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Indian chess team celebrates its Olympiad victory with a special Twitter Chat – WION

Posted: September 15, 2020 at 2:57 pm


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This weekend was a treat for the chess enthusiasts as the team that won India its maiden Chess Olympiad gold celebrated its victory with a special Twitter Chat using the services new conversation settings.

This exclusive Twitter Chat was hosted by the vice-captain Srinath Narayanan and the comic Samay Raina. They engaged in light-hearted conversations with Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, captain Vidit Gujrathi along with the other members of the Indian team including Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika, Vantika Agrawal , Nihal Sarin, Divya Deshmukh, Praggnanandhaa and Bhakti Kulkarni. The winning team talked about its Chess Olympiad experience and also shared some tips for budding chess players, on how to prepare for a tournament as big as the Olympiad. The chat also saw the participation of another eminent Indian player, Adhiban Baskaran, and streamer Sagar Shah.

The Indian team created history on August 30 by winning its first-ever gold in the 2020 Online Chess Olympiad. This was the first time FIDE, the international chess federation, was holding the Olympiad in an online format due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The chat started off with some smooth opening moves by Srinath and Samayand quickly progressed to an engaging session of banter between the participants. The chat also saw members of the team sharing their thoughts about some significant developments in the game.

During the chat, Vishwanathan Anand was asked about his views on FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovichs suggestion of staging a Champions Series between India and Russia. In his reply, the Indian chess legend said that he liked the idea and it is on the lines of similar series of matches Russia has played against many other teams, including China.

ALSO READ:Five things we learned from the Premier League's return

The Grandmaster was also asked about his opinion on one of the most interesting new trends in the tabletop game, that of streaming, by Samay, who is an accomplished chess streamer himself. Vishwanathan Anand answered by saying that he was supportive of the development, which would help attract a newer demographic to the game.

ALSO READ:Exclusive: Hope to carry domestic form into IPL 2020, says Kings XI Punjab's Mandeep Singh

The players sharing their experiences, their favorite moments as well as their journey throughout the tournament in general, were some of the other key highlights of this memorable chat:

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Indian chess team celebrates its Olympiad victory with a special Twitter Chat - WION

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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Nihal Beats Tang In Junior Speed Chess Championship – Chess.com

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In the first match of theJunior Speed Chess Championship sponsored by ChessKid, GM Nihal Sarin (India) defeated GM Andrew Tang (U.S.) 16-8. Tang had entered the tournament by winning the eight-player Knockout Qualifier tournament on Wednesday.

The first match of this year's junior championship was between the top seed and the 16th seed. However, with Tang's reputation of being one of the strongest bullet players on the planet, it wasn't fully clear to what extent Nihal was the favorite in this match.

According to Chess.com odds calculations, this was the case, and the Indian youngster delivered.

Nihal (@nihalsarin) won the five-minute portion 4.5-3.5 and the three-minute 5.5-2.5. But that was before the bullet, right? Well, also there Nihal was the stronger player as he crushed Tang (@penguingm1) 6-2. A stunningly big win for the Indian grandmaster.

Game eight, the last one with a five-minute time control, was one of the best of the match. Nihal was up a queen against rook and two pawns, and Tang's position looked like a fortress (but it wasn't). With both players playing their last 60 moves or so with just seconds on the clock, Nihal managed to convert in the end. Very impressive.

All games

Tang earned $166.67 based on win percentage; Nihal won $500 for the victory plus $333.33 on percentage, totaling $833.33. He moves on to the next round, where he will play the winner of the matchGM Anton Smirnov vs. GM Raunak Sadhwani that is on September 23.

"The match was very close throughout, said Nihal."The five minutes, it was very tough for me. Somehow, Andrew was playing extremely well and very fast. At some point, I was just trying to not get so angry. At some point, it just started going very well for me."

The Indian GM added some more nice words about his opponent: "I knew it was going to be very tough. Andrew is, of course, very fast and strong, and Im a big fan of him!"

Tang responded: "Weve played many games, but... thats flattering!"

The live broadcast of the match.

Remaining matches in the round of 16:

The 2020 Chess.com Junior Speed Chess Championships is sponsored by ChessKid, the world's number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. Sixteen GMs younger than 21 years old play in a knockout format with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz, and 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet chess. In this second edition, there's a total prize fund of $25,000 on the line. Find all information here.

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Nihal Beats Tang In Junior Speed Chess Championship - Chess.com

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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An interview with Ben Johnson, the perpetual podcaster – Chessbase News

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Ben Johnson launched the Perpetual Chess Podcast in December 2016, frustrated by the lack of audio-only chess content on the web. Almost five years in, the podcast has been downloaded/streamed close to a million times, with listeners hailing from over a hundred different countries.

Johnson has hosted no fewer than 193 episodes, interviewing, among others, top-level players likeVishy Anand, Judit Polgar, Hikaru Nakamura and Rustam Kasimdzhanov; well-known chess authors such as Jacob Aagaard, Jonathan Rowson and Joel Benjamin; and famous streamers and online personalities like John Bartholomew, Daniel Naroditsky and Simon Williams. Just to name a few.

As his popularity raised, a couple of new sections were added to the mix, particularly a list ofbook recommendationsby the guests and a series that focuses on adult improvers.

This is how theauthor describes himself on his website:

As for me, I am a decent but flawed chess player (FIDE 2150ish). I am one of those people who fell in love with the game as a teen and became obsessed with it. At the age of 18, I earned the title of USCF Master, but my chess skills pretty much peaked there and I have lost or lent out some rating points in subsequent years.

When and how did you get the idea to create the podcast?

First off, I want to say thanks for the interview, Carlos. I have been reading ChessBase.com for decades, so I am honored to be featured. As for the birth of the Perpetual Chess, sometime in 2015 I started teaching scholastic chess programs after a long time working in other fields. I was driving around a lot to teach at different schools, and started to love listening to podcasts while driving. I noticed there was very little in the way of chess podcasts, and ultimately decided to attempt to fill that void myself.

You have chosen ten episodes for new listeners to get a general idea of what the podcast is about. It must have been difficult to choose only ten! How did you do it?

Funny you should ask, a dedicated listener recently started helping me with the website, and he gets the credit for making that page. It was very hard to pick ten episodes. I ultimately decided to focus more on diversity of guest type rather than picking my absolute favorites. I also intend to change that list over time.

Which episode would you say is the hidden gemfrom the show so far? i.e. An episode that might be less popular than others but has great content in your estimation.

I am going to go with Uncle Yermo aka GM Alex Yermolinsky, way back on Episode 15. Part of what I love about chess is its global appeal, and I am a total sucker for tales of leaving one place to make a fresh start in another country. Its been a while since I listened, but Alex told the amazing story of his coming to the US with nothing, working any job he could and eventually using his formidable chess skills to build a comfortable life here. And of course it didnt hurt that he is a modest but funny guy with great chess knowledge to boot.

Can you name three players from the past that you would have loved to have as guests on your podcast? Why did you choose them?

Fun question! Well one for sure, as I mentioned on a recent podcast is Miguel Najdorf. He has the most compelling immigration tale of them all, then built a successful life in Argentina, was an incredible player, and had stories of playing the likes of Churchill, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro what could be better? Boris Spassky is another I would love to interview since he lived so much chess history (of course he is still alive, but I dont think the interview will happen). Lastly, in an imaginary world wherethey would speak freely, I would love to interview someone who was deeply embedded in the Soviet chess machine, like an Alexander Kotov or Yuri Averbakh.

Your list of book recommendations got too long for you to keep updating it! Off the top of your head, which three books had the biggest influence on you as a chess player?

Ah yes, I hope to organize and resurrect that book list some day. The most influential for me were The Seven Deadly Chess Sins for its worldly view of the human chess struggle, Masters of the Chessboard for its mix of history and strategy, and Capablancas Chess Endings, for its elegant simplicity.

What are your ambitions as a chess player? After having talked to so many talented adult improvers, you are in a great position to make a huge leap forward in your game.

That gets to the question of skills versus knowledge my knowledge of chess has exploded from hosting Perpetual Chess, but only grunt work will give you the chess skills that actually win games. I have been studying for a handful of hours per week, but my current life circumstances dont really allow me to push harder. So my current goal is to get my USCF rating back to 2200 within a couple of years. (For context, it peaked around 2270 in my late teens, and has fallen all the way to 2140 or so.) Any bigger goals would probably have to wait until my kids are significantly older.

