sabato 23 gennaio 2021

One Saturday Afternoon

Fabiano Caruana – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
83rd Tata Steel Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 23, 2021
Sicilian Defence B97

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Qd2 Qxb2 9. Rb1 Qa3 10. Be2 Nc6 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. e5 Nd5. Much worse is 12. ... dxe5? 13. fxe5 Nd5 14. Rb3 Qa5 15. 0-0 Bb4 16. Rxb4! Qc5+ (neither 16. ... Nxb4 17. Ne4 0-0 18. Bf6! h6 19. Rf3+− nor 16. ... Qxb4 17. Nxd5!+− would be of any benefit) 17. Rd4 Qxc3 18. Qxc3! 1 : 0 Pellant – Wong, 84th U.S. Open, Pasadena 1983. 13. Nxd5 exd5? Quite strangely, just two days after the débâcle suffered against Nils Grandelius, Vachier-Lagrave falls into another theoretical black hole. 13. ... cxd5! was called for, with a complex game.


14. e6! f6. Very probably Black’s position is hopeless already. For instance, both 14. ... Bxe6 15. 0-0 and 14. ... fxe6 15. f5! e5 16. 0-0 (Δ f5-f6) would leave White with a crushing attack. 15. Bh5+ Kd8 16. Bh4 d4


17. Bf2. Despite being a Pawn down, Caruana goes for simplification, assessing it as the simplest way to win. 17. Rb3 Qc5 18. Bf7+− was the alternative, and apparently the only one to avoid the exchange of Queens. 17. ... Qc3 18. f5 Qxd2+ 19. Kxd2 c5 20. Bf3 Ra7 21. g4 (21. Rb8+−) 21. ... g6. 21. ... Kc7 may be a little more rocky — but not that much: 22. Kd3 a5 23. Bd5 with a dominating position for White. 22. Bh4 Be7 23. Rb6. Black is paralysed, helpless and absolutely hopeless.


23. ... h5 24. h3 Ke8 25. Bg3 Rc7 26. Kd3 hxg4 27. hxg4 Rxh1 28. Bxh1 gxf5 29. gxf5 Bf8 30. Kc4 Rh7 31. Be4 Be7 32. Bxd6 Bxd6 33. Rxd6 Bb7 34. Bxb7 Rxb7 35. Rxa6 Rb2 36. Kxc5 Rxc2+ 37. Kxd4 1 : 0.

It would seem that Caruana is determined to repeat last year’s experience in Wijk aan Zee. Photo © Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021.

Yeah, Edna, today it is Saturday once again, and you know what it means, but don’t tell ’em I told you, or else they will turn the calendar ahead to Monday

venerdì 22 gennaio 2021

Odd One Out

Jorden van Foreest – David Antón Guijarro
83rd Tata Steel Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 22, 2021
Spanish Game C84

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 0-0 9. h3 h6 10. a4 Bd7 11. Bc2 b4 12. Nbd2 Re8 13. a5 Bf8 14. Re1 Rb8 15. d4TN (15. Nc4 Qc8 16. Bd2 bxc3 17. bxc3 Ne7 18. d4 Ng6 19. d5 Bb5 20. Na3 Bd7 21. Nc4 Bb5 22. Na3 Bd7 23. Bd3 c6 24. c4 c5 25. Rb1 Qc7 26. Kh2 Be7 27. Qc2 Rxb1 28. Rxb1 Rb8 29. Rb2 ½ : ½ Mekhitarian – Leitão, Zonal 2.4 Absoluto 2013 Brasil – Peru – Bolívia, Ponta Negra, Manaus 2013) 15. ... bxc3 16. bxc3 exd4 17. cxd4 Nb4 18. Bb1 g6 19. Ra3 Bg7 20. Nf1 Rb5 21. Ng3


