By GM Jesse Kraai
By GM Denes Boros
The first tournament of the year starts on January 11 and ends on January the 26th. The Wimbledon of Chess as it is known in chess circles, 2020 Tata Steel is a gruelling event, spreading through two weeks and thirteen rounds. This is physically very demanding, which means only the fittest and brightest players can win this prestigious event. Even though most of the tournaments are nine rounds long, this will be a perfect practice for grandmasters that qualified for the World Championship Candidates Tournament.
I’m back home, sitting in front of my computer, reflecting on my third term as GM-in-Residence. The first time I got the opportunity to work at the club was back in 2014; since then, I’ve managed to make my way back to the Chess Club for the past two years and every time I leave I find myself looking back.
One of the main concerns of professionals in competitive fields is the amount of popularity of their profession. While some sports and activities are well-established, other sports have to reform or reshape their market base. Thanks to Internet and its global impact, millions of people are involved with chess on a daily basis.
It has been nearly five years since I was last in Saint Louis. In 2014, shortly after I became a Grandmaster, I was invited to be the Grandmaster-In-Residence at the Saint Louis Chess Club – a position I had not even known existed.
In recent years, the way that chess is studied, played, and consumed by the general public has changed quite a bit. While chess books, magazines, clubs, and tournaments have their place, a lot of the attention has been shifted online where bullet and blitz chess are gaining popularity. Bullet chess is usually played with a time control of 1 minute with no increment, and blitz chess at either 3 minutes with no increment or 3 minutes with 2 seconds increment per move.
Since I teach, I keep saying to my students: one of the most basic things when calculating in chess is to analyze all possible checks, captures, and threats. We should also start with the checks that we intuitively think are more dangerous, captures of heavy pieces and the most important threats, starting with mate.