Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Hello from the Big Easy

| Permalink | 34 comments

A quick hollaback from New Orleans, where Kasparov is addressing an investment conference tomorrow for Jefferson Financial. Nice to be able to work Morphy into a speech! He's opening with, "I feel right at home here. I'm also from the deep South, right next to Georgia." Then a slide appears with a map of the USSR with Baku and Georgia highlighted. Zing! Plus, I might have the chance to kick Ann Coulter in her bony shins. Not much time for anything else, we're back to NYC tomorrow afternoon. Don't worry, we'll be off these endless Kasparov/HLIC items after the 25th. I also plan on sleeping a bit.

Did Garry rock on Bill Maher or what? Damn, that kicked ass. And he was sitting in a room with an earpiece staring at a camera to do the satellite feed, so timing is very tough. I felt a little sorry for Maher, who is smart and probably thought he was asking tough questions when in fact he was walking right into two major refutations we'd been using for weeks. ("Putin is popular" and "the Russian soul can't handle democracy"). Garry's ad libs were also perfectly timed. Magic. The blogosphere really follows Maher, it seems, so it's being celebrated everywhere. And how giddy is Chris Matthews? He seemed ready to make Garry president of the US on the spot. I got an email saying someone said something along the lines of "if an Austrian body-builder can do it, why can't he?" referring to Schwarzenegger becoming governor of California, but I didn't notice that in the Maher show. Was it there and I missed it or somewhere else? Maher did say "why can't we get him at the Iowa caucuses," which amounts to the same thing. I don't think Garry will be running for governor of New Jersey anytime soon though, so rest easy.

It was either that or the Colbert Report appearance that must have led to Sunday's most amusing Garry public encounter ever. We were taking a quick walk around Bourbon Street when we passed by a group of well-lit college-age guys decked out in Saints gear and carrying cans of beer. Not that this was unusual since the Saints game had just ended and it seemed like everyone in the city was wearing a Saints jersey. (And had already consumed vast quantities of beer.) So these guys stumble past us when one of them double-takes and says, "Dude! It's, like, that Russian guy! I saw him on TV! He's like the best chess player ever!" He couldn't remember Garry's name, but he did remember he is "fighting for democracy or something" and he took a cell-phone picture with Garry, who was entirely bemused at this sudden expansion of his demographic to drunk American football fans from Baton Rouge. He's almost never recognized in the US other than by people from the former USSR. No longer!

The book signings have also gone very well and yes, I still owe y'all photos and more from most of them. It's a pity Garry doesn't have time for a full standard tour with a stop in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, etc. How Life Imitates Chess is on the verge of cracking the top 100 bestsellers on Amazon, remarkably. Or maybe it already did and is on the way down? I haven't been checking. But it was around #1,500 a week ago and it's #103 as I type this. Not that I have any idea what this means in actual sales. (Please go buy three copies on Amazon just to see what effect it has.) On the other hand, Garry's also trying to do Russian politics at the same time. No, they aren't going to let him on the ballot, but building awareness inside Russia is of course more important than building it outside, if much harder.

So how's the chess world? Sorry to see Andriasian land a successful Quarter Moreau in Essent, but after you've lost five in a row you may as well go all the way so you can say you have something in common with Taimanov and Larsen. Mamedyarov took first. Hikaru Nakamura is reminding the world he's alive and well and very much a force to be reckoned with in Spain. He's leading the Casino de Barcelona event with a 3.5/4 score that includes a spectacular queen sac win over Krasenkow. Wow! Cuba's Dominguez is in second. Hikaru has white against Beliavsky and Dominguez in the next two rounds. Bu Xianzhi won the blindfold event in Bilbao. Carlsen and Karjakin tied for 2-3 on points but the "3 points for a win" system gave second to Karjakin, which is reasonable. As a tiebreak it functions the same as "most wins," which is a good round-robin tiebreak anyway. Topalov had a terrible -3 showing, but I'm not apt to give much relevance to blindfold results. When is Topalov's next real event?



