Thursday, June 28, 2012

Reverse Engineering Control: Anand Prep

First, I do think it is de rigour to repost articles from other blogs, chess news outlets (chessBase, Polgar [1], Week in Chess, ChessCafe), not due to copywrite, but more as in who needs news about news.

I ran the blog for a year or more while back east, of The West Orange Chess Club, and did time to time share links to Crestbook translations [2] of, for example, interviews with Aronian, or lead a reader or two to fantastic interviews at ChessVibes.  Its not that.  Not today.

So when I tell you this one is real special, really, really, really special, I mean it.  Anand, nice a man as he is--he really is--there is something so politically correct about him, exacerbated by his recent colorless win against Gelfand to defend his WCC, that for me to copy him talking is a real statement.  Believe me.

That said, this is a forty-four minute or so talk by Anand to Accenture.  That he got paid a bunch of money, more than some of us make in a year or half year if you will, is not something he need apologize for.  Anyway, he expounds on his prep for his three WCC contests, one bid, and two defences (Kramnik, Topolov, Gelfand) is rivetting.  I could not stop listening.  Enjoy.  This is a good one.

[1] The worst offender, silly!

[2] Page down, way down the page (this is the very best of all the many already incredible interviews here), for other great interviews, for example Svidler [3], Shirov, especially also Grischuk. 

Now that guy is a freeking genius if ever there was one.  Damn.  Gris is not the most colorful of all of them, as is apparent from the write up, but one smart mother.

[3] Bar none, the single most educated chess player.  He speaks English better than most of us.  He is urbane, he has class, gravitas.  I have to ialso nclude Aronian in this camp (his English is very good), but by the latter, I mean Jazz, art, movies, all that.  Guy is a real genius. 

Seirawan is truly educated, guy subscribes to Metals and Mining Magazine, knows all about Housing numbers, publisher, writer, diplomat, broadcaster, mentor, leader, not to mention adequate chess imprimateur.  HIs mother is very proper London accent, father Syrian.  Strong as a bull without a fitness program, just DNA configured optimally for great effort.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Every single day for months I have checked, eager to see the day when hits 10,000 simultaneous players.  It just happened:  at a glance, 10,025, then 10,037.  A great accomplishment [1].  Thats 3,190 games at once.  8:37 pm GMT, 5:37 pm EST, 11:37 pm Moscow, 1:07 am Delhi India.

Right now, Playchess has about 4,200 users, and ICC 2,075.  The strenght of the sheer mass of its user base is obvious.  ChessCube has 3,875.

Be so advised, while I clearly prefer and The Internet Chess Club, each site, and I do mean all of them, have unique problems.  As such, each one offers features and benefits that are unique, and that includes Yahoo games, Chess [2].

I am not into 'guys', but guys, if you cannot appreciate a male body like this, get your head examined:  challenger to the previous hegonomy of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte:

[1] I have no commercial relationship with the organization.
[2] With no offense to FICS, Free Internet Chess Server, they are not even on the map.  They are to be appreciated, but been passed over.  If you are using this latter site, you are missing out.  Sorry.  Its true.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ontology of Chess

(Double click above image to enlarge)

There are four fundamental rules of the nature of chess:

A.  That chess is empty.  Chess leads nowhere.

B.  That inorder to seriously play chess, you have to enjoy that it leads nowhere and has nothing to do with anything whatsoever.  Chess will never take you anywhere, accept it.  In fact, getting serious about it will pretty much insure that you will be not doing a lot of other things, resulting in a real loss of life force otherwise available for other, more constructive concerns and engagments, such as making money, being in and cultivating relationships, health, travel, education, nutrition, leisure, sleep, shedding tensions generally.  To be good at chess is not only to hold tension, but to add tension, to cultivate tension, to hold the tension as we like to say.  Chess as the greatest chess player of all time, Garry Kasparov once said:  "Chess is mental tourture".  As Bobby Fischer once said, "I like to see em squirm", and his favorite moment was when he "broke their ego".  How true.  What is this we are talking about, sadism?  Deliberately inflicting pain and ENJOYING IT??  Did you get that one?

C.  That at a certain point you will either have to get better at chess, or inevitably will have to seriously consider giving it up.  To get any good at chess, you have to loose a lot.  A REAL lot. There are always more players, better players, and the higher up you go, the more resistence will you meet, and motivated resistance at that.  Serious chess players think about chess all the time, and do nearly everything they can to get better.  This is exactly the way chess players are.  They are a natural selection, and might as well be in a zoological textbook.  Picture the guy who has all the lessons and is so visibly distraught he is throwing his golf clubs, his hat, tossing his golf, "I am ready to go home", or as my friend Charles Kirk (NJ, USCF says, and this guy is among the most profound of all the men I came to know in the New Jersey chess scene, "I hate chess".  But he keeps on playing.  Who does not recognize themselves, or substitute the words, "I suck at chess".  What is suck mean?  Picture it.  Is it suction?

And if you don't get better, you will want to quit, because lossing so much will be too painful.  So you had better get better or you are in for it.  Getting better?  Not so easy:  time, energy, money, sacrifice, discomfort, frustration, disurbance, maybe loss of sleep.

D.  Well, the idea of four rules sounded so good, I had to say it, kinda like the Buddha's four fold noble truths:

  • The nature of suffering:  Life is suffering.
  • The way past suffering;  Understanding that suffering is caused by attachement.
  • That the cessation of suffering is attainable:  Cultivating dispassion
  • The path to the cessation of suffering lays in the eightfold path:  keeping the mean between self-indulgence (hedonism) and self-mortifcation (asetheticism). "Craving, ignorance, delusions, and its effects will disappear gradually, as progress is made on the path."
I just cannot think of a forth law right now, in fact, the first three seems more like two to me, right now.

So this reduces me to peripatetic notes or random musings.  Well, OK:  chess is very beautiful.  We can win a game yet be disurbed or disappointed at its completion for playing badly, when we see all that we missed, or have the charm of victory stolen by knowing just how bad an opponent playeris or, alternatively, a our newest loss can bring pleasure, maybe it might even be one of our best games, where one single bad move ruined it, but we see our improvement, writen in all the moves.  "That was a really good game, but I.. made one bad move, then..."

Or we play a friend, and get to sit across from them.  Just to sit in someones resonance can be so exquisite, such as I imagine (but decidedly do NOT) folks feel smoking a Cuban cigar or a very fine, very old single malt scotch on the rocks.  Exactly that.  Like a meditation, or radiation.  Cosmic influence if you will.......... smiles.  What do the esoteric philosphers, such as Nagarjuna call it, a 'human is a sack of flesh with nine orifices' but I get carried away, obviously. I have never done that before, this is the first.  I never lie.

Or you play someone you have known for a long time, respect, but have never played before, and sitting across from the person, get to take "the measure of the man".  You find that you really do like them as much as you thought you did, if not like them more, like the way they sit, the way they wrinkle their brow.  My friend Bryan Cohen makes all kinds of faces, he does not intend to, but how many faces he makes, his look of trouble, even if he has an advantage, he himself is trouble all the time (he is a very good chess player, better than me).  Oh, the worries of chess.  One bad move, and its over.  Bryan is like Sir Lawrence Olivier, a man on stage, Henry the Eight, Moliere, Racine, Tolstoy, Rabelas, Cervantes, he is Kafka, he is Stanley Kubrik, he is Akiri Kurosawa filming Kagemusha, and I never exaggurate.  I never use hyperbolie or overstate things, I am not long winded.  No.  No one says that.  I edit heavily.  I work slowly and methodically, I try to rewrite to perfection, for economy of words. The planet is intact.  Where was I?  Oh, chess, yea:

You get to see their foot shake, how often they get up compelled to get a smoke to prevent their head from exploding or not blow out an aorta heart valve or some other corporeal gaskets, or go to the bathroom, maybe refuse to shake your hand both to start and to finish, or rudely eat at the table of a major tournament, as a higher level, experienced player, who knows what is all about but 'could care less', since it was just announed on an overhead speaker in a large room (42nd World Team Amateur, Parsippany NJ, you know who you are!), chose to do so.  I remember you!  Oh yes I do!

You either like it or you don't.  'That's chess' as my towering, menacing friend Damon Garret says.  Thats what you say when you loose a won game, steal a draw, loss a draw, win a game which is surely lost.  Then the fear of replaying losses, yes, thats me for sure.  There are games I have NEVER looked at after playing, thats how painfull they are (I am talking USCF rated).  The hurt a year latter.  I cannot get over it.

Love to all beings, dk

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 Waiting for the Miracle

This is not cynicsm but honest waiting.  I have watched and watched, hoping like waiting for your wildcard team to win its division in the NFL, or undercard in boxing win, but this is not really pertinant any more.

Soon will see the jubalee which I have now been watching for, for months now, and it is inevitable.  Ten-thousand simultaneous users.  But not yet.  9,745 right this minute, one day 9.5k, then 9.6k, then 9.3k and so on. 

