Jeffery Xiong clinched the World Junior (Under-20) with a round to spare at Bhubaneswar. The second-seeded 15-year-old American GM scored 10.5 points from 13 games. He was followed by top seed Artemiev Vladislav (9.5), with Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan and Xu Yi sharing 3rd-4th (9 each). Other Indian hopefuls, Murali Karthikeyan (8.5), Aravindh Chithamvbaram (8) and Praggnanandhaa (7.5) did well but suffered losses at critical moments.
In the Girls event, top seeded Dinara Saduakassova (9.5) of Kazakhstan won. She was chased by P V Nandhidhaa (9) and Dinara Dordzhieva of Russia. R Vaishali was in the next set, scoring 8.5 to share 4th-8th place. Michelle Catherina and N Mahalakshmi (both 8) were in the tie for 9th-12th.
Magnus Carlsen beat Alexander Grischuk in a blitz match at the Internet Chess Club (www.chess.com/TV), while Hikaru Nakamura beat Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. This was great fun. In Carlsen-Grischuk, eight games were played at 5 minutes+2 seconds increment and another eight games at 3 minutes+2 seconds increment, while a final set was played bullet (1 minute+1 second).
Grischuk is the reigning world blitz champion. In their last blitz match, in June 2016, Grischuk won 2.5-1.5. However, this time, Carlsen steamrollered Grischuk 16-8. It was more or less even with Carlsen up 8.5-7.5 until the bullet section where Carlsen pulverised Grischuk 7.5-0.5. Carlsen takes on Nakamura, who beat Vachier-Lagrave even more convincingly at 21.5-10.5 (played very quickly allowing for more games).
Carlsen will be more focussed on his upcoming title match against Sergey Karjakin. He has pulled out of the Grand Chess Tour to prepare the title defence. However, the world no 1 did play Brussels and Paris, both times as a wild card. He won Brussels-Leuven and finished second in Paris behind Nakamura.
Wesley So leads the GCT after winning the Sinquefield and finishing second in Brussels. The London Classic (the last GCT event of 2016) has just awarded Michael Adams the organisers' wild card, so Carlsen won't be there.
The Diagram, WHITE TO PLAY (White: Nakamura vs Black: Ding Liren, Sinquefield, St Louis 2016) is the start of a spectacular attack. It may have been largely preparation but it's superb nonetheless.
White played 18.d5! Qxh4 Subsequent crowd-sourced analysis suggests that [18.- f6 ]is the best counter to this pawn thrust and it should burn out to equality 19.g3 Qg5 20.dxc6 Qxe5 The nasty point is that [20.- Bxc6 21. Nxb5! ] is slaughter.
Play continued 21.cxb7 Rb8. The tempting [22. Nxb5 ? Bc5! ] wins for black. But in the game, white now had the sledgehammer 22.Nd5! exd5 23.Qc8+ Ke7 24.Rxa6 Nxg3 25.Bxb5 Ne2+ 26.Bxe2 f6 27.Re6+! Qxe6 28.Qxb8 (1-0). Since White has Qc7 (or Qa7) and queens.
Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player