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Archive for the ‘Chess’ Category

The Grandmaster Who Got Twitch Hooked on Chess – WIRED

Posted: June 15, 2020 at 6:45 pm


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League of Legends streamer Albert Boxbox Zheng adored chess in elementary school, but stopped playing when he was around nine. One day, after hearing about some grandmaster chess guys stream popping off, he dropped into Nakamuras channel to watch him play blindfolded. I wrote in his chat afterwards, like, That was amazing. Then he saw my name in the chat, and was like, Is that the BoxBox? Nakamura fished Zheng out and asked him to come on stream and play against him.

He blew my mind with how deep chess goes, says Zheng.

Nakamura challenged Zheng to a game, but Nakamura would start without a queen. Zheng thought, Theres no way he can beat me without a queen. Of course, Nakamura crushed him. Nakamura began removing more pieces, starting the game with fewer and fewer, until, Zheng says, I finally won when he basically had nothing. I was hooked.

Nakamuras impressive, lightly trollish chess gimmicksblindfolded matches, matches without queens or rooks, solving as many puzzles as he can in five minuteshave spurred Twitchs top personalities to try the game for themselves. Instead of looking down his nose at these pro gamers who come to him for guidance, he exudes respect for Lengyel (legendary character), who has three million followers, or Saqib Lirik Zahid, who has 2.6 million followers (honored by his visit). Now, top Hearthstone, Fortnite, and Valorant streamers are sliding into Nakamuras DMs asking for coaching. Nakamura has in turn developed his own streaming persona, somewhere between a proud dad and a laughing supergenius.

On stream, Nakamura has described his new role as Twitchs chess ambassador as his calling. In retrospect, he says, it makes sense; after winning his first championship in 2005, Nakamura says he went over to the hotel lobby to play blitz, or speed, games against random audience members until two or three in the morning. (Nakamura is now the top blitz player in the world.) Ive always wanted to bring it to the masses, he says. In his chat, viewers tell Nakamura that they hadnt played or watched chess since they were kids, but were intrigued by their favorite streamers newfound interest.

When I work with streamers, Im trying to get them to have fun, but also these aha! moments, says Nakamura. Moments where they see little combinations or little tricks, thats really the goal. Theyre not going to be great, but if they can learn something from it and theyre having fun, for me, that means Im doing a good job.

Nakamuras mission to bring a populist movement to chess runs up against the games marked culture of elitism. Theres a tendency among some chess devotees to look down on streamers learning, and sometimes making mistakes, so publicly. Zheng has been shocked at how antagonistic his Twitch chat gets when he streams chess; sometimes, he cant even look at it. League is known for toxicity. Chess, surprisingly, is even worse, he says, describing the phenomenon as backseat gaming.

There are a lot of people who are miles better than meI dont deny thatwho get mad that me, a new player, cant pick up the game and instantly be an expert at it, says Zheng. People will shove and yell moves down my throat. Not only is it annoying, oftentimes its wrong and very aggressive.

"Ive always wanted to bring chess to the masses."

Hikaru Nakamura

Chess mastermind and Twitch streamer Alexandra Botez, a Woman FIDE Master, who has also seen huge growth in her channel, says that elitism extends to the broader chess community, too. Your worth is really determined by your ranking, especially in the tight-knit circles of people who dedicated their lives to chess. Shes watched on as a lot of other top chess players have tried streaming on Twitch without seeing anywhere near her or Nakamuras success. She attributes it to Nakamuras ability to engage with Twitch culture on its own terms, memeing with viewers and gamely replying to their questions. Other top players prefer to remain distant, viewing Twitch as a platform rather than a cultural organism.

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The Grandmaster Who Got Twitch Hooked on Chess - WIRED

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An Introduction to Chess: More notes on notation – Stabroek News

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This week we return to notation to allow readers a better understanding of how the pieces move and capture, how to react when the King is in check and how to bring a chess game to its conclusion. The best way to do this is by going through the motions of solving the puzzle.

The aim of chess is not to swap pieces. Rather, it is to checkmate the King. The King cannot be removed from the chess board during a practical game. Every other piece or pawn can be captured and removed. Checkmating the King means placing the King in a hopeless position. The word checkmate is also used in situations pertaining to life. In chess, checkmate is when the King is unable to escape, similarly in life.

When check is announced, you have to leave everything you are doing and attend to it. You can block a check, move your King out of check, or capture the piece that is announcing the check. The goal of all chess puzzles is to checkmate your opponents King no matter what moves he makes. You have to administer checkmate in the required number of moves.

Some chess puzzles are created from actual chess games and some are chess compositions. I prefer the ones from actual games. In some compositions, we can reach a position that cannot be reached in a chess game. Chess puzzles are automatically verified so that the solutions are correct and complete. Sometimes a shorter solution to a puzzle exists.

My chess colleague Loris Nathoo has the rare ability of finding a shorter solution to a puzzle. He works on the puzzle on Sundays and presents me with the solutions. The two puzzles in Diagram 1 and Diagram 2 are taken from actual grandmaster games.

In Diagram 1, it is Black, played by Vitaly Chekhover, to play and win. The game was played at Leningrad in 1934. Black plays Re1+ (+ is an abbreviation for check). The Rook goes down on the back rank and calls check. White has to attend to this check immediately. He cannot take the Rook with his Rook which is stationed at d1 because White will lose his Queen with check. So White is forced to play Kf2. Black plays Re2+. White cannot capture the black Rook since it is protected by the black Queen. White is forced to retreat to f1 or g1. When he does, the black Queen will take the g pawn and it is checkmate since the white King cannot evade the check.

In Diagram 2 Vishy Anand is playing the black pieces. The game was contested at Salonika in 1984. It is Black to play and win. Black plays Ra1 if Rxa1 (x means capture) Nf2+. To prevent checkmate, White has to capture the Knight with his Queen which gives black a decisive advantage.

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An Introduction to Chess: More notes on notation - Stabroek News

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Chess: Interim executive team elected to run federation for a year – The New Times

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The Rwanda Chess Federation (Ferwade) general assembly on Sunday, June 14, elected a new executive committee to help steer the ship for an interim period of 12 months.

This came after the general assembly last week agreed to hold elections using any viable virtual platform due to limitations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elections to usher in a new leadership team could not be held in April when the outgoing team's four-year term ended because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The last poll was held in April 2016.

The totally new team has Ben Tom Zimurinda as president, Valentin Rukimbira, vice president, Elysee Tuyizere, secretary general, and Eddy Christian Nkuyubwatsi as treasurer.

The outgoing team was led by Kevin Ganza, deputised by Rugema Ngarambe. Niyibizi Alain Patience and Christella Rugabira were secretary general and treasurer, respectively.

During the meeting before Sunday's poll, it was agreed that an interim leadership team be set up. Its job is to urgently, among others, help ailing clubs get their houses in order before another poll can be called in a year's time.

Zimurinda's team is tasked with designing a roadmap that clearly defines desired outcomes and the major steps needed to succeed.

"I thank everyone who voted. But I also wish to make it clear that taking on such responsibilities is not about prestige. It's a struggle," Zimurinda told the general assembly.

Zimurinda knows that his team has a huge task. But he is undeterred.

For the federation to function as a legal entity, at least three member clubs must be fully registered. But only one, Vision Chess Club, currently fulfills requirements. There must be at least three registered clubs for a proper election to be held.

So much will, therefore, depend on how the new leadership team manages to rally people with divergent opinion and interest as well as bringing clubs back to life.

"We will need to come up with an action plan, and that's urgent. In not more than 30 days we must have a clear roadmap."

Besides contending with the problem of dormant clubs, Zimurinda must also mind major characteristics of good governance such as transparency and accountability if he is to succeed in steering the ship in the right direction.

jkaruhanga@newtimesrwanda.com

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Chess: Interim executive team elected to run federation for a year - The New Times

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Chess: national solving championship opens for entries from Britain this week – The Guardian

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White, playing as usual up the board in the diagram, can force checkmate in two moves, however Black defends.

This weeks puzzle is the opening round of a national contest where Guardian readers traditionally perform strongly. You have to work out how White, playing, as usual, up the board in the diagram, can force checkmate in two moves, however Black defends.

The puzzle is the first stage of the annual Winton British Solving Championship, organised by the British Chess Problem Society. This competition is open only to British residents and entry is free. The prize fund is expected to be at least 1200, plus awards to juniors.

If you would like to take part, simply send Whites first move to Nigel Dennis, Boundary House, 230 Greys Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, RG9 1QY. Or by email to winton@theproblemist.org.

Include your name, home address and postcode and mark your entry Guardian. If you were under 18 on 31 August 2019, please include your date of birth.

The closing date is 31 July. After that, all solvers will receive the answer and those who get it right will also be sent a postal round of eight problems, with plenty of time for solving.

The best 20-25 entries from the postal round, plus the best juniors, will be invited to the championship final in February (subject to Covid-19 restrictions). The winner there will qualify for the Great Britain team in the 2021 world solving championship, an event where GB is often a medal contender.

The starter problem, with most of the pieces in the lower half of the board, is tricky and with an unusual twist. Obvious checks and captures rarely work. It is easy to make an error, so review your answer before sending it. Good luck to all Guardian entrants.

Magnus Carlsen survived some anxious moments this week in his quarter-final match in the online Clutch International before the world champion overcame Americas top junior Jeffery Xiong. The 19-year-old Texan had a purple period in the middle of the 12-game series when he had a run of five games with two wins and three draws.

Carlsen was dominant at the start and the finish and his best two victories were imaginative attacks where the rare knight move Nh7! featured.

The event, financed by the St Louis billionaire Rex Sinquefield who has made his home city a global chess centre, has the highest prize fund yet, $265,000 (approx 207,000), for an internet tournament.

Carlsen controlled the first session of his semi-final on Thursday evening as he led Armenias Levon Aronian 6-2 without losing a game. Wesley So also led 6-2 in the all-American semi-final against the world No 2, Fabiano Caruana.

A Carlsen v So final would be far from a done deal for the world champion, as So is currently in excellent form. The semi-final is also not over yet due to the Clutch scoring system where the final two games (of six) count double on the first day and triple on the second. In his interview after the Thursday session, Aronian declared his intention to go into berserk mode for the last six games, taking extra risks to get back into the match.

Both semi-finals can be viewed live online for free with grandmaster commentary, starting at 7pm on Friday.

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Chess: national solving championship opens for entries from Britain this week - The Guardian

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Carlsen Vs. Giri: The Trash Talk Edition – Chess.com

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In one of my recent articles, I called Magnus Carlsen a "born entertainer" and asked, "Who could forget the barbs he exchanges with GM Anish Giri on Twitter?" Our world champion never fails us. The very day after my article was published, we could witness the following conversation on Twitter:

I hope that a book will be published one day where all the Twitter exchanges between these two great players will be collected together. Besides the obvious entertainment value, such a book could teach people something about chess. Let's see for example what Carlsen and Giri are talking about in this particular tweet. Here is the game that started this rumble:

For most people, this game will be remembered for the grotesque blunder at the very end. This is what Giri is referring to when saying, "no more horse blunders in the knockout." But to understand the true meaning of "those types of positions" or "Julio Granda style," you need to know a bit of chess history.

For starters, let's go 74 years back. The world was just recovering after the horrendous war and the match Moscow vs. Prague was one of the first international chess events. As you can easily guess, there was not much intrigue in that match since the team of Moscow grandmasters could probably win the olympiad, let alone beat a team of just one city. So the match would have been remembered only by chess historians if not for two games won by David Bronstein. This is where the King's Indian Defense was officially born. This dynamic opening had many names in the first years of its development: "an irregular opening," "the Indian Defense," "the Ukrainian variation," etc... The two games of GM Bronstein turned what considered a semi-correct opening into a formidable weapon! Let's look at the key points of this new opening strategy.

Here is the second Bronstein game from the same match:

If you compare the game Carlsen vs. Dubov with Bronstein's masterpieces, you can see many similarities: the same "hopeless d6-pawn" according to Alekhine turned out to be not so hopeless, the h-pawn push which made the position of White King vulnerable, the powerful Bg7, etc. Now you can see the type of positions Carlsen and Giri discussed in their Twitter exchange.

The last mystery we need to solve is the "Julio Granda style" reference. I played the talented Peruvian grandmaster only once, but I always respected his unique talent. While he was never a true professional chess player (He even retired from chess for a couple of years to take care of his farm.), he could beat almost any player on a good day. He always had his special vision of chess and produced many outstanding games. What did Carlsen mean by saying "Julio Granda style." Fortunately, the power of modern databases helps us to easily solve this mystery by providing the following game:

Yes, it turns out that GM Granda beat Anish Giri in exactly the same kind of position in which Carlsen lost to Dubov. The whole episode gives us another opportunity to admire Carlsen's chess knowledge. Remember Magnus Carlsen's biggest secret? Does he really remember all the games played by grandmasters, or does he just pay extra attention to the games played by his frenemy Giri? Also, it is a fine example of chess karma when GM Giri's joke returned back to him as a boomerang.

I cannot wait for the next round in the Carlsen vs. Giri Twitter match!

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Carlsen Vs. Giri: The Trash Talk Edition - Chess.com

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Karjakin vs. Cosmonauts | Earth vs. Space 50th anniversary chess game – chess24

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Russian Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin played a game of chess against cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner on Tuesday 9th June to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1st ever Space-Earth game. The cosmonauts were 400 km above the Earth on the International Space Station, which recently welcomed NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley and their SpaceX spacecraft, while Sergey played from the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics, exactly 50 years after the first game was played in 1970.

The game was organised by the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics, the Russian space agency Roscosmos and the Russian Chess Federation and broadcast live from 11:00 CEST, in English.

And in Russian:

The game ended in a fast and sharp draw, where almost all of the moves were perfectly played:

1. e4 e5 2. f3 c6 3. b5 a6 4. xc6 dxc6 5. O-O e6 6. b3 c5 7. xe5 d4 8. c4 xc4 9. bxc4 xa1 10. c3 b5 11. h5 f6 12. f3 b4 13. e5 O-O-O 14. a3 xf1+ 15. xf1 bxc3 16. exf6 cxd2 17. a8+ d7 18. d5+ c8 19. a8+ d7 20. d5+ e8 21. e4+ d7

1/2-1/2

2016 World Championship Challenger Sergey Karjakin needs no introduction on a chess website. Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner have been on the International Space Station since April 9th, when they arrived together with NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy.

They were recently joined by astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, whose SpaceX vehicle was the first to be launched from US soil since the last flight of the Space Shuttle in 2011 and the first ever crewed commercial orbiting spacecraft. NASA estimated 10 million people watched the launch, with their arrival on the ISS also streamed across the world:

There are few details about the game to be played against Sergey Karjakin, except that Space plays White, but its value is symbolic, marking 50 years since the first such game.

Cosmonauts Andrian Nikolayev (1929-2004) and Vitaly Sevastyanov (1935-2010) were the first humans to spend two weeks in space (Neil Armstrongs Apollo 11 flight to the moon and back a year earlier took just over 8 days), with their Soyuz 9 flight ultimately lasting almost 18 days, or exactly 424 hours of weightlessness, as recorded on commemorative stamps.

The mission was in preparation for the Soviet Unions early space station, with Vitaly Sevastyanov in 1986 telling the Russian chess journal 64:

When Nikolaev and I were preparing for our flight they told us: Youre going to be flying for a long time. You need to think of how to meaningfully spend your rest time during the hard work of the flight. What do you want to take onto the spaceship? Andrian and I were great chess enthusiasts and answered together: Chess! Unexpectedly the psychologists were wary. There are two of you on the flight. Itll turn out that one of you always beats the other and there can be unnecessary negative emotions for the loser. Thats no good. Come on, we objected with one voice. On earth we play at the same level. Why should one of us always win in Space?

The psychologists gave in and chess went into space, though it was a special chess set designed for zero gravity by a young engineer called Mikhail Klevtsov. Magnets werent allowed (and still arent today on the ISS) due to their potential to interfere with instruments, and the pieces were instead kept in place but movable by a series of grooves, so they didnt accidentally fly into the mouth of a sleeping cosmonaut (Sevastyanov).

The players on the ground were General Nikolai Kamanin (1908-1982), the head of the cosmonaut training program, and cosmonaut Viktor Gorbatko (1934-2017), with another cosmonaut, Valery Bykovsky (1934-2019) hosting the broadcast:

The game lasted 6 hours, or 4 orbits of the Earth, with the players only able to transmit their moves while the spaceship was above the Soviet Union. You can catch some glimpses of the game in this video focussed on Vitaly Sevastyanov:

The game ended in a draw, which you can replay below:

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 e5 4. xc4 exd4 5. exd4 c6 6. e3 d6 7. c3 f6 8. f3 O-O 9. O-O g4 10. h3 f5 11. h4 d7 12. f3 e7 13. g4 g6 14. ae1 h8 15. g5 eg8 16. g2 ae8 17. e3 b4 18. a3 xc3 19. bxc3 e4 20. g3 c6 21. f3 d5 22. d3 b5 23. h4 g6 24. f4 c4 25. xc4 bxc4 26. d2 xe1 27. xe1 d5 28. g5 d6 29. xd5 cxd5 30. f4 d8 31. e5+ f6 32. gxf6 xf6 33. xf6+ xf6 34. e8+ xe8 35. xf6+ g8 1/2-1/2

Space missed the best chance to conquer the Earth on move 23:

23.g5! wins a piece, since the only move for the knight is 23Nh5, but then 24.Qg4! forces 24Qxg4 25.hxg4 and after the again forced 25Ng3 26.Rf2 there are various ways for White to pick up the trapped knight.

One of the most interesting things about the game is that it was commentated on widely by the best Soviet chess players. David Bronstein wrote in the Izvestia newspaper:

That game will undoubtedly go down in the annals of the 1000 year long history of chess as the game that spread the sphere of influence of this wise game beyond our planet. Everyone can understand the emotion with which I look over the moves sent from space. The first Space Earth game is very interesting to play over on a board. From the moves its easy to see that both sides love sharp, puzzling situations and show no lack of courage and invention in creating them. And the fact that neither side managed to win bears witness to the skill of the players not only in attack but also in defence.

Later that year on the 24th November 1970 the cosmonauts visited Moscows Central Chess Club for an evening featuring World Champion Boris Spassky, former World Champions Mikhail Botvinnik and Tigran Petrosian as well as other top players.

It was right in the middle of the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal that would mark a sea change in chess, with Bobby Fischer going on to win by a huge 3.5 point margin. Of the six players who qualified for World Championship Candidates Matches only Efim Geller and Mark Taimanov represented the USSR, with Fischer, Bent Larsen, Robert Huebner and Wolfgang Uhlmann taking the remaining places. Alexander Kotov, best known now for his Think Like a Grandmaster book, referred to that as he tried to look 40 years ahead, i.e. to 2010, that evening:

Im sure that then well have not an Interzonal but an Interplanetary Tournament. And the grey-haired, now ex-World Champion, Boris Spassky, will come out with a big article where as a journalist hell criticise the organisers that for some reason they allocated two places to weak players from Jupiter, reducing by two the representation of the lunar base And chess fans, gathering in an even more luxurious club to assess the outcome of the Interplanetary Tournament will of course recall the first game played in space that opened a new era for the ancient game.

Back then it was hard to imagine that the last men to travel to the Moon would have done so just two years later in 1972, with no Soviet cosmonaut ever standing on the Moon.

3-time World Chess Champion Mikhail Botvinnik also referred to the Interzonal Tournament while talking about the head of the cosmonaut training program:

36 years ago I saw Nikolai Petrovich Kamanin for the first time, if Im not mistaken, in the Grand Peterhof Palace not far from Leningrad, when the Chelyuskin Heroes were being honoured there. Back then we were both very young and both could have become cosmonauts. Now, of course, Im no longer fit for that.

I look on General Kamanin with great envy. Although were the same age hes taken great care of himself and is in charge of our cosmonauts. Besides that, Ive already stopped playing chess myself, while Kamanin, as we just got to see, still continues to perform well in events.

From the stories of Andrian Nikolaev and Vitaly Sevastyanov it became clear to us what difficulties a man faces in space. The first is physical weightlessness, which can be compared to what the participants in the Interzonal Tournament in Palma de Mallorca feel, when theres only a rest day once in every 9 days. The second difficulty is, if we can put it like this, intellectual weightlessness.

When a man finds himself on the Earth in everyday life hes constantly confronted by the solution of complex problems or, to put it another way, inexact problems. Its not so simple to cross a street, to decide how to spend an evening to go to the cinema, theatre or find a more frivolous activity. But on a spaceship a man has none of that and he can forget how to solve complex, inexact problems. And here chess comes to the rescue because chess is a typical complex, inexact problem. After all, its long been known that people playing chess drift and find the correct decisions with difficulty.

I by no means want to suggest that cosmonauts should be picked from among chess players. On the contrary, I think that if our grandmasters will play the way theyve played at the start of the Interzonal Tournament in Palma de Mallorca (not counting, of course, Geller), then well need to find chess reserves from among the cosmonauts

Of course since 1970 chess has been played in space, with some astronauts having had plenty of time as they spent hundreds of days on Mir and now the International Space Station. The US Chess Federation in particular organised anEarth vs. Space matchgiving the chance for kids to take on astronauts. Chess always makes for good photo opportunities!

Tuesday's game will be a memorable celebration of some of the early pioneers of space flight.

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Karjakin vs. Cosmonauts | Earth vs. Space 50th anniversary chess game - chess24

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GMs Pravin Thipsay, Vidit Gujrathi launch Maharashtra Chess Associations official website – The Bridge

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Grandmasters Pravin Mahadeo Thipsay and Vidit Gujrathi, on Saturday, launched the official website of Maharashtra Chess Association (MCA), the official chess body of All India Chess Federation (AICF) for Maharashtra.

The website has been launched by MCA to bring Chess enthusiasts across the country closer on a digital platform, in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. On the website one can not only find all relative information about MCA, the office bearers, registration procedure, future initiatives but also interact and play the game.

The MCA has sprung into action ever since the AICF restored their affiliation after a protracted legal dispute was resolved. The dispute had originally stemmed from a factional tussle within the MCA, which was registered as a society in 1975, by amalgamation of the then five regional chess bodies in the state. The association was then granted affiliation by the AICF in 1978.

In 2012, the AICF asked all its affiliates to amend bye laws to adapt with the one nation, one federation norm. But the tussle within MCA factions, however, resulted in delay of the completion of the entire process. In December 2016, the AICF disaffiliated the MCA for not amending their bye laws in time.

Finally, in April this year, in a Special General Body Meeting (SGM), a five-member panel decided to restore the affiliation of MCA along with Rajasthan Chess Association. Earlier this month, the Pune-based chess body hosted a unique Blitz Grand Prix tournament, brought by LetsUp.

The Blitz tournaments, which have a total prize fund of INR 155000, are being held every Wednesday from June 3 to July 1. Each tournament has a total prize fund of INR 25000 and top five GP finishers get a total of INR 30000. The event has been sponsored by Nasik District and Novel, Ahmednagar District and Narendra Firodia Unicorp, Pune District and Amanora, Jalgaon District and Jain Irrigation and h2e, and lastly, the Sangali District and Chitale Bandhu.

Also read: Maharashtra Chess Association hosts grand five-day Blitz Grand Prix

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GMs Pravin Thipsay, Vidit Gujrathi launch Maharashtra Chess Associations official website - The Bridge

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There is no ‘better’ game when comparing chess with bridge – Royal Gazette

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Published Jun 13, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 13, 2020 at 10:42 pm)

People often compare, and confuse, chess and bridge and there are endless discussions on which is the better game.

For me there is no better they are both brilliant mind games, but they are really different.

In terms of pure brain-crunching analysis there is no doubt in my mind that the top chess players would outdo the top bridge players, but once you get beyond that, bridge requires a wider variety of skills beyond memory and the power to analyse.

I grew up on chess, played it a lot and was fortunate enough to win a few things at it. But once bridge came on the scene it was as if my obsession with chess had never happened.

I still read the occasional chess column and did make a brief appearance at the local chess club some years ago, but that is the extent of my involvement.

In bridge, there is a lot of history to be taken into account before making the right play what was the bidding, what was led, what cards have been played, who are the opponents, etc, whereas in chess, the board is the board and what went before is just not as important as it is in bridge.

For that reason, the top chess players can play 40 opponents at the same time and beat them all.

Chess computers have now mastered the game and, at this time, I believe the top chess computer is virtually unbeatable.

But bridge declarer play programs are not there yet relative to the top players, but they are getting there.

One aspect that both games have in common is the need to analyse the opponents actions and figure out what is behind them, and that leads me to todays hand.

Dealer East

E/W Vulnerable

North

S A107

H A42

D AQJ10

C QJ103

West

S 3

H QJ106

D 76432

C 876

East

S K62

H AK987

D 8

C K942

South

S QJ985

H 453

D K95

C A5

The bidding:

East South West North

1H 1S 3H 4S

West led the Queen of Hearts against four Spades. East overtook this with the King and returned the 8 of Diamonds. Declarer deduced that this had to be a singleton and that the only reason East could make that play was if he had control of the Trump suit, so both the opening bid and the play market him with the Trump King, and if the Diamond was a singleton, East probably had Kxx in Spades as opposed to Kx.

So he decided that it would be pointless, and dangerous, to take the Trump finesse East could win, return a low Heart to partner and get a Diamond ruff for down one.

To cater for this, as it was almost certain that East had the King of Clubs, declarer decided to attempt to cut the defenders communication in Hearts.

Declarer took the Diamond shift in dummy and ran the Queen of Clubs. After playing a second Club to his Ace, declarer crossed to dummy with a trump to the Ace and led the Jack of Clubs. East covered with the King and, rather than ruffing this trick, declarer discarded his remaining Heart.

This loser-on-loser play gained nothing directly, but it prevented a Diamond ruff by severing the Heart link between the defensive hands. East now tried a fourth round of Clubs, but declarer ruffed high and, as West could not overruff, declarer was home. He was then able to claim his contract, conceding a trick to the King of Trumps, losing only one Heart, one Club and the Trump King.

Wonderful analysis and execution by declarer in the face of a really thoughtful defence by East.

Bridge Results

Thursday, June 4

1, Linda Pollett/William Pollett

2=Claude Guay/

Sharon Shanahan

2=Miodrag Novakovic/

Margaret Way

Friday, June 5

North/South

1, Clifford Alison/Craig Hutton

2, Charles Hall/William Pollett

3, Patricia Siddle/

Marilynn Simmons

East/West

1, Joyce Pearson/

Lorna Anderson

2, Inger Mesna/John Rayner

3, Edward Betteto/

Sancia Garrison

Saturday, June 6

1, Linda Abend/Julia Patton

2= Marion Silver/

Duncan Silver

2= Claude Guay/

Sharon Shanahan

2= Judith Kitson/

Gill Butterfield

Monday, June 8

1, Richard Gray/Wendy Gray

2, Lynanne Bolton/

Peter Donnellan

3, Gertrude Barker/

Jane Smith

Wednesday, June 9

<149

1, Marion Silver/Duncan Silver

2, Joann Dawson/

Michael Dawson

3, James Mulderig/

Robert Mulderig

North/South

1, Patricia Siddle/Diana Diel

2, Marilynn Simmons/

Margaret Way

3, Linda Pollett/William Pollett

East/West

1, Magda Farag/

Sheena Rayner

2, Lorna Anderson/

Heather Woolf

3, Julia Beach/

Sancia Garrison

See the rest here:

There is no 'better' game when comparing chess with bridge - Royal Gazette

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June 15th, 2020 at 6:45 pm

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Another Female Chess Grand Master Forsakes Iranian Nationality To Join Swiss Team – Iran News By Radio Farda

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Grand Chess Master and member of Iran's national chess team Ghazal Hakimi has forsaken her Iranian nationality and will compete under the Swiss flag in international chess tournaments.

The twenty-six-year-old chess champion who is currently a student in Zurich, Switzerland, achieved the rank of Grand Master (WGM) in 2016. Her sister Raana Hakimifard also was granted the FIDE Master (WFM) title in 2015.

In a tweet in February Nigel Short, the Vice President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), had said that Hakimifard had applied to switch to the Swiss Chess Federation. "She most certainly will not be the last," he maintained.

The website of FIDE now shows her profile as a member of the Swiss team.

Several female Iranian chess players have switched nationality to play for other countries over the past few years. Expulsion for not complying with the compulsory Islamic dress code (hijab), or not wishing to do so is often a reason for Iranian female athletes switching to other nationalities.

In 2017 the nineteen-year-old Dorsa Derakhshani who had been expelled from the national team for attending an international competition without wearing hijab joined the U.S. team.

On January 2, the Iranian Chess Federation expelled another veteran chess grand master, Mitra Hejazipour, for boldly removing her scarf during the World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship in Moscow.

More recently, in February 2020, international chess arbiter and the former Secretary-General of the Iranian Chess Federation Shohreh Bayat decided not to go back to Iran after photos showing her not wearing the compulsory headscarf during Shanghai Women's World Championship 2020 games were published.

Punishment for not wearing the compulsory headscarf can even be extended to the families of players. Earlier this month, Bayat's father said he had been pressured by the Sports Ministry to resign from all his sports activities because his daughter "had not respected the so-called Islamic dress code".

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Another Female Chess Grand Master Forsakes Iranian Nationality To Join Swiss Team - Iran News By Radio Farda

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June 15th, 2020 at 6:45 pm

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The Downs And Ups Of GM Elmars Zemgalis (Silman’s Last Article) – Chess.com

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GM Elmars Zemgalis was born in 1923 in Riga, Latvia. In 1951, Zemgalis emigrated to the United States where he became a mathematics professor, and in 1952, he was sponsored as part of a program to bring European sportsmen to the state of Washington. Shortly after, he permanently settled in Seattle.

Zemgalis continued to play chess, beating Olaf Ulvestad in a match (Zemgalis won 3-1.), won the Washington State championship twice (winning 9-0 in 1953 and 6-0 in 1959) and continued playing for another fifteen years. He received an honorary grandmaster title from FIDE in 2003, and he died in 2014 (aged 91).

IM Jeremy Silman's Final Article

We encourage our readers to share comments with IM Silman in the comments below, or better yet, purchase one of his incredible and acclaimed books!

You might say, All and well, but was he really grandmaster strength? Lets take a look:

Zemgalis suffered hard times after Latvia was invaded in 1944 by the Soviet Union (twice!). Fortunately, he managed to flee to Germany as a displaced person. After World War II, he played in twelve international tournaments. Here are a few:

As you see, Zemgalis was getting stronger and stronger, and in 1949, he hit his peak.

Wade, who was in the tournament, wrote this: Elmars Zemgalis, a 25 years old' Latvian, owed his success to a careful style and a faculty for playing according to the needs of the position, not the score. He was unbeaten, in fact, he has been unbeaten for eighteen months.

Zemgalis and Bogoljubow were tied for first. Other players included Rossolimo, Unzicker, OKelly, and Saemisch.

Because of that, I (Silman) looked for something better and found it.

This shows you that there are wonderful ideas hiding, even if it takes decades to find them.

A soothing positional kill, dominating in the middle game and concluding in the endgame.

Perfect play should end with a draw. However, instead of saying, Draw?, Zemgalis decided to toss a trick at Black.

This endgame looks like an easy draw. However, the truth is that White is suffering a bit. Thus, White will try to find the best defense while Black will put as much pressure on his opponent as possible.

If you like endgames, especially this endgame, then you can spend a lot of energy finding out what's really going on.

Zemgalis was a fantastic blitz player. He won this tournament 7-0.

Its very rare to play a perfect game. If you want to see one, look at what Zemgalis did here.

If you wish to know more about this amazing man, look for this book by IM John Donaldson. The name: Elmars Zemgalis: Grandmaster Without The Title.

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The Downs And Ups Of GM Elmars Zemgalis (Silman's Last Article) - Chess.com

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June 15th, 2020 at 6:45 pm

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