There was a good lesson in the last round of the Candidates tournament on how to play a key game. Going into the last round Sergey Karjakin and Fabiana Caruana were in the joint lead and crucially were also playing each other. A draw between them would mean that Karjakin would qualify for a match against Magnus Carlsen because of a superior tie-break, but only if they weren’t also joined by Vishwanathan Anand who was playing Black against Peter Svidler. If Anand were to win this would boost Caruana’s tie break after which he would qualify instead.
In this situation many players might pull their punches and try to play it safe, but not Karjakin. Following the advice of Nicolai Krogius in his book Psychology in Chess, Karjakin just played a normal game. And he went on to win with a nice combination and has earned the right to play Carlsen in New York in November.
Here’s a Youtube presentation of the game:
These match ups are not getting more flattering for the humanoids, now they’re giving mankind odds! Here’s a video, Hikaru Nakamura vs. Komodo:
Garry Kasparov is always interesting, and here he talks about different top players and the Sinquefield Cup but BEFORE the final leg in London. It’s also interesting to hear him talk about how we did things in the ‘old days’, especially when Kasparov himself was one of the first players to make extensive use of computer based preparation.
At this seasonal time of year many chess players will be getting a new set. For those buying such a present, it’s very important to have Staunton pieces, under no circumstances should you get a serious player some kind of fancy set. Wood is good too, though there are some nice plastic ones around which don’t look like plastic. And one small difference is allowable, having white bishops having a black top and black bishops having a white one.
This is known as a Dubrovnik set and it was a firm favorite of Bobby Fischer. In the following video we see him using this set:
I must admit to have thoroughly enjoyed my visits to the London Chess Classic where I was one of the commentators. It was interesting to see today’s top flight chess up close and personal, with many of the players coming into the commentary box to explain their games.
Here’s the full commentary from round 9 in which I was heavily involved from the start:
I’m back home after commentating on the London Chess Classic last Friday, but I’m due to return next weekend. One interesting thing happened meanwhile in that my son, having seen me commentating, became interested in following the games. Prior to this he had been looking at the games of his peers, which provided far from optimal models of play.
You can learn a lot from following tournaments online, especially if you try to guess the move before it is played (active involvement). Of course not everybody finds the Berlin (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6) fascinating, and this suggests that perhaps with need tournaments with mixed strength participation. But even so it can be useful.
Here anyway is the Youtube video of round 1.
Given the amount of interest this area has attracted in the chess scene, I thought it worth mentioning the potential that playing chess at Simpson’s, accompanied by a glass of champagne or three, has in combating this disease.
In the following video Anatoly Karpov confirms the value of chess for the mind: “If you train, if you keep your brain working all the time, you maintain your thinking abilities and your memory.” And whilst there are those who have questioned the growing evidence I think it makes sense to go with this rather than wait for the researchers to provide absolute confirmation.
Here’s some further evidence about the popularity of chess in the media, its symbolism never failing to capture attention. I don’t like seeing chess pieces kicked over as this is a kind of sacrilege, and I don’t like the song much either. But isn’t it a shame that organized chess events rarely seem to capture much of the game’s magical appeal?
There are of course a lot of kids participating in junior tournaments in the UK. But the difference in India is that chess is a highly respected and well paid profession there, as a chess GM you’re a big star and national hero, rolled into one. And this in turn provides a strong incentive for ongoing study and play throughout the teenage years:
I was very impressed by this game with Black seeing a clever tactic with …Nxd4; Nxd4 Qc3. The Grandmaster must have missed this and then Black went on to win.