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Chicken on Fire on Board

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Not to start a tradition of previewing events too far in advance, but there's a talking chicken out there you just can't miss. The "Fire on Board" website for the June 25-26 four-game match between Alexei Shirov and Viktor Korchnoi has a bizarre Flash animation for the ages. Don't skip that intro until you hear the talking chicken!

It's an interesting event, as much for the sponsorship and web presentation as the chess, which looks like a mismatch despite the amazing Korchnoi's latest resurgence up the rating list at the age of 74. They are trying to make this out as a big rivalry, although they've only played each other three times since 1996. There are many side events online and off and they plan on live web coverage. The event is sponsored by the Best Western Hotel de Ville. Comically, and in typical miss-the-obvious fashion, you have to work a little to find out what country the event is in. (Unless you know where "Right at the heart of the Euregio" is.) It's in Eschweiler, Germany.

Shirov's "Fire on Board, Part 2" just came out last month, but I haven't picked it up yet. The fireonboard.com website is registered to the hotel chain, which is somewhat odd. I hope that implies a continuing committment to chess and/or Shirov.


Despite the admittedly bizarre chicken promo, this looks like a great website to promote an exhibition match. To bad most tournaments don't have as glossy a website to promote their events.

Mig I think the chicken is a slight dig at your own chicken rating system from a few years back. At least it could be taken as so. Both plays have an uncompromising style.

Thanks for bringing my attention to that site, Mig. The promo was more than worth it (chicken et al). And while I didn't fully understand Bd3!! (my only question being what to do after g6), it was a great game.

Qg4 will come next, with the threat of mate following the bishop sac on g6. Black can avoid this by moving Be8, but then white has Ng5 comming and black has to keep peeling off material to avoid mate.

The game actually did go 24. Bd3 g6 25. Qg4

At that point, there are several things Black can try, but they all end up losing eventually. Not that there's an immediate mate in 2 or anything, just an overwhelming attack. The threats usually involve Ng5 (very difficult to stop) or sometimes Bxg6. And Rf6 is often useful to both block a Bishop on e8 from taking the N on g5 and to threaten (if captured) a pawn on f6.

Some of the branches have more than 10 variations, but all lead to either mate (remember both the d3 B and the potential N on g5 will hit h7) or loss of huge material to try to prevent it.

As an example, 24. Bd3 g6 25. Qg4 Be8 (to cover g6 and prevent a sac there) 26. Ng5 Be7 27. Rf6 and how do you stop 28 Qxh4 ?

If instead 25...Kg7 to protect g6 that way, there are again several choices that win, but 26. Nf4 looks killing.

Here's one cute line:
26...Be8 (again to prop up g6) 27. Bxb4! (removes a defender who could otherwise go back to e7) Rxb4 (preserving the Q's ability to try to get back to the Kside via the diagnoal) and then the simple 28. Qxh4.

Now what does Black do? If he tries Rh8, White will play Qf6+ and then have time to bring the R up to the h file and mate.

If he tries 28... Kg8, the lovely 29. Qh6 is deadly as the threat is the deflection 30. Nh5! which threatens the immediate mate on g7 or the Bishop supported mate on h7. Or in some lines 29 Nxg6. And keep your eye on potential RxR mates on f8 if the f pawn ever gets deflected to the g file.

One interesting line here is 29. Qh6 f5 30. exf6 Rxf6 31. Nh5! gxh5 32. Qh7+ Kf8 33. Rxf6+ Bf7 34. Qxf7#. Even though the Rook got off the f8 square, Black still gets mated.

There are probably another half dozen lines, but all have similar results: mate on h7, g7, f7, or f8.

So there's no one single forcing line, because Black always has a choice of two or three possible defenses--but all the defenses eventually lose.


p.s. If you go to the site and to the link Musical Chess it is indeed, about the musical--and the chicken will sing a few lines. ;)

"They are trying to make this out as a big rivalry, although they've only played each other three times since 1996." - Mig

It was my understanding that Korchnoi has a rivalry with everyone he plays!

Chicken intro is hilarious. Under normal circunstances of temperature and pressure I would never think somebody would use a chicken to promote a high class chess match in a luxurious hotel. Go figure.

I'm not sure I understand the basis of the suggested over the board heat. Oh well. The talking chicken beats anything I've seen at Vince McMahon's WWE website. May I suggest a "talking bass" motif for the next U.S. championship website?? I think It might really put butts in the seats.

I am rooting for an upset by Korchnoi, if he can pullet off.

The other insane thing is the demonstration of the Drammen game with the little fireworks whenever somebody captures a piece. They should try extending that to live action like have a minor explosion whenever a piece is captured.

Check out the banner of the Russian "Sport Express" on chessbase:


The chickens are coming! The chickens are coming!

The most fowl thing I've ever seen!

It may not be a rivalry in the sense of Kramnik- Anand 100+ games but it is a certainly a very interesting stylistic clash.

There's only one thing that cracks me up more than somebody wearing an ape suit - a talking chicken! What rock that is.

The chicken is hysterical...it reminds me of a Simpsons parody of Japanese TV commercials.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 3, 2005 11:33 PM.

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