21. ... Nh5? Much of Black’s trouble is probably due to this move which effect is to rim the Rook out on the Kingside. 21. ... Nh7 followed by ... Nh7-g5 was quite likely to be a better way to stay in control. 22. Nxh5 Rxh5 23. d5! Cutting the board in two and putting the Black Rook out of play. 23. ... c5 24. Bf4 Bb2 25. Rae3 Qf6 26. Bg3 c4 27. Qe2 Bb5


28. e5. The newly Grandmaster Max Warmerdam conveniently noted that “Jorden could have gone for the beautiful 28. Bxd6! here, with the idea of sacrificing the Queen after 28. ... c3 29. Qxb5! axb5 30. Bxb4 with a winning advantage. Instead, he went for the more normal-looking 28. e5 which seems to give a winning advantage as well”. 28. ... Bxe5 29. Nxe5 dxe5 30. Bxe5 Rexe5 31. Rxe5 c3 32. Qe3 c2 33. Rxh5 gxh5 34. Bxc2 Nxc2 35. Qe5 Kg7 36. Re4 Bd3?? This puts an immediate end to Black’s suffering, but the ending ensuing after 36. ... Qxe5 37. Rxe5 Nd4 38. d6 Bc6 (38. ... Nc6? 39. d7!+−) 39. Kh2 Nb5 40. Rd5! was also tremendously bleak. 37. Qg3+ 1 : 0.

After five draws in a row, Dutch Grandmaster van Foreest finally broke the ice, by winning his first game of the year. Photo © Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021.

Well, Edna, even though life can be very hard, you cannot eat only pastries and sweets at breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Artwork © KittyCathryn239

giovedì 21 gennaio 2021

Doni Tondo

Visitors contemplate Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo, also known as Holy Family with Young St John the Baptist, at the reopening of the Uffizi galleries in Florence, Italy after months of pandemic-induced closure. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images.

Day to Day

Nils Grandelius – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
83rd Tata Steel Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 21, 2021
Sicilian Defence B97

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Qd2 Qxb2 9. Rb1 Qa3 10. f5 Be7 11. fxe6 Bxe6 12. Nxe6 fxe6 13. Bc4 Nbd7 14. Bxe6 Nc5 15. Bb3. The French Grandmaster is a specialist of the Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Sicilian Najdorf, which gave him both satisfaction — and sorrow. For instance: 15. Bc4 Ncxe4 16. Nxe4 Nxe4 17. Bf7+! Kxf7 18. Qd5+ Ke8 19. Qxe4 Qa5+ 20. Kd1! Qxg5 21. Rxb7 Rf8 22. Re1 Rf7 23. Rxe7+ Rxe7 24. Qxa8+ Kf7 25. Rf1+ Kg6 26. Qxa6 led to White being a (non-easy) Pawn up in a Rook and Queen endgame, Caruana – Vachier-Lagrave, 7th Norway Chess, Stavanger 2019. Another critical line is 15. Bf5 g6 16. Bh3 Ncxe4 17. Nxe4 Nxe4 18. Qd4 Qc3+ 19. Qxc3 Nxc3 in which he proved the soundness of Black’s defence: 20. Bxe7 Kxe7 21. Rxb7+ Kf6 22. 0-0+ Kg5 23. g3 Rab8 24. Rc7 Nd5 25. Ra7 Ne3 26. Rc1 Rb6 27. Re7 Nd5 28. Ra7 h5 29. Be6 Nc3 30. h4+ Kh6 31. Rf1 d5 32. Re7 Rh7 33. Re8 Rb2 34. Bg8 Rg7 35. Rd8 Ne4 36. Bxd5 Nxg3 37. Rh8+ Rh7 38. Rxh7+ Kxh7 39. Rf7+ Kh6 40. Bb3 Nf5 41. Ra7 Nxh4 42. Rxa6 Nf3+ 43. Kf2 Nd4 44. Kg3 Nxb3 45. cxb3 Kg5 46. Ra5+ Kf6 ½ : ½ 韦奕 (Wéi Yì) – Vachier-Lagrave, 4th Speed Chess Championship, chess.com, September 3, 2019, match game 20 (time control: 3 minutes plus 1 second per move. 15. ... Rc8 16. 0-0 Nxb3 17. Rxb3 Qc5+ 18. Be3 Qc4 19. Rf4


