Internet Chess Club: Where the Grandmasters Play Online Chess

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The Internet Chess Club (ICC) is the longest running, most popular, and best place to play chess on the Internet. Nowhere else can you find as many chess enthusiasts ready for a quick round of blitz, a short chat, an impromptu tournament, or simply enjoying the wealth of Chess.FM shows and live event coverage. It is not uncommon to find more than 3,000 chess players hanging out on ICC where more than 100,000 games are played each day.

ICC Dasher is a Windows program for playing chess. Membership enables you to play chess online within the ICC community, challenging your skills at ICC online tournaments. You can download Dasher for free and use it to play offline or online and to register for a free trial ICC account.

It's officially kick-off time for one of the most eagerly-awaited contests of the year, as Fide's Candidates matches to determine the next official World Championship challenger gets underway today in Kazan, Russia.

The previous candidate was Bulgarian Veselin Topalov, who declared last year when the elimination contest was relocated from Azerbaijan - because Armenia's Levon Aronian wouldn't play any of the Azeri contingent there due to a neighboring dispute - he also wouldn't play a Russian in Russia. Rightly or wrongly, he felt he was unfairly treated during his 2008 title loss to Vladimir Kramnik.

The issue may well be avoided thanks to the somewhat arbitrary pairings. In the quarterfinals the eight top Grandmasters will be divided into two groups. Topalov faces a familiar foe in back-to-back U.S. Champion Gata Kamsky. If Topalov wins he will then meet the winner between Boris Gelfand (Israel) and Shakriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan). The other four contestants are paired with Kramnik facing Timour Radjabov (Azerbaijan), and the other Russian, Alexander Grischuk meeting big favorite Aronian.

In a scenario where ratings predict outcomes, the six-game final should see Topalov losing to Aronian, who is the big fan-favorite to win the Candidates. But this is match-play and anything can - and often does - happen; and considering Fide's track record here, a more chaotic outcome remains possible as no one knows as yet what will happen should Topalov have to face either Kramnik or Grischuk in the final. The winner will then go forward to challenge World Champion Vishy Anand in a title match scheduled for the first half of 2012 at a yet-to-be-announced venue.

First it was the iPhone and then it was the iPad - and now adding to our winning-stable of mobile applications comes the new release of Chess at ICC for the Android! Join our vibrant and continually growing community of players, ranging from beginners to Grandmasters - who are all ready for you to watch, play or learn from, 24 hours a day!

The Android Invasion of ICC is taking place now - and you can get the app today tounlock a free 1-month trial membership! Current members can also use their username without needing to open a further account, but you are still eligible to take advantage of the 1-month free offer by creating a second username to play and experiment on!

By FM Mike Klein (US Championship Press Officer). After two weeks of almost non-stop playing, IM Anna Zatonskih needed a few more hours to win the 2011 U.S. Women's Championship. She won her first rapid game as Black on Thursday against WFM Tatev Abrahamyan. Zatonskih seemed to be able to cruise to the title, but in the next round she spoiled a better position and lost. The two had to play a deciding Armageddon match that Zatonskih drew to give her the title. She had draw odds by virtue of playing Black and with less time.

The final game saw Zatonskih aim for an opposite-colored bishop endgame. Her control of the light squares stifled any chances for Abrahamyan to advance any pawns to make progress. After admitting that progress was impossible, a reluctant Abrahmyan looked up and signaled that she would concede the draw. Zatonskih immediately agreed, which gave her a fourth championship in six years.

Prior to the game's commencement, Zatonskih entered a secret bid of 19 minutes, 55 seconds. When Abrahamyan's bid of 24 minutes, 28 seconds was revealed, it meant that Zatonskih's lower time would give her a time handicap but the advantage of only needing a draw to win. Abrahamyan started with 45 minutes but took the White pieces. She chose to repeat her opening from the first rapid game.

In that first game, Abrahamyan sacrificed an exchange early but got good pressure. Zatonskih gave the material back and entered an endgame with an extra pawn but without an obvious breakthrough. On her 58th move with only seconds left for both women, Abrahamyan slid her king out of check to the left, allowing Zatonskih's bishop to attack from behind. Abrahamyan resigned a few moves later.

