The best (or the most popular?) player nowadays? Kramnik, without any reasonable doubt. Fide world champion is the most voted player in the April MS (my Italian site) poll; the question was, as you can guess, “who is the strongest player of the chess world scene at the moment?”. Russian GM got 117 votes out of 279 (41,94%), while surprising second was his compatriot Alex Morozevich (31 – 11,11%); Vishy Anand placed third with 29 (10,39%), Topalov only seventh (16 – 5,73%). You can check complete results at www.messaggeroscacchi.it/public/sondaggio/aprile07.html. Vlad is not the number one in the last Fide list, but he is undoubtedly the most popular player now. On the other side, Veselin is losing lots of fans. In a recent interview his manager Danailov said: “Most GMs hate us, as they hated Kasparov”. The problem is that also most chess lovers seem to dislike poor Veselin, after toilette-gate and the following controversies.
Italian team championship has started this morning in Palermo. Roberto Messa (MS and TCS editor and former Italian champion) is on the spot and he told me that organisers have some problems with their Internet connection. That’s why second round results and all games are not available yet. All Italian players hope they will resolve this problem soon; thanks to Roberto I got all results anyway and I published them on MS – http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/italia/cis07.html -. No astonishing results in the first two rounds. Top seed Vimar Marostica is on top after beating Platinum Bologna and Il Massimo Palermo, even if “Paco” Vallejo (Il Massimo) won on the first board against German veteran Robert Hubner (Vimar) - a very interesting game -. Last year winner Obiettivo Risarcimento Padova and Mens Sana 1871 Siena share second place after drawing their 2nd round match. I’m still waiting for third round pairings; I think I’ll wait until tomorrow morning…
About tomorrow, it will be a free day for all on the ICC. At 12:00pm Eastern Time (16:00 GMT – 18:00 CET), Anand will be playing a 90-minute charity simul against opponents who have all bid on eBay for seats to play. Not only can fans watch all the action as it happens on the board, they can also watch an exclusive AnandCam that will show the world #1 playing the simul live from his home in Spain. “Even if you have had a free 7-day ICC trial in the past, you can still join us for what promises to be a fun-filled challenging day for charity”, is the organisers’ invitation.
“La regina del 2007” (“The Queen of 2007”) polls are open on my site. You can vote your January, February and March favourite games. All games are viewable and downloadable at http://www.messaggeroscacchi.it/regina2007/index.html; after watching them just click on “vota la tua partita preferita per ogni mese” (under the page title) and vote! Here is a nice win by Caruana at Gibtelecom Masters from January’s games.
Meenakshi, S1. (2293)-Caruana,F (2492) [A22], Gibtelecom Masters 23.01.2007
1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bb4 4. Nd5 Nxd5 5. cxd5 O-O 6. Bg2 d6 7. e3 Bf5 8. Ne2 Nd7 9. O-O Bd3 10. a3 Bc5 11. b4 Bb6 12. Re1 Qf6 13. Bb2 Qf5 14. Nc1 Be4 15. d3 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Nf6 17. f3 Qg6 18. e4 Nh5 19. Ne2 f5 20. a4 fxe4 21. dxe4 Rxf3 22. Kxf3 Rf8+ 23. Nf4 Nxf4 24. gxf4 Rxf4+ 25. Ke2 Qg2+ 26. Kd3 Qxb2 27. a5 Rf2 0-1