Is Magnus Carlsen Infected With The Trumpitis Virus?

I have spent an inordinate amount of time reading several articles concerning the “postponement” of the 2020 Candidates Chess tournament, and every reply. The articles, Carlsen, Dvorkovich & Kramnik on ending the Candidates (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-dvorkovich-kramnik-on-ending-the-candidates), and Azerbaijan National Team Writes Open Letter Regarding Radjabov, Candidates (https://www.chess.com/news/view/azerbaijan-team-open-letter-fide-radjabov), resonated deeply. In addition, an excellent article at Chessbase, Cancelled: When the war put a stop to top chess events (https://en.chessbase.com/post/cancelled-when-the-war-cut-top-events-short) was read, but does not figure into this post. It does, though, give some perspective on the situation in which Chess languishes.

Magnus Carlsen

https://cdn.chess24.com/Npdpj-ZGRImCRhHCxUpzFQ/original/magnus-carlsen-live.jpg

is the World Chess Co-Champion of Classical Chess, by his own admission. Magnus was unable to win even one classical game in the last match for the the World Human Chess Championship with Fabiano Caruana.

https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/1073923720/960x0.jpg?cropX1=0&cropX2=4928&cropY1=41&cropY2=2813

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrissmith/2019/08/16/fabiano-caruana-americas-top-chess-star-on-the-need-for-corporate-sponsors-and-a-potential-championship-rematch-with-magnus-carlsen/#7b3accfa268d

He was able to beat Sergey Karjakin

IMG_4080_by Maria Emelianova.JPG

only once in the previous match. He did, though, also lose one game. Magnus is considered World Human Chess Champion only because he happens to be better at playing ‘hurry up and get it over’ Chess.

Mr. Carlsen is proof positive that Chess does not make one “smart.” From the Chess24 article:

Carlsen on Kramnik (and Lawrence’s) suggestion to give Radjabov a 2022 wild card

“This is just my opinion. I think if he had wanted to play the tournament he would have played it.”

Lawrence: You think he didn’t want to play it, not related to the crisis?

“I think it’s partly but not fully. That is just my opinion. I think he was very happy to win the World Cup but he didn’t particularly fancy playing the Candidates, which I can understand. It’s an ordeal, and he had a rough time the last time [in the 2013 London Candidates Radjabov lost 7 games and finished last, 2 points behind the next player]. Obviously the corona situation gave his already I would think pre-existing opinion that he didn’t particularly want to play a lot of substance, that now he had a legitimate reason not to play. I’m not saying that his reason was not legitimate, I’m just saying that all the other guys did play and I’m sure they had concerns as well. That is just my take.

You can see that with Maxime, for instance. He stepped in on short notice and he’s not been one of the guys who’s complained at all about the situation. He’s just happy to be there, he wants to play and all of that stuff about it being a difficult situation and so on – yeah, of course it’s a difficult situation, of course it’s not the best atmosphere for a chess tournament, but you chose to be there, and so if you choose to be there then you play, you do your job and you have to trust the authorities there to make the decisions – FIDE, the Russian government and so on. As long as they feel that it’s safe to hold the tournament then you’re holding it.

Obviously the situation we have now is not ideal, but I think giving Radjabov the wild card for 2022 – that I would find just ridiculous. You could make the case that he should actually play in this one now that it’s been postponed and the situation is different. I don’t feel that way, I don’t know the law, I don’t know what is supposed to happen there, but to me it doesn’t feel justified that he should play even if it resumes, but I would understand it. But 2022… no!”

Evidently the World Co-Chess Champ of Classical Chess is a mind reader. Mr. Carlsen mentions a bad tournament by Mr. Radjabov SEVEN YEARS AGO! AS we go through life we change. An example would be the article, How your personality changes as you age, in which we find, “Our personalities were long thought to be fixed by the time we reach our 30s, but the latest research suggests they change throughout our lives.” (https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200313-how-your-personality-changes-as-you-age)

Teimour Radjabov

https://images.chesscomfiles.com/uploads/v1/news/598444.62c19464.668x375o.1aa2bd887956.jpeg

https://www.chess.com/news/view/teimour-radjabov-interview-fide-candidates-chess

is a different person than he was in 2013. Could it be that Magnus, after playing over the recent games of Mr. Radjabov would prefer to NOT have to face Mr. Radjabov? Magnus Carlsen is twenty nine years of age and in Chess terms getting a little long in the tooth.

Consider this reply by KoustavChatterjee1:

“It’s amazing how arrogant some chess players are. They still say that Rajdabov withdrawing was because he was afraid of playing in the Candidates, even though there’s so much evidence to the contrary (him hiring seconds, the amount of prep etc).

Rajdabov is completely validated in his decision to withdraw from the event, as health and safety matters way more than chess. The players who went and played, didn’t do anything brave. They were just thinking about their careers and acting as professionals. Rajdabov sacrificed one of the best opportunities of his career for the greater good.

This thread is a perfect example as to how playing chess doesn’t correlate with being generally smart – proven by the World champ, and multiple people who commented here – who don’t realize that a tournament (no matter how important) is not worth the potential risks that a deadly pandemic entails.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-dvorkovich-kramnik-on-ending-the-candidates)

Then there is this from BabarBouzouardo:

“Carlsen speaking of Radjabov: “That is just my opinion. I think he was very happy to win the World Cup, but he didn’t particularly fancy playing the Candidates, which I can understand. It’s an ordeal, and he had a rough time the last time [in the 2013 London Candidates Radjabov lost 7 games and finished last, 2 points behind the next player]. Obviously the corona situation gave his already I would think pre-existing opinion that he didn’t particularly want to play a lot of substance, that now he had a legitimate reason not to play.” … Bravo chess genius, you figured out everything about all subjects! Indeed you are a genius …! At first, Carlsen looked polite, respectful and rather kind. It was the time when, as a teenager, he was accompanied to chess tournaments by his father. He then gradually became a young man and his father was no longer in the picture; at this point you could see a change in his character. He became more and more provocative, aggressive. Now that he has become world champion and is on the threshold of the 30 year age group, he clearly got a swollen head/ego and he has become an arrogant character full of himself. Is Carlsen infected with the Trumpitis virus? … Or, is he just a chess genius and simply an idiot? … Carlsen can now, disrespect competitors and fart higher than his ass as long as he is champion and get away with it, and with no consequences! But even the great Kasparov had to give way to a younger player by the age of 37 and even retire at 40! …. So what could an idiotic Carlen do, he who has not learned a thing, or known something, about reality and life. Once his chess lights will dim out, what will he do and how will he live in society? … I guess in contempt and bitterness!” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-dvorkovich-kramnik-on-ending-the-candidates)

I have been amazed at some of the things heard and read. WAKE UP PEOPLE! COVID-19 is not simply going to blow away with the wind. Things will most definitely NOT return to normal, whatever your interpretation of what is ‘normal’. For example:

Scientists warn we may need to live with social distancing for a year or more

Researchers say we face a horrible choice: practice social distancing for months or a year, or let hundreds of thousands die.
By Brian Resnick@B_resnickbrian@vox.com Mar 17, 2020, 12:00pm EDT
https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/3/17/21181694/coronavirus-covid-19-lockdowns-end-how-long-months-years

Or this:

“Americans need to prepare for the possibility of COVID-19 coming back as a seasonal illness,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a White House press briefing on Wednesday.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said there have been cases in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere, which is approaching colder seasons.

“If they have a substantial outbreak, it will be inevitable that we’ll get a cycle around the second time,” he said.”

Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article241513906.html#storylink=cpy

People in the Chess world need to understand that, in the immortal words of Bob Dylan:

In a fight between life and death Chess becomes irrelevant.

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BNTkyMjg0NmItOTIzMS00YzVjLTkzZDQtNTQ0M2Y5OTdkMDkyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDc2NTEzMw@@._V1_.jpg

End The Candidates Tournament Now!

The FIDE Candidates tournament should never have been started. The tournament was begun because Russian dictator Vladimir Putin craves attention in a way only superseded by POTUS Donald John Trump.

https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180717132942-02-trump-putin-summit-0716-opinion-exlarge-169.jpg

Why is it Putin is invariably the only one smiling in pictures taken with Trump?

The Russians cheat at everything they attempt. Because of Russian interference in the previous Presidential election, Hillary Clinton

https://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Hillary+Clinton+yn8UZVJ7oV2m.jpg

was cheated out of becoming POTUS. Everyone other than the thirty something percent of people who support the obviously deranged Trump knows this fact, including the Hitlerian thirty something percent of deranged people who support any clown foisted on them by the Republican party.

The Russians have been banned from participating in the Olympic games in the coming years for cheating. This was a terrible for the ego of Vlad the Impaler because without attention he is nothing. Other than petrol and Chess Russia has nothing. Vlad the Impaler has previously said, “Chess is our Baseball.” Putin would like nothing better than for a Russian to face World Human Chess Co-Champion of Classical Chess Magnus Carlsen.

https://i.pinimg.com/236x/27/a8/8a/27a88adda64a1d4875d7d3cf2cc4d114.jpg

Two of the players, one quarter of the players, currently participating in the 2020 Candidates tournament were not eligible to participate. Kirill Alekseenko,

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/alekseenko-the-candidates-wild-card-should-be-abolished

a Russian, and by far the lowest rated player in the tournament, was a “wild card.” This was, and is, ridiculous to the point of absurdity because the Candidates tournament is played to choose a challenger for the title of World Human Chess Champion. The tournament is far too prestigious to have some local yokel battling against the very best Chess players in the world who have devoted their lives to the game and who have earned entry to the tournament with that hard work over the course of many years.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave,

https://www.mvlchess.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/mvl-1.jpg

from France, was chosen to replace the only sane Chess player involved with the ill-fated Candidates, Teimur Radjabov,

https://thumb.tildacdn.com/tild3836-3335-4465-b537-626162323965/-/contain/760x500/center/center/-/format/webp/11_Tata2019_PHC00098.JPG

from Azerbaijan, who declined to travel to Russia because of the COVID-19 virus. The tournament should have been called off at that moment. If the Chess community felt strongly enough to hold the tournament, then certainly the young player Alekseenko should have been dropped, leaving six players who did qualify to play. But why would Putin agree to such an outcome when having an extra Russian player with no chance of winning the event to possibly take orders, directly from Vlad the Impaler, to intentionally lose to whomever Putin desired? As Chess player Oscar Al Hamilton was fond of saying, “Everything is rigged.” History shows us that is certainly true of Russia.

The tournament continues even with players saying things like this:

“Referring to the worldwide crisis we are going through, Caruana expressed his doubts as to whether he will be able to return to the United States by the time the tournament is over, while Giri is putting all his hopes on the International Chess Federation:

I have faith in a private jet of FIDE, that will fly all players to their houses.

This was certainly the least exciting game of the round. Grischuk did get a little pressure with White, but Ding played it safe once he realized he could get in trouble. After the game, the players were asked about their form. The Coronavirus crisis had a strong impact on Grischuk:

My form is terrible. I don’t want to play at all with all this situation. I mean, when it was beginning I did not have a big opinion, but now for several days I have a very clear opinion: that the tournament should be stopped. I mean, the whole atmosphere is very hostile.

Ding, on the other hand, is enjoying having made an adjustment to his living conditions in Yekaterinburg:

My form is much better comparing to the first two days. Since I moved to a new hotel, I got some fresh air and life became more beautiful.”

https://en.chessbase.com/post/candidates-2020-r5

Anyone who “…has faith in FIDE…” is a fool. Just because Anish Giri

is one of the best human Chess players on the planet does not mean he is intelligent in other facets of life.

How can Fabiano Caruana

https://en.chessbase.com/Portals/all/thumbs/086/86486.jpeg

concentrate on playing Chess when he has “…expressed his doubts as to whether he will be able to return to the United States by the time the tournament is over?” The United States government should send a plane IMMEDIATELY to bring Fabi home! If that is not possible how about the billionaire, who must be losing money as fast as a crazed gambler in Las Vegas, Rex Sinquefield,

https://static.politico.com/dims4/default/fb9ec96/2147483647/resize/1160x/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fs3-origin-images.politico.com%2F2014%2F06%2F20%2F140620_fang_rex_proechel.jpg

sending a plane to Russia to save Caruana. Mr. Sinquefield could possibly pull some strings with other people from the super-wealthy class to make it happen. We are perilously close to a time like the Russian revolution of a century ago with Doctor Zhivago having to share his family mansion with the hoi poi.

Fabiano Caruana deserves a rematch with World Human Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. I call upon Rex Sinquefield to organize a match between the two Co-Classical World Human Chess Champions, as Magnus Carlsen stated, played in the opulent St. Louis Chess Club,

https://s3-media0.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/K0npFO8B2KuaxaHGF9xPCw/o.jpg

in the future, if we make it out of these dire times, played OUTSIDE OF FIDE auspices. The match could be of sixteen games, the number, if memory serves, chosen by former World Chess Champion Mikhail Botvinnik,

who ought to know as he played more matches for the World Chess Championship than any other player, I believe. If tied at the end of regulation then two game mini-matches could be played until there is a winner. Only Mr. Sinquefield could do this because there would be no obstacle to having a match that goes into overtime if held in St. Louis.

We are in the early days of a revolution. Chess will having little meaning in the aftermath of the virus that is changing the world. No matter how this plays out things will NEVER be the same. Certainly Chess will never return to even the weakened status currently held in society. Chess, like other games and sports, will take a back seat to SURVIVAL.

Much was expected of Ding Liren before the tournament but he was forced into isolation because of the COVID-19 virus. That in itself should have been enough for at least a postponement of the 2020 Candidates tournament. Ding said, “My form is much better comparing to the first two days. Since I moved to a new hotel, I got some fresh air and life became more beautiful.” Consider this when considering what isolation has already done to this person:

Man falls to his death from 16th floor of luxury flats during coronavirus isolation

By Andrew Gilpin

22 MAR 2020

A man has fallen to his death from the 16th floor of a luxury apartment block as people self isolate due to coronavirus.

The horror incident in the Tribeca Park apartment block in New York saw him die instantly when he hit the courtyard.

Shocked neighbours said the 64-year-old’s death has left them shaken as they are in quarantine from the deadly disease.

One woman saw what happened when we she went outside to smoke a cigarette told the New York Post: “You have to be mentally strong to take on isolation.

“The uncertainty of what’s going to happen is scary.”

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/man-falls-death-16th-floor-21735275

How can any human play Chess when “The uncertainty of what’s going to happen is scary.”

Where is the outrage from the American Chess community? Surf on over to the USCF website and try finding one word from any leader of US Chess concerning the sordid situation in which We The People find ourselves. I have gone to many Chess website, such as Chessbase, Chess.com, and Chess24, in a futile attempt to read the thoughts of any person in authority. The silence is deafening.

I have expected little from the current leadership of the USCF and have rarely been disappointed. That said, I now call on the Chess community to get “up in arms,” metaphorically speaking, and SPEAK OUT. Now is not the time to remain silent, people.

Like Mrs. Robinson, the world turns it’s lonely eyes to you. (https://genius.com/Simon-and-garfunkel-mrs-robinson-lyrics)

END THE CANDIDATES TOURNAMENT NOW!

 

FIDE Out Of Step With Rest Of World

The 2020 Candidates tournament began today in total disregard for what is happening in the world. This screams

how out of touch is the leadership of FIDE.

This can be seen at the FIDE website:

FIDE as the locomotive of the international chess
— Аркадий Дворкович, Президент Международной шахматной федерации

(Arkady Dvorkovich, President of the International Chess Federation)
https://en.candidates-2020.com/fide

FIDE is currently a runaway train.

Arkady Dvorkovich,

FIDE President, is only a titular figurehead. The real power behind FIDE, and therefore, International Chess, is Vladimir Putin, leader of the Russian ship of state. No decision by anyone in Russia is made without the approval of Vlad the Impaler. This is made clear in the excellent book, Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth by Rachel Maddow.

As former MSNBC host Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews

so eloquently put it, “Russia is a filling station with nukes.” Putin cannot stand being only a small “regional power,” as former POTUS Barack Obama

https://thehill.com/sites/default/files/styles/thumb_small_article/public/blogs/obama2_0.jpg?itok=5Lhux56-

so eloquently stated. Vlad longs to become the Impaler by resurrecting the old Soviet Union.

Vladimir Putin has wreaked havoc in the USA by illegally assisting the whacko, Donald John Trump, in subverting the election process in order to become POTUS. Putin has had a hand in Brexit. Vlad has impaled the rest of the world by fomenting dissension all over the globe. Where ever Putin puts his hands there is death.

It is time for the USCF to part ways with the Putin led FIDE. I call on the movers and shakers at USCF to immediately withdraw from FIDE. The United states of America, and the rest of the world, will be better for it. This is something those in power at USCF should have done a long time ago, but, frankly, there has been no one in a leadership position with the cojones to pull US out of Putin’s FIDE. It is long past time for those in charge of the USCF to “grow a pair.”

What follows is taken from Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett’s excellent website:

Vladimir Kramnik, former World Champion, has saved the reputation of the chess community proving that not all elite chess players are motherless whores only interested in easy money and online celebrity status.

Kramnik was supposed to be part of the Chess24 commentary team catering to the online chess community’s interest in the Candidates Tournament that started today.

Demonstrating utter lack of solidarity with the world community’s struggle against the lethal coronavirus that has already taken thousands of lives, Dvorkovich and some 2000 other brave (?) souls showed up for the opening ceremony last night! None of the participants appeared, apparently afraid of catching the damn virus!

Below is former World Champion Garry Kasparov’s take on things…

 

Kramnik distances himself from Dvorkovich/Covid-19

 

 

 

 

God Save Us All From FIDE

Last night NM Sulaiman Smith made an appearance at the Ironman Chess Club. In 1995 Sulaiman attended the Million Man March in Washington D.C. (https://www.britannica.com/event/Million-Man-March) and former GCA President Thad Rogers began to call him “Sulamillionman,” and then laugh.

When Mr. Smith extended his hand it was greeted by my fist. Sulaiman grinned while turning his hand into a fist, and we then “bumped.” Ever since Barack Obama gave his wife, Michelle, “the fist bump heard round the world”

it was interpreted by most people as the friendly gesture it was meant to be and politicians were soon fist bumping one another on TV chat shows. Some called it the “fist bump of hope”. The more straight-laced New York Times said it was a “closed-fisted high-five”, according to Leonard Doyle writing in the Independent. Unfortunately Leonard also wrote this: “Millions of people saw Mrs Obama daintily bump fists with her husband last week just before he claimed the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination at a rally in St Paul, Minnesota. More common on the sports field, the gesture was decried as “Hizbollah hand jabbing” on the Human Events blog. On Fox News, the host asked, in all seriousness, if it was, “a terrorist fist jab?”.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/was-this-really-a-terrorist-fist-jab-the-right-says-so-845141.html

I liked the bumping of fists as opposed to the antiquated custom of shaking hands, which only spreads germs, and disease. It has been my experience that every time I have greeted a person of color with the fist a smile has been received. After moving into farm country in Lavonia, Georgia, I made the mistake of offering a fist one time and it went around the mostly white community that I was “one of them.” As in, “You know, he’s from Atlanter.” (The misspelling is intentional) Lavonia is deep in the heart of Trump country. I was like a fish out of water for three years before making it back into civilization.

“The handshake has existed in some form or another for thousands of years, but its origins are somewhat murky. One popular theory is that the gesture began as a way of conveying peaceful intentions. By extending their empty right hands, strangers could show that they were not holding weapons and bore no ill will toward one another. Some even suggest that the up-and-down motion of the handshake was supposed to dislodge any knives or daggers that might be hidden up a sleeve.” (https://www.history.com/news/what-is-the-origin-of-the-handshake)

Checking the usual Chess websites today found this article at Chess.com: Coronavirus: Should Players Shake Hands Before A Chess Game? by Peter Doggers. (https://www.chess.com/news/view/coronavirus-shake-hands-before-chess-game) Peter provided a link to the “…upcoming World Senior Team Championship (March 5-15 in Prague)…” and off I went.

Once clicking on (http://www.wstcc2020.net/information/fide-medical-security-protocol/) this was found:

FIDE Medical security protocol

MEDICAL SECURITY POLICY AND PROTOCOL FOR UPCOMING FIDE EVENTS

I will not provide everything given as protocol because you can click onto the link and read it for yourself as it is quite lengthy. I would, though, like to share some of the unbelievably insane things, even for FIDE, written, beginning with number

3. Masks shall be made available for use by participants who have flu-like symptoms

Now I do not know about you but if I were playing in the World Senior Team Championship this would NOT make me feel better about attending the event. It gets worse, or better, depending on your perspective:

Participants who are coughing or sneezing are especially encouraged to use these masks to avoid possible spread of the covid-19 virus.

Yes sir, it certainly would give me a feeling of assurance to know my opponent sitting only a couple of feet across the board was wearing a mask as he was dying of some Wuhan pathogen developed in a not so secret laboratory in China. How about you?

It gets better, or worse, depending…

4. The events rooms shall have proper and well-functioning ventilation and air circulation with fresh air intake.

“This measure will ensure that the air in the meeting rooms is fresh and that the meeting rooms have rapidly circulating air at all times to minimize the risk of transmission of covid-19 virus.”

This did not work well for the unfortunate passengers confined to quarters breathing the “rapidly circulating air at all times” taking a “three hour tour” aboard a cruise ship.

Click on and check this one out:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/02/coronavirus-infections-keep-mounting-after-cruise-ship-fiasco-japan

Now take the “three hour tour” in a minute:

Then there is:

5. Events rooms shall not be overcrowded and there shall be sufficient physical separation between people.

This shall minimize the chances of possible transmission of covid-19 virus between meeting attendees.

Say what?

I love the “sufficient physical separation between people” part considering this headline:

Stand Back: Flu Virus Travels 6 Feet

By Rachael Rettner January 31, 2013

“If you know someone who is suffering from the flu, you might want to keep your distance. Infectious flu-containing particles exhaled by a sick person can travel at least 6 feet, according to a new study.”

https://www.livescience.com/26753-flu-virus-travel-six-feet.html

FIDE has invariably been a place to go for laughs, but this is ridiculous to the point of absurdity, especially considering the very lives of Chess players are concerned, especially so when it comes to Seniors because professionals know the most susceptible among us are male Seniors. For example:

Why the Coronavirus Seems to Hit Men Harder Than Women

Women mount stronger immune responses to infection, scientists say.

 

Coronavirus deaths at Washington nursing home show seniors at high risk of contracting the disease

People over age 50 are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses, and related complications

Published: Mar 2, 2020 3:09 p.m. ET
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/older-people-account-for-more-than-half-of-the-us-coronavirus-cases-are-seniors-at-risk-2020-02-07

Coronavirus’ Top Targets: Men, Seniors, Smokers

Karen Weintraub

February 27, 2020
https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/925855

When it comes to the decisions made by FIDE in the Wuhan pathogen matter I am reminded of a now (in)famous scene from the movie Jaws when the possibility of closing the beach on the fourth of July is being discussed with the mayor, who must decide between people dying or losing money:

When it comes to the life of a human Chess player and money which do you think the F.I.P.s (Fools In Power) within FIDE will choose? As my father, a very religious man, was frequently fond of saying during the sixties and seventies, “God save us all.” I will add, “From FIDE.”

Sam Shankland Is Back On Track

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

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

Back on track
GMShankland

Updated: Feb 24, 2020, 7:17 AM

I finally got my life back on track.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This blog was cross-posted from Facebook.
https://www.chess.com/blog/Shankland/back-on-track-1

 

 

 

Possible Mission?

The moves in bold are only the red colored moves as shown over at the ChessBomb. The game contains other colorful, but not red, moves. The moves in bold are what GM Yasser Seriwan

would call “Howlers.” These two women are “grandmasters,” but I am uncertain if they are grandmasters in the sense of what the GRANDMASTER title should be, meaning GM, whether male or female. It could be that each woman is only a WGM, with ChessBomb leaving off the “W”. This is only one of myriad reasons no title should begin with a “W”! As one of the denizens of the House of Pain asked, “How come a woman can be a Woman Grandmaster, but not a Grandmaster, and why can a man not become a Male Grandmaster without becoming a GM?!” Why indeed…
GM Valentina  Gunina 2461

vs GM Dronavalli Harika 2518

Cairns Cup 2020 round 05

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Be3 Rb8 7. Qd2 b5 8. h3 b4 9. Nd1 Bd7 10. f4 e6 11. Nf3 Nge7 12. h4 Nd4 13. h5 Ba4 14. Rc1 Nec6 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. Bf2 Qa5 17. g4 Bb5 18. h6 Bf6 19. g5 Bd8 20. b3 Rc8 21. O-O O-O 22. Bg3 Qxa2 23. f5 Be7 24. Bh3 exf5 25. exf5 Ra8 26. Nf2 Ne5 27. Ne4 Bxd3 28. Bxe5 Bxe4 29. Bxd4 Qa5 30. Qe3 d5 31. fxg6 hxg6 32. h7+ Kxh7 33. Be6 Bxg5 34. Qxg5 Qd8 35. Bf6 Qb6+ 36. Rf2 fxe6 37. Qh4+ Kg8 38. Qh8+ 1-0

https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2020-cairns-cup/05-Gunina_Valentina-Harika_Dronavalli

Hugh Siddeley 1974 vs Eduardo Osinaga 1697

Duchamp Cup 2020 round 07

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Qxd7 7. Ne2 h6 8. Nbc3 Nf6 9. Ng3 Be7 10. Nh5 O-O 11. Nxf6+ Bxf6 12. Nd5 Bd8 13. g4 Bh4 14. Be3 Na6 15. Rg1 f6 16. Qd2 Bg5 17. O-O-O Qa4 18. Nc3 Bxe3 19. Qxe3 Qb4 20. h4 Qc5 21. Qg3 Rf7 22. Rd2 Nc7 23. g5 fxg5 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. Qxg5 Ne6 26. Qg6 Re8 27. Rh1 Nf4 28. Rh8+ Kxh8 29. Qxf7 Re6 30. Qxb7 Rh6 31. Nd1 Qa5 32. a3 Qc5 33. Kb1 a5 34. Ne3 Kh7 35. Qf7 Rf6 36. Qc4 Qb6 37. Rd1 Rh6 38. Qf7 Nh5 39. Nf5 Qd8 40. Rh1 Qg5 41. Nxh6 Kxh6 42. Rxh5+ Qxh5 43. Qxh5+ Kxh5 44. b4 1-0

https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2020-duchamp-cup/07-Siddeley_Hugh-Osinaga_Eduardo

Valentina Gunina  vs Dronavalli Harika

Cairns Cup 2020 round 05

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Be3 Rb8 7. Qd2 (Komodo plays 7 Nge2) 7…b5 8. h3 b4 (SF 10 plays 8…a5) 9. Nd1 Bd7 (Houdini’s move. Komodo 13.25 @depth 31 plays 9…a5. Komodo 13.02 @depth 28 likes 9…Nf6)

10. f4 (SF 9 @depth 27 shows 10 a3; Komodo @depth 31 plays 10 Ne2) 10…e6 (Other moves are possible, and better, such as 10…Nf6 and 10…Qc8, but best, according to the Fish, is 10…a5)

11. Nf3 Nge7 12. h4 (12 a3) 12…Nd4 13. h5 (13 Bxd4)

13…Ba4?? (RED MOVE! Although this is a ‘forcing’ move it is a terrible move. There was nothing wrong with simply castling, or even 12…Qc7)

14. Rc1?? (RED MOVE! IM Boris Kogan was fond of saying, “He attack, you defend. You attack, he better defend.” 14. Bxd4 Bxd4 15. Nxd4 cxd4 16. b3 is easy to see and is much better for white) 14…Nec6? (14… Nxf3+ 15. Bxf3 looks normal) 15. Nxd4? (15 h6) 15…cxd4 16. Bf2

16…Qa5? (“Why Mike? Why?” Boris would ask as he moved the black pawn from g6 to g5)

17. g4 Bb5 (Stockfish shows three better moves, 17…h6; gxh5; and 0-0) 18. h6 Bf6 19. g5 (SF wants to play 19. a4 Qxa4 20. b3 Qa5 before playing 21. g5. Other, stronger, players, when annotating a game have been known to add “This is a computer move,” here, as if we humans are not strong enough to understand the program’s logic. I reject this. There is no such thing as a “computer move.” The better moves are there, even if some human Grandmasters cannot fathom the logic behind the better move. It is my contention that there is no such thing as a “computer move” except in the weak mind of the human who continues to write such nonsense)

19…Bd8 (19…Be7 looks natural, does it not?) 20. b3 Rc8? (The two best moves in the position are 20…Qxa2 and 20…e5) 21. O-O O-O (21…e5) 22. Bg3 Qxa2 (again 22…e5) 23. f5

23…Be7 (RED MOVE! 23…Ne5 is much better)

24. Bh3 (24 Nf2 or f6 are better) 24…exf5? (24…gxf5) 25. exf5 Ra8? (PINK MOVE!) 26. Nf2 (26 f6)

26…Ne5?? (RED MOVE!)

27. Ne4? (RED MOVE! 27. Bxe5 dxe5 28. Ra1 and it’s, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over…”) 27…Bxd3? (PURPLE move! 27…Qa5)

28. Bxe5? (RED MOVE! 28 fxg6) 28…Bxe4 29. Bxd4 (PURPLE move! 29. Bxd6 Bxd6 30. Qxd4) 29…Qa5 (PINK move! 29…Qa6) 30. Qe3 (30. Rce1) 30…d5? (RED MOVE! 30… Rae8 31. Qxe4 Bxg5 32. Qg4 Bxc1 33. Rxc1 has got to be better) 31. fxg6 hxg6 (RED MOVE! Not that it matters…) 32. h7+ Kxh7 33. Be6 (RED MOVE! Play 33 Bc8 and put the woman outta her misery, for crying out loud…not that it matters…) 33…Bxg5 34. Qxg5 Qd8 35. Bf6 Qb6+ 36. Rf2 fxe6 37. Qh4+ Kg8 38. Qh8+ 1-0

 

Hugh Siddeley 1974 vs Eduardo Osinaga 1697

Duchamp Cup 2020 round 07

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Qxd7 7. Ne2 h6 8. Nbc3 Nf6 9. Ng3 Be7 10. Nh5 O-O 11. Nxf6+ Bxf6 12. Nd5 Bd8 13. g4 Bh4 14. Be3 Na6 15. Rg1 f6 16. Qd2 Bg5 17. O-O-O Qa4 18. Nc3 Bxe3 19. Qxe3 Qb4 20. h4 Qc5

Now the fun begins…

21. Qg3? (Qh3) Rf7? (Nc7) 22. Rd2? (g5) Nc7? (Raf8) 23. g5 fxg5 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. Qxg5 Ne6? (Re8)

26. Qg6? (Qh4) Re8? (Nf4) 27. Rh1 Nf4 28. Rh8+ Kxh8 29. Qxf7 Re6 30. Qxb7 Rh6 31. Nd1 Qa5 32. a3 Qc5? (Kh7) 33. Kb1? (b4) a5? (Qa5) 34. Ne3 Kh7? (Ne6) 35. Qf7? (Rd1) Rf6? (Qc8) 36. Qc4? (Qd7) Qb6? (Qxc4) 37. Rd1 Rh6? (Qb7) 38. Qf7 Nh5? (Qd8) 39. Nf5? (Qf5+) Qd8 40. Rh1 Qg5 41. Nxh6 Kxh6 42. Rxh5+ Qxh5 43. Qxh5+ Kxh5 44. b4 1-0

Before completing this post an email was received from my friend Michael Mulford who, frankly, is one of the best reasons to be involved with Chess. Michael has been one of the “good” guys involved with the Royal game and has now become one of the “Great” guys.

nocaB,

Since I saw the first game live I can’t fairly take your challenge and I’m thus not copying the others. But just for the fun of it I decided to see how long the opening in the second game stayed in book. Using chess.com’s opening library I found – the whole game! And it’s just a couple days old and apparently an on-line game. So what on earth led you to select that particular game. That might make a good followup, and I suspect you plan to answer that in your story.

Since I already knew the answer, I Fritzed the games. The accuracy percentage on the first one was something like 32% for the winner and 45% for the loser. In the second game it was 62% for the winner and 26%. That’s remarkably accurate for white in an on-line game if it was a fast time control, but perhaps not so unreasonable if it was a 3 day per move game.

Feel free to use my comments when you post the answer.

Mulfish

First, I was unaware chess.com even had an opening library. As regular readers know I use the ChessBaseDataBase and 365Chess. I was also unaware a game could be “Fritzed.” At one time I had an older Fritz on my laptop, but it sputtered to death and I have no “engine” at all.

What led me to the game is that I played the Closed Sicilian “back in the day” and have actually had the position from the Gunina vs Harika after seven moves on a board during a regulation USCF rated tournament several times. I invariably played 8 a3, so 8 h3 looks really weird. I do not even want to contemplate what IM Boris Kogan would have said, or how he would have looked, if I had produced played such a weak move.

As for the second game, Siddeley vs Osinaga, I was attracted to the tournament because I am currently reading a new book, which will soon be reviewed, Duchamp’s Pipe: A Chess Romance–Marcel Duchamp and George Koltanowski, by Celia Rabinovitch, which is difficult to put down. Unfortunately the games from the tournament could not be found at Mark Crowther’s unbelievably excellent The Week In Chess. I prefer TWIC because there is no engine analysis to cloud my judgement. I mean, what’s the point of watching a Chess game being played if one is spoon-fed? Therefore, I watched the games at the Bomb, where even if one covers the analysis one can still see the colorful moves as they are displayed onscreen. The thing I liked is that I was unfamiliar with most of the combatants and therefore had no idea what the opponents were rated. I decided to keep it that way until the tournament ended, giving me as an objective mind as possible. I made an attempt to ascertain the rating of each player during the tournament, which was made somewhat easier by the colorful moves. I suppose there were many games I could have used for contrast, but the aforementioned game just happened to be the one used. As an example, what do you think the players who produced this opening were rated?

1 e4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+ Bd7 4 Bxd7+ Qxd7 5 O-O c5

The games were played during the late afternoon into the evening in Atlanta, which was real nice. Until the last round, which was today. I was shocked, SHOCKED to discover the games were concluding when I checked earlier today. A sickening feeling came over me as I railed against stupidity of the organizers who would hold a tournament with every round beginning later in the day except the final round. Chess players get into a routine and are thrown out of it by Fools In Power! I digress…After the penultimate round I decided to surf on over to Chess-Results.com and learn the ratings of the players before watching the last round.

As for the opening…Believe it or not this game was played in the sixth round by GM Gilberto Hernandez Guerrero 2557 vs GM Neuris Delgado Ramirez 2634. You can look it up…(https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2020-duchamp-cup/06-Hernandez_Guerrero_Gilberto-Delgado_Ramirez_Neuris)

I give the full game because I want to show a position deriving from the endgame analysis by Stockfish:

1. e4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. O-O c5 6. Re1 Nc6 7. c3 e6 8. d4 cxd4 9. cxd4 d5 10. e5 Ng8 11. b3 h5 12. Ba3 Bxa3 13. Nxa3 Nge7 14. Qd2 Nf5 15. Rac1 Qe7 16. Nc2 O-O 17. g3 Rfc8 18. Kg2 Rc7 19. Ne3 Nxe3+ 20. Rxe3 a5 21. Rec3 Rac8 22. h4 Nb4 23. Rxc7 Rxc7 24. Rxc7 Qxc7 25. a3 Nc2 26. a4 (26. Qg5 Nxa3 27. Qxh5 Qc2 28. Qg5 Qc7 29. h5 Kh7 30. g4 Nb5 31. Qf4 Nc3 32. Ng5+ Kg8 33. Qe3 Ne4 34. Nxe4 dxe4 35. Qxe4 Qc3 36. Qe3 Qxe3 37. fxe3 b5 38. e4 a4 39. bxa4 bxa4 40. d5 a3 41. d6)

Nb4 27. Kf1 Qc2 28. Qxc2 Nxc2 ½-½

 

 

 

 

 

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…

 

 

 

 

 

Yakov Vilner First Ukrainian Chess Champion and First USSR Chess Composition Champion: A Review

Having earlier reviewed Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/02/24/alekhines-odessa-secrets-chess-war-and-revolution-a-review/) I was pleased when a new book, published by Elk and Ruby (http://www.elkandruby.com/) and by the same author, Sergei Tkachenko,

appeared in the mailbox. Yakov Vilner: First Ukrainian Chess Champion and First USSR Chess Composition Champion,

is the follow up to the aforementioned book.

Tkrachenko writes in the introduction to the latter book, “I found clear evidence that the versions that Alekhine was saved by important Soviet functionaries were incorrect. Historical facts and memoirs pointed to the undoubted fact that his salvation was down to the modest Jewish lad Yakov Vilner, who at the time the grandmaster was arrested was working as a clerk in the Odessa revolutionary tribunal.

Naturally, I wanted to find out more about this figure. However, it transpired that there was little ready information about Vilner. Even his date of birth was unknown. Well, I then spent eight years researching him until the curtain of mysteriousness finally fell! I now saw a vivid and gifted personality who had the “luck” to live in such turbulent times.

Moreover, I collected so much material that on the advice of historians among my friends I decided to split it into two books, with the material on Alexander Alekhine’s three trips to Odessa compiled as a separate book (subsequently published later in 2016 in Russian and in 2018 in English, as Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets: Chess, War and Revolution, which was short-listed for the 2018 English Chess Federation Book of the Year).

The book you are now reading was originally intended as a prelude to the book on Alekhine and is devoted to the first Ukrainian Chess Champion, first USSR Chess Composition Champion and first Odessa Master Yakov Semionovich Vilner, who in 1919 managed to save Alekhine from death and thereby cange the courst of chess history.”

Before reading the two books by Sergei Tkachenko what I knew about Ukraine could be summed up in the sentence, “Ukraine was the breadbasket of the USSR.” Because of the attempt of the Commander in Thief of the DisUnited States of America, Donald John (has any POTUS ever had a better fitting middle name?) Trumpster to gain another term as POTUS by strong arming the young President of Ukraine that country has been in the news often this year. In an attempt to learn more about Ukraine I recently watched two documentaries, Ukraine on Fire, and Revealing Ukraine. Oliver Stone

is the Executive Producer, which was all I needed to know to watch. My knowledge of Ukraine was increased exponentially by watching the films, which were viewed between reading the two aforementioned books.

From a historical perspective I enjoyed the book, yet wondered how many others would be interested in what was happening in Chess a century ago. The first book was about a former World Chess Champion with a backdrop of radical political change containing firing squads for those with a different political thought. Firing squads feature in the Vilner book but the drama is lacking. Yakov Vilner was obviously a fine Chess player, but unfortunately, his health was sometimes bad because he had asthma. Thus, his Chess results were rather erratic. The same can be said about the Chess games. For example, the second game, versus Boris Koyalovich, features 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 f6? I kid you not. This is the kind of move Chess teachers of children often encounter. The author writes, “One of the weakest ways to defend the Spanish. Koyalovich clearly chooses it to avoid the well-known variations.” I’ll say! This game was played during the Tournament of Kislovodsk in 1917.

When healthy Yakov Vilner was the best player in Odessa, and Ukraine. He was good enough to finish in a three way tie for sixth place in the eighteen player 3rd tournament Championship of the USSR in 1924 played in Moscow in August/September.

Some of the games are interesting and the annotations are excellent. For example, consider this game from the 4th USSR Championship played in Leningrad 1925:

Yakov S Vilner

vs Boris Verlinsky

URS-ch04 Leningrad 1925

E00 Queen’s pawn game

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 b6 4.e4 Bb4 5.Bd3 Bb7 6.Qc2 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 d6 8.Ne2 c5 9.O-O Nbd7 10.Ng3 Qc7 11.f4 cxd4 12.cxd4 Rc8 13.e5 Nd5 14.Qb3 Ne7 15.Ba3 d5 16.Rac1 Qd8 17.f5 O-O 18.f6 gxf6 19.exf6 Ng6 20.Bxg6 hxg6 21.Be7 Qe8 22.Qe3 Kh7 23.Nf5 1-0

The author writes, “A game of fireworks! Interestingly, almost all of white’s moves were consistent with Rybka’s first line. In our days that might have led to allegations of cheating!” This is a sad indictment of modern Chess. Spurious allegations by Chess.com, for example, have forced former online players to go elsewhere. An example can be found at GM Kevin’s Spraggett’s wonderful blog with the post, Blogger’s Reputation Intentionally Smeared? (https://www.spraggettonchess.com/chesscom-caught-cheating/) Reading the article caused me to do some checking around and one of the things learned was that one local youngster was given the boot from chess.com for allegedly “boosting.” The youngster was accused of creating false accounts to play in order to beat them and “boost” his rating. The youngster did no such thing, yet had no recourse other than to leave chess.com and play at one of the other, more reputable, websites. How many players have been falsely accused by chess.com ?

Another game from the same tournament attests to the strength of Vilner.

Efim Bogoljubow

vs Yakov S Vilner

URS-ch04 Leningrad 1925

D49 Queen’s Gambit Declined semi-Slav, Meran, Sozin variation

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.e3 e6 5.Nc3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.e5 cxd4 11.Nxb5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 axb5 13.O-O Qd5 14.Qf3 Ba6 15.Bg5 Be7 16.Rfc1 O-O 17.Qh3 h6 18.Bf4 Bb7 19.Re1 Bb4 20.Re2 Rxa2 21.Rf1 Rfa8 22.f3 Bf8 23.Ng4 Nxg4 24.Qxg4 Qb3 25.Bb1 Rxb2 26.Ree1 d3 27.Rc1 Ra1 28.Bc2 Rxc1 0-1

The annotations to both games were provided by Yakov Vilner. The author writes, “Naturally, I wanted to find out more about this figure. However, it transpired that there was little ready information about Vilner. Even his date of birth was unknown. Well, I then spent eight years researching him until the curtain of mysteriousness finally fell! I now saw a vivid and gifted personality who had the “luck” to live in such turbulent times.”

Vilner was very ill for a time and the title of one chapter is, How To Combine Treatment With Playing. Then came the Odessa Championship tournament of 1927.

“At first, everything went to plan. On 12 April the 12 best players of Odessa began their battle for the city championship. After round 4 Vilner headed the field with a perfect score. But then his illness returned. The tournament committee managed to postpone several of Vilner’s games so that he could complete the tournament. His short rest brought dividends. After round 8 Yakov Semionovich was still a point ahead of Sergei Ballodit and 1.5 ahead of Dmitry Russo. Vilner then had to play each of them in the final rounds. Such intrigue would have been hard to make up! A reporter hiding behind the initials AMO shared his observations in the newspaper Odessa Izvestia. The column was entitled Before the end and stated:

“Final games. Vilner-Ballodit. Two stubborn “wolf-dogs”. They will battle to the end, to the final pawn. They both possess deep theoretical preparation and have mastered the complex meandering of combinational play. Who will come out on top? So they begin. We see agile bishops slipping out. Knights crawling over the heads of pawns. Carefully feeling out the paths, the queen emerges.
A schematic position has already appeared. Vilner “presses”. With an apparently strong front, Vilner strides towards a difficult but possible victory. Vilner analyzes dozens of variations. He thinks ahrd. But the clock isn’t sleeping. Maestro, time is running out. The maestro makes his move. Then another and another. Time is running out. He needs to catch up.
Well, his opponent is “time-rich”, and coldly calculating. time-trouble disrupts the accuracy of the plan. “Enemy” pieces ahve already broken through. One blunder and it’s death. A crush is close… The game cannot be saved. Destruction…”

This reminded me of the battles between IM Boris Kogan and LM Klaus Pohl, the German Shepard, ‘back in the day’. Boris usually took the measure of Klaus, but occasionally the Krazy Kraut would do the measuring. Ballodit played second fiddle to Vilner, but took over first position in this particular tournament.

Also found is this:

“In order to popularize chess, two rounds were played at factories in the city: at the jute factory and the leather goods factory. “Chess to the masses”, as the slogan went! But of course sharp games are the best adverts for chess.” (The USSR was as full of slogans as it was full of excrement)

Vilner finished near the bottom of the Fifth championship of the USSR in 1927, but did inflict a defeat upon future World champion Botvinnik in the tournament.

Yakov S Vilner vs Mikhail Botvinnik

URS-ch05
Moscow 1927
A45 Queen’s pawn game

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Qd3 g6 4.h3 Nc6 5.Bf4 Bf5 6.Qd2 Bg7 7.e3 O-O 8.g4 Bc8 9.Bg2 Re8 10.Nf3 Ne4 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.Ne5 Be6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bxe4 Bd5 15.Qd3 e5 16.dxe5 Bxe5 17.Bxd5 cxd5 18.Bxe5 Rxe5 19.O-O-O c6 20.h4 Qd7 21.Qc3 Rae8 22.Rd4 Qd6 23.h5 c5 24.Rdd1 Re4 25.hxg6 Qxg6 26.Rxd5 Rxg4 27.Qxc5 Rg2 28.Rd2 Qg4 29.Rhd1 h5 30.Rd8 Rxd8 31.Rxd8+ Kh7 32.Rd4 Rg1+ 33.Kd2 Rd1+ 34.Kc3 Rxd4 35.Qxd4 Qg5 36.Qd7 h4 37.Kd2 Kg6 38.Qh3 Qd5+ 39.Ke2 Qe4 40.Kf1 Kh6 41.f3 Qxe3 42.Qxh4+ 1-0

We humans like to speculate about “what if?” As in, “What if Klaus Junge

had not died in World War Two?” (http://tartajubow.blogspot.com/2011/01/klaus-junge.html) How many players have died needlessly on a battlefield somewhere in yet another war without end? Hopefully, one day peace will break out… Reading this book brought another to light.

