26 September 2016

Carlsen's TMER 2000-2016

Finishing with Carlsen's TMER 2015-16, I merged events Carlsen played since September 2014 into the master index, updated the associated PGN file, and uploaded the new resources to Magnus Carlsen's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (2000-); Last updated 2016-09-26. The files include two more events played since I started the update a month ago:-

  • Chess.com Semifinal Blitz 2016 (vs.Grischuk)
  • 42nd Olympiad, Baku

The final stage of the Chess.com Blitz was announced in the past week: Carlsen - Nakamura Championship set for 27 October. This is a new event using a new, unusual format that deserves attention, perhaps in a future post. As for the chess960 games played in each stage of the event, I noted them on the master index without including them in the PGN file.

25 September 2016

Baloney Makes You Smarter

If, as we saw in Transfer in Chess Learning, chess doesn't make you smarter, what does? Let's ask Google.

Chocolate makes you smarter. So does exercise, running, travel, and reading.

Seven hobbies that make you smarter: '1. Play a musical instrument. • 2. Read anything. [...] • 6. Work out your brain. ('sudoku, puzzles, riddles, board games, ...') • 7. Meditate.' • Board games? Yay for chess!

Thirty killer apps: '1. Casual. 2. Fooducate. 3. Cloudswave. [...] 29. ATracker 30. Timely.' • Killer apps will make you smarter every time.

Riding centuries: 'a bicycle ride of 100 miles (160.9 km) or more within 12 hours'. That sounds the same as exercise and running.

Google autocomplete (as in Google Autocompletes CIS, March 2015): Reading makes you smarter; Exercise makes you smarter. • We knew that already, but what about these: weed, dancing, music, Mozart, beer, coffee, TV.

Google also points to Cracked.com's 5 Things You Didn't Know Could Make You Smarter: '1. Electricity to the Skull • 2. Cigarettes • 3. Dancing • 4. Being in a Terrible Mood • 5. What You're Wearing'

Lists definitely make you smarter. In short, everything makes you smarter, except maybe blogging. Or reading blogs.

23 September 2016

USA Captain Donaldson

Susan Polgar: 'It appears that we do have the official tiebreaks!' After the previous Video Friday clip, 2016 Olympiad Opening Ceremony, I wanted to feature the closing ceremony, but it was exceptionally underwhelming.


Press Conference With John Donaldson - Captain Of Team USA - Baku World Chess Olympiad 2016, Round 11 (19:50) • 'Published on Sep 13, 2016.'

The description added (probably copied from Wikipedia),

The tournament features eight out of the top ten players from the FIDE rating list published in August 2016; only former World Champion Vishwanathan Anand and Levon Aronian are missing the Olympiad. [...] The strongest team of the tournament are Russia with an average rating of 2760. [...] United States are the second strongest team with three top ten players, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So, along with Ray Robson and Samuel Shankland. So and Shankland have recently proved that they are in good form after winning the Sinquefield Cup 2016 and the Biel Chess Festival 2016, respectively.

For photos of the players, see last week's USA Gold!.

22 September 2016

Agon Presentation

Yesterday on my other chess blog I posted about World Chess Championship Buzz -- Agon, sponsors, virtual reality -- that sort of thing. The embedded video includes a presentation from the press conference that sometimes flashes by before you can comprehend it. I captured the individual slides from the presentation, combined them using the same technique (*) as in Chess Comics No.7: Punch Animated GIF (May 2014), and produced the following animation.

If, for whatever reason, it's still too hard to read, the time when each slide is presented in the video is visible at the bottom of the frame, next to the speaker icon. The last slide says, 'On sale 12 November 2016', but I'm nearly certain that should be '12 September 2016', the date of the press conference.

There are a ton of interesting ideas in the presentation. Can Agon make a success of it?

(*) See gifmaker.me.