In their second rapid game, Zatonskih needed only a draw as White to avoid an Armageddon match and with the title outright. Instead, she squandered her space advantage and entered an endgame, this time down a pawn. Abrahamyan eventually found shelter for her king and promoted a pawn to a second queen, which she sacrificed for a forced checkmate. The match then stood at 1-1, requiring the Armageddon match.

Including the tiebreak and playoff matches, Zatonskih played 19 games of chess over a two-week period. This marks her fourth U.S. Women's Championship title and second since 2009 when the U.S. Women's Championship was first hosted in St. Louis.

In the land of the blind at the Amber tournament in Monaco, one man is king: Levon Aronian! His total mastery of the blindfold tournament (undefeated on 8.5/11 - the first player in the history of the tournament to be undefeated blindfold!) proved to play a major contribution in the world No.3 taking clear first place in the overall standings on 15.5/22, a full point clear of Magnus Carlsen, with World champion Vishy Anand trailing in third place.

Although Carlsen scored badly this year in the blindfold, he more than made up for it in the rapid tournament by dominating it in much the same way as his rival did in the blindfold, as the young Norwegian superstar took that title with a record winning score of 9.5/11. And with the final results being as it was with Aronian and Carlsen (and Anand third), it is perhaps no co-incidence that they are both talked up frequently now as being the best world championship challengers from a growing newer generation in the game - and possible world championship rivals themselves in the future!

And so we sadly bid a fond farewell to the Amber tournament - and not just for this year, but for all time. This was the 20th and final Amber jubilee tournament and it will now be consigned to the annals of chess history. We have to thank sponsors Joop Muriel van Oosterom (and the Association Max Euwe) for supporting it for so long, and for having the imagination in the first place in making the event happen - and not forgetting their daughter Melody Amber, who it was named after, as she's grown up with the tournament now to be a young lady!

Come join our vibrant community of players, ranging from beginners to Grandmasters - and from the comfort of your iPad, all ready for you to watch, play or learn from, 24 hours a day!

This is an invaluable chess companion for players of all levels, from beginner to the strongest master. It's a fun way to play chess and improve your game. It's also a great way to meet people from around the world.

ICC has also made its Newsletter service available now on an RSS feed for you to get all the latest news on ICC online activities - get it now to keep in touch with ICC!

Up to 1971, the best player in the world was first among equals. For the next decades, three players in turn took dominance: Bobby Fischer, then Anatoly Karpov, and finally Garry Kasparov. Only in recent years has parity returned to the top of the chess world, and the struggle for the 1 spot continues to become more intense.

Magnus Carlsen started the year on a high by topping the January FIDE rating list, as he earned enough points in Nanjing and London to edge out World Champion Vishy Anand, the leader of the previous list. But the March list just

released shows Anand back again as No.1 by edging out the young Norwegian, as both gained 7 and 1 point respectively at Tata Steel in Wijk aan Zee. And firmly establishing himself among the exclusive '2800 club' is Levon Aronian, who also increased his rating by 3 points.

The ratings rollercoaster ride that is Vassily Ivanchuk has again seen a massive jump in his rating, this time going from 9 to 5 after his demolition job of the field at the recent Gibraltar Masters. And this shows another interesting race with only 7 rating points separating places 5 through 9 - and the one to watch among this close grouping is unquestionably the young American player-of-the-moment, Hikaru Nakamura.

The final leg of the Fide Women's Grand Prix is now underway in Doha, the capital of Qatar, and continues until Saturday 5 March - and each day here on ICC, we have the live relay of all the games.

The cycle began in Istanbul way back in March 2009, and has taken in Nanjing in September 2009, Nalchik in Russia in April-May 2010, Jermuk in Armenia in June-July 2010, and Ulanbaatur in Mongolia in July-August 2010. It was supposed to finish in Santiago in Chile at the end of 2010, but they pulled out after due to the earthquake there and Doha stepped in to fill the breach.

With the final event to go, the new world champion, Hou Yifan, is leading overall on 410 points. However, she isn't playing in Doha and two other players have a chance to overtake her: Nana Dzagnidze from Georgia, who will win if she is first or second; and Humpy Koneru from India, who needs to be first and Dzagnidze not to be second - but those top two are not having an easy time of it!

