The Curious Case of a Chess Enthusiast

Got a comment in my post, “Wesley So, the Gifted Child“. I prepared a long response that I decided to actually just post a new entry about it instead. And so here goes.

Here’s what my commentator has to say:

I don’t think that Wesley So is a gifted child. In today’s world where computer softwares are readily available to budding chessplayers earning a GM norm or title is not really that hard anymore. And to compare him to the great Bobby Fischer is indeed a blasphemy! Fischer was a true genius never before and shall never be seen again in chess. However, Wesley’s achievements should make the Filipinos proud. But as we all know India is million miles ahead of us in chess considering its long list of Super GMs.

To Mr. Panday, if you think Wesley So is not a gifted child, that’s your opinion. You’re definitely entitled to one. Any software is available to everyone to help him/her in analyzing a game, but it does not conclude anyone can also be a grandmaster. It takes patience and determination on top of the inherent skills in someone who is a grandmaster in order to master the craft of chess. Computer chess softwares are merely a tool in studying and preparing for a game or tournament. They are not there to think for you during the actual game. Continue reading

Anand is Still King – World Chess Championship 2008

In Germany, with Viswanathan Anand leading the match already at 6-to-3 after Game 9, the match was expected to be decided in his favor with three more games to play and needing only a draw in the next game. But Vladimir Kramnik still managed to draw blood at Game 10. Yet in Game 11, Kramnik settled for a draw, letting go of his reach for the crown.

Anand the King

Anand the King

And Anand the King was crowned the world champion.

It was a game of almost unbearable tension. Anand switched to 1.e4, Vladimir Kramnik went for do-or-die complications, Anand obliged, and for a couple of hours nobody knew what would happen. In the end, Vishy Anand prevailed, got a slightly better position and Vladimir Kramnik offered a draw. Anand remains World Champion.

WCC R11: Fighting draw, Anand wins World Championship by 6.5:4.5.

Download all the games of the match.

Anand Draws First Blood in Game 3

Viswanathan Anand, the defending champion, draws the first blood with black on the 3rd game of the World Chess Championship yesterday against the challenger, Vladimir Kramnik. This was after the first two games were agreed two by the two players.

It seems that in this match, players don’t recognize the dangers of the failure to castle. They just seem like to complicate things, to the delightment of the fans!

Continue reading

World Chess Championship 2008 in Germany

The match will be a best of 12 games. Players score 1 point for a win and half a point for a draw. Time control will be 120 minutes, with 60 minutes added after move 40, 15 minutes added after move 60, and additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. The match will end as soon as any player scores 6.5 points.

If, after 12 games, the score is equal, a tie-break of four rapid games will be played. Time control for these games will be 25 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. In case of equal scores two additional blitz games will be played (5 minutes plus 10 seconds per move). If these games do not decide the winner, a decisive Armageddon game will be played (6 minutes for white, 5 minutes for black, black declared champion in case of a draw). There will be a new drawing of colours before rapid games, as well as before blitz games and an Armageddon game.

World Chess Championship 2008
Official Website

I find a head-to-head match-up like this more exciting than a round-robin (e.g., the World Chess Championship 2007) for a world chess championship. In the former, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the rush of blood as players hammer each other on a round per round mental combat. Get yourself marveled at how each player switch strategy in the middle of the match to accommodate the outpouring pressure. In the latter, oftentimes you’ll just wait and see till the last round who has the nearest reach to the crown.

A round-robin world championship will be just like a boxing match, with eight players inside a ring at the same time. The last man standing will be the world champion. In chess, most likely you’ll just wait and see by the end of the show who will come out victorious. But in boxing, hey, this is pretty exciting!

Anand Reclaims the World Title

Vishwanathan Anand is the World Chess Champion after the World Championship 2007 in Mexico City. He is the fourth grandmaster to have reclaimed the crown, after Alexander Alekhine, Mikhail Botvinnik and Anatoly Karpov. That is, however, granting that Garry Kasparov split from FIDE in 1993 and retired from active chess in 2005. Anand first won the FIDE crown in 2000.

The list of world champions according to FIDE’s is now updated with this development as follows:

Name Years Country
Wilhelm Steinitz 1886-1894 Austria / United States
Emanuel Lasker 1894–1921 Prussia/Germany
José Raúl Capablanca   1921–1927 Cuba
Alexander Alekhine 1927–1935 Soviet Union (Russia) / France
Max Euwe 1935–1937 Netherlands
Alexander Alekhine 1937–1946 France
Mikhail Botvinnik 1948–1957 Soviet Union (Russia)
Vasily Smyslov 1957–1958 Soviet Union (Russia)
Mikhail Botvinnik 1958–1960 Soviet Union (Russia)
Mikhail Tal 1960–1961 Soviet Union (Latvia)
Mikhail Botvinnik 1961–1963 Soviet Union (Russia)
Tigran Petrosian 1963–1969 Soviet Union (Armenia)
Boris Spassky 1969–1972 Soviet Union (Russia)
Robert J. Fischer 1972–1975 United States
Anatoly Karpov 1975–1985 Soviet Union (Russia)
Garry Kasparov 1985–1993 Soviet Union / Russia
Anatoly Karpov 1993–1999 Russia
Alexander Khalifman 1999–2000 Russia
Viswanathan Anand 2000–2002 India
Ruslan Ponomariov 2002–2004 Ukraine
Rustam Kasimdzhanov 2004–2005 Uzbekistan
Veselin Topalov 2005–2006 Bulgaria
Vladimir Kramnik 2006–2007 Russia
Viswanathan Anand 2007–present   India

Rows in italics represent the grey areas in the world chess history.

Viswanathan Anand became, for the first time, the undisputed World Chess Champion on September 29, 2007, after finishing the tournament with a score of 9/14, not losing a single game and a full point ahead of the second placer, Vladimir Kramnik.

To download the games in pgn and to view some pictures, visit chessbase.com.

Anand’s title, though, it appears, will be challenged again(!) next year sometime between May and September 2008 by no less than…. Vladimir Kramnik, in a best of 12 games one-on-one match. Why, read the wikipedia article.

For Kramnik’s part, I guess he’s better off playing a one-on-one match rather than playing in a round robin tournament. Just look at his 2000 match win agains Kasparov and the 2006 match against Topalov. Clear victories!