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December 20, 2002

Karpov Beats Kasparov, Yes!!

Karpov beats Kasparov 2.5 - 1.5 and I'm thrilled. Near the end of the third game I was reminded of a comment Grandmaster Julian Hodgson made during the Kramnik-Kasparov match, "Kasparov is going down!!", he said with more than a bit of glee. Yes I thought, Kasparov is going down! I'm a fan of Karpov, I'm not a fan of Kasparov he's a jerk but boy can he play chess, beautiful chess. There are not many in the Chess World that aren't just arrogant pricks. Perhaps it has something to do with the single-mindedness necessary to excel at the game. Some exceptions come readily to mind Larry Christiansen, Igor Ivanov, there are others I haven't met that seem to be real gentlemen, Anand for one. I'd love to see him win a World Championship. Here's a thought, Liberals prefer Karpov and Conservatives prefer Kasparov. I really don't have any convincing evidence for that proposition. Well there is the fact that I'm Liberal and he's a Conservative. I like Karpov, he likes Kasparov. An admittedly small sample, but then again... So if you follow the game and would like to express an opinion I'm interested. One thing I can say I appreciate the chess they play, the opportunistic jerks like Kasparov, and the nuts like Fischer. I think it is important to judge the player and his games separately. Of course that's true of any art be it painting or music or ... If you haven't noticed I've posted the games here in several formats for your perusal, and picture is worth a thousand words....

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December 18, 2002

Karpov vs. Kasparov

Karpov Wins 2.5-1.5 The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat Links to games below. All games viewable with Java Viewer and you can download all four games in pgn format. You can also view the game scores with a diagram every five moves by following the individual game links. X3D Technologies will host the first world chess match broadcast over the Internet in 3D. The event will star legendary world chess champions Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov in a two-day match from the ABC news building in New York's Times Square. The matches will be broadcast over the Internet on Thursday December 19th and Friday December 20th at 5:00 PM and 6:15 PM EST. Each game will be played in approximately one hour, with 25 minutes for each player at the start, plus an increment of additional 10 seconds per move. X3D Technologies will broadcast the event live in eXtreme 3D, presenting Kasparov and Karpov floating in space inside and in front of the computer screen. The Internet Chess Club will cover the match live. (membership required )Click on the Kasparov/Karpov match in the BlitzIn event list or "finger Kasparov-Karpov" for additional information about the match. Chess.FM, live Internet Chess Radio will also have live coverage of the match. Join host Tony Rook, as GM Boris Alterman, GMLarry Christiansen, and NM Dan Heisman provide expert commentary, andICC members Sveshi and Hangin report live from the site. The Games Game 1: Karpov blunders in time scramble loses. Game 2: Karpov comes roaring back to win. You'll love his 42 move see if you can figure out why Kasparov captured with the Queen rather than the Bishop. They were both short of time at the end, quite a scramble. So the match is even two more games tommorrow starting at 5:00 pm eastern time. Game 3: Karpov gives Kasparov an endgame lesson. Fantastic technique and the fast time control gave Karpov the win in the third game he now leads 2-1 with one game left to play. Early expectations in this game were for a quick draw, but it was not to be. This is one hell of a match. Game 4: Another Petrov's this time a draw Karpov wins match 2.5-1.5 Wow! I really liked Karpov 26th move f6 Black can't play Re7 because Black simply takes the Bishop on d6. View Games with Java Viewer play through games move by move Download PGN File The following are game scores with diagrams every five moves. Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4...

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December 12, 2002

Chess in Cuba

Cuba aims for chess record Cuba is hosting what it claims to be the world's biggest simultaneous chess competition..Eleven thousand are taking on more than 500 chess masters. It is part of the closing ceremony of the event being described as the first Cuban Olympic Games. Chess pedigree The idea is to top the world record of 10,007 tables set recently by Mexico. Each one of the masters is playing 25 to 30 people simultaneously. The event is part of the Cuban Olympic Games, organised after the country decided not to take part in the Central American-Caribbean Games because of security problems. The competition is supported at the highest levels of government. President Fidel Castro dropped in for an hour, one of several people playing one of the experts, before heading off to take part in a summit of Caribbean leaders. Cuba has a chess pedigree. The revolutionary hero, Che Guevara, was apparently also a fanatic of the game....

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December 11, 2002

Practice Practice Practice

It looks like all I need is more practice. Intersting article on the nature of intelligence as it applies to games such as Go and Chess Chess and GO no-brainers? The board games chess and GO take practice, not intellect, brain scans of players suggest . Intelligence areas appear inactive when people puzzle over game strategy... Sheng He concedes that expert players, or those with money riding on a game, might stretch their minds more. In the test, players pondered the best move in a non-competitive scenario... "Most of the stuff we think of as smart is based on experience," says psychology expert John Gabrieli of Stanford University in California....

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December 7, 2002

Quebec City Chess

Igor Ivanov recently sent me his games from a recently completed tournament in Quebec City. Igor scored 4.5 out of 5 finishing alone in 1st place. He has been kind enough to annotate several of the games for us. You'll enjoy his annotations he is very honest in his evaluations and entertaining as well. You can play through all of them here using a java applet or if you would like to view the individual game scores with some diagrams here are the links: Round 1 Baudreau-Ivanov 0-1 Round 2 Ivanov-Fortier 1/2-1/2 Round 3 Ivanov-Caire 1-0 Round 4 Girard-Ivanov 0-1 Round 5 Shleifer-Ivanov 0-1 Congratulations Igor, well done....

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November 21, 2002

Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer's Pathetic Endgame Paranoia, hubris, and hatred the unraveling of the greatest chess player Fischer's story doesn't follow the usual celebrity-gone-to-seed arc. He has not been brought low by drugs or alcohol, by sex scandals or profligate spending. Instead he is a victim of his own mind and of the inordinate attention that the world has given it. Fischer's paranoia, rage, and hubris have been enough to transform him into an enemy of the state; they have been enough to sabotage a brilliant career and turn a confident, charismatic figure into a dithering recluse; and, sadly, they have been enough to make us forget that when Bobby Fischer played chess, it was absolutely riveting theater, even for those who didn't play the game. Of course he hasn't come totally unraveled he referred to George W. Bush during one of his radio interviews as "borderline retarded." But whatever else you may think about Bobby Fishcer he has left us his games. Here is a link to his "60 Most Memorable Games" for you to play through, or download the pgn file. Pgn is a text file, pgn stands for portable game notation and many chess programs can import files in this format....

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October 24, 2002

Do not pass Go

To see this story with its related links on the Guardian Unlimited site Do not pass Go Computers can beat the world's best chess players but have yet to master other classic games like Go, writes David Levy Ever since Garry Kasparov's sensational 1997 loss to the IBM chess monster Deep Blue, the chess world has thirsted for revenge. But the first opportunity ended in failure in Bahrain on Saturday, when Kasparov's former pupil and successor as World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik, could only draw an 8-game match against one of the world's leading chess engines, Fritz. But this was just the latest in a long series of human versus computer encounters that illustrate the inexorable march of artificial intelligence (AI). It's a story that began at a Dartmouth University conference in 1956, when several of the founding fathers of AI defined the goals of that infant science. One of them was to create a computer program that could defeat the world chess champion. Success would, those scientists believed, reach to the very core of human intellectual endeavour. By the early 1990s, due in no small part to the successes achieved in computer chess, the interest of the AI community had spread to many other games of skill, including backgammon, bridge, Go and Scrabble. Where exactly are we now in this fascinating struggle?...

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October 11, 2002

Man vs Machine Redux

World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik , is half way through a match with Deep_Fritz arguably the strongest commercial chess program available. Fritz is running on an 8 processor Compact Computer. This is the program most Grandmaster use for analysis. Hiarcs 8 another excellent program is a more human like opponent and may be equal to Deep Fritz. Both of these programs are stronger than Chessmaster 9000 that beat U. S. Champion Larry Christiansen. Four games into a scheduled eight game match Kramnik leads 3-1 winning twice and drawing the other two games. It appears Kramnik's style is well suited for playing against a computer. He trys to limit the tactical possiblities and focus on a strategic battle. For those interested in more details. Check out the Chessbase site Here is a link to the games if you would like to play through them. update 10/13/02: The Knight is a popular piece with beginning players the strange move it makes described as one square horizontally or vertically and one square diagonally seems mysterious and quite unpredictable. The Knight and Queen combination is particurlarly powerful. In an equal ending with both players having five pawns and a Queen and a Knight Kramnik simply blundered, apparently overlooking an intermediate check, giving Deep Fritz the win and once again making a match of it. Kramnik continues to lead but the difference is back to one game Kramnik 3 Deep Fritz 2 update 10/15/02: Kramnik with the advantage sacrificed a Knight on move 19, driving Blacks King into the open and great danger. The computer defended magnificintly and Kramnik resigned on move 34. Kramnik said he simplycould not resist a piece sacrifice which could have made this game "the most beautiful of my career" (Kramnik). The match is now tied Kramnik 3 Deep Fritz 3 update 10/17/02: One game to go and the match is all tied up. Kramnik got the position he wanted out of the opening. Computers don't play as well in closed position's but Kramnik was unable to capitalize on his advantage and in fact allowed the computer to get back into the game. A repetition of moves by Kramnik, and the computer seeing no way to make progress resulted in a draw. The final game will be played Saturday Kramnik will have the white pieces the question is will he play for a win or try to use the advantage of the first move to secure a draw. A $200,000 dollar decision. He will received a million for victory $800,000 for a draw and $600,000 if he loses. Match still tied Kramnik 3.5 - Fritz 3.5 update: 10/18/02 : The final game was a boring 21 moves. Looks like to me it may have been agreed drawn in advance. Kramnik not willing to risk $200,000 losing would have cost him. So the match ends drawn 4-4 everyone happy expect perhaps the fans. I found the Christiansen - Chessmaster 9000 match much more enjoyable even though the computer won. Christiansen played Chess Kramnik played a match. Players like Christiansen, Shirov, Ivanchuk, and Morosovic are much more fun to watch than the Kramnik is. Match drawn Kramnik 4.0 - Fritz 4.0 Here is a link to download the games as a .pgn file or follow this link to play through the games. note: The first game is listed twice due to a glitch in the viewer, just click on the second copy to load the game. I also suggest turning off animation in preferences. I'll post updates as the results come in, the next game is scheduled to be played tommorrow....

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Chess As Life

"One of the things that appeals to me about competitive chess (I mean over-the-board chess, though presumably the same goes for correspondence chess if there is not too much collusion) is that it is, as games go, very fair. There is quite a lot of luck in chess over the short term. But on the whole it tends to cancel out. Certainly chess compares very favourably with all the things that go under the designation 'real life' ,with all the stacked decks, silver spoons, nepotism, favouritism and disastrous misfortunes that attend. In comparison with the crazy unpredictability and uncontrollability of most of human existence, playing chess (even in a time-scramble!) is like a paradise of rationality. I really do mean that..." -George Botterill International Master personal note: George Botterill was my son Chris's academic advisor at the University of Sheffield this past year....

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October 3, 2002

Improve Your Tactics

Chessplayers. A great online database of tactical problems. You can't move the pieces, but then that's the point isn't it. This site includes databases with solutions including The Encyclopedia of Chess Middle Games, Bent Larsen's Good Move Guides, Endgame Studies, Positional Play, Reinfield's 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations and 1001 Ways to Checkmate. A great resource I recommend....

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September 28, 2002

Man Or Machine

A four game match between Grandmaster Larry Christiansen, current U. S. Champion, and Chessmaster 9000 was played at The Internet Chess Club September 28th and 29th. Two games each day. Larry defeated CM9000 in the first game with the Black Pieces giving the program a lesson in Rook and Pawn endings. Chessmaster came roaring back in game two winning in 61 moves. Larry allowed an open position that, even though Queens were off the board, played into the strength of the computer. In the third game Larry after making a brilliant Rook sacrifice missed the best followup and drifted into a lost position. This game is one you will enjoy playing through. Qh1+ rather than f3 is probably winning, but f2 was the losing move in my opinion. The fourth and final game resulted in a draw assuring Chessmaster 9000 of the win. The final score was 2.5 to 1.5. Click here to play through the games or here to download as a pgn formatted text file. GM Larry Christiansen - Bio Grandmaster Larry Christiansen was born June 27, 1956 in Riverside, California. A fine swimmer and water polo player, he learned chess by watching the older kids play at his swimming club when he was all of nine years old. Together with his brother Jim, Larry spent countless hours playing checkers and chess which led to a love of the game that paid off when he became a grandmaster by winning the Malaga tournament in Spain in 1977. He thus became one of the few players in the history of chess to skip right over the lesser international master title.Larry later promoted chess for Church's Fried Chicken by touring the U.S. from coast to coast giving exhibitions before moving to Germany in the 1980's to play the European circuit and participate in the German club league, or Bundesliga, in which he was a regular all-star. Christiansen was U.S. co-Champion in 1980 and 1983 and has represented the United States eight times in the bi-annual chess Olympiad events as a player. At the 1998 and 2000 Olympiad, Larry was non-playing captain of the U.S. team. The team brought home the silver medal, narrowly missing the gold at the '98 Elista event. Larry is currently living with his patent agent wife Natasha in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Still an active player, Larry can frequently be found on the Internet playing and teaching chess on the World Chess Network. Considered one of the greatest attacking players in the history of American chess, Larry's latest achievement is the publication of his book Storming the Barricades and his victory in the 2002 U. S. Championship....

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August 1, 2002

Europe's Oldest Known Chess Piece

July 30 � During excavations last week at a Roman era palace in Butrint, Albania, researchers working in an upper level reception hall found a tiny ivory object dating to 465 AD. They believe it is Europe's oldest known chess piece. If the identification is correct, the object predates the world's earliest written texts about chess from the fifth to the seventh centuries in India, one of the most notable being a 606 AD Sanskrit romance. It further suggests that trade and exchange of cultural information from India and Asia to Europe and the Mediterranean region was more widespread than previously thought. continued from

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July 28, 2002


Chicago Community Mulls Chess Park It's probably not good for your chess, but should a little innocent sight seeing be grounds for losing your board. The goal of chess is after all finding mates....

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July 21, 2002

Turzo Bites The Dust

My son Chris is attending Sheffield University in England. One of the ways we keep in touch is through a common interest in chess. We both spend a good deal of our time playing online at the Internet Chess Club. Saturday I received an e-mail from Chris, he had played in a Simul against International Master Atillo Turzo Both Chris and I have had the incredible good fortune of having won games against Atillo. Yesterday It was Chris's turn. The time control was 60/30 which means each players has 60 minutes for the entire game after each move an additional 30 seconds is added to your time. If you're a chessplayer take a minute and play through this game. Chris sacrifices a piece on move 25 ... Nxe5 for a wonderful attack and eventual victory some 20 moves later....

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July 14, 2002

Distributed Chess

Now there are two attractive ways for chess enthusiasts to use those spare CPU cycles one that is trying to create the world's largest chess computer and the other that I have mentioned before and is the one I'm currently supporting is using chess in research on artificial intelligence, both are worthy of your support. The Worlds Largest Chess Computer? What if we could link computers throughout the Internet to form a massive chess computer? A global Chess Brain... How strong could such a program become? The ChessBrain project is dedicated to creating the worlds largest chess computer by utilizing the combined processing power of interconnected machines throughout the Internet. The Distributed Chess Project is a distributed computing effort in the field of artificial intelligence. The goal is the creation of chess-playing artificial neural networks using distributed evolutionary algorithms for the training of the networks. The training is performed using a client software to be installed on the computers of people who are inclined to participate in the project. A server provides data specifying a certain computational task and accepts the results once the client is finished with the task. Then a new task will start based on new specifications. The client comes with an attractive screen saver displaying historical chess games. The games from Bobby Fischer's book 'My 60 Memorable Games' are included....

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July 12, 2002

Chess in Canada

Igor Ivanov is currently in Montreal Canada. He is planning on spending a couple of months there playing in tournaments. He is currently playing a four game match against the Canadian Champion Pascal Charbonneau. Igor won 3 games to 1. Igor won the first game with the black pieces. The next two games were drawn. Igor won the final game after Pascal pressed too hard in a must win situation. Igor gave a simul in Montreal before beginning his match with Pascal. He will also be playing in tournaments in several Canadian cities including Toronto. Here are the games ....

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July 11, 2002

Chess World Feuds

"On the face of it, the game of chess could not be duller � two serious-looking people at a table for several hours, moving pieces with only an occasional flourish. Behind the scenes, however, it's a whole different board game" continued here...

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June 29, 2002

Chess and Boxing

Another chess player climbs into the ring On Saturday another brainy boxer, Wladimir Klitschko, will fight for the WBO Heavyweight Title in Atlantic City with Garry Kasparov watching. In a future match against Lewis, Klitschko has suggested the two should play a game of chess before the fight with Garry Kasparov watching. What's up with all the boxers playing chess. They're smart enough to play chess but dumb enough to box. A paradox?....

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June 26, 2002

Chess Programs Test Computers

From the inquirer"OUR FRIENDS at c't magazine have a battle going on at their website right now. The site has a dual Athlon 2GHz machine playing 55 matches of chess against a dual Xeon 2.4GHz box. And readers can watch as Sanders and Grove originated boxes sweat it out over the Internet." At the time of this posting the AMD machine was leading 2 games to none. I remember in the early days of micro computers the 6502 chip used in Apple and Commodore computers was the programmers chip of choice for chess playing since the critical factor in these programs is how efficiently they execute branch instructions. The 6502 was fantastic, There were other micros running Z80 and 8080 chips running at 4mhz (how things have changed) that didn't stand a chance against the 1 and 2mhz 6502 based machines. For current standings and live action here is the link....

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June 10, 2002

Knockout On The Chessboard?

Lennox Lewis had all the right moves in his match against Mike Tyson over the weekend. He also has some pretty good moves over the chessboard. Here are the details from the Telegraph. Everyone knows that Lennox Lewis is the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Not so many people know that Britain's most successful - and wealthiest - sportsman is also an obsessive chessplayer. Although Lewis is a very big man even by the standards of heavyweight boxers - 6ft 5in, 17st 8lb, and arms that span 83 inches - he moves with astonishing lightness. There is absolutely no sense of physical menace, and his handshake is feather-light. This I found reassuring. When I asked The Telegraph's chess columnist, Nigel Short, for some technical advice before the game, the celebrated Grandmaster replied: "If he offers you a draw in a menacing tone of voice, accept."...

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May 18, 2002


I recently received another email from Igor. I hadn't received any for a time and the few I did receive were infected with the Klez worm. He finally got some help from the Norton's and they found a worm in some attachment and quarantined the sucker. Igor says, "Lets hope that is the end of it but frankly I don't think so, and he signs the email with "Igor, the worm slayer." More interesting is the problem he sent me to solve. He didn't tell me but I'll tell you the last time we corresponded he was still working on it himself. So here is the mission if you choose to accept it. White plays 1 e4 and on Blacks 5th move he plays NxR mate. Construct a legitimate game from this bit of knowledge. Just to be clear 1. e4 ... 2. ... ... 3. ... ... 4.... ... 5. ... NxR mate. I wrote Igor back to verify the puzzle was correct since my head was beginning to ache. He confirmed that it was. He further said that "he was told that without 1 e4 the solution was easy not that I have found it. So the obligation to 1. e4 does make the solution somewhat more complicated. I was also told that Botvinnik and Tal spent an hour on the train trying to solve this one and failed. Sell it for what I bought it." If you find a solution either to the original or the easy (ha ha) version please post a comment, for I fear there will be many more headaches before a solution is discovered. Update: I have the solution. Alas, I didn't solve it but was told what it is. If you are tired of trying email me and I'll send it to you....

