Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Bicentennial Match

| Permalink | 66 comments

Almost, at least.

C Ilardo at CanchaLlena

That's the 100-year-old Aaron Schwartzman on the left and the 99-year-old Francisco Benkö on the right at the famous Club Argentino de Ajedrez. I played Benko at least once and talked problems with him a few times. He's an authentic legend of Argentine chess and played in the national championship as recently as 2004. (First in 1943.) He and Schwartzman first faced each other when Benko arrived in Argentina in 1936, 73 years ago. Dr. Schwartzman gave up chess for medical practice as a young man. This game finished in a fairly brief draw.

We've talked about age and chess a lot here recently thanks to the Kasparov-Karpov anniversary match in Valencia. Mostly about Karpov's dramatic decline, which he chalked up to his lack of work and practice, adding he could beat anyone in the top 100 if he dedicated himself to chess 100%. No doubt that's the bulk of it, but few believe he would still be top ten at 58 years of age even if he put in as many hours as he did at 30. It's hard to say, of course, because age saps the will and ability to work those long hours, something Kasparov talks about in his upcoming NIC column. We can take Korchnoi as the example of someone whose decline was very long and slow thanks to his amazing work ethic.

Today at a local toy store I chatted with the proprietress, a not-yet-elderly woman who was working on a word puzzle book. She said there was a history of dementia in her family and hoped doing puzzles regularly might help delay it. (She also enjoys them.) We talked about that here a while back as well, in response to Leon organizer Marcelino Sion's "you never see a chessplayer with Alzheimer's!" claim. We can add this list to the discussion.


More then 200 photo from Chigorin Memory 2009 in S. Petersburg


This photo reminds me of the story of an 84 year old Jacques Mieses beating an 86 year old opponent and announcing "Youth has triumphed!".

Speaking of "oldies", Korchnoi is playing at the European team championship. He just opened his game against Volokitin with 1.d4 f5 2.Qd3 e6 3.g4 - in any case, already good for an advantage on the clock ... .

I see it was played by Lawrence Day once...but I guess it might still be playable.

Ilardo is unreadable. I wonder how he managed to make a career in chess journalism.

Chess is more than anti-aging therapy, but with so little time nowadays to devote to the game, I've been wondering what mode of play provides the greatest mental bang for the buck. My guess is it's probably blindfold chess. (I play against my aging Novag Sapphire II.)


I can't believe they still look so good. most people at 80 would be happy to look that good, let alone be alive. Chess has to be good for your health.

And it's not just the looks, according to the spanish article, Scwhartzman is still active working as a doctor.

Now I recall, a couple of months ago a FICS player was talking about a chess game he had just played in a Buenos Aires square with an old, sympathetic player. The old guy beat him and went away, never saying who he was. Only then some of the other players around told him that he was Schwartzman, one of the best argentine players of the '30s.

A state agency in Argentina started recently a chess program for the elderly, to help them fight cognitive decay:


This is funny, because just the other day I noticed that, in the search screen of chessgames.com, in the pulldown menus for players' names, "Benko" is mistakenly set to retrieve games of Francisco, not Pal!

Francisco drew Alekhine back in the 1920s!

Just testing for a moment. Some database problems reported.

You didn´t mention Diego Flores 5th from the left , great player and cool guy for what i´ve heard from friends who faced him.
I believe he is our current champion, not sure.

A minor correction: I don't know if the picture is inverted or something, but this game is Benkö x Schwartzman, not Schwartzman x Benkö.

Hey Mig, the ChessNinja Message Board has been down since yesterday morning.

Hello there Mig!

There are continuing database problems with the ChessNinja Message Board, in that, no one can reply to any posts, plus, we are not able to start new topics, or send Private Messages, or anything at all like that.

The board has been this way since yesterday morning, (October 22nd.)

Chess Fan on the Message Board

Exactly. I'm going to post a question here and hope for a kind response. I'm looking at a Scheveningen game where the first 7 moves are standard, but on the 8th move Anand plays a move I'm not familiar with and can't find in my books. If some kind soul can enlighten me just a little bit on the theory of this move it would be awesome! Thank you very much in advance. Here it is:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3

The f4 and Qf3 lines of the Scheveningen were developed and played very successfully by students of the Hungarian coach Laszlo Hazai - players such as Judit Polgar and Gyula Sax - in the 1980s and early 90s.

Thank you very much, my friend.

I think that's awesome, seeing those two gentlemen playing. More power to 'em!

Koneru Humpy sounds like she hasn't gotten humped in a while. Can anyone remember a more pointless debate in the history of chess than the one they had the imbecility to spew on Chessbase?

Humpy "utterly collapsed" without her father present. Oh dear. Maybe somebody should get this nitwit a couple of news items about Sudan or Rwanda for her to see what real suffering is. Meanwhile, a weight loss program is in order.

What an embarrassment. No wonder nobody cares about women in chess, that is, aside the obvious lack of talent.

Mig - Can you find out what Kasparov's take is on the situation regarding Azerbaijan and Armenia and the Candidates Matches?


What a hostile little post. Some woman in your past insulted you in the trouser department?

I think you should be the embarrassed one here, not Koneru or Chessbase.


Aside from that, my father did crossword puzzles for both entertainment and in the hopes of staving off mental decay.

Then he found he had a terminal illness, in the final stages of which, produced mental decay.

His period of decay, though, was less than 30 days before his death. I would like to believe all those puzzles helped his mind stay strong as long as it did.

(And, that my attempts to study the Sicilian and Italian would bear similar fruit. Not to mention thinking that I'd like to be able to play a game at 99 or 100. ;) )

While I disagree with Chess Auditor's polemics, I agree with his basic promise that Ms.Konery's public accusation (particularly the reply to the secretary's reply) is utterly embarrassing. Seriously, such problems are not to be discussed and solved on chessbase. It's childish and silly.

How do you guys feel about GMs Brodsky and Nijboer drawing in 8 moves? Here's the "game":

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Nf3 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. dxe5 dxe5 1/2-1/2

She may sound childish and silly, but she wants to play in Gibraltar i.e. she seeks out stronger competition, and doesn't put up with her federation's bureaucracy. I'm with her on that, it's a worthy cause.

I agree with TM on GM Konery's polemic, childish and silly. Time for her to fire her trainer cum dad and move on with her life. Very Freudian, to kill her daddy metaphorically. She is already 22 years old, time to have a life independent of her father, it will do good for her personal and chess life.

There is a video at Chessvibes where both players express _their_ "feelings" on the game. Briefly:
GM Brodsky - I prepared only for the Dutch. He surprised me with the King's Indian and I decided to play it safe.
GM Nijboer - A draw with black is generally a fine result.

While this game/these moves were played on board 1 in round 6, both players lost against GM Haslinger in the two next rounds to finish one point behind him in the final standings. Maybe some sort of higher justice?

Well I would not say higher justice. It just shows that in chess nowadays you need to take some risks otherwise you don't go too far.

Nothing. It was a game. It was drawn quickly. Okay, good for them. Time to look at another game. There are quite a few to choose from.

Humpy's comments were amazingly thick-headed. That being said, the arrogance of strong players often knows no bounds in this day and age.

Also, no comment on how awful the Unive tournament was? Hoogeveen has generally been ignored due to the 4 player DRR format, but 1 decisive game is just yuck.

One decisive game is, I admit, not much...
But many of the draws were hard-fought, I do think.

I suspect Humpy Koneru is not the real ispirator of this rather ridiculous fight with the Indian chess federation. The driving force appears to be Mr. Ashak Koneru, who might well be on the way to establishing himself as the next Rustam Kamsky.

"i only prepared for the dutch". I don't recall an answer this lame in a long time. Even one as weak as i know to prepare more than one opening for a normal opponent let alone a Gm. He could given some plausible reason instead he decides to try insult our intelligence.

"Time to look at another game. There are quite a few to choose from."
True, such a draw would have had more 'impact' in a WCh match without other games to choose from ,:) .
Of course it was the players' decision, but then they have to accept being queried about it. They probably can live with the prize money they got for second and third place in the end.
I find Brodsky's argument a bit hard to follow: as a GM and d4 player, he must have some 'general' knowledge or preparation on the KID, and he is in no way obliged to enter the sharpest lines.

