Friday, November 26, 2010

Lim Chong has passed away

I just got a call from Hamid informing that Lim Chong has passed away, apparently on a flight back from London. This is very shocking news as he is only in his fifties and looked well when I last met him at this year's DATMO.

We have all lost another friend of chess.

R.I.P. my friend.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Aronian takes World Blitz

Levon Aronian won the 2010 World Blitz Championship, a twenty player double-round robin tournament. He finished just half a point ahead of Teimour Radjabov. Magnus Carlsen was third and trailed Radjabov by just half a point.

 No. Title  Name Fed.  FIDE Total
 1  GM Aronian, Levon ARM  2801  24.5 
 2  GM  Radjabov, Teimour AZE  2744   24 
 3  GM Carlsen, Magnus NOR  2802  23.5 
 4  GM  Gelfand, Boris ISR  2741   21.5 
 5  GM Nakamura, Hikaru  USA 2741  21.5 
 6  GM  Karjakin, Sergey RUS  2760   20.5 
 7  GM Kramnik, Vladimir  RUS 2791  20.5 
 8  GM  Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar  AZE 2763   19.5 
 9  GM Svidler, Peter RUS  2722  19.5 
 10  GM  Eljanov, Pavel UKR  2742   19 
 11  GM Grischuk, Alexander  RUS 2771  19 
 12  GM  Mamedov, Rauf AZE  2660   18 
 13  GM Nepomniachtchi, Ian  RUS 2720  18 
 14  GM  Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime  FRA 2703   18 
 15  GM Movsesian, Sergei  SVK 2721  17.5 
 16  GM  Andreikin, Dmitry RUS  2683  17.5 
 17  GM Grachev, Boris RUS  2654  16.5 
 18  GM  Savchenko, Boris RUS  2632   15.6 
 19  GM Caruana, Fabiano  ITA 2709  13.5 
 20  GM  Ponomariov, Ruslan UKR  2744   12.5 

Although the first three positions were very close, I felt Aronian is a worthy winner. His game were generally solid and in blitz where everybody blunders he just did less of that.

Radjabov's second placing came with a seven games win out of the last eight games. Kramnik lost his last two games to stay out of contention for the top placings.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chess playing robot

Not a robot as we usually think of it. But a robot arm that can move the pieces and even press the clock. It is probably linked to a chess playing software , the mechanical arm is really just programmed to do just that - mechanical action. There is no real intelligence there. My guess is that there is a software that interprets the input from the chess program and sends the appropriate signal to the robotic arm.

Actually this is nothing new, robotic mechanisms like this can be found in any modern factory. The novelty is in introducing it into the chess setting. For some reason I found the movements very amusing especially when the robot presses the clock!

Notice in the video how Kramnik tries to fool the program. He moves his a7 pawn in between a7 and a6. Maybe it is pawn to a6.5. That really froze the program :)

I can imagine the robot reprimanding its opponent somewhere in its circuitry :)

At another point, Kramnik extends his hand and offers a draw only to quickly retract - his hand that is. You do not want to get in the way when that giant arm swings into action.

Watch the video here Kramnik versus robot arm

And if that is not enough to give you the shivers, here is the robot giving a simultaneous display robotic simul

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010 World Blitz Championship

The 2010 World Blitz Championship is now on-going in Moscow. Twenty of the best players in the world have been invited to this annual event. I think the only top players missing are Anand and Ivancuk.

The event will be held over three days from 16th-18th November 2010. This is a double round robin event meaning a mammoth 38 rounds. Yesterday fourteen rounds were played. Another fourteen today and the rest on Thursday 18th November.

Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian are leading after 14 rounds. Standings after 14 rounds:

 No. Title  Name Fed.  FIDE Total
 1  GM Carlsen, Magnus NOR  2802  10 
 2  GM  Aronian, Levon ARM  2801   10 
 3  GM Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar  AZE 2763  9.5 
 4  GM  Kramnik, Vladimir RUS  2791   8.5 
 5  GM Svidler, Peter RUS  2722  8.5 
 6  GM  Gelfand, Boris ISR  2741   8 
 7  GM Eljanov, Pavel UKR  2742  7.5 
 8  GM  Karjakin, Sergey RUS  2760   7.5 
 9  GM Grischuk, Alexander  RUS 2771  7.5 
 10  GM  Nakamura, Hikaru USA  2741   7.5 
 11  GM Radjabov, Teimour  AZE 2744  7 
 12  GM  Nepomniachtchi, Ian RUS  2720   6.5 
 13  GM Caruana, Fabiano  ITA 2709  6.5 
 14  GM  Ponomariov, Ruslan UKR  2744   6.5 
 15  GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime  FRA 2703  6 
 16  GM  Grachev, Boris RUS  2654   5.5 
 17  GM Movsesian, Sergei  SVK 2721  5 
 18  GM  Andreikin, Dmitry RUS  2683   5 
 19  GM Savchenko, Boris  RUS 2632  4.5 
 20  GM  Mamedov, Rauf AZE  2660   3 

The time control is three minutes and two seconds increment for every move. You might think it is hard to blunder with such increments but it happens to even the best of them.

Vachier Lagrave - Magnus Carlsen, After 67.Rc8
 Carlsen has an extra pawn though he is about to lose his c3 pawn in exchange for white's h6 pawn. The game should be drawn as Black cannot queen his last pawn in this ending as White will simply sacrifice his knight for the pawn at the right moment leading to a drawn RvR+N ending.

But something possessed Carlsen and he proceeded to lose with 67...Ne4?? allowing white to push his h-pawn. 68. h7 c2 69.Rxc2 Rxc2 70. h8=Q Rc6 71. Qe5+ Kd8 72. Ne6+ Kd7 73. Nd4 Rc5 74. Qe6+ Kc7 75.
Nxf5 1-0

Against Boris Gelfand, Carlsen in a winning position surprisingly lost on time. Despite these two setbacks, he won nine and drew two games to finish at the top.

The surprise is Hikaru Nakamura who is generally acknowledged as one of the best blitz player alive today. He lost six games to position on tenth.

Here is a selection of games: