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Archive for the ‘Chess’ Category

Sign Of The Times – Sparta Chess Online –

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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 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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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.

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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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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 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 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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Hennessy Spotlights Living Legend and International Chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley In Latest Chapter of Award-Winning "Wild Rabbit"…

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"Chess teaches the importance of strategic thinking and pushes the limits of intellect not just in the game, but in life," says Ashley. "It's impossible to speak to the deep sense of satisfaction that achieving the Grandmaster title gave me, and to be recognized for that accomplishment as part of Hennessy's Wild Rabbit campaign is both exciting and humbling."

After failing to make his high school chess team, the Brooklyn resident became a protg of The Black Bear School, a legendary group of street chess players. Ashley emerged a competitive player taking his learnings, on the board and off, to tournaments throughout New York City until his ultimate victory. In 1999, he earned the Grandmaster title, becoming the first-ever accredited Black player in the 1400+ year history of competitive chess and the world's first Black Chess Grandmaster.

"In line with a 'Never stop. Never settle.' ethos, Hennessy is committed to showcasing extraordinary individuals, like Maurice Ashley, who push the limits of potential and define history," said Giles Woodyer, Senior Vice President, Hennessy US. "The eighth installment of the Wild Rabbit campaign comes at a time of momentous social significance, and the relevance of Ashley's story - his mental agility, intellectual integrity and ability to harness intellect to move the game forward provides inspiration to all the thinkers, visionaries and doers who continue to propel a more inclusive future."

Created in collaboration with Droga5 and directed by Daniel Wolfe, Maurice and the Black Bear School focuses on the power of the mind and depicts Ashley's mental journey, the wrestling match with his own brilliance, and the development of philosophical maxims that came to define his approach to chess. The narrative tells a story of mental perseverance and excellence, as he battles external obstacles and pushes the immense potential of his own mind along his inspiring journey to success.

Hennessy's new campaign, which debuted on September 14th, is comprised of distinct storytelling strains, including:

Since the campaign's inception in 2011, Hennessy V.S has highlighted the Wild Rabbits of cultural icons including hip hop artist Nas, musician Erykah Badu, while also shining a light on lesser-known historical heroes, like Malcolm Campbell, father/son explorer duo Auguste and Jacques Piccard, and cycling champion Marshall "Major" Taylor.

A cross-platform rollout on TV, digital video and social channels for Maurice and the Black Bear School kicked off on September 14th, 2020. To learn more, more, visit, or

About HennessyThe leader in Cognac, the Maison Hennessy has shined around the world with its exceptional know-how for more than 250 years. Built on founder Richard Hennessy's spirit of conquest, the brand is present in more than 160 countries. Based in the heart of the Charente region, Hennessy is also a steadfast pillar of the regional economy. The Maison's success and longevity are rooted in the excellence of its cognacs, each of which is born of a unique process of transmission of know-how from generation to generation.

The first spirits house to be certified ISO 14001, Hennessy unites its capacity for innovation and the support of all of its partners to protect this exceptional area. As a crown jewel of the LVMH Group, Hennessy is a major contributor to French international trade, with 99% of production sold in export, and a worldwide ambassador for the French art de vivre.

Hennessy is imported and distributed in the U.S. by Mot Hennessy USA. Hennessy distills, ages and blends spanning a full range: Hennessy V.S, V.S.O.P Privilge, Hennessy Black, X.O, Priv, Paradis, Paradis Imperial and Richard Hennessy. Imported Cognac Hennessy 40% Alc./Vol. (80), 2020 Imported by Mot Hennessy USA, Inc., New York, NY.

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Hennessy Spotlights Living Legend and International Chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley In Latest Chapter of Award-Winning "Wild Rabbit"...

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‘He is a chess player on a tennis court’ – ATP star tipped to beat anyone – Tennishead

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Daniil Medvedev is a chess player on a tennis court, says Mats Wilander, who believes the Russian is now at a level where he can beat anyone in the world.

Medvedev has impressed again at the US Open, not dropping a single set en-route to the semi-finals.

Last year he finished runner-up, narrowly losing to Rafael Nadal in a five-set thriller on Arthur Ashe.

If he is to lay that ghost to rest and win his maiden Grand Slam this year, then he will have to go through top seed Dominic Thiem in the last four.

However, Eurosport analyst Wilander says he shouldnt fear anyone right now.

I think what has impressed me about Daniil Medvedev is that he seems to enjoy the pressure of being a defending runner-up from last year, which isnt easy to do, Wilander explained.

What I really like is that he fights for every point, his level of fighting for every point is very high all the time, right throughout the match.

Every moment of the match he seems to be completely engaged emotionally. I like the way he is in court angry, smiling, he looks like hes having a really good time and enjoying his tennis that I like.

I dont see why he cant win a Grand Slam. There are some players that dont like to play against Medvedev because he has such an awkward style so hes going to be winning matches and have good head-to-heads against very good players it doesnt matter who they are, they wont like playing against him.

He is building that reputation that it is tough to play against Medvedev and he doesnt give you anything for free.

You really dont know what hes going to do next with the second serve, you dont know when hes going to smack the forehand or push it back. Hes very unpredictable, the only predictable thing is that hes going to play smart and that he fights.

Even beyond that willingness to fight, though, there is another part of the Russians game that Wilander says is practically unique.

Daniil Medvedev doesnt play the scoreboard, he plays tactics, he plays momentum and he just keeps plugging away.

Against Andry Rublev (in the quarter-finals) he changed his tactics a little in the third set even though he was leading.

Hes a chess player. He hits the shot that he thinks is right for the moment, not because of where the score is.

Hes just a really good tactician on court and hes going to loom for solutions in any situation even if hes down two sets to love, or if hes up two sets to love thats why hes so tough.

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'He is a chess player on a tennis court' - ATP star tipped to beat anyone - Tennishead

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Just the Rules: New Internet Chess RulesEssential Player Tips –

Posted: August 20, 2020 at 1:53 pm

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Here are some Rules of Thumb for navigating the new US Chess Internet Rules (Chapter 10):

Test Your Equipment: Playing online will probably motivate you to get slightly better digital connection equipmentlike a more responsive mouse for example, or a better modem, etc. Test out your gear before you essay your first online contest.

Know Your Rating: You have a variety of online ratings from US Chess: Online Quick, online Blitz, online regular, or an assigned online rating from the TD. To make matters a bit more confusing some of you already have earned some sort of rating at your favorite online site. Sometimes the online tournament entry info lets you in on the rating that will be used for the event you are entering. If not, find out what rating you will be assignedcheck with the TD. If you dont have an online rating then ask the TD how they plan to give one for pairing and prize purposes. BTW, there is no dual rating for US Chess online ratings.

Know Your Host Site Settings: Each of the major online platforms have slightly different settings available to youget to know them! Make sure the TD will allow you to turn them on or off.

Know How to Make Online Draw Offers: Offer a draw before you make your move. Once you make your move the online software executes itafter that it is too late to make an offer.

Know the Players with Disabilities Rules: Players that are disabled may make use of Game Assistantsmuch like they do in OTB chess. An assistant may make a players announced move for them. While organizers and TDs can help a disabled player find an assistant, the player is ultimately responsible for arranging their own Game Assistant.

Know the Fair Play RulesSteps to take if you think your opponent is cheating: Cheating is the bane of chess. It is hard to catch players cheating OTBit is even harder to catch and prove they are cheating online. Some event organizers may require the use of electronic (or human) monitors at every site. Game service providers typically have proprietary software that analyzes each game and provides and then determines if there is a likelihood that cheating occurredthat software is not the same for each site. Not only are individual games analyzed, but the won-loss record of a typical player with that rating may enter into that determination. Even your opponents contests with other players may get analyzed.

If you think your opponent is, or was, cheating contact the TD. You can also file an Ethics complaint, but you will need evidence. The US Chess Ethics Committee only considers the material you presentthey do not investigate the claim for you. And dont be surprised if the on-site proprietary software coding, or detailed reports, are not available to you upon request. TDs may hold off turning in the online tournament to US Chess until they receive the fair play report from the service provider.

Using Online Handles: Players online handlesused on their favorite chess playing siteare not the same as their US Chess ID and name. Wood pushers have a right to know the US Chess name and ID for everyone registered for the tournament.

What are Acceptable Online Formats: US Chess only allows the Swiss, Round-Robin, Quad or Match Play formats to be US Chess online rated

Tips for Registration: Entering US Chess online events will probably have an earlier cut-off date than you are used to. That-a-way TDs can verify all entry info.

Pairing Systems to Expect: Know which pairing system will be used to match up players. TDs can use the standard pairing software that they own and use in OTB tournaments; however, site platforms also offer their own pairing systems.

Viewing Pairings, Standing, and Wallcharts: All players have a right to view the tournaments pairings, standings, and wallcharts.

Follow Organizer Directions: Organizers and TDs are currently given a wide berth when it comes to creating online contests. Each tournament may have special rules and options that apply only to that single event. All players should have access to those rules.

Additionally, organizers and TDs are given a truckload of advice in this new set of rules on how run successful online events.

The free, updated as of 9-1-20, US Chess Rules (Chapters 1+2 + 10 +11 from the 7th edition rulebook) are now downloadable and available online. Past Just the Rules columns can be viewed here.

Tim Just is a National Tournament Director, FIDE National Arbiter, and editor of the 5th, 6th, and 7th editions of the US Chess Rulebook. He is also the author of My Opponent is Eating a Doughnut & Just Law, which are both available from US Chess Sales and Amazon/Kindle. Additionally, Tim recently revised The Guide To Scholastic Chess, a guide created to help teachers and scholastic organizers who wish to begin, improve, or strengthen their school chess program. Tim is also a member of the US Chess Rules Committee. His new column, exclusive to US Chess, Just the Rules will help clarify potentially confusing regulations.


Just the Rules: New Internet Chess RulesEssential Player Tips -

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Norway Chess Oct. 5-16 With Reduced Field Of Participants –

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Originally rescheduled due to the coronavirus crisis, the Norway Chess tournament is planned to take place October 5-16. The original list of 10 participants has been reduced to six players but still includes GMs Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana.

The other four players participating this year are GMs Levon Aronian, GM Anish Giri, and GM Aryan Tari (who were also in the original field) as well as GM Alireza Firouzja, who is a new addition.

These six players will be playing a double round-robin. Otherwise, the format of last year is maintained: in case of players drawing their game, an armageddon game is played. A classical win yields three points, a loss 0, a win in armageddon 1.5 points, anda loss in armageddon one point.

Altibox Norway Chess 2020 | Participants

The players on the original list of participants who are no longer participating are GMs Ding Liren, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Wesley So, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

The reason for this is that some of the players are prevented from entering Norway due to border restrictions related to COVID-19. Benedicte Westre Skog, project manager for the tournament, explained:

"The Norwegian border is open for people with passports from the EU or Schengen member countries or for people that have a residence permit in EU/Schengen. So, unfortunately, Ding, Mamedyarov, Nepomniachtchi, and So are not able to participate because of this."

The reasons that Caruana can play are that he has a dual passport (Italy as well as the U.S.) and he plans to be in Germany ahead of the tournament, a country from where people can travel to Norway without a 10-day quarantine period.

"I'm not too concerned because Norway is one of the least affected countries and the tournament is not especially big," Caruana said. "I'm sure the organizers will be responsible and take any necessary precautions."

According to the organizers, all players have signed their contract, but yesterday Giri tweeted: "I have indeed signed the contract of participation under the condition that the COVID-19 situation will be safe. I have not yet confirmed my participation to organizers, due to safety concerns."

Right now,travelers from most EU countries, including the Netherlands, arriving in Norway from abroad need to be in quarantine for 10 days. That means Giri would need to travel to Norway on September 26 at the latest.

The Dutch top grandmaster told that such a quarantine period is "one of many things to take into account" before making a final decision to play. He emphasized that if both the Netherlands and Norway are declared relatively safe around that time, without travel restrictions and such, he would have no reason not to play.

For Norway, France falls in the same category as the Netherlands. Firouzja, who lives in France, will have to follow the quarantine requirement. Vachier-Lagrave could have participated under the same conditions but is not playing as he felt the tournament would be too close to the Candidates tournament.

FIDE Director General Emil Sutovsky couldn't provide details just yet about the dates for the second half of this major tournament but said it was "unlikely" to start before November.

Now that the Sinquefield Cup has been quietly canceled as well, Norway Chesswill be the first super tournament since March, when the coronavirus started to cause global lockdowns. The strongest tournament held this summer was the Biel Masters, where players were playing with plexiglass between them or with face masks.

It's not clear yet if that will be the case in Stavanger, but Norway Chess will have its measures as well. Besides the 10-day quarantine for players, their team members, and crew (which can be done at the hotel), the numberof people at the playing venue will be limited.

"There will also be a limitation on the physical audience; possibly there will be no physical audience at all," said Skog.

Apart from arranging the playing hall differently, with more space between tables and such, the organizers have invested in protection equipment and are in touch with health professionals.

"We have had much communication with government health officials about preventative measures, both nationally and locally," said Skog. "We also have people involved such as medical doctors and other staff that will be there to make sure that our corona preventive measurements are followed."

Norway has had 10,162 total cases of patients with COVID-19, from which 8,857 have recovered. With a population of 5.4 million in the country, 264 people have died from the virus.

The Norway Chess tournament is one of the strongest chess tournaments where usually the top 10 players in the world are playing. This year, it will be held for the eighth time.


Norway Chess Oct. 5-16 With Reduced Field Of Participants -

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We’re In the Chess Renaissance – Chess Daily News

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The bad news: the popular New York-based chess program Chess NYC wont reopen its doors anytime soon. The good news: it doesnt need to! Chess NYC has used this period of quarantine to redefine the game of chessonlineand the program is more exciting, fast-paced and alive than ever. One might even call it...the Chess Renaissance. For kids, at least.

"We've built our operationour reputationon the belief that kids shouldn't be asked to sit still for unreasonable periods of time," Chess NYC director Michael Propper says. "And we've taken that approach to our online programs."

Until they believe its safe for kids to resume play in-person again (and even after its safe again), . Why? First and foremost, they're proud that online chess cuts down borders. Kids get to meet, chat with and match with kids from all around the worldEngland, Africa, Canada and, of course, the United States. During this turbulent time, we could all use a little bit of cultural harmony, right?

Alsomost importantlyChess NYC has revolutionized the way kids play chess online. Their Play N Stay online programming cuts out the three areas that had previously given chess its stodgy reputation. One: kids have been known to complain, Chess is too slow. Well, Play N Stay eliminates that by only allowing 20-minute sides (this means the game is, max, 40 minutes). Another one of the complaints is that kids say that there are too many draws. Boom: Play N Stay doesnt have draws, instead, instituting a tiebreaker system. Three: kids often say, Chess is hard to learn! Well, not anymoreChess NYC promises that, with their system, youll be ready to compete in Level 1 matches after three short lessons.

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We're In the Chess Renaissance - Chess Daily News

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Norway Chess to be 1st over-the-board super-tournament since March – chess24

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Altibox Norway Chess today announced that this years event will be held in Stavanger, Norway from October 5-16. The previously announced 10-player field has been cut to six, but with Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Anish Giri, Alireza Firouzja and Aryan Tari in action the event aims to be the first undisputed super-tournament to be held in person since lockdowns began in March.

It was announced in March that Altibox Norway Chess would be postponed from June until October due to the coronavirus situation. With that still so unpredictable any scheduling for such events is an act of faith, but the organisers believe it can go ahead. Their press release includes:

First top-tournament post corona! The world as we know it has changed and people all over the world are facing challenging times. Sport events of all types have been cancelled as we together have been distancing ourselves to avoid the spread of the virus. For chess, this has been the case as well, where tournaments all over the world have been cancelled. However, chess online has grown exponentially during this period as tournaments and other chess events have been organized online. This has certainly been positive for chess, as it is a perfect sport to follow online!

The time for chess across the physical board is back!

Back in March a 10-player field was announced, but since then five players have dropped out Ding Liren, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Wesley So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. One has been added, however - the worlds top junior, 17-year-old Alireza Firouzja. The 6-player field consists of players who all have European passports or residency:

Since the Candidates Tournament had to be stopped halfway through, elite chess has moved online, most notably with the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour that is just reaching a thrilling conclusion. With the first wave of the virus over in most European countries over-the-board chess is gradually coming back, however, with the Biel Chess Festival the first to witness a group of international top players compete at a common venue.

Altibox Norway Chess, with four of the worlds Top 10 and the hottest junior, is a different prospect. Cutting the field to six players means its now going to be a 10-round double round-robin, but the twist of Armageddon after each classical draw remains. The scoring system will be:

The tournament will be broadcast live with commentary and video of the players on chess24 and Norwegian TV.

See also:

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Norway Chess to be 1st over-the-board super-tournament since March - chess24

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On the origins of chess (6/7) – Chessbase News

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Part 1: Introduction | Part 2: India| Part 3: China| Part 4: Egypt| Part 5:Myths, legends

So far we have analyzed, if not all assumptions (one can always omit something in such avast subject), at least a large part of the theories relating tothe originsof chess.In all of them,the original act of invention is ascribed to a single entity, a person or a deity. It is notable thatin none of themthe idea of a shared effort is considered, so plural contributions are not verified, and even less the participation ofdifferent cultures or civilizations.

The criterion of uniqueness, which is the one that has prevailed over time, was very expressively argued by William Jones for whom chess, due toits beautiful simplicity and extreme perfection, could only have been invented by one ofgreat genius:[1]Jones considered thatfrom a more rudimentary version of the game created by a single entity asubsequentprocess of successive changes followed until the appearance ofthe current version, which turned out to be more sophisticated. On the contrary, his compatriot Hiram Cox said that complexity occurred first and only then came simplification.He inferred thata gradual process that was subsequently verified led to the creation ofchess, as the result of a cooperative phenomenon.

In line with Coxs theory, which for a good part of history was forgotten, in recent times the theory that chess emergedfrom diverse and complementary sources has gained strength. It is believed that it comes from a plurality of games that led to the creation of a unique and new variant of proto-chess, which served as the basis in the Eastern world to other modalities or versions of a game that, after successive mutations in particular those that happenedin the Middle Ages inWestern Europe led tothe consolidationof the currently-used format.

The time interval in which this magical synthesis could have occurred can be placed between the 2nd century BC and the 3rd century AD. For its part, it is very likely that this happened at some imprecise Asian point on the Silk Road that went from China to Persia and Arabia, and beyond, and that passed through, among other nations, India. This route was a dynamic meeting place of cultures characterized by the richness of their extreme interconnectivity.

The aforementioned practices, which would have made their respective contribution to the creation of a different game altogheter, were the gamespetteia, ashtpada and liubo, respectively corresponding to the Greek, Indian and Chinese cultures. From their symbiosis,a single variant of proto-chess was created.For those who defend the theory that the game came fromIndia, this variant is none other than chaturanga (or eventually chaturaji[2]), and for those who think the game came from China, the variant would bethe xiang-qi. Although, of course, it should not be ruled out thatchaturanga andxiang-qicould have appeared independently with some degree of synchronicity.

When trying to determine the geographical point where this powerful encounter took place, researches point to awide arealocatednorthwest ofIndia where the kingdom of Bactria (Bactriana) and the Kushan Empire (Ku)[3] settled successively, both characterized by a great cultural openness. It is a space that covered vast territories, with its centre locatedin the valley of the Indus River, in todaysAfghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which were under Greek influence (legacy of Alexander the Great) and had commercial bridges established with the Chinese throughthe Silk Route, whichbegan to operate approximately in the 1st century BC.

In this context, it is entirely conceivable that a proto-variant of chess with contributions from different sources would be able to emerge in a territory of suchcultural openness. Analysing the Indian, Chinese and Greek peoples, this hypothesis gains strength,asarchaeological finds of the oldest pieces of the game were located in that territory.

This line of research, being so convincing, is nevertheless relatively new, having been fundamentally supported by the German researcher Gerhard Josten[4] who, in a way, revolutionized the study of the origin of chess, by applying an approach based on the study of the internal structure of the game and not on thecontributions from the fields of history, literature of, even, archeology.

Yuri Averbakh, partially agreeing with the idea of a confluence of contributions, thinks that the game was created based onpetteia and ashtpada, which in his opinion gave way to the chaturanga, implying an evolution from twosourcesto a third unified strategic game. Thisprocess would have led tothe elimination of the use ofdice[5], and the participation of four players was reduced to two. This symbiosis, according to Averbakh, would have happened thanks to a remarkable cultural fact:Hinduismhad lost, momentarily, relevance in Indian society in favour ofBuddhism. In short, while admitting a possible inheritance of diverse cultures, which is not usual, the erudite Russian chess player strengthens the predominant Indian theory, without acknowledgingany contribution proceeding from China.

The scholar Myron Samsin,[6] meanwhile, supports the possibility that chess is a hybrid game of Greco-Indian origin, being made up of two types of entities: pawns, which would be the Greek contribution, andpieces, which would have anIndian legacy. This symbiosis would have taken place, according to him, shortly afterAlexander the Great invaded theEast.

Josten makes the issue more complex by abandoning the bilateralism and considering the presence of a third source. In his view, the contribution made by the Chinese culture should not be overlooked. In his very original work, which is based on the discernment of the internal logic of the game, he identifies three types of pieces: those that are essential targets,represented by the king or general; others that have long movements in various directions, which are the main pieces; and others that merely move forward, represented by the pawns. From this distinction, he suggests thatchess was based onthree different games. According to him, the king would comefrom China, probably from the gamewei-ki and, perhaps more precisely, from the more ancestral liubo; the pieces wouldhave a Mesopotamian origin, more specifically from a Sumerianastrolabe [7]; while the pawns typical pieces that advance after throwing dice would come from India, from the gamespachisi / gyan chauper.[8]

Thaayam and Pachisi / Chaupur, taken fromChess A living fossil by Gerhard Josten

The first proto-variant of chess, according to Josten, which wasthe product of this confluence, would have had a circular board (in the style of Byzantine chess), which would later be replaced by a square board, also contributed by the Indians, from ashtpada. At that time, a game could have emerged in India for four participants (with the use of the dice), chaturanga; while the gamexiangqiappeared in China, with its special characteristics (among them the presence of a river, which it inherits from the liubo). This is also stated by Petzold[9] who, in addition to supporting this hypothesis, considers that these contributions, coming from India and China, were made independently and simultaneously.

Living and extinct chess variants, taken from Chess A living fossil by Gerhard Josten

In short, these contributions support the theory that chess originated from an action typical of cultural syncretism, locating the initial event somewhere in Central Asia between 50 BC and 200 AD, during the period of the Kushan Empire.[10]

According to Cazaux, strenghtening the idea that the game originated in Central Asia:

There is no doubt that chess is... an Asian game. Three regions may claim to be their birthplace: Northern India; Central Asia, from Iran to Turkestan;and Eastern China. No one can object that there is a genetic linkage of all forms of chess that come from those areas.

In conclusion, the theory that points to a cultural confluence as the origin of chess, which was recently conceived, is highly persuasive. However, it is very difficult to prove it for various reasons, at least from a factual point of view. First, because of its own characteristics: since it is a process, and not a punctual fact, it is more difficult to catchit, and consequently explainit in a given moment of time; the same difficulty arises regarding the place where it happened. Secondly, due to the impossibility of finding literary sources that could have included the mention of a collective construction: generally speaking, stories have a strong nationalist bias; in this context, it is difficult to find claims for an invention that is not of ones own exclusive heritage.[11]

However, there is the possibility that archeological findings chess pieces or boards will support thissyncretic theory, as long as they coincidewith the places of the Silk Route in whichthe games would have converged, provided that they are datedwithin the lifespan ofthe Kingdom of Bactria or the Kushn Empire.

Therefore, and as it happens with regard to the possible findings that could arise supporting the other hypotheses about the origin of chess, nothing is set in stone yet. There is a wide field still to be explored. The historical search necessarily continues. We find ourselves following a path whose goal, being somewhat closer, cannot yet be clearly seen.

Part 1: Introduction | Part 2: India| Part 3: China| Part 4: Egypt|Part 5:Myths, legends

[2] There is no agreement about the sequence that was given regarding the order of precedence of these Indian games. For Cox the chaturaji was first, while for Jones that place was occupied by chaturanga. From Murray onwards this last theory has been imposed. Forbes even speculated that the chaturaji, rather than a game, could only be a chaturanga position, in its four-person mode, which is verified when one of the participants captures two of the three rival kings. In Theory of the Games it is usually discussed, without conclusive answer, which sequence should be more probable: if the evolution goes from simplification or instead if goes in the search of a greater complexity. In the first case the chaturaji should be prior; on the contrary it would be chaturanga. An analysis of this kind has been made about the order in which conventional chess and Tamerlanes chess (or big chess) appeared. In the search for the correct explanation, we should not forget the existence of a four-handed chess, aided by two dice, with the known pieces (chariot, horse, elephant, king and pawns) on a 64-square board which is mentioned by the Arabic sage al-Brn in Ta'rikh al-Hind (Chronicles of India), a classic book dated in the year 1030, at

[3] The Kushan Empire was based ethnically on a tribe that came from China which, in a test of the prevailing syncretism, took for itself the Hellenistic cultural legacy and also incorporated concepts of Indian Shivaism.

[5] It has also been said that this elimination of the dice occurred in India itself when Hinduism (which had a more rigid view of the bets associated with dice) takes over cultural controlwith the Gupta Empire, whichruled the Indian subcontinent between the fourth and sixth centuries of the Christian era.

[7] Because of this astrological connection, it is believed that many board games, including old versions of chess, were used as oracles.

[8] We have already seen that for Samsin thepawnsare a Greek contribution, specifically ofpetteia. In his opinion,gyan chauper (chaupur), which would proceed from the Sacred Game of Ur, is the one that contributes the pieces. But there is a problem in this regard:pachisiis not such an old game,asit is usually located only starting from the fourth century of the Christian era, so that the time frame inwhichit could have beena predecessort of the game that was born on the silk route, although it exists, is too narrow. This is not the case ofgyan chauper, which could have existed inprehistoric times.

[9] Source: Das knigliche Spie, Leipzig edition, 1987, p. 19, quote taken from Josten's work.

[10] Always within the path of the Silk Route, it has been claimed thatthe meeting point of the games could have been an oasis in the current Chinese location of Kashgar (where the Kushn people once established a Kingdom); as Horst Remus speculates. Source: The origin of chess and the silk road, at

[11] There is a classical exception to this assertion: Persians recognizing the Indian paternity of chess. But this actually occurred in the context of proving their intellectual superiorityand in the understanding that nard was superior to the game coming from India.

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On the origins of chess (6/7) - Chessbase News

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August 20th, 2020 at 1:53 pm

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