Chess.com Gobbles Up Play Magnus as Kushal Jakhria Establishes New Global Brand | Chess

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Chess.com is set to take over the Play Magnus Group in an $82 million merger between major chess organizations that will leave US-backed chess.com as the dominant force in chess. online events. PMG, which went public on the Oslo market in 2020, initially flourished as a growth stock, but its earnings did not grow at the expected rate and its share price halved from at its top.

It seems that PMG’s business model of providing top-level commentary for top tournaments on its chess24 website has attracted too few subscribers, even though world champion Magnus Carlsen was and still is a regular participant. . PMG’s chess learning site is its most successful area, while the chess24 play area has attracted far fewer people than chess.com or lichess.

By contrast, chess.com has always been primarily focused on providing a competitive gaming arena for the hundreds of thousands of people who flocked to online chess during lockdown. Its viewing events have a successful formula of a mix of 5/1 and 3/1 blitz and 1/1 bullet, using a knockout format rather than chess24’s all-game Meltwater Champions Tour.

Chess.com also provides a platform for chess streamers, the most famous of which is Hikaru Nakamura with over a million followers. Women are generally underrepresented in chess, but much less so in streaming, where around 25% are women. Among the most popular is Anna Cramling, daughter of Pia Cramling who won her third Olympiad gold last month. Chess.com’s media coverage is good and its chief reporter, Peter Doggers, is widely regarded as the best chess journalist in the world.

Whether the merger will work in the long term is questionable. The world champion has made it his mission to try and make PMG successful, and admitting failure by selling out could prove to be another step on the road to retirement. Much will depend on whether Carlsen’s currently stalled goal of hitting a record 2900 rating can be revived by a strong performance in the Sinquefield Cup, which takes place in St Louis this week. So far this year, the 31-year-old Norwegian hasn’t been able to replicate his pre-pandemic performances of 2019.

The future looks uncertain for chess24. One of chess.com’s previous acquisitions was the viewing site chessbomb which now operates in a scaled down form covering only major events without live commentary, while chess24 gives live matches of fairly minor competitions.

However, chess.com won’t have a monopoly in the near future. Lichess remains a non-profit rival and is the site of choice for many due to its easy and quick access to a willing opponent. A handful of clicks and you’re in action at your preferred time limit.

Returning to the St Louis chess board, 19-year-old Alireza Firouzja returned to the top of his game in the Grand Tour rapid/blitz, where he lost just one of 27 matches and won the top prize of 40 $000 with four spins to spare. Nakamura was second. Carlsen joined on Thursday for the Sinquefield Cup and the prospect of a battle with Firouzja.

Last week’s article mentioned that seven-year-old England star Kushal Jakhria was within reach of a national rating of 2000. Jakhria was in contention to break the age record of Abhimanyu Mishra, who became the youngest U.S. pundit (defined as a 2000 rating) at seven years, six months, and 22 days, and became the youngest grandmaster ever.

Kushal Jakhria broke the record for the youngest player to reach a national rating of 2000. Photography: Brendan O’Gorman

It didn’t take Jakhria long. On the bank holiday weekend, with English Chess Federation odds 1989, he traveled to Lancashire for the Leyland U2200, beat both top seeds, then missed the final day due to health issues. trip to London.

Quick Guide

Kushal Jakhria-WFM Jane Richmond, Leyland U2200 2022

Spectacle

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 d5 b5?! 5 dxe6 fxe6 6 cxb5 d5 7 e3 Bd6 8 Be2 OO 9 b3 Ne4 10 Bb2 Da5+ 11 Nbd2 Nc3 12 Bxc3 Qxc3 13 OO Nd7 14 e4 Black’s Blumenfeld gambit 4…b5?! does not give enough for a pawn. Here 14 Ng5! Qf6 15 f4 is even better. Bb7 15 Rc1?! 15 Nc4! Bc7 16 e5 is stronger. Qf6 16 Qc2 Rac8 17 exd5 exd5 18 Bd3 g6 19 Rce1 Kg7 20 h4 The familiar Harry the h-pawn pushes, fishing here for a g5 outpost. Bf4 21 Ke2 Rf7 22 Rfe1 Nf8 23 Nf1 Give options of Ng3/e3 or Nf1-h2-g4 c4 24 bxc4 dxc4 25 Be4 Rc5 26 Bxb7 Kxb7 27 a4 c3 28 Re4 Rd7 29 g3? White remained a solid pawn, but gives it up unnecessarily. Instead, Ne3-c4 would increase the pressure. Bxg3 30 Nxg3 Qxf3 31 K4e3 Kd2 ?? The losing miscalculation. Qf4! maintain the level. At this point, Jakhria was already visualizing the final position. 32 Rxf3 Rxc2 33 Te7+ Kh6 34 Rxf8 Rc1+ 35 Kg2 c2 36 Rff7 Rg1+ 37 Kh2 Rh1+ 38 Kxh1 c1=Q+ 39 Kg2 g5 40 Rf6 mat. Jane Richmond is a former British champion and Olympiad silver medalist.

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At seven years and five months, Jakhria broke Mishra’s record by almost two months. Mishra had broken the previous record set by Awonder Liang, who also became a grandmaster, by a full six months.

Some English events are not Fide rated, so this figure is lower, but Jakhria still made it to the top spot on the world chess body’s September list for seven-year-olds. The other English talent Bodhana Sivanandan ranks fourth overall and world number one among seven-year-old girls.

Among the former English prodigies, Luke McShane stands out. At eight and a half he won the U10 world championship at Duisburg 1992 ahead of several future grandmasters, probably making over 2300. It also seems likely that Nodirbek Abdusattorov, now at 17 the youngest world rapid champion, was playing around 2000 at age seven. , because at the age of nine he beat two GMs at a tournament in Tashkent.

In less than two weeks, Jakhria faces her biggest challenge yet. The 11-round Fide U8 World Championship opens in Batumi, Georgia on September 16 with a huge field of 144. Nine are from the United States, who have won two of the last three titles, and many other nations strong chess are also represented. This event proved a barometer of greatness in 2012, when Abdusattorov won, and in 2013, when Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa won gold for India.

3831: 1 Qxc8+! Bxc8 2 exd3 Qxf3+ 3 Bg2 wins with the double threat of Re8 mate and Bxf3.

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