Dominguez to the USA?

Somewhere around a year or so ago I heard that top Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez was going to switch federations to the USA.

While I was hearing this from a very reliable source it seemed to be rather surreal.  After all, So had just switched to the USA a couple of years earlier  and Caruana had just come home a while after that.

Could we really be on the verge of landing another super GM?

As was pointed out to me, however “You’ll notice he’s not playing in any FIDE events.”  I realized that was true.

Part of switching federations is a two year absence from competing in FIDE events.  So no World Cup, Olympiad, Grand Prix, etc.

As I had been asked not to say anything I have been sitting on this news for some time.  However, just the other day Emil Sutovsky mentioned this in a post on Jacob Aagaard’s Facebook page.

So with the cat finding the entrance to the bag I suppose it’s time to say something.

What an exciting time this is for American chess.  If Dominguez is actually transferring and is able to complete his transfer in time then presumably the US could have five 2700 players on our Olympiad squad!

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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Zviad is My Spirit Animal

For the last several days I haven’t posted.  That’s because I’ve been in St. Louis at the US Championships.

At one of the late night parties at the chess house I met Zviad Izoria, and let me tell you, he’s one of the funniest guys I’ve met in the chess world!  I was actually able to hang out with him on two separate nights and had an absolute blast both times.

A couple of classics from him:

“_____, if you’re mad, don’t hit ____, hit me.  Or better yet, hit Chris!”

Then, later that evening when he was leaving he said to me “It was a good day at the office, neither of us got punched!”

Meanwhile he made quite the sensation on the board as well.  He scored two wins in the event, one against Hikaru Nakamura, and one against newly minted world championship challenger Fabiano Caruana.

His win over Fabi came with the black bits in round four.  They were in a level endgame when Caruana blundered.  Zviad then converted with precision.

Three rounds later in his game against Hikaru he technically won on time as Naka flagged, but he had a won position over the board already.

So it looks like he had some good days at the office at the board as well!

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

If you like this blog, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter.  Any money I raise will go towards lessons and stronger tournaments.

If you can spare it, please click here and become a supporter.  Even $1 a month can help me achieve my dream.

OMG Ding Liren!

I’m almost done with the main project I have been working on which has taken up so much of my time.

So in the next few days you can expect me to be back to training and posting on a much more regular basis.

I have some nice stuff to post, including what’s probably the best endgame I’ve ever played in my life – certainly in terms of devising a plan and using tactical means to pull it off.

In the meantime, if you haven’t heard about this, you will soon.  Ding Liren set the chess world on fire yesterday with his brilliant win in the Chinese League over Bai Jinshi.

Here’s video analysis of the game:

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Rounds 5-8 Isle of Aman

Sorry for the lack of updates here recently, but between Thursday playing and directing, Friday family stuff, and yesterday finishing an article for American Chess Magazine I wasn’t able to keep up as well as I would have liked to.

Round five saw Aman paired against Armenian GM Gabriel Sargissian.  Aman needed a win to realistically keep his hopes alive, but unfortunately the noted endgame player Sargissian ground him down in a more or less equal ending.

In round six Aman had Black vs. English IM David Eggleston.  Aman played his third different response to 1.e4 in this tournament, this time essaying the Sicilian Kan.

Once he secured a passed c pawn that was running to daylight Eggleston resigned.

Round Eight once again had Hambo paired against a tough GM, this time the Peruvian legend Julio Granda-Zuniga.

Long time readers of mine will know that I often cover Julio’s games since he was the first GM I ever met, way back in 1992 in my hometown in Midland, TX when he played in a small local event of ours since he was in town seeing a family friend.

After a maneuvering game in the Old Indian Aman unfortunately stepped in to a tactical shot and was soon put away by the Peruvian.

Right now Aman is playing his final round game against American IM Kostya Kavutskiy, which I will post later once the games are published.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Hambo the Hobo Manages the 1-0

Today in Round Five of the Isle of Man chess tournament Aman managed to win a nice grinding game.

The above photo was shared on the chessbrahTV Twitter account, so it would appear to be one of the lads poking fun at Hambo.  It also happens to be hilarious!

Aman quickly gained a protected passed pawn, but it didn’t seem likely that he would ever be able to get it moved.  A clinic on maneuvering then ensued as the pieces were shuffled until Hambleton was able to sac on e5 on his 98th move!  From that point on it was a fairly one sided affair.

Tomorrow Aman is matched up against Armenian Gabriel Sargissian, who suffered a defeat at the hands of Hikaru Nakamura today and will likely be out for a little revenge.

