See you around? The controversial Flat Earth premises in Greig Street, Inverness, near the River Ness, may have drawn its shutters for the last time
By Alasdair Fraser – firstname.lastname@example.org Published: 28 June 2021
An Inverness, Scotland headquarters for conspiracy theorists who claim the earth is flat appears to have closed.
One business owner operating nearby on the street said: “At certain times in the last few years, The Flat Earth shop could be pretty busy. “It attracted a lot of curious folk, tourists, or people just bemused or laughing at the notices on the window. “But it also had its regular followers who seemed to buy into and embrace their ideas. “They were never any trouble, and always friendly enough on the rare occasion I spoke to them.” A resident living near the store, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “Up until about two weeks ago, it seemed like business as usual in the shop, but then we noticed they were shut. “Everyone was always intrigued as to who could be paying rent for the premises, as it certainly couldn’t have been cheap. “They had couches inside, and games like CHESS, and they had a lot of gatherings. Even school kids would go in sometimes. They had a TV and kitchen as well.”
The Flat Earth shopfront on the city’s Greig Street, near the River Ness, became notorious for outlandish claims and unscientific theories after opening in February 2018. In the last fortnight, the once-busy premises’ shutters have remained down, with the literature that became a permanent fixture on its glass windows removed. The posters and leaflets called into question earth’s curvature, orbital movement and forces of gravity and claimed the US space agency NASA was a major player behind the “hoax”. The organisation also suggested aeroplane vapour trails were actually “chem-trails” sprayed on the civilian population as part of a secret government campaign. After the pandemic began, the shopfront carried the banner “humanity is not a virus” and pushed anti-vaccination messages, also claiming the virus and lockdown was fake and a means to terrorise the masses. It was not known who was funding the rental of the premises.
The Courier has so far been unable to contact Richard Birkett, one of the main organisers at the premises, to clarify whether it is to re-open or remain permanently closed. The flat earth movement, as it is known today, has origins in the 19th century, but The Flat Earth Society was set up by Samuel Shenton in 1956 in the English town of Dover and remains active today. Two millennia of scientific consensus has it that the earth is spherical.
Flat earth is flat flat earth aint round Jus Look at your feet down on the ground Flat earth is flat flat earth’s aint round Just take a look around
round earthers yeah!! What ‘s wrong with y’all?
You know the earth is flat Like a brick wall
Just look out the window what are u seeing? Flat earth my human beings
Yeah miles and miles and miles away From here i see the coast of new jersey And i’m sittin on malibu beach So listen to me preach
A round ball? Shoo, throw that ball in the hoop Take me in the air with a parachute When i come down I’ll tell you this The world’s flat mothasucker
Flat earth is flat flat earth aint round Look at your feet down on the ground Flat earth is flat flat earth’s aint round Just take a look around
Flat is flat and that is that I don’t care about science A facts a fact try to prove what you want But you’re a fool Flat earthers know the rule
Gravity’s a lie We never been to the moon Look what happens when i drop this spoon And behind the moon i see a cloud Now what’s that all about?
Now i don’t believe what i don’t see What i can see is what i believe I’ve never been to outer space So let me state my case
The world spins like this record On my turntable And you know i’m willing and able To let you all know To let it all go The earth is flat and goes to show We know all You know none Let me end it now before it’s begun We are right you are wrong Now listen to the song
Flat earth is flat Flat earth aint round Just look at your feet down on the ground Flat earth is flat flat earth aint round Just take a look around Repeat
We all live on a really flat earth A really flat earth a really flat earth Repeat Repeat chorus
The following notice is on the website of the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy:
NOTICE: Per yesterday’s CDC announcement and rise of COVID cases, this event will now require masks in the tournament hall. (https://www.charlottechesscenter.org/norm) Unfortunately it is not shown on the main page, but can be located at the GM/IM NORM INVITATIONAL- SUMMER page after clicking on “events” at the home page. Nevertheless, I applaud those enlightened people at the CCCSA for making such an OUTSTANDING MOVE, on the Chessboard of life.
The Great State of North Carolina is one of the Southern states. It, along with the Great State of Georgia, my home state, are also considered to be part of the “Southeast.” After checking the latest Covid statistics I learned that Georgia is tenth in the USA with nine deaths per day on a seven day moving average (https://usafacts.org/visualizations/coronavirus-covid-19-spread-map/). North Carolina is right below, tied with Arizona with a seven day moving average of eight deaths. When it comes to cases North Carolina is seventh, showing 1926. Georgia is tenth with 1675 cases on a seven day moving average. When it comes to total cases thus far in the pandemic, NC is eighth in the nation with 1,041,620; Georgia is eleventh with a total of 926,707 cases. Unfortunately for my state, 21,654 have died of the virus, which is eight in the nation, compared with the 13,606 humans who have died, ranking NC fourteenth in the country.
When it comes to illness and death being ranked in, or near the top ten is not good. It is a fact that Republican states lead the USA in both cases and deaths. Our country at this time needs to become more UNITED and less STATE. It is extremely difficult to go against the grain and buck the norm, especially in the South. Unfortunately, what should be a normal and natural thing that has been done at the CCCSA could be condemned by some members of the community. I commend FM Peter Giannatos,
the Executive Director and Founder, and Grant Oen,
the Assistant Director/Events Manager, of the CCCSA, and everyone at the CCCSA for taking a stand for We The People!
I do this because just a few days ago I watched a man in a hospital bed, with hoses attached to his nose and other places, who had Covid, but was still defiant, claiming he had a “right” to not take the possibly life saving vaccine if he did not want to take it, even if it killed him. He was a “good ol’ boy” from the South, and did not want anyone telling him what to do. The interviewer asked the man if he thought he had a duty to his fellow humans to take the vaccine in order to not give the virus to anyone. “Hell no!” he replied. “We’re all in this alone.”
The following day there was another gentleman on the television all hooked up to tubes in a hospital bed, and he was being interviewed. He was from Arizona, and did not have any particular reason for not taking the possibly life saving vaccine, but said, “Sure wished I had.” The interviewer asked, “Why didn’t you take it?” He said, “I dunno…didn’t have any reason for not taking it, I guess. I mean, it’s like getting the virus was like what was happening to other people, not to me.”
I know people like both of these two individuals. They are both playing Russian roulette with their lives, and the LIVES OF THOSE WITH WHOM THEY COME IN CONTACT! Both are members of the Chess community. With one old, ornery, and cantankerously recalcitrant Chess coach almost everyone with whom he comes in contact has been vaccinated, yet he refuses to take the vaccine, so its not like there is peer pressure for him to not take the shot. The other is a Grandmaster who writes a blog replete with anti-vax madness. He has obviously become a strident right (wrong) winger as he has aged. Many people fear the government. While running for the office of POTUS the former actor Ronald Reagan said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” The line elicited a big laugh, and has been repeated endlessly by Republicans running for office ever since. It is, arguably, the most famous thing the man said during his entire life that was not a line from a movie.
It caused me to think, “Why would anyone in their right mind say such a thing if he wants to lead the government?” Think about it…The thought that followed was a line from a Bob Dylan song: “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters.” (https://www.bobdylan.com/songs/subterranean-homesick-blues/)
If— Rudyard Kipling – 1865-1936
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run— Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son! https://poets.org/poem/if
My father, bless his heart, was fond of saying, “The world is going to hell in a handbasket.” Adapting to change was difficult for him, and many others, ‘back in the day’.
This month the wild fires burning out west and in Canada caused so much smoke that almost the entire United States of America was filled with smoke.
There was a day when the only part of the US without smoke from the burning flames was the Southeast. This included my home state of Georgia, Florida, and parts of the North and South Carolina. Several days ago things had changed and there was a report that Atlanta was under a “smoke advisory.”
“Smoke” has become a regular part of weather forecasts all over the land that was made for you and me.
Yet members of one of the two major political parties in this country (Why only two?) continue to deny there is climate change. I would expect nothing less from the Neanderthals who also continue to deny the Trumpster lost the election. This was the Russian assessment of the Trumpster published by The Guardian a couple of weeks ago: “There is a brief psychological assessment of Trump, who is described as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex”.” Sounds like the Republican party, does it not? It is not only climate change those in the ‘Grand OLD party’ deny. The report also contains this: “A report prepared by Putin’s expert department recommended Moscow use “all possible force” to ensure a Trump victory.” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/15/kremlin-papers-appear-to-show-putins-plot-to-put-trump-in-white-house) No wonder little man Putin was grinning like the cat who ate the canary every time he was near the Trumpster.
The world is burning literally and figuratively.
Last week, the US Naval Research Laboratory held a very 2021 press conference, in which scientists reported a very 2021 outbreak of “smoke thunderclouds.” Catastrophic wildfires, exacerbated by catastrophic climate change, had produced a rash of pyrocumulonimbus plumes over the western United States and Canada, known in the scientific vernacular as pyroCb. (https://www.wired.com/story/oh-good-now-theres-an-outbreak-of-wildfire-thunderclouds/)
I had this video where the Bruce Springsteen video now resides, but decided to put Woody, who wrote the song, down here because I wanted to include the lyrics. Many years ago during a conversation with my cousin Linda, who taught, or maybe I should say, tried to teach English to children of high school age. Because she was a decade older than was I, she knew, for obvious reasons, the songs of Woody well. Like most people cousin Linda knew only the first stanza, so she was SHOCKED when I recited the whole song, putting special emphasis on the stanza placed in bold below:
“This Land Is Your Land“
This land is your land, this land is my land From California to the New York island From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters This land was made for you and me
As I was walking that ribbon of highway I saw above me that endless skyway I saw below me that golden valley This land was made for you and me
I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts And all around me a voice was sounding This land was made for you and me
When the sun came shining, and I was strolling And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting This land was made for you and me
As I went walking I saw a sign there And on the sign it said “No Trespassing” But on the other side it didn’t say nothing That side was made for you and me
In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people By the relief office I seen my people As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking Is this land made for you and me?
took out Russian GM Peter Svidler by thrusting his h-pawn two squares forward on his third move after Svid had moved his g-pawn one square in order to fianchetto his kingside bishop. It is usual to develop pieces prior to jabbing with the wing pawn, as shown by AlphaZero and well illustrated in the excellent book by GM Matthew Sadler (https://matthewsadler.me.uk/matthew-sadler-blog/) and Natasha Regan:
Sometime in the 1970s the Great Dane, GM Bent Larsen
came to Atlanta to give a simultaneous exhibition. Another player and I picked him up at the airport and had dinner with the Grandmaster. Part of the conversation was about the book he intended on writing about The Power of Rook Pawns. I looked forward to it for years, but unfortunately the book was never published.
