Monday, 16 December 2013

A random act of kindness

asimpereira vs NightFury
This was a position from my 5min blitz game on FICS today. I have 3 pawns for a piece. My opponent just played ...Re8 to support the e7 pawn.
In this position, I played Bb6 since the Queen has no place to move. But my opponent replied with Rc6???
What would you do in this position?

.
.
.
It was obvious that he had a "Freudian slip" (or a mouse slip!) and ofcourse wanted to move his Rook to c7 instead of c6. So I captured his Queen and immediately offered him a draw! He accepted the draw.

Then I asked him on chat if he accidentally moved the Rook to the wrong square which he confirmed. He thanked me for offering a draw.

Feels good! :) Happy Christmas!

Final position:

Can you find the best move for Black? (Warning: bloodshed ahead!)

My 3 min Blitz game on FICS. Can you find what I played in this position as Black? (full game replay at the bottom)



How should one think in this position?
In a blitz game, there is not much liberty to "think". But this is where Chess Intuition plays a big role.

1. White has just moved his Rook to e1 (away from his King and the important f-file)

2. Black has a nice pressure against the g2 pawn.
These two points should ring a bell that a Tactical shot is lurking and one should FIRST start calculating ...Bxg2 (even before thinking of ...Rxg2 since its easier to sacrifice a piece of lesser value)

3. After ...Bxg2 Bxg2, the natural Qe4 pinning the piece should be considered. This brings Black's most important piece in the game and closer to the enemy.

4. Analyze White's most obvious response i.e. f3 which protects the g2 Bishop and attacks the Black Queen which is on e4.

5. This is a somewhat critical position and you should spend some time here. Consider the "shocking" ...Rxg2 which takes away the last defender of the King and since you have another check with Rdg8.
The first obvious reply you should calculate is Kxg2 (Rook). When one has plenty of time on the clock, other King replies like Kh1/f1 can be considered (but why worry, since you have already recovered the piece if the White King does not capture your Rook!).

6. But what happens after Rxg2 and Kxg2 and Rdg8+? What now if the King moves to f2 i.e. Kf2? At this point, one should be happy to spot the nice little ...Bh4 which brings the last Black piece into attack and takes away important dark squares from the White King.

7. I did not calculate any other move beyond ...Bh4 except a quick little Rg2+ in case the King moves to d2. But this kind of think comes automatically to a "trained chess eye". It should be comforting enough to know that the White King is all alone (except the passive e3 Bishop which is actually and unfortunately blocking his own Queen from protecting the King-side), whereas Black now has his Queen, Rook and Bishop. Apart from the King moving to f2, you would know that any other King move like Kh1 or Kf1 (moving to a White square) is bad since the Black Queen captures on f3 with a check.

Full game replay

Friday, 22 November 2013

World Championship App, Carlsen and some pics

"The first of its kind!"
This World championship match touched many lives, and mine has been no different.

Back in September, I approached the AICF with a proposal to develop a Android app for the Match. They liked the idea and the rest is history!


There were lots of new things that I had never done before with my other Chess apps. It was a big challenge. 


♚ The first line of code!

On, September 1st, 2013, I wrote the first line of code!
Given my familiarity with Java and affinity towards Google, I chose the Google App Engine as my server. (One of the main reason to use a separate server for my app was to reduce the load on the official servers, especially after the London Candidates' debacle during the earlier rounds). There were many technical hurdles that had to be crossed.
Line by line, file by file, the Android app and the corresponding server was brought to life.
But the main setback was not a technical problem, but a lack of response from the concerned teams that almost threatened to derail the app or some of its features. 
There were so many questions that needed answers, but there was no one to answer!

♚ First board prototype

The first board prototype, using the color scheme matching the actual board from the Candidates! Lol. The teak theme was too dark on some phones, especially the black pieces on dark square.

♚ What you "fore-see" is not what you get!

But as it happens with so many projects, the end-product is almost always completely different from the initial idea that you had envisaged, and some times its good.
At some point, the "Cool Anand" and "Hot Carlsen" board ideas struck my mind.
The app had to be made personal. After all it was all about the duo. And the fans. Let chess fans proudly choose the board theme matching the player they support, is what I thought!

Tactics were never part of the initial idea, but they became one of the most liked features of the app! (Full set of 300 tactical puzzles of Anand and Carlsen are available for purchase via my iChess Android and iOS app)

Live video was! But even after the app was officially released, there were no details on how to access the live video! (lol, can only laugh when I think about it now!)
Picture gallery was optional, and remains optional till date! ;)
There were so many features that I wanted to add and so many changes that were requested by Chess fans, but then there is a limit to time, energy and motivation!

♚ Who will annotate the previous encounters?

The previous encounters had to be annotated. With my limited time and Chess skills, I could never had done justice to the master pieces. I initially approached a couple of Indian GM's, one of whom is well known for his satirical posts. But I did not have the money to offer nor did they have the time. (Note, the app was developed for FREE with no monetary payment. Just for honor and pride, or "loyalty huh?" as Vishy Anand told me at the pre-match dinner party!)
Then entered, Sagar Shah, the most energetic and entertaining Chess annotator I have ever seen. His annotations are like poetry! He agreed to annotate for the share of the "glory" and no money, although I did tell him that in case there is a chance to monetize the app, then I shall pay him 30% of the revenue. Thanks to the server costs, the revenue is negative! Ofcourse, being the "official" app, it could not serve any Ads and generate revenue. Imagine the app saying, "you can only watch the first two games for free. Rest of the games need $0.99, each) :P

♚ The first version

After several internal Beta test versions from Oct 21st to Oct 25th, the first version was released for public download on Oct 26th. I could now breathe easy, atleast that is what I thought!
Then followed a series of changes, bug fixes, improvements, additions, deletions. Overall, 15 versions were released since then, each carrying some improvement or bug fix or some unavoidable design change!

♚ Stats & Dates

  • Development started - Sep 1st
  • First version released - Oct 26th
  • Total active users - >45,000 (as of Nov 27) (my expectation before the match was a modest 5000!)
  • Average rating - 4.72/5 (389 of 471 were 5 stars!)
  • Top 3 countries - India (37.8%), Spain (7.72%), Germany (7.52%). Norway was #5 with 3.87% sessions.

♚ Thanks

This app would not have been possible without the kind support of so many Chess enthusiasts and even non-enthusiasts (the app icon was developed by a "non-Chess" guy!)
Starting with Bharat Singh, who liked the app idea and immediately called up to take this forward. Sagar Shah and Swayams Mishra who helped with the Previous encounters and Tactics respectively. Such was Sagar's enthusiasm and commitment, that he would burn the midnight oil and stay up late till the morning and annotate the game (before he got busy with his own tournament)! I think it took a toll on him and he had a disastrous performance at the recently concluded Chennai Grand Master open tournament.
Soni Prasad, my college mate who designed the app icon even though he was faced with some personal tragedy and difficult situations.
Aart Bik, who offered the first "foreign" hand and translated the app to Dutch. BTW, he is the developer of the popular "Chess for Android" app.
Many of them came ahead on their own accord and helped with the translation. This is the real Chess spirit! Bruno Pellanda, David Kaufmann, Houssem Collo, Jan Hotarek, Michael Meyer, Sverre Eugen. And the many people on G+, Twitter and FB who helped with their kind and encouraging words.
Some times users don't realize how their words (reviews in this case) can positively or negatively affect others. For instance, a user did not like the recently added Norwegian translation and chose to give a bad review. That was enough to upset Sverre, who had spent the time and effort to help translate and had personally offered his help in the first place. "So let them do it from here. I stick to only playing chess", Sverre argued. The user who chose to award a bad review, never offered any help to correct the translation, inspite of asking for his feedback! Thats life!

♚ Future of the app?

Dalila - "I'll miss seeing the coloured notification 'a move has been made'". It was indeed a part of my life for the past 3 months and for many fans world wide. This is quite evident from the amazing response the app received. And I am truly grateful.

At one point, the app was #6 in the Top New Free Apps in the Brain & Puzzle Category on the Google Play Store!
So whats next? Like Deep Blue, the super computer, the app will be disassembled! But the parts will be used for a future project with the intention of watching live games and even more! Stay tuned!

♚ Perks of the job

Watching the Opening ceremony from the front row!


Sitting on that chair, touching those pieces!


Oh and, congratulations to MAGNUS CARLSEN, the new World Chess Champion!
(My 10 year old niece, who was "not interested" in Chess, now likes Magnus Carlsen and has taken to chess again! She plays Chess with her 8 year old brother who coincidentally likes Anand...still!)

PS. Some photos from the event:

https://plus.google.com/photos/109229292553599584633/albums/5943560829066629073

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Introducing the Official App of the FIDE World Championship Match 2013

First time in the history of a World Chess Championship match, fans world wide can follow the action on their Android devices! And not just follow, but immerse into it with this feature packed Android app!


DOWNLOAD

Get it on Google Play

APP HIGHLIGHTS


Live Moves
Follow the live moves on a beautiful Chess board, and watch as the drama unfolds in real-time!

Notifications
Get notified when the game starts or after moves are made. What more, after every game is over, you will be immediately notified of the result*
Sample game notification in the Notification tray during the game and after the game is over

Engine Analysis
One click engine analysis of the current board position with two Strong Chess engines (Critter & Stockfish). Needs 'Analyze This' Android app
'Analyze This' Android app


Annotated Previous Encounters
Get ready for the match as Sagar Shah (ELO 2373) walks you through some selected previous encounters of Anand and Carlsen, with some entertaining annotations and commentary.


Tactics of Anand & Carlsen

Solve 30 tactical puzzles of Anand and Carlsen (15 each), carefully selected by IM Swayams Mishra (ELO 2434). These are "awesome tactics worth solving", as he puts it.


Integrated Tweets

Stay abreast with expert opinion and comments with the integrated Tweets. Also, Tweet while you watch the live moves right from the Board screen!


2 Board Designs

Whom are you supporting? Choose either the "Cool Anand" or the "Hot Carlsen" board design and support your man!
'Cool Anand' & 'Hot Carlsen' board designs!



Home Screen and Lock Screen Widgets
What if you could follow the action without even opening the app!!? Too good to be true?
Yes, you can! Add the Board widget to your Android Home screen (or Lock Screen!!) and watch as the widget updates automatically when the moves are made!*
The home screen widget can be resized and made bigger!




♚ Match Score
View match schedule (in your local time!) and follow the score as the match progresses


♚ Available in International languages
Thanks to some awesome Chess enthusiasts, the app is available in native Portuguese (BRL), Dutch, French, Czech, German and Spanish languages!**


♚ Optimized for Battery and Data
The app only does its work when the server notifies it that a move has been made, instead of continuously connecting to the server every few minutes. This saves a lot of device battery and data charges. Hence you can always keep your data connection ON and never miss a beat!


TIPS N TRICKS

  • Live Board - Swipe down to flip the board

  • Tactics - Swipe right-to-left to load next puzzle


  • Tweets - Pull down to refresh tweets


FAQs

"Google Play Services not available." What does this mean?

To save device battery and data charges, the app uses Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) to send moves and other details from the server down to the devices. If the correct version of Google Play Services is not available on your device, then cloud messaging will not work. Instead, the device will resort to pulling moves from the server. This has the following implications:
  • Server will not be able to push any move notification to the device. This in turn means that the device will periodically try and fetch this information, resulting in higher Battery and data charges
  • No move notifications from the server. Hence moves may be delayed
  • Game start/end notification will not work 
  • Home/Lock screen widget will NOT automatically show the latest board position.


With "Google Play Services" error, will I be able to watch live games? 

Yes! However, there will be no moves pushed by the server to your device automatically, nor will there be any game start/end notifications. As long as you are on the "Live Board" screen, the app will show the latest board position and refresh at a 2 minute interval.


How do I add the Board widget to my Home screen?

Click 'Widgets' category on your Android device and scroll right till you locate the 'World Championship Match 2013' widget shown below:
Then drag it and place it some where on your home screen. The widget will automatically update and show you the latest game position, when the game is in play*.




How do I add the Board widget to my Lock screen?

Lock your device and swipe the lock screen widget till you see the below:
Touch the '+' area and scroll to locate the World Championship match widget.

Then touch to select the widget and it will be added to the Lock screen.

Now when the game starts, you only have to look at your lock screen to see the current game position!*
Adding widgets to lock screen is available only on Android 4.2 and higher

CREDITS


* - Notification feature is not available on devices like the Amazon Kindle Fire etc which do not have the Google Play Services.
Please see 'Google Play Services not available' FAQ above for other restrictions for devices that do not support Google Play Services.
Lock screen widgets are only available on devices running Android 4.2 and above. 

** - If you would like to help and translate the App to your international language, please mail me at pereiraasim@gmail.com. Only the App could be translated. The vast amount of Game annotations and commentary will still be in English.

♚ IMPORTANT: The app supports nearly 4200 different Android devices! So there is a possibility that the app may not always look "pretty" on your device. If you are one of those, please drop me a mail at pereiraasim@gmail.com and I shall try to fix it. A bad review will not automatically fix the issue since most likely I would need more details from you! 


DOWNLOAD

Get it on Google Play

Thursday, 3 October 2013

300 tactical puzzles from the games of Anand and Carlsen

The biggest Chess match of the decade is just around the corner. What better way to celebrate this historic moment, than by solving puzzles derived from the games of these two brilliant players?

300 puzzles from the games of Anand (166 puzzles) and Carlsen (134 puzzles) are now available for purchase inside iChess. Now, get into the Championship mood!
(Note: First 166 puzzles are from Anand's games followed by that of Carlsen. As usual, all puzzles are arranged in increasing order of difficulty starting with basic one-movers and going on to several moves)

Sample Puzzle
How did Anand (White) destroy Black's King side?

White to play and win
Apart from the default free 1000 puzzles arranged into Normal, Advanced and Master levels, iChess also has lots of other puzzles that you can purchase.
Some of the puzzles available inside iChess for purchase
 Solution

App Download


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

iChess - Chess puzzles app now on iPhone and iPad!


Hurray, iChess is now available on the iPhone/iPad!

Disclaimer: It does not have the usual flair of the Android version, but it will get there!

You can open your own tactics PGN file (by placing the PGN file in the iChess Documents folder via PC/Mac). However this option is available only for Paid users (iChess upgrade). You can grab one of the Promo codes below to upgrade iChess!

