Today is the third and final day of the World Rapid Championships, with the Blitz equivalent taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday and seemingly receiving an extra injection of players straight from the Isle of Man. Most of us can only dream of being in Berlin, but I’m sure we all enjoy the occasional blitz binge after (during!?) a hard day at work or university. So our poll question this week is where is your favourite site to play online?
Chess24, ICC, Chess.com, Playchess, Gameknot, Red Hot Pawn, A combination of the above, somewhere else, or do you prefer over the board blitz at your local club?
The results of last week’s poll placed Nigel Short as your favourite chess commentator, with Jan Gustafsson and Yasser Seirawan also highly popular. However, the large number of votes for ‘Other’ suggested we did not give you enough options! Comments showed Daniel King and Peter Svidler may have been amassing a large chunk of these votes, while there was also some interesting discussion on the best pairings to make up a commentary team.
We had four days of very interesting lectures from former challenger Nigel Short on attacking chess. It was simply exceptional. One participant described it as the most enjoyable 15 hours in his chess career. In one game Nigel showed us how he self-forked his pieces. It seems he was a bad influence on himself:
Alon Greenfeld – Nigel Short
Isle of Man 07.10.2015
“I won by forking my own pieces today? Even if nobody else benefited from my talks, I certainly have!” Nigel Short sent this message after his splendid lectures in Edinburgh Chess Club last week.
1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4 Bg4 4.g3 f6 5.Bg2 e5 6.0–0 Nd7 7.Qb3 a5 8.e3 dxe3 9.fxe3 axb4 10.d4 Be6 11.Bb2 Nh6 12.dxe5 fxe5 13.Nbd2 Nf7
The opening had not gone very well for White, but after this Greenfeld finds a way back into the game.
We mentioned a few weeks ago that two Quality Chess books reached the shortlist of four for the ECF Book of the Year prize. Mauricio Flores Rios made the shortlist alongside Garry Kasparov and Joel Benjamin, but it was Boris Gelfand’s Positional Decision Making in Chess which won the prize. So congratulations to Boris and Jacob, commiserations to Mauricio.
The judges’ full comments can be read here but a few highlights were:
“A fascinating insight into how the chess mind of a great player works… Gelfand comes over as modest but confident in his abilities, with tremendous ability, experience and knowledge. But despite all this, even he sometimes finds chess a difficult game, which gives comfort to us all.”
This is the fourth Quality Chess winner of the ECF prize:
2007: San Luis 2005 – Gershon & Nor
2010: Attacking Manual 1&2 – Jacob Aagaard
2013: How I Beat Fischer’s Record – Judit Polgar
2015: Positional Decision Making in Chess – Boris Gelfand
Live tournament coverage has really taken off in the last few years, with all major tournaments now coming with a commentary team broadcasting alongside the action. The commentator’s job varies from explaining the player’s moves, to interviewing them post-game, to generally passing the time with anecdotes or question/answer sessions with viewers. So our poll question this week is who is your favourite commentator?
Nigel Short, Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, Jan Gustafsson, Emil Sutovsky, Evgenij Miroshnichenko, Maurice Ashley, Jennifer Shahade, Yasser Seirawan, Simon Williams, Sergei Shipov or someone else?
Recently one of our employees fell out online with a chess writer for a competing chess publisher. The said writer fell for a hoax and our employee teased him a bit, while telling him. Said writer took offence. Things go wrong in written language all the time. No story.
The writer clearly had a bigger think and posted this comment on his thread:
One by one I have had to remove ‘Quality Chess’ people from my ‘friends’ list. I guess in a way it has been inevitable, every atom of my being is opposed to their approach to publishing and the marketing of highly sophisticated openings books. The ‘market’ is way too weak for these books but it’s easy to convince people that they need them.
I am all for good old-time mud-wrestling, but somehow it is less interesting to watch when it is performed by slightly bulky middle-aged men. So therefore I would prefer to turn it into a debate with our readers, you guys. Do you think that there is some truth in what this guy says? I will give my own view first.
Asking who you want to win the World Cup is too easy (Svidler, right?) so instead:
In 2016 there will be 8 Candidates to challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen. By reaching the final of the World Cup, Svidler and Karjakin have now qualified, making 7 places fairly secure: Anand, Caruana, Karjakin, Nakamura, Svidler, Topalov and Giri (the latter two probably qualifying on rating). That leaves one place for a wildcard. Who do you want to be the wildcard?
Adams, Aronian, Gelfand, Grischuk, Kramnik, Mamedyarov, Radjabov, So, or someone else?
In last week’s poll, a large majority did not want arbiters interfering too much:
Most of our new books will be on Forward Chess and will be available a week before they are available in shops. This is obviously a move to support this format and get it off the ground. Not because we want it to take over from paper books, but because we want to make sure that this format flourishes as a viable alternative.
One minor advantage with this format is that on the rare occasions where we make small corrections to books, they happen to the Forward Chess books. Recently a few corrections were included in Positional Decision Making in Chess ahead of the reprint of hardback copies that will take place in a few weeks’ time. To make sure that you have the corrected book, use the restore purchases option in the App. For everyone else, you will have to wait for my blog post on the subject, also coming in a few weeks’ time…
Our World Cup Quiz (previous instalments here and here) attracted almost 200 entrants, but you may recall there were three qualifying questions to narrow the field:
A: What will the most common opening move be in round 1: 1.e4 or 1.d4 or neither?
B: Which of these home players will go further: Mamedov or Safarli?
C: Which opening will be more common in round 3: Najdorf or Catalan?
In the previous instalment we knew two of the correct answers. Now we know all three: 1.e4, Mamedov and Najdorf.
21 contestants survived the cull. I won’t name names, but in chess terms they range from unrated to mid-2400s. Which of them will be our champion? Too early to say.
There were several GM entrants, but they all fell, usually due to their faith in 1.d4.
A hypothetical question: Should World Cup competitors be allowed to enter our World Cup Quiz? I would say “Yes”, but since they both crashed out of our quiz in the qualifying round, we’ll say it’s hypothetical.