A dive into History
The picturesque small country called Bulgaria - which has existed for more than 13 centuries in Europe - is famous among chess fans mostly because it is the native land of the great champion Veselin Topalov. This year Bulgaria is going to be home of the European Individual Chess Championship, from March 19 to April 1. Click here for information.
Plovdiv, the second city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia, is considered the cultural center of the country, and it's the capital of Tracia, an historical important region in the Balkans. For centuries this beautiful town has been the meeting point for different cultures and traditions. Full of art, permeated with the perfume of history, Plovdiv serves as a marvelous frame for this important chess event. The Roman amphitheater - built by Traiano between 114 and 117 AD - is a spectacular view, and gives the visitor a chance to dive into ancient history.
The 11-round Swiss system tournament - with a prize fund of 100,000 Euro - is a huge event, with 357 players from all over Europe (FIDE zones 1.1 to 1.10), 170+ GMs of which 15 with a rating of 2700 and above. It is the 13th edition of the EICC, that in its history has seen illustrious winners, among which Emil Sutovsky (2001), Vassily Ivanchuk (2004), Sergey Tiviakov (2008). The defending champion is Russian Vladimir Potkin - Porter in ICC. The EICC 2012 is a qualification event for the next World Cup: according to FIDE regulations and the decision of the ECU Board, 23 players will qualify. The chance to qualify for the World Cup is attracting many strong GMs, after years in which the tournament has been not as strong as it is now.
This year top seeded are Fabiano Caruana of Italy - Adaptation in ICC, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan - azerichess in ICC, Dmitry Jakovenko of Russia - CoolWizard in ICC, and Anish Giri of the Netherlands - AnishGiri in ICC, followed by a plethora of strong GMs, such as Riazantsev(RUS), Vitiugov(RUS), Bacrot(FRA), Jobava(GEO), Grachev(RUS), Malakhov(RUS), Laznicka(CZE), Movsesian(ARM), Naiditsch(GER), Navara(CZE) and Sutovsky(ISR).
ICC will relay moves from the top boards of this important chess event.
The European Individual Chess Championship will lead us on to one of the most interesting events in the 2012 chess calendar: the match between number two and three in the FIDE rating list: GM Levon Aronian and GM Vladimir Kramnik. Click here for information. ICC will have live coverage of the games, with Chess.FM commentary on the air!
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CHESS.FM: FREE VIDEO!
2012 is the Year of the Dragon in China. We could not miss the opportunity to get into this popular and widely debated Opening Defense.
Belgian Fide Master Luc Henris, who was living in China with his Chinese wife, christened the variation "Chinese Dragon" (e4 c5 Nf3 d6 d4 cxd4 Nxd4 Nf6 Nc3 g6 Be3 Bg7 f3 Nc6 Qd2 0-0 Bc4 Bd7 0-0-0 Rb8) when he wrote a ground-breaking article about it for Yearbook 62, and that is when the name Chinese Dragon came to the world.
If you like aggressive action, then you are in for a treat. The Chinese Dragon is a new way to look at the Sicilian Dragon Defense, and allows Black to strike first in the pawn race. Many strong GMs play this variation, such as Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov and Vassily Ivanchuk.
Usually in the Sicilian Defense, and especially the Dragon variation, Black will put his rook on c8, to get maximum pressure down the c-file. However, in the Chinese Dragon, Black puts his rook on b8 to allow a quick push of his b-pawn. The pawn is immune from capture due to the quick and deadly attack Black gets on both the b and c files. However, many opponents fall for the trap and eat the pawn. After putting his rook on b8 on move 10, Black's goal is simple. Play b5, Na5-Nc4, and force white to capture the knight, opening the b-file to attack down. After the b file is open, play Qb6 to double up on the b file, bring the other rook to c8 for maximum pressure, and if needed push the a pawn as well. It is a simple formula that can be played almost automatically.
In his new series of the always interesting "Opening Survey" show, GM Ronen shows you all the "nip 'n 'tips" of this intriguing variation of the Sicilian Defense.
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2012: ICC iPad App Upgrade
2012 is the year of the great ICC giveaway, with FREE ICC apps for download! Everyone will be looking to play at the best online chess club with new holiday gifts of iPhones, iPads and Android phones. And here at ICC, such was the large response to our original free holiday offer we're extending it by making ALL of our mobile apps free for the time being.
One of the great benefits of ICC (apart from all the top-notch online play and tournaments) in recent years has been the upgrade in our popular Chess.FM service - many members agree that the live Chess.FM commentary plus GOTDs from our elite tournament coverage, and our regular weekly shows alone is worthy of their membership fee.
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