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May 6, 2002

How Many Champions?

It looks like the giant egos in the chess world were actually able to agree on something. Plans are being made for the reunification of the chess world championship!! There are currently two players claiming the title of world champion. Ruslan Ponomariov , the FIDE World Champion and Vladimir Kramnik who defeated Gary Kasparov. One has the feeling that somehow Kasparov thinks he is still champion he still has the highest rating in the world, and seems to have both Kramnik's and Ponomariov number in recent tournaments. So perhaps it should be four. It was really getting depressing I was starting to think that the chess world was using professional boxing as a model so this is good news indeed....

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April 28, 2002

Chess Virus

While chatting with Aaron, a chess playing friend on ICC. I asked him if he had any favorite quotations. This is one of them. "When one first plays chess, he is like a man who has already caught a dose of microbes. Such a man walks along the street, and he does not yet know that he is ill. He is healthy, he feels fine, but the virus is doing its work." - Mikhail Tal...

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April 5, 2002

World Champions Meet She Wins

When the great Bobby Fischer was asked if women could play chess he said "I could give any woman in the world a piece and a move; to Gaprindashvili even, a knight" When Mikhail Tal heard about Fischer�s claim he is reported to have laughed and said "Fischer is Fischer, but a knight is a knight!" During the 1930's few women played chess against the men. There was one notable exception, Vera Menchik. She was a very good chess player perhaps the first woman of Grandmaster strength. In fact she defeated so many strong players, world champions among them, that a club of sorts was formed, The Vera Menchik Club. It wasn't a good thing to be a member of the club since the only way you could get there was if you were male and lost a game to Vera. Among her victims were Max Euwe (twice), Sammy Reshevsky, Mir Sultan Khan, Sir George Thomas, C. H. O'D. Alexander, Edgar Colle, Frederick Yates, William Winter, Lajos Steiner, Frederich Saemisch, Milner-Barry, Harry Golombek, and Jacques Mieses (who lost to her four times in a match). After Vera's death there were few women who competed with the male chess players until the late eighties when the Polgar sisters burst upon the scene. Until then men were relatively safe from becoming members of any "woman's club." Well the times they are a changing. This past week the Female World Champion Zhu Chen defeated the Reigning Men's World Champion Ruslan Ponamariov playing at the F.I.D.E. Grand Prix tournament in Dubai. She drew the first game and defeated the men's champ in the second game eliminating him from contention. Chen's remarkable achievement makes her perhaps the only female world champion ever to defeat the male world champion in any sport. The men had to console themselves with the fact that former world champion Anatoly Karpov defeated her in the following round. So the debate goes on, although there are fewer now who don't believe women can compete on an equal basis with men in this mental game. For those of you who would like to see the games here are four games from the event Chen's win and draw against Ponamariov and the losses to Anatoly. Click here for additional information on the F.I.D.E. Grand Prix...

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April 3, 2002

A Game to Remember

Igor Ivanov, if you were to ask, will tell you that he was born in Russia many years ago. In 1980 at the age of thirty-three he left Russia and moved to America. During the past 20 plus years Igor has lived in Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Salt Lake his favorite. He has travelled all over the world playing chess in Paris, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, San Sebastian and many other exotic locations, but as Igor will tell you nothing is forever. A few years ago he quit travelling and with his dear wife Elizabeth moved to a lovely small town, Central, 25 miles North of St. George in Utah. Igor loves to play the piano having done so all his life. He occasionally gives recitals at the Tabernacle in St. George. On a recent visit to his home I found him playing the Fantasie Impromptu by Frederick Chopin. One year before leaving Russia Igor played the then World Champion Anatoly Karpov in a tournament in Moskow. Anatoly was World Champion from 1975 to 1985. Karpov's style is best described as positional. His philosophy of chess is clear from his own words, "Let us say the game may be continued in two ways: one of them is a beautiful tactical blow that gives rise to variations that don't yield to precise calculation; the other is clear positional pressure that leads to an endgame with microscopic chances of victory. I would choose the latter without thinking twice. If the opponent offers keen play I don't object; but in such cases I get less satisfaction, even if I win, than from a game conducted according to all the rules of strategy with its ruthless logic." Anatoly has lost very few games in his career but one day in 1979 he lost to Igor. Here is the game for which Igor has provided the annotations....

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March 28, 2002

Annotated Chess Game

International Master Igor Ivanov recently competed in the United States Championship tying for ninth only a single point behind the winner Larry Christiansen. At the National Open in Las Vegas in March Igor once again competed and again tied for 9th of 197 participants in the Championship Section with 4.5 of 6.0 possible points falling just short of qualifying for the 2003 US Championship. Igor has annotated his third round victory at the National Open and has made it available for your enjoyment. Igor has agreed to provide additional annotated games in the next few months so check back often....

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March 25, 2002

How Grandmasters Think

A few days ago I told you about the event at the Internet Chess Club . Banter Chess a two game match between GM Larry Christiansen (the current US Champ) and Alexi Dreev (from Russia). The Players commented on the games in real time, but couldn't see each others comments. The event exceeded my expectations, which were already very high. My son's Chris & Tim were all online watching the action with me Chris from England, and Tim and I at home. There were approximately 700 other chess fans watching with us. We all ran out of superlatives early on, you can only say this is so cool. This is fucking awesome so many times. The games were exciting the commentary by the players was both instructive and entertaining. In the first game Alexi opened with a Queen pawn and Larry surprised him with the Benoni, a favorite defense of Grandmaster Nick de Fermian, who by the way tied with Larry at U. S. Championship this year. Larry won the playoff. When Alexi played 3. Nf3 he was expecting either a Queens Indian Defense or the Bogo Indian Larry chose the Benoni. It reminded me of the National Open in Las Vegas in 1993. Nick de Fermian had started poorly and I was playing above my head in the Open Section. I got paired with Nick in the third round. A lamb to the slaughter. The game got published in the Tournament Bulletin under amusing crushes, I later discovered that the game had made it into a database on a chess-playing program called Extreme Chess. One reason I remembered the game was that I had told Igor Ivanov that I was paired with Nick and that I was looking forward to playing against his Benoni. At the time I didn't realize that if I played 3. Nc3 that Nick would play the Nimzo Indian and that I should have played 3. Nf3 if the Benoni was what I wanted. I'm sure it would have made no difference. So of course the discussion of Larry's brought back those memories. The Benoni is extremely sharp and when Larry played the defining c5 and said something like lets play something suicidal. The game went back and forth finally ending in a hard fought draw. The second game was even wilder if that is possible. Larry sacks his queen for a couple of pieces and a wild position. Larry is a very creative chess player. At one point, Alexi said I thought we had agreed not to play these kinds of positions. Larry made an error towards the end and as a result the game went from a win or draw to a loss giving the match to Alexi 1.5 to .5. You can see the games here with all the players' comments move by move. I also included my game with Nick if you're interested in seeing how a GM can crushes a patzer....

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March 24, 2002

Three In A Row

A ridge of granite rising from left to right casts a shadow on a lone pine, and below a forest of green covering all but the most rugged gray granite poking through. It is difficult to imagine the pain they must have suffered or what a grizzly bear was doing in northern Utah. Rex Stewart and his bride Cecile were found near Alta Utah. A forest service employee doing routine maintenance on a popular hiking trail found their badly mauled bodies Monday afternoon. Why the bear was there was only part of the mystery. Why the newlyweds were there was equally puzzling. They had been on their way to Lake Tahoe, with no reason to stop in Utah, except to fill the tank of their red BMW with gas. The police asked me to help in the investigation. Why, well they were quickly discovering how paranoid chess players are and needed someone on the inside. Rex was an internationally known chess player, with a penchant for pissing people off. A giant ego, but of course that was true of most chess players. I was apparently the only one in the entire state that knew who he was. That and my ability to untangle some nasty disputes at the chessboard were my only qualifications....

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March 21, 2002

onegoodmove and onebadmove

The Internet Chess Club just keeps getting better and better. If you have ever considered joining now would be a good time. I just received this announcement of an upcoming event taking place on ICC. *** Banter Chess on ICC March 24! GM Dreev vs. GM Christiansen ICC announces an exciting "Banter Chess" match between Grandmasters Alexei Dreev and Larry Christiansen! The match will take place on Sunday, March 24, at 3pm ICC time. The Grandmasters will kibitz their thoughts and analysis while they play, for the spectators to watch! (The players cannot see each other's comments). It's a great way to learn how the GMs think when they play. The match will be two games of 20 20 time control. The match is open for viewing only to ICC members, who should type "observe Dreev" or "observe LarryC" to watch. GM Dreev is rated 2683 and is from Russia. GM Christiansen is the current US champion, rated 2571. *** Sounds great doesn't it. I'll be there and hope to see some of you. If you want to join and watch these two Grandmasters duke it out follow this link. If you need any help just send me an email and I'll be happy to oblige. I played again in a simultaneous exhibition given by International Master Atillo Turzo, I played him last week and managed to win. Well today started differently I quickly got into trouble, fortunately he was playing some 40 other players and lost his Rook for my Bishop. My position was still terrible, and I made another bad move and was for all practical purposes lost, but the chess gods must have been smiling because Atillo blundered and I was able to win my second game in a row against him. The game is not pretty I'm certainly not proud of my play, but it is a good example of how continuing to play can pay off....

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March 14, 2002

Simultaneous Exhibition

The Internet Chess Club is a great place to play chess they offer both casual and tournament play. You can even chat with friends while online. My son Chris logged on from Sheffield England where he studying Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, and I joined him there from my home in Utah. We were there to play in a simultaneous exhibition against Atillo Turzo an International Master. Atilla Turzo is from Hungary like the Polgar sisters and Peter Leko We had a great time chatting while playing our games. It's just great you can chat, have a board displaying not only your own game but other players so I was able to watch Chris's game at the same time I was playing. Turzo was quickly winning game after game. My game was complicated with all kinds of tactical possiblities. I started getting really nervous still having a reasonable game after 20 + moves. Late in the game I felt the tide starting to shift in his favor, it was time for some creativity or perhaps just some luck. I remembered my friend Igor telling me that there are often resources available if you can stay calm. When I looked back at the board I saw a line where I could sacrifice an exchange and at least equalize the position perhaps even gain an advantage. I played the move and with a little bit of luck obtained a decisive advantage. My heart was racing when Atilla graciously resigned. I had won. Here is the Game. Chris was not as fortunate this time. Players as strong as Atilla typically win most of the games in a simul. Seldom do they lose more than one or two. It's days like today that keep me playing. You can visit Atilla's website here....

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March 8, 2002

Two Minutes

There was a recent post on MetaFilter about ABC digitally altering the James Bond Movie "Diamonds Are Forever". It's funny how uptight people are about anything sexual. At the National Open, a chess tournament usually held in Las Vegas each year. I was sharing a room with three other chess players, one was a good Mormon, and always a little uncomfortable with the Las Vegas reputation. We talked about what shows we might want to see while there and Jeff made it clear that he wasn't interested in that sort of thing. We teased him a little, but then had to head down to the tournament for the first round of play. My game lasted longer than the others and when I got back to the room. John was checking out the adult movie previews on the television. You could watch approximately two minutes of a movie without having to make a commitment to pay for it. Jeff protested, saying why would anyone watch such crap, but he didn't leave, and his attention seemed to be riveted on the TV. I smiled, and said, "better watch out Jeff that stuff is addictive". He said, "well I'm not really watching it. I was just thinking. I'd forgotten it was even on". Right I thought. We all went to get a bite to eat then to the convention area where the tournament was being held. The games lasted late into the night. Tournament Chess is a timed event. A tournament like the National Open will have a time control of 40 moves in 2 hours and game in 1 hour. That means each player has two hours to play the first 40 moves and if the game is not over you enter a sudden death time control, which allows an hour for each player to complete the game. Most games are 40 moves or less but a substantial number extends well beyond that, and a single round lasts from four to six hours. I once had a game of 92 moves before sudden death time controls were adopted which lasted over nine hours. We were all tired when we got back to the room and since the morning round was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. we quickly fell asleep. I'm not sure why I woke up, but as I rolled over I noticed the TV was on. I remember thinking, I wonder who left that on and was about to get up and turn it off when I saw Jeff sitting quietly on the edge of his bed completely absorbed in the adult fare. I watched quietly for some time as he watched two-minute segments of the entire list of well, humper movies, switching from one to the other just before he would have to order the entire movie. I eventually got bored watching him, and rolled over and went back to sleep. The next day we all won our games except Jeff who lost both of his. I guess Jeff was right when he said it was a bad idea to get involved with that sort of entertainment, it certainly was for him. Note: The names have been changed to protect the guilty....

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March 3, 2002

Do You Play Chess?

In the early ninety's when chess players still got together in person my good friend Stephen invited the usual suspects over for a little barbecue and some chess. He said he had some visitors we would enjoy meeting. I asked who, he said that Grandmaster Alex Sherzer would be there and the rest he would save until later. I prodded without success. As it turned out Alex was not traveling alone, the others in his party were introduced as Lyle, Zoie and Sofia. The conversation quickly turned to chess, the PCA the Intel Grand Prix, as well as the merits of different players. I think at least some of us were wondering, could this Sofia be Sofia Polgar, at least I was. We didn't have to wait long to find out. About five minutes into the conversation Tim said, "well ladies do you play chess." To which they replied "oh a little." Most chess players know the code "oh a little" means I can kick the crap out of you over the board. A few minutes later not satisfied, Tim said to Sofia, "you look a lot like Judit Polgar", a real conversation stopper. Stephen said, "well of course she looks like Judit this is Sofia her sister". Tim said, "NO, not really" to which Stephen in his most serious tone replied, "Yes Tim really". Tim didn't say anything for several minutes. Then you could see the realization on his face, like the sun rising in the morning a glimmer of light reflected in his eye. Then just as quickly as if the entire day had passed in that one moment the sun set and his face turned a dark crimson red. There was nowhere to hide; all he could manage was a soft oh. Sofia gave us all gave a chance to prove our skill at speed chess, all quickly fell victim to a very good player. Tim claims to have won one game, but after watching Sofia crush Alex Sherzer game after game, I don't believe him. Tim was not alone however, the previous weekend Sofia, Alex and company were in Tucson, Sofia wasn't playing but was at the tournament where no one recognized her. Note: Sofia Polgar is a two-times Gold medallist with Hungarian national women's team in 1988 and 1990. Her biggest success was in Rome, 1989 with a performance rating over 2900! (Kasparov's current rating is 2838) In a field of strong GMs she won the competition with 8.5/9, which at the time was a record in open tournaments. Here is one of her best games from the tournament with her own annotations Sofia Polgar - Alexander Chernin. Rome 1989 and some additional information about Sofia....

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February 5, 2002

The Distributed Chess Project

Distributed computing is all the rage these days we're searching for extraterrestrials, working on cures for cancer and anthrax. Now you can spend some of those extra CPU cylces on artificial intelligence. What they are doing is basically "Creating Chess Playing Artificial Neural Networks with Distributed Evolutionary Algorithms" this is different from the brute force approaches taken by most chess playing programs, and has more to do with how humans approach the game. "The approach taken here can perhaps be described best as 'playing chess by pattern recognition'. Interesting stuff check it out....

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February 2, 2002

Chess in Afghanistan

I often get distracted playing chess, spending many hours that I should probably be doing something else, but hell I enjoy playing chess and it looks like the Afghans do as well. "The Taliban watched their every move, but chess-loving Afghans survived to play again"...

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January 26, 2002

The Internet Chess Club

Tournament Chess is a timed game. You can be winning on the board but lose if you run out of time. On the Internet Chess Club hundreds of people from all over the world play chess 24 hours a day, you can always find a game there. Grandmasters, International Masters and the rest of us play there every day. You will even find my friend Igor Ivanov (The picture is from the U.S. Championship) Igor's handle at ICC is IgorIvanov, my online name is (surprise) onegoodmove. The Benko Gambit is a defense to White's opening move d4 it's popular with players who hate defending and would rather attack. In exchange for a pawn black gets open files and a lot of pressure on the h8-a1 diagonal. Players of the Black pieces also like the fact that they can play the first dozen moves without paying much attention to what their opponent is doing. This can be useful if you have problems with time trouble. On the other hand ignoring your opponent can have deadly consequences as an opponent of mine discovered. This game had a time control of 3-0 that means that each player had to complete all his moves in 3 minutes. The line I play here is very aggressive and Black has to be very careful. (update) I've included an additional eight examples from games I played on ICC. If you're interested in learning more about the Internet Chess Club just click on the link for more information....

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January 19, 2002

Chess A Cruel Game

I spent last Sunday chatting with my son Chris and watching Igor Ivanov's final game in the US Championship. I then sent Igor an email congratulating him on a great tournament and remarked that the final Ivanov vs. Lapshun was so complicated that I wasn't sure if he was winning or losing. During the game I suggested the move 23. g3 which Igor commenced to play. I told the others observing the game what a genius I was. Here is Igor's comment about the move "23. g3 was an obvious mistake after 23. Be2 Qd2 24. g3 - now - White is winning" he continued "after 23. g3 ?? Qd1+ 24. Kg2 Rd2 - a move I failed to estimate properly I felt that everything is lost I cursed the day I learned to play chess ... " later in the game when it became obvious that g3 was not a good move another observer said well onegoodmove (my handle on ICC) you got us into this mess how do you suggest we proceed now. So I went from genius (in my own mind) to fool. Chess can be a cruel game. Igor says that although made out of desperation 25. h4 was a very good move, and that everything was back under control after 28. Kh3 The great players like Igor put their mind, heart and soul into the play and with one mistake and it can go from a win to a draw or loss. Igor's great technical skill and imagination secured the win in this game. The difference between the great players and the rest of us is not only their chess skills, but being able to control their emotions in positions like this one. To view Igors games Click Here it will take some time to load and display be patient. Click Here to download as a .pgn file....

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January 11, 2002

A Recent Chess Game

I spent the evening playing in a 15 0 elimination tournament on Internet Chess Club . In an elimination tournament if you lose you are out. Most tournaments these days are Swiss Style where you play every round win or lose and like scores are paired each round. There are also round robins where you play every other player in the tournament. 15 0 means that each player gets 15 minutes for the entire game. I am a 'tomato manager' on ICC tomato is the program that does pairings for a tournament. The manager just makes sure it goes smoothly taking care of any problems that come up. It's nice to be able to run a tournament when you want to play. In the first round I played a player rated 2190 using the handle GroovyChick she (?) dropped a queen on about move 10 and resigned. The second round I had the black pieces a Caro Kann and was fortunate enough to win Click here for the game. The final round it was my turn to drop a piece, a rook, oh well second place and a satisfying second round....

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