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Archive for the ‘Chess’ Category

Humpy: China will pose tough challenge in Chess Olympiad – Sportstar

Posted: August 20, 2020 at 1:53 pm


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World No. 2 Koneru Humpy believes India has a very strong side at the online Chess Olympiad beginning on Friday.

The star-studded squad comprises the likes of five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, Pendyala Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, Dronavalli Harika, R. Vaishali and teen sensations Nihal Sarin and R. Praggnanandhaa.

I am happy to be part of this team and I hope it will be an exciting tournament, Humpy told Sportstar over phone from Vijayawada on Wednesday. India has good chances but in rapid and blitz chess, reputations don't matter much.

India to take on China in online chess battle

India, which has been seeded directly to the top division, has some strong rivals in Group A. China will of course be a tough challenge, she said. But I think Iran, Germany, Georgia and Vietnam have also some very good players.

Humpy said she started to enjoy playing online chess more after the recent Women's Speed Chess Grand Prix series organised by FIDE. She had reached the final of the last leg.

I wasn't too keen about playing online or speed chess earlier, but I am more comfortable after the Grand Prix, she said.

India opens its campaign with what should be an easy match against Zimbabwe. Later on Friday, India will take on Vietnam and Uzbekistan.

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Humpy: China will pose tough challenge in Chess Olympiad - Sportstar

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The Next PogChamps: All The Information – Chess.com

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The first PogChamps tournament was the sensation of the summer on Twitch. Incredible streamers such as xQc, MoistCr1tikal, and forsen competed for $50,000 in prizes and the title of PogChampion. The first PogChamps broke all chess viewership records and was frequently the number-one most viewed stream on all of Twitch.

Chess.com is thrilled to begin the next PogChamps on August 21 with 14 new streamers such as itshafu, mizkif, and callmecarson. Two wildly popular streamers from the first PogChamps return: xQc and forsen.

Prior to the beginning of the group stages, all competitors will be able to receive live-streamed coaching from Twitch chess stars GM Hikaru Nakamura, WFM Alexandra Botez, IM Levy Rozman, WGM Qiyu Zhou, IM Danny Rensch, and IM Anna Rudolf.

Here's all the information you need to follow the 2020 Chess.com PogChamps:

All Chess.com PogChamps matches will be broadcast live with master commentary on Chess.com/TV.Players may choose to stream as well on their own channels on a delay and will not be permitted to use chat for outside assistance. Players who choose not to stream will be required to join a Zoom call for fair play and broadcast purposes.

Official match times for each game will be posted prior to the subsequent round of play. The dates for each stage of the event are as follows:

Total Prize Fund: $50,000

Each player's winnings are determined by how far they advance into the Chess.com PogChamps.

Group Stage: 16 players, $4,000 prize pool.

Championship Bracket: 8 players, $30,000 prize pool

Consolation Bracket: 8 players, $16,000 prize pool

Groups andSeeding

Group Stage

In the case of a tie on points, the first tiebreak is average CAPS score across all three games.

Championship and Consolation Brackets

The complete field :

Tune in this Friday on August 21 to catch the opening day of the 2020 Chess.com PogChamps. The event will be streamed live on Chess.com/tv.

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The Next PogChamps: All The Information - Chess.com

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August 20th, 2020 at 1:53 pm

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Sarajevo Q&A: Ru Hasanov on how a real-life story inspired chess drama ‘The Island Within’ – Screen International

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Azerbaijani filmmaker Ru Hasanovs second feature, The Island Within, tells the story ofan international chess grandmaster from Azerbaijan, played byOrkhan Atamwho gets a chance to challenge the reigning world champion.

He is coached by his strict and deeply traditional father (Vidadi Hasanov) who puts a terrible pressure on him and he finally reaches a breaking point after his beloved grandfather dies. He runs away to a remote island with only one inhabitant. The film make its world premiere in Sarajevos feature competition.

What inspired you to make this film?It all started with an article in The New York Times I stumbled upon, titled A Fathers Pawn by Fred Waitzkin. It was about an uneasy relationship between a chess prodigy from Tatarstan and his father, who also happened to be his coach. It resonated and stuck with me, but not as yet another father-son story. I kept thinking about the metaphysical and mythological elements to the narrative Saturn devouring his son, Antaeus, John Donnes poem No Man Is an Island

And then my father showed me an article about the island of Kurdili, an ex-Soviet farm with herds of wild horses and a single resident, who lived there in complete solitude. These two ideas clashed and gave birth to what became The Island Within.

What was the biggest challenge when you were making it?I am sure a quite a number of my colleagues from every corner of the world can relate when I say that there are times when the established vision formed inside the directors mind is inversely proportional to the allocated budget. Those are the painful moments when you feel like Houdini, who is being handcuffed and sealed inside an oversized milk can filled with water and has to find a way to make a grand escape. However, looking back at the production process, I now feel that maybe the occasional financial constraints led to spontaneous creative decision-making on the spot, which, I want to believe, added some film magic to The Island Within.

Tell me a bit about the music in the film - there is not a lot, but the few times you use it, it is very effective and evocative.To be honest, I think I started making films to compensate for not being able to make music. I am a music nerd to the backbone, but I find it very challenging to use it in a film in an organic fashion. In Chameleon, for instance, my co-director Elvin Adigozel and Idecided not to use it at all.

But here we had this image of a thread that guides you throughout the labyrinth and helps you get back on the right path when feeling lost, mirroring our protagonist. We discussed this concept with our incredible composers Farhad Farzali and Katya Yonder and they came up with this motive, which captures this theme of discovery, nostalgia for childhood and feeling of inner freedom, hitherto unseen. This feeling of surprise from all the sudden lightness and neglect. As for the music in the finale it is a cover of the famous Azerbaijani folk love song Gl Ad (literally, Flower Blooms).

What do you know now that would have helped you to know earlier in your career?So much, really, I wouldnt even know where to start. But its the time-travellers paradox, isnt it? Telling something to my younger self would definitely alternate the future and thus, I wouldnt be the person I am today. All the ups and downs, the traumas and challenges I had to overcome are now a part of me and I take pride in that.

Do you have any first-day rituals on set? Similar to the old naval tradition of breaking a sacrificial bottle of champagne over the bow, we have a tradition to write down the names of the cast and crew on a large plate and shattering it for good luck on the first day of filming. Im not very superstitious, but I appreciate the idea of a ritual unifying everyone involved in the process.

How have the last few months been for you and how do you feel about online screenings where you lack a direct contact with the audience?The last few months have been very busy, but at the same time, exciting and full of pleasant surprises. Thankfully, the technological advancements allow us to communicate in real time across thousands of miles and I will fully take advantage of this in order to be closer to the Sarajevo audience Ill have the honour and pleasure of sharing The Island Within first.

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Sarajevo Q&A: Ru Hasanov on how a real-life story inspired chess drama 'The Island Within' - Screen International

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August 20th, 2020 at 1:53 pm

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Chess Federation expecting White verdict this week | Sports – Jamaica Gleaner

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International Chess Federations (FIDE) Honorary Vice President Ian Wilkinson says investigations regarding Jamaican player Rushawn White are still ongoing, but they hope to have a decision later this week. White, a FIDE Online Chess Olympian, has been accused of cheating by the international governing body.

Jamaica Chess Federation President Peter Myers complained that information regarding allegations against White has not been forthcoming from the mother organisation, and that this has made clearing the youngsters name more tedious. However, he said the local federation intends to first meet with local stakeholders before deciding on a way forward.

Nothing has changed, Myers told The Gleaner. We are in the process of determining how to approach it, so we are looking at all our options.

Its very hard when you have zero information and no recourse to get any information. The international body is not providing any information for us to put our case together. But we are talking with our people and will determine a course of action. Mr Wilkinson is a part of the team that will be sitting down with us to determine how to proceed.

Myers says it is not uncommon for chess players to be accused of cheating in online chess, and he says a negative verdict will not affect Whites credibility. However, he wants his name cleared.

This is online chess, not a real over the board play, so he hasnt lost any credibility in terms of real chess, Myers said. This is online chess where anybody can be accused of anything because you are sitting down at home and nobody knows what is going on. It is regular for people to be accused. But online chess is just a filler for COVID-19 until we get back to real chess. So its not a major deal in terms of his credibility because when it comes to physical play there is no way of accusing anybody, because everyone is there.

Wilkinson said that the governing council is still conducting its investigations.

All I can say right now is that I am investigating it with the governing council, he said. I cant say nothing, but we are doing some investigations, so maybe further in the week.

White, who competed in division three of the 2020 FIDE Online Chess Olympiad, was accused by the international governing body of violating its fair play policy. But Myers is bemused as to how FIDE came by the ruling.

Because of the decision, White scored zero for all his matches, despite getting the better of some grandmasters.

Myers said that there has been no sanctions from FIDE for White, and he believes this is because it has no proof to guide in the punishment the player should receive.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com

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Chess Federation expecting White verdict this week | Sports - Jamaica Gleaner

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The Best in… Aruba – Chessbase News

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Chess in Aruba

Aruba is an island country, situated almost 30 kilometres north of Venezuela, which can be spotted on a clear day. Together with Bonaire and Curaao it forms the so-called ABC islands and is part of the Dutch Caribbean islands, due to their constituency of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Dutch is also the common language used in Aruba, besides English, Spanish andPapiamento.

The most popular sports on this beautiful island with its white beaches are surfing, beach tennis, beach volleyball and baseball. However, the chess federation has no less than 30 active members who have a chess rating.

The country is the smallest of our "Best in" series so far, placed 197th in the world by population and 188th by size. That means, Aruba fits into The Bahamas 77 times and even 165 times into Armenia!

One of the biggest surprises might be though, that their best chess player has a FIDE rating of more than 2400! IM Jasel Lopez tells us how this happened.

Arne Kaehler:Hello Jasel, it is a pleasure having this interview with you. Since many years you have been Aruba's number one. How did you get such a high rating and do you remember when and how you learned to play chess?

Jasel Lopez:Thank you very much for having me. I learned playing chess when I was around 5 years old by my father. He taught me the basics of the game, that my fingers are my enemy, and that I have to think first before moving a piece. Afterwards, my brother and I attended chess lessons from a local chess player, John da Silva, who later on decided to train me privately for a brief period of time. He wanted to train me, because he saw potential in me.

When I started winning back-to-back youth tournaments in Aruba, I aspired to becoming much more than just a chess master. I wanted to be the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be in Aruban Chess. Through sheer dedication and constant support from my (non-)chess friends and family I can finally say that I am the best there is and the best there was in Aruba. After all, I am the first Aruban who achieved International Master.

Its also worth mentioning that I was fortunate enough to move to The Netherlands to continue my studies after high school. Aruba is an autonomous country within the Royal Kingdom of The Netherlands, which gives us this unique opportunity.

When I moved to Amsterdam, I was a Candidate Master with a mere FIDE rating of 2130. Almost seven years later, here I am as an International Master with a FIDE rating of 2416.

I couldnt have reached such a high rating if I was still in Aruba. We simply dont have enough FIDE-rated tournaments nor do we have master-level players to play against or trainers to help us reach master level.

Jasel Lopez (right) in action with the French Defense

AK: What fascinated you about the game?

JL: When I was younger, mostly the different shapes of the chess pieces and the distinct movement of the pieces. Now that Im older, the problem-solving element in chess and the complexity of the game.

AK: Did you live in a biggercity or in a small place?

JL: Back in Aruba, it doesnt really matter in which city you live in. Aruba is already an extremely small island, with around 100.000 inhabitants. Aruba is smaller than Amsterdam, in size and population! At the moment I reside in Amsterdam, even though very soon Ill move back to Aruba.

AK: How did you get better in chess? Did you read books, did you have a trainer, did you join a club?

JL: I got better by playing a lot of online and offline chess, reading books, going through annotations by strong players and hanging out with chess friends. Also, watching Banter Blitz of IM/GM level and live commentaries of chess tournaments helped me a lot. Its a nice enjoyable way to relax andlearn something from great players at the same time.

AK: Did you or do you have any idols or role models, players that impressed you a lot?

JL: My idols are Anatoly Karpov and Ulf Andersson.

I like their simplistic deep positional playing style and how they make the ordinary looking moves, look extraordinary!

Master Class Vol.6: Anatoly Karpov

On this DVD a team of experts looks closely at the secrets of Karpov's games. In more than 7 hours of video, the authors examine four essential aspects of Karpov's superb play.

AK: Do you have a favourite chess book?

JL: My two all time favourite chess books are Positional Chess Handbook by Israel Gelfer and 101 tips to improve your chess by Tony Kosten. Dont make me have to choose between one of the two. (haha)

AK:How active is the chess scene in Aruba?

JL: Its not active at all. We have only two chess clubs and a handful of chess tournaments on a yearly basis. Also, there arent many active chess players on the island. Not to mention that most of us have a narrow repertoire and we all share a similar playing style.

Flamingos playing the "Bird" opening

AK: What was your first big success? Do you remember how that felt?

