2017 World Cup – Round 2 Complete

September 8, 2017

The playoffs of round 2 in the World Cup happened today, and as you’d expect with closer matchups and faster time controls, there were a few upsets. Probably the most notable one was Hao Wang over Boris Gelfand. Even though the rating difference wasn’t so big, Gelfand is one of those people whose reputation is […]

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Daniil Dubov — a young Tigran?

September 7, 2017

In round two of the 2017 World Cup, two more big names went down to defeat: former World Champion Viswanathan Anand (the #10 seed) and the most recent World Champion challenger, Sergei Karjakin (who was seeded #12 here). Things are getting real! Anand was completely outplayed by Canadian grandmaster Anton Kovalyov, who won the first […]

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2017 World Cup — Round 1

September 6, 2017

One of my favorite events of the chess calendar is here, and in fact the first round nearly got by me before I realized it. Yes, it’s the month-long chess orgy known as the World Cup. What I don’t like about the World Cup: It’s not a world championship, and should never have been marketed […]

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Another Rip Van Winkle Story

September 3, 2017

In 2014, GM James Tarjan returned to tournament chess after an absence of three decades, and I wrote a post about him called Rip Van Winkle Returns. Last week a friend’s Facebook post reminded me of another, less well-known “Rip Van Winkle” chess player — the terror of Ohio chess in the early 1990s, Boris […]

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Great Defense or Bungled Offense?

August 29, 2017

The 2017 U.S. Masters championship in North Carolina ended last weekend with a dramatic Armageddon game between GM Sam Shankland, the tournament’s highest seed, and GM Yaroslav Zherebukh, last year’s second-place winner. Curiously, neither Shankland nor Zherebukh won the 2017 tournament: the winner was Vladimir Belous of Russia, with a score of 7/9. The playoff […]

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The Great Eclipse Trip of 2017

August 27, 2017

For those who’ve noticed a certain silence from my blog over the last few days, the reason is that I went eclipse-chasing. Somehow or other I managed to turn a less than three-minute eclipse into a full week trip. And it was great! The best thing about the eclipse was that it provided an occasion […]

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A Still Unknown Trap

August 10, 2017

Eight years ago, when I was still recording for ChessLecture, I gave a lecture called “My New Favorite Trap.” I talked about a 100 percent risk-free trap in the Center Counter Opening that should be especially effective against players who are “booked up.” Amazingly, according to ChessBase the trap had only been sprung one time […]

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Different Kinds of Equal

July 30, 2017

Inspired by Eric Rosen’s victory in the London System in my last blog post, I decided to give it a try against the computer. And guess what happened? I won my shortest game ever against Shredder. To be honest, the win had much more to do with Shredder’s awful play than my good play. Although […]

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The Best Way to Beat a GM

July 26, 2017

This title sounds like the beginning of a joke: The best way to beat a grandmaster… is ANY WAY YOU CAN. (This is spoken by somebody who has never done it.) Nevertheless, if I ever beat a GM, I would want to do it the way that IM Eric Rosen did today. At the Xtracon […]

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John Hesp. Poker. Chess. Fantasy.

July 22, 2017

Last night and the previous night I watched parts of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) final table on ESPN. It’s the first time I have ever watched live poker on TV, although I have watched the “canned” broadcasts now and then in the past. Of course, whenever I watch poker I mentally compare it […]

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