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

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!"


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Chess reading for the week - Apr 14th

From 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 : "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 : 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 : 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 : 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 : 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."

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Zurich Chess Challenge 2013 on Indian National TV (DD)

Zurich Chess challenge was won by Fabiano Caruana ahead of Kramnik, Gelfand and Anand (23-Feb to 1-Mar).

DD (Door Darshan) is India's national TV channel and the show will be aired on the following days:
1st Episode - 9th April 2013
2nd Episode - 10th April 2013
3rd Episode - 11th April 2013
4th Episode - 12th April 2013
(All episodes from 11pm - 11:30pm IST)

With all due respect to Mr Vijay, I am not sure who would want to watch a tournament footage more than a month after it is over?!
Fans either prefer to watch it live (or a day late maybe) or probably 50 years later for historical reasons!
Moreover, the air time is 11pm when half of them would be asleep. Just goes to show Chess is NOT important!

PS. Maybe if they post it on Youtube, the videos would get more viewers

Source :

Chess reading for the week - Apr 6th

Here are some interesting chess posts for the week:

From : How the Chess Set Got Its Look and Feel
A pretty interesting read on the history of Chess pieces!
    "Prior to 1849, there was no such thing as a “normal chess set.” At least not like we think of it today.
    By the 19th century, chess clubs and competitions began to appear all around the world, it became necessary to use a standardized set that would enable players from different cultures to compete without getting confused.
    In 1849, that challenge would be met by the “Staunton” Chess Set. Despite its name, the iconic set was not designed by Howard Staunton. According to the most widely told origin story, the Staunton set was designed by architect Nathan Cook"

Vishy Anand & Magnus Carlsen in the news
Ofcourse, the whole chess world and media outlets are talking about the Champ Viswanathan Anand and his challenger Magnus Carlsen, and rightly so. 

Here are links to the most interesting interviews I liked:

From blogs.wsj : Q&A: Inside the Mind of the World’s Top Chess Player
A pretty fascinating Q&A where the champ talks about pretty much everything; from his earlier days, chess in India, his preparation style, his favorite Indian city to play chess in, and his favorite chess player (mine too)!

From : "I can detect my opponent's emotions"
Another interesting piece with some nice quotes.
    Asked whether chess players made for good actors while making moves, he answered with a straight face. “I would say, yes and no. After one level, the opponent can guess that you are bluffing with a straight face. In my case, I can make out whether a player is nervous by the level of his breathing. I can detect his emotions, what he is thinking. So it’s very necessary to keep your emotions to yourself,”
Asked if he would like his son to follow his footsteps, he said, “I’ll introduce him to chess. But I won’t force him. It’s up to him what to choose,”

From deccanherald : Anand hails concept of Maharashtra Chess League
A chess league in India, first of its kind! They have even managed to get some sponsors. Kudos!
    "Countries that have very organised chess structure, have a chess league at the core. Those countries, like Germany for example, where I play in a league, have six or seven levels of leagues, with top two teams being promoted to the higher level, and bottom two teams being relegated to the lower level," said Anand.

From NYTimes blog : A Conversation With: Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand
The champ talking about the NIIT Chess Academy.
    "Yes, there are plans to expand. We recently have introduced the Academy in Dubai, Botswana and South Africa especially after working with the governments of the latter two countries. My idea is to have the epicenter in India because of the N.I.I.T. network and also to give back to my country."

From : "Carlsen will be ridiculously difficult to play against"
I remember "seeing" Vishy online for most part of the Candidates. Once when I asked him if he is going to watch all the games online; "I am finding it hard to leave!" came the answer! He was awake till 1am catching some games till the very end. What a champ!
Interesting answers to some very interesting interview Qs
    "I managed to catch most of the games. I didn't need to stay up late because most had ended by midnight and I was able to go to sleep."
    "Firstly, he (Carlsen) is not from my generation. There is a difference in age and outlook. When I played Kramnik, Topalov and Gelfand, I read them in a certain way. And even then, I thought that if I end up playing Vlady this time, it would be a different Vlady from the one I played before. He (Carlsen) is from a different generation and Carlsen is also one of the most talented players from any generation."

From : 'I will have to improve my game’
When asked if it will be a mother of all matches as it will be between the world champion and the world #1:
"Magnus is one of those talents that happens once a century. In that sense, it will be unique for me."

From : Magnus Carlsen, "The Privileges of the World Champion are Not Fair"
    "I still Think That the privileges of the World Champion are not Fair. As for the system, I think that the round-robin system is good, because that gives the strongest players better chances to win. If you want to have a world champion who sits on his crown for two years then you have to have a serious system to choose a challenger."

Gary has to give his comments, and we do like to hear his opinion. After all he is the most important retired chess guy. He spoke about the weird rules, Carlsen's weakness, Anand and was all praises for Kramnik!
    "The tournament showed that the rumors of the death of classical chess somewhat exaggerated. 
Anand is an experienced fighter, he is able to strongly hold the match.
I can hardly be called a big fan of Kramnik, but he really played brilliantly." (Translated text)

From forums : What has India got to do with the "Indian" openings?
Some interesting discussion at the forums. It never occurred to me why the name Kings Indian defence or Nimzo Indian defence! You may find the answer in that discussion!

Heard saying

I think it could be much more fair if the World chess champion played in London and then the best first two players played for the title.

Funny cartoon
© 2013, José Diaz