Last month - in the issue for 4 May 2013 - Ray Keene had a column published in the Spectator. It was called Great Alexander and it annotated the game Alekhine-Rubinstein, Carlsbad 1923.
An interesting column, I thought. An interesting game with particularly interesting notes. All the more interesting when you find out where Ray plagiarised them from.
Well, what else would you expect from a plagiarist of world championship class?
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
"I had to be in for half six... there was a curfew at half nine"
I've been rather enjoying the Pimlico Open. Every Thursday at 6:30 for five weeks, I get to keep my game up to speed and speed my game up to keep going. And it's going all right, so far. Two wins and a draw mean I'm in a share of the lead. But I very, very nearly blew it last week.
In this position, I managed to not immediately see that my king could shepherd the passed pawn from the c file. Over about five minutes, I terrified myself into thinking that I had to bail out for a draw with 47... Kf4. It's just as well that blindness can be temporary.
Tournament Diaries Index
Monday, June 17, 2013
When you need cheering up there's nothing quite like laughing at the problems of others. Victoria sponge, maybe, but nothing else. On Saturday evening I needed both.
So call me a misanthrope if you will, but there I was wiping the crumbs from my lips whilst having a chortle at Magnus Carlsen's latest rook ending debacle. Our F.W.C., having gone well beyond misfortune and carelessness, is making such a habit of failing to hold drawable rook endgames he's surely earned the right to have the phenomenon named after him by now.
At the Candidates' Carlsen lost against Ivanchuk - Magnus versus you; EFing rook endings - and then in May he went down against Wang Hao. Given his form in this area, it probably shouldn't have been a surprise when things went tits-up once again, this time around against Caruana at the Tal Memorial.
Deceptively difficult, these rook and single pawn positions eh? Even when you have an elo comfortably over 2800.
It's an odd one isn't it. Carlsen's supposed to be The Man when it comes to endings - and maybe he is - but for some reason when the game is reduced to nothing but rooks and pawns he often fails to locate the cow's arse with his proverbial banjo. Aside from losing drawable positions, against Kramnik at the Tal Memorial Blitz he added 'not exploiting winning chances' to his repertoire of rook ending mishaps. More of that next week.
Why? Who knows? It's a conundrum, to be sure.
Still, if nothing else it does at least give us something at which we can chuckle when we find ourselves in between cake. Every cloud, eh Magnus?
Rook and pawn Index
Saturday, June 15, 2013
From being little more than toys, in the late 1970's, chess computers have risen to challenge the mightiest grandmasters on the planet. Kasparov himself narrowly succumbed to Deep Blue in 1997, but since then the champions such as Kramnik and Kasparov himself have held their own against the best silicon monsters. Then, in mid-2005, Grandmaster Michael Adams, a world title contender, was swept away by the all-devouring Hydra in a match which may well mark the advent of machine supremacy in the ultimate thinking game
Or so it says here.
... to do with chess Index
Posted by Jonathan B at 11:00 am
Friday, June 14, 2013
FREEZE FRAME. And the TITLE SEQUENCE BEGINS...
CHARLIE (V.O.)Once upon a time...
THREE FOURTH GRADE SCHOOL PHOTOS FILL THE FRAME, side by side by side. These are three very different girls.
NATALIE, with a page-boy cut and wearing a Catholic schoolgirl's uniform, sports glasses and braces; a bit awkward and gangly, even shy.
ALEX, formally dressed with perfect pig-tails, is sophisticated and self-possessed; a class act, even at ten.
DYLAN, wild blond hair and faded T-shirt, has a jaded, street-wise smirk; even at this young age, her isolation and disillusionment are masked by seeming confidence.
CHARLIE (CONT'D)... there were three very different little girls.
The triptych remains on screen. Now it shifts into:
VIDEO TAPE - THE THREE GIRLS (STILL IN TRIPTYCH)
Now TEENAGERS, on HOME VIDEO.
NATALIE, working the A-V equipment at school, hides her face in embarrassment, uncomfortable with the camera. FREEZE.
ALEX, in riding gear, accepting her steeple-chase trophy. She knows where to look for the camera. FREEZE.
DYLAN, smoking with her tough-girl friends in the girls' room of her reform school, is caught on camera. She flips it off. FREEZE.
CHARLIE (CONT'D)Who grew up into three very different women.
They're all WOMEN now, in their early twenties.
NATALIE, a research fellow at MIT (and beautiful, but not flaunting it) demonstrates a chess-playing computer program to a room of impressed advisors.
ALEX, valedictorian at Oxford, passionately delivers her address to a crowd of rapt students, faculty and parents.
DYLAN, in leather and a helmet, steps off a Harley. She sees a punk with a mohawk slapping around his girlfriend. She decks him, then enters the back door of a seedy punk bar.
CHARLIE (CONT'D)With three things in common...
With photographs again. The women, as they are now: Natalie, Alex, Dylan. All gorgeous, all self-assured.
CHARLIE (CONT'D)They're brilliant. They're beautiful. And they work for me.
Now, FIREBALL EXPLOSIONS completely fill the screen.
CHARLIE (CONT'D)My name is Charlie.
ANGEL SILHOUETTES appear, in flames.
Well that was how it went in an early draft of the script, anyway. By the time the movie actually reached the screens things were somewhat different. For a start, Nathalie had stopped being the designer of a chess machine and become the winner of a TV quiz show instead.
And that's kicking your ass.
Chess goes to the movies Index
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Lahno-Artemiev, FIDE World Rapidplay, round nine, last Friday. Position after 68...Qf5-e6+.
It's not the first time I've borrowed one of these from Chess Today (to which publication, I should add, I recommend you all subscribe) and this one is from their issue 4595.
Naturally, almost anybody can find a really bad move in almost any position. But can you find the very worst move in this position? And can you do so at rapidplay speed?
[Worst Move index]
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
"In hindsight, I don't want to be like the people I've liked"
Last Friday, a day after this game was played, I had an entirely separate lengthy discussion with the other Krakens about a particular poker hand. I argued that, despite playing marginally suboptimally, the fact that I had gone into battle with a precise plan vastly outweighed the minor mathematical and strategical leaks. And I still think I was right.
Now, contrary to popular belief, chess and poker are different animals. Obviously, having a plan is important, and executing moves with a certain degree of moxie can convince your opponent of things that aren't there, but there is absolutely no way that 10. dxc5 should be any good here.
Back story! A few weeks ago, I was absolutely destroyed after the standard 10. Re1 c4, and I didn't fancy reliving that particular memory. In addition, after a long day of training for my new job, I was a bit fuzzy and fancied some fruit. So I convinced myself that opening up the position for my two bishops wasn't entirely dreadful. And, after 10... Nxe5 11. Nxe5 Qxe5 12. Be3 Nf5 13. Bd4 Nxd4 14. cxd4, I went on to win.
Were my actions correct this time? Despite knowing I'd led myself down a very sketchy path, I felt comfortable with what I was doing. Perhaps this showed and convinced my opponent that there was some hidden merit to it.
Either way, going into tomorrow's third round, I'm in a seven-way tie for 2nd. Get there, one time.
Tournament Diaries Index
Tournament Diaries Index