Norway, chess, death and the media

FIRE ALARM PROVOKES DEATH

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While most of us chess players will remember the 2014 TROMSO CHESS OLYMPIAD for the outstanding success of the Chinese National Team, to the rest of the non-chess playing world the Tromso olympiad made news ONLY because of the death of two players:

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Infact, you can find tens of thousands of news items about these Tromso deaths simply by GOOGLING.

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How many news items about the chess-content of Tromso will you find? ANSWER: a couple of dozen (maybe, but probably a bit optimistic).  In a time when main stream media does NOT want to hear about chess, we chess players seem to have to settle for mere tabloid sensationalism. Death–it may appear–is good news for chess.

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But NOT in Norway. Certainly not for the chess organizers in Norway. For Tromso, the two deaths were an embarrassment: it drilled home the painful point that they got ABSOLUTELY ZILTCH in return it got for the 14-million euros (and change) that it cost to host the chess Olympiad. Nobody in the world wanted to talk about art, culture and sport in Tromso…

FAST FORWARD

To the Stavanger super-tournament of last month…

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This time around the Norwegian chess community was not going to allow MERE death to rob them of being the centre of attention that they so much craved for!  ‘Death? What death?’ you ask!?  You don’t KNOW, do you?

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You don’t know about the death that took place during the super-tournament because the Norwegian organizers did NOT want you to know about it!  They did NOT want the outside world to know about it!  They did NOT want a repetition of Tromso…

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They learned their painful lesson in Tromso…but YOU do remember this, don’t you:

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AND THIS:

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”GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave boosted his confidence even further with a first-round win over GM Levon Aronian. The winner of the blitz got a promising position right out of the opening, a Ragozin. Aronian said he spent a lot of time on this variation, but it was simply too long ago that he last looked at it.

With a nice intermediate move (20.exd5!), anticipated by Kasparov on Norwegian TV, MVL won a pawn. Aronian gave up another one, hoping that White’s doubled g-pawn couldn’t get dangerous without weakening the white king, but White’s advantage turned out to be decisive.

“I went to sleep before midnight, which for me probably didn’t happen for five years or so,” was how Vachier-Lagrave explained his good start.

If the day wasn’t dramatic enough, half an hour before midnight the hotel’s fire alarm went off. Chess players and other hotel guests had to leave the hotel, and stayed outside for about half a hour. As it turned out, one of the guests needed medical assistance.”

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That ‘GUEST’ who needed medical attention was none other than 68-yearold Gaguik Oganessian, Executive Director of the Armenian Chess Federation.

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Gaguik Oganessian was staying at the Scandic Hotel in Stavanger (where the tournament was being held) as a journalist covering the event.  When the alarm bell rang, Oganessian was already asleep and was quickly forced to leave the hotel, leaving him disoriented.  He suffered a heart attack, fell into a coma for a number of days, and died on the 27th of June. Gaguik Oganessian was a GIANT in Armenia.

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Later today, in Erevan, hundreds of chess players from all over Armenia will converge on Tigran Petrosian’s CHESS HOUSE to say goodbye…

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R.I.P.

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Pub Chess Toronto has arrived!

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It was not so long ago that finding a decent place to play chess in Toronto was  a VERY difficult task.  Fortunately, chess has picked up in recent times in Canada’s leading city and today you have a pick of excellent venues.  Walter Dobrich’s CHESS CENTRAL  at the Scallywags deserves special mention.

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As well, there is the HART HOUSE CHESS CLUB  on the U of T campus and the ANNEX CHESS CLUB as popular destinations for chess players. 

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The latest addition to Toronto’s growing chess community is PUB CHESS TORONTO, which is located at 14 Madison Ave in the Annex (2 min from the Spadina subway stop).

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The brain child of Yeliz Orlova and Geordie Derraugh, this chess club/organization got started on the 4th of June and is quickly moving to number one spot in Toronto chess! If you are looking for blitz chess, feature chess lectures, good food and a friendly crowd to hang out with, then look no further!

