30 July 2013

Friendly Chess Players

At the same time I worked on Magnus Carlsen Interviews, I was reading Yuri Averbakh's 'Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes: A Personal Memoir'. Near the end of the book (p.238), GM Averbakh divides great players into six groups. Here are quotes from Averbakh describing each group.

  • Group one - the killers. They are the ones who, in the language of boxing, try to knock out their opponents. • Alekhine, Botvinnik, Fischer, Korchnoi.

  • Group two - the fighters. The circumstances of battle inspire them and enable them to mobilize their full fighting spirit. • Lasker, Bronstein, Reshevsky, Tal; Kasparov.

  • Group three - the sportsmen. For them, chess is a form of sport, like tennis, for example. Once the game is over, they become absolutely normal people. • Capablanca, Euwe, Keres, Smyslov, Spassky.

  • Group four - the players. They are attracted by every form of game -- cards, backgammon, etc. • Karpov; Janowski, Najdorf, Geller, Petrosian.

  • Group five - the artists. For them it is important not just to win, but to win elegantly, and to create works of art. • Simagin, Rossolimo.

  • Group six - the explorers. This group strive first of all to understand chess, and to divince its secrets. for them chess is a subject for scientific study. • Rubinstein, Nimzowich, Fine.

Where does GM Carlsen fit in this classification? Here are the keywords I developed from 'Carlsen Interviews': intuitive, professional, likes to win, enjoys playing, likes unconventional tasks, professional for more than chess alone, likes group sessions, self-confident, friendly. Based on this, I would place Carlsen in Group three - the sportsmen, with key elements of Group two - the fighters.

29 July 2013

Magnus Carlsen Interviews

'What makes him so good?' is The Carlsen Question, a question the Norwegian GM's many fans (and a few detractors) ask constantly. Asking the question is easy enough, but how to find an answer? I started by making a survey of his interviews. Perhaps an intrepid interviewer has already popped the question, or perhaps the GM himself has volunteered the answer.

As with many ideas, someone else has already thought of it. See, for example, Chess Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen Fansite - Interviews, a collection of links to interviews where the latest is from March 2010. The two most recent interviews on the list are from respected weekly news magazines and both touched on his work with a former World Champion.

Meet Magnus Carlsen, The New King of Chess(Q:) Your coach, former world champion Garry Kasparov, says your strength is not calculation, but rather your ability to intuit the right moves, even if their ultimate purpose is not clear. Is that right? (A:) I'm good at sensing the nature of the position and where I should put my pieces. You have to choose the move that feels right sometimes; that's what intuition is. It's very hard to explain. [Time.com]
Magnus Carlsen on his chess career(Q:) For a year now you have been working with Garry Kasparov, who is probably the best chess player of all time. What form does your cooperation take? Kasparov is the teacher, you the pupil? (A:) No. In terms of our playing skills we are not that far apart. There are many things I am better at than he is. And vice versa. Kasparov can calculate more alternatives, whereas my intuition is better. I immediately know how to rate a situation and what plan is necessary. I am clearly superior to him in that respect. [Chessbase.com, quoting from Der Spiegel]

Let's start a list: intuitive. • A more recent interview was conducted just after the 6th Tal Memorial, in December 2011.

Magnus Carlsen – 'I don't quite fit into the usual schemes' • I’m a professional chess player, and if that’s the case then I should do all that I’m capable of to fulfil my potential. I like to win and I strive for the best possible results… At the same time, I still manage to get a lot of enjoyment from playing! During a game I cease to think about the result as I become so enthralled by what’s happening on the board. [...] Above all I like to resolve unconventional tasks at the board. Perhaps that’s why I don’t really like studying the opening – everything starts from the one position. [Chessbase.com, quoting from ChessPro]

Got it: professional, likes to win, enjoys playing, likes unconventional tasks. • The next interview, appropriately titled A Magnus Carlsen Interview, points to the real interview, which is no longer available on the original domain. It was conducted after the 7sth Tal Memorial, June 2012.

Magnus Carlsen: Am I tired? What a stupid question!(Q:) In the last few years haven’t you already got tired of all these interviews and photo sessions… How many of them have you done this year? (A:) I don’t even know. A lot. Am I tired? Giving an interview is simpler, after all, than playing a game or preparing. I see it as just as much a part of my work as playing chess. It isn’t a strain… Moreover, nowadays I’m clearly told: you have to speak with such and such a person, travel to do this program or be filmed. [Whychess.com via Archive.org]

File that under: professional, but for more than chess alone. • The next interview is from a non-chess resource, conducted less than a year ago, September 2012

The Top Chess Player In The World Impressed The Heck Out Of Everyone At This NYC Exhibition(Q:) What made him so good? (A:) Well I think an important part of broadening my understanding of the game, senses of positioning, tactics and so one was just playing and also I had sessions with my trainers in Norway. Either it would be me or a few others just sitting at the board, analyzing. I think those analyzing sessions gave me a lot, actually. Just moving the pieces around helped everyone improve their understanding of chess so much.' [Businessinsider.com]

Likes group sessions? I recall seeing somewhere that this was a hallmark of Soviet chess training. • The next interview is from another, much respected non-chess source, dated December 2012.

Lunch with the FT: Magnus Carlsen • Self-confidence is very important. If you don’t think you can win, you will take cowardly decisions in the crucial moments, out of sheer respect for your opponent. You see the opportunity but also greater limitations than you should. I have always believed in what I do on the chessboard, even when I had no objective reason to. It is better to overestimate your prospects than underestimate them. [ft.com]

Undoubtedly a characteristic of all great players: self-confident. One of the comments sums him up another way, 'Carlsen continually answers in the same way, that the freedom he was granted to do as he pleased, the supportive environment, the absence of dogma and even overweening ambition have let him follow where his attention pleasurably leads him. To the place where he "still has fun."'

The last interview is undated, but informs, 'Today, Magnus Carlsen made history [...] when he became the highest ranked player in the history of the sport.' That would be Chess prodigy, 22, beats Gary Kasparov’s 12-year record to become game’s highest-rated player of all time, December 2012.

Magnus Carlsen Interview(Q:) Do you see yourself as being unique among your peers? (A:) No, I am mostly friends with other chess players. It's easy for me to get along with chess players. Even though we are all very different, we have chess in common. People are usually quite nice, so it's easy to get along.

There's a trait I haven't observed in many top players: friendly. • It should be obvious that I've only extracted one passage from each interview. There's much more to be gleaned, but there are other resources to be addressed. Next stop: video interviews.

28 July 2013

Opening Logic from Fischer

In Fischer's Chess Life columns from the mid-1960s, which I introduced in a recent post Fischer Talked Chess, the future World Champion made a number of extravagant claims. One such claim, shown in the image below, is easy to verify.

If you're not comfortable with descriptive notation, the moves leading to the position in the diagram are 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.O-O O-O 5.d3 d6. Is Black really better here? I asked Chesslab.com for some statistics.

For the given position, Chesslab gives W-L-D stats as 33%-33%-34%. That means 33% wins for White, 33% losses for White (wins for Black), and 34% draws. That's as even a split as you can find anywhere.

The two most popular continuations for White (by far) are 6.e4 and 6.c4. Note that both resulting positions can also arise via transposition, which gives a larger statistical sample than the preceding position.

The W-L-D stats for 6.e4 and its two most popular responsess are:-
6.e4: 31%-34%-35%
6...e5: 37%-29%-34%
6...c5: 32%-36%-32%

The same stats for 6.c4 are:-
6.c4: 33%-31%-36%
6...c5: 29%-15%-56%
6...e5: 36%-30%-34%

For both of White's sixth moves, the non-symmetrical response scores significantly better than the symmetrical response, although 6.c4 appears to give an edge to White.

