The Candidates – shake hands!

It has been an intense first week for the players and for the chess community on Twitter. And every day more and more tweets about the event in Khanty Mansyisk are posted, which is good for the future of this blog!

Let’s start with a weather update from Galiya Kamalova, Karjakin’s girlfriend: Кони ШФМ в Ханты-Мансийске!!!)))


In the round 6 report you can read a lot of tweets about handshakes. Or the missing handshake, if you like.

Ah, the handshake: I found a nice quote on the  Bleacher Report website:

“The handshake is not just a universal greeting gesture. It is a measure of a man. Too weak and it’s assumed you stay at home on Friday nights watching Sex and the City reruns while cuddling with your kitten. Respect is immediately lost and the man card is thrown in the ocean, never to be seen again.”

But we don’t need to see this before the start of a chess game, do we?


Or this: 


“The handshake is a common gesture of non-verbal communication to express greetings or seal an agreement. It is instantly recognized as the international sign of goodwill, peace and respect used by presidents, business leaders and ordinary people.”

It is actually interesting to spend an hour or so on the web checking   how “the handshake” is handled in  other sports. On a field hockey website , I found this quote:

“It’s a truism in sport,(…) that once the final whistle goes you leave it on the field and shake hands. You don’t have to mean it, but a mumbled “good game”, “well played” or simply “thanks mate” is what’s expected.”

On Fox Sports I read this one:

“The Kentucky High School Athletic Association, the governing body for all high school sports throughout the state, on Tuesday ordered all high schools to no longer conduct postgame handshakes due to an increase in violence in these postgame events — “more than two dozen [incidents] in the last three years in Kentucky alone” according to the KHSAA.”

And it is hard to believe, but there is even a “Stop handshaking Website”:

 Let’s go back to the tweets: Jeroen van den Berg, director of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament: @jvdbergchess: “Frankly speaking I was disappointed that Mr. Kramnik and Mr. Topalov did not shake hands today. Time should heal the wounds. Why not?”

Today, one day after the game Topalov-Kramnik, @SilvioDanailov , who is  president of the European Chess Union and Topalov’s manager tweeted: “BTW,I don’t understand the hysteria about the handshake.If two persons dislike each other,why do they have to fake it and pretend?” #Hypocrisy. And he added later: “Personally,I don’t shake hands or even say hello to Makro&friends “FIDE” for years,feeling great about it. Unfortunately,hypocrisy is fancy”. 

Mark Crowther, @marktwic answered: “because that isnt what a handshake before a game of chess is about”. And he added:” a handshake is about showing you will conduct the game in a sportsmanlike manner and follow the rules.”

Mark obviously refers to the FIDE Handbook , in which you can find this remark  under 09: FIDE Code of Ethics:

“The game and concept of chess is based on the assumption that everyone involved / concerned observe existing rules and regulations and attaches the greatest importance to fair play and good sportsmanship.”

In case the players decide to shake hands in round 13, on 29 March, when Kramnik and Topalov meet again, there is plenty of time to practice the “perfect handshake”. (click to enlarge).


One final tweet: @wwwECesaro: “A real man’s business card is his #handshake


The Candidates in tweets – round 6

Wednesday 19 March 2014: 15:00 in Khanty-Mansyisk, 14:30 in Chennai, 11:00 in Tel Aviv, 10:00 here in Frankfurt/Main, 09:00 in London, 05:00 in New York, 02:00 in Seattle, and in Honolulu it’s still Tuesday 18 March 23:00! The chess world is waiting for round 6 of the Candidates tournament with the following pairings: Topalov-Kramnik, Anand-Karjakin, Mamedyarov-Svidler and Aronian-Andreikin.

The world is not only waiting for the games, but is also waiting for a simple handshake: On Tuesday, Associale Editor of Chess Magazine John Saunders and “The Week in Chess” editor Mark Crowther had a conversation about this topic: @johnchess: “Pleasant pictures of Kramnik and Aronian chatting amiably after their game. These days it is the chess patzers who feud, not the stars”. @marktwic: “Might be a tad early to make that assertion. Lets wait until tomorrow”. @johnchessSufficient unto the day is the evil thereof…! @marktwic: Sure but it’s not every day we get Topalov-Kramnik… I hope they just shake hands and get on with it.”

Kramnik and Topalov played in Wijk aan Zee 2007, the year after the infamous “Toiletgate” scandal of the Chess World Championship 2006. If you are interested to read something about  this black page in chess history, go to this Wikipedia page:

I was in Wijk aan Zee to cover the Corus Tournament and it was the first game they played after the scandal.I took this picture of the media frenzy:


No handshake in 2007…but a lot of photographers. You might recognize Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, Bianca Mühren and Fred Lucas.

And in 2014? @chessdom: “No handshake in Topalov – Kramnik. After 1.d4 Kramnik said j’adoube and adjusted the pawn”. Mike Rosa, @DeepMikey editor of the Chess Tigers website: “Kramnik should have surprised Topa by offering the handshake. This would have given him a psychological advantage, imho. 🙂 Mike received a reply from India, @asimpereira: “But then there was always a risk of Topa preparing a novelty by responding with a two-handed shake and a lovely smile!!” 

@TarjeiJS tweeted a picture: “Topalov & Kramnik not shaking hands today, is already news in Norway’s @vgnett


@pookita:Funny how not shaking hands in chess makes bigger news than a hockey fight which leaves men without teeth.” GM Stuart Conquest @stuthefox:” Had Kramnik or Topalov offered to shake hands, would the other have refused?”

One final word on this unpleasant item from Natalia Pogonina: (until round 12, when they will have to face each other again!) @pogonina: “In real life the first one to offer a handshake after a tough conflict is not the weaker person. S/he is the more mature & forgiving one.” 

Round 6

Well, let’s go to the games: @borisshipkov“A theoretical duel in Berlin Spanish in Anand-Karjakin. Mamedyarov-Svidler, Dutch. Surprise”! @albertomuniz: “I’m Spanish so I don’t mind to play my own country opening but… poor Polish people!!”

For newbies: The Polish opening is also known as “Sokolsky Opening” or “The Orangutan” and starts with the move 1.b4. The Polish gambit is 1. e4 b5.

Eric Barber @BarberChess replied: “Traxler Counterattack has an alternate name, named after my home city… not sure how I would feel about playing that every game”.

Asking for the name of that city would be a good “Who wants to be a Millionaire” question, but before you start looking things up:

 “Czech problemist Karel Traxler played 4…Bc5!? in Reinisch–Traxler, Prague 1896. Some decades later, several Pennsylvania chess amateurs, (mainly K. Williams) analyzed the variation and decided to name it after their hometown Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, so today 4…Bc5 is known as both the Traxler Variation and (in the U.S.A. and the United Kingdom only) the Wilkes-Barre Variation.”

 Dusan Krunic, head of Sales at Chess Informant @DusanChess tweeted: @polborta “Clearly showing what his hometown is – playing Leningrad (Dutch)!” @pags1189: “This is not a stonewall. It’s a bit of a wall here and a bit of a wall there!! LOL”

Back to the games: how is the tournament leader doing? @olimpiuUrcan observes: “Anand (having spent only a few minutes of his time for 21 moves) walks by Karjakin and yawns… #HomePreparation

No yawning in Toppi-Vlady: @anishgiri: “Topalov-Kramnik leaves up to the expectations. Peculiar preparation from the Bulgarian and complicated fight on the board!” 

Talking about preparation: GM Pavel Eljanov @eljanov comments: “It seems so far that two participants from Candidates are totally unprepared for the tournament.” You do not have to be Einstein to see which player he is tweeting about: “It’s hard to believe that Andreikin can manage a way out, with this position and with this opponent”, according to @chess_anyone.

Pablo Byrne @anbhanna noticed: “I saw Eljanov tweeting to the effect that Andreikin has turned up without prep, without mentioning names. But I’m sure he has.” Jonathan Tisdall, GMjtis answered:  I think it is a question of degree – Andreikin is not a theoretical opening type. But today looks oddly unaware.”

More tweets about preparation, anyone? @robertris: “Wasn’t it Grischuk who said Kramnik is badly prepared with Black?” @anishgiri: “It used to be a good joke…:)”, but… @robertris: “I thought so, but after his game vs Svidler and this one you’d believe Grischuk is right :)”

@OlimpiuUrcu: “Danailov & Cheparinov are watching this with the kind of excitement not seen since Bulgaria’s 1994 World Cup soccer matches.”

And what about the other games: @poisondpwnpress:“The World might beat Russia by a big margin today.” @GMjtis: Fantastic fighting going on in all #Candidates2014 games today. This event seems to deliver tremendous spectator value.”  @chess_anyone: “Karjakin’s position is a hard nut to crack. @vishy64theking will need to create a second weakness, but is it possible ?”

Mamedyarov-Svidler was a game that did not get much attention, but @anishgiri is following the game carefully:  “Meanwhile Shakhriyar is creating an initiative out of nowhere- powerful idea h4! He is getting back in shape it seems!”  Another top GM, who will certainly play a role in the next Candidates: @fabianocaruana: “24…h6 is unimaginable. I can’t explain it.” Chess player and author Gary Lane explained: “It is called a blunder! Maybe he thought the rook was protecting it.” @jakedarmanin: “Mamedyarov’s 31.Rg5!! vs Svidler is a gem”. 

@Unudurti:” Classic PH 🙂 “Could be quite decisive to a certain extent”. And that brings us to a nice question for the commentators and honeymooners Peter Heine Nielsen and Viktorija Cmilyte: @Indicrace: “Victoria and Peter, have you both played each other?”  

And we have a result: @arunmanick: “What a come back for @ShahriyarMamedy After back to back defeats now back to back victories !!” Time for the press conference: @carokann: “Peter Svidler takes the lead in every press conference. This is so neurotic. Why, Peter? #Candidates2014 You lost!”. @bekmirahmedovSwidler doest allow the translator lady to do her job”. Other tweeters are more positive: “The very best press conferences are Svidler’s”, tweeted by @mistruster. 

Another result: Anand-Karjakin ended in a draw: “@indicrace: Anand remains unbeaten through round 6. Another win will psychologically seal things and will see him cruise from there on.”

And back to Topalov-Kramnik: @jonbobahn: “Kramnik drinking Pepsi, doesnt that make you tired?” @Eljanov: “Yesterday Kramnik didn’t convert winning position and today he lost. In general this is a frequent case unfortunately”. @acepoint:Kramnik resigned. No handshake as far as I saw”.

@eivindsalen: “The press conference between Kramnik and Topalov will be interesting. I think Kramnik would be anywhere else in the world.” 


@traderDXB: “Not very sporting of Kramnik to skip the press conf”.

@erniecohen:“Aren’t players required to attend the Press Conferences? Will Kramnik be disciplined for not showing up?” @TarjeiJS: So according to regulations, Kramnik will be fined for not attending the press conference after his loss vs Topalov.

However, Kramnik came to the press conference: alone. ChessDom co-founder Goran urosevic tweeted: @goranurosevic: “Kramnik didn’t know the rules, he never lost before (except London last round). He would have come to press conference”.

@candidatesfide: “Kramnik: I was afraid of Topalov’s computer preparation and tried to go to the more solid way. Today is not my day”. “Kramnik…100% pure class even when he looses”, according to @skakblog. 

One more game to go: Aronian-Andreikin. @TarjeiJS: “Aronian should be easily winning against Andreikin now, meaning he will join Anand in the lead”. However, the Norwegian was corrected by @susanpolgar: “Chess is a beautiful game. To make predications can sometimes be very hard. Seemed close to winning in that ending!”

@anishgiri: “I read everyone saying ‘if Aronian converts he will tie for first’, but is there a single idea in the position?” @pookita: “Its like @LevAronian is in training to play @MagnusCarlsen already with all of these long grinding games. #stamina“.  @jonathan_rowson: “Topalov *very* impressive today, Anand flat, Svidler unrecognisable, Aronian winning”. 

Aronian winning? According to @LennartOotes there is no doubt:


“Just now I realize @LevAronian is wearing the same type of shirt as I do. It’s even my lucky shirt.”

But: Aronian did not win his game against Andreikin. @angusjfrench:Ah, they’ve agreed a draw. Fantastic defence throughout game by Andreikin”.  @gunjangodbole: “Aronian must be looking forward to the rest day after two very long games in a row. Jon Ludvig Hammer @gmjlh thinks that Aronian has a plan,  “Aronian’s first round loss was a ploy to get better tiebreaks”

@marktwic:Anand leads alone on 4/6. So far he’s avoided stress and problems but can’t believe he’ll do that for the entire event.” @chrisbirdIA: “Anand in the lead but I’m hoping he doesn’t win as a rematch with Carlsen will only go one way zzzZZZ zzzZZZ”. @traderDXB replied: “You are obviously an expert, like all other “experts” who gave no chance to Anand in #candidates2014. You Must be Right.”

I wll leave you into the second rest day with one last tweet, one to think about on the rest day: 

@vishwaskrishna: “None of the candidates this year, in their current form, can defeat Carlsen, if they continue to play in the same level”



The Candidates in tweets – round 5

A player who played such a crucial role in the Candidates Tournament in London last year,  celebrates his 45th birthday today, 18 March: Happy birthday, Vassily Ivanchuk!

Before I am going to follow and filter the tweets of round 5, I want to come back to the transmission problem many users in Germany seem to have when watching the livestream via YouTube. Dutchman Lennart Ootes, who is familiar with the latest technology and who is very experienced in the field of live transmissions tweeted me: @LennartOotes:” @ChessClassic All @YouTube live streams are blocked for Germany. We use @Livestream and @candidatesfide have their Digicast service.” 

Of course, it is possible to watch the Candidates live in Germany. @nixkapier tweeted: “no problems with the live stream when opening the stream directly from the FIDE Candidates2014 site”.

And it would be a pity if you cannot watch the games in round 5 today! The pairings look promising: Andreikin-Anand, Karjakin-Mamedyarov, Svidler-Topalov and Kramnik-Aronian. @MarkTWIC: “Round 5 looks like it could be a pretty key one for everyone in the field. Very interesting pairings”. Jesper Knudsen thinks it is time for Karjakin to show some action. @KontaktKnudsen: Is it close to getting all in for Karjakin? Think he has to show some courage today. Maybe his time has not come yet”. @arunmanick observed: “Round:5 Russia (White) Vs RestOfTheWorld (Black) Interesting !!

The twitter community is ready for the games , and the players are ready: @carokann: “Don´t we chess players not love our plastic bags? What about the locals? The playing hall ist crowded, I guess! However,  Galiya Kamalova @GaliyaChess tweeted this picture from the playing hall:

The crowd in Khanty Mansyisk is going nuts!

@chessvibes: “Meanwhile playing hall almost empty. Internet important these days, but they would like to SEE us on the edge of our seats!

Now that world champion Magnus Carlsen models for G Star RAW, fashion has obviously become an item in the chess world:  @indicrace oberves: “Aronian finally comes dressed like a serious chess player”. @sorbosander asks: “Is there a specific dress code for these tournaments or can players wear what they like?”

naked chess
Jennifer Shahade playing “naked chess”.

Round 5

After about 45 minutes @chess_anyone tweeted: “Karjakin – Mamedyarov is already close to a draw, a bit puzzled by @SergeyKaryakin ‘s preparation so far”. More action coming up  in Topalov-Svidler: “14…Ne5 is already a huge threat from Veselin intending Ng4 ! Is Peter already in trouble ?” @OlimipiuUrcan: “The highly aggressive piece of preparation by Topalov against Svidler (round 5) is worthy of greater attention.” @AnishGiri: “At Svidler-Topalov looks like somebody got outprepared. Look at the clock and guess! #trickquestion“. However, there are other opinions on Twitter: @drsaurubhBhatia“Topalov’s castle is completely destroyed and there is a potential a-pawn advance by Svidler. Is Topalov in trouble?”

@AnishGiri has obviously woken up and added a creative hashtag to his next tweet:“Kramnik managed to get a nice position even with a modest 4th move! Impressed!”


I tweeted to Giri: “Creative hashtag. Impressed!” and the Dutchman  replied: “Yep, good chances to go worldwide trending?”

Top GMTeymur Radjabov, after about 90 minutes of play, made a spectacular statement . @rajachess:  #Candidates2014 good games”. 

Of course, we have the daily commentator bashing on Twitter as well: @Iversityl“Why can’t Nielsen pronounce words like “logical”? Lovestruck and irrational perhaps?”. @gaurav-a-knight:“Got a lot of regard for you Mr. Nielsen. But with all due respect, you don’t have to be disagree every time with GMVictoria.”

I think PH will figure out a way to make up for it.

And a question to PH: @anandkumarn: “Can Peter say some interesting incidents from him being Anand’s second during WC matches?”  A question by @IndicRace:Will the players be disqualified if they speak to another player sitting in another table?”

Back to the games: The games Karjakin-Mamedyarov and Andreikin-Anand did not get much attention on Twitter. But play-live-challengesomebody is watching the games: @MagnusCarlsen: “Following the @candidatesfide closely today. Good luck to all the competitors in round 5!” He did not forget to tweet about his app: “@PlayMagnus hit 100,000 downloads today! Wondering: Will my next World Championship competitor use it for training?” @candidatesfide tweeted: “Yesterday at the press conf Karyakin said he didn’t use it for preparation. Mistake?))”. And Magnus answered: “that might very well be the case :-)”. @candidatesfide: “we will let him know your opinion:-)”

@anishgiri is also following the games closely: “Topalov and Kramnik, who I was praising, both letting a thin edge slip, now take over is in sight…” A more straightforward tweet from @srenplovgaard: “Topalov’s position is a mess now…”. Interesting observation from Claudio Mendicute @albionado2:“I think @LevAronian is being too optimistic at #Candidates2014 his g5 and b5 resembles his game vs @polborta in London”.

As predicted, the game between Karjakin and Mamedyarov was the first to end today: @chessvibes: “Karjakin and Mamedyarov draw their game in round 4. Lots of excitement in the other encounters”.  @GMGawain: “Hmm I disagree with commentators saying defenders have pretty easy draws. Svidler good winning chances. Kramnik+Anand can play on a while”. Gawain Jones added later: “But commentators’ job never easy:) At this point should say I’m commentating for @ChessICC tomorrow with Danny King”. 

Ok, so let’s check: What about Andreikin vs.  Anand?  @asimpereira: “Anand does not seem to have any advantage any more. Andreikin will hold the Rook endgame. He should have kept the Bishop!” As predicted, the game ended in a draw, but: @oanaogigante: “According to computers the last move of Andreikin was a blunder that could have lead to a defeat”. @gabkhach: “I’ve always wondered how do the players know whether the opponent is offering a draw or is resigning when extends his hand.”

A bit awkward,  when you offer a draw and your opponent thinks you resign!

Twitter was buzzing over Kramnik-Aronian: @asimpereira: “Kramnik Aronian game is so incredible, that even  Anand and Svidler have left their respective games to watch the fun”. @Unudurti: “The Clash of the Titans is living up to its billing!” Another way to express that there is an exciting game going on: @awalela: “Texas Chainsaw Massacre in Kramnik -Aronian.Gory scenes!”

Talking about movies: @YonathanMiller: “When is there gonna be a really great movie about chess?? Tired of seeing unrealistic scenes where people get checkmated in 1 move.”

And what about Svidler-Topalov? @skakblog:Topalov looks like he’s going to self-ignite!” @oanaogigante: “It is a pity the aggressiveness of Topalov is not paying off”. So let’s move on to the press conference then?


Or maybe not: @carokann: “suffered too many press conferences with Svidler. I stick with a rook endgame of Kramnik-Aronian”. Dion Lindsay wonders @dionl“: Is there bad feeling between Topalov and Svidler? At the press conf S is giving T no chance to speak and chair doesn’t help.” @carokann; “I would rather have wine with Kramnik than beer with Svidler. Or, one of his awful power drinks”. @pookita: “He’s brilliant and funny but man does he love the sound of his own voice :)” and added later: “It wasn’t really meant as an insult – he’s just chatty. Pretty odd for a chess player :)”

@albcrascal: “Please, could anyone unplug russian translator microphone??

One more game running: @candidatesfide:The last game Kramnik – Aronian should objectively be a draw, but Aronian still has to solve some problems in the endgame”. @Unudurti:”If Kramnik wins from a drawn position, then karmic balance restored after drawing in winning position in last”. @Chess-Anyone : “If Levon loses this game it’ll be very hard from a psychological pt of view. Not sure that he’ll be able to recover from it”. @reachvsara trying to create the best hashtag of the day: “Curious, Kramnik’s Endgame play. But Holmes! he ain’t winnin! That’s EXACTLY what’s curious!” #MysteryOfTheVladWhoDidntbark

So the logical result was a draw. @chessvibes: “Kramnik-Aronian ends in two bare kings and mutual smiles after a superb fight where White might have missed a win”. And the players analyzed after the game:  Anna Burtasova, @chesterra: “Kramnik and Aronian still discussing their game in the playing hall 🙂 One of the most interesting moments to see this!”

The janitor wanted to join the conversation, observed on the live-cam by @olimpiuurcan:  “Only in Khanty-Mansiysk’s halls you expect the janitor to step in with a bucket & a mop while two of world’s best dispute a rook endgame.”

A great day at the Candidates, time to evaluate the games played so far: @MarkTWIC: “Seems players are heading for positions where mutual errors are possible instead of trying to control everything”.  Grandmaster @fontainerobert: “Surprised to see Anand giving up the draw so quickly, unlike Kramnik who deserved to win today. Great fights to come”

One more tweet, one more question:

Halldor Bragason @bluesice asks: is the next Candidates in Iceland ?? map iceland🙂




The Candidates in tweets – round 4

After the first rest day on Sunday, the 4th round in the Candidates was scheduled on Monday with the following pairings : Mamedyarov-Andreikin,  Kramnik-Anand, Karjakin-Topalov and Aronian-Svidler. Before we check the tweets of round 4, let us take a quick look back on this weekend. There was plenty of chess played in the German Bundesliga: @MarkTWIC: “Anatoly Karpov is playing in the Schachbundesliga today against Martin Kravtsiv. A rare outing for the former World Chess Champion”.  The leaders Baden Baden had to play without several stars, because they are in KM: Anand, Aronian and Svidler playing, Peter Heine Nielsen does the commentary and Kasimdzhanov is rumoured to be seconding Karjakin.

If you wondering why Nigel Short has not been active on Twitter these days, giving his view on the Candidates, here is the answer: @nigelshortchess “Off to Calcutta for the 19th Grandmasters Open Tournament”! Did you see his profile on Twitter? He describes himself as : Chess player, writer, coach, commentator, olive farmer, guitarist and sexy beast.

Let’s move on to Khanty Mansyisk: How is the weather? Galiya Kamalova, Karjakin’s girlfriend tweeted me a picture:  @GaliyaChess: “near the Chess Acadamy”. GK-KM Press officer Anastasiya Karlovich posted a picture: @nastiakarlovich: “Here in Khanty-Mansiysk we are still in the middle of winter))” NK-KM Round 4

@MarkTWIC: “R4 has started. Anyone else think they should in some sense get a swear box for commentator Peter Heine Nielsen?”  …and Mark explained his tweet later: “My point of previous tweet is about how many times Nielsen says in some sense. He said in R3 Aronian has stood up in some sense”.

Interesting question from the official Twitter account to Magnus orangejuiceCarlsen: @candidatesfide: Perhaps @MagnusCarlsen is preparing for the second match against @vishy64thekingAnd the champ answered: @MagnusCarlsen:  “I guess you could say so. I’m sleeping in and drinking a lot of orange juice. :-)”

Leader Anand had to play black against his buddy Kramnik: @arunmanick: “One of the best game in #CandidatesChess is on the way. Anand Vs Kramnik Great Personalities and Class people !!” Playing against friends is not always easy: @rajkashana: “Wonder how Vishy and Vlady would prepapre for each other. They r good friends and know each other’s games in such details”.  The game just lasted an hour or so, and ended in a draw: @anishgiri tweeted: “Suspiciously many games in the last few years between Kramnik and Anand when black has been better prepared. :D” @Indian_Zero tweeted: “most probably they have made pact. really disappointed today. i was expecting bloodshed between them 2day”.

No bloodshed in Kramnik-Anand today and an extra rest day for the players, but what was going on in the other games?  The game Aronian-Svidler quickly became the most popular game in this round with a lot of tweets.” Fantastic @LevAronian : four consecutive Bd3-c4-b3-f7!!! With prev Qd1-e2 and Qc4 it’s 7 consecutive white square mov”, tweeted by @dusanchess. @viditchess: “Svidler’s position already looks unpleasant.Maybe simplifying on 27th move by Nd4 was better.”@maltebricht: “At first sight it amazes me that Svidler is not completely busted. K in center facing 2 passed pawns, many pieces on board.” @OlimpiuUrcan : “What was the result of the last game in which Svidler’s remaining 6 pieces were crowded on 8 squares on the 7th & 8th ranks?”

The game Karjakin-Topalov was not that exciting for the Twitter community, although @candidatesfide tweeted: “After 26…Rd4!? the position in Karjakin – Topalov game became unbalanced. “Topalov decides to make things interesting in what has otherwise been an extraordinarily dull game so far”, tweeted @MathCasualty. A few moves later the game ended in a draw.

Another game without many tweets: Mamedyarov-Andreikin. Only at the end of the game we saw some comments: @Chess_Anyone: “Great drama during the zeitnot of the game Mamedyarov Andreikin. Shak is completely winning now #excitingchess“. @MarkTWICMamedyarov wins vs Andreikin. Has he put his bad start behind him?

It was difficult for the commentators to predict the outcome of the remaining games: @techraderin who was obviously irritated about the comments asked:  “mr. neilsen why do you keep saying, well i dont know, i dont know, carlsen also uses it, u learnt from him or he from u?” It is always amusing to see how other people react to those bold tweets: @vishalsareen, an IM, trainer, write, chess consultant and an very nice guy (I met him in Chennai) responded: “Just take it easy!”

On a positive note: @dgriffinchess: “Watched the commentary by @VCmilyte and @PHChess during lunchbreak at work. 🙂 Absolutely first-class!”

A Candidates tournament is all about details: Mark Crowther @MarkTWIC : Aronian-Svidler continues. Will someone please J’Adoube the d6 pawn which isn’t near the centre of the square!” @acepoint responded: “it must be soemthing with the pawn itself. On d4 it also was placed sloppy ;-)”. As the game continued, GM Gawain Jones tweeted, @GWGawain: Svidler’s position looks very unpleasant to defend to me, even if computers don’t yet give Aronian a winning advantage”. And he was right, Aronian went on to win the game. @finlip: “Rest of the World win 3-1 against Russia today. :)”

Meanwhile in Germany…Tobias Brendler @etschmia tried to follow the Livestream: “Es ist echt peinlich. Alle Welt kann live zusehen bei #Candidates2014. Nur wir nicht in Absurdistan.”

YouTube It reads: “Unfortunately live streaming is not possible in Germany due to legal problems. We are sorry”. I guess I do not need to translate “Absurdistan” in the tweet!

0% chance…

During the third round of the Candidates, I observed  a funny conversation on Twitter between two leading Dutch grandmasters Anish Giri and  Erwin l’Ami, concerning the game Svidler-Kramnik.

Erwin l’Ami in Wijk aan Zee 2013.

Erwin, following the game at home, suggested a crazy variation:

@erwinlami: 41.Qc8 e4! 42.fxe4 Qe2 43.Rf3 Rxd6 44.Qe8! f6 45.e5! looks killing, but 45…f5! 46.gxf5 Rf6!! saves. 0% chance this will happen though.

and Erwin added a little later: Svidler played 41.Qc6 which should transpose after 41…e4 42.fxe4 Qe2 43.Rf3 Rxd6 33.Qe8.

@anishgiri tweeted: I bet you on this one.

@erwinlamiTaken! If you win you the bet you get to play 1st board in the Olympiad and I will go and sit somewhere else 🙂

@erwinlamiAh, and if you lose the bet you also get board 1!

@anishgiri: If I lose the bet, Kramnik will not get the board 1 😉

(I admit , I had to think about this last tweet for a minute…)

@fabianocaruana: 45…f5 46. gf5 Rf6 is unbelievable… Times like this I wonder what my thoughts would be playing over the board.

@erwinlamiSo, I said 0% chance…

…and the official website tweeted: @candidatesfideSeems, we believed in your intuition more than you and retweeted as soon as this variation came out. 

@erwinlamiI appreciate your trust! 🙂 





The Candidates in tweets – round 3

Round 2 was a really good one with exciting games, but what to expect in round 3, the round before the first rest day?  The pairings: Andreikin-Karjakin, Svidler-Kramnik, Topalov-Aronian and Mamedyarov-Anand. Will Veselin Topalov play for a win on his 39th birthday today? @ChessinT wonders : “Is this the last shot at the World Championship for some of these guys?”

A quick look back on round 2:  @Jonathan_Rowson tweeted: “Aronian’s game said “just in case you forgot I’m the favourite…” Kramnik’s said: “Me too.” 

European champion Alexander Motylev

In case you forgot: there are more chess events in the world, e.g. the European Individual Chess Championship in Yerevan, Armenia. After his loss in the second round, @SergeyKaryakin still had something to celebrate on Friday: “Congratulations to my great coach Alexander Motylev! Brilliant play and result!!” @JuditPolgar tweeted: “Congrats to Alexander Motylev for his victory at the European Championship! He was fighting as a lion, himself!” She posted a sweet picture:


Jon Ludvig Hammer@gmjlh , the Norwegian GM who played in the tournament  tweeted: “Lost one rating point and won 45 euros. But still happy after a superb last-round win!” The champ himself was surprised: via @Chess_News he said: “Не могу представить, как я стал чемпионом. Это настоящее чудо”.

Round 3

A bit of a sleepy Twitter start today. Chessplayers (and watchers) are obviously notorious longsleepers. Well then, it’s Saturday, it’s ok to sleep a little longer!  After 45 minutes of play the first assessment from @Chess_Anyone: “In all 4 games black has played very solid systems today”. @Devangshudatta: “All interesting positions with potential but no clear evaluations yet”. @AnishGiri was surprised about the Kramnik game: “Historical day today. Kramnik is not prepared. #writinghistory

Interesting games, interesting tweets: “This commentator girl has a so sexy voice!!! ;)”, according to @Eduardo-Mara. He is talking about Viktorij Cmilyte, who is commentating with her husband, Peter-Heine Nielsen for the official website. I have to quote PH from his Facebook site where he posted a hilarious story:

“Woke up this morning by my sister telling me I overslept my plane to Siberia. Having arrived jetlagged from Brasil 12 hours before, guess predictable. Googled Siberian cities, found a connection to Surgut and now on my way to Khanty-Mansyisk in a taxi ( with wifi!) Will be in time to do commentaries for the Candidates Tournament in 10 hours from now. Unless I oversleep…”



@AnishGiri: “Listening to commentary by PH Nielsen and Cmilyte. Lucky guy, paid for spending quality chess time with his wife. 🙂#jealous“.

Viktorija has to answer Twitter questions like: @jonbobahn. “Viktorija, thx for the very pleasant commentaries. When does the 1st woman enter a candidates ?” There are also some critical voices: @Finlip: “Dear commentators, please stop giving us computer lines. We can check them ourselves”.

In the game Mamedyarov-Anand, black had a pleasant position after the opening:  @reachvsara: “Compared 2 recent past years to his games at #Candidates2014 so fa, looks like de activ Vishy’s back’- PH Nielsen. Glasses on, Gentlemen!” @candidatesfide agreed: “Anand has a pleasant position after an inaccurate 17.e5 by Mamedyarov”. 

And Anand quickly went on to win the game. @chessvibes: Yep @ShahriyarMamedy has resigned and so @vishy64theking will go into the first rest day topping the standings”.  Appreciation by @anishgiri: “The killing precision of Anand resembles the way I remember him from 2008. #foreveryoung ” @Unundurti tweeted: “What was surprising was the speed of White’s collapse in Mamedyarov-Anand”. @Ragnsvan: Impressed by @vishy64theking . “Nice comeback,and now topping the standings. Who did really believe this some weeks ago?”

“Massive win for Vishy. Are we going to see Carlsen-Anand Part 2?” @LawrenceTrentIM.

And the other games? Dutch grandmaster @erwinlami: “Svidler is about to secure the title of Russian champion for the 8th time! Seems to be doing very well against Kramnik.” @chess_anyone tweeted: “Topalov – @LevAronian is going wild ! But it seems @LevAronian has huge activity for the unbalanced material”.

Andreikin vs. Karjkakin ended in a draw. An uneventful game, really and no interesting tweets about the game to be found. They can go into the rest day now, but what to do?life-of-pi-poster2 International Correspondence Chess Master Martin Bennedik has a good idea: @bennedik: “The other players should all watch Life of Pi on the rest day. A tiger is always dangerous”. 

Another game ended in a draw: @chess-anyone: “Topalov @LevAronian is a draw by repetition. After some nice tactics, both players played well and the result is logical”. 

One more game left: @TarjeiJS:” It does actually look like Svidler is doing well vs Kramnik! What a result that would be for Peter!”@carokann: “Well this type of position might be not one for Svidlers style. So Kramnik might survive this”. An exciting game for the Twitter community, @chessvibes: “Svidler & Kramnik both made the time control with seconds left. @polborta is still the one playing for two results”.

And the game continued: @chessvibes: “Will Kramnik find the study-like 45…f5 46.gxf5 Rf6! or not? Peter Heine Nielsen: “It’s a huge moment for both players”. Super Grandmaster @fabianocaruana explained: “To explain the move, it’s prophylaxis against e6 and Qf7. If 46…Qe4 then 47e6 wins. 46…Rf6 47e6 Qe4 seems to draw”. Simon Williams @ginger_gm: “Unbelievable defence by Kramnik! …f5 and …Rf6!!”. 

So the game ended in a draw: @carokann: “The worst is yet to come for Svidler. Confessing in pressconference”.

Another interesting day at the Candidates. I will leave you into the rest day with a tweet by @haley_connorWhat score would you guess for Kasparov in this tournament if he just showed up and played with no preparation?”


The Candidates in tweets – round 2

A new day, a new round. In round two we will follow the games Kramnik-Karjakin, Svidler-Andreikin, Topalov-Anand and Aronian-Mamedyarov on Twitter.