The game features two moves GM Yasser Seirawan
would call “Howlers.” It defies comprehension that a player of the caliber of Sam Shankland would play a beginner type blunder like 18 f4 when the simple 18 b3 would have given him a much better position. Peter returned the favor when playing the howler 24…Qb6. Stockfish says 24…Qb5 is even, Steven. It was to be expected that some players would be “howling” during this event as some had not played over the board Chess in a year or longer. but the Shank had recently sharpened his blade by winning the Prague International Chess Festival 2021 with a score of 5 1/2 out of 7, with a performance rating of 2900.
1.d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. h4 (The ChessBaseDataBase contains 63 games in which this move has been played. 365Chess contains only 44 games with this move. Stockfish 13 going way down all the way to depth 62 plays 3 Nf3. GM Alexander Grischuk has recently been playing the move in blitz games. According to the databases the first time it was played was when Svetlana Pritulina. a woman candidate master, played it against Aivi Karu in 1997 in Tallinn, during the Estonian women’s championship. The game can be found below. Therefore, the opening after 3 h4 should be called the E60 King’s Indian defence, Pritulina variation . After all, how many openings are named after a woman?) 3…Bg7 4. Nc3 d6 (SF 13 @depth 56 shows 4…c5) 5. e4 Nc6 (SF 12 @depth 57 castles) 6. Nge2 (Komodo 14 @depth 37 plays the game move, but SF 13 @depth 42 and SF 150421 prefer 6 d5) 6…O-O (TN) (Both the Fish and the Dragon concur with Svid). In the blitz game below MVL played 6…Nh5, which brings up an interesting question. If a move is played in any type of speed game can it still be considered a Theoretical Novelty or must it be played in what is considered “Classical” Chess? Define “Classical Chess.”
Svetlana Pritulina vs Aivi Karu
Event: EST-ch (Women) Site: Tallinn Round: 9 Date: 1997 ECO: E60 King’s Indian defence, Pritulina variation
One of the features I like about the ChessBomb is the chat. Some years ago I was asked, “Why do you read that crap?” The response was, “Because it can be informative, interesting, and hilarious, and it gives older folks insight into the mind of the young.”
“Oh yeah,” came the immediate response, “Those idiots who spend their time ‘chatting’ don’t have a mind.”
Reading the part about, “Chess can be cruel” caused me to consider sharing a little of the chat that went with the Shank vs Svid game:
TomCruise1a: The old fat Russian is gonna lose today TomCruise1a: Svidler eats too much babka BoredToDeath: Naka used to be Mr Big Mac but lost a few pounds since dioda: the fattest is Pankratov BoredToDeath: Nepo is the fattest though
alexmagnus: by this mentality we should lower the official age of retierement to 25 TurnovdeCompeval: Smyslov play till his deathbed Abraxas79: Svidler had a senior moment TurnovdeCompeval: only narcissists like Fischer and Gary retire Abraxas79: Garry can’t play anymore. We saw that recently TurnovdeCompeval: the ones that love chess keep playing
BoredToDeath: Svidler is a Patzer. Unbelievable how he made it this far TurnovdeCompeval: 9 times Ru champion patzer? TomCruise1a: That was then. Svidler is old now TomCruise1a: He should switch to golf ⛳ BoredToDeath: Long time ago TomCruise1a: Pro chess are for young guys.
RookSmasher: If this was online, I would have thought Svidler moussliped meaning to play 24..Qb5 Seneca: Chess can be cruel Horse: nice game by Shank DONfan: Shanks wins!
Grandmasters Larry Christiansen and Gregory Kaidanov tied for first in the US Senior Chess Championship yesterday, each finishing with six and a half points out of the nine rounds played.
Larry was undefeated, winning four games while drawing five. Gregory won five games, drew three and lost, according to the broadcast, to long time nemesis, the Yerminator, Alex Yermolinsky.
Inquiring minds want to know so I went to 365Chess.com learning Kaidanov actually had a one game advantage over the Yerminator, four wins to three until the 2021 US Senior. The victory at the 2021 US Senior tied their lifetime score at four wins apiece. Yermo defeated the Kentucky Lion in the 2019, and 2020 US Senior Championships, so the win in the 2021 makes it three in a row, so maybe that is to what the announcers were referring on the broadcast. Speaking of the broadcast, while watching during the tournament, with coverage of all three tournaments being played simultaneously, I never saw the number of viewers exceed 400 until the last round when it hovered in the low to mid 400s until later finally exceeding 500. One of the highlights of the broadcast were the stories told by Yasser Seirawan.
One concerned being at a SuperNational when a huge giant of a man wearing a cowboy outfit which included a ten gallon hat, stepped up and as Yaz looked up the man said (I am paraphrasing) “We have a problem.” The man stepped aside and his young son, who was dressed in exactly the same outfit, was crying after having lost all four games. Yasser brought the boy near and said, “To get here you had to compete against one hundred other players all of whom wanted to be here in your place. That means you had to be a champion just to get here.” That mollified the boy, at least to the point he stopped crying…And I was thinking, “There’s no crying in Chess, or Baseball!”