JL: My first big success was definitely the Scholastic Chess Tournament in Aruba, which I won. I was around eightyears old. It was my first chess tournament I played in and all the best youth players of the age category (four to twelve) participated in said tournament.

I remember one or two school teachers of my primary school visited the tournament to support me, and a few days after the tournament I was asked to bring my trophy to school to do a "victory lap" to the other classes. In addition, I was also inducted into the Hall of Fame of the school.

The whole process of becoming champion, the support that I received from my family and teachers and the recognition of being a champion at my primary school really gave me a lot of motivation to continue playing chess.

AK:You are an International Master with a current Elo rating of 2416. Tell us a bit about your career: when and how did you achieve your first title and when and how did you become an IM? Are there any moments or games in your career that you remember particularly well?

JL: I obtained my first title back in 2010. At the Subzonal 2.3.5 in Bahamas I scored the required points to obtain the title of Candidate Master. Four years later I obtained the title of FIDE Master at the Subzonal 2.3.5 in Trinidad & Tobago, where once more I scored the required points. And finally in 2019 I obtained the title of International Master. I scored the necessary 3 IM-norms and reached the required FIDE rating of 2400.

In the tournament in which I scored my first norm I needed to score 2/2 out of my last two games to get the norm. My opponents in these two games had an average of 2440 and I had White in both games. In both games I played the wonderful London system and I won them both.

AK: Are you a chess professional or do you have a steady job?

JL: Im still a student with chess as my "side gig", even though Im playing chess more as a hobby. I earned money by either giving chess lessons or by playing for my chess clubs in the Dutch and Belgian league.

Very soon Ill move back to Aruba to take over my fathers company.

AK:Does Aruba support chess players or are chess players independent of the state?

JL: In general chess players dont get much support from the government. The Aruban Chess Federation receives a sum each year to support chess in Aruba, however, its not much.

As I am currently residing in The Netherlands, Im receiving little to no support from the federation.

For instance the qualification system doesnt allow a player of my calibre to represent Aruba at the upcoming prestigious Chess Olympiad, although Im an Aruban and the strongest chess player by far.

Aruba vs France

AK: How do people play, train and compete in Aruba? Are there any strong juniors and is there a vibrant chess scene?

JL: In Aruba most of the players are competing to represent Aruba in regional tournaments and/or to qualify for the Olympiad, which takes place every two years.

A few years back, the Aruban Chess Federation introduced the FAA-points system. Its the same as the Grand Prix system of FIDE. I think we have at the moment around 20 tournaments every two years and in each tournament the top six players of the final standing win FAA-points. By the end of the season, the top five players with the most FAA-points earn the right to represent Aruba at the Olympiad.

As to representing Aruba in regional tournaments, the ones who have accumulated the most FAA-points before the regional tournament, earnthe right to represent Aruba.

As to youth players, we have a few very talented juniors. Their FIDE rating doesnt represent their strength. They achieved a low FIDE rating, because they started playing in regional junior events where their opponents also had a low FIDE rating. As they become older and stronger, their FIDE rating still stays approximately the same due to a lack of FIDE tournaments they are able to play.

AK: How would you like to promote and support chess in Aruba?

JL: To be honest, I havent put much thought into this. I could see myself training ambitious chess players and organizing or sponsoring chess events on the island.

With 365 days of summer, it is easy to enjoy the many beaches in Aruba (this picture shows Eagle Beach)

AK: Are you using ChessBase in Aruba?

JL: Of course! Its a must if one wants to improve his/her game or become a chess trainer.

AK: If you look back at your career: what was the most remarkable moment?

JL: I would say my most remarkable moment was my round 6 game at the Central American & Caribbean U20 in Venezuela. Back then I was a Candidate Master, and I was paired against another Candidate Master from Panama. Up to this point my opponent was leading the tournament with a perfect 5/5 socre, beating three of the top five seeds, while I had 3/5. Many believed that I would lose, however I proved them wrong and managed to beat him. I havent won the tournament, but I sure made my presence felt at the tournament.

AK: What is your favourite game?

JL: I would say my second round game at the Subzonal 2.3.5 in Trinidad & Tobago, where I obtained my FIDE Master title. I managed to first shut off all of my opponents counterplay on the queenside and afterwards won the game by launching a mating attack on the Kingside.

AK: Thank you very much for this insightful interview.

JL: It was very nice indeed, my pleasure.

Here are some games and annotations by Jasel Lopez.

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The Best in... Aruba - Chessbase News

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August 20th, 2020 at 1:53 pm

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Chess: Why hasnt India produced another Viswanathan Anand? – Livemint

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Anand, who is part of the Indian team for the FIDE (International Chess Federation) Online Olympiad 2020 from 21-23 August, has offered no reviews of his performance. The tournaments online-only format, necessitated by the covid-19 pandemic, meant there were no post-match media interactions either. But for all that he left unsaid, he has been open about his prospects for a while now. In his autobiography Mind Master, released last year, he wrote that hes in the sport for the joy of playing (rather) than the pursuit of ranking. For running into greying old buddies and players old enough to be our sons; for telling the world we still love a good fight; and for the odd title we might luck out on."

At 50, he is the oldest player in top-tier competitive chess from India. The latest FIDE ratings place him 15th in the world; P. Harikrishna and Vidit Gujrathi trail him at 20th and 24th, respectively. Anand has been Indias top-ranked player for most of the past three decades. His hard work, perseverance and ability to play across all formats led to a revolution in Indian chess. When he achieved the grandmaster (GM) title in 1988, it was a first for India. India now has 66 GMs, the fifth highest in the world.

Yet, even as Indias tally of chess GMs increases, most players cant seem to keep up the momentum to excel on the world stage. India only has four players in the world top 100. Among women, who are ranked separately, India has seven players in the top 100. After Magnus Carlsen beat Anand to win the world championship in 2013, no Indian has been able to make it beyond the qualifiers to challenge himexcept Anand himself. Koneru Humpy, ranked second in the world in womens rankings, came closest to the world title in 2011, finishing as a runner-up.

In China, they say Ding Liren can be the next world champion," says Praveen Thipsay, a chess GM from Mumbai and a trainer. In the US, Fabiano Caruana (world No.2) or Wesley So (world No.8) could be that. That way, we dont have too many players whom we can project to be world champions today."

For the most part, chess in India flourished not because of the state but in spite of it. Archaic rules and a chronic lack of funding often came in the wayand still do. Manuel Aaron, Indias first international master (IM), a title short of GM, recalled in an interview with The Times Of India in 2013 that he couldnt go to Delhi to receive the Arjuna Award in the 1960s because of financial constraints. The award came by post. Broken," he added. In 1987, a year before he turned GM, Anand had to wait eight months for permission to import a computer. R.B. Ramesh, a chess GM turned coach, tells Mint he had to pose as a school student at age 18 to secure an internet connection in the late 1990s.

Earlier, a boy taking up chess professionally was considered a gone case," recalls Varugeese Koshy, an IM from Bihar and president of the Chess Players Forum. But as Anand notched up wins and records, it prompted a shift in attitudes. In the past 20-25 years, chess has become an alternative career. Private sponsors started coming in, government companies (like banks, petroleum and railways) started giving players jobs."

Two factors worked in its favour: A chess board came cheap, and many middle-class parents wanted their children to pursue it seriously, even if only in the hope of them landing a government job. In Europe, you dont start getting professional coaching at 7-8. They want their kids to decide," says Thipsay. Here, the advantageor disadvantage, depending on how you see itis that parents dont give much of an option to children."

States like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, where Anand was born, led the way by making chess compulsory in schools. Today, 24 of the countrys 66 GMs come from Tamil Nadu, including two of the youngest GMs in history: R. Praggnanandhaa and D. Gukesh, both of whom qualified at age 12. In the last 20 years, India has had several successes at world youth chess championships. Since 2000, its men and women chess players have won the under-18 thrice, the under-16 four times, under-14 seven times, under-12 eight times and under-10 nine times. The latest triumph came last year, when 14-year-old Praggnanandhaa won the world under-18 chess championship.

Despite recording high levels of success in youth championships, not many seem to keep up the wins as they turn older. Says Thipsay, The entire system is geared towards making GMs. A sense of complacency seems to set in after."

At the elite stage, a players success can depend on the coaches they can afford. And good coaches come at a cost. According to an ESPN report last month, Vidit Gujrathi pays 400 ( around 35,000) for a 6-hour session. Baskaran Adhiban, ranked fourth in India, pays 60 an hour. Both are employed by public sector undertakings and can afford it, but those without jobs or sufficient sponsorship have to pass up opportunities for quality training.

At the highest level, the opponents look for all kinds of weaknesses of the opponents," says Thipsay. If you dont play well, if, say, you tend to not play well if your C6 square is not protected, they will prepare for that." So the chess body needs to organize tournaments to get the top players, or super GMs", to play against each other, he adds. But in India there are barely any such tournaments organized." An estimated 150-200 players fly to Europe every year for such events. But not everyone can afford it.

P. Harikrishna, the 1996 world under-10 champion, currently ranked second in India, believes the absence of such tournaments did have some impact on his growth curve. He cites the instance of his wins in under-10 and under-14 world chess championships. On both occasions, Teimour Radjabov from Azerbaijan was the runner-up. Today, Radjabov is the world No.9 and a three-time challenger for the World Chess Championship. Harikrishna is world No.20.

At a young age, Radjabov played in the Linares tournament in Spain," Harikrishna says. The tournament, held in Spain every year, is known as the Wimbledon of chess". When you play the best in the world, you learn a lot, no matter how you play.... Its a hypothetical thing to say but had I played such events at an early stage, things might have been much better for me."

Bharat Singh Chauhan, secretary of the All India Chess Federation (AICF), says they have tried to make the most of their resources. Today, he says, the AICF organizes a number of youth championships at the state and national levels. Top-ranked national players are sent abroad for exposure trips", their stay and travel expenses for world tournaments paid for. In recent years, the AICF has also started a sessions for young players parents in an attempt to prevent burn-out among youngsters.

AICFs annual budget is about 8 crore. It costs up to 5 crore to organize a tournament featuring elite players like Anand or Carlsen," says Chauhan. I would rather invest that amount in a chess school and have thousands more players coming up."

A possible solution could be to set up a chess league, on the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Although this is part of AICFs 2020 vision" document, as uploaded on its website, Singh says they ruled out its formation due to some issues". R.B. Ramesh, who quit as chief selector at the AICF last month citing interference", says the federation was unsure chess could be marketed as a spectator sport. However, as Harikrishna points out, several countries like China or Iran have a chess league. You wont believe it, but even Bangladesh does".

The erstwhile Soviet Union had a system backing its players; a similar model is now under way in China. In the US, an academy by billionaire Rex Sinquefield has been leading the chess renaissance in the hope of creating the next Bobby Fischer".

But for all the systemic issues, says R.B. Ramesh, one cant discount the fact that India is one of the fastest growing countries in chess. We started from a point when we didnt have books, internet, media attention or private sponsorships. Today, we are producing three-four GMs every year. That is huge," says Ramesh.

India are seeded seventh in the FIDE Online Olympiad. The average rating of the team (2419) does not reflect our true playing strength," team captain Gujrathi told The Hindu last month. Our juniors are most talented and grossly under-rated (as per rapid ratings)." Although India have only won a medal oncea bronze in 2014Gujrathi said the team this year was among the favourites".

World champions are not produced because we want it," says Ramesh. Anand is a one-time phenomenon. When Bobby Fischer became world champion, chess in the US was non-existent. Norway is the size of Chennai, yet it produced a Carlsen. Given where we started, and where we are, I feel we are just as capable as anyone else."

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Chess: Why hasnt India produced another Viswanathan Anand? - Livemint

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August 20th, 2020 at 1:53 pm

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Gorgeous amber chess set returns to Gdask after 300 years – The First News

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The amber chess set made around 1690 has returned to the city after being bought by the Gdask Museum. chrisities.com

A magnificent amber chess set one of just four similar ones that have survived to this day has returned to Gdask after over 300 years.

Located on Polands Baltic coast, Gdask has long been associated with amber, fossilized tree resin valued for its golden colour and natural beauty.

The rare set came with a hefty price tag: the museum bought it for around 2.4 million zoty (over 0.5 million euros).chrisities.com

This peaked around the 1600s, when local craftsmen made sophisticated amber goods that were valued not only in Gdask, but around Europe.

These include an amber chess set made around 1690, which has returned to the city after being bought by the Gdask Museum.

Museum director Waldemar Ossowski said: Each (piece) was made at the master level with great attention to detail. Only a skilled master could have made them.chrisities.com

Museum director Waldemar Ossowski said: Amber items are delicate and sensitive, and the susceptibility to damage increases with the age of the item, which is why many amber masterpieces have survived in fragments and are missing many figurines.

This makes the chess set extremely rare: the only comparable ones are in the collection of the Danish royal family, the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and the Grnes Gewlbe museum in Dresden.

The amber chess set is already in the Gdask Museums collection and will be on display at the new Amber Museum located inside the citys historical Great Mill from June 2021.chrisities.com

The chess set that will go to Gdask is one of four that have been preserved. It has all the figurines. Each one was made at the master level with great attention to detail. Only a skilled master could have made them, Ossowski added.

The set may have been created in the workshop of Michael Redlin, one of the finest amber craftsmen of his time, who was active in Gdask in the second half of the 17th century. It made its way to Amsterdam and later to Blair Castle in Scotland.

The only comparable sets are in the collection of the Danish royal family, the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and the Grnes Gewlbe museum in Dresden.chrisities.com

The rare set came with a hefty price tag: the museum bought it for around 2.4 million zoty (over 0.5 million euros).

The money came from ticket sales and from EU funds; specifically, from the Poland-Russia Cross-border Cooperation Programme 20142020.

The set may have been created in the workshop of Michael Redlin, one of the finest amber craftsmen of his time, who was active in Gdask in the second half of the 17th century.Gdansk.pl

The amber chess set is already in the Gdask Museums collection and will be on display at the new Amber Museum located inside the citys historical Great Mill from June 2021.

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Gorgeous amber chess set returns to Gdask after 300 years - The First News

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August 20th, 2020 at 1:53 pm

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Play the Najdorf with the help of Garry – Chessbase News

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8/19/2020 There is probably no other opening as deeply studied as the Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defense. It is crucial to know this opening well, if you want to improve your chess skills. But we are lucky because former World Champion Garry Kasparov took a very close look at the Najdorf: on three DVDs he offers more than 10 hours of entertaining and encouraging material to master this opening. This week, all three DVDs are available in a bundle for a reduced price. Moreover, one lucky buyer will win a DVD signed by Garry Kasparov in a raffle.

The Najdorf system in the Sicilian Defence has a legendary reputation as a defensive weapon for Black. It is an opening where people often strive for a full point, instead of simply defending the position with the black pieces. Many great players have contributed to the development of this complex opening. There were two world champions who formed much of their careers using the Najdorf system as their weapon of choice against 1.e4: Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov celebrated spectacular successes with it. Both players used the Najdorf (pronounced ny-dorff, rhyming with high-dwarf) during their child prodigy years and retained it as an important part of their repertoire during their entire careers.

For Garry Kasparov this added up to experience with the Najdorf at the very highest levels of chess. For chess amateurs and professionals alike it is a great moment when the worlds leading expert shares all the secrets in his favourite opening. In part one Garry Kasparov introduces the various sub-systems of the Najdorf, including the central Poisoned Pawn variation. The development of each line is placed in historical perspective and examined in great depth, with Kasparovs characteristic intensity. More than two 2.5 hours of first-class private tuition. The package includes the latest ChessBase 9.0 Reader, a big reference database featuring more than 16,000 Najdorf games, as well as a complete opening book that can be used to practice what you have learnt with Fritz.

System Requirements:

Minimum: Dual Core, 2 GB RAM, Windows 7 or 8.1, DirectX11, graphics card with 256 MB RAM, DVD-ROM drive, Windows Media Player 9, ChessBase 14/Fritz 16 or included Reader and internet access for program activation. Recommended: PC Intel i5 (Quadcore), 4 GB RAM, Windows 10, DirectX11, graphics card with 512 MB RAM or more, 100% DirectX10-compatible sound card, Windows Media Player 11, DVD-ROM drive and internet access for program activation.

Last week we had the ChessBase Master Class Bundle 1-12on offer and raffled away three signed DVDs by Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik. Here is the video of the raffle with the help of our cats. Well, at least it felt like they helped:

Congratulations to the three lucky cats! The DVDs are on their way and should arrive in one of the next two weeks.

Anyway, whoever buys the "How to play the Najdorf - 1-3 Bundle"this week (until Sunday, August 23, 2020 / 23:59 CEST) automatically gets the chance to winoneDVDof "Deep Fritz 13" signed by Garry Kasparov! A huge treat!

Good luck!

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Play the Najdorf with the help of Garry - Chessbase News

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August 20th, 2020 at 1:53 pm

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The Grandmaster Who Got Twitch Hooked on Chess – WIRED

Posted: June 15, 2020 at 6:45 pm


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hikaru Nakamura

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

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The Grandmaster Who Got Twitch Hooked on Chess - WIRED

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June 15th, 2020 at 6:45 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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