Friday, October 24, 2014

DG XII: Doctor Jana Bellin

[Dr Jana Bellin] is willing to prepare a considered comment on the interesting matter of chess and seniors, people with Alzheimer's and so on. 
Stewart Reuben, EC Forum

I’m not a glass half-full person by nature. Not exactly half-empty either. By default setting I’m much more a 'there’s not enough water in the cup because somebody knocked it over and now I’ve got a big stain on my trousers and I’m going to have to walk around all afternoon looking like I’ve weed myself' kind of a guy.

Which is why I’m always pleased - if not outright surprised - when I am in a position to report some good news. And today is one of those days.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Patriarchal theory

I happened to be discussing the famous Botvinnik-Fischer game with some friends when Angus French pointed out an interesting anomaly at a crucial point.

The anomaly isn't in the game, so much as in Botvinnik's comments on it: at Black's seventeenth move he gave a couple of short variations which he had apparently analysed in his preparation, but which Fischer sidestepped by choosing a third move instead.

Here's the variations given on page 243 of Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games (Faber and Faber, 1972)

and here they are on page 242 of Kasparov's My Great Predecessors, part 2 (Everyman, 2004).

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day of days

White to play
Kasparov - Karpov World Championship Game 4, New York 1990

Last Friday’s post from EJH marked the 43rd anniversary of the sixth game of the Fischer - Petrosian Candidates’ Final. We’re revisiting another 17th October today too, although we don’t have to go quite as far back for this one.

It’s not exactly a coincidence. You play World Championship Chess for a century or more, you’re going to have plenty of examples of two or more important and/or memorable games being played on the same day.

I wonder, though, what the most significant date for chess history is. Has anybody ever worked it out? If not feel free to make a suggestion in the comments box. Or just enjoy Gazza leaving an exchange en prise for ten moves before Anatoly finally bit, if you prefer.

2014 ISE Count: 59
TISE Index

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What Marcel Might Teach You

An exhibition "What Marcel Duchamp Taught Me" has just opened, in which today's "conceptual" artists, reflect, in words and pictures and things, on their debt to Marcel Duchamp. It is at the Fine Arts Society, 148 New Bond Street, W1, and it is on until 5th November - free downloadable catalogue on their website.

A lot of it is good fun, at least I thought so. As for a homage to his chess (not, if the truth be told, a major focus of the artists involved) there's a holographic chess piece, a recycled chess set, a chessic totem pole, and a painting called "Pawn" - which references Marcel's "Nude Descending a Staircase" (according to the press release).

If you do visit, have a go at the interactive headphone installation: it is accessed on the top floor. Stick with it and you, too, will descend a staircase, and you might be surprised where it leads you (clothes optional).

Die-hard Duchampophiles might also fancy hopping over to Paris for a show of his paintings, on until 5 January, at the Pompidou Centre.  

Beware: nudes descending. 
A longer appreciation of these exhibitions may follow in a few weeks time.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Why didn't Petrosian play 3.e3?

The sixth game of Petrosian's 1971 match with Fischer, the Candidates' Final, took place on the seventeenth of October. As Petrosian lost the game and the three that followed, the match is probably best remembered now as the fourth of Fischer's five consecutive crushing victories which began with the procession at the Palma Interzonal became and ended with his trouncing of Spassky in Reykjavík.

Or was that Fisher?

Whoever owns AGON, they can neither spell Fischer nor resist the 600 million nonsense.

It didn't seem like that on the afternoon of 17 October: the scores were equal, Petrosian had the advantage of the White pieces and should have had the advantage on the scoreboard, which stood at 2.5:2.5. Granted, he'd lost the first game, but he'd been winning out of the opening: in the second he annihilated Fischer, bringing to an end a twenty-game winning streak, quite likely the most impressive (though not the longest) in the history of chess.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Clearly not a sacking offence

Private Eye 1377, 17 October 2014, page 6.

[Thanks to Pablo Byrne]

[Ray Keene index]
[Ray Keene plagiarism index]

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dear Roy and Norris

White to play
P. Barasi v JMGB, Surrey League 14.10.2014

My game from last night. Move six.

I was really hoping White was going to play e2-e4. Not because I thought it was a bad move. Purely because I wanted my next turn to be ... dxe4. When my first six moves

... f5
... g6
... fxg4
... d5
... c6 
... dxe4
would have been pawns going to light squares.

Somewhat to my disappointment Paul actually went 6 Qd2 and only on his next go did he push his e-pawn forward two squares. So I did still get six of seven which is not bad at all, but can anybody do better?