Saturday programs at the Library: Chess, Children's Art Workshops, and Audio Book Clubs – mysouthborough

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Above: One of the programs offered at the Library on weekends this fall is a bi-weekly chess series for ages 12+ that starts tomorrow. (image posted to flickr by Jo)

If you missed being able to pop in to the Southborough Library on the weekends, good news. The summer Saturday closings ended when August did. With the return to Saturday hours, the Library is holding special weekend programs.

As I posted earlier this month, a bi-weekly Chess program for beginners starts tomorrow. This fall, they’ll also be offering monthly “Saturday Morning Art” for children. And for adults, Saturdays are the days the monthly “Audio Book Club” will now meet.

Below are more details on each program.

(Reminder, Saturday hours means it’s also easier to pick up a museum/park pass for weekend use. This summer, they added Zoo New England and five Springfield Museums including the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss. That’s in addition to 16 other passes to museums and venues.)

Saturday Chess

The gatherings are for those interested in learning beginner chess skills. It’s geared for ages 12 and up. At the afternoon sessions, participants will learn and practice basic skills. They’ll then be invited to test out their new skills at tournaments.

Saturday Chess poster

(click to enlarge)

The first gathering takes place on September 8th from 2:00 – 4:00 pm in the downstairs Eaton Meeting room. Follow up sessions this fall are on September 22, October 6 & 20, and November 3rd. The first tournament will take place on November 17th.

(Anyone interested in supporting these events is welcome to donate an “allergy-free snack”.)

If you have any questions, contact Assistant Director & YA Librarian Aileen Sanchez-Himes at or 508-485-5031.

Saturday Morning Art

The Library is resuming its drop-in workshops for 5-9 year olds. They take place from 10:30 – noon, no registration required. 

The (almost) monthly events are sponsored by The Friends of the Southborough Library.

Drop in art with Lanting at Library (photo by Beth Melo)The program is run by art instructor Lanting Huang-Truong. Here is her fall schedule:

  • September 15: Cactus drawings
  • October 13: Printmaking
  • December 8: Winter Art

Audio Book Club

Audio Book Club fall 2018 flyer

(click to enlarge)

This summer, the Library launched a book club for adult fans of sci-fi/fantasy. As the name suggests, each month’s selection can be listened to as an audio book. But, as I previously posted, members are also welcome to read the selection if they prefer.

The monthly meetings will be led by library associate Christopher McGinn. Upcoming meetings are scheduled for 1:00 – 2:00 pm on September 29th, October 27th.

The next book up for discussion is Stranger in a Strange Land by by Robert A. Heinlein. In October, they’ll discuss The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

You can use the prior links to reserve a book, audio book, and/or e-book. If you need assistance, contact the Library at 508-485-5031.

MVL Battles Komodo In Close Match With Commentary –

Yesterday’s match between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Komodo offered a unique insight to the thought process of a super grandmaster. While playing the computer, MVL was providing live commentary.

“I’m here, I’m ready. It’s gonna be exciting!” —Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, shortly before the match.

If you thought super grandmasters don’t like playing against computers anymore (because they’re too damn good these days!), you were wrong. If you tweak the format a little, there’s still an interesting challenge for these players, and MVL was excited, like Hikaru Nakamura earlier.

Yesterday’s format was similar to the Nakamura-Komodo match: First, five games of blitz (5+5) against Komodo levels 16-20 (the same engines available for all users to play for free), with MVL playing White in all games. Then, six games of rapid (15+2) odds chess followed, against Komodo Monte Carlo.

The French GM said he had looked at the earlier odds match: “I was very surprised by how Komodo was holding his own in some, you know, very dodgy-looking positions. It definitely inspired me to take the lizard seriously!”

MVL picked up not only his mouse, but also the mike. He commented on his play throughout the match.

In the first game, Vachier-Lagrave confirmed his suspicion that he would be the favorite against the lower levels of Komodo. He said he was trying to avoid positions where one needs to calculate a lot, and that worked well:

The next game went even easier, as Komodo let a knight be trapped during the opening phase. Level 18 was clearly more up to the task.

MVL had no reason not to repeat the Closed Sicilian, but this time Komodo played his opponent’s “favorite setup,” one that has been advocated also by e.g. the late Russian trainer Mark Dvoretsky. In a much closer game, the human still conquered the engine in the end, with a nice positional exchange sac:

Also in the next game, MVL seemed to be cruising to victory after more positional mistakes by Komodo. The turning point was move 30, when he asked co-commentator IM Daniel Rensch if he supported moving the king to g2. Rensch approved, but soon he added: “First rule of thumb: never listen to Danny!”

Missing a tactic, Vachier-Lagrave added more mistakes and suffered an “embarrassing” loss, as he said himself.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Except for one game, Vachier-Lagrave demonstrated the weakness of engines on weaker levels: positional chess. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

The next game saw something truly odd. In a slightly worse bishop endgame, MVL was defending successfully Komodo’s attempts to make progress, but then suddenly…it flagged! That’s right, the engine lost on time.

Vachier-Lagrave: “That shouldn’t have happened… But I’ll take it. I guess he felt bad for me for losing that earlier game!”

The Komodo team later stated (about this fairly historic event for computer chess) that it had to do with their server settings, and it would adjust certain parameters to account for Internet lag to prevent it from happening again.

After this, it was odds time! MVL played six rapid games (15+2) with various starting positions, giving odds to the engine. For these games, the French GM played an updated version of Komodo Monte Carlo, which was “much stronger than what we had for the match with Hikaru,” said the Komodo programmer GM Larry Kaufman.

Komodo Monte Carlo was running on a powerful, 16-core computer (i9-7960x, overclocked to 4.1 GHz, with 64 GB RAM and six-piece Syzygy endgame tablebases). Except for the first, MVL was playing Black.

Odds Game 1: f7 pawn removed and two moves for White to start the game.

Vachier-Lagrave went for an exchange French (which is “usually not as drawish as it looks!”). Losing his extra pawn quickly was “not ideal” but he kept an open position with the bishop pair. It was hard to make progress, but he avoided a move repetition anyway in a position where he was still better.

A tactical phase followed and MVL lost a pawn, but the resulting rook endgame was still within drawing margins. Time trouble sealed the human’s fate here.

Odds Game 2: Queen for rook and knight.

For this game, MVL said he wanted to try and open the center since that way his queen should be stronger than the rook and knight. However, he kind of missed 8.e4, a move against his strategy.

Subsequently he got outplayed, probably underestimating the pawn on b6. MVL was not happy with this game, even though he knew in advance: “it was going to be one of the toughest” of the match. 


One of Komodo’s most impressive games of the match.

Odds Game 3: f2 and g2 pawns removed.

White’s king looks terribly weak from the very start, but 1.d3 and 2.c4 created a safe haven on c2. It didn’t get that far, and in fact the game quickly reached an endgame with a healthy extra pawn for Vachier-Lagrave—just one, because he missed a tactic: “This is already a huge success for Komodo, but he’ll need one more success,” he said.

What followed was, even though expected, an incredibly strong defense from the computer. It’s exactly this aspect that top grandmasters mention when they are asked what they have learned from computers: that there is often still a defense in the most horrible-looking position.

Odds Game 4: Knight for f7 pawn.

With a piece in return for a pawn, the absence of which weakened black’s kingside, it was logical for Komodo to go for a full attack from the very start. 

The turning point was move 27. “Ah, Bg6 is a move I actually anticipated one move before and I just forgot it existed,” said MVL, who went down in a devastating attack.

“In this game obviously I [played] some terrible game but I am very impressed with the way Komodo handled it.”

Odds Game 5: Rook and a2 pawn for knight.

MVL thought he had the most significant advantage in this game. His strategy? “Open as many lines as I can.”

The expectations came true: the man dominated the machine and although the latter defended strongly of course, it couldn’t hold. A good game by MVL.

Odds Game 6: Knightmare! All pieces knights vs normal piece set with knights removed.

In the craziest of starting positions, Vachier-Lagrave went for a double fianchetto, something he had decided before the match. Annotating this insane game is asking too much of this author today, but MVL himself said didn’t like giving up his e-pawn so easily (as it restricts), and he also wasn’t sure of his plan of going for the h-pawn.

The final score was 6-5 for MVL, but that included the warm-up games. “It is tough, but it was a lot of fun anyway,” Vachier-Lagrave finished the show, basically summarizing the feeling of the fans watching. He also promised to start streaming on Twitch soon!

This Saturday, September 8, Vachier-Lagrave will be back on as one of the strong grandmasters playing in our PRO Chess League All Stars event. Find more info on that here. 

This man-vs-machine event was broadcast live on on and with full commentary by MVL and IM Daniel Rensch. You can replay that here:

Related report:

Titled Tuesday: Grigoriants 1st On Tiebreak, So 2nd –

A hard-fought September Titled Tuesday tournament saw a four-way tie between GMs Sergey Grigoriants, Wesley SoGM Daniil Yuffa and IM Arash Tahbaz. Only these players scored 8.5/10.

This month’s Titled Tuesday tournament didn’t have an ideal start, because about half an hour before it began, the servers were suddenly having some issues. It was resolved fairly quickly, but because everything started working again shortly before the start, dozens of players failed to register in time.

It was decided that too many players were hurt by these unfortunate circumstances, and a restart was the best way to move forward. In the next 15 minutes, a total of 275 players entered for the fresh new edition, including top grandmaster Wesley So ( @GMWSO).

America’s number two player enjoyed a small chess curiosity in round five, when he was given the opportunity to checkmate his opponent by making a king move.

Wesley So

Wesley So, one of the participants in our monthly blitz tournament. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In his first eight rounds, So scored five wins but was held to a draw three times. One of the players who held his own was Iranian IM Arash Tahbaz ( @Arash_Tahbaz), who showed fantastic defensive skills in the endgame:

Another very strong participant was the Polish number one player Jan-Krzysztof Duda ( @Polish_fighter3000),  who probably wanted to warm up a little for his Speed Chess match with Sergey Karjakin tomorrow.

This week we’ll have two Speed Chess matches, with games in Live Chess and commentary on and

  • Jan-Krzysztof Duda vs Sergey Karjakin on
  • Anish Giri vs Shakhriyar Mamedyarov on

Duda played an interesting rook sacrifice in his third game. Black missed the best defense, and so the Polish GM was doing well until he blundered a full piece. Eventually he got two pawns, and held the draw easier than expected.

Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Speed Chess

We’ll see Duda back online tomorrow for his match with Karjakin.

The aforementioned IM Tahbaz was doing so well, that he was leading the tournament with one round to go. The only other player on 8 points was Russian GM Daniil Yuffa ( @danyuffa), and so they were paired against each other for the game of the tournament.

It became a great fight that ended with bare kings, after both players had avoided a move repetition at some point in the game.

So caught the leaders as he won a long and tough positional battle against Vietnamese IM Minh Le ( @wonderfultime), a regular and in fact the winner of last month’s Titled Tuesday:

However, it was a different player who took first place on tiebreak: GM Sergey Grigoriants ( @sergiochess83). The Muscovite is the 82nd player of Russia on the classical FIDE rating list, but in blitz he’s clearly better than that.

He reached 8.5 points, with the best tiebreak, after winning this last-round game in great style. 24…g5 is super instructive.

On a final note, let’s look at two endgames, coincidentally both from games by Russian GM Alexander Moskalenko ( @Alexander_Moskalenko). In the first round, he was involved in one of the longest games and tried to win a basic Rp-R endgame. His opponent defended just perfectly, but apparently had no idea about that and suddenly resigned when the position was still a draw!

Alexander Moskalenko

Alexander Moskalenko. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In the eighth round, Moskalenko was the one on the defending side. He had a knight against two bishops; a rare but interesting endgame. When it appeared on the board, the tablebase said “mate in 68” which means it’s winning, but with best defense White cannot do it before the 50-move rule comes into effect.

Moskalenko knew what he was doing as he kept his knight on g7 as much as possible; a known defensive technique. However, at some point he was forced out of this setup, but it was too difficult to find the winning technique in blitz:

September Titled Tuesday | Final Standings | 7 Points Or More

# Rk Fed Title Username Name Score SB
1 43 GM @sergiochess83 Sergey Grigoriants 8.5 55.75
2 2 GM @GMWSO Wesley So 8.5 55.5
3 41 IM @Arash_Tahbaz Arash Tahbaz 8.5 47.75
4 61 GM @danyuffa Daniil Yuffa 8.5 45
5 60 IM @GadimbayliA Abdulla Gadimbayli 8 39.5
6 62 GM @Eagle_pada (Undisclosed) 8 35.5
7 13 IM @wonderfultime Minh Le 7.5 45.25
8 28 GM @dretch Conrad Holt 7.5 45
9 24 IM @renatoterrylujan Renato Alfredo Terry Lujan 7.5 40.75
10 47 GM @gmjlh Jon Ludvig Hammer 7.5 39.75
11 1 GM @DanielNaroditsky Daniel Naroditsky 7.5 36.25
12 3 GM @Polish_fighter3000 Jan-Krzysztof Duda 7.5 33.75
13 68 IM @Korchmar_Vasiliy Vasiliy Korchmar 7.5 32.75
14 22 GM @gkchesstiger Gata Kamsky 7 37.5
15 234 FM @tsakos2731 (Undisclosed) 7 37.25
16 49 IM @afgano29 Andres F Gallego 7 37
17 18 GM @VerdeNotte Gawain Jones 7 34.75
18 5 GM @Genghis_K Federico Perez Ponsa 7 34.25
19 7 IM @nihalsarin Nihal Sarin 7 33.75
20 182 FM @stewiiegriffin Jose Antonio Herrera Reyes 7 33.5
21 36 GM @jefferyx Jeffery Xiong 7 31.5
22 116 IM @Cryptochess Alexander Katz 7 31
23 193 CM @TastyFrenchFries Jeffrey Xu 7 30.75
24 54 IM @Dragon1377 (Undisclosed) 7 28

(Full final standings here.)

GM Aman Hambleton provided commentary for the entire event on Twitch. You can replay his commentary here. (It starts with Hambleton looking at our brand new Computer Chess Championship.)

Grigoriants, So, Tahbaz and Yuffa all earned $350, while other prizes will soon be determined. The $100 Streamers’ prize went to GM Jon Ludvig Hammer, who had close to 300 viewers and finished on 7.5/10. Brand Resources –

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Campus buzz – The Telegraph India

App to the rescue

Researchers at the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s Amritapuri campus in Kollam district in Kerala have come up with a disaster management app that can pinpoint a stranded person’s location – using GPS data – as well as route requests for medical aid or food to the appropriate authorities. The app has already located, helped rescue and otherwise provided relief to more than 12,000 people affected by the recent Kerala floods. The app was used in tandem with the “Amrita Help Line” set up by students and faculty volunteers at the university’s Amritapuri campus.

AmritaKripa, the multilingual (English and Malayalam for now), user-friendly mobile and Web app – available for free in Playstore – can be very effective for the timely management of rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts after any disaster. The app was developed keeping in mind the needs of various end-users, including disaster survivors, relief providers, relief camp coordinators, rescue teams and administrators. Once registered, app users can select options such as “rescue me now”, “request medical”, “request supplies” and “offer supplies”.

Triwizard chess

IIT Roorkee recently hosted a Triwizard Chess tournament, which is chess played by three people together. The three-player board and game was developed by alumnus Aditya Nigam. Only the board is different, the game follows all the rules of chess and even has the same pieces, just an extra set in grey. White plays first, followed by grey and black. The Triwizard Chess set is available on Amazon.

Chess master – Kormorant


Chess master
Refentse Motuang, a pupil from Hartbeespoort High School, recently won the Tshwane Chess Alekhine Open in the C-section. He won all six his games. 26 mins ago. Refentse Motuang. 0122591616. 012253-2561/2. Website · Website · Website · Website.