Kasparov Finishes Well But Loses Match To Topalov – Chess.com

Although he finished with two wins, Garry Kasparov ended up losing his match with Veselin Topalov at the Champions Showdown in St. Louis. With a 6/8 score on the final day, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was much too strong for Sam Shankland.

The last day saw eight blitz games, totalling 20 games in each match. Besides MVL, also Nakamura and So finished on a plus score.

Garry Kasparov vs Veselin Topalov — Final Score: 11.5-14.5

Although Kasparov had his chances in the match, it seemed he was still too rusty, more so than Topalov, who himself is one of the least active top grandmasters. “In general I believe I was dominating the match,” said the Bulgarian GM, who also suggested that Kasparov wasn’t in top form.

It didn’t help that before the first four blitz games, Kasparov and his co-analyst Peter Svidler had mixed up some pieces and analysed the wrong starting position!


Svidler and Kasparov analysing the wrong position after having accidentally switched Bf1 and Rg1. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

“We spent 29 minutes with Peter analysing a different position,” said Kasparov. “Then Giri showed up and said: ‘wait a second, guys, are you sure it’s the right position?!’ I don’t want to spread blame, but actually Peter looked at the position. It’s my fault, you actually have to just look yourself.”

After two wins for Topalov and one draw, Kasparov kept hopes alive as he spotted a nice tactic and won a (topsy-turvy) game:


Kasparov trying to figure out another brand new opening. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

But then, three games before the end, Topalov secured match victory with a devastating win in just 18 moves:


Topalov and Kasparov chatting variations. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Kasparov was the last to smile as he finished the match with an excellent win with the black pieces. As he tends to joke himself, he was finally warmed up when the match ended…

Kasparov Chess960 St Louis

Kasparov couldn’t take revenge for the loss in his last classical game against Topalov. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Topalov: “The problem is still, I guess, [that] chess fans don’t understand the point of changing from normal chess. Somehow they don’t have our problems, they don’t get bored like we do with the theory that already exists!”

Hikaru Nakamura vs Peter Svidler — Final Score: 14-12

Also coming into the game with almost useless preparation, Svidler actually drew the first and won the second blitz game. However, then Nakamura showed his speed chess prowess and won four games in a row, which clinched the match.

The following one was quite interesting. Again we saw an early rook maneuver in the game:


Svidler starting another blitz game.| Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Like his analysing partner, Svidler finished his match with two wins. The next morning he was still in awe about the experience.

Nakamura: “It was a good match, in large part because we both had a lot of experience in Fischer Random. In the other matches there was more of a discrepancy. Some of the players had a lot of experience and the others didn’t, so it seems like our match was the closest.”

Wesley So vs Anish Giri — Final Score: 14.5-11.5

Wesley So started with a lead in this match, so a plus-one score on the final day was more than enough. In fact, seven out of eight games here ended in draws! Here’s the one decisive game:


Giri and So talking. (Caption, anyone?) | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

In his interview after the match, So seemed to suggest that Giri’s play in regular chess is heavily based on opening prep: “Some players are very good at research. In Chess960 all that preparation went into the wind; the more creative unbalanced players have an advantage.”

Sam Shankland vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave — Final Score: 8.5-17.5

In over-the-board blitz, Vachier-Lagrave doesn’t consider himself worse than Nakamura, and the latter agrees with that. (It’s different for online blitz!) We’re talking the crème de la crème of speed chess here, meaning Shankland was without a chance.

The American rising star lost the first four blitz games, of which the first one had a curious phase after the opening. MVL sacrificed a piece, which was not correct but both players missed the refutation: that Black could castle queenside!

He could play it no less than four times, but if you don’t see once, you won’t see it at all…

Shankland won his only game right after he had blundered a mate in one, so at least he was doing well in the psychology department.



Blitz specialist Vachier-Lagrave: “Today I was just able to play my best.” | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Levon Aronian vs Leinier Dominguez — Final Score: 17.5-8.5

Aronian won his match against Dominguez with the same margin as MVL vs Shankland. He scored 5.5-2.5 on the last blitz day.

The Armenian GM said he had benefitted from the analysis sessions with Vachier-Lagrave: “I think I was playing faster, and I think we were managing to find some interesting, surprising ideas with Maxime!”


GMs gather around Svidler & Kasparov’s board. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

The five matches, which all had a $50,000 prize fund each, included a total of six rapid (30 minutes + 10 seconds delay) and 14 blitz games (five minutes + five seconds delay). For the score, the rapid games count double: each rapid game is worth two points, and each blitz game one point.

Related post:

Top Execs at National Rapid Chess tilt – Manila Bulletin


Some of the country’s top executive players led by engineer Joel Hicap of DPWH Muntinlupa, lawyer Melzar Galicia, enginer Ravel Canlas of Pagcor and Juan “Jun” Rojano Jr.of Manila City hall have confirmed their participation in the annual 2nd Chooks to Go National Rapid Chess Championships Executive division slated on October 6, 2018 at the Activity Center Ayala Malls South Park in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

Six-Time Philippine Executive Grandprix Champion Dr. Jenny Mayor, Dr. Alfred Paez, Information Technology expert Joselito Cada, National Master Efren Bagamasbad, SSS bet Dioniver “Bobot” Medrano, engineer Brent Sasot and Philippine Executive Chess Association (PECA) president lawyer Cliburn Anthony Orbe are also seeing action in the one-day event.

“The event aimed to develop good thinkers through the understanding of chess strategies and tactics, improving the logical abilities and rational thinking and reasoning of the participants, and instilling a sense of self-confidence, self-worth and camaraderie.” said Rotary Club of Nuvali president Noel Divinagracia.

Rotary Club of Nuvali president Noel Divinagracia said that the executive champion here will get the lion’s share of P10,000, the runner-up gets P7,000 while third placer will bring home P5,000 aside from trophies.

Fourth to 10th placers will receive P3,000 and P2,000 plus medals, respectively.

Special prizes await the Top Senior, Top 2000 and Below, Top 1900 and Below, Top 1800 and Below, Top Unrated, Top Lady, Top New Comer, Best-Dressed Executive, Most Senior Executive and Youngest Executive.

Tags: 2nd Chooks to Go National Rapid Chess Championships, Cliburn Anthony Orbe, Jenny Mayor, National Rapid Chess Championships, Philippine Executive Chess Association

The Right Chemistry: Chess, trickery and a turbaned automaton – Ottawa Citizen

“Witches can only be found where there is ignorance. This man is no more capable of witchcraft than I.” With those words, Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, countered superstitious beliefs of the times and went on to pardon the poor soul who was to be beheaded, accused of practicing witchcraft. The 18th century ruler also supported science, having herself and her children inoculated against smallpox, a controversial procedure at the time. While the queen denounced “black magic,” she was a fan of magic as performed by conjurers.

In 1769, the Holy Roman Empress (another of Maria Theresa’s titles) invited François Pelletier, a performer who had made a name for himself with an act that featured magnets, chemical demonstrations and automata, to put on a show at her palace in Vienna. Being of a curious nature, she asked a member of her court, Wolfgang von Kempelen, to attend the performance, hoping that he would be able to reveal the secrets behind the magic. Kempelen had demonstrated his engineering acumen by designing pumps to drain mines and water works for castles, so it seemed a good bet that he would have some insight into the workings of Pelletier’s effects, particularly his famous automata. But Kempelen was unimpressed by the performance and told the Empress that he would construct a machine that was “much more surprising and deceiving than what they had just witnessed.” Intrigued, she excused him from duties for six months so that he could deliver on his promise.

A recreation of The Turk by famed illusion builder Johnny Gaughan was on display the Genii Magic Convention in Orlando in October 2017.

Joe Schwarcz

Automata, basically machines that perform a sequence of operations powered by some sort of clockwork mechanism, were quite the rage at the time. Ever since French scientist and philosopher René Descartes had suggested in the 17th century that the bodies of animals were nothing more than complex machines, inventors were bent on producing life-like robotic figures with the ingenious use of springs, cogwheels, pistons and camshafts. In 1737, the public was stunned by French engineer Jacques de Vaucanson’s display of “The Flute Player,” a humanoid that actually played music thanks to a network of hidden bellows and springs that responded to the turning of a drum covered with studs of different sizes that activated levers causing the automaton to expel air and move its fingers and lips. Not unlike the idea of punch cards with early computers.

Vaucanson then outdid himself by producing a mechanical “digesting duck” that drank, ate, digested its food, defecated and quacked like a living duck. While the duck was amazing, there was a bit of quackery involved in its “digestion.” Although the bird’s innards were visible, and it seemed as if the food it ate was indeed digested and converted to feces, the fecal pellets it produced actually came from a hidden compartment. Vaucanson’s duck was a brilliant example of engineering coupled with trickery.

Kempelen was determined to impress Maria Theresa by surpassing the automata that had been previously produced. Instead of just repeating a sequence of predetermined moves, his machine would interact with people and demonstrate intelligence! His creation would play chess!

In 1770, Kempelen’s automaton, eventually christened “The Turk,” made its appearance in front of Maria Theresa. A life-size figure of a man wearing a turban and dressed in Turkish robes was seated behind a cabinet that held a chessboard. Kempelen proceeded to sequentially open a set of doors in the cabinet, revealing all sorts of impressive machinery. He even held a candle behind the cabinet with the flame visible from the front, apparently precluding the possibility of an operator being hidden inside the cabinet.

After Kempelen cranked the machine, the Turk’s hand picked up a pawn and made a move on the chessboard. A spectator was invited to respond, and the Turk then made his next move. Within a short time, the Turk was victorious! The audience was flabbergasted. The Turk became famous, eventually touring Europe and America, winning most of its matches, including one against Benjamin Franklin. The machine even played Napoleon who tried to confuse it by making an illegal move to which The Turk responded by sweeping all the men off the board.

Although many believed that The Turk was a true automaton, scientifically minded people were convinced that there had to be a hidden human operator. Edgar Allan Poe wrote an essay in which he maintained that “the only question is of the manner by which human agency is brought to bear.” That secret was revealed in 1857 by Silas Mitchell in whose hands The Turk eventually ended up. Kempelen had designed a brilliant illusion, permitting a hidden chess expert to slide back and forth, staying concealed while the various doors were opened. A clever system of gears allowed him to make moves.

The Turk, then, was not a true automaton, but rather a clever stage illusion. However, it did introduce the concept of artificial intelligence which has now evolved into reality with computer programs routinely beating grand masters. No tricks involved.


Joe Schwarcz is director of McGill University’s Office for Science & Society (mcgill.ca/oss). He hosts The Dr. Joe Show on CJAD Radio 800 AM every Sunday from 3 to 4 p.m.


London to host 2018 World Chess Championship Match – Insidethegames.biz

Magnus Carlsen will aim for a fourth successive world title ©Getty Images

The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has announced reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Fabiano Caruana have signed contracts to take part in the World Chess Championship Match in London.

The tie is scheduled to take place in the capital city from November 9 to 28.

The College, located in Holborn, will be the venue for the match.

“I am very grateful for Magnus and Fabiano for making signing the contracts an efficient process, and also happy with how these contracts evolve: they reflect the fact that chess had truly become a professional sport, and both players are professionals,” said Ilya Merenzon, FIDE President.

“We are looking forward to working with both players and hope that the match will become an event of the century.”

Norway’s Carlsen will hope to secure a fourth straight world title at the event.

Fabiano Caruana will challenge for the title ©Getty Images
Fabiano Caruana will challenge for the title ©Getty Images

He first claimed the title in 2013 when he overcame India’s Viswanathan Anand in Chennai, before beating his opponent again the following year in Sochi.

Carlsen’s last victory came against Russia’s Sergey Karjakin in New York City in 2016.

Caruana will provide his next challenger after the American emerged as the winner of the FIDE Candidates tournament.

Chess, ABBA and the Cold War – Daily Utah Chronicle

Chess: a somewhat antiquated game that producers often featured in their movies when trying to create an air of sophistication. Now it is also known as a jukebox musical featuring ABBA, opening Sept. 14 in the Marriott Center for Dance at the University of Utah.

“Chess” is a musical set nearly 75 years ago. It loosely tells the story of the 1945 radio chess world championship. Now, you might be thinking along the same lines as the musical theater department head Denny Berry: “What could possibly be interesting about watching people think?” Chess is an intellectual game after all, but everything changes when you look at the context.

1945 is right at the beginning of the Cold War. Oh, and the musical focuses on a really important chess match? It’s between the USA and the USSR. Though maybe watching people think under intense political pressure is a little more interesting than viewing an ordinary chess game, but ABBA, who wrote the score for “Chess,” is not particularly known for their patriotic music. If you have seen either of the “Mamma Mia” movies, you might have noticed that they aren’t exactly propaganda. Well, “Chess” definitely has more politics than “Waterloo,” but at its heart this is a show about love of country, people and profession.

This show deals with emotional struggles on a variety of spectrums, both personally and politically. I think this show will speak to its audience in a way that it never has before. It paints humans as just this: humans. “Chess” does not make every person of one nationality act aggressively or rudely, but displays a wide array of personalities. This allows the audience to make judgments based on the moral choices of individual characters rather than on nationalities.

Cameron Holzman plays the Russian grandmaster Anatoly Sergievsky. Sergievsky is the face of the USSR, where he faces intense pressure to win on all sides. However, Sergievsky finds something unexpected when he arrives to meet his opponent Freddie Trumper. The surprise is Florence Vassy — Hungarian-born, English-raised — who is entirely confused about where she stands, although she knows she is supposed to stand behind Freddie as his manager.

Suddenly, viewers aren’t just watching people think, but are also watching characters panic, crack and make the wrong choices with a lot at stake. When Berry, the director, first considered this musical for the 2018-2019 season, she “was really intrigued.”

I loved the ideas behind it, I loved so much of it, but it just didn’t really work. And they’d tried it so many times and there’s always something missing. In the preface to the play [‘Chess’] Tim Rice says ‘it’s never worked,’ but there’s so much of this material and the story is so completely different between the West End version and the New York version. There’s a lot of potential and so it’s fun to revisit those productions and see if you can’t clarify the story line. And it’s fun to work with such incredible material,” she said.

Berry, the department head, explains, “It’s always been a goal of mine to find a niche where the U of U program can live.” She would prefer this niche be new works, but when this proved nearly impossible, she redirected her energy to reviving problem shows. Barry picks musicals that had short runs or problematic scripts and then works with actors and designers alike to figure out the solution. For her, the department doesn’t encourage empty performance — it teaches problem solving and creative storytelling. A perfect example of this is last year’s production of “The Beautiful Game,” which performed a never-before-seen altered script with permission from Andrew Lloyd Webber himself.

“Chess” required more than a few line edits. The first problem the production and direction team faced was which story to tell. Between the war, the romance and the game there were a lot of frames to look through. Barry narrowed it down and started from the beginning. The game became her sole focus, and she and the cast learned everything they could about playing chess. Holzman said, “We play out real, famous chess games from past championships and matches. It was incredibly interesting to delve into the psyche of these men through the chess games. Every move we make has been analyzed and every repercussion and option observed.”

Once they had mastered the game of chess, the cast turned their eyes and ears towards the music under the direction of Alex Marshall. Marshall looked at the show as a brilliant but inconsistent score. “When you see ‘Chess’ you see it in concert. People like the music, it’s great music, but they lose the story line. There are these holes.” He focused on recentering the sound of “Chess” around the rock vibes of ABBA and worked to clarify the noise of excess notes or musical phrases. Marshall has worked on many shows at the U, often directing with only a small onstage orchestra.

“Chess” is one of those musicals that will whisk you away in its drama and set you down again leaving you not quite sure how to feel. It showed in concert a few years ago at Pioneer Theatre with a sold-out run. Whether you love chess, ABBA is your soul or you’re a history buff, “Chess” is worth watching, and this edition promises to be better than ever.

Get your tickets to “Chess” Sept. 14-23, free with a student ID. You can pick them up at the Kingsbury Hall box office or snag one day of at the theater. This show is where you’ll want to be, so don’t miss it.