Each one of these “games” had a bearing on how the top places in the tournament would be decided. Because of disgust I do not even want to waste my time giving you the details. There are many Chess websites where you can obtain the story if you want to waste your valuable time in a futile effort to make sense of what has happened to the Royal game as it circles the drain.
During the aforementioned Chess tournament the inaugural Fortnite World Cup was held. There are almost 250 million registered players the world over, according to its the games publisher, Epic Games, and 40 million of them participated in online qualifiers.
This Fortnite World Cup Winner Is 16 and $3 Million Richer
Kyle Giersdorf, who goes by “Bugha,” said he planned to buy a new desk with the money. He has played the game for two years.
Kyle Giersdorf after his victory at the Fortnite World Cup on Sunday. He said he plays up to eight hours a day, at least five days a week, in his room.
Dennis Schneidler/USA Today Sports, via Reuters
By Derrick Bryson Taylor and Niraj Chokshi
July 29, 2019
Some teenagers make extra cash by mowing lawns or babysitting. But 16-year-old Kyle Giersdorf of Pennsylvania put them all to shame by winning $3 million playing Fortnite.
Kyle, who plays Fortnite Battle Royale online as “Bugha,” beat out 99 other players on Sunday to win the solo competition at the inaugural Fortnite World Cup, held at the U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
Kyle finished the tournament with 59 points. Harrison Chang, 24, an Orange County, Calif., native who plays as “Psalm,” came in second place with 33 points and won $1.8 million, according to Fortnite Intel. The message pinned to the top of his Twitter account reads, “There is no freaking way I just made 1.8 million …”
Third place went to 16-year-old Shane Cotton of Redondo Beach, Calif., who goes by “Epikwhale” and finished with 32 points. It was his first major competition and he won $1.2 million. He brushed it off on Twitter as “a couple of $.”
Kyle and the crowd celebrating after his win on Sunday.
Jason Szenes/EPA, via Shutterstock
All Your Sorrows
Times like these to people please
Fables spread like some disease
New age gods like old facades
Write a book
You’ll like the odds
Take apart human heart you will start
Through the doorway of all your sorrows
Beginning to pull you away
In the night the sometimes light
The seasons which run out of time When I press this game of chess
I always end with something less
You’ve made a mess
Of your Sunday best
In search of the answers, what never should be
Laughter erupts from primordial sea
Standing there naked with bended knee
All of your works face eternity
So though I play the same each day
When faced with pain I often pray
Take my hand you’ll understand
The place we go is no-mans land
When the first issue of the American Chess Magazine debuted I mentioned something about it being expensive, writing the price of the magazine, twenty five dollars, was as much as a book. My intention was to read, and then review, the first issue. After contacting someone at the ACM about receiving a review copy I was informed it would only be possible to receive the first copy if I anted up twenty five dollars, for which I would receive the first two issues. I turned down the “offer.”
It was only a few months ago upon returning to the Atlanta area that I got a chance to peruse past issues, which were wonderful. The new issue, issue #11, the second issue of 2019,
was the second issue after increasing from four issues to six issues per year. The new US Women’s Chess Champion, Jennifer Yu, graces the cover, surrounded by a pink background. This is my review.
I will be completely honest and say that before taking the magazine out of the plastic wrap I was hooked, and not because of the picture of a very pretty young lady on the cover, although I can see what a wonderful hook is Jennifer Yu!
It is a shame the ACM is not sold at book stores or newspaper and magazine stands because the cover would attract much interest. This on the cover is what “hooked” me:
American Civil War A Dying Southern Diarist Theodore P. Savas
I read the article immediately before even scanning the magazine and it brought tears to my eyes. I was born in the back seat of a ’49 Ford convertible on the way to Emory University Hospital in Decatur, Georgia, which means I was born a Southerner, as is often heard in the South, “By the grace of God.” The diarist, “Leroy Wiley Gresham, was born in 1847 to an affluent family in Macon, Georgia.” His mother’s name, Mary, was the same as my Mother’s name. The title of the article is, An Elegant Game: The American Civil War, a Dying Southern Diarist, and a Fascination with Chess. Leroy Wiley Gresham wrote his diary during the War of Northern Aggression, while he was dying. It is an elegant piece. I could end the review now and give it five stars, but there is more, much more, contained in this elegant issue!
Although I have read extensively about the War Between the States during the course of my life, it has been some time since I have read a book on the subject. This will be remedied when the book upon which the article is based, The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of Leroy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1864, edited by Janet Kroon, which I have ordered, arrives.
The focus of the magazine is the most recent US Chess Championships. The annotations of the final round game are by the loser, Jeffery Xiong,
Isle of Man Chess International, Round 5, 24 October 2018. Photo by John Saunders
and they are excellent! For example, look at this position:
Jeffery writes, “21. Qb1 Preventing any …a4xb3 and Ra8-a2 ideas. But 21 Rfe1, quickly preparing Nf1-d2 and e2-e4, might have been more to the point.” Some annotators provide Lubomir Ftacnik
style reams of analysis when all that is needed is something simple. At the conclusion of the game Jeffery writes, “It was as clean a win as you can get with the black pieces. The opening experiment proved to be golden as my inexperience in this type of position was revealed to its fullest extent. Nakamura
played truly inspiring chess, especially with the black pieces, and his will to win in this game made him the deserved champion. He has amply demonstrated his greatness, being one of the perennial top-10 players in the world. Any player can win games, but at top level only great players are capable of consistently winning must-win games!”
GM Jeffery Xiong has shown his class as a gentleman with what he has written about what must have been a tough game to lose.
The honesty continues when Xiong annotates his win with the black pieces against the now dethroned US Chess Champion, Sam Shankland,
when Jeffery writes at the end of the game, “At first I was quite pleased with my play as I felt I had found some nice ideas. However after heading back to my hotel room and opening ChessBomb, I saw a sea of red moves! Nonetheless, I was now leading the tournament with 2 1/2/3, yet fully aware that the quality of my play was not entirely satisfactory.”
This is amazingly honest writing.
A few pages further into the magazine one turns the page to see a beautiful picture of the new US Women’s Champion, Jennifer Yu, sitting at a Chessboard behind the black pieces while flashing a gorgeous smile. The title above reads, Lady With A Torch, which is appropriate because Jennifer torched the field this year! One reads, “Exclusive annotations and an interview by WGM Jennifer Yu.” The following page contains the game between former many time Women’s Champion Irina Krush,
the Music City Master, gave a lecture which happened to be this very variation. After 7 a3 Qd7 Jennifer writes, “Not 7…dxc4?, when after 8 Bxf6! exf6 9 d5 Black loses a piece.” I recall raising my hand during the early part of Todd’s lecture asking about the early move c5 for White. Todd was nice enough to illustrate what was behind the move c5 for the audience, while letting me know in a nice way it was a lecture, not a Q&A. The game continued, 8 Be2 Rd8 9 Bxf6 exf6 10 c5. Ms. Yu writes, “Although a general principle of chess is to maintain tension in the center during the opening, this is a good move that prevents any…dxc4 tricks. It locks up the center and challenges the wisdom of my piece placement, making the bishop on e6 and the rook on d8 look silly, since these pieces no longer have any prospects against c4 and d4. 10 Bf3 doesn’t work because after 10…dxc4 11 d5 Qe7! the threat to the white king, as well as the pin on the white d-pawn, provides the black knight and bishop with immunity against the fork.” The annotations are exceptional.
I could go on and on, but this is a blog post. Still, I must mention an article by GM Alex Fishbein,
Secrets Of Same-Color Bishop Endings, which is superlative! And then there is the wonderful article, Beauties of Underpromotion, by IM Boroljub Zlatanovic, which was enjoyed immensely!
Unfortunately, not everything included in the magazine is rosy. Fresh Leaves from the Bookshelf is the title of the book review column by FM Carsten Hansen.
In this issue the FM has “reviewed,” and I use the word rather loosely, ten books. As he did in the previous issue Mr. Hansen reviewed ten books for the ACM. Beginning with the previous issue the ACM went from being published quarterly to bi-monthly. It may have been possible to review ten books quarterly, but how is it possible for anyone to read ten Chess books every other month? The answer is contained in the review of Tal, Petrosian, Spassky and Korchnoi,
by Andy Soltis,
published by McFarland. (https://mcfarlandbooks.com/) Hansen writes, “When I first saw the description of this book, (There is no need for the comma) I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. (“Upon first seeing description I did not know how to feel about the book.” THE ACM needs a good editor.) However, having now received a copy and read a fair amount of the text…” Let us pause in the middle of the sentence to reflect. Many years ago someone mentioned something about coming to the House of Pain “soon.” This caused David Vest, the only man to have won both the Georgia Chess Championhip and Georgia Senior Championship, to pose the question, “How long, exactly, is soon?” He added, “I hate those nebulous words…” This began a discussion concerning nebulous words. A short time (Nebulous!) later Mr. Vest, heading out the door, said, “Tell Murphy I will be back in a little while.” He was half way out of the door when someone asked, “How long is ‘a little while’, Dave?” This brought the House down! What is a “fair amount” of the book? Your “fair amount” may not be the same as my “fair amount.” Can you imagine a New York Times book reviewer revealing they only read a “fair amount” of a book? I usually pay little attention to these short book reviews by writers who obviously simply scan the book reviewed. It would be better for Mr. Hansen to review only a few books he has actually read as opposed to scanning ten books before writing a review. It seems many reviewers spend more time writing the review than actually reading the book being reviewed.
Then there is the article, 50 is the new 40, by Jon Edwards, an ICCF Senior IM. Reading the article caused me to reflect upon the words written by GM Nigel Short
in New In Chess magazine 2019 #2
in his piece, Obsolescence, which concerns correspondence chess. “If ever an activity should have long ago expired and been buried with dignity, it is surely correspondence chess.” This caused Kirill Oseledets to write a letter to the editor of NIC in which he expressed his unfavorable opinion of NIC for publishing the Short column. Kirill wrote, “I was sincerely surprised and deeply disappointed to see that in New In Chess 2018/2 you published Nigel Short’s article with the provocative title ‘Obsolescence.’ Later he writes, “One thing that Nigel Short fails to recognize is that correspondence chess is first of all a research laboratory for chess.”
Mr. Edwards begins, “Chess players do not yet have access to AlphaZero and so we are left to peruse more conventional chess technologies. It is tempting to focus primarily upon new databases, new videos, and new online chess services, all of which keep me feeling young and invigorated, but the fact is that chess is experiencing another profound change that has gradually but inexorably changed chess forever.” Then the article begins and Jon writes, “Just a few years ago, patiently permitting a desktop computer to run for day or longer might net an evaluation depth of 35-40 ply, each ply representing a single half move.”
He continues, “With new hardware , it is not uncommon (Don’t ‘cha just hate it when a writer uses a double negative and the editor prints it?) today for such runs to reach a depth of 50 ply or even much higher, depending obviously upon the position, the number of viable moves for each player, and the chess engine being employed. Those depths are high enough to predict accurately the future endgames, which themselves become trivial to evaluate. These long runs in typical positions are producing a slew of draws in Correspondence chess. I present here the current crosstable of the Spanish Masters, a tournament in which I am competing. With just 8 games still unfinished, the crosstable creates quite an impression, a veritable sea of draws.”
The crosstable shows a tournament with fifteen players almost complete. There is only one decisive result, and the only ‘1’ and lonely ‘0’ stand out like Bo Derek!
Jon continues, “You might indeed conclude prematurely that correspondence chess is therefore fully dead or dying.”
Duh, ya think?!
“But that’s not the point or the end of the story. The reality is that it is becoming very hard to win, but it is still possible!”
The CC IM writes this because the only game won in the “veritable sea of draws,” was won by the author…
He continues, “Those long runs are turning up interesting finds.”
“I parlayed one such discovery into a win over the reigning Russian correspondence chess champion, the only win so far in this crosstable.”
The game is given, along with a game played later by former World Chess Champion Vishy Anand,
who was unable to produce the move found by a computer Chess program after a “long run.” At the Isle of Man Anand faced Artemiev
with white and these moves were played: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be2 e6 7 f4 Be7 8 Be3 0-0 9 g4 d5 10 e5 Nfd7 11 g5 Nc6.
“Undoubtedly unaware of the game I had recently completed, Anand tried 12 Qd2.”
“I reached the diagram position through a different move order: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 Be2 Be7 8 f4 0-0 9 g4 d5 10 e5 Nfd7 11 g5 Nc6
Edwards continues, “I reached the diagramed position in December 2017 through a different move order: : 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 Be2 Be7 8 f4 0-0 9 g4 d5 10 e5 Nfd7 11 g5 Nc6. Sensing an opportunity for White, I ran Robert Houdart’s Houdini 6.02 Pro x64 for 35 days(!) on an Intel Xeon CPU E5-2687W @3.00 GHz with 32 GB of installed RAM. At depth 45, 12 Bd3 emerged not simply as the best move, as I had anticipated (Where is that darn comma when you need it?) but also with a completely winning advantage!”
“Edwards – Lobanov instead continued: 12 Bd3!! (Please note the ICCF Senior International Master gives not one but TWO exclamation marks for a move found by a Chess engine after doing whatever it is it does for over a MONTH of computing!!) Qb6 13 Na4 Qa5+ 14 c3
“I suspect the engines at lower depth had rejected this line owing to 14…Nxd4 15 Bxd4 b5 trapping the knight, but at higher depth, the engines easily find: 16 Bxh7+!! (Once again one exclam is not enough!!) 16…Kxh7 17 Qh5+ Kg8 18 0-0+ with a transfer of the Rf1 to h3. On 18…g6 (the toughest defense) 19 Qh4 Re8 20 Rf3 Bf8 21 Rh3 Bg7 22 f5! gxf5 23 Nb6 Nxb6 24 B5 with mate to follow. Without that line at his disposal, Lobanov chose instead to sacrifice a knight for two pawns but achieved insufficient compensation. Here’s the rest of the game.”
I will spare you the remainder of the game. Mr. Edwards adds this at the end of the game: “Not long after the game ended, I shared it with a GM friend of mine, the second for a world top-player, who ran 12 Bd3 on a very powerful mainframe overnight. He concluded that Black was already lost and he added White’s new idea into their collective repertoire. The translation: Our world’s best players fully understand the need for world class computing. He was able to do in half a day what took me more than a month! I do not know what hardware they are running but it clearly surpasses my setup. I am also proud that analysis of this game appeared in New in Chess Yearbook 129 (itl), pp33-35.
While it is clearly getting much tougher to win correspondence games and to achieve Correspondence IM and GM norms, any correspondence wins that doe occur clearly deserve considerable attention. Just ask Anand. I therefore recommend that strong players involve the Games Archive at iccf.com as a key part of their opening preparation. You will gain access to the archive after you sign up (for free).”
What, no double exclam after “free?”
Reading, “…correspondence chess is first of all a research laboratory for chess,” caused me to stop reading and start thinking about what was being read. I thought the computer championships, such as the TCEC Chess tournaments, were Chess laboratories. Jon and his ilk input a position into a computer and let it do it’s thing for a month and call it Chess. Jon, and all other correspondence players would be much better off if they would go to a club or tournament and use their brain to actually play CHESS!
Jon was right when he wrote, “…chess is experiencing another profound change that has gradually but inexorably changed chess forever.”
With that sentence Jon Edwards just KILLED CHESS!
Consider the last theoretical novelty you saw from one of the top ten players in the world. Did it spring from the fertile imagination of a human like, for instance, the Magician of Riga, Mikhail Tal?
Or did it emanate from the bowels of some hellish mainframe? If it has gotten to the point where a computer can provide a world class Chess player a move early in the game with which any world class player will win, what is the point of Chess? Has it gotten to the point where, “Those depths are high enough to predict accurately the future endgames, which themselves become trivial to evaluate?”
If Jon is correct there is no point in watching Chess because one will never know how the ‘beautiful’ move was produced. A Chess fan will never know if the “tremendous move” emanated from a human brain or from the machinations of a computer program. What we currently have is some kind of symbiotic relationship between human and machine kind of like the ‘Borg’ depicted in the television show, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The first World Chess Champion to lose a match to a computer program, Garry Kasparov,
became an advocate of some kind of Chess in which both players have access to a program, which, thankfully, did not become popular. It appears what happened is the symbiotic relationship was kept behind closed doors. The computers and programs were there all the time, like some kind of Wizard of Oz.
Because they were out of sight they were also out of mind.
What is the point of the folks at the Chess Informant awarding a prize for the “best” theoretical novelty if the TN was found by a computer program? It has reached the point where a Grandmaster without access to a mainframe computer has little chance against another GM with access to a powerful computer. Who is actually winning the Chess game, the human or the program?
Chess will continue to be played just as Checkers continues to be played by a small number of people. When was the last time you were aware of the world Checkers champion?
Then there is the last page, 5×5 Q&A “Where Grandmasters Advise Young Players.”
The advice being given is by Susan Polgar. What the woman did to the USCF was UGLY!
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 (After black plays what Stockfish considers the best move, 4…Bc5, the Fish has black better by about a third of a pawn. SF considers 4 Bb5 best with white holding on to the usual small advantage with which white begins the game) 4…d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Bc5 8.O-O (SF 310519 at depth 34 plays the game move but SF 9 at D48 plays the infrequently played 8 d3) 8…0-0 9.d3 Bb6 (SF & Komodo prefer 9…Bg4) 10.Re1 SF prefers 10 a4) 10…Qf6 (Although the most played move according to the CBDB SF would play 10…f6 while Komodo opts for 10…Re8) 11.Bd2 (SF plays 11 a4; the Dragon prefers 11 Be3) 11…Re8 (SF 11…Bg4; Dragon 11…h6)
12.Qe2 h6 13.h3 Bd7 (13…Bf5 SF) 14.Nh2 Rad8 (14…Qg6 may be better) 15.Ng4 Qg6 16.Kh2 (16 Ne3!?) 16…h5 (The GM could have taken control of the game by playing 16…e4!)
17.Be4 (17 Ne3 looks OK) 17…Qe6 18.Nh6+ (Objectively speaking 18 Ne3 may be technically correct but where is the fun in making that move?!) 18…gxh6 (Although white is losing the lady does have the Queen and both Bishops firing at the GMs kingside)
19.Qxh5 Kg7 20.g4 Rh8 21.f4 Ne7 22.fxe5 Bc6 (22…Ng6) 23.Bf5 Qd5 (Maybe 23…Nxf5 24 gxf5 then 24…Qd5)
24.Be4 Qxe4??!? (24…Qe6 looks reasonable. The Grandmaster is now quite lost because of a case of “temporary insanity.”) 25.dxe4? (Fiona must have been in a state of shock. 25 Rxe4 is the winning move.) 25…Rxd2+ 26.Kh1 Ng6 27.Qf5 Rf2 28.Qh5 Rd8 29.g5 Rdd2 0-1 (It is mate in five)
WIM Alexy Root has written an apologia for Chessbase for the pitiful performance of Jenifer Yu at the US Junior.
Jennifer Yu’s US Junior Championship: Can research explain her result?
by Alexey Root
“The 2019 U.S. Women’s Chess Champion Jennifer Yu was the wildcard invite for the U.S. Junior Championship which concluded on Saturday, July 20th. She finished last in the 10-player round robin with ½ out of 9. In her post-tournament interview, Jennifer Yu mentioned, “Maybe there is a little more pressure or something.” In this article, WIM ALEXEY ROOT looks at two research-based reasons for the pressure Yu perceived and its possible effects on her result.” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/jennifer-yu-s-us-junior-championship-can-research-explain-her-result)
Pressure from “Chess Fans”
“In the words of one ChessBase reader, Yu is “a role model for young women with [her] current title” and her U.S. Junior Championship result “will find its way in future articles/books/essays regarding the relative strength of female vs male players and be fodder for that debate.” Even before the event, some questioned why Yu got the wildcard invite rather than higher-rated boys. One “Chess fan” wrote, “What a terrible pick for wildcard. I want to see the best junior players in the US Junior, male or female. It’s a shame the wildcard wasn’t used to reward another 2500+ Junior.”
Despite her chess qualifications, then, Yu perhaps felt pressure on her from some chess fans.”
The paragraph that caused me to write this post:
“According to “Checkmate? The role of gender stereotypes in the ultimate intellectual sport,” women perform 50% worse than expected when they know they are playing against men and are reminded of the stereotype that men are considered better and more gifted at chess. In the experiment on which the article is based, similarly-rated men and women played two-game matches online, at first without knowing the other player’s gender. In the match where gender was unknown, the women scored 1 out of 2 (the expected score). However, when the men and women were told the gender of their opponent (i.e. the men knew that they were playing women and the women knew that they were playing men), and the women were reminded of the stereotype that men are better at chess than women, the women scored ½ of 2.”
Ajeeb007 hits the nail on the head. I could not have put it better myself. Chessbase should be ashamed for printing something based upon such a limited sample size.
The best comment was posted “by UncleBent”
“Jennifer Yu’s poor result is due to her playing opponents who were much stronger and more experienced vs top competition. If you look at Jennifer’s “career,” she has had little success against the few opponents she has played rated 2450 ELO or higher. Her designation as “wild-card” made her a target, but only because she was one of the lower-rated and, in a RR event, the others knew they had to get a full point from her if they were to have a good tournament result. What is true, is that most, if not all, of her “boy” opponents have spent considerably more time to playing and studying chess. Jennifer mentioned that she has not had a coach for a while, in spite of her weaknesses in opening repertoire and endgame technique. That was evident in her play. This is no longer the era of Capablanca — you can’t succeed against players who are more experienced, higher rated and who have done more preparation. Why Jennifer Yu decided not to hire a coach (with some of her US Women’s Ch prize money) is not my concern. At 17, she has so many wonderful avenues available to her, that I’m not going to criticize he for not studying chess.
