Archive for December, 2015

Praise for Gelfand’s book

December 29th, 2015 27 comments


Categories: Reviews Tags:

Which chessplayer impressed you most in 2015?

December 21st, 2015 32 comments

Last week’s question was: “Which chess engine is best?” Komodo seemed in the lead all week, but a late surge gave the win to Stockfish. As the count shows, these two engines dominated the field.



As the year draws to a close, it is natural to look back. So my question this week is: Which chessplayer impressed you most in 2015?

Maybe that’s an easy one for you: Magnus Carlsen is World Champion and World Number 1. But he didn’t have a great year, by his standards. So maybe for you it is the (almost) unbeatable Anish Giri. Or perhaps World Cup winner Sergey Karjakin, or runner-up Peter Svidler, who so nearly won. Maybe you are impressed by Veselin Topalov reaching World Number 2 and hitting a peak of 2816. Or possibly the player who caught your eye was Wei Yi: at 16 he is already in the Top 30. Or someone else entirely?

Categories: Polls Tags:

Forward Chess video

December 17th, 2015 9 comments

Our friends at Forward Chess have a promotional video. See what you think. It is only 46 seconds long, so it will not delay you long. It does have sound, so be careful if you are supposed to be working…

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Which chess engine is best?

December 14th, 2015 25 comments

As the blog poll predicted two weeks ago, Magnus Carlsen won the London Classic. With three rounds to go, Magnus had drawn all his games and I was doubting the wisdom of crowds, but a 2½/3 finish and a playoff win proved you right.

Last week’s question was: How do you meet 1.d4? To my surprise, the Grünfeld edged out the KID, Nimzo and Slav. Are there really more Grünfeld than KID players among our readers, or are the Grünfelders just more fanatical about clicking the vote button? Who knows.


So far this has been John writing, but now Jacob takes over with this week’s poll question: Which chess engine is best?

Our friends at Komodo are able to celebrate another great victory. There are a lot of good engines out there at the moment, with Stockfish and Johnny being the main ones, having surpassed the likes of Houdini and Rybka a long time ago (Rybka and Fritz15 are now one and the same as far as I can understand. I do not know how strong it is).

Komodo beat Stockfish by 53.5-46.5 or 8-1 if you like, in a 100-game match. You can read more here.

Does this actually answer our question? Nope! But I hope someone will do so in the comments section below…

Categories: Polls Tags:

How do you meet 1.d4?

December 7th, 2015 80 comments

Last week’s question was: “Who will win the London Classic?” I expected a clear majority for Magnus Carlsen, and he did indeed top the poll, but it was a narrow win ahead of Levon Aronian. With only 3 rounds completed, it is too early to say who will win the Classic, but Not-Topalov appears a safe bet.

This week I continue my quest to learn all about our readers’ opening repertoires. I already asked what you play against 1.e4, so this week it’s: How do you meet 1.d4? The options that spring to my mind are: King’s Indian Defence, Grünfeld, Nimzo-Indian (plus something against 3.Nf3 and 3.g3), QGA, QGD, Slav, Semi-Slav, or Other.

As ever, please use the comments box to say what you mean by Other, or anything else that’s on your mind.

Categories: Polls Tags:

Working on the second Gelfand book

December 4th, 2015 16 comments

Boris and I joked to each other about when people would pick up on the fact that we would write more than one book together, something that became very clear to me the moment he presented the material he wanted to go over in the first session we did together.

It happened already on the day that the Forward Chess book was released. There is a comment in the book that refers to “a later volume”. Someone asked me on Facebook if this meant that there would be more books. It does. For a start, we are working on Dynamic Decision Making in Chess. We have talked about the structure of the book and have already recorded Boris’s part of a few games. I am especially keen on the notes to game six in his match in 2011 in Kazan against Alexander Grischuk. At least I am trying to be, because I am currently writing them down!

You may be wondering – does this lead to a delay in Thinking Inside the Box? I have to confess that it will. I am working on many projects; helping out a bit here and there. It fits well with my private circumstances at the moment. I need to build up the energy for tackling this big, big project I have in my head and my notes…

Categories: Authors in Action Tags:

What does the World Champion actually earn?

December 4th, 2015 7 comments

Generally, it is known what a chess player earns for playing in a tournament. The first prize is listed and the appearance fee is usually enough to cover travel and a bit more, with accommodation and food often supplied by the organisers. For lower-ladder GMs such as myself, this is frequently all that is offered, although I get £300 for one tournament I frequently play and £500 for the Danish Championship.

I have always felt blessed that people pay me to play chess. I have never been a devoted professional and the organisers are usually working for free in Northern Europe, because they like chess and the sponsors are entirely philanthropic.

But there are serious players out there as well. People who make their living from playing chess. They go from open tournament to open tournament, struggling to make ends meet.

The best players go from this nomadic existence to a super-league of highly-paid tournaments. In his interview about Norwegian Chess, Topalov explained his relaxed attitude to chess these days as “last prize is $15,000”, which is certainly a better prize than I have ever received…

I talked to a top 20 player once, who said he got £5000 in appearance fee for his latest tournament, but rushed to tell me that this was of course very, very good. Life outside the top tournaments is doable, but it is not gilded.

But what about Magnus Carlsen, World Champion, fashion icon and national hero? Surely this must be good business? Obviously, we would never be able to find out what Anand, Kramnik and Topalov earn, as they live in countries where such information is not easily accessible. But Carlsen lives in Norway, where everything is out in the open.

Read more…

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