After vowing to leave the games played by the so-called “Super” Grandmasters alone my mind was changed after watching a game from the ongoing Sinquefield Cup Chess tournament being played at the St. Louis Chess Campus. Although it seems like yesterday when GM Caruana was equal to World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen in the only games that really matter, classical games, the fact is that was a pandemic ago. Fabiano has not been the same player, while Magnus has become the G.O.A.T. You can argue for your favorite Chess player of all time but the fact is that every generation is better than its predecessor because they stand on the shoulders of the giants who preceded them. In addition, Magnus has tools of which former World Champions could only dream. Because of the computer programs my understanding is much better because of the games played by the best programs, even if I cannot demonstrate it over the board because of my advanced age.
One can only speculate, but for my money if there had not been a pandemic and a Alireza Firouzja, GM Caruana would have had another chance to play for the World Championship. After the young Firouzja went full tilt and completely melted down in the most recent Candidates tournament Fabiano began flinging pawns at his opponents like they were spears. He began playing wildly aggressive Chess like that seen decades ago. Unfortunately, it has continued… Examine this position and determine what move you would make after first listing your candidate moves, then return to the blog:
The position emanates from the game between Fabiano Caruana and Lenier Dominguez in the second round of the ongoing Sinquefield Cup Chess tournament being played at the St. Louis Chess Campus.
Caruana played 12 g4, the move I would have played at the Stein Club in the 1970s. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/06/06/shanglei-lu-seeks-bishops-opening-truth/) Truth be told, I would probably have played that move in a USCF tournament ‘back in the day’. 12 Rhe1 was a candidate move, as was 12 Kb1. If I could speak to IM of GM strength Boris Kogan about now I would say, “It has taken a lifetime, Boris, but I have finally found understanding, or at least some understanding.” He would laugh uproariously. The Stockfish program at LiChess.com gives 12 a3 as best. It was not one of my choices. The diagram contains an arrow showing the pawn to be moved, and 12 a3 is given in the note up top, but down below the Stockfish program shows this: “Inaccuracy. Rhe1 was best”, and it gives a line six moves deep to prove it. What I want to know is, which is it? By the way, according to the analysis program at LiChess the best move is 12 Bb5. I cannot make this up. In the only game found at 365Chess.com the move 12 Kb1 was played, and it was on my short list of candidate moves.
The position is taken from the same game, and GM Lenier Dominguez has just played his Rook to f8 attacking the white Queen. Nevertheless, it is a losing move after Caruana plays the Queen to d7. Unfortunately, Fabiano lost the thread and played 27 Qe4, which is, like the previous move made by GM Dominguez, given not one, but two question marks. It seems we Chess fans have seen an inordinate number of “double blunders” since Magnus Carlsen, in his World Championship match with Vishy Anand, blundered horribly, but was let off of the hook when Anand immediately returned the favor.
Surely Caruana must have seen Qd7, yet played the much inferior move. Why? Consider this recent quote by Fabiano Caruana: “I realised something, which is that, even though I played pretty awfully recently, I do destroy one opening, which is the Najdorf. All my wins are in this one opening.”
When a player, not just a Chess player, but any ‘player’, is “in form” good moves seem to flow, but when a player is not in form he begins to second guess himself. My father was fond of saying, “Think long, think wrong.” There is much to be said for it because the longer one thinks the less intuition is involved. The number of times I saw the right move intuitively but allowed the ‘logical’ part of my thought process to make a weaker move could not be counted without a calculator. Talking yourself out of listening to yourself is a bad place to be for any player of games.
Upon awakening this morning it was my intention to end this blog. I am not getting any younger, and the re-election of the corrupt Russian stooge and lackey for mad Vlad Putin, Arkady Dvorkovich, who won “by a landslide,” disgusted and bummed me out. The headline at Chess24 says it all: Dvorkovich re-elected FIDE President by landslide.
The first paragraph says it all: “Arkady Dvorkovich, Russian Deputy Prime Minister from 2012-2018, has been re-elected as President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) for another four years. He defeated Ukrainian Grandmaster Andrii Baryshpolets by a landslide 157:16 vote at the FIDE General Assembly in Chennai, India, after the remaining candidates all withdrew.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/dvorkovich-re-elected-fide-president-by-157-16-landslide) Mother would have said, “It was a put-up job.” The fix is always in when FIDE is involved. Colin McGourty writes in the excellent article: “The elections for FIDE President are always murky, with the principle of one federation, one vote meaning that countries with few chess players have the same power as major chess countries with tens of thousands of rated players. Inevitably it’s often a question of what a candidate can directly promise the delegates of a country, while another level of influence is diplomatic. The Russian government is reported to have directly campaigned through its embassies in previous elections.” With Russia waging war against a neighbor, Ukraine, the last person the Chess world needs as it’s “face” is a nefarious, underhanded Russian apparatchik who is nothing but a lackey and toady for Mad Vlad, yet that is what we the Chess players of the world have leading the main international Chess body. It does not bode well for Chess.
The news of the death of an old friend, classmate, and roommate has not helped but only enforced the funk into which I had fallen.
Then this morning with my first cuppa coffee I fired-up the Dude, surfed over the the New York Times and saw an article, replete with myriad pictures, that was positively fascinating. It was then the realization struck that I had at least one more post in me, especially after knowing immediately what song would accompany the post. I drained that cuppa Joe while listening to more than a few different versions of a wonderful song by a singer with a fantastic voice and narrowed the choice down to two different versions. But first the article, which unfortunately cannot include all of the pictures:
His Next Move: A Ukrainian Boy Starts a New Life Through Chess
After fleeing the war in Ukraine with his mother, Maksym Kryshtafor, 8, is using his passion for chess to help him assimilate into the United Kingdom.
By Megan Specia Aug. 13, 2022
Photographs by Mary Turner
YORK, England — Pints in hand, a group of men sat hunched over chessboards under the sloping ceiling beams of the Eagle and Child pub in York, in northern England.
Among them sat Maksym Kryshtafor, an 8-year-old Ukrainian boy with freckles and an impish smile, who navigated his pieces across the board with intense focus.
The group had moved its weekly meeting to an earlier time to accommodate its young guest’s bedtime, and he was soon impressing these chess aficionados with decades more experience.
“He’s really good for his age; there’s no question about that,” said Paul Townsend, 62, an avid chess player and member of England’s chess federation. “And he clearly has a talent.”
Mr. Townsend and his family are hosting Maksym and his mother after the federation essentially played matchmaker and asked if they would be willing to sponsor the pair.
More than six million refugees have left Ukraine for Europe, according to the United Nations, each facing the challenges of a life ripped apart by war: a strange land, an unfamiliar language and tenuous ties to support systems like education and health care — if they have any ties all. Finding a pursuit that provides focus and stability can help exiles navigate the anxieties and upheaval of restarting life far from home.
For Maksym, it was chess.
Just four days after arriving in Britain, Maksym drew the attention of the local news media when he won a tournament in County Durham, about 45 minutes north of York by train. He quickly became known on the local chess circuit.
“Chess is all his life, and now it’s all my life,” said Maksym’s mother, Iryna Kryshtafor. “It’s like air for him because all the time he is playing.”
Chess has helped Maksym deal with the complex emotions of leaving his home and adjusting to life in Britain, which has not always been easy. Without a good grasp of English, he was placed with younger students for some of his lessons in school, and it has been hard for him to connect with other children, his mother said. He misses his grandparents, who lived with them in the Ukrainian city of Odesa and who stayed behind. Ms. Kryshtafor is estranged from Maksym’s father, who has not been a part of the boy’s life.
When the war broke out in February, Ms. Kryshtafor, 45, had scrambled to throw her and Maksym’s most essential belongings into a rucksack as they fled for the border.
Countless mothers across Ukraine were focused on how to save their children while maintaining a sense of stability, and Ms. Kryshtafor was no different.
While she forgot to bring a proper winter coat for herself, she packed the things she knew were the most important to Maksym: a chess book, a laptop for him to practice his games on, and the white polo shirt and red fleece that he wears for every competition.
They went first to Romania, where they stayed for weeks. Then Ms. Kryshtafor reached out to the English Chess Federation to see if someone would host her and Maksym so he could continue playing and return to school.
She was eventually connected with Mr. Townsend and his wife, Helen, who offered them an annex in their spacious house near York, under a program that allowed British families to host Ukrainians fleeing the war for six months. So far, despite procedural difficulties, more than 65,000 people have headed to Britain from Ukraine under the program.
Maksym has been enrolled in school, where he is beginning to make friends and is enjoying math, Ms. Kryshtafor said, because even without a strong grasp of English, he can understand it.
Even with hospitable hosts like the Townsends and the security of life far from war, Ms. Kryshtafor said she had found it difficult to adjust to humbling circumstances. She had spent most of her life in Odesa, and despite having two college degrees and a career as a journalist, she is now working as a hotel cleaner.
“It’s not so simple,” Ms. Kryshtafor said as she described the anxieties of living in someone else’s home and having to rely on them for her and her son’s needs.
“I feel comfortable here,” she said, “but all the time I am thinking about what will happen in six months.”
Under British policy, families agree to host Ukrainians for six months, and their visas last for up to three years. The Kryshtafors will need to find a place of their own unless the sponsors allow them to stay beyond the initial agreement.
To ease the anxiety, mother and son have thrown themselves into chess, a focus of much of Maksym’s young life.
He began playing at 4 and has showed early promise.
Both have expressed hope that he can become a grandmaster before turning 12, eager to unseat the world’s youngest person to reach the prestigious ranking.
But Mr. Townsend and other chess aficionados say that goal is a long shot. Still, Maksym is clearly skilled, Mr. Townsend said.
“Does that mean he’s going to become a grandmaster ever, let alone at the age of 12? Not necessarily,” he said.
Still, Maksym is nothing if not determined. He wakes at 5 a.m. each day to practice online before school and until recently had regular online training sessions with a Ukrainian chess grandmaster through the Ukrainian Chess Federation.
So far, his lucky outfit and his hours of training have served him well as he wins competition after competition in England. In late July, he and his mother traveled to Greece for the European Youth Chess Championship, where he won in two categories — rapid and blitz — in his age group.
Like many former Soviet nations, Ukraine has a long tradition of strong chess grandmasters, Mr. Townsend explained, but often the expectation is of total dedication to the game from a young age.
“You would see it as a place where chess is taken a lot more seriously than it is here,” Mr. Townsend said. Parents put young children into rigorous training programs, and school is often second to chess.
“It’s such a massive, culturally different approach to chess playing,” Ms. Townsend said. As a diversion from chess, she has enjoyed showing Maksym how to cook, taking him on nature walks, and building with Lego pieces.
But much of Maksym’s time is still dedicated to chess, and Mr. Townsend has been keen to help him get involved in local tournaments.
On a recent Saturday morning, he took Maksym and Ms. Kryshtafor to a Quaker school in York for a competition involving 120 youths ages 7 to 18. Boards were lined up on tables in a gym, filled with row after row of children tapping clocks and moving pieces.
Some of the children were so small that when seated, their feet swung above the floor. Maksym’s sneakers barely touched it.
He sat, fidgeting slightly, while the organizers rattled off the rules in English. He did not understand much of what was being said, but he knows how to play. His first match was over in under a minute.
He ran into the hall where Ms. Kryshtafor was waiting and embraced her. After the next match, Maksym again went running out to his mother.
“Too easy,” he said with a smile. “I made a checkmate.”
Before the fifth match, Maksym pressed his forehead against his mother’s and she whispered some words of encouragement. His opponent, an older boy, arrived just before play began.
Maksym rested his chin on his hand and smiled until, suddenly, he realized he had made a mistake. He pulled at tufts of his hair, twisting them around his fingers. He eventually lost to the boy, and after they shook hands, he wiped tears from his eyes.
Maksym eventually placed second in the competition. By the end, he seemed more interested in chatting with a group of children who had organized a game of tag outside.
His long hair flew behind him as one of the children chased him.
“He’s just a child,” his mother said as she watched him frolic. “He works so hard with chess that sometimes you forget he’s just a child.”
This post is dedicated to arguably the best Speaker of the House in the history of the United States of America, Nancy Pelosi, who did it all “For the Children”.
“Greatest Love Of All”
I believe the children are our future Teach them well and let them lead the way Show them all the beauty they possess inside Give them a sense of pride to make it easier Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be Everybody’s searching for a hero People need someone to look up to I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs A lonely place to be And so I learned to depend on me
I decided long ago Never to walk in anyone’s shadows If I fail, if I succeed At least I’ll live as I believe No matter what they take from me They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all Is happening to me I found the greatest love of all Inside of me The greatest love of all Is easy to achieve Learning to love yourself It is the greatest love of all
I believe the children are our future Teach them well and let them lead the way Show them all the beauty they possess inside Give them a sense of pride to make it easier Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows If I fail, if I succeed At least I’ll live as I believe No matter what they take from me They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all Is happening to me I found the greatest love of all Inside of me The greatest love of all Is easy to achieve Learning to love yourself It is the greatest love of all
And if, by chance, that special place That you’ve been dreaming of Leads you to a lonely place Find your strength in love
In addition, this post is dedicated to my friend and former roommate, Gary Allen Whitlock:
Obituary for Gary Allen Whitlock
Mr. Gary Allen Whitlock, age 73, of Palmetto, passed away Wednesday, August 10, 2022. He was born January 3, 1949 to Harold and Dorothy Whitlock. Gary served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He was employed with the United States Postal Service in Palmetto, GA for 34 years. He is survived by his wife, Nara Denise Whitlock; his mother, Dorothy Allen Whitlock; his children, Micah Whitlock and his wife, Laura, Sarah Deck and her husband, Thomas, Anna MacIsaac and her husband, Barry, Mark Whitlock and his wife, Alyssa; his 10 grandchildren, Hannah, Jacob, Jordan, Hailey, Jadon, Isaiah, Raelynn, Garrett, Greyson, Owen; and his brother, Mark Whitlock. A funeral service will be held Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 2 o’clock in the Chapel of Parrott Funeral Home with Pastor Brian Hosmer officiating. Interment will follow at The Whitlock Family Cemetery in Peachtree City. The family will receive friends Saturday evening from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. at Parrott Funeral Home & Crematory, 770-964-4800. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Daystar Israel at www.daystar .com. (https://www.parrottfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Gary-Allen-Whitlock/#!/Obituary)
Gary was,, obviously, responsible for bringing many children into this world. During the pandemic an old friend and I discussed getting some of the old gang together when it ended. Susan called one day saying, “Hey Eggs, guess who just stopped by for a visit?!”
The AW was sitting in front of a laptop last Friday evening, surfin’ away, as they say…All week I had been following the games emanating from the 5th Marcel Duchamp Cup Chess tournament (http://fuajedrez.org/Torneos/Duchamp)
being played in Montevideo, Uruguay. The first few moves caused me to reflect upon a time when the Mad Dog, or better, as he was called frequently, “Augie, the Mad Doggie.” The Dog liked to play against the Sicilian with the system seen in the following game, and frankly, the Dog’s results were not good, at least when facing higher rated opposition, yet he continued trotting out the same old beaten and battered nag and I could not help but wonder why…Then the American Grandmaster, Robert Hungaski, played his beautiful fifth move, leaving the path of the Mad Dog to enter the world of those of us who prefer to break the rule of never moving the Queen early, hoping to reel in his young opponent, IM Lucas Cora of Argentina, but it was this writer who was hooked, lined, and sinkered.
While watching the game I had reason to use the Duck,Duck,Go search engine while looking for something that escapes me now…when, Lo & Behold, there was something about the tournament being shown at lichess.org. Granted, I was a little late to the party at lichess.org, probably because when one ages he tends to go with the familiar. I had previously been to lichess.com, and had even looked for games being shown, but was unable to see them because I did not click onto “Broadcasts,” thinking a “broadcast” was a couple of announcers, which MUST include both a male and a female, no matter how lame the comments of the much lower rated female, usually named Eye Candy. I no longer watch, or listen to, broadcasts because the commentary is all about the “engine”. It was much better ‘back in the day’ when the analysis was by humans. So what if their analysis was inferior to what is being spouted by the programs; we still learned something, as did the broadcasters after being “corrected” by the all seeing and all knowing contraptions. Chess is vastly different than it was half a century ago, and not all of the changes have been good. What has been lost is human interaction. ‘Back in the day’ we would argue over moves and positions while learning something, and having a find ol’ time. Now all players invariably go to the oracle. Players have stopped thinking for themselves and play moves while having no clue why, other than the machine made the same move…
When watching games on most websites there is usually some kind of something moving about to inform the watcher what kind of move was just made. What follows is taken from the second chapter, Chess, of the excellent new book by Oliver Roeder, Seven Games,
which will be reviewed here later, after all of the book has been completely read:
“The pros aren’t the only ones the machines affect. For the viewer, the amateur chess fan (me very much included), modern chess is experienced through the eyes of a computer. Abutting the image of the professionals’ board on match broadcasters such as Chess.com, Chess24.com, and Lichess.com is a simple diagram, a sort of thermometer, filled to some extent with white and to some extent with black. This represents, a powerful computer’s evaluation of the position measured in the equivalents of a pawn. A reading like +2.3 means whiter is clearly ahead; something like -0.5 means perhaps black has a small edge.”
“This has democratized chess fandom. Without a computer, I don’t have much hope of understanding the intricate lines in a game between two grandmasters, or the exact implications of this move versus that move. With a computer, I have a quantitative lens through which to view the game. I can see exactly what threats are looming and whom the computer deems to be winning. I can watch the thermometer twitch up or down with each move and pass some quasi-informed judgement on the pros. But this understanding is often hollow. Take the computer and its thermometer away, and I risk being more lost than I ever was.”
“TAKE THE COMPUTER AND ITS THERMOMETER AWAY, AND I RISK BEING MORE LOST THAN I EVER WAS.”
Cogitate on that statement briefly while asking yourself what it means…It appears there is now a generation of human beings who no longer think for themselves. Millions of players now make moves having little, if any, knowledge or understanding of the game. Monkey see, monkey do.
Sometime during the early middlegame I stopped surfin’ and focused only on the game, straining my tired, old brain in a vain attempt to find a move. It was then I fell in love with Lichess, because unlike other Chess websites, at Lichess one can CLICK OFF the THERMOMETER! That’s right, now one can watch the game as it was meant to be displayed. Or to say it the way it was so eloquently said by SM Brian McCarthy, “Just give me the meat!” Any time you want to check your analysis against that of Stockfish you can just simply click onto the analysis. I like followchess.com, but if you happen to miss a round there is no way to return to those games, which can easily be accomplished at Lichess.com. Sorry, followchess, but you have lost me to lichess. There are myriad websites giving the moves and there is a struggle to see which website is the most fit and will stand the test of time. Like Stockfish, Lichess is an open source website, so it will be around for some time. The websites that charge an arm and a leg to join are in a death struggle and it will be interesting to see which one(s) survive.
IM Lucas Coro 2355 vs GM Robert Hungaski 2537 5th Marcel Duchamp Cup B40 Sicilian defence
e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 Nf6 5. Qe2 (According to the ChessBaseDataBase this move has been played in 1108 games, and it is the choice of Deep Fritz 14 x64. It has scored 51% against 2440 opposition. The second most popular move, 5 d3, has scored 52% versus 2429 rated opponents, and Stockfish 14 @depth 47 figures it best. The third most popular move has been 5 Nc3, with 329 examples contained within the CBDB, which together have scored only 49% facing some guys averaging 2411. Oh yeah, AND Stockfish 14.1 @depth 51 considers it to be the best move in the position) 5…d5 (This has been the third most often played move according to the CBDB, with 310 examples that have scored a collective 59% for White versus a composite 2409 rated opponent. The second most popular move has been 5…d6, holding that hypothetical 2435 dude playing White to 53% in 347 games. Then there is the most popular move, 5…e5, which has held opponents with an average rating of 2480 playing White to only 45%!) 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. O-O Be7 8. Rd1 Qb6 9. d3 (This move cannot be found at either 365Chess or the CBDB, which can mean only one thing…Theoretical Novelty! The most often played move has been 9 c3. Stockfish 14 would play 9 a4, a move yet to be attempted by a titled human Chess player…)
What pluses and minuses do you see for both opponents?
“Magnus has more match experience, he’s a more balanced chess player, without visible flaws. He plays almost equally well positionally and tactically, in a dull endgame and in sharp attacking positions.”
“But he does have flaws. When he doesn’t like what’s happening in a tournament he can psychologically collapse, as my match against Magnus showed. He missed wins in two games, and then he started to play significantly worse. He can psychologically crumble if something isn’t going right — he loses confidence in himself and he starts to perform less well than usual.” https://chess24.com/en/read/news/sergey-karjakin-magnus-can-psychologically-crumble
Nepo was asked, “Were you involved in any psychological preparation during this period?”
“I don’t really understand what psychological preparation means. If it’s needing to have the correct attitude within yourself, then I’ve been preparing since childhood.”
Do you consider the match against Carlsen the match of your life?
“I don’t know. That will depend on the result. After I play it, I’ll tell you.”
Are there nerves?
“Nerves, as a rule, are before the start. From experience I can say that you get them in the first round when you sit down at the board and don’t yet know what kind of form you’re in. In such cases you usually make 2-3 moves and then your body readjusts to its working mode. Nerves, it seems me, also go at that moment. No doubt there will also be nerves when the finish is approaching, but now, before it begins, it’s early to talk about that.” https://chess24.com/en/read/news/ian-nepomniachtchi-the-result-is-much-more-important-than-the-prize
Let us be honest, Nepo cracked. Before the match everyone knew Nepo had a fragile psyche. The World Chess Champ put it best:
“We spoke a bit during these tournaments, but didn’t have much contact for years, until 2011, when we had a training session together. He was a lowly-rated 2700 player and struggled a bit to make it to the very top. He complained that he didn’t get enough invitations to the best tournaments, and felt that the players at the very top were not better than him. I told him that his problem was that he wasn’t disciplined. He had one good tournament, followed by two bad ones. He could start an event with three wins in the first four rounds, then in his fifth game he would not win a better position, leading to a collapse. A very moody player.”
Carlsen talks about their history and why Nepomniachtchi failed to break through.
As usual, Magnus is less filtered when speaking in his native language. On Nepomniachtchi’s biggest challenge in Dubai, he says:
“In Norway Chess he seemed very strong for the first 3-4 rounds, he had a small setback, and then he collapsed. That’s not something he can allow himself in a World Championship match. I am not going to fall even if I am hit in the face once. Perhaps that will be his biggest challenge, to handle the setbacks that will come, regardless of whether it’s a good position he fails to convert, or a game that he should have held to a draw but ends up losing, or opening preparation that goes wrong — that will be a huge challenge for him.”
The World Champion, who has reigned since 2013 and been the world no. 1 consecutively since 2011, doesn’t think Nepomniachtchi would have won the Candidates if the event hadn’t been split in two.
“Because he lost the last game in the first half of the tournament. He rarely plays well after having lost. Now he managed it eventually and has started to become more pragmatic.”
Carlsen says he considers Nepomniachtchi, the world no. 5, to be “a wild card” and still thinks the no. 3 Fabiano Caruana and no. 2 Ding Liren would pose a bigger challenge for him.
The one word to describe Magnus Carlsen would be “consistent.” The word to describe Ian Nepomniachtchi would be “erratic.”
Maybe is Nepo had devoted more time to Chess and less to other interests the match result would have been different. Maybe…
Who is Ian Nepomniachtchi, the biggest nerd to ever … [Search domain gamelevate.com] https://gamelevate.com › who-is-ian-nepomniachtchi Beyond his excellent skills at the chessboard, Ian Nepomniachtchi is also notable for being the biggest nerd ever to challenge for the world championship title. The Russian has played Dota 2 in a semi-professional capacity around the time of its release and was heavily involved in the original Dota scene as well.
The Chess world needs to come to terms with the fact that the way a challenger is chosen has been corrupted by the Russians. Because the nefarious Russians control world Chess they managed to have a player who was not worthy play in the Candidates tournament. The Candidates match “wild card” 22-year-old Russian Kirill Alekseenko said, “The Candidates wild card should be abolished.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/alekseenko-the-candidates-wild-card-should-be-abolished)
Think about it for only a moment…If Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ordered Alekseenko to lose do you really think there would be any other result?
The fact is the Candidates tournament should not have been started during a pandemic. Then, after it had to be stopped, it should not have been resumed a year later. There has got to be a better way of choosing a challenger. How about a match between the second and third highest rated players? What about a double round robin between the top eight players; The Elite Eight?
just moments ago defeated his Grandmaster opponent Luka Budisavljevic (2509)
of Serbia to take sole possession of first place in the Paracin Open taking place in Serbia (https://chess-results.com/tnr554482.aspx?lan=1&art=2&rd=6&turdet=YES&flag=30). After returning from the grocery store and resting I became enraptured with the game; transfixed for hours while swilling coffee. This was a thrilling game with more vicissitudes than the saga of the Trumpster! At one point I was yelling out loud, “Oh NO, Mr. Bill!!!” There were other moves that brought out a, “YES!” There may even have been a, “Take that, Luka!” There were times where I was pumping my fist and then feeling deflated like a balloon…You know it was one hellofa fight when the winner comes out looking like this:
As in pugilism when two players decide to fight it out in lieu of agreeing to a pusillanimous draw there is the combatant who lost the game,
I have been following Raven Sturt for the first five rounds of the Paracin Open. What can I say? Raven is carrying the colors in a foreign land, and has been playing some good Chess that has been worth watching. I got caught up in the game and had a wonderful time today, the first in a week! I wish the game had been at The Week In Chess (https://theweekinchess.com/) because although it appeared at ChessBomb.com and Chess24.com, I would prefer to watch a game without any kind of commentary or analysis. One can block the analysis at Chess24, but there is some white thing that moves around informing you of how good, or bad is the move. I cut a piece of cardboard and taped it on the computer screen to block out the needless, and useless moving thingamajig…Why is it necessary to go through those contortions?
After the Z Man’s 2 Qe2 put down the young Ravi Haria my complete attention was focused on the Raven’s game with Lucky Luka. Watching the two games was about all I did that day, and I am still here to tell you that I am a fortunate man to have been able to do so…What can I say? I got into it like watching Joe Frazier battle the G.O.A.T., Muhammad Ali.
The game transpired in at the Paracin Open in Serbia.
I urge you to play over this game and THINK FOR YOURSELF. Break out the Chess board and move the pieces around while you take notes before going to one of the aforementioned websites and being spoon fed…You will learn more and be better for it in the long run…
These are the combatants:
I’m Luka Budisavljevic, the youngest Serbian Grandmaster ever. I fulfilled the conditions for GM Title at the age of 16. I was Serbian youth champion 6 times (U8 to U14) from 2012 to 2017 and Serbian U20 vice champion twice, at the age of 14 and 15. I represented Serbia on numerous European and World youth chess championships, as well as U16 World Youth Olympiads 2018 and 2019. (https://www.chess.com/fr/member/luckyluka04)
I’m IM Raven Sturt from the USA. I like chess, working out, and learning languages. Some career highlights include making International Master in 2017 and being the most recent (2019) champion of the Catalan Circuit. Currently some of my goals are to make Grand Master, learn Turkish, and, Corona-permitting, doing the 2021 Iron Man. (https://www.chesspublishing.com/content/9/sep20.htm)
IM Raven Sturt (2500) USA vs GM Luka Budisavljevic (2509) GM SRB
d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 (There is a battle between Stockfish 13, Stockfish 14, and Stockfish 110521, as to the best third move. SF 13 @depth 64, and SF 14 @depth 55, play the game move, but SF110521 going about as deep as possible without blowing circuits, all the way to depth 73, would play 3 Nc3) 3…c5 (According to the CBDB SF 13 @depth 75 would play 3…d5, but going down one more fathom it changes its computing, switching to 3…b6. Go figure…) 4. d5 d6 (Two different Stockfish programs and Deep Fritz all play 4…b5, which oughta tell you something…) 5. Nc3 exd5 6. cxd5 g6 7. Nd2 (Komodo, Fritz & Deep Fritz all play 7 Bf4. No word from the Fish…) 7…Bg7 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 Re8 (SF 11 @depth 45 plays this move, but the same program going 3 ply deeper changes to 9…Ne8. Meanwhile, SF 080121 @depth 52 plays 9…Na6) 10. O-O a6 (Komodo plays the most often played move, 10…Nbd7; Two different SF programs prefer 10…Na6) 11. a4 Nbd7 (SF 310720 & Fritz 15 play this, but SF 12 would play 11…h6, a move not contained in the CBDB) 12. Re1 (SF 280421 @depth 50 shows 12 h3; SF 310720 @depth 42 plays 12 f3. There are only 15 examples of this move in the CBDB) 12…Ne5 (SF plays this; Komodo prefers 12…Rb8) 13. f4 (SF 10 @depth 37 plays 13 Nf1; SF 12 @depth 29 gives 13 h3) 13…Neg4 14. Bf3 h5 (Although recommended by Stockfish there are no games with this move having been played contained in the CBDB) 15. Nc4 Nh7 (TN)
Gheorghiu, Florin (2535) vs Liu Wenzhe (2400) Event: Luzern ol (Men) Site: Luzern Date:1982 Round: 5 ECO: A61 Benoni, Nimzovich (knight’s tour) variation
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:
full credit for trying something considered different against the dreaded Berlin defense,
especially when the move was previously played by none other than Bobby Fischer!
In an article at Chess24, Superbet Chess Classic 5: Shakh attack!, by Colin McGourty, one finds: “The other games in Round 5 of the Superbet Chess Classic were all drawn, with Fabiano Caruana’s 8.Qe2!? against the Berlin Defence the only one that’s likely to be remembered.”
had in the previous round explained that his Chessable course on the Sicilian Dragon had come about through some desperate brainstorming over how to win on demand with the black pieces in the Candidates Tournament.”
Whoa! Let us stop right there in the middle of a well written paragraph by Mr. McGourty for some editorial comment. Anish Giri playing the Dragon?! ‘Back in the day’ it was said that books about the Dragon variation were, “written in disappearing ink” because the theory was rapidly changing. Isn’t “Giri” and “win on demand” with either color, but especially black, oxymoronic? Over at the ChessBomb this was found at the “chat” during the second round games:
Like it or not Mr. Giri has the reputation of being his generations Master of the Draw. The only thing Anish can do to eradicate the reputation is win the World Championship, as did a previous Grandmaster with a reputation as a drawing master, Tigran Petrosian.
Unfortunately, putting up the Berlin wall will do nothing to eradicate his reputation and the drawmeister.
We return to the paragraph by Colin: “Perhaps some similar logic had gone into a way to surprise someone in that most solid of all variations, the Berlin Defence. Just when queens were about to leave the board for the infamous ending, Fabi veered off course with 8.Qe2!?, a move almost 30 times less popular.”
The game can be found at Chess24, and a plethora of other websites on the web, so I will present other games to complement the Chess24 article. First we will begin with a picture of Bobby Fischer playing Neikirkh, at Portorož 1958, posted by Douglas Griffin @dgriffinchess at Twitter:
Fischer, Robert James vs Neikirkh, Oleg Event: Portoroz Interzonal Site: Portoroz Date: ??/??/1958 Round: 1 ECO: C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, open variation
Although played with much less time for the game at the Crypto (Didn’t that stuff kill Superman?) Cup, it would have fit right in at the Superbet what with the “New Rule” in place at this tournament:
To promote competitive play during all GCT events, it will not be permitted for players to offer or agree to a draw in any game of a 2021 GCT event, including playoff games. In the event of a claim for a draw under Article 9.2 of the Laws (three-fold repetition) or under Article 9.3 of the Laws (50 move rule), one of the Event Arbiters must be asked by the players to verify the claim.
As Mr. Mr. McGourty wrote earlier:
“That doesn’t stop draws by 3-fold repetition of the position, however, which is how all the games were drawn in Round 2.”
Giri is not the only Grandmaster who will find a way…
Here is another game, a real rarity, played with Oe2 on the fifth move:
Naiditsch, Arkadij (2727) vs Akopian, Vladimir (2681) Event: World Teams 2013 Site: Antalya TUR Date: 12/02/2013 Round: 6.3 ECO: C67 Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, open variation
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.
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)
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.
“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
“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.”