Regarding the comment by John Fernandez: I agree that the crown group was a bit 'bizarre' this year, but maybe you still mix up draws in general with short unfought ones. Anyway, as you say yourself that the tournament was generally ignored (not quite true here in the Netherlands BTW), you might as well simply ignore it?

Mig, great picture. Thank you for sharing it.

Nothing unsporting about an eight-move draw. That seven-minute game between the Lions and Jaguars was just as thrilling - to say nothing of that four-inning masterpiece between the Dodgers and Brewers. Really, I'm just pleased that they chose to compete at a high level. It's what sports is all about.

"Of course it was the players' decision, but then they have to accept being queried about it."

I don't think they mind being "queried about it". But I don't see why it should be treated like something that needs some sort of special explanation to justify.

"I find Brodsky's argument a bit hard to follow: as a GM and d4 player, he must have some 'general' knowledge or preparation on the KID, and he is in no way obliged to enter the sharpest lines."

I find _your_ argument a bit hard to follow. Of course he _could_ have played on. And? He gave a perfectly sensible reason not to, one that every player can sympathize with. But my point is, he doesn't have to come up with an explanation that satisfies Thomas on the Daily Dirt blog at all.

As for Unive, that's again something I just don't get: I understand why people don't like short draws, but I can't for the life of me understand what people have against draws as such.

Tiviakov's games were on average 69.3 moves: his shortest game was the one he won (only 50). Ivanchuk's average was 57.5. There seems to have been some fight in them.

acirce, I think you're setting up a straw man by suggesting that people in general are anti-draw. I don't think most people are.

And no, he was not obliged to provide an explanation for his decision to draw. But he did. Guilty conscience, perhaps?

Ricardo, I fear I disagree.
There are very many people who automatically heap opprobrium on draws no matter how they came about.
These are, of course, the weaker brethren in our game, but they are noisily and petulantly vociferous.

I didn't say or mean "people in general". But it's hard to avoid the impression that the attitude is very common.

I do hate short 8 move draws. I'm with the stupid part of chess people who do prefer fought games.

It's hard to guess just how common a negative attitude against draws in general is, and what the underlying reasons are:
- lack of chess understanding, as after all a draw is a logical result [I will give John Fernandez a pass on this one]
- projecting one's own chess style on other players
- bias or hatred against players with a solid style and relatively high drawing percentage
- admiration for "fighting players", some of them might even rather lose than draw.

It is true that draw haters tend to make more noise, and they have the most eloquent and noisy chess organizer on their side - Danailov with his Sofia rules.

At least in team events, a player who forces a draw to secure match victory may be considered a hero - maybe even if he does so from an objectively better but complicated position. And, if you care about the team result, whom would you rather want on your team? Player A scoring +2=7, or player B scoring +5=1-3? Neutral chess fans might prefer player B, but that's another story.

As I said "team events", I will now move on to the European Team Championship ... .


I'm a huge fan of draws. A draw is the logical result of a chess game. Short draws, pre-arranged draws, they're all fine by me. I don't have a problem with them.

What I do have a problem with is investing money into an event and a format which basically begs a "disaster" (from an event standpoint, it most certainly is) to happen.

Sponsor A spends money on a chess tournament
Tournament sucks, has only once decisive game
Sponsor A leaves chess and badmouths it forever

Never mind that they were silly by being cheap and inviting only 4 players so they could keep the event costs down. Never mind that the games actually *were* pretty interesting.

When your tournament crosstable looks like:
= = = = = 1 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 0 = = =

That's horrible. It's the fault of the organizers and sponsors, not the players, but what money is spent on chess should be spent on events and event formats that help guarantee some interesting outcomes.

I see your point, but I wouldn't blame the format. Just look at earlier editions (with another sponsor): In 2008, 8 out of 12 games were decisive. In 2007, there was no crown group. In 2006, 10 games were decisive - it "helped" to have an out-of-form Topalov (just after the Elista match) scoring +2=1-3.

