Archive for September, 2016

The former president of the English Chess Federation appears to have made a blunder far greater than any he may have played over the board. Prior to the release of his autobiography, CJ de Mooi made several rather sensational claims (presumably to help sell the thing, possibly because he is suffering from guilt), one being he may have murdered someone whilst in Amsterdam!?

This week he was arrested at Heathrow Airport regarding the aforementioned claim. See here:

From what is read he hasn’t yet been charged, it is alleged only that he has committed murder. However more details appear here,

What is the moral of this story I wonder? If you’ve killed someone, don’t tell anyone? I doubt it, that’s just plain common sense. How about apply to life what chess teaches you, such as think before you act? Well that doesn’t quite work because we aren’t purely rational creatures, I think the moral of the story must be don’t lob junkies into canals after you’ve knocked them out. It’s not terribly British and when being robbed in Amsterdam its awfully impolite not to offer to go dutch -thus pocketing half the dinero!

I wonder what will come of all this… .

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Adibhan - Minero Pineda Baku 2016. White to play and win.
Adhiban – Minero Pineda, Baku 2016.
White to play and win.

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The Bedfordshire county chess team may benefit from extra firepower next season after I was contacted by ‘Big Vern’, about playing on the bottom board. ‘Big Vern’ whose exploits and activities are sometimes the subject of a comic strip in Viz, has recently been spotted in the Ukraine, as is verified here.


The ‘Vern’ plans to give his ‘shootahs’ a rest and lie-low for a bit, going incognito somewhere quiet like Kempston or Harrold, far away from the murky underworld he usually inhabits. ‘Big Vern’ apparently learnt the game whilst ‘goin’ grey in a chokey (British slang for prison)’ as he put it, and ‘might be available some Sundays’ I am informed.

Harrold: a murky underworld

Harrold: not a murky underworld



A warm welcome to ‘Big Vern’.



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We have all been told time after time just how great the Soviets were at chess and having read almost every publication translated into English about them, I have more than a few ideas why. The following list shows how dominant the Soviet players were at the Olympiads they played in, but bear in mind for political reasons the Soviets only began participating from the 1950s onwards.

Courtesy of the English Chess Forum here is the list of players who beat a Soviet at the Olympiads.

Ljubojevic (twice)
Seirawan (twice)
Vallejo Pons

23 losses in total -scary!

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London has a Draughts Cafe apparently but don’t just play draughts there.

Details can be found here


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Another funny from TrollChess


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Did he cheat or violate the rules unintentionally? At the recent Baku Olympiad the untitled Japanese player Tang Tang, who defeated Turkmenistan GM Handszar Odeev in Round 3 was given a loss by the arbiters after they discovered he was in possession of an electronic device, even though it was established it (the player’s phone) had not been used during the game.

Is the young Japanese player guilty of cheating or making an innocent mistake? It is unclear. I think the most important thing to do for now is to look at the game, which can be found here.

In doing so, you may have noticed in the player stats that black has a rating advantage of around 300 points but comes out of the opening slightly worse only to equalize in the middlegame. On move 26 the following position is reached.


White (Tang Tang) now plays 27. f4, at which point had black played either Qxa2 (suggested by Leonard Barden on the ECF Forum) or Qxd6 (my suggestion) the game would probably have been drawn but instead black plays for the win with 27. …exf3 28. Rd2 f2?!+. Perhaps unhappy not to be winning against his much lower rated player, he tries to mate white, only to find himself being mated. The difficulty here is that if black’s mating attack works then of course its justified, so is the result of the match due to black’s miscalculations? If so, isn’t it unfair to accuse white (Tang Tang) of cheating? He has hasn’t really won the game himself, black has lost it through a choice of incorrect plan. I’m not sure whether white’s play is strong enough to suggest he has been cheating and of course we hope that whenever an untitled player beats a Grandmaster they don’t automatically fall under suspicion. If anything the game looks like a classic example of a higher rated opponent dropping his game and the lower rated opponent upping his so that they meet somewhere in the middle.

The case was brought to light on the following site The captain of the Japanese team GM Mihajlo Stojanovic, has defended his player in the comments below and clarified one or two points (though it would have helped if the player had done so as well). It appears that Tang Tang was given a loss for possession of an electronic device rather than use…well according to his captain he was.

Unfortunately FIDE has attracted a lot of criticism over the anti-cheating measures enforced, which were considered to be draconian and, as we see here, ineffective. Players were forced to go through scanners and body searches before entering the playing venue and could be stopped and searched during play, much to the frustration of England’s Nigel Short. Of course, FIDE want to send the message that cheating is unacceptable, and rightly so, but this is not the way to do it surely. Chess is a gentleman’s game, such heavy-handedness has no place in it. No wonder so many players felt aggrieved. It is a great shame that the majority have to suffer because of the actions of a few, and in turn, the governing body’s inability to deal with the issue effectively.

One final point, given the attention the incident attained, I wonder if Tang Tang is now big in Japan, because ‘when you’re big in Japan…’



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Charles Darrow, the inventor of The Landlord’s Game Monopoly can be seen here in To Tell the Truth, a show with all the charm of 1950’s America. Do Not Pass Go to the 17 minute mark to see him, I suggest you guess the answer, it’s quite challenging.

The greatest draughts player that ever lived, the man who only lost 5 times in 45 years before he began an ill-fated match with a super-strong computer whilst suffering with pancreatic cancer, Dr. Marion Tinsley, the pride of Ohio -that state which through its fallow farmlands, gritty urban ghettos, and smaller skylines suggest, in comparison to the upper-east coast, an absence of affluence, can be seen in the following clip at the 16 minute mark.

McCready’s impromptu ‘from memory’ late night quiz question (no googling now). Sticking with Ohio, who was the city the mistake on the lake Cleveland named after, and what was the name of the company he was a major shareholder of called?

…and a picture question. What is the name of this building, which I once had the pleasure of seeing?

Terminal Tower Historical

…now a film question. The name of a rather underrated film set in Cleveland appeared in the 90s, and is possibly the best film ever made based in that city. What is it called? (once again no googling)

..and lastly, to wrap up our theme of ‘deliberate misrepresentation’, here’s a vid which claims the people of Cincinatti are happy!

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Despise the enemy strategically, but take him seriously tactically.

Passivity is fatal to us. Our goal is to make the enemy passive.

Mao Zedong

Communist China, the somewhat unpopular champions of the 2014 Olympiad, lost their title yesterday, failing to find a top ten place in fact, losing to Ukraine, England, and Hungary mid-tournament. For the first time since the 70s, the Americans and their distinctly migrant team are now champions.

The Chinese are a curious bunch, don’t you think? Little has been said about their meteoric rise over the last ten years irrespective of their successes. When participating in tournaments they often keep themselves to themselves and you wonder whether they are discouraged to interact with their foreign counterparts. Having known some of their top players before, being fortunate to have met Hou Yifan on more than one occasion, it is undoubtedly the case the the top players are, to some degree, subject to governmental demands. At the time I knew her, she could not decide herself which international tournaments she was allowed to play in. We do not yet know why the Chinese under-performed so in this Olympiad, I suspect it will not be reported on internationally if at all.

The Americans, comprising of an Italian, a Japanese, a Filipino and a player from California on the bottom board, are now the more popular champions. Perhaps the opportunism the country embodies both historically and in the present day appeals to a wider audience, its allure a success story in itself, irrespective of where its players are really from. I personally predicted they would win the event, and so they did, looking strong throughout with notable performances from Caruana and So in particular. As we know, the Americans are investing heavily in chess at the moment, pronouncing St. Louis, Missouri as the world chess capital and New York as home to the upcoming World Championship match between Carlsen and Karjakin. An early return on their investment is, most likely, much to the liking of the upper echelons within the game.

One of the great things about an Olympiad is that you often see unusual pairings and results. I find this Olympiad to be fascinating, especially when we now have so many options to follow the action, and some great commentary too. The quality of the play was very high and there were many great games to play through. Roll on Georgia 2018.

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