Alexander Moiseevich Evenson (1892-1919)

“He became recognized as a top chess player in 1913 after winning the All-Russian amateurs tournament with a score of 6.5 out of 7! He edited the chess column of the newspaper Kievan Thought (Kievskaya Mysl) (1914). Graduated from the Law Faculty of the Stl Vladimir Kiev University. Fought in WWI. Served in the cavalry and was injured. A Knight of the Order of St. George. Died in the Civil War. According to one version, he served in Kiev as an investigator of the military-revolutionary tribunal and was shot by a Denikin forces’ firing squad after the latter captured the city. Another version has that Evenson actually signed up as a volunteer for Denikin’s white army and was killed in unclear circumstances. Alekhine and Capablanca considered Evenson to be one of the most talented chess players of his time.

The 6th Championship of the USSR was held in Odessa from September, 2-20, 1929. Because of the large number of participants it came to be thought of as “Odessa roulette”. There were so many players because the Communists in charge wanted to welcome “the masses.”

“A record number of players took part – 36! Of these, 14 were masters and 22 were first category players. How were such a large number of players to be paired off? Oddly enough, the tournament had no clear regulations. It was all decided on an ad hoc basis. At the opening, the organizing committee proposed two options for holding the tournament to the players: either six groups each with six players and one game per day, or four groups each with nine players and three games every two days. The majority voted for the second option, which was later subject to harsh criticism… by the very same players. That’s democracy for you!”

The infamous communist apparatchik, Nikolai Krylenko,

who in the 1930s headed the Soviet chess and checkers associations. (https://www.chess.com/blog/Spektrowski/nikolai-krylenko-the-main-goals-of-the-chess-checkers-movement-1931) (https://spartacus-educational.com/RUSkrylenko.htm), wrote in Chess List:

“The outcome of the USSR championship has given rise to a number of critical articles in our periodical publications, most of which lack sufficient objectivity.”

Objectivity being whatever Lenin or Stalin said…

“Many secrets of the championship remained backstage. The biggest one was Izmailov’s withdrawal from the final. The master’s son recalled:

This championship could well have become Izmailov’s hour in the sun. He was only 23,
he was gaining ground and his game was blossoming, but alas, my father didn’t play in the final. Why? I attempted to establish this but failed to do so. In Chess List Duz-Khotimirsky wrote about “the need to take university exams”. Kan in 64 writes that Izmailov withdrew from the tournament at his own volition. Pravada and Izvestiia referred to illness, while Komsomolskaya Pravda cited exhaustion. Half a century later, recalling this episode, my mother told me that in the mid 1930’s she and my father held a conversation on this subject (they didn’t yet know each other in 1929), and he confirmed that he was healthy and ready to continue the battle, but he was forced to leave…

So who forced Izmailov to leave Odessa? Whom was this talented chess player impeding? Is fecit cui prodest (“it was done by the person for whom it was advantageous”). Seven years after the Odessa tournament ended, Piotr Izmailov was arrested by the NKVD and accused of “Trotskyist-Fascist activity”. He was eventually sentenced to the firing squad on 21 April 1937 and executed the next day.”

As for the protagonist, “At the end of October 1930, Vilner moved to live in Leningrad. Is it not surprising that a person suffering from serious asthma suddenly abandons the warm Odessa climate with its curative sea air in favor of the rainy climate of Northern Palmyra? I consulted with doctors specializing in heart and respiratory illnesses what such a change of environment could bring. They told me that it would mean serious stress on the body and was quite a suicidal step! So why did Vilner, despite his illness, prefer Leningrad? Had he planned this change of residence in advance?”

“At the end of the 1920s the political climate in Odessa worsened, as it did throughout the country. The ideological war against Trotsky and his supporters

(https://www.newyorker.com/sections/news/putins-russia-wrestles-with-the-meaning-of-trotsky-and-revolution)

reached an apex by the beginning of 1929. At the end of January, the former Minister for War and Naval Matters was secretly transported along with his family from exile in Almaty to Odessa. It was here that the ferry with the symbolic name Illych awaited him. On the night before 11 February the ferry set course for Constantinople accompanied by an icebreaker and government officials, and the next day Trotsky reached Turkey. With Trotsky’s expulsion, the USSR intensified its purges of his supporters and mentors. Christian Rakovsky, the protector of Alexander Alekhine and one of the leaders of Soviet power in Ukraine, was cruelly punished. He had been expelled from the party back in 1927 and then sent to internal exile in Barnaul in 1929. His party membership card was returned to him in 1935 and he was even entrusted to head the All-Union Red Cross society, but not for long. He was arrested in 1937, sentenced to 20 years in jail, and then shot at the start of the war. Vilner also suffered during the battle against Trotskyism.”

It seems Vilner chose the wrong side…

“Vilner didn’t quite live to the age of Christ – he was granted less than 32 years on this earth. Yakov Rokhlin published an obituary on the Odessite in the June edition of Chess List (1931): “Soviet chess players have endured a heavy loss. Master Yakov Semionovich Vilner died on 29 June at &pm in Leningrad after a lengthy illness…”

The book is replete with many interesting Chess games and annotations. In addition, it contains ninety five problems and studies, and if you are into that kind of thing this book is simply de rigeur.

After an email discussion with Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam,

editor of New In Chess magazine, I have decided to forgo the usual star system and grade the way teachers still grade papers, even if they are written in digits now, with A+ being the top of the line and “F” as in “failure” as the bottom. This book deserves the grade “A”.

The Immoral Chess Game

The 2019 Jerusalem Grand Prix began yesterday. Every game was drawn. The following “game”, and I use the word loosely,  was the first to finish.

Ian Nepomniachtchi vs Boris Gelfand

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5 4. Bc4 Be7 5. d3 d6 6. Nd2 Nf6 7. Nd5 O-O 8. Nf1 Nxd5 9. Bxd5 Be6 10. Ne3 ½-½

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5 (SF 10 @depth 60 plays the game move; SF 180516 @depth 42 plays 3…e6, the most often played move. Komodo prefers 3…g6) 4. Bc4 Be7 (SF 10 @depth 49 plays the move in the game, while SF 261119 prefers 4…d6) 5. d3 d6 (Houdini plays this move but Stockfish prefers 5…Nf6) 6. Nd2 (Houdini plays the most often played move according to the CBDB, 6 0-0. Stockfish 10 plays the seldom played 6 h3) 6…Nf6 (SF 8 @depth 39 plays the game move, but SF 220619 @depth 50 prefers 6…Bg5. See Petrosian vs Smirnov below) 7. Nd5 (This is a TN. 7 Nf1 is the choice of Stockfish and 99% of human players. There must be a reason…)

Tigran L Petrosian (2573) vs Pavel Smirnov (2623)

Event: EU-Cup 22nd
10/12/2006

ECO: B30 Sicilian defence

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d3 d6 6.Nd2 Bg5 7.h4 Bh6 8.Qh5 Qd7 9.Nd5 Rb8 10.c3 Qd8 11.Ne3 Qf6 12.Ndf1 Nge7 13.Ng4 Bxg4 14.Qxg4 Bxc1 15.Rxc1 b5 16.Bb3 c4 17.Bc2 cxd3 18.Bxd3 b4 19.cxb4 Nxb4 20.Bb1 Nxa2 21.Bxa2 Rxb2 22.Rc8+ Nxc8 23.Qxc8+ Qd8 24.Qc6+ Ke7 25.Qd5 Qc8 26.Bc4 Rb1+ 27.Ke2 Qe6 28.Ne3 Rb2+ 29.Kf3 Rc8 30.Ra1 Qxd5 31.Nxd5+ Kd8 32.Bd3 Rb7 33.h5 Rc5 34.Ra6 Kd7 35.g3 f5 36.Ke3 g5 37.h6 f4+ 38.Kf3 Rb3 39.Rxa7+ Kd8 40.Kg4 Rxd3 41.Rxh7 fxg3 42.fxg3 Rc4 43.Rh8+ 1-0

What the fans of the Royal game thought about the Nepo v Gelfand game can be found in the “chat” section of the ChessBomb:

1UpliftMofo: first!
VLADACVAL: Go Ian!
Manolo: Go Boris ! Pas de cadeau !
190tkc: Boris!!
shtighnits: Congrats. This game was a real masterpiece.
Owy: inspiring game
VLADACVAL: bad, Ian, very bad
VSyl23: Ian is really not Candidates material…
Owy: maybe we can call this “Gelfand’s immortal”?
LeVieuxKorsoerer: Rather “Gelfand’s immoral one”
LeVieuxKorsoerer: But Ian is to blame all the same
shtighnits: Games like these should be sent to all organizers and financial supporters of chess tournaments.
Arbitru: Fighting spirit…
Feanor: Nepo n’a pas l’air motivé
Bonifratz: brilliancy prize candidate
da96103: Ian draws so fast with white? He needs at least 11 points from this tourney, or is he counting on the wildcard.
Sasori: nepo just wants to go to rapid as quickly as possbile, needs to win event
kosnik: Nepo will be the wild card
rofl: he’s just trying to avoid trouble in Israel
Seneca: What an absolute shame!
shtighnits: My sixty miserable draws.

https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-jerusalem-grand-prix/1-01-Nepomniachtchi_Ian-Gelfand_Boris

New In Chess magazine, still the best Chess magazine on the planet, posed this question to Simen Agdestein in the “Just Checking” section that ends every issue:

If you could change any thing in the chess world, what would it be?

Simen Agdestein: “Stop agreed draws. That’s match-fixing and cheating and not OK.”

 

Ian Nepomniachtchi Interview: ‘I Dislike Players Who Buy And Sell Games’‎

https://www.chess.com/article/view/ian-nepomniachtchi-chess-interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stinking It Up At The Sinquefield Cup

The players continue to making headlines at the Sinquefield Cup:

Sinquefield Cup: 6 Games, 6 Draws In 6th Round

By IM Rakesh

After yesterday’s rest day, everyone expected some action at the 2019 Sinquefield Cup! But round six saw an anti-climatic end to a round…

Sinquefield Cup Sees Another All-Draw Day In Round 7

By IM Rakesh

It was a new day, a new round but sadly the same old story at the 2019 Sinquefield Cup. Round seven again ended with all draws. (https://www.chess.com/news)

What do We The Fans of Chess think of the death of Chess by draw demonstrated in St. Louis? The chatterers over at the ChessBomb weighed in with these thoughts:

Sasori: if you look at teh mini match of caruana, nakamura, dominguez and so, it was all drawn

Sasori: no suprise

Sasori: BUT: Naka hasnt won a single classical game against a decent palyer in whole 2019!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

columbeau: thos who preach peace don’t have peace

kambodja: soon they will exhaust, and mistakes will follow

shtighnits: 42 games, 38 draws.

oneEfour: one of the worst tournaments I’ve seen in a long time

oneEfour: draw draw draw

cappiness: if all players become tired and exhausted now, the games are draw anyway

Rambus: Rex has been taken to the cleaners

Rambus: I wonder if he can press charges against them for conspiring to defraud him

jphamlore: Not far off from the decisive result of the Petrosian Memorial 1999.

https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2019-grand-chess-tour-sinquefield-cup

Petrosian Memorial (1999)

So here’s the idea. To commemorate the 15th anniversary of the death of former World Champion Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian and the 70th of his birth, a memorial tournament was organized in Moscow featuring ten of his contemporaries:
Yuri Balashov (50); Svetozar Gligoric (76); Vlastimil Hort (55); Borislav Ivkov (65); Bent Larsen (64); Lajos Portisch (62); Vasily Smyslov (78); Boris Spassky (62); Mark Taimanov (73); Vitaly Tseshkovsky (54).
Sounds nice, but think about it. Ten players, ranging in age from 50 to 78, playing in a . So how do you best honor Tigran Petrosian?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts
01 Ivkov * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 5.0
02 Portisch ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5.0
03 Taimanov ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.5
04 Spassky ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.5
05 Smyslov ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.5
06 Hort ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.5
07 Balashov ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ 4.5
08 Tseshkovsky 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * 1 ½ 4.5
09 Gligoric ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 * ½ 4.0
10 Larsen ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * 4.0

This could be regarded as the Least Interesting Tournament in the World, with 42 draws in 45 games and five of the ten players drawing every game.
So who stepped out of line? Larsen, of course, but you have to expect that. The big offender was the youthful Tseshkovsky, with two decisive results in the first four rounds. I imagine his elders sat him down and told him to get with the program, and he took the advice: every game in the last five rounds was drawn.
But mocking and criticizing this tournament is the wrong attitude to take. Instead, it should probably be regarded more as an exhibition than a truly serious competition. Many sports will have “Old-Timers” games, where retired players will dress up in their uniforms and go through the motions. The attraction is not who wins or loses or what the final score is, but just watching the legends of long ago gathered together – here, in tribute to a fallen comrade.
Original collection: Game Collection: Petrosian Memorial 1999, by User: Phony Benoni.
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chess.pl?tid=80793

Phony Benoni seems to consider the Petrosian Memorial 1999 an aberration, attributing it to the age of the participants. The players stinking it up at the Sinquefield Cup are still mostly young men half the age of those who battled at the Petrosian Memorial. What is their excuse?

Losers In The Game

The endless years and hardluck tales,
and some that have just moved on,
I guess it could be envy
when I wonder what’s gone wrong
Fingers point at all the problems,
but that won’t change my mind
I must have been held back
in hardknox school a few more times

A few more years, a few more tears,
are we the losers in the game?
When time is done and kingdom come,
we’ll not be losers in the game!

No one ever said it’s easy to watch the world go by
Console myself by trying and trying,
and trying just one more time
Put on a smile and fake your way in through another door
But only if you have more luck than a thousand times before

A few more years, a few more tears,
are we the losers in the game?
When time is done and kingdom come,
we’ll not be losers in the game!

Try again, change direction, spend more money,
new horizons, what’s it gonna be?
Take your hits, I hate my job, live like who,
think like what, no thanks I’ll just stay me

A few more years, a few more tears,
are we the losers in the game?
When time is done and kingdom come,
we’ll not be losers in the game!
http://www.darklyrics.com/lyrics/metalchurch/hanginginthebalance.html#2

All Your Sorrows

Metal Church

[D. Wayne / K. Vanderhoof]

Times like these to people please
Fables spread like some disease
New age gods like old facades
Write a book
You’ll like the odds
Inventing gods
Old facades

Take apart human heart you will start
Through the doorway of all your sorrows
Beginning to pull you away

In the night the sometimes light
The seasons which run out of time
When I press this game of chess
I always end with something less

You’ve made a mess
Of your Sunday best

In search of the answers, what never should be
Laughter erupts from primordial sea
Standing there naked with bended knee
All of your works face eternity

So though I play the same each day
When faced with pain I often pray
Take my hand you’ll understand
The place we go is no-mans land
http://www.darklyrics.com/lyrics/metalchurch/masterpeace.html#7