Sunday, 31 March 2013

Chess reading for the week - April 1st

Here are some interesting chess posts for the week:

From : Chess Boxing Demands a Rare Breed of Human: The ‘Nerdlete’
    "What makes a better chess boxer, a boxer who can think strategically or a chess player who can throw a punch?

     The rules in chess boxing are simple. There are 11 rounds and players alternate between boxing and chess. The boxing rounds last three minutes and the chess rounds last four. You win by knockout or checkmate. If neither of those is achieved, the boxer with the highest number of points wins.
Chess boxing partly appeals to the same white-collar people who are drawn to things like fight clubs — mild-mannered professionals that need to let out their angst."

From NPR : Chess for Success
You can either listen to the 12min podcast with GM Maurice Ashley here or read the transcript here. Its funny!
    "The "Frankenstein-Dracula," the "King's Indian" and the "Fried Liver" are all famous ways to do what? As this week's V.I.P., International Grandmaster of chess Maurice Ashley, knows, they're all strategies to begin a chess match. In this episode, Ashley divulges his own chess-playing strategy that combines Zen-like meditation with CIA-like mind games."

From : ACP Tournament of the Year
Not sure if tournament organizers have any incentive to figure their tournament in this list, but its a good start and hopefully will improve the quality of tournaments; for players, spectators and the fans worldwide.
    "ACP Tournament of the Year 2012 Tata Steel Chess, Wijk aan Zee
     Best Round Robin event of 2012: Tata Steel Chess, Wijk aan Zee
     Best Open event of 2012: Tradewise Gibraltar Festival
     Best official event of 2012: World Chess Championship Match Anand-Gelfand, Moscow"

From : A Game of Chicken: Ivanov rides again
The controversy just doesn't seem to die. In fact, this will not be the last, till some tighter controls are in place.
    "In the last weeks of 2012 he wowed the chess world with a 2700 performance. Two months later the new Bulgarian star FM Borislav Ivanov finished 88th in the Plovdiv, this time with a performance of 1970. Then came another enviable achievement, a clear win at the Villava rapid (again with a 2700 performance). What is going on? Alex Karaivanov speculates, with new video analysis by Valeri Lilov."

From BBC : A Point of View: Chess and 18th Century artificial intelligence
A different point of view!
    "Now, the Turk fascinates me for several reasons. First, because it displays an odd, haunting hole in human reasoning. Common sense should have told the people who watched and challenged it that for the Turk to have really been a chess-playing machine, it would have had to have been the latest in a long sequence of such machines. For there to be a mechanical Turk who played chess, there would have had to have been, 10 years before, a mechanical Greek who played draughts."

♔ Awesome cartoon!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Grischuk caught on camera

While watching the Grischuk - Kramnik post match interview video (see below), I could not help but notice Grischuk's body language in the beginning of the video.
What must be going through his mind?

Even more interesting is the below video during his game with Kramnik. In the dying stages, he looks at the clock maybe every second or two (losing precious seconds in the process!). If he glances at the clock so often, how would he even be calculating the position.

(Please forward the video and watch from 2hrs 48mins onwards till he makes his move around 02hrs 50mins)

And finally, the most amazing off-the-board blunder by a Chess player I have ever seen. Probably Grischuk's worst move ever!
(see what happens when Grischuk arrives at the board)

(If the embedded video does not work, you can watch it on Youtube)

Friday, 22 March 2013

Chess reading for the week - March 22

Here are some interesting chess posts for the week:

From : Open letter: "Please store and publish games including times"
I personally support this idea. It would nice to study master games knowing what was "home-cooked" and what came out of the grey matter.
"For instance the recent played game Ivanchuk-Svidler in the 3rd round of the London Candidates: Ivanchuk ran out of time at an early stage in the game and although his position wasn't lost, he eventually lost on time. Who would recall these circumstances when reenact the game from a database that doesn’t provide clock time information? Technically it should be possible"

From : Hikaru Nakamura's Open Letter Vis-a-Vis the Grand Prix Series
Open letter sent by the manager of GM Hikaru Nakamura.
"It is with great disappointment that the chess world has recently learned, indirectly, that Agon is unable to fulfill its obligations in finding the funding for the Lisbon leg of the Grand Prix. Whether or not the funding has been found for further stages of the Grand Prix is ​​unclear as well."

