Hans Niemann Innocent Until Proven Guilty!

The Guardian view on chess cheating claims: innocent until proven guilty

The world champion, Magnus Carlsen, has cast doubt on the success of a younger grandmaster, Hans Niemann. Where’s the evidence?

Magnus Carlsen, left, and Hans Niemann in the third round of the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis on Sept. 4. Mr. Carlsen accused Mr. Niemann of cheating in this game and others in a statement on Monday.Credit…Crystal Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/28/crosswords/hans-niemann-magnus-carlsen-cheating-update.html

Sun 2 Oct 2022 13.25 EDT

Chess generally hits the headlines only for reasons external to the game itself: Bobby Fischer’s eccentricity; Viktor Korchnoi’s

Viktor Korchnoi, the challenger, with his infamous reflective shades. Date unknown but mid-life. http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/the-wacky-1978-chess-world-championship

allegations that the Soviet Union was using hypnotism to undermine him in his 1978 world title match with Anatoly Karpov;

Anatoly Karpov, the 1978 champion, in recent years. Karpov first met Torre at a Manila Zonal in 1976.
http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/the-wacky-1978-chess-world-championship

the Toiletgate furore that marred the 2006 world championship.

Now, the reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen’s airing of suspicions over the play of the 19-year-old US grandmaster Hans Niemann has put chess into the spotlight again.

Carlsen has been world champion since 2013. Niemann is a tyro who has made astonishingly rapid progress recently. Carlsen has publicly questioned that trajectory, saying on Twitter last week that “his over the board progress has been unusual”. These days, most elite players become grandmasters in their early teens – Carlsen was 13. Niemann, a charismatic character who says his life has been devoted to proving critics who said he wasn’t good enough wrong, was a late-developing 17, and his rise to super-GM level has been meteoric.

The controversy erupted when Niemann beat Carlsen last month in the Sinquefield Cup. Niemann said he had somehow guessed what opening Carlsen would play. It was Carlsen’s first defeat in 53 classical (long-form) games, and he reacted by withdrawing from the tournament, making gnomic references to something being not quite right. “If I speak I am in big trouble,” he tweeted. Some of his supporters filled in the blanks, with claims that Niemann had computer help. Elon Musk

https://www.cityam.com/elon-musk-to-face-defamation-trial-over-pedo-guy-comments/

unhelpfully suggested that he was using unusual methods; Niemann countered by offering to strip naked.

https://whatstrending.com/is-elon-musk-smoking-weed-on-joe-rogans-podcast-a-big-deal/

Carlsen and Niemann met again last month in an online game, and the world champion sensationally resigned after making just one move. Carlsen said he was unwilling to “play against people that have cheated repeatedly in the past”, and that he believed the younger man had cheated “more than he has admitted”. Niemann has acknowledged cheating online as a teenager, but insists he has never done so in an over-the-board game and angrily denies the new claims. “Once a cheat, always a cheat,” chorus his detractors, but Niemann should surely not be condemned for youthful misdemeanours in games where little was at stake. There is no evidence that he cheated when he beat Carlsen.

The world champion is right to say that cheating poses an existential challenge to chess – there have been many examples at less exalted levels of the sport. But he is wrong to muddy the waters around Niemann without substantive evidence. Britain’s former world title contender Nigel Short says that the young American is at risk of suffering “death by innuendo”. (https://www.inkl.com/news/the-guardian-view-on-chess-cheating-claims-innocent-until-proven-guilty) Experts reckon Carlsen played unusually poorly in his defeat to Niemann. Maybe it was just a bad day at the office. Or perhaps it was the result of paranoia: once a player believes their opponent is cheating, that inevitably affects their own play. Carlsen needs to produce concrete evidence – ideally as part of the inquiry announced on Thursday by the International Chess Federation – or let Niemann get on with his career. Only by playing over a long period will the latter’s true playing strength emerge – while any repeated cheating in the rarefied conditions of elite tournaments would soon be exposed.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/oct/02/the-guardian-view-on-chess-cheating-claims-innocent-until-proven-guilty

Three Way Tie for First Place at the Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+

https://www.britishchesschampionships.co.uk/chessable-british-chess-championships-week-one/

GM Paul Motwani (above left) shared the lead throughout the tournament and finished with shared top place with FM Chris Duncan (middle) and Phil Crocker (right), all on 5.5 points.

Heading into the last round of the Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+ five players were tied for first place with each having scored 4 1/2 points in the first six rounds. Board one featured FM Chris Duncan (2178) vs Paul Townsend (2177).

Black to move after 21 Nc3xb5

FM Chris Duncan vs M Paul Townsend
Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+
Final Round Seven
D37 Queen’s Gambit Declined, classical variation (5.Bf4)

  1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. d4 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 c6 8. Bd3 b6 9. b4 a5 10. a3 Ba6 11. O-O Qc8 12. h3 Qb7 13. Rb1 axb4 14. axb4 Bxd3 15. Qxd3 Ra3 16. Ra1 Rfa8 17. Rxa3 Rxa3 18. Qc2 b5 19. Nd2 Bd8 20. Re1 Bc7 21. Nxb5 Qxb5 22. Bxc7 Qxb4 23. Rb1 Qc3 24. Qxc3 Rxc3 25. Nb3 Ne8 26. Bg3 1-0

After noticing the Stockfish program at Lichess.com has proclaimed 1 Nf3 the best opening move I have taken notice of the percentage of games in which the knight move has been chosen recently., and was therefore not surprised by the move in this game. 16 Ra1 is a TN. Stockfish shows 16 Qc2 as best and other players have agreed as 365Chess.com shows it having been previously played in eleven games. Ju Wenjun played 16 Nd2 against former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov at the Cap d’Agde in France in 2012, but lost the game (https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=3833042&m=32). That is fifteen moves of theory produced by Seniors in what 365Chess.com calls the “D37 Queen’s Gambit Declined, classical variation (5.Bf4).” The rest of the game lasted less than a dozen moves…

Position after 27…Qxe8

CM Paul AG Dargan vs Philip J Crocker
Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+
Final Round Seven
B07 Pirc, Byrne variation

  1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Bg5 c6 5. f4 Bg7 6. Qd2 b5 7. Bd3 O-O 8. Nf3 Bg4 9. O-O Qb6 10. Ne2 c5 11. e5 d5 12. Ng3 c4 13. Be2 Ne4 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. Bxe7 exf3 16. Bxf3 Bxf3 17. Bxf8 Bxf8 18. Rxf3 Nc6 19. c3 Rd8 20. Qf2 Ne7 21. g4 f5 22. exf6 Qxf6 23. Re1 Nd5 24. f5 Bd6 25. fxg6 Qxg6 26. h3 Re8 27. Rxe8+ Qxe8 28. Qh4 Bf4 29. g5 Qe4 30. Qg4 Qe1+ 31. Rf1 Qxf1+ 0-1

The following game varied at move twenty, but Stockfish prefers 20 Qf2. Paul Dargan was doing fine after Philip Crocker played the weak 24…Bd6, and then let go of the rope with one hand when playing 25…Qg6. Mr. Dargan then had a ‘won’ game. Unfortunately his 26th move moved the game back into anyone’s game until Dargan again let go of the rope with one hand with 28 Qh4, which is given not one, but two question marks by the Stockfish program. After that move, Mr. Dargan was obviously rattled

before letting go of the rope completely by playing 29 g5…and began…

Nguyen Thi Thanh An (2249) vs Tan, Zhongyi (2475)
Event: Olympiad Women 2016
Site: Baku AZE Date: 09/04/2016
Round: 3.1
ECO: B07 Pirc, Byrne variation
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bg5 Bg7 5.f4 c6 6.Qd2 b5 7.Bd3 O-O 8.Nf3 Bg4 9.O-O Qb6 10.Ne2 c5 11.e5 d5 12.Ng3 c4 13.Be2 Ne4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Bxe7 exf3 16.Bxf3 Bxf3 17.Bxf8 Bxf8 18.Rxf3 Nc6 19.c3 Rd8 20.Kh1 Ne7 21.Re1 Qe6 22.Qf2 Rd7 23.Rg1 h5 24.h3 f5 25.exf6 Qxf6 26.Re1 Nf5 27.Re5 h4 28.Rxb5 Bd6 29.Qe2 Qf7 30.Qf2 Re7 31.Kg1 Ng3 32.Re5 Bxe5 33.fxe5 Nf5 34.Qd2 Kh7 35.Qg5 Rb7 36.Rf2 Qd5 37.Qg4 Rf7 38.Rf3 a5 39.Rf2 a4 40.a3 Kh6 41.Rf3 Rb7 42.Rf2 Rb6 43.Qf4+ Kh7 44.Qg4 Qd8 45.Qf4 Qd5 46.Qg4 Qb7 47.Qe2 Qc6 48.Qg4 Qd5 49.Kh2 Rb7 50.Kg1 Rf7 51.Rf3 Kg7 52.Kh2 Qb7 53.Rf2 Qe7 54.Kg1 Kh6 55.Qe2 Qe6 56.Qe4 Rd7 57.Qa8 Rf7 58.Qxa4 Ne3 59.Qa8 Rxf2 60.Kxf2 Nd1+ 61.Ke2 Nxb2 62.Qh8+ Kg5 63.Qd8+ Kh5 64.Qh8+ Kg5 65.Qd8+ Kh5 66.Qh8+ Kg5 67.Qd8+ Kh5 68.Qh8+ ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4008322&m=24

Board three featured the top rated player, GM Paul Motwani, who began the tournament rated two hundred points higher than his closest opponent, CM Mark Josse, rated 2220. On paper is should have been a cakewalk for Motwani, but this is Senior Chess, at it’s best, and numbers have less relation to strength in Senior Chess. A perfect example would be the player GM Motwani faced in the last round, class A player Nigel J Moyse, rated all of 1976, a number with special meaning to this writer, as that is the year I won the Atlanta Chess Championship for the second time, while scoring a perfect 5-0. Just sayin’…

Position after 8 Nxd4

GM Paul Motwani (2420) vs Nigel J Moyse (1976)
Chessable British Chess Championships: Seniors 50+
Final round seven
B09 Pirc, Austrian attack

  1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 c5 6. e5 Nfd7 7. exd6 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Qb6 9. Ndb5 Bxc3+ 10. Nxc3 O-O 11. b3 Nf6 12. Bb2 Rd8 13. Na4 Qb4+ 14. Qd2 Qxd2+ 15. Kxd2 Ne4+ 16. Ke3 Nxd6 17. Be2 Bd7 18. Nc3 Nc6 19. a3 Nf5+ 20. Kf2 Ncd4 21. Bd3 Bc6 22. Rhd1 h5 23. Ne2 Nxe2 24. Bxe2 Rac8 25. Rxd8+ Rxd8 26. Rd1 Rxd1 27. Bxd1 Kf8 28. g3 Ke8 29. h3 Nd6 30. g4 hxg4 31. hxg4 Kd7 32. Ke3 f5 33. g5 Nf7 34. c4 Kd6 35. b4 e5 36. Bb3 exf4+ 37. Kxf4 Ke6 38. Bd4 a6 39. a4 Be4 40. b5 axb5 41. axb5 Bg2 42. Bf6 Be4 43. b6 Kd7 44. c5 Nd8 45. Bxd8 Kxd8 46. Bf7 Bb1 47. Ke4 1-0

The game was even, Steven, before Nigel Moyse blundered horribly by playing 8…Qb6, when he should have simply castled. After moving the Queen the Stockfish program shows Moyse down by -4.0. Nevertheless, the game lasted forty more moves due to weak play from GM Motwani. That’s Senior Chess!

After 5 Nf3 the opening is a B09 Pirc, Austrian attack. 5…c5 turns it into a B09 Pirc, Austrian attack, dragon formation

  1. d4 d6 2. e4 (2 Nf3) 2…Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 (3…e5) 4. f4 (4 Be3) 4…Bg7 5. Nf3 c5 6. e5 (6 dxc5) 6…Nfd7 7. exd6 (7 dxc5) 7…cxd4 (7…0-0) 8. Nxd4 (8 Nb4) 8…Qb6?? (-4.0)

Gabriela Antova vs Alex Leningrad Lenderman

Grandmaster Alex Lenderman

https://ha.chesschest.com/doke-budapest-gambit-gm-lenderman-wasa-da-mutane/

has been playing excellent Chess recently but one would not know it after watching the following game in which Lenderman snatched victory from the jaws of defeat several times against Gabriela Antova,

https://www.schachbund.de/news/jewgenij-schtembuljak-und-polina-schuwalowa-sind-junioren-weltmeister.html

a FIDE Master (FM) from Bulgaria. Because of her sex she is also a “Woman International Master.” The fact that there is a separate rating list for women is an insult to Caissa.

