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Lichess Official Blog

Learn from your mistakes

Thibault Announcements

New feature: train tactics from your own games

Today we're delighted to announce a new and - dare I say - revolutionary feature. Are you ready to dramatically improve your chess? Then read on.

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London Chess Classic: Round 9 "The End"

Cynosure Chess

Wesley So wins the London Chess Classic 2016; other highlights and action from round 8

The final round of the London Chess Classic occurred yesterday, with some incredible match ups. Viswanathan Anand played Vladimir Kramnik for the 183rd time with both requiring a win to cement their place as overall third. Hiraku Nakamura playing Michael Adams also required a win, if he wanted to place overall third, but ultimately none of these players could quite convert a win.

On the other hand, it was an excellent day for Wesley So, who managed to keep himself in first place to also win the London Chess Classic, having secured his victory overall in the Grand Chess Tour yesterday. Fabiano Caruana similarly remained in second place, despite having three potential threats right on his tail. It was also a good day for Veselin Topalov, who managed to secure a win – sadly, too little too late from him, but perhaps showing a return to form.

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London Chess Classic: Round 8 "Hail King Wesley"

Cynosure Chess

Wesley So wins the Grand Chess Tour 2016; other highlights and action from round 8

Round 8 of the London Chess Classic ended yesterday giving us a clear winner of 2016’s Grand Chess Tour with one round left in hand. Wesley So’s meteoric rise continued this year as he held Fabiano Caruana to a draw to secure his spot as the winner of the Grand Chess Tour, with Nakamura and Aronian too far away to overtake him. His spot as the winner of the London Chess Classic – for a further $65,000 on top of his $100,000 winnings – will be contested today.

Otherwise, round 8 was by and large quite uneventful with four draws and one decisive result, between Veselin Topalov and Viswanathan Anand. Anand, playing an early novelty, continued Topalov’s awful tournament as he gave the Bulgarian his 6th loss of the tournament.

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London Chess Classic: Round 7 "The Hikaru Strikes Back"

Cynosure Chess

Highlights and action from Round 7

For what the chess gods giveth, they also taketh. Yesterday, they gave us a day full of drama and excitement, with incredibly attacking chess and a number of decisive results. Today, in round 7 of the London Chess Classic, we received 4 draws, some of them over just after the Sofia rules and with very little contention in the positions. That’s what you get, though, when three Queen Gambits, one Symmetrical English and one Najdorf Sicilian are played. There was only one decisive result, which surprisingly (and thankfully) was not against Topalov (I am thinking of Rocky IV here where (spoilers) Ivan Drago is beating Apollo Creed to a pulp and his friend is shouting at Rocky to "throw in the towel, he's taken enough punishment!")

The real highlight of the day came from Hikaru Nakamura vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Nakamura, who lost in such splendour against Caruana’s brilliancy yesterday, displayed a brilliancy of his own, with a highly similar – if not essentially identical opening for the first 12 or 13 moves, showing that it is not only Caruana who can dominate in heavily theoretical openings. Nakamura’s game very possibly might be one of his greatest, especially as he beat the Najdorf specialist at his own game.

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London Chess Classic: Round 6, "The Day of Sacrifices"

Cynosure Chess

All the highlights from round 6 of the LCC

Round 6 of the London Chess Classic was perhaps the most dramatic day of the tournament so far. On every single board, featuring eight of the world’s top 10 players, sacrificed pieces, Greek gifts and poisoned pieces were played. Most impressively, Fabiano Caruana, the world number 2, played a long term queen sacrifice, a speculation which eventually paid off against his countryman Hikaru Nakamura in what was the game of the day, and possibly the game of the tournament.

On the other boards, Veselin Topalov’s awful tournament continued as he registered his fifth loss against Wesley So who is building an unassailable lead in the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour. Levon Aronian started strongly against MVL, only to overextend himself and the Frenchman to capitalise on that weakness, receiving a win. Viswanathan Anand once again played 7. h3!? against Anish Giri’s 12th Najdorf Sicilian in a row, a game which fizzled into a draw. Vladimir Kramnik and Michael Adams, by comparison, played a quieter game than the other 4 boards, in a solid positional battle which ended in a draw.

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London Chess Classic: Round 5

Cynosure Chess

All the highlights and updates from the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour.

Round 5 of the London Chess Classic, the last round before a rest day tomorrow, provided only one decisive result in a comprehensive demolition of Veselin Topalov, the Bulgarian ex-FIDE World Champion. Topalov, who entered the tournament as the world no. 15, has had a series of unfortunate losses which have now put him on the very brink of exiting the world's top 20, only 0.2 rating points away from the 21st spot (currently occupied by Grischuk).

On the other boards, Aronian and Giri drew in 20 moves due to threefold repetition, playing for just over an hour. So and Anand also drew shortly after, reaching the Sofia rules 30 move limit before agreeing to draw. MVL and Caruana similarly agreed to draw on move 34, despite Caruana having a commanding position for much of the match, which he was unfortunate to let slip. Nakamura defended well against Kramnik, who had possibly out-prepared Nakamura in the opening, including an early novelty, holding their game to a draw after nearly 7 hours of play following some ambitious and potentially inaccurate middle game play by Kramnik.

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London Chess Classic: Round 4

Cynosure Chess

Nakamura makes it interesting...

Round 4 of the London Chess Classic delivered more drama today, with particularly exciting results for Adams and Nakamura – the players at the bottom of the pack who were able to make up the difference somewhat more today.

Topalov, playing against Nakamura, had a particularly difficult day of it today. This tournament hasn’t been good for Topalov so far, who has now lost 3 games and made getting a winning result in this particular leg of the Grand Chess Tour essentially impossible, with 5 games left to go. Topalov versus Nakamura was the only decisive result today, with the rest being draws.

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London Chess Classic: Round 3

Cynosure Chess

Sorry for the delay, I was at a family event - here's the late highlights of round 3!

Round 3 of the London Chess Classic, and the birthday curse – previously affecting Nakamura in a blunder-ridden opening which cost him his game against So – continued, with Nakamura transferring the curse on to Viswanathan Anand (who was celebrating his 47th birthday), giving Nakamura his first win of the tournament.

Meanwhile, across the other four boards, we saw four draws, with Wesley So being tested by Levon Aronian and receiving his first non-win result. British number 1, Michael Adams, managed a draw against Giri despite being a pawn down, giving him his first positive result of the tournament. Misfortune struck Veselin Topalov again after a mistake threw away a decisive result again, this time playing Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

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London Chess Classic: Round 2

cynosure Chess

Action and highlights from round 2 of the LCC. Including Anand v MVL, Kramnik v Aronian and all the other top games.

Another dramatic day from the London Chess Classic today, with incredibly unfortunate losses from Topalov and Adams – both from blunders again – and make it really difficult for them to have any reasonable chance of them being serious contenders in this tournament.

The day wasn’t all blunder-ridden though, with Viswanathan Anand discovering a beautiful tactic against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in what was possibly the most interesting game of the day.

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London Chess Classic: Round 1

Ophi Seurat Chess

Highlights from Round 1 of the London Chess Classic 2016, the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour.

It is a testament to the increasing popularity of lichess that, having covered the World Chess Championship 2016 (Carlsen vs Karjakin if you were living under a rock), lichess was equally invited to cover the London Chess Classic, the last leg of the Grand Chess Tour. I was fortunate enough to sit in an air conditioned VIP analysis room alongside journalists, older or less active grandmasters, the coaches, business men and those who run and organise national and international chess federations.

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2016 WCC, Game 10: The Beautiful Struggle

Tyler Schwartz Chess

Carlsen needs a win badly

How did Carlsen and Karjakin get here?

Trying to predict how Carlsen will handle this must-win situation is difficult because he’s never been in this situation before. Carlsen never trailed in either World Championship Match with Anand, and this is Karjakin’s first World Championship match, so it’s difficult to say how the pressure, and high steaks are affecting him.

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Puzzles Update

James 'Clarkey' Clarke Announcements

You've waited patiently and now it's here

Updating the tactics trainer has been under development for some time now and we're finally ready to reveal what's new. It was teased in the last developer update that change was in air starting with 40k new puzzles, but under the hood there's been some fundamental changes aswell.

So what's new? Let's find out.

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2016 WCC, Game 1: Carlsen Plays the Tromp?

Tyler Schwartz Chess

Will Karjakin Survive Magnus' Offbeat Opening?

November has already seen two underdogs become champions. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series and Donald Trump is the President Elect. Will Sergey Karjakin defeat World Champion Magnus Carlsen? The odds are against Karjakin but so far in November odds haven't mattered.

Game 1 of the World Chess Championship began on November 11th in New York’s South Street Seaport. The 25 year-old, Norwegian, World Champion Magnus Carlsen had the white pieces. The 26 year-old, Russian, challenger Sergey Karjakin had the black pieces. Well, Carlsen had most of the moves with the white pieces, Actor Woody Harrelson stopped by to make the ceremonial first move.

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Developer Update

James 'Clarkey' Clarke Announcements

Bigger, Stronger, Faster

It's been only 4 months since our last update, but in the developer world it's been a long time and much has changed. So much so that it's been a challenge for us to keep track of everything that's improved. But we're going to try our best to summarise all those changes big and small for your convenience.

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Bits, Beers and Blunders

happy0, lukhas and nojoke Announcements

Lichess hackathon and meetup

About 4 years ago I dropped into the Lichess IRC channel to ask about some of the technical aspects of the code behind lichess. Since then, with the help of other Lichess contributors I have been lucky enough to contribute a few features to the site. A couple of weekends ago, I was able to visit Paris and meet some of these people for the first time for the Lichess hackathon and meetup. We thought it’d be worth sharing some pictures from the events over the weekend with you!

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Stockfish is learning

Thibault Announcements

Artificial intelligence for Atomic, Horde, and Racing Kings!

You may know about Stockfish, the strongest chess player in the known universe. It's a fantastic chess artificial intelligence, and like all the greatest programs, it's open source and actively maintained by enthusiasts (yes just like lichess :)

Naturally we use it on lichess:

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How to start learning chess

Nojoke Chess

The next step after learning how the pieces move.

I'm hesitant to dispel the myth that chess is unapproachably complex. It has been useful in making some people think I'm a lot smarter than I actually am. The truth is that chess can be difficult and complicated but no more than many other skills that people master on a regular basis. I'm often asked how to get better at chess. This is difficult to answer and I can't explain it in one sentence. A few paragraphs, however, should be plenty:

The first thing any ambitious new chess student needs to learn is not to hang pieces. "Hanging" pieces means giving one away to your opponent: for example, placing a rook where it can be captured safely by a bishop. Most games between absolute beginners are decided by these ‘one-punch knockouts’ where one player gives away an important piece (or checkmate) and the game is essentially over. All the cleverness in the world will not usually save a chess player when his opponent has an extra queen. The inverse mistake is also common, where one player delivers his queen to be taken for free and their opponent fails to notice.

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Summer 2016 Marathon

Thibault Duplessis Announcements

The legendary 24h chess tournament is back.

TL;DR: What? 24h long 5+0 tournament. When? Saturday the 6th of August, 12:00AM (GMT). Where? lichess.org/tournament/summer16

True to its tradition, lichess presents this summer edition of the ever popular seasonal chess marathon.

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Something for the beginners

Nojoke & Thibault Announcements

A new way to learn chess!

Until recently lichess.org was not much use to a person who doesn’t know how the pieces move, but now, we have something for them. lichess.org/learn will teach new players everything they need to know to play a game of chess. From the basic movements of the pieces to lesser known rules like en passant and stalemate.

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How do I get my Daughter to Love Chess? Pt. 1

Tyler Schwartz Chess

Practical Strategies for Closing the Gender Gap in Chess

To understand the benefits of playing chess, think of chess as a mental gym. When you play chess, you engage your brain in critical and demanding ways. Your brain is constantly developing to adapt to this more mentally intense environnment. Thus when you repeatedly play chess you get, well... smarter. Memory, critical thinking, calculation, mental dexterity and executive function in early childhood are just some of the wonderful benefits of playing the game of kings.

As long as chess has been chess, chess has been mainly played by men. The question of the “Gender Gap” in chess was recently discussed in the New York Times:

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Lichess Mobile v4

Thibault Duplessis Announcements

Outstanding progress on lichess mobile app!

As you know, lichess is built and run by a vibrant community of chess lovers. Some are coding the site itself, some are catching cheaters, some keep the servers up and scaling; and these two guys, veloce and freefal, are doing wonders with the mobile app.

So what's new since the previous mobile app review?

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Study chess, the lichess way

Thibault Duplessis Announcements

The ultimate chess teaching and learning tool.

Here comes lichess shared analysis! It's full-featured, it's free for all, it's gorgeous and fast and awesome; and in all modesty, it's the best thing that happened to chess since the invention of the smothered mate. We call it: Study.

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Pursuit of Brilliance

Tyler Schwartz Announcements

A chance for everyone to shine!

The Pursuit of Brilliance Tournament is an online event that gives any chess player the chance of glory! Here is how the tournament will work:

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Interview with the World #1 Crazyhouse Player

crosky Chess

A player profile and Q&A with JannLee

Those of you who have only recently acquainted yourselves with the crazyhouse scene will recognize the name 'JannLee' as the player whose meteoric rise shortly after crazyhouse rolled out on lichess firmly established him as the best player on the site. Those of you who regularly haunt channel 24 on FICS—the crazyhouse & bughouse channel on the Free Internet Chess Server—will perhaps know him better as the guy who has dominated the FICS crazyhouse scene for over a decade: tantheman.

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Swag time

Clarkey Announcements

Great chess deserves great T-shirts.

The lichess.org shop is open! Kudos to Clarkey & Eddie O'Bryan for the amazing designs!

Not only will they look gorgeous on you, we hope they also help paying for lichess servers. A T-shirt is $3 in lichess donation funds; a hoodie, $5. We've been buying new servers this month, to cope with the outstanding lichess growth. Help us keep going!

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Opening Explorer

Lichess Publishing Club Announcements

A powerful new feature is out on Lichess!

Over the past month the lichess devs have been hard at work on a powerful new feature. Today we are proud to reveal the Lichess Opening Explorer! Not only does it let you search through over 12 million Lichess games (and counting!) with more than 390 million unique positions, but it also features a specially curated database of 2 million master games from thousands of over-the-board tournaments since 1952! That's right, a fully featured opening explorer is now a part of lichess.org and it's all completely free!

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Racing Kings & the Second ChessWhiz Cup

Tony Rotella Announcements

Ringing in the New Year with Racing Kings and the second ChessWhiz Cup!

Happy New Year from the Lichess team, who wishes all you virtual wood-pushers out there a splendid start to 2016! Hopefully everybody's recovered from their vacations, obligatory family bonding, and the carbohydrate-induced lethargy so prevalent around the holidays. The Lichess super-coders are already back to work and extra-inspired; given their progress, it seemed time for a blog post. On the docket are two items: the new variant Racing Kings and a new prize tournament, the Second ChessWhiz Cup!

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Winter Marathon Tournament

Unihedron & GnarlyGoat Announcements

Are you ready to experience something different?

TL;DR: What? 24h 3+2 tournament. When? Monday the 28th of December, 12:00AM (GMT). Where? lichess.org/tournament/winter15

As 2015 slowly draws to its close and the new year lazily approaches, many folks are beginning to wind down and relax over the holiday period for some well earned peace and quiet. Not lichess though, for us the end of the year means only one thing: the ultimate test of chess endurance otherwise known as the 24-hour Winter Marathon Tournament.

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Chess Insights

Thibault Duplessis Announcements

Reach chess enlightenment through analysis of your playing style.

The last two weeks, I've been working on a new feature. It's called Chess Insights, and its goal is to help you understand your playing style, your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.

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Autumn Marathon Tournament

GnarlyGoat Announcements

Announcing the second edition of the glorious 24-hour chess marathon!

[EDIT] It's over! Read the wrap up and vote for the next marathon time control!

TL;DR: What? 24h 3+0 tournament. When? October 24th, 00:00 GMT. Where? lichess.org/tournament/autumn15

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