New blog to go online on Wednesday!

BREAKING NEWS

Finally!  After weeks of tweaking and more than a few sleepless nights trying to figure out why things don’t work the way they are supposed to work, I have succeeded into getting my new blog all set up. It should go online tomorrow.  Stay tuned for the precise address.

While I have been quite satisfied with this WP.com website, its limitations have been frustrating.  The lack of pgn-viewer capability, for example, has limited the kinds of chess material that I would have liked to have presented. The new website will make use of atleast 2 pgn-viewers!

The new website will also be very plug-in friendly, allowing me to present information in various formats–especially with respect to advanced galleries–easing access to links and videos.

Thankyou for your patience.

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Today’s chess tactics quiz!

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SOLUTIONS

Baku Open   2016.9.19  Gadimbayli, Abdulla–Paramzina, Anastasya:  9.Ne6! 1-0  It is either the Queen or mate after 9…PxN 10.Qh5+

Baku Open   2016.9.21  Abdulov, Orkhan–Soozankar, A.M.: 13.Nf6!! Qc8 (Taking the Knight is soon mate after 14.Qc3+) 14.Qc3 Kh6 15.h3 1-0  It is forced mate in at most 4 moves.

Baku Open   2016.9.26  Mamedjarova, Turkan–Karayev, Kanan:  26…Rf1+!! 27.Kxf1 Bxd3+! 28.cxd3 Qc1+ 29.Kf2 Qe3+ 0-1 White loses his Rook after ….Qxd3+

Baku Open   2016.9.20  Hesham, Abdelrahman–Amin, Bassem:  26.d6+ Qf7 27.Nf6+! 1-0 It is either the Queen or the house (27…PxN 28.Bd5; 27…Kf8 28.Nh7+ Ke8 29.Bc6+)

Baku Open   2016.9.18  Fataliyeva, Ulviyya–Sindarov, Javokhir: 23.Bxh6! (Threatening mate in two if Black takes the Queen) 23… gxh6 24.Qf4!? (24.Rxh6+ is a bit faster) 24… Ne5  25.Rxh6+Kg8 26.Qxe5! Bxh6 27.Rg3+ Kh7 28.Rg7+ Kh8 29.Qf6 1-0 Ouch!

He said…she said!

One of the most rapidly growing websites in the chess world in terms of popularity is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s own ‘KIRSAN TODAY‘. I recommend the reader take  a quick look and judge for himself.

Earlier this week the former world champion Vladimir Kramnik made some controversial comments during an interview on Chess-News.ru about the recently imposed sanctions by the US treasury on FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.  This was quickly picked up by Kirsan’s portal…

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– In November last year, the US Treasury imposed sanctions against Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Have you ever thought of eventually becoming a head of FIDE?

– Definitely not now. I am the second-strongest professional player of the world. Besides, I was not invited by anybody. In addition, I do not feel that Ilyumzhinov is going to leave. The temporary limitation of his authority is the tactical move. Whatever anyone regarded him, I’m sure that the accusations against him are absolutely far-fetched.

It’s more like the revenge of Kasparov for losing 2014 elections when he fought against Ilyumzhinov for FIDE Presidency and lost by a wide margin. Mind you, Garry Klimovich had enormous US support, including financial backing.

Perhaps the people who stood behind Kasparov had good contacts in the State Department. And they decided to combine business with pleasure: to make up for the failed elections and try to prevent the signing of a major contract …

– What contract?

– It all started moving when FIDE was about to sign the contract for the right to host the World Championship match in November. A couple of months ago, I personally spoke with one of the initiators of the project, the famous American businessman. And he confirmed that the sponsors were ready for the match and other chess competitions in the United States.

The sanctions were announced just a few days before the signing. Do not you think it’s suspicious? I understand: my personal opinion may seem like a ‘conspiracy theory’. But, believe me, I’m not the only one who adheres to this version.

Anyway, what have sanctions got to do with it? If Ilyumzhinov traded oil with terrorists, it would have been a criminal offense. Kirsan Nikolaevich said that he was ready to defend himself in an American court, but no legal charges were served.

I suspect there wouldn’t be any court proceedings because in this case the solid evidence is required. In short, if they have specific charges, they should apply to court and if they do not have these, then there should be no sanctions.

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Then it was the time Gary Kasparov to comment.  His words seem rather cryptic, especially as it seems to this reader that the man does NOT deny the accusation!

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‘The bizarre comments by Vladimir Kramnik attempting to blame me for FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s corruption are, if little else, definitive proof that exceptional chess skill does not represent broader intelligence or moral character. The habit in Vladimir Putin’s Russia of blaming outside influences for all of the regime’s crimes, failures, and blunders appears to be contagious enough to have reached Kramnik at his home in Switzerland…’  READ MORE HERE

In praise of ripe mangos!

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Venezuela’s president Maduro with the mango.

This is a great story for mango lovers! From BBC News-Latin America:A Venezuelan woman has had her wish for a flat granted by President Nicolas Maduro after she made her point by hitting him on the head with a mango. Marleny Olivo threw the fruit at the president while he was driving a bus through the central state of Aragua.

It had a message on it, in which she pleaded for his help.

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Mr Maduro displayed the mango with her telephone number on it during a live television show afterwards. He said he had agreed to her request for a flat. The move, he said, was part of the “Great Housing Mission of Venezuela”.

Ms Olivo had written a message on a mango – “If you can, call me” – along with her name and phone number. She got as close to the bus as she could when it passed and then tossed the fruit at him.

In a video that has gone viral in Venezuela, the president can be seen lowering his head when he is hit just above the left ear. He then calmly picks up the mango and displays it to the crowd.

Later the president discussed the incident in one of his regular live TV broadcasts in which he displayed the infamous mango.

“She had a housing problem, right? And, Marleny, I have approved it already, as part of the Great Housing Mission of Venezuela, you will get an apartment and it will be given to you in the next few hours.

“Tomorrow, no later than the day after tomorrow, we will give it to you.”

Ms Olivo said that there was “no evil intent” behind the incident only a desire to fulfil her dreaming of owning a home before she dies.

The president – who is a former bus driver and likes to connect with ordinary Venezuelans by touring local communities at the wheel of a coach – added that the fruit was ripe and that he would eat it later.”

More on the Wesley So forfeit…

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This follows up last weekend’s blog entry about Wesley So being forfeited at the US championship for a very minor infraction, essentially eliminating his chances of winning the US-title (he finished 3rd).

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Stephen L.Carter (born October 26, 1954) is an American law professor at Yale, legal- and social-policy writer, columnist, and best-selling novelist. Today was published his take on the arbiter’s controvertial decision…

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There’s a wonderful old British case involving a farmer named Lawrence Burr, who was stopped while driving a tractor along a public road. The tractor was pulling a chicken coop to town, where it was to be sold. For the purposes of the brief trip, Burr had fixed iron wheels to the underside of the coop.

The trouble was that the Road Traffic Act of 1930 required all “vehicles,” including “trailers,” to ride on pneumatic tires. A lower court held that the chicken coop was not a vehicle within the meaning of the act, but the King’s Bench, in Garner v. Burr, disagreed, holding that a trailer was “anything which will run on wheels which is being drawn by a tractor or another motor vehicle.”

The case comes to mind in the wake of last week’s contretemps over the decision of the arbiter at the U.S. chess championships to forfeit Wesley So, one of the highest-rated players in the world, during his ninth-round game against Varuzhan Akobian.

So’s offense? During the game, he scribbled little encouraging notes to himself on a sheet of paper. According to news reports, he was in the midst of a family crisis, and needed some bucking up. The trouble is that writing anything during the game, other than recording the moves on a score sheet, is forbidden by what are known, a bit pompously, as the Laws of Chess. And he had been warned before about doing so.

Across the Internet, game sites exploded. Fans leaped to the defense of the young genius, arguing that the rule itself was trivial nonsense (this descriptor was more colorfully put in some of the comment threads), or that the prohibition had never been intended to cover the sort of notes So was writing. The official, cried critics, should have let the matter go.

In a world governed by common sense and general standards, So’s defenders might have a point. The rule was adopted to rein in the habit of many players to annotate their scoresheets with reminders about variations they intended to play – a phenomenon at war with the game’s traditional understanding that players rely only on analysis and memory. Once upon a time, chess tutors taught their pupils to write down the move first, then visualize it on the board, and only then play it. This practice, too, the rules no longer permit.

So’s problem was an amalgam of several rules. Rule 12.3(1) provides: “During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse on another chessboard.” So had previously written notes to himself on his scoresheet, but Rule 12.4 reads: “The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, the offers of a draw, and matters relating to a claim and other relevant data.”

Having been warned he was violating the rule, So switched to writing his notes on a separate piece of paper. But his opponent complained, bringing into play Rule 12.6: “It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever.” In the end, Rule 12.8 was decisive: “Persistent refusal by a player to comply with the Laws of Chess shall be penalised by loss of the game.”

One can immediately see the analogy to Garner v. Burr. There the judges had to decide whether a chicken coop being towed behind a tractor was a vehicle within the meaning of the statute. Here the arbiter had to decide whether So’s self- encouraging words constituted “notes” or “advice,” or a distraction to the opponent within the meaning of the rule.

Over the years, the Laws of Chess, like the laws governing so many areas, have grown more complex. Tightly structured rules have replaced discretion. The result can be clarity, but sometimes at the cost of common sense. I’m not defending So’s decision to keep writing himself notes after being warned. My point is that it’s not obvious that we’re always better off when every rule is plainly spelled out and enforced to the letter.

Still, shed no tears for Wesley So, who recovered nicely, winning his next two games and finishing in third place. And even if the arbiter was right, So’s violation needn’t have been the end of the matter; the most tightly worded rule might leave room for discretion about the consequences of breaking it. Lord Chief Justice Goddard recognized this proposition at the end of his opinion in Garner v. Burr. The outcome of the case, he wrote, established the principle that anything traveling on wheels is a vehicle. The justices of the lower court were free to stop there without further burdening Burr: “The question of penalty, or whether they should inflict a penalty at all, is entirely for them: they have an unfettered discretion.”

Today’s chess video

GAME OF THE CENTURY

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Some things spark our collective imagination and are never forgotten.  Like when 13-year old Bobby Fischer sat down and brilliantly beat a much more experienced Donald Byrne at the Rosenwald Memorial on October 17,1956 at the Marshall Chess Club.  Kmoch wrote in the REVIEW above  “The following game, a stunning masterpiece of combination play performed by a boy of 13 against a formidable opponent, matches the finest on record in the history of chess prodigies.”

This game has already probably received more press and recognition than any other game of chess, and there is no doubt in my mind that it will receive even more in the future. Below is a short film collaboration between musician Jonney Machtig and filmographer Hector Cuellar.  It is an adaptation of this game.  Enjoy!

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