Odds & Ends

by admin on February 27, 2008

This is just an entry devoted to odds and ends of various kinds.

First of all, I just wanted to let everybody know that I’ve gotten over my blunder of last Sunday, which I wrote about in my post “Back to Square One.” I now realize it was not the worst blunder in chess history, which of course was the way I felt for the first five minutes after the game.

If there are any people out there who are avidly following the Santa Cruz Cup, here are the standings after six rounds:

  1. Ilan Benjamin – 5.5 (*)
  2. Dana Mackenzie – 4.5 (*)
  3. Juande Perea – 4 (*)
  4. Dan Burkhard – 3
  5. Jeff Mallett – 2
  6. Yves Tan – 2
  7. Ken Seehart -2
  8. Jim Parker -1

(*) These players have clinched spots in the championship quad. After round seven, the top four players will play a round robin to determine the winner, and the bottom four players will play a consolation round robin. All previous results will be discarded!

The standings may change because Yves Tan had a forfeit win against Ken Seehart, but it looks as if they are going to play the game anyway.

All four games on Sunday are potentially relevant, because each game has one player who is fighting to get in the championship quad. The games are Benjamin vs. Burkhard, Tan vs. Mackenzie, Seehart vs. Perea, and Mallett vs. Parker.

On a completely different subject, I wanted to mention a cool chess site that I was reminded of today, Tim Krabbé’s “Open Chess Diary.” I love this site because Tim asks the same sorts of goofy questions that I wonder about, too. Have there been any games with six pawns in one long chain? What is the longest that any player has ever suffered with a “Steinitz bishop”? (That’s what he calls a bishop on c8 that is entombed by pawns on b7 and d7.) What’s going on in a King + 4 Knights vs. K + Queen endgame? He also tracks things that I never would have dreamed of, such as the current world record for most consecutive checks. That means White plays a check, Black answers it with a check, White answers that with a check, and so on. The record is way longer than I would have believed possible.

In fact, everything on Tim’s website seems to stretch one’s imagination. Back when I was preparing my ChessLecture on forks, I discovered his article The Mother of All Forks. The title refers to the last example, where White simultaneously forks Black’s two rooks by both his knight and his pawn, which happen to be his only two remaining pieces. Whichever rook moves, the other rook gets taken with checkmate. This, like a lot of his examples, came from a composed problem, but even his examples from real games will absolutely blow you away. I showed two of them in my Forks lectures and would gladly have used more, but I didn’t want to completely copy his article.

Also, Tim Krabbé’s page has a link to the online endgame tablebases, where you can find “God’s evaluation” of all endgame positions with six or fewer pieces, including the number of moves to checkmate. I have seen some references to the tablebases recently, notably in Ernest Hong’s blog post about the K+R+B vs. K+R endgame in which Alexander Grischuk beat Andrei Rychagov. But I didn’t really know how you could get them. I assumed you probably had to buy them. But in fact, you can query them free online, right here.

Finally, on a fourth different subject, I wanted to follow up some previous entries by mentioning that Ian Nepomniashchi won the Aeroflot Open. This gives me one more chance to get on my soapbox and say that English speakers should not write his name as Ian Nepomniachtchi, which is the French spelling, because this is guaranteed to make you pronounce it wrong. If you really want to pronounce it correctly, you should write it as Jan Nepomniaschchi, but I’m not as adamant about that.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

dribbling February 29, 2008 at 3:51 am

So we have been anguished on your behalf on a to-be-discarded result. Tsk, tsk. 😉

Thank you, oh so much, for directing us to Tim Krabbé’s wonderful website. There’s a bit of wit and wisdom there which may give you comfort, Dana: “anyone can hang a piece but a good blunder requires thought.”

Finally, that chess player’s name should clearly be pronounced Jan Sneeze.
I doubt that he can make a living at anything other than chess:
– Doctor – In your condition surgery is mandatory. It’s low risk and you will have the very best surgeon in the profession.
– Patient – Who is he?
– Doctor – His name is on the document in front of you. Please read it and sign on the dotted line.
– Patient – I’m outta here.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: