The reason for the series on the Najdorf is that I wanted to learn how the Stockfish Chess program used at lichess.com plays for and against what has become the most popular Chess opening being used today. Anyone writing about todaze Najdorf must put the Frenchman, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, aka, “MVL” at the top of the list of leading exponents of the venerable opening. See the post that began this series (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2023/02/23/a-seventh-move-novelty-in-the-najdorf/). As mentioned, this is an ongoing series of articles, so each one is put together individually. Before beginning, I wondered if, and or when, MVL would enter the picture. This is the post.
The following video was published with the first, aforementioned post, but I decided to include it again, for an obvious reason. In hindsight it maybe would have been better to have waited on using the video, but these posts are being put together individually, so this writer is “winging it.”
The Chess World’s New Villain: A Cat Named Mittens A ruthless bot with an innocuous avatar is driving chess players crazy
By Andrew Beaton and Joshua Robinson Jan. 18, 2023
The heels of the chess world have included Soviet grandmasters, alleged cheaters, and faceless supercomputers. But the game’s latest villain is a fearsome genius who quotes French cinema and has played millions of games in just a couple of weeks.
She also happens to be a mean cat.
Mittens—or technically the chess bot known as Mittens—might look cute. Her listed chess rating of a single point seems innocuous. But her play over the past few weeks, which has bedeviled regular pawn-pushers, grandmasters, and champions who could play for the world title, is downright terrifying. And as it turns out, people are gluttons for punishment.
Since Chess.com introduced this bot with the avatar of a cuddly, big-eyed kitten on Jan. 1, the obsession with playing her has been astonishing. Mittens has crashed the website through its sheer popularity and helped drive more people to play chess than even “The Queen’s Gambit.” Chess.com has averaged 27.5 million games played per day in January and is on track for more than 850 million games this month—40% more than any month in the company’s history. A video that American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura posted to YouTube titled “Mittens The Chess Bot Will Make You Quit Chess” has already racked up more than three million views.
“This bot is a psycho,” the streamer and International Master Levy Rozman tweeted after a vicious checkmate this month. A day later, he added, “The chess world has to unite against Mittens.” He was joking, mostly.
Mittens is a meme, a piece of artificial intelligence and a super grandmaster who also happens to reflect the broader evolution in modern chess. The game is no longer old, stuffy and dominated by theoretical conversations about different lines of a d5 opening. It’s young, buzzy and proof that cats still rule the internet.
The past few months have seen yet another surge in the worldwide appeal of chess. The viral image from the World Cup was a Louis Vuitton advertisement showing Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi poring over a board.
The picture that summed up the college football national championship was of a TCU fan playing chess on her phone in the stadium while the Horned Frogs got demolished by Georgia. When Slovenian NBA superstar Luka Doncic was asked for his thoughts about Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, he shrugged it off and said he uses his phone to play chess.
None of those moments have driven people to virtual chess boards quite like a cat named Mittens who likes to taunt her opponents while she destroys them.
“I am inevitable. I am forever. Meow. Hehehehe,” Mittens tells her opponents in the chat function of games.
Chess.com, the popular platform where both grandmasters and millions of everyday chess lovers play, has a number of bots ranging in skill level and styles for users to challenge. Some are designed to play poorly and be beatable even by a crummy player. Others, in an age when the computers dominate humans, can topple the chess elite.
This particular bot was the brainchild of a Hamilton College student named Will Whalen who moonlights as a creative strategy lead. He had a crazy idea. What if they put an incredibly strong bot behind some devastatingly cute eyes?
“Then Mittens was born,” Whalen says.
But Mittens didn’t become a brutal troll until a Chess.com writer named Sean Becker led a team that developed Mittens’s personality to become the evil genius tormenting chess players everywhere. Part of why Mittens has become such a notorious villain is because she acts like one.
Mittens doesn’t purr. She references ominous lines from Robert Oppenheimer, Van Gogh, and even a 1960s Franco-Italian film called “Le Samourai.”
“Meow. Gaze into the long abyss. Hehehehe,” Mittens says, quoting German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
Even her approach to the game is menacing. Mittens is designed to be skillful enough to beat the best chess players on the planet but uses particularly grueling tactics. Becker thought it would be “way more demoralizing and funny” if, instead of simply smashing opponents, Mittens grinded down opponents through painstaking positional battles, similar to the tactics Russian grandmaster Anatoly Karpov used to become world champion.
It hasn’t been difficult for Becker to see the reactions to his masterpiece. Nakamura, who could manage only a draw against Mittens, bluntly said in a video, “This cat is extremely patient, which is kind of annoying. I’m not going to lie.”
Becker has also seen it when he rides the subway and notices someone on their phone getting crushed by Mittens.
“You can see their eyes be kind of afraid,” Becker says.
Getting absolutely creamed by Mittens might get old. But her surprising popularity speaks to an underlying current in the chess world as freshly minted fans flow in: People are endlessly curious about new ways to engage with the ancient game. Facing novelty bots is just one of them. There has also been a new wave of interest in previously obscure chess variants.
Chess960, for instance, is a version of the game where all the non-pawn pieces are lined up in random order on the back rank. Also known as Fischer Random, for its inventor Bobby Fischer, it has gained traction among elite players as a high-purity test of chess skill and vision, because the random setup makes openings nearly impossible to prepare ahead of time.
In an unprecedented move, chess world governing body FIDE recognized Chess960 and gave it a world championship in 2019. The tournament was closely watched in 2022 when the final featured two of the best players on the planet: Nakamura and Ian Nepomniachtchi, the runner-up at the 2021 world championship of normal chess. (World champion Magnus Carlsen finished third.)
Other variants include: “Fog of War,” where players have a limited view of their opponents’ pieces; “Bughouse Chess,” which is played across two boards with captured pieces potentially moving from one to the other; and “Three Check,” where the objective is simply to put the opposing king in check three times.
The wackiest of all is the chess variant known as Duck Chess. It looks mostly like regular chess—64 squares and 32 pieces. But it also has one rubber ducky on the board.
After every move in Duck Chess, the player moves the titular object to a new square of the board where it blocks pieces in its path. Good luck moving your bishop when there’s a duck squatting on its diagonal.
There are also other cat bots. One is Mr. Grumpers. Another is Catspurrov, which bears a curious resemblance to former world champion Garry Kasparov. None have become a sensation quite like the chess terrorist called Mittens.
“While I still think chess is a symbol of the highest level of strategic thinking,” said Chess.com chief chess officer Danny Rensch, “it’s also a game that is just incredibly fun and enjoyable.”
Just not when you play Mittens.
Write to Andrew Beaton at firstname.lastname@example.org and Joshua Robinson at Joshua.Robinson@wsj.com
Appeared in the January 19, 2023, print edition as ‘Chess World’s New Villain: A Cat Named Mittens’.
The article begins, “Chess.com, the world’s largest chess website, has acquired Play Magnus Group, a leading chess entertainment and education company. The proposed acquisition was initially announced on August 24, 2022 and was unanimously recommended by Play Magnus Group’s board. After receiving regulatory and shareholder approval, the acquisition officially closed on December 16, 2022. By sheer coincidence, on the same day, Chess.com reached 100,000,000 members, another major milestone in the site’s history.”
The paragraph that really caused my blood to boil was, “In association with the acquisition of Play Magnus Group, Magnus Carlsen has signed on as a Chess.com ambassador. He will be competing regularly in Chess.com events such as the Speed Chess Championship. On December 18, 2022, Carlsen contested the 2022 Speed Chess Championship Final which was in a thrilling, down-to-the-wire performance by Hikaru Nakamura. More than 200,000 viewers tuned in to watch this highly anticipated matchup.”
Hold on now…wait a MINUTE! “Contested”? “CONTESTED!” Ambassador Carlsen lost, LOST, the “thrilling, down-to-the-wire performance by Hikaru Nakamura.” What? Chess.com did not want to embarrass the new AMBASSADOR?
This writer was able to watch most, not all, of the coverage of the 2022 US Chess Championships. When unable to watch the live broadcast for various reasons I went back and watched what was missed earlier during the first twelve rounds. There were many “technical problems” with the last round so I turned it off and watched the games the old fashioned way by watching the moves played at Lichess.com. I did not later watch what was missed during the last round. Yasser mentioned something about the broadcast emanating from philanthropy and I realize the broadcast is not like any for profit broadcast, such as a Baseball game, or golf tournament, etc. Nevertheless, the broadcasts emanating from the St. Louis Chess Campus have been ongoing for many years, long enough for those broadcasting to have their collective act together. At the beginning of the broadcasts the commentators would focus on one game for a length of time, which was disconcerting, because there were fourteen ongoing games. I thought an overview of all the games should be given and from the emails received, so did many other viewers. One day the guys and girl focused almost exclusively on one game, which caused me to fire a salvo at the folks in St. Louis. After it happened again another salvo was fired, but no response was received from the Campus. I simply turned off the volume and watched the opening moves of all the games at Lichess.com.
I realize the commentators are not ‘professional’ media types, but they are getting paid, so maybe they could be considered “untrained” professionals. In one salvo fired at the StLCC I asked if there was a director, but have yet to receive an answer. A director could inform the commentators of where there was “action” in another game and they could switch to it immediately. I recall one instance when they were following an endgame in the open while there was a very interesting game with lieelt time remaining being contested in the women’s championship. I also recall Yasser saying something about, “We’re staying right here!” I tuned the sound off and watched the women’s game on Lichess.com.
(born 29 May 1982) is a Ukrainian chess player and journalist. She achieved the FIDE titles Woman International Master in 2000 and Woman Grandmaster in 2003. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anastasiya_Karlovich) Her accent often made it hard to understand what she was saying. In addition, she had a disconcerting habit of talking over Yasser. It is impossible to understand what is being said when two people are talking, which happened all too often.
That said, I still give the StLCC a B+ for the effort. There were too many positives for a lower grade to be given. Please understand this old Warrior is still amazed at being able to watch something like this, which was unheard of ‘back in the day’. “Shelbourne Richard Lyman (October 22, 1936 – August 11, 2019) was an American chess player and teacher known for hosting a live broadcast of the 1972 World Chess Championship for the PBS television station Channel 13 in New York. This broadcast became the highest-rated public television program ever at that time, far surpassing viewership expectations.” In addition, Shelby also, “…later hosted a two-hour broadcast covering the World Chess Championship 1986. This segment was recorded at WNYE-TV in Brooklyn and aired on 120 public television stations.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelby_Lyman) It was during the latter time the woman with whom I lived, after watching the first broadcast, facetiously called him, “Mr. Charisma.” Chess broadcasts have come a long way, baby.
When there was a break in the action I would glance at some of the comments left by those watching. I was surprised when reading some that questioned Yasser Seirawan’s penchant for telling stories of the past. “you cannot understand where you are at unless you know where you have been,” I thought. One of the pleasures of my childhood was watching the Baseball Game of the Week on Saturday afternoon. Former Major League Baseball players Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese
would regale we neophytes with stories of bygone days, just as Yasser does during the broadcast. To this writer those stories are one of the best facets of the broadcasts. One was so good I took notes, realizing words would not come near describing how good was the tale. Imagine the elation when the segment was found! It concerns former World Chess Champ Gary Kasparov and to just read the words, or even listen to them, would not contain the visceral response shown by Yasser. All the hours spent spectating, and listening to the broadcasts were worth it just to be able to see Yasser when describing the story.
The 2022 US Chess Championships were inherently unfair. The player of the white pieces has an advantage, which is more apparent in the Open than with the Women. Someone was overheard saying to a student, “Fabiano Caruana played the best Chess in the tournament.” I begged to differ, saying Ray Robson played the best Chess. He knew how much time I had spent on viewing the action, so respected my opinion, but still questioned the statement. “Fabi had the white pieces in seven games; Robson in only six,” I said.
It is long past the time those in the Chess world come to terms with the fact that the way tournaments are structured favors one half of the field. The only way to remedy the problem is to have a US Chess Championship in which each player has an equal number of games with both colors. This could be done by having an eight player field, the Elite Eight, with two games versus each of the seven opponents, making for a fourteen round tournament. The fact is there were too many players who should not have been playing in the tournament.
The games are too long. The time for the games should be shortened because there are many games which do not begin until the players have spouted out twenty moves of opening theory in only a few minutes. Give the players ninety minutes with some kind of increment and have them play two games each day. It would be like going to work an eight hour day job. After the first game there would be a two hour break and the second game could then begin.
Deciding a championship by playing speed (kills) Chess is ludicrous, especially when a so-called “champion” is determined by some abomination called, appropriately enough, “Armageddon”. One of the definitions of Armageddon is: “A decisive or catastrophic conflict.” (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Armaggedon). On second thought maybe it is appropriate after the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, in an unprecedented act, withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup after losing a badly played game to Hans Niemann. There is nothing worse than for a player to withdraw in a round robin tournament, unless there was some major reason for so doing, such as having a stroke, or going blind, etc. The action of sore loser Carlsen was an affront to the Royal Game, the Singuefield Cup, and to the St. Louis Chess Club. In addition, it was a slap in the face to the man responsible for the philanthropy, Rex Sinquefield. Tony Rich, Executive Director of the St. Louis Chess Campus,
said Magnus would be welcomed back to the STLCC, but he will never be welcomed by this writer. It is possible his ill-advised action will bring down the House of Chess. Magnus will not be the Chess champion of the world much longer and he should be classified as persona non grata everywhere, forced to sit home and ‘stream’ like Hikaru Nakamura
After posting the previous post a few days ago news concerning a lawsuit filed by Hans Niemann hit the internet like a tidal wave. Like most people involved with the Royal Game I read everything there was to be read concerning the issue.
