Posts Tagged ‘Short’

The Fabulous 10s: Computer-Assisted Dragons

January 27, 2010

Or, Maybe, Computers NOT Assisting on Dragons in Holland

Random, bizarre move sequences appear on the board!  Or, maybe computers were NOT working – check the horrific blunder pair on moves 17 and 18!

[Event “Corus C”]

[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]

[Date “2010.01.26”]

[Round “9”]

[White “Li Chao”]

[Black “Robson,R”]

[Result “1-0”]

[WhiteElo “2604”]

[BlackElo “2570”]

[EventDate “2010.01.16”]

[ECO “B77”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. h4 Ne5

Since Robson was leading the tournament, this opening choice was a terrible idea! Why don’t American players have safety openings?  Now, OTOH (on the other hand), young Ray gets bravery points.  But if the Dragon is not his regular opening (and it is not), it is a monumental and perverse task to “get used to” its idiosyncratic patterns.  It’s a one-of-a-kind death-defying choice.

11. Bb3 h5

Personally I’ve always regarded this move (I believe popularized by Soltis first, maybe others?) with suspicion.  It increases the force of Nd4-f5 sacrifices in many lines.

12. O-O-O Rc8 13. Bg5 Rc5 14. Kb1 b5 15. g4 hxg4

Dangerous Deviation Alert!

16. h5

Deviation alert!  16. Bxf6! is a very dangerous try here, eliminating black’s most important defensive piece!  16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. h5 gxh5 18. Nf5! Nxf3 19. Qh6 Rxf5!! (only this way!) 20. Qg6+ with a perpetual check!  Wow!  If black avoids a perpetual with 20…Bg7?, after 21. exf5 white is much better.  The text is an old try and “discredited” in the sense white gets no advantage.  But maybe it caught black by surprise.  Note that 16. Bxf6 exf6? 17. h5 gxh5 18. Qh2! Nc4 19. Bxc4 bxc4 20. Qxd6! gives white a big advantage.

16…Nxh5 17. Nd5

Old Theory Quiz: Black's best defense is.... ?

17…Nf6? (??)

Maybe my theory is out of date, but 17…Re8! 18. Rxh5 gxh5 19. Qh2 (as in an old Short game, Short-Mandl Germany 1986 where black botched the defense and went down in flames) is met by 19…gxf3! 20. Qxh5 Bg4! and black holds.  This happened in a game Lagumina – Magalotti, Forli 1991 and black indeed drew.

Note that also in the precomputer era, 19. Qh2 Rc4? 20. Bxc4 bxc4 21. Qxh5 with a big white edge happened in Karpov-Sznapik, Dubai 1986 Olympiad.

The computer shows no advantage for white after 17…Re8! – readers?

The game move looks really bad; i.e. immediately losing.  Is it possible Robson was making stuff up in this, the sharpest of all opening choices?

18. Bh6??

A monumental blunder in return. It’s impossible to say what Chao was thinking.   The guy is rated 2604 and he misses a win that any schoolboy would play – capture, capture, and mate!  Isn’t that the entire point of the Yugoslav Attack?

The elementary 18. Nxf6+ wins easily. If 18…Bxf6 19. Qh2! simply checkmates black. If 18…exf6 19. Bh6! forces 19…Bh8, since 19…f5 is crushed by 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Qh6+ Kf6 22. f4 and wins. After 19…Bh8, white wins with the easy 20. Bxf8 Qxf8 21. Qh2 Qg7 22. fxg4 Bxg4 23. Rdg1 and wins.

What was in the water in this game? (or the Dutch pea soup?)

18…Nxd5 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qh6+ Kf6

Did Chao miss the king could run? Embarrassing! But look what happens!

21. exd5 Nxf3 22. Ne2?

22. Nxf3 keeps the balance.  Now Chao has overstepped even the bounds of an even game!

22…e5?

22…Bf5 consolidates and wins for black without too much trouble!

23. dxe6 Bxe6 24. Qf4+ Rf5 25. Qxg4 Kg7 26. Bxe6 fxe6 27. Nd4 Nxd4 28. Qxd4+ e5 29. Qxa7+ R8f7 30. Qe3 Qg5 31. Qd3 Qf6
32. a3 Rf2 33. Qh3 Qf5?

Apparently black was down to increments.  33…Kg8! was bad  (but not losing) for him after 34. Rxd6 Rf1+ 35. Rd1! but it was forced.  But doesn’t white’s play over the last few moves look pretty random?  Maybe he was in time trouble too.

34. Qh8+ Mate 1-0

For the gawking observers, what the HELL was going on this opening? Will we ever know?

The Fabulous 00s: The London Chess Classic

December 10, 2009

Round 3: When a Badass is not True to Himself

Amusing stuff in today’s Round 3 action.