The next story involved GM Vassily Ivanchuk
and former World Champion Garry Kasparov
at a tournament in Wijk aan Zee. Ivanchuck had lost to Vladimir Kramnik
and Yasser could hear them reviewing the game without a board. Garry pointed out where Chucky had gone wrong and Yasser said something about Garry having “bucked up” Ivanchuk to the point he left a with his chest puffed out and a much better demeanor. About this time I looked over at the chat and copied this: KK91 Yasser stories are amazing 😻 Shadowside White can take a draw any time in this game. Rob Erskine Jen is not forgotten.😍 MrBeaks Yasser should write a book about his stories
I watched the interview with Larry C. after the game with interest. It was obvious he was exhausted, which is only natural because the man is sixty five years young. When asked what he was going to do to prepare for the playoff Larry said, “I’m going to get a good night’s sleep.” I was reminded of something Bobby Fischer
once said about a good night’s sleep being better than any theory. Being about six years older than Larry I can tell you from experience that as one ages obtaining that good night’s sleep becomes more difficult. Before drifting off to the land of nod last night my mind was still thinking about the ridiculous playoff for first place the next day. Larry said he thought it would be two game 30 plus some increment before an Armageddon game, which he thought would be “six to five” before being corrected by broadcast journalist Sharon Carpenter. When informed the time control would be “5 to 4” an obviously exhausted Larry C. could only shake his head…
Has the Chess world gone mad? This is an Armageddon Abomination! (This was to be the title for this post until reading a review of a new book by Martin Sherwin with the title of the post seen above (https://www.thenation.com/article/culture/macmillan-war-sherwin-cuban-crisis-review/) After nine rounds of fighting Chess over ten days why are these two Seniors being FORCED to play several SPEED games in order to call only one of them Champion? It is RIDICULOUS and ABSURD! Who foisted this ABOMINATION upon the world of Chess? Who is responsible for making these two Senior players jump through hoops like trained seals? Why has this become accepted by the Chess community? Since this SPECTACLE is taking place at the St. Louis Chess Campus (The name keeps changing) which was built by Rex Sinquefield, and since Rex is a fellow Senior, he must be ultimately responsible for the FREAK SHOW! When one has billions of inflated dollars people listen and do as suggested. I therefore call on Rex Sinquefield
to put an end to this madness. If two, or more, players tie for first in any Chess event they should be declared Co-Champions.
This game was played, or maybe “battled” would be a better word, in the same round as the previous game, which meant following two games closely while keeping an eye on the other three. When the Bishop’s opening “truth” and a main line Leningrad Dutch appeared on the board my first thought was…
which was followed by, “Oh happy day!” something for which I was known to say by certain students when they would, like a blind squirrel, find an acorn move.
d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 (According to 365Chess at this point we have the A81 Dutch defence) 5. c4 (After this move it becomes the A87 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation) 5…O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 c6 8. Rb1 (At the Chess baseDatabase one finds Komodo14 @depth 40 has a preference for this move, but Stockfish 220621 @depth 45 likes 8 Be3, a move found in only two games at the CBDB. Then there is Stockfish110521, going way down to @depth 55, playing 8 Qc2) 8…a5 (Komodo 10 likes 8…Ne4; Komodo 13 prefers 8…Na6, but Stockfish 13 going deeper than the two Dragons, would play the move chosen by Shabba Dabba Do, and so should YOU!) 9. b3 (Komodo 13.02 @depth 39 plays 9 Be3, as does Stockfish 13 @depth 55. After 9…Ng4 the Dragon would drop back with 10 Bd2; the Fish would advance into black territory with 10 Bg5, or at least that is what one sees at the CBDB. The thing is 9 Be3 has yet to be attempted in a game! There is not even one example of the move having been played in either the CBDB or 365Chess!) 9…Na6 (SF 151120 @depth 52 would play 9…Ne4. There is only one game in the CBDB with 9…Ne4:
Bb2 (SF 11 @depth 37 plays the move played in the game, but let it run longer and go deeper to depth 47 and it changes its way of ‘puting, switching to 10 d5. There are only four examples of the move at the CBDB. 10 Bb2 has been played 21 times. Komodo, not to be outdone, would play 10 Be3, a Theoretical Novelty) 10…Rb8 (The Fish & Dragon concur, 10…Qc7 is THE move. The game move is not found in the CBDB, but there are two examples found at 365Chess:
Branko Damljanovic (2471) vs Jan Lundin (2335) Event: Third Sat 116 GM 2019 Site: Novi Sad SRB Date: 07/07/2019 Round: 3.1 ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6
The hottest Chess spot in the USA is at the St. Louis Chess Club, where the intrepid boys, girls, and Men are battling it out over a Chess board in three separate tournaments, the US Senior; US Junior; and a completely separate “US Girls Junior Championship.”
