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Int’l online chess event to mark 74th birthday of PM Hasina – Dhaka Tribune

Posted: September 23, 2020 at 7:55 am


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The event, featuring 75 players from 15 countries, will begin Thursday and end Saturday, two days before the birthday of the Premier

South Asian Chess Council, in collaboration with Golden Sporting Club and Canadian University of Bangladesh, is going to organize Joytu Sheikh Hasina International Online Chess Tournament to mark the 74th birthday of the Bangladesh Prime Minister.

The three-day event, featuring 75 participants from 15 countries, will begin Thursday and end Saturday, two days before the birthday of the Premier.

Bangladesh Chess Federation will be providing technical and logistic support.

A total of 12 Grandmasters confirmed their participation so far.

Three Bangladeshi GMs out of five Ziaur Rahman, Enamul Hossain Razib and Reefat bin Sattar will be taking part, while Niaz Murshed and Abdullah al Rakib have been ruled out due to health and personal reasons.

BCF general secretary Syed Shahabuddin Shamim informed that this will be the first international chess competition of such format hosted by Bangladesh.

He said, Some clubs arranged online tournaments before but this is different. Here neutral pairings of the participants will be ensured. Three international arbiters, one each from Bangladesh, Iran and Philippines will conduct the games.

Shamim also said Indian GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly is enlisted as the top-ranked player of the event.

Along with 49 from the host country, other participants are from Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

BCF and South Asian Chess Federation president IGP Benazir Ahmed will inaugurate the event from the CUB premises via zoom.

To reveal the details, a press conference was held at Hotel Westin in Dhaka Tuesday in the presence of Chowdhury Nafeez Sarafat, chairman of CUB, and BCF vice president.

Prize money $6,000 will be distributed to the winners while the top three Bangladesh performers will get $1,500 as special prize.

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Int'l online chess event to mark 74th birthday of PM Hasina - Dhaka Tribune

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September 23rd, 2020 at 7:55 am

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Road To The PCL Finals: China Pandas – Chess.com

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The PRO Chess League finalsstart on Friday, so it's high time to take a closer look at the four teams that will be fighting for the title. Today: the China Pandas.

The PRO Chess League finals will take place on September 25-27 on Chess.com/Live with commentary onChess.com/TV. Below are the four teams and their lineups.

Lineups PRO Chess League Finals

We are providing a closer look at all four teams and their roads to the finals.In this article, the focus is on the China Pandas.

The Pandas had no fewer than 10 players who played for their team this season. By far the most active was GM Wei Yi, who played 36 games and scored 24.5 points. GM Li Chao was good for 11 points from 19 games.

The other two players who will be in the finals, GMs Ding Liren and GM Yu Yangyi, scored 6/8 and 8/12 respectively.

As the top GMs were not always available, the Pandas struggled somewhat in the regular season this year. The team started with two losses, including their match with one of the other finalists: the Armenia Eagles.

The Pandas lost one more time, in the fifth round, but a total of six wins was just enough to finish in fourth place and make it to the playoffs.

With stronger lineups later than at the start, the Pandas started to get rolling and won in weeks three and four. Against the Hungary Hunters, they had three 2700 GMs who definitely helped in scoring an important 10.5-7.5 win as the Hunters would eventually finish in fifth place.

Li defeated GM Gabor Papp in a nice game. As it turned out, the king walk to g3 was still theory!

The China Pandas started their playoffs with a 9.5-6.5 win against the California Unicorns on March 4. Five days later, they eliminated the Germany Bears, champions of the Central Division, with the exact same score.

The best-performing player for the Pandas was Yu, who made 3.5/4. Here's his win vs. GM Arik Braun that ended in checkmate.

We're seeing the China Pandas in the semifinals for the third time. In their first season in 2018, the Chinese players reached the final but dramatically lost to the Armenia Eagles in a tiebreak. The two teams met again in the match for third place last year when the Pandas took small revenge.

While Wei has by far the most experience this season, Yu and Li bring a lot of PRO Chess League history as both have played in all three seasons that the Pandas have participated in. Together, the two have played a total of 123 games in 2018-2020!

The PRO Chess League finals will take place on September 25-27 on Chess.com. For the semifinals on Friday, Sept. 25, the Pandas face the favorites: the Saint Louis Arch Bishops. Incidentally, these teams have never played before.

The other semifinal is played between theArmenia Eagles and the Canada Chessbrahs. The two losing teams will then face each other on Saturday, Sept. 26, for a fight for third place, while the big final is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 27.

Like in the regular season, time control for all games will be 10 minutes plus a two-second increment.Every player on a team will play every player on the other team for a total of 16 games. The four finalists will be competing for a $40,000 prize fund with $20,000 going to the winner. All matches will be streamed live with expert commentary onChess.com/TV.

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Road To The PCL Finals: China Pandas - Chess.com

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September 23rd, 2020 at 7:55 am

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CHESS Health Selected by Next Step Community, an Addiction Recovery Program Located in Terre Haute, Indiana – PR Web

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (PRWEB) September 22, 2020

CHESS Health, the leading provider of comprehensive addiction management technology, announced today that Next Step Community has chosen to implement CHESSs eRecovery solution, a comprehensive care management platform for substance use disorder which includes the evidence-based Connections App.

Next Step Community will use the Connections App to offer valuable functionality for the entire treatment and recovery journey, including:

The stress and forced isolation created by COVID-19 has had a huge impact on those struggling with Substance Use Disorder in the state of Indiana, said Dana Simons, executive director of Next Step Community. When we found the CHESS Connections App, we knew it was the perfect solution to enable our clients and alumni to achieve long-lasting recovery by offering support in the palm of their hands. The App offers a safe, supportive online community to those in rural areas where there are no services available.

Everyone at CHESS Health is excited to work with Next Step Community to address substance use disorder in the Wabash Valley community, said Hans Morefield, chief executive officer of CHESS Health. We love working with innovative, outcome-focused programs like Next Step that share our belief in the importance of creating and maintaining connections for recovery.

About CHESS Health CHESS Health is the developer of the leading, evidence-based telehealth platform supporting the entire addiction management life cycle. The platform facilitates digital handoffs for getting more patients into treatment (eIntervention); improves outcomes through digital CBT (eTherapy) and reduces relapse and supports long term recovery (eRecovery). For providers, the CHESS platform grows patient volume through more successful referrals, improves treatment delivery, and improves treatment outcomes, including reduced relapse. Health plans and governments also benefit from more individuals in treatment and better outcomes; with the CHESS platform, they also gain analytic insights into provider performance. CHESS Health has received recognition from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), the Journal of Substance Abuse and the Surgeon General. For more information, visit http://www.chess.health.

About Next Step Next Step is a faith-based program in Terre Haute, Indiana for those who are serious about overcoming their addiction to drugs and alcohol. Next Step provides both residential programs and outpatient services such as substance abuse groups, AA meetings, peer coaching, case management, life skills training and mental health services. Our goal is to help those who are serious about managing their substance use disorder regain an independent, substance-free lifestyle. Learn more at http://www.nextsteptoday.org.

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CHESS Health Selected by Next Step Community, an Addiction Recovery Program Located in Terre Haute, Indiana - PR Web

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September 23rd, 2020 at 7:55 am

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The True Story Behind Critical Thinking, Movie Based in Miami – Miami New Times

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The movie Critical Thinking was more than two decades in the making by the time the cast and crew began filming in Miami in 2018. After reading a 1997 article about the Miami Jackson High School chess team in the Miami Herald's now-extinct Tropic magazine,producer Carla Berkowitz bought the rights to the story and spent years trying to make a movie about the unlikely pack of high school students who became one of the winningest teams in the nation.

Berkowitz ultimately linked up with actor and director JohnLeguizamo and co-producer Scott Rosenfelt to make the film a reality. But by time Critical Thinking was ready for release, COVID-19 had changed life in Hollywood and beyond. Movie theaters shuttered, and film festivals were canceled or closed to U.S. residents. So Critical Thinking wound up being quietly released to select theaters on September 4 andmade available for direct download on platforms including Amazon Video, Apple TV, and iTunes.

The film's release won't be completely devoid of fanfare, however.Tonight, Berkowitz and actor Corwin Tuggles, part of the ensemble cast of chess players, will appear at the New York Latino Film Festival for a sold-out, socially distanced screening of Critical Thinking followed by a Q&A.

"It's at a drive-in in the Bronx behind Yankee Stadium," Berkowitz tells New Times. "That is the only festival we're actually able to attend."

So far, the film has garnered mostly positive reviews from critics, and it has a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many have noted the diverse cast of Black and Latino actors, some of whom are more established and some who are making their big-screen debuts. Tuggles, who has appeared in episodes of Broad City and Orange Is the New Black, stars alongside Bumblebee's Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Spanish-language film actor Jeffry Batista, TV actor William Hochman, and Pose star Angel Bismark Curiel.

The characters in the movie are based on former students at Miami Jackson who took a chess classcalled Critical Thinking that wastaught bycoach Mario Martinez. The real-life chess players have stayed in touch with Berkowitz for the past 23 years and consulted on the film.

"It's avery inclusive movie and that has always been my goal. The lives of these boys and the coach were represented in an elegant and accurate way that they deserve," Berkowitz says.

Producer Carla Berkowitz with the five real-life Miami Jackson chess players.

Photo courtesy of Carla Berkowitz

The movie's release came just days before theAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced new diversity rules for the Oscars, requiring films to include actors in underrepresented groups. Berkowitz says she applauds the change, noting that an Oscar nomination is a privilege, not a right.

"It's like a shakedown, but in a good way," she says. "I feel like it's a very good start in just waking the world up that no one's gonna watch your movie if you're not going to start including people of every race, color, gender, and ability."

Although some reviewers found the characters in Critical Thinkingto be clichs of low-income people of color, Berkowitz points out that the movie is almost entirely based on actual people and events, right down to the chess matches. The real-life players helped reconstruct their old games move by move so that moviegoers particularly those who play chess would see an accurate depiction of tournament play.

"It was very important to me that no one said, 'Oh, that doesn't happen in chess,' 'That's fake,' 'That's movie magic,'" Berkowitz says.

The real-life chess players saw a screener of the movie at Berkowitz's home months ago, pre-COVID, but Berkowitz says she wanted to experience Critical Thinking on the big screen. Because movie theaters in Broward reopened in August, she drove up to Tamarac two weeks ago and watched the film as she'd always planned to.

"Iwas crying," she says. "To hear thesound design that I was a part of, and to actually be able to hear it in surround sound."

Nevertheless, she says, those watching at home are "enjoying it a lot, but not seeing it with popcorn."

Besides, her true audience was always the Jackson chess players themselves Oelmy "Ito" Paniagua, Gil Luna, Rodelay Medina, Sedrick Roundtree, and Marcel Martinez.

"I'mvery happy for them and for me, in the sense that I was able to follow through on a promise to them that was really kind of a crazy promise," Berkowitz says. "Watching them watch other people play them was, I think, the highlight of my life."

Jessica Lipscomb is news editor of Miami New Times and an enthusiastic Florida Woman. Born and raised in Orlando, she has been a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.

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The True Story Behind Critical Thinking, Movie Based in Miami - Miami New Times

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September 23rd, 2020 at 7:55 am

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DeepMind’s AI is helping to re-write the rules of chess – ZDNet

Posted: September 15, 2020 at 2:57 pm


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In the game between chess and artificial intelligence, Google DeepMind's researchers have made yet another move, this time teaming up with ex-chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik to design and trial new AI-infused variants of the game.

With the objective of improving the design of balanced sets of game rules, the research team set out to discover the best tweaks they could possibly give to the centuries-old board game, in an ambitious effort to refresh chess dynamics thanks to AI.

The scientists used AlphaZero, an adaptive learning system that can teach itself new rules from scratch and achieve superhuman levels of play, to test the outcomes of nine different chess variants that they pre-defined with Kramnik's help.

SEE: Managing AI and ML in the enterprise 2020: Tech leaders increase project development and implementation (TechRepublic Premium)

For each variant, AlphaZero played tens of thousands of games against itself, analyzing every possible move for any given chessboard condition, and generating new strategies and gameplay patterns. Kramnik and the researchers then assessed what games between human players might look like if these variants were adopted, to find out whether different sets of rules might improve the game.

Chess has evolved significantly over the centuries, with new variants coming in to improve perceived issues with the classical game, or to introduce new complications in the competition. Changing the rules can have a huge impact on game strategy, playability and dynamics but historically, understanding the consequences of implementing a particular chess variant has only been possible over time, by observing enough human players.

"Training an AlphaZero model under these rules changes helped us effectively simulate decades of human play in a matter of hours," said DeepMind's researchers, "and answer the 'what if' question: what the play would potentially look like under developed theory in each chess variant."

Some of the alterations tested by AlphaZero included the ability for a player to capture their own pieces, for example, or for pawns to move backwards by one square. "No-castling" disallowed castling throughout the game, while another variant equaled forcing a stalemate with a win, rather than a draw.

The AI system played each variant in 10,000 games at one second per move, and another 1,000 with one minute per move. To determine as objectively as possible how the changes impacted the games' quality, the scientists looked at a number of factors; one of them, which has frustrated chess players since time immemorial, was the proportion of draws observed.

Overall, most variants increased the amount of potentially decisive results, with some rules such as "stalemate = win" understandably driving the improvement. The researchers also found that time controls impacted game decisiveness: games at one second per move were much less likely to end in a draw than those with one minute per move.

Games at one second per move were much less likely to end in a draw than those with one minute per move.

The results also showed that, in a large percentage of games, AlphaZero actively used the additional moves at its disposal thanks to the new rules, rather than sticking strictly to classical moves. "This suggests that the new options are indeed useful, and contribute to the game," said the researchers.

On top of the statistical analysis of AlphaZero's new gameplay, DeepMind's team asked Kramnik to answer more subjective questions about the positions, moves and patterns that emerged as a result of the variants. The player's input, in principle, should reflect which rules might get traction within the traditional chess community.

The Russian grandmaster has for a long time been an advocate of the no-castling variant, and confirmed that the rule is potentially exciting, because it encourages aggressive play by increasing the vulnerability of both players' kings. On the other hand, Kramnik found that the "stalemate = win" variant seems to have a minor overall effect on the game.

SEE: Explainable AI: From the peak of inflated expectations to the pitfalls of interpreting machine learning models

International master Danny Rensch, chief chess officer at chess website Chess.com, also reviewed DeepMind's findings in a video. He described the "stalemate = win" rule, on the contrary, as the one most likely to significantly change gameplay in the chess community.

"You can't fix the draw in chess unless you really eliminate stalemate," said Rensch. "I strongly believe stalemate equaling a win might not only help grow the game to beginner players but actually could make an impact in terms of decisive results we saw."

Ultimately, as useful as AlphaZero's insights can be, it is impossible to predict which rules of chess will stick, if any. The only way to find out will be to observe how human players adopt, change or abandon different variants: who knows, it might be the right time to re-open that long-forgotten chess app.

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DeepMind's AI is helping to re-write the rules of chess - ZDNet

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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The 10 Best Chess Moves Of All Time – Chess.com

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The number of chess moves made in the history of the royal game is incalculable. Data taken from the study of the 2015 MegaBase (a database that contains over 4.5 million games) indicates that the average number of moves per game is roughly 38. In this one database alone are over 170 million moves.

There are many databases of chess games, and most of these are solely for tournament playso they inherently and purposefully do not include the overwhelming majority of online games, much less friendly or casual games.So, how do you select the 10 best chess moves of all time?

We began in a similar fashion to how a player selects a chess move: The Chess.com staff created a long list of candidate moves. Our original list was created by scouring books, articles, and multiple expert lists. We added moves from newer games, and we researched the overlaps. Next we started cutting down the long listagain and again. Eventually, we created a strong list of candidate moves, and then the Chess.com Content team voted.

Here are the resultsthe 10 best chess moves of all time:

Coming in at number 10 is the move voted as the best of all time by ChessKid's Chief Chess Officer, FM Mike Klein (a.k.a. FunMasterMike). In the 1964 USSR Championship, GM Ratmir Kholmov had a tough-looking position against the legendary GMDavid Bronstein. Even Stockfish does not see a move that gives White the advantage after Bronstein's 17...Qe7:

With the knight on c3 attacked and Black one move away from consolidation with 18...Bb7, Kholmov needed to find something quickly. Luckily for the chess world, he found an amazing combination!

The first endgame position on this list is seen in the game between Martin Ortueta Estaban and Jose Sanz Aguado played at Madrid in 1933. Black is winning in the following position, but the path forward is unclear. Black's bishop is a tall pawn, at the moment, and Black's pawn structure is more than shattered.

In this position, Sanz uncorked an amazing rook sacrifice with 31...Rxb2!! It takes Stockfish extra time to realize that this amazing move is completely winning for Blackthe passed pawns on the c-file cannot be stopped!

IM Edward Lasker (a five-time U.S. Open Champion and friend/distant relative of former world champion Emanuel Lasker) played a famous game against George Alan Thomas in London in 1912. The legendary king hunt begins after Thomas' blunder with 10...Qe7:

Lasker has a lead in development, his minor pieces dominate the center, and Black's kingside has been weakened. In this position, Lasker found a wonderful queen sacrifice that forces checkmate in seven moves.

This bishop endgame is unique on this list as it is the only studythe position is not from a game played by two players but was composed by a problemist. According to the Harold van der Heijden Endgame Study Database IV, this study was composed by P. Heuacker in 1930 and published in Neue Freie Presse #44.

So, how did this 90-year-old study make the list for the 10 best moves of all time? Let's take a look.

At first glance, this looks like a boring and dead-equal bishop ending. It feels like Black can just move their e-pawn and forever control the queening square for White's h-pawn with their dark-squared bishop on d4. If you show this position to Stockfish, it initially agrees and shows an evaluation of all zeros (0.00).

However, it is really White to move and win. The first move isn't terribly difficult to find, but it is the fourth move that blows my mind.

A truly beautiful endgame idea that displays that there is life in even the dullest-looking positions. The simultaneous simplicity and complexity make this my favorite studyI consider it icing on the cake that it still confuses powerful engines.

Bura had the white pieces against Paric in their game played in Yugoslavia in 1982. Bura was down two pawns, and his queen and rook were both hanging:

Trading queens with 1.Rxa1 Nxd4 looks unpleasant, but what else is there? Bura shows us!

It is rare that a desperado queen sacrifice occurs on an empty squareit is even rarer when it wins!

Kicking off the top five we have a favorite move of Chess.com's Chief Chess Officer, IM Danny Rensch. In the 1949 USSR Championships, GM Efim Geller had Black against GM Salo Flohr, and they reached the following rook and pawn endgame:

Geller is up a pawn, but his rook is attacked. If he allows White to take the e5-pawn with check, then his extra pawn on a4 could fall. What spectacular move did Geller play?

GM Evgeny Vladimirov, a world-class player at his peak, was on GM Garry Kasparov's team in the 1986 world championship match against GM Anatoly Karpov. However, he should be best known for the move he played against GM Vladimir Epishin in 1987, which reached the following position after Epishin's 25.Qxb3:

Recapturing the queen seems more than logical and would be the likely move by more than 99.99999% of chess players. Stockfish gives 26.cxb3 as roughly equal, while 26.axb3 gives a nice advantage to White. However, Vladimirov had other plans, and he found the only move that wins on the spot.

It takes a lot more than guts and calculations to find and play a move like 26.Bh6!! It requires creativity and vision beyond a measurable scope. Moves like this one are why some people play chess.

Frank Marshall was known for his brilliant attacks and tactics, and the move he played in this game is definitely the best move he ever played. Marshall had Black against Stefan Levitsky at the 1912 Breslau tournament, and the following position was reached after Levitsky's 23.Rc5:

Black is winning and has several moves that can maintain the advantagebut one move is outstanding in this position for Black. Can you find it?

Marshall's 23...Qg3!! is one of those moves that gets burned into people's memories quickly. To put a queen on a square where it can be captured so many times and still win so emphatically is unforgettable.

At the number-two spot, we have the first of two unanimous picksthat's right, the entire Chess.com Content team picked this incredible move. Meier was White against Muller in 1994 and achieved the following winning position:

Many moves keep White's advantage here, and more than one increases the advantage. However, the move played in the game is by far the most spectacular. Can you find it?

This move looks like an upgraded version of Marshall's legendary move for a few reasons:

The top move on the list will come as little surprise to those who have followed chess for a long time or have seen this move beforeit is widely accepted as the single best move of all time.

This move was the second unanimous vote by the Chess.com Content team and was voted as the best move by several Chess.com content team members, including Chess.com's Director of News, Peter Doggers; Chess.com's Curriculum Director, NM Jeremy Kane; and Director of Chess.com India, IM Rakesh Kulkarni.

Those who haven't seen this move before may be surprised that the sacrifice comes in an endgame, as GM Alexei Shirov is known as one of the greatest attacking players of all time. Although GMs Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana are ranked numbers one and two in the world (as of September 2020), Shirov still has the best move of all time.

Shirov produced his brilliancy as Black against GM Veselin Topalov at Linares in 1998, and the following opposite-colored bishop endgame was reached after Topalov's 47.Kg1:

Opposite-colored bishop endgames are known to be notoriously drawish. Despite being up two pawns, Black's path to victory is not clear. If White can get their king to the center (to e3 or d4), there will be no way through.What makes this move even more amazing is that Shirov finds the only way to actually win this position.

The move Shirov played is still not considered by Stockfish, which makes it that much more deliciousOK, that's enough buttering you up. Here is Shirov's mind-bending move with annotations by GM Daniel Naroditsky:

So there you have itChess.com's top-10 best moves of all time. I hope you enjoyed taking a look at these remarkable moves. In the comments, let us know your favorite of these moves or another one if not mentioned in this list.

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The 10 Best Chess Moves Of All Time - Chess.com

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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The classic game of chess has found a new home: Twitch – The Next Web

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As a global pandemic continues to determine a new normal, tens of thousands of viewers have been tuning in to watch people play chess on a livestreaming website called Twitch.tv. An American chess grandmaster, Hikaru Nakamura, along with a number of celebrities of the video game world, is leading a renaissance in the ancient game.

While viewers eagerly await Nakamuras streams to begin, they are treated to a slideshow of memes involving Nakamuras face superimposed into scenes from pop culture. First, a reference to a well-known Japanese animation, next a famous upside-down kiss with Spiderman and finally, Nakamuras characteristic grin is edited onto the Mona Lisa herself.

From Aug. 21 to Sept. 6, Twitch and Chess.com are hosting a tournament, called Pogchamps, where some of the most popular gaming streamers in the world compete in a chess tournament with US$50,000 on the line.

The current renaissance in chess is happening at the confluence of livestreaming technology, video game culture, and one grandmasters exceptional skills as both a chess player and an entertainer. What is emerging is an unexpectedly good pairing between chess and a digital generation that is showing how influential gamers can be.

The game of kings is more popular than ever, with over 605 million players worldwide, and now, memes are involved.

Twitch.tv is a streaming website where millions of people watch content ranging from video games to conversation to chess. AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File

Twitch.tv is a live-video streaming website that was started in 2011 as a platform for users to watch other people play video games. In recent years, Twitch has grown to become the cultural hub of the gaming community. It now hosts tens of thousands of creators who broadcast live to a global audience of around 17.5 million viewers a day.

Since 2015, chess viewership has experienced exponential growth on Twitch. Then, a mere 59 people were watching chess streams at any given time. Today, that number averages 4,313. At the time of writing this, viewers have consumed close to 38 million hours of chess in 2020 alone.

[Read: These tech trends defined 2020 so far, according to 5 founders]

At the helm of this explosion is Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura. Nakamura is a five-time U.S. chess champion and a top 10 ranked chess player in the world.

In addition to his traditional competitive career, in 2015, Nakamura began streaming chess on Twitch. At first, he was relatively unnoticed, but in 2019, when he started dedicating upwards of 30 hours per week to streaming, Nakamura became known as GMHikaru to his growing fanbase online. In 2020, those fans have already watched an astonishing 9.95 million hours of Nakamuras channel. At times, over 45,000 viewers have watched a single game.

Why is this flood of interest in chess happening now?

Hikaru Nakamura is a top-ranked grandmaster and, more recently, one of the most popular streamers on Twitch. Andreas Kontokanis via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

Nakamura is a great player and a jovial person, but there are many thousands of modern, high-production video games being played by charismatic and skilled streamers on Twitch. Viewers on Twitch have discovered a profound interest in learning the fundamental mechanics of a board game from the sixth century.

Nakamura has attracted the interest of other massively popular streamers with millions of followers xQc, forsen, Nymm and the late Reckful, to name a few. These collaborations with celebrities of the gaming world have been a huge boost to chesss popularity as Nakamura plays games against these streamers while blindfolded or foregoing the use of the queen. These games illustrate for the new fans and top streamers the skills, cunning, and joy that are rapidly coming to be associated with chess. Hikaru is literally the discipline in action, comments Devin Nash, a popular Twitch analyst.

This popularity culminated in a chess tournament called Pogchamps. In June, 16 of Twitchs top streamers played in a round robin chess tournament after being coached by a number of world-class chess players, including Nakamura. The event was so popular with both the streamers and fans at one point more than 150,000 people were watching that a second Pogchamps was immediately scheduled. The second tournament is running through September 6 and features streamers like xQc and even Hafthor Julius Bjornsson the actor who played The Mountain in Game of Thrones.

There are a few pieces involved in this world of online chess: the streaming technology of Twitch, Nakamura, the online gaming community, and the game of chess itself. Just as in the board game, no single piece in this evolving landscape of chess is alone driving the popularity. As Nakamura, gamers and the chess world collide, each piece is changing the others.

My research focuses on understanding the economic and cultural significance of video game communities. This year has proven what many who study video games have long claimed: that online gaming is significant far beyond the confines of video games. Today, music artists are shaking the foundations of their industry by migrating onto Twitch to great success. Doctors and medical researchers as well are strengthening their ties with gaming and gamers: for instance, raising $3.1 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation in collaboration with Twitch in early 2020.

Beyond these headlines, I focus specifically on how streamers like Nakamura create micro-communities with their own cultural norms and spheres of influence. The strong human connections that develop in these spaces extend beyond the digital world. In the case of Nakamura and chess, the results are new ways of playing chess, a new meme-filled language surrounding chess and, as gamers continue to watch chess in huge numbers, an illustration of how gamers connect with each other and parts of the offline world in meaningful ways.

Twitch culture is irreverent, young and technocentric, a far cry from the august image of chess. Frederic J. Brown/Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

But not everyone is accepting of this cultural shift. Twitch viewers are mostly males in their early 20s and are, in general, a notoriously irreverent bunch. This is partly how they gain the reputation as disillusioned and dysfunctional.

As chess has grown in this community, an established elite guided by a few longtime chess players and commentators see the trend as detrimental to a once noble contest.

Ben Finegold, a prominent U.S. grandmaster, refers to the streamers with whom Nakamura has collaborated as negative talent. Unlike a normal person who has talent in chess, says Finegold, users on Twitch ought to be ignored lest they diminish the good name of a traditional chess community.

Some at the head of traditional chess, however, disagree. David Llada, the chief marketing and communications officer for the International Chess Federation, acknowledges the damage of insular thinking: Our main sin is that chess people tend not to think outside the chess board. They dont pay enough attention to the world around them.

Whatever the old guard of chess believes, this ancient game has found a new, passionate, and receptive audience. A digital generation on Twitch has built bridges between worlds not only for chess but for the musical and medical worlds as well. The memes are here to stay. What is next for online gaming and the game of kings remains to be seen, but neither will likely be the same.

This article is republished from The Conversation by Ilya Brookwell, Assistant Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, University of California, Riverside under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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The classic game of chess has found a new home: Twitch - The Next Web

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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John Leguizamo on bringing the ‘intellectual hustle’ of chess to life – Page Six

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John Leguizamo directed and stars in the how-to-play-chess tutorial Critical Thinking.

1988, Id watch national champions play at Washington Square Park. The intellectual hustle looked badass exciting. I got hooked but, an amateur dilettante, I could never beat them. Not that good. I can survive the first three to five moves then forget it. Id go to try and take their money, but all I could get were the moves. However, what I learned was how to play chess.

The winter of 2018, this shoot took just 20 days and cost $3 million to make. I was teaching real tough mostly black and Latino kids in a rough neighborhood near the bridge in Miami. And they got good enough to enter a national championship.

Yeah, but why? Maybe 11 humans care about a knight jumping a rook. Tweezing your chin has more action.

Look, this is the game as youd never seen it before. Impossible to show chess on camera. Its all mental. But we taught them to play. Taught them the strategies. In 98, I played with five guys. I created exact moves. Now, making the pieces king, queen, bishop lifesize Ive made the game accessible.

To catch a rook being rooked, the film on demand is getting raves.

To see other moves, try Pieces of a Woman. Its about a Boston couple who give birth at home. It stars Shia LaBeouf, Ellen Burstyn, Vanessa Kirby and premieres at the Venice Film Festival then Toronto. Martin Scorsese liked it enough to ask to add his name, be made executive producer, and he says: I was emotionally invested in it from the first scene Its a privilege to help it find the wide audience it deserves.

Whiffs of post-coronavirus health are returning to Hollywood. Baz Luhrmanns Elvis resumed production in Australia. It closed March 19 when Tom Hanks was diagnosed with the virus. He plays Elvis manager the Colonel Wheel of Fortune spun back. A redesigned platform allows 6 feet of space around Pat Sajak. Each contestants own device fits into the wheel, so now they spin the thing without touching it Doug Liman, who says hell direct Tom Cruise in outer space (?*%%$#!), has another earthly project. A pandemic romantic, comedic heist thing with Anne Hathaway. Lockdown. Taking place on this planet.

Real estate yentas say no home/condo/shack/BnB/share/estate can again have a master bedroom. Master conjures slavery. So what Augustas golf tournament calls itself next spring, who knows? Henceforth even a bum sponging on a friends share in Rockaway that mattress will now be called owners bedroom Yesterday, I did my manicure. Today, I do my pedicure. Tomorrow, the white hairs back to brown. Primping in this pandemics making me anorexic.

Stop knocking de Blasio. You cant move him, dump him, replace or sideswipe him. A president you can impeach. A San Franciscan serpent for whom nobody voted, yet has delusions of adequacy can shut a hardworking hairdressers salon. But only the governor can zap the mayor. Cuomo knows it. Its been suggested to him. He wont do it. If you have nothing else on your mind, figure out why.

Nannies are taking their charges to play Hide and go shop.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

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John Leguizamo on bringing the 'intellectual hustle' of chess to life - Page Six

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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On Chess: St. Louis Chess Club To Host Two Upcoming Online Chess Tournaments Featuring The World’s Top Grandmasters – St. Louis Public Radio

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The first time legendary World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov and current World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen faced off was in the Reykjavik Rapid tournament in 2004. Kasparov was only a year away from retirement, while his fresh-faced opponent was only 13 years old. Sixteen years later, the two heavyweights will face off once again, this time playing online in the upcoming Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX.

Chess960, also known as Fischer Random Chess, is a chess variant invented by 11th World Champion Bobby Fischer. The game uses the same board, pieces and rules of chess except that the pieces on the back rank are randomized following specific rules. The game has become more popular. So much so that the International Chess Federation staged the first official Chess960 World Championship in 2019. The American grandmaster Wesley So won the first title after demolishing Magnus Carlsen with a score of 13.5-2.5 in the finals.

Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX has become a staple on the St. Louis Chess Clubs calendar. The event previously featured a series of matches between top players. However, this edition will be a round robin instead, which means that all 10 players will play each other. The tournament will take place online Sept. 11-13 with a total prize fund of $150,000. The star-studded field will include:

The chess festivities will continue with another well-known chess event, the 2020 St. Louis Raid and Blitz. The St. Louis Rapid and Blitz had been one of the stops of the Grand Chess Tour, but due to the cancellation of the tour as a result of the ongoing pandemic, it will take place as a stand-alone event. The 10 players will be competing online for a $250,000 prize fund in nine rapid games and 18 blitz games over five days of play. The top American grandmasters and crowd favorites grandmasters Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, Leinier Dominguez and Jeffery Xiong will be joined by grandmasters Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk, Levon Aronian, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Pentala Harikrishna.

Chess fans will be particularly delighted with these fields that include both youth and experience, in particular the two young phenoms Alireza Firouzja and Jeffery Xiong. It will be the first time that this Iranian player makes an appearance in a top American event. Firouzja has been garnering fans due to his uncompromising, fearless style of play and is considered to be a future contender to the World Championship title by many. He cemented his status as a top player with his result in the 2019 World Rapid Championship, where he finished second, only a point behind the winner, Carlsen. The 2016 World Junior Champion Jeffery Xiong is a force to be reckoned with as well, as he is coming fresh off the Online Olympiad, where he represented the U.S. team, scoring 10 points in 13 games. He made waves in the 2019 World Cup when he made it all the way to the semifinals, only to lose to the eventual winner, Teimour Radjabov.

Games will start daily at 1 p.m. CDT (GMT-5) Sept. 11-13 for Chess 9LX, followed by the St. Louis Rapid and Blitz from Sept. 15-19 with expert commentary featuring Yasser Seirawan and Maurice Ashley and Jennifer Shahade. Viewers can watch live on uschesschamps.com or on STLChessClubs YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.

Tatev Abrahamyan is a woman grandmaster. She started playing chess at the age of 8. She has competed in five Chess Olympiads, earning a bronze team medal for the United States in her first appearance. Tatev has also competed in multiple U.S. Womens Chess Championship as well as Womens World Chess Championship.

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On Chess: St. Louis Chess Club To Host Two Upcoming Online Chess Tournaments Featuring The World's Top Grandmasters - St. Louis Public Radio

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Chess.com Teams Up With CLG For First CLG Arena With $2,100 In Prizes – Chess.com

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Register for the tournament up to one hour before it begins here

New York, NY, September 3, 2020 CLG, a top-tier North American esports organization, and Chess.com, the world's largest online chess website, have announced a partnership with the first-ever CLG Chess Arena. Starting on Tuesday, September 8 at 2 p.m. Pacific Time (23:00 Central European Time), this event isopen to participants at every level of play, with a prize pool of $2,100. The arena is the first of its kind, as it marks the first time a professional esports organization is hosting a live tournament on Chess.com.

As chess continues to grow in both popularity and accessibility, we believe this is an opportunity to connect further with chess players and those who are fans of the game, said Dan Fleeter, COO of CLG. CLG is consistently looking for ways to innovate and bring communities together and we see this as just one small step towards our foray into the world of Chess.

Prizes will feature both overall and class prizes, giving players of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for cash.

WGM Qiyu "CLG Nemo" Zhou, a content creator and chess player who holds the titles of FIDE Master and Woman Grandmaster, will be hosting the tournament. She won the Canadian Womens Championship in 2016. The tournament will be broadcast live on both Nemo's and CLGs Twitch Channels.

"CLG is an elite esports organization that we are excited to be working with to promote chess to new audiences," said Isaac Steincamp, Chess.com's Director of Strategy. "Promoting the game for both professional and novice players is a priority for Chess.com, and we're happy to be partnering with an organization that values the greater online chess community."

The two-hour long arena will kick off on Tuesday, September 8 at 2 p.m. Pacific Time (23:00 Central European Time) and will be hosted by WGM Qiyu (CLG Nemo) Zhou on the official CLG Twitch Channel. The event will be open to the public from Live Chess, and will feature a 5+0 time control.

Looking to join CLG's official Chess.com club? Make sure to join their club for exclusive cash prize tournaments and updates.

About Counter Logic Gaming CLG is a top tier North American esports organization respected for its championship legacy and passionate fanbase. CLG was founded originally in 2010 as a League of Legends team by George Georgallidis, with the intent of pushing the boundaries of esports and creating a thriving community around it. CLG is now one of the largest esports organizations in the world. CLG fields teams in all leading esports titles: League of Legends, Fortnite, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Apex Legends and Super Smash Bros. In 2017, CLG partnered with the Madison Square Garden Company, allowing CLG to further disrupt and cement its legacy in esports history. CLG has won multiple championships throughout its history, most notable are the LCS Summer 2015 Championship at Madison Square Garden, the LCS Spring 2016 Championship at Mandalay Bay; and the Halo 2016 World Championship in Hollywood, California. More information is available at http://www.clg.gg

About Chess.com Chess.com is the worlds largest chess site, with a community of more than 42 million members from around the world playing millions of games every day. Launched in 2007, Chess.com is the leader in chess news, lessons, events, and live entertainment. Visit Chess.com to play, learn, and connect with chessthe worlds most popular game. More information is available at http://www.chess.com

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Chess.com Teams Up With CLG For First CLG Arena With $2,100 In Prizes - Chess.com

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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