Archive for December, 2014

I found the following problem on a chessbase post, where they claim it appeared in Shakhmaty V SSSR 1935. It’s white to play and win, chess artistry at its finest.


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The latest attempt to create an on-line chess platform can be found here, It is, of course, the eagerly awaited Chess24 site. Whilst photographing an event last year, I spoke to GM Jan Gustaffsen about it, he mentioned that a tremendous amount of money and effort had gone into developing it. I have to say, they’ve found a winning formula with it, almost immediately it becomes obvious that it is vastly superior to anything that has gone before it. It’s multi-platform, with too many options to document here. The main ones being; however, a playing arena with a variety of time controls, live broadcasts of major tournaments with commentary from the very best in the world, video series from some of the top names of the chess world, tactics trainers, specifically designed courses, and even a news feed, everything’s there all in one site! You’ll need to register but its very simple. The basic membership is free and adequate enough but you can go Premium for $99 a year, which I plan to do shortly. I only play 30 minute games, my user name being mccreadyandchess, my rating is around the 2100 mark at present. If time allows, I’m always up for a game….merry xmas.

Courtesy of MemoryChesss.

Courtesy of MemoryChesss.

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It’s so cold outside and there’s nothing to do so here’s a few thoughts from last month… .

On the coldest day of the year, which had now reached early November, it rained in Baku without stopping. As I left work, I rode through the slippery cobbled streets of the old city, and when I passed through the ancient ‘goshagala’ (double gate) I was wet through to the skin already. Broad and straight, Azerbycan Prospetki, was under heavy cloud and slow with traffic, and to make matters worse, my phone had no credit. I had to call my wife to see if she was home.

Through the pouring rain I cycled, looking for a roadside kiosk, in hope I would see a pay phone amongst the grimacing piyada. It was not until I reached the chess club at the end of the prospekti that I did, though in truth I must have passed many before that. It would not accept the Qepik I used, and with the rain becoming heavier, I took refuge inside the chess club. The heating and lights were on full as a tournament was in progress. Remembering to put my phone on silent, I did not distract anyone when my wife finally called to say she could not leave her friend’s apartment because of the weather…it meant I had some free time to watch the play unfold whilst drying off.

The tournament organizer was a very kind old gentleman, who being intrigued by his foreign visitor, invited me to play in the following round. It began the following day at three, so I had to decline due to work commitments but he was good enough to teach me a few things whilst I was there. I now know the names of the chess pieces in Azeri, and they are as follows:

pawn       – piyada    (pedestrian)

knight     – at           (horse)

bishop     – fil           (elephant)

rook        – top         (gun/canon)

queen     – fazir        (advisor)

king        – shah       (king)

If you are a frequent flyer, you might ask yourself on arrival at your destination: ‘What is the greatest game of chess ever played in the city I am now in?’ Located in Baku, I believe I know the answer to that question. It took place in a building I recently had the pleasure of visiting whilst the 2014 Grand Prix was played out. The majestic cultural center on Rashid Behbudov street – or ‘the great composer from the east’  as he was once affectionately known as. The game in question is between the lesser known Rashid Nezhmedtinov, and Mikhail Tal from 1961. It is, if I may say so, an absolute cracker of a game. You can watch it below on kingcrusher’s very good youtube channel.

Rashid, from what is now Kazakhstan, is to the left. He was one of many Soviet players who liked to play for the win...I suppose when you are playing amongst the very best in the world and aren't quite there yourself, that's the best way, especially when rating points aren't up for grabs.

Rashid, from what is now Kazakhstan, is to the left. He was one of many Soviet players who liked to play for the win…I suppose when you are playing amongst the very best in the world and aren’t quite there yourself, that’s the best way, especially when rating points aren’t up for grabs from draws.

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