Comments on the Magnus Carlsen Affair

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.

Thanks you for an excellent and comprehensive article.
https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-carlsen-niemann-affair/1#discuss

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?

  1. He does the one thing any professional would unlikely do: abdicates his crown.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the man come and take you away
https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/buffalospringfield/forwhatitsworth.html

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

and Naka about Kasparov’s touch rule ignorance. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/)(https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/confirmation-garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/) In an interview with Nakamura after Kasparov released the piece during a game and then picked it up again and moved it to another square. Naka shrugged his shoulders in a dismissive manner and stated something along the lines of “Its Kasparov”…whatcha gonna do attitude. The DGT board actually registered Garry’s first move.


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

https://www.chessdom.com/susan-polgar-about-niemann-carlsen-case-the-professional-reputation-of-many-parties-is-at-stake/

The reputation of the Royal Game is on the line and this clown wanted to “…add some humor.”

I started a joke, which started the whole world crying
But I didn’t see that the joke was on me, oh no
https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/beegees/istartedajoke.html

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?

Putin’s Puppet Sergey Karjakin

https://www.chessdom.com/russian-president-vladimir-putin-met-sergey-karjakin/

In a new article at Chess24, Carlsen on Karjakin: “These types of attitudes can’t be accepted”, the first comment was by “ProudPawn”:

“Dubov’s comment is pretty to-the-point. Karjakin no longer believes that he can do anything especial in chess realm, thereby trying to switch lines for the next phase of his career: being another Putin’s puppet in the Russian parliament!” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-on-karjakin-these-types-of-attitudes-can-t-be-accepted)

Dedicated to Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam

Was Daniil Dubov a Secret Agent?

When Norway’s Magnus Carlsen

https://en.chessbase.com/post/world-championship-2021-g11

clinched victory over Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi

Nepomniachtchi: What Went Wrong?
https://www.chess.com/article/view/nepomniachtchi-what-went-wrong

it was revealed that Russian Grandmsaster Daniil Dubov

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/dubov-hits-back-at-accusations-of-betrayal

had once again been a key part of the World Chess Champion’s team of helpers. That saw instant criticism led by Sergey Karjakin, with Sergey Shipov adding that Dubov would “rightly” now never play for the Russian team again. (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/dubov-hits-back-at-accusations-of-betrayal)

In an interview journalist, and FM, Mike Klein asked Nepo the question:

Mike: Is he a double-agent? Is that what you’re saying?

Ian: No, I don’t know. I don’t think he’s a double-agent, obviously, but the results of his work were quite favorable for us.
https://www.chess.com/news/view/ian-nepomniachtchi-on-the-world-chess-championship

Hold on there, Nepo. If the results of his work were favorable why did you lose? Surely Mother Russia must have known Dubov was working with team Magnus because…

Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/sergey-karjakin-magnus-can-psychologically-crumble

was a citizen of Ukraine until relocating to Russia, the country with 175000 troops poised on the border of Ukraine as the world collectively holds its breath at the possible coming of World War III.

Karjakin infamously said, “Magnus “can psychologically crumble.”

What pluses and minuses do you see for both opponents?

“Magnus has more match experience, he’s a more balanced chess player, without visible flaws. He plays almost equally well positionally and tactically, in a dull endgame and in sharp attacking positions.”

“But he does have flaws. When he doesn’t like what’s happening in a tournament he can psychologically collapse, as my match against Magnus showed. He missed wins in two games, and then he started to play significantly worse. He can psychologically crumble if something isn’t going right — he loses confidence in himself and he starts to perform less well than usual.”
https://chess24.com/en/read/news/sergey-karjakin-magnus-can-psychologically-crumble

Nepo was asked, “Were you involved in any psychological preparation during this period?”

“I don’t really understand what psychological preparation means. If it’s needing to have the correct attitude within yourself, then I’ve been preparing since childhood.”

Do you consider the match against Carlsen the match of your life?

“I don’t know. That will depend on the result. After I play it, I’ll tell you.”

Are there nerves?

“Nerves, as a rule, are before the start. From experience I can say that you get them in the first round when you sit down at the board and don’t yet know what kind of form you’re in. In such cases you usually make 2-3 moves and then your body readjusts to its working mode. Nerves, it seems me, also go at that moment. No doubt there will also be nerves when the finish is approaching, but now, before it begins, it’s early to talk about that.”
https://chess24.com/en/read/news/ian-nepomniachtchi-the-result-is-much-more-important-than-the-prize

Let us be honest, Nepo cracked. Before the match everyone knew Nepo had a fragile psyche. The World Chess Champ put it best:

“We spoke a bit during these tournaments, but didn’t have much contact for years, until 2011, when we had a training session together. He was a lowly-rated 2700 player and struggled a bit to make it to the very top. He complained that he didn’t get enough invitations to the best tournaments, and felt that the players at the very top were not better than him. I told him that his problem was that he wasn’t disciplined. He had one good tournament, followed by two bad ones. He could start an event with three wins in the first four rounds, then in his fifth game he would not win a better position, leading to a collapse. A very moody player.”

Carlsen talks about their history and why Nepomniachtchi failed to break through.

As usual, Magnus is less filtered when speaking in his native language. On Nepomniachtchi’s biggest challenge in Dubai, he says:

“In Norway Chess he seemed very strong for the first 3-4 rounds, he had a small setback, and then he collapsed. That’s not something he can allow himself in a World Championship match. I am not going to fall even if I am hit in the face once. Perhaps that will be his biggest challenge, to handle the setbacks that will come, regardless of whether it’s a good position he fails to convert, or a game that he should have held to a draw but ends up losing, or opening preparation that goes wrong — that will be a huge challenge for him.”

The World Champion, who has reigned since 2013 and been the world no. 1 consecutively since 2011, doesn’t think Nepomniachtchi would have won the Candidates if the event hadn’t been split in two.

“Because he lost the last game in the first half of the tournament. He rarely plays well after having lost. Now he managed it eventually and has started to become more pragmatic.”

Carlsen says he considers Nepomniachtchi, the world no. 5, to be “a wild card” and still thinks the no. 3 Fabiano Caruana and no. 2 Ding Liren would pose a bigger challenge for him.

“I would say they are the best. I thought beforehand that anyone else would be a good outcome for me, and I still feel that way.”
https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-good-outcome-to-face-nepo-not-fabi-or-ding

The one word to describe Magnus Carlsen would be “consistent.” The word to describe Ian Nepomniachtchi would be “erratic.”

Maybe is Nepo had devoted more time to Chess and less to other interests the match result would have been different. Maybe…

Who is Ian Nepomniachtchi, the biggest nerd to ever …
[Search domain gamelevate.com] https://gamelevate.com › who-is-ian-nepomniachtchi
Beyond his excellent skills at the chessboard, Ian Nepomniachtchi is also notable for being the biggest nerd ever to challenge for the world championship title. The Russian has played Dota 2 in a semi-professional capacity around the time of its release and was heavily involved in the original Dota scene as well.