It was a rainy day and after checking out the openings from Charlotte this writer was enthralled to see GM Lenderman play the Leningrad Dutch, which was appropriate since Alex is originally from Leningrad. The game did not begin with the usual 1 d4 f5, but transposed into a Leningrad Dutch when Lenderman decided to play 4…f5. This caused me to think…

Not Worthy GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY
giphy.com

I first began wondering about how the game was being played when Alex moved his King into the corner on move 8. Stockfish and Komodo both show 8…Na6 as best, and moves like 8…a5, or 8…Qc7, or 8…Qe8 have been popular. Maybe it would have been an OK move if the woman had played her Queen to b3 in lieu of c2 on the previous move, but still…8…Kh8 is a weak and vacillating move. It was difficult to see the move 10…Nb4? appear on the screen. It did, though, give the woman a choice of where to place her Lady, and she chose one of the, shall we say, “least best” squares for the Queen, which might have had something to do with the thinking of the GM. I was watching a few other games, and doing other things, but kept returning for more of the Antova and Lenderman show. Keep in mind I was spectating at the FollowChess.com website because there is no analysis. After seeing the woman not take the pawn on f4 but retreat her knight to e2 instead I was tempted to surf on over to ChessBomb.com to learn what Stockfish had to say about the position, but I eschewed temptation and stayed straight with no chaser. This lasted until seeing 19…Nh5? It was at this time the realization struck that the moves being shown on the screen did not appear to be coming from Masters, much less a Grandmaster. Then the realization struck that the game being followed could have been one of the games I played ‘back in the day’ when first learning how to play the Leningrad Dutch. It also caused me to question my concept of Chess as I expected the move 19…fxg3 to be played, just as I had expected the woman to play 19 gxf4. Nevertheless I again refrained from heading over to the Bomb. After seeing the move 20…Kxg7 onscreen I thought possibly there were transmission problems, like those affecting FollowChess.com recently. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, because ‘back in the day’ we had to wait months to obtain the moves that now miraculously and instantly appear after being played. Then the thought occurred that Alex knew what he was doing and wanted to trade Queens and grind her down in an endgame and maybe expected her to give the check on c3 with the Queen, which is exactly what transpired. I expected Alex to block the check with 21…Qf6 and was shocked to see 21…Qe5 appear onscreen. After 22 Nd4 I expected 22…fxg3 and was flummoxed to see Alex had retreated his King by moving it back to h8. When Alex finally played 24…fxg3 it had come too late and he had a ‘lost’ position. After playing 27…Nf6 the GM was BUSTED, Buster.

White to move

And then the fun began…I will not spoil any more of it for you and let you play over the rest of the game for yourself.

Gabriela Antova (BUL) vs Aleksandr Lenderman (USA)
Charlotte Open 2021 round 04

A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6

  1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 f5 5. O-O Nf6 6. c4 O-O 7. Nc3 c6 8. Qc2 Kh8 9. b3 Na6 10. Bb2 Nb4 11. Qb1 Rb8 12. a3 Na6 13. d5 e5 14. dxe6 Bxe6 15. Qc2 Qe7 16. Rfe1 Nc5 17. Ng5 Bg8 18. e4 f4 19. Ne2 Nh5 20. Bxg7+ Kxg7 21. Qc3+ Qe5 22. Nd4 Kh8 23. Ngf3 Qg7 24. e5 fxg3 25. hxg3 Rbd8 26. Rad1 dxe5 27. Nxe5 Nf6 28. b4 Ncd7 29. Nef3 Ng4 30. Rd2 Nb6 31. c5 Nd5 32. Qc2 a6 33. Rde2 Rd7 34. Re4 Ndf6 35. Ne6 Bxe6 36. Rxe6 Qh6 37. Qc3 Rff7 38. Re8+ Kg7 39. Nh4 Qd2 40. Qxd2 Rxd2 41. R8e2 Rd3 42. Nf3 h6 43. Rd2 Rxa3 44. Nd4 h5 45. Ne6+ Kh6 46. f3 Ne3 47. Nd8 Rh7 48. Rd6 Nfd5 49. Bh3 Nc4 50. Rd7 Rxd7 51. Bxd7 Rxf3 52. Kg2 Rd3 0-1
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-open/04-Antova_Gabriela-Lenderman_Aleksandr
  1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 f5 5. O-O Nf6 6. c4 O-O 7. Nc3 c6 (Komodo plays this but Stockfish 011121 @depth 52 plays 7…a5. See former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov give a recent lesson below) 8. Qc2 (Stockfish 100221 @depth 33 would play 8 Qb3) 8…Kh8 9. b3 Na6 10. Bb2 (In this position Komodo @depth 23 would play 10…Rb8, a move not contained in the Chessbase Database. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 31 shows 10…Bd7, another move not shown at the CBDB. Stockfish 310720 @depth 33 shows 10…Qc7, yet another move not contained in the CBDB. There are three games having been played with 10…Nc7, one of which is the game below played by David Bronstein, who drew a match with Mikhail Botvinnik,contested during the first year of my life.

Anatoly Karpov (2617) vs David Paravyan (2631)
Event: Smyslov Region Group Cup
Site: Moscow RUS Date: 08/16/2021
Round: 9.5 Score: 1-0
ECO: A80 Dutch
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 a5 8.Rb1 Na6 9.b3 c6 10.Bb2 Nc7 11.Qd3 Rb8 12.Rfe1 b5 13.Nd2 d5 14.cxb5 cxb5 15.Nf3 f4 16.Rbc1 Bf5 17.Qd1 Bh6 18.gxf4 Bxf4 19.e3 Bd6 20.Ne5 Qe8 21.Ne2 b4 22.Ng3 Be6 23.Re2 Nb5 24.Rec2 Rc8 25.Rxc8 Bxc8 26.Qd3 Bb7 27.Rc2 Ba6 28.Qd1 Qa8 29.Bh3 Bc8 30.Bg2 Bb7 31.Qc1 Na3 32.Bxa3 bxa3 33.Qd2 Bb4 34.Qc1 Bd6 35.Qd2 a4 36.b4 Qa6 37.Bf1 Qb6 38.b5 Kg7 39.Rc1 Rc8 40.Rxc8 Bxc8 41.Qc2 Qb8 42.Qxa4 h5 43.Nc6 Qc7 44.Qa7 Bb7 45.Qa5 Qd7 46.Qb6 h4 47.Ne5 Bxe5 48.dxe5 Ng4 49.e6 Qc8 50.Ne2 Nf6 51.Nd4 Ba8 52.Qa7 Qf8 53.f3 g5 54.Bh3 g4 55.Bxg4 Nxg4 56.fxg4 h3 57.Qc7 Qf6 58.Qf4 Qh4 59.Nf5+ 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4300056

Stefan Brzozka vs David Bronstein
Event: Asztalos mem
Site: Miskolc Date: ??/??/1963
Round: 6
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6
1.c4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.d4 d6 7.Nc3 c6 8.Qc2 Kh8 9.b3 Na6 10.Bb2 Nc7 11.Rad1 Bd7 12.e3 Qe8 13.Rfe1 Rd8 14.Rd2 Nh5 15.d5 Qf7 16.dxc6 bxc6 17.Ne2 c5 18.Nf4 Nf6 19.Ng5 Qg8 20.Bc3 Rde8 21.Ba5 Ne6 22.Ngxe6 Bxe6 23.Nxe6 Qxe6 24.Qd3 Ne4 25.Qd5 Qxd5 26.Rxd5 Bc3 27.Bxc3+ Nxc3 28.Rd2 Ne4 29.Rb2 a5 30.f3 Nf6 31.Kf2 Rb8 32.Ke2 Rb6 33.Kd3 e5 34.f4 e4+ 35.Kc3 Kg7 36.Bf1 h5 37.h4 Rfb8 38.Be2 a4 39.Reb1 a3 40.Rd2 Kf7 41.Rbd1 Ke7 42.Rd5 Ne8 43.R1d2 Nc7 44.Bd1 Na6 45.Bc2 Nb4 46.Bb1 Ra6 47.Rd1 Nxd5+ 48.Rxd5 Rxb3+ 49.Kxb3 Rb6+ 50.Kc2 Rb2+ 51.Kc1 Re2 52.Rd1 Rxe3 53.Rg1 Rc3+ 54.Kd2 Rxc4 55.Bc2 d5 56.Rb1 d4 57.Bd1 Rc3 58.Rb3 e3+ 59.Ke2 Rc1 60.Rxa3 c4 61.Ra7+ Kd6 62.Ba4 Rh1 63.Rd7+ Kc5 64.Rc7+ Kb4 65.a3+ Kc3 66.Bb5 Rh2+ 67.Kf1 d3 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=2573719&m=21

Liubov Yakir vs Klaara Skegina
Event: URS-chT
Site: Moscow Date: ??/??/1959
Round: ?
ECO: A88 Dutch, Leningrad, main variation with c6
1.d4 f5 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.g3 O-O 6.Bg2 d6 7.O-O c6 8.Qc2 Kh8 9.b3 Na6 10.Bb2 Nh5 11.Rfd1 f4 12.d5 Bf5 13.Qd2 c5 14.Nh4 Bd7 15.Ne4 Qc8 16.Bxg7+ Kxg7 17.Ng5 Nc7 18.Qd3 Qe8 19.Bf3 Nf6 20.gxf4 Bg4 21.Bxg4 Nxg4 22.e3 Nh6 23.Kh1 Nf5 24.Nxf5+ Rxf5 25.Rg1 Qf8 26.Rg3 Qf6 27.Rag1 Rf8 28.Rh3 Rh8 29.Ne4 Qb2 30.Nxd6 Rff8 31.Rxh7+ Rxh7 32.Qxg6+ Kh8 33.Nf7+ Rhxf7 34.Qh6+ 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=2547853&m=21

Chess Websites

A disgruntled reader took exception to the post, USCF Drops Set & Clock (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/08/12/uscf-drops-set-clock/). He defended the USCF for not having posted the last round games along with the other eight rounds. Only seven of those rounds can be found at the USCF website. There was/is an error with the fifth round and when clicks on the round this is found:

This screenshot was taken from the USCF website a moment ago (http://uschess.live/2021USO/round-5/games.pgn).

There are still no last round games posted…

The disgruntled one excoriated the AW for not finding the games at lichess (https://lichess.org/). I will admit to missing the notification in the article by Alexy Root,

https://new.uschess.org/sites/default/files/wp-thumbnails/Alexey-Root-Author-Photo-e1515093279560.png
Family Chess Challenge in Denton with WIM Dr. Alexey Root …
new.uschess.org

U.S. Open: Chess games, awards, signings, meetings, as I sort of glanced at the pictures on the way to the games, of which there were only three. Although I had previously been to the lichess website, I returned, finding the same page. From what was displayed I thought the website was only for playing online Chess. What do you think

https://lichess.org/

Yesterday while watching the coverage of the Sinquefield Cup

https://saintlouischessclub.org/sites/default/files/styles/slideshow/public/slideshow/2021%20Sinquefield%20Cup_Chess%20Club%20Homepage%20Slideshow.png?itok=BmhbwnSw
https://saintlouischessclub.org/

I noticed GM Maurice Ashley

https://i1.wp.com/tim.blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/maurice_ashley_illo-1-scaled.jpg?fit=1200%2C900&ssl=1
https://tim.blog/2020/07/28/maurice-ashley/

using a lichess board to display moves played in the ongoing games, so I returned to lichess and there was the same page as above. I did not want to waste time looking at the website because I was enjoying watching the gentlemen. Frankly, it was excellent having three Grandmasters analyze the games live without having a much lower rated woman onscreen.

There are many Chess websites and they are in competition. Like the Highlander,

https://memegenerator.net/img/instances/51755727/there-can-be-only-one.jpg

From the look of Chessdom (https://www.chessdom.com/) another one has bitten the dust.

The same screen has been up since the conclusion of the TCEC (https://tcec-chess.com/) match, won convincingly by Stockfish over LcZero. Although I visit most every Chess website the surfing begins with The Week In Chess (https://theweekinchess.com/), moving to Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/), then on over to Chess24 (https://chess24.com/en), and when there is Chess action, I go to the ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/), and also use Chess24. The best place to view is TWIC because the board contains only moves, unlike ChessBomb, which color codes moves, and Chess24 which has some ridiculous white strip on the side of the board that moves up or down depending on the current move. It reminds me of a thermometer. Wonder why the two websites did not make the ancillary accoutrements optional? They broadcast most of the same events, but the Bomb has been running all games played in the World Chess Championship matches, and is now up to the 1981 Karpov vs. Korchnoi match. (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/1981-karpov-korchnoi) I am still enjoying replaying the Bobby Fischer versus Boris Spassky match. (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/1972-spassky-fischer) Although I like the darker background found at Chess.com I agree with a gentleman with children who said, “Chess.com is geared toward children.” And why should it not be “geared toward children”? Children are the future and the battle rages for their little hearts, minds, souls, and their parents money.

Kasparov Goes Down Like Rotgut!

Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov at 58 years of age continues to make news at the Chess board. Whether it being the first World Chess Champion to lose a match to a computer program, (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/garry-kasparov-tangled-up-in-deep-blue/) or cheating against the strongest female Chess player of all time, Judit Polgar, (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/confirmation-garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/)

Kasparov refuses to go gently into that good night…

Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov | Photo: Lennart Ootes

lost in without getting out of the opening playing black against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

https://xpertchesslessons.files.wordpress.com/2021/07/c1197-mamedyarovface.jpg

A phone call from an excited Ironman, who happened to be between online lessons, and was watching some of the “action,” gave notice that something big was happening in the world of Chess. I care nothing for blitz Chess, or anything other than what has come to be called “classical” Chess, because playing good Chess requires thought, and if you do not have time to cogitate what is the point? Nevertheless, when a former World Chess Champ losses like a beginner it makes news all around the world. I decided to wait until after having my morning cuppa coffee before checking the usual suspects, TWIC, Chessbase, Chess24, and Chessdom. Sometimes I surf on over to Chess.com and today was one of those days, which was a good thing because the first video found during a search at duckduckgo.com proclaimed erroneously that Kasparov had lost in 10 moves:

This is false. As ignominious as it sounds, Garry Kasparov actually lost after playing only 6 moves:

[Event “GCT Blitz Croatia 2021”]
[Site “Zagreb CRO”]
[Date “2021.07.10”]
[Round “6”]
[White “Mamedyarov,S”]
[Black “Kasparov,G”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteElo “2782”]
[BlackElo “2812”]
[EventDate “2021.07.05”]
[ECO “D20”]

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 e5 4. Nf3 exd4 5. Bxc4 Nf6 6. Qb3 Qe7 7. O-O 1-0

This was found at The Week In Chesswebsite: https://theweekinchess.com/live

Below you can find all the gory details, which was located at Chess.com, including a very short loss by former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand

Still got it — Vishy Anand | Photo: Lennart Ootes

to a player who now resides in the Great State of Georgia, GM Alonso Zapata,

https://georgiachessnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/CHESS-Zapata-State-Champion-2014-192x200.jpg
Play a Grandmaster at the Atlanta Chess Club | Georgia …
georgiachessnews.com

explained by the Australian GM Max Illingworth:

Illingworth Chess

Garry Kasparov was born in 1963. He was eligible to play in the World Senior Championship eight years ago. I have often wondered why a player such as Kasparov, or Anatoly Karpov, has not deigned to participate in a Senior event for the good of Chess. Maybe it is time Garry consider playing in a Senior event.

In the 1983 Candidates Finals a young Garry Kasparov faced former World Chess Champion Vassily Smyslov for the right to contest a World Championship match with the then World Champ Anatoly Karpov. The fact that Smyslov made it to the final was almost beyond belief. The Chess world was astounded that someone so old could play well enough to face the young whipper-snapper, Kasparov. Granted, Smyslov was given no chance of defeating Kasparov by the pundits, but just getting to the finals was a victory of sorts. The older I have become the more amazing it seems…

The Chess Grandmaster Title Limbo: How Low Can The Age Go?

In an article at Chess24.com, What it takes to be the world’s youngest Grandmaster: Abhi Mishra,


Leon Watson writes: “The youngest grandmaster in chess history has revealed two of the secrets to his success: working on the game 12 hours a day and studying hard on Chessable.”
https://chess24.com/en/read/news/what-it-takes-to-be-the-world-s-youngest-grandmaster

I found this sad, because there are only 24 hours in a day, and there is so much to learn for a preteen child who has yet to reach puberty. How much time does that leave for socialization, the necessary interacting with other children, or humans of any age? How much time is there for the child to learn the basics of education, reading, writing and arithmetic, not to mention history, and all the other facets of life each child should learn before becoming an adult.

In a recent email Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett wrote:

“In some senses I feel sorry for the lad. He has already been the focus of some very negative commentary from top players about how these tournaments are being arranged just so that he can succeed.

Too bad, because he is clearly talented. In the next couple of months a few record will appear, etc. etc. It is just another rabbit hole.”

It is also sad to realize Mishra has no chance to ever become World Chess Champion because he started two years too late. Meet the future Chess Champion of the World:

In what other game do children compete with adults? How did it become accepted, and “normal” to see young children battling seasoned professionals?

Does anyone in the Chess community question the efficacy of children competing against adults? Is there anyone in the Chess community who cares what happens to the child?

The post was written and published on July 3, 2021. I have no idea why the video was pulled, so will attempt to again today, July 4, 2021 to insert it in the post, along with a few others, while hoping at least one of them will be allowed to be remain published:

Vlastimil Hort Remembers Tony Miles

I have a bad back and it has flared up this week, making it difficult to sit for any period of time. This happened about the time I noticed a picture, which brought back memories at, Chessbase, in an article, Hort stories: Wrong place wrong time (https://en.chessbase.com/post/hort-stories-wrong-place-wrong-time) which is the second part of
Hort stories: Remembering Tony Miles, by Vlastimil Hort. (https://en.chessbase.com/post/vlastimil-hort-remembers-tony-miles)

The picture of Tony Miles lying flat while playing Ljubomir Ljubojevic, “…who played lying down, suffering from back pain, caused a stir — and not only in the chess world.”

An unusual position | Photo: Persbureau van Eindhoven

Tony won that game, and the other game versus Ljubo, which helped him to finish in a three way tie for first place at Tilburg in 1985 with Robert Huebner and Victor Korchnoi.

“This time the German grandmaster protested against GM Miles playing the tournament on a stretcher. During the tournament Anthony Miles suffered back pain; therefore he played some of his games lying down on a massage table.”

“Many participants of the tournament protested in their own unique way. When GM Dzindzichashvili played his game vs. Miles, he spent the whole game standing in front of the British grandmaster. GM Ljubojevic used a different approach. He was sitting the whole game; however, he was sitting at a totally separate table from the one where Miles played their game!”

GM Robert Huebner decided to play a prearranged draw where his moves would look ridiculous. When Miles learned about Huebner’s idea, he said, “I’ll play sensible moves, you play what you like, and I’ll offer a draw on move five.”

“And that’s how that outlandish game was born.” (https://www.chess.com/article/view/when-chess-players-protest)

The article also contains one of the most famous Chess games of my half century of Chess, the game Tony won against the current World Chess Champion, Anatoly Karpov.

Hort writes: “His most famous game will probably remain the one against Karpov in 1980 in Skara, Sweden. Miles defeated the World Champion with the extravagant move 1…a6?! and proved that even the “Soviet giants” could be beaten.”

The sensational win against Karpov with 1…a6 in the 1980 European Team Championship | Photo: “It’s only me”

If you are unfamiliar with the game please do yourself a favor and click on over to Chessbase and enjoy. You can thank me later…

 

 

 

 

 

EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!