I know that opening stats can be misleading, but it's still shortsighted to ignore them completely. For this particular opening, Fischer understood the dynamics very well.

26 July 2013

Tudors Play Chess

Tudors at Kentwell Hall © Flickr user Roger Andrews under Creative Commons.

From Wikipedia, Kentwell Hall:

Kentwell Hall is a stately home in Long Melford, Suffolk, England. It includes the hall, outbuildings, and a rare breeds farm and gardens. Most of the current building facade dates from the mid 16th century, but the origins of Kentwell are much earlier, with references in the Domesday Book of 1086. [...]

Since 1979, Kentwell Hall has presented Tudor period re-enactment events, portraying scenes of domestic Tudor life. The re-enactments involve up to 350 fully costumed volunteers on any given day and span a three-week period in June and July each year, with smaller events during the rest of the year.

The Tudor period covered the 16th century, while the Staunton pieces shown in the photo date from the 19th century. What sort of set would the real Tudors have used?

25 July 2013

Fischer Talked Chess

Another discovery, or re-discovery, from last week's post Fifty Years Ago in Chess Life, was a Bobby Fischer column titled 'Fischer Talks Chess', starting June 1963. Fischer was never known for prolific analytical output and his annotations are always worthy of study.

He introduced the first column with an attack on published analysis by Russian / Soviet players (the political difference between the two categories was not important to Fischer),

Many of my Russian critics have accused me of "lacking objectivity" and the ability to criticize my own play. [...] There are good reasons for accusing some of the top Soviet masters of the very thing they accuse *me* of: a lack of self criticism.

This was followed by examples of their faulty analysis. The second column, in July-August, featured more of the same, including Fischer's famous statement

I have never made a mistake in analysis.

For the September column, he moved to a more instructive topic : analysis of his own games, this time from the 1963 Western Open (where he scored +7-0=1). Never one for modesty, the U.S. champion wrote,

The players at the Open were surprisingly strong. I was expecting twenty move crushers but it didn't happen. In fact, the opposition was keen enough that I consider five or six out of eight of my games played there to be superior to any games played in the Piatigorsky Tournament.

The first game Fischer annotated was against Hans Berliner, at that time a U.S. Senior Master (>2400), rated at 2426 just outside the U.S. top-10. The Piatigorsky Tournament (1963 Los Angeles) was won by Keres and Petrosian ahead of six other world class players.

The next three columns featured games from the 1963 New York State Open (+7-0=0). One of these games, Fischer - Bisguier, was eventually included in My 60 Memorable Games. Besides the two opens, the only other tournament Fischer played in 1963 was the U.S. Championship, where he scored +11-0=0.

The last five columns covered all games from the 1862 Steinitz - Dubois match. Why this match? Chess Life (editor J.F. Reinhardt) explained,

This match, played toward the beginning of Steinitz's long career, well illustrates the open, combinational style of play which earned the young Steinitz the nickname of 'The Austrian Morphy'. In addition to its historical significance, this series will provide the CHESS LIFE reader with background material for such sensational recent games as Fischer - Bisguier [see above] and Fischer - Evans [a critical game from the 1963-64 U.S. Championship +11-0=0 sweep].

Fischer didn't explain why he considered the match worth careful study. He introduced the first game with

The players of 1862 knew something very valuable that the players of today would do well to make note of: 1.d4 leads to nothing!

The games of the match are also on Chessgames.com: 1862 Steinitz - Dubois Match. For more about the Fischer column, see 4423. Fischer the columnist, on Chesshistory.com.

23 July 2013

Papy Teaches Chess

This afternoon, on the way home from her morning Italian lesson (her dad's side of the family is Italian), my four-and-a-half year old granddaughter asked me to play 'checks'. (The conversation was in French, so I'm taking liberties at translation.) Her grandmom quickly figured out that she meant 'chess', and just as quickly I changed the subject -- it's easy to do with young children and I have no experience teaching chess to that age group.

After we got home, where we're looking after her until her parents finish work, she again asked to play 'chess', mentioning the set she had seen in my study. She wanted the 'yellow' pieces (yes, they're old) and I could have the black. The set that she meant is half covered with paperwork, and I knew she wouldn't give up asking, so I started looking for another set. Through the years I've given away most of my sets, but found one of unknown origin with a 6 cm King, a good size for small hands. I also found a beat-up board that I would have been embarrassed to take out for anyone else. Little kids don't care about those things.

After carefully taking the pieces out of the box one-by-one, she took all of the White pieces and set up the Pawns on the third rank -- she once learned something about chess from her dad, who played in a couple of junior tournaments -- then randomly scattered the other pieces behind the Pawns. I asked her if she knew the names of the pieces, which she didn't. I don't know how children do it, but they learn words after hearing them once or twice. In a few minutes she knew the names.

How to continue? I started by explaining the Pawn moves. First I showed how the Pawn moves forward one step at a time and we played a Pawns-only game -- starting from the second ranks -- until all of the Pawns were blocked. Then I explained the two-step rule on the first move and we played another Pawns-only game with the same result. Then I explained the capture. When I captured her Pawn she wanted it back immediately and when she captured mine, she promptly handed it over.

At this point I remembered about a children's game called the 'Pawn Game', where the object is to race your Pawns forward to reach your bank rank first, playing only with Pawns on the board. I explained the rule and she promptly won, after trying to make some captures of Pawns separated by several ranks or files. Then I showed her how to set up all of the pieces for the traditional game (no chess960 on the first lesson!) and started to explain the moves.

While I was explaining the first piece, the Knight, she suddenly said, 'Papy (that's me), you've been choosing the games, now I get to choose.' She swept the pieces off the board, put the 'horses' back in the box 'where they can sleep', and grabbed the Bishops, one in each little hand. While she was banging them up and down on the board, she told me to do the same, and then started rushing her Bishops at my Bishops, making swooshing noises while the Bishops were attacking each other.

After 60 seconds of battling Bishops, she put them to the side and grabbed the King and Queen, calling the Queen 'the princess'. She's been obsessed with princesses for well over a year now and must have hundreds of Auroras, Ariels, and Rapunzels, plus dozens of other names that I can't keep straight. (My Papy role was much simpler in the 'Hello Kitty' phase when there was only one character.)

The father of the princess, the King, and the princess danced together all over the board while my granddaughter hummed some sort of waltz. I just sat and watched. After 60 seconds of that, I asked her if she wanted to know how the other pieces move. She said, 'Yes!' and I explained the Rook. She said, 'That's easy!', and started pushing a Rook all over the board, respecting the ranks and files of the Rook's move. Just as I started to explain the Bishop, grandmom ('Mamy') called for lunch and the session was over. I knew from past experience that there would be no further interest in chess today, so I put the board and pieces back where I had found them.

How do professional chess teachers work with young children? A friend has asked me to teach her two young grandsons and I really don't have a clue. Further investigation is required.

22 July 2013

The Carlsen Question

The folks at Facebook's Chess Club Live frequently come up with new angles to explore the royal game. A few months ago we saw Play Against Bobby Fischer?, and recently they tackled Magnus Carlsen on a new Facebook page titled New Chess Agnosticism. Under a photo of GM Carlsen contemplating a Knight, the introduction says,

New Chess Agnosticism is a method of ascertaining our chess reality based on proven and evidence led thinking. There is an awareness that assumptions are used to make a framework for reality and it's an attempt to minimise this.

Having wrapped up my Carlsen game collection last week with Early Carlsen Games, and looking for somewhere to go with it, I liked the implicit question, 'What makes him so good?' Even if I end up not agreeing with the agnosticism aspect, I'll continue the Carlsen work and spend the next few posts in the series looking at answers to that question.

21 July 2013

Lost in Translation

For this ongoing series on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, chess paintings are always on a short list of favorite items. After the previous post, Chess with Cherubs, which also featured a painting, this current post is for an item titled 'Chess Game Exquisite Antique Genre Painting by R Moretti (Italian, 19th Century)'. It sold for GBP 620.00 ('approximately US $946.06') after receiving 32 bids from 10 bidders.

The description said,

'A Double Game', original watercolour painting by R. Moretti (Italian, 19th Century)
  • Signed lower left and inscribed 'Roma'
  • Similar watercolours listed to $3,742 USD at auction.
  • Painting - 38cm (15") x 56cm (22")
  • Frame - 57cm (22 1/2") x 74cm (29")
Lot Notes: An extremely fine 19th century Italian watercolour painting depicting a rich interior genre scene with a cardinal playing chess by highly regarded Italian genre painter R. Moretti. The painting is one of the very finest recorded examples of this artist's work, every aspect is exquisitely rendered. The painting is signed 'R. Moretti' and inscribed 'Roma' lower left. Moretti's work realises many thousands of pounds at auction.

I still haven't figured out why the painting is called 'A Double Game'. It was written on the frame (not shown). What was the original title in Italian?

19 July 2013

Computer Chess 'Comedy'

The movie 'Computer Chess' has been getting a fair amount of publicity lately. Here's a discussion about its making from 'Talks at Google'.

Computer Chess (27:06) • 'Q&A with Andrew Bujalski (Director), Houston King (Producer), and Wiley Wiggins (Actor)'

IMDb: Computer Chess (2013), 'A 1980s-set story centered around a man vs. machine chess tournament'; Genre -> Comedy!

18 July 2013

Fifty Years Ago in Chess Life

After writing my previous post, Early Influences, I got whacked with a bout of nostalgia and set off browsing through old copies of Chess Life. How to turn that into another post? Like this.

Chess Life, July - August 1963

The introduction explained,

Not since New York 1924 has there been an international chess event in the United States comparable to the recently concluded Piatigorsky Cup tournament in Los Angeles. This month's CHESS LIFE cover features the three people most responsible for the staging of the great event: world-renowned cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, his wife Jacqueline, and FIDE Vice President Jerry Spann.

This was followed by seven pages on the event.

16 July 2013

Early Influences

I learned over the weekend that one of my earliest chess influences died last week: Albert Weissman Obituary. Dr.Weissman was the resident master at my first non-scholastic chess club, located at the time in the YMCA, New London CT.

My first game against him was in a simul. Thanks to a Fred Reinfeld book I had been reading a day or two earlier, I won a piece in an opening trap playing the Black side of the Cambridge Springs Defense. I was rated 1515 at the time -- my first published USCF rating -- but still lost the game in 35 moves. In the following years I lost every game I played against him. It was hard to imagine that I would ever be able to play chess as well as Al Weissman did. Here are some excerpts from the obituary.

Albert Weissman, of Noank, Conn., a retired veteran of Pfizer's Central Nervous System research team, died July 11 after a 20-year battle with Parkinson's disease and prostate cancer. He was 79 years old.

Dr. Weissman, who retired in 1995 from Pfizer's Central Research facility in Groton, was for many years the manager of the neurobehavioral, biochemical and neurological testing groups during the development phases of several important drugs, including Zoloft, Navane, Quantril and Sinequan. [...]

Dr. Weissman was an accomplished chess player, and he won the 1953 U.S. Intercollegiate Chess Championship, beating out Arthur Bisguier, an International Grandmaster who was then the U.S.Champion. He also played frequently with other accomplished chess players, including Bobby Fischer, just prior to Fischer's ascent as Grandmaster. In the mid-1960s, Dr. Weissman ranked third in the United States in correspondence chess. [...]

After leaving the Southeastern Connecticut area, I never met Dr.Weissman again and I never forgot him. His name lives on in an unorthodox variation of Alekhine's Defense, one that I mentioned in a previous post: Allergic to Chess Players.

RIP, Dr.Weissman. Along with your many professional achievements, you made a positive impact on at least one awkward teenager.


Photo from Chess Review, January 1954; 'Albert Weissman of New York University is the dark horse winner of the Intercollegiate Championship.'

15 July 2013

Early Carlsen Games

Continuing with Carlsen Games 2013, I added 19 new games from the period 2000-2004. Since I started with 1656 games and deleted one duplicate, the collection now has 1674 games. It can be found as a downloadable ZIP file at Magnus Carlsen's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (2000-).

14 July 2013

Thus Spake Spraggett

Truth be told, the link I was trying to update that eventually led to last week's post Google Is Big Brother, was for 'Canada's Top Chess Website', aka Spraggett on Chess (that's the new link). The old blog disappeared at the end of May for reasons the Canadian GM explained in Letter from GM Kevin Spraggett:-

Yesterday Blogger closed down my popular blog for reasons that Blogger itself knows. I was informed only after the fact that my blog contained 'malicious javascript' and that the powers-that-be deemed this sufficient cause to close a blog that had millions of page views over the past 4 years.

The old blog lives on at Archive.org (kevinspraggett.blogspot.com), and the new blog currently has archives stretching back to September 2009. Will this be extended back to the original blog's oldest archives in 2007? Only Spraggett knows for sure.

I trust that page views recover to the level of the old blog as the blog's readers discover the new address. There's an additional bonus for all who do: comments are now enabled!

12 July 2013

Hong Kong Chess

Chess in Heritage 1881 © Flickr user Kenny To under Creative Commons.

From Wikipedia, Former Marine Police Headquarters:-

The Former Marine Police Headquarters Compound, constructed in 1884, is located in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. The site is now officially renamed as 1881 Heritage. [...] The compound is a declared monument since 1994 as it is one of the four oldest surviving government buildings in Hong Kong

Other tags: 'Tourist Shopping'.

11 July 2013

Google Is Big Brother

Nothing is ever simple anymore. As preparation for today's post, I wanted to update the list of blogs I follow in order to replace an outdated URL with its successor. The last time I did this was for a post titled The Shrinking Blogosphere?, when everything worked as it always had. This time, nothing worked.

After investigating for well over an hour, I realized that Blogger.com, the service that maintains this blog, was trying to force me to upgrade to Google Plus (whatever that entails). I had seen similar messages before, always presented at a bad time, like when I had something more urgent to do. This time, since I was completely blocked, I was forced to follow through with the upgrade, finally receiving the message, 'You are now using a Google+ profile on your blogs'.

For the record, the composite image at the left shows this blog before and after the profile change. When I looked at the new profile, I was surprised to find data like my job employment history, which I've never given to any Google service. I promptly deleted almost everything personal. I'm not even sure I want to add my photo. All things considered, the new profile is a big step backward.

Given the recent disclosures about surreptitious NSA tracking and given the amount of data Google already collects about my web habits, I'm reluctant to share voluntarily any further info about myself. I was recently forced to give the company information about my bank account. Whatever happened to 'Don't Be Evil'?

On top of everything else, I ran out of time for today's post. At least I was able to change the outdated URL.

09 July 2013

Burundi Chess Masters

Do you remember WCF World Chess Champion Stan Vaughan? If not, see my earlier post -- Chess Mafia? -- for a video++ about one of the chess world's most colorful characters. His latest email informed, 'Stan Vaughan is now on a postage stamp', and attached the image shown below.

The image is apparently from delcampe.net: Burundi 2011 Chess Masters. To find out whether these four stamps are interesting to serious collectors, see COSSU: Chess on Stamp Study Unit.

08 July 2013

Carlsen Games 2013

Continuing with Even More Carlsen Games, I added 54 games (the fifty recent games mentioned in that post plus four games from the June match with Predojevic) to Magnus Carlsen's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (2000-). This made a total of 1656 games. It was the first update since I released the collection in Carlsen TMER PGN. The 19 earlier games will have to wait.

07 July 2013

Chess with Cherubs

For this ongoing series on Top eBay Chess Items by Price, my favorite items are paintings or other artwork, because they are usually unique pieces. (The previous art post, Top eBay Chess Item Twins, was an exception, for reasons unknown.) The painting pictured below, titled 'Eugene Ansen Hofmann Large Original Oil Painting on Canvas "The Chess Game"', sold for $1355, 'Buy It Now'.

The description said,

Well listed artist with auction results to $28,000. Frame Dimensions: 30" x 42". Image Dimensions: 23" x 35". Signed lower left. In original frame. Frame is near perfect. Painting has minor cracquelure. Two very minor areas of paint loss. Each is approx 1/8". Overall, in beautiful condition for its age. I am not an art expert and am describing this to the best of my ability.

I found another chess painting by the same artist (but without cherubs) at Worthopedia™: Signed Ansen Hoffman (LR) oil on board, which gave some further information about the artist.

Eugene Ansen Hoffman is a German artist best known for his genre scenes and interiors. (b.1892 - d.1955).

Besides chess and interiors, he also appears to have been a specialist in nudes. I imagine that's the type of piece that sold for $28.000. As for Worthopedia™, a 'Value It' query on 'chess' returned 'Found 87,895 sold items'. That's a lot of chess items and might be worth a longer visit.

05 July 2013

Lessons from Yasser

Lecture with GM Yasser Seirawan (39:59) • 'Chess Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan presents a lecture at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis that covers how to hold a draw against a higher-rated opponent.'

From the St. Louis Chess Club; for more, see STLChessClub's channel.

04 July 2013

Chess Fireworks

For today's post I had planned to write about C.J.S.Purdy, but Fourth of July celebrations interfered. What to write about instead? When I need a quick post, a chess related image always comes in handy, so I set off searching Google images on the theme of 'chess fireworks'. Since no single image struck my fancy -- it happens frequently -- I fell back on the old standby, a composite image. This one shows the first few lines of results.

The upper left image, from a Chess.com page titled Alekhine fireworks on the land of volcanos, is more about fireworks than about chess, but the accompanying Alekhine game is about both. Many of the other images are related to the same theme: fireworks on the chess board.

The most intriguing image has to be the stockings on the bottom line. From Wallpaperpassion.com, it's titled Chess Shoe Wallpaper. Where are the fireworks? The page links to another page about 'sydney opera house fireworks wallpaper'. So that's a bust, but I still like the image.

Two of the images -- second line, fourth from the left & third line, second from the right -- are related. They are both from the page Marostica and chess.

Every even year the city of Marostica has a spectacular live chess match in their town square. The square is the chess board and people become the pieces for the match. The match was last year, and the weather was iffy…we weren’t sure if it was going to be a go. Then, the clouds disappeared and the sun came out and it was a perfect night for the chess match.

What about the fireworks? The image on the third line is captioned, 'The fireworks falling off the castle'.


As for Purdy, that will have to wait for another time. I'll just mention that two titles -- 'C.J.S. Purdy: His Life, His Games and His Writings' (Belmont Printing Co., Melbourne, 1982) and 'The Search For Chess Perfection' (Thinkers Press / Chessco, 1997) -- are essentially the same work. The details are explained here: MY SEARCH FOR CHESS PERFECTION...COMING.

02 July 2013

Do You Know Where Nancy Is?

Poster for the 88ème Championnat de France d'Echecs (88th Chess Championship of France).


01 July 2013

Even More Carlsen Games

Continuing with Magnus Carlsen's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (2000-), I extracted 69 new games as identified in the following resources:-

Carlsen played a rapid match over the weekend which I would like to add to the collection before I update it. Does Carlsen ever tire?