Closing Gambit


Forty years ago, on July 18th 1978, Victor Korchnoi sat opposite his hated rival, world champion Anatoly Karpov, and slowly pushed his c-pawn forward by two squares. It was a quiet opening move to start the most controversial world championship match in chess history. Spassky versus Fischer in 1972 was simply the entrée for what became the staple diet of Soviet loyalist Anatoly Karpov defending the Motherland’s honour against defectors and dissidents in the guises of Korchnoi and Kasparov.

If the claim that the 1978 World Championship was more controversial than the 1972 were true, I can’t wait to watch this movie. After all, the championship was staged in the Philippines.

Watch the trailer here.

Mates – the Chess Dating App

Three weeks before the start of the FIDE world championship, organizer World Chess launched chess dating app Mates. Billed as a way to find an opponent for a game of chess, the app came with a press release that doesn’t shy away from a sexual connotation.

Available both for iOS and Android, the app uses dating technology to help find “a chess playing partner near you.” Users post a selfie to create a profile that remains online for just one hour. If there’s a “match,” they can agree on a location to play chess.

Chess players are often billed as nerds or geeks. It’s interesting to see if indeed they can find hook ups using this app.

The Olympiad Tiebreaks Have To Change discusses how tiebreaks are done in the Chess Olympiad:

Both the Open and Women sections of the Batumi Olympiad were decided by tiebreaks. Like just about every two years, this led to criticism on chess forums. According to grandmasters Peter Heine Nielsen and David Smerdon, the time has come to actually do something about it.

The Olympiad-Sonneborn-Berger-Tie-Break without lowest result system allows scores by each team’s previous opponents determine who wins the gold — and they are very much volatile until all the scores are in.

For me, in order to solve this dilemma, TB3, which is game points, should just instead be exchanged with TB2. That way, it is clearer how much should the top teams vying for the top post should win in order to win it all going into the final round.

Norway Chess 2019 – Anti-draws

It’s definitely exciting to see how this format will pan out — among players and fans alike.

Players will get following points per round:

Victory main game: 2 points
Loss main game: 0 points
Draw main game & loss Armageddon: ½ point
Draw main game & victory Armageddon: 1.5 points

There’s no crisis in chess and proposals like Kasimdzhanov’s are terrible. I’d take the “former World Champion” title away from that man. Even the “former”.
— Victor Korchnoi

This from Korchnoi’s interview when he was still alive. That’s a reactive Korchnoi — not proactive. It speaks highly about his age. Do you really want to wait for chess to be in crisis before you take action?

Vietnam too much for Philippines to handle in the Final Round

Unfortunately, for team Philippines, the streak was cut to 5 wins only, as Vietnam was too much for them to handle in the final round of Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018 (Open). All games ended decisively, and Vietnam won 3-1. Thus, Vietnam finished 7th in the ranking, while Philippines settled for 37th place — still a satisfactory performance considering they’re 54th seed.

China wins Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018 (Open)

When the dusts finally settled, 3 teams: USA, China and Russia, tied for the top place. And just like in the previous Olympiad, the grand winner was settled via a tiebreak system — no tiebreak matches whatsoever. A karma, indeed, for USA – just as how they won the last Olympiad, China dethroned them via other teams’ performances, and not necessarily by their own efforts.