07 February 2016

Connecting Children with Chess

From the same Youtube channel that brought us Five Time Winner at Wijk aan Zee, here's a clip featuring Janton van Apeldoorn, founder Chessity, 'a company that develops software that teaches children how to play chess'.

Tata Steel Chess 2016 - Chessity (5:39) • 'Published on Jan 31, 2016'

Q: 'Why do you promote the product at the Tata Steel tournament?' • A: 'Tata developed and created a platform for chess. What they have done the last three years is going to all kinds of places in Holland. They connect chess for all the ages, also children. You have seen in the Spoorwegmuseum [Railway Museum] how big it was there -- thousands of visitors and also a lot of children. That platform is an incredible, powerful tool for children to meet with chess.'

In my next post for the 'Chess in School' series, I'll look at chess software for children, in the same spirit as I did for Chess Curriculum (December 2015).

05 February 2016

Five Time Winner at Wijk aan Zee

After winning the 2016 Tata tournament at Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, the World Champion discussed the event with Press Chief Tom Bottema (left) and Tournament Director Jeroen van den Berg (right).

Tata Steel Chess 2016 - Final Press Conference - Magnus Carlsen (16:52) • 'Published on Jan 31, 2016'

For more videos from the Tata Chess organizers, see Youtube channel Tata Steel Chess.

04 February 2016

Seven Portieljes

This blog's most recent post about 'Top eBay Chess Items', The Kitten Theme, featured a painting by Gerard Portielje (Belgian, 1856-1929) and noted,

A search on 'chess Portielje' brings up two other works by the same artist.

Afterwards I noticed another painting and started to wonder how many different chess paintings there are by Portielje. Using the following image as a starting point...

Google image search on 'chess Portielje'

...I numbered the rows from top to bottom as 1 to 3 with the paintings from left to right in each row identified as A, B, etc.. The 'Kitten Theme' painting (first row, second from the left) is thereby identified as 1B.

That identification scheme reveals the following pairs of chess paintings: 1A & 1C are the same, 1D & 2B ditto (although certain details like the cabinet on the right of the painting are not identical), 1E & 1F ditto; plus two unpaired paintings: 2A and 2F.

2C and 3C show the same painting, but it's not a chess scene. The other Google images are either not by Portielje or not about chess.

That makes six different paintings on the first Google search page. I found a seventh on the second search page, which leads to valsur 274753.html - Valerij SURKOV, showing four Portielje images (among many others by other artists): 1A/1C, 1D, 2B, plus the new painting.

I wouldn't be surprised to find more.


Later: I found a second Valerij SURKOV collection of chess paintings: valsur 337769.html - Valerij SURKOV. This page also has four Portielje images -- 2A, *, 1E/1F, and 2F -- where '*' is a painting not identified above. Change the title of this post to 'Eight Portieljes'!

I also searched my collection of ~10.000 chess images (most of them from eBay) for Portielje. In addition to 'Kitten Theme' (1B), I found several variations of 1E/1F, the best of which had the accompanying text:-

The title is 'The Chess Players'. This print was issued by the Denver Post, December 7, 1902 (printed in the lower left corner). [...] This was printed by the American Colortype Company as a supplement to the Denver Post newspaper.

Another variation mentioned, 'Originally this print appeared as a supplement to the CHICAGO TRIBUNE on 2/2/1902'.

02 February 2016

February 1966 'On the Cover'

Fifty years ago, chess photo credits were more haphazard than they are today. I imagine the photo on the left was taken during the 1963 Piatigorsky Cup in Los Angeles.

The issue of Chess Life had only 20 pages with surprisingly little content. Five of the pages showed only crosstables and game scores for non-U.S. tournaments.

Left: World Champion Petrosian
Right: 'WHAT AGAIN! (Photo by Robert Parent)'

Chess Life

Tigran Petrosian, who won the world chess championship by defeating Mikhail Botvinnik in 1963 by a score of 12.5-9.5, will defend his title against Boris Spassky in a 24-game match that will begin on April 11.

Chess Review

Robert J. Fischer stretched his record for winning the United States Championship to seven straight times at the Henry Hudson Hotel in New York city, December 12 to 30, 1965. As this tournament, directed by E.T.McCormick, was also the U.S. Zonal tournament, Fischer, along with Robert Byrne and Samuel Reshevsky who tied for second place, qualified to compete in the Interzonal Tournament later this year...

On my zonal pages, World Chess Championship Zonals, I've adopted the practice of numbering the World Championship cycles. The events mentioned here would have been in cycles no.6 and no.7.

01 February 2016

Instructional Videos : Caruana

The three previous videos in this series on the players in the forthcoming 2016 Candidates tournament (see the previous post Instructional Videos : Aronian and follow the links back) have all shown analysis from recent editions of the Corus/Tata Wijk aan Zee tournaments. The current video is from the 2016 Tata event that finished yesterday. GM Caruana finished tied for 2nd/3rd, one point behind GM Carlsen. In this clip Caruana discusses his game against the World Champion with broadcast host GM Seirawan.

Tata Steel Tournament 2016 ! Fabiano Caruana Post Game Analysis After Round 2 (22:05) • 'American GM Fabiano Caruana giving analysis of his game against World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Wijk Aan Zee 2016.'

Which do I prefer : the click of wooden pieces on a wooden demo board as in the Aronian discussion or the click of a mouse as in the Caruana discussion? It's hard to say.

31 January 2016

The Kitten Theme

I'm not sure when the evolution took place, but here on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, live auctions have become the standard method of selling artwork on eBay. The latest example, pictured below, was titled 'GÉRARD JOZEF PORTIELJE, (BELGIAN 1856-1929), CHESS MATCH Lot 185', and subtitled, 'Part of a live auction event on Tuesday, Jan 26'.

The title of the live auction was 'European Art & Old Masters offered by Freeman's, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA'. This chess painting sold for US $7500 after 15 bids, attracting more interest than some of the works by better known artists.

The description said,

Seller's Estimate: USD 2,000 - 4,000 • GÉRARD JOZEF PORTIELJE (Belgian 1856-1929); CHESS MATCH; Signed and located 'Gerard Portielje Antwerp' bottom right, oil on canvas; 18 1/4 x 23 in. (46.4 x 58.4cm); Provenance: Private Collection, New Jersey.

Condition Report: The relined canvas with visible surface craquelure; in fair overall condition with some areas that are difficult to accurately 'read' under u.v. light due to pigments used and varnish inconsistencies. There are some restored areas, including in background at left, center left, center and center right, and to parts of tablecloth.

A few common devices appear in the painting. The fellow on the left is sleeping, presumably after a few drinks from the bottle on the table; the fellow on the right, deep in concentration, is oblivious to his partner's condition; and kittens are playing with chess pieces on the floor. A search on 'chess Portielje' brings up two other works by the same artist.

In contrast to the live auction in the previous 'Top eBay Chess Items' post, Something Smells Fishy, this one looks normal.

29 January 2016

Tata 2016 in Pictures

For the third year running, a January Flickr Friday features the annual Tata tournament, held at Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. Two years ago we had Knights of the Rijks (Museum), and last year saw 'Nice Jacket!'. This year I couldn't find any single photo that I preferred over the others, so I decided on a composite.

Center photo: Magnus Carlsen v Shakhryar Mamedyarov © Flickr user Frans Peeters under Creative Commons.

For the complete set of all photos, see Search: tatasteel chess tournament 2016. Note that many (all?) of the photos can be reused for noncommercial purposes. Thanks, Frans Peeters!