In the article at Chessbase, Not quite unprecedented, by Carlos Alberto Colodro, much was made of the fact that current World Chess Champ Magnus Carlsen lost two consecutive games in rounds four and five in the 2023 Tata Steel Chess tournament.
“Before the rest day at the Tata Steel Masters, Carlsen had lost to Anish Giri, and in the very next round, he was shockingly defeated by 18-year-old Nodirbek Abdusattorov. The last time Carlsen had lost two classical games in a row was in 2015, at the Norway Chess event, where he lost to Veselin Topalov and Fabiano Caruana in the first two rounds of the super-tournament.” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/tata-steel-chess-2023-r5-b)
There is a box in the article which contains the number of Carlsen losses since 2013:
Amount of losses in classical chess for Carlsen by year: 2013: 4 2014: 6 2015: 10 2016: 3 2017: 6 2018: 2 2019: 0 2020: 2 2021: 2 2022: 1#TataSteelChess — Tarjei J. Svensen (@TarjeiJS) January 19, 2023
Anyone who knows anything about statistics knows that without context numbers are meaningless.
For example, the two games Magnus lost during the pandemic year could be more, percentage wise, than the ten lost in 2015. Without knowing how many games were contested by Magnus for the above years the numbers are meaningless.
Things would have been different if the writer had, for example, taken time to research his subject. The author also could have researched how often the other World Chess Champions had lost two consecutive games, which would have added something interesting to the article.
The article did stoke my curiosity, causing me to wonder why Magnus played such poor Chess moves. I researched the earlier tournament in order to learn the dates of the two games that were lost back in 2015. Then I went to the preferred biorhythm calculator (https://www.biorhythm-calculator.net/) to check what it displayed for Magnus at the beginning of the 2015 Norway Chess event:
Magnus finished the tournament one-half point out of last place in the event, winning two, drawing three, and losing four games. The above chart shows Magnus intellectually low for the entire tournament.
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’.
Today an article appeared at Chess24.com entitled, World Rapid & Blitz begins on 26th as Carlsen faces dilemma. The opening paragraph: “World Champion Magnus Carlsen and US teenager Hans Moke Niemann will be in the same venue for the first time since the scandal that rocked the chess world in Saint Louis three months ago. The Norwegian faces a dilemma if he is paired against the teenager, who launched a $100 million lawsuit over cheating allegations.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/world-rapid-blitz-begins-as-carlsen-faces-dilemma)
The following paragraph caught my attention: “The main sponsor of the event is investment company Freedom Finance, founded and owned by the Russian-born Kazakh financier Timur Turlov, who according to Forbes magazine has a net worth of $2.5 billion. He is among the many Russians who have been placed on the Ukrainian sanctions list. The total prize fund is $1 million.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/world-rapid-blitz-begins-as-carlsen-faces-dilemma)
That sent me to the Duck,Duck,Go search engine to learn more about Timur Turlov in order to ascertain why FIDE would accept funds from someone on the sanctions list. An extremely long article was found. Brief excerpts follow:
Swindler Timur Turlov may be arrested soon
Swindlers of all stripes love flattery and praise. This is not a reproach, but a simple statement of fact – ask any psychologist or, even better, an experienced policeman: what is the most important feature of a swindler? And the answer will surprise you, because it will not be a desire to deceive as many people as possible and earn as much money as possible. No, this goal, of course, is there, but it is the goal. But the most important feature is narcissism and outright narcissism.
And it is on this that the majority of the most successful swindlers “burn”, and it is precisely the understanding of this important psychological feature that makes it possible to understand who is in front of you – a businessman corny “sniffing” his product to you, or an outright fraudster, after “cooperation” with whom you will remain naked and barefoot.
Because some headlines directly contradict each other. Judging by them, it turns out that Timur Turlov is a Russian, Kazakh, Estonian, Ukrainian businessman and leader. On the one hand, in the age of globalization, it seems like nothing surprising. But on the other hand, how does he manage to do it all and how does it all fit together?
Well, you will have to delve a little into the topic and try to understand who is “a successful businessman, billionaire, banker, investor, hero of the project” Russian Norms! ” “How to do nothing and earn a lot.” That in itself is already nonsense – the word “earn” means “work”.
Here is an excerpt from the official biography of our hero:
Incomprehensible, of course, for an ordinary person, but beautiful. The main thing that can be learned from this is that Timur Turlov is the owner of several companies. And a very wealthy person. And it works in several countries – in Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Germany and Cyprus.
This is all well and good, the reader will say, but what is the fraud? Yes, earning capital in the field of finance is not a very high moral activity, but there is nothing criminal in it. We are forced to agree, but with one caveat – not in this case.
As follows from everything that has been written about Turlov, his main brainchild is the Freedom Finance bank, which “gave access to private investors from Russia and Kazakhstan to American IPOs.” Limited Liability Company Bank “Freedom Finance” (LLC “FFIN Bank”) was registered at the address Moscow, Karetny Ryad street, 5/10, building 2.
As can be seen from the ownership structure, Turlov controls his bank through the “gasket” of Freedom Holding Corp., registered in Belize.
And for a person who is even superficially interested in finance, this is already a rather alarming factor. The fact is that Belize has a very, very liberal financial system, which is also protected from the interest of both the financial authorities of other countries and their own. In other words – an excellent offshore, in comparison with which the notorious Cypriot rest.
But that’s not all. The fact is that Freedom Holding Corp processes transactions in the United States for Turlov’s Kazakh and Russian clients. She contributed as much as 70% of Freedom Finance’s stock trading fees for the first half of fiscal 2021. This is not the data of anyone, but Forbes, so they can be completely trusted.
But that’s not all. The most important question concerns the so-called lock-up period (the time when shares cannot be sold) during the IPO – in Freedom Holding it is 93 days. This differs from brokerage services in the United States, which allow clients to place and cancel orders until an IPO takes place, Forbes writes. Freedom Holding’s practice described as “unusual” in an article by the Financial Journalism Foundation
This mild formulation actually means the following. An investor who has invested money in Freedom Finance is deprived of the right to dispose of it for 93 days. Without his knowledge or consent, bank employees can do whatever they want with them, and without not only any control on the part of the depositor, and without even informing him about all the operations performed with his money.
Another moment in the actions of Turlov’s structures painfully resembles a pyramid. Nothing in Freedom Holding’s filing explains how clients can benefit from a 93-day lockdown of their capital. This agreement, however, gives Timur Turlov’s Belize-based FFIN (Belize again!) Access to a large amount of cash for three months, with the sole obligation to deliver the newly issued shares at the end of the period. Sound familiar?
By the way, it is worth mentioning the “IPO syndication”. The English abbreviation is incomprehensible to the common man. But in reality, this means the initial mechanism for buying shares off the exchange before the enterprise goes public, that is, before the shares actually go to the exchange.
And the most interesting thing is that Timur Turlov’s firm does not have the right to operate with Western IPOs, but actively offers this service in the CIS and Europe. In doing so, Freedom Finance cites the extreme success of the average IPO sample. The conditionality of this criterion of success is obvious, but blocking money for three months is part of this very success.
But how does Timur Turlov collect and invest clients’ money in an IPO without having an appropriate license in the United States? The answer to this question lies in the configuration of the flow of money from small investors in the CIS to an IPO in the United States. These trades are carried out in an intricate maneuver: Freedom Holding clients send money to FFIN Brokerage Services Inc., a Belize-based broker-dealer whose website promises “direct access to the American market.” However, FFIN Brokerage Services is not a subsidiary of Freedom Holding. Instead, it is owned by Freedom Holding CEO Turlov, as clearly stated in a July 2018 statement from Freedom Holding itself. This is the answer to the question why such a huge part of the business is registered in Belize.
However, to all appearances, Turlov will soon end as well. Because the scandal has reached the international level: the already mentioned Foundation for Financial Journalism has released an investigation into the activities of Timur Turlov with a very eloquent title:
For those who do not know English, we give the translation: “Freedom Holding: the dumbest product of Kazakhstan after Borat.” In his article, Roddy Boyd examines Turlov’s activities and comes to the same conclusion that we are a classical pyramid. By the way, Timur Turlov and his structures repeatedly tried to remove Boyd’s investigation, but their appeals to the courts did not lead to anything: the article “Freedom Holding: the dumbest product of Kazakhstan after Borat” is still in the public domain. We recommend that you familiarize yourself.
By the way, Boyd also comes to the conclusion that the main mechanism of protection against collapse for the Freedom Holding pyramid is the same blocking of money for 93 days. This makes it possible to accumulate the amounts required for current payments.
After the publication of the above-mentioned investigation and a number of similar materials in the Western media, Turlov’s pyramid became agitated and began to actively “clog” the issue on the Internet with laudatory materials. However, we wrote about this at the beginning. Their goal, however, was not only and not so much to praise Timur Turlov, but to omit the journalists in search of an investigation who could not be removed by court decisions.
But the main question remains – why is Timur Turlov still continuing his activities and there are no claims to him in the countries of the former USSR, where he “cuts” the main “loot”?
And the small chest opens simply here. The point is, “cutting the little suckers” (sorry – investors) with the help of the Freedom Finance pyramid is more of a side activity for him. The main thing is that Freedom Finance LLC is an ordinary “laundry” for money that officials have stolen from the budgets of Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and those countries of the former USSR where Turlov works. According to the well-known economic expert Alexey Kushch, over the past year and a half, Freedom Finance Bank LLC has legalized several hundred million dollars for such odious persons as Bulat Utemuratov, Sergey Katsuba, Pavel Fuks, Margulan Seisembayev, Sauat Mynbayev, Andrey Birzhin, Askar Mamin and the whole a number of others. Nationality is very different: the entire spectrum of the former USSR.
But this is already the subject of another investigation and another big story. In the meantime, Timur Turlov frantically tries to disown comparisons with “MMM” and other pyramids. In the vastness of our former country, it turns out. But as a result of publications in the press, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission took over the activities of Timur Ruslanovich Turlov. And these are by no means the corrupt fiscal and supervisory bodies of the countries of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, whose top officials are served by Timur Turlov. https://www.karabasmedia.com/swindler-timur-turlov-may-be-arrested-soon/
The article begins, “Chess.com, the world’s largest chess website, has acquired Play Magnus Group, a leading chess entertainment and education company. The proposed acquisition was initially announced on August 24, 2022 and was unanimously recommended by Play Magnus Group’s board. After receiving regulatory and shareholder approval, the acquisition officially closed on December 16, 2022. By sheer coincidence, on the same day, Chess.com reached 100,000,000 members, another major milestone in the site’s history.”
The paragraph that really caused my blood to boil was, “In association with the acquisition of Play Magnus Group, Magnus Carlsen has signed on as a Chess.com ambassador. He will be competing regularly in Chess.com events such as the Speed Chess Championship. On December 18, 2022, Carlsen contested the 2022 Speed Chess Championship Final which was in a thrilling, down-to-the-wire performance by Hikaru Nakamura. More than 200,000 viewers tuned in to watch this highly anticipated matchup.”
Hold on now…wait a MINUTE! “Contested”? “CONTESTED!” Ambassador Carlsen lost, LOST, the “thrilling, down-to-the-wire performance by Hikaru Nakamura.” What? Chess.com did not want to embarrass the new AMBASSADOR?
The intention was to write a post today concerning a few of the games, and positions of the recent US Chess Championships, to follow the previous post, but a couple of emails from regular readers recently changed my mind. One reader wanted to know if I could recommend one article that would bring him up to speed with the events of the Magnus Carlsen caused affair. This caused me to smile. One article. Ha! I have read so much on the subject it has made my eyes bleed, and this guy wants one article that is a be all and end all article…
The other reader asked a question that is on every mind of everyone involved with Chess. “How will this affect the future of Chess?”
Is that a loaded question, or what? I am no soothsayer. Nevertheless, how can all the negative publicity do anything but harm the Royal Game? Then again, the recent cheating scandals in Major League Baseball by the Houston Astros, now called by many the “Cheating ‘stros,” has not ended MLB, although the people who watch the game has dwindled to alarmingly low numbers, but then, MLB has been losing interest for other reasons ever since the Ragin’ Roid’ scandal and the Bud Selig caused premature end of the 1994 season. Then there is the New England Patriots serial cheating which has not appeared to diminish the number of fans. The title of one article tells the story: A timeline of Patriots scandals: Spygate, Deflategate and other controversial incidents under Bill Belichick (https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/patriots-spygate-deflategate-bill-belichick-timeline/ovkdjh8ny5qb1fnns9grat5mk). Just type in “Patriots” and “Cheating” into any search engine and you will be inundated with a plethora of maimball cheating articles.
As luck would have it I surfed over to the excellent website of Daiim Shabazz,
The Chess Drum,
recently, something I had put off because of all the reading done on the Magnus Carlsen affair in an attempt to understand why the current World Chess Champion would do the things he has done recently.
There, at The Chess Drum, I found one of the best articles read recently. I was taken aback by the depth and breadth of the article. Although much of it was known I read every word because there was so much that was new to me. If I were a member of the Chess Journalists of America I would nominate the article for an award because it is that good. It is a remarkable piece of Chess journalism. I left a comment for Daiim and only just revisited the article in preparing to write these words. The following, which had obviously just been posted, was found:
Daaim Shabazz says: October 25, 2022 at 12:47 pm
What impact would Carlsen’s signing the scoresheets have on whether he believed that Niemann had cheated during their game? Signing the scoresheet in FIDE games is an agreement that the result was fair. Refusing to sign could be considered a protest.
I once saw a cheating case (touch move violation) at an Olympiad. The accused (a GM) claimed that he had adjusted his king (despite holding it and hovering over a square). The move would’ve allowed the queening of a pawn and resulted in a big team upset. There were bystanders who saw the violation. The arbiter was not present but did not allow any witness statements. After a back-and-forth debate, he believed the GM and allowed the game to continue. The GM moved another piece. The accuser (an FM) was distraught and let his clock run out in protest and signed the sheets.
When the appeal was filed, it was determined that while it appeared the GM had violated the rules, the accuser had signed the scoresheets and had thus agreed with the result. Based on this, the committee rejected the appeal.
I urge everyone reading this to visit the website and read it for yourself. In addition, I urge anyone involved with the Chess Journalists of America to give strong consideration to giving some kind of award to the writer. To the gentleman wanting that “one article” this, sir, is that article. I am still amazed at how much time and effort was put into the article. It is more than an overview. It is more like the kind of article that answers questions you did not ask, but after reading, wondered why you had not asked those questions. It is a magnificent article at which I stand in awe. To this writer it is a masterpiece, like an artwork.
“Andrea Carte: Born in Italy, IT engineer, he’s written some GO software, published several papers about reconstructing GO games from videos by means of AI tecniques and has joined two scientific conferences (Liberec 2015 and Pisa 2018) during the corresponding European Go Congresses. Like Ingo Althoefer – who arranged such conferences – he’s above all a chess fan since the Spassky-Fischer match and has even attended many World Championships since then. He considers himself a good amateur, despite not even reaching the 2000 barrier (that will forever remain his forbidden dream).”
Since there are only three degrees of separation, especially among we lovers of games, I urge anyone reading this to contact the writer in order to give him a ‘heads-up’ about this post. And to Mr. Carta, I too, play Go, but not very well. Nevertheless, I enjoy reading about the great game of Go and replaying games online, and have been known to actually play a few games over the years. I sincerely hope you manage to cross the 2000 barrier because although it has been said the demarcation line for becoming a respected Chess player is 1600, which is class “B”, any player who has ever seen that crooked number after his name knows it bestows credibility lacking when a rating begins with a ‘one’.
The final two paragraphs of the stellar article follow:
“In the end we have found that “statistics at first sight”, all of them, look like strong evidence of Hans Niemann cheating, and cheating a lot. But at second sight, all the statistics show instead a picture typical of a young player rising fast, with no evidence of cheating whatsoever. Ken Regan was right.
Does this mean that Hans Niemann never cheated on the board? It’s still difficult to say. Opinions of strong players cannot be discounted, nor cannot be the ones of expert commentators like Alejandro Ramirez (his opinion can be read at https://en.chessbase.com/post/alejandro-ramirez-it-does-seem-very-likely-that-hans-cheated-over-the-board, with a link to a podcast in which the matter is fully discussed). But it’s extremely unlikely that statistics alone will ever provide evidence on the matter, and unless some clever Philo Vance will ever be able to deduce his method and trap him “on the spot”, the mystery will never be solved. Chess, already diminished because of the overwhelming engines’ dominance, is on the verge of completely losing its charisma. Hysteria is spreading fast: already people are not permitted to watch important tournaments in person, and live broadcast is quickly disappearing. Will the “old times” ever come back?” https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-hans-niemann-case-numbers-what-they-reveal-and-what-they-do-not-reveal
People still play the antiquated game, and there are still tournaments, but reading about them makes one sad. We here in America live in a boom and bust society. I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but here it is obvious the ship named the Royal Game has taken a torpedo and is in damage control mode. I have no idea how much damage has been done or what kind of deleterious effect it will have upon Chess, but I do know each and every Chess player needs to grab a pail and start dipping to keep the ship of Chess afloat. Chess is akin to a rudderless ship because FIDE, the World Chess organization, has done absolutely nothing to mitigate the damage. This could be because FIDE is controlled by the Russians. The head of FIDE does not make any decision without the approval of Mad Vlad, and he has other, much more important things on his mind at the moment. The President of FIDE, Arkady Dvorkovich,
known as “The Dvork”, is far too busy covering his ass while trying to stay alive to even consider doing something, anything, to mitigate the onslaught of negative publicity that has inundated the Royal Game over the last month or so. The dude has got to be cringing in fear of doing anything that might displease Mad Vlad,
or else he, like so many other nefarious Russians in Putin’s orbit, might take a header out of a window in a high rise building.
“…the mystery will never be solved.” And there’s the rub. Hans Niemann
can never, ever, prove he did not cheat, which means his reputation has been drastically damaged by the allegations made by the nattering nabobs. His reputation has been forever tarnished. With that in mind, I have something to say to young Mr. Niemann, and would appreciate it if a reader will pass this along to Hans, or someone who knows him.
“Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was.” – Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind.
This writer was able to watch most, not all, of the coverage of the 2022 US Chess Championships. When unable to watch the live broadcast for various reasons I went back and watched what was missed earlier during the first twelve rounds. There were many “technical problems” with the last round so I turned it off and watched the games the old fashioned way by watching the moves played at Lichess.com. I did not later watch what was missed during the last round. Yasser mentioned something about the broadcast emanating from philanthropy and I realize the broadcast is not like any for profit broadcast, such as a Baseball game, or golf tournament, etc. Nevertheless, the broadcasts emanating from the St. Louis Chess Campus have been ongoing for many years, long enough for those broadcasting to have their collective act together. At the beginning of the broadcasts the commentators would focus on one game for a length of time, which was disconcerting, because there were fourteen ongoing games. I thought an overview of all the games should be given and from the emails received, so did many other viewers. One day the guys and girl focused almost exclusively on one game, which caused me to fire a salvo at the folks in St. Louis. After it happened again another salvo was fired, but no response was received from the Campus. I simply turned off the volume and watched the opening moves of all the games at Lichess.com.
I realize the commentators are not ‘professional’ media types, but they are getting paid, so maybe they could be considered “untrained” professionals. In one salvo fired at the StLCC I asked if there was a director, but have yet to receive an answer. A director could inform the commentators of where there was “action” in another game and they could switch to it immediately. I recall one instance when they were following an endgame in the open while there was a very interesting game with lieelt time remaining being contested in the women’s championship. I also recall Yasser saying something about, “We’re staying right here!” I tuned the sound off and watched the women’s game on Lichess.com.
(born 29 May 1982) is a Ukrainian chess player and journalist. She achieved the FIDE titles Woman International Master in 2000 and Woman Grandmaster in 2003. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anastasiya_Karlovich) Her accent often made it hard to understand what she was saying. In addition, she had a disconcerting habit of talking over Yasser. It is impossible to understand what is being said when two people are talking, which happened all too often.
That said, I still give the StLCC a B+ for the effort. There were too many positives for a lower grade to be given. Please understand this old Warrior is still amazed at being able to watch something like this, which was unheard of ‘back in the day’. “Shelbourne Richard Lyman (October 22, 1936 – August 11, 2019) was an American chess player and teacher known for hosting a live broadcast of the 1972 World Chess Championship for the PBS television station Channel 13 in New York. This broadcast became the highest-rated public television program ever at that time, far surpassing viewership expectations.” In addition, Shelby also, “…later hosted a two-hour broadcast covering the World Chess Championship 1986. This segment was recorded at WNYE-TV in Brooklyn and aired on 120 public television stations.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelby_Lyman) It was during the latter time the woman with whom I lived, after watching the first broadcast, facetiously called him, “Mr. Charisma.” Chess broadcasts have come a long way, baby.
When there was a break in the action I would glance at some of the comments left by those watching. I was surprised when reading some that questioned Yasser Seirawan’s penchant for telling stories of the past. “you cannot understand where you are at unless you know where you have been,” I thought. One of the pleasures of my childhood was watching the Baseball Game of the Week on Saturday afternoon. Former Major League Baseball players Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese
would regale we neophytes with stories of bygone days, just as Yasser does during the broadcast. To this writer those stories are one of the best facets of the broadcasts. One was so good I took notes, realizing words would not come near describing how good was the tale. Imagine the elation when the segment was found! It concerns former World Chess Champ Gary Kasparov and to just read the words, or even listen to them, would not contain the visceral response shown by Yasser. All the hours spent spectating, and listening to the broadcasts were worth it just to be able to see Yasser when describing the story.
The 2022 US Chess Championships were inherently unfair. The player of the white pieces has an advantage, which is more apparent in the Open than with the Women. Someone was overheard saying to a student, “Fabiano Caruana played the best Chess in the tournament.” I begged to differ, saying Ray Robson played the best Chess. He knew how much time I had spent on viewing the action, so respected my opinion, but still questioned the statement. “Fabi had the white pieces in seven games; Robson in only six,” I said.
It is long past the time those in the Chess world come to terms with the fact that the way tournaments are structured favors one half of the field. The only way to remedy the problem is to have a US Chess Championship in which each player has an equal number of games with both colors. This could be done by having an eight player field, the Elite Eight, with two games versus each of the seven opponents, making for a fourteen round tournament. The fact is there were too many players who should not have been playing in the tournament.
The games are too long. The time for the games should be shortened because there are many games which do not begin until the players have spouted out twenty moves of opening theory in only a few minutes. Give the players ninety minutes with some kind of increment and have them play two games each day. It would be like going to work an eight hour day job. After the first game there would be a two hour break and the second game could then begin.
Deciding a championship by playing speed (kills) Chess is ludicrous, especially when a so-called “champion” is determined by some abomination called, appropriately enough, “Armageddon”. One of the definitions of Armageddon is: “A decisive or catastrophic conflict.” (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Armaggedon). On second thought maybe it is appropriate after the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, in an unprecedented act, withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup after losing a badly played game to Hans Niemann. There is nothing worse than for a player to withdraw in a round robin tournament, unless there was some major reason for so doing, such as having a stroke, or going blind, etc. The action of sore loser Carlsen was an affront to the Royal Game, the Singuefield Cup, and to the St. Louis Chess Club. In addition, it was a slap in the face to the man responsible for the philanthropy, Rex Sinquefield. Tony Rich, Executive Director of the St. Louis Chess Campus,
said Magnus would be welcomed back to the STLCC, but he will never be welcomed by this writer. It is possible his ill-advised action will bring down the House of Chess. Magnus will not be the Chess champion of the world much longer and he should be classified as persona non grata everywhere, forced to sit home and ‘stream’ like Hikaru Nakamura
After posting the previous post a few days ago news concerning a lawsuit filed by Hans Niemann hit the internet like a tidal wave. Like most people involved with the Royal Game I read everything there was to be read concerning the issue.
ChessSpawn Vermont (Attorney Brian Lafferty) Niemann’s complaint is well drafted and pleaded alleging Slander; Libel; Sherman Anti-Trust Act Violations; Tortious Interference with Contract and Business Opportunities; and Civil Conspiracy.The complaint sets out a number of previously unknown or little known alleged defamatory statements to third parties and actions of a collusive nature between defendants directed at Niemann. Damages in the amount of $100 million are sought on a number of the causes of action and unspecified damages on one cause of action to be determined at trial.This is the real deal. These defendants will have a difficult time escaping liability for their actions. Hopefully, this will also lead the US Department of Justice to examine the acquisition of Play Magnus Group by Chess . com in relation to US Anti-Trust/Restraint of Trade Laws. https://en.chessbase.com/post/breaking-news-hans-niemann-is-suing#discuss
After considering writing something my mind was changed by the fact that I wanted to leave Herschel Walker is the Punchline up for a few days, possibly through the weekend, because it seemed more important to have a decent, reasonable, calm, and level headed candidate win the upcoming election in lieu of yet another Trumpster wanna be type goofball elected to the office of Senator from the state of Georgia. The polls are close, which is alarming to any reasonable person, so the thinking was that in an extremely close election maybe one vote could be the difference, and just maybe someone reading the post might change their vote. Things changed this morning after reading two articles. The first was, Hans Niemann Files $100 Million Lawsuit Against Magnus Carlsen, Chess.com Over Cheating Allegations (https://www.wsj.com/articles/chess-cheating-hans-niemann-magnus-carlsen-lawsuit-11666291319).
He tweeted, “For chess, Hans‘ lawsuit is probably the perfect PR opportunity. It has everything: millions of dollars (rarity for the sport!), drama, cheating allegations, Carlsen and Nakamura in one sentence, and a big takeover deal on the line.” (https://twitter.com/merenzon/status/1583346826198982656)
Many people have said, “All publicity is good publicity.” The earliest attribution found was from Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/617883-all-publicity-is-good-publicity). This writer is uncertain about the thought behind the quote. To agree with Pierre one must believe “Bad publicity is good publicity.” The feeling of this writer is all the negative publicity will, or already has, had a deleterious effect upon the Royal Game. How can it possibly be good to have something tarnished by dragging it through the mud? It is more than a little obvious that there is a disconnect between some Chess officials and reality. An example occurs any time anyone involved with the GAME of Chess calls it a “sport.” The definition of “sport” is: “An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.” (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/sport)
The way these eyes see Chess these daze is that Chess is like the Titanic after hitting an iceberg.
FIDE, the official governing body of Chess, will continue partying and dancing until it is too late to matter, oblivious to the fact their world has changed drastically, at which time there will be a mad scramble for the too few remaining lifeboats. You know what comes next.
This is not the post planned for the last rest day of the US Chess Championships. That post will be made after the conclusion of the event.
This post is being written because of something extraordinary posted by “Danny
at Chess.com. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess.com) A “Community Update On Recent Events” was published at CHESScom on Oct 14, 2022, 2:36 PM. What is remarkable about this document is that the boys, “Danny and Erik” ASKED, and ANSWERED the questions. This is an affront to every Chess player on the planet. What is even more remarkable is that I have yet to read anyone in the Chess community taking the blues brothers, “Danny and Erik”, to task for asking, and answering their own questions! In every other facet of life journalists ask the questions. Imagine what would happen if politicians asked and answered their own questions.
The mea culpa begins with, “We imagine that most of you, like us, have had more friends than ever who are outside the chess community come and ask you about chess, cheating, Hans, Magnus, and everything else that is going on.”
The blues bros are right about the above statement as this was received from my favorite librarian, Heather: “So, what’s this scandal rocking the chess world?”
Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to answer, so a link to the blog was sent. Hopefully the subject can be discussed during lunch in the near future.
The opening paragraph continues, “Every news outlet on the planet seems to have written a “take” on chess in the last few weeks. It’s been a bewildering time for chess fans and our community. So, as an update to our recent report and the events going on in the chess community, we (Danny and Erik) wanted to take the time and answer some of the questions we see being asked. We appreciate your voice and your questions, and while we know that the opinions in the chess community are divided on many of these topics, we are doing our best to protect and grow the game.”
Translated that becomes, “And cover our ASSets.”
I was transfixed by the use of the word “bewildering”, which sent me to the Free Dictionary, where this definition was found: 1. To confuse or befuddle, especially by being complicated or varied. (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bewildering)
From the myriad comments read on the subject over the past month it is apparent the only two people in the world of Chess who are confused and befuddled are obviously the blues bros, Danny and Erik.
Much more important is what the Chess community thinks about what was written by the blues bros, and since I am a part of the Chess community, and write a blog which concerns Chess, and readers have asked for my opinion, it will be delivered at the end of this post.
Ridiculous. NO excuse for violating your agreements to keep documents confidential in some cases but keeping them private for others. Obvious favoritism and bias and disgusting lying to the people you promised confidentiality to. I hope everyone reading this stops using this site since it’s run by a couple of creeps with no ethics, unless by “ethics” you mean “guzzling Magnus’s ‘output’ at every opportunity”.
I wish all will move away from this site Exposing private e-mails from maxim and damaging him with no clear reason is just another crime this site does (and the list is long
The reasoning for why you won’t release any information on other cheaters and why you claim to have released information on Hans doesn’t square with your stated reason for releasing information on Dlugy. Are you letting Magnus decide who gets thrown under the bus?
“We believe that there should be zero tolerance for cheating in chess in any venue or format.” This contradicts the whole report.
Chess.com quote: “…we often lean ever more conservative in our findings when it comes to young players.” (In response to the question: Why did you not close Hans’ account earlier when you knew he cheated? Why did you let this get to the 100 or so games mentioned in your report?)
Wow. Ageism Writ Large! Especially odd in the ‘Chess World’ as the Youth Dominate! (Oh yeah, and ‘Cutting slack’ seems to be encouraging, regardless of one’s age, cheating!)
I don’t know about legal aspects, but you promised people confidentiality in exchange for confessions and then you broke the promise. That behavior is wrong, even if it is legally permissible.
While I kind of understand that Chess.com wants their statements to be accurate and “professional”, I, however, do not believe this is the answer. Your answers were board (sic), general, and unrevealing, as hinted in the terms “not up to us”, “we don’t know”, “we’re not revealing more”. I would like to see more open information. But meanwhile, this is a big step from the days when you keep everything secret.
Just wondering, let’s say the same cheating situation, but with two different players. Would you still do the same or you only did this because Magnus/Hans was involved? Chess.com doesn’t want to get sued. It’s that simple.
This article pretends that Hans is the one who brought his Chess.com cheating to the public, when in reality it was HIkaru who first did it (and then Eric Hansen did, followed by others). In fact, he did it on the same day that Magnus withdrew, probably without Chess.com’s permission. This was supposed to stay private, and I’m guessing that Hikaru didn’t receive even a reprimand for this, because he’s Chess.com’s beloved mascot.
Why is Chess.com pretending that Hans is the one who brought the private cheating topic to the limelight first, when it was really their own sponsored partners?
What about the rest of the story?
Are we supposed to beleive Hikaru had a full production release set to go minutes after the story was released to the Press. Same with Levy. Sure looks like a leak to most of the world and collaboration between Chess.com & Streamers it’s hired and supported. Chess.com didn’t act as an independent arbiter in any of this.
Yet another shameful “no-statement”. They say: “We have 4 kids each, so we trusted in Hans in 2020, then nothing happened in between 2020-2022, yet we banned him in 2022 just because Magnus withdrew!” This is a shame.
I am sure chess.com is going to close magnus’s account for receiving outside help from david howell in a prize game.
It is not a 1\1000 probability, magnus was caught in tape doing it. We should ban all cheaters for life. No excuse.
your silloquey’s are getting old. study endgames, and zwischenzug instead.
my neighbor had a horse to plow his fields. one day he came out and found his horse dead. he was really pissed off. he started beating this dead horse, and kept beating this dead horse with no result. then he started beating his head against the wall all he got was a headache. yawn dudes find something else to do. study endgames and in between moves.
As Finegold put it, there are no consequences for cheating on chess.com. You apologize and they let you come back to cheat again and again.
What a mess.. -.-
To this observer it appears the Chess.com blues bros are sitting at a poker table with $84,000,000 in the pot and their hand contains only a pair of dunces.
Dlugy: Something very bad happened in Carlsen’s head; Hans Niemann should go to court
By Sergio Posted on October 13, 2022
Florian Pütz from Der Spiegel, the largest German news online website, has conducted a long interview with Maxim Dlugy.
In the October 13 interview by Florian Pütz, Dlugy does not bite his tongue again and responds to multiple questions and topics. He explains in detail how he got to learn about Carlsen’s accusations, his cheating history on Chess.com, how he got to meet Hans Niemann and how he became his mentor. Dlugy drops the bomb: lawsuits are going to follow. Here are a few key takes, scroll down for a tweet and link to the full interview by Der Spiegel.
Dlugy: Two days before Magnus dropped my name in the interview, an old friend of mine had contacted me and asked about my relationship with Hans. I said I wasn’t his coach, more like his mentor. He asked what I thought of the cheating allegations. I said they were reprehensible, ridiculous and slanderous. There is no evidence. There is not even a crime. I told my friend, who knows Magnus Carlsen, to contact Team Magnus and tell them that it’s all absurd. So he contacted them, and I think he told them, Max is Hans’ mentor.
DER SPIEGEL: And then Carlsen suggested that you might have something to do with Niemann’s cheating.
Dlugy: I think something happened in Magnus’ head. Something very bad.
DER SPIEGEL: In public, Niemann still seems confident. What was your impression when spoke with him?
Dlugy: I spoke to him during the tournament that Carlsen had left. He said he just couldn’t sleep. He said he couldn’t concentrate during the games. I told him to focus. There’s nothing else he can do. It’s extremely hard for him.
DER SPIEGEL: How can he save his reputation?
Dlugy: I think the best way is to go to court. All the information has to be made public. A jury or a judge has to decide what to do. What Magnus did is absolutely ridiculous and very bad for chess.
DER SPIEGEL: Are you afraid for your reputation?
Dlugy: I’m not worried about my reputation. I feel comfortable in my skin. My students trust me. Many of my friends, whom I haven’t spoken to in years, have come forward and said how disgusting they find these accusations.
DER SPIEGEL: Will you file a lawsuit?
Dlugy: There will be lawsuits. If I had to bet, I would say that Hans will sue. I’ve taken advice on that, of course. I’m keeping my options open. I’m ready to fight. In my professional career, I’ve fought some battles where no one gave me a chance, and I still won them. I’m ready to call a spade a spade. I just can’t take it anymore.
Rauf Mamedov resigns against Magnus Carlsen on the 2nd move
By nikita Posted on October 12, 2022
Just weeks after Magnus Carlsen shocked the chess world after resigning against Hans Niemann on the move 2 during the Julius Baer Generation Cup, the Azerbaijani grandmaster Rauf Mamedov
had the same reaction yesterday during the Late Titled Tuesday played on chess.com. Rauf Mamedov resigned his Round 10 game against Magnus Carlsen on the second move and did not play the last 11th round of the tournament. Mamedov had white pieces and started with 1.e4, when Carlsen answered with Borg Defense – 1…g5. Rauf decided to resign.
Mamedov, Rauf (2646) vs. Carlsen, Magnus (2856) 0-1 Titled Tuesday Blitz October 11 Late 2022 Chess.com 11 Oct 2022 Round: 10