Then what went wrong this time? Did the organizers invite the wrong players (a frequent comment regarding Dortmund)? "No questions asked" about Ivanchuk and Polgar. Giri may have been a "risky" choice - not for drawing all of his games but for the worst-case scenario of a huge minus score. Tiviakov has a "drawish" reputation in top events (e.g. Corus A), but he was the local guy (from Groningen nearby the tournament venue).
Neither are the players themselves to blame, apparently they tried hard in most games but "a draw is a logical result".

For what it's worth, this is how a major Dutch newspaper summarized the event: "Obviously the Unive crown group might enter history books as a more or less failed event. But it is also possible that the tournament will be remembered as a major turning point in the career of a great chess player. During his debut at international top level, 15-year old Dutch champion Anish Giri didn't lose a single game." [not (yet) mentioned that he also didn't win a game ...].

It also depends on how things are sold: A few years ago, for the 100th anniversary of a local chess club I was invited to a Swiss event featuring "local heroes" (ELO>2000, at the time I qualified) and invited second- or third-tier foreign GMs. Afterwards, the press release went: "It was a hard fought event, in the end six players tied for first place with 3.5/5."
There were six money prizes, what did actually happen? Once the GMs reached +2 - against amateurs or against another "nameless" GM who was out of form and not popular among his colleagues - they drew the remaining games. At the time I considered the reporting rather odd ... now I am also involved in hobby PR work (in another sport, athletics) and understand that it is not always necessary or smart to tell the whole truth ,:) .

Sadly, the suggestion that "you'll never see a chess player with Alzheimer's" has a lot more to do with a person being unable to play chess with dementia than the chess having warded off the disease. Brain cells function like nerves, not muscles. They are not something that can be exercised. A good friend of mine, who is also a stupendous chess coach, has been studying Alzheimer's for years and has been on the cutting edge, and has found no meaningful impact of chess or any other mental exercise on the onset of dementia.

I hope that the research results flip and show otherwise, but I think the hope here lies in medicine not brain exercise.

As we are back to chess and diseases: Chessbase has a piece on chess and Asperger's Syndrome or autism:

Is it your opinion that autism and Asperger are "diseases"?

I am neither a native speaker nor a medical specialist. Maybe "disease" is not the right word, should it be "handicap" or - as in the article - Asperger's _syndrome_ and/or Autism Spectrum _disorder_? These last words were chosen by the book authors Karel and IM Merijn van Delft.

Anyway, the article is about how people of various ages "having" ("suffering from" may also be dubious?) Asperger or autism can benefit from playing chess. The three Dutch case studies are 9, 17 and 26 years old.

Yes, it's an interesting article.

No big deal, I was simply curious. Handicap, disorder, syndrome are all fine. "Disease" is very controversial.

Knallo: "There are very many people who automatically heap opprobrium on draws no matter how they came about.
These are, of course, the weaker brethren in our game, but they are noisily and petulantly vociferous."

See, I believe that this element exists and I have seen it myself. Even if it's a larger element than I believe, it's not an element worth worrying about: they'll either get better at the game and modify their rhetoric or they'll leave the game.

However, just because this element of chess is wrong a lot of the time doesn't mean they are not right on occasion. And if Joe Patzerson is complaining loudly about an eight-move draw, I agree with him for once.

If this 0.5 points per draw wasn't built into the tradition of the game (to the point that we just take its existence as God-given) we could figure out a way to discourage fightless draws. Not ALL draws. Draws are entirely natural, and there are a number of draws I've enjoyed playing through, some of which were even of short duration.

Let's forget, for a moment, about the ebb and flow of tournament play. About when a player needs to expend energy and when he needs to conserve it. For now, let's consider what chess is on the most basic level. The entire point of a chess game is two armies bent on capturing the opposing army's king. This implies conflict. This implies risk. Does the structure of a chess tournament preserve the spirit of the game? Not always.

Somehow, raising this question marks the questioner as someone who is contrarian, unrealistic, and a hopelessly weak player. Why is that? If we can tweak the tournament format just enough to preserve the spirit of the game, why is that inferior to the "boat race" strategy some players use?

And speaking of Karpov, has he become the world's number one punching bag? Right now, it is Anand who is working out against the bag in Corsica. I think the oldtime boxers used to refer to guys like Karpov as a "tomato can".

Ray Robson is playing against Kamsky in the first round of the World Cup.

Wrong. He is currently playing in the World Junior Championship in Argentina.

Totally wrong by now ... Robson "will be playing" against Baadur Jobava:
Apparently there have been last-minute changes: "Crouchyboy" on Chessvibes noticed that Ni Hua is no longer paired in the World Cup. Initially he had planned to play both the World Cup (hoping for or expecting to be eliminated at an early stage?) and the London supertournament - it seems that he changed his mind, Crouchyboy suggests that the London organizers "have had a stern word with him".

Karpov is being ridiculed everywhere I look. I just saw some comments about game 3 by Dennis Monokroussos:
“ Karpov thought for a minute and a half here. Why, when he had this position a few months ago?”
“Anand: 11 minutes. Karpov, under 5 as he thinks over this move for a long, long time. What kind of lousy preparation is this?”
“So Karpov has managed both a bad position and a substantial time deficit by move 12. Impressive.”

Luke, I know you have only quoted someone else's views. My opinion is not directed at you, but at the sources.

It will all be more meaningful if Karpov's critics could play better chess than him. I would prefer to commend him for having the courage to put his reputation and ego on the line and take on the best in the business. It remains to be seen whether his critics will fare any better against Kasparov or Anand, and whether their preparation will be any less 'lousy'.

If there is anything ridiculous, it is Karpov feeling psychologically bound to live up to the expectations of his critics instead of playing the way that he wants.

But what is the way he wants?

"I would prefer to commend him for having the courage to put his reputation and ego on the line and take on the best in the business."

And I'll agree with that, but it makes an awful mess when he gets bashed and bashed and bashed...

What do you think will happen when he plays in the Tal Memorial blitz tournament in a couple of weeks? He will end up way down at the bottom someplace. The twelfth world champion being punched around and bashed by the type of players he would have easily crushed in his prime. Sad.

"The twelfth world champion being punched around and bashed by the type of players he would have easily crushed in his prime."
Age (and lack of regular tournament practice) takes its toll. But I wonder if he could have _easily_ crushed the other participants of the Tal Memorial Blitz even in his prime. After all, it includes most of the current top10 as well as a few other strong (blitz) players.

How good or dominant was Karpov at blitz chess in his prime?

Attacking or ridiculing Karpov simply because he plays in events where it seems he's now outclassed, is offbase and plainly illogical.

The same subject was discussed on another thread where it was pointed out that Korchnoi (at upper extreme of strength for a well-past-his-prime ex-super-GM; one could add Smyslov in the 1980s-90s, too) and Bisguier (at the opposite extreme, barely 2200 strength these days) continue in active competition - and on the whole, their doing so is good for everybody who loves chess.

If the complaint is that Karpov's play is so weak it's fouling the events he plays in and ruining your enjoyment - that would be a logical complaint (not saying I agree). But if that's the problem, then criticism should be focused not at Karpov, but at the people who invited him to these top events.

I don't know, but he must have been pretty good. I've read that he used to be one of the fastest players 30 years ago and was usually way ahead on the clock. Combine that speed with his #1 rating strength, and I imagine that his blitz results would have been extremely good, easily good enough to beat most of the current pack if they could be transported back in time.

I hope he'll be able to take a deep breath and roll over people in the Tal blitz tournament like the Karpov of 30 years ago would have, but the more likely outcome looks pretty grim: a big minus score and lots of flag drops.

I visited this page first time to get info on people search and found it Very Good Job of acknowledgment and a marvelous source of info......... Thanks Admin! http://www.reverse-phone-look-up.net

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 22, 2009 12:23 AM.

    Confident Carlsen Goes Gold was the previous entry in this blog.

    Juniors in Chubut, Teams in Novi Sad is the next entry in this blog.

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