Before the US Senior began I predicted the winner to be either Alexander Shabalov, or Larry Christiansen,
a man with whom I stayed up all night playing Backgammon, after he beat me handily at a simultaneous exhibition sponsored by Church’s Fried Chicken in the 1970s. I won the Backgammon battle. Larry kept looking at me with a look that said, “I beat this chumpy-lumpy like a drum at Chess. Why am I losing to the guy at Backgammon?” The stake was only a quarter a point, far below the stake for which I usually played, but it was Larry C., and Chess players don’t have much money, even those traveling the country giving simuls. Larry spent the night at the home of former Georgia Chess Champion Michael Decker, which is where we “rolled the bones.” Still, that twenty five cents would now be worth about two bucks, Chuck, if you get my drift…
Yesterday Larry had to face the Kentucky Lion, Gregory Kaidanov,
who had run away from the field, scoring 5 1/2 points in the first 6 rounds! He was a full point ahead of Larry C. at 4 1/2, who was a point and a half ahead of the four players with 3 points. Larry C. was in need of a victory. What do you play against an opponent who is obviously in form in that situation? You bring out “The truth as it was known in those far off days.”
Larry Christiansen (2634) Age: 65 vs Gregory Kaidanov (2626) Age: 61
e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 (SF plays 3…c6) 4. Nc3 (SF plays 4 Nf3) 4….Bb4 5. Ne2 (SF 080221 @depth50 plays this move, but the same engine chuggin’ only one more ply would play 5 Nf3) 5…d5 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. O-O Be6 8. Bxd5 Bxd5 9. f4 f6 (SF 13 @depth 41 plays the game move, but SF 14 @depth 33 would play 9…Bxc3) 10. fxe5 Nxe5 (SF takes with the knight, but Houdini would take with the pawn. There is only one game, found at 365Chess, with 10…fxe5, which can be found below) 11. Nxd5
(Komodo shows this move, but Deep Fritz would play 11 d4, which was played in:
GM Alexander Zaitsev 2473 RUS vs GM Klementy Sychev 2537 RUS
Wch Blitz 2018
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d3 Bb4 5.Ne2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Be6 8.Bxd5 Bxd5 9.f4 f6 10.fxe5 Nxe5 11.d4 Nc6 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.c3 Bd6 14.Nf4 Bxf4 15.Bxf4 O-O-O 16.Qf3 Qxf3 17.Rxf3 Rhe8 18.Kf2 Rd7 19.Re3 Rxe3 20.Bxe3 a5 21.a4 Re7 22.g4 Kd7 23.Rg1 Rf7 24.h4 Ne7 25.c4 Nc6 26.Bd2 Nxd4 27.Bxa5 Nc6 28.Bc3 f5 29.g5 g6 30.b4 Re7 31.Rd1+ Kc8 32.Bf6 Re8 33.b5 Ne5 34.c5 Ng4+ 35.Kf3 Ne5+ 36.Kf2 c6 37.h5 Nd7 38.Bd4 Re4 39.hxg6 hxg6 40.Kf3 Rg4 41.bxc6 bxc6 42.Bf6 Nxc5 43.Rc1 Ne6 44.Rxc6+ Kd7 45.Ra6 Nxg5+ 46.Ke2 Ne4 47.Be5 Nc5 48.Rd6+ Ke7 49.a5 Re4+ 50.Kf3 Rxe5 51.Rxg6 Ne6 52.Rg8 Rxa5 0-1) 11.Qxd5 12. c3 Bd6 13. Nf4 (SF and Houey play 13 d4) 13….Qf7 14. d4 O-O-O 15. Qa4 (SF 12 @depth 43 would play a move near and dear to my heart, 15 Qe2!) 15…a6 16. dxe5 (SF 31 @depth 31 would play 16 Qb3, but the SF program churning at ChessBomb would play the move Larry played in the game) 16…Bc5+ 17. Kh1 fxe5 18. Re1 (This is a TN, but not the best move. 18 Qe4 was played in the Mons vs Raggar game given below. Given the chance SF 170521 @depth 49 would play 18 Rf3)
Risto Eskola (2153) vs Antti Lehto Event: FIN-chT 0203 Site: Finland Date: 10/20/2002 Round: 3 ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
If you are a Chess player a trip is de rigeur, and should be on every player’s bucket list. It is steeped in history and legend. From a, History of the Chess Room one learns, “The early years of the Chess Room are not well documented but chess was played during the Gold Rush. The great Pierre Saint- Amant,
one of the top players in the world in the 1840s, was French Consul in San Francisco from 1851-52. It appears he left the Bay Area before the founding of the Mechanics’, so the honors for the first world class player to visit San Francisco go to Johann Zukertort
The Chess Room Newsletter appears in my inbox each week and will appear in yours too when you join the mailing list. What follows emanates from issue #977. The new director, Abel Talamantez,
had some big shoes to fill when taking over from IM John Donaldson
and, with a little help from friends, has done a magnificent job, especially considering the pandemic. There is FM Paul Whitehead’s Column,
and that of GM Nick de Firmian,
from which I take the liberty of publishing his insightful commentary on the recent debacle of former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov:
The Old Man and the Chessboard
In Hemingway’s famous novel about an aging fisherman, the protagonist battles for days to reel in a great marlin. Ultimately he wins the battle against the marlin, but fails when encountering too many sharks that eat the marlin tied to his boat and steal his hard-earned victory.
The Grand Croatian Chess Tour saw the return of the great Garry Kasparov to the chess board. He too ran into a bunch of sharks who stole all his points, and in eighteen rounds of blitz chess against the young top players of today Kasparov scored only two and a half points. This disappointing showing is usually done by an amateur who gets to play with the pros, and that player is often labeled the “fish” of the tournament. It was painful to see how a great champion can fall.
“The old get old and the young get stronger” sang Jim Morrison.
So perhaps we must resign ourselves to playing worse chess as we age. Here we have some good news for those who wish to defy the march of time. Second place in this same tournament went not to one of the young sharks, but to 51 year old Vishy Anand. Anand is of course a former world champion and was a rival to Kasparov in the 1990’s. It was inspiring to see him vanquishing players half his age. The rest of us may take solace that excellence at chess isn’t just about age, but about staying motivated and dedicated to the game. (https://www.milibrary.org/chess-newsletters/977)
I strongly urge you to check out the MIN, as the Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter has come to be called.
Some of the games from the Tuesday Night Marathon have been recently broadcast at the ChessBomb. Three games caught my attention and I put them through the opening wringer for your enjoyment and/or amusement, and hopefully, edification.
Abel Talamantez vs Albert Starr
Mechanics Institute Tuesday Tournament 2021 round 02
1.d4 f5 2. Nf3 (SF 14 @depth 50 goes with 2 c4. Just sayin’…) 2…Nf6 (This is the choice of StockFish and it should be yours. Dragon breath Komodo fires out 2…e6) 3. c4 (SF plays 3 g3) 3…g6 (SF 11 @depth 33 plays this but SF 13 @depth 40 broke my heart by showing 3…e6. Now I want to know what LCZero 0.28-dev+_69626 would play? Someone reading this please get in touch with the techeads at TCEC and send me the answer! The match for the title of best playing thing in the universe is tied with one each after six games. Like David Spinks said, “You gotta pull for somebody, MAN!” Now I am pullin’ for LCZero!) 4. Nc3 (SF plays 4 g3) 4…Bg7 (Two SF programs play 4…d6; SF 13 plays the game move) 5. Bf4 (The Smelly Fish prefers 5 g3) 5…O-O (SF plays 5…d6) 6. e3 d6 7. Be2 (SF & Houdini play 7 c5, yet 7 h3 has been played more often and has scored better than other moves) 7…Be6 (TN) (SF 13 @depth 43 plays 7…Nc6. SF 020521 would play 7…Ne4)
Dejan Omorjan 2230 FM SRB vs Milos Milosevic 2311 FM SRB
e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bc4 (Stockfish considers 3 Nf3 best) 3…Bc5 4. d3 (There is a disagreement here as Komodo would first play 4 Nf3 and after the expected 4…d6 play 5 0-0) 4….Nc6 (Although the game move has been played more often at the ChessBaseDataBase, SF & Komodo play 4…c6) 5. f4 (This move has been played about three times more often than the second most played move, 5 Bg5, at 365Chess, but 5 Nf3 is the best move according to SF and has been played in 982 games as opposed to the 283 games using 5 f4. Surprisingly, 5 Nf3 has scored only 50%, while 5 f4 has scored 60%!) 5…exf4 (5…d6 has been far and away the most often played move here, with 252 games in the CBDB. The move played in the game has only been seen in 17 games. But the move StockFish would play, 5…0-0, has only been seen in 12 games! That’s SF 13 @depth 60 and SF 030621 @depth 50. White has scored only 42% against 5…0-0 in those 12 games. White has scored 60% against 5…d6; and 71% against the game move!) 6. Bxf4 d6 (SF would castle; Houdini plays the game move) 7. Nf3 (SF 080221 would play 7 Qd2. The CBDB has only 2 games with 7 Qd2) 7…Bg4 (SF plays 7…0-0) 8. Qd2 (SF 12 @depth 52 will play 8 Rf1, which will be a new move just as soon as YOU PLAY IT!) 8…O-O 9. O-O-O (TN)
Franke, Johannes vs Tammert, Guenther Event: FRG-ch U20 Site: Dortmund Date:1982 Round: 8 ECO: C28 Vienna game
e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 (Komodo @depth 45 plays 6 Be3; Stockfish 10 @depth 33 plays 6 h3. I would not make this up…) 6…e6 (SF says 6…e5 is best. Who are we to argue?) 7. Be3 Be7 (SF & Deep Fritz prefer 7…b5) 8. Qd2 (Komodo plays this move, but SF @depth 63 prefers 8 g4, a move of which there are only 21 examples in the CBDB. There are 430 games with the move played in the game) 8…O-O (Fritz, and his bro Deep Fritz like this move, but Dragon Breath would play 8…b5) 9. g4 b5 (SF & Komodo prefer the most often seen move by humans, 9…Nc6)10. g5 (SF 13 0-0-0; Houdini plays 10 a3) 10…b4 11. Na4 (TN)
Strokov, Anatoli (2244) vs Krasnov, Vladimir (2256) Event: Russia CC-ch Site: Russia Date: 03/22/2007 Round: 4 ECO: B80 Sicilian, Scheveningen variation
As this post was being put together I learned the director of the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room, Abel Talamantez, has been name the organizer of the year!
MI Chess Director Named Organizer of the Year
This past year has presented a new challenge for the Mechanics’ Institute (MI) Chess Department as well as the general chess community, with over-the-board activities halted due to mandated closures. Nevertheless, despite COVID-19 restrictions for in-person contact and the shelter-in-place order, there was a bright spot: virtual chess. The MI Chess team took this challenge head-on and created online opportunities for chess instruction and competition, as well as social events.
Recently, MI Chess Director Abel Talamantez
received word that he was the 2021 recipient of the U.S. Chess Federation’s Organizer of the Year Award. Each year, this prestigious award is bestowed upon a member of the chess community who organizes and hosts events at the national and international levels, such as the 2020-2021 Pan-American Intercollegiate Championship (January, 2021), U.S. Amateur Team West Championship (January, 2021), U.S. Junior Chess Congress (April, 2021), and the International Club Team Matches (February, 2021. This is the second time an MI staff member has received the U.S. Chess Federation award. In 2017, Dr. Judit Sztaray, General Manager of MI’s Youth Outreach and Events won the Organizer of the Year Award.
Besides the honor and prestige of this latest award, Talamantez believes that recognition such as this helps to “bring chess out of the box” by gathering people together in a positive way and fostering a strong sense of community. With this mission-driven purpose, he spends his time teaching chess strategy while promoting other hidden benefits of the game, including critical thinking skills, learning from mistakes, sportsmanship, and the satisfaction of being part of a larger community.
Over this past year, the MI Chess Club has been busier than ever, nimbly moving to a pandemic-enforced online environment, hosting virtual games, matches, tournaments, and classes on its live chess Twitch channel. Under Talamantez’ leadership, MI has hosted matches with other historic chess clubs, including the Zurich Chess Club (1807), Hamburg Chess Club (1830), Edinburgh Chess Club (1822), and Royal Dutch Chess Club (1852). This was significant as these clubs are the four oldest continuously-operating chess clubs in the world, with the Mechanics’ Institute (1854) being fifth.
Talamantez has also organized several special events, such as the Thompson Family Foundation (sponsored by Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson’s family in March 2021) and the San Francisco Scholastic Chess Championship (sponsored by AO Dragge Foundation in March 2021). Sponsored events such as these enable more students to compete, thus making chess accessible for all and that is Talamantez’ mission – inclusiveness for all. “Organizing community and special events are what give me the most pleasure,” says Talamantez. “Outreach into the community has enormous value. Chess brings people together in a good way, and that is truly important.” (https://www.milibrary.org/blog/mi-chess-director-named-organizer-year)
Try to imagine being a Chess teacher and your student, Garry, is presenting his game. His mother, who is from a country that produced a World Chess Champion, is drinking coffee and looking at magazines at a nearby table. The boy is being home schooled after having behavioral problems at school, such as pulling the fire alarm one too many times while maintaining all he did was “lean on it.” The Chess lesson is part of his home school program and it is needed, not wanted. The boy has about as much interest in Chess as I did at his age in crochet, if you get my drift…
“Whoa…what kinda move is that?” Garry looks like his dog just died. “Any time your opponent has a Bishop lined up against your king side like that you’ve gotta be careful about the Bishop takes pawn, check, sacrifice, because sometimes the check leads to CHECKMATE! Maybe you should have played Ng6 to block the Bishop?!” you say. “He did not take the pawn with,” he says. “Lucky you dodged a bullet,” I reply. “Every Russian school boy would play Bishop takes pawn CHECK!” Sure enough his opponent played 13 Qe2, something I might play, you think, because of my penchant for playing Qe2. Wrong, Kemo Sabe! Even I know that every Russian taxi driver would play BxP+!!!
In this position Garry looks at you as if knowing what would be coming next as he slides his King from g8 to f8…
You have already excoriated the boy for an earlier move which was awful, almost bringing him to tears, so you must be careful what you say. “Why did you make that move, Garry?” you ask, glancing over at the mother, Luba, who can sense trouble. “I dunno,” comes the answer. “You don’t know? Do you mean you just randomly chose that particular move?” “Well coach,” he says, “I had to make a move and I remembered you said something about moving your King toward the center to prepare for the endgame.” “Eureka!” you think to yourself. “The kid remembered something!” Then it’s back to reality and you say, “But we’re still in the middle-game and the endgame is a long way away, is it not?” “Yeah coach, but I’ll be ready for it!” This brings a grin to the face of the old coach, and, glancing over, a grin appears on Luba’s face, too. So you ask the student if any other moves were considered and are surprised when he immediately replys, “Yeah,” as he moves the Bishop from f4 to h6. “Why would you retreat the Bishop?” you ask. Garry says, “I dunno coach, it just sorta fills a gap the h-pawn left when it moved.” “That it does,” you say while glancing at a beaming Luba and see a smiling student sitting across from you. Then you explain that maybe he should have given some consideration to breaking in the center with e5, what with the Rook lined up against the white Queen, in lieu of moving the King toward the middle of the board. “Move the pawn to e5, Garry.” He does as told and you say, “What happens now?” He takes the pawn with 22. dxe5, and I take with the Knight, 22… Nxe5, before he takes with the Knight, 23. Nxe5, and I take with the Rook, 23…Rxe5. “What do you think about the position now, Garry?” In a droll way he answers, “I have a weak d-pawn.” The clock is ticking and there is not, thankfully, much time left in the hour, so the board is returned to the position after 21…Kf8 and the coach makes white’s next move, 22 g3, attacking the Bishop. Garry immediately retreats the Bishop to h6 and looks up with a grinning from ear to ear…
And the coach thinks, “All is right with the world,” before perfunctorily going through the remainder of the game as quickly as possible so as to be able to go outside and smoke a cigarette or three after bidding them adieu…
What a wonderful World Open for the new Grandmaster Hans Niemann! Over one thousand intrepid humans, not counting all those who accompanied some of them, traveled to Philadelphia at the end of June for the 49th Annual World Open; the 14th Annual Philadelphia International; and the 32nd Annual Blitz Championship.
Grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann
stole the show by tying for first place in each of the three tournaments. I have no idea if this is unprecedented and will leave it to readers to weigh in with the answer. Whether unprecedented or not it is quite an achievement.
14TH PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL (202106303292) Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103 Event Date(s) 2021-06-26 thru 2021-06-30
First-Third w/7 points/9 rounds HANS NIEMANN 2651 ->2669 VLADIMIR BELOUS 2580 ->2605 ANDREW HONG 2575 ->2595
49TH ANNUAL WORLD OPEN (202107054872) Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103 Event Date(s) 2021-07-01 thru 2021-07-05
HANS NIEMANN 2669 ->2694 JOHN MICHAEL BURKE 2625 ->2653
ANDREW HONG 2595 ->2616
VLADIMIR BELOUS 2605 ->2615
32ND WORLD OPEN BLITZ CHAMPIONSHIP (202107055182) Location PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103 Event Date(s) 2021-07-05
HANS NIEMANN 2617 ->2616 ANDREW TANG 2639 ->2639
ANDREW HONG 2488 ->2480
Niemann, Hans Moke 2571 vs Zhou, Jianchao 2603
d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 (Here’s a shocker from the ChessBaseDataBase, Stockfish prefers 3 Bf4, which has only been played in 40 games in the CBDB, compared to 1536 for the move played in the game. In addition, 3 Bf4 has scored only 49% compared to the 58% shown after 3 Bg5! Go figure…) 3…d5 4. Nf3 (Stockfish is high on the seldom played 4 e3 , while 4 Bxf6  remains the most played move. 4 Nf3 has only been played 41 times) 4…e6 5. e3 (It is de rigueur to play this move)
5…Be7 (Far and away the most often played move [135 games], but is it the best? Stockfish prefers the seldom played [15 games] 5…Nbd7) 6. Bd3 (Komodo plays this move, which has been played in 105 games, by far more than any other move, but Stockfish 13 @Depth 32 plays 6 Ne2, which has only appeared in 6 games at the CBDB, scoring 58%. Going deeper to depth 37, SF 13 changes its [mind? opinion? thought process? algorithm? You tell me…] to 6 Be2, with 11 games in the CBDB. Unfortunately, 6 Be2 has scored only 23%) 6…O-O (This move has been played in 70 games in the CBDB, with white scoring 69%. Now I don’t know about you, but if sitting behind the black pieces I would give some serious consideration to, a) not getting to this position, or b) playing another move! Stockfish 12 played this move, but SF 13 went with 6…c5. In the 13 games contained in the CBDB white scored 73%. This caused Stockfish 14 to attempt 6…Ne4. In the 13 games at the CBDB white has scored 69%. Let us go back to the move, 5…Nbd7, preferred by both Stockfish 12 & 13. White has scored only 50%! But wait…there’s MORE! Deep Fritz, at only depth 23, would play 5…a6. “Say what”? you’re thinking…You are not the only one! Here’s the deal…The CBDB contains 34 games with 5…a6, with white scoring only 47%!!! What does Deep Fritz know and when did it know it?!) 7. O-O (SF prefers 7 Ne2) 7…h6 (SF 13 plays 7…c5; SF 14 prefers 7…Ne4) 8. Bh4 (SF & Houdini prefer 8 Bf4) 8…c5 (TN) 9. dxc5 Nc6 10. Bg3 Ne4 11. Ne2 Nxc5 12. a3 Bf6 13. Rb1 e5 14. b4 Ne4 15. Nd2 Be6 16. Nb3 b6 17. f4 Nxg3 18. hxg3 e4 19. Bb5 Ne7 20. Ned4 Bd7 21. Ba6 Rb8 22. c4 dxc4 23. Bxc4+ Kh8 24. Qe2 Qe8 25. Rfd1 Qg6 26. Kf2 Rfd8 27. b5 Qe8 28. Rd2 g6 29. Rbd1 h5 30. a4 Rbc8 31. Be6 Bxe6 32. Nxe6 Rxd2 33. Qxd2 Ng8 34. Ned4 Qf7 35. Rc1 Rc4 36. Qa2 Nh6 37. Ke2 Qd5 38. Qd2 Ng4 39. Rc2 Rxa4 40. Qc3 Kh7 41. Qc6 Qg8 42. Qb7+ Kh6 43. Rc8 Ra2+ 44. Ke1 Qg7 45. Rc7 Qh8 46. Rc8 Qg7 47. Rc7 Qh8 48. Rc8 1/2-1/2