The Final Countdown
After a dramatic week of 12 qualifiers and 144 rounds, the ICC version of "March Madness" and the science of bracketology now comes into play as the world's strongest online blitz tournament, Dos Hermanas, first reached its final 32 on Friday, and now gears up for the final countdown on Saturday, 20th March.
Exiting early before the final eight has been some top GM names such as Gata Kamsky, Jon Ludvig Hammer and Giorgi Kacheishvili. But still riding high and within reach of his first Dos Hermanas title is top seed and big fan favorite GM Hikaru Nakamura. But the U.S. champion and world's top bullet player will also have to look out for Alexander Lastin, Farrukh Amonatov, Lazaro Bruzon and Alex Lenderman who are also among the final eight, and all of whom will equally be looking to snatch the title.
Click here for brackets for Dos Hermanas 32-player finals, scores and all the game downloads from the 12 qualifiers and finals so far.
And you can have a ringside seat as the final eight slug it out for the biggest online cash prize worth more than $10,000 by becoming a member of ICC by clicking here to join (or try our 7-day free trial). Why not follow all the action as it unfolds game by game for Saturday's decisive shootout for the title (+ch 227 for all the channel chat) by joining now?
Play gets underway Saturday, 20th March on ICC at 15:00 ET (20:00CET).
Amber: Carlsen's Comeback
All week on Chess.FM we've witnessed an amazing comeback at the Amber Tournament in Nice, France, as the teenage world #1, Magnus Carlsen, recovered from his opening-day shocker of losing 2-0 to Vassily Ivanchuk to strike back with a 'magnificent seven' successive wins.
Carlsen's hot steak came to an end though when he lost his round 5 rapid encounter to Sergey Karjakin - but Carlsen was back in command again with a brace of wins in rounds 6 over Boris Gelfand to jump into the lead in the overall standings on 9/12, a half point ahead of long-time leader Vassily Ivanchuk. Carlsen also leads the blindfold on 5/6, a half point ahead of Alexander Grischuk; with Ivanchuk and Vladimir Kramnik leading the rapid on 4.5/6, a half point ahead of Carlsen.
So it looks as if we're set for an exciting finish - and Chess.FM will be there right to the end covering Amber with live coverage, trivia, and our Game of the Day service. Also go to the official Amber site (http://www.amberchess2010.com/) for videos by the dynamic duo of our own Macauley Peterson and Peter Doggers of Chessvibes.
2010 State Champion of Champions
Get set for one of the hottest tickets to the upcoming U.S. Championship at the swish Scholastic Center and Chess Club of St. Louis, as ICC hosts yet another State Champion of Champions tournament.
The 24-player field for the U.S. Championship, to be held 13-25 May, with a bumper prize-fund of over $170,000, includes defending champion Hikaru Nakamura, former champions Gata Kamsky, Alexander Onischuk, Joel Benjamin, Larry Christiansen, Yury Shulman, Alexander Shabalov and Alexander Yermolinsky, plus many who have already qualified by rating or from various tournaments already, such as GMs Varuzhan Akobian, Jaan Ehlvest, Gregory Kaidanov, Ray Robson, Robert Hess, Ben Finegold, Alex Lenderman, Sergey Kudrin, Dmitri Gurevich and Jesse Kraai. Also yet to be announced is the Scholastic Center and Chess Club of St. Louis 4 wildcard spots.
But there's one spot left to be filled, and that's reserved for the 2010 State Champion of Champions event hosted exclusively here at the Internet Chess Club!
State champions from Alaska through California to Hawaii and from Maine through to New York and Florida will come together as one on the ICC for this unique online tournament. The event will determine who gets a coveted spot in the U.S. Championship (Saint Louis, May 13-25.)
Tune in live on ICC for the East & West Conference qualification rounds on March 24 & 25; Semifinals on 30 March; and Finals on 11 April. See complete tournament rules, list of competitors and prizes here.