Top Chess Engine Championship – Wikipedia

Top Chess Engine Championship formerly known as Thoresen Chess Engines Competition (TCEC or nTCEC) is a computer chess tournament that was organized, directed, and hosted by Martin Thoresen until the end of Season 6; from Season 7 onward it has been organized by Chessdom. It is often regarded as the Unofficial World Computer Chess Championship because of its strong participant line-up and long time control matches on high-end hardware, giving rise to very high-class chess.[1][2]

The first TCEC was in 2010. After a short break in 2012,[3] TCEC was restarted in early 2013 (as nTCEC)[4] and is currently active (renamed as TCEC in early 2014) with all-day live broadcasts of chess matches on its website. Supported by original engine authors and based on voluntarism and donation, it caused a furor in February 2011, when the free version of Houdini defeated reigning computer chess champion Rybka in a 40-game match.[5][6]

The current season of TCEC is sponsored by Chessdom Arena.[7][8]. The current TCEC champion is Stockfish 8, which defeated Houdini 5 in the TCEC Season 9 Superfinal 100-game match held in November – December 2016.[9]

The TCEC competition is divided into Seasons, where each Season happens over a course of a few months, with matches played round-the-clock and broadcast live over the internet. Each season is divided into 4 qualifying stages and 1 Superfinal, where the top two chess engines battle it out over a series of 64 games to win the title of TCEC Grand Champion.

The time control in all events is 120+30 (120 minutes + 30 seconds added per move for the whole game) and pondering is set to off. The Opening Book is taken from recent strong human Grandmaster tournaments, is truncated to the first 6 or 8 moves, and is changed in every Stage. Engines are allowed updates between stages, unless there is a critical play-limiting bug, in which case the engine are allowed to be updated once during the stage. TCEC generates its own elo rating list from the matches played during the tournament. An initial rating is given to any new participant based on its rating in other chess engine rating lists.

There is no definite criterium for entering into the competition, other than inviting the top participants from various rating lists. The list of participants is personally chosen by Thoresen before the start of any new season. His stated goal is to include “every major engine that is not a direct clone”.[10] Usually chess engines that support multiprocessor mode are preferred (8-cores or higher). Both Winboard and UCI engines are supported. Large pages are disabled but access to various endgame tablebases is permitted.

A game can be drawn by threefold repetition or fifty-move rule. However, a game can also be drawn at move 40 or later if the eval from both playing engines are within +0.05 to -0.05 pawns for the last five moves, or ten plies. If there is a pawn advance or a capture, this special draw rule resets and starts over. On the website, this rule shows as “Distance in plies to TCEC draw rule”. It adjudicates as won for one side if both playing engines have an evaluation of at least 6.50 pawns (or -6.50 in case of a black win) for four consecutive moves, or eight plies – this rule is in effect as soon as the game starts. The GUI also adjudicates tablebase endgame positions (with 5-men or less) automatically.

N.B.: tablebases were disabled for all engines for the whole of Season 7.[10]

Shredder vs Gull, TCEC S4


Season 1-3:

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Season 9:

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Top Chess Engine Championship – Wikipedia

