THESE are my people

In an article at the Chessbase website, written by chess GM Peter Heine Nielsen, Grandmasters at the Shogi Forum (part 2), one finds, “The tradition of the best Japanese board game players, to be interested in a game other than their ”main” one is known from Nobel Prize winner Kawabata’s masterpiece “The Master of Go”.” (http://en.chessbase.com/post/grandmasters-at-the-shogi-forum-2-2)

The title of Tiger Hillarp’s post, dated March 9, 2015, is, Virtual ascent to 1 dan. Tiger, a Chess GM, has become a dan Go player! Congratulations are in order for the Tiger! World chess champion Emanuel Lasker, who said, “. . . [it is] something unearthly . . . If there are sentient beings on other planets, then they play Go,” (http://www.kiseido.com/) would be proud of Tiger’s accomplishment. He writes, “After a rather long struggle to get up to 1 dan on KGS I finally managed the other day. It might seem like a rather small step for mankind, but it felt quite big to me and merited a rather bouncy and ungraceful dance around the livingroom. As a chess coach I always recommend my students to annotate their games and I do – of course – follow my own advice as I try to improve my go skills. Here are two examples that I have tried to make less go-diary-like.” (http://tiger.bagofcats.net/)

Tiger not only annotates two of his Go games, but also annotates the 39:th Kisei titel match, game 1, in his post dated February 18, 2015. (http://tiger.bagofcats.net/go/39th-kisei-titel-match-game-1/)

As many of you know I have spent time attempting to learn Go the past few years. From a crossword puzzle study at Georgia Tech, for which I was paid, under the supervision of graduate student, now Ph.D. Zach Hambrick, I learned Seniors who had worked crossword puzzles for a long time did not show the changes that those for whom, like me, it was a new experience. Current thinking is that the brain needs new stimulation as one ages. I do not want anyone, like the nattering nabobs of negativism who post on the USCF forum, to misconstrue my words as they have previously done so often. I do not know if the time I devote to chess is helpful or not. I do it because of the joy it brings. I do, though, know the time spent studying Go is beneficial for my brain, not to mention the fact that it, too, brings me immense joy. Having playing chess most of my adult life, Go is like entering a portal into a completely new and different universe. Whether it be chess, Shogi, Go, or even backgammon, it is all a game which we play. After all, we game players are all kindred spirits. One of my favorite stories comes from a wonderful woman involved with the Emory Castle Chess Camp (http://www.castlechess.org/dnn/). She said, “The very first year his mother brought him he was a tiny little thing, very serious, didn’t have many friends at school. She had been trying to help him by telling him he just needed to find the right people to make friends with. When they walked into the ballroom at Emory for Castle orientation and there were kids all over the floor playing blitz and bughouse, and his face lit up and he turned to her and said with a huge smile, “Mom…. I’ve found them, THESE are my people.”

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“And We Will Have Discipline”

The best chess magazine on the planet, New In Chess, has a regular feature, “Just Checking,” in which questions are posed to famous players of the Royal game. One of the questions that has been posed most often is, “What is the stupidest rule in chess?” The answer given most is, “The zero-tolerance rule.” It is more than a little obvious most players do not care for the FIDE’s draconian rule. Peter Heine Nielsen, Boris Avrukh, Daniel King, and Ivan Saric, all GM’s answered the question posed with the zero-tolerance rule, with the latter going on to add in NIC 2014/2, “In the whole history of chess (and also sport) there hasn’t been such a stupid rule. It puts huge pressure on the players before the game. This was the easiest question.”
Since there is almost universal agreement among the best human players in the world it would seem those who promulgated the rule would have rescinded it long ago. To understand why they have not done so is to understand what kind of people are those who administer FIDE. They obviously know how the players feel but obviously could care less. These despotic dictators simply do not care what their “subjects” think about the rule. These are people who insist on imposing their will on chess players because they understand they are much inferior compared to the great players. Draconian dictators do not listen to their subjects because they expect their inferiors to listen, and obey, them. They expect this no matter how much it hurts the Royal game because they could care less about the game of chess. These despots care only about ruling the game.
The players should get together and organize just as the Major League Baseball players did decades ago. I have no idea why they have not done so, but it could be because they compete it is difficult for them to agree. Yet they seem to be in total agreement about the zero-tolerance rule. What top level chess needs is a man like Marvin Miller, who was head of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to 1982. “He was responsible for negotiation baseball’s first collective bargaining agreement in 1968, which included the first rise in the minimum salary in a decade; salaries would rise exponentially during his tenure, reflecting growing revenues. He was a key figure in the development of free agency, and he led the players through strikes in 1972, 1980 and 1981, and lockouts decreed by the owners in 1973 and 1976. Hank Aaron said he was “as important to the history of baseball as Jackie Robinson.” Red Barber called him one of three most important figures in baseball history, alongside Robinson and Babe Ruth.” (http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Marvin_Miller)

In an article, “King talks with Kirsan,” on the Chessbase website, dated 8/11/2014, GM Daniel King asked Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the mediocre player and FIDE dictator, who said he has traveled the universe in an Extraterrestrial spaceship piloted by otherworldly entities, “There is one FIDE rule that many many chess players are unhappy with, which is the zero tolerance rule. For example, there was a young girl here, a ten-year-old girl here, who unfortunately came two minutes late to the game and she lost. It seems very harsh. Would you consider reviewing this rule?”

Kirsan the ET answered, “We have a technical commission consisting of chess players and arbiters and I remember in Dresden in 2008 at the General Assembly, we decided that everyone should be on time. You remember the football match between Brazil and Germany? Can you imagine if both teams arrived five minutes late?”

GM Daniel King: “Of course, but chess isn’t football. This girl was young and innocent and was very very upset. There are many other incidents where a player has arrived a little late just by accident and this seems very harsh.”

Kirsan the ET: “Ok, write your proposal and we will discuss it at the presidential meeting. However, the Chief Arbiter (of the Olympiad) came to me five minutes ago and said, “Mr. President, it’s very good, no one is late. At 2 PM they start.” For me it’s not a problem because this was decided by the majority. I remember in 1998, when I organized the World Championship match between Vishy Anand and Anatoly Karpov in Lausanne, Switzerland, in the presence of the president of the Olympic Committee, in the Olympic Museum, with dozens of cameras, many journalists, the mayor of Lausanne, some high officials of the Swiss government, hundreds of spectators. At 3 PM, Vishy Anand was there sitting, but not Anatoly Karpov. We waited 10-15 minutes, and the president of the Olympic Committee turned to me and asked how I could expect to join the Olympic games in such circumstances.”

GM Daniel King: “I understand completely for professional chess, but it seems to me there is a big difference between professional chess and amateur chess.”

Kirsan the ET: “There is no professional chess and non-professional chess, there is only chess. And we will have discipline.” (http://en.chessbase.com/post/king-talks-with-kirsan)

The added remark, “And we will have discipline,” sounds like something one might hear from a grammar school principal, or a despotic dictator. For chess to survive as a viable game Kirsan the ET has got to go back to the stars, along with his benefactor and power behind the scenes, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Eye of the Madras Tiger

The FIDE World Chess Championship rematch begins tomorrow in Sochi, a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia. This second match has been scorned, coming as it does only a short time after the first match. This would not have been the case if another player had won the right to challenge the current World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen. Money for the rematch was difficult to find. This is a shame because the former World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand, legitimately earned the chance to avenge his earlier in a feat that stunned the chess world. Those who believe this match will be another walkover for Magnus Carlsen will be sorely mistaken. This time the roles are reversed in that now it is Anand who comes into the match playing excellent chess, while Carlsen has had, shall we say, spotty results since garnering the crown. Vishy Anand has righted his ship, while the ship of Magnus Carlsen seems to be taking on water. Vishy has a changed attitude, and has gotten his groove back.

Absolutely no one, including Vishy it seems, expected the first challenge to the new reign of Magnus to come from the man just vanquished. This is what Magnus Carlsen had to say about the situation, “To start with, I did not expect him to win the Candidates. Initially, it was a bit surreal. It felt weird to know that I have to face Anand again.” (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/chess/I-have-psychological-edge-over-Anand-Magnus-Carlsen/articleshow/44990309.cms)

The change in Vishy is apparent not only in his play, but also in how he speaks of the return match. For example, there is this “…in a candid chat with Manisha Mohite shares his thoughts about the forthcoming clash in Sochi, Russia.”

Q. “Six WCC matches since 2007. Isn’t that a whole lot?”

A. “Really six in seven years, I didn’t realise it. Like I said, I really compete with myself. There have been times when you think you have had enough and always, after a few moments you realise: No, you always want more! Chess for me is something that I am fascinated with. I still realize that there are so many openings to learn from, to explore more. New variations to uncover, the ones that can blow the lid off, making months of work redundant. Still, when I start work on chess, I feel like a six year old with a chessboard, waiting at Tal Club to play Blitz.” (http://en.chessbase.com/post/anand-i-approach-sochi-with-positive-feelings)

To what can the dramatic change in Vishy be attributed? Dennis Monokroussos, writing in The Chess Mind blog, has this to say:

Peter Heine Nielsen: I’m Partly to Blame for Anand’s Failures
Monday, November 3, 2014 at 6:08PM

“Peter Heine Nielsen is a strong Danish grandmaster who for years was one of Viswanathan Anand’s seconds and is now in the Magnus Carlsen camp. In this article (below) he takes part of the blame for Anand’s decline over the past few years, though the nature of his supposed fault isn’t made entirely clear. Was it that he recommended sticking to the status quo (in terms of openings, general approach and/or style, etc.) to such an extent that it led to Anand’s stagnating as a player? Ultimately a mature player is responsible for his own results, but Anand can hope to have learned the right lessons over the past year while hoping that whatever it was that Nielsen did wrong, he has done wrong with Carlsen as well.” (http://www.thechessmind.net/blog/2014/11/3/peter-heine-nielsen-im-partly-to-blame-for-anands-failures.html)

“Anand’s long-time second Peter Heine Nielsen, who worked with the Indian for close to a decade, and is now a part of Team Carlsen, says he is to blame partly for Anand’s failures. “Honestly, I very surprised when he qualified. I think he was surprised himself. He has this amazing ability to make a comeback, even when things go against him. Anand won his first two titles clearly. After that, it slowly started going downhill, something I may have also been one of the reasons for. We were doing things in a specific way, which worked out very well at the time, but then it cooled off,” says the Danish GM before tipping Anand for the title.” (From the aforementioned article, “I have psychological edge over Anand: Magnus Carlsen,” by Susan Ninan, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/chess/I-have-psychological-edge-over-Anand-Magnus-Carlsen/articleshow/44990309.cms)

Peter Heine Nielsen finds himself in a no win situation in that if Carlsen wins it will be said that he would have won without Nielsen, but if he loses, Nielsen can be blamed. The same can be said for Magnus.

It could be that Vishy has decided to accentuate the positive, elimanate the negative, and stop messing with Mr. Zwischenzug.

Make no mistake, this will be an emotional battle. I say this because after checking the biorhythms of the players I found the compatibility between the two to be an astounding 100% physically and 97% intellectually! In two of the three facets of biorhythms their charts show the same, so there can be no advantage. The emotional phase, the third facet of biorhythms, is quite different, with only a 5% compatibility. The main difference between the two combatants will be that Anand will be in a high emotional phase during the rematch, while Magnus will be in a low phase.

To help explain the possible meaning of this we have:

How to interpret the results from a biorhythm calculation

Emotional High:
Your emotions are keyed to their highest levels. This is the time when you will feel most outwardly directed to others, able to enjoy their company, as well as to give them support, encouragement, and understanding if needed. It is the optimum time for strengthening your relationships with your lover or friends. Your high emotions can also push you to great performances, especially in creative endeavors. On the other hand, depending upon circumstances and your personality, be aware of possible runaways, emotional outbursts or over-doing. Your high emotions could also lead you to impulsive, rash behavior.

Emotional Critical:
Either emotional exhaustion or euphoria is possible-from “the skids” (depression) to great heights (elation, outbursts). You may have a “let-down” or tired feeling, since exhaustion is often based on an imbalanced emotional state. You may also experience emotional “flair-ups” or extreme Agitation, anxiety, or frustration. In extreme cases, suicides or attempted suicides have occurred on or very close to emotional critical days.

Overexertion and exhaustion due to emotional stress are also potential dangers to health and can trigger a physical crisis such as a heart attack or a stroke. Be particularly alert to health side effects in the day’s activities. Give extra care and attention to situations where emotions play a key role: driving your automobile in heavy traffic; stress situations at work; dealing with family problems; disciplining and working with young children. In general, forced calmness and mental concentration on control of emotions is advised. Keep in mind the unique opportunity of an emotional critical day-by harnessing your emotional energies at this time you could develop and strengthen a model of emotional self-control and expression which is so important to overall happiness and well-being. This day could give you the opportunity to reach important breakthroughs in your emotional life, as well as present possible new avenues of creativity.

Emotional Low:
Your emotional state is relaxed or below normal. In situations where extreme calm or lack of emotions is required, this may be helpful. In other circumstances, your feelings, sensitivities, and awareness of your environment may be low. lt is a time when you may feel more inwardly directed, less able to extend yourself to others. You may even experience feelings of Depression or loneliness. In general, it is a time of passivity rather than engagement. (http://www.perbang.dk/orcapia.cms?aid=74)

When Mike Tyson won the Heavyweight championship of the world it was said he was “unbeatable.” No one is unbeatable. I am going on record to proclaim the next World Chess Champion will be Viswanathan Anand, who will become known as the Rocky of the chess world.

The Machine vs The Bull

While watching The Game today I could not understand why Hikaru Nakamura did not play the move 29…b4, the move I would have played. If I had been going over a game by a student and he had played the move chosen by Hikaru, 29…bxc4, I would have shown him b4, telling him the importance of having a protected passed pawn as a lasting strength, etc. These players are light years ahead of me, so when one of the top ten players in the world does not play a move which seems obvious to me, I am flummoxed. For that reason I left TWIC and surfed over to the tournament website because “inquiring minds just have to know.” Sure enough, the program they were using had 29…b4 as best. I then surfed over to the ChessBomb, and their program, Stockfish, also showed it as the best move. When a player of my calibre can see such an obvious move and he does not, there is obviously something is wrong with my favorite player, Hikaru “Red Bull” Nakamura. Could it be too much Red Bull?
I noticed that after the game finally ended, the Hikaru took a sip from his glass of water, in lieu of drinking any of the Red Bull from the can sitting next to the board. That would not happen in NASCAR. Then when Hikaru took his seat for the interview, it was without his can of the Bull. Nakamura is obviously not bullish on the Red stuff. Upon learning Hikaru decided to endorse the product I thought of Bobby Fischer. I recall he said he would not endorse a product he had never used. For that I have always admired him. When asked why he had turned down such offers Bobby said, “People are trying to exploit me.” Normal people could not understand such logic. Penurious chess players were heard to say things like, “Why, given the opportunity, I would sell my soul to the devil for that kind of money!” And they meant every word of it.
The interview was a sad thing to behold. After six hours it was obvious the players just wanted to leave. To make matters worse, they were forced to answer the most inane questions. The first question was to Magnus. He was asked, “Magnus, can you tell us about the key moment of the game?” He was gracious, but mentioned nothing about his opponent missing 29…b4. It was Hikaru who interjected with, “It was around move 30.” When the position arrived on the analysis board on the screen Nakamura still played 29…bxc4, giving a variation that should have “…been fine.” Hikaru said, “When I started losing my mind was right around here when I played (33)…Nb6.” That is two games in a row that the Bull has “lost his mind.” Lay off the Red Bull! I am certain that when the Bull looks at the game with his 3100+ rated program of choice he will come to an understanding, grasshopper, of the exact moment he began to lose his mind.
One of the questions to The Bull concerned his 0-9 score to The Machine. The questioner wanted to know if there was some kind of “psychological problem” when he faced The Machine. At this point the camera panned to the father, Henrik Carlsen, sitting next to GM Peter Heine Nielsen, who had been gazing in obvious boredom. He perked up with the question. The Bull answered that the problem has been in the opening, with it being difficult to play at a disadvantage. He also said he played well “…except for three bad moves in the middle.” He also mentioned something about a “blunder.” Funny how it is always the weaker player who blunders. It was sad to hear, because it is obvious a player cannot make even one bad move against The Machine! I thought about the game Hikaru lost to Magnus in Zurich, a game he should have won. His problem was not the blunder, but much earlier in that game. If he had played correctly the game would have been over long before he blundered. Then there is the comment on the cover of the best chess magazine in the world, New in Chess 2014/1. Hikaru Nakamura: ‘I do feel that at the moment I am the biggest threat to Carlsen.’ The Bull must be in denial. Seems he would wait until he at least beat The Machine one time before mouthing off. As bad as it has been, The Bull should consider trying to make a draw because one has got to walk before he runs.
Magnus is playing like a machine. No matter with which 3100+ program you compare his moves, the majority of Magnus “The Machine” Carlsen’s moves agree with the first choice. Maybe he needs to be checked to learn whether or not he is “hooked up.” Has a chip been implanted in the brain of The Machine?
Seriously, Magnus The Machine is now a class above his fellow Grandmasters. As a matter of fact if his rating improves a few more points he could qualify for the next TCEC tournament! As I write the program Shredder 14, rated 2921, has made it to the elite eight. The Machine was rated 2881 before winning his first two games. He’s got a shot!