I have been closely following the chess news for the year as I was compiling collections of tactics from each month, and here is a summary of what happened in the chess world during 2014:
The highlight of January 2014 was the traditional Wijk Aan Zee tournament, won by Levon Aronian.
Harikrishna – Nakamura White to move
The highlight of February 2014 was the Zurich Chess Challenge, with the average rating of 2801, the highest in chess history. It was won by Magnus Carlsen, but in one of the examples in the book he fell victim to a decisive sacrifice by Caruana. The real gem of the tournament, however was the exchange of rook sacrifices between Nakamura and Aronian, where in all three games (blitz, classical and rapid) White delivered a rook/exchange sacrifice against Black's kingside. The idea was brilliant, as White won in all three games! Other major tournaments this month were the Gibraltar and Moscow opens, which also had a lot of instructive combinations.
Nakamura – Aronian White to move
The highlight of March 2014 was Candidates Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia that determined the challenger for World Champion Magnus Carlsen. It was won by Vishy Anand, with a great result of +3, a full point a head of Sergey Karjakin who came second. The other major tournament this month was the European championship, which also had a lot of instructive combinations. It was won in great style by Alexander Motylev.
Aronian – Mamedyarov White to move
The highlight of April 2014 was the Vugar Gashimov Memorial held in Shamkir, Azerbaijan. It was won by the World Champion Magnus Carlsen, who despite losing two games, scored 6.5/10. Caruana was second with 5.5 points. The other major tournaments this month were the Women's Rapid and Blitz World Championships held in Khanty-Mansiysk, which were won by Kateryna Lagno and Anna Muzychuk respectively. Earlier that month Khanty-Mansiysk also hosted the Women's FIDE Grand Prix tournament, won by Hou Yifan, so April was truly a month of Women's chess in that city.
Caruana – Carlsen, White to move
After the major top tournaments of the first 4 months of the year, May was a relatively quiet month on the top scene. But, of course, still a lot of tournaments were played at different levels, including top GM round robins - Capablanca memorial in Havana, won by Wesley So, and Karpov's tournament in Poikovsky, won by Morozevich. Several combinations in this edition also come from the Italian team championship, and the Czech national championship.
June features an expanded edition, with over a hundred combinations, to cover the Rapid and Blitz World Championships in Dubai, in addition to the Stavanger Super Tournament in Norway. The former were both convincingly won by Magnus Carlsen, while Sergey Karjakin deprived the Norwegian World Champion of a home victory and took first place in the latter.
Topalov – Grischuk Black to move
July edition again covers over a hundred combinations, coming from Women's European Championship (won by Gunina), Dortmund, won by Caruana, and many other tournaments. The chess world is now awaiting the Olympiad in Tromso, so the August Monthly Tactics will have no shortage of combinations to choose from!
August edition covers over a hundred combinations, mostly coming from the Tromso Chess Olympiad, which was won by China in the Open tournament, and by Russia in the Women's Section.
Lagno – Dohdal, White to move
The major tournaments of September 2014 were happening in Bilbao, Spain. The European team championship was won by SOCAR club from Azerbaijan in the open event, and Georgian club Nona in the female section. Anand won the Bilbao Masters chess tournament, held at the same time and location, ahead of Aronian. The October edition will cover the first stage of the next World Championship which will begin with the Grand Prix tournament in Baku, with the world's strongest grandmasters participating.
The major tournaments of October 2014 were the two FIDE Grand Prix tournaments, in Baku and Tashkent. The former was won by Caruana and Gelfand, while in the latter Andreikin took the first place. Lu Shanglei and Aleksandra Goryachkina won the titles in the World Juniors championships in India. Giri-Shirov friendly match was another highlight, and two combinations from the match are featured here. The November edition will cover the World Championship Match in Sochi between Carlsen and Anand, as well as the Petrosian Memorial in Moscow with the world's strongest grandmasters participating.
Shirov – Vedder, White to move
The main event of November 2014 was the World Championship Match in Sochi between Carlsen and Anand, where Carlsen retained his title. Other major events were the Petrosian Memorial in Moscow with the world's strongest grandmasters participating (won by Grischuk), and the Tal memorial - a blitz tournament held as a side event in Sochi between many super grandmasters, this year's replacement for the annual Tal Memorial in Moscow (won by Mamedyarov).
Carlsen – Anand, Black to move
December saw Anand win the London Classic tournament, ahead of Kramnik and Giri.
Kramnik – Nakamura, White to move