19. ... Qe6? There must have been something tremendously wrong in Vachier-Lagrave’s opening preparation. 19. ... Nh5! 20. Rf3 Nf6= is well-known patchwork theory. “After the game Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and I talked about that”, Grandelius then said. “Instead, he went for 19. ... Qe6, and after 20. Rxb7 I simply found myself a Pawn up”. 20. Rxb7 0-0 21. h3 Rb8 22. Ra7 Ra8 23. Rxa8 Rxa8 24. Nd5 Rb8 25. c4 Bd8?! 25. ... Nxd5 is probably a lesser evil, although 26. exd5 Qg6 27. Qf2 leaves White a Pawn ahead and the better game. 26. Qf2 Nd7 27. Bd4 Bg5 (27. ... h6 28. Qg3 Bg5? 29. h4!+−) 28. Rf5 Bh6 29. Kh2 Rc8 30. Qg3 g6 31. Qh4! Bf8 (31. ... Bg7 32. Qe7!+−)


32. Rf6! Qe8 (32. ... Nxf6 33. Nxf6+ Kf7 34. Qxh7+ Bg7 35. Ng4+−) 33. Rxf8+! Qxf8 34. Ne7+ Kf7 35. Nxc8 1 : 0.

Of the fourteen, Swedish Grandmaster Grandelius was today the only one to win, taking also the sole lead of the tournament. Photo © Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021.

Yes, Edna, in short, we might say that the lower the fall, the higher the climb

mercoledì 20 gennaio 2021

The Fool on the Hill


National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, 22, reciting her poem The Hill We Climb at the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

A Christmas Carol

On Wednesday, Chinese tycoon 马云 (Mǎ Yún) a.k.a. Jack Ma, a celebrity businessman who founded Alibaba in his 杭州 (Hángzhōu) one-bedroom flat on June 28, 1999, has resurfaced for the first time since 北京 (Běijīng) placed him and his Internet empire under scrutiny nearly three months ago, appearing in an online conference for rural teachers. His last public appearance dated back to October 24, 2020 when, at a summit in 上海 (Shànghǎi), he had criticised the “pawnshop” mentality of China’s financial regulators and state-owned banks. Screenshot courtesy of finance.sina.com.cn.

Epic Ethics Ethnic Pathos

Sure, Edna — tomorrow you are free to eat all you want in any of the pastry shops, bakeries, and ice creameries in town

martedì 19 gennaio 2021

Chaos and Beyond

Aryan Tari – Alireza Firouzja
83rd Tata Steel Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 19, 2021
Caro-Kann Defence B12

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Ne7 6. c3 Ng6 7. 0-0 Nd7 8. Ne1 h5 9. Be3 Qb6 10. b3 f6!? A sharp novelty, implying an Exchange sacrifice. A previous game went 10. ... h4 11. Nd3 c5 12. dxc5 Qc7 13. b4 Ngxe5 14. Nxe5 Qxe5 15. Bd4 Qc7 16. c4 dxc4 17. Bxc4 h3 18. g3 Qc6 19. f3 ½ : ½ Khairullin – Grigoriants, 59th Russian Chess Championship Superfinal, Moscow 2006.


11. Bxh5 fxe5 12. g4 Rxh5 13. gxh5 Nf4 14. dxe5 Nh3+ 15. Kg2 c5. 15. ... Bc5!? was also worth considering. 16. f4 Qc6 17. Nf3 0-0-0. Heterogeneous castling further confirms the highly double-edged status of the game. 18. Nbd2 Nb6


19. Qe1. As humans go crazy, engines give its best as kibitzers: here, for instance, both 19. Kg3!? (Δ Nf3-h4) and 19. Nd4!? were strong — and probably stronger than the text. 19. ... Be7. 19. ... d4! 20. cxd4 Nd5 at once was probably better and saved time. 20. Rc1 d4 21. cxd4 Nd5 22. Nc4. 22. Kh1! at once saves a tempo — probably vital — on the game continuation, but they both, although short of time, take a walk on the wild side. 22. ... Ndxf4+ 23. Bxf4. Now 23. Kh1 Nd3 wasn’t appealing either. 23. ... Nxf4+ 24. Kg1 Bg4. The pseudo-sacrifice of the second Exchange with 24. ... Rxd4! suggests itself, as White cannot take the Rook due to mate on g2. 25. Rc3 Rxd4 26. Nd6+ Kb8 27. Qe3 Bg5? (27. ... Bxh5)


28. Rxc5? 28. Kh1!! is the engines’ refutation of Firouzja’s gamble, but Tari is caught by a cruel Fata Morgana. 28. ... Qxc5! 29. Nxg5 (29. Nxd4 Ne2+−+) 29. ... Ne2+? Luckily for Tari, Firouzja — he too without time — did not notice a thing: 29. ... Be2! 30. Rxf4 (or 30. Re1 Rd1!−+) 30. ... Rd1+ 31. Kf2 Rf1+ 32. Kxe2 Re1+! winning easily. 30. Kg2 ½ : ½. All’s well that ends well.

“I think it was a completely crazy game. It was just psychological torture from the beginning to the end, with so much to calculate and so many tactical possibilities”, Tari afterwards told TV2. “I thought I was going to lose, but then he overlooked something and went out of control. I offered a draw, but maybe I should have kept playing. We both were in time trouble, but I felt so happy at being able to slip away”. Photo © Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021.

Of course, Edna, suffice to say that only you and you alone can make the night starry

The Starry Night

Noted journalist Rob Gollin, in a report for de Volkskrant of January 18, 2021, narrated the “sorrows” of Jeroen van den Berg, Director of the so-called “Wimbledon of Chess” since 1999, who, never like this year, had to jump through hoops in order to put together a small number of human beings. And in the end, they were fourteen young men, but not without suspense. Just last Wednesday, Russian Grandmaster Daniil Dmitrievich Dubov had to withdraw in extremis due to a sudden high fever. On the same evening, van den Berg contacted German Grandmaster Alexander Anatolyevich Donchenko, and the next day the organisers sent a car with a driver to pick him up in Gießen. The indomitable van den Berg also hoped until the very last for the arrival of four-time Women’s World Chess Champion and Rhodes Scholar 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán) — who has been playing here since her youth — but, unfortunately, she couldn’t leave China. And yet, despite all odds, van den Berg just did it: “I mostly had to limit myself to Europe, but look who’s here: the numbers one, two, five and eleven in the world, as well as rising stars and dark horses to form a dream field which promises many surprises”, he said.

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889. Courtesy of MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), New York.

lunedì 18 gennaio 2021

Into the Open

Nils Grandelius – Pentala Harikrishna
83rd Tata Steel Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 18, 2021
French Defence C02

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Qb6 5. Nf3 Bd7 6. Be2 cxd4 7. cxd4 Bb5. No doubt one of Black’s strategic goals is to exchange off his “bad” Bishop. 8. 0-0 Bxe2 9. Qxe2 Nc6 10. Nc3 Nge7 11. Qd3 Rc8!? Harikrishna’s move may be a novelty, though a very natural one. 12. Rd1 h6 13. Bd2 Ng6. 13. ... Qxb2?? 14. Na4 would cost Black the Queen. 14. h4 Bb4. The b-Pawn is still poisoned: 14. ... Qxb2?? 15. h5 winning at least a piece, because if 15. ... Nge7 then 16. Na4 trapping the Queen. 15. Na4 Qc7 16. h5 Nge7 17. Bf4?! Harikrishna said afterwards that this might be Grandelius’ critical mistake, leaving Black with a straight Queenside initiative. On one hand, that may sound a bit exaggerated, but on the other 17. Bxb4 Nxb4 18. Qd2 is probably more suited for equality purposes. 17. ... Qa5 18. b3 b5 19. Nb2 Ba3 20. Qe2 0-0 21. Rab1 Rc7 22. Nd3 Qb6 23. b4 a5. Otherwise Rb1-b3 follows. 24. bxa5 Nxa5


25. Bc1? Grandelius makes a wrong move after which Black gets an overwhelming preponderance on the Queenside. Probably best was 25. Nde1! Nc4 26. g4 Nc6!? with unclear equality (even though the play is easier for Black). 25. ... Bxc1 26. Rdxc1 Rxc1+ 27. Nxc1 Nc4 28. Nb3 Ra8 29. Rc1 Nc6 30. g3 Ra3 31. Kg2 Qa7 32. Rc2. As bad as any other move. 32. ... Nb4 33. Rc3 Nxa2 34. Rd3


34. ... Rxb3! 35. Rxb3 Nc1! 36. Qc2 Nxb3 37. Qxb3 Qa4 38. Qb1 b4 0 : 1.

Harikrishna, by virtue of his exemplary French Defence, shattered Grandelius’ dreams of glory... at least, for now. Photo © Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021.

Yeah, Edna, he made the naïve mistake of believing that he was the protagonist of your solo show

domenica 17 gennaio 2021

Ticket to Ride

Alexander Anatolyevich Donchenko – Fabiano Caruana
83rd Tata Steel Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 17, 2021
Slav Defence D12

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nh4 Be4 7. f3 Bg6 8. Bd2 Be7 9. Nxg6 hxg6 10. Qc2 Nbd7 11. 0-0-0 a6. Deviating from 11. ... Nb6 12. c5 Nbd7 13. Kb1 Qb8 14. h4 g5 15. Be1 g4 16. e4 gxf3 17. gxf3 b6 18. exd5 exd5 19. cxb6 axb6 20. Ne2 Qa7 21. b3 Nh5 22. Ng3 g6 23. Nxh5 Rxh5 24. f4 Kf8 25. Be2 Rh8 26. Bd3 c5 27. Bc3 cxd4 28. Bxd4 Bf6 29. Bxf6 Nxf6 30. f5 gxf5 31. Bxf5 b5 32. Rh2 Rh5 33. Re2 d4 34. Re5 Ng4 35. Rc5 Ne3 36. Rc8+ Rxc8 37. Qxc8+ Ke7 38. Rc1 Nd5 39. Re1+ Ne3 40. Rc1 Nd5 41. Re1+ Ne3 42. Rc1 ½ : ½ Giri – Caruana, Candidates Tournament 2020, Yekaterinburg 2020. 12. g4 dxc4 13. Bxc4 b5 14. Be2. Interesting seems 14. Bxe6!? fxe6 15. g5, after which there might follow: 15. ... Nh5 16. Qxg6+ Kf8 17. Qxe6 Bxg5 18. Qf5+ Kg8 19. Qe6+ with a draw by perpetual check. 14. ... c5 15. d5 Nxd5 16. Nxd5 exd5 17. f4. White should have considered 17. Kb1 here — as well as in the next few moves. 17. ... b4 18. e4 (18. Kb1) 18. ... d4 19. e5? (19. Kb1) 19. ... Nb6 20. e6? Consistent and wrong. 20. Qe4 Qd5∓ should be the “less worst”. 20. ... Qd5 21. exf7+ Kf8


22. h4. White should have moved his King to b1 earlier, but he didn’t. And now it’s too late: 22. Kb1 c4−+ with devastating threats. Likewise, 22. b3 a5−+ can’t give any hope at all. 22. ... Qxa2 23. Qxg6. In sheer desperation, White hopelessly moves towards his doom. 23. ... b3 24. Be1 c4! (Δ ... c4-c3) 25. Rxd4 Na4 26. Qb1


26. ... Ba3! 27. Qxa2 (27. bxa3 b2+−+) 27. ... bxa2 28. Kc2


28. ... Rb8! 29. Rd8+ Rxd8 30. bxa3 c3! 31. Bg3 (31. Bxc3 Rc8−+) 31. ... Rd2+ 32. Kb3 Nc5+ 0 : 1.

Caruana’s deep opening preparation and tactical alertness gave him today the most satisfaction. Photo © Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021.

Well, okay, it’s time to say goodnight, Edna

sabato 16 gennaio 2021

A Matter of Timing

Magnus Carlsen – Alireza Firouzja
83rd Tata Steel Chess Tournament; Wijk aan Zee, January 16, 2021
Queen’s Gambit Declined D51

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 Be7 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. e4 Nxc3 10. bxc3 0-0 11. Bd3 c5 12. 0-0 cxd4 13. cxd4 b6 14. a4!? A novelty in place of 14. Rc1 Nf6 15. Qe2 Bb7 16. Rfd1 Rac8 which gave Black quite a comfortable game in Obolentseva – Girya, 9th Blondes vs. Brunettes, Moscow 2019 (time control: 3 minutes plus 2 seconds per move). 14. ... Bb7 15. a5 bxa5 16. Rxa5 Nf6 17. Re1 Rfd8 18. Qa1 Qc7 19. h3 a6 20. Rc5 Qf4 21. Re5. 21. Ne5 Nxe4 22. Bxe4 Bxe4 23. g3 Qf5 24. Nxf7 Qf3 25. Rxe4 Qxe4 26. Nxd8 Rxd8 leads to a drawn endgame. 21. ... Nd7 22. Ra5 Nf6


23. d5! Carlsen refuses to repeat moves and shocks his opponent with a thematic Pawn sacrifice. 23. ... exd5 24. e5 Ne4 25. Qd4 Rdc8 26. Raa1 a5 27. Rab1 Bc6


28. e6! The second Pawn sacrifice comes as a bombshell. 28. ... fxe6 29. Ne5 Qf6 30. f3 Ng5 31. Rb6 Be8 32. Qe3 a4 33. Ng4 Qd8. Firouzja defended cooly, eventually giving back his two extra Pawns in order to secure the gain of the Exchange. 34. Rxe6 Nxe6 35. Qxe6+ Bf7? And finally, Firouzja’s nerves crack. Black ought to play 35. ... Kh8! after which there would equally follow 36. Nxh6! Bh5! 37. Ng4! with full compensation for the Exchange and at least equal chances.


36. Nxh6+! gxh6 37. Qxh6 Qc7 38. Qh7+ Kf8 39. Qh8+ Bg8 40. Qh6+ 1 : 0. For if 40. ... Qg7 then 41. Qd6+ followed by mate, whilst if 40. ... Kf7 then 41. Bg6+ Kf6 42. Bh5+ Kf5 43. g4 mate.

“It was only a matter of timing, I guess. It was a typical first round game: I just thought too much and aimed at too much. Fortunately, he got terribly nervous, and that saved me”, Carlsen eventually told TV2. Photo © Jurriaan Hoefsmit/Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021.

Yeah, Edna, as you ascend, your metaphysical energy flows; and as your perspective widens, your fears disappear

venerdì 15 gennaio 2021

There’s Something About Beth

Amidst extraordinary health protocols, the prestigious Tata Steel Chess Tournament, which has now come to its 83rd anniversary, will kick off tomorrow in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. Because of the pandemic, there will be no other tournaments except the Masters, with no audience allowed in the hall. Travel and visa restrictions also conditioned the field of participants, which was mostly recruited within the confines of the Schengen Area. The magnificent fourteen are (in alphabetical order): David Antón Guijarro, Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Alexander Anatolyevich Donchenko, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Andrey Evgenyevich Esipenko, Alireza Firouzja, Anish Giri, Nils Grandelius, Pentala Harikrishna, Aryan Tari, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Jorden van Foreest, and Radosław Wojtaszek. No doubt Miss Harmon, whose absence is due solely to “sovereign orders”, will be missed by all her admirers and friends.

Sure, Edna, they are just chorus girls serving as background to your breathtaking solo performance