Like Pawns in an Inscrutable Game of Chess

A magnificent read:

“Despite his abortive lesson with Schoenberg in 1942, Brubeck never forgot how twelve-tone technique could be used to scatter familiar melodic patterns to the harmonic margins or move notes around like pawns in an inscrutable game of chess.” – Pg. 6

“Anybody arriving at these early records with the dapper vamps and smart metric chess moves of Time Out as their only point of reference might recognize a distant cousin of something familiar.” – Pg. 19



The Antichrist and The Messiah Playing a Strange Game of Chess



Back when Ground Zero was in its infancy there was a man I knew named Richard Rounds. I first got to know him as a persistent caller and then after getting to know him, I realized that he had such a remarkable imagination. A lot of his madness was based on how well-read he was.

One night back in the 1990s, I was talking about how creepy I thought Cabbage Patch Dolls were and we got to talking about how these babies looked like mutants from a nuclear facility. We were talking about how they were still everywhere and wondering when the fad was going to wear off and we exchanged a theory that perhaps these dolls were being made by the government in order to prepare young girls for motherhood in the nuclear age.

We were frightened at the idea that these dolls were being made to desensitize us into accepting mutant children as the norm because some 20 or 30 years into the future babies will be born and they would look like cabbage patch kids and they would be exceptionally intelligent.

Well 25 years later there are no mothers forced to raise mutant babies but there was another theory that Richard floated on my show that gave me the creeps.

He once called in and said that he knew fits hand about an underground facility that was hidden in the Rocky Mountains. He said that the whole area is heavily secured in order to protect what was inside.

He said that the facility would be able to withstand any nuclear attack and that in it were important artifacts that were kept hidden away lie what was seen in the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

There was also a library of microfiche and history records that were kept in rooms that were temperature-controlled and that the personnel there were forbidden to touch them with human hands.

But he added that not only were artifacts stored there but that were also various rooms that he said were like jail cells. They were well furnished but small.

His story then got even weirder when he said that the rooms were set aside for what he called chrononauts – people who would travel between dimensions, many of them were well-known figures of history.

Not just of the past but of the future as well.

He then spoke in the speculative by saying – what if I told you that a future president, Pope, Messiah, and antichrist were held there and that the antichrist and the messiah were playing a strange game of chess by knocking on the walls in code to each other.

He added – what if I told you that both were being held there and that in 25 to 30 years they would be released from the underground facility which would throw the entire world into a kind of paradox?

The rest of the story continues here:


Magnus ‘DrDrunkenstein’ Carlsen

DrDrunkenstein’s Reign of Terror

Magnus Carlsen, the best chess player alive, has been slipping into online speed tournaments behind pseudonyms to crack jokes, let loose, and destroy the competition.

By Joe Holmes
Feb 21, 20204:11 PM

Magnus Carlsen smirks and holds his hand up to his face. Behind him are screenshots of his face from livestreams.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Agon Limited and Magnus Carlsen/YouTube.

It was the final game of the 2018 World Chess Championship, and reigning champ Magnus Carlsen was about to piss off almost every commentator in the chess world. In a clearly favorable position, with a 30-minute time advantage over opponent Fabiano Caruana, Carlsen offered his hand for the 12th straight draw of the 12-game series. Neither side had won a single game—a first in the history of the world championship.

Commentators saw the move as heretical to the spirit of competition, “cowardly” even. Former champ Garry Kasparov suggested Carlsen was losing his nerve. The crown would have to be determined in tiebreaks: rapid games, more similar in time controls to a casual match in the park than the hours-long marathons that preceded them. Each side would get 25 minutes to make all his moves, with a 10 second bonus added each time he punched his clock.

It was Carlsen’s bread and butter. He was the World Blitz Chess champion as well and bet on his quick intuition to close the match out decisively. He bet right—bulldozing Caruana with three consecutive wins to retain the world title. When asked about his critics at the press conference, a grinning Carlsen said, “They are entitled to their stupid opinions.”

Though some fans were still irked that he played it safe in the classical games, a new narrative started emerging: Carlsen, the supremely gifted natural, brought Caruana out of the memorized computer analysis that defines so much of the contemporary circuit. Far from losing his nerve, Carlsen was ushering the match into a rawer, more competitive form. He put the clock on Caruana, and Caruana couldn’t keep up.

In the commentary on the tiebreaks from popular YouTube channel ChessNetwork, the most liked post under the channel’s game analysis echoed many chess fans’ sense of celebration. It read, “This World Chess Championship is a tale of two people. For two weeks, we saw [Carlsen]. Today, we saw Dr. Drunkenstein.” The comment was liked almost 600 times.

“DrDrunkenstein” is one of many aliases Magnus Carlsen has played under during the past two years, when he went on a killing spree across the speed chess tournaments of the internet. Since winter 2017, Carlsen has taken to livestreaming his games on a variety of platforms, which has provided a surprisingly entertaining window into the mind of an all-time great.

The story continues…

Sam Shankland Is Back On Track

What you are about to read is one of the most remarkable things I have read in my fifty years in Chess.  It was found at After checking it is no longer on the main page of Chess Today. Therefore, I decided to publish every word just as it appeared at, and earlier, according to the article, Facebook. Every Chess player should read this, so I ask you, if you feel the same, to bring it to the attention of your Chess friend(s). It matters not where they read it, just that it is read.

Me with Markus Ragger, David Navara and Pentala Harikrishna. Photo: Petr Vrabec/Prague Chess Festival

Back on track

Updated: Feb 24, 2020, 7:17 AM

I finally got my life back on track.

One of my many shortcomings is being totally unable to fake a smile to show the world when I’m dying inside. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer, so I tasked my team to take over my facebook page and post my tournament results, book and lecture information, and general updates while I was going through the worst phase of my adult life. They did a great job, but the time has come for me, Sam Shankland, in the flesh and blood, to get behind my computer screen and address my fans that have been so supportive of me.

More or less everything that could have gone wrong last year did go wrong. A last minute change to the qualification rules for the FIDE Grand Prix left me stranded on the sidelines when I was counting on playing, watching in total disgust as most of the guys who did get invited made 15 move draws every other game. Yet another top-10 player switched federations to the USA, probably costing me my spot on the Olympic team that I had played so well and proudly for in the past. The packed tournament schedule led a lot of top players to decline some invitations, leaving me the top seed in multiple round robins where I was expecting a chance to play up, and instead watched my rating bleed away as I faced off with the drawish nature of the game itself. Away from the ugly world of chess politics, both of my parents had major health scares, I went through a heartbreak in my personal life, and a thick glass shard of a broken Pyrex container slashed through the flexor tendons of my left hand, leaving me disabled, in pain, and sleeping poorly for two months even after surgery, and during the two most important events of the year. When my suitcase mysteriously went missing at the transferring airport en route to the European Club Cup, costing me most of my wardrobe, I oddly felt elated and relieved to finally have a problem in my life that money could fix.

It would be easy to get complacent and blame my circumstances for what happened. After my early exit from Khanty-Mansisyk, one of my friends quipped to me something along the lines of “Cheer up, it’s not your fault. How could you expect to play well in the World Cup when you traveled against medical advice and couldn’t even tie your own shoes?” While I appreciated that he was trying to make me feel better, I had to disagree with him.

Adversity, even extreme adversity, is part of the human experience. I doubt there has ever been a person on earth who led such a blessed existence that they were never held back by factors outside of their control. When life smacks you in the face, there is a clear divide between how champions and losers handle themselves. Losers whine, make excuses, convince themselves that the world is out to get them, become envious of those more fortunate, and ultimately blame their circumstances for their inevitable failures, accepting no responsibility themselves. Champions grit their teeth, put on their big boy pants, fight through the adversity, and prevail despite whatever challenges they may face. This was the test placed before me last year.

And I failed. Not only did I fail, I failed spectacularly. Not only did I not win any tournaments, I hardly won any games. My rating took a plunge twice as big as anything it had done before. I found myself questioning my most core beliefs– that hard work eventually would always prevail over natural talent, that my destiny as a player was within my control, that age is just a number and that improvement can be found at any phase in life.

2019 broke my heart. But it’s a new year now. For nearly a decade, I have had mediocre or bad odd numbered years and good or great even numbered ones, and I think I should wait until 2021 to buck this trend. Today I won in the final round of the Prague Masters, joining a 5-way tie for first place. The tournament had its challenges and I left some very painful points on the table, but despite the mishaps, I finally played a decent event where I showed some degree of the strength I know I am capable of. My tiebreak math didn’t work out, but I’m still counting this as a tournament victory, and more importantly, as a personal victory. I can only hope the same positive trend continues throughout the rest of the year. After a month off, next up is the US Championship, the tournament that created my legacy in 2018. With any luck, I’ll be able to bring the same level I did here in Prague and then some.

Thanks to all of my fans for supporting me through thick and thin. I’m not a big social media guy, but seeing positive comments and encouragement on my page often brought a smile to my face when it was most needed and hardest to come by.

This blog was cross-posted from Facebook.




Cheating Discovered In Korean Go Qualification Tournament

Cheating discovered in Korean qualifying tournament

On January 14, one of the competitors in the Korean professional qualifying tournament was discovered to be cheating. The player (gender unknown) had concealed a small camera inside his or her clothing and had a wireless earphone hidden in a bandage. An accomplice outside the venue was relaying the moves suggested by an AI program. The player was immediately disqualified; after an emergency meeting of the officials on January 17, it was decided to proceed with a criminal prosecution.

Cheating in Korean qualification tournament

Apparently right now in Korea qualification tournament for becoming professional is going on. And a cheater was caught. He had a camera hidden in a button and an earpiece.