ChessSpawn Vermont (Attorney Brian Lafferty) Niemann’s complaint is well drafted and pleaded alleging Slander; Libel; Sherman Anti-Trust Act Violations; Tortious Interference with Contract and Business Opportunities; and Civil Conspiracy.The complaint sets out a number of previously unknown or little known alleged defamatory statements to third parties and actions of a collusive nature between defendants directed at Niemann. Damages in the amount of $100 million are sought on a number of the causes of action and unspecified damages on one cause of action to be determined at trial.This is the real deal. These defendants will have a difficult time escaping liability for their actions. Hopefully, this will also lead the US Department of Justice to examine the acquisition of Play Magnus Group by Chess . com in relation to US Anti-Trust/Restraint of Trade Laws. https://en.chessbase.com/post/breaking-news-hans-niemann-is-suing#discuss
After considering writing something my mind was changed by the fact that I wanted to leave Herschel Walker is the Punchline up for a few days, possibly through the weekend, because it seemed more important to have a decent, reasonable, calm, and level headed candidate win the upcoming election in lieu of yet another Trumpster wanna be type goofball elected to the office of Senator from the state of Georgia. The polls are close, which is alarming to any reasonable person, so the thinking was that in an extremely close election maybe one vote could be the difference, and just maybe someone reading the post might change their vote. Things changed this morning after reading two articles. The first was, Hans Niemann Files $100 Million Lawsuit Against Magnus Carlsen, Chess.com Over Cheating Allegations (https://www.wsj.com/articles/chess-cheating-hans-niemann-magnus-carlsen-lawsuit-11666291319).
He tweeted, “For chess, Hans‘ lawsuit is probably the perfect PR opportunity. It has everything: millions of dollars (rarity for the sport!), drama, cheating allegations, Carlsen and Nakamura in one sentence, and a big takeover deal on the line.” (https://twitter.com/merenzon/status/1583346826198982656)
Many people have said, “All publicity is good publicity.” The earliest attribution found was from Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/617883-all-publicity-is-good-publicity). This writer is uncertain about the thought behind the quote. To agree with Pierre one must believe “Bad publicity is good publicity.” The feeling of this writer is all the negative publicity will, or already has, had a deleterious effect upon the Royal Game. How can it possibly be good to have something tarnished by dragging it through the mud? It is more than a little obvious that there is a disconnect between some Chess officials and reality. An example occurs any time anyone involved with the GAME of Chess calls it a “sport.” The definition of “sport” is: “An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.” (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/sport)
The way these eyes see Chess these daze is that Chess is like the Titanic after hitting an iceberg.
FIDE, the official governing body of Chess, will continue partying and dancing until it is too late to matter, oblivious to the fact their world has changed drastically, at which time there will be a mad scramble for the too few remaining lifeboats. You know what comes next.
This is not the post planned for the last rest day of the US Chess Championships. That post will be made after the conclusion of the event.
This post is being written because of something extraordinary posted by “Danny
at Chess.com. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess.com) A “Community Update On Recent Events” was published at CHESScom on Oct 14, 2022, 2:36 PM. What is remarkable about this document is that the boys, “Danny and Erik” ASKED, and ANSWERED the questions. This is an affront to every Chess player on the planet. What is even more remarkable is that I have yet to read anyone in the Chess community taking the blues brothers, “Danny and Erik”, to task for asking, and answering their own questions! In every other facet of life journalists ask the questions. Imagine what would happen if politicians asked and answered their own questions.
The mea culpa begins with, “We imagine that most of you, like us, have had more friends than ever who are outside the chess community come and ask you about chess, cheating, Hans, Magnus, and everything else that is going on.”
The blues bros are right about the above statement as this was received from my favorite librarian, Heather: “So, what’s this scandal rocking the chess world?”
Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to answer, so a link to the blog was sent. Hopefully the subject can be discussed during lunch in the near future.
The opening paragraph continues, “Every news outlet on the planet seems to have written a “take” on chess in the last few weeks. It’s been a bewildering time for chess fans and our community. So, as an update to our recent report and the events going on in the chess community, we (Danny and Erik) wanted to take the time and answer some of the questions we see being asked. We appreciate your voice and your questions, and while we know that the opinions in the chess community are divided on many of these topics, we are doing our best to protect and grow the game.”
Translated that becomes, “And cover our ASSets.”
I was transfixed by the use of the word “bewildering”, which sent me to the Free Dictionary, where this definition was found: 1. To confuse or befuddle, especially by being complicated or varied. (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bewildering)
From the myriad comments read on the subject over the past month it is apparent the only two people in the world of Chess who are confused and befuddled are obviously the blues bros, Danny and Erik.
Much more important is what the Chess community thinks about what was written by the blues bros, and since I am a part of the Chess community, and write a blog which concerns Chess, and readers have asked for my opinion, it will be delivered at the end of this post.
Ridiculous. NO excuse for violating your agreements to keep documents confidential in some cases but keeping them private for others. Obvious favoritism and bias and disgusting lying to the people you promised confidentiality to. I hope everyone reading this stops using this site since it’s run by a couple of creeps with no ethics, unless by “ethics” you mean “guzzling Magnus’s ‘output’ at every opportunity”.
I wish all will move away from this site Exposing private e-mails from maxim and damaging him with no clear reason is just another crime this site does (and the list is long
The reasoning for why you won’t release any information on other cheaters and why you claim to have released information on Hans doesn’t square with your stated reason for releasing information on Dlugy. Are you letting Magnus decide who gets thrown under the bus?
“We believe that there should be zero tolerance for cheating in chess in any venue or format.” This contradicts the whole report.
Chess.com quote: “…we often lean ever more conservative in our findings when it comes to young players.” (In response to the question: Why did you not close Hans’ account earlier when you knew he cheated? Why did you let this get to the 100 or so games mentioned in your report?)
Wow. Ageism Writ Large! Especially odd in the ‘Chess World’ as the Youth Dominate! (Oh yeah, and ‘Cutting slack’ seems to be encouraging, regardless of one’s age, cheating!)
I don’t know about legal aspects, but you promised people confidentiality in exchange for confessions and then you broke the promise. That behavior is wrong, even if it is legally permissible.
While I kind of understand that Chess.com wants their statements to be accurate and “professional”, I, however, do not believe this is the answer. Your answers were board (sic), general, and unrevealing, as hinted in the terms “not up to us”, “we don’t know”, “we’re not revealing more”. I would like to see more open information. But meanwhile, this is a big step from the days when you keep everything secret.
Just wondering, let’s say the same cheating situation, but with two different players. Would you still do the same or you only did this because Magnus/Hans was involved? Chess.com doesn’t want to get sued. It’s that simple.
This article pretends that Hans is the one who brought his Chess.com cheating to the public, when in reality it was HIkaru who first did it (and then Eric Hansen did, followed by others). In fact, he did it on the same day that Magnus withdrew, probably without Chess.com’s permission. This was supposed to stay private, and I’m guessing that Hikaru didn’t receive even a reprimand for this, because he’s Chess.com’s beloved mascot.
Why is Chess.com pretending that Hans is the one who brought the private cheating topic to the limelight first, when it was really their own sponsored partners?
What about the rest of the story?
Are we supposed to beleive Hikaru had a full production release set to go minutes after the story was released to the Press. Same with Levy. Sure looks like a leak to most of the world and collaboration between Chess.com & Streamers it’s hired and supported. Chess.com didn’t act as an independent arbiter in any of this.
Yet another shameful “no-statement”. They say: “We have 4 kids each, so we trusted in Hans in 2020, then nothing happened in between 2020-2022, yet we banned him in 2022 just because Magnus withdrew!” This is a shame.
I am sure chess.com is going to close magnus’s account for receiving outside help from david howell in a prize game.
It is not a 1\1000 probability, magnus was caught in tape doing it. We should ban all cheaters for life. No excuse.
your silloquey’s are getting old. study endgames, and zwischenzug instead.
my neighbor had a horse to plow his fields. one day he came out and found his horse dead. he was really pissed off. he started beating this dead horse, and kept beating this dead horse with no result. then he started beating his head against the wall all he got was a headache. yawn dudes find something else to do. study endgames and in between moves.
As Finegold put it, there are no consequences for cheating on chess.com. You apologize and they let you come back to cheat again and again.
What a mess.. -.-
To this observer it appears the Chess.com blues bros are sitting at a poker table with $84,000,000 in the pot and their hand contains only a pair of dunces.
What with the recent onslaught of negative publicity concerning the obviously rampant cheating in Chess I had not intended on watching the US Chess Championships thinking it akin to watching a train wreck. Then again, inquiring minds wast to know and there I was, again glued to the screen watching, and listening, to the action. Younger people accustomed to seeing the game as it is being played will not understand what it means to we wily ol’ veterans who had to be there, as I was in San Antonio in 1972,
to watch the action. To not watch the US Chess Championships emanating from the house that Rex built and miss all the drama and excitement when the first round began was simply not possible. After all, how many train wrecks have been seen with these old eyes? I did not want to read about it, but wanted to see for myself what has become a soap opera, “As The Chess World Turns.” As round time approached my thinking gravitated to something my friend Brian McCarthy was so fond of saying, “Just get me to the round on time!” The coverage of the US Chess Championships has again been excellent and I have immensely enjoyed watching the games.
The plan for today was to show the picture that follows with a headline of, “Is that a banana in your pocket or are trying to cheat me?”
There was a picture of players still in line waiting to be checked out by Mr. Security after the round had already started. Irena Krush was pacing like a caged animal with Hans Niemann standing near her, also waiting to be examined. “Trust, but verify” is obviously the M.O. of the Chess tournament.
That was prior to seeing the headline of the lead article at Chessdom, which has become one of, it not the best sources of information on the internet:
Yeah, well, Hans Niemann is playing for the title of US Chess Champion, Naka, and where are you?
Then there is GM Ivan Sokolov:
Cheating in chess discussions… Many claim cheating online is not as bad as OTB. Sorry! It is exactly the same! The ONLY reason online cheaters do not do OTB is they did not (yet) figure out how to do it but -would LOVE to! Cheating – life time ban! Game has to be clean!
Sounds nice, Ivan, until you realize that if the true numbers are ever published by Chess.com there would not be enough players left for the game to survive because if one wants to win at Chess.com one MUST CHEAT! GM Solokov obviously lives in a fantasy world, oblivious to the current situation at Chess.com.
Then there was the article seen this morning with my first cuppa Joe: KNIGHT MARE Chess ‘cheat’ goes through full body scan at US Championships – including his BUM
“A TEEN chess champ accused of cheating got a full body scan — including his bum — before his latest tournament.
A security guard checked out Hans Niemann and raised a laugh when he got to his rear.”
Chess has been pilloried and ridiculed in the press and made a laughingstock by the media, yet I still love the game and cannot wait to see what today will bring. How about you?
I often wonder how many viewers actually read the responses left by Chess fans in the comments section. I admit to having occasionally read comments, and used a few on this blog, but have not made a habit of reading the comments, but an exception was made because of the firestorm caused when the current World Chess Champion withdrew after losing to the young American Hans Moke Niemann in the ongoing 2022 Sinquefield Cup at the St. Louis Chess Campus. What follows are only a few of the myriad comments left, and still being left at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-carlsen-niemann-affair). If you have not read the article you may want to do so before reading any further. In addition, there is a link provided in the article, the best I have ever read at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/), and that is really saying something because Chessbase has featured an untold number of excellent articles over the years, to another excellent and thought provoking article, Paranoia and insanity, by GM Jacob Aagaard (https://forum.killerchesstraining.com/t/paranoia-and-insanity-by-jacob-aagaard/856/1).
The first comment, and arguably the most pertinent, is from Brian Lafferty, a well known contributor to the USCF Forum:
ChessSpawnVermont 9/8/2022 01:33 As a semi-retired US litigation attorney (NY State and Federal Bars), former Assistant District Attorney and Judge, I find it fascinating to watch Mr. Nakamura dig the defamation of character litigation hole that he now finds himself sitting in. Unless he can demonstrate with specificity how Mr. Niemann actually cheated in his otb game against Mr. Carlsen, he will likely have no viable defense should Mr. Niemann sue him for defamation of character seeking monetary damages for injury to his reputation and career. What Mr. Niemann may have done as a twelve or sixteen year old in online competition will likely not be probative at trial and may well be ruled inadmissible at trial. Likewise, suggestions that Mr. Niemann subject himself to a polygraph examination will not be probative. Polygraph examinations are not reliable and are generally not admissible as evidence at trial. (I have seen people lie and pass polygraphs. It’s a skill that is taught and can readily be learned)
Chess.com has also created needless potential liability for itself by barring Mr. Niemann from its site and competitions absent a clear finding that Mr. Niemann cheated otb against Mr. Carlsen. Note also, that at a trial, it is likely that Chess.com will be forced in discovery to reveal to Mr. Niemann’s experts any algorithm used by them forming the basis of a cheating accusation against Mr. Niemann.
I suspect that Mr. Carlsen has received the benefit of legal counsel as he has clearly refrained from making a direct charge of cheating against Mr. Niemann.
Leavenfish At this point, this is all on King Magnus. Will he offer proof…or are we witnessing the sad undoing drama worthy of a Shakespearean King?
He does the one thing any professional would unlikely do: abdicates his crown.
His business empire started crumbling – so much so that PMG seemed ‘forced’ to sell itself to the ‘evil empire’ that is chess.com. How much of a slap in the face must this feel?
Young Princes from different parts of the world (Praggnanandhaa, Niemann…) are mortally and routinely wounding him on the battlefield he once dominated. Some treachery must be afoot!
All this in just the past few months. Have the walls of the castle… simply begun to crack?
Yannick Roy Great article. But to those throwing stones at Carlsen, let’s remember that chess, to a certain extent, induces paranoia. It pitches a mind against another mind. Losing to a young prodigy on a meteoric and quite atypical rise has to be very hard. It is true that after looking into the game and hearing all the declarations of those involved, it is becoming more and more difficult to believe that there was cheating. Carlsen’s mistake on the board pretty much dispels the suspicions one might have had.
Mel Griffin I agree with aleenyc2015 and Soprano.I can’t remember the last time Carlsen lost in a mature manner. If it’s not slamming down pens, or storming off from the podium when Ivanchuk was crowned Rapid Champion. Disrespectful. When Sergey Karjakin was the first to win a game in the World Championship Magnus left the press conference before Sergey even arrived. If Carlsen wasn’t fined for that he damn well should have been. Champs like Fischer, Kasparov and the current one have all gotten away with certain things that no other would. Pointed out by Kramnik years back( he was in fact talking exclusively about Kasparov). Talk to Judit
However, he’s all in for roasting Hans with ZERO proof. It’s obvious that Magnus quit the tournament believing Neimann cheated. If he does not believe this, he should have made a statement to clear up this witch hunt and slander. Magnus need to step up to the plate and be a man. However, being 31. Living with your parents and reading Donald Duck comics…I don’t expect this anytime soon. Pathetic. So Hans blew a couple of analysis lines with the commentator. Big f#%king deal. How many times has Svidler corrected Seirawan during this tourny alone. As far as social media goes. Regardless of subject, it explodes with a plethora of experts who irresponsibly hang a young man’s future in their hands. This is so sad for the world of chess.
fede666 9 hours ago I find this article by far the most informative and unbiased one on this matter on all chess sites … great work
Cato the Younger Cato the Younger Kudos to the author for a superb article.
The impressions left of the two bad actors in this saga are not particularly flattering. Magnus, no doubt acting on the advice of his attorney, heading for the tall grass following his hit-and-run non-accusation. And Hikaru, maniacally pouring gasoline on a campfire
and engaging in what seemed like Schadenfreude. Neither of them expressing the slightest regret or admission of culpability. Well, nobody’s perfect.
But to me the worst villainy emanates from Chess.com. The public expects that a mature, serious business–a behemoth in the sport–would be run with wisdom and probity. But no, instead we see their senior policymaker(s) ‘privately’ imposing dire career-limiting sanctions on a teenager who has been tried and convicted of doing what, exactly? This is an unbelievably gratuitous and unjust action that needs to be reversed immediately with a humble apology, not that this would fully compensate for the damage done. Otherwise, Chess.com’s position amounts to gross misconduct.
Cato is not the only Chess fan who feels strongly about the “villainy” of Chess.com:
Toro Sentado @tweeterbull · 19h Replying to @DanielRensch and @chesscom And you just happened to do this to him the day after Magnus withdrew and you offer no explanation as to why? Incredibly tone deaf – yes. Also incredibly unprofessional. Did Magnus order this? Why is this being done in public? Awful awful awful. (https://twitter.com/danielrensch/status/1568033316347203584)
How has Mr. Rensch responed to the vast number of Chess fans criticizing him and his company?
Daniel Rensch @DanielRensch Replying to @DanielRensch and @chesscom My intention was to add some humor 🤷🏻♂️ not be vindictive. Sorry to everyone if it was tone deaf. Despite the hate and opinions all around, I legitimately want what’s best for Hans (and chess).
Hoping to hear from him… 8:27 PM · Sep 8, 2022 ·Twitter for iPhone
The reputation of the Royal Game is on the line and this clown wanted to “…add some humor.”
If you are a paying customer of Chess.com my question to you is, why are you paying to play online when you can play free at Lichess.com?
tied for first with GM Andrew Hong and FM Sandeep Sethuraman in the Denker Tournament of HS Champions, each scoring five out of a possible six points.
This will be the first of three posts devoted to three games in which Arthur was involved. Before beginning I would like to give kudos to the folks at the “New” United States Chess Federation website. The coverage has been exceptional and the article from which the picture of young Mr. Guo was obtained is an excellent example (https://new.uschess.org/news/day-3-rancho-mirage-drama-builds-invitationals). The picture of the three winners was also taken from an article from the USCF website that appeared as I was putting this post together. With the Chess Olympiad ongoing there is currently much Chess activity the world over. In addition, the 2022 U.S. Go Congress (https://www.usgo.org/) is happening concurrently.
There is simply not enough time to follow everything even though the AW has been burning the midnight oil in a futile attempt to stay abreast of all things games, and has blurry vision to show for it. Nevertheless, here I sit, punchin’ & pokin’ while spending even more time looking at a computer screen. That is OK since I can no longer get my kicks on Route 66 they come vicariously when watching the action while keeping the brain’s neuron synapses firing. It can also be called having the time of my life. Those that cannot do, watch. Let me tell you watching is much easier!
There I was minding my own business when this position was reached in the game between IM Arthur Guo and FM Sandeep Sethuraman the third round of the Denker Tournament of High School Champions:
8 Qd3 was a shock, and it can be found in only 31 games in the Big Database at 365Chess. In reply black castled before IM Guo played a move I cannot ever recall seeing played, 9 Bd2. The question is, why would Arthur play such a tepid move?
I have previously written about biorhythms on this blog in a post titled, End The World Chess Championship Match NOW! (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/12/08/10063/) If you surf on over you will find this: “Below you will find the biorhythm of Nepo, who is in a triple low period approaching the bottom, where he will remain for the next week. Nepo’s biorhythms are about as bad as it gets, biorhythm wise.” If any member of the Russian ‘team’ had bothered to check Nepo’s biorhythms prior to signing the agreement to play the match they would not have allowed their man to play during such an adverse time, at least in regard to his biorhythms.
For those new to the blog, or new to biorhythms, the father of the love of my life was a Senior VP at one of the largest banks in Georgia. He gave me a book about biorhythms by Bernard Gittelson:
He brought it to my attention because it featured the biorhythms of Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky during the 1972 match for the World Chess Championship.
It was learned the Japanese take it very seriously, seriously enough to not allow pilots or bus drivers to work when having a physical critical day. After so doing the accident rate fell dramatically.
I once posted something about biorhythms on the United States Chess Federation forum for which I was excoriated unmercifully by the ignorant, nattering nabobs of negativism. One called it a “pseudo-science.” None of the nabobs knew anything about biorhythms, and were too lazy, or ignorant, to check into biorhythms, yet they were ready to condemn this writer for even bringing it to their attention.
From what has been learned over the last half century the most pronounced aspect of biorhythms is the physical aspect. Every two weeks a human body changes, going from a high to low phase, or low to high phase. Your body cleans itself and you began the new phase. From my experience changing from the high phase to the low phase is not a good day. Transitioning from a low to high phase is usually not as bad a day, but still, one can feel “out of sorts” or maybe feel “out of phase.” On the days one transitions from high to low physically it is best to stay home.
It is terribly difficult to quantify the intellectual and emotional aspects of biorhythms. It can be made more understandable if one keeps a record of how one feels each and every day and reviews it later. From a lifetime of following my biorhythms I have come to think of the emotional aspect as being different from the other two aspects because it seems better to be emotionally ‘low’ than ‘high’. Think of it as being “low key” as opposed to “high strung.” The thing about the emotional aspect is that if your long loving wife were to inform you she wants a divorce, it matters not where you are in relation to your emotional biorhythms. Whether on top of the world, or bottomed out, one would immediately have a bad day, unless, that is, you, too, were ready to end the relationship.
The biorhythms of the eight players follow. I considered writing a post prior to the start of the Candidates tournament, but changed my mind. After seeing such horrendous play during the first part of the tournament my thinking changed. The physical aspect is the blue line; red is emotional; and green designates the intellectual aspect of biorhythms. For those of you interested, and objective, enough to want to know more, please begin with the aforementioned blog post written during the ill-fated World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepo. I chose to use the date of June 26, two days from now, as the mid-point because it is the day the second half of the match begins. Rather than attempting an explanation for each of the players I have made the choice to let you review the material and come to your own conclusion(s), with one caveat. After reviewing each and every biorhythm of the players prior to the start of the tournament it was obvious Fabiano Caruana would have the best chart of the group, and therefore the best odds of winning the tournament. After comparing the charts of the players I believe even the “nattering nabobs” would be forced to agree with the statement that Caruana will again face Magnus Carlsen with the title of World Champion on the line, if, that is, Magnus decides to again defend his title.