Your short-notice transatlantic flight (for love) or a checkmate!
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

There are two reasons why you would be ready to take a transatlantic flight in the next two minutes – If there’s a love waiting on the other side or if there’s a checkmate!!! So, we give you the second reason to take the flight in our chess class today – hosted by Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk from the World’s No. 1 www.chesskillertips.com. Enjoy.

CKT 033: Transatlantic Flight
CKT 033: Transatlantic Flight
LEVEL: Easy
CATEGORY: Problem

White plays and mates in two moves. Chess Problem published in Musical World, 1860.






From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com

Fide Rating March 2011 list: Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk most-active top woman chess player
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

This is cool news. Not only has Chess Queen Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk got back into the 2500-plus club but she remains the most-active woman chess player in the top-60 bracket. The only woman to have played 22 tournament games in the quarter – requiring courage and commitment.

She has begun a turbo-charged 2011 by notching up the best performance in the World Blitz Chess Qualifier held in Moscow and of course, before that, winning the Moscow Open Women’s Closed Event this year.



RankNameTitleCountryRatingGamesB.Yr
1 Polgar, Judit g HUN 2686 0 1976
2 Koneru, Humpy g IND 2607 0 1987
3 Hou, Yifan g CHN 2602 0 1994
4 Dzagnidze, Nana g GEO 2567 10 1987
5 Kosintseva, Nadezhda m RUS 2567 10 1985
6 Kosintseva, Tatiana g RUS 2559 10 1986
7 Lahno, Kateryna g UKR 2531 18 1989
8 Muzychuk, Anna m SLO 2528 4 1990
9 Cmilyte, Viktorija g LTU 2526 10 1983
10 Harika, Dronavalli m IND 2524 10 1991
11 Stefanova, Antoaneta g BUL 2523 10 1979
12 Ju, Wenjun wg CHN 2519 9 1991
13 Zhu, Chen g QAT 2506 10 1976
14 Kosteniuk, Alexandra g RUS 2503 22 1984
15 Chiburdanidze, Maia g GEO 2502 0 1961
16 Zatonskih, Anna m USA 2499 10 1978
17 Galliamova, Alisa m RUS 2497 0 1972
18 Zhao, Xue g CHN 2495 18 1985
19 Socko, Monika g POL 2495 15 1978
20 Sebag, Marie g FRA 2489 0 1986
21 Cramling, Pia g SWE 2484 21 1963
22 Xu, Yuhua g CHN 2484 0 1976
23 Ruan, Lufei wg CHN 2480 0 1987
24 Muzychuk, Mariya m UKR 2476 0 1992
25 Danielian, Elina g ARM 2475 9 1978

Meanwhile, in the men’s Fide rating list, nothing much happening except World Champion Viswanathan Anand back to the No. 1 slot with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave being the most active among the top players. Here is the list.


RankNameTitleCountryRatingGamesB.Yr
1 Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2817 13 1969
2 Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2815 13 1990
3 Aronian, Levon g ARM 2808 13 1982
4 Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2785 13 1975
5 Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2779 19 1969
6 Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2776 0 1990
7 Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2775 0 1975
8 Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2774 13 1987
9 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2772 0 1985
10 Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2747 13 1983
11 Gashimov, Vugar g AZE 2746 9 1986
12 Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2744 0 1987
13 Ponomariov, Ruslan g UKR 2743 13 1983
14 Wang, Yue g CHN 2734 0 1987
15 Kamsky, Gata g USA 2733 9 1974
16 Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2733 0 1968
17 Svidler, Peter g RUS 2730 0 1976
18 Nepomniachtchi, Ian g RUS 2729 13 1990
19 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2728 22 1990
20 Wang, Hao g CHN 2728 13 1989
21 Eljanov, Pavel g UKR 2724 0 1983
22 Navara, David g CZE 2722 22 1985
23 Vitiugov, Nikita g RUS 2720 9 1987
24 Almasi, Zoltan g HUN 2719 0 1976
25 Bacrot, Etienne g FRA 2718 14 1983

For the complete lists you can go to the official Fide website.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com

Pretty lady getting massage next to your chess board: Is that distracting?
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Before we give you this news update, here’s a serious question: Would a pretty lady getting a massage next to your chess board distract you? Think about it. Till we tell you the news first.

