GM Igor Rausis says “Chess is a disease”

The post dated July 13, 2019, GM Igors Rausis Caught With The Toilet Seat Down, (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/grandmaster-igors-rausis-caught-cheating/) went viral. The number of viewers was the most, by far, of any previous post on the AW blog. Tens of thousands of people all over the world viewed the post in numbers that dwarfed any other post. The number of viewers is given each day and there is a map of the world in which the number of viewers is color coded. The world map lit up like a Christmas tree, with viewers from almost every country on the planet. This continued for a few days until dropping back to what was previously considered “normal.” Because of the huge daily numbers for those days what was formerly considered a “normal” day is now seen as a tiny blip on the graph of viewers. From this it is more than a little obvious people interested in the Royal game are very interested in the ever increasing problem of cheating in Chess.

I had not intended on writing anything else on cheating but a recent interview with GM Igor Rausis has caused me to have second thoughts about posting anything concerning the confessed cheater. Chessbase published, Igors Rausis: How to quit chess in one move By Andris Tihomirovs, yesterday, August 23, 2019, which was read this morning. (https://en.chessbase.com/post/how-to-quit-chess-in-one-move) The article was, “Originally published in SestDiena magazine, July 26, 2019.” I clicked onto the link (https://www.diena.lv/raksts/sestdiena/tuvplana/ka-ar-ravienu-tikt-prom-no-saha.-saruna-ar-igoru-rausi-14223781) finding it in need of translation, so I headed to Google translate only to learn only the heading could be translated but one cannot cut & paste the article. This is what could be translated:

How to Get Away from Chess A conversation with Igor Rausis

A photo of a chess player in a restroom using his mobile phone during a game

broke a long-standing storm not only among fans of the sport, but also for those who have a simple black and white picture of chess. Chess grandmaster Igor Rausis, who has been trapped in a fraud, says it was his chance to get away from the chess world with a twist.

What follows is part of the translation from the aforementioned Chessbase article:

Has anyone else been accused or suspected of cheating in chess?

Lots. Unfortunately, lots. I don’t want to talk about the others. I don’t want to name any specific surnames. I don’t know why people came up with this idea of making phone apps for chess. It all started with that.

They’ve been around for a long time.

But why? What’s the point?

To play. To analyse. I play on the tram.

But they didn’t think about the consequences. Well, there are a lot of sick people in the world. Previously, this sickness didn’t exist. Gaming mania. Unfortunately, it’s a contemporary illness.

Like casino?

That’s different, because a person goes to the casino and leaves money behind. It’s like drugs.

What exactly? Chess?

Gaming. And the world supports this, because somebody’s earning money from his. (It is possible the word “his” should be “this.” It is printed exactly as found at Chessbase.)

Beyond phones, is chess a sickness?

Chess players never talk about it, because chess fans like other words — like chess is art. Maybe it partially applies to those who compile compositions [chess problems].

So is chess a disease?

In a manner of speaking. A great pyramid has been built. I can now say something controversial aimed at the functionaries.

THE THREAT IS STRONGER THAN ITS EXECUTION!

If Chess is to survive it MUST change in order to adapt to the current circumstances. Over a decade ago I wrote about the need for Chess to adapt but money was flowing into Chess thanks to billionaire bullies with more money than sense, so who wanted to be the first to rock the boat? (I use the term “billionaire bullies” because of people like the Koch bros, etc., and other extremely wealthy people who donate money to political candidates who would obviously be more comfortable in a Nazi-type party than any political party consisting of We The People) At a recent Chess tournament in Atlanta someone mentioned Daniel Lucas,

formerly editor of Georgia Chess before becoming editor of Chess Life magazine. There was laughter upon my mentioning I thought Daniel was still editor of Chess Life. “Because USCF is now awash in Sinquebucks there have been many changes at USCF, Bacon,” said someone who will remain nameless. “Now Daniel’s WIFE is the editor and he has been given a new title of, Senior Director of Strategic Communication for the United States Chess Federation.”

“What does that mean, exactly?” I asked. “I mean, wouldn’t simply Director of Communication have sufficed? Is there a “Junior Director of Strategic Communication?” After more laughter I asked, “What, exactly, is ‘Strategic Communication’ and how does it differ from just plain Communication?” After the uproarious laughter abated someone said, “They just pull those kind of names out of their ass.” This brought the house down, so to speak.

In a capitalist economy it is said, “He who has the money makes the rules.” It is no secret Rex Sinquefield wants much shorter time controls for the Royal game. It has become apparent how little it matters what he, on any other wealthy patron of Chess wants, because now, for the game of Chess to survive, it MUST limit a game to one sitting, with no player allowed to leave the room.

On the very popular, and famous, television show, House, the character of Doctor House

was famous for saying, “Everyone lies.” The way Chess is currently played I can say, “Everyone cheats,” and who will argue? It is too easy to cheat so it is happening in every section by players of all ages. Some years ago at a tournament in Atlanta a player was caught cheating and his response was, “Everyone else is doing it, so I must do it too.” At another tournament, at Emory University some years ago, everyone but the TDs was talking about a group of young boys who would simply leave the playing hall heading for the seats of the cafeteria where they would check out a cell phone in plain sight. Why go to the lavatory when one can sit in the comfort of the cafeteria?

There are signs everywhere pointing to the death of Chess. The recently concluded US Open Chess tournament managed to draw only three hundred plus players. Before a recent round of the Sinquefield Cup Chess tournament in St. Louis, Maurice Asheley talked about the myriad draws in the tournament thus far, contrasting the mostly draw “classical” Chess tourney with a recent “rapid” tournament round in which six of the ten games were decisive. Is the Royal game as it is played by the best Chess players “played out?” How many people will be interested in Chess if it must devolve to “Blunder Fest Chess” to survive?

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Can Jennifer Yu Handle Pressure?

WIM Alexy Root has written an apologia for Chessbase for the pitiful performance of Jenifer Yu at the US Junior.

Jennifer Yu’s US Junior Championship: Can research explain her result?
by Alexey Root

“The 2019 U.S. Women’s Chess Champion Jennifer Yu was the wildcard invite for the U.S. Junior Championship which concluded on Saturday, July 20th. She finished last in the 10-player round robin with ½ out of 9. In her post-tournament interview, Jennifer Yu mentioned, “Maybe there is a little more pressure or something.” In this article, WIM ALEXEY ROOT looks at two research-based reasons for the pressure Yu perceived and its possible effects on her result.” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/jennifer-yu-s-us-junior-championship-can-research-explain-her-result)

Pressure from “Chess Fans”

“In the words of one ChessBase reader, Yu is “a role model for young women with [her] current title” and her U.S. Junior Championship result “will find its way in future articles/books/essays regarding the relative strength of female vs male players and be fodder for that debate.” Even before the event, some questioned why Yu got the wildcard invite rather than higher-rated boys. One “Chess fan” wrote, “What a terrible pick for wildcard. I want to see the best junior players in the US Junior, male or female. It’s a shame the wildcard wasn’t used to reward another 2500+ Junior.”
Despite her chess qualifications, then, Yu perhaps felt pressure on her from some chess fans.”

The paragraph that caused me to write this post:

“According to “Checkmate? The role of gender stereotypes in the ultimate intellectual sport,” women perform 50% worse than expected when they know they are playing against men and are reminded of the stereotype that men are considered better and more gifted at chess. In the experiment on which the article is based, similarly-rated men and women played two-game matches online, at first without knowing the other player’s gender. In the match where gender was unknown, the women scored 1 out of 2 (the expected score). However, when the men and women were told the gender of their opponent (i.e. the men knew that they were playing women and the women knew that they were playing men), and the women were reminded of the stereotype that men are better at chess than women, the women scored ½ of 2.”

A reader make left this comment:

Ajeeb007

Inadequate sample size, pure speculation and utter nonsense. No need to make it more complex than it is in an effort to assuage the female ego. Yu finished last because she was weaker than most of the other participants and she didn’t catch a break..”
https://en.chessbase.com/post/jennifer-yu-s-us-junior-championship-can-research-explain-her-result#discuss

Ajeeb007 hits the nail on the head. I could not have put it better myself. Chessbase should be ashamed for printing something based upon such a limited sample size.

The best comment was posted “by UncleBent

“Jennifer Yu’s poor result is due to her playing opponents who were much stronger and more experienced vs top competition. If you look at Jennifer’s “career,” she has had little success against the few opponents she has played rated 2450 ELO or higher. Her designation as “wild-card” made her a target, but only because she was one of the lower-rated and, in a RR event, the others knew they had to get a full point from her if they were to have a good tournament result. What is true, is that most, if not all, of her “boy” opponents have spent considerably more time to playing and studying chess. Jennifer mentioned that she has not had a coach for a while, in spite of her weaknesses in opening repertoire and endgame technique. That was evident in her play. This is no longer the era of Capablanca — you can’t succeed against players who are more experienced, higher rated and who have done more preparation. Why Jennifer Yu decided not to hire a coach (with some of her US Women’s Ch prize money) is not my concern. At 17, she has so many wonderful avenues available to her, that I’m not going to criticize he for not studying chess.

Dr. Root’s article is an embarrassing, knee-jerk response. 20 years ago, Irina Krush placed 2nd in the US Junior. The number one reason for her success is that she was also the 2nd highest-rated participant. Playing against “the boys” did not seem to hurt her performance. (In fact one her Irina’s losses was to Jen Shahade.) While there may be merit to under-performance (when females play males), I just don’t think it is at the same level among higher-rated players, who have real achievements and thus more confidence.”
https://en.chessbase.com/post/jennifer-yu-s-us-junior-championship-can-research-explain-her-result#discuss

What Is Chess And What Does It Do?

A new story appeared today at the Chessbase website:

“Chess makes you smart”: Huge scholastic tournament in Bremen

by André Schulz

6/25/2019 – “Marco Bode is a German football legend, famous for his fair play and his loyalty to his club, Werder Bremen. Bode is also a passionate chess player who is keen to teach young kids the game and to make chess a subject in schools. Last week, Bode’s efforts led 1,000 primary school students to play a huge tournament in the center of Bremen.”