It is just before three pm EST, 8 pm GMT.  This combines late afternoon back east, late morning here out west (Portland Oregon currently),

[it is now 3:40 EST, 8:40 GMT and now 9,904, so the timing of the post is prescient.  Got interupted, as it turns out, with a few responses to play there, so draft got interupted, duly finished here: ]

which is 11:00 pm in Moscow, 12:30 am in Delhi.

This basically means, where chess is the most played, in Europe, everyone is either home from work, or still able to play if they want to go to bed early, and those who like the nights, in India, are full bore. 
Also, I know for a fact, the latter are up early and still up late, no harder working persons on earth.  Many chess players there are certainly technologist of which there are more than a few, *smiles*, and take breaks from work spanning the globe with chess.
Base on the current 9.9k, I venture to say, right about now is the peak, for each day.  We will revisit this, addended in the days ahead.

[Addendum:  It is now 4:45 pm EST, 9:45 pm GMT, 9.4k, so the trend is clear.  Peak as indicated.  What does it all mean?  That has an incredible amount of play available.  A clean, decent place.  Yesterday, I had MY SECOND DISPARAGING COMMENT IN TWO OR THREE WEEKS.  At ICC, you can get that many in an afternoon.  Its called 'a culture'.]

[9.2k 5:05 pm EST, 10:05 pm GMT]

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Goes Around Comes Around: A Grandmaster Morality Tale

Well, no point about worrying about copyright! It's mine this time.

Two months back, I published by first article, anywhere, in this case, at probably the single most respected publisher of chess content on the web,

Here is the link to, "What Goes Around Comes Around: A Grandmaster Morality Tale".   The fully story is provided there, but starts as follows.

It stems from events which transpired at the 42nd World Team Amateur, the single largest team tournament in the world. Its a story about good doing, and ends well. Thank you to GM Robert Hess for his openness, talking with me, and also to FM Benjamin Kruse who gave a lot of input. It starts:

"I was witness to a striking incident at the 42nd World Amateur Team Championship (WATC) tournament involving one of the top grandmasters in the U.S. It was an act that demonstrated the highest level of sportsmanship. This story is hopefully taken as a morality tale involving chess, rather than primarily a chess tale with a moral side note.

"The WATC, held in late February, is the largest single annual tournament in the United States. The format consists of four separate team tournaments all occurring over the same weekend, divided geographically by East, West, North, and South. The four winning teams then enter a playoff to determine the overall nationwide team champion".

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chess Genius's Today

Last night I had already planned to write this post, before today's result, where Magnus Carlsen once again, not only pulled up from a slow start, but to win overall with a super strong finish.  He of course won against the always strong field of the Tal Memorial in Moscow.

Magnus is clearly a genius.  He is not the only one, but just the same.  Now, there are many, many players at the top who are very bright, very, very bright but of whom genius cannot be said, a wholly different matter.  Peter Svidler is a great example.  Not for this alone of course, but he speaks English better than most of us, almost accent free.  Anand and Shirov of course have very good Spanish, and thier chess and creativity cannot be questioned.  But geniuses?  I would not say that.  Fischer was clearly high genius, and clearly Kasparov also. What do these three have in common, besides the obvious? The quality of inevitability. Like a force of nature.

Aronian, Rabajov, Caruna, all these guys.  Caruna has lived in many countries, and picked up Italian and Hungarian along the way.  This is not meant to be a brief on ability in languages, but to note exceptional capacity for learning, and repeatedly.  Aronian has wide ranging interests in the arts, English literature, movies, and last but not least Jaz. Can you imagine?  He is colorful, and unlike many a Chess Grandmaster, can compare himself to, or expressedly ask in an interview what it would be like to be an animal.  Nakamura is a dangerous animal, a blood hungry carnivor of relentless ambition, but as bright and thus fast as he is, super fast, genius?  Probably not.  Kramnik, as even Kasparov has said, the person with the deepest understanding of chess among ALL CHESS players?  No.

Which takes me to a few to make note of.  Ivanchuk is clearly a genius, taught himself Turkish on the fly, memorized one hundred Russian poems, and needless to say has created--on a good day or during tournaments when he is in form--many a stunning chess painting, worthy of rememberance for a long time to come.  Chess beauty, classics of enduring value.  As is not well known, but generally not passed around in the chess media but nevertheless true, similar to  David Navara who is a high functioning autistic genius, is semi-autistic.

I cannot know it, but Grischuk is probably a genius.  Those eyes.  Same as Ivanchuk, as though he were looking off into in the priors case eternity, and in the lattter, eternity.

Which takes us to our main subject.  Who cannot doubt that Morozevich is a true genius, with his protean creativity and imagination, some sort of modern Morphy (whom he says is among his favorates, his idols).  It as though he were reaching out to some far off, inexplicable dimension of chess that is beyond knowing.  The same can be said for the other clear genius, Ivanchuk, who thirsts for great beauty.  And it is not accident that both have flirted with a definite desire to leave chess, if not quit (Ivanchuk) or take a long time off (Morozevich), only to come back from a deep and precipitous plunge in rating, back up to the top, like a towering plant in spring grabbing sunlight.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kramnik Oligopoly 3.0

For the last year, maybe two, it really started to look as though the World Chess Championship set between Anand and Gelfand had the two wrong persons. It seemed that without holding a match between Magnus Carlsen and Lev Aronian that somehow this would not really represent the best of chess. I respect Gelfand, and Anand is a chess player who for many years represented dependably lots of sharp, fast, venturesome chess. Thanks for the good years.

But now with the combination of the weakness of that recently completed match with its pervasive sense of lack of excitement, of dullness if not ennui, when that great sense of lack of venture is put next to the great character and initiative and creativity on the part of both Carlsen and Aronian (and has been that way for a long time and frequently) makes this a memorable juncture in the WCC, a striking picture of the highest level of the chess pyramid.

And now for today. I have a new thought. Seeing Kramnik's new position in's Live Chess Ratings, near world number two Aronian, really makes me feel that now we instead have not two, but three in the mix as they say. Carlsen of course is around 2836, but now Aronian at 2814 is quickly being approached by Kramnik at 2812? Trivial? No.

The chasing crowd of recent world forth Radjabov to Ivanchuk at tenth, is comprised of a swarm of 2788 to 2769, and among them Ananad. I am not saying that Anand does not have a legitemate WCC imprimateur, only that its poetency is surely in doubt this time round.

Often in the past if the highest rated was not AT THE top was at least NEAR the top, but Ananad is--currently--surrounded by a considerable swarm of gigantic talent, and champion means standing over the rest, and currently there are now three who do that demonstrably. Is Anand distinguished now? We know the answer. No, but these three clearly are. for more details and full list

Contesting three persons this way, of course, can be mathematically parsed in easily imagined ways, but that of course will remain a matter of fancy and speculation. Whatever it is, Kramnik retains his great force and color of the last two or three years, and all great chess keeps adding up to the inevitable confidence vote. And we all know confidence votes never occur just for kicks, but out of necessity.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 Bullet

Once told someone that there were greater and lesser sins than others in life, thinking less of medium or small things I have done in my life, but of gigantic things done, such as across borders done to large groups of people (I am trying to be polite, or lest the underage are reading here).

Someone I once knew said, 'I disagree, all sins are the same'. Yet another agreed, yes, somethings are much more significant.

Now, getting past moral edification away from what is not hoped for, to satisfaction for things striven for.

Every now and then in chess, those of us driven by goals (or who would not think the same--driven by numbers, benchmarks, nay, ratings?) not only attain our next goal, but maybe a goal that takes years, then after goals which takes years, as much as six years it can be?

Last night I hit 1500+ bullet 2 1 at When I heard about then looked at this site, mainly as a better place to post chess games, than silly, awkward embedded java viewers to in this case, our very own blogs, when I first heard about it and glanced at another of its features, as a playing venue, I was quick to dismiss it, the way a gourmond would dismiss fast food or bakers Betty Crocker mixes.

But over the last few years, I have watched it grow, using it as a decent place to easily get, quick, reasonably polite blitz, to warm up to my real serious destination, ICC, The Internet Chess Club. But things have evolved. I have watched it grow from 3000 users at a peak hour, to 5,000, then 8,000, and now 9,600 or so. Soon they will hit 10,000. This is a great thing, a great place. As it was, two years ago, the volume was good, it was ALWAYS easy to get a gg, a good game, but now, it is near instant. They monitor bad language, and I can only recall one, single disparaging remark in weeks. Not because of some zealous filters (they have them), but more a esprit decor. Moreover, for disconnects, they issue warnings. Bravo to

To my highest goals, do I stil rank ICC as the TRUE measure, the true acid test? Yes. But is where I go for regular workouts.

A 1500 bullet rating, measured against the last hundred games (not 100 players), of those, some 14 of those opponents were either fifty below 1500 or more, to fifty above, and as far as 1660. Meauring these, the average CURRENT bullet ratings were 1560, and of those, the average blitz rating was about 1740. This does not mean MOST 1700's can play bullet this fast, just that those with bullet at the level hit the 17s. Believe me, this is fast. It equates to a much higer rating than a fifteen handle.

It is competitive, bloody competitive. Blessings.

Blogging more again. A lot more. At three of my blogs, also both in Integrative Study, and Personal. Warm regards, dk