Category Archives: Chess

Vidit Draws with Carlsen, India’s Best Bet at Isle of Man Tournament

Anand Also Undefeated But Playing it Very Safe

With just two rounds to go at the Isle of Man chess tournament, Vidit Gujarathi (2702) is India’s best bet at the end of Round 7 yesterday.

Playing above his rating, Vidit earned a brilliant draw against Magnus Carlsen, the monarch of today’s chess world, yesterday, to take his score to 5.5 points, sharing the third spot with four others.

Viswanathan Anand (2794) is half a point behind, playing it safe even against much lower-ranked players in a desperate attempt to ward off defeat. This is understandable considering his second-round exit at the recent Tbilisi World Cup which Levon Aronian went on to win defeating Deng Liren of China in the final.

I have been watching the Isle of Man tournament every night live online and it is clear to me that Anand is playing subpar chess, despite remaining undefeated thus for. 

In the sixth round, he got into a comfortable position against SP Sethuraman and missed several winning variations before eventually scoring a full point.

In Round 7, though, he was in a hurry, quickly exchanging most pieces and settling for a draw against a player ranked 230 points below him, Lenderman, Aleksandr (2565). He was perhaps trying to skirt the possibility of running into Carlsen in one of the two remaining rounds.

G Joslin Vethakumar


Leave a comment

Filed under Chess

Humans can do Things no Robot Ever Could: Kasparov

I have been writing here about how Artificial Intelligence is rapidly going mainstream. They include my most recent one on A Quadrant for Pursuit Magic! Another one was on whether Sales can survive AI Threat.

However, in this Fortune magazine piece, the legendary chess champion, Garry Kasparov, asserts that “Humans can do things no robot ever could.”

His argument: “The human brain is an unmatched analogy engine, finding useful patterns to leverage our lifetime of experience to make decisions.”

Deep Thinking

I consider American Bobby Fischer the greatest ever chess player. I started playing chess, inspired by his brilliance. Pure Genius!

I hold Kasparov the next best in chess history. He was involved in the historic Man (Kasparov) vs Machine (Deep Blue) match more than two decades ago. I had blogged about it recently here – Man-Machine Collaboration

Nonetheless, in his recent book, Deep Thinking, Kasparov concedes that “Deep Blue was conclusive proof that machines could surpass humans in complex cognitive tasks that we had long assumed were unique to our developed brains.”

I intend to get hold of the book soon.

G Joslin Vethakumar

Leave a comment

Filed under Artificial Intelligence, Chess

Losing to 65+ GM is No Embarrassment for World No. 5 Kramnik

As veteran players shine, the one clear message is: Sports can be a Great Leveller and a Slap on Ageism, Racism, Communalism and More Raging Everywhere!

Even as chess fans are digesting the recent sensational exits from the World Cup (Magnus Carlsen in Round 3, Anand in Round 2 and almost all of the big names) there was another shocker at the elite Isle of Man event yesterday, with former world champion Vladimir Kramnik losing to 65-year-old American Grandmaster James Tarjan.

Almost simultaneously, British GM Nigel Short re-entered the 2700 club at 52 after an impressive first three rounds at the Isle of Man tournament. Short’s peak score was 2712 in 2004 but his best career moment was in 1993 when he lost the world champion title match to legendary Garry Kasparov.

Tarjin, photo

GM James Tarjan | Photo: Klein.

Still Going Strong: Viswanathan Anand, 47, is a pale shadow of the champion he was, with sub-par performances at the Tbilisi World Cup championship and so far at the Isle of Man tournament now under way. He struggled against a 20-year-old German, an International Master about 400 points below him. Anand, nonetheless, is still a top-10 player.

Losing to a 65+ GM should not be an embarrassment for Kramnik as Tarjan was a top player in the 70s having won a few Olympiad titles. He came out of retirement in 2014 after a 30-year retirement. Kasparov (54), who also revived his career recently, perhaps drew inspiration from him.

