Archive for the ‘Chess’ Category

Babe central

Why couldn’t chess have been like this when I was young?

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…on this day

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If you saw the very American The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix you, like many of us, probably found certain aspects unbearably painful to watch for various reasons. And so what better way to take a look at the mainstream media than to hear it from he who would know better than anyone in terms of the games played. World Champion Magnus Carlsen does a good job of exposing many points which we just would not see in high-level competitive chess.

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Trilobite central

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Two knights the knight

If black plays Nh6 here, who is likely to emerge victorious? It looks like white could simply just take the knight and then queen one of his pawns, but should he/she do so he/she shall find themselves checkmated on the double.

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An old favourite

A game I have been fond of for many years can be found below. It’s worth a watch and shows Spassky at his best.

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Either I’ve gone up in the world by being given administrative control over my home town club so that I can organize tournaments online or I’ve gone down in the world by giving into a request to resume the role of club tournament organizer, a role I relinquished many moons ago…

Whatever the case may be, the first in a series of tournaments went down well. We had 10 participants and some old friends were there. I managed to come joint first with 4/5 but board count put me in 4th overall as my loss came earlier than the losses by those also joint first.

Overall I am quite happy with my performance and have included two games, one constituting a loss where I missed a clear win, and the other showing my cut-throat style in full force against an old friend and playing partner.

I had a better move than Qd8.
Swashbuckling stuff.

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Never the twain shall meet?

Dependant upon which side of the pond you sit, you may have noticed The Queen’s Gambit became the number one show on Netflix recently or not! Courtesy of the current digital revolution sweeping the globe, no one remaining out of broadcasting range. It’s not often chess reaches the silver screen and when it does it’s usually in the form of documentary and not TV series. Such an endeavour fits into mainstream media more, the audience being old Joe Public of course. Given that its an American production, and what with dumbing things down being a cultural norm out there, this obviously set alarm bells ringing for those of us in parts of the world that are cultured comparatively. And for those of us who are academics also, it raises questions over the definable nature of the market and whether a domestic market does indeed exist anymore? If not, exact who is your intended audience and how is this reflecting in the scripting/writing process? Admittedly, at first I assumed it was all going to be very American and that all the characters were likely to be obtuse, the plot ingratiating, that we’d see cars crashing through windows and things being blown up all the time, and all the characters had either a hotdog or hamburger in their hand, and were loudmouthed throughout too -but perhaps that’s just me succumbing to stereotypes and not thinking properly!

The current world champion Carlsen described it as being ‘a bit too unrealistic’, which is either him being diplomatic or that being something of an understatement. I found it be something of a joke from start to finish and stopped watching early on. I did notice that most chess players really enjoyed it but perhaps that’s a reflection of the conservatism chess is spellbound by rather than a cinematic appreciation of what was shot. What I mean is that the show deviates from the trite we usually end up watching considerably in terms of content, since documentary doesn’t incorporate and depict aspects of deviancy like the aforementioned show does. I tried to watch it three times but just couldn’t force myself and found it to be superficial and all too mainstream American.

Anyway, if you want to watch a clip between the main character and an actual female chess protégé, then click on the link below. It’s not exactly wonderful viewing as Judit is rather shy and perhaps excessively polite. The comments from the main character in the show are most certainly not going to be remembered as a great advert for it, and if anything, far from it. It made me wonder whether the cultural difference and backgrounds in play, was alas, too great to be overcome.

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…on this day…

I posted the following on fb nine years ago today.

Given the advanced nature of black’s pawns, the position appears ominous at first glance for white, however, the win is straightforward as both Kf1 and Rc8 win for white. As soon as one of the pawns move, its game over, owing to the good position of the white king.

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I posted the following on fb nine years ago to the day.

White plays the counter-intuitive c5 and wins since the black king is too far to do anything.

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