The SportAccord World Mind Games took place December 12-18 in Beijing and included tournaments for Bridge, Chess, Draughts, Go, and Xiangqi. China led the field with 9 gold medals and 21 overall, followed by Russia with 6 gold and 14 total, and Monaco with 2 gold and 3 total.
Pairs open Bridge was won by Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes of Monaco, while pairs women fell to Chinese players Xuefeng Feng and Yu Zhang.
In Chess, Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Levon Aronian of Armenia were tied for men’s blitz at 19.5 after 30 games. Karjakin, though, scored 1.5-1 in the direct face-off, claiming the gold medal and leaving Aronian with silver. Wang Yue of China was the surprise winner of the men’s rapid event. In the women’s blitz tournament, the two leading contenders, Hou Yifan of China and Valentina Gunina of Russia, drew each other as opponents for the last round. The game was well-fought but, in the end, Hou left with the gold. Don’t feel bad for Gunina, though. In the women’s rapid tournament, the positions were reversed—Gunina took gold and Hou silver.
Also part of the Chess competition at the World Mind Games were so-called Basque events, in which opposing players face each other in two simultaneous games. The top three players in women’s Basque were all from China but the ultimate winner was Zhao Xue. On top for the men was Sergey Karjakin.
Joel N’Cho Atse of Ivory Coast stunned 10-time world champion, Alexei Chizhov of Russia, to claim victory in men’s blitz Draughts. The women’s winner was Matrena Nogovitcyna.
Sixteen-year-old Zhiying Yu of China won gold in the women’s individual Go event. There was no men’s individual event but there was a men’s team and a mixed pairs. The winners of the men’s team competition were Hanseung Cho, Jiseok Kim, and Jeonghwan Park of Korea. And the pairs winners were Chenxing Wang and Ruiyang Zhou of China.
Xiangqi gold medals both went to players from China, Tianyi Wang in the men’s division and Dan Tang in the women’s division.
Samvel Ter-Sahakyan of Armenia claimed victory at the SREI International Grandmaster Chess Tournament in Kolkata, India but just barely. He was one of five tied for first but just edged out the others on tie-breaker points.
In a two-game rapid Chess final round of the London Chess Classic, the world’s 4th ranked player, Hikaru Nakamura of the U.S.A., beat the world’s 8th ranked, Boris Gelfand of Israel, 1½-½.
FIDE has made an official announcement regarding invitations for the next Candidates Tournament, to be held March 11-April 1, 2014 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia:
1. Viswanathan Anand (IND, former world champion)
2. Vladimir Kramnik (RUS, world cup 2013 winner)
3. Dmitry Andreikin (RUS, world cup 2013 finalist)
4. Veselin Topalov (BUL, grand-prix 2012-13 winner)
5. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, grand-prix 2012-13 runner-up)
6. Levon Aronian (ARM, rating list 2012-13)
7. Sergey Karjakin (RUS, rating list 2012-13)
8. Peter Svidler (RUS, host nominee)
First reserve from the FIDE Grand-Prix standings is Fabiano Caruana (ITA).
Nubairshah Shaikh won the Nirmala Vaze Memorial All India Open FIDE Rating Rapid Chess Trophy for a Rs 15,000 prize.
Pakistani players dominated the World Youth Scrabble Championship in Dubai with six out of the top 20 finishers, including first and second. The champion position was claimed by 16 year-old Moizullah Baig with a record of 19-4-1 +1448. The runner-up was Javeria Mirza with a record of 18-6 +1725.
At the Sunshine State Backgammon Championship in Tampa, Florida the winner was Jeff Burdsall of Nevada.
With the US Backgammon Federation’s Club Team Championship opened to international competition for the first time, one Russian team participated. However, it was a team from the Washington, D.C. area that captured the trophy.
The 8th World Championship Blitz Draughts tournament was held in Den Helder, Netherlands, where Alexander Schwarzman was declared the winner.
At the Rubik’s Cube Philippine Open, Mharr Justhinne Ampong won at standard 3×3 with an average of 11.67 seconds, while Marvin Llaneta won at 3×3 with feet with an average of 1 minute, 10.14 seconds.