PROMO CODES (Hurry before somebody else uses them!)
4RW4NFXYHJX7
YLT37W47HKLW
WJ96A79NWM7T
K6K446FAFH6E
JFTLPXRWTE3A
Edit: It turns out that Promo codes cannot be used for In-App purchases, but only for Paid apps! (sigh)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

New Chess puzzles from June 2013 and Mate in 1 move!

Today I have released new puzzles which can be purchased via iChess app!

Mate in 1 (400 puzzles!)
Check mate in only one move. Nothing more, nothing less!
This is great for beginners and kids but can also be good fun for more serious players!

June 2013 (300 puzzles)
300 puzzles from recent games played in June 2013. Featuring games from Tal Memorial, FIDE World Blitz, Russian Championship etc and games played by Anand, Mamedyarov, Andreikin.


Monday, 2 September 2013

Minor update to Analyze This app - Stockfish 4.0 & less battery drain and heating!

I have just released v2.0.6 of Analyze This app, with some important improvements:


  • Stockfish 4.0 - The Stockfish engine has been upgraded to v 4.0! I have found this version to be definitely better. This is also good on your battery, since by default it uses only a single core.
  • Less battery drain and heating - Using iChess on a multi-core device would often cause the device to heat up when continuously solving puzzles. This update brings better battery usage and definitely lesser heating!
  • Bug/Crash fixes - Some important bugs and crashes have been fixed.


This is just a small release. More "feature" updates are in the pipleline!

Friday, 30 August 2013

iChess v3.5 released - New dimension to solving chess puzzles

I am absolutely thrilled to release a new version of iChess with lots of interesting features and changes. This is iChess' 21st release in 2 years!

NEW IN v3.5
  • iChess automatically tracks the puzzles you find difficult. Then you can go to the Bird view of that puzzle set and choose "SOLVE FAILED PUZZZLES" option to start solving them. This will start loading all the amber and red colored puzzles in sequential order so you can keep your bird view clean. Go green!
  • Now you can choose to rotate the board so that you can practice solving puzzles for the other side. By default, iChess always places the board so that the winning side is at the bottom. But solving puzzles with the winning side on top can give a new dimension to your Chess and improve your defensive ability as well as ability to spot tactics for your opponents! See Settings
  • Lots of UI improvements
    • Added Sound
    • New Open PGN screen to quickly load your pgn file without having to wait to auto-scan
    • Hint button changes color per the side to move so its easy for you to know which side wins in that puzzle
    • Dark Theme to cool your eyes if you don't like staring at a completely white screen
    • Cool blue color
    • Prices in the puzzle store are in local currency plus other minor changes.
  • Remove Ads right from within the Free version. Now you don't have to worry about losing your PGN files or score. See Settings to remove all Ads from the Free version and make it identical to the Paid.
  • Lots of bug fixes and battery improvements.
  • Support different languages. Some of the language translations may be incomplete. More coming soon.
Special thanks to Dejan, Dorian, Felipe, Fermin, Gergely, Michael, Raymond, Rudy and others who helped with the app.





iChess - Chess puzzles Tips & Tricks


  • Swipe to move back and forth through the puzzles
          Review previous puzzle - Swipe left to right
          Load next puzzle - Swipe right to left



  • Jump to a puzzle number
          Load Bird view and tap on any number to load that puzzle


iChess FAQs

How does the Scoring work?


For each puzzle solved = 10 points
Failed =  minus 5 points
Hint = minus 5 points

Total score = Total Solved - Total Failed - Total Hints taken

What do the Bird view colors mean?

Green = Solved
Red = Failed
Amber = Puzzles that you find difficult.


I do not want the app to automatically load the next puzzle. I want to review the current puzzle after I solve it. How do I do that?

Its in the Settings! Open iChess Settings > deselect "Solve and Load Next". Now iChess will stay on the same puzzle once you solve it so that you can analyze it further.

Why does the Hint button change color?

The Hint button changes color according to the side to move. This should make it is easier to recognize the side-to-move than reading the "White/Black to move" text on top of the board.

If I choose to "Remove Ads", do I have to pay again for other devices or if I re-install or reset?

No! Once Paid, your purchase remains with you forever, just like the Paid app! So even if you buy a new device or reset the existing device or uninstall-reinstall iChess Free again, you should no longer see Ads.
(IMPORTANT: You should be using the same primary email account on your device with which you made the purchase, else it wont work.)

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Tactics in the Endgame ebook

I have now graduated from developing Chess apps to self-publishing Chess ebooks!

My first ebook, "Tactics in the Endgame" is now available on Amazon and it is currently FREE (for few days)!


Hope you like my latest offering, just the way you have loved my apps!

PS. This ebook is based on my "Endgame Tactics" puzzle from iChess app.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Indians at the Tromso Chess World Cup

The Chess World Cup is taking place in Tromso, Norway. The top 2 winners qualify for the Candidates, the winner of which will wrestle against the world champion.
There are 4 Indians participating at the Tromso World Cup (Sasikiran, Negi, Adhiban & Akash).

Update after R2:
Adbhiban is the lone Indian standing. He now faces world #9 Hikaru Nakamura in R3.
Sasikiran was ousted after he lost 1.5-0.5 to Sergey Karjakin in the rapid playoffs.

Edit: After the tiebreaks in Round 1:

  • Caruana (2796) 1.5 - 0.5 Akash (2332) => Akash eliminated
  • Alekseev (2714) 3 - 5 Adhiban (2567) => Adhiban wins
  • Kryvoruchko (2678) 4 - 2 Negi (2634) => Negi eliminated
  • Sasikiran (2660) 2.5 - 1.5 Lupulescu (2650) => Sasikiran wins



Caruana (2796) 1.5 - 0.5 Akash (2332) => Akash eliminated
Elo difference: 464 points!!

Game 1 - Akash 0-1 Caruana
Akash lost the first game with White although he was equal for nearly 25 moves. Caruana slowly squeezed Akash back to the wall and cramped his position.
Position after White's 40. Re2
How did Caruana (Black) end the game!?
Solution: (highlight the black box to see the solution) Rxh4!  (Hint: Simplification!)

Game 2 - Caruana 1/2 Akash
Needing a win in the final game of the mini match and playing Black against the World #3 is not easy. The pieces soon came off the board and Akash's extra doubled pawn gave no significant advantage and a draw was signed after 57 moves.



Alekseev (2714) 1 - 1 Adhiban (2567) => Tiebreak
Elo difference: 147 points!

Both games were uneventful draws. So Adhiban has done a good job of taking his higher rated opponent to the tie breaks.

Tie breaks consist of 2 games with a time control of '25 minutes for each player with an addition of 10 seconds after each move'. Tie breaks are on Tuesday, 17:30pm IST.


Kryvoruchko (2678) 1 - 1 Negi (2634) => Tie break
Two decisive games with Black pieces!

Game 1 - Kryvoruchko 0-1 Negi
Negi nicely maneuvered his pieces and exchanged them at the right time. The Rook, Knight and King soon set a nice mating net around the White King and the opponent resigned. Pretty instructive game!

Game 2 - Negi 0-1 Kryvoruchko
With White pieces, Negi only needed a draw to qualify for the next round. But Caissa had other plans!
Negi came out of the opening with a advantage. When things were almost equal, Negi made a mistake by moving his Bishop to e6 at move 42!
Position after White's 42. Be6?
How did Kryvoruchko (Black) force things here?
Solution: 42... d3!! {offering his Knight!} 43. Ra1 (43. Rxb4 Rd8 {
who can stop the pawn?} 44. Re4 Qxe4!! 45. Qxe4 d2 {wins}) 43... Nc2 44. Rd1
Qe2 45. Qg4 Rd8 {and Negi resigned 5 moves later} 0-1

Sasikiran (2660) 1 - 1 Lupulescu (2650) => Tie break

Game 1 - Lupulescu 1/2 Sasikiran
Draw in 19 moves! (I remember reading how Sasikiran has a fighting spirit and generally does not accept quick draws.). But this strategy probably makes sense in a match, where you are content to draw with Black, preserve your energy and fight for a win with White.

Game 2 - Sasikiran 1/2 Lupulescu
Sasikiran did get a tiny advantage in the Nimzo Indian but Black was never into any serious trouble.

Tie breaks consist of 2 games with a time control of '25 minutes for each player with an addition of 10 seconds after each move'. Tie breaks are on Tuesday, 17:30pm IST.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Your Move - Android app for Correspondence Chess players

It gives me immense pleasure to announce 'Your Move', my new Android app for Correspondence Chess players of ICCF & SchemingMind.

I joined ICCF in 2012 with the aim of improving my Chess skills. But not having an easy way to make moves from my Phone/Tablet was bit discomforting, especially to the developer in me!
So I developed one!

Now, you can easily make your move!

VIEW IN PLAY STORE

Features
♟ Make move, Offer/Accept draw, Resign (See menu), Message your opponent and do all the important stuff
♟ Bring up the position and analyze it even while on the road or on train with no Internet
♟ Analyze your finished games with the power of two Chess engines and save to database (uses Analyze This app)
♟ Supports standard Chess (does not support Chess 960 or variants, yet)
♟ Launch app directly by clicking the hyperlink in the email you receive from ICCF/SM

Your Move is supported with Ads and they can be permanently removed for $0.99, right from the app. (See Menu in the Board window)

VIEW IN PLAY STORE


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Minor updates to iChess and Analyze This, simultaneously!

Probably my first release where I pressed the 'Submit' button and published 4 (both iChess and Analyze This versions) apps at the same time!

iChess v3.1.6
* Illegal moves are not allowed
* Review mode has been enhanced. Now you can easily add moves, jump to any position and move back and forth.
* Bug fixes in alternate moves.
* Minor enhancements

Analyze This v2.0.3
* Improved stability when loading PGN
* Stockfish engine crash
* Minor engine output changes
* Other enhancements

Special thanks to Tadek, Che, Gilberto for their kind feedback (without adding a bad review)! ;-)

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Analyze This - I want a BIG board!

Everybody wants big things in life. Why should the Chess board on Analyze This be small?
I heard your feedback and today I have released v2.0.2 to Play Store with board size optimizations and minor enhancements for small screen phones.

Show/Hide Notation view - This makes the board bigger!
Just click the expand/collapse icon (^ - next to the Black player name), and you can enjoy a big board!

Disable Sound
You can now disable the sound from the Settings.

Engine fixes and minor enhancements
To the user who reported an issue with engine Robbolito; thanks, it is fixed in this release!

Enjoy (and don't forget to rate!)

Monday, 20 May 2013

10 best chess games of 2012 - pgn available for download

I just noticed this post on GM Pogonina's website and I thought I could easily go through the games on my Tablet, but unfortunately there was no PGN for download. Using a Chess board on a webpage is not the world's easiest thing.

So I searched the relevant games she had listed there, on Chessgames.com, and created a PGN. Thought it will be useful for others too.

Now I can sit back and play through the games using my Analyze This Android app!

Download Best 10 games of 2012.pgn

"Top-10 chess games in 2012 according to Natalia Pogonina:
1. Volokitin - Mamedyarov. I had very few doubts about the first place. This is a fantastic game.
2. Kramnik - McShane. I believe this was Kramnik's supreme masterpiece in 2012. A great example of a sacrifice of an exchange.
3. Carlsen - Caruana. Magnus is known for his remarkable endgame technique. This game is a living proof of how good he is.
4. Gelfand - Anand. Gelfand took full advantage of the light-squared bad bishop. The fact that this game way played in the WCC match adds to its importance.
5. Bodnaruk - Javakhishvili. A great game by Anastacia Bodnaruk. White sacrificed two rooks and slaughtered the Black king.
6. Gustaffson - Kramnik.  A wonderful journey of the a-pawn :)
7. Ivanchuk - Vachier-Lagrave. The sacrifice on d5 is standard, but it never gets old. Especially when accompanied by such a nice move as 26.g3.
8. Carlsen - Topalov. A wild duel with fireworks. I love replaying this game over and over again :)
9. Aronian - Morozevich. A lot of splendid games have been played at Tal Memorial, but I decided to pick this one. Both sides has their chances, but in the end Black prevailed.
10. Rodriguez - Veskovi. An impressive attack on the king."

BTW, the complete list of 38 games is here

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Anand - "I didn't see the hammer blow!"

Funny post-game analysis between Anand and Hammer after their R8 match in the Norway Chess tournament.


"Jon (Hammer) seems to have pretty much assumed that I blundered the pawn (h4...Qxh4)" - Anand
"Yeah I mean he already started this intimidation on twitter ...thought it was getting a bit worrying" -Anand

At one point while analyzing a possible mate, Anand says (tongue in cheek) "I didnt see the hammer blow"

No love lost between India and Norway!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Analyze This v2.0 released - your Android Chess experience just got better

I am very excited and proud to release v2.0 of Analyze This. This is my first major release after quitting my day job and going full-time and I am personally very happy with this release.
    What's new?
    • New innovative feature: Simply tilt your device (left edge up or down) to move forward/backward through the moves! Now give your fingers some rest! See Settings to enable/disable. Or you can even use the Volume button/keys of your device
    • Install UCI engine of your choice! Hide some or all engines
    • Load and Save PGN games including variations. Touch and hold move in the notation view for more options
    • Refreshing new look, smoother interface plus board colors
    • Share game/position with other Chess apps or via email/twitter. Can even share the current board position as image!
    • Tap engine analysis to play the first move on the board
    • Stockfish upgraded to latest 3.0 version
    • Delete and Share your PGN files right from within the app
    • Many bug fixes and improvements
    THIS upgrade was made possible by the kind feedback and suggestions from many invisible friends! (whom I have never met and may never get a chance to meet!)
    Arne | Artem | Benzi | Carlos | David | Dom | Joseph | Justin | Kevin | Mehmet | Raymond

    IMPORTANT
    Both free and paid apps have Critter and Stockfish by default. If you only see one engine, then please re-install the app and start the app once. 
    Edit: Issue fixed in v2.0.1

    Analyze This - Install new UCI Chess engine

    Starting with Analyze This v2.0, you can now install a compatible UCI Chess engine of your choice!

    To install a new engine:
    1. In Analyze This, click Menu - Manage Engines
    2. Click "Install Engine" at the top right.
    3. Download the UCI engine zip from the link at the bottom. Locate the UCI engine you just downloaded. (If you downloaded a zip file, then YOU need to unzip it first.)
    4. Analyze This will run some quick tests to see if it is a valid UCI engine and show it in the list. Your engine will be pre-selected and ready for use. (For best results, deselect the engines that you are not interested. This will give you better performance and bigger board)

    Note: Analyze This app does not limit the number of engines you can run simultaneously! However, running more engines will severely drain your device battery.

    DOWNLOAD
    What are you waiting for? Go ahead and download some UCI engines from below link:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5UN6Nh9m6BjMFNYOG95azdLZEU&authuser=0

    (Download and extract the UCI zip to your device. Then launch Analyze This and choose any engine from the UCI folder/<enginename>.

    Other good resources for Android Chess engines:
    http://www.aartbik.com/MISC/eng.html
    http://chesstroid.blogspot.in/search/label/Engines

    Saturday, 27 April 2013

    Whatt a "Knightmare"

    So I had the worst nightmare a Chess programmer and fan could ever have.

    Me and Vishy Anand were at some tourney (he was probably giving a simul)
    I thought of showing him the latest features that I had added to my Android Chess apps.
    But my phone would simply not respond. It had become terribly slow.
    Even my Nexus 7 tablet refused to oblige.
    In the end I could not show him anything!

    Luckily I woke up then...lol

    A programmer's nightmare..demos never go without hiccups!!

    Saturday, 20 April 2013

    Anand's speech at the Alekhine Memorial - Sat, 20th April


    Anand speaking at the press conference of the Alekhine Memorial
    "Well i would first like to congratulate the organizers, I think its a very original event.
    Last year I had the pleasure of playing in the museum and they have taken the concept further and combined it with great the chess legend, Alekhine."

    "And doing this with the two cities where he had a connection, I think will do honor to his memory."

    "I have had the chance to play in Paris before, but for me it will be the first time in St Petersburg and all in all I believe that this connection that they are making between art and chess; the artistic side and lets say the sporting side of chess is really wonderful and we are here to pay homage to a great champion."

    "I would say that most people would agree that Alekhine is in their list of favorite world champions.
    Some may start with Capablanca, some may start with Alekhine, but Alekhine will atleast be 2nd or 3rd. His games were really spectacular. "

    "And I hope we will get  chance to produce something that he might enjoy!"

    source: http://www.alekhine-memorial.com/videos/2

    Sunday, 14 April 2013

    Chess reading for the week - Apr 14th


    From Chess.com forum : "What music do you listen while playing chess?"
    Yes, some people do like listening to music while playing chess. Although this kind of thing is unheard of in the Super GM club, I had a first hand experience when I was paired against GM Mark Paragua and he had his earphones on during the game! I lost that game and drew solace from the fact that maybe he had more inspiration and peace (than me), thanks to the music in his ears!
    Head to the forum to see what people like listening to when they play chess!

    From chess-news.ru : "The Match Should Be Held On Neutral Territory"
    Aaand the politics has just begun. Now with MC "refusing" (not confirmed) to play in Chennai (not confirmed either), the venue for the World Chess Championship is like the Higgs boson; its there but its not. As an Indian Chess fan, watching the Anand vs Carlsen match in person, in Chennai, will be my biggest Chess moment!
    "India is not a neutral territory and in addition it will be hard for Magnus to play there because of the climate and food."
    More details in a Norwegian paper (use Auto translate!)

    From indianexpress.com : All square: Be it home or away
    A nice article on "home advantage" and if it makes any difference in the game of Chess. Talking of Chennai, here is another nice article on the effects of the match on the Indian chess scene.
    "Chess, unlike football or cricket, is largely unaffected by factors like the crowd, referee bias, fatigue of the travelling side and familiarity with playing conditions. With all these parameters eliminated, a study used multiple regression analysis to see if home advantage in chess could negate a difference in player strength, as indicated by their rating points (another measure rather unique to the sport, making such a study possible). The advantage of playing at home in this board game proved to be statistically insignificant (Sorqvist)."

    From streathambrixtonchess blog : Decisive moment
    A nice article with some interesting "decisive" positions from historical as well as critical moments from the Candidates. Do not forget to put on your Chess glasses for this post!
    "After showing 0.00 for about an hour, suddenly the online analysis engine went mad after 50.g6?? - and so, as a result, did the viewer.
    So what I'm saying is, in a way, that I wish the online engine had been quicker off the mark, or that mine had, because that way, I'd have known. I understand, at the same time, that not knowing is part of chess, part of its very nature, just as the goal that shouldn't have stood is an intrinsic part of football. Pachman didn't know for sure what had happened in Bronstein-Keres, and that was twenty-two years down the track. That's the mystery."

    Thanks to all for the birthday wishes. 50! It is almost worth getting old to hear so many kind thoughts! April 13 of '13, my lucky number!


    There was a lot of "Kasparov" in the news recently since the former champ received a human rights award and he "is ready to help Carlsen against Anand" which he again denied as rumors and also celebrated his 50th birthday on April the 13th (luckily it was a Saturday)!

    Not sure when was the last time FIDE wished the World Champion Anand or the World #1 Carlsen on their birthday, but here are kind wishes to Kasparov from the FIDE board. Politicians make interesting bed fellas!

    Russian Dissident & Chess Champion Wins Human Rights Award
    I think Gary is probably the only Chess player who has suffered cuts and bruises in off-the-board violence.
    "UN Watch has decided to grant the Morris B. Abram Human Rights Award to Garry Kasparov for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in Russia," said executive director Hillel Neuer. "Mr. Kasparov is not only one of the world's smartest men, he is also among its bravest."

    From chess-news.ru : Born to Play Chess
    Nice collection of birthday wishes from his former coach Nikitin to his last conqueror Kramnik.
    "At least he visited Zurich and commentated the games which was very interesting, it was pleasant to see him there, everyone was really happy that he came. Let's hope that he will have chess as a priority. It seems to me that the politics and these kinds of activities ... Well, of course that is his choice, but I think that Kasparov is born for something else." - Kramnik
    Kramnik has also been in the news for some awesome extensive interviews (unfortunately in Russian). Hope you did not miss the first part (English). He also has a second big interview here (Russian, but can use Auto translate), or just wait for a proper english translation to appear.
    After the brilliant performance in the Candidates, we would have loved to see Big Vlad in action in the super strong Norway tournament in May, but looks like he is not playing in Norway.



    Wednesday, 10 April 2013

    Midweek Chess reading - April 10th

    Here are some interesting chess posts for the midweek:


    From BalticBusinessNews : Love and taxes bring Danish grandmaster to Lithuania
    Interesting piece of news on Peter Nielsen, the second of Magnus Carlsen.
        "Chess, love and taxes – a mixture of such unlikely ingredients has attracted a Danish chess grandmaster to Lithuania"

    From Forbes : The Brave New World of Celebrity Sponsorships: What Danica Patrick and Magnus Carlsen Have in Common
    YAP on Magnus Carlsen. This time from Forbes! But not your regular news. Its a different perspective on human achievement. (I think it is good for chess that popular media houses are showing some bit of interest in Magnus if not Chess per se. Earlier it was NYTimes reporting on the marketing aspect.
        "Probably fewer of us have heard of Magnus Carlsen, the 22-year-old from Norway, currently ranked the #1 chess player in the world. While not yet a household name, he’s a budding celebrity with sponsorships for a Norwegian law firm, an investment bank, and a newspaper. Combined, these sponsorships earn him hundreds of thousands of dollars"

    From crestbook.com : Experts on the Candidates Tournament 2013
    The Candidates2013 may be over, but it will be remembered for a long time. A very nice and long post bringing together the thoughts of famous Chess personalities like former champions Kasparov & Kosteniuk and other top players.
        "I’m also against the World Champion getting so many privileges and simply being able to wait a few years for a challenger to be determined for him. Yes, the World Champion should automatically qualify for the final part of the cycle, but he shouldn’t just calmly wait on his throne for the next challenger." - Kosteniuk
        "Well, first of all, Kramnik will soon be forty, and for modern computer chess that’s almost retirement age.
    Levon finished the first half level with Magnus and far ahead of Kramnik, but it seemed as though the second half was played by some other chess player from the ranks of the 2600s. I was rooting for Levon – he was once in my “Spartak” school. I was worried and phoned my friend Genna Sosonko in London: “What’s happened to Levon?” He simply told me that a lot of Armenian journalists and TV personalities had arrived. There was no need for any more explanations." - Nikitin
        "Kramnik grew even further in my eyes. He’s become a monumental figure who’s now a true chess thinker. In my opinion Kramnik is the Rubinstein of the 21st century.
    The time control in this tournament became a punishment. When I heard the tournament regulations I immediately realised that the control eliminated four people from the race before it began. It condemned Grischuk, Radjabov, Ivanchuk and Gelfand. And the results showed I was right." - Tkachiev
        "Nevertheless, I’d like to note Svidler’s brilliant preparation – in opening terms he surpassed everyone other than Kramnik, and losing 22 kg of ballast had a great effect on his physical form – it was precisely at the end that Peter looked fresher than the rest." - Sutovsky

    From chess-news.ru : GM Evgeny Tomashevsky Was Awarded the ACP Fair Play Prize
    This page is in Russian and you will need to translate this page to English. The gist of it is this nice episode of sportsmanship!
        "The game Tomashevsky - Sasikiran was the 3rd round game in the match between Economist-SGSEU (Saratov) and Navigator (Moscow). Up to the end of the game the Indian GM had an extra pawn in the rook endgame, although at that moment White has already set up the position for the draw. After making the move Sasikiran pushed the clock too weakly, so it was still his time running out. Soon he dropped the flag. Tomashevsky however refused getting such a point and offered his opponent a draw."