Shocking Chess News

by admin on November 28, 2016

While the chess world waits for the epic twelfth game of the Carlson-Karjakin world championship match, there was another shocking piece of chess news halfway around the world that I’m still trying to digest. If you remember, the last serious post I wrote before going on hiatus was on the “Most Amazing Game of 2016,” between Artyom Timofeev and Urii Eliseev. I was stunned to read that the loser of that game, Eliseev, died this weekend in a fall. He was only 20 years old and had a great career ahead of him. A former world under-16 champion, he certainly could have made the world’s top 100, maybe even the top 10 someday.

According to the news story at Chessbase and at CNN, Eliseev was a lover of parkour, a newly popular sport where people turn real-world objects into obstacle courses. The stories say different things, but apparently he wanted to jump from one balcony to another in his apartment building, slipped or lost his grip, and fell twelve stories to his death.

It’s hard for me to grasp why people would do things like this, but I know that the daredevil instinct is strong in some young people, and their regard for the consequences is weak. It’s part of being young, and in some way it may be good for our species that young people are so determined to push the boundaries. The same daredevil spirit surely manifested itself in Eliseev’s chess games, too, and it’s one reason that we can enjoy insane games like his four-queen game against Timofeev.

Before I went on hiatus, I was going to write another post on another daredevil game of Eliseev where he beat Dariusz Swiercz, using exactly the same opening that had led to defeat against Timofeev. I still plan to do that. It would be sad if Eliseev were remembered only as the grandmaster who jumped to his death, instead of the grandmaster who played these beautiful games.

Anyway, I’m going back on hiatus now. I hope that the last game between Carlsen and Karjakin will be a great one, and I hope that they will somehow summon Eliseev’s go-for-broke spirit. But guys, please keep it on the chessboard. Don’t jump out of any buildings!

 

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Crunch Time

by admin on October 10, 2016

As many of my blog readers know, I’m working on a book project that has taken a lot of my time away from chess this year. That’s why I haven’t played in a chess tournament since February. It’s been hard to pass up on so many tournaments, because I usually like to play in at least five or six tournaments a year. It’s also been harder for me to keep the blog fresh with interesting material, because tournaments are usually my best topics.

Well, now it’s really coming down to crunch time for the book. My deadline is less than three months away, and I have to give all my attention to finishing it. I can’t really do a quality job on the book and also spend the amount of time it takes to write a quality chess blog. So with a little bit of sorrow, I’m going to take a break from the chess blog for the rest of the year.

I hate it when blogs take a hiatus or a vacation or whatever you might call it, because too often they never come back. But this is just for three months! It is definitely my intention to come back, and I mean both writing the blog and playing in tournament chess. I appreciate all of you who have read my blog regularly over the years, and I hope you will come back in January, when I expect to start posting again. Meanwhile, good luck and good skill to all of you who are still participating in the chess arena. I’ll join you soon!

 

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Most Amazing Game of 2016

October 9, 2016

One of my favorite ChessLectures ever was called “Double Queen Sacrifices,” in which I talked about the ultra-rare games where one player sacrificed a queen twice in the same game. Many chess players don’t even sacrifice two queens in their whole lives, so two queens in one game is pretty amazing. But this year there was a […]

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The Eternal Dilemma

October 2, 2016

To be or not to be? To play e5 or f5? These are the great dilemmas in life. A few weeks ago I wrote about a game I played with Shredder where I had to make a decision between e5 and f5 at a crucial point (although as Gjon Feinstein pointed out, d4 was also […]

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History Repeats

September 25, 2016

One of my teammates at this year’s US Amateur Team tournament, Larry Smith, has an interesting semi-blog. It isn’t publicly accessible like a blog is, but he sends out chess-related e-mails a few times a week to a couple dozen people on his distribution list. The e-mails are usually of the “position of the day” variety […]

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Olympiad Coverage in the New York Times

September 14, 2016

Here’s the good news: the New York Times had an article about the U.S. gold medal in the 2016 Chess Olympiad. Here’s the bad news: the New York Times had an article about the U.S. gold medal in the 2016 Chess Olympiad. What do I mean? Well, first read the article, “U.S. Wins Gold at Chess Olympiad With […]

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U.S. Wins Olympiad!

September 13, 2016

Did I call it or what?! You might recall that in yesterday’s post I wrote about the upcoming U.S.-Canada match: I think the one weak link for Canada is board one. Evgeny Bareev is a strong GM for sure, but board one is a really tough assignment and he has only managed 4½ out of […]

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U.S. Clinches a Medal! (2016 Olympiad)

September 12, 2016

Surprisingly, my predictions yesterday were not too far off the mark. In the penultimate round of the 2016 Olympiad, the U.S. and Ukraine both “took care of business” as I predicted. However, I was slightly wrong about Russia. I predicted that they would beat India, but in fact they only tied. That leaves the standings […]

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2016 Olympiad — Pre-Round 10 Predictions

September 11, 2016

The ninth round of the Chess Olympiad in Baku brought some clarity to the proceedings. On the men’s side, the U.S. team beat Norway, Ukraine beat India, and Russia crushed the home team, Azerbaijan. That leaves the troika of the U.S., Ukraine, and Russia on top of the standings with 16, 16, and 15 match […]

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Remember the Date!

September 10, 2016

September 10, 2016. That’s the day when both American teams, the men (or “open”) and women, were tied for first place at the Chess Olympiad. Does anybody with a better knowledge of chess history know whether this has ever happened before, with so few rounds remaining? Quick summary: Since my last post, the open team […]

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