Chambiz on the GCA Board

I devote this post to my friend the Discman, aka NM Chris Chambers. As will become obvious, this is a reply to my last post.

“Good stuff Bacon, but it’s not a crisis.

The ship has broken apart and sunk. The pieces are beginning to settle on the bottom.

A crisis implies that something could still be done to fix the problems if those in charge acted quickly and appropriately.

In reality the leaders are long gone and the janitor, assistant cook and a couple of rats have assumed the leadership roles (in name only).

Rex brings up an important point as it relates to tournament chess – the concept of Critical Mass.

You need more than a handful of players to have a meaningful tournament, for the following reasons:

1) To make it an interesting competition.
2) To generate enough entry fees to be able to give meaningful prizes
3) To generate enough money to be able to take out a little bit for tournament administrative expenses associated with putting on a tournament

To do this you need at least 32 players in a Swiss tournament, in my estimation.

In addition to computers, the class tournament structure has also KILLED tournament chess.

If there are fewer than 32 players in a section, sections should be combined until there are at least 32 in the top section.

The idea of having a tournament with 5 different sections with 8-10 players in each section makes absolutely no sense.

I remember when people began structuring tournaments in this format and I knew then that it was a bad idea.

At most you should have 2 sections, an Open section with everybody half-way decent and better (say >1599) and a Novice section for those still learning the game.

You can have an open section and give class prizes, but if you split everybody into classes with less than 32 players per section you are fragmenting the field for no good reason.”

chambiz

Gordon Lightfoot – The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (’79)

Advertisements

The Inherent Risk In Chess

Is This a “Serious” Game?
IM Pavlov, Sergey (2470) – GM Brodsky, Michail (2556)
18th Voronezh Master Open 2014 Voronezh RUS (4.9), 2014.06.15
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Ng4 7.Bc1 Nf6 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bc1 ½-½
What about this one?
Fedorov, Alexei – Khalifman, Alexander
18th Voronezh Master Open 2014 Voronezh RUS (9.1), 2014.06.21
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.h3 Bb7 10.d4 Re8 11.Ng5 Rf8 12.Nf3 Re8 13.Ng5 Rf8 ½-½
(From: http://www.theweekinchess.com/chessnews/events/18th-voronezh-chess-festival-2014)
The Discman sent me two responses to my previous post, “What Constitutes a “Serious Game?” (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/what-constitutes-a-serious-game/) These are the words of the Discman:
“6 moves? 1 move? 15 moves that are all main line theory? 30 moves that the 2 players have played before in a previous encounter? They are all the same in my book as they require no thought from the players and do not constitute a competition.
Your scenario where the Super Bowl teams agree to a draw after the 1st quarter would indeed be terrible but it could not happen, as it is not within the rules. The Super Bowl cannot (by rule) end in a tie. It’s one of the advantages the game of football has over chess.
Hockey and soccer shoot-outs are ridiculous methods of breaking a tie, as a shoot-out has nothing to do with the way the game is played. It would be like breaking a draw in chess by arm-wrestling, or seeing who could recite all the World Champions in correct order the fastest, or seeing who could throw their King into the air the highest.”
The next one:
“I hear what you’re saying but the nature of chess is such that a significant percentage of high-level games at slow time controls will end in draws.
That being the case, there are times when a draw will be beneficial (or at least will not damage) a player’s standing in an event.
If you forced GM’s not to take draws prior to move 30 or 40, they could easily do this, as opening theory extends past move 30 in many lines of the more well-trodden openings.
GM’s could simply play out one of those lines that ends in a “=” after move 35 and agree to a draw.
It is not uncommon for GM’s to play 20 or 25 moves that have all been played many times and then agree to a draw; it would be easy enough for them to extend this to move 30.
The only way I can think of to discourage draws is to award different point values for wins and draws as White vs. Black. This has been suggested by many, going back many years.
For example, 1.1 for a win as Black and .9 for White and .55 for a draw as Black and .45 for White.
Now all of a sudden that last-round quick draw to split the 1st & 2nd prize pool no longer works as planned.
This introduces all kinds of additional issues (e.g. what if there are an odd number of rounds in a tournament – is it then actually an advantage to have 3 Blacks and only 2 Whites?).”
Chris made me reflect on something I read in the stupendous book, “From London to Elista,” by Evgeny Bareev & Ilya Levitov. The fifth match game for the World Championship between Peter Leko and Vladimir Kramnik began with the moves, 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. a3 Nc6 11. Bd3 Bb6 12. O-O Bg4 13. h3 Bh5 14. b4 Re8 15. Rc1 a6 16. Bxa6.
Imagine these same moves having been played by an IM versus a GM in an Open event. The GM, who had been out late drinking and carousing the previous evening knowing he would be paired down the next day, has been making routine moves in an opening he knows well. His opponent’s move startles him, and he is immediately awakened from his stupor. “Damn,” he thinks to himself, “I knew I should have stopped after knocking back that second Jagermiester!” He sits surveying the board thinking, “I know this position. Anand managed to hold a draw against Karpov at Moscow, 2002, but Leko ground down Kramnik after making him suffer in the match for the World Championship.” As he sits racking his brain for the next moves the thought occurs, “Why don’t I offer this lowly IM a draw? That way I can go back to the room and sober up.” Deciding that is the only course of action, he moves his hand toward the Rook in order to take the Bishop and as he touches the Rook he is struck by a spasm. His hand now holding the Rook displaces several pieces. “Ja’doube; Ja’doube!” he says, while desperately putting the pieces back in place. He then looks at his opponent to offer a draw, but before he can do so he is struck by the thought, “What if he does NOT ACCEPT?!” Meekly and plaintively he manages to mutter, “Draw?”
Kramnik blundered horribly, and instructively, in the WC game. Since he had won the first game, this brought the score to even, at 2 1/2 apiece. The next game turned out to be the most critical of the match. The subtitle of this game in the book is: “A HUNGARIAN WITH NO HUNGER”
Leko-Kramnik, WC match game #6
1.e4 e5 2.f3 c6 3.b5 a6 4.a4 f6 5.O-O e7 6.e1 b5 7.b3 O-O 8.h3 b7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 a5 11.a2 c5 12.bd2 c6 13.c3 d7 14.f1 d5 15.g5 dxe4 16.dxe4 c4 17.e3 fd8 18.f5 e6 19.e2 f8 20.b1 h6 1/2-1/2
At the end of the game it is written, “While making this move, Leko offered a draw-probably prematurely.” After providing some variations we have, “Possibly Peter reckoned that a moral victory in the opening debate was fully satisfactory for him. And most probably he was simply following the plan he had decided upon after Game 1. Match score: 3-3.” This concluded the annotations of the game.
Many words have been written about what could have possibly movitated Peter Leko to not press his advantage, not only in this game, but in the match, since he now had the “momentum.” What struck me is what was written next.
“But no one will ever prove to me that some kind of basic match strategy or overall general plan exists that is able-even in the name of a Grand Plan to become World Champion-to justify a withdrawal from the Struggle, going against the very essence and profound spirit of The Great Game which doesn’t recognise compromise and conciliationa and demands wholehearted devotion and passionate fanaticism, but lavishly rewards the chosen madmen who acknowledge and accept the Rules.”
In all my decades of reading about the Royal game those words are some of the most powerful and profound ever written. It goes to the heart of the matter. It is the answer to the question of why we play this game, or any game, for that matter. It is simply incomprehensible to believe Bobby Fischer would have even considered offering a draw to World Champion Boris Spassky in their 1972 match for the title in the exact same position Peter Leko found himself in his match. The same could be said for current World Champion Magnus Carlsen, who is undisputely the best human player on the planet.
Peter Leko lost the match, and his chance to become World Chess Champion. He has the rest of his life to answer the question. I hope is not a weak-minded person, because obsessing over “What might have been” has been known to have driven people insane.
The book, “The Magic Tactics of Mikhail Tal,” by Karsten Muller & Raymond Stolze, contains a prologue, “Knowledge? Intuition? Risk?” written by Tal. It is borrowed from issue #1/1991 of the ‘Zeitschrift fur wissenschaftlich-literarische Beitrage zum Schachspiel’.
“What then can be considered a risk in chess? Does a chess player intentionally take a risk?
If we identify the concept of ‘knowledge’ with a sort of scientific approach to chess, if we place intuition in the realms of art, then to continue with the allegory risk should be linked to sport. It can even be expressed in the terms of the proverb: ‘Whoever does not take any risks never wins anything’. I should like to add to this that in my opinion a chess player is not really taking a risk till he knows what he is risking.”
“A chess player has sacrificed a piece for an attack although that was not strictly necessary. Does that mean he is taking a risk? There is no doubt about that because his attack can be beaten off and his opponent’s extra piece comes back at him like a boomerang.
Fine then, but what about the position of the player who has accepted the sacrifice (although he should decline it) and in doing so reckons that he can beat off the attack? Is he risking something? Of course he is! After all, the attack may be successful.
Who then is taking the risk? There are no scales which are able to determine this.”
I can only add to this my feeling that any player who offers, or agrees to split the point without playing a serious game is someone who plays without risking anything. If that is the case, what then is the point of playing the game?
For the record I give the complete game score of the 5th match game for the World Championship between Peter Leko and Vladimir Kramnik.
Leko,Peter (2741) – Kramnik,Vladimir (2770) [D37]
World Championship Brissago (5), 02.10.2004
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0–0 6.e3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.a3 Nc6 11.Bd3 Bb6 12.0–0 Bg4 13.h3 Bh5 14.b4 Re8 15.Rc1 a6 16.Bxa6 Rxa6 17.b5 Rxa3 18.bxc6 bxc6 19.Rxc6 Ra7 20.Rd6 Rd7 21.Qxd5 Rxd6 22.Qxd6 Qxd6 23.Bxd6 Bxf3 24.gxf3 Bd8 25.Rb1 Bf6 26.Kg2 g6 27.f4 Kg7 28.Rb7 Re6 29.Rd7 Re8 30.Ra7 Re6 31.Bc5 Rc6 32.Ra5 Bc3 33.Rb5 Ra6 34.Rb3 Bf6 35.Rb8 h5 36.Rb5 Bc3 37.Rb3 Bf6 38.e4 Ra5 39.Be3 Ra4 40.e5 Be7 41.Rb7 Kf8 42.Rb8+ Kg7 43.Kf3 Rc4 44.Ke2 Ra4 45.Kd3 Bh4 46.Bd4 Ra3+ 47.Kc2 Ra2+ 48.Kd3 Ra3+ 49.Kc4 Ra4+ 50.Kd5 Ra5+ 51.Kc6 Ra4 52.Kc5 Be7+ 53.Kd5 Ra5+ 54.Ke4 Ra4 55.Rc8 Bh4 56.e6+ Bf6 57.e7 Rxd4+ 58.Ke3 Bxe7 59.Kxd4 Bh4 60.f3 f5 61.Rc7+ Kf6 62.Kd5 Bg3 63.Rc6+ Kg7 64.Ke5 h4 65.Rc7+ Kh6 66.Rc4 Kg7 67.Ke6 Bh2 68.Rc7+ Kh6 69.Kf7 1–0

The Discman Part Deux

After reading an article in Rolling Stone magazine, “Between the Bars: 20 Great Songs About Prison,” you know what I did. “OK Discman, offa the toppa your noggin’…Name the best prison song of all time!”
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/between-the-bars-20-great-songs-about-prison-20140512

This time a reply was received from the Discman so soon it left me wondering if he, too, had read the article and had an answer prepared for me!
“Here’s my top 25 plus some Honorable Mentions:

1) Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash)

2) Jail House Rock (Elvis Pressley)

3) Ellis Unit One (Steve Earl)

4) You Never Even Call Me By My Name (David Allan Coe)

5) Hurricane (Bob Dylan)

6) Wichita Jail (Charlie Daniels Band)

7) Fish in the Jailhouse (Tom Waits)

8) Care of Cell 44 (The Zombies)
9) Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy)

10) 30 Days in the Hole (Humble Pie)

11) I’m In the Jailhouse Now (Webb Pierce)

12) Life in Prison (Merle Haggard)

13) County Jail Blues (Eric Clapton)

14) Jailer (J.J. Cale)

15) Riot in Cell Block #9 (Johnny Winter)

16) Prison Blues (Guitar Slim)

17) Judge Boushay Blues (Furry Lewis)

18) Cincinatti Jail (Ronnie Earl)

19) Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (The Beatles)

20) Murder in My Heart for the Judge (Moby Grape)

21) Give My Love to Rose (Johnny Cash)

22) Prison Trilogy (Joan Baez)

23) Christmas in Prison (John Prine)

24) 25 Minutes to Go (Johnny Cash)

25) I Got Stripes (Johnny Cash)

Honorable Mention:

Good Morning Judge (Furry Lewis)

30 Days in Jail (Bessie Smith)

Jail House Blues (Bessie Smith)

Death Cell Blues (Blind Willie McTell)

The Cell (Leslie West)

What a Lowdown Place this Jailhouse Is (Blind Blake)

Prison Bound (Sonny Boy Williamson & Memphis Slim)

Tijuana Jail (Kingston Trio)

Go To Jail (R.L. Burnside)

The Wall (Johnny Cash)

Greystone Chapel (Johnny Cash)

Rusty Cage (Johnny Cash)

The Cage (Elton John)

Doin’ My Time (Johnny Cash & Marty Stuart)

Weighted Down (Skip Spence)”

The man knows his music! A little later another email arrived from the Man of the Disc, “You should take a listen to Ellis Unit One by Steve Earl – it’s a haunting song about capital punishment and the electric chair told from the perspective of a jailer guarding murder row.”
chambiz

To which I replied,
“I have and it is…I’m a HUGE fan of Steve Earl. I’ve caught him on Austin City Limits and various other programs on the tube…”
To which he replied, “Yeah I’m with ya – LOVE Steve Earle.”

After informing the post had been published, he sent me this:
Cool!

One of the benefits of the internet is virtually unlimited space – there are no arbitrary restrictions like you have with printed media…

On another note, I was listening to Disc #190 yesterday and ran into a great Jail song I neglected to include on my list: Trudy by the CDB off the outstanding 1975 album Fire On the Mountain.

Definitely would have been in the Top 10, as it combines Jail and Poker.

I assume you know what a “mechanic” is at the card table – it’s somebody who is very good at shuffling/dealing to give himself (or somebody else) specific cards (i.e. CHEATING). A good mechanic is always good at “base-dealing” (i.e. dealing from the bottom of the deck…)

Now Johnny Lee Walker was a card mechanic…

and how good is this lyric:

Then I took off a running like a motorcycle
Heard the bullets whining and sirens wail
But it took half the cops in Dallas County
Just to put one coon-ass boy in jail

“Trudy”

Call up Trudy on the telephone
Send a letter in the mail
Tell her I’m hung up in Dallas
And they won’t let me outta this jail

And if she asks you how I’m fairing
Tell her I’m just about to lose my mind
Worried about old Johnny Lee Walker
And the girl I left behind

Now Johnny Lee Walker was a card mechanic
Had a hand for trouble and a eye for cash
Luckiest man in Dallas County
He had a gold watch chain and a black mustache

And he loved his whiskey and he loved his women
Drove a big long Cadillac limosine
Kept a big fine fancy townhouse in Dallas
And a hotel suite in New Orleans

Carried a switchblade knife in his left hip pocket
And a .44 hog leg up under his coat
Cut you down in a New York minute
If he catch you cheating that was all she wrote

So call up Trudy on the telephone
Send her a letter in the mail
Tell her I’m hung up in Dallas
And they won’t let me outta this jail

If she asks you how I’m fairing
Tell her I’m just about to lose my mind
Worried about old Johnny Lee Walker
And the girl I left behind

I just got to town last Friday evening
Sure as hell didn’t mean to stay
I was on my way back to Louisiana
Had a powerful thirst and six months pay

I met a peroxide blonde in a bar on D-ville
I was flying high and feeling mean
Poured down a bottle and a half of red eye
I dropped 35 dollars in the slot machine

And the boys in the back was dealing 7 card
I set down and won me a 110
I was raking in chips like Grant took Richmond
Till big Johnny Lee come a strolling in

He ripped off the table like a 707
Pretty soon he done won all of my bread
I accused him of cheating he reached for a pistol
I grabbed a chair and went upside of his head

Then I took off a running like a motorcycle
Heard the bullets whining and sirens wail
But it took half the cops in Dallas County
Just to put one coon-ass boy in jail

So call up Trudy on the telephone
Send her a letter in the mail
Tell her I’m hung up in Dallas
And they won’t let me outta this jail

And if she asks you how I’m fairing
Tell her I’m just about to lose my mind
Worried about old Johnny Lee Walker
And the girl I left behind

“The integrity of the game is shattered”

The big chess news today is the chess program known as Houdini, rated 3134, lost to the much lower rated Jonny 6, rated ‘only’ 2799. To make things worse, Houdini had the White pieces. The Legendary Georgia Ironman said Houdini lost because it had “…shown human like qualities by making bad moves.” Ouch! The man from the High Plains, former Georgia and Ga. Senior, champion, David Vest, said the machines were showing Tron like tendencies with the possibility of becoming sentient entities. He added, “We may just think they are off, but in reality they continue to compute chess variations even after the plug is pulled!” I got in on the conversation by adding, “And in the future, when humans are battling the machines, as in the Terminator movies, future humans will look back and blame it on those humans who started it all by programming machines to play chess.” Quiet reigned for a few moments while everyone contemplated the prospect…
Life is change and chess is a part of life, at least for now. How long chess will remain relevant is an open question. I lost interest in the computer tournament after learning humans force the machines to play openings played by other humans at the recent Tata Steel chess tournaments, in lieu of allowing them to play the move the program considered best. I have no interest in the USCL because teams are forced to play an inferior player rather than someone much stronger. The same thing happens in Little League baseball when the rules require a team to stick some obviously under qualified child in right field for a certain number of innings, possibly costing his team a win. Many years ago Maddog Gordon and I, watched an episode of the cartoon series, King of the Hill, in which the poor young son of the King was the unfortunate one placed out in right field, against his wishes, I might add. We laughed uproariously as the poor kid tried, and failed, to catch a fly ball. Although the adults meant well when they forced the poor boy to play, they did not take into consideration what it would do to him to be put into a position to fail. This is often the position some, lower rated player finds himself in when the score of the top three boards, often manned by GM’s, is tied, and the outcome of the match is riding on their small shoulders. What is the point? If a team cannot play their four best players, that means some worthy player is forced to sit while a player of much lesser quality plays in his stead. Imagine the outrage if college maimball teams were forced to play the third stringers in the fourth quarter. How much interest would there be in college maimball?
I sent this chess game to a few friends recently:
[Event “Oslo Chess International – Håvard Vederh”]
[Site “Ullevaal Stadion”]
[Date “2013.09.29”]
[Round “5”]
[White “Johannessen, Leif E”]
[Black “Istratescu, Andrei”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteElo “2519”]
[BlackElo “2646”]
[EventDate “2013”]

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. e4 d5 6. e5 Ne4 7. Bd3 c5 8. Nf3
Nc6 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 cxd4 11. Bxe4 dxe4 12. Qxe4 dxc3 13. Ng5 g6 14. Qh4 h5
15. Ba3 Nxe5 16. Rad1 Bd7 17. Bxf8 Qxf8 18. Qd4 f6 19. f4 Ba4 20. fxe5 Bxd1 21.
exf6 c2 22. f7+ 1-0
The Discman sent this reply, “I read your blog. (Concerning cheating in chess-AW) I am sure some with their heads in the sand will say we’re being paranoid and this type of thing would never happen at your normal weekend tourney but I would be willing to bet does in fact happen. Even if it’s only a small percentage of people who are cheating that’s too much – the integrity of the game is shattered.
Looking at the game below – wow what a hay-maker!” The Legendary Georgia Ironman sent this pithy comment, “I wonder if Leif was “hooked up”?” This is my point, exactly. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, it can never be put back, unfortunately. There will always be a question about any outstanding move played by a human. Was it from the mind of man, or was it from the innards of a machine?