In the first round of the ongoing Nicosia FIDE Women’s Grand Prix 2023, Alexandra Kosteniuk
led the white army versus Zhongyi Tan,
who chose the Berlin Defense, which has a reputation for being a defense played with a view to making a draw. Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov once said something about we “lesser players” not understanding the “subtleties” of the Berlin Defense. Garry obviously did not understand the subtlety of the opening in the game below:
When things got outta hand in Checkers because of the plethora of drawn games the openings known to be drawn were discarded, and later particular openings were assigned. How long before Chess players will follow in the Checkers footsteps?
In the second round game between Gunay Mammadzada (2449)
and Kateryna Lagno (2558)
the following position was reached in a game that featured the Berlin defense:
It should be more than a little obvious the way to win with the Berlin defense is to subtly bore your opponent for many hours until they finally blunder. Unless, that is, I am missing the more subtle aspects of the defense.
We Can’t Know How Good Chess.com’s Cheating Detection is
There is an interesting parallel to the necessary ambiguity of the details of Chess.com’s anti-cheating measures to a video game called old school runescape (OSRS) and Jagex, the game developers’ anti-botting detection measures. Botting is where a player runs a code to have their character play the game automatically, which is of course against the rules. (https://www.reddit.com/r/chess/comments/xwtg4w/we_cant_know_how_good_chesscoms_cheating/)
Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi (“Nepo”) defeated China’s best, Ding A Liren (Ding A Ling), in one of the worst, most pitiful, games ever played in anything called a “World Chess Championship.” Much has, and will be written, about the fourth move of the game by Ding A Ling, 4. h3. There was only one other game found with the move having been played at 365Chess.com:
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 Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter appeared this morning after moving from a weekly to a monthly newsletter. Regular readers know I have been an inveterate reader for many decades. FM Paul Whitehead has published an outstanding editorial in the #1030 issue of October 8, 2022. After reading this writer had trouble with what to print and what to leave out. After deliberation the decision was made to publish the entire editorial as is, with media added by yours truly:
Hans Niemann: Chess at the Top
By FM Paul Whitehead
“Money Changes Everything” – The Brains
By now we are all familiar with the scandal engulfing the chess world, boiled down to this: lame-duck World Champion Magnus Carlsen loses a game in the Sinquefield Cup to 19- year-old American up-start GM Hans Niemann. He then withdraws from the tournament, at the same time making a vague insinuation that Niemann has cheated. A couple of weeks later in the online Julius Baer Generation Cup, Carlsen loses yet another game to Hans, resigning before playing his 2 nd move. Shortly afterwards he makes a statement on social media, asserting that Hans had cheated during their encounter at the Sinqufield Cup – and offers not a single shred of evidence. I want to offer my own opinion, based on long experience in the chess world plus my own interactions with Hans when he was an up-and-coming player at the Mechanics’ Institute. It is not an easy path to the top of the chess world. It takes great fighting spirit and single- minded determination. Magnus Carlsen, like every other World Champion before him, has demonstrated those qualities. Other top players I have observed, like GM Walter Browne (one of Hans’ early coaches), manifest that desire to win in an almost visceral and physical way.
I have no doubt whatsoever that the will to win (and not to lose!) can cloud a chess players moral compass. Ashamedly, I remember engaging in fisticuffs with my own brother over a disputed game. With that said, I’m curious what the reader might think of the following example. Captured on video, Carlsen attempts to take a move back against GM Alexandra Kosteniuk in the 2009 World Blitz Championship, and then leaves the table without a word or a handshake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeyXKTVYenA&t=161s
If this was not an attempted cheat, then I don’t know what is. Perhaps even more damning is the following video, Carlsen’s own live-stream of the Lichess Titled Arena in December 2021. The World Champion clearly takes the advice of GM David Howell to trap GM Daniel Naroditsky’s queen. I understand the tournament had a 1st place of $500. The critical moment is at the 1:44:00 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRdrf1Ny3x8
I am not trying to throw just Magnus Carlsen under the bus here. Both of these videos show very typical displays of fighting spirit. Sadly, they also display not particularly rare examples of un-sportsmanlike behavior. For the World Champion to accuse Niemann of what he himself is clearly guilty of is, in my opinion, just flat out wrong. If Niemann has cheated, then so has Carlsen. And many, many others. Thirty years ago (and more) it was a common sight to see chess masters and grandmasters walking the hallways together, whispering in each other’s ears. I don’t believe the majority of players were outright cheating perse, but innocent questions or statements such as: “What do you think of my position?” or “Maybe it’s time to go home!” accompanied by frowns, raised eyebrows, coughing, laughing, et cetera, were quite common. Of course, this is different information than one can get nowadays. After all, a grandmaster is only human, and their suggestions and advice will only take you so far. But Stockfish is a God. Nowadays the top players are electronically frisked, and their trips to the bathroom are monitored – all under the smoky pall of large prize funds, large appearance fees, and generous corporate sponsorship. While the top players and streamers, and the private interests that sponsor them (purporting to speak for the regular player), wring their hands worrying over the “integrity of the game” and the “existential threat” posed by cheaters, they are living in a chess world unimaginable only 30-40 years ago. Back then, top players might have lived out of their cars or crashed on a friend’s couch, all the while waiting for a few paltry bucks from their chess federation or a miserable cash prize to pay their expenses. Chess lacked the glitz that corporate sponsorship and lots of money can buy: the glamorous world of The Queen’s Gambit,
trash-talking streamers angling for a date with one of the Botez sisters,
or better yet: the chance to be rich and/or the subject of world-wide attention. Chess at the top looks, sounds, and tastes very different now than it did not so long ago. The players are younger, have nice haircuts, and pay respect (if not outright homage) to their master, World Champion Magnus Carlsen. It looks quite cozy from the outside: for almost ten years now, the same 15–20 players have competed against each other over and over again in countless tournaments, over the board and online. Rarely are outsiders permitted into this precious circle, which helps to keep their ratings inflated just enough to keep the invites and appearance fees coming and the sponsorships rolling in. But cracks are starting to appear. Almost all of the top players lost rating points at the recent Olympiad in Chennai, where they had to compete with lower rated players. A younger generation is muscling in, in the shape of players like Hans Niemann, India’s Dommaraju Gukesh, and Nodirbek Abdusattorov from Uzbekistan. The latter became the World Rapid Champion earlier this year, defeating not only Carlsen, but Carlsen’s two most recent World Champion challengers, Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi. The young may also seem to lack the “proper respect,” which leads us back to what I see as the whole crux of this sorry Carlsen/Niemann affair. Right now, with the lack of any evidence that Niemann cheated in that over-the-board game against Carlsen, I think the only conclusion we can reach is the one staring us all in the face: Hans Niemann beat Magnus Carlsen fair and square at the Sinquefield Cup. I believe Hans has gotten under Magnus’ skin big-time, and, as is well documented here and elsewhere, Magnus hates losing. And to what extent, we are just now finding out. With Carlsen also abdicating the World Championship, I am reminded somewhat of an angry child that destroys his own sandcastle when told that it’s time to leave the beach. Hans Niemann played a lot at the Mechanics’ Institute as a youngster (11-12 years old in 2013 and 2014), and his progress was meteoric. As I outlined in our last newsletter, his rating jumping from 1200 to 2200 in just under two years. I myself played Hans a bunch of times, and his father recently sent me a video of Hans and I battling it out in a blitz game at the Mechanics’ Institute. I am totally winning for ages and ages, and his only hope is that I will lose on time. Hans hangs in there though, crying “Flag, flag, flag!” over and over. Both of us are enjoying the contest immensely… and I lose on time before I can mate him. His joy at winning is a sight to see. Not everyone appreciated Han’s brash and cheeky demeanor. It was either IM John Donaldson
or I who (affectionately) started calling him “Niemann the Demon,” but there were (and are still) players at the club who, perhaps, have forgotten what it was like to have been young once. When I see Hans in those post-game interviews at the Sinquefield Cup, I feel I am watching exactly the same person that I knew back then: a person with a great love for chess, supremely confident in his abilities, and with respect for no one. A stone-cold chess killer. Hans acts in a rough and tumble manner that surprises us nowadays, and harkens back to earlier times – perhaps strongly influenced by older coaches like GMs Walter Browne,
and IM John Grefe.