20 September 2016

Shaping Chess History

When you've been hanging around the Internet, the Web, and Social Media for as long as I have, you eventually collect a ton of digital documents. Among the collections that I find the most useful, especially for U.S. chess history, are the PDF versions of annual editions of Chess Life and Chess Review. To date I have the following collections:-

Chess Review
1933-1951, (1952 on paper), 1953-1969
Chess Life
1946-1969
Chess Life & Review
1969-1975
Chess Life
2008-10 thru now

Add to these 25 years of paper magazines (Chess Life, 1992-01 thru now; takes up a lot more space than the PDF files) and I have a reasonable base for research into post-WWII chess history.

It's easy to collect the material; it's much harder to get a grasp on it. That's why I was pleased to see an article by Al Lawrence in the most recent Chess Life (CL, September 2016, p.20), titled 'Chess Life Turns 70!'

From its days as a four-page newspaper to the current 72-page glossy, our magazine has long been a key part of US Chess members’ chess lives.

I mentioned Lawrence in a recent post, 2016 CJA Awards (August 2016), where I noted, 'The most prestigious of the awards is undoubtedly 'Chess Journalist of the Year', won by Al Lawrence for the second time'.

The table on the left, listing all CL editors since 1946, is from the same article. A similar list is in Wikipedia's page on Chess Life, in a section subtitled 'Editors of Chess Life'.

Curiously, but not coincidentally, the CL article showed the first page of the first 1946 issue of CL, having the exact same address sticker as in the PDF file for that year. With that as a starting point, Lawrence went on to write about four of the 17 editors listed on the left: Montgomery Major (1946-1957), Fred Wren (1958-1960), Frank Brady (1961), and Burt Hochberg (1967-1979).

This overview provides much better shape to the decades of chess history recorded in CL and CR. I'm sure that I'll consult it frequently as I continue to tackle the stacks of CL/CR PDFs.

19 September 2016

Carlsen's TMER 2015-16

Tired of squinting at tiny images to see Carlsen's Record 2015-16? So am I, so I added the latest working version to the end of my page on Magnus Carlsen's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (TMER, 2000-). I still have a few actions to accomplish before I can merge the updates into the main TMER:-

  • Add events Carlsen played since 2016 Bilbao, e.g. the 2016 Baku Olympiad.
  • Decide on the treatment of chess960 games, as in the 2016 Chess.com Blitz
  • Add a few missing fields, e.g. the result of the 2015 Vienna Blindfold exhibition.
  • Add the new PGN to the master file.

I should be able to accomplish that for the next post in this series.

18 September 2016

Alekhine's Brother

It was another slow fortnight here on Top eBay Chess Items by Price. The last time this happened, a month ago in Soviet Propaganda Porcelain, I went below my normal cutoff. This time I did the same and ended up with another early Soviet item.

Titled 'Russian Chess Yearbook - 1926, signed by Alexey Alekhine, brother of champion', the item pictured below sold for US $380 after four bids from two bidders, on a starting price of US $250. A few years ago we had 'A' Is for Alekhine's Autograph (June 2012), and now we have his brother's autograph. How much of that final price is for the book, how much for the autograph, and how much for the name Alekhine?


Left: Title page
Right: Interior page

The description expanded on the title:-

Antique Russian Chess Yearbook signed by author.
Author: Alexey Alekhine (Alexander Alekhine's brother).
Title: Chess Yearbook 1926. Selected games and review.
Published: Kharkov, 1927.
Language: Russian.
143 pages.

The crosstable on the right page of the photo shows 'Final Group': Rabinovich 8.0, Ilyin-Zhenevsky 7.5, Botvinnik 6.5, followed by three other players. Since the preliminary groups associate all six players with 'Leningrad', I thought this might be the Leningrad championship, but the information given in the first chapter of Botvinnik's '100 Selected Games' doesn't match. It matches instead an event called 'N.W. Provincial Championship' listed in the table of results at the end of Botvinnik's book.

Lest there be any confusion between future World Champion Alexander Alekhine and his brother, in Alekhine Leaves Russia (July 2009), I noted,

After the first World War and the 1917 revolution, [Alexander Alekhine] played in only three tournaments before leaving his native country in 1921, at age 28.

Given that Alexey Alekhine authored the yearbook, he must also have been a strong player.