Added on 1/8/2018

This week I have action from two of the most traditional holiday tournaments in Stockholm and Hastings, but first a mini-match in China between rising star Wei Yi and strong Czech grandmaster David Navara.

Navara took the first match game with an interesting queen sacrifice that was sound and solid but snowballed as the game went on. 

Wei Yi struck back with a win in game three, and after a draw, the four-game match went to a playoff.  After splitting the first two games, Wei-Yi held a draw in the Armageddon game to be declared the winner.  Here’s how he found an esthetic way to conclude the match:

Hastings, perhaps the most hallowed name in holiday tournaments, has had its ups and downs over the years.  I played in round-robin events there in 1984 and 87, the latter a high-level GM event.  It seems the emergence of the London Classic, which is usually nestled into the schedule a little before Hastings, has certainly eclipsed the older event.  Still, the 2017-18 event, a nine-round Swiss system Open, sported a number of grandmasters, including returning champion Deep Sengupta.  The Indian grandmaster seems to like the cold, damp winter air of the English seaside, as he repeated his winning score of 7-2.  This time he had to settle for a tie, as Chinese IM Lou Yiping equaled that score, setting the pace and taking a draw in the last round.  Sengupta did not leave him waiting for long with a quick demolition of GM Danny Gormally.

I have even fonder memories of Stockholm, which is also bitterly cold but with more reliable heating.  I won the Rilton Cup in 1996-97, in the midst of my Deep Blue tenure.  Rilton has become an attractive tournament for Americans, particularly those seeking title norms during their vacation time.  This year no Americans made norms, with Awonder Liang the highest finisher at only 5.5/9.  However, my fellow Jersey resident Dean Ippolito made a splash in the first round by taking down top-ranked Krishnan Sasikiran.  Let’s have a look at that one:

IM Dean Ippolito

In the end, Russian GM Kirill Alekseenko took first with 7.5 points.  Alekseenko took the top spot by defeating the co-leader Johan Salomon in the last round. 

GM Kirill Alekseenko

But it didn’t stop there as the top eight boards all produced decisive results.  The second, third, and fourth seeds all went down in flames, including the following attempted tricky business from Nils Grandelius:

GM Joel Benjamin