Dr. Root’s article is an embarrassing, knee-jerk response. 20 years ago, Irina Krush placed 2nd in the US Junior. The number one reason for her success is that she was also the 2nd highest-rated participant. Playing against “the boys” did not seem to hurt her performance. (In fact one her Irina’s losses was to Jen Shahade.) While there may be merit to under-performance (when females play males), I just don’t think it is at the same level among higher-rated players, who have real achievements and thus more confidence.” https://en.chessbase.com/post/jennifer-yu-s-us-junior-championship-can-research-explain-her-result#discuss
During the meeting of the Ironman Chess Club Tuesday, July 16, 2019 I was able to question the owner of Championship Chess, (https://www.championshipchess.net/) Steve Schneider,
a man I have known since the 1970’s, and for whom I once worked teaching Chess to children in an after school program. Our ‘conversation’ turned into an interview. There were others listening to our discussion. Without those witnesses I would be unable to publish this interview. It began after Steve, who is elderly, and like many older people, battling myriad health issues, including life threatening blood clots in his legs, stated, “I spend eighteen hours a day on Chess.” I did not question this because it is common knowledge Steve ‘burns the midnight oil’, sending emails into the wee hours of the night. I was holding a Championship Chess flyer for the 8th annual K-12 Summer Scorcher Chess tournament, which includes, on the back, the first twenty moves of the game between World Human Chess Co-Champion (at classical Chess) Magnus Carlsen and Sharsidden Vokhidov from the 2018 World Rapid Championship, titled “The Queen’s Raid.”
Me: “I see you are still teaching the Queen’s Raid.”
Steve: “There is nothing wrong with teaching the Queen’s Raid. It’s a good opening. Look at who plays it!”
Me: “Come on, Steve.”
Steve: “All the computers say it’s a playable opening!”
Me: “Which computers?”
Steve: “Stockfish, and all the top programs! Stockfish says white is better in the game!” (Referring to the aforementioned game printed on the back of the flyer. For years a Championship Chess flyer contained Chess puzzles chosen by NM Tim Brookshear. The Queen’s Raid game appears because Tim, for various reasons, decided to no longer produce the puzzles, allowing Steve’s atavistic tendencies to rear their ugly head. Hence the Queen’s Raid, something near and dear to the heart of the owner of Championship Chess. A case can be made that Championship Chess was predicated upon the Queen’s Raid, which has become synonymous with Championship Chess. The Queen’s Raid is the foundation of Championship Chess. Steve Schneider will invariably be known as the “Queen’s Raid guy.”)
Me: “When, exactly, is white better according to Stockfish, Steve?”
Steve: “In all the diagrams!”
Me: “Come on, Steve.”
Steve: Except where Magnus missed the best move in the last diagram.”
Me: “But the diagram is before Carlsen, as you say, ‘…missed the best move.'”
Steve: “Then he’s better there, too!”
(All I could do was shake my head as I muttered “unbelievable.” I then decided to move to a different subject. Granted, Magnus was better but only after his opponent played a theoretical novelty that was an extremely weak move, 4…Qe7. The Patzer is so bad that even with the inclusion of the weak move Qe7 the game is considered about even by “all of the programs.”)
Me: “What’s the deal with the World of Chess?” (Steve has spent much money having someone develop a program for beginners to which he sells access to unknowing parents of children who are in Championship Chess after school programs. I had previously seen a flyer for The World of Chess at the Ironman CC)
Steve: “What do you mean?”
Me: “Is it operational?”
Me: “I looked for it on the internet but could not locate it.”
Steve: “Not just anyone can get to it.”
Me: “I would like to review it, Steve.”
Steve: “I DO NOT WANT IT REVIEWED!”
Me: “You don’t want it reviewed?” (Asked with incredulity)
Steve: “Why would I want others to see it?”
Me: “When a new product is developed it is usually reviewed…”
Typical opening moves where the players are even. h6 8.Nd5 Nxd5 9.exd5 Na5 10.d6
Carlsen prevents Black from trading his Bishop. He sacrifices a Pawn for better development.cxd6 11.Bd5 Nc6 12.Bd2 Qf6 13.Qe4 O-O 14.O-O Ne7 15.Nc3 Qf5 16.Qb4 Nxd5
Black trades a Knight for a Bishop. 17.Nxd5 Kh7 18.Nc7 Rb8 19.Qxd6
White is better. b6 20.f3 Here Carlsen missed the best move Ne8! 0-1
I went to 365Chess and the “Big Database” contains 281 games with white winning 36.3% while losing 50.9%. The ChessBaseDataBase contains only 35 games because it is more selective, containing mostly games by titled players. It shows white scoring only 44%.
The CBDB shows what the engines ‘thought’ of the opening moves played in the Carlsen v Vokhidov game.
1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 (After this move SF 10 at D43 shows an evaluation of -0.50 for white after black plays 2…Nc6 ; Komodo 12 has it -0.20)
Nc6 3.Bc4 g6 4.Qf3 (Although Stockfish at Depth 43 plays the game move Komodo 12 at D42 prefers 4 Qd1)
4…Qe7? (There is only one game with this move in the CBDB. Komodo has it -0.02 after 5 Ne2. There are 25 games with 4…Nf6, SF has it -0.56. Vokhidov did not know the opening, which may have contributed to the thinking of Magnus Carlsen before playing The Patzer. Magnus has never played it again. There is a reason…) 5.Ne2 Nf6 (The Fish and the Dragon both play 5…Na5) 6.d3 (SF 10 plays 6 Nbc3) 6…Bg7 (Komodo and Houdini play the game move but Stockfish plays 6…h6, which will be a Theoretical Novelty if and when a titled human player makes the move on a board) 7.Nbc3 (SF 10 shows an advantage of -0.39 after 7…Nd4) 7…h6 8.Nd5 (SF 8 h3; Houdini 8 Be3) 8…Nxd5 9.exd5 Na5 ( According to both SF and Houdini 9…Nb4 is better) 10.d6 cxd6 11.Bd5 Nc6 (SF 11…Rb8) 12.Bd2 (This is Komodo’s move; Houdini plays 12 Qe4) 12…Qf6 (SF 10 castles)
After publishing the post, Chess Grit (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/chess-grit/), I asked SM Brian McCarthy for feedback. A few days later Brian visited before returning to south Georgia where he is a High School teacher. I was shocked upon hearing, “You were too hard on Steve. I have worked for Championship Chess. There is nothing wrong with his method because he is an educator.” I was at a loss for words. It took a few seconds for me to get over the shock before responding, “Brian, I have a problem with anyone who teaches the Queen’s Raid.” Brian replied, “There is nothing wrong with teaching the Queen’s Raid; every player needs to know how to defend against it.”
“Brian, there is a world of difference between teaching a beginner how to defend against the Queen’s raid and teaching a beginner how to play it in order to win a game quickly.” After his retort I cut the conversation short because Brian has been having major health issues. Still, his reaction stung, and left an impression.
Brian’s picture can be found at the Championship Chess website:
I, too, have previously worked for Championship Chess(https://www.championshipchess.net/), because money was needed. Before heading to the first school as a member of the Championship “team” I was given a quick course in the Championship “method” of teaching Chess to children by Steve Schneider, one of the owners of CC, who indoctrinated me in the Championship Chess way, which included how to teach the Queen’s Raid, aka the Patzer, and pawn games, before being driven by the co-owner, Dennis Jones, to a school, where Dennis was to observe how I followed the CC “method.” On the way I asked Dennis if the other “coaches” followed the CC method. “Some do,” he replied, “But the stronger players do what they want. Are you a stronger player?” he asked. Dennis had given me all the information needed. While Dennis watched I gave lip service to “pawn games” and the “Queen’s raid,” but only to teach the children how to avoid the pitfall of being checkmated with the early raid of the Queen. It was the last time I used even part of the Championship Chess “method.”
I previously mentioned on this blog the time the Ol’ Swindler said about me, “Ummm… You’re a nineteen hundred.” Although I crossed the expert threshold he, and others I suppose, will always think of me as a “1900.” I’m OK with that, because “back in the day” the highest rated player who actually played regularly in Atlanta was Tom Pate, rated in the upper 1900’s. I think of Steve as a “Fourteen hundred.” USCF shows a current rating of 1379. The co-owner, Dennis Jones, is listed at the USCF MSA page as a “one thousand” player, albeit in limited action as he is still a “provisionally rated” player.
At one time Championship Chess could boast of having many higher rated “coaches” but that was in the past. For various reasons, including low wages and being forced to teach the Championship Chess “method,” the higher rated teachers left CC and were replaced by teachers rated, if they were rated, even lower than the owners. The Championship Chess brain trust wanted employees who would “toe the line” and “teach the Championship Chess way.”
The Legendary Georgia Ironman, Tim Brookshear relates a story concerning a game Steve played with one of his “coaches,” a fellow named Lynwood, at the Ironman Chess Club.
Lynwood playing at the Ironman Chess Club recently
As the story goes Lynwood was called over by “Coach Steve” for “training.” It seems Lynwood had been “called into the principal’s office” earlier because he had not been following the CC “method.” Lynwood was assisting “Coach Tim” and the Ironman was not one to teach any way other than his way, which happens to be the way most “approved” Chess teachers go about teaching Chess, which most definitely does not include teaching children to play the “Queen’s Raid” in order to gain a quick victory. “Lynwood was great,” said the Ironman, “He would do whatever asked of him, and was great with the children because of his demeanor.” Poor Lynwood was caught between a rock and a hard place. Should he do what the General back at HQ said and stick his head up out of the foxhole to gather much needed information, or do what the Sargent in the foxhole said and keep his head down?
Lynwood vs Coach Steve
1 e4 e5 2 Qh5
(It all begins with the Queen’s Raid at Championship Chess! If there is any Chess player who should be able to defend against the Queen’s Raid that man was sitting across from Lynwood as General of the black pieces) 2…Nc6 3 Bc4 g6 4 Qf3 Nf6 5 Ne2 d6
(Stockfish plays this move but the Championship Chess “main line” in the Patzer is 5…Bg7. Therefore it would appear Coach Steve was the first to vary from the Championship Chess approved method of playing The Patzer) 6 0-0
(This move is not in the CBDB) Bg4 7 Qb3 Be2 8 Bf7+ Ke7 9 Qe6 mate
In lieu of a resignation coach Steve erupted, “NO, NO, NO Lynwood, you’re not using the patterns!” After Tim pointed out to Steve that Lynwood had not been the one to break the “pattern” coach Steve blurted, “Once he broke the pattern I stopped paying attention!”
Don’t you just hate it when that happens?!
Steve, with much help from others, has written several Chess books for beginners, most, if not all, of which are laughable. I say this because while recalling being regaled with stories of laughable previous editions before being corrected. Tim mentioned going to a school and having his young students “correct” some of the many errors in the books. The mistakes were a riot, causing much laughter by the students.
During a conversation with Steve he expressed displeasure with the way I was teaching the Royal game, which was definitely NOT using the Championship Chess method. I had been teaching how to checkmate using only a few pieces when Steve had rather my time be spent teaching pawn games. “But Steve, I began, “Bobby Fischer wrote a book for beginners which was all about how to checkmate.” (Which is what Chess was all about before it became how to draw quickly)
“What did Bobby Fischer know about teaching Chess to children?” he asked. I was incredulous, and frankly, cannot recall exactly what was said after hearing his ridiculous question. I do, though, recall posing the question, “You mean you know more about teaching Chess than the greatest Chess player of all-time?” To which Steve responded, “Yes. I know more about teaching than he did.” Granted, Steve graduated from a college where he was taught how to teach, whereas Bobby was basically self-taught, but still…
I will never forget the first time attending a scholastic tournament. The memory of where it was being held has vanished. I do recall Steve and Lew Martin escorting some of the youngest children into the playing room. Anyone who has ever attended a Chess tournament, especially if one has worked at a Chess tournament, knows the feeling when the round begins and all is quiet for at least a brief period of time. That was not the case at this tournament because about a minute later the first children began returning from the playing hall, some elated, some crying. The Queen’s Raid had done its work as some beginners had yet to be taught how to defend against the The Patzer. Parents of the winners were pleased as punch while the losing parents were mortified to see their child in tears. When the first little children began returning I asked with incredulity, “You mean the games have already finished?” A smiling and proudly pleased Lew Martin said, “That’s how it is in scholastic Chess.”
“This is not Chess,” was my response. It was more than a little obvious that teaching Chess to children to some could be distilled to, “Show me the money!”
This is part one of a two part series, which will follow with the next post.
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In the latter half, journalist Linda Godfrey, an authority on anomalous animals and paranormal phenomena in Wisconsin,
discussed her new work on urban legends and ancient lore. Modern-day eyewitnesses describe creatures not known to exist in our time but which show up in ancient cultures such as in the Egyptian pantheon, where there was a dog-headed upright creature named Anubis that correlates with recent sightings of ‘Dogman.’ Godfrey has concluded that the strange sightings of anomalous creatures are not mass hallucinations– “it’s something that is happening to people in all walks of life,” she said, and “usually unexpectedly.”
Indigenous people have characterized the strange creatures as spirit beings that take physical form to procreate and demonstrate different qualities. While they can leave tracks and claw marks, Godfrey pointed out that when people have fired upon them or hit them with their vehicles, the creatures seem amazingly resilient, picking themselves up and dashing off into the woods. She delved into beings such as Slender Man, who first took off as a fictional meme on the Internet, leading to a case where two Wisconsin girls stabbed a schoolmate as a way to please Slender Man. The idea of a tall, stick figure actually dates back to the Native American lore of “Deer People,” she cited. Godfrey also talked about persistent sightings in central Wisconsin of panthers– animals that wildlife officials claim cannot be there. (https://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2019/07/15)
Dedicated to Georgia Chess Association President Scott Parker
I never cleaned my room never held a broom I was always screwing around
Never swept the floor organized my drawers since you came,
My life turned around now the toilet seat’s coming down and I’m happy nearly year around
I don’t have a frown now the toilet seat’s coming down
I never washed my face never cleaned my place never put a dish in the sink
I was never into clothes smelling like a rose now
I only care what you think now the toilet seat’s coming down
And I’m happy nearly year around I don’t have a frown now the toilet seat’s coming down
Now the toilet seat’s coming down and I’m happy nearly year around
I don’t give a damn now the toilet seat’s coming down