Topalov is playing at the upcoming European Teams Championship, which I believe starts on OCtober 27.


Did you guys happen to talk with Jude at the Gazebo during your walk? Although being a Sunday, I'm not sure if he would be there or not?

If anyone can stop the one-man juggernaut known as Hikaru Nakamura, it's a seasoned, balanced player like Beliavsky.

Hikaru's ready for the big time. So glad to see him playing beyond America's provincial shores.

Seems like we are seeing the on-form Nakamura in this event; U.S. Championship '05, match against Karjakin etc as opposed to the off-form Nakamura; Foxwoods '07, U.S. Championship '07. I am glad to see him playing in high-class tournaments.

Hey Mig, did you stick around to see Bill Maher kick the audiences ass after Garry left?

Check out 0:49-0:51 - I've never seen a host do that on a show.

Nakamura's 21 ... Qb6xf2+!! against Krasenkow kicked ass. One of the all-time best queen sacrifices.

>> Hikaru's ready for the big time.

Great games. Strangely enough though (or not), a few weeks ago on ICC he was kibitzing and said that he was not planning a professional chess career.

(Of course, it's not the first time a young GM says that.)

great tv performance by Kasparov!

That Qxf2!! against Krasenkow reminded me of the old Fischer game against Letelier (who resigned). A beautiful move.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it a mere 2-mover in Letelier-Fischer? A KID, 19th move or so, Fischer plays ...Qxf4 and if the K takes, then ...Bh6 mates?

Nakamura's combo was much deeper and more dramatic than that. And it had to be envisioned a few moves ahead - clearly he was already planning ...Qxf2!! back when he moved the Q to b6 (otherwise after Nc6 Black would be just lost).

So if you're going to compare it with a Fischer combo, better to bring up D. Byrne - Fischer (the Game of the Century). Now, I think THAT one was better than Nakamura's combo. Nonetheless, the latter is still pretty damn impressive. So let's not liken it to some 2-mover, shall we?

I think Ann Coulter's legs are sexy.

kaspy kicked maher's ass !

In the US it takes more courage not to run for president (than to run)?? It may be an ad lib, but what does it mean?

For months, for years, Krasenkow will wake, screaming in the night, from dreams of Qxf2.

Topalov will play for Bulgaria next week in the European Team Championships in Greece and then in a tournament in Vitoria, Spain (1-15 November) with Karpov, Polgar, Kasimdzhanov and Khalifman: http://previews.chessdom.com/topalov-vitoria-etcc

Topalov finishes 5th (out of six) in the Bilbao Blindfold event, losing games to Bu, Magnus, Karjakin, Judit and Harakrishna.

Don't follow the American chess scene very closely but what happened to Nakamura? Didn't he beat Karjakin in a match? How come he faded away while the Karjak and Carlsen have being going from strength to strength.

On the other hand. Blindfold. Not exactly a judge of anything. *grins*
Didn't Nakamura concentrate on his studies in college for a long while, which slowed his progress down just a smidgeon?


Topalov's result is somewhat odd. Top-rated players are usually excellent at blindfold and rapid chess.

Nakamura's been complaining about his lack of invitations to tournaments in Europe. Certainly invitational tournaments are much better than open swisses for developing your chess.

Nakamura in college? Pleeeeeeeeease.

If he gets his rating past the 2700 barrier the invitations (should?) automatically flow I guess. Still, its odd that the organizers of Corus for example have been ignoring him.

greg koster--

Your post is somewhat odd. Havn't you stated your point - that you are the biggest a*sshole on the net - already ? I mean like 1000 times already ?

Indeed Garry was superb on HBO, but this is no reason to feel sorry for Bill Maher, I'm sure he was delighted that Garry answered his questions so well. Maybe hard for the chess mind to relate to but good interviewing is not about defeating your opponent! :) A good interviewer asks tough questions so the subject can shine by answering them well.. Maher asked the right questions to let Garry show his value, so it was a win for both sides.