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Canadian chess star (coach and Olympic Team member) Yeliza is no stranger to my readers. She and Geordie have combined talents and come up with a great concept! Pub Chess Toronto hosts blitz tournaments every Wednesday between 7pm and 10pm. On July 8 will be a lecture by Canadian IM Artiom Samsonkin (6:20 pm) General information for the weekly activities: $20 for tournament, $10 casual play (includes free drink ticket)Time control: 5 min 2 sec inc, 5 double rounds (Play opponent white & black) Sections: Players divided into 2-4 sections based on turnout Prizes: based on entries, overall prizes & class prizes awarded Sets and clocks will be provided.

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Find out more HERE!

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My good friend Bill Evans in action, beer in hand!  Orlova is sitting beside him.  The first blitz tournament of the new club!

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Time between games is best spent nursing a cold beer!

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Is that Dexter?!

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Chess requires LOTS of energy!

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Pub Chess Toronto:  no nerds here!

Today’s winning 5-second tactics!

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“Time doesn’t age you; experience does.”

― Doug Cooper, Outside In

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BEWARE THE POISON PAWN!

How often do our coaches warn us of rashly taking the Queen-Knight pawn with our Queen before considering all of the consequences?  Not enough times, apparently!  The example below is from the Europen Junior Championship  (1995).  Position before Black’s 16th move…

Kerek, Krisztian

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Starostits, Ilmars

Here Black has the choice between playing the safe and solid 16…Re8 ( 17.Rxe8+ Nxe8 18.Bc1 Nac7 with only the slightest of edges for White) and 16…Qxb2 (17.BxN PxB 18.Rb1 Qxa3 19.Rxb7 with an unclear position).  After some time, Black opted for the latter:

16…Qxb2 ?!

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Courage can be an important quality in a chess player, but one must be wary of confusing this for over-confidence.  

17.BxN PxB  18.Bxd5!!

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Brilliant and unexpected!  

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The young Starostits (who would later go on to become a grandmaster and champion of Latvia) had looked deeply into the position and found some remarkable attacking possibilities and ideas. Taking the Bishop is virtually forced as White is threatening to sacrifice it on f7 (!):

If 18…Qxa3 19.Bxf7+!Kxf7 20.Qxh7+ Kf8 21.Ne4 with an unstoppable attack; or if instead  18…Nc7 19.Bxf7+! (again!) 19…Kxf7 ( 19…Kg7 20.Bb3 Re8 21.Rxe8 Nxe8 22.Qc4! ) 20.Qxh7+ Kf8 21.Ne4 etc, as in the previous line.

Finally, if  18…Rf8 19.Bb3! Nc7 20.Qf5 !!

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20…Qxc3 21.Re4!

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Decisive!  White threatens to mate Black using his Rook on the 4th rank.  There is no good defence: 21…Re8! (what else?) 22.Qd7! Re7 23.Qc8+! Ne8 24.Rxe7  etc.

BACK TO THE GAME:

18…PxB

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What does White have for his sacrifices?  Is Black’s shattered Kingside pawns sufficient compensation?  Starostits answer is YES!

19.NxP Kg7 20.Qf5!!

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Threatening to take of f6, with the Queen or Knight, depending on Black’s next move.  If  20…Bf8 then 21.Nxf6 threatens mate in two starting with 22.Qg5+. After 21…h6! 22.Re4! leaves Black helpless.

20…Qxd4!

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The Black Queen returns from her fishing expedition on the Queen side to defend the pawn on f6, but it is too late…

21.Re4!

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Reinforcements! Black’s next moves are forced…

21…Qd1+ 22.Kg2 Be5

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Now if 23.Rg4+(?!) Kf8! and Black is still alive!

23.RxB!!

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The crowning moment of White’s attack!  The White Queen and Knight are sufficient to put the Black King into a mating net…

23…fxe5 24.Qf6+ Kg8 25.Ne7+ Kf8 26.Nf5!

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1-0.  

Black can only delay mate by giving his Queen.  A brilliant attacking lesson!

Today’s INSIGHT into the meaning of LIFE

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“What a culture we live in, we are swimming in an ocean of information, and drowning in ignorance.”

― Richard Paul Evans, A Step of Faith

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CHESS, NERDS AND  COMPUTERS

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“With the modern computer age, there are some new ideas…but the principles are basically the same . . . I try not to over-focus on preparation.”

Magnus Carlsen

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Apple-Computers

“A mind is a simulation that simulates itself.”

― Erol Ozan

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