2018

6th Wijk aan Zee victory!

In 2015 and 2016 I won outright with 9/13 in Tata Steel Chess. This time it was enough for shared 1st with Anish Giri, and with the new play-off rules implemented in 2017, tournament victory was decided by a Blitz play-off to the joy of most spectators and the chagrin of purists taking exception to deciding classical events with Blitz (albeit slow 5+3 Blitz). Personally I’m fine with both alternatives; shared victory, or play-off. I do like play-offs despite the extra pressure, and fortunately I managed to maintain my good record, and won 1,5-0,5 to clinch the title and capture the status of having the most tournament victories ahead of Anand at 5, and Aronian (among contemporary players) and others at 4.
2018

Three-way tie before final weekend

In round 9 I had the black pieces against Viswanatan Anand who has played very well except against Kramnik. We ended up playing a Ruy Lopez variation that is somewhat better for white but solid for black. It was a surprise when he went c4 as I thought I might have more problems after a slower approach with b4, and eventually rerouting the knight from g3. White still had the initiative, but it was not much. When he offered me a draw on move 32 it was still fairly equal. Since I couldn’t see any scenario where I would end up better, I promptly accepted.
2018

Actionfilled weekend in Tata Steel Chess 2018

We played rounds 6 to 8 this weekend, and while the individual results cannot be considered particularly unexpected, the many comebacks from lost positions are exceptional. Friday it was Mamedyarov’s and So’s turn, and by winning Mamedyarov took the sole lead ahead of Anand and Giri.
2018

Wind aan Zee

Even for January in Wijk aan Zee the storm was quite heavy this morning. The planned basketball match in Ijmuiden was cancelled due to an authority red alert related to traffic dangers, falling trees etc. Early afternoon it calmed down a bit and we enjoyed a walk on the beach and a late afternoon basketball session at the local Heliomare, before playing the first online Proleague match of the year for the Norway Gnomes. Todays opponents were aptly named the (Gorky) Stormbringers. We won convincingly.
2018

Two weeks aan Zee ahead

Traveling from Oslo via London for the annual Arctic early January sponsor event onwards to Wijk aan Zee outside Amsterdam, I’m reminded of one effect of living close to the Arctic circle. Just a short flight from Oslo there’s already 1,5 hours more daylight mid January.
2018

Riyadh rollercoaster ride

The King Salman 2017 World Rapid & Blitz Championships in Riyadh was organized at the highest level, and my family and I were treated with great hospitality throughout our stay. The quality of my play was more of a rollercoaster until the last day. The great last day change was reminiscent of the Berlin 2015 Championship, with opposite signs.