The Chess world needs to come to terms with the fact that the way a challenger is chosen has been corrupted by the Russians. Because the nefarious Russians control world Chess they managed to have a player who was not worthy play in the Candidates tournament. The Candidates match “wild card” 22-year-old Russian Kirill Alekseenko said, “The Candidates wild card should be abolished.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/alekseenko-the-candidates-wild-card-should-be-abolished)

Think about it for only a moment…If Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ordered Alekseenko to lose do you really think there would be any other result?

The fact is the Candidates tournament should not have been started during a pandemic. Then, after it had to be stopped, it should not have been resumed a year later. There has got to be a better way of choosing a challenger. How about a match between the second and third highest rated players? What about a double round robin between the top eight players; The Elite Eight?

No Time For Armageddon

Armageddon
n
1.
a. Bible In the book of Revelation, the place of the gathering of armies for the final battle before the end of the world.
b. The battle involving these armies.

  1. A decisive or catastrophic conflict.
    American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Armageddon)

Does anyone know who had the brain cramp responsible for producing the idea of an Armageddon Chess game? That must have been one hellofa seizure, with blood clots bursting like fireworks on the fourth of July. There has got to be a better way to determine a “winner” in Chess than the use of the abominable Armageddon game. The fact is that Armageddon Chess means one side can, and probably should, PLAY FOR A DRAW from the get go! In an attempt to decrease the percentage of draws the fools in power have actually INCREASED the chances of a draw! Makes one wonder why the general public considers Chess players to be “smart,” does it not?

The fact that the best human Chess players in the world acquiesce to being made to look clownish while denigrating themselves for money turns them into trained seals. Armageddon is only the symptom, not the disease. Having to resort to Armageddon is the beginning of the end for Chess. Anything would be preferential; even flipping a coin. It would be better to have the opening for each round chosen at random, thereby precluding players from being “booked-up” in their favorite opening as they would then need to know something about everything. MVL would look good when the Najdorf came up, but how would he fare if forced to play the Scandinavian? The players could play two games against an opponent, having white in one and black in the other, playing same opening. Sure, it might be difficult for a GM booked, err, programed up on Queen side type openings to be forced to play the move Bobby Fischer called, “Best by test,” 1 e4, but that is the point.

After that you will wonder why I am presenting the Armageddon game between Karjakin and Nepo played today. Answer is: It is a Bishop’s opening! “The truth as it was known in those long ago days.” If you still have a question punch and poke “Bishop’s Opening” into the box above and be amazed at the theory you will find that would have satiated SM Brian McCarthy, at least for an evening.

https://ruchess.ru/upload/resize_cache/iblock/9db/600_400_1/rnhrkyglyfuumz8d0k27h748iqjyxls7.jpeg
ruchess.ru

Karjakin, Sergey 2758 vs Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2792
Norway Chess Tournament
C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence

  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 d5 5. Bb3 a5 6. a4 Bb4+ 7. c3 Bd6 8. exd5 cxd5 9. Bg5 Be6 10. Na3 Nbd7 11. Nb5 Bb8 12. O-O O-O 13. Bh4 h6 14. Re1 Re8 15. d4 e4 16. Nd2 Ra6 17. c4 dxc4 18. Bxc4 Bxc4 19. Nxc4 Qe7 20. d5 Qb4 21. b3 Ne5 22. d6 Nxc4 23. bxc4 Bxd6 24. Bxf6 gxf6 25. Qg4+ Kf8 26. Rxe4 Rxe4 27. Qxe4 Bc5 28. Nc7 Bxf2+ 29. Kf1 Qd2 30. Qf3 Rd6 31. Nb5 Qb2 32. Nxd6 Qxa1+ 33. Kxf2 Qd4+ 34. Ke2 Qxd6 35. Qxb7 Qe5+ 36. Kd3 Qf5+ 37. Qe4 Qf1+ 38. Kd4 Qd1+ 39. Kc5 Qxa4 40. Qb1 Qa3+ 41. Kb5 Kg7 42. c5 a4 43. Qb4 Qb3 44. c6 Qd5+ 45. Kb6 Qb3 46. Kc5 Qe3+ 47. Kb5 Qb3 48. c7 Qd5+ 49. Qc5 Qd7+ 50. Qc6 Qc8 51. Kxa4 h5 52. Kb5 h4 53. Kb6 h3 54. g3 f5 55. Ka7 1-0
    https://live.followchess.com/#!norway-chess-2021/1592152566

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 (This is the main line of the venerable Bishop’s opening, an opening near and dear to my heart as everyone who has followed the AW knows. Nevertheless, if ever faced with the main line again the AW will play a seondary move (at least it’s in second place at 365Chess!) which again, will come as no surprise to regular readers, 4 Qe2! What can I say? I just love to see the look on my opponent’s face any and every time I move the Queen to e2! Insert excrement eatin’ grin here…) 4…d5 5. Bb3 a5 (The choice of StockFish, therefore, main line) 6. a4 6…Bb4+ (Again, the move of the Fish) 7. c3 Bd6 8. exd5 (SF 13 @depth 70(!) takes the pawn, but SF 14 @depth 41 castles) 8…cxd5 9. Bg5 Be6 10. Na3 Nbd7 (Although the most played, 14 games, move, and played by Houdini, SF 13 @depth 73(!) plays 10…Nc6; SF 14 @depth 37 plays 10…h6. There is only one game with this move shown the ChessBaseDataBase until one clicks on. Then digging deeper one finds five games in which both players were at least 2200+ and all were drawn. See Lu vs Yu from the 2020 Chinese Championship below. 10…Nbd7 has held white to 68%; White has brutilized 10…Nc6 to the tune of 75%) 11. Nb5 Bb8 12. O-O (SF plays 12 d4) 12…O-O 13. Bh4 (SF 13 plays 13 Re1; SF 290420 @depth 48 would play 13 Nd2, which would be a NEW MOVE!) 13…h6 14. Re1 Re8 (SF 13 plays 14…Ra6) 15. d4 (SF and Komodo agree that 15 Nd2 is the move)

Lu, Shanglei (2615) vs Yu, Yangyi (2709)
Event: ch-CHN 2020
Site: Xinghua CHN Date: 12/29/2020
Round: 10.5
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 a5 6.a4 Bb4+ 7.c3 Bd6 8.exd5 cxd5 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Na3 h6 11.Bh4 Nc6 12.Nb5 Bb8 13.O-O O-O 14.Re1 Ra6 15.h3 Re8 16.Rc1 Qd7 17.Bg3 Bf5 18.d4 e4 19.Bxb8 Rxb8 20.Ne5 Qe7 21.f4 Be6 22.c4 dxc4 23.Bxc4 Bxc4 24.Rxc4 Rd8 25.Qc1 Rb6 26.Nc3 Nxd4 27.Nxe4 Ne6 28.f5 Nd4 29.Qf4 Rb4 30.Rxb4 axb4 31.Ng4 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4277249

Lu, Shanglei (2619) vs Liu, Guanchu (2366)
Event: TCh-CHN 2016
Site: China CHN Date: 04/14/2016
Round: 3.6
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 a5 6.a3 a4 7.Ba2 Bd6 8.exd5 cxd5 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Nc3 Ra5 11.O-O Nc6 12.Re1 O-O 13.h3 h6 14.Bh4 Re8 15.Qd2 d4 16.Bxf6 Qxf6 17.Ne4 Qd8 18.Bxe6 Rxe6 19.c3 dxc3 20.bxc3 Bf8 21.Qc2 Rd5 22.Red1 f5 23.Ng3 g6 24.h4 Qd7 25.h5 Be7 26.Qxa4 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=3989798

Lu, Shanglei (2640) vs Liu, Guanchu (2459)
Event: ch-CHN 2018
Site: Xinghua CHN Date: 04/28/2018
Round: 10.2
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 a5 6.a4 Bb4+ 7.c3 Bd6 8.exd5 cxd5 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Na3 Nbd7 11.Nb5 Bb8 12.O-O O-O 13.Re1 h6 14.Bh4 Re8 15.d4 e4 16.Nd2 Ra6 17.c4 dxc4 18.Bxc4 Bf4 19.Bxe6 Raxe6 20.d5 R6e7 21.Nc4 g5 22.d6 Re6 23.Bg3 Nb6 24.Ne3 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4113151

Klabis, Rokas (2251) vs Sulskis, Sarunas (2546)
Event: ch-LTU 2016
Site: Vilnius LTU Date: 05/05/2016
Round: 9.4
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Bb3 a5 5.a4 d5 6.Qe2 (! AW) Bd6 7.Bg5 dxe4 8.dxe4 Nbd7 9.Nd2 Nc5 10.Bc4 h6 11.Bh4 O-O 12.Ngf3 Qe7 13.O-O Ne6 14.Bg3 Nh5 15.Bxe6 Bxe6 16.Nc4 f6 17.Nh4 Nxg3 18.hxg3 Bc5 19.Rfd1 Rfd8 20.Ne3 Qf7 21.b3 Kh7 22.Rxd8 Rxd8 23.Rd1 Rxd1+ 24.Nxd1 Qd7 25.Nf3 Bf7 26.Nc3 Kg8 27.Kf1 Kf8 28.Qd2 Qc7 29.Ne1 h5 30.Nd3 Bd4 31.Ne2 Ba7 32.Qc3 Kg8 33.Nb2 Kh7 34.Qd3 b5 35.Nc3 Qb6 36.Nbd1 bxa4 37.Nxa4 Qb5 38.Ke2 Be6 39.c4 Qb4 40.Qc3 Bd4 41.Qxb4 axb4 42.Ne3 g5 43.Nc2 Ba7 44.Nxb4 Bd7 45.c5 Kg7 46.Nb6 Be8 47.Kd2 1-0
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=3991991&m=10

Lu, Shanglei (2615) vs Liu, Yan (2524)
Event: ch-CHN 2021
Site: Xinghua CHN Date: 05/08/2021
Round: 2.1 Score: ½-½
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 a5 6.a4 Bb4+ 7.c3 Bd6 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.O-O O-O 10.Nbd2 Bg4 11.Nc4 Qc7 12.d4 e4 13.h3 Bh5 14.g4 Bg6 15.Nfe5 Bxe5 16.Nxe5 Nd7 17.Nxg6 hxg6 18.Qe2 f5 19.f4 Kf7 20.c4 Nb4 21.c5+ Nd5 22.Ra3 Nf6 23.Bc4 Qd7 24.Rg3 Rh8 25.Qg2 Rh7 26.gxf5 gxf5 27.Kf2 Kf8 28.Ke2 Nb4 29.Rd1 Rd8 30.Rg6 Nbd5 31.Rg1 e3 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4286102

Lu, Shanglei (2624) vs Liu, Yan (2504)
Event: 18th Asian Continental
Site: Xingtai CHN Date: 06/10/2019
Round: 4.3 Score: ½-½
ECO: C24 Bishop’s opening, Berlin defence
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.O-O d6 6.Re1 O-O 7.h3 b5 8.Bb3 Nbd7 9.c3 a5 10.d4 a4 11.Bc2 Qc7 12.Bg5 Re8 13.Nbd2 h6 14.Bh4 Nf8 15.Nf1 Ng6 16.Bg3 Bf8 17.Ne3 Qb6 18.Nf5 c5 19.N5h4 Nxh4 20.Bxh4 Nh5 21.Nh2 Nf4 22.Bg3 Ng6 ½-½
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?gid=4197862

Is Magnus Carlsen Infected With The Trumpitis Virus?

I have spent an inordinate amount of time reading several articles concerning the “postponement” of the 2020 Candidates Chess tournament, and every reply. The articles, Carlsen, Dvorkovich & Kramnik on ending the Candidates (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-dvorkovich-kramnik-on-ending-the-candidates), and Azerbaijan National Team Writes Open Letter Regarding Radjabov, Candidates (https://www.chess.com/news/view/azerbaijan-team-open-letter-fide-radjabov), resonated deeply. In addition, an excellent article at Chessbase, Cancelled: When the war put a stop to top chess events (https://en.chessbase.com/post/cancelled-when-the-war-cut-top-events-short) was read, but does not figure into this post. It does, though, give some perspective on the situation in which Chess languishes.

Magnus Carlsen

https://cdn.chess24.com/Npdpj-ZGRImCRhHCxUpzFQ/original/magnus-carlsen-live.jpg

is the World Chess Co-Champion of Classical Chess, by his own admission. Magnus was unable to win even one classical game in the last match for the the World Human Chess Championship with Fabiano Caruana.

https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/1073923720/960x0.jpg?cropX1=0&cropX2=4928&cropY1=41&cropY2=2813

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrissmith/2019/08/16/fabiano-caruana-americas-top-chess-star-on-the-need-for-corporate-sponsors-and-a-potential-championship-rematch-with-magnus-carlsen/#7b3accfa268d

He was able to beat Sergey Karjakin

IMG_4080_by Maria Emelianova.JPG

only once in the previous match. He did, though, also lose one game. Magnus is considered World Human Chess Champion only because he happens to be better at playing ‘hurry up and get it over’ Chess.

Mr. Carlsen is proof positive that Chess does not make one “smart.” From the Chess24 article:

Carlsen on Kramnik (and Lawrence’s) suggestion to give Radjabov a 2022 wild card

“This is just my opinion. I think if he had wanted to play the tournament he would have played it.”

Lawrence: You think he didn’t want to play it, not related to the crisis?

“I think it’s partly but not fully. That is just my opinion. I think he was very happy to win the World Cup but he didn’t particularly fancy playing the Candidates, which I can understand. It’s an ordeal, and he had a rough time the last time [in the 2013 London Candidates Radjabov lost 7 games and finished last, 2 points behind the next player]. Obviously the corona situation gave his already I would think pre-existing opinion that he didn’t particularly want to play a lot of substance, that now he had a legitimate reason not to play. I’m not saying that his reason was not legitimate, I’m just saying that all the other guys did play and I’m sure they had concerns as well. That is just my take.

You can see that with Maxime, for instance. He stepped in on short notice and he’s not been one of the guys who’s complained at all about the situation. He’s just happy to be there, he wants to play and all of that stuff about it being a difficult situation and so on – yeah, of course it’s a difficult situation, of course it’s not the best atmosphere for a chess tournament, but you chose to be there, and so if you choose to be there then you play, you do your job and you have to trust the authorities there to make the decisions – FIDE, the Russian government and so on. As long as they feel that it’s safe to hold the tournament then you’re holding it.

Obviously the situation we have now is not ideal, but I think giving Radjabov the wild card for 2022 – that I would find just ridiculous. You could make the case that he should actually play in this one now that it’s been postponed and the situation is different. I don’t feel that way, I don’t know the law, I don’t know what is supposed to happen there, but to me it doesn’t feel justified that he should play even if it resumes, but I would understand it. But 2022… no!”

Evidently the World Co-Chess Champ of Classical Chess is a mind reader. Mr. Carlsen mentions a bad tournament by Mr. Radjabov SEVEN YEARS AGO! AS we go through life we change. An example would be the article, How your personality changes as you age, in which we find, “Our personalities were long thought to be fixed by the time we reach our 30s, but the latest research suggests they change throughout our lives.” (https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200313-how-your-personality-changes-as-you-age)

Teimour Radjabov

https://images.chesscomfiles.com/uploads/v1/news/598444.62c19464.668x375o.1aa2bd887956.jpeg

https://www.chess.com/news/view/teimour-radjabov-interview-fide-candidates-chess

is a different person than he was in 2013. Could it be that Magnus, after playing over the recent games of Mr. Radjabov would prefer to NOT have to face Mr. Radjabov? Magnus Carlsen is twenty nine years of age and in Chess terms getting a little long in the tooth.

Consider this reply by KoustavChatterjee1:

“It’s amazing how arrogant some chess players are. They still say that Rajdabov withdrawing was because he was afraid of playing in the Candidates, even though there’s so much evidence to the contrary (him hiring seconds, the amount of prep etc).

Rajdabov is completely validated in his decision to withdraw from the event, as health and safety matters way more than chess. The players who went and played, didn’t do anything brave. They were just thinking about their careers and acting as professionals. Rajdabov sacrificed one of the best opportunities of his career for the greater good.

This thread is a perfect example as to how playing chess doesn’t correlate with being generally smart – proven by the World champ, and multiple people who commented here – who don’t realize that a tournament (no matter how important) is not worth the potential risks that a deadly pandemic entails.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-dvorkovich-kramnik-on-ending-the-candidates)

Then there is this from BabarBouzouardo:

“Carlsen speaking of Radjabov: “That is just my opinion. I think he was very happy to win the World Cup, but he didn’t particularly fancy playing the Candidates, which I can understand. It’s an ordeal, and he had a rough time the last time [in the 2013 London Candidates Radjabov lost 7 games and finished last, 2 points behind the next player]. Obviously the corona situation gave his already I would think pre-existing opinion that he didn’t particularly want to play a lot of substance, that now he had a legitimate reason not to play.” … Bravo chess genius, you figured out everything about all subjects! Indeed you are a genius …! At first, Carlsen looked polite, respectful and rather kind. It was the time when, as a teenager, he was accompanied to chess tournaments by his father. He then gradually became a young man and his father was no longer in the picture; at this point you could see a change in his character. He became more and more provocative, aggressive. Now that he has become world champion and is on the threshold of the 30 year age group, he clearly got a swollen head/ego and he has become an arrogant character full of himself. Is Carlsen infected with the Trumpitis virus? … Or, is he just a chess genius and simply an idiot? … Carlsen can now, disrespect competitors and fart higher than his ass as long as he is champion and get away with it, and with no consequences! But even the great Kasparov had to give way to a younger player by the age of 37 and even retire at 40! …. So what could an idiotic Carlen do, he who has not learned a thing, or known something, about reality and life. Once his chess lights will dim out, what will he do and how will he live in society? … I guess in contempt and bitterness!” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/carlsen-dvorkovich-kramnik-on-ending-the-candidates)

I have been amazed at some of the things heard and read. WAKE UP PEOPLE! COVID-19 is not simply going to blow away with the wind. Things will most definitely NOT return to normal, whatever your interpretation of what is ‘normal’. For example:

Scientists warn we may need to live with social distancing for a year or more

Researchers say we face a horrible choice: practice social distancing for months or a year, or let hundreds of thousands die.
By Brian Resnick@B_resnickbrian@vox.com Mar 17, 2020, 12:00pm EDT
https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/3/17/21181694/coronavirus-covid-19-lockdowns-end-how-long-months-years

Or this:

“Americans need to prepare for the possibility of COVID-19 coming back as a seasonal illness,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a White House press briefing on Wednesday.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said there have been cases in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere, which is approaching colder seasons.

“If they have a substantial outbreak, it will be inevitable that we’ll get a cycle around the second time,” he said.”

Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article241513906.html#storylink=cpy

People in the Chess world need to understand that, in the immortal words of Bob Dylan:

In a fight between life and death Chess becomes irrelevant.

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BNTkyMjg0NmItOTIzMS00YzVjLTkzZDQtNTQ0M2Y5OTdkMDkyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDc2NTEzMw@@._V1_.jpg

Good Old Friends and the Buddy-Buddy Draw at the Moscow Grand Prix

Although I have intentionally not followed the ongoing Moscow Grand Prix event my old friend the legendary Georgia Ironman has followed it because it did begin with a couple of games of what is now called “classical” Chess before devolving into what is called “rapid Chess” before devolving further into “speed” Chess. Frankly, I could care less about which player is best at faster time controls. The only thing that matters is who is best at a classical time control. Say what you will about Magnus Carlsen but the fact is that he could not beat either Sergey Karjakin or Fabiano Caruana at classical Chess, something to keep in mind when talking about the best Chess player of all time.

In an article at Chessbase by Antonio Pereira recently, dated 5/18/2019, it is written: “Ian Nepomniachtchi, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Radek Wojtaszek won with the white pieces at the start of the FIDE Grand Prix in Moscow, which means Levon Aronian, Wesley So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov will need to push for a win on Saturday if they want to survive the first round. Three match-ups ended with quick draws, while Peter Svidler and Anish Giri accepted the draws offered by Nikita Vitiugov and Daniil Dubov in games that could have easily kept going.”

The article continues:

“Better than losing and worse than winning”

“A lot of criticism followed the 2011 Candidates Tournament in Kazan, in which the knock-out format led to some players openly using a safe-first strategy by signing quick draws in the classical games and putting all on the line in the tie-breaks. In order to discourage the players from using this strategy, the organizers are awarding an extra point in the Grand Prix overall standings for those who eliminate their opponents needing only two games. In the first game of the opening round in Moscow, four out of eight encounters ended peacefully after no more than 23 moves.”

The so-called “strategy” of the organizers had absolutely no effect on the players who continue to agree to short draws with impunity whenever and wherever they want, regardless of what organizers or fans want to see from them. Are the players aware their “inaction” is killing the Royal game? Do they care?

Exhibit one:

Teimour Radjabov (AZE)

vs Hikaru Nakamura (USA)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 b5 8. a4 b4 9. Nbd2 Bb7 10. Nxc4 c5 11. dxc5 Be4 12. Qd1 ½-½

Sergey Karjakin (RUS) – Alexander Grischuk (RUS)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. a4 Bd6 7. a5 O-O 8. Be2 e5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. O-O Bc7 12. Qb3 Nc6 13. a6 bxa6 14. Qa4 ½-½

The article continues:

“It must be added that Nikita Vitiugov had what seemed like a considerable advantage against Peter Svidler when he surprisingly offered a draw.

Both contenders are part of the Mednyi Vsadnik team from Saint Petersburg, which won the last two editions of the Russian Team Championship and are the current European champions. Vitiugov has also worked for Svidler as a second more than once. The long-time friends talked about how unfortunate it was for them to be paired up immediately in round one, although Svidler confessed that, “[he] somehow had a feeling that [they] would play at least one [match], and particularly in Moscow”.


Good old friends from Saint Petersburg | Photo: World Chess

“Regarding the position shown in the diagram, Peter recounted how he was thinking about 18.f4 being a move that would leave him worse on the board. So, when the move was accompanied by a draw offer, he thought, “yeah, that’s a good deal!” And the point was split then and there.

To accept the draw was a good match strategy? Peter wittily added:

“As for match strategy, I envy people who have strategies of any kind. I don’t have any. I thought I was worse and then I was offered a draw, so I took it.”
https://en.chessbase.com/post/moscow-grand-prix-2019-r1-d1


http://www.espn.com/espnw/news-commentary/slideshow/13596920/13-major-showdowns-serena-venus-williams

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have had to play each other many times during their storied tennis careers, and each and every time there has been a winner because offering a draw is not in the tennis rule book. What is it doing in the Chess rule book?

Chess organizers better wake up because Chess is in a battle with the game of Go and if the trend continues, like the Highlander, there will be only one left standing.

Is Chess a Sport?

File this under “What the Main Stream Media thinks of Chess.”

Is Chess a Sport? A New Book Says Yes

By Jonathan Eig

Nov. 30, 2018

THE GRANDMASTER
Magnus Carlsen and the Match That Made Chess Great Again

By Brin-Jonathan Butler
211 pp. Simon & Schuster. $26.

Is chess a sport?

After days watching a championship match and “seeing what strain these guys put their bodies and nerves under,” cramped in awful Staples chairs while trying to concentrate, Brin-Jonathan Butler concludes that chess “absolutely” falls into the category of sport.

But by that logic, the written portion of the driver’s license exam could be a sport, too, and, given my perfect record, I would be a better athlete than Muhammad Ali.

Chess is not a sport, O.K.? If it were, there’d be a lot more head injuries and trash talk.

Butler’s definition of an athlete matters for the purposes of his assignment. In 2016, an editor asked him to cover the World Chess Championship between Norway’s Magnus Carlsen and Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, expected to be an epic battle, and suggested that the author approach the assignment in the spirit that Norman Mailer approached Ali vs. Foreman in “The Fight” and John McPhee covered Arthur Ashe vs. Clark Graebner in “Levels of the Game.”

Chess can make for compelling literature, especially in fiction (“The Luzhin Defense,” by Nabokov, for example), because the game offers a battle between two minds, two personalities, two worldviews. But a game itself is only compelling to readers if we are made to understand and care about the players, seeing their moves as reflections of their characters. McPhee knew it: “A person’s tennis game begins with his nature and background and comes out through his motor mechanisms into shot patterns and characteristics of play. If he is deliberate, he is a deliberate tennis player; and if he is flamboyant, his game probably is, too. A tight, close match unmarred by error and representative of each player’s game at its highest level will be primarily a psychological struggle.”

Herein lies the trouble for “The Grandmaster.” Since chess is not a sport by the standard definition, Carlsen and Karjakin do not turn their natures into motor mechanisms, thus depriving the reader of visible action. That, in turn, forces Butler to press too hard in describing the moves on the chessboard. “In the end,” he writes of one crucial moment, “Carlsen was unable to stop one of Karjakin’s innocuous pawns from strolling innocently enough into his malevolent promised land to emerge as an all-powerful, Lady Macbeth, vindictive-as-hell queen at the end of the board.”

Butler might never have been forced to resort to such drastic maneuvers in prose if he had been given a better draw. Mailer had Ali, who never shut up and literally allowed reporters to slip under the covers with him in bed to conduct interviews. McPhee had Ashe, one of the most thoughtful and eloquent athletes of all time. Butler had no one. Neither Carlsen nor Karjakin would talk to him. They appeared briefly at news conferences but expressed little emotion. They never even complained about the terrible Staples chairs.

To compensate, it seems, Butler takes the reader on journeys away from the tournament — to Cuba, to a chess shop where New Yorkers took refuge after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, and elsewhere. But even the best of these vignettes serve to remind that Carlsen and Karjakin failed to carry their load. We understand why. Chess is intensely cerebral. It drives men mad, as Butler documents in vivid detail. But by remaining so deep in thought, Carlsen and Karjakin shut out their fans, shut out the author and shut out the reader. At the tournament’s end, one man emerges triumphant, or at least relieved, the other dejected. The rest of us watch through one-way glass, unmoved.

Jonathan Eig’s most recent book is “Ali: A Life.”

When To Use Force

GM Kevin Spraggett writes in his blog post, Never underestimate the basics, dated August 29, 2018, “Despite playing for almost 50 years, I continue to be amazed how when great players lose it almost always has to do with beginner basics. Witness the following game played recently in the Chinese Team Championship, where Black neglects to make luft…” (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/never-underestimate-the-basics/)

This caused me to reflect upon a game from the recent Sinquefield Cup. In round nine Sergey Karjakin and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave battled to a 119 move draw.

Karjakin vs MVL

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 c5 8. Ne2 Nc6 9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O Bg4 11. f3 Bd7 12. Rb1 Qc7 13. h4 cxd4 14. cxd4 Nxd4 15. Bxf7+ Rxf7 16. Nxd4 Rd8 17. Qb3 Qg3 18. Ne2 Qxh4 19. Bf2 Qf6 20. Rfd1 b6 21. Qa3 e6 22. Rd2 Be8 23. e5 Qf5 24. Rxd8 Qxb1+ 25. Kh2 Rf8 26. Ng3 Bxe5 27. Qxa7 Qb4 28. Kg1 Qb1+ 29. Kh2 Qb4 30. Kg1 Bf6 31. Rd1 Ba4 32. Rf1 Bc6 33. Qxb6 Qxb6 34. Bxb6 Ra8 35. Rf2 Bd5 36. Ne4 Be5 37. Re2 Bxa2 38. Ng5 Bd6 39. Kf2 Bc4 40. Rd2 Be7 41. Be3 Bd5 42. Rc2 h6 43. Ne4 Bxe4 44. fxe4 h5 45. Rc7 Bf6 46. Rc6 Ra2+ 47. Kf3 Ra3 48. Ke2 Kf7 49. Rc7+ Ke8 50. Rh7 Rb3 51. Ra7 Rb2+ 52. Kf3 g5 53. e5 g4+ 54. Ke4 Rb4+ 55. Kd3 Bd8 56. Ra8 Kd7 57. g3 Bc7 58. Bd4 Kc6 59. Bc3 Rb8 60. Ra6+ Rb6 61. Ra8 Rb5 62. Ke4 Rb3 63. Bd4 Bb8 64. Ra6+ Kd7 65. Ra8 Rb1 66. Bf2 Rb4+ 67. Bd4 Bc7 68. Kd3 Rb8 69. Ra7 Rb5 70. Kc4 Ra5 71. Rb7 Kc6 72. Rb3 Bxe5 73. Rb6+ Kd7 74. Bxe5 Rxe5 75. Kd4 Ra5 76. Ke4 Ke7 77. Rb8 Ra3 78. Rh8 Rxg3 79. Rxh5 Ra3 80. Kf4 Ra4+ 81. Kg3 Kd6 82. Rh8 Kd5 83. Rd8+ Ke5 84. Rb8 Rd4 85. Ra8 Re4 86. Ra5+ Kf6 87. Ra8 e5 88. Rf8+ Ke6 89. Re8+ Kd5 90. Rd8+ Kc4 91. Ra8 Kd5 92. Rd8+ Kc5 93. Rc8+ Kd4 94. Ra8 Rf4 95. Re8 Ke4 96. Rg8 Rf3+ 97. Kxg4 Rf1 98. Kh3 Ke3 99. Kg2 Ra1 100. Rg3+ Ke2 101. Rg4 Ke3 102. Rg3+ Kd2 103. Rg4 Re1 104. Ra4 e4 105. Ra2+ Ke3 106. Ra3+ Kf4 107. Kf2 Rb1 108. Ke2 Rb2+ 109. Ke1 Ke5 110. Ra4 Kf5 111. Ra8 Kf4 112. Ra3 Rh2 113. Kf1 Rd2 114. Ke1 Rd3 115. Rxd3 exd3 116. Kd2 Ke4 117. Kd1 Ke3 118. Ke1 d2+ 119. Kd1 Kd3 ½-½

After 22 Rd2 this position was reached:

Because of the poor move, 21 Qa3, played by Karjakin, MVL has an obvious advantage. Black has a couple of FORCING moves.

The most forcing is 22…Bf8, the move I decided upon. Also possible is 22…Bh6. These are the kinds of moves one would probably play in a game with less time. After the game I went to ChessBomb, (https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2018-sinquefield-cup/09-Karjakin_Sergey-Vachier_Lagrave_Maxime) finding 22…Bf8 is the first choice. The second choice, 22…Rdf8, was a move I had not considered. According to the Fish there is not much difference between the two moves. The third choice is 22…Bh6. The move chosen by MVL, 22…Be8, is the fourth choice of the clanking digital monster.

I continue to be amazed at how often top GMs reject playing the most forcing move. Sometimes it seems they see the move, but reject it for some reason because it is too obvious. Maybe the award winning book by IM John Watson, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances since Nimzowitsch, has had a profound influence upon the best current human players.

The book illustrates how modern players reject convention to “break the rules” of Chess. The clanking digital monsters continually point out how often the best move is the the one that follows the rules.

The next position is after 69th move played by black:

Karjakin plays the most forcing move,

70 Kc4. Unfortunately it is also a losing move. It is not always appropriate to play the most forcing move. Stockfish gives 70 Bc3; Ra3; & Ra8 as the best moves, with each leaving black with an advantage of about one and a quarter points.

The last position was reached after white played 80 Kf4:

MVL did NOT follow the cardinal rule of “passed pawns MUST be pushed.” Instead he played the most “forcing” move 80…Ra4+. This “forced” white to move his King. Karjakin moved to the g3 square, blocking the pawn. Go figure…

Stinking It Up At The Sinquefield Cup

The trio of announcers at the Sinquefield Cup were effusive during every round, especially during the final round. They did the best they could to put lipstick on a pig

but in the final analysis it was still a stinking pig. The gang mentioned the high percentage of draws and GM Yasser Seirawan said something like, “We haven’t noticed because of the quality of the draws.” Forty five games were played during the tournament with only eight of them ending decisively, which is 17.7%. There were nine rounds so the average was less than one win per round.

The announcers for MLBaseball teams are called “homers” for a reason. They are paid by the ball club so it is in their interest to put lipstick on their particular pig.

I am uncertain about who pays the announcers at the Sinquefield Cup, but it is more than a little obvious they want to continue being paid. It is in their interest to put as much lipstick on the Chess pig as possible. Because of this they lack objectivity. I am not being paid by anyone so can be objective. The tournament was B-O-R-I-N-G. To their credit, the announcing team of Yaz, Maurice, and Jen did the best they could to inject some excitement into the moribund tournament. The excitement certainly did not come from the players. The pigs were in full force and there was some reeking Chess played at what I have come to consider the Stinkfield Cup.

Hikaru Nakamura lost the last round game to World Human Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen


Photo: Saint Louis Chess Club / Lennart Ootes

by first needlessly allowing Magnus a protected passed pawn. Later he exacerbated an already tenuous position by jettisoning a pawn for absolutely nothing, and was deservedly ground down by the ultimate grinder.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave managed to turn what should have been a win into a draw against Sergey Karjakin because he did not know how to play the endgame.

Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana played what was arguably the most boring game of the tournament in the last round and, guess what, it ended in a draw. Watching lipstick being put on a pig was better than watching the “game.” Here is what two Chess fans posted on the ChessBomb chat at the game:

Abraxas79: So will drop out of sight soon. Will be playing open tournaments with Kamsky
eddiemac: was being interviewed and said he be in a chess960 tourney in a few weeks. Should be more exciting than this dreary tourney.
(https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2018-sinquefield-cup/09-So_Wesley-Caruana_Fabiano)

The 71st Russian Chess Championship began less than a week ago with twelve players competing. After four rounds twenty four games have been played and seven of them have ended decisively. That is 29%. Not great, but much better than the paltry 18% of the Stinkfield Cup. At least there has been a decisive game in each of the four rounds of the Russian Championship. In the third round three games were decisive. Three of the rounds of the Stinkfield Cup finished without any decisive games.

Yaz can talk all he wants about “…the quality of the draws,” but the fact remains the games ended in yet another draw. There is not enough lipstick Yaz can smear to obviate the fact that pigs were stinking it up at the Sinquefield Cup. Chess fans want winners. Potential Chess fans do not understand the proliferation of draws; they want to see a WINNER.

The last round game causing much excitement was the game between Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk. Levon unsoundly sacrificed a rook on f7 and the game was all for Grischuk’s taking, but he had previously spent almost three quarters of an hour on one move which left him short of time. Still, I cannot imagine Bobby Fischer losing the game with the black pieces after 18 Rxf7 no matter how little time he had left. Give Bobby two or three minutes, maybe only one, and he would have won the game. Seriously, give Bobby only the thirty seconds added and he would have won that game!

“The Herceg Novi blitz event was the speed tournament of the 20th century. It had four world champions competing, and Bobby not only finished 4½ points ahead of Tal in second place, he also obliterated the Soviet contingent, 8½-1½, whitewashing Tal, Tigran Petrosian and Vasily Smyslov, six-zip; breaking even with Viktor Korchnoi; and defeating David Bronstein with a win and draw.” (http://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2012/03/16/bobbys-blitz-chess/)

This was with a time limit of only FIVE minutes for the whole game! When I hear people talking about how strong are today’s Grandmasters and how the players of the 20th century would not stand a chance against the current top players I laugh. In his prime Bobby would have OBLITERATED these posers no matter the time control. Bobby played each and every game to WIN.

Because I played the Bird opening often, but not as many as the Atlanta player who became a NM using it exclusively, Adam Cavaney, who became an attorney and moved to New Orleans before hurricane Katrina, I paid close attention to the following game.

Let us review the aforementioned game between Alexander Grischuk and Wesley So from the penultimate round:

Alexander Grischuk vs Wesley So


Photo: V. Saravanan

Sinquefield Cup 2018 round 08

1. f4 Nf6 2. Nf3 b6 3. b3 Bb7 4. e3 g6 5. Bb2 Bg7 6. g3 O-O 7. Bg2 c5 8. c4 d5 9. O-O Nc6 10. Qe2 Rc8 11. d3 d4 12. exd4 Nxd4 13. Nxd4 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 cxd4 15. Na3 Nd7 16. Nc2 Nc5 17. f5 Qd7 18. g4 b5 19. Ba3 a5 20. Bxc5 Rxc5 21. Rae1 bxc4 22. bxc4 gxf5 23. gxf5 Rxf5 24. Rxf5 Qxf5 25. Qf3 Qg5+ 26. Kh1 Kh8 27. Rg1 Qh6 28. Qd5 Qd2 29. Nxd4 Qxa2 30. Qe4 Qb2 31. Nf5 Be5 32. Rg2 Qc1+ 33. Rg1 Qb2 34. Rg2 Qc1+ 35. Rg1 Qb2 36. Rg2 1/2-1/2

An analogous position after 7…c5 was reached by a different move order in this game:

David Bronstein (2585)

v Vladimir Tukmakov (2560)

Event: URS-ch40
Site: Baku Date: 11/23/1972
Round: 6
ECO: A01 Nimzovich-Larsen attack, symmetrical variation

1. b3 b6 2. Bb2 Bb7 3. e3 Nf6 4. f4 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. g3 O-O 7. Bg2 c5 8. O-O Nc6 9. a4 d6 10. Na3 a6 11. Qe2 Rb8 12. d3 Ba8 13. c4 e6 14. Rfd1 Qe7 15. e4 Nd7 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. Nc2 e5 1/2-1/2
(https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=2419289&m=15)

After 13 moves this position appeared on the board:

I was certain Grischuk would play 14 Qxg2. He took with the King. In the old BC (before computer) days if one disagreed with a move a GM played we would defer to the GMs move because, well, you know, he was a Grandmaster. Still, with my limited understanding of the Royal game, my thinking was that now that the white squared bishop has left the board, what better piece to take it’s place than the Queen? Stockfish agrees.

This position was reached after 16 moves:

While Grischuk was thinking I thought he would first play 17 Ne1 followed by 18 Nf3, considerably improving the position of the woeful knight. After the game the Stockfish program at the ChessBomb made me feel like I knew something about how to play the Bird as it gives this variation as equal: 17. Ne1 e6 18. Nf3 Qd7 19. Kg1 Rfd8 20. Ba3 Qb7 21. Rae1 Bf8 22. Bb2 Bg7 23. Ba3. The clanking digital monster also shows 17 Ba3 as equal. The move Grishuk played, 17 f5, is not shown as one of the top four moves. His choice gives the advantage to black.

This position was reached after 22 moves:

SF shows 23. Qxe7 Qc6+ as best, but Grischuk played 23 gxf5. It is easy to see black has an increased advantage. After a few more moves were played we reach this position after white played 25 Qf3:

Wesley So could have simply dropped his queen back to e7 with a by now large advantage. IM Boris Kogan said, “Chess is simple. He attack, you defend. You attack, he defend. My retort was, “Maybe for you, Boris.” Wesley played 25…Qg5+, which still left him with an advantage. I was thinking, “Patzer sees a check and gives a check.”

We move along until his position was reached after 28 Qd5:

The two best moves according to SF are 28…Qf4 and/or Qb6. So played the fourth best move, 28…Qd2.

After 29…Qxa2 we come to this position:

30 Nc6 is the best move. Grischuk played the second best move, 30 Qe4.

Bobby Fischer

spoke of “critical positions.” This is one of them.

Wesley had far more time than his opponent at this point. I was therefore shocked when he took very little time to play 30…Qb2. I will admit the moved played was my first choice, but then I am not a GM. Faced with the same position Wesley So had on the board I would have probably played 30…Qb2. I followed the games at Mark Crowther’s wonderful site, The Week in Chess (http://theweekinchess.com/), because it has no engine analysis. After the game was concluded I went to the ChessBomb to see StockFish had given the move 30…Qf2 as much superior to the move played in the game. Initially flummoxed, I wondered if Wesley had taken more time, which would have meant more time for me to cogitate, would I have seen the much better 30…Qf2? Honesty compels me to think not, as 30…Qb2 attacks the knight and makes way for the passed a-pawn. What’s not to like? SF only gives 30…Qf2 followed by 31 Nc6, so I had to “dig deep” to understand the efficacy of moving the queen to f2. Fortunately for this old grasshopper there was understanding. Later I watched some of the coverage by Yaz, Maurice, and Jen. Maurice showed the engine they were using gave it as best. This begs the question, which engine were they using? I have yet to hear a name used for the “engine.” There are many “engines,” so why do they not inform we Chess fans which “engine” they utilize?

After 30…Qb2 Grischuk played 31 Nf5 (SF says Nf3 is a little better) and this position was reached:

I was thinking Wesley would play 31…Bf6, later learning SF shows it best. As a matter of fact, it is the only move to retain an advantage. Wesley So played the second choice of SF, 31…Be5, and the game sputtered to a draw, a fitting conclusion to a poorly played game by both players. So much for Yasser’s comment about “…quality of the draws.”

This is what Chess fans who chat at the ChessBomb thought about the ending of the game:

CunningPlan: I suspect draw agreed
dondiegodelavega: WTF???
BadHabitMarco: this cant have happened
rfa: yup draw
poppy_dove: BUG
dondiegodelavega: moving to twitter
CunningPlan: Maybe So missed Kxg1
jim: mdr
jim: Qxg1 wow
Frank200: hahahaha somebody was trolling
LarsBrobakken: no takebacks!
CunningPlan: So is a dirty rotten cheat
CunningPlan: Oh So. What a cop out.
rfa: 🙂
BadHabitMarco: devine intervention
Vladacval: phhhooogh
BadHabitMarco: divine
Vladacval: nice save!
jim: So touched accidentally the rook
poppy_dove: draw
dondiegodelavega: what a pussy!
CunningPlan: Grischuk deliberately dropped an eyelash on it to tempt So to brush it off
CunningPlan: Oldest trick in the book
CunningPlan: I’ve won many a game that way
BadHabitMarco: he was like “did you see that the felt was missing under my rook?”
https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2018-sinquefield-cup/08-Grischuk_Alexander-So_Wesley

MVL Versus Magnus Carlsen: Fooling Caissa

Two consecutive tournament wins ahead of Carlsen

by André Schulz

Four players were at the top in the Norway Chess tournament at the start of round nine: Wesley So, Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura. Caruana and So met each other, while Carlsen was dealt black against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Nakamura faced off against Levon Aronian, also with black. Even Viswanathan Anand, with 3½ points, had chances jump into a tie for first with a win, although the 15th World Champion was black as well, against Sergey Karjakin.

Carlsen, was in no mood to take any chances against Vachier-Lagrave. When the game was in full swing on just move 17, the players began repeating moves in a position reached several times before. It certainly played a role that the two players trained together for Carlsen’s 2016 World Championship title defence, as Magnus himself pointed out in the “confession box” (in Norwegian):

The World Champion conceded half the point. Considering his chances to reach a tiebreak as about 50/50, he was content to watch his rivals fight it out.
https://en.chessbase.com/post/norway-chess-2018-round-9

Unfortunately, I do not understand Norwegian so the accompanying video could not be understood. What I do understand is that Magnus Carlsen, rather than fight like a World Champion, decided to be content with a draw. The decision by the HWCC was an insult to Caissa, and a disgraceful act unworthy of a World Champion. What kind of example has Magnus Carlsen set for all the children playing the Royal game? The above noted article at Chessbase seems to take the position, like most of the Chess world, that what Magnus did was perfectly acceptable. Chess is dying by draw, yet one hardly ever notices a discussion concerning the proliferation of draws. THERE ARE NO DRAWS IN THE ANCIENT ORIENTAL GAME OF GO! Before you send that nasty email, I am aware of the triple Ko situation in Go, in which the game is declared drawn. It happens about as often as a leap year, and when it does occur it makes news all around the Go world. Magnus did not have to agree to a draw; he did it because he is the HWC and can do what he wants to do when he wants to do it, without being called out by anyone involved with Chess. Magnus decided to rest on his laurels. As we say in America, Magnus CHICKENED OUT! I would have more respect for the HWCC if he had fought, and lost, while trying to win, rather than meekly acquiescing to a draw.

The moves in the game have been played so many times one cannot help but wonder if the fix was in…Was it a prearranged draw? Let us examine the “game.”

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

vs World Champ Magnus Carlsen

Altibox Norway Chess 2018

Last round, with all the marbles on the line.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a3 (Stockfish at the CBDB shows 8 a4 as the best move)
8…O-O (Although Komodo shows this as the best move, Houdini has 8…Na5 best)

9. Nc3 (One Stockfish program has this as best, but the other prefers 9 Ba2. Komodo shows 9 Re1 as best)

Na5 (The most often move played in this position is 9…Bg4, and it is the choice of the Dragon. Houdini would play 9…Rb8)

10. Ba2 Be6 11. b4 Bxa2 12. Rxa2 Nc6

13. Bg5 (Although the Stockfish program at ChessBomb shows this best at depth 21 after 30 seconds of ‘reflection’, the Stockfish program at the ChessBaseDataBase at depth 30 gives 13 Nd5. Komodo at depth 24 would play 13 h3)

13…Ng4 (SF at the Bomb has this in second behind 13…Nd7. The Fish and the Dragon at the CBDB would play 13…Qd7)

14. Bd2 (The SF at CBDB plays this move, but Komodo would play 13 Be3, a TN. Meanwhile, the SF at ChessBomb would play 14 Bxe7)

14…Nf6

(Let us stop here too reflect a moment. If the Royal game had the Ko rule, as does Go MVL would not be allowed to play 15 Bg5 and repeat the position. MVL would be forced to play elsewhere)

15.Bg5 (SF at CBDB plays 15 Re1; SF at DaBomb would play either 15 Qb1 or Ra1)

Ng4 16. Bd2 Nf6 17. Bg5 1/2-1/2

Pathetically pitiful…

From the above it is apparent there was a plethora of choices each player could have chosen, had they been inclined to do so. They were not so inclined, for whatever reason. To their credit, fellow countrymen Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So played a full-bodied game of Chess, with neither backing down and offering a draw. THEY PLAYED TO WIN!

Magnus Carlsen embarrassed himself and his reputation with his servile acquiescence to split the point. Magnus took a page out of the old Soviet Union Chess playbook when he decided to not fight in the last round of a major tournament held in HIS OWN COUNTRY! Oh, the SHAME…

Since the candidates tournament I have vacillated between the choice of Magnus versus Fabiano to win the upcoming World Human Chess Championship. The fact is that Caruana has shown much more fighting spirit in the tournaments in which the two have battled since the candidates tournament. Fabiano Caruana has demonstrated tremendous FIGHTING ability recently. We Chess fans can only wish the WCC were longer, as in the past. Mikhail Botvinnik considered sixteen games the optimum number of games, and who would know better than the Botvinnik? If it were a sixteen game match, without any speed games in case of a tie, I would wager on Fabi. Magnus is a much superior speed Chess player, so Magnus has draw odds going into the match, which is an unfair advantage. Speed Chess is NOT Chess! It is ABSURD to settle a WCC with speed games. I have often heard that “speed kills.” Speed Chess is killing the Royal game! The title of WCC should NOT be won by playing speed Chess!