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.
The fourth chapter, in which the author rips FIDE a new one several times, is the best part of the book, and it is a chapter every person involved with the Royal Game should read. The chapter opens with this paragraph:
“Technically, of course, FIDE is not a word at all, but a French acronym-Federation Internationale des Echecs-and by titling this essay in the manner that I did, I have sportingly given its defenders the opportunity to launch a counter-attack by being able to point to a minor inaccuracy on my part. Because it does, of course, have defenders-everyone does. Hitler had his defenders. Pol Pot had his defenders. Vladimir Putin currently finds himself surrounded by hordes of sycophantic defenders-indeed, the current President of FIDE was one of his most loyal supporters for deacdes. But I am getting ahead of myself.”
Several paragraphs follow in which the author takes FIDE to task for holding a World Chess Championship, writing, “It could have, in short, done away with the entire antiquated “world champion” idea right from its very beginning-a notion which has done so much to emphatically hold chess back in its forward sporting progress and lies at the heart of so many of its current concerns. But it didn’t.”
I do not know about that, because things were different ‘back in the day’. Mr. Burton is writing about a time prior to when he was BORN, for crying out loud. Who knows where the Royal Game would be if there had been no World Champion. Things have changed drastically this century, so the writer may (does?) have a point about the current irrelevance of the title. But still, unless one was alive, and playing Chess at the time, one cannot imagine how the WORLD, and not just the “Chess World”, was captivated by the Fischer vs Spassky match. As many have written, “It put Chess on the map.”
The author continues, “Whatever the intentions might have been, shortly after its creation FIDE immediately plunged into the businesses of promoting Chess Olympiads and managing the chess world championships, with varying results.”
There follows a history of Chess which was interesting reading considering the writer is new to Chess and has no preconceived notions about the past. For example, the author first hits a forehand smash prior to a backhanded shot: “Max Euwe’s subsequent eight year term as president from 1970-78, meanwhile, represents the unequivocal apex of FIDE leadership-which is admittedly a bit like being the most tasteful hotel on the Las Vegas Strip-but still.”
That is followed by this: “And then things just got completely ridiculous.’ Campomanes, a former Philippine national champion, was FIDE president from 1982-1995, overseeing what was widely considered to be a period of unprecedented corruption.”
There is that word “C” word again, which seems to go hand in hand with anything written about the unctuous Campomanes.
Campo “was followed by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE president from 1995-2018 and president of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia from 1993 to 2010. Ilyumzhinov has repeatedly claimed to have been abducted by aliens (“chess comes from space,” he adamantly maintains)…”
“Finally, Ilyumzhinov’s 23 year reign was followed in 2018 by the current FIDE president, Arkady Dvorkovich, an economist…”
“Despite having placed his demonstrably ambitious fingers in many pies throughout his life, Dvorkovich never seems to have manifested any particular interest in chess.”
Can you say, “Titular figurehead?” Campo was not the only FIDE president with greasy hands… How Chess has managed to succeed while being run by kooks and criminals is anybody’s guess. Then one reads this:
“Why on earth, you might be forgiven for interjecting at this point, is the international chess community so intent on portraying itself as such an irredeemable laughing stock? In a world replete with behind the scenes horse-trading and “gentleman’s agreements” that decide who should head global organizations, how can it be that the international chess federation, of all things, stands out as one of the most cavalierly corrupt of them all, nonchalantly lurching from one buffoon-like leadership situation to the next, decade after decade?
Well, because on the whole, nobody gives a damn.”
“And you can’t really blame them, of course. Concern that the world chess federation is so wantonly politicized and laughably incompetent is naturally going to fall exceptionally low on the global priority list, somewhere between cultural subsidies for korfball and doctoral scholarships in the philosophy of quantum theory. And the powers that be at FIDE-i.e. the Kremlin-are all too well aware of this.”
Then he unloads the other barrel:
“More significantly for our purposes, they are also well aware of the fact that the few people who do care about such issues-i.e. chess players-will not be able to do anything about it, given that, on the whole, chess players are, as a group, the most politically hopeless of all human beings.”
Why hold back when you are on a roll?
“Indeed, while I’ve long been convinced that becoming an excellent chess player is no more proof of superabundant intelligence than becoming an excellent pole vaulter, I’m beginning to suspect that chess players are somehow exceptionally disastrous to a statistically significant degree when it comes to appreciating matters of governance and social organization; and the better the chess player, on the whole, the more hopeless things are.”
“This is, I recognize, a curious sort of claim. Am I implying that those who become strong chess players are somehow a priori inclined towards such sociopolitical dysfunctionality? Or could it be that the very act of rigorously developing one’s chess skills produces a consequent inability in these domains-a sort of “inverse far transfer”?”
“I have no idea, and even less inclination to attempt to parse this particular correlation-causation conundrum. All I know is that the closer I examine the chess world, the more convinced I am that such a link exists.”
“Which brings me to Garry Kasparov.”
“By far the most dominant chess player of recent times, Kasparov’s remarkably long reign at the pinnacle of chess is second only to that of Emanuel Lasker. He is, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest and most influential chess player in living memory, whose manifold contributions to chess, both over the board and through his extensive chess-related writings, are simply unparalleled.”
“And very much in keeping with the mooted correlation above, it turns out that his level of sociopolitical naivete and bombastic non-chess maladroitness is also unparalleled. Over the years Kasparov has vigorously portrayed himself as a knowledgeable spokesman for business leadership, historical scholarship, artificial intelligence, human rights, philanthropy, democracy and much more besides-the upshot of which goes a considerable distance towards convincing anyone with the slightest shred of genuine understanding of any of these issues that an essential requirement for elite chess dominance must be the ability to remove oneself, wholesale, from reality.”
Say what? After stickin’ and rippin’ the Royal Game to the point where there is blood all over the board (the tables, chairs, and floors) HB gives us “the bad news.” Which is:
“Nobody who is not directly competing in the Chess Olympiads knows or cares the slightest bit about them; and the world chess championships are a ridiculous anachronism that has well and truly outlived any possible value that it might have possessed. It’s very much time to grow up and move on from all of that.”
Indeed…why stop when you are on a roll?
“Let’s take the Chess Olympiads first. I have talked to enough professional chess players to know that these are unquestionably very popular events within the chess world, with many people spontaneously waxing on about the uniquely uplifting spirit of camaraderie that they’ve experienced while participating. But here’s the thing: if you want to make a living by pushing pieces of wood around a board, the only thing that matters is whether or not there are sufficient numbers of other people around who are willing to watch you do so, not how warm and fuzzy the experience makes you feel, or to what extent various self-important members of your national federation can take pleasure in schmoozing with you and your teammates.”
“This might well be, I appreciate, quite confusing to most modern-day professional players, many of whom-particularly women-have spent their lives feeling deeply beholden to the interests of their national federation. But it is long past time to wake up and smell the coffee: these federations are holding you back. Indeed, they are precisely the reason that FIDE has the “power” that it has at all.”
“So here, finally, is the good news-and to any chess-lover, from the Magnus Carlsen groupie to the would-be professional chess player, it is very good news indeed.”
“There is lots of money in chess. It has an enormously large international following and is poised to grow much, much more. And no, this is not because of Netflix or coronavirus pandemics or any of the nonsense that chess people are so often repeating to themselves, but because chess is one of the very few activities that can so easily and so naturally lend itself to modern communications technologies.”
“It’s not just that you can play chess online too-you can play backgammon online too-it’s that the rapid creation of a comprehensive online chess infrastructure has incomparably transformed the chess experience.”
There is a footnote, number 42, in which it is written: “I’m sorry to be picking so much on backgammon, and doubtless this will raise the hackles of any Pahlavi-speaking ancient Zoroastrians out there who are indignant that I am not being sufficiently respectful of its cosmological allegorical potential (which is certainly the case), but I can’t help feeling that it is a worthy point of comparison.”
The author continues: “Chess, through the internet, has come of age. It has not just “adjusted” to the new normal, or found a way to successfully harness the fruits of modern technology in order to better do what it was already doing: chess has been nothing less than comprehensively transformed by modern technology. And, needless to say, this state of affairs has absolutely nothing to do with anything that FIDE, or any national chess federation, has ever done.”
“So let me set the record straight. It is certainly true that devotees of chess have an alarming tendency to consistently make sweeping, rigidly hierarchical judgments about virtually all aspects of their fellow human beings based solely on their Elo rating, which I find particularly unpalatable. It is true, too, that they are particularly prone to confuse wishful thinking with actual evidence when it comes to anty chess-related issue, irrepressibly holding forth on how chess can cure ADHD and prevent Alzheimer’s in a way which seems to comprehensively annihilate any claim that acquiring chess competency is linked to the development of critical thinking skills. And it cannot be denied that chess players, even more than most of us, do not generally take kindly to having their flaws pointed out to them, and will reflexively resort to any criticism coming their way be promptly launching a bevy of ad hominem counter-attacks inevitably linked to the Elo rating of their perceived attacker (see above).”
“Yes, yes, yes,. But it is also most conspicuously the case that the chess world is peopled by an extremely large number of capable, passionately dedicated individuals who exhibit a deeply impressive sense of community spirit. I have never witnessed anything remotely like it.”
“You see it in the astonishing number of thoughtful, well-constructed, instructional chess videos on YouTube. (Footnote 74: In a world replete with “content creators” of every description, including thousands who post abominably-edited tutorial videos on how to edit videos, the chess word stands out as nothing less than a paragon of content excellence.) You see it in the spontaneous sharing of any and all chess-related resources. You see it on the thousands of chess newsgroups scattered throughout the internet. And you see it whenever you speak, as I have, to the many, many extremely kind and gracious people within the remarkably large and varied “chess ecosystem,” from chess teachers to chess organizers to the countless altruists using chess as an innovative means of personal empowerment and social change.”
“How such a uniquely supportive global environment could have possibly emerged from a frequently ego-destroying contest based on ancient Indian war practices is one of the world’s great mysteries. But emerge it most assuredly has.”
“Which makes it all the more exasperating when the likes of FIDE so blatantly hijack the interests of this extraordinary community while cynically purporting to serve its interests. Back in 1924, when FIDE adopted the motto Gens Una Sumus, it was likely an honest and accurate reflection of what those founders felt they were doing and on whose behalf they believed they were doing it. These days, however, it has an unquestionably Arbeit Macht Frei ring to it.”
“The key point, then, is that chess today is different-very, very different-from chess of 20 years ago. The rise of powerful, universally-available chess engines naturally represents one part of the transformation which has garnered the lion’s share of attention, but it is, in fact, a relatively minor part. By far the most dominant factor is that an extremely large and dedicated international community has emphatically embraced an entirely new communications technology that just happened to perfectly fit its needs.”
“Intriguingly, too, this has coherently played out in both a capitalist and non-for-profit context, with the rapid simultaneous development of the likes of chess.com and lichess.org. Both of these organizations, along with several more, are flourishing in the new age of chess. Both provide continually expanding, top-quality services to their loyal membership. And yet, business-wise, they are completely different: chess.com is unabashedly corporate, operating through advertising and paid subscriptions; lichess.org is unabashedly non-corporate, offering all of its content freely and with no advertising within an avowedly open-source framework while being supported through volunteer donations. In any other domain, the rivalry would be tense, cutthroat even. In the chess world, however, they exist together relatively harmoniously, with significant overlap in their international user base.”
“I have no idea to what extent the business ecosystem of online chess is a harbinger of things to come or a temporary aberration, but it is, most assuredly, quite different.”
“And the difference, I’m convinced, can be traced back to the uniqueness of the global chess community itself-and in particular its passion.”
“Passion is he vital common denominator throughout the international chess community, the secret sauce that has ripples through everyone, from the novice unexpectedly finding herself hooked on the game to the spontaneous panegyrics of the ageless Bruce Pandolfini, expounding upon the unparalleled beauty of Morphy’s “Opera Game.”
The review concludes with this: “In order to build a steady following, it’s important to create a full contextual environment for fans to follow along with the sport. If I’m a fan of major league baseball, for example, I know from the first days of spring training that the regular season consists of 162 games, and that my team has a good chance of making it to the postseason if it wins 90 of those games, while it will almost certainly make it if it wins 95. And if I’m a tennis fan, I know which tournaments count the most, both in terms of prestige and associated ranking points; and I can confidently tell you at any given moment who is the tenth best player in the world and who is #1.By following a particular sport, in other words, I’m doing much more than simply watching a ball being struck or people running around: I am entering a world.”
“Now consider chess. Suppose I want a clear sense of which players are ranked fifth and sixth in the world respectively and why. It’s far from clear.”
“What about which tournaments I should pay the most attention to? If I follow men’s chess, the situation seems to change almost hourly, presumably depending on whatever shady backroom deal happened to be agreed upon at some mediocre, overpriced Swiss tournament, (Footnote 54: It’s true: I don’t like Switzerland. I could tell you why, but this essay is long enough already. Instead, let’s just ask why Kirill Alekseenko officially the world’s #39 player, was involved in the 2020 Candidates Tournament? The answer, I’m afraid, is simply because he’s Russian.) while if I try to follow women’s chess, it’s somehow even worse. That’s no way to run a bingo parlor, let alone a sport with such tremendous international potential.”
“So why are things so terrible? Why, notwithstanding the outstanding global penetration of a tradition-rich, highly engaging activity that is passionately endorsed by millions of dedicated and capable people-and moreover, just so happens to fit perfectly within the modern technological sporting entertainment paradigm-is there simply nothing to hang on to for the incoming fan: no program, no schedule, no context whatsoever?”
“Well, because of FIDE, of course. Rather than letting someone both appropriate and competent run things, FIDE has customarily opted to “take control” of professional chess competitions in its inimitably corrupt, antediluvian fashion, thereby ensuring the continual repulsion of any would-be professional chess fan.”
“Not so!” protest the indignant FIDEstas. “There’s a wonderful international sporting culture associated with chess: there’s the World Championship and the Olympiads, both of which we run!”
“Well, that’s exactly my point.”
Whew…was that something, or what?What can I say? The Dude has a point.
Although there is much more, far much more, such as the last four chapters: 5. Watch Her Play; 6. Far Transfer; 7. Farther Transfer; and 8. Farthest Transfer, about which to write, the fact is that I have written enough for you to have a clue about the book, and therefore must truncate the review, and let you enjoy the latter chapters.
Driven By Curiosity
Howard Burton is a documentary filmmaker and author. He is also the founder of the award-winning multimedia initiative Ideas Roadshow and the editor of 120 books that are part of the Ideas Roadshow Conversations and Collections series. Howard holds a PhD in theoretical physics and an MA in philosophy and was the Founding Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He lives in France. (https://howardburton.com/)
Garry Kasparov: Carlsen’s behavior was unacceptable
By nikita Posted on September 29, 2022
Garry Kasparov again spoke about the controversy that hit the chess world in the interview with Carl Fredrik Johansson from Uppsala Chess+ Academy, saying that Carlsen’s behavior was unacceptable. Speaking about Carlsen’s decision to withdraw from the World Chess Championship, Kasparov explained: “I was surprised by his decision to walk away, but I understand the pressure that was on him. I understand the motivation. It’s really tough to play tournaments and matches for years and years; anything but winning is a disaster. It’s tremendous pressure. He probably got tired“.
Talking about the happenings related to the Carlsen – Niemann case and the game in which Niemann defeated Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup, Kasparov said: “I was in Saint Louis. I spoke to people who were involved directly in this case. I don’t see an evidence that could be convincing (…) I understand his frustration, but leaving the tournament is unacceptable. Even if he had proof, but there was no proof, there is zero evidence (of cheating) in that specific game. It was really bad for chess. It was bad for Saint Louis. This was one of the most important tournaments, if not the most important tournament in the world of chess. And I think that his behavior was unacceptable“. (https://www.chessdom.com/garry-kasparov-carlsens-behavior-was-unacceptable/)
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?
I teach chess and want to champion others to grow in it, as well as personally, using my unique teaching perspective. I strongly believe in others’ inherent qualities and enormous potential to succeed both in chess and in life https://www.flickr.com/people/chesscontact/
Whoa now, Mr. Pawn? Georgia’s #1 Chess Blog?!!! This reminded me of an old TV commercial about websites in which a boy asks an adult, “How many hits do you get?”
At this point I emailed the President of the GCA, the honorable Scott Parker, inquiring about the man behind Georgia’s #1 Chess Blog, of which I had never heard. This was his reply:
I know Momir Radovic personally, and have played some chess with him. We’re about equally skilled (equally unskilled might be more exact) at chess. He’s a good guy.
Be well, Scott
The Self-deprecation was to be expected from the man known at the House of Pain as “The Sheriff.” If Scott says Momir is “a good guy” that is good enough for me. Still, that thing about having Georgia’s #1 Chess Blog makes me ready to go over the board, in lieu of into the ring, but only because of my age! On August 11, 2019, the post, Yet Another Chess Cheating Scandal, (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/yet-another-chess-cheating-scandal) went viral, garnering 5773 views that day. As of today there have been 7005 views of the post. Although not having as many “hits” on the day published, the post of April 26, 2020, Confirmation Garry Kasparov Cheated Judit Polgar, ()https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/confirmation-garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/ continues to be read with hardly a day going by without a view. It will soon top the aforementioned post in total views. I am calling you out, Mr. Georgia’s #1 Chess Blog(ger). How many hits does the Pawn that Roared receive?Momir Radovic is rated 1767 by the USCF. That would be his ‘regular’ rating. I am old enough to remember when there were only two ratings, one for Over The Board and the other for Correspondence Chess. Mr. Radovic is a class ‘B’ player who has previously crossed the line into class ‘A’. Back in the day he would be considered a ‘solid’ class ‘B’ player. With so many people, like former USCF President Allen Priest, who sported a 700 rating, having a triple digit rating these daze Momir is almost world class. Please do not take me wrong, I do not mean to demean Momir because ‘back in the day’ it was thought that anyone who made it to class ‘B’ had to be taken seriously as they had stopped dropping pieces and could play a serious game of Chess. I tied for first place in the 1974 Atlanta Chess Championship with a fellow from New York and was declared Champion while a class ‘B’ player. The class ‘B’ player W. Stanley Davis, upset GM John Federowicz
in the very first round of the 1980 US Open in Atlanta, Georgia. That said, it was still something to hear Momir call out Grandmasters in his article., which begins:
“There’s a massive, uncontrolled and unhealthy proliferation of chess opening experts of all kind and provenience. From ELO 1600 all the way up to the super GM circle (where, among others, is sitting a certain famous Twitter celebrity and acclaimed Najdorf expert).
The mushrooming of experts into all sorts of domains like, “visa consultants,” “immigration experts,” or “life coaches” sees their bold advertising services, making false promises and charging exorbitant amounts. And all of that to provide just a very basic service.”
I do not know about you but I want to know the name of that “…certain famous Twitter celebrity and acclaimed Najdorf expert.”
There follows: “In chess, this corrupt practice has been established around openings. It creates a grave disservice and has direct consequences for the average player in that it is slowing down/stopping them altogether along the growth path. Amateur players have thus become prisoners of the opening theory and their own conditioning that has been put on them and used by opening “experts.”
It gets better, or worse, depending on one’s perspective. I strongly urge you to read the remarkable article because, as Momir writes at one point, it is, “Simply astonishing, isn’t it?”
It certainly is! I was so astonished I read it again! What follows is one of the reasons I reread the piece. Chess book and video publishers are not going to like what Momir had to say, and I do not blame them. In another line of work the kind of ‘hit’ Momir received would be more along the line of something out of the Godfather,
Better learn to duck and cover, Momir, my man…See what I mean:
“Chess books publishing and chess portals are following suit. They are tirelessly producing tons of copies of invaluable content on openings. On all channels, openings count for more than HALF of all chess material delivered to you. Here’s some facts and the number of books/courses/videos as of early August.”
Chessable (“No.1 site for chess improvement and science-based learning backed by the World chess champion Magnus Carlsen..”)
Openings 341 Endgames 38 Strategy 92 Tactics 227
New In Chess Openings 412 Middlegame 68 Strategy 86 Tactics 68 Improvement 84 Attack and Defense 33 Endgames 50
Everyman Chess Openings 277 Games Collections 69 Training books 135 Improvers 32 (5 on ops)
Quality Chess Openings 93 Improvement 83
Gambit Publications Openings 59 Endings 14 Puzzles and Studies 14 Training, Strategy and Improvement 37 Beginners and Intermediate 19 Tactics 19 Games Collections and General 9
He does not stop there. Momir reloads time and again. Take this for example: “The situation isn’t much better in blogging, either. The blogging space is, sadly, also overcrowded with opening enlightenments.
So it seems that, in the Brave New World of Chess, average players have basically been brainwashed
into being one-dimensional consumerists of openings with no regard or interest in seeing chess for themselves. Or in thinking for themselves.
The chess world is filled with endless (mostly opening) distractions that keep us perpetually numb to the world of ideas.”
Wait a minute…I am a blogger and focus on the opening! One of his salvos has hit home and is now the Armchair Wounded Warrior!
The Pawn that Roared ends with this mighty blast:
ART OF FLIMFLAM. CONTINUED
“An artificially created market that demands openings as a “quick and easy” fix has a devastating effect on the developing player’s road to growth, that’s for sure. The primary victim is the player’s staying-underdeveloped, never-improving thought process.
But what all of this is telling us about its creators, opening “experts” themselves?
Do they really think they are helping us with their trifle manuals? (Do you?)
Are they doing all this to show their creativity and chess understanding, or maybe for a quick and easy profit instead?
Or perhaps the opening experts simply have nothing better to offer us? They may not be capable, without their trustworthy engines, to write about any subtler chess topics at all?”
Writing about openings is comparatively easy, because you are setting out specific lines you check with an engine. Writing about middlegames and endings is hard, because you have to communicate concepts. – Cuddles T
After reading the above my first thought was, “Who the hell is Cuddles T?”
I am going to disagree with the Killer ‘B’ but not now, because it is late and I am tired. One of the reasons is I stopped punchin’ & pokin’ to watch some of the moves being played at the Charlotte Labor Day 2021 tournament and became transfixed with one game in particular and stopped writing to concentrate on the game, but more on that tomorrow in part 2 of this post. Until then, once again I urge you to take time to read one of the most remarkable Chess articles I have read in some time, and come on back tomorrow to read part two of The Pawn Who Roared.
Kasparov refuses to go gently into that good night…
lost in without getting out of the opening playing black against GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
A phone call from an excited Ironman, who happened to be between online lessons, and was watching some of the “action,” gave notice that something big was happening in the world of Chess. I care nothing for blitz Chess, or anything other than what has come to be called “classical” Chess, because playing good Chess requires thought, and if you do not have time to cogitate what is the point? Nevertheless, when a former World Chess Champ losses like a beginner it makes news all around the world. I decided to wait until after having my morning cuppa coffee before checking the usual suspects, TWIC, Chessbase, Chess24, and Chessdom. Sometimes I surf on over to Chess.com and today was one of those days, which was a good thing because the first video found during a search at duckduckgo.com proclaimed erroneously that Kasparov had lost in 10 moves:
This is false. As ignominious as it sounds, Garry Kasparov actually lost after playing only 6 moves:
Below you can find all the gory details, which was located at Chess.com, including a very short loss by former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand
to a player who now resides in the Great State of Georgia, GM Alonso Zapata,
explained by the Australian GM Max Illingworth:
Garry Kasparov was born in 1963. He was eligible to play in the World Senior Championship eight years ago. I have often wondered why a player such as Kasparov, or Anatoly Karpov, has not deigned to participate in a Senior event for the good of Chess. Maybe it is time Garry consider playing in a Senior event.
In the 1983 Candidates Finals a young Garry Kasparov faced former World Chess Champion Vassily Smyslov for the right to contest a World Championship match with the then World Champ Anatoly Karpov. The fact that Smyslov made it to the final was almost beyond belief. The Chess world was astounded that someone so old could play well enough to face the young whipper-snapper, Kasparov. Granted, Smyslov was given no chance of defeating Kasparov by the pundits, but just getting to the finals was a victory of sorts. The older I have become the more amazing it seems…
(https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/) was published December 11, 2017. The post, Garry Kasparov Cheated Judit Polgar, has been read by people in almost every country on the planet. Although other posts written many years prior to 2017 have garnered more total viewers, no post published after December 11, 2017 has been read by more often by people in more different countries since being published. It is usually among the top posts read most days, and weeks, such as this week, when it was the most read post on this blog. The post has obviously resonated with readers the all over the world.
When the new issue of NIC arrives
this writer, and reader, usually flips through the magazine to get an overview before landing at the ‘Just Checking’ interview, which is read first. That did not happen with the current issue because a picture of Judit Polgar caught my attention and was read before going any further.
“We noted with interest the release of a new documentary on Judit Polgar, Judit contra today (Los Otros) – ‘Judit against all(The Others)‘ – produced by Movistar+, Spain’s leading online digital platform. It’s part of a series on influential game-changers in sports.
The 44-minute documentary has interviews (many in English) and old film footage from throughout her career – the highlight being the most controversial, Polgar’s first meeting with Garry Kasparov at Linares 1994. Indeed, the ‘did-he-or-didn’t-he’ release the knight incident. Now, for the first time in over 25 years, the film footage is finally seen in public.
Polger tells how her inexperience clouded her judgment about what she should have done. There was video evidence available, but that was ‘mysteriously’ spirited out of the Hotel Anibal to Madrid on the orders of the legendary godfather of the tournament, Luis Rentero.
Still, this isn’t the first time the evidence is shown, as can be read in Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam’s book Linares! Linares!.
On page 79, he writes that the video in fact returned a few days later to the Hotel Anibal and was shown in a private room to several journalists and others, including the chief arbiter, Carlos Falcon. And with the benefit of an early version of VAR, they all witnessed that the piece was indeed briefly released; Falcon even writing an official letter stating this to be the case, but from his vantage point from where he was at the time, he couldn’t see this due to Kasparov’s hand shielding the piece.”
Pg 9, New In Chess, 2020 #2
To some the film was obviously as important as the infamous Zapuder film of the JFK assassination, which was kept locked away from the public for many years.
Garry Kasparov was obviously a great Chess player. Unfortunately, the only thing for which he will be remembered by history is that he was the human world champion who lost to a computer program,
After reading the previous post Brian McCarthy left a comment which concerned the article you are about to read, but it was not the original article. This morning there was an email from Dennis Fritzinger which included a link to the article. Thanks, Dennis!
‘Queen of chess’ says it’s hard to imagine women competing at same level as men
By Leon Watson
12 October 2019
The gender gap in sport may be narrowing, but in the game of chess women may never reach the levels of their male counterparts – according to the world’s best female player.
University of Oxford student Hou Yifan said the cerebral game won’t get a female world champion for decades because women “are less focused” than men, don’t train as hard and are at a physical disadvantage.
The 25-year-old, who is often referred to as the Queen of Chess’, has opened a row in the normally genial world of chess.
Her comments follow a controversial claim by English Grandmaster Nigel Short that men and women should just accept they are “hard-wired very differently”.
Short, who was widely criticised for his stance, said he “would have been ripped to shreds as a misogynist dinosaur” if he’d said the same as Hou.
Speaking to chess.com, Hou said: “Theoretically, there should be a possibility that a woman can compete for the title in the future, but practically I think that the chances of this happening in the next few decades are very small.
“I do think the average rating of female players could improve, but the gap between the top women right now and the players competing for the world title is really quite large.
“But if you look at any sport, it’s hard to imagine girls competing at the same level as men.
“I think there is a physical aspect because chess exhausts a lot of energy, especially when games last 6-7 hours, and here women could be more disadvantaged.
“But in general, I think women train less hard at chess compared to men while they’re growing up.
“In China, girls tend to think more about university, and then things like family, life balance… while boys are more focused and persistent on that one thing.
“This makes a big difference. The ones who put greater effort in achieving better results. But I also think there are external factors too.”
In chess, there is the World Championship which is open to all and is currently held by the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen. Since its inception in 1886, all 16 undisputed champions have been men.
There is also a parallel Women’s World Championship and women-only tournaments designed to encourage female participation in the sport.
However, while Hou is a four-time winner of the women’s crown, in recent years she has chosen not to compete in women’s events in order to compete against higher-ranked players.
Hou, who became a Grandmaster aged 14, is the number one ranked female player but number 87 among men and women. She is one of just three women, along with Judit Polgar and Maia Chiburdanidze, to have cracked the world’s top 100.
However, there is a big gap between Hou’s rating and the top men. By comparison, Hou’s current rating is 2659, while world number one Carlson is more than 200 points higher on 2876.
The next strongest female player is another Chinese player, Wenjun Ju, way back at world number 288 with a rating of 2586.
Hou said: “Growing up, female players are told, ‘If you win the girls’ title, we’ll be really proud of you, and this is a great job!’ It’s unlikely that any of them were told, ‘No, you should be fighting for the overall title!’
“Girls are told at an early age that there’s a kind of gender distinction, and they should just try their best in the girls’ section and be happy with that. So without the motivation to chase higher goals, it’s harder for girls to improve as fast as boys as they grow up.”
Asked if she believes there are any gender differences in the way men and women play the game, Hou added: “To me, in all aspects of life, sometimes women and men tend to see the same thing from completely different perspectives, and that also comes into chess.
“To put it simplistically, I think male players tend to have a kind of overview or strategy for the whole game, rather than focusing too much attention on one part of the game. It could be interesting to explore this further. I need to do more research to answer this properly!”
by Genna Sosonko, published by Elk and Ruby, (http://www.elkandruby.com/) is broken down, like Smyslov at the end of his long life, into three parts. This review will, therefore, be in three parts.
Part 1: The Real Vasily Smyslov
The author writes, “He possessed an incredible memory.” Most, if not all, World Chess champions were blessed with a memory far above most human beings. Some no doubt contained a brain possessing an eidetic memory. How else can one explain Bobby Fischer
recalling a speed (that was five minutes and only five minutes per game ‘back in the day’) game that had taken place decades earlier? (…just prior to his historic match with Taimanov, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Fischer met the Russian player Vasiukov and showed him a speed game that the two had played in Moscow fifteen years before. Fischer recalled the game move by move.) (http://billwall.phpwebhosting.com/articles/Memory.htm)
Smyslov says, “Oh Genna, don’t wake my memories. What’s done is done, done to oblivion. I don’t remember a thing! I’ve been blessed with the ability to forget. There is an uncanny pattern to things, though; you best of all remember what you should forget.”
“His style was very clear-cut; he was considered a wonderful master of the endgame. Jan Timman,
known as the Best of the West during the eighties, who grew up on Botvinnik’s games, once said that he thought Smyslov’s style, due to his original strategic vision, lucid play, and virtuosic endgame technique, was the best.”
“Indeed, Max Euwe,
who had a very poor record against Smyslov, would say, “This amiable giant of the chess world (who) makes moves that, frankly, any other grandmaster could make. There’s just one small difference: Smyslov wins, but the other GM’s don’t. His playing style is really slippery; he doesn’t attack you head-on, doesn’t threaten mate, and yet follows some path that only he sees. His opponent’s are caught off-gaurd and fail to see his secret plans. They think they have a perfectly decent position….The suddenly they realize something isn’t right, but it’s too late! An attack is building up against their king and they can’t beat it off. Yeah, Smyslov is an amazing player, an amiable and obliging man, but so dangerous to play against.”
The author writes, “Or Boris Spassky,
highlighting Smyslov’s incredible intuition, called him “the Hand”, explaining this as follows: “His hand knows on which square each piece belongs, he doesn’t need to calculate anything with his head.” Later on there is this, “We had already said our goodbyes, but then suddenly he stepped off to the side, visibly distressed by something. “I thought of the game I lost to Van Wely yesterday. At first, I had a clear advantage. Then the position was equal. And then…no, it’s terrible, just terrible. Like an apparition haunting me. An evil force led my hand astray.” Shaking his head, he went towards passport control.”
The author, who had earlier emigrated from the Soviet Union, writes, “I visited Leningrad in 1982. Although I already had a Dutch passport by then, I was strongly advised against taking that trip. It was the height of the Cold War, and the consequences of such a visit were unpredictable in the Soviet days.” Genna “follow(ed) his own route,” and “…poked my head into the Chigorin Chess Club a few hours before the ship’s departure from Leningrad. “The doors are all shabby. When are they going to renovate the place?” I blurted out as I walked into the building I’d known since my Leningrad childhood. New “details” of my visit surfaced later on. Sosonko had supposedly come to Leningrad in secret and promised to donate ten thousand dollars to renovate the club.”
“I heard all about your foray into Leningrad, Genna,” Smyslov said smiling, when we met up a month later at the Tilburg tournament. “You decided to make a run for it? Have you completely lost your mind?” he chided me in a fatherly tone.
We faced off in round five. We had drawn all of our previous games, sometimes without trying. Smyslov played passively in the opening, and my advantage grew with every move. When Black’s position was completely lost, he rose slightly from his chair, extended his hand, and congratulated me, “Enjoy this one, Genna, but don’t let it go to your head. I can’t play against my friends.” He moaned and groaned the whole next day, still upset with me: “That guy? Yeah, he’d knock off his own father for five hundred dollars. Him donating ten thousand? I don’t think so!” But then everything went back to normal, with our daily walks around the village of Oisterwijk near Tilburg, where the tournament participants were staying, and long talks about everything.”
Smyslov did not care for Fischer Random Chess, and nor do I. For one thing, allowing a computer to choose the opening setup of the pieces is absurd! If the game is going to be played why not put the pawns in their positions and have the player of the white pieces place the first piece, etc.? Smyslov says, “Chess is harmonious just the way it is. Fischer chess is utter nonsense. That setup deprives the game of its inherent harmony.”
Smyslov says, “I have noticed I play better if I treat my opponent with respect, no matter what disputes may arise. That type of attitude cleansed my soul, which enabled me to focus solely on the board and the pieces. My inspiration would wane and my performance would suffer whenever I let my emotions get the better of me.”
Part 2: Match Fixing in Zurich and the Soviet Chess School
This part of the book shines a light on the dark and dirty Soviet School of Chess, where every result can be questioned beginning with the 1933 match between the Czechoslovak master, Salo Flohr,
“…on his first trip to the Soviet Union, and the rising star of Soviet chess, Mikhail Botvinnik.”
Flohr won the first two decisive games of the match, but Botvinnik “won” games nine and ten, the final games of the match, to draw the match to send the fans into a frenzy.
The author blames everything on the “monstrous state system…” He never assigns any blame on any individual, yet a “system” is comprised of “people.” The author writes, “Soviet chess, with its undoubted achievements on the one hand and cynicism and total absence of morals on the other hand, was the fruit of the monstrous state system, controlling everything that was the Soviet Union. And it died alongside that country.” Really? “As Stalin used to say, ‘no person-no problem’.” (Pg. 139 of Checkmate, by Sally Landau https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2019/04/21/checkmate-the-love-story-of-mikhail-tal-and-sally-landau-a-review/) An excellent case can be made that when it comes to Russia today, only the names have changed as Putin continues to eliminate former Russian citizens on foreign soil, and even on home soil, proving if there is “no person” there is “no problem.” It is not the “system” which is corrupt, but the people who comprise the system. The American system is not corrupt, but many, if not most, of the people comprising the system are corrupt, and that includes those at the very top, including the POTUS, who is so obviously corrupt, and corruptible. It is not the “system” that needs be changed, but those in charge of the corrupt system, no matter what system and what it is named, who need to be eliminated, as Malcoln X said, “by any means necessary.”
The author used Former World Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker
to prove his point when he writes, “Emanuel Lasker had visited the Soviet Union back in 1924. He played in all three international tournaments and, escaping from the Nazis, he moved to Moscow in 1935. In his memoirs, Mikhail Botvinnik wrote about the Nottinghanm tournament of 1936, one of the greatest competitions of the twentieth century: “World Champion Euwe led the tournament for a considerable time, and I found it hard to keep up. At a critical moment in the battle, Lasker unexpectedly turned up in my hotel room. ‘I now live in Moscow,’ he announced pompously, ‘and as a representative of the Soviet Union I consider it my duty to play for a win against Euwe, especially as I’m playing White.’ At the same time, the old Doctor bore quite an alarmed expression. ‘Don’t be silly, Dear Doctor,’ I objected, waiving my hands in the air. ‘If you draw that will be fine.’ Lasker breathed a sigh of relief: Well, that will be easy,’ he said, and then left the room, having shaken my hand. The next day, Euwe, playing to win missed a somewhat straightforward tactical subtlety in an equal ending and lost.”
“Let’s reflect for a moment on the meaning of Lasker’s words,” writes Sosonko. “When learning that the aging doctor, as a representative of the Soviet Union, wondered whether he should play to win against a rival of his new fellow-countryman, you instinctively think just how quickly a person becomes influenced by their stay in a strict totalitarian system. Even a very short stay. Even a wise man and philosopher who was born free.”
Let us reflect for a moment…Lasker had the white pieces and should have, therefore, played for a win. If Bobby Fischer had been playing Euwe the next day he would have been playing to win even with the black pieces!
who played not only in the 1948 world championship but in subsequent candidates tournaments as well, noted that the Russians always played as a team.”
There are wonderful tidbits in the book. Two of my favorite concern Chess books. “When Judit Polgar was asked about her favorite chess book, she replied almost instantly: “Levenfish and Smylov’s Rook Endings. Those endings arise more often than any of the others. Everything is explained so simply in the book.”
Smyslov, “By the way, have you read Tarrasch?
Tarrasch fell out of favor in the Soviet Union, later on, like so many other people did. He was banned, but his book The Game of Chess
is excellent. He explained everything in a very accessible way. You haven’t read it? I really recommend you do. It’s never too late.”
The last part of the book, Part 3, is, The Final Years.
The part about Judit Polgar’s
favorite Chess book is in the final part of the book. “When Judit Polgar was asked about her favorite chess book, she replied instantly: “Levenfish and Smyslov’s Rook Endings.
Those endings arise more than any of the others. Everything is explained so simply in the book.”
This, too, is included in the final part of the book: “July 22, 2004. “You know, whenever I think about Fischer, I start feeling sorry for him. I’m afraid he’ll get sent back to America.He just always needed someone who’d be there for him, take care of him, look after him. He was always a Don Quixote, if you see what I’m getting at.”
Other than a few things, reading the final part of the book was terribly depressing. Since at my age I am knocking on heaven’s door, I may not be the most objective person to review the latter part of the otherwise excellent book. The fact is, I do not even want to review it. The final section detracts from the book and the less said about it, the better. Read the book and judge for yourself, and leave a comment on the Armchair Warrior blog.
I give the first two parts five points each, making a total of ten points. Unfortunately I can only give a couple of points to the final part, so divide twelve by three and…you do the math.
“Tal wins by tricks. I consider it my duty as a grandmaster to beat him properly” ~ Vasily Smyslov
Chess with Suren
Published on Apr 10, 2019
In the autumn of 1959, in the Yugoslav towns of Bled, Zagreb and Belgrade the four cycle tournament of eight candidates for the world crown took place: The candidates were Smyslov, Keres, Petrosian, Tal, Gligoric, Olafsson, Benko and the 16 year old Fischer. Tal was not regarded as one of the favorites. Moreover, a couple of weeks before the start he underwent an operation for appendicitis (later it transpired that the pain he was suffering was caused by a kidney illness). When Mikhail Tal started his rise to the world championship crown, his risky style of play was viewed with disdain by most grandmasters; for example, former world champion Vassily Smyslov commented that Tal wins by tricks. “I consider it my duty as a grandmaster to beat him properly.” What happens next is from “must watch” series. In their first ever encounter Tal chooses an offbeat line in Caro-Kann defense and soon by going for a bishop sacrifice manages to unleash a dangerous attack. Although for some time Smyslov manages to find the most accurate defensive moves but soon he fails to withstand Tal’s devilish pressure and makes a mistake. Using his chance Tal goes for a queen sacrifice, exploiting the back-rank weakness and soon Smyslov’s position goes down quickly!
Mikhail Tal vs Vasily Smyslov
Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959), Bled, Zagreb & Belgrade YUG, rd 8, Sep-18
Caro-Kann Defense: Breyer Variation (B10)
1.e4 c6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 e5 4.Ngf3 Nd7 5.d4 dxe4 6.Nxe4 exd4
7.Qxd4 Ngf6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.O-O-O O-O 10.Nd6 Qa5 11.Bc4 b5 12.Bd2
Qa6 13.Nf5 Bd8 14.Qh4 bxc4 15.Qg5 Nh5 16.Nh6+ Kh8 17.Qxh5 Qxa2 18.Bc3 Nf6 19.Qxf7 Qa1+ 20.Kd2 Rxf7 21.Nxf7+ Kg8 22.Rxa1 Kxf7 23.Ne5+ Ke6 24.Nxc6 Ne4+ 25.Ke3 Bb6+ 26.Bd4 1-0
Because the World Human World Championship has been, for the most part, sort of boring I have spent a considerable amount of time watching the games of the concurrent World Senior tournament. While so doing I have listened to some of the patter from Yaz, Maurice, and Jen,
in the event some kind of action breaks out on the board between Maggie and Fabi. Although there were a few games worth following, the fact is that much of the time has been spent with special guests whom drone on and on until I simply can no longer stand it and I turn off the sound.
During one of the obviously much needed breaks for the human commentators filmed “fireside chats” have filled the time, and they have been much appreciated because they have been far more interesting than the non action filled WHCC. I have lived through much of the history that was discussed but still found it interesting, while thinking how wonderful it must be for younger Chess fans who know little, if anything, about the history of the Royal game.
During one segment the topic was Magnus Carlsen and I believe it was Yasser and Maurice discussing the performance of Magnus in one of the Sinquefield Cups. I believe it was Yasser who mentioned a last round game in which Levon Aronian offered Magnus a draw which would win the tournament for Carlsen. Magnus refused the offer and that made a huge impression on Yasser. I seem to recall Yaz saying something about it telling him what kind of player was Mr. Carlsen.
What happened to that Magnus Carlsen? Who is the imposter taking his place in this World Championship?
Reading some of the comments Magnus made before the tournament, such as lamenting the fact he does not have the energy he had a few years ago, caused me to wonder if Magnus is simply burned out and needs to take a long break from the game. His play over the past twelve games reminded me of something heard when young. “Listen to what a man says, but watch what he does,” my Mother was fond of saying.
Magnus has been playing “tired” Chess for some time now. Maurice mentioned the fact that when it came time for Magnus to “dig deeply into the position,” Magnus was taking only a few minutes before producing a move. There is always a reason this happens to any Chess player. We can only speculate until Magnus produces the reason for his inability to concentrate and “grind.” A short time ago Magnus was known as the ultimate “grinder” because he was willing to sit for hour after hour grinding out a win from a small advantage. In the last real game of the current world championship match Magnus was incapable of grinding out a won game.
I spent an inordinate amount of time today reading, watching and listening, to commentary about game twelve.
After the players were interviewed by GM Daniel King,
and answered questions from reporters, the strongest female Chess player of all time, Judit Polgar,
said this to her co-host Anna Rudolf
about eighteen minutes into the film below. “In his (Magnus Carsen) head he was not ready to win today’s game. He just wanted to move on to the playoffs and I think it can cost him the crown because this mistake will maybe will not be forgiven to him. That he did not try/ He did not want it anymore to win in classical game because this shows something we’ve never seen before by Magnus, and it’s not a good sign necessarily.”
Decades ago a young female Chess player to whom I had given lessons, Alison Bert, was about to battle a legendary Georgia player. She came to me and asked, “Who will win?” I thought for a few moments because at that time I considered the man a friend. The reply was, “The one who wants it the most.” She walked to the board with a purpose and beat that man down.
Magnus Carlsen is a great Chess player, one of the best of all time. The Magnus who is playing in this match is a shadow of the younger Magnus, and Carlsen has said as much recently. Yet Fabiano Caruana was unable to beat an obviously weakened Magnus Carlsen once. That fact attests to just how great is Magnus Carlsen.
Fabiano Caruana showed nervousness in the first game but Magnus was unable to finish him off. The same thing happened in the last game of the real match, the so-called “classical” games. The World Human Chess Championship is there for Caruana’s taking. To take the title he must want it more than Magnus.
Every day I get in the queue (Too much, Magic Bus)
To get on the bus that takes me to you (Too much, Magic Bus)
I’m so nervous, I just sit and smile (Too much, Magic Bus)
Your house is only another mile (Too much, Magic Bus)
Thank you, driver, for getting me here (Too much, Magic Bus)
You’ll be an inspector, have no fear (Too much, Magic Bus)
I don’t want to cause no fuss (Too much, Magic Bus)
But can I buy your Magic Bus? (Too much, Magic Bus)
I don’t care how much I pay (Too much, Magic Bus)
I want to drive my bus to my baby each day (Too much, Magic Bus) I want it, I want it, I want it, I want it … (You can’t have it!)
Thruppence and sixpence every day
Just to drive to my baby
Thruppence and sixpence each day
Because I drive my baby every way
Magic Bus, Magic Bus, Magic Bus
I said, now I’ve got my Magic Bus (Too much, Magic Bus)
I said, now I’ve got my Magic Bus (Too much, Magic Bus)
I drive my baby every way (Too much, Magic Bus)
Each time I go a different way (Too much, Magic Bus) I want it, I want it, I want it, I want it
Every day you’ll see the dust (Too much, Magic Bus)
As I drive my baby in my Magic Bus (Too much, Magic Bus)