How God Plays Chess

An article, How God plays chess, by Frederic Friedel, was published 1/23/2018. at the Chessbase website. It contained this story:

“One day World Champion Garry Kasparov,

who towers above all his rivals, reached an Elo of 3000. When the rating list was released the heavens over Baku opened and an Angel of the Lord descended. He approached Garry and said: “For what you have achieved you are invited to play a game of chess against God.”

Garry was overwhelmed. He dressed into his finest and got onto the golden escalator that transported him to heaven. There the Angel led him into a small room where God was sitting, drinking coffee and looking at a computer screen. Garry was somewhat surprised that He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and had a fairly unkempt white beard. He bowed deeply and said:

“Oh Almighty Lord, Creator of the Universe…”

“Just call me God,” God interrupted. “Or G, which is what most of my friends call me.”

“Okay, God, it is a great privilege for me to stand in your presence and to actually play a game of chess against you. Of course I have absolutely no expectation of winning. I assume you play a perfect game!?”

“Yes,” replied God, “I have done the 32-piece endgame.”

“Ahh,” said Garry, “Of course that is trivially easy for you.”

“No, no,” said God, “it was really tough. More than 10^35 legal positions — it took the matter from a good-sized planet to store. But let us play. You can have white.”

So Garry played his favourite 1.e4, expecting an exciting Sicilian. But after a few moves the game had left all known theory and a weird position was on the board. Actually God’s position was in shambles. “This is divine humour,” Garry said, “You want me to have a chance, God?” But He just smiled and said “No.” Soon Garry was two pawns up and had an overwhelming position. “But I am winning for sure now,” he said. “No,” said God, “it is a draw. The whole game is a draw. Can’t be won.”

Garry was not convinced. He played on with great attacking moves, and even won an additional piece. Surely now he was completely winning. He reached a stage where it was clearly only a matter of technique to mate the opponent. However, try as he might, he was not able to actually deliver mate. There was always some unexpected defence, some bizarre move that prevented it. He tried this and that, but somehow could not succeed.

Then suddenly God interrupted a phone call he was making and stared in disbelief at the board. “My Self!” he said, “It’s a win! I haven’t seen one in a billion years.” “But I can’t find it,” said Garry, “I cannot seem to convert my advantage to a mate.” “Oh, no,” God said, “it is a win for me — for Black. This only happens once in a decillion times.”

The game proceeded, and God, now fully concentrated, started making moves that were completely incomprehensible to Garry. But they slowly improved Black’s position. Soon the game was equal, and then Black started to take what for Garry seemed to be the “initiative”. Then, in a flurry of unexpectedly brilliant moves, he found himself mated.

“I will be eternally grateful, God, for this demonstration of your omniscience,” Garry said in parting. “I thank you for a very interesting game, Garry,” God replied. “A one in a billion experience.”

The entire article can be found here:

https://en.chessbase.com/post/how-god-plays-chess

Trump Victory Due to an Intervention from God

“Minister Lindsey Williams obtained executive access to oil company documents as a chaplain to the workers building the Alaskan oil pipeline in the 1970s. In the first half, he shared his insider knowledge (through a contact he’s maintained from that era) of what the Global Elite have planned for the world. The Elite or New World Order (NWO), he said, were quite confident that their candidate Hillary Clinton would handily defeat Donald Trump, and were shocked when she lost. His victory was due to an intervention from God, Williams asserted, and because of this, the NWO has been set back years from their agenda.”

https://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2018/01/24

Needing a picture of God to go with this post I wondered if such a thing existed, so I went to startpage.com and discovered Pixabay (https://pixabay.com/en/photos/god/), where there are thirty six pages of pictures of God!

This picture of ‘God’ reminded me of a song we sang as children:

This one caused me to recall a song first heard when a friend, Gentleman Jim Kraft, made a compilation of songs cassette tape for me:

GM Jonathan Tisdall’s articles for Matt & Patt

I would like to bring your attention to an article by GM Jonathan Tisdall published January 23, 2018. It is one of the best, most insightful, Chess articles I have ever read. It begins:

Men and machines

Drama Kings

The middle rest day is the closest thing to a half-way mark at the 80th anniversary edition of the Wijk an Zee tournament. This year’s Tata Steel Masters (and Challengers) continues a brilliant tradition of offering more than the usual 9 rounds, and a cleverly composed mix of world stars and hungry, dangerous outsiders. For me, this event is the highlight of the tournament year, with only the Candidates offering comparable entertainment when it rolls around – though that is due to high stakes rather than careful and colorful organization. I like some extra rounds and some new faces, preferably crazed with aggression. This event always delivers.

Other headers tell you much about the content:

Top this?

Shakh shock

Older? Wiser

‘Winning’

Psychology

“This tweet sparked some interesting conversation. Yes, I suppose it is true that in a way Carlsen’s tireless technical determination is also a form of psychological warfare. But torture and fighting spirit are not such unique factors – there are of course occasional wizards at maneuvering or grinding, but these skills have also been part of the daily toolkit of gritty professionals, from those on the weekend circuit to the legendary Soviet school of endgame superiority. But great technical champions tend to spawn dazzling tactical successors; Capa to Alekhine, Karpov to Kasparov, and … Carlsen to ? Presumably someone who will play like AlphaZero, on a human scale, an UltraTal. That is the idea I was trying to summon up.”

Human frailty

Compensation

“And why is it that when world champions blunder a full piece, it isn’t quite a full piece?

Catching up on today’s #TataSteelChess
On Magnus’s blunder: 17…f4 would be positionally catastrophic for Black if it didn’t win a piece.
One difference between humans and computers is that our strategic filters often trump our tactical filters at the worst possible moments.

Jonathan Rowson (@Jonathan_Rowson) January 21, 2018

I am a huge fan of Rowson’s insights, and his unique examinations of chess matters psychological. His tweet sparked a few trains of thought – another component of his observation contains a kind of inherent law of compensation – even a blunder can result in practical chances if there is any price, particularly structural, to winning the material.”

Included this because I, too, am a huge fan of GM Rowson.

The human factor

Double trouble?

Game-changer

Muppets. Muppets!

The Candidates

So dangerous

The remarks contained under Psychology brought to mind a position from the 2018 Tata Steel Challengers tournament, aka, the ‘B’ group.

Provocative play by black, to say the least. It has been written that GM Viktor Korchnoi would sometimes play somewhat ‘dubious’ opening moves in an attempt to cause problems for his opponent, especially those who were known to be ‘booked-up’. The player of the white pieces has just made her thirteenth move, which completed her development, while black, Benjamin Bok, lags behind in development.

WGM Olga Girya (2489) vs Benjamin Bok (2607)

Round 5

1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Bf4 Nbd7 5. e5 Nh5 6. Be3 dxe5 7. dxe5 Nxe5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. O-O-O+ Bd7 10. Be2 f6 11. g4 Ng7 12. f4 Nf7 13. Nf3 Nd6 14. h3 c6 15. Rd2 Kc7 16. Rhd1 Nge8 17. Ne4 Bc8 18. Nf2 b6 19. c4 c5 20. b4 Nb7 21. bxc5 Nxc5 22. Nd4 Nd6 23. Nb5+ Nxb5 24. cxb5 a6 25. Bf3 Ra7 26. f5 gxf5 27. gxf5 Bxf5 28. Ng4 Bxg4 29. Bxg4 axb5 30. Kb1 e6 31. Bxc5 bxc5 32. Rd8 Kb6 33. Bxe6 Bg7 34. R8d6+ Ka5 35. Bf5 Re8 36. R6d3 Bf8 37. Ra3+ Kb6 38. Rxa7 Kxa7 39. Bxh7 c4 40. h4 Kb6 41. Rf1 Ka5 42. Rxf6 Re1+ 43. Kc2 Ba3 44. h5 Ra1 45. h6 Rxa2+ 46. Kd1 Rh2 47. Be4 Bb2 48. Rd6 Rh4 49. Bf5 Rh5 50. Be4 Rh4 51. Bf5 Rh5 52. Be4 Re5 53. Bc6 Rc5 54. h7 Kb4 55. Kc2 Bc3 56. Rh6 Bh8 57. Rd6 Rh5 58. Rd5 Rh2+ 59. Kd1 c3 60. Rxb5+ Kc4 61. Rg5 Rxh7 62. Kc2 Bd4 63. Be4 Rh8 64. Bd3+ Kb4 65. Be4 Rf8 66. Kd3 Bh8 67. Rg2 Rf1 68. Kc2 Bd4 69. Re2 Kc5 70. Rg2 Ra1 71. Re2 Be5 72. Bg6 Bf6 73. Bf5 Kd4 74. Re4+ Kd5 75. Re2 Bd4 76. Bg6 Kc5 77. Bf5 Rf1 78. Bd3 Ra1 79. Bf5 Ra3 80. Bg6 Bg7 81. Bf5 Ra7 82. Bg6 Kc4 83. Bd3+ Kd4 84. Re4+ Kc5 85. Re2 Ra2+ 86. Kb1 Ra8 87. Kc2 Rb8 88. Bg6 Kc4 89. Bd3+ Kd4 90. Re4+ Kc5 91. Re2 Rb2+ 92. Kd1 Rb3 93. Kc2 Ra3 94. Bg6 Bh6 95. Kd3 Ra6 96. Bh7 Kb4 97. Bg8 Bd2 98. Re4+ Ka3 99. Kc2 Rb6 100. Rc4 Rb2+ 101. Kd3 Rb8 102. Bh7 Kb2 103. Bg6 Rb6 104. Bf5 Rf6 105. Rc5 Rf8 106. Ke2 Re8+ 107. Kf3 Be3 108. Rc6 Rf8 109. Kg4 Bf2 110. Rc7 Rf6 111. Rc8 Be3 112. Rc7 Rf8 1/2-1/2

There is another picture I like immensely.

It looks as though the human World Champ is eavesdropping on the conversation, does it not?

This is Chess writing at its best. The wonderfully excellent article can be found in its entirety here:

http://mattogpatt.no/2018/01/23/men-and-machines/

Garry Kasparov Lives In Fear Of Being Assassinated By Putin

An article, Garry Kasparov told us what it’s like to live in fear of being assassinated by Putin, by Jim Edwards, appeared on the Business Insider website.


Garry Kasparov and Jim Edwards

These are the main points given in the article:

In 2007, a former KGB general warned that he believed former chess champion Garry Kasparov was next on a list of Putin critics to be assassinated.

Putin is suspected of condoning the assassination of 14 people in the UK.

Kasparov has lived in exile in New York since 2013. “Look I’m an optimist and I think it will not last forever,” he told Business Insider.

Putin will be a major issue at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year because US President Donald Trump will address the meeting. Putin and Trump have a relationship that baffles outsiders.

Trump gets unusually positive coverage in the Kremlin-controlled Russian media, Kasparov says.

Excerpts from the lengthy article:

When I met Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess grandmaster and Putin critic, in Lisbon recently, he was sporting a large Band-Aid on his forehead. The wound had been sustained in the back of a taxi in London on the way from Heathrow Airport to a conference in Canary Wharf. With traffic crawling along, as it always does in London, Kasparov decided he didn’t need to wear a seatbelt.

Then the taxi driver slammed on the brakes.

“I was just talking to my wife, talking to my mother, looking at my phone. And next thing I remember I’m just lying on the floor with my head covered in blood,” Kasparov says. “At first, I was screaming because — now it looks fine — but I was bleeding for more than an hour, so it was pretty nasty. Then I realised how lucky I was because I had my glasses on me, these glasses, one inch down, could be my eyes. One inch on the side could have been temple.”

Kasparov went flying across the back of the Hackney cab, and hit his forehead on the top side of the jump chair. After a couple of stitches at Newham University Hospital Urgent Care, he posted a picture of his injury on Twitter. It spawned a rash of jokes in response: “Lame assassination attempt, Putin is desperate,” that kind of thing, Kasparov says. “The best one was, ‘are you preparing to play Gorbachev at Halloween?’ I was lucky, but now I buckle up.”

That Putin joke is only half funny.

Kasparov really is one of Putin’s potential assassination targets. In 2007, the former KGB general Oleg Kalugin told Foreign Policy magazine that Putin’s targeted killings would one day reach Kasparov.

Cryptically, Kalugin said: “People who knew them are all dead now because they were vocal, they were open. I am quiet. There is only one man who is vocal, and he may be in trouble: [Former] world chess champion [Garry] Kasparov. He has been very outspoken in his attacks on Putin, and I believe that he is probably next on the list.”

Kasparov is no longer one of Putin’s most visible critics, but Putin still regularly assassinates inconvenient Russians. Fourteen people have been killed in the UK on Putin’s orders, according to an exhaustive investigation by BuzzFeed.

As world leaders, billionaires, and oligarchs meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, again this year, Putin and Russia are suddenly one of the biggest issues at the conference.

That’s because US President Trump will address the Alpine gathering for the first time. Trump has repeatedly expressed his enthusiasm and admiration for Putin. And many in America believe Russia covertly interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a way that swayed votes toward Trump.

Russia is normally mere background noise at Davos. While Russia has a large military and is not afraid to flex its muscles in Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria, the country itself is relatively poor. Its GDP ranks below Italy and Canada, and only just above Spain — a country whose economy was so heavily battered by the 2008 credit crisis that it still hasn’t fully recovered.

Russia’s influence in the West is limited in large part because European and US companies are afraid of doing business with Russia, precisely because of the ever-present threat of showing up on Putin’s radar.

That means individual ex-patriot Russians in the West who disagree publically with Putin — like Kasparov — can never go home. Does Kasparov worry about being in danger from Putin?

“Would it help? I live in New York, so what else can I do? I live in New York, I don’t drink tea with strangers,” he says.

“Tea with strangers” is a reference to the death of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian FSB secret service agent who was fatally poisoned in 2006 when he met two Putin agents at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair who placed radioactive polonium-210 into his drink.

“I don’t travel to certain countries where I believe that my security could be in jeopardy. So, unfortunately, the list of the countries I have to avoid is growing,” Kasparov says.

Of course, the big unanswered question for everybody in Davos is, what is the true nature of the relationship between Putin and Trump? Does Putin have some kind of hold over Trump — as the infamous Steele dossier suggests? Or is it simply that Trump really likes to be in the presence of powerful people, and that Putin — and ex-KGB man — is playing him like an asset, as James Clapper, the former US director of national intelligence, believes?

Kasparov doesn’t believe it is quite that sinister.

“No, what I saw from the beginning of the US presidential campaign is that the Russian press they like Trump but for different reasons. So they started liking him because he could help them to portray US elections as a circus. And this is, by the way, a part of Putin’s message, both inside and outside of Russia. Truth is relative — everybody’s bad. We bad, they bad,

we corrupt, they corrupt. We don’t have democracy, they have a circus. So that was the original message,” he says.

“America-bashing is 24/7 on all the Russian channels, on Kremlin-controlled media,” Kasparov says. “Trump is an exception. Trump personally is not criticised. The only criticism, mild criticism, is that he’s too weak to fight the deep state, which is amazing. … So everything’s bad in America. Except Trump, who’s a good guy.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/garry-kasparov-fear-of-being-assassinated-by-putin-2018-1

I have never understood what our Republican Presidents have seen in Vladimir Putin. For example, George Dubya Bush infamously said, “I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialog. I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country.”

Dubya has even painted a picture of Vladimir Putin:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/the-26-biggest-bromance-moments-between-george-w-bush-and-vl?utm_term=.bn0KKbLgZV#.fkOaa5ylzQ

Now the Trumpster has a bromance with Vladimir.

I just do not understand what it is they find so mesmerizing when they look into the eyes of Vladimir Putin.

Magnus ‘The Headless Machine Gunner’ Carlsen Norway’s Bravest Son

The World human Chess Champion from Norway, Magnus ‘Roland’ Carlsen,

made what he called a “crude” blunder in playing his 17th move, pawn to g4, against fellow British Grandmaster Gawain Jones

in the 8th round of the 80th Tata Steel Masters Chess Tournament. The move lost a piece, certain death against any Grandmaster, even one rated almost 200 points less on th Elo scale. Ordinarily a Grandmaster will resign to another Grandmaster after dropping a piece, but Magnus showed absolutely no respect

for his opponent by continuing the game. GM Jones began showing why he deserved no respect by playing like a patzer after receiving the “gift.” He proved World Champion Emanuel Lasker

correct when he said, “The hardest game to win is a won game.”

I give the game for the record:

Magnus ‘The Headless Machine Gunner’ Carlsen vs Gawain ‘Another Round’ Jones

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O d5 10. Qe1 e5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. exd5 Nxd5 13. Bc4 Be6 14. Kb1 Re8 15. Ne4 f5 16. Ng5 Bc8 17. g4 f4 18. h4 fxe3 19. Qxe3 h6 20. Qc5 Bb7 21. Ne4 Re6 22. h5 Qb6 23. g5 hxg5 24. Qa3 Rb8 25. b3 Qd8 26. Qxa7 gxh5 27. Rxh5 Rg6 28. Rxg5 Rxg5 29. Nxg5 Qc8 30. Rg1 Ra8 31. Qb6 Ra6 32. Qc5 Qd7 33. Ne4 Kh8 34. Qf2 Qe7 35. Bxa6 Bxa6 36. Qh2+ Kg8 37. Qh6 Qa7 38. Qe6+ Kf8 39. Rg5 Ne3 40. Qd6+ Kf7 41. Nc5 Bc8 42. Rxg7+ 1-0

To his credit GM Jones did consent to be interviewed before heading to the pub.

“Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” as written by David Eric Lindell and Warren Zevon….

Roland was a warrior
From the Land of the Midnight Sun
With a Thompson Gun for hire
Fighting to be done

The deal was made in Denmark
On a dark and stormy day
So he set out for Biafra
To join the bloody fray

Through ’66 and 7
They fought the Congo War
With their fingers on their triggers
Knee-deep in gore
The days and nights they battled
The Bantu to their Knees
They killed to earn their living
And to help out the Congolese

Roland the Thompson Gunner
Roland the Thompson Gunner

His comrades fought beside him
Van Owen and the rest
But of all the Thompson Gunners
Roland was the best
So the CIA decided
They wanted Roland dead
That son-of-a-bitch Van Owen
Blew off Roland’s Head

Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
Time Time Time for another week of war

Norway’s bravest son
Time stands still for Roland til he evens up the score

They can still see his headless body
Stalking through the night
In the muzzle flash of Roland’s Thompson Gun
In the muzzle flash of Roland’s Thompson Gun

Roland searched the continent
For the man who’d done him in
He found him in Mombassa
In a bar room drinkin’ Gin
Roland aimed his Thompson Gun
He didn’t say a word
But he blew Van Owen’s body
From there to Johanasburg.

Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
Talkin about the man
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner

The eternal Thompson Gunner
Still wanderin through the night
Now it’s ten years later
But he still keeps up the fight
In Ireland, In Lebanon
In Palastine and Berkley
Patty Hurst
Heard the burst
Of Roland’s Thompson Gun
And bought it.

http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/82475/

Board Games Are Back!

An article in The Atlantic magazine, The Invasion of the German Board Games attracted my attention because a “like” in my inbox recently was on my mind.

Below the title of the article by Jonathan Kay, dated Jan 21, 2018, one finds: Their peaceful premises and intricate rule systems are changing the way Americans play—and helping shape an industry in the process.

“In a development that would have been hard to imagine a generation ago, when video games were poised to take over living rooms, board games are thriving. Overall, the latest available data shows that U.S. sales grew by 28 percent between the spring of 2016 and the spring of 2017. Revenues are expected to rise at a similar rate into the early 2020s—largely, says one analyst, because the target audience “has changed from children to adults,” particularly younger ones.

Much of this success is traceable to the rise of games that, well, get those adults acting somewhat more like children. Clever, low-overhead card games such as Cards Against Humanity, Secret Hitler, and Exploding Kittens (“A card game for people who are into kittens and explosions”) have sold exceptionally well.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/01/german-board-games-catan/550826/

Secret Hitler? Exploding Kittens? To me a board game would be Backgammon, Chess, or Go. Who knows, maybe in the future there will be an Exploding Chess game on the market…

My inbox contained this: Gamer On Board liked your post on Armchair Warrior

They thought Rethinking Opening Strategy was pretty awesome.

You should go see what they’re up to. Maybe you’ll like their blog as much as they liked yours!

They (also) thought “They’re here” was pretty awesome.

I always “go see what they’re up to” if someone likes a post. For the next seven days Gamer On Board is having a “Super Sale up to 80% off all items!”

They have all kinds of board games for sale, including a Ches set! Check them out. Be sure to tell them the Armchair Warrior sent you.

https://gameronboard.com/

7. The Game

Your life defined by many lies
You dwell in your own words
Distant from all that’s real
Gaze into the mirror
And behold the Face of a player

A game of life – the game of life
A game with your life – the game
A game of life – the game of life
A game with your life – the game of life

In some situations once so common
And then disappointed stabbed those
That once aided you in the back
Seeking truth in a glass

A game of life – the game of life
A game with your life – the game
A game of life – the game of life
A game with your life – the game of life

Aggressive and disappointed
You roam through life
Tossing away
Your whole future for a
Small illusion in your head

A game of life – the game of life
A game with your life – the game
A game of life – the game of life
A game with your life – the game of life