2009 in Review

By Bill Wall


The FIDE list for Jan 1, 2009 listed the top players.  The top 10 were: Topalov (2796), Anand (2791), Ivanchuk (2779), Carlsen (2776), Morozevich (2771), Radjabov (2761), Jakovenko (2760), Kramnik (2759), Leko (2751), Movsesian (2751).


The 51st Reggio Emilia was held from December 27, 2008 to January 4, 2009.  Top seed Ni Hua (2710) of China won the event.


The Hastings International Chess Congress was held from December 28, 2008 to January 5, 2009.  The winner was grandmaster Igor Kurnosov  (2606) of Russia with a score of 7.5 out of 9.  Emanuel Berg and Valerij tied for 2nd-3rd with a score of 7 out of 9.


On January 22, 2009, GM Hector Rosseto died at the age of 86 in Argentina.  He won the Argentine Championship six times.


The annual 71st Corus Wijk aan Zee tournament was held from January 16 to February 1, 2009.  It is one of the strongest super-tournaments in the world.  The Corus A group was a strong 19 category event featuring the world’s chess elite.  GM Sergey Karjakin won the A group with 8 points.  GM Fabiano Curuana won the B group with 8.5 points.  GM Wesley So won the C group with 9.5 points.


On February 1, 2009, Pascal Charbonneau won in a playoff against David Cummings in the 25th Bermuda Open.


On February 4, 2009, Peter Svidler beat Vadim Milov in the tie-break to win the 7th Gibtelecom Chess Festival in Gibralter.


In February 17, 2009, grandmaster Edhi Handoko of Indonesia died of a heart attack at Cibinong Hospital in Bogor, West Java Province.  He was 48.  He was born on August 28, 1960 in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia.  He was Indonesia chess champion in 1978, 1980, and 1984.  He became the fourth Indonesian grandmaster when he was awarded the GM title in 1994.


On February 26, 2009, Veselin Topalov defeated Gata Kamsky at the World Chess Challenge in Sofia, Bulgaria by the score of 4.5 to 2.5.  Topalov will then face Vishy Anand for the World Chess Champion title starting on April, 2010 in Sofia (8-game match).  The $250,000 prize fund was equally split between the two players.


On February 27, 2009, GM Igor Kurnosov won the Aeroflot Open.


On March 8, 2009, Alexander Grischuk of Russia won at Linares , Spain on tiebreak over Vassily Ivanchuk.


On March 14, 2009, the 127th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held in London.  Oxford won the match.  Cambridge has won the event 56 times, Oxford has won 52 times, with 19 matches drawn.


From March 14 to March 26, 2009, the 18th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament was held in Nice, France.  The event was won by grandmaster Levon Aronian of Armenia for the 2nd time in a row.  2nd-3rd place was shared by Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik.


On April 12, 2009. Darment Sadvakasov defeated Yuri Shulman in a playoff to win the Foxwoods Open.


On April 29, 2009, Levon Aronian won the 4th FIDE Grand Prix tournament in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia.


In May 2009, Vishy Anand won the Chess Oscar for 2008.  He won it in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, and 2007


On May 17, 2009, Hikaru Nakamura, age 21, of White Plains, New York, won the 2009 US Chess Championship in St. Louis.  He won the event in 2004 at the age of 16.  Hikaru won $40,000.  He scored 7 out of 9 points.


On May 17, 2009, Rybka, running on 8 Intel Xeon W5580 processors (3.2GHz), won the 17th World Computer Championship in Pamplona, Spain with 7 wins and 2 draws.   The engine programmer was Vasik Rajlich.  It also won the 2009 World Computer Speed Chess Championship.  Rybka won the event for the 3rd successive year.


On May 23, 2009, Alexei Shirov of Spain won the 5th M-Tel Masters on Sofia, Bulgaria.  The average rating of the six players was 2753, making it a category 21 event.  Bulgarian president Georgi Parvanov was the chess patron of the tournament.


On May 24, 2009, Boris Gelfand won the 3rd ACP World Rapid Cup in Odessa, Ukraine.  The rapid chess knockout event was sponsored by the Pivdenny bank and the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP).


On May 25, Jaan Ehlvest defeated Gabriel Sargissian to win the Chicago Open.


On June 7, 2009, GM Varuzhan Akobian and IM Enrico Sevillano tied for 1st in the National Open in Las Vegas.  Both scored 5 out of 6 points.


On July 5, 2009, Hikaru Nakamura (2773) and Evgeny Najer (2714) tied for 1st in the 37th annual World Open in Philadelphia.  Najer won on tiebreak and earned $15,200. Nakamura won $15,000.


On July 6, 2009, Dr. Ira Lee Riddle, Pennsylvania Chess Federation President (1978-2002) and International Arbiter, died of a heart attack while on a cruise around England.  He was born on October 2, 1946 in Oakland, California.  He was awarded a doctorate degree in math education from Temple University in 1990.  He was president of the Chess Journalists of America from 1989 to 1995 and editor of The Chess Journalist from 1991 to 1993.


On July 12, 2009, GM Vladimir Kramnik (2759) won the 37th annual Dortmund, Germany tournament for the 9th time.


On July 16, 2009, IM Ray Robson, age 14, won the US Junior Closed Championship in Milwaukee.  He scored 6 out of 7.  In October, he was awarded the Grandmaster title, just before his 15th birthday.


On July 30, 2009, GM Mizime Vachier-Lagrave won the International Chess Festival at Biel, Switzerland.


On August 2, 2009, Levon Aronian won the Mainz, Germany Chess Classic (World Rapid Chess Championship).  Nakamura won the Chess960 Rapid World Championship, beating Lev Aronian in the final.


On August 8, 2009, GM David Howell, age 18, won the 96th British Chess Championship, held in Torquay.  IM Jovanka Houska won the British Women’s Championship.


On August 9, 2009,  Alex Lenderman, Sergey Kudrin, Alex Yermolinsky, Jacek Stopa, Jesse Kraai, and Dmitry Gurevich (won in a playoff) tie at 110th US Open in Indianapolis.


On August 24, 2009, Vassily Ivanchuk won the 5th FIDE Grand Prix in Jermuk.


On September 7, 2009, GM Larry Christiansen won the US Senior Open in Tulsa, OK.


On September 7, 2009, GM Giorgi Kacheishvili won on tiebreak over Siddharth Ravichandran in the 131st New York State Championship.


On September 12, 2009, Levon Aronian won the 2nd Grand Slam Masters in Bilbao, Spain.


On September 13, 2009, Evgeny Tomashevsky won the 62nd Russian Championship.


On September 16, 2009, John Littlewood died at the age of 78.  He was born on May 25, 1931 in Sheffield.  For many years, he was a leading British chess master.  In 2006, he was the national senior champion and finished equal first in 2008 at the age of 77.


On September 24, 2009, Garry Kasparov defeated Anatoly Karpov in Valencia, Spain in a 12-game match (4 rapid and 8 blitz).


On October 1, 2009, Jerry Hanken died in Los Angeles from complications of diabetes.  He was 74.  He was a former probation officer and an English teacher.  At the time of his death, he was president of the Chess Journalists of America.  He was born in 1934.  In 1974, he won the California Open.


On October 9, 2009, Magnus Carlsen won the 2nd Pearl Spring Chess Tournament in Nanjing, China.


On October 13, 2009, Anna Zatonskoh won the US Women's Chess Championship in St Louis with 8.5 out of 9 points


On November 4, 2009, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won the 48th World Junior Championship  in Mar del Plata, Argentina.


On November 7, 2009, Miso Cebalo won the world senior chess championship over Janis Klovans, held in Condino, Italy.  Nona Gaprindashvili won the women's title


On November 14, 2009, Vladimir Kramnik won the Tal Memorial, held in Moscow.  It was the strongest event of the year (category 21 – 2764).


On November 18, 2009, GM Magnus Carlsen won the World Blitz Championship, held in Moscow.


On November 23, 2009, the World Youth Chess Ch was held in Antalya-Kerner, Turkey.  There were 1,324 players from 90 countries.   Maksim Matlakov of Russia won the U-18 championship.


On November 29, 2009, Alex Lenderman, Bryan Smith, Alexander Stripunsky, and Irina Krush tied for 1st at the  National Chess Congress in Philadelphia.


On November 29, 2009, the 45th American Open in Los Angeles was held.  It was won by Melikset Khachiyan (on tiebreak) over Andranik Matikozyan and Julian Landaw.


On December 4, 2009, Alexandra Kosteniuk won the 1st ACP women world rapid cup in Konya, Turkey.


On Decmeber 14, 2009, Boris Gelfand beat Ruslan Ponomariov to win the World Cup, held in Khanty-Mansiysk.


On December 15, 2009, Magnus Carlsen won the London Chess Classic.  He won 25,000 euros for his first place finish.


On December 20, 2009, Russian GM Vladimir Malakhov won the European Rapid Chess Championship in Warsaw, Poland.


On December 20, 2009, Alex Lenderman won the 93rd Marshall Chess Club Championship.


Magnus Carlsen’s rating for the end of December, 2009 is 2810, ranking him number one in the world and the youngest ever to be rated number one in the world at the age of 19 years and one month.