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Magazine: American ChessIssue No: 7Publishing Year: 2018 Language: English
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American Chess Magazine No.7 boasts a cover portrait of Sam Shankland and rightly so because in a short period of time he has won the US Championship in St.Louis, the Capablanca Memorial in Cuba and the All-American Continental Championship in Montevideo.
In fact the 2018 US Championship is one of the main features of this issue, together with the Berlin Candidates that has propelled Fabiano Caruana into the role of world title challenger.
In an interview with ACM Sam Shankland reflects on his success in St.Louis, which was the biggest success of his career so far and achieved against the strongest possible American opposition. In addition Sam contributes exclusive annotations to two of his games from the event.
Another kind of success story in the US Championship was that of Zviad Izoria who has now gained a reputation as a giant-killer after surprising wins against Caruana and Nakamura, for which he provides his personal commentary.
In fact we wanted to find out what really happened to the ‘Big 3’ so we asked our regular columnists to investigate. Young GM John Burke was critical of Caruana’s lack of objectivity in certain games, John Fedorowicz was unimpressed by Nakamura’s tournament strategy, while Michael Rohde noticed that Wesley So’s play had lost its spark. These three articles effectively represent a complete retrospective on America’s three highest rated players in St.Louis.
Nazi Paikidze deservedly gained her second US title win in the Women’s Championship, but the sensation of the event was 15-year old runner-up Annie Wang. Already in the previous issue of American Chess Magazine we had provided a biographical sketch on the hitherto little known Californian girl and this has turned out to be a prediction of her subsequent success. Annie annotates two of her games from the Championship and also reveals her inner thoughts after losing a commanding lead following defeats at the end of the tournament and in the final play off. Nevertheless a star is born and we will surely be hearing a lot more about her in the future.
Our undercover reporter at the Berlin Candidates was none other than GM Jacob Aagaard, top class chess trainer and highly acclaimed author of numerous instructional books. There are four (!) separate articles in this section, the first being about the organization of the event and the individual players. You will not find this narrative in any other chess publication because these are intensely personal and harshly objective views by one of the most unfettered and free-spirited chess journalists around today. The second and third articles contain deeply annotated games by Caruana, as he was the deserved winner, but also other gems because all the candidates are worthy of applause for their fighting spirit. The fourth article is Aagaard’s regular ‘All-round Training’, which has been incorporated into the Berlin report as every one of his instructive examples comes from the Candidates tournament.
With 156 pages we have found space for other columns as well! Openings – GM Robert Hungaski presents a new feature ‘Play It Smart’, about the Exchange Caro Kann, with the main game being Sam Shankland ‘s win against Awonder Liang which finally decided the US Championship. Endgames – Alex Fishbein explains Three Pillars of Pawn Endgame Technique with a variety of examples from both past and present. Vassily Ivanchuk is back with his regular column. This time he endeavors to assume the persona of a ‘Chivalrous Knight’ but in the end just can’t resist producing an elegant and decisive finish against a Chinese female grandmaster! Meanwhile Mackenzie Molner showcases a number of games from the Grenke Chess Classic, again won by Caruana, with his choice featuring wins by Black only.
Another new column on ‘Chess Improvement’ comes from a former World Women’s Champion and one of the most famous names in the chess world today. GM Susan Polgar takes a look at the latest Caruana-Carlsen encounter from Stavanger – effectively a warm-up for their upcoming World Championship match.
We wanted to add a bit of fun to the magazine so did some research on chess players who wear luxury watches! So, who is into Rolex? You might be surprised by our findings, as chess players too can be both fashion and status conscious!
After a long pause, we have the return of our chess problem column by IM Piotr Murdzia, who this time draws inspiration from the late Milan Vukcevich, a former US Olympiad team member as well a highly imaginative chess problem composer.
John Hilbert rediscovers the virtually forgotten George N. Cheney – an aspiring player and rival of the legendary Paul Morphy – who lost his life at far too young an age during the American Civil War. As Hilbert says: “Had he lived, American chess might well have had decades of another spectacular player and composer to enrich its history.”
There are further regular columns from Jon Edwards on Chess Tech – with hot news about the fearless and revolutionary engine, Google’s Alpha Zero, IM Danny Rensch with fresh ideas about Online Chess, Carsten Hansen with perceptive reviews of ten new book and DVD titles, and Joel Benjamin’s ever fresh observations about current chess in America.
IM Igor Khmelnitsky challenges readers with a new set of his popular ‘Doubles’ puzzles. Chris Wainscott covers the Final Four Collegiate Championship – a grand finale where Webster, reigning champions for the past five years, had to yield its title to newcomers from Texas. GM Priyadharshan Kannappan annotates some of the most interesting games from this event, held at the prestigious Marshall Chess Club in New York City.
No doubt we have forgotten to mention some other items but why not discover these yourselves by reading the very best chess magazine money can buy!