Kramnik, who had lost to Anand in the World Championship in 2007 and 2008, is himself 42 and currently ranked world number 5 with 2803 points against Anand’s 2794.

Mental Stamina, Physical Fitness: Anand’s poor performance at the Tbilisi World Cup prompted calls for his retirement in some quarters. That was silly, he is still a top-10 player.

Chess requires mental agility and stamina, but you will miss out on this without physical fitness. Younger players, therefore, will have an extra edge. Theoretical knowledge, technological advantage, the ability to think deep for creative moves that prop up middle- and end-game strategies, practice, staying calm under pressure and experience are among the various factors that spell the difference between winning and losing.

As the corporate world is witness to blatant ageism, sport is demonstrating to the world the value of individual merit, playing excellence and rich experience. Even in sporting events that require physical strength such as tennis, we have the likes of Roger Federer (36) who can withstand marathon games, sweating it out on the courts for even more than four hours and leaving players much younger at the losing end.

Sports can be a great leveller and a slap on ageism, racism and more!

 G Joslin Vethakumar

1 Comment

Filed under Chess

Why are Amateurs Playing in Elite Chess Tournaments?

I am wondering why the Tbilisi World Cup and the Isle of Man tournaments are being considered elite events.

With participation from the world’s finest players, they do qualify for the “elite” tag. But why are International Masters allowed to play in the events that have the strongest Grandmasters in the event?

It is quite another matter that most of the top-ranked players faced early elimination from the World Cup, with top-rung GMs Levon Aronian of Armenia and Ding Liren of China now fighting for the top place.

They are great platforms for up-and-coming players to compete with the finest in the game. Just as the tennis Grand Slam events are for promising young players.

But at least one of the 100+ chess players at the Isle of Man tournament is a non-serious contender with no plans as yet to become a full-time, professional player.

I am referring to IM Jonas Lampert (20) from Germany, who played well to draw his Isle of Man second-round game with Viswanathan Anand. Perhaps he will stop being an amateur if he has a great run at the tournament.

G Joslin Vethakumar

Leave a comment

Filed under Chess

Carlsen, Kramnik and Nakamura Also Make Shock Exits

Upsets Galore at World Championship

Inconceivable as it may seem, Magnus Carlsen has made an early exit on Sunday from the World Chess Championship in Tbilisi, after a shock loss to Chinese GM Xiangzhi Bu – 0.5:1.5.

Vladmir Kramnik and Hikaru Nakamura are among the others eliminated in Round 3 of the championship.

Five-time world champion V Anand was ousted in Round 2 by Anton Koyalyov, who pushed the championship into polemics in the next round when he forfeited the match after falling afoul of organisers over violation of the dress code.

G Joslin Vethakumar

Leave a comment

Filed under Chess

The Lure of Limelight!

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov has taken the bait to get back from retirement possibly to garner some attention.

I doubt it is a prudent decision unless he is ready to dent the reputation he has as one of the greatest chess players ever. His comeback notwithstanding, he can never upstage late Fischer who, to me, will remain the finest player the chess world has seen.

Moreover, these are times when current and former world champions Magnus Carlsen and Vishwanathan Anand do not hesitate to draw games through repetitive moves.

Kasparov back from retirement for US tournament

G Joslin Vethakumar 

Leave a comment

Filed under Chess

What a Tame Draw!

Carlsen, Anand Dish Out Mediocre Chess in World’s Strongest Tournament

It was a waste of time watching two world champions, current and past, play out a draw by repetition of moves in the ninth and final round of the Norway Chess 2017 that ended that minutes ago.

V Anand appeared to hold the edge after the first 10 moves, but then he started to cower and got into defensive mode. Magnus Carlsen was no better as both were perhaps too keen to avoid finishing at the bottom of the world’s strongest Super GM tournament.

Carlsen’s dismal performance all through the event will have been a huge disappointment for his home fans in Norway.

G Joslin Vethakumar

Leave a comment

Filed under Anand and Carlsen, Chess