Chess Is In A World of Trouble

Chess is in trouble.

I realize the Royal Game appears to be in its heyday, but circumstances can be deceiving. Many will scoff because Chess has been enjoying a period of incredible popularity recently, which has put chickens in the pots of many players the all over the world. Yet for several reasons there are storm clouds gathering. The pandemic caused many to spend much more time at home at a time when contact could be made with anyone in the world via the internet. When Viswanathan Anand became World Chess Champion

Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000 for the first time after defeating Alexei Shirov in the final at Tehran, Iran. (https://www.indiatimes.com/others/viswanathan-anands-5-big-wins-25982.html)

it kindled a firestorm in India which brought untold millions into the game. Kenneth W. Gronbach is president of KGC Direct, LLC and author of the current book, “Upside: Profiting from the Profound Demographic Shifts Ahead“, which was recently released in April 2017. “A demographic winter refers to locations that are seeing significant declines in their birth rates, such as China, which has “changed from an aging country to an aged country,” he commented. In practical terms, this means more people dying than being born. India, on the other hand, has a growing populace and will likely be strengthened in the years ahead.” (https://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2022-07-20-show/) There are many Chess teachers in the US who teach only Indian students. With Anand covered with FIDE slime, how long will that last?

One of the most pressing problems with Chess is FIDE, the world Chess organization, which is led by a Russian stooge, Arkady Dvorkovich, known as Mad Vlad Putin’s “lapdog.”

Is Putin a king maker for the World Chess Federation? (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-is-putin-a-king-maker-for-chess-federation/)

Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand decided, for whatever reason, to join the ticket of current president of the World Chess organization, Arkady Dvorkovich,

Dvorkovich and Anand sending Vlad a signal? photo: FIDE

who is running for reelection. Anand, known as “Vishy”, had a stellar reputation while being admired and respected the all over the world. That ended immediately when he chose to join the nefarious Russians, who are performing genocide against a neighboring country as this is being written. The name “Anand” has now become besmirched the world over. Why would anyone in his right mind join the perpetrators of war crimes against civilians? Need I remind anyone the Russians are not only wantonly killing innocent women and children but also bombing their wheat fields! (https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2022/07/15/ukraine-farms-wheat-fields-russia-shelling-crops-fire-pkg-watson-lead-vpx.cnn) The wheat grown in Ukraine formerly fed much of the world, therefore Russia has, in effect, attacked the REST OF THE WORLD! Although not acknowledged, World War III has begun, thanks to the opprobrious Russians. And Vishy Anand has joined the villains.

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/magnus-carlsen-to-give-up-world-championship-title

decided to give up HIS title and who can blame him? The title of World Champion most definitely does NOT BELONG TO FIDE. That particularly corrupt organization can bestow the title on anyone, as it has done in the past. It matters not who is called the “World Chess Champion” when every Chess player in the world knows the best player is Magnus Carlsen. Awarding the title to another player will only cheapen the title, which has lost much luster over the years as changes were made to the World Chess Championship match format. Former World Chess Champion Mikhail Botvinnik

once said, when asked, the match for the World Championship should be at least sixteen games. Even with the souped-up heebe-jeeb games, played with little time, the match for the World Championship is not played with sixteen games. Frankly, the World Championship lost luster when the match began using quick-play games to decide the Championship. It has reached a point where the Championship is virtually meaningless. The WCC cycle went from three years to a two-year cycle. Why would anyone in their right mind want to spend six months preparing for the match and do it again in little more than a year? Why would the World Champ want to face a player he defeated handily after that opponent, the Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi,

melted down during the last match. The candidates tournament that Nepo won in order to face Carlsen should not have been started. After it was stopped it was certainly a terrible mistake to resume the tournament after a lapse of one whole year. The next recently completed Candidates tournament was an unmitigated DISASTER! FIDE has egg, after it has been digested, all over their faces. Fact is, FIDE is covered head to toe in STUFF.
The World Chess Championship match has been a cash cow for FIDE, and you can bet your sweet bibby that, if reelected, Putin’s lapdog, the Dvork, and his second in command, Vishy, will milk that cash cow for all it is worth.

Younger people will ignore what I write because, well, you know, to them I am an old fogy. The thing about we “old fogies” is that we have been around awhile and have seen things change, sometimes in a heartbeat. I have written on this blog (or was it the forerunner, the BaconLOG? https://baconlog.blogspot.com/2008/07/) about how the game of Putt-Putt was once more popular than golf.

The players earned more cash playing Putt-Putt than did the golf professionals of the PGA (Professional Golf Association) because Putt-Putt was televised. Then the fad was over, in the beat of a heart. I have also written about how popular was Backgammon. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/paul-magriel-r-i-p/) After hitting the road to play the best I returned home to find Gammons closed. The “boom” had ended. As I write this the once popular card game of Bridge is on life support because the players have grown old(er) and not been replaced by younger players. (https://www.plumasnews.com/is-the-card-game-of-bridge-fading/) The time to worry is not after interest wanes but when interest is booming, because when interest fades it is too late to do anything but cry in your beer.

The weirdness of math’s golden age

Adventures in Fine Hall

By Elyse Graham ’07

“Then, as now, the anchor of mathematics at Princeton was Fine Hall, which opened in 1931. (Forty years later, the original Fine Hall was renamed after its donor, Thomas Jones 1876, when today’s mathematics building was constructed near Princeton Stadium.) Henry Fine had been a much-beloved dean of the faculty and the University’s first dean of science; after he died, Jones, a member of the Board of Trustees, gave money for a mathematics building in his honor. The building was gorgeous: three stories high, with oak paneling, leaded-glass windows, a central courtyard, and a library. A common room, with leather chairs, tables for chess, and a blackboard tucked away nearby in case of arguments, allowed the department to follow the English practice of gathering every afternoon for tea. Every time a bean counter approached Jones with the growing bill for the building, he said, “Nothing is too good for Harry Fine.”


Mathematician John von Neumann, shown here at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1947, started teaching at Princeton in 1930. Tea was a tradition at both the University and the Institute.
Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

“To blow off steam, many students got into games, as players and creators both. Fine Hall’s common room held late-night poker games, with good cash on the line: “We used to play all night,” said Flood. “The janitor would come and sort of chew us out at 6 in the morning.” During the day, a visitor to the common room might see the nation’s mathematical brain-trust absorbed in games of Go, bridge, double solitaire, or chess, played classic or in whimsical variants. A favorite was a double-blind variant of chess called Kriegspiel. (Paul Erdős reportedly loved that game.)

A truly magnificent book:

Here is the PDF:

Click to access 35559997-Man-Who-Loved-Only-Numbers-Paul-Hoffman.pdf

One student invented what he called “nonholonomic chess”; another invented a card game called Psychology, and another a card game called Goofspiel, which has since been used to teach concepts in game theory. The boast went out that Fine Hall “could produce a champion in any game that was played sitting down.”
https://paw.princeton.edu/article/adventures-fine-hall