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TRG Trainer Awards

October 19th, 2019 No comments

Some of you will know that I have taken on a volunteer position in FIDE, as Chairman of the Trainer’s Commission. In the last year a lot of my spare time and some of my work time has gone into this work. It is difficult for quite a number of reasons, mainly because nothing ever get to a bad place without it being good for some, who will want to keep it as it is.

The key thing has been to restore the credibility. With the former secretary having won 6 trainer of the year awards during his tenure, we started from a low point.

However, there was a different problem, which is that to get the credibility, we needed representation from all over the World. China, Russia and India are the emerging leaders of world chess. So we convinced the most famous coaches to join us: Yu Shaoteng, Alexander Motylev and RB Ramesh. Of the three, the latter has been the most active in the Commission work, but the two others have been available with their inputs in meetings.

If we were to eliminate everyone with any connection to the commission from the awards, we would quickly have an amputated list of candidates. So we stroke the middle point. Peter Long and I ran the organisational side of it, with no influence on the voting at all. I had maybe two conversations and I was very careful not to give any opinions away.

The result was five winners that all won far ahead of their competitors. Two of the winners are friends of mine. This was probably inevitable. However, I did nothing to help them win…

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A comparison between THE NEMESIS and THE APPLICATION OF CHESS THEORY

September 2nd, 2019 16 comments

One of the truisms of our time is that you should never explain yourself on the Internet – specifically social media. Over the weekend I was urged by one of our writers to engage with an individual who was slamming The Nemesis for being plagiarism. While the guy was not listening and repeating falsehoods, I thought there was general interest in the questions posed. And for this reason I am repeating the facts here, relating to the overlap between The Nemesis and Application of Chess Theory. (I know the link says out of print, but I think they have a newer version. Still this is what Google gave me).

First of all, The Nemesis is a new translation of a new compilation of Geller’s writings, published by Russian Chess House. We got the rights from them. In Application of Chess Theory there were 100 games grouped according to openings. I am not sure if this was Geller’s idea originally or if it was done by someone else.

It is also unclear to me if Application of Chess Theory is based on the sale of rights to Pergamon and if Geller was rewarded for this. I do not think anyone knows and doubt there is a way to work that out. As I see it, both books are legal.

Our friend was concerned that some of the translations ended up with similar meanings. I refer to a dictionary if someone does not know what translation means. 86 of the games are the same games. The Nemesis has added notes from Max Notkin in many places.

In Application of Chess Theory there are 14 games not in The Nemesis . The Nemesis has 49 games that are not in ACT. About 200 pages worth. Our original discussion

Read more…
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Cheating in Strasbourg?

July 12th, 2019 28 comments

GM Rausis has been declared caught by FIDE’s anti-cheating commission. Essentially with a phone in the toilets. It is my understanding that there is a clear admission of guilt. (read more on Chess24).

His six year rise to 2685 thus comes to a halt. Apparently you cannot go from no. 500 in the World to no. 50 in your 50s after all. Or at least not in this case.

We can expect him to get a 5-10 year ban, as life-time bans are not allowed under CAS.

This is of course if he is convicted by the Ethics Commission.

We cannot expect the police to get involved. There was a big US case of cheating in a major sport where they failed to get the police involved. And when my shed was burgled last year, the police did everything by email.

Here are my questions:

Do you find it appropriate of FIDE to announce an alleged cheaters name and indeed guilt in the way it has been done?

Do you have personal experience with cheating happening against you?

Do you think FIDE should roll the dice with relation to statistical accusations, such as Aldama in Chicago Open 2018, despite CAS in general rejecting statistical evidence. In case you do not know of this case, you can see the following game, where 16.a4/a3 and 22.Nd2/d3 shows a problem with the signalling process, rather than deviation from the source of the moves, Stockfish on Chess24. (And yes, I would love to be sued by Mr Aldama for him to clear his name. You can check his other games in the same tournament for corroboration).

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Small update

February 22nd, 2019 4 comments

I have said this in a few comments in responses to various people. In 2018 I was ill for half the year and recovering for the second half. I am still in a worse state than exiting 2017. It has slowed us down a lot, as have other things. Life, basically.

But things are moving ahead and we are finishing a lot of books at the moment. Kotov – The Science of Strategy is going to the printer next week. So is Boris Avrukh’s – Grandmaster Repertoire 2B, the final book in the 1.d4 Saga. It will be a big book with 29 chapters.

Colin will return from holiday next week and put up some excerpts once the books are uploaded to the printer. Meanwhile I have a screen shot for you.

Chess960/Fischer Random

February 8th, 2019 55 comments

My friend GM Csaba Horvath once had dinner with Fischer in Budapest, after meeting him in the street. At some point during the dinner, Fischer asked him, “What do you think of ‘my’ chess?” (meaning 960). Csaba said: “I like it, but…” Fischer caught him off with a big grin. “No! No, buts!”

I received the friendly email below after my appearance on the Perpetual Chess Podcast.