Also, the referee they mention is Cho Yeonwoo, that’s probably our youtube Yeonwoo? Maybe we’ll hear about this in her videos.

I learned about this from Dinershteyn’s group but it’s possible to google a few Korean articles. Google translate help us.


Duchamp’s Pipe: A Review Part 2

Published by North Atlantic Books, which can be found by clicking here:

Duchamp’s Pipe

The quoted text is pulled directly from the book.

Marcel Duchamp vs George Koltanowski

BEL Cup 01st Brussels 1923


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. f4 c5 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9. Bxd7+ Nxd7 10. e5 cxd4 11. cxd4 O-O 12. Nf3 e6 13. O-O Nb6 14. Ba3 Re8 15. Qb3 Bf8 16. Rfc1 Bxa3 17. Qxa3 Qd7 18. Rc2 Rec8 19. Rac1 Rxc2 20. Rxc2 Nd5 21. Qc1 a5 22. g4 Nb4 23. Rc7 Qd5 24. Qe3 Qxa2 25. f5 exf5 26. gxf5 Qb1+ 27. Rc1 Qxf5 0-1

“For Koltanowski, it was as much about what attracted him to the game as it was how to attract others to the game. To that end, he developed a chess persona along the lines of a visionary chess maniac.”

“Koltanowski understood his memory as a different order of knowledge outside conscious effort – a trance state that the fortunate artist or chess player might experience.”

Duchamp said, “Chess is a sport. A violent sport.”

“After crossing paths at a few tournaments in Europe, from their Paris match in 1924 to The Hague in 1928, Duchamp and Koltanowski met again in 1929 at a chess match at the Tournoi d’Echecs, the Paris International Chess Championship. In an unexpected twist, Koltanowski lost to Duchamp in fifteen moves.”

George Koltanowski vs Marcel Duchamp

Paris 1929

E00 Queen’s pawn game

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 b6 5.f4 Bb7 6.Bd3 Nbd7 7.Nf3 e5 8.d5 g6 9.O-O exf4 10.Bxf4 Bg7 11.e5 dxe5 12.Nxe5 O-O 13.Qd2 Nxd5 14.Nxd7 Nxf4 15.Nxf8 Bd4+ 0-1

“Koltanowski only casually mentions the game in his Chessnicdotes – in which he relates a more detailed win in 1944:

Marcel Duchamp vs George Koltanowski

New York 1944

Grunfeld (D94)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. e3 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 c5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 Nc6 9. Bf4 Bg4 10. c5 Ne4 11. Ne5 Bxe2 12. Nxe2 Nxe5 13. dxe5 Nxc5 14. Nd4 Qd7 15. Re1 Rac8 16. Qd2 Ne6 17. Rac1 Rxc1 18. Rxc1 Nxf4 19. Qxf4 Rc8 20. Rc3 Rxc3 21. bxc3 Qc7 22. Nf3 Qxc3 23. h3 Qc4 24. Qg5 f6 25. exf6 Bxf6 26. Qe3 d4 27. Qf4 Qxa2 28. Ne5 Qb1+ 29. Kh2 Qf5 0-1

“Marcel Duchamp, the renowned artist (Nude Descending a Staircase),

loved the game of chess. He played in the French Championship on a number of occasions, was a member of a French Olympic team, and his book, L’Opposition et les cases conjuguees (1932) was very successful.

His painting of a family chess game in the garden, which hangs in the Philadelphia Museum, is one of the more famous paintings including chess as its theme.”

“He helped the American Chess Foundation tremendously with his works of art and getting the support of the New York elite…I played him twice in Brussels tournaments, winning in both cases. In Paris, 1929, I lost.”

“Following his triumph against Koltanowski in 1929, Duchamp was at the pinnacle of his chess career. In the following year, in Hamburg, he played his friend Frank Marshall-whom he knew from his many evening games at the Marshall Chess Club in New York. That the game was a draw was an impressive result, given that from 1909 to 1936 Marshall (1877-1944) was the US Chess Champion.”

Frank James Marshall vs Marcel Duchamp

Hamburg olypiad (Men) 07/13/1930

E12 Queen’s Indian defence

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 b6 3.c4 e6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nc3 Bb7 6.Qc2 d5 7.e3 O-O 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Nxd5 Bxd5 11.Bd3 h6 12.a3 c5 13.dxc5 Rc8 14.b4 bxc5 15.Rc1 Nd7 16.Ba6 Rc7 17.e4 Bb7 18.Bxb7 Rxb7 19.bxc5 Qxc5 20.O-O Qxc2 21.Rxc2 Kf8 22.Rfc1 Ke7 23.Nd4 Ke8 24.f4 Rab8 25.e5 Nf8 26.Rc5 Rb1 27.Rxb1 Rxb1+ 28.Kf2 Rb7 29.Rc8+ Ke7 30.Ra8 Ng6 31.g3 Kd7 32.a4 Ne7 33.Nb5 Nc8 34.g4 Rxb5 35.axb5 Kc7 36.g5 hxg5 37.b6+ Kb7 38.Rxc8 Kxc8 ½-½

“Koltanowski describes Frank Marshall

as an artist who loved the brilliance of chess: Love of the game for its own sake, rather than for the awards which fall in the path of a successful player, was apparent throughout Marshall’s career. Winning did not matter to him half as much as the creation of a masterpiece on the chessboard.” Koltanowski in Chessnicdotes

“At the least, Duchamp’s pipe is an latered industrial object that embodies a friendship of shared wit and a mutual love of Caissa. But the pipe is not only a utilitarian object; in chess it is part of the activity and environment in which it is used-held to the mouth in a physically intimate way, simultaneously concealing the smoker’s expression. Undulating smoke, the pipe’sn mutabel fumes enhanced concentration and reflection, creating a meditative state of mind within the comfort of habit. Duchamp’s pipe embodies a authentic gesture of exchange, infused with a Duchampian cocktail of ideas that unwrap the ebb and flow of their personal relationship.”

“Marcel Mauss askes: “What power resides in the object given that causes its recipient to pay it back?” This is the power of exchange. Embedded in the pipe, the relationship flows through the redolent smoke as ephemeral as thought. The pipe embodies something of Duchamp, something of Koltanowski, and something personal and “affectionately Marcel,” as Duchamp frequently signed his letters. The intimate nature of smoking – drawn from the mouthpiece, through the mouth and exhaled through the breath – is made visible in Duchamp’s pipe. The smoky vapors surround and scent both men, creating an atmosphere of communal enjoyment. Embodying the phenomenon of “the gift,” the pipe expresses an exchange beyond words or measure.”

“Mauss claims that “objects are confounded with the spirits who made them.” Given from Duchamp’s hands, Koltanowski’s pipe is not merely a material object; it is also an expression of kinship and reciprocity saturated with the smoky fragrance of the chess players. More than the sum of its parts, the pipe gives form to an altered significance. It is not surprising that pipe-smoking is linked to gift exchange in most world cultures.”

“I believe that pipe-smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs.” – Albert Einstein

“Duchamp and Koltanowski puffed their pipes while playing chess, the transicent tendrils curling upward around each posture and gesture. The smoke veiled their thoughts and scented the surroundings. Smoke simultaneously revealed and concealed the chess game, joining the players together in an infrathin screed of smoke and intense concentration.”

“Duchamp’s attraction to Koltanowski derived from their mutual passion for chess, complemented by an interior mental focus that bordered on the mystical.”

“For Duchamp, chess was an art, its primary function cerebral “play.”

“Art is a road which leads towards regions which are not governed by time and place. – Marcell Duchamp

“A game of chess washes the mind.” – Koltanowski

“Koltanowski simply pursued the pure cerebral enjoyment of chess-and he made his passion contagious.”

“Duchamp enjoyed the pure intellectual play of the game; it was a cerebral pursuit without repetitious art production, and at the same time it required a great deal of imagination. Koltanowski found Duchamp’s chess choreography compelling. Both loved chess for its aestetic brilliance.”

Many people in the art world wondered why Duchamp “Gave up art for Chess.” They did not understand that Duchamp did not “give up art” because he knew Chess to be art or else he would not have said, “While all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.”

The review ends with the Afterword: Coffee House Chess, by Irwin Lipnowski:

“All the human attributes of intuition, judgment, creativity, rational foresight, and computational skill become inconsequential in competing with the processing speed of a chess-playing program. Admittedly, human beings designed the program’s evaluation function and human beings have significantly improved the processing speed of computers. Yet it is difficult to overestimate the negative impact that computer chess development has had on the sense of accomplishment and self-esteem of chess masters and grandmasters.”

























Duchamp’s Pipe: A Review

Duchamp’s Pipe

A Chess Romance

Marcel Duchamp & George Koltanowski

by Celia Rabinovitch

Published by North Atlantic Books, which can be found by clicking here:

Duchamp’s Pipe

The quoted text is pulled directly from the book.

This is a wonderful, enjoyable, entertaining, and easy to read, book. It is well written and deeply researched, much of  which emanates from the wonderful California Chess reference resource, ChessDryad (, where one finds on the home page of Chess History Archives:

What’s New

A brand new must-have book!

Intrigued by the title I decided to get in touch with the publisher to write a review. Prior to reading this volume these are the only books previously read concerning Marcel Duchamp:

When first learning of the book I was curious as to how a writer would be able to write a book concerning the gift of a smoking pipe. After all, so much has been written about Marcel Duchamp one would think it impossible to find anything new about which to write. I was wrong. In addition, I wondered about the title, “A Chess Romance.” Since it concerns two men, why not “A Chess Bromance?” After all, the definition of bromance is, “A platonic or nonsexual friendship between two men, usually two heterosexual men, likened to a romantic relationship.” ( Replace the “B” with “R” and we have: “A love affair.” (


“Duchamp’s last summer was spent in Cadaques, Spain. At five o’clock every afternoon he could be found at Cafe Melion. One time Laurent Sauerwein boldly decided to “intercept” Duchamp and speak with him. Before long a man appeared and a chessboard was produced, at which point, Sauerwein recounts: “I knew I had to shut up. the serious business was about to begin [and] Marcel kept focused, samurai-like, periodically puffing on his cigar…I didn’t stay until the very end actually, because…what was at stake on the chessboard seemed too intimate to watch.” Lewis Jacobs captured Duchamp in Cadaques, footage he later used in his 1982 documentary Marcel Duchamp: In His Own Words, in which Duchamp shares how chess “is a peaceful way of understanding life [and as with all games] you play with life. You are more alive than people who believe in religion and art.” In other words, the game is in the player’s hands, whereas art and religion require devotion.”

“Duchamp once stated that “chess is a school of silence.” ( In 1964 the German artist Joseph Beuys, known for his dissenting action-performances, staged “The Silence of Marcel Duchamp Is Overrated.” With this work, Beuys criticized Duchamp’s apparent withdrawal from the art world and social responsibilities in order to “merely” play chess.”

“Duchamp’s chess-playing came to the fore in the last dozen years of his life, during which time he also re-emerged after decades of apparent self-imposed isolation from the “industry” of art: making, promoting, selling. In an address to a symposium at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, in March 1961 Duchamp said, “The great artist of tomorrow will go underground.”

I have read about Duchamp in an attempt to understand why he decided to devote time to Chess in lieu of devoting time to art. In 1928 Duchamp commented in a letter to Katherine Drier: “Chess is my drug; don’t you know it!”


“In 1951, Koltanowski expanded his readership by publishing his chess columns in popular magazines and in-house company newsletters. The San Francisco Fireman’s Fund Record published an article titled “The Walking brain,” about Koltanowski and his renowned Knight’s Tour Exhibition. In chess, the knight’s tour demonstrates a sequence of moves on the sixty-four squares of a chessboard whereby the knight visits every square once. To fill each square, Koltanowski asked the audience to suggest names or numbers in combination. He looked at the board, took a few minutes to memorize it, and proceeded to perform the tour while naming the contents of each square. He set another record at the San Francisco Chess Festival at the Marines’ Memorial Club on December 2, 1951, where he played a Blindfold Speed Chess Exhibition by playing fifty blindfold games, one after another, at ten seconds a move in eight hours and forty-five minutes.”

“Humphrey Bogart came to San Francisco for the premier of The African Queen in March 1952. The San Francisco Chronicle staged an exhibition in which Koltanowski played Bogie while blindfolded. Playing to the crowd, Kolty muttered, “This guy is dangerous and I’m not kidding.” Bogie, of course, had played tough-talking detective Sam Spade in the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon, which was set in San Francisco. Dark Passage, release in 1947, just five years before the chess match, was set on San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill, not too far from Kolty and Leah’s apartment on Gough Street in the Cathedral Hill area. The event sparked Kolty’s flair for drama-combined with San Francisco’s foggy atmosphere in his blood. He played up the intensity of their contest both on the radio and in the newspaper. Photographs of the match show a Koltanowski intensely concentrating to defeat Bogie-which he did, in forty-one moves.”

“In late 1952, Kolty was the prime mover behind a new organization, Chess Friends of Northern California. It had its own magazine-Chess in Action-and he was the action. This was just one part of his lasting legacy. In the decades to come, Koltanowski published chess columns all over the world, wrote books, and broke ever more chess records. Upon his death on February 5, 2000, his Chronicle (itl) column had run for fifty-two years, at that time the longest-running chess column in journalism. He was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame in 1986, and awarded an honorary Grandmaster title in 1988. He was the greatest showman since P.T. Barnum, besting the great blindfold chess exhibitioners before him with his self-appointed title of World Blindfold champion. He was a true Dean of American Chess-so named by the United States Chess Federation-and there will never again be anyone like him.”

The Pipe

“WAS DUCHAMP’S PIPE A UTILITARIAN object? Was it an altered readymade with transformed meaning? Or was it intended to embody Marcel and George’s chess relationship? Duchamp was known to make gifts of his work to those he was close to or admired. An admirer of the artistry of industrial objects, Duchamp gathered ideas from plumber’s shop windows, department stores, iron works, and industrial sites. He admired their lack of embellishment combined with stalwart purpose in their machined manufacture. In choosing his pipe ebauchon, he chose its blocky original form. [The majority of pipes sold today, whether handmade or machine-made, are fashioned from briar. Briar burls are cut into two types of blocks; ebauchon and plateaux. Ebauchon is taken from the heart of the burl while plateaux is taken from the outer part of the burl. While both types of blocks can produce pipes of the highest quality, most artisan pipemakers prefer to use plateaux because of its superior graining.  Commercially designed tobacco pipes take refined shapes with curved contours, while those hewn by artisan often employ eccentric forms. By contrast, Duchamp’s extraordinary pipe allows the rough geometric shape of the raw ebauchon to linger, evoking the memory of its crude industrial manufacture.”

“THUS UNFOLDS THE EXCHANGE BETWEEN Duchamp and Koltanowski and the game they loved-a love triangle with the art of chess. The characters are incongruous: Marcel Duchamp, the audacious, ironic French artist; George Koltanowski, a memory-gifted Belgian Jewish chess champion who escaped the Holocaust in Europe; and the game of chess itself, embodied by the goddess Caissa. First referred to in Europe in the sixteenth century, Caissa became the patron goddess of chess devotees who, like George, would invoke her to inspire their game. The poem “Caissa, or: The Game of Chess” (1763), by the linguist Sir William Jones, ( expresses in heroic couplets Dubhamp and Koltanowski’s mutual chess obsession: “No prize we need, our ardour to inflame;/we fight with pleasure, if we fight for fame.”

“As part of the wandering intelligentsia of Europe in the first half of the twentieth century-buffeted by political upheavals and wars and circulation through countries-Duchamp and Koltanowski survived by wit, artistry, and alliances, their worlds meeting in the game of chess. And just as in romances, the two character’ motives are colored by friendship, rivalry, and a shared admiration for the elusive chess mistress. Their exchange of chess and ideas for over a quarter century was embodied by Duchamp’s pipe. Their encounters cut across three continents-Europe, South America, and North America-and span three decades, through various chess tournaments, informal chess clubs, and cities including Brussels, Paris, The Hague, Buenos Aires, Havana, and New York City. Surviving the chaos of World War II, and as part of the European flight to America, these two men lived through the major upheavals of the twentieth century. And while they played-in cities and tournaments, or in smoky private clubs-they reflected on chess strategy and opened their senses to its marvelous duration, all the while smoking their pipes.”

End Part One


Polish (Sokolsky) Versus Dutch!

At the 365Chess Chess Opening Explorer we find an “Engine Eval.” for the top seven moves played against the “A00 Polish (Sokolsky) opening.” 1…f5 is the eighth most often played move, with 57 games in the database.

Gabriel Barandiaran 1834 vs Alvaro Guerrero 2094

Duchamp Cup 2020 round 09

1. b4 f5 2. Bb2 Nf6 3. Nf3 c6 4. e3 d5 5. c4 e6 6. c5 b6 7. d4 a5 8. a3 Be7 9. Ne5 O-O 10. Be2 Qc7 11. Nd2 Na6 12. cxb6 Qxb6 13. Qa4 axb4 14. Qxc6 Rb8 15. a4 Qa7 16. Bb5 Rb6 17. Qc2 Nb8 18. O-O Ba6 19. Bxa6 Rxa6 20. Rfc1 Bd6 21. Ndf3 Ne4 22. Ne1 f4 23. exf4 Bxe5 24. dxe5 Rxf4 25. Nd3 Rf8 26. Qc7 Nd2 27. Qxa7 Rxa7 28. Nc5 Kf7 29. Bd4 Rc7 30. a5 Nc4 31. a6 Nc6 32. Nb3 Ra8 33. f4 Kg6 34. Bc5 Kf5 35. g3 g5 36. fxg5 Kxg5 37. Bd6 Rca7 38. Nc5 N6xe5 39. Nxe6+ Kf6 40. Nc7 Nxd6 41. Nxd5+ Kg5 42. Nxb4 Nf5 43. Ra5 Nf3+ 44. Kf2 Nd4 45. g4 Kxg4 46. Rg1+ Kh4 47. Rga1 Kg5 48. Re1 Kg6 49. Re4 Rb8 50. Nd5 Rb2+ 51. Ke1 Nf3+ 52. Kd1 N5d4 53. Nf4+ Kf7 54. Kc1 Rc2+ 55. Kd1 Rd2+ 0-1

1 b4 f5 2 Bb2 (e3 SF) Nf6 3 Nf3 (SF 10 @depth 34 shows 3 e3, but going deeper to depth 40 prefers 3 b5, a TN) 3…c6
(SF 3…e6)

The only other game found with 3…c6

Camilla Baginskaite (2336) vs Michael Aigner (2263)
Franett mem San Francisco  01/03/2005
A04 Reti v Dutch

1.Nf3 f5 2.b4 Nf6 3.Bb2 c6 4.c4 d6 5.d4 g6 6.g3 Bg7 7.Bg2 O-O 8.O-O Na6 9.Qb3 Nc7 10.a4 Ne4 11.b5 c5 12.e3 Ne8 13.Nbd2 N8f6 14.Rad1 Qc7 15.Nxe4 Nxe4 16.Nd2 Be6 17.d5 Nxd2 18.Rxd2 Bd7 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Qc3+ Rf6 21.a5 Rf8 22.Rfd1 Kg8 23.f4 R8f7 24.Re1 Qd8 25.Rde2 Qf8 26.e4 fxe4 27.Rxe4 Qg7 28.Qe3 Kf8 29.h3 h5 30.Kh2 Bc8 31.Re6 Ke8 32.h4 Kd8 33.Bh3 Bd7 34.Re2 Qf8 35.Bg2 Rg7 36.Qc3 Bc8 37.Bh3 Bd7 38.Rxf6 Qxf6 39.Qxf6 exf6 40.Be6 Re7 41.f5 gxf5 42.Kg2 Bxe6 43.dxe6 Rg7 44.Rf2 Ke7 45.Rxf5 Rh7 46.a6 b6 47.Kf3 Kxe6 48.Ke4 Rh8 49.Rd5 Rh7 50.Rf5 Rh8 51.Rd5 Rh7 ½-½

The Game of the 2020 Duchamp Open

This was The Game of the 2020 Duchamp Open:

GM Darcy Lima 2526

vs IM Pablo Ismael Acosta  2416

Duchamp Cup 2020 round 08

E11 Bogo-Indian defence

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 a5 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Qc2 d5 7. e3 c5 8. a3 Bxc3 9. Bxc3 cxd4 10. Bxd4 Nc6 11. Bc3 Qe7 12. Bd3 h6 13. O-O dxc4 14. Bxc4 Bd7 15. Rac1 Rfc8 16. Rfd1 Be8 17. Ba2 b5 18. Bb1 b4 19. axb4 axb4 20. Be1 g6 21. Qc4 Nd5 22. Qe2 Qf6 23. g3 Nb6 24. e4 Nd7 25. Kg2 Rab8 26. Rc2 g5 27. h3 Nde5 28. Nxe5 Qxe5 29. Qe3 Rd8 30. Rdc1 Qd4 31. Qe2 Ne5 32. Rd2 Qb6 33. Qh5 Kg7 34. Qd1 Bb5 35. Qb3 Rdc8 36. Rdc2 Rxc2 37. Bxc2 Bc4 38. Qa4 Qd4 39. Rd1 Qc5 40. Rd2 Bb5 41. Qb3 Ra8 42. Bb1 Ra1 43. Qd1 Qc4 44. Bd3 Rxd1 45. Bxc4 Rxd2 0-1

Let me set the stage for you. GM Darcy Lima is a Senior, born in 1962. His opponent, IM Pablo Ismael Acosta, born in 1999, is pre-zero. It’s OK, boomer! The younger player led the tournament with six points, the older 5 1/2.

I urge you to play through the game on a real board with pieces to get a FEEL of the game. Then return and read my analysis of the game.

Lima v Acosta

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 a5 (Komodo @depth 38 takes the bishop. SF 11 @depth 63 (!) brings the bishop home with 4…Be7, which has been played in only 4% of the games. Taking the bishop occurred in 17%. 4…Qe7 shows 41%. The game move has been played 23%)

5. Nc3 (Komodo and SF play 5 a3, which has only been played 17% of the time; the game move has been played 20%. The most often played move in this position heretofore has been 5 g3 which has been played in half the games in the CBDB)
5…O-O (Komodo plays 5…b6)

6. Qc2 (Komodo likes 6 e3) 6…d5 7. e3 c5 (SF and 61% of the games in this position show 7…b6) 8. a3 Bxc3 9. Bxc3 cxd4 10. Bxd4 (SF plays this. For 10 Nxd4 see Schachinger vs Wohl below)

10…Nc6 11. Bc3 Qe7 12. Bd3 h6 13. O-O dxc4 14. Bxc4 Bd7 15. Rac1 Rfc8 (15…e5) 16. Rfd1 Be8 (Again, e5)

17. Ba2 (It is interesting that the GM chose to retreat in lieu of advancing with e4) 17…b5 18. Bb1 b4 19. axb4 axb4

20. Be1? (Again the GM retreats when 20 Bxf6 Qxf6 21 Qh7+ was possible)

20…g6? (I recall reading something about not moving the pawns in front of your king when under attack. SF would play 20…Qb7, and there are other, better, moves, so the move is questionable) 21. Qc4 Nd5 (SF wants to play 21…Kg7 and hold on…)

22. Qe2 Qf6 23. g3 Nb6 24. e4 Nd7 (27…Nd4) 25. Kg2 Rab8 26. Rc2 g5 27. h3 Nde5 28. Nxe5 Qxe5 29. Qe3 Rd8 30. Rdc1 (30. Rcd2) 30…Qd4 31. Qe2 Ne5 32. Rd2 Qb6

33. Qh5 (f4) Kg7 34. Qd1 Bb5 (Which side do you prefer?)

35. Qb3 Rdc8 36. Rdc2 (SF concludes 36. Rxc8 Rxc8 37. f4 best) 36…Rxc2 37. Bxc2 Bc4 38. Qa4 (Qe3 is a better move) 38… Qd4 39. Rd1 Qc5 40. Rd2 Bb5 41. Qb3 Ra8

42. Bb1? (With this move GM Darcy Lima let go of the rope…) 42…Ra1 43. Qd1? (This is another howler. It continues to go from bad to SPLAT!) 43…Qc4 44. Bd3 Rxd1 45. Bxc4 Rxd2 0-1

Did you get the “feeling” after white made his thirty third move that the player of the black pieces was strengthening while the player behind the white pieces was fading? It was almost as if the younger player was drawing the life out of the older player. With a twenty move draw playing with the white pieces in the final round the lesser titled and lower rated player finished one half point in front of a pack of four players on seven. GM Lima finished in a tie for eight place with a large group with six points.

Mario Schachinger (2232) vs Aleksandar H Wohl (2439)

2005 Graz open

D02 Queen’s pawn game

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 a5 5.e3 Nf6 6.Nc3 O-O 7.Qc2 c5 8.a3 Bxc3 9.Bxc3 cxd4 10.Nxd4 e5 11.Nf3 e4 12.Nd2 Nbd7 13.cxd5 Re8 14.Bc4 Ne5 15.Bb5 Bd7 16.Bxd7 Nexd7 17.O-O Rc8 18.Qa4 b6 19.Rfd1 Nc5 20.Bxf6 Qxf6 21.Qb5 a4 22.d6 Red8 23.Nc4 Nd3 24.Rd2 Rc5 25.Qa6 h5 26.Rf1 b5 27.Na5 Rg5 28.Nb7 Qf3 0-1


Chess and Clocks

Back in the day a very strong Chess player, Mike Lucas, moved from Alabama to Atlanta. At the USCF website Michael Lucas is shown as a National Master, 1st Category. IM of GM strength Boris Kogan said Mike was one of the most talented, creative and inventive players he had known. Unfortunately, Mike loved time pressure. “Crazy”, was the moniker bestowed on Mike because of his  time trouble addiction. He won most of the games we played, whether classical or fifteen minute. Mike deferred to me in playing fifteen minute games because his love was speed Chess, which meant five minutes on the clock without any delay or time added. There was, though, a tournament game that found Mike in severe time pressure, and me with time to spare. All I can recall now is the opening, with Mike having the white pieces, which went 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nf6 5 Ng3.

It was the first time in any game an opponent had not taken the knight with 5 Nxf6+. The game ended in a flurry of moves before a draw was agreed. “That was really exciting, wasn’t it,” Mike said. Heart pounding all I could muster was, “Maybe for you…” Mike grinned.

Yet another excellent article appeared at Chessbase today which brought the memory of the Lucas game to the fore.

Grandmaster tips on how to fight time-pressure by Swapnil Dhopade

2/18/2020 – When we learn the rules of chess as a youngster we are told about the chess board, the chess pieces and how each of the pieces move. Once we master these basics, we can proudly tell everyone that we have learnt the game of chess. However, when you go to a tournament, there is one more element that is added, one which plays just as important a role as the board and the pieces: the chess clock! Time is one of the most crucial factors when playing a game, and somehow this is one of the things that chess players pay the least attention to. It doesn’t come as a surprise that many strong chess players handle the clock and time in a very poor manner, losing several games due to time pressure. How do we avoid this problem? In this article GM SWAPNIL DHOPADE tries to acquaint you with the causes and solutions of this perennial problem.

A nightmare for every chess player

Have you ever lost a winning position in time-pressure? I am sure the answer is a resounding yes! Every chess player has lost winning or equal positions in their games due to time trouble.

Imagine a situation:

You have prepared for hours before the game.
The efforts are paying dividends as your opponent falls into something that you have prepped for.
You get a slightly better position and also some extra minutes on the clock.
You invest your time on every move and slowly but steadily build up a clearly better / winning position until move 25-30.
But then you have around 3 minutes left on the clock with 30 seconds increment for the entire game. You being low on time, your opponent tries to create some mess on the board and you have to find that one single move, a deceptive one that wins on the spot!
With your time ticking away, unfortunately, you do not find it and the tables are turned against you. You either lose the game or draw a winning position.
The emotions after such a game of chess are felt by most of us at some point or the other in our careers. It further turns into agitation and you may end up cursing your luck or blaming yourself. You come out and tell your friends, coaches and parents that you played a nearly flawless game but only if you had some extra time at that exact moment, you would have found the required winning move and crushed your opponent. Doh!

Does this story sound familiar to you? If this happens once in a while, maybe it’s not that big an issue but if it happens game after game then it is high time to do something about it. Unless, of course, you enjoy playing under time pressure and find reasonably good moves without too many errors even in the most complicated of the positions. If this is the case, then, congratulations! You are the next Grischuk!

Or Crazy Lucas…

There is more, much more, of this excellent article. I suggest you click on over and read it, now, without getting into “time trouble.”