Magnus Carlsen’s Brain

One of the things listed under favorites on my computer is “brain science,” a subject with which I have been fascinated most of my life. The most recent article to be included was, “Studying Oversize Brain Cells for Links to Exceptional Memory,” by Carl Zimmer, dated Febuary 12, 2015, in the New York Times. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/13/science/studying-oversize-brain-cells-for-links-to-exceptional-memory.html?hpw&rref=science&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0)

“In 2010, a graduate student named Tamar Gefen got to know a remarkable group of older people. They had volunteered for a study of memory at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Although they were all over age 80, Ms. Gefen and her colleagues found that they scored as well on memory tests as people in their 50s. Some complained that they remembered too much. She and her colleagues referred to them as SuperAgers.”

“Recently, Ms. Gefen’s research has taken a sharp turn. At the outset of the study, the volunteers agreed to donate their brains for medical research. Some of them have died, and it has been Ms. Gefen’s job to look for anatomical clues to their extraordinary minds.”

“Ms. Gefen and her colleagues are now starting to publish the results of these post-mortem studies. Last month in The Journal of Neuroscience, the scientists reported that one of the biggest differences involves peculiar, oversize brain cells known as von Economo neurons. SuperAgers have almost five times as many of them as other people.”

“Learning what makes these brains special could help point researchers to treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of mental decline. But it is hard to say how an abundance of von Economo neurons actually helps the brain.”

“We don’t know what they’re doing yet,” said Dr. Mary Ann Raghanti, an anthropologist at Kent State University who was not involved in the new study.”

“As soon as the Northwestern scientists began enrolling SuperAgers in their study in 2007, the team took high-resolution scans of their brains. The SuperAgers had an unusually thick band of neurons in a structure called the anterior cingulate cortex, the scientists found; it was 6 percent thicker on average than those of people in their 50s.” (The anterior cingulate cortex, also known as Area 25, is a region that is located towards the front of the corpus callosum, in the medial frontal lobe. This region is involved in decision making and emotional regulation as well as vital to the regulation of physiological processes, such as blood pressure and heart rate. In particular, the key functions of the anterior cingulate cortex revolve around:

Detection of errors or shortfalls from some standard (Nieuwenhuis, Ridderinkhof, Blom, Band, &; Kok, 2001)
Anticipation and preparation before task performance
Regulation of emotions. http://www.psych-it.com.au/Psychlopedia/article.asp?id=263)

“Scientists have found von Economo neurons in only a few other mammals, such as apes, whales and cows.”

“John M. Allman of Caltech, who has studied von Economo neurons for 20 years, suspects that the neurons provide long-distance transmission of nerve impulses. The large size of the cells helps maintain electrical signals as they travel across the brain.

“My guess is they represent a fast relay,” he said.”

Noice that after “20 years” Mr. Allman “suspects” and has to “guess.” This is cutting-edge brain science in its infancy. The next paragraph jumped out, causing me to consider some of the things other elite chess players have said about World Human Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. Consider what the former World Human Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand, had to say after losing the second match for the Crown against Magnus, “My nerves were the first to crack.” (http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2014/11/23/magnus-carlsen-repeats-at-world-chess-championship/)

There is also this, “In a battle of nerves Norwegian World chess champion Magnus Carlsen held up his own better, said the losing challenger from India Viswanathan Anand on Sunday.” (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/magnus-carlsen-held-up-his-nerves-better-anand/514494-5-23.html)

In an interview by Colin McGourty at Chess24 GM Levon Aronian was asked, “What’s behind the phenomenon of Magnus Carlsen, who seized the chess crown?” Levon answered by saying, “I’d say it’s all about his incredible calm and nerves which, strangely enough, failed him at times in the recent World Championship match. But overall Magnus’ main secret is his composure and the absence of any soul-searching after mistakes during a game. At times, after all, you blunder and then hate yourself, saying: “You should be ashamed of yourself – children are watching”. But Carlsen doesn’t have that. He fights to the end, even if he’s playing badly.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/aronian-magnus-main-secret-is-his-composure)

From where does this “incredible calm and nerves” emanate? Could it be that Magnus Carlsen has oversized brain cells, specifically, brain cells known as von Economo neurons? Consider this written in New In Chess 2014/5, about Magnus, “Carlsen knows how to control his emotions, as can be gleaned from his lack of fear, no matter how tense the situation gets on the board.” This can be found in “NIC’s Cafe under “Total Control.” The article continues, “We saw a fine demonstration of his ‘mental control’ during the first free day of Norway Chess, when the players visited a school tournament and some of them were tempted to play Brainball. In Brainball, two players sit opposite each other wearing a headband that registers their brain activity. The aim is to reduce your brain activity as much as possible, as this will set a little ball moving towards your opponent. Once it reaches your opponent, you win. Of the grandmasters that had a go at Brainball, Aronian and Carlsen were the best at relazing their brains, but in their direct encounter the World Champion was in a class of his own. The cursor that indicated his mental activity dropped so low that an admiring colleague sighed:’Incredible. He seems to have total control of his brain.'”

What Would Mikhail Tal Do?

Levon Aronian (2777) – Sergey Karjakin (2760)
4th Zurich CC Classical Zurich SUI (1), 2015.02.14
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.e4 b4 10.Na4 c5 11.e5 Nd5 12.dxc5 Nxc5 13.Nxc5 Bxc5 14.O-O Be7 15.Qe2 Qb6 16.Ng5 h6 17.Ne4 Rd8 18.Qf3 Ba6 19.Rd1 O-O 20.Qg3 Kh8 21.Qh3 Kg8 22.Bxh6 gxh6 23.Qxh6 f5 24.Qg6+ Kh8 25.Qh6+ Kg8 26.Qg6+ Kh8 27.Qh6+ ½-½

The question I would like you to answer is, “Would Mikhail Tal have taken the perpetual check?”