Who would you like to see becomingthe next world champion and why? If Magnus ever loses the crown, of course.

I have tremendous respect for what Magnus has done to normalize and humanize chess genius, and therefore to promote the game, so I would just want it to be someone who could carry that momentum forward. Do you like how I dodged that question? 🙂

Master Class Vol.8: Magnus Carlsen

Scarcely any world champion has managed to captivate chess lovers to the extent Carlsen has. The enormously talented Norwegian hasn't been systematically trained within the structures of a major chess-playing nation such as Russia, the Ukraine or China.

After having talked to a number of players that either were seconds or played in World Championship matches, what changes do you think should be made to the format used at the moment? Are 14 games enough, what do you think about the tiebreak system, etc?

I think 16 games with fewer rest days and a slightly faster time control would be great, and FIDE clearly should make it a priority that there always be games on Saturdays and Sundays in order to maximize chess fans interest and ability to watch the games. That would mean a schedule with games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday or something.

The tiebreak questionI know is a contentious issue, but I think the current 4 rapid game setup is reasonable.

You wrote Proud dad and husband in your Twitter account's description. Do your kids play chess? Are you planning on encouraging them to get really involved in the game?

I have taught my 7-year-old son to play and I run a chess club at his school, but so far he shows little interest in tournaments. My daughter is only 4, but I hope to expose her to the game in the next year or two to see if she likes it. I love chess, but if my kids are not showing an organic interest in the game I would rather they find their own beloved hobby rather than force them to take up mine.

Thank you for the interview, Ben!

About two years ago, ChessBases co-founderFrederic Friedel was a guest on the show.You'll learn how ChessBase came to be, how Vladimir Kramnik felt about an early version of Fritz, what endgame kept Peter Leko up at night, which Leonard Barden book Frederic keeps in arms reach, and much more.

The full 75-minute conversation is available via Perpetual Chess:

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An interview with Ben Johnson, the perpetual podcaster - Chessbase News

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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Auto Brawl Chess from Panoramik Games is available now for iOS following its Android launch earlier this year – Pocket Gamer

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Auto Brawl Chess is now available for iOS devices having successfully launched on Android earlier this year. As you'll infer from the title, it's an auto chess game that also looks to include elements found in RPGs, idle games, CCGs and MMOs.

It will see players commanding a plethora of different heroes, each of whom will bring their own talents to the battlefield. As they progress, they will unlock additional abilities and earn new equipment to wear into battle. There will be over 60 of these heroes to discover.

With such a high number you'd expect a variety of characters which will include the likes of Brave Knights, Divine Deities, Powerful Elder Dragons, and Evil Elementals. Through collecting, players will be able to upgrade these heroes into legendary variants and strengthen them further with gear that they craft in the Forge. This promises deep customisation options.

Auto Brawl Chess will include a variety of different modes that offer PVP, PVE and even AFK game types. One PVE mode will be called Journey and will be a story-based affair where players will discover the lore of the world the game takes place in.

Meanwhile, the PVP modes will be split into Casual, Ranked, and Insane variants, with each match lasting three minutes. This will provide a good opportunity for players to test out their tactical nous alongside learning the best synergies and formations for the large roster of heroes.

Aside from that, there will also be a mixture of daily and weekly quests for players to complete. Meeting these objectives will net players bonuses and chests that may include in-game currency, hero cards and equipment among other rewards.

Auto Brawl Chess is available now over on the App Store and Google Play. It's a free-to-play game with in-app purchases.

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Auto Brawl Chess from Panoramik Games is available now for iOS following its Android launch earlier this year - Pocket Gamer

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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A game of chess in the Himalayas – The Hindu

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In the standoff with China, India has two choices walk into the trap that has been laid, or learn from the 1962 event

With the tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) refusing to die down, despite the marathon military and diplomatic-level talks, the obvious question that stares at every stakeholder is this: is 2020 another 1962? While the future is uncertain, the present is undoubtedly tense. As stated by Indias External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, this is surely the most serious situation along the India-China border after 1962.

The parallels are hard to ignore. In August 1959, after the first border clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Longju, in the eastern sector, China said Indian troops had crossed the McMahon Line and opened fire, and the Chinese border guards had fired back. The next day, New Delhi protested against the Chinese statement, saying it was Chinese troops that had moved into Indian territory and opened fire. Sixty-one years later, the statements issued by India and China after the border clashes are eerily similar. Both sides accuse each other of transgressing across the LAC. Both sides accuse each other of opening fire. Both sides blame each other for the current standoff.

Comment | The unlearned lesson of 1962

What led to the war? To understand the current tensions, one has to go back in history. When the Longju incident happened, not many in India might have thought the border tensions would lead to a full-scale Chinese invasion. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Defence Minister V.K. Krishna Menon were absolutely certain that China would not attack India. Nehru had betted big on Indias friendship with China. He saw both countries as victims of imperialism and the natural leaders of Asia. The realist in Nehru believed that peace on Indias northern border was an imperative for the newly-born republics rise and material development. So in the 1950s, Nehru continued to defend China in international fora. India accepted Chinese sovereignty over Tibet and signed an agreement with Peking over trade with Tibet. But what Nehru hoped in return for Indias friendship was China respecting its bequeathed boundaries the McMahon Line in the east and the frontier (based on the 1842 Tibet-Kashmir agreement) in the west. Nehru was wrong.

The first setback to this position was the Longju incident. Within two months, an Indian police patrol team in Kongla Pass in Ladakh came under Chinese attack. This was a wake-up call for Nehru. He asked Chinese troops to withdraw from Longju in return for an assurance from India not to reoccupy the area and proposed that both sides pull back from the disputed Aksai Chin, where China had already built (unilaterally) a strategic highway. China rejected this proposal and made a counter offer to recognise the McMahon Line in the east in return for Indias recognition of Chinese sovereignty over Aksai Chin. Nehru, having checked the historical maps, documents, including revenue records and land surveys, which he got from the India Office in London, rejected the Chinese offer because he thought it would mean India abandoning its legitimate claims over Aksai Chin. After the collapse of the Nehru-Zhou Enlai [Chou en Lai] talks in 1960 in Delhi, tensions escalated fast. China intensified patrolling along the border. In November 1961, Nehru ordered his Forward Policy as part of which India set up patrol posts along the LAC, which was seen as a provocation in Beijing. In October 1962, Mao Zedong ordered the invasion.

Comment | Chinas LAC aggression, Indias obfuscation

The situation today is not exactly the same as 1962. Back then, the Tibet factor was looming over India-China ties. As soon as the Dalai Lama took refuge in India, Chinese leaders, including Deng Xiaoping, had threatened to settle accounts with the Indians when time comes. China also feared that India was providing help to Tibetan rebels, after the 1959 rebellion. Today, both sides have managed to sidestep the Tibetan question in their bilateral engagement. And unlike in 1962, when India was not politically and militarily prepared for a war with China, todays conflict is between two nuclear powers. But the problem is this; while the overall situation is different, the border conflict looks similar to what it was in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The boundary has still not been delimited and demarcated. China has not recognised the McMahon Line and India has not accepted Chinas control over Aksai Chin.

Despite the volatile situation, an uneasy truce prevailed on the border at least since 1975 and both sides have made improvements in ties since Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhis visit to Beijing in 1988. This period of truce allowed both countries to focus on their development. But that truce has now been disrupted with China first moving to block Indian patrolling in the Finger area of Pangong Tso and the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh during the summer. India then made a forward move on the southern banks of Pangong Tso last month, similar to Nehrus Forward Policy in 1961, taking over the heights of the Kailash Range. When Nehru ordered the Forward Policy, his aim was to secure the vast border and prevent further incursions. He never thought China would attack. Now, despite the experience of 1962, India appears to be taking a calculated risk by making forward movements. This led to the opening of fire in the region, for the first time in 45 years. So, practically, the border situation is back to what it was in 1961.

Also read | Diplomacy is the solution to India-China tensions, says External Affairs Minister Jaishankar

In the run-up to the 1962 war, Mao had taken a unity and struggle policy towards India. This meant, laying emphasis on unity with India on mutually agreeable matters while continuing the struggle over the border issue. Nehru failed to understand the gravity of this approach. He first saw only unity, and, after the Longju and Kongla clashes, he saw only struggle. China, on the other side, consistently played what game theorists call the game of strategic dominance the strategy which would yield positive outcomes, irrespective of the strategies of the rival player. Back then, China saw itself as the most powerful force in Asia. Japan had been devastated by the war. The British withdrawal and the partition of the subcontinent had changed the geopolitical balance in the continent. Mao was facing challenges to his leadership within the party after the disastrous Great Leap Forward. Globally, there were cracks in the Sino-Soviet alliance, especially after the Soviet intervention in Hungary. When it set the ball of border tensions rolling, it knew that the ultimate risk would be a limited war and it was ready to take that risk because even in the event of a war, China calculated that it could retain its strategic dominance. And it did so in 1962.

Editorial | Too close for comfort: On India-China border row

The Chinese strategy today is not very different from that of the 1960s. Now, China considers that it has arrived on the global stage as a military and economic superpower. The COVID-19 outbreak has battered its economy, but it is recovering fast. India, on the other side, is in a prisoners dilemma on how to tackle China. India is a big, rising power, but is going through short-term challenges. Its economy is weak. Its geopolitical standing in the neighbourhood is not in its best days. Unlike in the 1960s, when Nehrus non-alignment was blamed for Chinese aggression, todays India has cautiously moved toward the United States. But still, there is no guarantee that it would deter China or if the U.S. would come to Indias help in the event of a war. A combination of all these factors might have led China to believe that it can play the game of strategic dominance once again. If India plays it on Chinas terms, there will be war. The question is whether it should walk into the trap laid in the Himalayas, or learn from the experiences of 1962.

stanly.johny@thehindu.co.in

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A game of chess in the Himalayas - The Hindu

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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Reward Olympiad-winning Indian team: Chess Forum appeals to Kiren Rijiju – Moneycontrol.com

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The Chess Players Forum has appealed to the Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju to reward the Indian team which emerged joint champions (with Russia) at the recently concluded FIDE online Chess Olympiad on its historic achievement.

"We wish to appeal to you to suitably reward the Indian team recognising and acknowledging their current outstanding historic achievement. This would set in motion a deserving gesture to recognise and reward the achievements of Indian chess players who have brought laurels to the country," the Forum, a collective of players in India, said in a letter to the Minister. The forum president IM Varugeese Koshy, in a letter appealed to Rijiju that chess players be recognised by the government.

"Our country's participation in the event itself was facilitated only after your office speedily intervened and ensured the proper selection of the team, when the process was derailed due to infighting between two factions of the All India Chess Federation," he added. The Indian men''s team had previously won a bronze medal in the Olympiad in 2014, he said, adding the current achievement ranks even higher than that.

"At such a juncture, we wish to bring to your attention the general under-recognition of achievements of chess players in years gone by. Even during the recent sports awards and title citations conferred by the government of India, chess is continued to be overlooked," Koshy added. He also highlighted the several achievements by chess players in the past two decades, including good results in the world championships in various categories.

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Reward Olympiad-winning Indian team: Chess Forum appeals to Kiren Rijiju - Moneycontrol.com

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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Retired Chess Grandmaster, AlphaZero AI Reinvent Chess – Science Times

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Russian chess grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik is working with DeepMind's chess program, AlphaZero, to analyze new variants in an attempt to reinvent the popular strategy board game.

Vladimir Kramnik, Classical World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2006, has proposed nine new chess variants last Wednesday, September 9. He has worked together with the artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory DeepMind, a subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc, to evaluate his proposals with the help of the AlphaZero AI.

(Photo: Photo by Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for World Chess) BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 10: Vladimir Kramnik is seen playing the first round at the First Move Ceremony during the World Chess Tournament on March 10, 2018, in Berlin, Germany.

In a report submitted to Cornell University, Nenad Tomaev, Ulrich Paquet, and Demis Hassabis from DeepMind worked with grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik to assess game balance in the new variations with help from AlphaZero.

It defines AlphaZero as "a reinforcement learning system that can learn near-optimal strategies for any rules set from scratch without any human supervision, and provides an in silico alternative for game balance assessment."

RELATED: Google's AlphaGo Will Have A Man vs Machine Rematch in Ancient Game of Go

The reinvention of chess involved introducing nine different alterations to existing rules of modern chess. These alterations are intended to keep the new game close to the original but allowing the generation of novel strategies and gameplay patterns. Proponents of the study aimed to preserve the appeal of the original while trying to "uncover dynamic variants" in the opening, mid-game, and endgame stages. The alterations, as a rule, do not tweak the board itself, the number of pieces, or their starting arrangements.

Some of the alterations introduced in the study include a ban of the castling move throughout the game, setting a victory condition for the side that forces the stalemate, and allowing capture of one's own pieces.

AlphaZero, which draws from a deep neural network in analyzing the move possibilities at any given chessboard condition, uses the Monte Carlo tree search (MCTS) to assess board positions. The AI program was trained by DeepMindscientists to adopt each of the rule alterations, with their computational models accommodating 1 million training steps.

After simulating human play adapted to the revised rules, finding variants that appear dynamic and interesting. Furthermore, the importance of rule design on the overall dynamics of the game.

In the report's introduction, proponents explain that "Rule design is a critical part of game development, and small alterations of game rules can have a large effect on the overall playability and game dynamics."

The Russian chess GM has also provided his assessment for each of the proposed variants, with data provided by the AlphaZero AI. For example, a chess variant that does not allow castling all throughout was "a potentially exciting variant" for the grandmaster, mainly because it increases the risk for both players' kings. Removing the rook-supported strategic move allows for added complexity in the opening stages of the game.

RELATED: Complete Set of Viking Chess Unearthed in Lincolnshire, Will Be up for Sale Next Week

Another scenario, which allows a player to capture his own pieces, opens new avenues in gameplays that involve sacrificing pieces, with Kramnik noting the "aesthetic appeal" involved with giving up pieces in exchange for a strategic advantage. As the variant can feature in any stage of the game, it can appear in a large number of games, even occurring multiple times in one play.

Aside from Vladimir Kramnik, the team also tapped other chess grandmasters such as the Danish GM Peter Heine Nielsen and English GM Matthew Sadler who provided feedback on the study.

Check out more news and information on Artificial Intelligence on Science Times.

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Retired Chess Grandmaster, AlphaZero AI Reinvent Chess - Science Times

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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Sign Of The Times – Sparta Chess Online – TAPinto.net

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SPARTA, NJ - Sparta Chess enters its 19th season amid the current challenges. Playerswill be playing and learning chess skills through different online resources.

Interested players of all abilities, kindergarten through grade, should email spartachess@yahoo.com. Students from all Sparta schools are invited to join.

Sparta Chess is the best K-12 program in New Jersey, Coach Tom Murray said. Ourteams have played in 17 states and have won numerous championships. Sparta Middle School is three time defending New Jersey State Champions."

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Sparta Chess will be celebrating National Chess Day on October 10 at the Lake Mohawk Boardwalk with intrasquad matches on the giant chess set. The community is invited to come and watch the matches.

The team is currently working on scheduling online competitions with other schools and hopefully, we will be able to play in person at the SuperNationals in Nashville, Tennessee in May.

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Sign Of The Times - Sparta Chess Online - TAPinto.net

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

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Chinas check on Indias chess board: New Delhi will have to fall back on its own resources – The Times of India Blog

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Little over a week ago 13 yaks and 4 of their calves strayed out of China and into Arunachal Pradesh with little care for international boundaries. In the spirit of good neighbourliness the Indian army returned the wayward animals back to their Chinese stead. But when this is touted by some as a compassionate gesture signalling a thaw in relations, you know that ties between India and China have hit rock bottom.

Indeed, a few days ago shots were fired at the LAC for the first time in 45 years by PLA. Images of Chinese soldiers deployed in eastern Ladakh menacingly brandishing traditional daos and qiangs to ward off Indias doughty warriors are being looped to jingoistic commentary on Chinese television stations. The obvious objective is to whip up patriotic fervour in anticipation of a deepening conflict. Even the Communist partys mouthpiece, the Global Times, has injudiciously taunted India for crossing the line and inviting upon itself a fate worse than 1962.

That the theatre of conflict has only enlarged in eastern Ladakh after the June 15 clash in the Galwan valley is a sobering reflection on the limited leverage India has over China. This in spite of New Delhi pulling virtually all diplomatic strings in its bow to get multilateral platforms from the UNSC to the SCO to pressure China into de-escalating and disengaging. The fact that Indias petitions have not moved any of these platforms to intervene decisively to push China into restoring status quo ante prompts a basic question: Does India need to reappraise its faith in multilateralism?

India, as one of the founding signatories to the UN charter, has been a steadfast multilateralist. Its engagement with the UN and other fora has been primarily focussed on development and security issues. But the successes India has had in building coalitions in multilateral bodies on issues related to its development agenda have eluded it on core security related issues.

There are many instances of this. The UNSC has betrayed India over the question of Jammu & Kashmir. Indias efforts to win support for the adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism have been repeatedly torpedoed. Prominent multinational nuclear arms control platforms have bracketed India alongside notorious proliferators. And attempts by India to negotiate a permanent seat for itself in an expanded and daresay reformed UNSC have proven frustratingly elusive.

In each of these instances India has been thwarted by the veto exercised by one or the other great powers constituting these global bodies. If during the Cold War it was Washington then today its Beijing proving to be the fly in the ointment. An expansionist China has succeeded in bending the mainframe of the rules-based international order to serve its own interests to the exclusion of those of other nations, irrespective of their heft.

The Trump administration has traded multilateralism for unilateralism, coded as America First. British PM Boris Johnson is unwilling to surrender Englands economic future for even a limited Brexit deal with the EU. Its a bitter reality that India is truly alone in its fight to contain Chinese expansionism in South Asia. Indias foreign policy establishment urgently needs to look beyond the tried and failed formula of rallying alliances of democracies or petitioning inter-governmental platforms in the hope that they will commit themselves to take up cudgels against China. Chinas assertiveness with India on what it considers are its territorial claims is exactly timed to coincide with the worlds growing insularity. With the erstwhile guardians leaving the global commons unattended, China has come out to play games based on its own set of rules.

The Modi government can only hope to level the playing field if it invests urgently in enhancing Indias power. The first step therefore must be in the direction of evolving a consensus at home over the costs and benefits of atmanirbharta. History tells us that India succeeds in securing its national objectives when it closes ranks at home. New Delhi fulfilled its negotiated goals on an equitable climate change policy due to domestic consensus. Remarkably that consensus has held up for over a decade even through the tricky iterations of the Copenhagen and Paris accords. Keeping this precedence in mind the NDA must walk Modis talk: Focus on the local to go global.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.

Originally posted here:

Chinas check on Indias chess board: New Delhi will have to fall back on its own resources - The Times of India Blog

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Chess masters make all the smart moves – IOL

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Kahill Dhevcharran won the Under-18 category at the recent Inter-Curro online chess tournament. Picture: Supplied

By Keagan Mitchell Sep 14, 2020

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THEY made all the right moves to outsmart their opponents on the chess board.

Emlyn Wilson, 8, and Kahill Dhevcharran, 16, from Curro Durbanville, were among the winners at the recent Inter-Curro online chess tournament.

The event, the biggest school online chess tournament in South Africa, was hosted by Curro Sport, and 234 primary and 103 high school pupils took part. There were a number of age-group categories, from Under-8 to U-20.

The tournament was held on the Lichess.org online chess platform, and was facilitated by Kenneth Willenberg from Chess Academy SA and Mercia Addinall from Curro Holdings.

Emlyn, who won the U-10 category, said she enjoyed playing against other Curro pupils. It felt really good to win a tournament for Curro Durbanville. My coach Dione Goredema told me to take my time with each move, look for tactics or pieces to capture, and to make sure all my pieces are safe.

I never gave up during the tournament; even after I blundered my queen, I still won the match, she said.

Kahill, who won the U-18 category, said: It is a very nice achievement and I feel humbled to have won. The competition was tough, and I was impressed to see how other Curro schools performed on the chess front.

Addinall said Curro wanted to give their pupils an opportunity to come together and connect in a fun and competitive way.

The online chess tournament gave our pupils (beginners and advanced) the opportunity to participate in the tournament in the comfort of their own home.

We received great feedback from our pupils and parents after the tournament. Given the enthusiasm around the online chess platform, we will now be running mini-practice rounds throughout the year.

They will also have the opportunity to play friendly games against each other via the Lichess.org platform, Addinall said.

Chess has been awarded Curro Cup status for next year, following the success of this years competition. This means chess will be one of the 12 sporting codes at next years Curro Cup competition.

*This article was published in the Jellybean Journal.

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Chess masters make all the smart moves - IOL

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September 15th, 2020 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Chess


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