31 October 2008

Anand, the Emperor of Chess

Q: 'Congratulations, Anand, on behalf of NDTV! This is an undisputed title, but is it the most important of the three titles you have won?'


Anand cherishes his World Chess title (1:30) • 'Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand on Wednesday retained the world chess championship crown after drawing with Russian challenger Vladimir Kramnik in the 11th game, capping a remarkable victory in a tension-filled match in Bonn. '

A: 'Since 2006 all the titles have been undisputed. It's important to move past this division, because we don't have it any more in chess.'

30 October 2008

Matisse Was a Checker Player

Chessbase.com recently posted an essay by Kiril Penušliski, The Black and White Board in Art. In the essay the author wrote,

What is common to all these works of art, and is best epitomised in the works of the great Henry Matisse, is the way chess is presented. Either it is a simple decorative element, such as the board appearing in Femme à Côté d’un Échiquier or the Odalisques, or, as most artists have depicted it, as in The Painters Family, it is presented as an intellectual struggle between two opponents who have been locked together by an invisible force and are now held firm together, bent over a small table which is their own personal field of battle.

and used three paintings by Matisse, including the following.


'The Painters Family' by Henry Matisse

I've seen this painting many times, usually described as having something to do with chess. Close examination of the image, however, reveals that the players are playing checkers, not chess. The other two images that Penušliski uses also have nothing to do with chess. The first is an empty chess board, which could just as well be a checker board, and the second shows another game of checkers.

I accept that the great majority of non-chess players can't tell the difference between chess, checkers, or other board games. To find this confusion in a Chessbase.com article is surprising.

28 October 2008

Chess Classic Mainz 2008 (CCM8)

When a two page article on chess960 by Alexandra Kosteniuk in the October 2008 issue of Europe Echecs (EE) looked familiar, I set out on a Google search. After a minute or so I located How I kept my FiNet Chess960 World Champion title, and determined that the EE article was largely a translation of that Chesstigers.de page.

The Chess Tigers group is the organizer for the annual Chess Classic Mainz tournament, of which the 2008 edition was denoted by the acronym CCM8. A little more research determined that the '8' in CCM8 stands for both the year 2008 and the 8th edition of CCM. As TWIC reported in 2001,

The Frankfurt Chess Classic rapid tournament moved to Mainz with a new sponsor Landesbank Rheinland-Pfalz and the support of the chess playing mayor of Mainz Mayor Beutel. (TWIC 347; 2 July 2001)

The 2000 Frankfurt Chess Classic had included a chess960 prototype event:

There was an event advertised as a Fischer-Random match between Artur Jussupow and Fritz which the computer won 2-0. However it was in reality just shuffle or randomised chess as the organisers did implement the rules for the initial position as Fischer envisaged them. (TWIC 294; 26 June 2000)

I'm certain that TWIC meant to say that the organizers 'did not implement the rules'. As Gligoric pointed out in Shall We Play Fischerandom Chess?, neither game had the King starting between the two Rooks.

The 2001 Chess Classic Mainz (CCM1) was, according to the title of a chapter in Gligoric's book, the 'World Premiere of Fischerandom Chess at a High Level'. Leko beat Adams +2-1=5 in a match. The name of Fischer's variant was changed to chess960 in CCM2 (2002), and has been included as a main event in every year through CCM8. The Chesstigers.de pages for CCM8 have a link to pages for every previous event.

The domain Chess960.com appears to point to the same pages as Chesstigers.de. Kosteniuk's article can also be found at How I kept my FiNet Chess960 World Champion title (Chess960.com), and the registrant of Chess960.com is listed as 'Chess Tigers Schach-Foerderverein 1999 e.V.'

27 October 2008

Re-entry after a Long Absence

Out of circulation for five of the last seven weeks, I've lost track of whence I've come and whither I'm going on posts to this blog. To remind myself what I was doing, I'm using this re-entry post to do an inventory. As I mentioned in my post on The Influence of Time and Schedules, I try to cycle through topics on a weekly schedule. All I have to do is to remember what I was working on for different days of the week.

Sunday: For the last year or so I've been using a weekend post to explore issues related to the Soviet School and to Ratings. My most recent post was Chigorin -> Romanovsky -> Kotov, where I started a series on Chigorin, starting with the 1893 Chigorin - Tarrasch match.

Tuesday: Bobby Fischer's last request to the chess world was to explore the variant known as Fischerandom Chess. I'm doing this in a series on Chess960.

Wednesday: I call this WCC Wednesday and use it to update my site on the World Chess Championship. The work is recorded in the corresponding World Championship Blog. The 16th World Computer Championship finished at the beginning of October, and the Anand - Kramnik World Championship match should finish this week. I also have work to do on the ICCF World Championships and on the Zonals.

Friday: I alternate between posts on Video Friday and Flickr Friday. The main job here is to review new material added to YouTube or to Flickr since the previous post. During my most recent hiatus, I stayed up to date and even made a small post on each thread.

This schedule leaves Monday, Thursday, and Saturday for posts on other, miscellaneous chess topics. A long, ongoing topic has been the Analytical Series, where I look at chess games and positions. My most recent post here was The 'Fischer Attack'. A new series will be conversion of selected About.com pieces, as mentioned in All My Material ... Gone Forever ... Not!. I would also like to reference periodic posts to Chess.com.

In top of all this I have an offline list of posts requiring a followup and another of interesting comments which need attention. This should keep me busy for a while.

24 October 2008

The Perfect Photographer Award


Playing Mantis © Flickr user mysza831 under Creative Commons.

'This photo has been selected for The Perfect Photographer Award.' For more, see items matching chess in the THE PERFECT PHOTOGRAPHER pool.

17 October 2008

Knight Moves (1992)

'Have you noticed that every time we start to talk about something serious, you begin playing games?'


by Carl Schenkel with Diane Lane and Christopher Lambert (10:58) • 'A chess grandmaster is in a big tournament, and when his lover is found painted up and the blood drained out of her body he becomes a chief suspect.'

Knight Moves (1992) @ IMDB
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104627/

11 October 2008

I Lift My Eyes to the Hills

8 October 2008 • WALLINGFORD - Captain Robert Hart Weeks, 78, U.S. Navy (Retired) of Wallingford, passed away on Sunday morning, October 5, 2008, at the Rutland Regional Medical Center.

Bob was born April 1, 1930, in the village of Bay Shore, Long Island, New York, the son of Walter W. Weeks and Laura Alberta (Hart) Weeks. As a 1951 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, with a degree in mechanical engineering, he was commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy. His 23 years in the Navy saw wide-ranging service on submarines and destroyers.

As a Naval officer, he initially served on the Sixth Fleet destroyer USS R H McCard (DD-822) in the Mediterranean Theater. After two years in destroyers, he reported to the Navy's Submarine School in New London, Conn., graduating in 1954. He then served on two diesel submarines and became director of the engineering department at the Submarine School. Following that tour, he was selected by Admiral Rickover to attend the Navy's Nuclear Power School. After graduation from this course, he served on two nuclear attack submarines, USS Skipjack (SSN-585) and USS Seadragon (SSN-584), and a nuclear fleet ballistic missile submarine, USS Thomas Edison (SSBN-610).

In 1966, Bob commissioned and took command of the USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN 655), a nuclear fleet ballistic missile submarine. At the time, he was the youngest officer ever to command a ballistic missile submarine. He spent five years commanding the Stimson, conducting Cold War strategic deterrent patrols in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. These patrols operated out of Rota, Spain, and the Holy Loch in Scotland. During his sea-going naval career, Bob was typically on a three-month patrol cycle followed by three months of shore-based training.

In 1971, Bob was selected to be the strategic warfare officer on the staff of the commander-in-chief of U.S. Navy forces in Europe under NATO. He was the principal officer responsible for all strategic nuclear forces in the European Theater. During these years, Bob and his wife, Geraldine "Gerry," who wed on June 8, 1952, moved their growing family through various duty stations including Newport, R.I., Portsmouth, N.H., Honolulu, Hawaii, New London, Conn., Virginia Beach, Va., Windsor, Conn., Little Creek, Va., and Stuttgart, Germany. While stationed in Europe, he earned his MBA from the University of Utah.

Ultimately attaining the rank of captain, Bob's Navy commendations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal (awarded twice), Navy Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal (awarded twice), the At-Sea Command insignia and the Fleet Ballistic Missile Deterrent Patrol insignia.

After retiring from the Navy in 1975, Bob moved his family to Vermont. Here he served as the executive assistant to the president of Vermont Yankee. Before retiring from business, he was president of The Delta Group, a firm that he established to furnish management consulting and executive recruiting services to the nation's electric utilities.

Bob served in the Vermont legislature from 1995 to 1997 where he was a member and clerk of the House Transportation Committee. He served a second term in the House from 2000 to 2002 as a member of the Institutions Committee. Most recently, Bob had served as a justice of the peace for the town of Wallingford. He was a director of the Wallingford Civic Association, chairman of the Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce's Transportation Committee, a member of the Rutland Regional Transportation Council and a member of the Route 4 Bypass Advisory Committee. Bob was a founding director of the New England Dollars for Scholars program, establishing a chapter at Mill River Union High School. He also served on Vermont Governor Richard Snelling's Cost Control Council in 1977.

Bob is survived by his wife, Gerry, who resides in Wallingford, Vt. They have five children: Mark and his wife Martine Lambert currently of Brussels, Belgium; Richard and his wife Laura currently of Brewster, Massachusetts; Carol and her husband Dan Murphy currently of Pawcatuck, Connecticut; Dean and his wife Patricia currently of Montgomery, New Jersey; and David and his wife Sandra currently of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; as well as seven grandchildren, Daniel, Ryan, Emmett, Jake, Sarah, Catherine and Nicolas.

Friends may call on Friday evening from 6-8 p.m. at the Wallingford-Aldous Funeral Home.

Funeral services will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, October 11, 2008, at the Wallingford Congregational Church. Burial with military honors will follow in the Green Hill Cemetery.

Send private condolences through www.aldousfuneralhome.com.

Memorial contributions may be made on Bob's behalf to Scholarship America (Dollars for Scholars), 51 Main St., Stoneham, MA 02180 (www.scholarshipamerica.org); or the Gilbert Hart Library, 14 South Main St., Wallingford, VT 05773-0069.

View the guest book at rutlandherald.com/obits.

Source: Robert H. Weeks

***

13 October 2008 • WALLINGFORD — The funeral service for Capt. Robert Hart Weeks, 78, U.S. Navy (Ret.), who died Oct. 5, 2008, was held Saturday, Oct. 11, at Wallingford Congregational Church.

The Rev. Robert Noble officiated.

The organist was Wendy Savory. The cellist was David Baasch.

Bearers were Mark, Dave, Dean and Rick Weeks, Dan Murphy and Matt Warren.

Burial followed in Green Hill Cemetery. Military honors were provided by American Legion Ralph H. Pickett Post 52 in Wallingford, American Legion Post 31 in Rutland, and the flag was presented by Navy Operational Support Center Funeral Honors Detail in White River Junction.

Memorial contributions may be made to Scholarship America (Dollars for Scholars), 51 Main St., Stoneham, MA 02180 (www.scholarshipamerica.org); or Gilbert Hart Library, 14 S. Main St., Wallingford, VT 05773-0069.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Wallingford Aldous Funeral Home.

Source: Capt. Robert H. Weeks Rites

***

Photo: 29 November 2009

05 October 2008

Robert H. Weeks, Captain, USN, Ret. (1930-2008)

In the Bhagavad Gita, standing between the two armies on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, one of the first things Krsna says to Arjuna is,

Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
Dad was one of the kings. I miss him already. I hope we meet again some day.

04 October 2008

The 'Fischer Attack'

In Fischer - Benko, CT 1959, I noted that Kasparov assigned '!?' to Benko's 6...Qb6. The preceding moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4, shown in the following diagram, are known as the 'Sozin Attack'. In the Najdorf Variation, where Black plays ...a6 instead of ...Nc6, Kasparov called 6.Bc4 the 'Fischer Attack'. Fischer played 6.Bc4 in dozens of games against the two variations of the Sicilian.

1959 Candidates Tournament (round 10)
Benko, Pal

Fischer, Robert
(After 6.Bf1-c4)
[FEN "r1bqkb1r/pp2pppp/2np1n2/8/2BNP3/2N5/PPP2PPP/R1BQK2R b KQkq - 0 6"]

Kasparov explained his '!?' in a comment on the development of chess superstars.

A rapid ascent in chess undoubtedly generates a number of problems, one of which is the amount and quality of knowledge that is required for a young talent to be able to compete successfully in super-tournaments. An opening repertoire, which has recently served him faithfully in middle-ranking events, proves completely inadequate for play against highly experienced grandmasters. [...] Fischer always worked practically alone. At that time his repertoire was still very restricted, and each of the participants in the Candidates tournament in Yugoslavia tried to exploit this. Thus for the inexperienced opponent Benko had saved up this Queen thrust, unusual for those times.

He also commented that 6...Qb6 was 'A new more interesting way of avoiding the usual variations with 6...e6 than 6...Bd7.' Gligoric had played 6...Bd7 against Fischer in round 4 of the same event, losing in 32 moves. On 6...Qb6, Fischer remarked, 'By putting immediate pressure on the center, Black forces the Knight to a passive post.'

03 October 2008

Knight School


chess school © Flickr user Nesster under Creative Commons.

For more from the same series, which has nothing to do with chess, see Tags: Man Ray

02 October 2008

All My Material ... Gone Forever ... Not!

A few days after I lamented, 'All my [About.com] material ... gone forever' in my post on About.com's New Chess Guide, I received permission to reuse it: 'It would be fine to use your content as you please.'

I'm particularly interested in material that would be appropriate for my site on the World Championship. I wrote a number of articles summarizing important evolutions of the event and those will be my first priority. Thanks, About.com!