Anyone worth his salt teaching Chess will eventually get around to imparting the knowledge that a Chess player should examine all checks during analysis of any position. All good players do this without thinking about it, but new players need to have it reinforced that they should not only examine all possible checks to the opponent’s king but also to their own king. After this a good teacher will tell his student to examine all possible “checks”, or threats, to the Queen. For young players new to the game there is so much to consider that occasionally a student will overlook a check to the king or threat to the queen. When a world class player overlooks or does not take into consideration a possible check to the king it will be said that the player under discussion is “getting old” or “losing his powers,” or some such…

In the sixth round of the 2020 Gibraltar Masters  the young, born in 2005, making him a Zero, and up and coming  GM Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa,

from India, faced GM Veselin Topalov,

who some consider a former World Chess Champion. I am not one of them because Topalov won the FIDE World Championship, which was a match between second rate players. This is what is written about Topalov at Wikipedia:

“Topalov became FIDE World Chess Champion by winning the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005. He lost his title in the World Chess Championship 2006 against Vladimir Kramnik.

He challenged Viswanathan Anand

at the World Chess Championship 2010, losing 6½–5½.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veselin_Topalov)

Wiki does not even mention the name of the player Topalov bested  to become FIDE WC, and, frankly, I have long since forgotten the name of the loser of the FIDE match. I can tell you the name of the opponents who played in each of the real world championship matches. I seem to recall Jan Timman losing one so-called “world championship” match, (I believe his opponent was Anatoly Karpov) but if my life depended on it I could not give you the name of Topalov’s opponent in the second rate FIDE WC match. Topalov was born in 1975, making him a member of Generation X.

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa vs Veselin Topalov

Gibraltar Masters 2020 round 06

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Be3 b6 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O cxd4 11. Nxd4 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 Nb8 13. Bf2 Ba6 14. Bxa6 Nxa6

15. f5? (15 Qe2 looks strong, and not just because the Queen is going to the e2 square)

15…exf5? (The kid shows his age. The Stockfish program at ChessBomb gives 15… Nb4 16. Rad1 Rc8 17. Be3 and only now exf5)

16. Nxd5 Nb4 17. c4 Rc8 18. a3 Nc6 19. Rfe1 Bc5 20. b4 Bxf2+ 21. Qxf2 Qd7 22. Qh4

22…Qd8? (Over at the Bomb this move is shown as a BRIGHT RED move, which is as bad as it gets, color wise. It is difficult to fathom a former world number one making a move this bad, no matter how old. Certainly, most, if not all, players would have analyzed the possible check on f6 before retreating the queen. Keep in mind that, “In 1984, when he was 63 and most of his contemporaries, like Mikhail Botvinnik and David Bronstein,

had long ceased to be important players on the world stage, Mr. Smyslov

made it to the final candidates match to determine a challenger for Anatoly Karpov,

who was world champion at the time. He lost that match to Garry Kasparov,

then a prodigy in his early 20s; before the final, however, he dispatched two opponents who were both 30 years his junior.” https://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/crosswords/chess/28smyslov.html23. Nf6+ gxf6 24. Rad1 Nxe5 25. Rxd8 Rfxd8 26. Qxf6 Ng6 27. h4 h5 28. Rf1 f4 29. g4 Rd3 30. gxh5 Rg3+ 31. Kf2 Nxh4 32. Qxh4 Rxc4 33. Re1 1-0

(https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2020-gibraltar-masters/06-Praggnanandhaa_R-Topalov_Veselin)

 

EXAMINE ALL CHECKS TO THE QUEEN!

IM Pedro Antonio Gines Esteo (2284) vs GM Natalia Zhukova  (2338)

Gibraltar Masters 2020 round 05

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nd7 3. Bg2 e5 4. d3 Ngf6 5. O-O c6 6. c4 Bd6 7. a3 O-O 8. b4 Re8 9. Bb2 a5 10. c5 Bf8 11. Nbd2 b6 12. d4 exd4 13. Nxd4 bxc5 14. Nxc6 Qb6 15. Nxa5 Rxa5 16. Bxf6 cxb4 17. axb4 Bxb4 18. Rxa5 Qxa5 19. Nb3 Qb5 20. Ba1 Qxe2 21. Qxd5 Qe6 22. Qd4 Bf8 23. Bd5 Qg6 24. Qa4 Rd8

25. Rd1 (This is known as “Letting go of the rope.” This is a terrible move under any circumstances. Before making a move most players would ask themselves the question, “How will my opponent reply?” Seeing the queen can be attacked by the knight would be the first thing any player would spot. Every player simply MUST be able to see the knight moving to b6 will not only attack the queen but also fork the bishop. 25 Qa5, attacking the undefended rook looks good, as does the simple 25 Bg2. With the move played in the game the player of the white pieces fell into the abyss)) 25…Nb6 26. Qa5 Rxd5 27. Rxd5 Qb1+ 28. Kg2 Nxd5 29. Qxd5 Be6 30. Qd8 Qxb3 31. Bd4 Bd5+ 32. Kh3 Qf3 33. Bc5 Be6+ 0-1

(https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2020-gibraltar-masters/05-Gines_Esteo_Pedro_Antonio-Zhukova_Natalia)

 

A Track Called Jack
Armand Van Helden

Check the sound
Check it down
Check it through the underground

Check the place
Check the space
Check the track all in your face

Check the spot
Check it hot
Check with everything you got

Check the roof
Check the proof
Checks the ones that makes you move

Check, check
Check, check
Check, check
Check, check

Check the sound
Check it down
Check it through the underground

Check the place
Check the space
Check the track all in your face

Check the spot
Check it hot
Check with everything you got

Check the roof
Check the proof
Checks the one that makes you move

Check, check
Check, check
Check, check
Check, check

Check, check
Check, check
Check, check
Check, check

Check, check
Check, check
Check, check
Check, check

Check the sound
Check it down
Check it through the underground

Check the place
Check the space
Check the track all in your face

Check the spot
Check it hot
Check with everything you got

Check the roof
Check the proof
Checks the one that makes you move
https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/10507050/Armand+Van+Helden/A+Track+Called+Jack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing The Dutch Against Any And Everything

Marc A Bryant (1823) vs Carsten Byrn (1919)

Hastings Masters 2019 round 04

1. a3 f5

(My first thought upon seeing this move was, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Former President of the Georgia Chess Association, and many other state organizations, not to mention USCF mover and shaker, Don Schultz,