Jolanta Zawadzka (2371) has won the Polish Chess Championship for women. The men’s segment was won by Mateusz Bartel (2617). Both the winners came clear first, scoring 7/9. GM Bartel won the tournament for the second time in a succession and showed a respectable 2789 performance.

The Championship was held in Warsaw from February 12-20, 2011. Though the women’s section was a round robin with nine rounds, the men played Swiss format with 22 participants. (Right: Jolanta Zawadzka)

GM Mateusz Bartel won the men’s section convincingly (7.0/9), finishing a full point ahead of the field and suffering not a single loss. The next players, GMs Pawel Jaracz (2543) and Radoslaw Wojtaszek (2726) scored 6/9, whereas the second prize went to Jaracz based on Buchholz tie-break points. In the women’s section, the victor WGM Jolanta Zawadzka (2371) scored 7.0/9 with not a single loss. She left behind GM Monika Socko (2489), who scored 6.5/9 and WGM Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska (2254), who scored 5.5/9.


Prize winners Pawel Jaracz (left), Mateusz Bartel (left of centre) and Radoslaw Wojtaszek (right) with Dorota Rzepecka, the Tournament Director.

You can find more details at the official website here.

And, now back to the question: Would a pretty lady getting a massage next to your chessboard distract you? We think GM Robert Kempinski would answer that best. Wink.



From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com

Chess pawns dance skating video – Must watch
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Here is a really nice chess pawns skating dance video sent to us by Greta Muller, Munich. There are two segments in the video – Demonia and Chess. The Chess segment begins somewhere about minute 4.08 but then the entire video is worth a watch.

Enjoy the video.

It will keep you in high spirits throughout the coming week. And, don’t forget we love chess and we love you every time you write to us with your comments, views, videos and updates. Keep them coming in.



P.S. Was the score 0-1?

From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
Also see her personal blog at

Beautiful and difficult chess study from 1903
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

What are you doing this Sunday? Having fun? Catching up with some sleep? Planning for the week ahead? Whatever you’re doing, you surely got time for this cool chess class? Right! So, here goes. Enjoy.

CKT 032: She can’t hide
CKT 032: She can't hide
LEVEL: Difficult
CATEGORY: Study

1903 Study by Henri Rinck. White plays and wins. Beautiful and more complex examples of the Enfilade technique introduced in CKT 002.





From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com

Women’s Chess Grand Prix in Doha R5: Danielian increases lead to full two points
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Antoaneta Stefanova: That’s how
chess can make you happy…

Elina Danielian’s powerful performance with five straight victories is the talk of the tournament at the sixth women’s chess grand prix currently on in Doha, Qatar. The rest of the competition is a good two points far away with Marie Sebag, Pia Cramling and Martha Fierro at 3 points each. Is she running away with this? Your guess is as good as ours!


… and Maia Chiburdanidze
couldn’t agree more!




There have been some super games at the tournament and we hope you’ve been keeping track with all our posts here at www.chessblog.com.

You can find the standings after five rounds below and can also access the official website here if you are looking for more background information and press updates from the tournament.



Standings after Round 5

1
GM
Danielian E.
2454
ARM
5
2
IM
Fierro Martha
2363
ECU
3
3
GM
Cramling Pia
2516
SWE
3
4
GM
Sebag Marie
2489
FRA
3
5
GM
Koneru Humpy
2607
IND
6
GM
Chiburdanidze
2502
GEO
7
GM
Zhu Chen
2495
QAT
2
8
GM
Xu Yuhua
2484
CHN
2
9
GM
Stefanova A
2546
BUL
2
10
GM
Dzagnidze N
2550
GEO
2
11
IM
Mkrtchian Lilit
2475
ARM
12
IM
Munguntuul B
2410
MGL

Time for some nice games from Round 5. Enjoy.




From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com


Your daily chess class with Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011


Hi everyone,


Let’s get down to some concrete chess tactics today. Calculations are the essence of it all. Even your intuition has to build on the solid foundation of calculations. Stay tuned for the World’s No. 1 chess podcast www.chesskillertips.com hosted by none other than Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk.


CKT 031:Concrete Tactics Please
CKT 031:Concrete Tactics Please
LEVEL: Intermediate   
CATEGORY: Middle Game

A position from the game Fressinet – Postny, Warsaw 2005, white plays and wins. Presented by Guest Star Laurent Fressinet.
.



From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com

Elina Danielian leads sixth women’s chess grand prix (R4) in Doha with perfect score
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011


Hi everyone,

Elina Danielian continues with a power-packed performance by leading at the Sixth Women’s Chess Grand Prix after four rounds. She has won all her four games. Here are the standings from the official website:




1. GM Danielian Elina 2454 ARM 4
2. IM Fierro Martha L 2363 ECU
3. GM Sebag Marie 2489 FRA 2½
4. GM Chiburdanidze Maia 2502 GEO 2
5. GM Dzagnidze Nana 2550 GEO 2
6. GM Koneru Humpy 2607 IND 2
7. GM Cramling Pia 2516 SWE 2
8. GM Xu Yuhua 2484 CHN 2
9. GM Zhu Chen 2495 QAT
10. GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2546 BUL 1½
11. IM Mkrtchian Lilit 2475 ARM 1
12. IM Munguntuul Batkhuyag 2410 MGL 1

Some nice games from Round 4. Enjoy.



From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com


How chess genius Kasparov, wife Dasha won Georgian ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ version for charity!
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Here was our previous www.chessblog.com post on Genius chess grandmaster Kasparov wins 20,000 Lari in Georgia for charity. The video has now been uploaded at the Rustavi-2 channel here. The youtube video is below.





The Georgian television show ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ is called “Who Wants To Win 20,000?” The prize sum is quite modest by Western standards, but when Garry Kasparov and his wife Dasha took part they had pledged to donate their winnings to a brother and sister who urgently need heart surgery. Here is a transcript for you to enjoy from the link at www.chess-news.ru.

1. (20 lari) Which chess award is given to the best chess players in the world?
A. Oscar
B. Golden Globe
C. Palme d’Or
D. Silver Bear

2. (30 lari) How old was Garry Kasparov in 1985 when he became the youngest World Champion ever in chess?
A. 20
B. 22
C. 24
D. 26

3. (40 lari) Which grandmaster was in the list of the “Top 100 geniuses of our time” published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper in 2007?
A. Vladimir Kramnik
B. Anatoly Karpov
C. Garry Kasparov
D. Magnus Carlsen

4. (50 lari) Which traditional Georgian dish is similar to pelmeni dumplings?
A. Khinkali
B. Satsivi
C. Khachapuri
D. Lobiani

5. (100 lari, first guaranteed prize) Which of these well-known wines isn’t Georgian?
A. Khvanchkara
B. Saperavi
C. Château Margaux
D. Kindzmarauli

6. (200 lari) What is the meaning of the phrase “shakh mat”, from which the Russian “shakhmaty” comes?
A. Long live the king

B. The king is dead
C. Naked king
D. God save the king

7. (400 lari) What is the Latin abbreviation in international currency conventions of the Georgian “lari”?
A. GLE
B. LAR
C. GNC
D. GEL

8. (800 lari) Which of these twentieth century events took place before all the others?
A. The construction of the Berlin Wall
B. Gagarin flies into space
C. John F. Kennedy’s inauguration
D. The murder of John Lennon
(Garry knows that three of these events happened in 1961, and cleverly works out which one was the earliest.)

9. (1600 lari) Leonid Gaidai’s film ‘Ivan Vasilievich Changes his Profession’ is based on a novel by which author?
A. Ilf and Petrov
B. Alexei Tolstoy
C. Eduard Uspensky
D. Mikhail Bulgakov

10. (3000 lari, second guaranteed prize) The reigning monarch of which country is a five-time Olympic bobsleigh competitor?
A. Monaco
B. Belgium
C. Norway
D. Sweden

Kasparov rejects the correct answer, but is uncertain what to choose. He uses the ‘Ask the Audience’ option and gets it right by a very narrow margin.

11. (4000 lari) Which nervous tic is to be observed in onychophagia?
A. Frequent blinking
B. Nose rubbing
C. Gnashing of teeth
D. Nail biting

12. (6000 lari) How many sovereign states make up the European Union?
A. 18
B. 23
C. 27
D. 30

Kasparov, the memory freak, tries to solve this one by actually naming all the members one by one (try that yourself!). He gets all but one and guesses the nearest number correctly.

13. (8,000 lari) St. Malachy prophesied the name of the last Pope, which is said to be the reason that Popes never choose it. What is that name?
A. Stephen
B. Peter
C. Adrian
D. Alexander

14. (12,000 lari) Which of the following was the last opera of Giuseppe Verdi?
A. Aida
B. Falstaff
C. La Traviata
D. Othello

The Kasparovs used their Fifty-Fifty option here – the computer randomly eliminates two incorrect answer choices, leaving the contestant with a choice between the correct answer and one incorrect one.

15. (20,000 lari) Which of these combinations corresponds to the number 5 in Morse Code?
A. 5 dashes
B. 5 dots
C. 2 dashes 2 dots
D. None of the above

Here the Kasparovs used their Phone-A-Friend option, but unsuccessfully – the time runs out before the friend can come up with a coherent answer. However the charity version of the quiz has an extra lifeline: the contestants may ask for an alternative question. This is what the Kasparovs did.

15. (20,000 lari) Which strait was Louis Blériot the first to fly across on 25 July 1909?

A. The Dardanelles
B. The Bosphorus
C. The Strait of Gibraltar
D. La Manche (The English Channel)

Garry and Dasha spend an inordinate amount of time on this one. Is it a trick question – it seems too easy. Actually they later discovered that the producers had not prepared a difficult question for this final phase, because nobody had got so far in the past.





The answer is correct, the Kasparovs have won 20,000 for the children’s urgently needed heart surgery. Garry told us that in the phone-in action an additional 46,020 lari was donated.
The correct answers are; 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, 4=A, 5=C, 6=B, 7=D,
8=C, 9=D, 10=A, 11=D, 12=C, 13=B, 14=B, 15=B and 15=D.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
Also see her personal blog at

Your chess video class hosted by Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011


Hi everyone,


A classic chess study for our ongoing chess class based on our award-winning www.chesskillertips.com database. You cannot miss it today. 



CKT 030: Morphy’s Immortal Game
CKT 030: Morphy's Immortal Game
LEVEL: Easy   
CATEGORY: Game

The Immortal 1858 Game between Paul Morphy and Duke Carl and Count Isouard.





From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com

Extraordinary exhibitions explore the art of chess
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,


Remember our previous posts about art exhibitions with chess at the Bendigo Art Gallery. Here are the links from our www.chessblog.com posts.

Now here’s this nice article about an exhibition beginning on February 26.



Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin chess set 2003
Hand-painted porcelain, leather and timber
© Courtesy of the artist and RS&A Ltd, London

Famous artists including Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin will be among the players when two chess-themed exhibitions open at The University of Queensland tomorrow, February 26.
The Art of Chess, which features works by 15 of some of the most acclaimed international contemporary artists, was secured by UQ Art Museum in collaboration with Bendigo Art Gallery for an exclusive Australian tour.
“The game of chess is traditionally perceived as a subdued, cerebral and introspective activity,” curator Tansy Curtin said.
“However, the creation of new artworks informed by the notion of the game of chess adds a new dimension to the game itself: chess acquires a new visual persona; beauty and drama alongside intrigue and threat become implicit aspects of the game.”
The exhibition incorporates innovative and curious chess sets commissioned from artists including Maurizio Cattelan (Italy), Jake and Dinos Chapman (UK), Oliver Clegg (UK), Tracey Emin (UK), Tom Friedman (USA), Paul Fryer (UK), Damien Hirst (UK), Barbara Kruger (USA), Yayoi Kusama (Japan), Paul McCarthy (USA), Alastair Mackie (UK), Matthew Ronay (USA), Tunga (Brazil), Gavin Turk (UK) and Rachel Whiteread (UK).
Facing off against this stellar line-up is Your Move: Australian artists play chess.
Inspired by The Art of Chess, Bendigo Art Gallery commissioned 13 Australian artists to produce 12 works, commissioned as part of the largest grant ever awarded by Visions of Australia.
Artists featured in Your Move include Benjamin Armstrong, Lionel Bawden, Sebastian Di Mauro, Michael Doolan, Emily Floyd, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, Robert Jacks, Danie Mellor, Kate Rohde, Caroline Rothwell, Sally Smart and Ken Yonetani.
Players in the away team include extraordinary spotted fungal sculptures by Yayoi Kusama; a finely crafted set of glass and silver pill bottles with surgical trolley chessboard by Damien Hirst; and a good versus evil set by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan that pits Hitler, Rasputin and Al Capone against Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Superman.
Players in Your Move include human-animal hybrids, literary characters and beer bottles and coasters set up to play on a rickety Australian picnic table.
“You don’t have to play chess or know its history to enjoy the strategies played out by the artists in this exhibition – and, indeed, not all the commissioned artists themselves are chess players,” Acting Director of the UQ Art Museum Michele Helmrich said.
“But, as the legendary artist and chess player Marcel Duchamp said: ‘while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists’.”
A diverse program of public events will include opportunities to watch members of the UQ Chess Club do battle and even challenge them to a game.

The Art of Chess Your Move: Australian artists play chess appear at UQ Art Museum until April 24.

Opening week Public Programs

Saturday 26 February
11.00am – curator floor talk by Tansy Curtin of Bendigo Art Gallery
12.00pm – artist talks by Michael Doolan, Caroline Rothwell, local artist Sebastian Di Mauro
2.00 – 4.00pm – a giant chess game outside the Art Museum with members of the UQ Chess Club
Monday 28 February – Friday 4 March
10.00am – 3.00pm – members of the UQ Chess Club do battle in the Art Museum. Visitors may watch or challenge a member of the club to a game.
The Art of Chess is organised by the UQ Art Museum in association with RS&A, London.

Your Move: Australian artists play chess, a Bendigo Art Gallery travelling exhibition, is sponsored by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government program supporting touring exhibitions by providing funding assistance to the development and touring of Australian cultural material across Australia; City of Greater Bendigo; K.W. Doggett Fine Paper (supporting Lionel Bawden’s work); and International Art Services.



From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
Also see her personal blog at

Women’s chess grand prix in Doha R3: Danielian leads with perfect score
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Elina Danielian is going super strong at the sixth women’s chess grand prix in Doha, Qatar. She leads with a perfect score after three rounds.



Maia Chiburdanidze and Elina Danielian in the press conference with Anastasiya Karlovich (middle)

The FIDE Women Grand Prix is a series of elite tournaments organised by FIDE and Global Chess, with six legs over two years in various countries around the world, with three tournaments every year. The winner of each tournament gets 6,500 Euros out of a prize fund of 40,000 Euros, and the overall winner of the series will win a further 15,000 Euros at the end of the series. The sixth event of the cycle is currently being held from the 21st of February to 5th of March. It is taking place in the Sharq Village and Spa in Doha, Qatar. Games start: Rounds 1-10 at 3:00 PM local time, round 11 at 12 AM local time, the rest day is February 27th (after round 6).

Here are the Round 3 results

Results of round three

Ti.
Name
Rtg
Res.
Ti.
Name
Rtg
IM
Fierro Baquero Martha L
2363
1-0
GM
Dzagnidze Nana
2550
GM
Cramling Pia
2516
½-½
GM
Koneru Humpy
2607
GM
Stefanova Antoaneta
2546
0-1
GM
Zhu Chen
2495
GM
Sebag Marie
2489
½-½
IM
Mkrtchian Lilit
2475
GM
Chiburdanidze Maia
2502
1-0
GM
Xu Yuhua
2484
IM
Munguntuul Batkhuyag
2410
0-1
GM
Danielian Elina
2454



You can check the official website here. Meanwhile, how about some nice games from the third round? Enjoy.


From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
Also see her personal blog at

Your chess video class hosted by Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011


Hi everyone,


Okay no difficult problem tonight for the chess class. Think easy and you got a sweet mate in two from our No. 1 database at www.chesskillertips.com. You would love the solution but we’re sure you’ll get it too. 



CKT 029: Pawn Block
CKT 029: Pawn Block
LEVEL: Easy   
CATEGORY: Problem

Chess problem, mate in two moves. 

Composed by Paul Morphy.






From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
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Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com

Women’s chess grand prix in Doha R2: Dzagnidze, Danielian lead

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

The news from Doha, Qatar, where the sixth Women’s Grand Prix has seen two rounds so far, is that Nana Dzagnidze and Elina Danielian lead with a perfect score. They beat Munguntuul Batkhuyag and Maia Chiburdanidze in Round 2. Meanwhile, Marie Sebag defeated Xu Yuhua. The only game drawn was between Zhu Chen and Pia Cramling. You can find more details and press conference quotes at the official website here.

Meanwhile, here are nice Round 2 games. You will love them for sure. Enjoy.


From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
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World chess champion Garry Kasparov’s super thoughts on Watson and technology

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

The Atlantic news website has carried this exclusive story on world chess champion Garry Kasparov’s thoughts on IBM’s new Jeopardy!-playing supercomputer. Unless IBM’s Watson can do more than play Jeopardy!, Garry Kasparov sees it as little more than a complicated toy.

Thats what the Russian world chess champion said when asked for his thoughts on last week’s Jeopardy!contest between two champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, and IBM’s new Jeopardy!-playing supercomputer. Kasparov reviewed the three-day contest and offered his initial thoughts exclusively toThe Atlantic.

The true test of Watson’s significance, Kasparov says, will be whether it can be translated “into something useful, something groundbreaking”—applied in a more meaningful way, beyond the game show.

Find below Kasparov’s initial take on Watson, offered via e-mail through an aide:



  • A convincing victory under strict parameters, and if we stay within those limits Watson can be seen as an incremental advance in how well machines understand human language. But if you put the questions from the show into Google, you also get good answers, even better ones if you simplify the questions. To me, this means Watson is doing good job of breaking language down into points of data it can mine very quickly, and that it does it slightly better than Google does against the entire Internet.
  • Much like how computers play chess, reducing the algorithm into “crunchable” elements can simulate the way humans do things in the result even though the computer’s method is entirely different. If the result—the chess move, the Jeopardy answer—is all that matters, it’s a success. If how the result is achieved matters more, I’m not so sure. For example, Deep Blue had no real impact on chess or science despite the hype surrounding its sporting achievement in defeating me. If Watson’s skills can be translated into something useful, something groundbreaking, that is the test. If all it can do is beat humans on a game show Watson is just a passing entertainment akin to the wind-up automata of the 18th century.
  • My concern about its utility, and I read they would like it to answer medical questions, is that Watson’s performance reminded me of chess computers. They play fantastically well in maybe 90% of positions, but there is a selection of positions they do not understand at all. Worse, by definition they do not understand what they do not understand and so cannot avoid them. A strong human Jeopardy! player, or a human doctor, may get the answer wrong, but he is unlikely to make a huge blunder or category error—at least not without being aware of his own doubts. We are also good at judging our own level of certainty. A computer can simulate this by an artificial confidence measurement, but I would not like to be the patient who discovers the medical equivalent of answering “Toronto” in the “US Cities” category, as Watson did.
  • I would not like to downplay the Watson team’s achievement, because clearly they did something most did not yet believe possible. And IBM can be lauded for these experiments. I would only like to wait and see if there is anything for Watson beyond Jeopardy!. These contests attract the popular imagination, but it is possible that by defining the goals so narrowly they are aiming too low and thereby limit the possibilities of their creations.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
Also see her personal blog at

Cool chess video: Sir Peter Ustinov in bank commercial with chess motif
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Continuing our series of videos with a chess motif, here’s another one with guess who?

With Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov in a SEB (Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken) Bank (Germany) (2001) commercial. Enjoy. We bet you haven’t seen it before… unless of course in Germany, maybe! :)



From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com

Super chess grandmasters Korchnoi and Vaisser in ‘The match of legends’
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

From February 25 to 27, the Festival Hall in Cannes, France, will be transformed into a giant playground (300,000 sqm) with tutorials, demonstrations, challenges, and tournaments in the world of gaming. The curtainraiser to that event is a the 25th International Chess Open ‘Pierre & Vacances’ which began on Monday, February 21. The eight day chess extravaganza will see 300 participants playing chess in Sections A,B and C in a beautiful and modern, the Lerins Rotunda. There is going to be a special exhibition during this chess open that of Viktor Korchnoi (World Championship Candidate) and Anatoly Vaisser (Current senior world champion) from February 23-25. They will play ‘The match of legends’ which would include two classic games, rapids and blitz.

Stay tuned to www.chessblog.com for more updates and reports.


From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com

Retro chess study from award-winning www.chesskillertips.com
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

The complexities of chess thrill your soul forever and more. The deeper you go, the deeper there still is to go. So, how about this retro study for our chess class today? Enjoy. It’s from our super award-winning chess studies database at www.chesskillertips.com.


CKT 028: Can Mate in One be Tricky?
CKT 028: Can Mate in One be Tricky?
LEVEL: Intermediate
CATEGORY: Retro

A tricky mate in one with a useful moral, presented by Guest Star Almira Skripchenko.

Composed by Karl Fabel, New Statesman, 1963.






From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com

Women chess players’ quotes from Sixth Grand Prix in Doha
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Here are some interesting quotes from the players after the first round at the Sixth Women’s Chess Grand Prix that started in Doha, Qatar, yesterday.



Humpy Koneru: During time trouble I played 32.hg but it was the wrong move, probably I should have played 32. e5. At least I could have put much more pressure on my opponent.


  • Q: Both of you are the top challengers in the Grand Prix. What did you feel when you got to know the pairings yesterday?
  • Nana Dzagnidze: It`s not easy to play against each other in the first round but there was no choice, we are professionals, so we just had to play. In such situations it’s better not think about it but just play.
  • Humpy Koneru: It’s not possible to control such sort of things, so we had to play.
  • Q: What are your impressions about the organization of the tournament? Have you been to Qatar before?
  • Humpy Koneru: It`s not my first visit to Qatar. I`ve played here in Asian games in 2006. It’s very nice and beautiful city and the organisation is always good here.
  • Nana Dzagnidze: It`s my first time in Qatar and I like very much the conditions and the hotel. Everything is made for the chess players and the only thing we have to do is just to play. Yesterday I went shopping and I liked it. I`m also planning to visit spa here.
  • Antoaneta Stefanova: I was expecting Catalan today but maybe not exactly this variation. And then I wasted a lot of time trying to remember what is a theory which I didn`t remember eventually. Anyway, I think I`ve got a good position but I had no time. In time trouble I made some very bad moves, so it was logical to lose.
  • Xu Yuhua: I think in the middle game the position was unclear. Black took a pawn but White had a pair of bishops and compensation. But after White made some mistakes, the position became better for me.
  • Q: What are your impressions of Qatar?
  • Xu Yuhua: Before my visit to this country I thought I would feel out of place but after I arrived here my feelings and impressions changed. I think traditional and modern times can blend together very well here. I think it’s a very beautiful country.
  • Antoaneta Stefanova: So far everything is fine: the hotel is really nice, it’s a beautiful place. But of course it’s difficult to speak about my impressions after losing a game. Maybe you can ask me about it in better moment and I hope I`ll have better moments here.
  • Lilit Mkrtchian: I`m very glad about the result because I didn`t like my position at all! I`ll analyze the game because it was an interesting one. Pia played it very well and she was showing me move by move (which were improving her position) that my situation is getting worse and worse. But in one moment I understood that I must only keep the position and not allow White to play g5, which is the only way to struggle for the win. There was a moment when I`ve got the feeling I could lose the game because Pia usually plays such type of the positions very well.
  • Pia Cramling: In one moment I was not pleased with my position but afterwards I liked it. I felt I`ve got the position I can not lose. I felt I was the one who was pressing because I had more space for pieces but in one moment I`ve decided I would not try to push this position.
Zhu Chen
  • Q:What is your first impression about the tournament?
  • Pia Cramling: I think the tournament is very nice. It`s a first time I`m coming here, it`s a new country for me and I’m very pleased with everything. The hotel and the food are excellent here. I’m also very glad that we are playing and living in the same venue. I hope the organisers will be encouraged to do more tournaments for ladies because we really need to have them.
  • Lilit Mkrtchian: I fully agree with Pia – everything is excellent here. I’m also very glad to take part in this tournament because it is very strong and interesting.
  • Q: Do you feel more pressure playing in the same country where you live now?
  • Zhu Chen: More or less, it`s not so big difference where to play, it depends on how I play. One extra pawn but her black squares are weak and I think it was a good compensation. I think in the second time trouble it was difficult to play this position with White, of course it is possible to keep this position but Marie played some very bad moves because of the time pressure and the position became winning for me.
  • Q: Is it your first visit to Qatar?
  • Elina Danielian: Yes, I`m the first time here. My first impression is just wonderful: hotel, organization, hospitality are very nice. I hope the organizers will be able to arrange more tournaments in Qatar and we would like to play because it`s a pleasure to be here.
  • Q: Have you already visited spa here?
  • Elina Danielian: No, I haven’t. It’s a little bit difficult for me to go to spa during the tournaments. I can’t relax. I used to participate in really tough tournaments, so it’s normal for me to be in such fighting spirit during the events.
  • Maia Chiburdanidze: I had a better position till the end of the game and I was playing for win but I think I made the position more complicated by giving my opponent the opportunity to put the pawn on c2. I think I could have played better in one moment. The only thing I was always under the time pressure during the game and I think it was the reason why I could not find the best moves. And as a result I lost the game because I did have enough time to calculate all variations.
  • Batkhuyag Munguntuul: I think it was a fight. I missed the plan Nh2-ge-e5 and lost a pawn during the game. But after I put the pawn on c3, the position should not be worse for me any more.
  • Q. What can you say about the organization of the tournament?

Batkhuyag Munguntuul
  • Maia Chiburdanidze: It`s my first time here and I like everything. The organizers provided comfortable conditions for playing and resting. It seems I’m more resting here than playing. And to have a good rest here is even more important for me.
  • Batkhuyag Munguntuul: It’s my second visit to Qatar – I`ve played in Asian Games before. I like Qatar and I must say that the organization is on the high level here. I didn’t have time to visit city centre but I hope to use the opportunity during the free day.
You can read our opening-day report on the Women’s Chess Grand Prix here at www.chessblog.com.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com

Nigel Short chess simul on a tennis court!
Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Trust grandmaster Nigel Short to hold a simul on a tennis court! And, two youngsters from Hendon Chess Club were the heroes at the evening. World Championship candidate Nigel Short took on 47 players at the Middlesex University Real Tennis Club on 15th February. The play took place on the court itself, with spectators watching from the galleries.


Juniors Joseph Levene (b. December 1996) and Isaac Sanders (b. May 1998) both scored highly creditable draws, with Nigel beating all the other contenders. Petr Vachtfeidl from London’s Metropolitan Chess Club was the first person to enter the event and the last to finish, and Nigel couldn’t beat him in an opposite coloured bishop endgame. The player who travelled the furthest to play Nigel was certainly Newcastle’s Zheming Zhang (Jesmond Junior Chess Club) the reigning British Under 8 and 9 Champion.

You can read more here.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk’s
www.chessblog.com
Also see her personal blog at
www.chessqueen.com