Sports Outside the Beltway

Drunk grandmaster falls asleep at chess board

This caused him to overstep the time limit. From Reuters-

A leading French chess player turned up drunk and dozed off after just 11 moves in an international tournament in Kolkata, losing the round on technical grounds, domestic media reported Friday.

Grandmaster Vladislav Tkachiev arrived for Thursday’s match against India’s Praveen Kumar in such an inebriated state that he could hardly sit in his chair and soon fell asleep, resting his head on the table, Hindustan Times newspaper reported.

Indian papers carried pictures of the world number 58 sleeping and the organizers’ futile attempts to wake his up.

The game was awarded to the Indian on the technical ground of Tkachiev being unable to complete his moves within the stipulated time of an hour and 30 minutes, the paper said.

Simply using too much time for a game doesn’t lead to a player being kicked out of a tournament. In a dispute with tournament officials at the Sousse Interzonal in 1967, it took Bobby Fischer’s non-appearance at three games before he was not allowed to continue further. Tkachiev, who has been known to lead a wild lifestyle, has been warned by officials that his conduct is unacceptable. Which it was.


Chess Grandmaster sets new game record

I’ve played over 100 correspondence chess games at once and avoided losing my mind. From AFP-

Bulgarian grandmaster Kiril Georgiev managed to break the world record for the largest number of simultaneous chess games played, organisers said Monday.

Georgiev played a total of 360 games simultaneously and wrapped up his chess marathon within 14 hours and 8 minutes.

He registered only six losses and some 70 draws, winning the rest of the games, against opponents who ranged from children to pensioners.

In order to qualify for the record Georgiev had to win 80 percent of the games and he registered a winning percentage of 88 percent, organisers said.

I’ve taken part in a few simultaneous exhibitions in my life. My record isn’t good, 4 losses in 4 tries. It is fun to be up close with a chess grandmaster.


Chess GM Vassily Ivanchuk refuses to take drug test

As a result, the Ukranian born player can be barred from competitive play for two years. From Der Spiegel-

Who knows what was going through Ivanchuk’s head when, on Nov. 25 in Dresden, the last day of the Chess Olympiad, he lost to Gata Kamsky? What we do know, however, is that when the game against the American ended, a judge asked Ivanchuk to submit to a drug test. Instead, he stormed out of the room in the conference center, kicked a concrete pillar in the lobby, pounded a countertop in the cafeteria with his fists and then vanished into the coatroom. Throughout this performance, he was followed by a handful of officials.

No one could convince Ivanchuk to provide a small amount of urine for the test. And because refusal is treated as a positive test result, he is now considered guilty of doping and could be barred from professional chess for two years.

The incident in Dresden and the possibility of a professional ban for Ivanchuk has caused outrage in the chess world. The players, who fraternize with one another, say that accusing one of them of doping is an insult to their honor and intelligence. Letters of protest were issued, and players are accusing bureaucrats in the world of championship chess of destroying the game, because, as they insist everyone should know, doping provides no benefits in chess.

As a fellow player of the game who once got to the master rating of 2246, I know how many eccentric people there are playing chess. A chessplayer is on their own when playing against someone else. A silent battle of wits, one where a player has to keep many emotions bottled up. With that, a person will also have a inner fight with whatever demons there are, imagined or not, in their lives. Many of the greatest chessplayers were not very well balanced individuals when outside the game. Bobby Fischer’s quirks are legendary but there has been other players fighting mental illness. IM Raymond Weinstein who has spent the last 44 years in a psychiatric hospital after murdering a man. Former US Junior Champion Peter Winston, who disappeared in 1978 never to be seen again, was another one. Brilliant but crazy, is a description often made of chessplayers.

I don’t know if Ivanchuk was using banned substances or not. All I know is that by walking out he has forced most of the chess community to conclude he did.

Hat tip- Don Surber


Former World Chess Champ Bobby Fischer dead at 64

He was a genius on a chess board. No doubt about it. Off the board he was controversial and often wrong. Though some of his claims, like the Soviet players collaborating at the 1962 Candidates Tournament in Curacao, were eventually proved true.

My interest in chess was sparked by the Fischer-Spassky match in 1972.(I met and played Boris at a US Open played in South Florida in the 1980′s and got my clock cleaned in 26 moves.) Joining the US Chess Federation in 1973 and beginning to play correspondence chess the next year. 34 years later I’m still playing competitive corr. chess. You could say Fischer affected my life. As it may have for fellow Wizbang contributor Jim Addison, Jim is an active over the board player today.

Sadly after reaching the pinnacle of the chess world, Fischer basically disappeared from sight. His only return to the chess board being a re-match with Spassky in 1992.(Ironically one of my current CC games is at a position after 19 moves only seen before in one of that year’s match games) Genius at the chess board if often short lived or takes its toll in other ways. Other greats of the game at a young age, Mikhail Tal and Paul Morphy among others, burned out or died young or both. In Fischer’s case, it looks like he burned out. Where do you go once you become the best in the world? RIP Bobby.


India’s Vishwanathan Anand wins World Chess Championship in Mexico

From the Times of India.

Vishwanathan Anand became the world chess champion on Saturday, after winning the global tournament in Mexico. In doing so, he replaced Vladimir Kramnik of Russia as champion, winning the tournament on points after tying a match with Hungarian Peter Leko on the 14th day of the contest, which he dominated from the start.

The tournament saw eight of the world’s top chess brains battle it out in the competition, from which Anand came out unscathed.

The 37-year-old Indian had previously won the world championship in 2000, but the achievement was valued less since at the time the chess world was split between two rival world titles.

While I’m a prolific Correspondence chess player(Over 1,000 games lifetime with over 100 going at present), I don’t follow the world chess scene much anymore. Much like my baseball viewing habits, I knew the status of the game(sport) much better twenty years ago. Like many US chessplayers my age, I can tell you all about Bobby Fischer. My familiarity with his successor, Anatoly Karpov, is almost as strong.(We both like to play a certain Caro-Kann variation. I’ve played it over 70 times, Only Karpov and four other have played it as often or more). Only by sheer fluke, do I know anything about what Annad likes to play. A 2003 Golden Knights game of mine following one of the World Champ’s 1999 games for 25 moves. Opening databases are wonderful aren’t they? Till your game leaves them, then you’re on your own. I barely managed a draw in the 2003 game.

The way the World Championships are conducted has changed. For 25-30 years starting in 1964, the champion was determined via a series of Interzonal tournaments followed by elimination matches. This method put into place after some said the old Candidates tournaments were too prone to Soviet cheating. Now we’ve come back to a system much like the one used from 1948-1962.

Congratulations to Annad. Now are Indians prouder about Annad winning the World title again or Team India winning the recent Cricket Championship.

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Top 100 US Correspondence Chess player James Fisher has passed away

He was a fellow chess player who I’ve played on 13 occasions and just passed away. James Fisher was from Deer Park Texas. I don’t know the cause of death(James did tell me he had a recent heart attack a few months back) or when James passed away except it happened in the last 10 days.

James was a tough player, who was rated one of the top 100 CC players by the US Chess Federation. I had been fortunate to be 4-6 against James lifetime,(4 losses, 2 wins and 4 draws by me) with three games active at the time of his death. James didn’t talk too much in any of our mails to each other and almost all our games were played by email since the first time we played in 2002. He didn’t seem to like conventional openings, but it worked well for him.

Below I’ve put one of the games I played against James. He crushed me in 20 moves. James Fisher will be missed by his fellow correspondence chess players. RIP.

Fisher-Jempty 2004 Golden Knights Semi-finals

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.O-O Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 d5 7.exf6
dxc4 8.fxg7 Rg8 9.Bg5 f6 10.Re1+ Kf7 11.Bh6 Kg6 12.Qc1 Bg4 13.Nh4+
Kf7 14.Qf4 Qd7 15.Nd2 Be7 16.Ne4 f5 17.h3 Bxh4 18.hxg4 Rae8 19.gxf5
Bf6 20.Nxf6 1-0


Chess Grandmaster David Bronstein dead at 82

MOSCOW – David Bronstein, a chess grandmaster who nearly became world champion, has died at age 82, the World Chess Federation announced.

Bronstein died Tuesday in Minsk, Belarus, the federation said. It did not give the cause of death, but the Russian Chess Federation said he died of a stroke.


Bronstein, born in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union, was champion of the U.S.S.R. in 1948 and 1949. He challenged reigning champion Mikhail Botvinnik in 1951, but drew the match 12-12 — despite leading with two games left to play — leaving the title in Botvinnik’s hands.

“He played hundreds of sparkling games which will always be remembered by chess players. Bronstein was and remains a hero for hundreds of thousands of chess fans, who grew up on his ingenious books and games,” the Russian Chess Federation said.

It quoted Bronstein as saying once that chess has an almost spiritual aspect: “Beauty is the most important aspect of chess. … We are passing our knowledge and our understanding of beauty to the next generations, and thus life goes on forever.”

Bronstein’s book ‘Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953‘ is a classic in chess literature. It has been my favorite chess book since my first discovering it some 20 years ago. Bronstein’s straightforward strategic commentary(Easy for players of all strengths to follow. I’m Expert level myself with a rating in the 2100′s) without endless pages of possible moves, makes it a book nearly impossible to put down for any lover of the game of chess. The Grandmaster’s play on the board was more creative than his few efforts at writing. Here is just one example.

I’ve spent endless hours with Bronstein’s book. His book is so amazing, you almost feel as if you know this chess genius. Dear Wife was the one who pointed out GM Bronstein’s death to me. It was in today’s Palm Beach Post and to be honest it shook me a bit and I think many chess fans are feeling the same now. David Bronstein may be dead, but his brilliance will live on. RIP.


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