This will be a good test for Aman who needs pairings like that for the rest of the tournament.

Here is the game:

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Round Four Karavade-Hambleton 1/2-1/2

In playing through this game earlier, one thing that struck me the most is that so many casual fans seem to complain that chess is nothing but draws.

On pretty much any active chess forum you’ll see posts decrying that “draw death” is upon us.  If you dig in to those threads you’ll see a pattern emerge where there are always a handful (typically a rather small handful) of folks who try to explain that not all draws are created equal.

There is quite a difference between the peaceful handshake on move 15 while still in theory because no one felt like taking any risks and a fighting draw that is played out until there is nothing left to attempt.

This game certainly qualifies as the latter.

Early on Aman sacks an exchange on his fourteenth move for full comp in the form of shattering White’s structure while gaining a beautiful outpost on f5 for his knight.

Then on move 30 White returns the exchange to fix his structural deficiencies and going up a pawn.  However, there are bishops of opposite color, and once the heavies are off the board Aman is easily able to hold the draw in spite of losing a second pawn.

Here is the game:

While there is no actual way to tell what score would be needed for a norm in any kind of open event such as this, it’s a good bet that the fewest amount of points Aman would need in his final five games would be 4.5, which would leave him on a score of 6.5/9.

Assuming his pairings get progressively stronger as he wins that still gives him a shot.

Of course the pairings may not work out and so he could score the 4.5 and it might not be enough.

Time will tell.  Let’s hope that great form takes hold and we all get to find out.

Tomorrow Hambo faces untitled Indian player V. Pranav with the White bits.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Victory at the Isle of Aman!

Today in the third round at the chess.com Isle of Man Masters Hambo managed to get into the victory column with a nice win over legendary American author IM John Watson.

Playing in a style that would make Lev Aronian proud Aman got something going on the kingside with h4-h5 and soon Watson gave up his queen for a rook, bishop, and two pawns.  However, the tender squares around his king soon saw Watson forced to give up a rook so he resigned.

Here is the game:

Tomorrow Aman is matched up against Indian IM Eesha Karavade, about whom I know nothing.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Round Two Isle of Aman

Today in round two Aman had the tough pairing against Super GM Arkadij Naiditsch.

It looked like Aman would hold in a queen and pawn ending until he allowed Naiditsch to advance his deadly passed h pawn to h7 by playing 83…b4 instead of continuing the series of checks.

This gives Aman .5 out of two to start.  While that doesn’t technically put a norm out of reach, it does mean that he’s got his work cut out for him.

Here is the game.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Aman and the Hunt for the Final Norm

Yesterday Canadian IM and noted ChessBrah Aman Hambleton began the hunt for what would be his final GM norm.

I will be posting all of his games here for anyone who is interested in following his chances.

In round one he didn’t get much out of a Reti sideline and Black’s marauding knights allowed his to easily equalize.  Material was th

Is This The Chess World Cup or Game of Thrones?

This was the question posed by chess.com user franknstein earlier today, and I have to say it’s a good question.

Granted, with a knockout format it’s practically a certainty that big names will fall to not as big names, but usually those things happen a bit here and a bit there.

In round two we saw players such as Wojtaszek, Harikrisha, Anand, and Karjakin fall.  Then today in the second day of the third round three more legends were eliminated as Nakamura, Kramnik, and Carlsen were put away.

It was like watching the Red Wedding all over again.

Tomorrow there are more elite players who will have to emerge victorious in their tiebreaks to avoid the same fate.  Included in that group are MVL, Grischuk, Aronian, Caruana, Ding, and Giri.

Speaking of Giri, he seemed to have the Three Eyed Raven protecting him today as he was dead lost against Sethuraman.  However, the Indian used so much time seeking to land the killing blow that he wound up mired so deeply in time pressure that Giri was able to complicate things long enough and then finally escape with a draw.

So today Giri is most likely wearing his nickname of Draw Master with pride.  Here is the game.

Stay tuned for the tiebreak’s tomorrow where there are certain to be more heads rolling.

Also, big shout out to the Chess Brahs for providing their free streaming coverage each day.  You can watch Yasser Seirawan and Aman Hambleton provide insightful commentary and analysis for the entire broadcast each day, usually with Eric Hansen lurking around somewhere and providing social media commentary.

Watch them here.  In fact, you should watch them any time they are streaming.  Not only will you learn something, you’ll be entertained as well.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott