Sinister Minister Magnus Carlsen

World Classical Chess co-champion Magnus Carlsen

was an angry man during the recently completed Shamkir Chess tournament where he obliterated the opposition, finishing two full points ahead of the competition. It must have been the beard.

Bearded men look angrier than clean-shaven types when they are angry

Dr Belinda Craig researched the effect men with beards communicating emotion
She found men with beards looked angrier when angry than clean shaven men
The study also found people were quick to recognise a bearded man’s was angry
Dr Craig said: ‘Beards emphasise the jaw… leading to faster recognition of anger’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6867435/Australian-scientists-say-bearded-men-look-angrier-clean-shaven-types.html

Decades ago a young lady said bearded men looked “sinister.” Yet she like a man with a beard, and not because of how he looked, but how the it felt…

Carlsen’s

performance rating for the event was a computer program like 2988. Magnus could have been content with an easy draw versus his last round opponent, Alexander Grishuk,

but left his opponent wondering what had happened while leaving poor Grishuk stunned after winning yet another game.

Magnus has not lost a real, classical, game of Chess since losing to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

in the Biel tournament on the final day of July of LAST YEAR! Magnus has played like a man with something to prove after not being able to win a classical game during the world Chess championship match with Fabiano Caruana.

Rather than present a game from the tournament I would like to feature one from the 2017 Isle of Man tournament which can be found in issue #5 of the American Chess Magazine

in an article by GM Ivan Sokolov, Magnus The King Among Mere Mortals.

Pavel Eljanov (2734)

vs Magnus Carlsen (2827)

Isle of Man Masters 09/28/2017

B00 Owen’s Defense

1.Nf3 b6 (After this move Ivan writes, “This is another rather suspect opening choice. Magnus was definitely in the mood to show he could win with “anything”.) 2.e4 Bb7 3.Nc3 e6 4.d4 Bb4 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.Qe2 d5 7.exd5 Qxd5 8.O-O Bxc3 9.bxc3 Nbd7 10.c4 Qh5 11.Bf4 (Improving upon 11.Ne1 Qxe2 12.Bxe2 Be4 13.Nd3 O-O 14.Bf4 Rfc8 15.Rfe1 Ne8 16.Bf1 Bb7 17.c5 Bd5 18.Rec1 bxc5 ½-½ in Eckhard Stomprowski vs Hans Joerg Fritz, GER Police-ch 1st 1997) Rc8 12.a4 a5 13.Rab1 O-O 14.Rb5 c5 15.dxc5 Rxc5 16.Bd6 Rxb5

This is the critical position. How should Eljanov recapture?

Cogitate on this while I pontificate at length on the unfortunate state of Chess after the latest World Chess Championship debacle. The fact is that after only a dozen real games of Chess all the games had been drawn. Carlsen did not beat Caruana in the real Chess games, the only games that actually matter in deciding who is the best human Chess player on the planet. Magnus said Fabiano should be considered co-classical Chess champion. Chess fans want to know which one is the better player. Period. If the match continued until one player actually won a classical game to break the tie, so much the better. If anyone other than Florencio Campomanes thinks more games are deleterious to the health of the players then how about declaring the match a draw and having another twelve game match after a month to rest? If that match is drawn, then hold another one in a month’s time, or as long as it takes until a player wins a classical game of Chess. Can you imagine the excitement that would generate among not only the people who play Chess, but even the general public would be talking about the never ending match.

17.cxb5 (Sokolov writes, ” In a way this is a crucial mistake. Carlsen is now able to target the weakened queenside pawns, which White will not be able to keep together. 17. axb5! was necessary, the point being that after 17…Rc8 [It is probably best for Black to settle for 17…Bxf3 18. Qxf3 Qxf3 19. gxf3 Rc8 with a draw as the most likely result, as the bishop pair compensates for the weakened which pawn structure.] the white c-pawn is not hanging, so White can make a knight jump to e5 or d2.)

Rc8 18.c4 Nc5 19.Bc2 Nce4 20.Bf4 Nc3 21.Qd3 Qg4 22.Be5 Qxc4 23.Qxc4 Rxc4 24.Bd3 Rc8 25.Ra1 Nfd5 26.Nd2 f6 27.Bd6 Nb4 28.Bc4 Bd5 29.Bf1 Nba2 0-1

Béla Fleck & The Original Flecktones – “Sinister Minister” – Mountain Jam VII – 6/3/11

Advertisements

A Must Win Situation

It is a half hour before the start of the quick play part of the 2018 World Human Chess Championship and I have just finished reading the article, Kramnik: “Magnus needs to get rid of this fear of losing the title” at Chessbase.(https://en.chessbase.com/post/kramnik-on-the-2018-world-championship-match)

I have yet to watch any quick play games in any previous World Human Chess Championship but have decided to watch today. If one is fortunate enough to become old the realization hits that this could be the last World Human Chess Championship. In addition, there is the fact that I have devoted much time the past couple of weeks to watching the mostly moribund games and have a desire to see the conclusion.

What I would like you to consider is, what if there were no quick play tie breaks? What if the challenger had to beat the champion in order to take the champs title? Obviously Fabiano Caruana would have been forced to decline Magnus Carlsen’s offer of a draw in the final game as a draw would have been the same as a loss as far as the match was concerned.

In addition, what if there had been a rule that in the event of all games in the regulation period of the match ending in a draw the games would continue until one player won a game?

Just asking…

The Magic Bus to the 2018 World Human Chess Championship

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)
Nooooooooo!
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

[Outro]
Every day you’ll see the dust (Too much, Magic Bus)
As I drive my baby in my Magic Bus (Too much, Magic Bus)

Pawns are the Rubber Soul of the World Human Chess Championship

‘Pawns are the soul of chess’ wrote François-André Danican Philidor;

or did he? According to Edward Winter, Philidor wrote something to that effect. It is now commonly accepted in the English speaking Chess world as what François-André meant. (http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/philidor.html)

The eighth game of the ongoing World Human Chess Championship reached this position with the current champion, Magnus Carsen

of Norway, to move:

The champ moved his bishop from e7 to d6 in order to institute a blockade of the passed white d pawn. This is all according to the rules of Chess every chess player learns when beginning to play the game. This position was reached:

It is now the challenger, Fabiano Caruana,

to move. When little Fabi was learning how to play the Royal game one of his first teachers, such as Bruce Pandolfini,

certainly taught Caruana about eliminating a blockading minor piece especially if the piece taking its place is the Queen because the Queen is the very worst piece to maintain a blockade. Any Chess teacher seeing this position from a student would explain this Chess principle while hoping the student would then see the obvious move Nbc4.

Unfortunately for Fabi fans this was not played…Caruana played 24 h3:

Say it ain’t so, Fab!

If a Chess teacher were reviewing a game and the student produced the move h3 the teacher would patiently explain the Chess axiom about never moving a pawn in front of the King when under attack.

In the tenth game of the WHCC Caruana again sat behind the white pieces and after Carlsen played 23…Qg5, a vacillating move, this position was reached:

Fabiano Caruana produced the move 24 g3. Current US Chess Champion Sam Shankland

annotated the game for Chessbase. After 23…Qg5 Sam writes, “Technically, this move loses the game against best play, but it comes with a very nasty idea of playing Rf6-h6 and delivering mate on the h-file. A machine with its nerves of steel would have no trouble grabbing h5, but for a human, it looks absurdly dangerous.”

After 24 g3 Sam writes, “Caruana’s move makes a lot of sense. Taking on f4 and bringing the rook to g3 should dispel any mating dreams.” (https://en.chessbase.com/post/world-championship-2018-game-10)

Does this sound like an objective comment to the reader? The best Chess players on the planet at the moment are called “engines,” and all of the “engines” consider 24 g3 a mistake. What makes Sam’s comment strange is that he has written a book recently about how to “Master Pawn Play in Chess.”

Fabiano Caruana is one of the two best human Chess players on the planet at the moment. Only he can explain why he unnecessarily moved his pawns in the two critical games.

Not to be outdone, the human champion of the world reached this position sitting behind the white pieces:

and decided to jettison his h-pawn by moving it forward one square. I kid you not. The challenger accepted the Norwegian gift with alacrity and managed to draw the game.