GM Howell played an absurdly passive line in a 2. c3 Sicilian (7. dxc5?, donating his entire structure to Carlsen in a dreary queenless middlegame) and was incredibly fortunate as Magnus blitzed past several easy wins, when solid material up, perhaps simply thinking anything at all wins.  Magnus must still be kicking himself about bypassing 52…Ra2+ which wins white’s knight.

But the amusing thing is that Howell’s wussy opening contrasts very sharply with Howell’s most famous exploit to date: coldcocking an Irish TD and laying him out flat!  (They were quibbling over a few lousy British pounds).  That qualifies him for the chess version of the book “Badass”!

No More 2. c3, Badass Howell!

In another shocking moment, McShane appears to have forgotten entirely about a simple opening shot by Kramnik (…Bxf2+) and lost very lamely.

I have noticed British Grandmasters, once in a while, do lose like this as white.  A famous debacle Short-Timman comes to mind in a 1993 Candidates Match.  Although Short crushed Timman overall in the match, there was one game as white in which, well, McShane would know all about it.

And in Cinematic News: Tiger Woods is Living this Movie

The Seventh Seal (Swedish: Det sjunde inseglet) is a 1957 Swedishdrama film directed by Ingmar Bergman, about the journey of a medieval knight (Max von Sydow) across a plague-ridden landscape, and a monumental game of chess between himself and the personification of Death, who has come to take his life. Bergman developed the film from his own play Wood Painting. The title refers to a passage from the Book of Revelation, used both at the very start of the film, and again towards the end, beginning with the words “And when the Lamb had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (Revelation[1] 8:1). Here the motif of silence refers to the “silence of God” which is a major theme of the film.

The film is considered a major classic of world cinema. It helped Bergman to establish himself as a world-renowned director and contains scenes which have become iconic through parodies and homages.

Readers, can you see what I see in the above passage?  That’s right, Tiger Woods is living his own hellish version of the movie, trapped in a mansion with an icy Swedish supermodel and… her mother!  Every day brings the most brutal kind of melodrama (Swedish melodrama) to Tiger’s beleaguered existence.  Expect more car crashes, to be followed by ATV crashes, helicopter crashes, and deep sea submersible crashes, all emanating from this Ground Zero of frosty Swedish hell, Orlando, Florida.

In the middle of the night, Death comes. Chess, anyone?

The Famous Tiger Woods SUV Accident Staged in Lego

Tiger Crashes his SUV in Midst of Swedish Maelstrom

This Tiger Woods stuff is the best news since Gormally punched Aronian.

The Fabulous 00s: Where is the Caro Complaint Department?

November 17, 2009

Kompliant Karo in New In Chess

In the 2009#7 issue of New in Chess, Nigel Short presents a Caro-Kann sideline that I tried as well in USCL action.

Caro-Kann Foxy Two Knights Foxy Deviation Line with 6. Be2!?

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3

Fischer used to play this just to get away from the tedious main lines.  Can the bishop pair count?  He certainly did not do well versus the likes of Keres (three times) in his early career (such as twice at the mammoth all play all four-times Bled Candidates ’59) when he coupled this idea with g2-g3, fianchettoing.  It was just too easy for black to play.

Fischer-Keres 0-1 Bled ’59 Part One

Fischer-Keres 0-1 Bled ’59 Part Two

Finally Fischer draws, Fischer-Keres 1/2, Bled ’61

5…Nf6 6. Be2!?

No fianchetto!  An interesting try.

Give up the center? Why?

The essence of this particular Caro deviation. White hopes for a miscue and in fact gets it right away!

6…dxe4 (?) 7. Nxe4 Nxe4 8. Qxe4.

In one game,   Short-Gagunashvili (2564) Calcutta Open 2009, there followed 8….e6 9. O-O Nbd7 and now Short found the “move of Frolov” (from 1990): 10. b4! with a significant edge.  In Merida 2001, Short had played 10. d4? versus Vishy Anand and got nothing, but Short and Rybka are both correctly enthused by 10. b4! – a nice move.

In the main game annotated in his article, Erwin L’Ami at the London Staunton Memorial 2009 played 8…Qd5 9. Qg4 Nd7 10. O-O Nf6 11. Qa4 Qe4 12. Qxe4 Nxe4 13. Re1 and black had not equalized.

So far so good, right?  However there is a problem.  Black’s 5h and 6th move combination is rather obviously not very good.  The essence is that there is no reason to rush to give up the center; doing so makes the two bishops count more (especially in the “Frolov Improvement Line” mentioned above).

I run into an Improvement

Try instead the move order from MG (ARZ) – L. Kaufman (BAL), USCL 2009,

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 e6! 6.Be2 Nf6!

Ye Olde Bricke Walle

This move sequence for black on moves 5 and 6  is so obvious in hindsight.

Where does it come from?  The games Fischer was tortured (see above links) vs Keres! Simply maintain the center with a rock solid game. White has nothing that I can see! So do I complain to Short, Short’s opponents for gilding this apparently attractive path, the NIC Editor for running the article without the improvement, or Larry Kaufman for being too prepared?  Or am I missing some hidden improvement?  To my mind, Kaufman’s moves look logical and what are my bishops doing?  Larry assists with Rybka programming and development, maybe this improvement is just “oude kuch” (stale cake, as they say in NIC Dutch language) to him and I stepped in some NIC doo doo.

Arrghhhh.

See the USCL website for the rest of my crazy game. I tried an early pawn advance which didn’t work at all. The only thing I’ll say about that one is that black missed a nice knockout with 19…Nc5! with the very nasty idea of Nc5-b3, winning.

Spot the Problem

From the USCL website, a preview of tomorrow’s playoff match:

New Jersey Knockouts (9.0 – 2.0) vs New York Knights (6.0 – 5.0)
New Jersey receives Draw Odds

All Time Series Record:  (New Jersey leads 3 – 2)

Starts at 7:00 PM ET       Time Control – Game in 90 with 30 second increment    

New Jersey Knockouts New York Knights
GM Joel Benjamin: 2641 GM Giorgi Kacheishvili: 2666
IM Dean Ippolito: 2535 GM Pascal Charbonneau: 2560
SM Mackenzie Molner: 2446 NM Matt Herman: 2275
Sean Finn: 2114 NM Yaacov Norowitz: 2354
Avg Rating: 2434 Avg Rating: 2464
New Jersey Total ——- ——- New York Total

Astute readers will notice the problem: “NJ Receives Draw Odds.” Far too great an odds in a 4-person match (this is obvious, right?). Recently I canvassed readers for alternate solutions – how to give a slight edge to the team with the higher seed. The collective braintrust is still working. See the comments section of my prior post.

And in Marketing News of the Weird

My blog received a “comment”:


“[random site]  is currently in the progress of choosing chess blogs/clubs to receive recognition from [random site] as Top Resources. This award is not meant to be anything other than a recognition that your blog/Clubs gives information about tactics that directly or in directly raise Chess awareness. Simply place the award banner code on your site and your resource will be listed as a Top CHESS Resources on [random site] once you place it. [random site] is a Private Global Chess Server which offer FREE Chess Games and Guidelines for learning chess and whose goal is to promote Chess (which game has lost his fan base) through the spread of information globally. Thank you for your dedication to your Club/blogs. Please reply me back with the subject line as your URL to avoid spam and to make sure that you only get the award banner.”

I have a better idea.  Random Site must recognize my blog as the primary chess knowledge source in the known universe and place that accolade in an obnoxious scrolling LED style banner on their home page.  Then I will make a link to my new friends and my deserved accolade.  But the real take away lesson – when you have a bad position, just think to yourself “which game has lost his fan base ” and tell yourself it’s not yours.

Mystery Photo

Mystery

 

Test Your Eastern Bloc Humor

Rate this on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “huh?” and 10 being “Mirthful indeed!”

What do you call one Russian? –A drunk.
What do you call two Russians? –A fight.
What do you call three Russians? — A Party cell

What do you call one Jew? –A financial center.
What do you call two Jews? –The World Chess Championship.
What do you call three Jews? –Native Russian Folk Instrument Ensemble.

What do you call one Ukrainian? –A partisan.
What do you call two Ukrainians? –A partisan cell.
What do you call three Ukrainians? –A partisan cell with a traitor in
their midst.

 

The Fabulous 20th Century: Some Photos

June 7, 2009

The News from All Over Department

In an attempt to get our minds off the nauseating lawsuits of USCF politics, let’s see some mirthful photos from days of yore.

Lenk, Switzerland 2000

Lenk, Switzerland 2000

On board one in the background we have Romanian GM Florin Gheorghiu (partially obscured) on the left playing GM Vladimir Tukmakov.

On board two it is GM Andrei Sokolov on the left playing, I believe, GM Lothar Vogt.

On board three it’s WGM Kachiani. a lady GM, I forget her name… readers?

I played in this event (Lenk 2000) also, so did Hungarian GM Attila Grozpeter and others. What a fun time!  How to get there from Basel?   Transfer in Zurich for a slow-moving train through the Alps to arrive at the fairy-tale town!

The Alpine Village of Lenk > Philly World Open

The Alpine Village of Lenk > Philly World Open

Moving back to 1985, here is a typical (for that time) World Open tableau.

World Open Tableau

World Open Tableau

From left to right, future US Champion and future GM Michael Wilder, New Jersey personality Steve Anderson (aka Henderson), Canadian stalwart Ian Findlay, an anonymous semi-naked individual, and IM Vince McCambridge.

Zooming back to the early 2000s, here is GM Tal Shaked with California chess enthusiast Simone Sobel.

shaked

Nudging the clock back two years to 1999, here I am demonstrating the religion menu on display in Angel Island, California (a massive Japanese displacement/internment camp during World War II).

Where's Marxist, Buddhist, Shinto, etc.?

Where's Marxist, Buddhist, Shinto, etc.?

And now going waaay back (OK not so far back) to the early 1990s, here is a snapshot from the Nigel Short-Garry Kasparov World Championship match in London with what appears to be a very severe arbiter in the middle. I don’t know who took this photo.

The Royal Rumble in London

The Royal Rumble in London

Now moving up again to the year 2000, this author at the famous site of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany where American athlete Jesse Owens shocked the Aryans with numerous track and field gold medals.  In a very sporting move, the stadium’s street is now called “Jesse Owens Allee!”

Jesse Owens got a Street!

Jesse Owens got a Street!

And in the grand tradition of ending an article with Yet Another Unrelated Photo, here is an artistic photograph of Claire Lev at Paige Stockley’s wedding in the pleasant nature state of Washington.  This was also from the early 2000s timeframe.  Either the official wedding photographer or I took that photo. It looks too artistic to be me, but stranger things have happened.

Everybody Likes a Wedding

Everybody Likes a Wedding

Afterthought on USCF Politics and Dante’s Inferno

Any USCF board member committing the absurd act of suing the USCF should be automatically relegated to the “Legal Committee”, a thinly veiled reference to Dante’s Purgatory.  If he or she does not retract the lawsuit within 24 hours (give them time to come off their “bad high”), they are then relegated to a new Federation, name of their choosing, where they run the show and are the only members (can offer a fill in the blank option here, only caveat is that the new name must be completely original – I don’t want to see NewCF because New contains the “U” sound).  Since the new Federation does not allow membership in other Federations, we are rid of the blight. This is a thinly veiled reference to Dante’s Hell.

Can Wealthy People Rescue the USCF?

This just in from media maven John Henderson in one of his daily e-mail blasts (over a billion served if you multiply the # of sends by the # of recipients):

Going, Going, Gone To Rex Sinquefield!


It was all over in seconds. Bobby Fischer’s library filled three glass cases in on the Mezzanine level of Bonhams nd Butterfieldsauction house on Madison Avenue in New York. The hundreds of chess books in various languages, issues of chess-related periodicals, proofs for Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games, and assorted notes and other miscellanea were sold in one lot for a “hammer price” of USD $50,000, plus a $21,000 Bonhams commission…

The collection was bought by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis founder and 2009 US Championship sponsor, Rex Sinquefield, and announced today in a press release (entitled “Sinquefields Purchase Bobby Fischer’s Chess Collection”) from the group.  ICC Chess.FM has exclusive video coverage of the auction now at www.Chess.fm/blog
Some comments:  A)  Quite the racket Bonhams is in, a $21,000 commission on a $50,000 bid?  That’s ridiculous!   Work out the percentage at home, readers.  I don’t think John Bonham, sadly deceased Led Zeppelin drummer, would have approved.    Wait… this just in…. correction from John H: FYI…
It was $11,000 in Bonhams’ commission, NOT $21,000 as original stated.”.
Well it’s still high, but OK I an accept that number better!  The one guy who is spinning in his grave is Fischer.  He hated third parties profiting on his name. I would suggest that “Bonhams” contribute some of their commission to a charity of one of Fischer’s living relative’s choosing.  Is that likely to happen?  Actually, the entire sale is fairly dubious – why not bestow it to a mobile Fischer exhibit, for example.  Who had the right to sell his stuff?   B) The name “Rex Sinquefield” sounds completely made up, but I have to give kudos for this cool “secret agent” name.   Actually it’s an interesting phenomenon that wealthy people often pop up in out of the way places then become gigantic benefactors to a forlorn cause.  For example, the Hartz Flea Collar baron donated a lot of money to NYU and got an entire business school named after him.  C) Can  wonder-bidder “Rex” rescue the USCF?  Maybe he can issue a cease and desist order to all the lawsuit-happy individuals backed up by his good name and fortune.   Somehow I think quite a few of these lawsuit-prone individuals would sit very straight up in their chair and respect an edict if it stems from money.  They are not listening to good sense since lawsuits cause absurd legal expenses, weakening the poor non-profit’s capital position every day the lawsuits exist.  The only winners are the lawyers in Fake Sam Sloan cases, as lurid as they might be.