Had the chess community of New Orleans known! We've got a struggling scholastic league, scattered players - we still haven't recovered from Bush's disaster. I wish Garry had had some time for us.

(At this point, one is tempted to tell a bad joke about Putin, Bush and Coulter, but one refrains.)

Nakamura is just cleaning up in Spain, now 1.5 points ahead of his nearest rival. It's like the Spanish Conquest all over again!

I don't know why this kid doesn't get invited to the major tournaments. I swear he has more fighting spirit in his pinky finger than the entire top 10 combined! Respect.

Great TV performance from Garry -- one small point though.

Make sure you teach Garry how to pronounce correctly "geopolitical".

If he makes speeches in front of an academic audience this may be irrelevant, but when he speaks on TV in front of the Great Unwashed, he has to be sure that "geopolitical tool" does not sound like "jew political tool."

That's not at the top of our list yet! Right now my top few are "crises" instead of "crisises" and "baseline" instead of "backline" when he talks about how two tennis players with very different styles can both be champions. An expression for "slow boil" or "simmer" (for tension without open conflict) is also becoming a bete noir. So far it's come out "low heat" and "slow motion action" with some bafflement. "Geopolitical" didn't sound bad to me at the time, at least I didn't notice it. He used it around four times today on Hardball, see if you like it better:


Those are pretty small glitches though. The only consistent error he's been making that I would classify as actually confusing is using the word "paranoid" to mean "presumptuous". Several times he's said something like "I'm not paranoid about my own value to the opposition..."

We do go over these things. I've recorded almost all his appearances over the last few weeks so there's plenty to work on. He has invitations coming in from all over now, and print items will be appearing in many places over the next few months.

He's recording a full hour interview for NPR's Fresh Air Thursday, not sure yet when that will run next week. Then he's flying back to Russia and I'm going to sleep for around 12 hours.

Mig, I saw Garry on Wolf, CNN, and I loved the advice at the end from Garry, where he talked about having the courage to lose.

Garry was on Fresh Air before, in the days of Deep Blue:

Terry Gross, the host of Fresh Air, is a wonderful, intelligent interviewer. Fresh Air is definitely one mass-media platform where Garry will be able to broadcast his ideas in an unhurried, thoughtful way to inquisitive listeners.

By the way, did Garry ever say this? In what context? Or at all? Anyone know?

GARRY KASPAROV: "The small minded leaders of the USCF try to keep it an amateur game and must be purged like entrenched Communist bureaucrats."

This was posted by Larry Parr on USENET in August, and now Susan Polgar has picked it up on her new discussion forum.... I'm just curious mainly because I would be surprised if GM Kasparov ever thought enough of the USCF to say anything about it.

I just heard Garry on Fresh Air. There was a substitute host for Terry Gross, but he was fine. What interested me most was that the subject of Deep Blue and the printouts came it. The issue was never really clarified. Mig, does Garry know the printouts were put on the internet years ago (if my memory serves me)? Did he examine the printouts? Or does he simply dismiss them altogether?

Thanks for the feedback. We were pretty ticked off about that Fresh Air interview, actually. It was squeezed into the schedule very late by the publisher, who touted it as a great vehicle for selling books. Perhaps, but the guy only made a token mention of the book near the end and the rest was routine political stuff Garry had been answering in other places for over a week, including Leonard Lopate on WNYC. Not up to Fresh Air's standards at all. Garry was partially to blame because he arrived a little late and then had to run directly to the hotel and the airport.

It's a tricky game. You want the appearance for the book, they want it to talk politics (or Deep Blue) and you really can't do much after you show up. Even if you insist they talk about the book at the start, they can just edit it out. I dunno if our publisher just isn't threatening enough or what!

Re Deep Blue: I've discussed this a few times here. Garry's talking about how IBM wouldn't make the logs available at the time (as it turned out, not publicly for nearly three years afterwards as far as we could figure out). We found the complete logs 2.5 years ago and I wrote about that here:


Garry got into much more detail on his human interference theory at at least one of the book tour stops. Basically he believes that someone "cut" the processing thread that would have led Deep Blue to play the "computer-natural" 36.Qb6. I'm not a believer in the human interference theory, but heck, even the logs look weird on that move. Qb6 is the main move until DB goes into "panic time" and then switches to axb5 as the last move. It's one of the only times in the logs that DB makes a move it didn't consider at any other iteration on that move.

That fragment of the log was actually shared right after the match, as is detailed here:


The logs are something of a red herring on Garry's part because according to his theory, a big "cut" button that would shift the computer to another line wouldn't leave a trace anyway. Unless he's saying they doctored the logs before releasing them, which I haven't heard him say and is unprovable either way. That's why his main argument was to just turn the machine back on, enter in the position, and show a readout where it prefers axb5. Which they wouldn't do. "By dismantling the machine they killed the only impartial witness" is how he puts it.

Unfortunately, even the fact that today's machines evaluate axb5 and Qb6 very closely, certainly closely enough to allow for DB choosing the former, doesn't cancel out the other element of Garry's theory. Which is that a machine capable of playing so strongly at times would never allow the repetition draw that was available at the end of the game when Garry resigned. (Actually, White can play on with 45.Ra6(?) Qe3 46.Qxd6 Re8 47.Qd7+ (47.h4 is the move usually given and 47..h5 draws.) 47..Re7 48.Qc6 Qxe4 49.d6 and my programs can play on with white with no perpetual, although it's drawish.)

In other words, like any good conspiracy theory it can't be refuted. The "evidence" at this point is purely circumstantial, in the "then why wouldn't they...?" tradition. The chess elements have been whittled away as home computers have gotten stronger. Game 5's 11..h5! was considered another piece of evidence for a while, but a few years ago Junior chose it as its first option. Now we see Rybka evaluating game 2's axb5 and Qb6 almost equally (.72 and .78 on my machine after a long think). Even the famous perpetual check at the end of game two is in doubt.

I think I put it before that if IBM wanted Garry to think they were cheating they couldn't have done a better job. It was that sort of atmosphere. And their refusal to open up the black box and duplicate those questioned moves was in that vein. But there's just no evidence for cheating.

Re the Kasparov "quote" posted by Theodulf, I'll check. I hear at least two or three of what I call "garrysaids" a week, most of them spurious. When I was doing the Chess.FM stuff I was amazed at how much total BS "quoting" Garry would go by in the kibitzing windows. I know, not exactly an area of high factual standards, but it's amazing how many myths go on like unkillable zombies. As with any quotation, I always ask for a source. I certainly don't have his every utterance memorized and he's certainly said more than anyone's fair share of wild things. But I usually assume it's false unless a source is provided. Anyway, I'll ask about that one. Max Dlugy, a friend, was once president of the USCF (90-93), so I can imagine Garry making a comment like that perhaps in support of Max's candidacy. Just a theory. Certainly he hasn't said anything about the USCF lately.

Someone forgot that the threat is more powerful than the execution.

Faced with a "suspicious" move by the computer, a savvy politician, or maybe just an individual with impulse control would have sent his lawyer to talk to the IBM president:

"Either you prove that move was legit and allow us to monitor the black box from now on OR I will throw a tantrum, and publicly accuse you of cheating."

By throwing the tantrum first, Kasparov extended a very nasty, public invitation to IBM to journey down that long, impossible road called, "prove you're not cheating." (See Silvio Danailov.) Not suprisingly, IBM said "thanks, but no thanks."

Kasparov has no problem challenging the integrity of Joel Benjamin and the IBM team. But how would he have responded if the IBM team had demanded, in mid-match, that Kasparov be frisked and play behind a glass wall?

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 22, 2007 4:22 AM.

    It's Not TV, It's Kasparov on HBO was the previous entry in this blog.

    Nak 'n' Roll in Barcelona is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.