These are no-nonsense and worldly fellows, and Hans’ development was tempered in steel. I think the time has passed, if it ever really existed, when chess could lay claim to completely fair-play. Ruy Lopez de Segura (c.1530 – c.1580) a founding father of modern chess and a Catholic priest, advised his students to “place the board such that the light shines in your opponent’s eyes.” Behind the brouhaha surrounding Carlsen and Niemann, there are other factors and interests playing out. As we follow chess celebrities, minor and major (because that is what they are now) we should also follow the money. Is it a coincidence that Niemann was banned anew from chess.com whilst the Play Magnus Group was acquired by that selfsame chess.com? I find it fascinating to see who is lining up to defend Carlsen’s accusations, and why. There will always be attempts to cheat at over-the-board chess – some have been caught, others not. With the money pouring in, attempts to cheat will not stop, ever. Chess has entered the world of all other sports and games where these problems exist, whether it’s baseball or poker. The online world thrived like nobody’s business during the pandemic: perhaps the real “existential threat” to wealthy streamers and online platforms is not cheaters – it’s the return to over-the-board play. The chess world at the top has waited a long time for this moment – they’ve made it. They have world-wide attention, and they are rolling in the dough. In a sense they have gotten what they wished for, yet in another sense they are paying the price for those wishes coming true. But back here, for the rest of us in the clubs, in our homes and schools, I believe chess will thrive and continue to be enjoyed for the skillful, interesting, and fascinating game that it is – untainted by money and enjoyed for its own sake. The same way Hans and I enjoyed playing together, not so very long ago. (https://www.milibrary.org/sites/default/files/1030.pdf)
I realize the Royal Game appears to be in its heyday, but circumstances can be deceiving. Many will scoff because Chess has been enjoying a period of incredible popularity recently, which has put chickens in the pots of many players the all over the world. Yet for several reasons there are storm clouds gathering. The pandemic caused many to spend much more time at home at a time when contact could be made with anyone in the world via the internet. When Viswanathan Anand became World Chess Champion
it kindled a firestorm in India which brought untold millions into the game. Kenneth W. Gronbach is president of KGC Direct, LLC and author of the current book, “Upside: Profiting from the Profound Demographic Shifts Ahead“, which was recently released in April 2017. “A demographic winter refers to locations that are seeing significant declines in their birth rates, such as China, which has “changed from an aging country to an aged country,” he commented. In practical terms, this means more people dying than being born. India, on the other hand, has a growing populace and will likely be strengthened in the years ahead.” (https://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2022-07-20-show/) There are many Chess teachers in the US who teach only Indian students. With Anand covered with FIDE slime, how long will that last?
One of the most pressing problems with Chess is FIDE, the world Chess organization, which is led by a Russian stooge, Arkady Dvorkovich, known as Mad Vlad Putin’s “lapdog.”
Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand decided, for whatever reason, to join the ticket of current president of the World Chess organization, Arkady Dvorkovich,
who is running for reelection. Anand, known as “Vishy”, had a stellar reputation while being admired and respected the all over the world. That ended immediately when he chose to join the nefarious Russians, who are performing genocide against a neighboring country as this is being written. The name “Anand” has now become besmirched the world over. Why would anyone in his right mind join the perpetrators of war crimes against civilians? Need I remind anyone the Russians are not only wantonly killing innocent women and children but also bombing their wheat fields! (https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2022/07/15/ukraine-farms-wheat-fields-russia-shelling-crops-fire-pkg-watson-lead-vpx.cnn) The wheat grown in Ukraine formerly fed much of the world, therefore Russia has, in effect, attacked the REST OF THE WORLD! Although not acknowledged, World War III has begun, thanks to the opprobrious Russians. And Vishy Anand has joined the villains.