“Following the motto “Schach macht schlau” (“Chess makes you smart“) the pupils in Bremen’s primary schools now once a week learn chess in school. Teachers and education experts agree that chess is very useful for young kids. The children learn to focus, to follow their goals systematically, and they simply enjoy the playful lessons in school.”

https://en.chessbase.com/post/chess-makes-smart-scholastic-tournament-in-bremen-2019

All of the studies by professionals using rigorous methodology approved by peers have proven Chess makes a human smarter at playing Chess. Period. When anyone in the Chess community writes anything about Chess making anyone “smarter” they are being disingenuous at best. The “motto” or “slogan” used by the Chess community could have been used when there was a question concerning just how “smart” Chess made anyone, but now that the results are in and there is absolutely no proof Chess makes anyone “smarter” at anything other than Chess it should be stopped being used because for the Chess community to use “Chess makes you smart,” as a selling point has crossed the line and become a “lie.” It is time the Chess community stop lying.

To compound the problem Chessbase printed the following in the aforementioned article: “However, chess not only helps in the education of young pupils, it is also a sport.”

I kid you not…Chess is most assuredly NOT A SPORT! Chess is a GAME. Specifically, Chess is a BOARD GAME. If Chess were a sport it would not have been turned down repeatedly for inclusion into the Olympics. The only people who have ever considered Chess a “sport” are Chess players and administrators who desire Chess be included in the Olympics. The majority of people on the planet who know what Chess is will laugh at you if you try to tell them Chess is a “sport.” They will do so because they know the definition of “sport,” which is:

a. An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.

b. often sports(used with a sing. verb) Such activities considered as a group: Sports is a good way for children to get exercise.
https://www.thefreedictionary.com/sport

It is long past time for the Chess community to stop lying about what the Royal game is and what it does. Chess has been a great GAME. How long it will continue to be considered a great game is up for debate. If the Chess community continues to promote a lie the end of the Royal game will come sooner, not later.

Good Old Friends and the Buddy-Buddy Draw at the Moscow Grand Prix

Although I have intentionally not followed the ongoing Moscow Grand Prix event my old friend the legendary Georgia Ironman has followed it because it did begin with a couple of games of what is now called “classical” Chess before devolving into what is called “rapid Chess” before devolving further into “speed” Chess. Frankly, I could care less about which player is best at faster time controls. The only thing that matters is who is best at a classical time control. Say what you will about Magnus Carlsen but the fact is that he could not beat either Sergey Karjakin or Fabiano Caruana at classical Chess, something to keep in mind when talking about the best Chess player of all time.

In an article at Chessbase by Antonio Pereira recently, dated 5/18/2019, it is written: “Ian Nepomniachtchi, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Radek Wojtaszek won with the white pieces at the start of the FIDE Grand Prix in Moscow, which means Levon Aronian, Wesley So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov will need to push for a win on Saturday if they want to survive the first round. Three match-ups ended with quick draws, while Peter Svidler and Anish Giri accepted the draws offered by Nikita Vitiugov and Daniil Dubov in games that could have easily kept going.”

The article continues:

“Better than losing and worse than winning”

“A lot of criticism followed the 2011 Candidates Tournament in Kazan, in which the knock-out format led to some players openly using a safe-first strategy by signing quick draws in the classical games and putting all on the line in the tie-breaks. In order to discourage the players from using this strategy, the organizers are awarding an extra point in the Grand Prix overall standings for those who eliminate their opponents needing only two games. In the first game of the opening round in Moscow, four out of eight encounters ended peacefully after no more than 23 moves.”

The so-called “strategy” of the organizers had absolutely no effect on the players who continue to agree to short draws with impunity whenever and wherever they want, regardless of what organizers or fans want to see from them. Are the players aware their “inaction” is killing the Royal game? Do they care?

Exhibit one:

Teimour Radjabov (AZE)

vs Hikaru Nakamura (USA)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 b5 8. a4 b4 9. Nbd2 Bb7 10. Nxc4 c5 11. dxc5 Be4 12. Qd1 ½-½

Sergey Karjakin (RUS) – Alexander Grischuk (RUS)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. a4 Bd6 7. a5 O-O 8. Be2 e5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. O-O Bc7 12. Qb3 Nc6 13. a6 bxa6 14. Qa4 ½-½

The article continues:

“It must be added that Nikita Vitiugov had what seemed like a considerable advantage against Peter Svidler when he surprisingly offered a draw.

Both contenders are part of the Mednyi Vsadnik team from Saint Petersburg, which won the last two editions of the Russian Team Championship and are the current European champions. Vitiugov has also worked for Svidler as a second more than once. The long-time friends talked about how unfortunate it was for them to be paired up immediately in round one, although Svidler confessed that, “[he] somehow had a feeling that [they] would play at least one [match], and particularly in Moscow”.


Good old friends from Saint Petersburg | Photo: World Chess

“Regarding the position shown in the diagram, Peter recounted how he was thinking about 18.f4 being a move that would leave him worse on the board. So, when the move was accompanied by a draw offer, he thought, “yeah, that’s a good deal!” And the point was split then and there.

To accept the draw was a good match strategy? Peter wittily added:

“As for match strategy, I envy people who have strategies of any kind. I don’t have any. I thought I was worse and then I was offered a draw, so I took it.”
https://en.chessbase.com/post/moscow-grand-prix-2019-r1-d1


http://www.espn.com/espnw/news-commentary/slideshow/13596920/13-major-showdowns-serena-venus-williams

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have had to play each other many times during their storied tennis careers, and each and every time there has been a winner because offering a draw is not in the tennis rule book. What is it doing in the Chess rule book?

Chess organizers better wake up because Chess is in a battle with the game of Go and if the trend continues, like the Highlander, there will be only one left standing.

Kid Keymer versus the Closed Sicilian

After 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 a6 Arkadij Naiditsch

played 3 Nge2 against Vincent Keymer

in the fourth round of the ongoing Grenke Classic. Vincent is a fifteen year old boy currently battling men. The draw was unkind to the boy as he had to face the current World Human Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen,

in the first round; the former World Human Chess Champion, Vishy Anand,

in the second round; and then the player who is, according to Carlsen, the “Co-Classical World Chess Champion,” Fabiano Caruana

in the third round.

This caused me to reflect upon a recent game I had researched between Yi Wei

and Kailo Kilaots

in the seventh round of the recently completed Aeroflot Open a couple of months ago. I learned 3 Nge2 is now considered the best move whereas previously 3 g3 was almost automatically played.

The game is annotated at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/post/interview-with-aeroflot-winner-kaido-kulaots-part-ii) and many other places around the web, so I will only give the opening and a couple of games found before getting on to the Kid versus the Closed Siclian.

Yi Wei (2733) v Kulaots (2542)

Aeroflot Open

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. Nge2 (The best move according to SF 9 & 10, and Houdini) Nf6 4. g3 (SF 10 at depth 35 plays this move, but at depth 42 plays 4 d4) Nc6 (SF 10 at depth 38 plays this move, but SF 010219 at the same depth plays 4…g6) 5. Bg2 g6 6. d3 (SF 9 at depth 36 plays this move, but going deeper to depth 44 shows 6 a3, a move yet to be played, followed by Bg7 7 Rb1, while Komodo plays the most often played move in practice, 6 0-0 Bg7 7 Nd5) Bg7 7. 0-0 0-0 (SF 260219 at depth 39 shows 7…Rb8 8 Nd5 Nxd5) 8. Bg5 (SF 9 & 10 play 8 a3 , but Komodo shows 8 Nd5 Nd7 9 Ne3) 8…Bd7 (SF 9 at depth 40 shows 8…Rb8 9 a4 h6) 9. Qd2 (This is the SF choice but Komodo plays 9 Nd5) 9…Nd4 (Komodo shows 9…Rb8 10 Nd5 Ng4 or 9…Re8 10 h3 Rc8 both at depth 31)

Werner Hug (2435)

vs John Nunn (2565)

Luzern ol (Men) 1982

B25 Sicilian, closed

1.e4 g6 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.d3 d6 6.Nge2 Nf6 7.O-O O-O 8.Bg5 Bd7 9.Qd2 Rc8 10.Bh6 Bxh6 11.Qxh6 Nd4 12.Qd2 Qb6 13.Rab1 Bg4 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.exd5 Rc7 17.c4 dxc3 18.bxc3 Qa5 19.Rb4 Bf5 20.Rfb1 Rfc8 21.R1b3 b6 22.h3 e5 23.dxe6 Bxe6 24.Rb5 Qa6 25.c4 Rc5 26.Qb2 Rxb5 27.Rxb5 Rc5 28.Rxc5 dxc5 29.h4 h5 30.Be4 Qa5 31.Kg2 Qa4 ½-½

Thomas Flindt (2179) vs Martin Baekgaard (2294)

47th XtraCon TCh-DEN 2008-9

01/11/2009

B24 Sicilian, closed

1.Nc3 c5 2.e4 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nge2 Nf6 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 d6 8.Bg5 Bd7 9.Qd2 Qa5 10.Bh6 Nd4 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.h3 Qb4 13.Rab1 Rac8 14.f4 Bc6 15.g4 Nd7 16.f5 Nxe2+ 17.Qxe2 Qd4+ 18.Kh1 f6 19.g5 fxg5 20.Qg4 h6 21.fxg6 Ne5 22.Qe6 Nxg6 23.Nd5 Qe5 24.Qg4 e6 25.Ne3 b5 26.Qd1 Rxf1+ 27.Qxf1 Rf8 28.Qe1 h5 29.Qa5 Rf7 30.Rf1 Nf4 31.Qd8 d5 32.Nf5+ exf5 33.Qxg5+ Ng6 34.exf5 Qf6 35.Qxg6+ Qxg6 36.fxg6 Rxf1+ 37.Bxf1 d4+ 38.Bg2 Bxg2+ 39.Kxg2 Kxg6 40.h4 Kf5 41.Kf3 a5 42.Kg3 a4 43.b3 Ke5 ½-½

Arkadij Naiditsch 2710 (AZE)

vs Vincent Keymer 2509 (GER)

GRENKE Chess Classic 2019 round 04

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 a6 3. Nge2 d6 4. a4 Nf6 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. f4 O-O 9. d3 Rb8 10. h3 Nd7 11. g4 h6 12. Ng3 Bh4 13. Nce2 b5 14. Kh2 b4 15. Be3 a5 16. Qd2 Ba6 17. b3 Qe7 18. Rg1 Rbc8 19. Raf1 g6 20. e5 d5 21. f5 Ncxe5 22. Bxh6 Rfe8 23. fxg6 fxg6 24. g5 Nf7 25. Qf4 Nxh6 26. Qxh4 Nf7 27. Nh5 gxh5 28. Rf6 Nxf6 29. gxf6 Qd6+ 30. Nf4 Kf8 31. Qg3 Red8 32. Re1 e5 33. Ng6+ Ke8 34. Nxe5 Qxf6 35. Ng4+ Qe7 36. Nf6+ 1-0

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 (Stockfish 8 at the ChessBaseDataBase has this, followed by 2…Nc6 3. Nf3 as best, but Houdini goes with the usual 2. Nf3) a6 (Rather than playing a developing move, 2…Nc6, the most often played move, the kid plays a fourth rate move and I cannot but wonder why?) 3. Nge2 (Although Stockfish 9 would play what previously was standard, 3 g3, SF 10 goes with the game move. Then after 3…Nf6 would come 4. g3) d6 (SF displays the little played 3…Nf6, expecting 4. g3 e6) 4. a4 (An attempt to take the kid out of “book” after Keymer took the game out of book by playing 2…a6? SF 10 plays 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nxd4; SF 9 goes with 4 g3 g6 5 Bg2)
Nf6 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 e6 TN (See Genocchio vs Stefano below for 6 g6)

Daniele Genocchio, (2195) vs Stefano Tatai (2395)

ITA-ch 11/26/1998

B23 Sicilian, closed
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.Nge2 a6 4.a4 Nf6 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 g6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bd7 9.O-O Bg7 10.Nde2 O-O 11.h3 Rc8 12.Be3 a5 13.f4 Be6 14.Qd2 Nb4 15.Rfd1 Qc7 16.Rac1 Qb8 17.Nd4 Bc4 18.Ndb5 b6 19.Qf2 Nd7 20.e5 Rfd8 21.exd6 e6 22.Bd4 Bxd4 23.Rxd4 Rc5 24.Na3 Bd5 25.Bxd5 exd5 26.Nab5 Nf6 27.f5 Ne8 28.fxg6 fxg6 29.Rf1 Nxd6 30.Nxd6 Qxd6 31.Ne4 1-0

Levon Aronian (ARM)

vs Vincent Keymer (GER)

GRENKE Chess Classic 2019 round 06

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 3. Nge2 d6 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. O-O e6 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bd7 9. Re1 Be7 10. Nxc6 Bxc6 11. e5 dxe5 12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. Rxe5 O-O 14. Qxd8 Rfxd8 15. Re2 c5 16. Na4 Rd1+ 17. Kg2 Rad8 18. b3 Nd5 19. c3 Rc8 20. Re4 Nf6 21. Re2 Nd5 22. Rd2 Rxd2 23. Bxd2 c4 24. Nb2 Bf6 25. Nxc4 Bxc3 26. Rd1 Bxd2 27. Rxd2 g5 28. Kf3 Kg7 29. Ne3 Rc3 30. Rc2 f5 31. Rxc3 Nxc3 32. a4 g4+ 33. Kg2 Kf6 34. Nc2 Ne4 35. b4 Nc3 36. b5 axb5 37. a5 Nd5 38. a6 Nc7 39. a7 Ke5 40. Kf1 Kd5 41. Nb4+ Kc4 42. Nc6 Kd3 43. Ke1 Na8 44. Nd8 e5 45. Nc6 Ke4 46. Kd2 Kd5 47. Nb4+ Kc4 48. Nc6 Kd5 49. Nb4+ Ke4 50. Nc6 f4 51. Kc3 Kd5 52. Nb4+ Ke4 ½-½

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 (If the kid has brought an inferior second move to the tournament why not allow him to play it again, Sam) a6 (He does play it again, Sam!?) 3. Nge2 d6 4. g3 (Show me what’cha know, Joe) Nf6 5. Bg2 Nc6 (Depending on which program Stockfish will either play 5…e6, expecting 6 d4 cxd4; or 5…g6, expecting 6 a3 Nc6) 6. O-O (SF would play 6 Nd5 which would be a TN) e6 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Bd7 9. Re1 (SF 9 at depth 41 plays the game move, expecting 9…Nxd4 10 Qxd4; but SF 270918 at depth 43 plays 9 a4 expecting 9…Be7 10 Nxc6. SF 10 at depth 35 plays 9 Be3 Rc8 10 Nc6) 9…Be7 (Although little played both SF and Komodo play 9…Nxd4 with an even game. 365Chess shows four games in which 9…Nxd4 was played and all four ended in a draw.

10. Nxc6 Bxc6 11. e5 (The big three all consider 11 a4 best) dxe5 12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. Rxe5 (There is a disagreement between the Fish, which prefers the game move, and the Dragon, which likes 13 Qxd8+) 13…0-0 (The Fish trades the ladies while the Dragon keeps them on with 13…Qc7) 14. Qxd8 TN (Stockfish and Houdini consider this best. For 14 Qf3 and 14 Bd2 see games below)

Maritza Arribas (2300) vs Nana Ioseliani (2476)

Istanbul ol (Women) 11/12/2000

B40 Sicilian defence

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.Nc3 a6 4.g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 d6 6.O-O Nf6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bd7 9.Nxc6 Bxc6 10.Re1 Be7 11.e5 dxe5 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Rxe5 O-O 14.Qf3 Nd5 15.Re2 Rb8 16.Ne4 f5 17.Nd2 Rf6 18.Nc4 f4 19.Qe4 Qe8 20.Bxf4 Nxf4 21.gxf4 Qh5 22.Rae1 Rbf8 23.f3 Kh8 24.Qxc6 Rxf4 25.Nd2 Bh4 26.Rf1 R4f6 27.Rg2 Bg5 28.Qb7 Rg6 29.f4 Bxf4 30.Kh1 e5 31.c4 h6 32.Qe4 Rxg2 33.Qxg2 Rd8 34.Ne4 Rd1 35.Kg1 Rxf1+ 36.Kxf1 Qd1+ 37.Kf2 Qc2+ 38.Kf3 Qxc4 39.b3 Qd3+ 40.Kg4 Qd1+ 41.Kf5 Qd7+ 42.Kg6 Qe6+ 43.Kh5 Qf5+ 44.Kh4 g5+ 45.Kh5 Kg7 46.b4 Be3 47.a4 Qf7+ 0-1

Bartlomiej Macieja (2613) vs Namig Gouliev (2526)

EU-ch 6th 06/28/2005

B46 Sicilian, Taimanov variation

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.Nge2 e6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.g3 d6 7.Bg2 Bd7 8.O-O Nf6 9.Re1 Be7 10.Nxc6 Bxc6 11.e5 dxe5 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Rxe5 O-O 14.Bd2 Qb6 15.Rb1 Rfd8 16.Qe2 Ng4 17.Be3 Nxe3 18.Rxe3 Rd4 19.Rd3 Rxd3 20.Qxd3 Rd8 21.Qe2 h6 22.Ne4 Qd4 23.Nc3 Qb6 24.Ne4 Qd4 25.Nc3 Qb6 ½-½

Class dismissed.

Wei Yi’s Closed Sicilian vs Kaido Kulaots

Yesterday Chessbase published an article, How 62nd seed Kaido Kulaots won the Aeroflot Open 2019 Part II, (https://en.chessbase.com/post/interview-with-aeroflot-winner-kaido-kulaots-part-ii) which contained the game between Aeroflot Open winner Kaido Kulaots


Winner of Aeroflot Open 2019 — Kaido Kulaots from Estonia | Photo: Eteri Kublashvili

and the top seed of the event Wei Yi.

The game was a Closed Sicilian, an opening I played often while scoring well against higher rated opposition. The game began with the usual moves, 1 e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6, but then Wei Yi played 3 Nge2 in lieu of what had become almost routine, 3 g3, the move invariably played by many, including yours truly. This sent me to the ChessBase DataBase because this inquiring mind had to know…I learned it is currently the best move according to SF 9 & 10, and Houdini. Until the next generation of self learning programs appears on the CBDB 3 Nge2 will stand as the best way to play the Closed variation against the Sicilian defense, which means my favored 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 d6 3 g3 Nc6 4 Bg2 g6 5 d3 Bg7 6 Be3 with which I stunned quite a few Experts and Masters is considered second-rate. Then comes, 4. g3 (SF 10 at depth 35 plays this move, but at depth 42 plays 4 d4) Nc6 (SF 10 at depth 38 plays this move, but SF 010219 at the same depth plays 4…g6) 5. Bg2 g6 6. d3 (SF 9 at depth 36 plays this move, but going deeper to depth 44 shows 6 a3, a move yet to be played, followed by Bg7 7 Rb1, while Komodo plays the most often played move in practice, 6 0-0 Bg7 7 Nd5) Bg7 7. 0-0 0-0 (SF 260219 at depth 39 shows 7…Rb8 8 Nd5 Nxd5) 8. Bg5 (SF 9 & 10 play 8 a3 , but Komodo shows 8 Nd5 Nd7 9 Ne3) 8…Bd7 (SF 9 at depth 40 shows 8…Rb8 9 a4 h6) 9. Qd2 (This is the SF choice but Komodo plays 9 Nd5) 9…Nd4 (Komodo shows 9…Rb8 10 Nd5 Ng4 or 9…Re8 10 h3 Rc8 both at depth 31).

The complete game can be found at the Chessbase website and the article is excellent. I give the complete game below:

Wei, Yi (CHN) 2733 – Kulaots, Kaido (EST) 2542

Aeroflot Open 2019 round 07

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. Nge2 Nf6 4. g3 Nc6 5. Bg2 g6 6. d3 Bg7 7. O-O O-O 8. Bg5 Bd7 9. Qd2 Nd4 10. Nxd4 cxd4 11. Ne2 e5 12. c3 dxc3 13. Nxc3 a5 14. f4 Bc6 15. f5 b5 16. Rac1 b4 17. Nd5 Bxd5 18. exd5 Qb6+ 19. Kh1 Qb5 20. Rc6 Rad8 21. Bxf6 Bxf6 22. Be4 g5 23. Rfc1 Kg7 24. Qd1 Rd7 25. Kg2 Rh8 26. Qh5 Qb7 27. Kf3 Qa7 28. R6c4 Qb6 29. Ke2 Qa7 30. Kf3 Qb6 31. Ke2 Qa7 32. h4 h6 33. Qf3 Rg8 34. hxg5 hxg5 35. Rh1 Rh8 36. Rxh8 Kxh8 37. Qh1+ Kg7 38. Qc1 Qb6 39. Rc6 Qd4 40. Rc4 Qb6 41. Rc6 Qd4 42. Ra6 Rd8 43. Kf1 Rd7 44. Kg2 b3 45. axb3 Rb7 46. Ra8 Ra7 47. Rb8 Rd7 48. Ra8 Rd8 49. Rxa5 Qb6 50. Ra3 Rh8 51. Qd2 Rb8 52. Qf2 Qc7 53. Qd2 Qc5 54. Bf3 Rb7 55. Ra5 Qb6 56. Bd1 Qd4 57. Qc3 Qe3 58. Ra4 Rb8 59. Re4 Qa7 60. b4 Rh8 61. Bb3 Qd7 62. g4 Qa7 63. Qd2 Rh4 64. Qe1 Qb8 65. Qg3 Qa7 66. Qe1 Qb8 67. Bc4 Qh8 68. Qg3 Bd8 69. d4 exd4 70. Rxd4 Bf6 71. Re4 Qb8 72. Be2 Be5 73. Rxe5 dxe5 74. b5 Qd6 75. Qe3 Kf6 76. b6 Qxd5+ 77. Bf3 Qd4 78. Qxd4 exd4 79. b7 Rh8 80. Bc6 Ke5 81. Bd7 Rb8 82. Bc8 Ke4 83. Kf2 Ke5 0-1

Werner Hug (2435) vs John Nunn (2565)

Luzern ol (Men) 1982

B25 Sicilian, closed

1.e4 g6 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.d3 d6 6.Nge2 Nf6 7.O-O O-O 8.Bg5 Bd7 9.Qd2 Rc8 10.Bh6 Bxh6 11.Qxh6 Nd4 12.Qd2 Qb6 13.Rab1 Bg4 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.exd5 Rc7 17.c4 dxc3 18.bxc3 Qa5 19.Rb4 Bf5 20.Rfb1 Rfc8 21.R1b3 b6 22.h3 e5 23.dxe6 Bxe6 24.Rb5 Qa6 25.c4 Rc5 26.Qb2 Rxb5 27.Rxb5 Rc5 28.Rxc5 dxc5 29.h4 h5 30.Be4 Qa5 31.Kg2 Qa4 ½-½

Thomas Flindt (2179) vs Martin Baekgaard (2294)

47th XtraCon TCh-DEN 2008-9

B24 Sicilian, closed

1.Nc3 c5 2.e4 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nge2 Nf6 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 d6 8.Bg5 Bd7 9.Qd2 Qa5 10.Bh6 Nd4 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.h3 Qb4 13.Rab1 Rac8 14.f4 Bc6 15.g4 Nd7 16.f5 Nxe2+ 17.Qxe2 Qd4+ 18.Kh1 f6 19.g5 fxg5 20.Qg4 h6 21.fxg6 Ne5 22.Qe6 Nxg6 23.Nd5 Qe5 24.Qg4 e6 25.Ne3 b5 26.Qd1 Rxf1+ 27.Qxf1 Rf8 28.Qe1 h5 29.Qa5 Rf7 30.Rf1 Nf4 31.Qd8 d5 32.Nf5+ exf5 33.Qxg5+ Ng6 34.exf5 Qf6 35.Qxg6+ Qxg6 36.fxg6 Rxf1+ 37.Bxf1 d4+ 38.Bg2 Bxg2+ 39.Kxg2 Kxg6 40.h4 Kf5 41.Kf3 a5 42.Kg3 a4 43.b3 Ke5 ½-½

What Happens at Chess Club

I attended the Chess club Thursday night at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. Because of my age and having only recently sufficiently recovered from illness I informed the TD I would be willing to act as a “filler” in the event there were an odd number of players and would only play in the first two rounds.

Having attended the previous week, the first time I had made it in some time, a few new players were noticed, which the gentleman who runs the club attributed to the recently finished match for the Human World Chess Championship. Most, if not all, of the players who attend are so hungry for a game they play “skittles” games before the G/15 event begins. There was a “newby” who caught my eye because he was wearing sandals during winter. He looked as though he would have fit in at Woodstock in 1969, so I spoke to the young man, saying, “You gotta like a guy who refuses to give in to winter.” His name was Dawson and he was ready to play, someone…anyone, so we sat down for a game after introductions. I had the white pieces and opened with 1 e4. He responded with the French move of 1…e6. After playing the standard 2 d4 he answered with 2…d5, whereupon I advanced my pawn to e5 on my third move. My opponent stopped to cogitate a few moments before playing 3…Nc6 with obvious trepidation, which showed when he kept his finger on the Knight after placing it gingerly on the square. As he did so I took a good look at him while thinking he appeared about the same age as I was when first visiting an official Chess club. He finally removed his finger from the Knight. I continued looking at the young man, wondering if I should say anything…Before speaking a particular scene from one of my favorite movies flashed in my mind:

When he looked up from the board I said, “At the Chess Club we do not, ever, hold our finger on a piece. When you decide upon your move, make it like you mean it and place it firmly on the square with deliberation, and immediately remove your fingers from the piece.”

The young fellow was somewhat taken aback, but gathered himself quickly and nodded in assent. I continued, “Are you playing in the tournament?” He said he was not. “Then I suggest you spend some time watching these gentlemen play, paying particular attention to how they move their pieces.” Again, he nodded. I did not have to mention it again.

Granted, I am no longer the player I was earlier in my life, and having played over many of the games from the recent World Senior Chess Championship,
(http://www.wscc2018.european-chessacademy.com/index.php/en/) I realize how much of a decline there is for an old(er) player, especially in the 65+ section, which is now my category. That said, the young fellow played a decent game, developing his pieces in the opening without any extraneous pawn moves or outright blunders. We arrived at about an even position in the early middle game, before he made a mistake, moving his a-pawn aggressively, but weakening his b-pawn in the process. I secured my b-pawn by playing a3, then picked off his undefended b-pawn. A few moves later there was a tactical skirmish in which I came out a piece ahead, and he sort of went downhill from there. The game ended in mate by my newly minted Queen protected by a lone Knight.

“You played very well, young man,” I said. There were a couple of players watching the game and they seconded my remark. He said graciously, “I appreciate your saying that, sir.” We talked and I learned he was twenty years old, the same age as was I when I first went to the Atlanta Chess club. He mentioned coming because he was beating the players with whom he had been playing and wanted better competition. Wondering how he could play such a decent game I asked if he read any Chess books. “Not really,” he said. “But I’ve been on Chess.com and watched many YouTube videos.”

The tournament began and I was not needed, fortunately. This gave me an opportunity to watch some of the action, talk with some of those who come and play without playing in the tourney, and those who come to simply “hang-out.” It was immensely enjoyable. I watched Dawson play one of the young players who is not a member of the USCF (“It costs $30!”) but comes to play skittles. Dawson was a piece down but came back to win the game.

After becoming a Senior I began staying home at night for a reason. Although exhausted after being at the Chess Club I was unable to sleep soundly and the next day, Friday, was not one of my better days, so I took it easy and relaxed, spending much time reading, and listening to programs via the internet.

Fortunately, Saturday was a totally different story. I read while having my first cuppa joe. After breakfast the web was surfed. Chess is usually saved for last and one of the sites I visit every day is GM Kevin Spraggett’s

website (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/). He has a “Chess News” scroll, “What is Happening Today?” I clicked on the ones new to me and began reading. I read every article and there were many on AlphaZero. I even read an editorial by Garry Kasparov

in Science magazine. (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6419/1087) Then I clicked on to read Mastering board games, by Murray Campbell.

I had intended on watching several videos by GM Matthew Sadler concerning the recent World Human Chess Championship games, but discovered videos at Chess24 in the article, AlphaZero really is that good (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/alphazero-really-is-that-good). I watched every video contained in the article superbly elucidated by GM Sadler. I was had by hook, line and sinker, after watching the first one, All-in Defence, “A true Najdorf brawl.”

The Najdorf was my first love. Like many others I played it because Bobby Fischer played the opening. With Bobby the Najdorf was an offensive defense.

While watching the Najdorf “brawl” I noticed another Sadler video over on the right and it looked like the position could have emanated from the Leningrad Dutch, my “second love.” I clicked on and, sure enough, it was a Leningrad! I was compelled to watch.

As if that were not enough I noticed a video by GM Ben Finegold, who married a woman in my home city of Atlanta and they opened the new Atlanta Chess Club & Scholastic Center. (https://atlchessclub.com/) The video is Capablanca Endgames with GM Ben Finegold.

I enjoyed Ben’s commentary while thinking, “I wish the internet existed in 1970.” How can young players, and even older players, not be far superior to those of my generation with tools like this, and the best players giving great advice away for practically nothing? Why would anyone pay someone to teach Chess?

In an email to Karen I wrote, “I did surf over to Twitch the other day to listen to the lonely Ben comment on the game. I was thinking it must be very difficult to do it alone for a long period of time…Ben the Maytag repairman…”

Karen replied, ” I don’t think he gets lonely streaming …. he seems to enjoy it and likes to talk a lot so it works out.” Ben talks a lot because he has something useful to say. He is like the old EF Hutton TV commercial. “When EF Hutton talks, people listen.”

Other articles read:

AlphaZero: Shedding new light on the grand games of chess, shogi and Go
https://deepmind.com/blog/alphazero-shedding-new-light-grand-games-chess-shogi-and-go/

Updated AlphaZero Crushes Stockfish In New 1,000-Game Match
https://www.chess.com/news/view/updated-alphazero-crushes-stockfish-in-new-1-000-game-match

Inside the (deep) mind of AlphaZero
by Albert Silver
https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-full-alphazero-paper-is-published-at-long-last

Three new articles were found before writing this post at Spaggett On Chess and I intend on reading them later today, even the one by discredited economist and former GM Ken Rogoff:

Commentary: Where is the fun of playing chess against a robot? by Kenneth Rogoff
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/why-human-classic-chess-survives-even-with-technology-chess-ai-10980248

Saudi Arabia calls Israel’s bluff
If Saudis do not feel like welcoming Israelis on their lands, they are perfectly right


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Image Credit: AFP

Published: December 08, 2018 16:39 Tariq A. Al Maeena, Special to Gulf News
https://gulfnews.com/opinion/op-eds/saudi-arabia-calls-israels-bluff-1.60805086

Chess Is An Important Part Of Russian Soft Power
by Joseph Hammond December 3, 2018

https://tsarizm.com/analysis/2018/12/03/chess-part-russia-soft-power/