29 April 2016

Clueless About Portmeirion

The description said only 'Portmeirion, Wales', and other tags added, 'the prisoner, tv, show, and cult'. The big white balloon is another clue.

Attack of the Rover! © Flickr user Dellboyy Art under Creative Commons.

According to 24 Things To Do in Portmeirion, United Kingdom (virtualtourist.com),

The ground in front of the Pavilion was used as the giant game of chess in The Prisoner.

So the balloon was called Rover?

28 April 2016

Random Chess History

In my previous post, Not a Chess Historian, I started with Wikipedia's 'List of chess historians', used a random number generator to look at one name on the list, and closed with a wish to continue another time. This post being another time, I'll continue.

The second name that Random.org assigned was no.40 Jean-Michel Péchiné. Unlike the first name on the previous post, I recognized this one and the first link returned by Google, Marie Sebag – France's new wonder-girl (chessbase.com), reminded me why: 'Report and photos: Jean-Michel Péchiné of Europe Echecs'. I'm a regular reader of Europe Echecs. As for the chess history angle, Amazon.fr carries the title Les Echecs : Roi des jeux, jeu des rois by Jean-Michel Péchiné (Gallimard, 1997), which translates to 'Chess : King of games, game of kings'. Since I don't want to get bogged down in translations, I'll stop here.

The third name assigned at random was no.30 David H. Li, who is also familiar to me. He has a Wikipedia page, David H. Li, which informs that he is 'an author on Chinese history and chess'. Since Chinese chess is not one of my passions, I'll also stop here.

The fourth random name (and last for this exercise) was no.33 A. A. Macdonell. Wikipedia adds a footnote '[1]' to his name, referencing 'Murray, H.J.R. (1913), A History of Chess'. Other Wikipedia chess historians covered by the same footnote are H.F.W. Holt, Baron von der Lasa, Antonius van der Linde, A. v.Oefele, M.E.V. Savenkof, F. Strohmeyer, and William Henry Wilkinson. In fact, any pre-20th century chess historian is probably mentioned by Murray (who is himself on the Wikipedia list) and I don't know why Willard Fiske and William Jones aren't covered by the same footnote.

Macdonell -- not to be confused with Alexander McDonnell (1798–1835; 'an Irish chess master, who contested a series of six matches with the world’s leading player Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais in the summer of 1834') or George Alcock MacDonnell (1830–1899; 'an Irish clergyman as well as a chess master and writer') -- has his own Wikipedia page, Arthur Anthony Macdonell (1854–1930; 'a noted Sanskrit scholar'). In his 'History of Chess' (I have the 1962 edition), Murray mentions him nine times. For example, from 'Part I, Chess in Asia', p.44:-

The Nitisara of Kamandaki, 'a work of policy dating probably from the early centuries of our era' (Macdonell, JRAS., 118), contains an important and instructive chapter (ch. xix) of 62 slokas, which specially treats of the chaturangabala, or army. The chapter states that the army is composed of elephants, chariots, horse, and infantry; it discusses the ground most suitable for the evolutions of each of these members; it estimates a horseman as equal to three foot-soldiers, and the elephant and chariot as each equal to five horsemen. It suggests several arrangements as suitable for use in war, e.g., infantry, horse, chariots, elephants; elephants, horse, chariots, infantry; the horse in the centre, the chariots next, and the elephants on the wings.

We are, therefore, entitled to conclude that the fourfold division of the Indian army into chariots, cavalry, elephants, and infantry, was a fact well recognized already before the commencement of our era.

The same four elements -- chariots, horse, elephants, foot-soldiers -- appear as four out of the six different types of force in the board-game chaturanga. The remaining types prefigure individuals, not types of military force. The presence of the King needs no justification. The addition of the Minister or Vizier is in complete agreement with Oriental custom, and the Code of Manu (vii. 65) lays stress upon the dependence of the army on him.

The self-consistency of the nomenclature and the exactness with which it reproduces of the Indian army afford the strongest grounds for regarding chess as a conscious and deliberate attempt to represent Indian warfare in a game. That chess is a war-game is a commonplace of Indian, Muslim, and Chinese writers.

I especially like the ancient observation that 'a horseman as equal to three foot-soldiers'. As for the reference to 'Macdonell, JRAS', the acronym stands for Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, London.

26 April 2016

Not a Chess Historian

A few days ago Giga Alert ('the most powerful web alerting service available'; see 'My Scrapbook' on the right sidebar, where I still use its old name 'Google Alerts'; see also Look What Google Dragged In, March 2008) flagged a reference to my name in List of chess historians | Felicity Smoak. My first reaction was: 'Really? Am I on a list of chess historians somewhere?'

My excitement was short lived. First, I'm only on the list as a footnote, for a page I wrote about The Origin of Modern Chess, which documents the presence on the list of Thomas Hyde ('an English orientalist'). Second, the list is just a copy of Wikipedia's List of chess historians, which I already saw long ago.

That list being the basis of my blog post for today, what can I write about? The Wikipedia 'Talk' page (often a good lead for background info on a topic) says,

There is no mention at all of chess in the article on Thomas Hyde currently linked from this list. Perhaps the chess historian is another Thomas Hyde, or else the existing Thomas Hyde article needs some expansion. (April 2006)

My 'Origin of Modern Chess' page says,

The first great chess historian was Thomas Hyde (1636-1703), Oxford professor of Hebrew and Arabic. He published histories in 1689 and 1694 which traced the origin of chess from India to Persia to Arabia.

Someone matched the dates on Wikipedia's Thomas Hyde page with my paragraph and determined that it was the same person. Glad to have helped and glad to have learned something about Thomas Hyde, but that still doesn't make much of a blog post. How about looking at some of the names on the list of historians -- some of which I recognize, but many I don't -- to find out more about them?

Good idea, but of the 50 names, which ones? Using the random number generator at Random.org, I was assigned no.16 José Antonio Garzón, a name I didn't recognize. A search on Garzón turns up José Antonio Garzón Roger, which starts,

The clear evidence of the first draughts game thanks to: Mr. José Antonio Garzón Roger • In 2005, Garzón wrote an impressive history book about the new chess and the first draughts game in Valencia. The English edition of this book was, since March 2006 eagerly sold. The book "The Return of Francesch Vicent", describes how masterfully developed the first draughts game and the new powerful dama (Queen) in chess. The works of chess master Francesch Vicent confirm that.

That page is on the site Damasweb.com, managed by 'Draughts & Chess Historian: Dr. Govert Westerveld', who is also on the Wikipedia list.

That was a good exercise! I finally have a blog post and I'll continue it another time.

25 April 2016

Karjakin's Early Games

My recent post, Karjakin's GM Title, linked to a 2002 Chessbase.com 'Interview with Sergey Karjakin'. I discovered afterwards that the same interview was included in TWIC 421 as 'Leontxo Garcia Interview With Sergey Karjakin (after the fourth round)'. Other than identifying the interviewer, which Chessbase neglected to do, I wouldn't mention this duplication, but the same issue of TWIC included a link to Sergey Karjakin games collection (chess-sector.odessa.ua).

Although the domain is long gone ('Server not found'), it survives in Archive.org. I downloaded a copy of the Karjakin collection (216 games), converted the CBV file to PGN, extracted the PGN headers, loaded them into a database, and produced the following summary of the file.

The 43 games from the year 2000 are more than are available on Chessgames.com. The Chess-sector site ('editor Mikhail Golubev') promises more material of historical interest. See, for example, a report on the '78th Hastings International Chess Congress (2002-2003)'.

I am very grateful to John Saunders, who is editor-in-chief of both the famous British Chess Magazine and the BCM Online website, for his personal permission to re-publish at chess-sector.odessa.ua the following text and photograph of Sergey Karyakin [sic].

The BCM article summarized a Sunday Telegraph interview with Karjakin by Nigel Farndale.

Karyakin's other interests included acrobatics. On being asked more about this, Karyakin said that he "liked walking on his hands". Farndale's suggestion that he do this to distract opponents between moves was greeted by boyish giggles. On his chess training, Sergey reveals that his father was very strict if he didn't train properly: "He would punish me with physical exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups". He now trains for six hours a day, with three hours spent at the computer and another three spent with his coach (GM Borovikov, playing in the Challengers). Does he go to school? "Only sometimes", confesses the young grandmaster from Kramatorsk. He travels to tournaments with his coach but not his parents. Regarding his manner, Farndale describes him as possessing considerable sangfroid and unnerving composure.

On top of the Karjakin material, there is much about GM Ponomariov, who was FIDE World Champion at the time.

24 April 2016

Echoes of a Postcard

Looking at past editions of Top eBay Chess Items by Price, I find autographed items featured nearly every year. Last year we had Capablanca to His Son (June 2015), and the year before Alekhine Dozes at the Board (January 2014).

The item below was titled 'RAUL CAPABLANCA AKIBA RUBINSTEIN SIGNED AUTOGRAPH World Chess Championship' and sold for US $899.99 Buy-It-Now. The mention of 'World Chess Championship' and the subtitle 'OTHER FAMOUS CHESS PLAYERS APPEAR ON THE DOCUMENT' indicate that the seller wasn't a specialist in chess history.

The description only repeated the auction title and added short bios for 'Akiba Kiwelowicz Rubinstein' and 'José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera', both probably copied from Wikipedia. The item shows 13 autographs on the left plus a legend in the upper right. The lower right mentions Bad Kissingen 1928.

The numbered signatures -- from Kostich [who did not play in the event], Nimzowitsch, Tarrasch, Euwe, Marshall; Yates, Reti, Mieses, Tartakower, Spielmann, Capablanca, Bogoljubov, and Rubinstein -- account for all 12 players. The numbers on the left all use the same ink as the corresponding signature, indicating that they were not added afterwards.

A few years ago I had another post about 1928 Bad Kissingen (July 2014), where I featured an eBay photo. The photo in that post and the signatures on this current post echo a postcard shown on 4465. Bad Kissingen, 1928 (chesshistory.com; July 2006).

22 April 2016

Moscow Chess Museum

I think this was one of the clips shown during breaks of the live broadcast for a recent World Championship. The guide is Dmitry Oleynikov, 'Supervisor of Chess Museum'.

Chess Museum in Moscow (5:22) • 'A glance on the fantastic insides of Russian Chess Federation Museum in Moscow (Gogolevsky Boulevard 14)'

At first I thought it was shown during the 2012 Anand - Gelfand match in Moscow, but a Peter Doggers' article, Russia's First Chess Museum Opens in Moscow (chess.com), is dated 28 September 2014, more than two years after that match. Was it for the second Carlsen - Anand match?

21 April 2016

Bye, S&B!

I started this post with the intention of updating my Diigo bookmarks (last seen in Chessgames.com and the Odd Lie; February 2015), but after adding around 1000 links collected during 2015, I ran into the well-known writers' wall, aka writers' block. What to say next?

How about a piece on the Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog, which recently provided further, unwelcome evidence that the chess blogosphere continues to shrink. A 'GOODBYE AND THANKS' notice in its navigation bar informs,

This blog has ceased publication. The entry for 11 March 2016 was our final posting. Thanks to everybody who read, wrote for and commented on the blog during the nine and a half years of its existence.

I appreciate a blog that takes the time to say goodbye. So many just stop posting without any thought for their loyal readers who are left to wonder whether something has gone seriously wrong. As for why the blog stopped, that's no one's business but its own, and a post on the English Chess Forum, The Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog (ecforum.org.uk), gives no explanation.

Has it really been nine and a half years? In 2006, as part of my responsibilities for About.com, I was running my own forum, where one day a fellow named Tom Chivers stopped by to tell us that he had started a new blog. I don't remember seeing his First Post, (November 2006; 'It's the news the chess world has been waiting for'), but I do remember the second post, Puzzle, because I thought it had one of the worst chess diagrams I had ever seen, like a bad scan from an old, wrinkled newspaper. I eventually came to tolerate the diagrams and to like the blog, as many other people must have done, because it grew into a team of regular writers and soon won an award as best British blog.

My Diigo links return 90 S&B posts that I've bookmarked since 2013 -- the earliest is Absolutely fatuous (September 2013; 'hard to know exactly what to say about Andrew Paulson') -- and that doesn't include the many earlier S&B posts saved before I started trying to make sense of my bookmarks.

Thanks, S&B! Thanks for the many informative, thought-provoking posts that did exactly what a blog is supposed to do: Supplement the bigger stories reported by the mainstream chess news services, with the smaller stories and personal reflections that make chess the wonderful hobby that it is.

19 April 2016

Contest With No Prize No.3

I thought this post would be 'Contest With No Prize No.4', but after A Contest With No Prize (September 2012) and Another Contest With No Prize (May 2013), I couldn't find another post in the series. The rules are the same as before.

The following image is a screen capture of high ranked images from a Google image search on 'chess' plus one other word. What is the other word?

The first comment with the correct answer receives absolutely nothing.

Hint: Unauthorized Opening Laboratory (May 2014).

18 April 2016

Karjakin's GM Title

While I was working on the post Karjakin's TWIC Debut (TWIC = TheWeekInChess.com), I found details about Karjakin's acquisition of the GM title.

As for the first norm, Mark Crowther reported on the event in TWIC 379 (11 February 2002), where the only mention of Karjakin was his final score:-

2) Aeroflot Open 2002 • The Aeroflot Open 2002 took place in Moscow 4th-11th February 2002. Five players, Gregory Kaidanov, Alexander Grischuk, Aleksej Aleksandrov, Alexander Shabalov and Vadim Milov finished on 6.5/9.
58. Karjakin, Sergey m UKR 2460 5.0 2460 34,5 2605

Karjakin's exploit was reported by Chessbase.com in Record-breaking mini-grandmaster?. It carried the dateline 16 May 2002, and started,

Can you imagine that you may soon have to address the boy in this picture respectfully as "grandmaster"? 12-year-old Sergei Karjakin (learn to pronounce it now: car-yack-kin!) has just gained his second GM norm and looks poised to gain his title well before his 13th [birthday] in January 2003. That would make him the only person in the world to become a grandmaster and second a world champion [GM Ponomariov] before reaching his teens!
Later the article informed,
On 20 August 2002, Ukraine Chess Online reported that Sergey Karjakin has fulfilled his last GM norm. He did so at the international chess tournament in Sudak, a town on the Crimea Peninsula, Ukraine. This makes him the youngest GM in chess history. His FIDE rating is 2523.

As for the Ponomariov connection, a few months later in The 2006 world chess champion? (subtitled 'Interview with Sergey Karjakin'), Chessbase.com reported,

Q: One year ago you were one of Ponomariov's team members. Why? • A: Before that I beat him in a couple of friendly rapid games in a chess club, and I think he was impressed by that. So, he invited me to work with him.

For more about GM Ponomariov's win over fellow Ukrainian GM Ivanchuk, see 2001-02 FIDE Knockout Matches. Karjakin's debut in the World Championship was at Tripoli for the 2004 FIDE Knockout Matches, where he was eliminated in the first round.

17 April 2016

How to Acquire Reasoning Skills

After the previous 'Chess in School' (CIS) post, Armenian Candidates, I planned to return to Connecting Children with Chess, but this recent video clip from BBC News is too relevant to be ignored.

Chess introduced to South African pupils by teacher (2:22) • 'Some schools in South Africa have started using chess as an educational tool.'

The video's description continued,

One project in the Free State has gone even further - running training programmes, supplying equipment and taking students to local and national tournaments. The BBC spent the day with its director as he looks for a future world champion.

Bethlehem, South Africa -- Narrated by Jabulani Ncubuka:-

When I started to play chess, I started to understand: It doesn't matter where I come from; it doesn't matter from which [click sound] I come from.

Ncubuka's shirt reads, 'Arbiter - SAJCC, Durban', where SAJCC stands for South African Junior Chess Championships. Also featured: George Miya, Head of Maths, L.K Nhlabathi School.

15 April 2016

Shadows on the Wall

Chessboard shadows © Flickr user Peter Mello under Creative Commons.

From the Project Gutenberg EBook of Plato's Republic:-

You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners. • Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave.

The Republic, by Plato.

14 April 2016

ACP Survey 2016 - Results

A few months ago, I mentioned one of the ACP's latest intiatives in ACP Survey 2016. The group's latest communication, ACP Newsletter #3 2016, informed,

ACP published the results of its Grand Survey. There is a lot of interesting information there concerning all the aspects of the game, from time controls to World Championship matches, so please take a look at the general results.

Of specific interest to this blog are the questions on cheating; see, for example, a recent post on FIDE Anti-Cheating Guidelines (December 2015). I isolated the questions on that topic and created the following table of responses: 'A:' Answers; 'G:' General results (percents); 'M:' ACP Members only (counts).

This year FIDE has organized many online tournaments on FIDE online arena and first online women world blitz championship among them. Do you like the idea of organizing official events online?
A: Yes No
G: 50.2% 49.8%
M: 56 75
Do you think players should be obliged to use web cams playing the official FIDE online events?
A: Yes No
G: 69.7% 30.3%
M: 103 26
Do you think that during tournaments computer-assisted cheating is more common than traditional cheating?
A: Yes No
G: 70.5% 29.5%
M: 95 33
If bringing mobile phones or similar devices to the playing area of a tournament is prohibited, should the tournament director be responsible for providing a storage room?
A: Yes No
G: 80.7% 19.3%
M: 110 21
Do you consider pre-arranged draws cheating?
A: Yes No
G: 47.2% 52.8%
M: 45 83
Do you treat pre-arranged draws in the same way as pre-arranged decisive results?
A: Yes No
G: 47.3% 52.7%
M: 40 90
Do you think that the delay in the transmission of the games can decrease the interest of chess online spectators?
A: Yes No
G: 40.0% 60.0%
M: 53 79
Do you think FIDE is doing enough to tackle computer-assisted cheating?
A: Yes No
G: 26.9% 73.1%
M: 20 111
In the 2016 FIDE budget, the Anti-Cheating Commission’s budget was substantially curbed compared to 2015. Do you think FIDE should allocate more resources to tackling computer-assisted cheating?
A: Yes No
G: 84.3% 15.7%
M: 112 16
Please rate the importance of fighting computer-assisted cheating for professional chess:
A: Irrelevant Relevant Vital
G: 2.8% 26.5% 70.6%
M: 2 35 94
Do you think anti-cheating matters should be only in the hands of arbiters and organizers or do you feel there is a need for a global panel of top-notch experts who can assist arbiters and organizers world-wide to fight cheaters?
A: Arbiters and organizers only Global panel supporting arbiters and organizers
G: 16.1% 83.9%
M: 22 109
Are you ready to allow reasonable random checks during a game in exchange for greater anti-cheating security?
A: Yes No
G: 82.1% 17.9%
M: 111 21
In team competitions captains are allowed to leave the playing area and get back at any time. Do you think this practice should be stopped?
A: Yes No Depends on conditions
G: 53.0% 38.4% 8.6%
M: 70 43 17
Do you agree with Magnus Carlsen’s proposal to determine the World Champion annually in a knock-out format?
A: Yes No
G: 26.2% 73.8%
M: 33 95
FIDE plans to review the possibility of purchasing the right for a World Championship match. Do you think it should be:
A: Allowed only for players with Elo 2750 and higher Not allowed at all Allowed for anyone Allowed under certain conditions
G: 24.7% 57.5% 11.1% 6.8%
M: 26 84 6 12


The last two questions are about the World Championship, because everyone is interested in the subject. The entire exercise was a good initiative by the ACP.

12 April 2016

'They Got Spies on the Line!'

I last discussed Brad Darrach in The Real Bobby Fischer? (February 2016), and last discussed Frank Brady in Brady on VOR America (July 2014). In their respective accounts of the 1972 Fischer - Spassky match,

  • 'Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest of the World' by Brad Darrach (Stein and Day, 1975)
  • 'Bobby Fischer : Profile of a Prodigy' by Frank Brady (Dover Publications, 1989)
they offer different views of the same Fischer story.


Brady (p.228) Darrach (p.12)

Saidy suggested that there was an actual plot to keep Fischer from becoming World Champion, and this involved the wire-tapping of his parents' phone. "At one point, when Bobby was talking to Davis who was in Iceland," Saidy told me later, "Bobby made a reference to one of the ICF officials as being 'stupid.' Suddenly, he heard a woman's voice cutting through the line, saying: 'He said "he's stupid."' The line was obviously tapped."

Anything is possible, of course, and Saidy added that Fischer believed, too, that the line was tapped. Such reasoning depends not only on one's political views or psychological state but on one's philosophical Weltanschauung, as well. There was a theory prevalent among a number of Americans that the Icelanders were underhandedly working with the Russians to overthrow Fischer's assault on the Soviet hegemony of chess. Aside from the personal dislike for Fischer that a number of the Icelandic chess officials openly had, I never found, during my entire three month stay in Iceland (and I had constant occasion to peep into much "classified" material), one single instance that they did anything to hinder Fischer's world championship bid. It was just the opposite. Indeed, some of the Icelandic officials were convinced that Spassky was the better player and that he was going to defeat Fischer rather easily. They were privately expecting, hoping, to see Fischer humiliated on the board.

Monday, June 26, I called Bobby myself.

"Hi, Brad! How ya doin'?" The words were Bobby but the voice, was startlingly confident. I had expected what I usually heard when Bobby picked up the phone, a faint suspicious uuuuh? that might mean hello or might just be electric clutter on the line. But this voice rolled out of the receiver like an orange bulging with California sunshine. I thought: "He's coming. He feels great. God help Spassky."

Bobby wanted to know everything about Reykjavik. Did I like the playing hall? What was the chess table like? How about the weather? "Sixty degrees! Wow! That's coooold! But the air's great, huh?" Then he wanted to know how Spassky looked. "Nervous," I told him, and he guffawed. "And Geller—" I intended to say something about Yefim Geller, Spassky's second.

"Geller," Bobby cut in, "is stupid!"

Then it happened. "Geller," we both heard the voice of a young woman (I assumed she was an operator) say in an Icelandic attempt to mimic Bobby's Brooklyn accent, "is stupid!"

Bobby gasped. "They're listening in on my calls!" he yelled. "I knew it! They got spies on the line!" His voice, so full a second before, jangled like an alarm clock. "That rotten little country! Call the head of the telephone company, Brad! I want that person found and fired!"


Brady gives the same story in his 2011 book about Fischer, titled 'Endgame'. The differences in the two accounts are striking. Brady's account is third person, Darrach's is first person. Brady identifies the object of Fischer's judgement as an Icelandic Chess Federation (ICF) official; Darrach identifies him as GM Geller of Spassky's team. Brady delves into the psychological underpinnings of the anecdote; Darrach reports it with emphasis on Fischer's behavior.

Darrach's account includes a literary device that he uses throughout his book.

[Bobby's] voice rolled out of the receiver like an orange bulging with California sunshine.

He was calling Fischer in Southern California, a day before he flew back to the East coast. There are dozens of such colorful similes in Darrach's book, some of which might give the impression that he didn't like Fischer or his entourage. I'll discuss these in a future post.

11 April 2016

Karjakin's TWIC Debut

A couple of weeks ago, in The Winner and New Challenger, I gave myself the action to 'develop a Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (TMER) for GM Sergey Karjakin'. The goal would be to get up-to-speed on the GM's career and to produce a page like Magnus Carlsen's TMER (2000-).

Where to start? Maybe something like Carlsen's TWIC Debut (October 2009). Here are some basic resources:-

Using 'Starts: 2000' as a reference, I located Karjakin's first TWIC reference in TWIC312. An excerpt from Mark Crowther's summary is shown below.

The Week in Chess 312 (30 October 2000)

The second reference was TWIC351: 'The Paul Keres Memorial takes place July 25th-31st 2001 in Tallinn, Estonia [...] Standings Round 7 of 9 [...] 29. Karjakin, Sergei EST 2171 [...]'. It turns out this is a different player: Karjakin, Sergei (fide.com; 'B-Year 1964'; at least one of the games listed in Chessgames.com is for the other Karjakin.)

The post on 'Carlsen's TWIC Debut' was followed by a related post, The Class of 1990 (October 2009), tracking the relative progress of Carlsen and Karjakin. Their destinies will become even more entwined in the forthcoming World Championship match.

10 April 2016

Dzindzi's Instructional Videos (2016)

In this fortnightly series about Top eBay Chess Items by Price, I've occasionally remarked how eBay becomes quieter after the Christmas/holiday season. Is the same true of the winter-to-spring transition? The item featured in my previous post in the series, Two American Champions, was an under-the-radar choice that I would have overlooked had there been a real short list (even though it was a great selection!), and this current item isn't something I would normally choose (being visually unexceptional).

Titled 'ROMAN’S LAB CHESS DVD MEGA BUNDLE – ALL 117 VOLUMES! EVERY DVD - HUGE DISCOUNT' and pictured on the left, the bundle sold for US $1,249.99 'Buy It Now'.

Excerpts from GM Roman Dzindzichashvili's work occasionally appear on Youtube, and I once used an example in a post about Dzindzi's Instructional Videos (July 2007). The auction's description added,

Hosted by Grandmaster Roman Dzindzichashvili, former US and Russian Champion and Coach of World Champion Garry Kasparov, this video is an invaluable guide to learning chess openings, based upon understanding rather than memorization.

Roman’s Mastering Chess consists of 111 volumes of Roman’s Lab and 6 volumes of Roman’s Encyclopedias. Together they make a complete collection of chess learning and entertainment!

The same videos, sold in various combinations and formats, are available from other sources on the web. Although I couldn't locate the exact same bundle, the buyer must have been convinced it was a bargain.

08 April 2016

Moscow Candidates - Final Round

From the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL), *after* the round finished. We're not going to find any Agon lawsuits here!

Today In Chess | Candidates Tournament 2016: Round 14 (2:18:23) • 'GMs Yasser Seirawan, Eric Hansen, Alejandro Ramirez, and Maurice Ashley recap the second half of the 2016 Candidates games; today is the final round.'

The real action starts at around 8:30 into the clip. The description continued,

Join us each day for analysis from the double round robin in Moscow to determine the next World Championship challenger.

The CCSCSL channel archive coverage starts with round eight of the tournament.

07 April 2016

April 1966 'On the Cover'

Seeing red? It's a counterbalance to the green cover seen in the March 1966 'On the Cover'.

Left: 'The Match Begins • First Six Games Drawn'
Right: 'Mom Art'

Chess Life

The title match between defending champion Tigran Petrosian and the challenger, Boris Spassky, began in Moscow on 11 April. The match will, if it goes the full distance, consist of 24 games.

Chess Review

Robert Rosenwald, who seems to specialize in 'out' art on the chessboard, created the set on our cover, which he calls 'Mom Art'. The chesswomen of the set are: Red, bottles of nail polish (to polish off everything that isn't nailed down); White, of nail polish remover (to erase the opposition). The board is of mirrors for the white squares, photo negatives for the black, all under glass to give the illusion of three dimensions. We take the illusion as appropriate for April 1st.

Mom art? Out art? Part art and part pop. Pop art! Google offers Time Out art, Inside Out art, Wigged Out art, Rocking Out art, Far Out art, Drop Out art, Gross Out art, Night Out art... But my favorite is Can't Figure Out art.

05 April 2016

Weary of Giri Jokes?

Chess memes are few and far between, but the recent 2016 Candidates Tournament provided an example with GM Giri's +0-0=14 performance, earning him a place in chess lore. Seen several times on Chess24.com's live broadcast of the games...

...Reddit.com offered a sample of verbal equivalents: What are some interesting Anish Giri jokes? Giri's performance was nevertheless extraordinary for a first tournament at this level and he should be a serious World Championship contender for a long time to come.