World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen
decided to give up HIS title and who can blame him? The title of World Champion most definitely does NOT BELONG TO FIDE. That particularly corrupt organization can bestow the title on anyone, as it has done in the past. It matters not who is called the “World Chess Champion” when every Chess player in the world knows the best player is Magnus Carlsen. Awarding the title to another player will only cheapen the title, which has lost much luster over the years as changes were made to the World Chess Championship match format. Former World Chess Champion Mikhail Botvinnik
once said, when asked, the match for the World Championship should be at least sixteen games. Even with the souped-up heebe-jeeb games, played with little time, the match for the World Championship is not played with sixteen games. Frankly, the World Championship lost luster when the match began using quick-play games to decide the Championship. It has reached a point where the Championship is virtually meaningless. The WCC cycle went from three years to a two-year cycle. Why would anyone in their right mind want to spend six months preparing for the match and do it again in little more than a year? Why would the World Champ want to face a player he defeated handily after that opponent, the Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi,
melted down during the last match. The candidates tournament that Nepo won in order to face Carlsen should not have been started. After it was stopped it was certainly a terrible mistake to resume the tournament after a lapse of one whole year. The next recently completed Candidates tournament was an unmitigated DISASTER! FIDE has egg, after it has been digested, all over their faces. Fact is, FIDE is covered head to toe in STUFF. The World Chess Championship match has been a cash cow for FIDE, and you can bet your sweet bibby that, if reelected, Putin’s lapdog, the Dvork, and his second in command, Vishy, will milk that cash cow for all it is worth.
Younger people will ignore what I write because, well, you know, to them I am an old fogy. The thing about we “old fogies” is that we have been around awhile and have seen things change, sometimes in a heartbeat. I have written on this blog (or was it the forerunner, the BaconLOG? https://baconlog.blogspot.com/2008/07/) about how the game of Putt-Putt was once more popular than golf.
The players earned more cash playing Putt-Putt than did the golf professionals of the PGA (Professional Golf Association) because Putt-Putt was televised. Then the fad was over, in the beat of a heart. I have also written about how popular was Backgammon. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/paul-magriel-r-i-p/) After hitting the road to play the best I returned home to find Gammons closed. The “boom” had ended. As I write this the once popular card game of Bridge is on life support because the players have grown old(er) and not been replaced by younger players. (https://www.plumasnews.com/is-the-card-game-of-bridge-fading/) The time to worry is not after interest wanes but when interest is booming, because when interest fades it is too late to do anything but cry in your beer.
Decades ago when playing Backgammon professionally there was a story going around about the best player in the world, a fellow named “Ezra.” As the story went “Ezra” enjoyed spending time watching players new to the game. When asked why he would waste his time watching novice players yet to have found a clue the answer was he liked watched those new to the game because they had no preconceived ideas about how the game was played. For that reason I have always found watching the play of newbies interesting.
In the second round of the European Senior 65+ an unrated player, Ryszard Borowik faced class A player Roger S Scowen, rated 1864. The opening moves were 1 e4 e6 2 Nf3. Now, “Everybody knows” the best second move is 2 d4, because players are taught to “Control the center,” are they not? Playing 2 d4 has become de rigueur. Who checks to learn what the latest version of Stockfish plays on the second move? The AW, that’s who. I was shocked, SHOCKED, to see the version of Stockfish at lichess.com plays 2 Nf3.
Ryszard Borowik UNR vs Roger S Scowen 1864 European Senior 65+ (round 2) C00 French defence
So I decided to start learning an opening or two at some point, and decided the French Defense would be one I would try out.
The books all have it. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5
There’s an occaisional variation mentioned, but that’s the line the books say is the usual one.
When playing blitz on chess.com, the most common second move I see is Nf3. What’s up with that? Has some master found great success with that line, but my books are too old for it? I just bought a book on the French Defense. 269 pages of French Defense. I doubt I’ll ever slug my way through it, but I thought I would try really studying one opening in depth, and seeing where it leads. In all those 269 pages, published in 2003, they don’t even mention the possibility of Nf3, or bother telling the reader how to reply.
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.
Chess is a difficult game, and it has become more difficult to win as the players have become stronger. The best players of today are exponentially stronger than their predecessors, which is only natural because today’s players stand on the shoulders of those who played in the past. When one adds what the computer programs have brought to the game it is obvious the top players of today would crush the best players of yesteryear.
The following games were played in the eight round of the Superbet Romania GCT tournament today. I give only the final position of the games and the number of moves to show how hard and long these players fought trying to win: