Chess: Seven-year-old Bodhana Sivanandan shines at British Championships | Chess
Torquay is the most popular venue for the English Chess Federation’s Annual Congress and its 2022 version attracted over 1,000 attendees. The learning company Chesswhich is part of the Play Magnus group, is the sponsor.
Due to overlapping dates, none of the five grandmasters who represented England at the Chennai Olympiad are attending Torquay. In their absence, defending GM champion Nick Pert is the top seed in a contest where many have chances.
After seven of nine rounds, five players share the lead at 5.5/7: GMs Nick Pert and Keith Arkell, IMs David Eggleston and Matthew Wadsworth, and FM Harry Grieve. Grieve’s mighty fifth-round victory is the best game so far.
Prior to that, the U16 championship sparked controversy when the leader was disqualified in the seventh and final round. Apparently, it was a clear case of Igors Rausis syndrome (mobile phone in the toilet), and there was discontent because players and parents had complained to the referees from the second round.
There was an eye-catching performance in the Open Rapid, the fast time limit championship. The youngest participant Bodhana Sivanandan, seven, started with an astonishing streak of two wins against 2100, a draw against a master candidate 2200 and a victory against the British U12 champion.
In the sixth round (out of seven), with 4/5, she was promoted to board two, facing Arkell, an English chess legend, he of the double gold of the 50+ world teams, the current leader of the British Fifth Round Championship, author of the acclaimed Arkell’s Endings, and the man who always scores lap and fool against lap.
“I won only because of his inexperience,” he said. “She got a passive position by defending a queen and two rooks, but she understood the importance of counterplay and therefore caused me problems by activating her queen. There was a fleeting moment when she could have held, but she missed it and lost a king and a pawn in the late game.
The occasion evokes the memory of an encounter with another prodigy: “One day, as with Magnus [Carlsen], it will be something that I will brag about when I go 1-0 against her,” he said. Arkell versus Carlsen, Gausdal 2002, a 28-hit tactical skirmish where the 11-year-old Norwegian is doing less well, deserves to be better known.
Prominent author and general manager John Nunn is rated higher than any of the players in the Championship, but he’s only entered the over-65s, where he’s the overwhelming favorite.
The third round (Thomas Villiers against Ioanis Lentzos) featured an opening trap to remember: 1 e4 c6 2 Nf3 d5 3 d3 dxe4 4 Ng5 exd3 5 Bxd3 Nf6? 6 Nxf7! Kxf7 7 Bg6+! hxg6 8 Qxd8 and white quickly won.
England currently have several promising teenage girls, so it was an imaginative move by the ECF, when there were no qualified entrants in the Championship proper, to move the U18 women’s competition to the Major Open.
The Meltwater Online Tour resumed in Miami this week with the $300,000 FTX Crypto Cup, an eight-player competition with the best of four matches in each round. Carlsen is the heavy favorite but takes on ambitious teenage stars Alireza Firouzja, 19, and Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, 17 (5pm start, free to watch live on chess24.com).
The world champion had a tough time when he lost with the whites in the first of a four-game match against rising American talent Hans Niemann, 19, whose post-match commentary was terse: “Chess speaks for itself. Carlsen then recovered, won the third game with 1 a3 and won the game 3-1.
After winning their first four rounds, Carlsen and Praggnanandhaa both lost in the fifth round on Friday night. Carlsen was beaten by Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda in a tie-break, while the Indian fell to Vietnamese Le Quang Liem. Scores two rounds from the end: Carlsen 13/15, Praggnandhaa 12, Alireza Firouzja (France) 11.
As a congratulations on his Olympiad gold medal for England, managing director David Howell has been offered a player spot on October’s Meltwater Champions Tour, an event where he is normally the main commentator.
3829: 1…Ng4! White resigned because of 2 Qd2 Rh1+! 3 Nxh1 Rxh1+! 4 Kxh1 Qh2 matte.