BOTW: 2017.10.04

Chess.Com Speed Chess Championship

 Oct. 4, 2017  (10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. EST)

The last match in the first round of the Chess.Com Speed Chess Championship is:  Magnus Carlsen vs. Gadir Guseinov

Carlsen is the defending Speed Chess Champion, and of course, the World Champion. GM Guseinov won the qualifier.

The winner plays Wesley So, who edged Anish Giri 15.5/14.5.

The format for the matches is 3 hours of online play, broken into four formats:

  1. 90 minutes of 5+2 blitz, 
  2. 60 minutes of 3+2 blitz,
  3. 30 minutes of 1+1 bullet,
  4. one chess960 game in each time control. 

Live Games (with commentary by FM Danny Rensch and GM Eric Hansen)

"Closing Gambit"

Official trailer to a 2018 documentary on the 1978 World Championship between Champion Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi in Baguio, Philippines, featuring interviews with surviving witnesses and many of today's top GM commentators.

For those who weren't born then or don't study chess history, the match was dramatic for several reasons:

  • Politics: the Soviet Hero vs Soviet Enemy. Karpov was a Soviet hero, for having returned the World Championship title to the Soviet Union after Fischer forfieted to him in 1975, while Kortchnoi defected from the Soviet Union in 1976 and his name was no longer reported in the Soviet press and his chess events were boycotted by all Soviet players.
  • Circus: Both sides used off-board tactics to upset their opponents: protests about flags on the table, parapsychologists in the audience, reflective sunglasses, refused handshake...
  • Chess 1: Karpov and Kortchnoi were clearly the two strongest players in the world, and their positions could have been reversed if Kortchnoi had won their Candidate's Final match in 1974, after which Fischer might have forfeited the title to him
  • Chess 2: Karpov led the "first to six wins" match +5 =20 -2, before losing games 28, 29 and 31...


Does Chess Make a Good Public Lecture Topic?

As chess fans we're certainly biased -- we might even watch a documentary on a 40 year old match :) -- but lectures aiming at the broader non-chess audience are a different matter: they typically have less hard-core chess content (which non-players couldn't follow) and try to explain how lessons from chess expertise might transfer to other domains. I haven't found any of those attempts convincing, but here are two that illustrate the genre and its limitations:

Judit Polgar

November 2016 TED Talk: "Giving checkmate is always fun!"


Jennifer Shahade

2014 TEDx Talk: "Understanding Chess Mastery"

Makes a sensible distinction between a hackneyed question " How many moves ahead can you see?" and a possibly more insightful question "How do you know when to think so hard?"