My favorite music program is Hearts of Space (https://www.hos.com/). It was called Music From the Hearts of Space when it began on National Public Radio back in 1983. It is still broadcast on NPR and even though the program can be heard free online all day Sunday, I like to get a head start and listen to the program of the week on Friday night at 11 pm on WCBE FM out of Central Ohio. If the program is particularly good I have been known to cut away from Jazz Classics (http://wabe.org/programs/jazz-classics-h-johnson) on my home town NPR station, WABE FM, at 11 pm to listen to it again on WMFE FM (http://www.wmfe.org/) out of Kissimmee, Florida, but please do not tell this to my man, H. Johnson. Last night I did just that and left H. because there was some exceptional music wafting from the Hearts of Space to which I wished to listen once again. I liked SERENITY, by Michael Hoppe & Harold Moses, and later found it online, but that was not the case with a mesmerizing piece, Dreamesque, by Ralph Zurmuhle. (http://www.ralphpiano.com/) This music resonated with the Warrior while sitting in his Armchair. Today I have listened to it repeatedly, and will continue to do so until midnight, I suppose…

While listening to the program I decided to catch up on some chess surfing, something I have been unable to do, having had to limit my exposure to the ‘puter screen while afflicted with a dreadful sinus infection. While perusing Spraggett on Chess I noticed an interview with GM Lubomir Ljubojevic that obviously flew below the AW radar. His comments would have fit in nicely with my last post.

Interview with Grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojevic – Chess now and then, through the prism of technology, physics and philosophy – on 29 July 2013.

Yugoslav chess legend, former World No. 3, one of the best chess players from these parts ever, Grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojevic, shared with us his impressions about the current state of Serbian and international chess, the influence of computers on chess and development of chess ways of thinking, and about the specificities of the profession of the modern chess player.

Nadezda Stojanovic
I belong to the generation which wasn’t even born at the time you were at the peak of your career. So, for us, who belong to this younger generation, it is always very interesting to hear stories about the time when chess in these parts of the world had a much greater influence than nowadays.

Ljubomir Ljubojevic
When it comes to chess profession, the biggest difference between these different times arises from great development of technology. In the period when chess relied on personal analyses and when it was difficult to find the information about the latest games played in tournaments worldwide, we depended on how fast we could get these pieces of information. That’s why we would analyse for days, sometimes even for months, to be sure if some line is playable or not. Nowadays, that is very easy, you turn on the computer and you can easily check if certain positions or openings are applicable or not. In terms of openings, chess has developed a lot. But, it is my impression that the middlegame and endgame are still an Achilles’ heel of professionals. This begs the question: has the quality of those game phases stagnated because people got used to relying on computer knowledge? Or could this be because people get tired faster than before, because they spend less time on exercising their mental skills leaving that to technology?

What is your view of the current world ranking?

Ljubomir Ljubojevic
I think that Carlsen is the most prepared and the most talented player in this moment. He has already reached maturity which even Fischer at his age didn’t have. However, this doesn’t mean that his talent is more brilliant than Fischer’s! Carlsen entered the world of chess at a very early age, mainly due to the big influence of computers, and managed to acquire knowledge for which one used to need a lot of experience and many years of hard work. In his time, Fischer would find simplicity in the game thanks to his ingenuity. Today, young leading players in the world overcome complicated secrets of chess faster, with the help of powerful computers. That is why the progress of young players is faster today, but the question is will they burn out as fast, like a shooting star, and will their successful career be as long as the career of the players in the past?

Nadezda Stojanovic
You were a player of attractive style. Even nowadays in analyses you seem to suggest moves which others don’t see. Many people respect you for this.

Ljubomir Ljubojevic
I wouldn’t say so. Every person has their own moment of lucidity. Even a chess player who is objectively considered as a weaker player can have ingenious ideas. The only question is if he will use that moment of lucidity to make a good result worth of that ingenious idea. During my chess development, when there were no computers to rely on their suggestions, I was trying to get to know the secrets of chess with all my being and capacities I had. There is a difference when you see some picture on the screen, and you remember it, or when you come to that picture by deduction and logical thinking.

Other parts of the full interview can be found on GM Spraggett’s website (https://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/todays-insight-into-chess/) and the full interview can be found here (http://belgrade2013.org/index.php/en/).

They Bad

In an interview with Albert Silver appearing on Chessbase, former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov said, “…the quality of the players has worsened. In the autumn, Carlsen and Anand were playing, and I came to the final. The FIDE Vice President Georgios Makropoulos came to me and said: “Judging by today’s games, even an out-of-shape Karpov would beat either of them…”

It is natural for older people to consider things having been better “back in the day.” This is common in all walks of life. For example, many years ago I worked for a company owned by a former Delta Airlines employee. The company transported vehicles to nine different Southern states, and many of the drivers were former Delta employees who had retired. To a man they all agreed Delta was a better company “back in the day.” Upon hearing this for the umptheenth time, I said, “Maybe it was just a different company back then.” This was met with glares and stares, and I was shunned. A short time later I mentioned one of my girlfriends had been a stewardess for Delta in the early ’70’s, and another had worked for only Delta, and had done so for decades, adding, “Seems like it was a better company back then.” Everyone smiled, clapped me on the back, and things were right with the world of James Auto Transport!

That said, I must agree with Mr. Karpov. The matches for the World Chess Championship this decade have left much to be desired. Back in the day we looked forward to the upcoming WC match with much anticipation. This is no longer the case. I am having trouble recalling the last interesting match for the World Chess Championship.

