Mark Dvoretsky RIP


Mark Dvoretsky (9-12-1947 to 26-9-2016)

Sad news today of renown Russian chess coach Mark Dvoretsky’s death.  Age 68. Dvoretsky was also an acclaimed author, having written more than 20 books, all of them popular.

I have most of them, and just this spring I started to read his latest series (For Friends and Colleagues)-not really anything chess-instructive about them–but that recount how Mark got into chess coaching when younger, and of the personalities that he met along the way.


I first met Dvoretsky at the 1985 Candidates Tournament in Montpellier, France where he was the official trainer of both Artur Yussupov and Alexander Chernin.  Four years later, in 1989, when I was playing Yussupov in the Candidates Matches in Quebec City, I had a better chance to get acquainted with him.

Two episodes stand out, even today, of that Quebec Match.  The first is that Dvoretsky needed a computer to access his files, but in 1989 it was against the law to rent or sell a computer to anyone Russian(!), and not knowing how to solve his little problem, he approached my team.  We rented a computer for him for the duration of the event!

The second episode is quite funny, and reveals Dvoretsky’s real nature, his humility and his warmth as a human being. Yussupov and I had drawn our first game, and I won the second game…the ending was REALLY crushing! (Yussupov had a rest day and then came back and levelled the match in the third game. After 8 regular games, the match was 4-4.  I lost the rapid tie-break game, and Yussupov advanced to play Karpov in the next stage of the Candidates)

ANYWAY, after the closing ceremony in Quebec City, Dvoretsky and Yussupov pulled me away for a few moments and gave me the following picture that they had taken in their hotel room after my crushing victory in the second game:



The photo shows the final position where Yussupov resigned, and the stuffed figure (red) shows how Yussupov and Dvoretsky felt! The photo also is indicative of the quality of Dvoretsky as a coach: it is never easy to deal with a defeat, but he managed to get Yussupov to see it as something other than a tragedy.

I will miss Dvoretsky.  My condolences to his family.


Murder she wrote…


English Chess boring?  Not on your LIFE!  If it is not Ray Keene brazingly plagiarizing everything within arm’s reach at the British Library, or Nigel Short merrily pestering the opposite sex in the international media, then you can be sure that there is always some juicy news-worthy item to be found elsewhere in English Chess…

This week’s skeleton in the closet involves the arrest of a recent ECF president, CJ de Mooi, allegedly for murdering a stranger back in 1988 when a down and out CJ dredged out a low-life existence as a sex worker in Amsterdam. (No one can make this up!)





From a 2015 interview that CJ gave to the English media.


Happier times.

Baku: why the US media doesn’t care.


It has been a full week now since the Baku Olympiad ended. The victorious US team won its first gold medal in almost 80 years, an achievement that was as brilliant as it was deserved. (My apologies to Kavalek, but except for historians, few consider the 1976 Haifa Olympiad a real Olympiad given the USSR and the Warsaw-pact countries boycotted the event, as did all of the Arab world). 

Many of us expected that the US winning team would be welcomed as national heros when they returned to the US. That they would appear on CNN, have a parade thru Times Square. Maybe even invited to the White House…

But this was NOT to be the case. Instead, this past week has been a NIGHTMARE for American Chess:


(click on image for link)

In the week since their victory, except for the above controversial news item and some reporting in and around St.Louis, NOT A SINGLE major US news service has even carried the victory. Only dedicated chess-sites or regular chess-columns mentioned the US victory in Baku. Unbelievable!  Had I not seen with my own eyes, I would have thought this could have never happened.  But it did…

Is the US media afraid of Trump?


Trump has made the 2016 run for the White House all about immigration.  What is more, his hardline views on what today is American and what is un-American are gaining ground as the election campaign nears its end. Polls show that Trump is neck and neck with Clinton.  And it very much appears that the mainstream US media is trying not to provoke Trump’s obsession with immigration.


Below are a but a few clickable news articles that indicate what I am talking about with respect to the media’s changing attitude with respect to immigration. They are taken from  The last two, in particular, show how a number of media chains might actually be getting onboard Trump’s campaign.




The 2016 US election is going to DEFINE America for a long time to come.  Especially, it is going to define America’s attitudes with respect to what is and what is not an American.  As a Canadian, I am repulsed with such growing racist views and and racial stereotypes.  Clearly I do not agree with them!  I find such thinking scary…

BUT it is not for me to decide. What only matters is how the American people PERCEIVE what is an American or not.  About what is American and what is un-American.


As a chessplayer, I am shocked at how the US team that won in Baku is COMPLETELY IGNORED by the US media.

Now the question is to see how (or if) the US media covers the upcoming world championship match in NYC between Carlsen and Karjakin…

Winning 5-second tactic!


From a blitz game that I saw today over the ‘net. I was quite impressed!  White had just played 22.Qxd6, attacking both the Rook and Bishop.  If 22…Rf7, then 23.Qxe5 is a BIG advantage for White.

My initial impression was that Black had simply not seen White’s 22nd move.  However, after just a few seconds thought, Black uncorked a move that wins by force!


Chess, art, stockings,fun and potpourri

Being so occupied with my blog move (this week!) I haven’t been able to regularly update this blog as much as I would have liked. Here are some fun photos/tweets etc that I have come across the past few days surfing the net, following chess and what not. Enjoy!



The importance of symbols…






Time is 17:45 (London time) and NOT a single major US news service has carried the US Team’s success in Baku two days ago , since the NY Times’ controversial article depicting the US Team’s victory as due to ”imported talent”. (READ: mercenaries or “hired help”)


As I have tried to explain in yesterday’s blog (and here with the ‘flag’ omission), the reasons are more complicated than just one article in the NY Times.  True, the US Team was a PR disaster at the closing ceremony and definitely deserves to be criticized for this.  But there is something, obviously, very wrong with chess in America.  If all you do is listen to Susan Polgar, Maurice Ashley and Yasser Seirawan–as eloquent they can all be–then you will probably end up understanding nothing about American chess’ problems.

On the otherhand, most countries would be happy to have American Chess’ problems, especially because of Rex Sinquefield, who has single handedly sponsored America chess for a number of years now.  Now if only we could convince him to move to Canada…

Baku: the day after…



Click on above image for original story

So I suppose there will be no parade thru Times Square, or a visit to Obama’s White House. On the otherhand, with a bit of luck, and assuming that Donald Trump is not elected in November, there will be little risk of any of the US chess team being deported in the near future.

This is the modern world we live in today. Things can change quickly, and often for the worse.


I remember being in Dubai (27th Olympiad) in 1986 when the US had real chances of winning the gold medal (Seirawan had defeated Kasparov in their individual encounter, leading the US team to a well deserved victory over the reigning champions), and for many Americans it seemed likely that they would win the gold medal.  The White House was waiting for that to happen and Reagan was anxious to phone the US team to personally congratulate them. (The players were made known of this plan before the final game)

And the NYTimes headline would have been  “US wins gold at Chess Olympiad“, and not have included the qualifying ” with the help of imported talent

But that never happened. The US could only draw with Bulgaria in the final round, and the USSR wiped out Poland 4-0 to clinch the gold. President Reagan had better things to do than have personal contact with a Bronze medal winning US team.

Thirty years on, probably Obama is not interested (assuming he even knows)…chess is almost dirty word in America today. Stripped of prestige and rapidly disappearing from important newspapers, our royal game exists almost entirely on the internet, far away from public view. If it were not for a wealthy patron in St.Louis who pays for EVERYTHING in US chess, well…you get the picture.

As of 16:15 September 14 (London time), except for the above mentioned NYTimes article and a few St.Louis news services, not a single major US news service has carried the American victory in Baku. Not TV,radio or internet based.  Says something, doesn’t it!










Thursday 15th September (14:05 London time)

Still absolutely no coverage on the US team’s gold medal in Baku from any major US news services on any of the media (print,TV,internet, radio). What is going on?  It can not be that bad, can it?!  I thought that CNN and FOXnews had no standards….