You can follow the final Women's Grand Prix - and Martha's progress - live each day on ICC (Qatar-WGP11) starting from 7am ICC (final round at 4am ICC).

China and India have long been seen as rising superpowers on the chess scene, but the performances over the past year of rising young Vietnamese stars suggest a new Asian tiger on the prowl.

Leading the charge has been GM Le Quang Liem, 19, who is one of the world's top young players. He first came to international notice last year with two remarkable back to back performances in the chess heartland of Russia's capital, as he out-scored several of the world's top grandmasters to capture the Aeroflot Open and tying for first in the subsequent Moscow Open.

But Le Quang took it to another level - literally and figuratively - with an impressive second-place finish in the elite annual superGM event in Dortmund, Germany last year, ahead of former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, a nine-time winner of the event.

And last week in Moscow, lightening struck twice as Le Quang won this year's edition of the Aeroflot Open. This behemoth of an international open ended in a three-way tie, as front-runner Le Quang Liem (whose only loss came in the penultimate round to Ivan Cheparinov), Nikita Vitiugov and Evgeny Tomashevsky all scored 6.5/9. Gata Kamsky, the current U.S. champion and upcoming candidates match contestant, finished equal 4th-10th a half point behind the main winners.

But the young Vietnamese star (pictured above with arbiter Geurt Gijssen and TD Alexander Bach) took the title and the lion's share of the prize fund on tiebreak - and with the top honors went the lucrative qualifying spot for the Dortmund Sparkassen super-tournament in July.

We've come to an end of an era as ICC was saddened to hear this week that the Mainz Chess Classic in Germany will not be held this year, due to the global economic woes effecting the main sponsors of the annual summertime chess extravaganza.

The tournament, the brainchild of ber-organizer Hans-Walter Schmitt, did much during the past decade to popularize not just rapid chess but also Chess960. It was the first major tournament on the international circuit to adopt Chess960 and even ran the Chess960 World Championship.

ICC was honored to have run in the past two major Chess960 qualifiers for the Mainz Chess Classic (one of which was won by the current holder of the Chess960 title, a certain GM Hikaru Nakamura). Many ICC members enjoyed playing in those Chess960 qualifiers for the Mainz Chess Classic, and indeed for many it was their first introduction to the popular variant of the game associated with Bobby Fischer.

It is a common gripe here on ICC: members disconnecting in lost positions and refuse to resume the game, and then you have to wait weeks to be awarded what was a sure-fire win.

Over the years, many members have complained about this particular unsportsmanlike tactic of 'pulling the plug' and taking all the fun out of playing on ICC - but now, enforcing the law comes JudgeBot, a new computer program that monitors every game where your opponent disconnects.

If JudgeBot determines that you are clearly winning, it will award the win to you in about 30 or 40 seconds! You will receive an ICC message and the game will appear as a win in your history. There is no need to request the win or search for days for your opponent to resume!

ICC would also like to listen to member feedback on their experience of using JudgeBot - we want you to 'message JudgeBot <text>' with praise, complaints, and questions about this new system! And the verdict in its first week is that its a big winner for ICC, who yet again show they lead in community-based development for better online play for its members.

And in time for the Verizon launch, we've been hard at work making our Chess at ICC app even better, using direct member feedback to add a slew of new features and required bug fixes in the latest update!

- Seek a game with upper-lower rating limits, to control who can accept your match offer. - Ability to observe, follow and chat with any user on the club. - New chat system. Chat in the most popular chat rooms and with any user on the club. Maintain a chat history. - Observe Games system redesigned. Now it's possible to observe ALL popular categories and save your favorite category for easy access. - Game chat redesigned so you can chat and watch the game at the same time. - Ability to review previous moves while observing a game. - Ability to see the entire move list and go to any move during any games. - Timestamp toggle. Users can now turn off timestamp to reduce bandwidth, which is useful when the signal is weak. - Stability fixes for reported crashes.

He's been knocking at the door for the past year - but now he's kicked the door down! The flamboyant US No.1, Hikaru Nakamura turned in the performance of his life to deservedly win his first supertournament, as he took outright first place at the 73rd edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee.

Nakamura, 23, was one of the big movers and shakers after his supremely positive performance, as he stole the show ahead of a truly stellar field. His +5 (6 wins and 1 loss) score of 9/13 (TPR: 2879) not only rewarded him with the title ahead of Anand, Carlsen, Aronian and Kramnik, but it also moved him up to world No.7 on the live rating list with a seismic gain of nearly 23 points; making him just a couple of points adrift now of both Topalov and Karjakin, world No's 6 and 5, respectively.

And although Walter Browne and Yasser Seirawan shared the title at Wijk in 1980 (before the tournament was an elite event), Nakamura's win can arguably be compared to that of being the best US performance in an elite round robin event since the days of Bobby Fischer.

The only bragging rights Magnus Carlsen can take from his performance is that of best attack of the tournament, as he inflicted on Nakamura his only loss at Wijk (see Alex Yermolinsky's GOTD below). But that aside, Nakamura's dominance now makes for interesting days ahead, as many will now see him as a potential (and credible) world championship challenger - the Nakamura-Carlsen rivalry look set to be one that will run for years to come.

Tradition has it that the first day of the New Year rings in with it the publication of the January FIDE Rating list - and there was no surprises as it showed Magnus Carlsen - after his pre-Christmas win of the London Chess Classic - entering 2011 on a high, as he's once again back as the World No1 at 2814.

Carlsen claimed the top spot from January through November of the old year past, but a mini-slump at the Olympiad saw the Norwegian being replaced by Vishy Anand, allowing the Indian ace to end 2010 with the double whammy titles of world champion and world No.1. Anand, despite reaching a career-high rating of 2810, now moves down to second place in the rankings.

Levon Aronian of Armania is the third player on the list above 2800 at 2805. A newcomer to the top five is Sergey Karjakin of Russia, who gained 16 points. Also in the elite club at number 10 in the rankings is Hikaru Nakamura of the USA, as he continues to climb higher with a gain of 10 points in the past couple of months.

2011 looks set to be an exciting year ahead for the chess world - and the action from the first grand slam of the year gets underway shortly, with the 73rd Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands, running 14th-30th January.

You don't need to be a superstar to receive immortality in the game all you need is the ability to hitch your name to a popular opening system. One classic case was English amateur correspondence player and humble railway's clerk Vernon Dilworth (1916-2004), who published analysis in the British magazine Chess during the early 1940s that rehabilitated an old line of the Open Lopez.

Dilworth became famous overnight after his analysis was spotted by the great Mikhail Botvinnik, who used the tricky line (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0 0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Bc2 0 0 11.Nbd2 Nxf2!?) as a surprise weapon against Vassily Smylsov during the 1943/4 Moscow Championship. And the Dangerous Dilworth' is not only tricky but still alive and kicking today with many titled players over the years falling victim to it.

The Alterman Gambit Guide: White Gambits is an instructional manual for improving players. Sharpen your tactics and learn to play dynamic attacking chess while studying the most entertaining gambits Chess has to offer.

GM Larry Christiansen is a three-time U.S. Champion and one of the most dangerous and respected attacking players of his generation. He is a feared competitor and attacker who authored two popular books that showcase his aggressive style: Storming the Barricades and Rocking the Ramparts. Each week on the show, Larry will feature various attacking motifs and themes and showing you how best to play for mate.

This will be John Watson's final appearance as the main host of Chess Talk, which from next month will feature guest hosts' filling the hot seat until the end of the year.

Former World Champion and legendary chess teacher Mikhail Botvinnik was the originator of the Every Russian school boy knows chess aphorism, which alluded to the fact that thousands of unknown schoolboys back in Russia - due to the intense training methods they received from a young age - likely knew more about the game than most professionals did in the West.

One player who came through that legendary Soviet training camp is former U.S. Champion GM Alexander Yermolinsky. And on the first Monday of each month in his new show, Every Russian Schoolboy Knows . , he will try to explain tips and tricks he learned during those training methods.

In the new Improve Your Chess IV series, Dan provides instruction by reviewing amateur games played on ICC and showing where the players went wrong and how to improve.

In the show, John Watson will be looking at middlegame positions that arise after the openings and how we can best strategize for the complexities of the positions thereafter, ranging from pawn chains to isolated pawns, and from active piece play to the positional sacrifice to name just but a few of the motifs he'll be covering - any one of which will help chess players to improve their understanding of the game!

IM John Watson is recognized as one of the best chess trainers in the United States and also one of its most noted authors on the game. He has over 21 books to his credit; ranging from his early, ground breaking four-volume series on the English Opening to his more recent, critically acclaimed and multi-award winning Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy.

Chess Talk on Chess.FM will not be lost however, and will continue on the first Tuesday of every month from now, with Beyond the Opening filling in on each of the other Tuesdays of the month.

In a new series of Ronen's Opening Survey, we take a closer look at the Marshall Gambit in the Slav with 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2.

Frank J. Marshal, who held the U.S. championship title for 29 years before he relinquished it in 1936, had such a combinative style that he likened himself to boxing legend Jack Dempsey, who always went for a quick knockout blow. He left us his legacy of the Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez - but lesser known perhaps is his other gambit, a similarly vicious line against the notoriously tough Slav Defense that was also christened the Marshall Gambit after its inventor



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51 comments
  • conStorm
    May 8th 2011
    The next step is to get chess books and study them. If there was a local chess club in your area, I'd advise you to join it, but if not, then play in tournaments and get chess books to improve.

  • Running shoes
    May 8th 2011
    @xshark795 still , nothing compares to having that time having a personal tactical war within yourself of what move your going to make next or what your opponent will do after that move and so on, also mixed with the mental battle eye-to-eye with your opponent over them few minutes in a proper game of chess. i understand the mind can work at a fast pace and still be tactically sound, however, there is a certain excitement to this type of play and to me something is lost playing in this way

  • PetPie
    May 8th 2011
    Nakamra is so good at bullet chess its depressing. ive played him before......depressing

  • NurseMoonlight
    May 8th 2011
    I live in Northwestern Broward County, FL, USA. I have tried looking online for local chess clubs and tournaments but I have had no luck. I enjoy playing chess online but I enjoy it more when I play in person. I would appreciate advice about becoming active in the chess world in general, but specifics would be greatly appreciated. I am 18 years old by the way, so it can't be a children's league or anything. Please help! Thank you!

  • MovieDusty
    May 8th 2011
    Join the United States Chess Federation (USCF). There are discounted rates for juniors which you will qualify for and you will get a monthly magazine. Most importantly, it will list tournaments in your state and you will only be eligible to play in these tournaments if you are a USCF member. There will also be lots of high quality chess analysis which will make you a better player.

  • StealthSuffer
    May 8th 2011
    @chocolatepoop1301 were almost any world champions anything but russian?

  • Cashedobe
    May 8th 2011
    Im quite surprised maxim lasted as long as he did, hikaru is a monster.

  • choNetwork
    May 8th 2011
    Go to

  • Quietfroggy
    May 8th 2011
    How do I break into the local chess scene?

  • Cashedobe
    May 8th 2011
    This is not sped up.

  • glaGal
    May 8th 2011
    @concernedagain the level of play isnt reduced too much.

  • DaFreak
    May 8th 2011
    Shit..... sometimes a take more then 5 min to do one move =d

  • Anusvan
    May 8th 2011
    www.uschess.org

  • BrownIsland
    May 8th 2011
    Holy shit ling our train leaves in 2 minutes we must speed this game up

  • MakeupHunter
    May 8th 2011
    This is against the rules. you only allowed to touch the chess piece of your opponent when he/she press the chess clock.

  • LovelyCow
    May 8th 2011
    Asians are cool

  • MyRose
    May 8th 2011
    You can tell which comments did not come from chess players when people say: i think its edited/sped up. its blitz chess. they can think/play that fast. the guy on the left just happens to do it better than most of the world!

  • Propoo
    May 13th 2011
    It looks fake but its real, is it???

  • Moonlightpus
    May 13th 2011
    Asians are cool

  • DrunkLover
    May 13th 2011
    How important is CHESS as learning tool in Primary Schools?

  • Wolfskies
    May 13th 2011
    importance of Chess as learning tool.

  • RandomJerk
    May 13th 2011
    This is against the rules. you only allowed to touch the chess piece of your opponent when he/she press the chess clock.

  • RandomJerk
    May 13th 2011
    Taleigao Chess Academy's primary aim is to bring

  • Crazycro
    May 13th 2011
    If you wish to contribute your efforts

  • huntKnight
    May 13th 2011
    In this reagrd we are doing many activities. our website www.goachess.info.

  • JunkSeeker
    May 13th 2011
    So.....who won?

  • MrMan
    May 13th 2011
    Shit..... sometimes a take more then 5 min to do one move =d

  • murLifter
    May 13th 2011
    I cant paly game less than 5 m !! hate them :d

  • Sr.Fighter
    May 13th 2011
    CHESS in Primary School Education

  • Terarosa
    May 13th 2011
    You can tell which comments did not come from chess players when people say: i think its edited/sped up. its blitz chess. they can think/play that fast. the guy on the left just happens to do it better than most of the world!

  • Moonlightpus
    May 13th 2011
    in Goa/India.

  • CougarCoolio
    May 13th 2011
    in any best way, please write to us.

  • JunkSeeker
    May 13th 2011
    Holy shit wtf just happened??

  • Frostlen
    May 13th 2011
    In January 2008 we are planning to publish a Souvenir where in we want to highlight

  • dinoize
    May 13th 2011
    Nakamra is so good at bullet chess its depressing. ive played him before......depressing

  • Goldenlen
    May 13th 2011
    @brotuschwein im pretty sure this was simply an exhibition and not any sort of official game so they werent being picky about those sorts of rules - just the moves and getting pieces of the board correctly.

  • Datedrank
    May 13th 2011
    Holy shit ling our train leaves in 2 minutes we must speed this game up

  • MyRose
    May 18th 2011
    Holy shit ling our train leaves in 2 minutes we must speed this game up

  • Darkkan
    May 18th 2011
    The important part is getting a chess board that is the right SIZE as well as the colors you prefer. If you get a board where the squares are too small, the pieces will get knocked over during play which is very distracting. There is an easy way to assure getting a board that is the right size for your pieces. Measure the diameter of the base of the king and add 1/2 inch. If your king measures 1.25 inch across the base, you should get a board with AT LEAST 1.75 inch squares.

  • Dishda
    May 18th 2011
    I recently purchased a chess set from House of Staunton. The pieces are made of ebony (black) and boxwood (white). I'm having a tough time figuring out what type of wood will look good with the pieces. Do I want an ebony board as well so both the board and pieces will be black and white? Will a walnut and maple board look okay? Thanks!

  • belaha
    May 18th 2011
    Yeah, i can take that long to do one move...

  • Dishda
    May 18th 2011
    Asians are cool

  • Makeupsar
    May 18th 2011
    a nice chess set needs a nice chess board, drueke boards are first class ............(www. the chess store. com)

  • Babydan
    May 18th 2011
    The knights tour is available for the ipad in the itunes app store. try to visit each square just once,its harder than you think. solution provided.

  • http://astealcent.blogspot.com/
    May 18th 2011
    Certainly an ebony and boxwood chess board will look color coordinated and matched. You may want to introduce some color just for looks, since your pieces are neutral tones -- but that is going to be a matter of personal taste. Any wooden chess board is going to look just fine with your new wooden pieces.

  • Draglum
    May 18th 2011
    Holy shit wtf just happened??

  • cocaRage
    May 18th 2011
    @bobscanfly i think whit

  • GermTalker
    May 18th 2011
    @brotuschwein im pretty sure this was simply an exhibition and not any sort of official game so they werent being picky about those sorts of rules - just the moves and getting pieces of the board correctly.

  • zIce
    May 18th 2011
    Yeah ,they played fast, but i bet if you slow it down its not an interesting game.

  • Draglum
    May 18th 2011
    I cant paly game less than 5 m !! hate them :d

  • Buttvig
    May 18th 2011
    It looks fake but its real, is it???

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