What Would Mikhail Tal Do?

Levon Aronian (2777) – Sergey Karjakin (2760)
4th Zurich CC Classical Zurich SUI (1), 2015.02.14
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.e4 b4 10.Na4 c5 11.e5 Nd5 12.dxc5 Nxc5 13.Nxc5 Bxc5 14.O-O Be7 15.Qe2 Qb6 16.Ng5 h6 17.Ne4 Rd8 18.Qf3 Ba6 19.Rd1 O-O 20.Qg3 Kh8 21.Qh3 Kg8 22.Bxh6 gxh6 23.Qxh6 f5 24.Qg6+ Kh8 25.Qh6+ Kg8 26.Qg6+ Kh8 27.Qh6+ ½-½

The question I would like you to answer is, “Would Mikhail Tal have taken the perpetual check?”

My favorite music program is Hearts of Space (https://www.hos.com/). It was called Music From the Hearts of Space when it began on National Public Radio back in 1983. It is still broadcast on NPR and even though the program can be heard free online all day Sunday, I like to get a head start and listen to the program of the week on Friday night at 11 pm on WCBE FM out of Central Ohio. If the program is particularly good I have been known to cut away from Jazz Classics (http://wabe.org/programs/jazz-classics-h-johnson) on my home town NPR station, WABE FM, at 11 pm to listen to it again on WMFE FM (http://www.wmfe.org/) out of Kissimmee, Florida, but please do not tell this to my man, H. Johnson. Last night I did just that and left H. because there was some exceptional music wafting from the Hearts of Space to which I wished to listen once again. I liked SERENITY, by Michael Hoppe & Harold Moses, and later found it online, but that was not the case with a mesmerizing piece, Dreamesque, by Ralph Zurmuhle. (http://www.ralphpiano.com/) This music resonated with the Warrior while sitting in his Armchair. Today I have listened to it repeatedly, and will continue to do so until midnight, I suppose…

While listening to the program I decided to catch up on some chess surfing, something I have been unable to do, having had to limit my exposure to the ‘puter screen while afflicted with a dreadful sinus infection. While perusing Spraggett on Chess I noticed an interview with GM Lubomir Ljubojevic that obviously flew below the AW radar. His comments would have fit in nicely with my last post.

Interview with Grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojevic – Chess now and then, through the prism of technology, physics and philosophy – on 29 July 2013.

Yugoslav chess legend, former World No. 3, one of the best chess players from these parts ever, Grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojevic, shared with us his impressions about the current state of Serbian and international chess, the influence of computers on chess and development of chess ways of thinking, and about the specificities of the profession of the modern chess player.

Nadezda Stojanovic
I belong to the generation which wasn’t even born at the time you were at the peak of your career. So, for us, who belong to this younger generation, it is always very interesting to hear stories about the time when chess in these parts of the world had a much greater influence than nowadays.

Ljubomir Ljubojevic
When it comes to chess profession, the biggest difference between these different times arises from great development of technology. In the period when chess relied on personal analyses and when it was difficult to find the information about the latest games played in tournaments worldwide, we depended on how fast we could get these pieces of information. That’s why we would analyse for days, sometimes even for months, to be sure if some line is playable or not. Nowadays, that is very easy, you turn on the computer and you can easily check if certain positions or openings are applicable or not. In terms of openings, chess has developed a lot. But, it is my impression that the middlegame and endgame are still an Achilles’ heel of professionals. This begs the question: has the quality of those game phases stagnated because people got used to relying on computer knowledge? Or could this be because people get tired faster than before, because they spend less time on exercising their mental skills leaving that to technology?

What is your view of the current world ranking?

Ljubomir Ljubojevic
I think that Carlsen is the most prepared and the most talented player in this moment. He has already reached maturity which even Fischer at his age didn’t have. However, this doesn’t mean that his talent is more brilliant than Fischer’s! Carlsen entered the world of chess at a very early age, mainly due to the big influence of computers, and managed to acquire knowledge for which one used to need a lot of experience and many years of hard work. In his time, Fischer would find simplicity in the game thanks to his ingenuity. Today, young leading players in the world overcome complicated secrets of chess faster, with the help of powerful computers. That is why the progress of young players is faster today, but the question is will they burn out as fast, like a shooting star, and will their successful career be as long as the career of the players in the past?

Nadezda Stojanovic
You were a player of attractive style. Even nowadays in analyses you seem to suggest moves which others don’t see. Many people respect you for this.

Ljubomir Ljubojevic
I wouldn’t say so. Every person has their own moment of lucidity. Even a chess player who is objectively considered as a weaker player can have ingenious ideas. The only question is if he will use that moment of lucidity to make a good result worth of that ingenious idea. During my chess development, when there were no computers to rely on their suggestions, I was trying to get to know the secrets of chess with all my being and capacities I had. There is a difference when you see some picture on the screen, and you remember it, or when you come to that picture by deduction and logical thinking.

Other parts of the full interview can be found on GM Spraggett’s website (https://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/todays-insight-into-chess/) and the full interview can be found here (http://belgrade2013.org/index.php/en/).

Shocked to Find Cheating on PlayChess.com

Several days ago this notice appeared on the USCF website:

“USCF & Internet Chess Club Join Forces to Provide Online Rated Chess!

The Internet Chess Club (ICC) and the United States Chess Federation (USCF) are delighted to announce the start of USCF online rated tournaments on the ICC. Bonus: 20% off ICC memberships for USCF members!” (http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12816/772/)

Wow, what a “bonus.” How about playing on one of the plethora of places where you can play FREE?

Today a new thread appeared on the forum under “All Things Chess”:

“New form of cheating on PlayChess.com ??”

by MikeMurray on Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:22 am #285620
“The last few days, I’ve experienced what appears to be a new cheating technique on PlayChess.com. What happens is my time seems to simply evaporate and I lose on time the instant my opponent moves. These are rated games. The last occurrence, with a huge material advantage on the board, I had about 25 seconds left and had a “premove” set up. My opponent thought for about 30 seconds, moved, and bingo, I instantly lost on time. This has happened more than once. The first couple of times (with different opponents), I thought I’d simply zoned out and not noticed my opponent’s move. But this last time, I was clearly focused and paying attention.
Anybody else experience this or something similar?
By the way, my premove did execute on the board, so I technically lost on time when it was my opponent’s move!”

A short time later Mike Nolan weighed in, as he does often, with:

by nolan on Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:07 pm #285622
“This doesn’t sounds so much like a way of cheating as a poorly designed or buggy playing interface.”

Next up was Hal Terrie:
by Hal Terrie on Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:14 pm #285623
“This kind of thing is frequently caused by lag. If you have a slow connection to the server your moves (and the replies of your opponent) will not be transmitted right away but meanwhile the server is still counting down your clock. This can result in the sudden disappearance of time as you have described.”
— Hal Terrie

Mr. Murray answered:

Postby MikeMurray on Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:52 pm #285629
“In the past, the server seemed to be able to account for lag. I’m wondering if some other applications I’m running on my PC might #### this up. I had Skype up, as well as gDrive, couple of browser windows and the usual antivirus.”

Hal took another turn with:

by Hal Terrie on Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:12 pm #285631
“I don’t think it’s related to other applications. I have had the exact thing you describe happen to me – I try to move instantly but 30 seconds or a minute just vanish. I have had this happen on both ICC and Chess.com. Some servers have an internal test for lag and won’t let you start a game if your connection is too slow but I don’t think it always works.r
I get broadband internet from Comcast and there’s a tendency to think it’s very fast. However, when overall usage is very high (for example, in late afternoon when all the kids are getting home from school and simultaneously logging on), I have sometimes found my connection slowing to a crawl. It’s not just the chess servers, web pages take forever to load too. All I can do is just log off and come back later. Sometimes, if I try logging in instead using an alternate ISP (I have a wireless laptop card from Verizon), the problem vanishes.”
— Hal Terrie
(http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=20621&sid=70db42d2bdfc049f1cc046fd44d6b0a0)

Blame it on the “kids”!

I do not play chess on the internet and wonder why anyone would do so. But then, I also wondered why any fool would play poker on a website. If you play against other humans you can at least see them dealing from the bottom of the deck. (http://www.pokernews.com/news/2013/05/audio-tapes-expose-ultimate-bet-cheating-scandal-14986.htm)

I had a problem trying to listen to music from the Hearts of Space (https://www.hos.com/). When the music stopped a message appeared onscreen, “Your internet connection is too slow. You must be in the US, which means your 20th century low-speed internet, unlike the twenty-first century ultra high-speed connection in most other advanced countries, like Japan and South Korea, for example, runs circles around your antiquated, obsolete, low-speed internet, while you pay exponentially more for infinitely less service.” Or something like that…

I was talking with a gentleman from another country in a coffee shop just the other day as his frustration mounted. “I cannot believe how slow the internet is here! It takes me many minutes longer to do my work! In my country all I have to do is THINK about where I’m surfing next and the page will appear ten seconds BEFORE I realize that’s where I wanted to go!”
I told him to have another cuppa joe while he waited. “Good idea,” he said.

Casablanca gambling? I’m shocked!

World Open: What Last Round?

I sat down to watch the last round of the World Open only to find the CCA website was still down. Upon clicking on one finds “This site is temporarily unavailable.” This is from “POWWEB,” a company who has trademarked the slogan, “The Perfect Hosting Solution.” Not this time… I surfed on over to the Monroi website to find none of the top board games displayed, and those of the lower boards had problems. I tried Chessdom and found there were still no games after round seven.
In his opening remarks to this weeks show, “AMERICAN REFLECTIONS,” on the program, “Hearts of Space: Slow Music For Fast Times,” which includes a rendition of Shenandoah, the official school song of Shenandoah University in Winchester VA., by Eric Tingstad & Nancy Rumbel, that will make you reach for a handkerchief (https://www.hos.com/), Steven Hill said, ” This week we gather for our yearly July 4th celebration of American independence. It’s a festive affair, with food, fun and fireworks. In the last few years, the celebration has often been tempered by continuing national, global and planetary challenges, and this year is no exception. Somehow, it all seems to make the day more precious — a haven from cares and reconnection with friends and family on a fine summer day. We take comfort in familiar food, games, and music.”
Since it is the 4th of July weekend, “games” to a chess player mean the World Open. The 4th was a good day, game wise. It has been a rocky downhill slide since…It is difficult being a fan of chess when there seem to be problems with broadcasting almost every tournament. The last round is the reason a fan watches the previous rounds. Here it is and I have no idea who is playing on the top boards and no way of finding out. It is pitiful, really, when you stop to think about the current state of affairs in the world of chess. It seems like chess is stuck in the 20th century while the rest of the world has “caught a wave” into the 21st.
What has happened with the World Open is akin to watching the seventh, and last, game of the baseball World Series for eight innings and having the coverage end, leaving a fan wondering…

It is Monday morning and I have just learned the outcome of the World Open from the USCF webpage. There one finds, “Look for our video coverage from the World Open later this week and find more games and information on the World Open website.” I clicked onto the World Open website and found this: “Error establishing a database connection.” For some reason it seems a fitting conclusion to the 2014 World Open.