I know he asks for my opinion, but I am more interested in other’s opinions. And I have also made this commitment not to defend any opinions in debates since taking up a post in FIDE. For obvious mental health related reasons :-).

I just listened to you on the perpetual chess podcast.

I really enjoyed it and realise that you’re experience in the chess world is vastly superior to mine and with that your perspective is greatly appreciated.

My intention is honest and sincere. I’m not about to post your reply on a forum and anything like that. I’m kinda wishing for the future of chess to be chess960 and was interested to hear your recent comment in the perpetual chess podcast. Genuinely interested, im too stoic to get upset by differing opinions but also believe these views and discussions to be extremely important to the future of chess.

I am extremely interested in getting your perspective on something that you mentioned regarding chess960 as ‘the Fischer random circus’.

During the podcast you also mentioned your preference for classical chess due to the ‘deep thinking’ aspect.

I have interpretted these 2 snippets as on the one hand you’re pro deep thinking yet anti chess960 (compared to classical chess). I hope I haven’t completely misrepresented your beliefs here, I’m just making conclusions following 90 minutes of listening.

So I guess my question is really:

Why do you on the 1 hand love thinking deeply and on the other regard chess960 as a ‘circus’. What am I missing that you are seeing?

I personally love chess960 because to me it is an excellent opportunity each and every game from move 1 to think hard with no auto-piloting in the opening. I mean you can’t just be a d4 player in chess960 you’d at least need to make an assessment first.

I actually find that I think deeper (in chess960) from move 1. To me it’s the deep thinking of chess that I love. In standard I have won many a game thanks to london system solely due to my opponent not being as familiar with it as me. But in chess960 I don’t get these opening edges (and vice versa) – to me that’s more pure chess than memorised lines bring to the board.

To me being given more variety of opening positions leads to more varied positions to assess which leads to more deep thinking.

But… classical/standard chess is sooo much more popular so I’m in the minority. So there must be something I’m missing. I think chess960 is like jazz whereas standard chess is more like classical music. Chalk and cheese as far as prep’s concerned.

The thing that I see commonly mentioned are ‘unbalanced’ starting positions as a reason against chess960. But as long as each player plays same position as white and black what’s the big deal? Or if that’s impractical then to be honest, it’s rather obvious that even at top level e.g. Carlsen v caruana that even a computers 2+ edge is often not even realised. So until humans improve considerably I don’t think these computer assessments on unfamiliar positions really impact the human results much. I think the human aspect would likely be the difference.

To me this is a matter of taste entirely. I also don’t like jazz too much. It is too rich and there is an information-overload happening to me when I listen to it. Which I do on rare occasions.

I like the tradition of classical chess. I like that I begin the game in the same position as Kasparov did. I like the patterns of openings.

All of Jason’s arguments are valid. To me it is a matter of taste. What do you guys think?

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Sam Shankland and “that” fortress

February 5th, 2019 19 comments

I have felt a need for a while to talk about the Giri – Shankland game. But obviously I do not want to give an inside story. Those are dull anyway, it is always the height of the ceiling or this and that. Because this was not about chess or chess understanding, as anyone who knows anything will know.

I was sitting in the cinema watching THE FAVOURITE with Kallia, telling her Sam had made a draw. Then five minutes later she said he had lost. I did not believe it. How can you lose this position? Sam’s manager, I and any idiot on the Internet was able to see that this was a fortress, whether or not they had read a New In Chess pocketbook or not. But Sam had indeed resigned in the position I had seen.

Of course you should be careful with such sweeping statements…


As the path to c8 suggested by Jan does not work out that well in practice…

I hope this example will be an encouragement to people that even GMs have bad days and that it does not define them. On the next two days, Sam beat Nepomniatchchi and Kramnik and finished the tournament on 50%, winning six rating points. After Kramnik’s retirement, organisers have received statements from the Indian and Israeli Federations, not to have Sam play with Anand or Gelfand in the last round, as losing to Sam can be a career ending experience, as both Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik can testify.
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Perpetual Chess Podcast

February 1st, 2019 10 comments

Jacob was on the Perpetual Chess Podcast, released this week. At Quality Chess we have finally gotten around to sponsor the podcast and we strongly encourage everyone else to give a little to continue this great free product.
Jacob spoke about a lot of things in the programme, some of which will be opened up for debate here on the blog next week, starting with the “960 circus?!” and the future of chess.
When you are interviewed, there is a temptation to hedge your bets and not give any opinions, but this does not make interesting radio and makes little sense to Jacob. So, he said what he was thinking. Others may disagree, but rather than thinking that is a personal issue, we will have a civilised airing of differences here on the blog.
Btw. The next Podcast will be on Game Changer, the chess publication of the year, if you are to believe the hype. This will certainly not be one to miss!

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Super Adhiban

January 8th, 2019 No comments

IM Sam Collins referred me to this email, because Adhiban said some nice things about the Quality Chess Academy, but I am putting it up here because Adhiban is fantastic and the game is fantastic and if you have half an hour to watch it, you should.

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