 4
4 GM Donchenko Alexander 3,5
5 GM Meier Georg 3,5
6 GM Kollars Dmitrij 3
7 GM Heimann Andreas 3
8 GM Fridman Daniel 2
German Masters (Women)

1 WIM Sieber Fiona 5,5
2 IM Pähtz Elisabeth 5
3 WGM Klek Hanna Marie 3,5
4 WGM Heinemann Josefine 3,5
5 WGM Papp Sarah 3
6 IM Kachiani-Gersinska Ketino 3
7 WGM Michna Marta 3
8 WGM Lubbe Melanie 1,5

More information:
Kjartansson, winner of the 107th edition of the Icelandic Championship
Gudmundur Kjartansson, Icelandic champion for the 3rd time

Iceland was one of the first nations to cancel a high-profile tournament ¬ —the Reykjavik open— because of the pandemic, but the sacrifice paid off as they were also one of the first to resume over-the-board events. During the past few days, Iceland held its National Chess Championship, which reached its 107th edition. This competition is, in fact, older than the Icelandic Chess Federation itself, founded in 1925.

During all these years the championship has been organized in the most traditional way: a round-robin tournament with the best players in the country. The only exception was the 2013 event when to celebrate the centenary edition, it was replaced by a Swiss tournament open to all.

The defending champion was Helgi Ólafsson, who has won a total of 13 titles. He was very close to having a number 14 under his belt, as he reached the final round on top of the table, tied with Gudmundur Kjartansson and half a point ahead of the rest of the pack. However, despite both leaders having white in the last and decisive game, they both got in trouble: Olafsson lost, and Kjartansson was in a desperate position. If they both had lost, a four-way playoff would have been required. However, in move 39, and amidst severe time troubles, Gretarsson missed a decisive blow. This allowed Kjartansson to build a fortress and save a draw that was enough to clinch the title.

1 IM Kjartansson Gudmundur 6,5
2 GM Thorfinnsson Bragi 6
3 GM Gretarsson Helgi Ass 6
4 GM Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn 5,5
5 FM Stefansson Vignir Vatnar 4,5
6 IM Thorfinnsson Bjorn 4,5
7 FM Ragnarsson Dagur 4,5
8 GM Petursson Margeir 3
9 GM Thorhallsson Throstur 2,5
10   Jonsson Gauti Pall 2

More information:
Laura Rogule, Women's Latvian Champion 2020

Lanka and Rogule win Latvian Championship

Last Sunday, August 30, the Latvian 2020 Classic Chess Championships came to the end in the Tallink Hotel Riga. GM Zigurds Lanka won his second title in the open section, while WGM Laura Rogule became the Latvian women’s chess champion for the tenth time.

The 9-round open Swiss tournament brought together 39 participants battling for the title.  Zigurds Lanka (2391) finished first with an excellent score 7.5/9 – a full point ahead of GM Tom Kantans (2499) and FM Ilya Semyonov (2368), who took silver and bronze respectively. Interestingly enough GM Lanka’s first title dates back to 1993, while Semyonov just won his first medal in open championships and completed his first of the three required IM norms.

1 GM Zigurds Lanka 7,5
2 GM Toms Kantans 6,5
3 FM Ilja Semjonovs 6,5
4 FM Matiss Mustaps 6
5 IM Matiss Sveshnikov 6
6 MK Maksims Golubovskis 5,5
7 IM Roland Berzinsh 5,5
8 MK Arsens Batashevs 5,5
9 FM Guntis Jankovskis 5,5
Aleksandrs Jazdanovs
... 39 participants in total.

1 WGM Laura Rogule 7,5
2 WFM Linda Krumina 6,5
3 MK Mada Golsta 6
4 WFM Julia Gorozhankina 5,5
5 MK Ramona Golsta 5,5
6 I Marija Kuznecova 5,5
7 NM Nellija Maklakova 5,5
8 WMK Zinaida Osobskaja 5
9 I Anna Kazmerika 5
Agnesa Ter-Avetisjana
24 participants in total.

More information:
Arturo Pomar, in 1947. PHOTO: Bram Wisman / Anefo

Arturo Pomar was born in Mallorca on September 1, 1931. In 1962 he became the first Spanish player to be awarded the title of Grandmaster. A chess prodigy, he was a regional champion when he was just 10 years old, and that gave him the opportunity to meet with Alexander Alekhine. The World Champion was then living between Spain and Portugal to avoid the war, and he took the young boy under his wing. Alekhine gave some private lessons to Pomar, and even devoted to him one of the chapters of the book he was writing at the time. In 1944, at just 13 years of age, Arturo scored his first draw against Alekhine at a tournament in Gijon, after being very close to defeating him. His precocity was comparable to that of Morphy, Capablanca or Reshevsky, but he never developed his full potential.
Pomar's best result in an international competition probably occurred at the Madrid Zonal of 1960, where he shared first place with Svetozar Gligoric, Jan Hein Donner and Lajos Portisch. This result qualified him for a place at the Stockholm Interzonal tournament of 1962, where he finished 11th. Pomar could never devote himself to playing chess as a professional, and he got a job at a post office. He traveled to Stockholm without a coach and paying his own expenses. “Poor Spanish postman. No matter how well you play in this tournament, you will have to go back to sell stamps”, Bobby Fischer quipped.  A seven times Spanish Champion, he passed away in 2016, after having spent most of his life working in a post office.

Upcoming anniversaries also include legendary figures from the past, like Philidor and Zukertort, who share a birthday with one the greatest benefactors of chess in the XXI century: Rex Sinquefield.

Other players who celebrate their birthdays in the next couple of weeks are Zhan Zhong (Sep-5), Zoltan Ribli (Sep-6), the best African player of all times, Amin Bassem (Sep-9), and Pedrag Nikolic (Sep-11).
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