Hashtag confusion

@aarjun17 tweeted to @nastiakarlovich, press officer in Khanty Mansyisk: “There is a problem with this hashtag #Candidates2014. The same tag is being use in tweets related to the Indian elections”. It gets even more confusing when Anand (india!)  is trending on Twitter in India: @rajkashana: “Still too early to say anything about the outcome. Glad to see Vishy back in form and hope he sustains it. #Candidates2014“. @LennartOotes tweeted: “Tournament website did choose for #CandidatesChess“.

Round 1 comments

Anand had an impressive start in the first round with his win against Aronian. @DanielRensch, Vice president of stuff for @chesscom and @chesskidcom: “Wow! @vishy64theking played like a champion today!@Kumbham: The Tiger has new dentures !”

And what did the world champ have to say? Via @TarjeiJS, the essential source for chess related tweets from Norway, we read:  @MagnusCarlsen to @vgnett: “Impressive play by Anand today. But you can’t draw any conclusions after only one round.”

Round 2

Obviously, there are still some bugs on the official site. @LennartOotes asked:  “Khanty Mansiysk challenge of the day: how to reproduce this position with @candidatesfide official live board”


Lennart, did you notice the ad on the left: “Asus, Master of home entertainment?” A very , ahum entertaining position, don’t you think?

What was really going on in KM? @LorinGhiman observed: Kramnik keeps his odd habit of showing up at the game with his things in a plastic bag.”

After less than 45 minutes @AnishGiri tweeted: Aronian-Mamedyarov #omgunbelievable.  @ChessVibes tweeted: In round 2 #CandidatesChess Mamedyarov blunders and should already be losing against Aronian”. Natalia Pogonina @Pogonina agreed: “Aronian – Mamedyarov looks like a potential miniature (1-0). Black is getting his queen trapped.”

This spectacular game got a lot of attention, but what was going on in the other games? Toppy-Vishy: @IndicRace: “Anand looking supremely confident. A planned change in style of play finally working?All his defects spotted and cleaned up?” The same user was a bit worried about the health of his compratiot: “Anand coughing, Siberia has taken its toll?” @Reachvsara: “Tiger of Madras, playing Black, in a Yellow Shirt, has offered a Pawn on move 10, prowling around nonchalantly :-)”

Kramnik-Karjakin: @Chess_Anyone: “Kramnik is already 50 minutes up on time and has tremendous compensations for the sacked pawn”. No tweets about Svidler-Andreikin after 90 minutes of play, but then @AnishGiri tweeted: “Svidler is playing terribly beautifully! #masterpiece.” 

Trivia of the day: “The “thing” Topalov wears on his wrist #Candidates2014 is a Balcanic celebration of spring (red&white strings woven together)“, tweeted by @LorinGhiman

The wristband did not prove to be enough to win against Anand: @ChessVibes: Impressive liquidation to a drawn pawn ending by @vishy64theking vs Veselin Topalov in round 2. @Reachsvara: “Confident 46…Rg2 & Vishy draws: `This is the difference between Grandmasters and Super Strong Grandmasters!’ @VCmilyte at #Candidates2014“.

Peter Svidler won his first game of the tournament: @ChessinT tweeted: “Gustafsson: “I think Andreikin might throw in the towel here – I don’t see a move”. Svidler obviously dominated the press conference. @ChrisBirdIA,  a chess arbiter and chess organizer from Boston reacted: “Watching Svidler analyze his win from today. Poor Andreikin should be allowed to leave, he can’t get a word in edgeways.”

@ChessVibes:“The end of @polborta-Andreikin reminded of McDonnell-De La Bourdonnais. Funny: that was also a Kalashnikov!”

After his loss in the first round against Anand, Aronian won today: @TarjeiJS: “Aronian, Armenia 1-0 Mamedyarov, Azerbaijan. The Shakh trapped his own queen early on.” More Twitter poetry comes from @OlimpiuUrcan: “After he got his knight trapped on b2 v Anand, Aronian’s aesthetic two-knight dance (14.Ne4!!) snared Mamedyarov’s queen.”

The last game of the day was Kramnik-Karjakin.  @Pogonina: Interesting exchange sacrifice by Kramnik. He is objectively better, but the position is quite complicated.” @ChessVibes: “And… Kramnik also wins, against Karjakin. Young players in trouble today. Wonderful 2nd round”. From the official Twitter account @candidatesfide: “The strong novelty helped Vladimir Kramnik to claim the first win in the #Candidates2014“. 

Isn’t it great that the official Twitter account does not use the recommended  #CandidatesChess? Sigh.


After two rounds, it was time to speculate about the shape of the players.  Mark Crowther is worried about Topalov: “Even when people have been saying good things about his game he’s almost gone out of his way to say not.” Another tweet: Topalov just looks like he doesn’t believe in his chess anymore. That’s the vibe I’ve been getting off him for some time.”

@MarkTWIC is also worried about Aronian:  I’m also still a bit worried about Aronian, he doesn’t look in good shape even after today’s gift. Time trouble again.” @TarjeiJS  is worried about Andreikin: ” Great to see that the event may be more open than many have predicted. The only one I will rule out 100 % is Andreikin.” 

Andreikin does not have a Twitter account, but I read a nice quote via  @OlimpiuUrcan: “Andreikin [on preparation]: “I don’t want to reveal all my secrets, [be]cause I don’t have many.”


There was some irritation on Twitter about the commentary on the official website:  @DavyDavy196 tweeted:  “Please tell the Danish commentator to stop talking once in a while and not run on so”@SusanPolgar replied: “He’s paid a lot of money to talk. Otherwise, it would not be commentary :)” 

During the press conference after the game Svidler-Andreikin, things heated up in the game Kramnik-Karjakin, but….”Kramnik-Kariakin in time pressure and we still watch the press conference of Svidler??” @VassilisKokkakis tweeted. “I want to see the games, not the press conference.”, tweeted by @cshsanchez. “Unbelievable. Pple want to see live chess not someone giving a lecture on a game that has already finished”, tweeted by @PeterWarne29, later he added@NastiaKarlovich “can we please record the Press Con and show them after lives games have finished? thanks”. 

Last tweet for today: “Two rounds of #Candidates2014 and I’m already dreaming about #Anand-Carlsen rematch.. :)”, by @hjbhatt






The Candidates in tweets – round 1

And off we go! The Candidates tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk took off on March 13 with the games Anand.-Aronian, Andreikin-Kramnik, Karjakin-Svidler and Mamedyarov-Topalov.

A special day for Vladimir Kramnik: @chessblogs (Dennis Monokrousos) tweeted: “Happy Birthday, Vladimir Kramnik: The 14th world chess champion turns 38 today”.

“Believing in Aronian – Dreaming about Kramnik – Hoping for Svidler – But what if it’s Karjakin?” Tarjei J. Svensen, the Twitter king from Norway @TarjeiJS. 


Do you remember the unusable black and red Chesscasting pieces of last years’ Candidates tournament in London? Horrible! The official website uses a normal wooden-like board and pieces that are ok. Nothing special, but at least you can tell a rook from a queen! However,  the start of the live transmission was a bit bumpy. Top GM Anish Giri @AnishGiri  tweeted:

“Transmission of Candidates is so bad, have to use my opening expertise to guess who is playing who and with what color! :)”

Mig Greengard @chessninja added:

“So, the official site of the Candidate tourney off to a smashing start, with the games labeled differently on the two live coverage pages.”


Andreikin and Kramnik had a slow start with an uneventful draw, but Anand had a good position, according to Giri:

“A ‘comeback’ for Anand already in the first game would be sensational. Aronian is too careless, will he be punished?”

Venkat Saravanan, a strong IM from India @reachvsara: 23.c4! sounds great news for #AnandFans regarding his form at the #Candidates2014 🙂

I took a closer look at the official website, switched on the live games and what did I see on the cam: Vishy wearing a familiar shirt, so I tweeted:

 “Trivia: @vishy64theking wears his lucky shirt. He wore the same shirt in his game against @LevAronian in Tata 2013. He won”. 

Aronian-Anand, Tata Steel 2013. (click to enlarge)

Lyrics: Donovan- “I love my shirt”

I received a lot of retweets and found a nice comment: 

@passedpawn tweeted: “If I were Levon I would go and change my t-shirt and put one with MC’s pic on it.”

Meanwhile. the situation in in the Karjakin-Svidler game was unclear: “22…Bc4 !! From @polborta is such a beautiful and powerful move ! Peter is seizing the initiative now”, tweeted by @Chess_Anyone, whereas commentator Lawrence Trent tweeted via “I fear for Svidler.”

Not a surprise, that the game ended in a draw. “Svidler and Karjakin claiming that they both expected their opening today but neither remembered their preparation”, Mark Crowther @MarkTWIC tweeted.

Mamedyarov-Topalov also ended in a draw. Hard to find tweets about this game! Both players do not have a Twitter account! But I guess they have fans?

“3 games end in draw. All eyes on Anand vs top seed Aronian. Vishy has a very good (and rare!) advantage against Aronian”, @AsimPereira tweeted. Pentala Harikrishna @HariChess agreed: “Anand clearly winning against Aronian!”

When the last game was over, @Fabiano Caruana tweeted: “The players came out swinging in the 1st round of the Candidates, but only @vishy64theking profited from an impressive technical display.”

@TarjeiJS tweeted: “What a start for Anand beating Aronian! Must’ve given him a massive confidence boost. Who would’ve thought?” “Vishy! The Asian Tiger is back!” tweeted Theo. Tsorbatzoglou @teotsorb. 

That’s it for round one! Comments welcome.



Twitter guide to the 2014 Candidates – The players

The most important chess tournament of the year has started!  The Candidates tournament is an eight player double round-robin event played over fourteen rounds. It will be held in the Russian city of Khanty Mansiysk from March 13-31.  The winner will challenge Magnus Carlsen in the world Championship that is to take place in November 2014. Where? That is still open, because at the moment of writing, there was not a serious bidder for the title match. Why bidding for an event if you do not know who is playing? The new deadline set by FIDE is 30. April.

In this short Twitter guide to the Candidates,  I will take a look at the Twitter accounts of the players.

Not all Candidates have a Twitter account. Of course, former world champion Vishy Anand has an account: @Vishy64theking. Do not expect too much action on his account during the event.  His 25.600 followers will not get many updates, I’m afraid.  Sergey Karjakin has an account, which is easy to remember @SergeyKaryakin. He has 5.700 follower. I don’t think he will post a lot during the event, so it might be interesting to follow the account of his girlfriend Galiya Kamalova @GaliyaChess. She posts mostly in Russian, but she also shows lots of pictures from the venue and lovely “behind the scenes” shots. 

What a great excuse to post a picture of Galiya (and your blogger)! This one was taken in 2012 in Moscow. We attended a Man vs. Machine Match. 

You will find Peter Svider on Twitter under this name: @polborta, an account with  6.300 followerExpect a lot of tweets that have nothing to do with chess! The clear favorite for many chess experts is Levon Aronian, and you can find him on Twitter as well: @LevAronian. Interesting: in his profile he writes: “chess gangsta”. The Armenian ace has around 12.000 follower.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has a Twitter account @ShahriyarMamedy, with only 825 folower. He does does tweet very often unfortunately. I love tweets like : “In Madrid very good weather,very good people, very good sity, but only one problem,I have not good mood:( because I am ill.”

Dmitry Andreikin does not have a Twitter account himself, but alternatively you could add @Svetlana_Chess, Dmitry’s wife, for an occasional tweet in Russian or a family picture.

Veselin Topalov,  and Vladimir Kramnik do not have official Twitter accounts. Correct me if I am wrong!