Testing the New Polgar Chess Clock – Front: Anatoly Karpov and Susan Polgar – Back: Karpov Chess School President Marck Cobb, Vice-President and Secretary Irwin “Wes” Fisk, USCF Vice-President Don Schultz, U.S. Chess Trust Director Barbara DuMaro and USCF Vice-President Joel Channing

played 1 a3 against me in a tournament game, and lost. After the game Don informed he decided to play the move because, “I’ve played everything else against you, so why not?” Why not, indeed. Don and I played many 15 minute games ‘back in the day’ and, for some reason, I seemed to have Don’s number. We were both class A players who had crossed the 2000 threshold. SF 270919 @depth 50 plays 1…c5, as does Komodo 13.2 @depth 44. There are only two games with 1…f5 at the CBDB. After mentioning the first two opening moves to the Legendary Georgia Ironman he said, “I guess it stops e4.”) 2. e4 fxe4 3. d3 e3

(This move is, unsurprisingly, a TN. Over at the ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-hastings-masters/04-Bryant_Marc_A-Byrn_Carsten) the move is also one of the reddest of red moves. SF 200419 @depth 30 plays 3…exd3, as does Houdini, but SF 10 @depth 29 plays 3…Nf6) 4. Qh5+?

(This move caused me to think of the poplar saying, “Patzer sees a check, patzer gives a check.” The move is also a “bright Red move. The thought of something a local Chess teacher mentioned about the early Qh5+ move occurred. He said a new boy had come to one of his groups and was beating all the local players with, you guessed it, 2 Qh5. “He was one of Steve’s boys.” “Steve” being Steve Schneider, the owner of Championship Chess, whom I have written about previously. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/the-world-of-championship-chess/) Upon completion of laugh the tale continued with my asking, “I thought you taught these kids how to defend against the Queen’s Raid.” His response was, “Evidently not enough.” This time I, as we say down South, busted a gut laughing! After gathering myself I said, “It looks like with someone who not only teaches the Queen’s Raid, but owns a company that goes into schools and teaches nothing but the Queen’s Raid, everyone in the state would teach their spuds how to defend against the Queen’s Raid.” He nodded in agreement… 4 Bxe3 looks like a good enough move) 4…g6 5. Qe5? (One of the possible legal moves in this position is 5 Qe2. Just sayin’…) 5…exf2+ 6. Kxf2 Nf6 7. Nc3?

Ng4+ (Sticking the fork in deeply) 8. Ke1 0-1

Coaching Kasparov: A Review

Coaching Kasparov, Year by Year and Move by Move
Volume 1: The Whizz-Kid (1973-1981)

by Alexander Nikitin

This is a meritorious book in all respects. When the book was finished I was already looking forward with anticipation to the second volume to follow. The Elk and Ruby publishing company has hit the ground running with one of the books reviewed on this blog, Checkmate!

by Sally Landau, (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/04/21/checkmate-the-love-story-of-mikhail-tal-and-sally-landau-a-review/) having recently garnered a prestigious spot on the ECF shortlist for book of the year award.
(https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-book-of-the-year-2019-shortlist/)

The author, Alexander Nikitin,

was the coach of the young Garik Weinstein from 1973 until 1990. Simply put, the young lad had vast potential, like a diamond in the rough, but needed polishing, which was provided by his coach. The first sixty seven pages, which were read with amazement, recount what transpired in those early years. The second part of the one hundred ninety eight pages consists of annotated games played by the young Weinstein/Kasparov. The author writes about the necessity for the change of name. “His change of surname was a delicate matter. It’s usually found in women, very rarely in men, and, as a rule, only happens to men when it’s forced. Garik’s mother had to bear the main burden of stress and battle when arranging the legal formalities and, above all, when convincing all friends and relatives that this was the right decision. Klara had to endure so many unpleasant hours. So many tears were shed after conversations with relatives of her by then long departed husband. “…a year earlier, with Botvinnik’s assent, I had tenaciously started to try and convince Garry’s mother of the need to change her son’s surname from his father’s to her own-which, by the way, she had not changed upon getting married.”

In the following paragraph the author writes, “From the very beginning I had no doubt that the lad would have a fantastic chess career. I knew from my work in the Sports Committee just what inexplicable difficulties of a totally non-chess character could suddenly appear to a youth with the “wrong” surname during the development of his talent, especially at the transition to Big Chess, when somebody’s sporting career could be held back and perhaps even badly damaged, without much notice being taken at the top and without much discussion.” And, “Chess fans throughout the world quickly got used to this surname without having learnt unnecessary details. Life was to confirm the justification of my fears and the need for this difficult decision. Enough has now been written about the hidden anti-Semitism, especially in the lower corridors of the government. I am convinced that Garry Weinstein would have never got to play a world title match against Karpov in 1984 or even in 1987. He wouldn’t have been allowed. He would have been isolated in the periphery of chess. The system functioned like clockwork in those days.”

For every Weinstein/Kasparov how many other, extremely talented young boys were fodder for the “system”? Nikitin writes about one such boy, “…twelve-year-old Boris Taborov. They were both highly talented, smart and inquisitive, by my-how their lives soon panned out so differently! The phlegmatic and good-natured Boris soon became the first Soviet player to gain the master title at the age of 14. He played a couple of times in the junior championships in Europe, but failed to achieve further success and gradually faded. What happened to him? Boris was raised in a family of scientists who had little enthusiasm for their son’s chess achievements. His parents really wanted Boris to become a scientist like them and continue their work. They got quite worried at seeing that chess for their son was more than a game. Feeling no moral support from those near and dear to him, the lad was torn between two occupations at once, unable to make a definitive choice… His focus on two activities at once in fact prevented him from achieving great things in science, while he was quite unable to jump on to the steps of the prestigious carriages of the chess train as it disappeared into the distance. Caissa doesn’t favor the indecisive.”
He who hesitates is lost.

The author writes about Garik’s father, “Kim Weinstein on all evidence seems to have been a strong and unusual personality; highly valuing fairness and honesty. He managed to pass on much to his son, but alas it could have been more.”
I’m certain Judit Polgar will agree with what was written! (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/comment-page-1/)

He writes, “Yet most of all, I was struck by Garry’s eyes-smart, with a kind of unusual spark in them.”

Mikhail Botvinnik

plays a large role in the saga of Garik Weinstein/Kasparov. He would say: “A lad striving to become a true chess player needs to be able to do many things. He needs to work at chess independently, prepare for every competition, analyze the outcome of each tournament, and love analysis not only in respect of the opening. He also needs to know how to relax and regain his strength after a competition. If he isn’t successful in that, chess will not become an art form bringing joy, but instead just a trade bringing sadness. Therefore, he should not play many games and should not play often.”

“As the years progressed, the union of Teacher and Favorite Pupil transposed into a comradeship of colleagues of equal playing strength.”

“Lasker’s thought: “a person is responsible for the quality of his work but not for its results” from that year on became one of the mottos driving Garry’s work.”

The author divulges the secret concerning, “Vladimir Andreevich Makogonov,

who had been one of the strongest masters of the pre-war period and a player with a subtle positional style, who had a wonder grasp of the nuances of battle and without a doubt understood the game at a grandmaster level, showed up at the Kasparov apartment. Few people knew about Garry’s contact with Makogonov-the master didn’t want to advertise it. I don’t think even Botvinnik knew about it…The two great chess elders who coached the kid had their own eccentricities: Botvinnik was overly jealous about allowing other coaches to work with Kasparov, while Makogonov had taken offense at society.”

“A big talent acts like a mighty magnet or bright star – it draws those who have discovered its strength, blinds their judgement and takes them prisoner for years to come.”

This paragraph blew my mind:

“It wasn’t just chess books that I sent him, but everything that could satisfy his curiosity, thereby further developing his logical thinking. For example, one parcel that I sent in 1975 contained the latest issue of Chess Informant, a selection of endgame articles required in order to tackle homework that Dvoretsky had set, excellent commentary by Spassky showing how to assess positions, Bronstein’s book on Zurich, accompanied by a request to study carefully how the world’s best players handled King’s Indian positions, alongside…a Go Set, (! my exclam)


photo by Phil Straus/American Go E-Journal

in order for him to better understand how to gain space, and, for dessert, interesting articles on his tory, which the boy so loved.”

If I had known Kasparov played Go I would have challenged him to a game at the Supernationals in Nashville a decade ago when he signed my copy of

“At first I did not always manage to follow the volume of work carried out by the boy independently. He found everything interesting and wanted to learn more and as quickly as possible. However, this led to information overload, leading to interesting symptoms, which I called “know-all disease”. The boy’s agile and deep memory digested everything fed to it, but the process of comprehending what he had read lagged behind. He would mechanically memorize variations, but they were not given the time to settle in his mind in the right order, and they would get mixed into a messy and, consequently, fairly useless tangle in his brain. Petrosian called this illness the symptom of “Informant children”. The majority of young players now suffer from this ailment, especially abroad, where the computerization of chess has sharply increased the volume of information available. Klara wrote to me that in those times Garik resembled an excited madman.”

Naturally, the author writes about Bobby Fischer

with words that can only be called “glowing praise.” For example, “For both me and Garry, the American genius of those years remains the benchmark of high professionalism. His independent behavior was unusual for that time, and many of his demands were considered to be whims. Now, though, the majority of those demands are considered to be the norm.”

“After Minsk it became clear that Garry’s calculation ability had developed so much further than his positional understanding that it simply “squeezed out” the latter. When playing strong this could lead to nasty problems. His technique for converting an advantage also lagged. Here we needed to work both at chess itself and on his psychology. Unlike Karpov, he wasn’t born with a killer’s instinct, and after gaining an advantage he often reduced his concentration and his earlier playing intensity, hoping that his opponent would bring about his own defeat.”

I can, unfortunately, identify with reduced concentration after gaining an advantage.

“Karpov once described a similar situation of a battle against himself, providing the apt conclusion: “you mustn’t play for a win if in spirit you’re happy to draw.” In order to rise above yourself in such circumstances you have to love chess madly, like the legendary Fischer.”

“A battle in a chess game is frequently a battle against yourself, against your doubts and prevarications.”

“The degree of his childishness, which in my opinion has not yet completely disappeared even today…”

There is a thread running through the book concerning the lack of stamina displayed by the young boy Weinstein, which, with the current youth movement, should make everyone involved with Chess pause to ask the question, “How much Chess is too much Chess?”

The author writes things like this, “At the finish the boy was very tired and incapable of working at top gear for four hours.”

“The child’s tired brain would turn on and off at will.”

“The boy only relented at the end of the fourth hour of tense battle. He didn’t have the energy left to resolve the final, quite tricky problem in a sharp endgame, and the game was drawn.”

“It’s always disappointing to lose your way when the danger appears to have passed. However, at the age of ten it’s hard to retain concentration over four hours of tense work.”

The annotations to the games are marvelous and the commentary fascinating. Game six, of forty six, is an excellent example:

G. Weinstein – B. Kantsler

Leningrad. Spartak Junior championship. 27.07.1975

Kings’s Indian Attack. [C00]

1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4. g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 g6 6.Ngf3 Bg7 7. 0-0 Nge7

Just half a year later I added this way of playing the opening for white to the list of opening systems temporarily banned from use. Garik would have to make do with 2.d4 and go for a more active setup, which was appropriate to his playing style. He was to learn with surprise that battles after 2.d4 are much richer and more interesting.

8.Re1 0-0 9.Qe2 b5 10.e5 a5 11.Nf1 Ba6 12.h4 b4 13.N1h2 h6 14.Bf4 Kh7 15.Bh3 c4 16.Kh2

This generally OK system is not of much use for young players, in that thanks to its lack of ideas it doesn’t require much time to study compared with other, richer opening systems. If you are targeting big achievements in chess then you need to strive to learn the subtleties of as many standard positions as possible, in other words, those that frequently come up. Such positions provide support in the middle of the game, and their knowledge will significantly improve your technique. The best way to build up a solid base of such positions is to study opening systems whose content is as rich and varied as possible. The opening setup deployed by Garik here was one I called a system for idlers, as white can make all the moves automatically, often while ignoring the location of his opponent’s pieces.

16…Nf5?! 17 Bxf5 gxf5

18.g4!

So, here’s the first test to see if the player can think out of the box. Set up the position after move 17 and ask your pupil the simple question: “What would you play as white?” Give the young player 20 minutes to think. Will he look at 18 g4? How quickly?

Little children introduced to chess strategy don’t like pawn advances that open up their own king’s bunker. They are afflicted by the usual, childish fear of the unknown, when it’s hard to assess the approaching danger, as they don’t have life experience or precedents. Deliberately made moves such as 18 g4 are an indicator of a child mature beyond their years. Actually, Garry already had experience – he remembered the game with Alexei (now Alex Yermolinsky)

and the jokey nickname “g4”.

After playing over the game I realized the openings played “back in the day” could very well be thought of as “Bacon’s opening system for idlers!”

In conclusion, this is a superb book. It is truly “cheap at twice the price.” This is a five star book that should make it to a shortlist for the best Chess book of the year award because it will stand the test of time.