09 December 2019

More TCEC Bonuses; CCC11 Semifinal Underway

Time to get up-to-date on the world's premier, ongoing engine vs. competitions. To summarize the previous post, TCEC/CCC Bonus Events, from two weeks ago:-

TCEC: The site is running a series of bonus tournaments; the current event is titled 'Viewer Submitted Openings Bonus 4', with eight engines. • CCC: CCC11 R2 finished with Lc0 3.0 points ahead of second place Stockfish. After R2, the CCC ran two matches; Fat Fritz lost to both Stockfish and Lc0 by convincing margins.

TCEC is still in a holding pattern, while CCC has advanced another stage. Let's have some specifics.

TCEC: The site has progressed to 'Viewer Submitted Openings Bonus 9'. As for the next season (S17), the schedule is nearly identical to what was announced two weeks ago; it says:-

!s17 • Tentatively set mid-December 2019. Delay due to a potential sponsored hardware upgrade.

The plans for the various stages of S17 are still unannounced.

CCC: CCC11 R3 finished with AI/NN engines Leelenstein and Lc0 tied for 1st/2nd, a half-point ahead of Stockfish. Komodo placed fourth, 6.5 points behind Stockfish. The following chart shows the full R3 crosstable. There was only one decisive game among the top three engines, and the two AI/NN engines lost no games.

The top four engines qualified into the CCC11 Semifinal round, which is just getting underway. The tournament is projected to run for somewhat less than a week. The top two engines in the semifinal will advance to a 75-game final.

[For further information from the various stakeholders in the engine-to-engine events, see the tab 'TCEC/CCC Links' at the top of this page. • NB: Leela = LC0 = LCzero]

08 December 2019

Entertaining Chess Instruction

When was the last time you had chess instruction with comic asides?

Paul Morphy's 5 Most Brilliant Chess Moves (9:29) • '[Published on] Nov 13, 2019'

The description says,

Join GM Simon Williams as he breaks down the best moves from Paul Morphy, the first great American chess player and considered by many to be an unofficial world champion.

This video is one of a series by GM Williams on the same theme:-

Chess instruction and entertainment at the same time -- yes, it's possible, if you're Simon Williams.

05 December 2019

Pictures of Pia

Of the three chess personalities featured in the previous post, December 1969 & 1994 'On the Cover', the most photogenic was GM Pia Cramling of Sweden. By coincidence, the last time I looked at chess items on eBay I noticed several photos of her that sold a few months ago.

The full title of the photo on the bottom right was 'Vintage photograph of Pia Cramling playing chess with Hasse Alfredsson'. According to my page World Chess Championship : Index of Women Players, GM Cramling has been competing in the Women's World Championship since the 1985 Havana Interzonal Tournament, where she tied for 3rd through 5th place, thereby qualifying for the 1986 Malmo Candidates Tournament.

03 December 2019

December 1969 & 1994 'On the Cover'

Last month -- in the most recent post for an ongoing series, November 1969 & 1994 'On the Cover' -- I introduced a small change in direction:-

Let's continue the 'On the Cover' series with CL&R from 50 years ago, together with CL from 25 years ago.

A second post using the same idea confirms the start of a new series.

Left: 'International Master Norman T. Whitaker'
Right: 'Happy Holidays from Sweden!'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

Sixty-five Years in American Chess by International Master Norman T. Whitaker • I learned the moves of chess from my father (a mathematician) when I was fourteen; we lived then in Philadelphia. The next year, 1905, I learned of its beauties by watching Harry Nelson Pillsbury on a pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Late in the day he would play all comers for a fee, but I would visit him before noon. [...]

We've already seen IM Whitaker on this blog in a couple of previous posts: Smythe, Not Smith (May 2017, photo) and Masters Emeritus in the 1950s (August 2017, links to relevant pages offsite; Wikipedia: 'several terms in prison').

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

Season's greetings: Actually, it was August. But there is a fair amount of holiday coloring in the photograph taken by Peter Walz at the opening ceremony of a tournament in Osterskars [Osterskar], a suburb of Stockholm. We thank Nick deFirmian [de Firmian] for bringing "King Karpov" and "Queen Pia Cramling" to our attention. Oh, yes - Nick tied for second place in the Swedish event, behind Kveinys of Lithuania.

For more about "Queen Pia Cramling", see Pia Cramling (wikipedia.org).

02 December 2019


The 'CCC PGN Archive' (see the tab 'TCEC/CCC Links' at the top of this page) hasn't been updated in over six months, and only shows events through CCC8. For this post I set out to find more recent PGN files and found links for them via #tournament-pgns (discordapp.com). The Discord messages are of the type...

CCC Archive 9/21

... and look like this:-

Download links are all of the form:

Tourid Title
40044 CCC10 Finals
39682 CCC10 Semifinals

With this data it should be trivial to download the relevant files. I'll add the link given in the first paragraph to 'TCEC/CCC Links'.

01 December 2019

Ladies First

The first and last time we saw jewelry on Top eBay Chess Items by Price (started March 2010), was The Value of Jewelry (March 2016). The items shown in the image below appeared a week apart on eBay from different sellers.

Top: 'Rare Trifari Sterling Silver White King Queen Chess Pin Clips'; sold for US $406 after three bids from two bidders.

Bottom: 'Rare Find! 1940s TRIFARI CHESS King Queen STERLING Set Figurals Pins Brooches'; US $475 Buy-It-Now.

Although both photos show the Queen on the left, I bet many sellers would have shown the King on the left. Isn't that some sort of protocol for royals?

The description of the item on the top only repeated the title of the auction and added 3/4" x 1-5/8". The description on the bottom was more informative:-

A set of the 1945 Trifari Sterling Chess Figural Brooches. Designed by Alfred Philippe. You get the King and Queen!

Featuring black enameled faces, cream enameled accents, ruby and crystal chaton rhinestones and small turquoise beads in their crowns, all set in vermeil plated sterling silver, with double prong fur/pin clip mechanisms on reverse. A royal treat! Love these figurals!

Hallmarks: Trifari with Crown over the T, Sterling, des. pat. no. 140843 and 140844 (see patent drawings). Measurement: 3/4" x 1-5/8".

For more about Trifari, see Vintage Trifari Jewelry (collectorsweekly.com).

29 November 2019

US Chess CL Archive

This week, in US Chess Digital Archive Is Live, USchess.org announced,

US Chess has been working on digitizing its archive of Chess Life and Chess Review magazines (as well as titles such as Chess Life & Review). This project is now complete and the archive is now online and available for download by the general public.

I've referenced existing digital CL collections in at least two previous posts:-

I downloaded the files that were missing from my own collection and have started flipping through them. Unfortunately, the document scans aren't first rate -- many pages are skewed and/or clipped on the side of the magazine fold, and the text is often too light, making it difficult to read -- but who's complaining? Thanks, US Chess!