I must also agree with the former WCC about the quality of the play of the current top players. I am not exactly certain, but it could be the influence of the computer chess programs in that they have humbled the Grandmasters, or, shall we say, taken them down a peg, or two. My friend the Discman said something, published on this blog, some time ago, “GM’s used to be thought of as Gods.” Now the Gods of chess come with names like Komodo, and Stockfish.

As an example of what I mean let me refer you to the coverage on Chessbase of the most recent “elite” tournament, the Grenke Chess Classic in Baden-Baden. The players were having much trouble converting winning endgames. I watched as GM Etienne Bacrot, who had been winning for quite sometime, came completely unglued trying to push home his advantage versus GM Michael Adams. (http://en.chessbase.com/post/grenke-rd5-carlsen-back-in-the-lead) This was one of many butchered endgames in this particular tournament. Unfortunately, it is not the only recent tournament about which the same can be said.

What makes it worse is that the players make statements like, “We are so much better than the players of the last century that even when they were on top of their game the best players of today would wipe the floor with them, and we have got the numbers to prove it.” OK, I am paraphrasing here, but you get the idea. Their ratings are higher and the best players of today do seem to strut around like Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in the movie Silver Streak, saying, “That’s right, we bad, WE BAD!” Then they go out and draw another winnable endgame. For example, “…while Adams could not convert his advantage against Aronian.” (http://en.chessbase.com/post/grenke-rd6-anand-only-win)

Sometimes it is even worse than the above. Consider what was written after the headline, “GRENKE Rd4: Two Blunders, Two Black wins.”
“What a round! Two major blunders defined the two victories, games that were on the verge of being wildly interesting and dissipated into a win for Black as in both cases the White side simply missed Black’s resources or overestimated his own attacking chances. Carlsen bounced back with a win over Anand in a stonewall, while Baramidze basically gave Naiditsch the tournament lead.” (http://en.chessbase.com/post/grenke-rd4-two-blunders-two-black-wins-2)

What a round, indeed. Baramidze failed to answer a question every chess player should ask himself before making a move, “Am I leaving anything en prise?” He actually put a Knight en prise, giving Naiditsch a piece for nothing. Amazing….Granted, GM Baramidze is clearly not a Super GM, but still…

Not to be outdone, former World Human Chess Champion Vishy Anand gave his opponent that day, World Human Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, a full ROOK! I kid you not. The game is annotated by GM Alejandro Ramirez at the Chessbase website. (http://en.chessbase.com/post/grenke-rd4-two-blunders-two-black-wins-2) Anand should give some serious consideration to retiring. If he continues to play he will only continue to embarrass himself, and tarnish his reputation.

That’s right, they bad, THEY BAD!

Speaking of GM Alejandro Ramirez…Annotating the game between Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Magnus Carlsen from round three of the Tata Steel tournament, after 1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 f5 4.b4 Bg7 5.Bb2 a5 6.b5 a4!?, Alejandro writes, “This brave pawn will be weak, but it does restrict White a little. Carlsen has to be very careful not to lose it though.”

Come on! I know Magnus is the World Human Chess Champion, but I do not need a 3300 rated program to tell me this move is bad, REAL BAD! And this is not an isolated example. Everyone in the chess world, except maybe the VP of the GCA, is aware of the “howler,” Kd2, Magnus played against Viswanathan Anand in their most recent WCC match. Magnus was saved because Vishy sat there for one minute without asking himself the first question every chess player, other than the VP of the GCA, asks himself after his opponent makes a move, which is, “Why did my opponent make that move?” But what about the move Carlsen played as White against Fabiano Caruana in a Bishop’s Opening last year at the Sinquefield Cup?

Carlsen vs Caruana

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 d5 5. Bb3 Bb4+ 6. c3 Bd6 7. Bg5 dxe4 8. dxe4 h6 9. Bh4 Qe7 10. Nbd2 Nbd7 11. Bg3 Bc7 12. O-O Nh5 13. h3?

Once again, I do not need a computer program to tell me how bad is this move. This move stinks. It is the kind of move that may be played by the VP of the GCA, a triple digit player. I give the rest of the game for the record, and as proof as to what kind of chess is being passed off a being better than that played “back in the day.” 13…Nxg3 14. fxg3 Nc5 15. Bxf7+ Kxf7 16. Nxe5+ Kg8 17. Ng6 Qg5 18. Rf8+ Kh7 19. Nxh8 Bg4 20. Qf1 Nd3 21. Qxd3 Rxf8 22. hxg4 Qxg4 23. Nf3 Qxg3 24. e5+ Kxh8 25. e6 Bb6+ 26. Kh1 Qg4 27. Qd6 Rd8 28. Qe5 Rd5 29. Qb8+ Kh7 30. e7 Qh5+ 31. Nh2 Rd1+ 32. Rxd1 Qxd1+ 33. Nf1 Qxf1+ 34. Kh2 Qg1+ 0-1

Keep in mind the current human WCC backed into the match in which he became Chess Champ of the World. In the biggest game of his career, a game he had to win, Magnus Carlsen LOST. He was saved when GM Vladmir Kramnik also lost, giving the right to Carlsen to play a match with an old, tired, and obviously worn out toothless Tiger. I can still picture the young Magnus sitting on his knees in his chair like a little boy at a weekend swiss as his time dwindled. This man could never stand toe to toe with the Giants of the past. They would wipe the floor with him, and then eat him alive.

Armageddon Chess

The headline on Chessbase shows “GRENKE Final: Carlsen wins in Armageddon!” The article by Alejandro Ramirez is dated 2/10/2015 and even with the exclamation mark I am nonplussed. Carlsen did not win the tournament in my universe because he scored the same number of points as GM Arkadij Naiditsch. According to the multiverse theory whatever possibility exists can be found in one of those other universes. In one universe, let us call it nocaBverse, the two players who scored the same number of points tied for first. In another universe, let us call it Ironmanverse, tiebreaks were used and the first tiebreak was, as it is in every other game and sport on the universe in which the tournament we are discussing was played, the head to head matchup. In the Ironmanverse Arkadij Naiditsch was declared the winner. Other universes use things like most wins, or performance rating, or even most wins with Black, to decide a winner. Only in our universe are the best human chess players made to run a sprint after running a marathon in order to decide a “winner.” In one of the other universes a system is used whereby more points are awarded for a win or a draw for Black. A win with Black scores 3 points, while a win with White only scores 2 points. A draw with Black scores 1 1/2 points, while a draw with White only scores one point. In this multipointverse Arkadij Naiditsch outscored Magnus Carlsen by one half point, 11 1/2 to 11, and was declared the winner.

Magnus Carlsen know this. He is considered the World Human Chess Champion and commands the authority to take a page out of former first lady Nancy Raygun’s book and “just say no” to any organizer. Instead, like a trained seal, he jumps through whatever hoop is placed in front of him in order to be thrown another piece of meat. Hopefully, one day chess will have a worthy Champion who will say, “This is silly. I have just played a long tournament of normal chess and to contest some souped-up, heebee-jeeb games to determine anything is stupid.” I should live so long…

I have absolutely no interest in these quick-play games and do not pay any attention to them. The top players in the world these days make enough “howlers” in what passes for “classical” chess without my having to watch a blunder-fest. These games devolve into a kind of train wreck. It is absurd.

The once Royal game has devolved into “Armageddon Chess.” The definition of Armageddon is, “The final battle at the end of the world between the forces of good and evil.”

Where does the game of chess go after this? What comes after Armageddon?

Having No Fun

My last post was written in the early stage of what has turned out to be a viral sinus infection. This is known to me because it is not the first time I have been afflicted by this particularly nasty virus. As luck would have it, a book ordered from England, “JFK: An American Coup D’etat: The Truth Behind the Kennedy Assassination,” by Colonel John Hughes-Wilson, arrived, and being left unable to do much other than read has allowed me to focus on the book by the Colonel, “…one of Britain’s leading military historians,” according to the book jacket. There is no mention of why one of Britain’s leading military historians decided to write about an American tragedy. It could be he chose to write this book for the same reason I read it, which is that the JFK assassination is, as Sir Winston Churchill said about Russia in a radio broadcast in October 1939, “…a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”
For the sake of historical accuracy I provide the full quote, which has become one of, if not the, most famous things ever said by Sir Winston, and the man was verbose. “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” The quote is as accurate today as it was then. These days Russia considers Great Britain “just a small island no one pays any attention to,” or so said Russian President Don Vladimir Putin. (See, “In an astonishing attack, Vladimir Putin mocked the UK’s size and influence…” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2412831/Just-small-island-pays-attention-Russias-astonishing-attack-Britain.html)
When contacted beyond the grave Ronald Raygun had this to say about Pootin, “There you go passing gas again, Vladimir.”

As I sat in my weakened state reading about how and why Robert Kennedy had Norma Jean Mortensen, aka Marilyn Monroe, killed, the following appeared, “Something’s Got to Give, her aptly named final film for Twentieth Century Fox, was the last straw. She had been ill on the first day of shooting. The hard-nosed lawyers who owned Fox sent their own studio doctor, who reported that she had a viral sinus infection that might take weeks to cure.”

“Oh No, Mr. Bill! I do not want to feel like this for WEEKS!” I thought. Then the thought struck me that maybe a visit to the doctor was in order. Fortunately, practicality got the better of me because doctor’s are No Fun whatsoever. Sounds like a campaign slogan, does it not? I will take my chances with letting my own immune system battle the infection because these days the cure can be worse than the disease.

By now you are probably wondering what this has to do with chess. I do not intend on this being a book review, even if it is filled with salacious tidbits, such as the fact that the famous dancer Juliet Prowse shaved her mons veneris. As Johnny Carson used to say, “I did not KNOW that.” Now days they all shave their mons veneris…When it was announced that Juliet Prowse was next up on a variety show it was also, “OK children, it’s time for bed.”

What I would like to write about is this paragraph written by the Colonel:

“For American big business too, the Cold War arms race was an important source of profit and thus a major preoccupation. Preparing for Armageddon might be frightening, but the fear of the ‘Red Threat’ provided a lucrative-and guaranteed- source of steady sales and huge profits for US Corporations and their shareholders.”

As we “prepare for Armageddon,” I will use this as a segue to my next post because I must now take a nap.

Dominic “Lone Nut” Lawson

Dominic Lawson is the President of the English Chess Federation. An article he has written, “Dialogues of the deluded: Computers and the death of kibitzing,” was published in New In Chess 2014/7. He writes, “…the computer-aided kibitzing on chess websites has become increasingly ugly-and stupid.” This may, or may not be so, but what happens to the Royal game when fans lose interest and stop kibitzing?

Mr. Lawson goes on to further insult kibitzers, fans of chess, by writing, “There is an even less appealing explanation for some of the more savage online abuse of our leading grandmasters from patzers armed with large computer programs. Perhaps they are the chess equivalent of nonentities who try to assassinate great men-a grim feature of American public life over the decades. Just as the gun enables the inconsequential loner to somehow ‘equalize’ himself with, say, John Lennon or John F. Kennedy, so the computer allows the talentless to prove themselves ‘better’ than celebrated grandmasters. And via online comments they can broadcast their imaginary superiority to the world.”

This man, Lawson, is a citizen of Great Britain, yet he has chosen to disparage America. Need he be reminded of the assassinations that occurred in his country long before there was an America? Why the man chose to single out America when assassinations have taken place in almost every country in the world is beyond my comprehension. If that is not bad enough, Lawson has continued to promulgate the shibboleth that an “inconsequential loner,” i.e. a “lone-nut,” was responsible for the cold-blooded murder of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 on the streets of Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Nothing could be further from the truth. With a modicum of research Lawson would have known this fact, but he obviously did not do his due diligence, and nor did the editors of New In Chess magazine, which is published in The Netherlands.

All of these people, Lawson and everyone at New In Chess, must be unaware that “The United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was established in 1976 to investigate the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr..” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_Select_Committee_on_Assassinations)

“The Final Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations presents the HSCA’s findings in the murders of both President John F. Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. The HSCA found a “probable conspiracy” in the JFK assassination, but was unable to determine its nature or participants.” (http://www.history-matters.com/archive/contents/hsca/contents_hsca_report.htm)

It is impossible for there to be a conspiracy of one “inconsequential loner.” Secret Service Agent Roy Kellerman, who rode in the front of the Presidential limousine during JFK’s assassination, describing what the Warren Commission would later describe as a single fatal shot said, “Now, in the seconds that I talked just now, a flurry of shots come into the car.” (http://history-matters.com/index.htm) Secret Service Agent Kellerman, who had taken a vow to protect the POTUS, sat in the front seat talking on the radio in lieu of thrusting himself into the back seat in order to try and save the life of his President. It has been written in many books on the assassination that Jackie Kennedy, after the assassination of her husband, was at a party and saw a picture of Secret Service Agent Roy Kellerman. She then took a pen and wrote, “Killerman” on it.

Lee Harvey Oswald, a paid informant of the FBI at the time of the assassination, has been blamed for killing Kennedy. “No nitrates (contained in powders in gases when a weapon is discharged) were found on Oswald’s cheek when a paraffin test as conducted following his arrest.”
“Since the paraffin wax seeps deep down in to the pores, it is a very sensitive test,” wrote G. Paul Chambers in his scientific approach to the assassination, “Head Shot.” Even washing one’s face prior to the test will not remove all presence of nitrates. As someone who has worked extensively with ball powders, I can tell you that reacted powders have a very distinctive odor, which is difficult to get out of your skin and clothes. The presence of nitrates may indicate that he had fired a revolver, for instance (he was accused of shooting Officer Tippet on the same day as the assassination), however, nitrates could also have gotten on his hands from other sources, such as paper or ink. The absence of nitrates on his cheek is court-admissible evidence, however, that he had not fired a rifle that day.” This is taken from the book, “The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ,” by Roger Stone. This is only one of a plethora of books about the assassination of JFK by LBJ. Others are, “LBJ and the Conspiracy to Kill Kennedy,” by Joseph P. Farrell; “LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination,” by Phillip F. Nelson; “Blood, Money, & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK,” by Barr McClellan; and LBJ and the Kennedy Killing, by eyewitness James T. Tague. Are you beginning to see a pattern, Mr. Lawson?

What Dominic Lawson wrote is an insult to all questioning and reasoning, Americans. What makes it even worse is the fact that the first books printed questioning the “official version” of the assassination of JFK were written in Europe by Europeans. The fact that New In Chess has printed such erroneous information only serves to sully the once fine reputation of the magazine. By publishing such nonsense New In Chess helps those who conspired to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. There is nothing better for the guilty than for people in positions of influence to continue to facilitate the cover-up, and the lie, that some “lone nut” shot JFK.

What has been written, and published, is analogous to my writing on this blog that the Queen of England ordered the assassination of Princess Diana. I cannot write that Queen Elizabeth of England, acting as a lone nut, ordered the cold-blooded murder of Princess Diana because I have no facts to confirm that the Queen of England, Elizabeth, gave the order to eliminate Princess Diana “by any means necessary.” For all I know, Harry Pearce, of MI-5, gave the order to agent 007, James Bond. But there are, and will continue to be, rumors. A reasoning man deals in facts, Mr. Lawson.

As for the assassination of John Lennon I would suggest Mr. Lawson to read, “Rethinking John Lennon’s Assassination: The FBI’s War on Rock Stars,” by Salvador Astucia.

“Big Bad” Badrakh Galmandakh Plays the Mieses Opening

Unlike most chess fans I look forward to the opening round of an Open event in lieu of the final round because the last round usually devolves into a song by Big Maybelle, better known from the 1957 rockabilly song by Jerry Lee Lewis, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” Or as the Legendary Georgia Ironman, who has done a fair amount of shakin’ himself, has been heard to say, the last round usually turns into a “Big ‘ol group hug.” The first round is more interesting because of the huge rating disparity, affording the possibility of an upset. Players of my level, “weakies” according to Bobby Fischer, have a chance at glory. Lower rated players can benefit from playing over the games of other lower rated players in order to discern where they went wrong; what kind of mistakes they made. In addition, more “offbeat” openings are played in the opening round and not the “round up the usual suspect” openings. It may be true that one should play so-called “main lines,” but how interesting is it to play over a game when the same twenty moves have been trotted out yet again?

In the opening round of the recent 2015 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival Badrakh Galmandakh, representing Mongolia, rated 2240 by the FIDE, sat down behind the White pieces to battle GM Alexander Motylev, rated 2665, the 78th highest rating in the world. As he played his first move Badrakh reached for his Queen pawn, and moved it one square, to d3. This caused me to think of the famous game between World Champion Anatoly Karpov and English GM Tony Miles at the 1980 European Team championship when, in reply to Karpov’s first move of 1 e4, Tony answered with a move which shocked Karpov and stunned the chess world, 1…a6. The game ended in victory for the Englishman.

Upon reflection I also considered something contained in the regular column by GM Andy Soltis in the January issue of Chess Life magazine, “It seems to me that in non-standard positions, chess players have become significantly weaker,” GM Boris Gulko said in a recent Chesspro.com interview. “Because all their strength and energy goes into working with the computer.”

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – GM Motylev, Alexander (2665)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 1
1.d3 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.dxe4 Qxd1+ 4.Kxd1 e5 5.Be3 Nf6 6.f3 Nbd7 7.Nd2 a5 8.a4 Bc5 9.Nc4 Bxe3 10.Nxe3 Nc5 11.Nc4 Nfd7 12.Nh3 Ke7 13.c3 Nb6 14.Nxb6 cxb6 15.Bc4 Bd7 16.b3 Rac8 17.Bd5 Rc7 18.Nf2 Rhc8 19.Kc2 f5 20.c4 fxe4 21.Nxe4 Na6 22.Kb2 Nb4 23.Rad1 Bf5 24.Rhe1 Rd8 25.Ng3 Nd3+ 26.Kc3 Nxe1 27.Nxf5+ Kf6 28.Ne3 Nxg2 29.Nxg2 h5 30.Ne3 g5 31.Rg1 Rg7 32.Be4 Rdd7 33.Nd5+ Ke6 34.h3 Rd6 35.Ne3 Rd8 36.Bd5+ Kf6 37.Rg2 Rgd7 38.Be4 Rg7 39.Nd5+ Ke6 40.Nxb6 Rd1 41.Rh2 Rc1+ 42.Kb2 Re1 43.Nd5 Kf7 44.Nc3 Ke8 45.Kc2 Ra1 46.Kd2 Rf1 47.Bd5 Kd8 48.Ne4 Ke7 49.Ng3 Ra1 50.Kc3 Rg6 51.Bxb7 Re1 52.Be4 Rb6 53.Bd3 Rf6 54.Be2 Kd7 55.Nxh5 Rb6 56.Bd3 Re3 57.Rf2 Rd6 58.Rd2 Rxf3 59.Kc2 Ke7 60.Ng7 e4 61.Bxe4 Rxd2+ 62.Kxd2 Rxh3 63.Nf5+ Kf6 64.Ne3 Ke5 65.Bg2 Rh7 66.c5 Kd4 67.c6 Rc7 68.Nc4 g4 69.Na3 Kc5 70.Nb5 Rc8 71.c7 Kb6 72.Ke3 Rf8 73.Bh1 g3 74.Bg2 Rf2 75.c8=Q Re2+ 76.Kf4 Rf2+ 77.Bf3 1-0

Like I said, everyone loves an upset, except the one having been upset. Galmandakh did not stop there, but played 1 d3 again, and again. He played it in all five games in which he opened the game!

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – GM Bartel, Mateusz (2631)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 3
1.d3 b5 2.e4 Bb7 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bd2 Bg7 5.Bc3 Nf6 6.a4 a6 7.axb5 axb5 8.Rxa8 Bxa8 9.g3 c5 10.b4 cxb4 11.Bxb4 Nc6 12.Bc3 b4 13.Bb2 Qb6 14.Qe2 b3 15.c3 O-O 16.Bg2 d5 17.exd5 Nxd5 18.O-O Qa5 19.Nfd2 Rb8 20.Nc4 Qd8 21.d4 Na7 22.Nbd2 Nb5 23.Qd3 Nbc7 24.Na5 Ne6 25.Qa6 Ndf4 26.Nc6 Bxc6 27.Qxc6 Nd3 28.Rb1 Qa5 29.Qc4 Qf5 30.f4 Nxb2 31.Rxb2 Qc2 32.Rxb3 Rd8 33.d5 Qxd2 34.dxe6 Qe3+ 35.Kh1 Rd1+ 36.Bf1 fxe6 37.Kg2 Kf7 38.Rb2 Bf6 39.Re2 Qb6 40.Qb4 Qc6+ 41.Qe4 Qd6 42.Re1 Rd2+ 43.Re2 Bxc3 44.Rxd2 Qxd2+ 45.Kh3 Qd5 46.Bd3 Bd4 47.Qxd5 exd5 48.Kg4 Kf6 49.h4 Bf2 50.Kf3 Be1 51.h5 gxh5 52.Bxh7 e5 53.fxe5+ Kxe5 54.Bg6 Ba5 55.Kg2 h4 56.gxh4 Kf4 57.Bh7 d4 58.Kh3 Kf3 59.Bg6 Ke2 60.Kg2 d3 61.Bxd3+ Kxd3 ½-½

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – IM Das, Arghyadip (2476)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 5
1.d3 c5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 d5 4.Nf3 g6 5.O-O Bg7 6.Nbd2 e6 7.e4 Nge7 8.a4 b6 9.Re1 h6 10.h4 a5 11.Nf1 Ba6 12.c3 d4 13.c4 e5 14.Bh3 O-O 15.h5 Qd6 16.N1d2 Nb4 17.Ra3 Bb7 18.Nh4 Bf6 19.Ndf3 Kh7 20.Kg2 Nbc6 21.Rh1 Ng8 22.Bg4 Kg7 23.Bd2 Nce7 24.Qc1 Bxh4 25.Nxh4 f5 26.Bf3 fxe4 27.Bxe4 Bxe4+ 28.dxe4 g5 29.Bxg5 hxg5 30.Qxg5+ Kh7 31.Ng6 Rf6 32.Qxe5 Nxg6 33.hxg6+ Kxg6 34.Qxd6 Rxd6 35.Rd3 Re8 36.Re1 Rde6 37.f3 Nf6 38.Rd2 Nxe4 39.fxe4 Rxe4 40.Rxe4 Rxe4 41.Kf3 Kf5 42.Rd3 Re1 43.g4+ Kg5 44.Rb3 Re6 45.Kg3 Rd6 46.Rf3 d3 47.Rf5+ Kg6 48.Rf1 d2 49.Rd1 Rd4 50.b3 Kg5 51.Kf2 Kxg4 52.Ke3 Kg3 53.Rg1+ Kh2 54.Rd1 Kg2 55.Ke2 Rd6 56.Ke3 Re6+ 57.Kd3 Kg3 58.Kc2 Rd6 59.Rh1 Kg2 60.Rd1 Kf3 61.Rxd2 Rxd2+ 62.Kxd2 Kf2 63.Kd3 Ke1 64.Ke4 Kd2 65.Kd5 Kc3 66.Kc6 Kxb3 67.Kxb6 Kb4 68.Kc6 Kxc4 0-1

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – GM Tarjan, James E (2518)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 7
1.d3 g6 2.g3 Bg7 3.Bg2 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.O-O e5 6.c4 Nge7 7.Nc3 d6 8.Ne1 Be6 9.Nc2 d5 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.Ne4 Qe7 12.Ng5 O-O 13.Nxe6 Qxe6 14.Ne3 Nde7 15.a4 Rad8 16.Nc4 Rd7 17.a5 Rc8 18.Bd2 Nd5 19.Qa4 Nd4 20.Rfe1 b5 21.axb6 axb6 22.Na3 Nc7 23.Qc4 b5 24.Qxe6 Ncxe6 25.Be3 Rb8 26.Rac1 Bf8 27.Kf1 Rd6 28.Bxd4 Rxd4 29.Nc2 Rd7 30.Ra1 ½-½

Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240) – IM Docx, Stefan (2450)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 9
1.d3 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.e4 Bc5 4.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 5.Kxf2 Nxe5 6.d4 Nc6 7.c3 Qh4+ 8.g3 Qxe4 9.Bd3 Qd5 10.Re1+ Nce7 11.Na3 d6 12.Be4 Qe6 13.Bxb7 Qf5+ 14.Qf3 Qxf3+ 15.Bxf3 Rb8 16.b3 Bb7 17.d5 Nf6 18.Bg5 Kd7 19.c4 Ng6 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Nb5 Ne5 22.Be4 a6 23.Nd4 Rbe8 24.Kg2 c5 25.dxc6+ Nxc6 26.Bxc6+ Bxc6+ 27.Nxc6 Kxc6 28.Rxe8 Rxe8 29.Rf1 Re6 30.Rf5 Re2+ 31.Rf2 Re6 ½-½

Badrakh Galmandakh faced three GM’s, and two IM’s, and battled them to a draw with the Mieses opening, scoring 2 1/2 out of 5 games. He was out rated by an average of 308 points and finished the tournament with a PR with White of 2548.

If you are curious, as was I, about how he played as Black, here are the games:

IM Donchenko, Alexander (2511) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 2
1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 Bg4 3.e4 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.h3 Bh5 6.Qe2 d5 7.Qb5+ Nbd7 8.exd5 Bxf3 9.gxf3 exd5 10.Nxd5 Bd6 11.Qe2+ Kf8 12.Nc3 Bb4 13.Bd2 Bxc3 14.bxc3 c5 15.Bg2 Qc7 16.O-O h6 17.Rab1 g6 18.f4 Rb8 19.f5 b6 20.fxg6 fxg6 21.Qf3 g5 22.Qf5 Rg8 23.Rbe1 Re8 24.Rxe8+ Kxe8 25.Re1+ Kd8 26.Re6 Rf8 27.d5 Qb8 28.c4 Nh5 29.Qh7 Nf4 30.Qe7+ Kc8 31.Rc6+ Kb7 32.Qxd7+ Ka6 33.Rc7 1-0

IM Georgiadis, Nico (2490) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 4
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.a4 a5 8.Re1 c6 9.h3 Qc7 10.Be3 exd4 11.Nxd4 Nb6 12.Bb3 Nfd7 13.Nf5 Nc5 14.Bd4 Bxf5 15.exf5 Kh8 16.Qg4 f6 17.Be6 d5 18.b3 Bd6 19.Bxc5 Bxc5 20.Ne2 Bd6 21.Rad1 Rae8 22.Nd4 Bb4 23.Re2 Nd7 24.Bxd7 Rxe2 25.Qxe2 Qxd7 26.Ne6 Re8 27.c4 g6 28.cxd5 cxd5 29.Qd3 gxf5 30.Nf4 d4 31.Qxd4 Re1+ 32.Rxe1 Qxd4 33.Re8+ Kg7 34.Ne6+ Kf7 35.Nxd4 Kxe8 36.Nxf5 Kd7 37.Kf1 Ke6 38.Nd4+ Ke5 39.Nc2 Bc5 40.Ke2 Ke4 41.g3 Bd6 42.f3+ Kd5 43.Ne3+ Kc5 44.Nf5 Bc7 45.Kd3 Kb4 46.Kc2 Bb6 47.h4 Bc5 48.h5 Bf2 49.g4 b5 50.axb5 Kxb5 51.Nd6+ Kb4 52.Ne8 Bd4 53.Nc7 Be5 54.Ne6 Bd6 55.Nd4 Bc7 56.Ne6 Bd6 57.Nd4 Bc7 58.Ne2 Be5 59.f4 Bc7 60.Nc3 Bd8 61.Ne4 h6 62.Nf2 Kc5 63.g5 fxg5 64.fxg5 Kd5 65.g6 Bf6 66.Ng4 Bg7 67.Kd3 Bf8 68.Ke3 Ke6 69.Ke4 Bg7 70.Ne3 Bc3 71.Nf5 Bd2 72.Nd4+ Kf6 73.Kd5 Be3 74.Ne6 Bd2 75.Nd4 Bc3 76.Ne6 Bb2 77.Kd6 Ba3+ 78.Kd7 Bb2 79.Kd6 Ba3+ 80.Nc5 Bb2 81.Kd5 Kf5 82.Ne6 ½-½

Skutta, Bernd (2059) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 6
1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.Re1 c6 8.a4 a5 9.b3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nb6 11.Bf1 d5 12.e5 Ne8 13.Nce2 g6 14.Nf4 Ng7 15.Bb2 f6 16.e6 Bd6 17.Qf3 Qc7 18.g3 Be5 19.Bh3 Qe7 20.Ba3 Bd6 21.Bb2 Be5 22.Re2 c5 23.c3 cxd4 24.cxd4 Bd6 25.Nxd5 Nxd5 26.Qxd5 Ra7 27.Qb5 Ne8 28.d5 Bc5 29.b4 axb4 30.Rc2 b6 31.a5 Ba6 32.Qa4 Bb7 33.Qb3 bxa5 34.Qc4 Bd6 35.Bd4 Ra8 36.Qb5 a4 37.Rc4 Ba6 38.Qxa4 Bxc4 39.Qxa8 Nc7 40.Qa4 Bxd5 0-1

IM Almagro Llamas, Pablo (2469) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 8
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.a4 a5 7.O-O O-O 8.Re1 c6 9.h3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nb6 11.Ba2 Nfd7 12.Nf5 Nc5 13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.Bf4 Rd8 15.Qd4 Be6 16.Nd5 cxd5 17.exd5 Nxd5 18.Bxd5 Qd7 19.b3 Bxd5 20.Qxd5 Ne6 21.Be3 Qc6 22.Qd2 d5 23.Qd3 Rac8 24.Rac1 d4 25.Bd2 b6 26.Qg3 Nc5 27.Re7 Ne6 28.c3 Qe4 29.Kh2 Qg6 30.Qxg6 hxg6 31.cxd4 Rxc1 32.Bxc1 Rxd4 33.Rb7 Rb4 34.Bd2 Rxb3 35.Bxa5 Ra3 ½-½

GM Bellon Lopez, Juan Manuel (2370) – Galmandakh, Badrakh (2240)
Gibraltar Masters 2015 Round 10
1.b3 b6 2.Bb2 Bb7 3.e3 e6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 Be7 6.Bd3 O-O 7.O-O d5 8.c4 c5 9.Qe2 Nc6 10.Nc3 Rc8 11.Rfd1 cxd4 12.exd4 Nb4 13.Ne5 Nxd3 14.Rxd3 Ne4 15.Nxe4 dxe4 16.Rh3 f6 17.Ng4 Kh8 18.f3 f5 19.Ne5 Qe8 20.Rd1 Rd8 21.fxe4 Bxe4 22.Nd3 Bg5 23.Nf2 Bb7 24.Re1 Bc8 25.Nd3 Bf6 26.Ne5 Bb7 27.Qe3 Be4 28.Qg3 Kg8 29.Kh1 Qe7 30.d5 exd5 31.Nc6 Qd7 32.Bxf6 Rxf6 33.Nxd8 f4 34.Qf2 Rg6 35.Rf3 Qxd8 36.cxd5 Qxd5 37.Qe2 Re6 38.Kg1 g5 39.Rf2 Bf5 40.Qc4 g4 41.Qc8+ Kg7 42.Qc7+ Kg6 43.Rxf4 Qb5 44.Rxg4+ Kh5 45.Rg3 Re4 46.Qxh7+ 1-0

It is an established fact that it is much more difficult to play chess having the Black pieces. Still, Badrakh finished only -1 in his five games playing defense, for a PR of 2360. To put this result in perspective, Kenny Soloman recently earned a GM title and his FIDE rating was 2399 at the time. Badrakh Galmandakh finished the tournament in the middle of the field with a score of -1 and a PR of 2428. The new GM, Kenny Soloman also played in the Gilbralter Masters, and although he finished with an even score, ahead of Badrakh by 1/2 a point, Soloman’s PR was only 2320. (http://chess-results.com/tnr158561.aspx?lan=1&art=9&fed=RSA&turdet=YES&wi=821&snr=96).

I know nothing more about Badrakh Galmandakh than what I have been able to find online. He is 25 years of age and #17 in Mongolia. My hat is off the “Big Bad” Badrakh Galmandakh!

Karpov, Anatoly – Miles, Anthony 0-1
B00 EU-chT 1980
1. e4 a6 2. d4 b5 3. Nf3 Bb7 4. Bd3 Nf6 5. Qe2 e6 6. a4 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. Nbd2 b4 9. e5 Nd5 10. Ne4 Be7 11. O-O Nc6 12. Bd2 Qc7 13. c4 bxc3 14. Nxc3 Nxc3 15. Bxc3 Nb4 16. Bxb4 Bxb4 17. Rac1 Qb6 18. Be4 O-O 19. Ng5 h6 20. Bh7+ Kh8 21. Bb1 Be7 22. Ne4 Rac8 23. Qd3 Rxc1 24. Rxc1 Qxb2 25. Re1 Qxe5 26. Qxd7 Bb4 27. Re3 Qd5 28. Qxd5 Bxd5 29. Nc3 Rc8 30. Ne2 g5 31. h4 Kg7 32. hxg5 hxg5 33. Bd3 a5 34. Rg3 Kf6 35. Rg4 Bd6 36. Kf1 Be5 37. Ke1 Rh8 38. f4 gxf4 39. Nxf4 Bc6 40. Ne2 Rh1+ 41. Kd2 Rh2 42. g3 Bf3 43. Rg8 Rg2 44. Ke1 Bxe2 45. Bxe2 Rxg3 46. Ra8 Bc7 0-1