From : Andrew Paulson: "I Found It Particularly Absurd That the Player Would Publish an Open Letter"
Paulson's theory over using the outrageous red color pieces is frankly absurd. Also has his comments about the above open letter from GM Nakamura.
"Historically, chess pieces were made of ivory and coral – traditionally they were red and white. So from a purely historical point of view we can say there’s some justification here. Making the pieces red was necessary in order to make them stand out from black and white; my feeling at the moment is that on the tablets, on decent computers they’re perfectly readable as long as the screen has a good resolution."

From : Ex-convict creates chess-based puzzle game to teach children to make better choices
"I'm trying to spark the idea into anyone else who comes from my circumstances that they can do anything they put their mind to," Brown said. "If you disguise learning with fun, a child will return for more.
Brown was arrested in 1999 after robbing two men of $110 and their driver's licenses, and began serving his 10-year sentence the following year. During that time he focused on playing chess to keep himself out of conflict with the guards and other inmates. While in solitary confinement, he and other prisoners would draw chess boards on the floor and call out moves between cells in order to play. Two years before he was released, Brown sent his mother detailed blueprints of what eventually would become Chess King."

From The Indian Express: India back in reckoning to host World Chess Championship
Take this news with a tspoon of salt. Going by past history, it can cause severe heart break if you are an Indian chess fan.
"The WCC final was one of the topics on the agenda when FIDE vice president Ali Nihat Yazici met Singh earlier this year. Yazici also confirmed the possibility. "The main subjects (of discussion with the minister) as you may guess were CIS (FIDE's Chess in Schools program) in India and the World Championship match. For me it looks like India may host the next World Chess Championship match between WCC GM Anand and his challenger. Let's wait and see," he said."

 Magnus on why he comes 10-15mins early for the round: "Honestly, I'm just dead nervous about the zero tolerance rule."

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Historical video of World Microprocessor Chess Championship, 1985

Recently somebody posted a video of the WMCC held in 1985! (link at the bottom of the page)

This video is of the World Microcomputer Chess Championship (WMCC) held in the World Trade Center, Amsterdam, 1985! Overall 16 teams participated and it was won by Mephisto! In fact, Mephisto had 3 versions running in that tournament and they took the first 3 spots! (The programs were written in Assembly language!!!)

Mephisto was designed by Richard Lang (yup the same guy who later designed Chess Genius)
Mephisto was running on a 16-bit Motorola 68000 microprocessor (back in those days, my company Motorola made microprocessors! Now it is a "software company", having outsourced the manufacturing  unit to Flextronics)

On the rest day, the Dutch GM Gennadi Sosonko (2550) gave a 31 board simul including 10 computers! The simul lasted a whooping 8 hours and he scored 25.5 - 5.5

An interesting position

Blitz Monster Y - Turbostar K
Position after 61. Kc1

In this position, Turbostar played 61... Rb6? and the game ended in a draw after some moves.

Instead 61... Rxb7!! (Engines like Critter find this move and the winning line in a few seconds! ) 62. Rxb7 f2 63. Rb4+ Kf5

 64. Rb5+ Ke6 (64... Kg6?? 65. h5+ and White wins) 65. Rb6+ Kf7 66. Rb7+ Kg6

and the Black pawn cannot be stopped from Queening.

Tournament Crosstable (Top 5)
1Mephisto Amsterdam 1flag GBR68020 (32 bit, std. freq.)8.0829.029.00Champ!
2Mephisto Amsterdam 3flag GBR68000 (16 bit)7.0827.524.50
3Mephisto Amsterdam 2flag GBR68000 (16 bit)7.0827.524.25
4Princhess 6flag SWE6502 (8 bit)4.5835.012.50
5Blitz Monster Yflag USA6502 (8 bit)4.0836.014.00

PGN download

More details and pics

Video (in German) - also features Susan Polgar in the end!

Source : Ed Schroder mentioned about these videos on his site and on

Monday, 18 March 2013

Chess reading for the week - March 18

Here are some interesting chess posts for the week:

From Indian Express : Interview with Pentyala Harikrishna
Harikrishna is currently rated 2706 and is India #2 and World #43!
"On the possibility of breaking into top 10:
In order to reach the top 10, I have to gain another 35 to 40 points. I need to perform consistently in at least six to seven tournaments in the next seven months. I have to chose the right tournaments to play against good players."

From Vishy Anand on Twitter during round 3
The champ is closely following each game and really appreciates what the players are going through.

From : Young Norwegian Number One is the David Beckham of Chess
"I have no doubt that when I am playing at my best, I am the best. The ratings don't lie," said Carlsen
Carlsen recently fronted an advertising campaign for the fashion label G-Star Raw alongside the actress Liv Tyler, counts Hollywood actor Ben Stiller as a friend, and was recently offered a role - as a chess grand master - in the film Star Trek Into Darkness."

From : "When the Brilliant Players Are At the Board"
"We have followed the game closely with Ruslan Ponomariov who gave a live commentary on Chess-News radio. Here we offer you some of his remarks which were available on our Twitter page:
Ponomariov on Ivanchuk-Aronian opening:
"Ivanchuk today plays like Aronian"
"What Ivanchuk does looks more like improvisation than preparation"
"Ivanchuk playes a bit impudently, but it's unclear how to refute..."
"Honeslty, at the moment I'm a bit disappointed in Ivanchuk"
"Ivanchuk's position is way too insecure now"
Ivanchuk has 3 minutes for 17 moves. Ponomariov: "Here he should already play following his intuition and forget that the hands are trembling..."
"It's hard to commentate when the brilliant players are at the board..."
"For Ivanchuk it's already not about winning the tournament; important is that he will at least recover"

From : A bodycheck, a Krushing attack, a rook retreat...
"The London Candidates Tournament is great, but something's missing: not a single female player. For those of you suffering withdrawal our ChessBase Magazine columnist GM Karsten Müller has taken a look back at the Women's World Team Championship and some of the instructive and entertaining endgame it produced"

Friday, 8 March 2013

Revisiting Linares 1998

Today is the day when Anand won his first Linares title in 1998 (yeah Carlsen was just 8 years old!). Anand again won Linares nearly a decade later in 2007 and 2008!
The "Wimbledon of Chess" was played from 22-Feb-1998 to 9-Mar-1998.

XV Ciudad de Linares (ESP), 1998 --------------------------------------------------------------- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 --------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Viswanathan Anand g IND ** 1= 0= == 1= =1 =1 7½ 2 Alexei Shirov g ESP 0= ** == =1 10 10 11 7 3 Garry Kasparov g RUS 1= == ** == == == == 6½ 4 Vladimir Kramnik g RUS == =0 == ** =1 == 1= 6½ 5 Peter Svidler g RUS 0= 01 == =0 ** 10 =1 5½ 6 Vassily Ivanchuk g UKR =0 01 == == 01 ** 0= 5 7 Veselin Topalov g BUL =0 00 == 0= =0 1= ** 4

Here are some interesting games from each round.

Round 1 - Shirov 0-1 Anand, rest drawn
Shirov - Anand, 0-1
A rare concentration of heavy pieces around a pawn!

Shirov - Anand, 0-1
Final winning position
I consider this a model game where the two Rooks nicely outplay the White Queen.

Round 2 - All games decisive. Anand 1-0 Svidler. Ivanchuk blunders!

Ivanchuk - Shirov, 0-1
Position after Ivanchuk's 30.Rf3??
Black to play and win (solution at the bottom)

Round 3 - Kasparov defeats Anand, Ivanchuk blunders again!

Svidler - Ivanchuk, 1-0
Position after Ivanchuk's 47...Nb7
White to play and win

Round 4, 5 - All games drawn

Round 6 - Shirov on fire, rest drawn

Shirov - Svidler, 1-0
Position after Black's 25...g6
White to play and win

Round 7 - Topalov wins his first, Ivanchuk loses his 3rd

Ivanchuk - Topalov, 0-1
Position after Black's 51...Kg5
Ivanchuk chose the fastest way to lose and
played 52. Rxh4 and resigned immediately

Round 8 - All drawn
Round 9 - Ivanchuk defeats Shirov, rest drawn.

Shirov - Ivanchuk, 0-1
A position that could have been!

Round 10
Topalov - Shirov, 0-1
How did Shirov choose to end the game?
Black to play and win

Ivanchuk - Svidler, 1-0
Can White stop the Black pawn on a3?
White to play and win

Round 11 - Svidler 1-0 Topalov, Shirov 1-0 Kramnik
Round 12 - Kramnik 1-0 Svidler, Anand's master piece!

Ivanchuk - Anand, 0-1
Can you find a win for Black?
Black to play and win

Round 13 (last round) - Svidler 1-0 Shirov, Anand 1-0 Topalov

Anand - Topalov, 1-0
Position after Black's 27...c5
After Anand's Nb6+, Topalov gave up his Queen
and went on to lose 50 moves later

And thus Anand edged out Shirov to win Linares 1998!

Tid bits
  • Mighty Kasparov (2825) could only win one game and drew the rest of them to remain undefeated!
  • Shirov (placed 2nd) won the most games (five)

Ivanchuk - Shirov
30... Rxe4 0-1

Svidler - Ivanchuk
48. Qxe5 dxe5 49. Rxd7 1-0

Shirov - Svidler
26. Bd7 Rd8 27. Be6 Re8 28. Qg5 1-0

Topalov - Shirov
47... Bh3! 48. gxh3 Kf5 49. Kf2 Ke4 50. Bxf6 d4 51. Be7 Kd3
52. Bc5 Kc4 53. Be7 Kb3 0-1

Ivanchuk - Svidler
47. Bc8 Kf7 48. h6 a2 49. Bxe6+ Kxe6 50. h7 a1=Q 51. h8=Q
and White went on to win in few more moves 1-0

Ivanchuk - Anand
21... Bxd5 22. exd5 Rxc2!! 23. Kxc2 Qxa2 24. f4 Rc8+
25. Kd2 Bxf4+ 26. Ke2 Qxb2+ 27. Kf3 Rc1 0-1

Download these games

[Pictures] Ubuntu Tablet OS on my Nexus 7

My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to try the Ubuntu Tablet OS Developer preview on my Nexus 7.

Things I liked (over Android)
  • Quick access to apps via Unity sidebar. (Android has "sidebar" and "unity" apps)
Challenges ahead for the Ubuntu OS (in no particular order)
  • Keyboard needs a lot of improvement
  • Less intuitive (had trouble figuring out how the swipe gestures work)
  • Show me the apps! Currently the Twitter, FB and Gmail apps are just shortcuts to the web. Nothing like native apps!
  • Google integration. Yes I am a Google power user
  • Switching between apps is clumsy (Android intents rock!)
  • Closing apps is painful (you need to swipe up from the bottom edge, then press the "X" icon.
  • Getting it to work on different screens. Some dummy apps clipped (see Game and Calculator images below)
Home screen
(currently it is a static and does not do anything)
Recent apps
(swipe up from the bottom edge)
The Unity bar
(swipe rightwards from the left edge of the screen)

Dummy Home screen
Dummy Music content
Dummy Call screen
Home screen (downloadable content)
Dummy Messages
Dummy Music screen
(does nothing)
Game gone for a toss
(does nothing)
Battery panel
(swipe down from the battery icon)
Could not change the Date/Time
(swipe down from the Date icon) 
"Sharing" screen
People home screen

Dummy Calculator
(clipped, does nothing)
Notes app
(worst keyboard ever)
Ubuntu Tablet OS has a LOT of work to do. If you are a Ubuntu Tablet OS developer, then you should stop reading this post and get back to work while I get back to flashing Android 4.2.2!