Chess Engines list @wiki – Computer-Chess Wiki

Latest Date Engine Site Latest Version Author Alternate Download Protocol Comment 2017/08/24 Dimitri 3.61 Luigino Viscione 1.36, 1.0, 0.73 Norbert Raimund Leisner XB Win; requires VB6 runtime 2017/08/24 EnkoChess 2017.08.19 Evgeniy Silchenko SDChess UCI own GUI; Win 2017/08/24 RomiChess P3M Michael Sherwin P3M P3M (old cpus) P3L, 2c, 2k, 3d, 3g, 3i, NG5 Kirill Kryukov JA builds XB C source (older versions); mp; Win 2017/08/24 Supra 25.0 Pedro Mouro Correia – UCI C++ source; Win 2017/08/24 Zevra 1.6r497 Oleg Smirnov SDChess UCI C++ source; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/08/19 Chess22k 1.5 Sander Maassen vd Brink – UCI Java source; cross-platform jar file 2017/08/19 Ethereal 8.23 Andrew Grant SDChess UCI C source; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/08/19 Laser 1.5 Jeffrey An & Michael An SDChess UCI C++ source; mp; supports Syzygy ebtbs; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/08/19 NirvanaChess 2.4 Thomas Kolarik – UCI mp; Win 2017/08/19 Sayuri 2017.08.19 Ishibashi Hironori SDChess old MB build (Mac) UCI C++ source (Japanese comments); mp (up to 64 threads); Linux, Mac, Win 2017/08/19 Shallow Blue 1.02 Rhys Rustad-Elliott 1.01 UCI C++ source; Win 2017/08/11 Sting SF 8.5 Marek Kwiatkowski 8.5 old Kirill Kryukov JA builds old JA Linux builds Julien Marcel old Mac builds UCI C++ source; Linux, Mac(JM), Win; requires extra dlls (not included); Stockfish derivative 2017/08/11 GNUchess6 6.2.5 Fabien Letouzey, Antonio Ceballos Hermann Krause Tony Mokonen source SDChess Julien Marcel Mac very old build Kirill Kryukov JA builds JA Linux builds (Fruit) XB, UCI C++ source; Linux, Mac, Win; directly based on Fruit 2.1 code 2017/08/11 RuyDos 1.0.27 lvaro Begu & Jos Manuel Morn SDChess alt site UCI C++ source; support for Syzygy egtbs; Linux, Win 2017/08/11 Saruman 2017.08.10 HK Terry Bolt, Conor Griffin, Darragh Griffin Hermann Krause UCI C++ source; own GUI; Win 2017/08/03 JavaRival 1.03 Chris Moreton SJCE* Kirill Kryukov JA builds UCI Java source; cross-platform; SJCE* indicates engine is one of many contained in the package 2017/08/03 Xadreco 10.1.170722.114803 Ruben Carlo Benante Hermann Krause older versions Norbert Raimund Leisner Julien Marcel Mac builds JA Linux builds XB C source (Portugese language comments) mp; Linux, Mac; old version supports UCI 2017/07/29 Betsab II 1.75 Juan Benitez, Dieter Steinwender, & Chrilly Donninger 1.75 Kirill Kryukov JA builds JA Linux builds Julien Marcel Mac builds XB, UCI C source w/ Spanish comments & var names; Linux, Mac, Win; this is a MiniMAX derivative 2017/07/29 Gogobello 1.3 Salvatore Giannotti G-Sei UCI mp; supports Polyglot books; supports Syzygy egtbs; Win64; older versions supported XB only 2017/07/29 Komodo 11.2.2 Don Dailey, Larry Kaufman & Mark Lefler Kirill Kryukov JA builds JA Linux builds BeeKay(Win64) UCI commercial; mp (64 threads); FRC; multiPV; Linux, Mac, Win; own GUI (Tarrasch Chess GUI); supports Polyglot opening books; supports Syzygy egtbs 2017/07/21 Arasan 20.2 Jon Dart source code Kirill Kryukov JA builds JA Linux builds very old JM Mac builds XB, UCI C++ source; own GUI, mp(64 cores max); multiPV; limit strength; ; can use Nalimov, Gaviota or Syzyzgy egtbsLinux, Mac, Win 2017/07/21 BagaturChess 1.5e Krasimir Topchiyski Sourceforge downloads SJCE* Kirill Kryukov JA builds UCI Java source; cross-platform; mp(64 cores max); supports Gaviota ebtbs; SJCE* indicates engine is one of many contained in the package 2017/07/21 Cicada 0.1 Mohammad Kayali – UCI Rust source; Linux, Win 2017/07/21 Counter 2.0.2 Vadim Chizhov SDChess UCI Go source; Linux, Win 2017/07/21 Robocide 20170718 TM Daniel White 20170718 TM Tony Mokonen UCI C source; Win 2017/07/21 Soldat III 0.187 Marco Giusfredi Kirill Kryukov JA builds Julien Marcel Mac old build XB C source (Italian comments); Linux, Mac, Win 2017/07/13 ProDeo 2.4 Ed Schrder – XB, UCI mp (2 cores max); Win 2017/07/06 Madchess 2.2 Erik Madsen – UCI C# source; multiPV; limit strength; Win; successor to RumbleMinze engine 2017/07/06 Napoleon 1.8 Marco Pampaloni Julien Marcel Mac builds Italian page alt downloads UCI C++ source; mp; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/07/06 SugaR Pro 1.0a Tord Romstad, Marco Costalba, Joona Kiiski, many others, & Marco Zerbinati Source alt site UCI C++ source; mp (up to 128 threads); multiPV; FRC; Win; supports Syzygy egtbs; Stockfish derivative 2017/07/06 WyldChess 1.51 Manik Charan – XB, UCI C source; supports Syzygy egtbs; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/06/29 Belofte 0.9.1 Yves De Billoz downloads Tony Mokonen Julien Marcel Mac builds XB, UCI C source; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/06/29 Marvin 2.1.0 Martin Danielsson 1.30 XB, UCI C source; supports Polyglot opening books & Syzygy egtbs; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/06/22 Baislicka 1.0 Robert Taylor – UCI C source; Win 2017/06/22 ChessbrainVB 3.31 Roger Zuehlsdorf – XB Win; LarsenVB derivative 2017/06/22 Demolito 2017.06.18 Lucas Braesch 2017.06.18 Hermann Krause rev252 UCI C++ source; Win 2017/06/22 Embla 0.9.91 Folkert van Heusden source XB, UCI mp (INT_MAX cores); supports Polyglot opening books & Syzygy ebtbs; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/06/22 Monochrome TM ‘CPirc’ Tony Mokonen UCI C++ source; Win 2017/06/22 Nemorino 3.00 Christian Gnther 3.00 3.00 XB, UCI mp; multiPV; supports FRC; supports Syzygy egtbs; Win64 2017/06/22 NG-Play 9.87b George Georgopoulos 9.87b SDChess JA Linux builds Julien Marcel Mac very old build XB C source; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/06/15 Dragontooth 0.2 Dylan Hunn – UCI Go source; mp; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/06/15 ECE X3 Luigio Viscione X3 UCI ECE = Easy Chess Engine; own GUI; Win 2017/06/15 Nemeton 1.51 Stan Arts 1.51 1.41, 1.4 XB Pascal source; mp (4 cores max) Win 2017/06/15 Pedone 1.6 Fabio Gobbato G-Sei UCI mp(128 cores max); multiPV; limit strength; Linux, Win; supports Syzygy egtbs & Polyglot opening books; also a didactic engine named PedoneBase 2017/06/08 Amoeba 2.5 Richard Delorme – UCI D source; multiPV, Linux, Mac, Win 2017/06/08 Dorpsgek Dillinger Matthew Brades SDChess Tony Mokonen XB C source; Linux, Win 2017/06/08 Galjoen 0.36 Werner Taelemans SDChess XB, UCI C++ source; FRC; MultiPV; own GUI; limit strength; Linux, Win; uses Polyglot books 2017/06/08 Monolith 0.2 Jonas Mayr – UCI C++ source; supports PolyGlot opening books; Linux, Windows 2017/06/08 Sabrina 3.0.22 Stefano Gemma G-Sei XB tournament mode; Linux, Mac, Win; formerly named Satana 2017/06/01 Ghost 3.1 Philipp Claen – XB mp; Linux, Win 2017/05/25 Isa 2.0.45 Daniel Anulliero 2.0.45 XB Linux, Win 2017/05/25 Leokom 0.2 Leonid Rozenblyum et al Norbert Raimund Leisner XB Java source; cross-platform jar file 2017/05/18 Alcibiades 0.3.0 TM Evgeni Pandurski Tony Mokonen Hermann Krause UCI Rust source; intended as a didactic engine; Linux64, Win64 2017/05/18 Ruffian 2.10 Perola Valfridsson Frank’s Chess Page Ed Schrder XB, UCI formerly commercial, now free; Win; multiPV 2017/05/12 Andscacs 0.91 Daniel Jos Queralt – UCI mp (128 cores max); multi-PV; Syzygy ebtb support; Win 2017/05/12 Booot 6.2 Alex Morozov SDChess Norbert Raimund Leisner UCI Pascal source (Russian language comments); mp(16 cores max); Win 2017/05/12 Cheese 1.9 Patrice Duhamel JA Linux builds XB, UCI multiPV; limit strength; FRC; Linux, Mac, Android, Win 2017/05/12 Detroid 1.0 Victor Csomor – UCI Java source; mp; supports Polyglot opening books; cross-platform jar file; own GUI; built-in static evaluation parameter tuning optimization 2017/05/12 Jumbo 0.4.34 Sven Schle – XB mp; supports Polyglot opening books; Win; requires external dlls (not included with package); successor to Surprise, KnockOut & Femto and Femto 0.9 2017/05/12 Skiull 0.2 Tony Soares – UCI Linux, Win 2017/05/12 Tiny Chess 1.4.6 Kelvin Yang 1.4.6 Norbert Raimund Leisner UCI C++ source; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/05/12 Wasp 2.01 John Stanback Frank’s Chess Page UCI mp; Win; successor to Zarkov 2017/05/01 Dirty 30APR2017 Pradu Kannan, Andres Valverde & Fonzy Bluemers Kirill Kryukov JA builds JA Linux builds old homepage (slow) XB mp; Linux, Win 2017/05/01 Zeta 0.99d Srdja Matovic Tony Mokonen Norbert Raimund Leisner XB C++ source; Win; experimental engine that uses a GPU for calculations 2017/05/01 Zurichess Luzern Alexandru Mosoi – UCI Go source; skill levels; Multi PV; Linux, Win 2017/04/27 (Deep) Gandalf 7 Beta Steen Suurballe Frank’s Chess Page UCI mp (2 cores max); older versions use XB protocol; Win 2017/04/27 MobMat 903d Vince A Sempronio – UCI Win; supports Polyglot opening books; MobMat=MOBility and MATerial 2017/04/27 Schooner 1.7 Dennis Sceviour code XB Win; own book & supports Polyglot books 2017/04/14 Zeta Dva 0305 Srdja Matovic Tony Mokonen Norbert Raimund Leisner Kirill Kryukov JA builds Julien Marcel XB C source; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/04/06 EveAnn 1.72 Andres Valverde alt download XB Win 2017/04/06 Swordfight 2017.04.03 ukasz Kouchowski – XB Clojure source; cross-platform jar file 2017/03/31 Fischerle 0.9.80 SE Roland Stuckardt SJCE* UCI Java source; cross-platform; own GUI; SJCE* indicates engine is one of many contained in the package 2017/03/23 ChessV 2.0, RC 2 Gregory Strong old site Norbert Raimund Leisner XB C# source; own GUI; variant play; Linux, Mac, Win; requires .NET or Mono framework 2017/03/23 Deepov 0.4.1 TM Romain Goussault Tony Mokonen Hermann Krause Deepov 0.4.1 JP (Mac) UCI C++ source; Linux, Mac, Win; old Java version Jeepov 2017/03/23 LittleWing 0.2.0 TM Vincent Ollivier Tony Mokonen Hermann Krause XB Rust source; Win 2017/03/23 Soberango 0.10.3 Luis Babboni – XB Win 2017/03/14 Chess4J 3.2 James Swafford old Kirill Kryukov JA builds XB Java and Groovy source; cross-platform jvm jar file 2017/03/14 Rodent III Pablo Vazquez + Pawel Koziol Rodent III source + download Rodent II source + download SDChess(Linux) Kirill Kryukov JA builds JA Linux builds Denis Mendoza old Sourceforge code dev code Julien Marcel Mac old build UCI C source; Linux, Mac, Win; limit strength; originally based on Sungorus code; supports Polyglot opening book; supports personalities 2017/03/10 HoiChess 0.21.0 Holger Ruckdeschel latest downloads SDChess Jim Ablett JA Linux builds XB C++ source; mp; Linux, Win; variant play 2017/03/05 Ronja 0.6.0 Johan Dykstrm 0.6.0 Norbert Raimund Leisner XB Java source; cross-platform 2017/03/05 Vajolet2 2.3 Marco Belli old downloads blog old homepage old source UCI C++ source; mp (8 cores max); multiPV; supports Syzygy egtbs; Win 2017/02/26 GopherCheck 0.2.3 Stephen J Lovell – UCI Go source; mp(8 cores max); Linux, Mac, Win; only fixed-time per move is supported 2017/02/26 Krudo 0.15a Francesco Bianco SJCE* G-Sei old page UCI Java source; cross-platform; SJCE* indicates engine is one of many contained in the package 2017/02/17 Crafty 25.3 Bob Hyatt 25.3MB(Mac) SDChess(Linux) Kirill Kryukov JA builds JA Linux builds old XB C++ source; mp; limit strength; Linux, Mac, Win(older versions); supports Syzygy 2017/02/17 DanaSah 6.50 Pedro Castro 6.2 Kirill Kryukov JA builds JA Linux builds Julien Marcel Mac builds GitHub DanasahZ 0.4 XB, UCI C source (Spanish language comments); Limit strength; Linux, Mac, Win; FRC; supports Gaviota egtbs + Scorpio bitbases and ProDeo opening book 2017/02/09 Chess(4) 1.3.1 David Cimbalista – UCI C++ source; Win; horrendously named engine, the 4th of its ilk 2017/02/09 EXchess 7.97 Dan Homan SDChess Kirill Kryukov JA builds JA Linux builds Julien Marcel Mac builds XB C++ source; mp; own GUI; FRC; limit strength; temporal difference learning; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/02/09 Superpawn build 110 John Byrd source + some releases UCI C++ source; Win 2017/02/03 Prophet 2.0 epsilon James Swafford Kirill Kryukov JA builds XB C++ source; Linux{JA only}, Win; successor to Galahad 2017/02/03 Tornado 8 Engin stn – UCI FRC; multiPV; mp (16 cores max); Limit strength; Win; uses Nalimov egtbs 2017/01/20 Waxman 2016 Ivan Bacigal – XB Win 2017/01/16 Arabian Knight 1.55 Marcin Gardyjan 1.54 & 1.55 SJCE* Kirill Kryukov JA builds Polish Engine List XB Java source, cross-platform; own GUI; mp(256 cores max); SJCE* indicates engine is one of many contained in the package 2017/01/13 Casper 2016.06.28 Shikhar Srivastava rev4 UCI C++ source; Linux, Win 2017/01/13 Chengine commit 38 Henning Sperr commit 38 XB C source; Linux, Win 2017/01/13 Chiron 4 Ubaldo Andrea Farina – XB, UCI commercial, FRC, mp; multiPV; adjust strength; supports Polyglot & ctg opening books; supports Nalimov, Gaviota, & Syzyzgy egtbs; Win 2017/01/13 Jacksprat 0.9 Joshua Scholar download blog XB C++ source; TSCP derivative; Linux64, Win64 2017/01/13 Shallow2 rev. 8 Dmitry Sultanov rev 8 Kirill Kryukov JA builds dev branch XB C++ source; Win 2017/01/13 Sophy rev.7 Teguramori Ryo rev.7 (Linux64) rev.7 (Win64) UCI Haskell source; Linux, Win 2017/01/05 Arminius 2017-01-01 Volker Annuss 2017-01-01(Linux) 2017-01-01(Win) XB, UCI FRC; mp(32 cores max); Linux, Win 2017/01/05 CDrill 1800, Build 4 Ferdinand Mosca – UCI win; not a serious competitive engine – designed to mimic human play at Elo 2000 max 2017/01/05 Fizbo 1.9 Youri Matiounine – UCI mp; Linux, Win; supports Syzygy egtbs 2017/01/05 GreKo 2016 Vladimir Medvedev 2016 DJ (w64) older GreKo files Kirill Kryukov JA builds JA Linux builds Julien Marcel Mac builds(old) SDChess Norbert Raimund Leisner XB, UCI C++ source; multiPV: limit strength; Linux, Mac, Win 2017/01/05 Irina 0.15 Lucas Monge – UCI C source; winglet derivative


Chess Engines list @wiki – Computer-Chess Wiki

Aart Bik’s Website

Chess for Android is a chess application for the Android platform that supports the Universal Chess Interface (UCI) and Chess Engine Communication Protocol (often simply called the XBoard or WinBoard protocol). This feature allows replacing the built-in Java chess engine with more powerful third party engines. Users can either play an imported engine directly, use infinite analysis to study games, or even run tournaments between engines (see e.g. Android chess engines tournaments). This page gives some background on the feature. Instructions can be found in the manual. UCI and XBoard

The Universal Chess Interface (UCI) was designed by Stefan Meyer-Kahlen and Rudolf Huber as an open interface between a chess engine and a chess GUI. The interface allows chess programmers to focus on writing the chess engine, leaving details such as board setup and play, clock and notation display, and possibly opening book and root-level endgame tablebases play to the GUI. Examples of programs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS with UCI engine support are Arena, ChessBase Fritz, Lucas Chess, and Sigma Chess. In August 2010, Chess for Android was the first program that introduced UCI support on the Android platform.

The Chess Engine Communication Protocol (often simply called the XBoard or WinBoard protocol), designed by Tim Mann and H.G.Muller, provides an alternative protocol between chess engines and a chess GUI. In October 2011, Chess for Android was also the first program that introduced XBoard protocol on the Android platform.

Applications for the Android platform (mainly ARM-based devices, although x86-based devices are emerging as well) can be developed in several ways.

(1) Most development for Android is done using the Android SDK and the Java programming language. An application is compiled into bytecode that used to run on the Dalvik Virtual Machine or, from Android 5.0 (Lollipop) forward, on ART (Android RunTime), making this approach the most portable (it runs on ARM and x86, as well as on possible future architectures). Because bytecode interpretation has lower performance than native code, Android 2.2 (Froyo) introduced the Dalvik JIT compiler, which translates bytecode into native code right before execution for a speed boost. Since then ART has replaced this with an optimizing AOT/JIT compiler. The Chess for Android GUI and its built-in engine are implemented using this first approach, and ship as a single package.

(2) Alternatively, developers that want higher performance can use the Android NDK to write performance-critical portions in C/C++, which is compiled into native code (ARM and/or x86). Those native components are then embedded through JNI in a regular Android application that is developed with the SDK. In this second approach, the bytecode and native components still ship as a single package.

(3) Finally, developers can do all development in C/C++ and generate stand-alone native code using the appropriate compiler toolchain (e.g. CodeSourcery for ARM or the toolchain that ships with the NDK). This third approach is used by Chess for Android to import engines that do not ship with the application. Users can first get Chess for Android from the Google Play, and later install third party engines from any other (possibly private) source.

Although Chess for Android runs on any Android device, it is important that the engine has been compiled into proper native code for that device. Currently, the Android platform distinguishes between x86-based devices and ARM-based devices. Any engine binary that has been compiled for 32-bit x86 Linux will work for x86 Android as well. This format is widely available for many chess engines. Engine binaries compiled for ARM are not as widespread yet, although the list is growing. Some examples are given below.

Before UCI and XBoard engines can be imported in Chess for Android, they first must be installed in internal memory as follows (note that Android Chessbase compatible engines that are installed on the same device do not need this step; such engines are directly available for import):

To actually import an engine in Chess for Android for game play, go to the UCI and XBoard submenu again, but now pick Import Engine and select the appropriate engine from the list of installed engines. If the import is successful, a window pops up with the engine name and author to indicate that the built-in Java chess engine now has been replaced by the imported engine (exiting the application unloads the engine). Some screenshots are shown below. Also see the Chess for Android Manual.

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Aart Bik’s Website

Garry Kasparov Returns, Briefly, to Chess – The New Yorker

Garry Kasparov was back. There was the familiar sight: elbows on the table, hands on his head, pieces humming. It wasnt the first time he had been spotted at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis: since retiring, in 2005, Kasparov has been an ambassador for the game and a consistent presence in the little chess paradise constructed by the businessman Rex Sinquefield. Still, this was different. He was playing in his first rated tournament in twelve years, the St. Louis Rapid and Blitz. This counted.

The crowds were out to see him. The chessboards on the sidewalks were taken. Tourists wandered in and out of the citys World Chess Hall of Fame. Audiences lined the silent gallery where the players sat and filled the entrance to the club, where the polished online feed featuring grand-master analysis with the aid of a computer engine was showing. The room at the chess-themed diner next door, where two grand masters analyzed the games as they happened, without help of engines, was packed. The audience swelled online as well; more than a million viewers, a record, tuned in to the high-production stream. The Garry effect, the commentators called it.

I will be the most desired prey in the history of chess, Kasparov had mostly joked before the start of play. And it was mostly true; everyone wanted to beat himthough, in truth, the top players were probably more concerned about one another. They were playing for a hundred-and-fifty-thousand-dollar total purse, and some were competing for a spot in the Candidates Tournament, which decides who will face the world champion for a chance at the crown. The atmosphere was a little more relaxed than it had been the week before, in the more prestigious classical Sinquefield Cup. Magnus Carlsen , the reigning world championand the man who beat Kasparovs ranking points recordhad already left town. The faster time controls of rapid, where players have twenty-five minutes to make all their moves (plus a delay before the clock starts), and blitz, where players have five minutes (plus delay), favor craftiness and creativity. The games were likely to be crazy. Still, there was something to prove against Kasparov. The man often called the greatest player in history was a wild card, literally and figuratively.

In the first round of the tournament, Kasparov faced Sergey Karjakin. Karjakin can be seen as Kasparovs heir in Russian chess, the latest in the countrys formidable lineage. (It also includes Vladimir Kramnik, who beat Kasparov for the world title in 2000, and who remains an active top player.) Last fall, Karjakin competed against Carlsen for the world championship. He came in as the underdog, but used his fantastic defensive skills to hold games that another player might have lost, managing to make games of slow attrition into thrilling theatre. Karjakin even briefly held the lead, winning a five-hour eighth game after drawing the first seven, but a loss in the tenth evened the score, and two more draws meant a playoff, which Carlsen won. In Russia, the near success was good enough to confirm Karjakin as a star.

Their nationality, though, is nearly all that Kasparov and Karjakin shareand barely that. Kasparov has spent the past twelve years as a prominent dissident, an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. (David Remnicks 2007 Profile of him was titled The Tsars Opponent .) He has Croatian as well as Russian citizenship, and in St. Louis he played under both flags. Karjakin was born in Ukraine and moved to Russia in 2008. He was granted Russian citizenship by Presidential decree, and he has been a vocal supporter of Putin, who has, in turn, been a supporter of him. Where Kasparov was known as a dynamic, tactical player in his prime, Karjakins nickname is Minister of Defenseduring the world championship, Kasparov described the younger Russians game as drab. In response, Karjakin said that the relationship between them was nonexistent, and that Kasparov was doing a lot of bad things. Asked to compare the older Russian with Carlsen, Karjakin said he favored Carlsens style; Carlsen, he said, was a more universal chess player. Karjakin and Kasparov are both famous for their intense preparationbut the nature of that preparation has changed. Karjakin grew up playing blitz online. He once estimated that a top player like him spends more than $150,000 on computer engines and hardware for training purposes.

In that first match, Kasparov and Karjakin played to draw. Over the next two days, Kasparov made another four draws and one loss. Not bad, considering, but not the triumphant return that some of his fans were hoping for. Kasparov is not a man accustomed to celebrating ties. He consistently came out of the opening wellit was obvious that, despite his insistence otherwise, he had seriously prepared for this tournamentbut he was constantly down on time, which made it harder to convert any advantage. Again and again, Kasparov found himself in a defensive posture as the clock ran down.

On Wednesday, in the seventh round, against David Navara, a thirty-two-year-old Czech grand master, Kasparov started to look like the king of old. Playing with the white pieces, he chose a sharp line, including a pawn sacrifice on move nine that allowed him to activate his more powerful pieces faster and gave him a strong blockading knight and big positional advantage. Before he made a move, his fingers would flicker over the position, then he would swiftly slide a piece into its proper placeor, occasionally, hed pause with his hand on the piece, then move it somewhere else, as if listening to some corrective voice in his head. After trading queens with Navara, he seemed almost certain to convert his advantage to a win. Navaras position was completely lost.

But, instead of making an obviously good push with his pawn, Kasparov rubbed his chin and moved his knight instead. And, suddenly, the huge advantage was gone. Navara, not Kasparov, saw the brilliant final combination: a pretty queen sacrifice that led to a second promotion of pawn to queen. When Kasparov realized his fate, he leaned back, looked at the ceiling, and resigned. While Navara helped the arbiter reset the board, Kasparov grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair and left the hall. When I asked Yasser Seirawan, a four-time U.S. champion and a contemporary of Kasparov, whether he had ever seen anything like it from the Russian, he did not hesitate before answering no. Blunders happen, even to the top players, especially in short time controls; many of the games in St. Louis, in fact, were a crazy, exciting mess. But they dont usually happen like that to Kasparov, whose consistency was part of his brilliance. Seeing Garry here is great, he told me, but not seeing him at his best is not so great. Getting old is not all its cracked up to be.

In the next round, Kasparov secured an unconvincing win against Quang Liem Le, who was the 2013 world champion in blitz. This time, it was his opponent who blundered. In the final round of the day, Kasparov played Fabiano Caruana, a former U.S. champion currently ranked third in the world. In person, Caruana is Kasparovs inversetwenty-five years old, quiet and birdlike. But as a player, he shares several qualities with Kasparov: incredible preparation, fantastic calculation skills, the ability to find unsettling strategic moves, and fierce competitive intensity. Rather than use a more contemporary opening, Caruana, playing white, chose a line that Kasparov was familiar with. He told me later that he regretted that decision. Kasparov quickly neutralized whites opening advantage. But he mismanaged the clock yet again, taking minutes on standard moves that most top players would have spent seconds on. Caruana knew there was danger, but he played with a characteristic assertiveness. Once it got sharp, he didnt really have time to consider the options, Caruana said. For those who looked to the tournament hoping to indulge in some nostalgia, it had been a rough few days. Kasparov lost against Caruana, finishing the day tied with Navara and with the other older player present, Viswanathan Ananda former world champion himself, and the man whom Kasparov had faced for the 1995 Professional Chess Association world championshipfor last place.

When the blitz portion began, on Thursday, Kasparov once again sat across from Karjakin. Given another chance to beat him, Kasparov played the Kings Gambitapparently for the first time in his lifeand chose a rare line. (Garry has said that he hasnt been doing anything different than before retiring, the American Hikaru Nakamura told Chess.com prior to their first game together. We all know thats not true.) Karjakin countered with several offbeat moves of his own, trying to elude Kasparovs preparation. It seemed to work, as Kasparov eventually handed Karjakin a free pawn, and Karjakin weakened the defense around Kasparovs king. Karjakin was clearly winning, but, somehow, Kasparov found the tactical resources to draw again.

They played for a final time on Friday. By then, their tournaments had diverged completely. In nine rounds of blitz on Thursday, Kasparov came away with only one win and several frustrating losses. Karjakin, meanwhile, had won sevenan incredible result, considering how common draws are among the super-lite players. (He also drew Levon Aronian , the tournament leader.) With the white pieces, Karjakin played an unconventional opening, surely chosen to evade Kasparovs plans against him. He gained a time advantage. In the middle of the game, Kasparov moved his queen and, before he even removed his hand from the piece, immediately saw that it would allow Karjakin to play a critical tactic. Kasparov pulled the queen back, but it was too late; he had already touched the piece, and it had nowhere good to go. He slid it back to the poisoned square. The clock was ticking, and his king was exposed. Less than thirty seconds. Fifteen. With five seconds left, he faced a losing ending. The king resigned, and the young Karjakin, continuing his brilliance, soldiered on.

This is what happens as time passes: it starts to slip and stretch and rebound in strange ways. Kasparov started to discover his form as the day continued, racking up two wins in a row against the top American players. But it was too late; he could only hope to climb a little way up the leaderboard. Aronian, a daring, devilish player, clinched the tournament when he drew Kasparov. Before that match, when asked whether it would be meaningful to clinch the tournament with his result against the old champion, Aronian had shrugged and said he didnt care.


Garry Kasparov Returns, Briefly, to Chess – The New Yorker

[App Fridays] Half Chess, a T-20 version of chess, wants to hook millennials with new pieces and fast gameplay – YourStory.com

Can a T-20 version of chess, designed for the smartphone generation, take off and get millennials more interested in the game?

In order to improve your game, you must study the end game before anything else..-Jos Ral Capablanca, Chess Grandmaster

With a shorter hour runtime and explosive last over finishes, Twenty20 has made cricket popular in India and abroad. Most youngsters, who would have otherwise not watched a 50-over cricket tournament, are now likely to follow the longer format games.

Chess, on the other hand, has a reputation of being a slow sport that not many millennials of the smartphone generation would be interested in. While speed chess and its variations involve time constraints that make the game more fast-paced and force a result, casual players in most cases find it too complex.

With a smaller board and some new chess pieces, Half Chess aims to be the T-20 version of chess and force more exciting endgames. Let us explore Half Chess in this weeks App Fridays story:

Talking to YourStory, Naval Saini recounted the journey that led him from playing football with underprivileged kids to working on Half Chess. In 2015, he was working with an NGO where he would play football with underprivileged kids. He realised that many of the kids were confident on the field while playing football, but they struggled and lacked confidence when it came to some subjects like math and science.

As an ardent chess player, Naval believed that a game like chess could help kids develop logic, improve focus, and most importantly help them develop confidence in an indoor environment. But then he realised that chess wasnt an easy game to learn because of the complexities involved on an 88, 64 square board.

So, he came up with the idea of Half Chess, which instead consisted of 84, 32 square board and could be played with half the pieces. Kids could be taken through baby steps and taught how different pieces like pawns and knights moved in a smaller, less overwhelming environment.

At this stage, Naval also realised that Half Chess could be an interesting value proposition for adults, who are short on time or want to play on the go. He recently completed a consultancy assignment with JioMoney and realised that he had the time and money to do a few things out of interest. So, he hacked together a prototype of Half Chess to show to some friends. Talking about the prototype, he said,

It was basically an index.html file and a loaded JavaScript file with very basic Artificial Intelligence. The feedback motivated me to develop it further and also helped me in identifying the product challenges that were about to come.

Naval played around with a lot of chess engines and then finally chose one of the simplest ones to serve as the opponent. Since the size of the half chess board was exactly half, it made it easier for even the simpler chess engines to compute all the possibilities and make a move. Naval could also make modifications and add new chess pieces like Crab. (More on this in the next section).

Half Chess is currently live on the Play Store and App Store. The game is available for free, Naval remarked that he is working on a freemium version wherein the Easy mode will continue to be free but users will need to pay to unlock the Hard mode. This is still in development stages though and Naval is working on including newer chess pieces to make the game more interesting for new players and experts alike.

The biggest focus for Naval right now is to achieve product-market fit. Facebook marketing has been one of Navals main avenues to get users. He said that so far iOS users have shown more interest and outnumber his Android userbase. Naval also runs a WhatsApp group where chess enthusiasts can challenge each other to games.

In addition, Naval has tried his hand at offline marketing strategies at clubs and cafes which havent been very successful, as most people dont seem to be interested in playing chess in a social environment, at this stage.

While there are multiple recognised and unrecognised variations of chess, Naval says that Half Chess has been designed to be best suited for mobile screens and quick games. On average, most games last between one to three minutes.

Users have the option of either challenging the computer (chess engine) or playing against a friend. Naval commented that some features like the two-player mode and access to leaderboard require users to login through the app. At present, only Facebook login is supported.

Experienced players, however, may find the prospect of playing on a smaller 32 square board simpler. So, to add complexity, Half Chess includes a new chess piece a Crab that moves zig-zag and jumps over friendly pawns or crabs.

Inspired by the viral sensation, Flappy Bird, Naval increased the difficulty level for the first stage, but it backfired as many abandoned the game quickly. He remarked,

Half Chess starts with a devilish first stage and it gets easier with the second one. This is inverted logic and has not been helping much with getting the masses hooked

Half Chess currently consists of 10 stages on Easy mode where the computer plays at 50 percent of its capacity. As a casual chess player, I found the first stage relatively easy and was able to beat the computer, without sweating too much. The difficult mode, on the other hand, includes more of the complex piece and the computer plays at 80 percent capacity. Ive played two games and havent been able to beat the computer yet.

The overall design and pre-game experience could be improved though. The rules section doesnt provide sufficient guidelines for a person who has never played chess before.

On the gaming front, Half Chess is functional and pieces like Crab add to the fun. The multiplayer mode is also an interesting feature that adds to the stickiness of the app. While Half Chess is a good minimum viable product (MVP), adding more social elements and guidelines within the app could increase engagement and make it a more well-rounded product for the masses.

Website- Half Chess

Download here on Android or iOS

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[App Fridays] Half Chess, a T-20 version of chess, wants to hook millennials with new pieces and fast gameplay – YourStory.com

‘Star Wars: Episode 8’ Trailer Rumor: Snoke’s New Asset In Taking Down Resistance Unveiled – The Inquisitr

There is no arguing that Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) is a force to be reckoned with and the second trailer for Star Wars: Episode 8 The Last Jedi will further demonstrate that.

Snoke is a man of power, something that was made clear in Star Wars: Episode 7 The Force Awakens. He is powerful with the dark side of the Force and is the venerated leader of the First Order. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) know better than to upset him.

Previous Star Wars: Episode 8 leaks also revealed that Snoke is a very wealthy man and will show it in the sequel with the clothes he wears and the embellishments of his abode. His authority and money will also reflect on the amount of firepower the First Order will boast as they wage war against the Resistance in The Last Jedi.

He has what is being called a Mega Destroyer, which will be shown in the trailer, as revealed on 4chan and picked up by hardworking Star Wars watcher and YouTuber Mike Zeroh.

According to him, Snokes Mega Destroyer looks massive as if nothing can dent it. Zeroh says it could be the subject of one of the reported money shots in the Star Wars: Episode 8 trailer.

Back in April, Making Star Wars, a credible and reliable source of information with regards to Star Wars film productions, reported that the Mega Destroyer might be the biggest ship weve seen in Star Wars outside of a Death Star.

The classic Star Destroyers, which already look intimidating with their trio of engines, will look like a chess piece compared to Snokes Mega Destroyer, which will reportedly have at least 10 engines that are double-stacked.

The enormous starship is also apparently where the First Order leader will spend most of his screen time in Star Wars: Episode 8 The Last Jedi. Since it is believed to be almost impenetrable, it will be difficult for the Resistance fighters to get to Snoke.

Clearly, the First Order will not be messing around this time. Their weapons will be more formidable and Kylo Ren has never been more determined in capturing Rey (Daisy Ridley) after failing the first time. Fans saw in The Force Awakens what horrors this Sith-in-the-making can do when he wants to prove himself.

Lastly, the trailer for The Last Jedi will also reportedly give fans a better look at Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), first as he delivers lines and in another where he is seen approaching the Millennium Falcon.

Star Wars: Episode 8 The Last Jedi hits the cinemas December 15. The trailer is expected to be released this July.

[Featured Image by Disney and Lucasfilm]

Original post:

‘Star Wars: Episode 8’ Trailer Rumor: Snoke’s New Asset In Taking Down Resistance Unveiled – The Inquisitr

How Gotham Gave Us Trump – Politico

Trump Tower opened in 1983a gleaming, ostentatious building in a grimy, troubled city. At its base was an orange marble atrium with a waterfall and a clutch of boutiques that sold only the highest-priced jewelry, shoes and clothes. Outside, it was impossible to find a subway car not covered with graffiti, and a growing homeless population jangled cups for change; inside, the towers apartments were billed as totally inaccessible to the public and meant exclusively for the worlds best people, developer Donald Trump crowed. And in the aftermath of the fanfare-fueled debut of his eponymous towerhis grandest achievement as a builder, the most singular and physical manifestation of his ego and ambitionTrump walked into the bank of shiny gold elevators and ascended to his triplex penthouse.

If that elevator ride marked his ultimate arrival in New York, it also was a departure of sortsup and out of the dirty, rattled, crime-ridden metropolis in which he came of age. In the 1970s, the city had teetered on the brink of bankruptcy and been terrorized by a serial killer. In the 1980s, murders soared toward 2,000 a year, and muscled volunteers calling themselves the Guardian Angels patrolled the subways in red berets in an effort to put frightened riders at ease. This was a nadir of New Yorkand Trump used it to his advantage, leveraging the citys anxiety and uncertainty to secure the tax breaks that helped kickstart his career.

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Ever since, his view of New York, and of urban areas in general, has remained as hardened as Mafia concrete. The Trump take on the city was evident in 1989, as he fanned the racially charged public frenzy around the Central Park Five rape case. Almost a decade later, it was on appalling display in his revealing pit stop as principal for a day at an impoverished South Bronx elementary school. During last years campaign, it inspired his statistically flimsy rhetoric about urban blight. And in the White House, it has informed his budget proposals that will punish cities in particular.

Almost uniquely among famous city-dwellers, Trump has made his bones railing against cities, constructing escapes from them, taking from them while complaining about themand, most remarkably, in his bid to be president, describing Americas now often prosperous cities in an alarming, arms-length way that resonates with many white rural voters and suburbanites but with few people who actually have lived in a city at any point in the past decade or more.

How could a guy who lived in New York have these provincial, redneck attitudes? says Ken Auletta, who grew up in Brooklyn and writes for the New Yorker. Im not sure I have an answerother than, obviously, he lived apart. He got into his elevator.

The Bronx, early 1980s In 1982, filthy train cars, crumbling infrastructure, crime and graffiti brought New York subway ridership to its lowest levels since 1917. | John Conn

What went wrong between Trump and cities? The roots of this antagonistic relationship go back to before even Trump Tower. Trump grew up in perhaps the most suburban setting possible within New Yorks municipal boundaries, in a columned mansion in quiet, leafy Jamaica Estates, Queens. His real estate developer father had his office in Coney Island in Brooklyn. But in 1971, at 25, Trump left to pursue wealth and fame in what he considered the most important arenaManhattan. He chose to live on the tony Upper East Side.

The city, for the admittedly shallow, ever-transactional Trump, was a place not to be experienced so much as exploited. The interest was not mutual: To most of New Yorks elite, whose acceptance he sought, Trump was far too brash and gauche. He was an outer-borough outsider, bankrolled by his politically connected father. He wanted to be taken seriously, but seldom was. Hes a bridge-and-tunnel guy, and hes a daddys boy, Lou Colasuonno, a former editor of the New York Post and the New York Daily News, said in a recent interview. There were people who laughed at him, former CBS anchor and current outspoken Trump critic Dan Rather told me. While his loose-lipped, in-your-face approach appealed to blue-collar types in spots in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens, many in Manhattan, Rather says, considered him repulsive.

For Trump, as inhospitable as he found the city on the street, the parlors of high society were equally problematicand he created a refuge. It was some 600 feet in the sky, where the faucets were gold, the baseboards were onyx and the paintings on the ceiling, he would claim, were comparable to the work of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. At the top of Trump Tower, biographer Tim OBrien told me, he could live at a remove from the city and its amazing bloodstream of ideas and people and cultureencased, added fellow biographer Gwenda Blair, within this bubble of serenity and privilege.

Times Square, 1980 In 1981, Rolling Stone called the section of 42nd Street bordering Times Square the sleaziest block in America. | Richard Sandler

Out his bronze-edged, floor-to-ceiling windows, Trump could see Central Park to the north and the Hudson River to the west. He could see south to the Empire State Building and the twin towers of the World Trade Center. He could see the tops of yellow cabs and the tiny people moving around on the sidewalks some 60 stories down. What he could not see, though, or hasnt, is the transformation that has taken place, as New York morphed from what it was in the 70s and 80s into the cleaner, safer enclave for the smart and the rich that it is today. The trend has held throughout America as well, as rural and suburban areas started to sag while urban cores became hip engines of growth and innovation.

Cities changed. Trump did not.

How, at a moment when American cities are at a peak of wealth and success, can Trump argue so persistently against them? The answer starts with the New York that made him.


The deal in the 70s that launched Trump, the refurbishment of the decrepit, aging-brick Commodore Hotel into the sleek, glass-wrapped Grand Hyatt by Grand Central Station, would not have happenedcould not have happenedif New York hadnt been a barely functioning hellhole. It required his fathers money, credit and clout. Just as definitively, it depended on his fathers long-standing relationships with the mayor (Abe Beame) and the governor (Hugh Carey), both of whom had deep Brooklyn ties. But it was the precise timing that led to the tax breaks, and they are what made it work. It is made possible, says Kim Phillips-Fein, the author of Fear City, her acclaimed, recently published book about New York in that era, in large part by the citys fiscal desperation.

The Manhattan Trump inserted himself into was at a low point, reeling and vulnerable, and the city as a whole was listing. In October 1975, President Gerald Ford said he was prepared to veto any bill that has as its purpose a federal bailout of New York City. FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD, read the blunt headline in the New York Daily News. Only two months later, Ford in fact would pledge $2.3 billion in federal assistance to the city, but budget cuts nonetheless necessitated layoffs of public employees in New York for the first time since the Great Depression. That included cops. WELCOME TO FEAR CITY, warned flyers distributed by the protesting police union to arriving tourists.

Subway, 1980 In 1979, police logged 250 felonies per week on the New York subway system. | Bruce Davidson/Magnum

In 1976, an elderly couple who had lived in the Bronx for more than 40 years killed themselves. We dont want to live in fear anymore, they wrote in their joint suicide note. And 1977 was worse. The serial killer David Berkowitz, or Son of Sam, murdered six people and wounded another nine before he was caught that summerNO ONE IS SAFE, blared the front of the New York Postand the citywide blackout in muggy mid-July triggered rampant looting that was seen by many as evidence of an angry, anxious populace, a city on the edge. This wounded Paris, this hemorrhaging Athens, Jack Newfield and Paul Du Brul wrote that year in their book, The Abuse of Power: The Permanent Government and the Fall of New York.

This is the context in which Trump was able to cross the Queensboro Bridge in a Cadillac convertible and ultimately secure the most extraordinary structure of city and state tax breaks ever arranged, in the words of the late Wayne Barrett in the Village Voiceunprecedented public subsidies of some $360 million over 40 years. He leveraged the fear that was rampant in New York, of the city going bankrupt, of racial unrest, of manufacturing fleeing, of imminent collapse, Blair says. The city helped Trump much more than Trump helped the city. But ever one to tell and sell his story before others can backfill facts, Trump pitched his breakthrough deal as an act of civic-minded selflessness. I think weve proven people still have a lot of confidence in the city, he said in 1977 to a reporter from the New York Times.

The Commodore Hotel he plucked for $10 million from the scrapheap of the bankrupt Penn Central railroad sat at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, adjacent to Grand Central Terminalan area that now feels like most of the rest of money-soaked Midtown Manhattan but at that point felt like shit, says Barbara Res, who was working for Trump on the Commodore project. There were cat-killing rats in the basement of the hotel, she recalls, and prostitutes operating out of its rooms. City leaders worried the area would turn into another Times Square, which had become a low-class bazaar of peep shows and pornography dives. The Commodore was really run-down, and Grand Central was in really bad shape, Res says. You didnt think of it as a nice part of New York at all.

For Trump, this beleaguered city was a personal stage as well, a kind of backdrop against which he could shine. Clad in three-piece, flared-leg suits, riding around Manhattan in a limousine with DJT license plates driven by a laid-off cop playing the role of armed-guard chauffeur, Trump preferred East Side bars and hot spots frequented by fashion modelsHarpers and McMullens and Maxwells Plum, and the sweaty, celebrity-spotting bacchanal at Studio 54, where he would watch supermodels getting screwed, he would say later to OBrien, the biographer, well-known supermodels getting screwed on a bench in the middle of the room. Trump wasnt out to get drunkhe was, and is, a teetotalerbut to be seen.

If he had expected New York to grant respect the way it had handed out tax breaks and opportunities for sheer publicity, he was mistaken. Critics in the pages of the Times called him overrated and totally obnoxious. It bothered him that he could put up such a glossy building and still be so readily dismissed as an arriviste. If I were Gerry Hines in Houston, he told Marie Brenner for a profile in New York magazine in 1980, referring to the billionaire real estate entrepreneur in Texas, I would be the most important man in the citybut here, you bang your head against the wall to try to get some nice buildings up, and what happens? Everybody comes after you.

But Trump attacked New York, too. He had, for instance, valuable art deco friezes jackhammered off the face of the Bonwit Teller building during its demolitioneven after he had promised to donate them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was a literal and visceral assault against the exact sort of New Yorker who found him so distasteful.

1981 Many New Yorkers welcomed the so-called Guardian Angels, private citizens who patrolled subways to deter crime. Others considered them vigilantes. | Getty Images

They were nothing, Trump said. They were junk.

They were not, said a man from the Met. They were irreplaceable architectural documents.

Obviously, huffed an editorial in the Times, big buildings do not make big human beings.


The building that took the place of Bonwit Teller was Trump Tower, a branding achievement that, once finished and polished, made Trump a new echelon of famous around the country and even the world. In the city, though, it did not broadly elicit the esteem from the elite that he craved.

An anonymous sniper in a story in Town & Country described him as a corporate vandal. The Times said his critics called him a rogue billionaire, loose in the city like some sort of movie monster. As Trump grew increasingly acquisitive in Atlantic City, people in Manhattan diminished him as a casino operator in New Jersey, essentially de-New Yorking him.

He was, says Pete Hamill, the longtime columnist who had stints as the editor of both the Post and the Daily News, an object of mockery.

Early ad copy for Trump Tower apartments embraced the escapist imagery of the elevator. You approach the residential entrancean entrance totally inaccessible to the publicand your staff awaits your arrival, the come-on cooed. Quickly, quietly, the elevator takes you to your floor and your elevator man sees you home. You turn the key and wait a moment before turning on the light. A quiet moment to take in the viewwall-to-wall, floor-to-ceilingNew York at dusk. Your diamond in the sky. It seems a fantasy. And you are home.

1979 About a dozen undercover policemen, armed with battering rams and hydraulic drills, forced their way into this fortified apartment. They confiscated boxes of drugs, but the distributors got away. A few years later, crack cocaine would arrive in the city, beginning a decade-long epidemic. | Leonard Freed/Magnum

Once ensconced in his towerTrumps office was on the 26th floor, and he and his first wife and their three young children moved into the penthouse in early 1984his vantage point had literally changed. George Arzt, a prominent public relations man in Manhattan, then was a reporter for the Post, and Trump, he told me recently, used to call him a lot. And he would say, Im looking down from my office A close former employee would get similar calls from Trump from the penthouse. One of the things he does a lot, this person said in a recent interview, is look down.

Trump looked down at Wollman Rink, the ice skating facility in Central Park, which the city had spent six years and $12 million trying unsuccessfully to renovateand he decided in 1986 he should be the one to fix it. Mayor Ed Koch and the city accepted his offer, and he did repair the rink, in less than six months and some $800,000 under budget. In the end, Trump not only celebrated what he had donehe highlighted what the city had not. I guess it says a lot about the city, Trump said at the grand opening, but I dont have to say what it says.

He looked down in the mid-1980s, too, at his plot of land over on the West Sideon which he wanted to put six 76-story buildings, 8,000 apartments and the worlds tallest skyscraper. It never happened, partly because Ed Koch refused his request for a billion-dollar tax break. Trump, as always a mixture of public-subsidy suckler, self-appointed savior and plainspoken critic of the city, lambasted the mayora moron, a disaster. Greedy, greedy, greedy, Koch retorted. Piggy, piggy, piggy.

From the opening of Trump Tower until earlier this year, when his address became 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Trump never moved. In the three and a half decades he lived at 721 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, one of the greatest residential addresses in the world, he would say, the city below him changed dramatically.

New Yorks comeback from the trauma of the 70s was bumpy and unbalanced. Wall Street in the 80s boomed, as did Trumps Fifth Avenue, but the homeless population spiked, poverty continued to punish slums in Brooklyn and the Bronx, and the fear of crime still gripped the city. When the white vigilante Bernhard Goetz shot four black teens who allegedly tried to rob him on a train in Lower Manhattan in 1984, many New Yorkers all but cheered. A tip line set up by the Daily News was inundated with calls professing sympathy and supportfor the shooter. It did not seem to matter to the callers that the blond man with the nickel-plated .38 had left one of his four victims with no feeling below the waist, no control over his bladder and bowels, no hope of ever walking again, the newspaper wrote a week after the crime. To them the gunman was not a criminal but the living fulfillment of a fantasy.

Such was the psyche of the city in 1989, when a 28-year-old white, female, Wellesley- and Yale-educated investment banker was beaten and raped in Central Park. Five black and Hispanic teenagers were arrested, charged and convictedwrongly, on coerced confessions, it eventually turned out. At the time, though, the case became a milestone in the publics sense of helplessness, as the Times put it. News coverage clamored about these wilding teens, animals on a feeding frenzy. WOLFPACKS PREY, said the headline in the Daily News. The judge who sentenced them said in court that they had made Central Park a torture chamber of mindless marauding. He lamented that the quality of life in this city has seriously deteriorated.

Clockwise, from left Subway, 1980; Lower East Side, 1980; Subway, 1980; Brooklyn, 1981. | Bruce Davidson/Magnum (2); Jamel Shabazz (2)

Trump, who in the 70s had identified the citys insecurity and fear and found a way to benefit from it, now tried to do so again. He paid a reported $85,000 to put in four New York newspapers a full-page ad that called for the death penalty. What has happened to our City? he wrote in the ad. What has happened to the respect for authority, the fear of retribution by the courts, society and the police for those who break the law, who wantonly trespass on the rights of others? What has happened is the complete breakdown of life as we knew it. He seethed about roving bands of wild criminals and crazed misfits and longed for a time when he was a boy, when cops in the city roughed up thugs to give people like him the feeling of security.

The ad for the first time reveals all the rest of the things that anybody would want to know about Donald Trump, columnist Jimmy Breslin wrote the next day in Newsday. Trump had destroyed himself with the ad, Breslin wrote, for all demagogues ultimately do that.

Getty Images; Library of Congress

The more complicated, uncomfortable reality, though, is that what Trump said in his ad about the Central Park Five was not universally unpopular around the city. Far from it. And he might not have been belovedbut that didnt mean he wasnt being listened to. The ad spawned stories in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today, as well as a spate of letters to the editor in New York.

It read like a crystallization of how he saw the city, that city, in the 70s and 80sand it reads, in retrospect, as a searing preview of the race-based, law-and-order rhetoric that powered his presidential campaign.

Mayor Koch has stated that hate and rancor should be removed from our hearts, Trump said in the ad. I do not think so. I want to hate these muggers and murderers and I always will.

Lets all hate these people, he said on CNN, because maybe hate is what we need if were gonna get something done.


The convictions in 1990 of the innocent Central Park Five coincided with surprising news of a different sort: that Trumps own balance sheet was even worse than the citys had been. The riches-to-riches kid from Jamaica Estates actually was billions of dollars in debt. CASH-TASTROPHE, screamed the Daily News. Arzt, the Post reporter who by now was the head of New Yorks Fox affiliate, did a whole week of special shows on Trumps collapse. He couldnt help but notice that his ratings more than doubled. He is a ratings generator, Arzt told me recently. People like entertaining, and hes entertainingand there are a lot of people who hate him. Some of the surge in viewership, Arzt figured, was simple schadenfreude.

Clockwise, from left New York, 1981; Manhattan, 1987 (LL Cool J); 34th Street, 1989; 57th Street, 1985.

To the consternation of those who loathed him, though, this was not the end of Trump. As he spent the first half of the 90s trying to avoid filing for personal bankruptcyhe pulled it off, of course, thanks to family money, permissive banks and corporate bankruptciesNew York and other cities began to boom, while leaving behind the areas at their outer reaches, practically reversing the dynamic that defined the socioeconomic tides of Trumps formative 70s and 80s. Once-derelict downtowns became trendy, glistening capitals of commerce, juice bars, yoga studios and million-dollar condos. Harlems first Whole Foods is set to open in July.

But Trumps view of cities did not appreciably keep pace with this shift. Throughout his presidential campaign, he talked to his crowds about the horrible inner cities, the terrible inner cities, the crime-infested inner cities, the inner cities that were sad, the inner cities that were suffering, the inner cities that were almost at an all-time low, the inner cities that were more dangerous than some of the war zones that were reading about.

You look at the inner cities, he said in Florida less than a month before the election, and you see bad education, no jobs, no safety. You walk to the grocery store with your child, and you get shot. You walk outside to look and see whats happening, and you get shot.

Were going to work on our ghettos, he said in Ohio less than two weeks before the election. The violence. The death

The Bronx, 1981 Crime on the subway became so common that, starting in June 1985, at least one police officer rode every train between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. as part of an effort to restore public confidence in the transit system. | Martha Cooper

American cities have problems, to be sure, but people who live in them didnt recognize the way Trump talked about them. And on November 8, cities rejected him. And the city in which he was born and raised and in which he has lived and worked his entire adult life rejected him resoundingly. Every borough other than Staten Island posted a landslide against himHillary Clinton garnered 88 percent of the vote in the Bronx, 86 percent in Manhattan, 79 percent in Brooklyn, 75 percent in his native Queens. He was booed at his own polling placePublic School 59, on 56th Street, less than half a mile from Trump Tower. The first native New York president since Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected by people not in the city, but in depressed, drug-ravaged small towns and outer suburbsby people whose profound disconnection from urban America left them open to the twisted version of the city that Trump described.

Its amazing, says Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University. He operates out of New York City, but his WeltanschauungTrumps worldviewis a suburban golf course, a suburban country club.


New York is either going to get much better or much worse, and I think it will get much better, Trump had predicted in the Times back in 1976. But he added: Im not talking about the South Bronx. I dont know anything about the South Bronx.

In 1997, he had a chance to learnon a trip to P.S. 70 to be principal for a day.

Trump was seven years removed from his near-fatal, early-90s failuresand still seven years away from his NBC-aided full resuscitation in the form of The Apprentice. He had talked about running for president in the late 80s, and he would talk about it again in 1999 as a member of the Reform Party, but mostly he was known for being known at the time, famous for being famous, and publicity was his fuel.

In this respect, his visit to the school made sense. It was set up through a program run by an organization called PENCILPublic Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning. The point, the president of PENCIL told the Times, was twofold: to give students a burst of inspiration from a person seen as a success and to bring in people who should see the schools and who wouldnt otherwise. Trump fit the bill. He had told the Times, after all, that he had never even thought about sending his children to public school, which he explained was one of the advantages to wealth.

P.S. 70 was home to 1,700 students crammed into classrooms meant for 300 fewer students. All but 3 percent of the children were poor enough to qualify for free lunch. The chess team was having a bake sale to rent a bus to take them to a national competition in Tennessee.

Thousands of successful and prominent people had been PENCIL principals, giving schools money and books, as well as their attention and time. Trump, on the other hand, came off to the educators in the South Bronx like a Victorian lady forced to walk through a slum, clearly ill at ease with the real grit of street-level urbanity. Trump was scheduled to stay all day. He ended up leaving before noon.

Central Park, 1986 After renovations of Central Parks ice rink dragged on for six years, Donald Trump persuaded Mayor Ed Koch to let him fix the rinkin four months. | Harry Benson/Getty Images

Before he departed in his limo, on a tour of the school, according to a report from The 74, a news organization covering education in America, Trump took a tissue from his pocket and used it so he wouldnt have to touch the railing on some stairs. In the cafeteria, a mop-wielding science teacher on lunch duty joked to Trump, How are you with mopping up vomit?

I dont do vomit, said Trump.

At the bake sale for the chess team, he dropped a gag $1 million bill into a basketthen gave them a relatively meager $200 instead.

Hundreds of fifth-graders gathered in the auditorium to listen to Trump. Is there anyone here that doesnt want to live in a big, beautiful mansion? he asked them, the Times reported. You know what you have to do to live in a big, beautiful mansion?

You have to be rich, one student offered.

Thats right, Trump said. You have to work hard, get through school. You have to go out and get a great job, make a lot of money, and you live the American Dream.

Money does not buy happiness, but it helps, he said to the students. Always remember that.

And he asked them to write their names on pieces of paper so he could pick 15 of them to come get a free pair of sneakers at the new Nike store in Trump Towera building smack in the center of rich, bustling, flourishing Manhattan, a building, he told them, that was in the inner city called 57th and Fifth.

Michael Kruse is senior staff writer at Politico Magazine. Taylor Gee and Lakshmi Varanasi contributed to this report.

Read the original here:

How Gotham Gave Us Trump – Politico

Free Chess Engine recommendation? – Chess Forums – Chess.com

Hey, everyone. I’ve recently become aware of how using a Chess Engine can help you improve at chess. I’ve been watching a lot of videos on youtube and the commentators always mention how they are using a Chess Engine to analyze the games or positions on the chess board.

I was wondering if there are any completely free Chess Engines I can download that can help me analyze positions? I currently have Chessmaster: Grandmaster Edition, but the Chess Engine that comes with it isn’t very intuitive or designed well. It takes awhile to set up and I can tell it definitely isn’t the best tool for what I’m looking for. Perhaps there’s a Chess Engine designed for this purpose? Maybe something that explains the reasons why the move the engine recommends is optimal?

Does anyone know of any free Chess Engines that are very good at helping you analyze chess positions and finding the next best move?

As a side note, I will not use the Chess Engine to cheat. I strictly want to use this as a tool to improve my own skill. It’s something I’ve come to realize that will help me progress in skill. Often in my games I come to a moment where I can’t figure out the best move. I then make a move never knowing whether it was right or wrong, and because of this I don’t learn from possible mistakes.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

View post:

Free Chess Engine recommendation? – Chess Forums – Chess.com

Chess – Wikipedia

This article is about the Western board game. For other chess games or other uses, see Chess (disambiguation).

Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a chessboard, a checkered gameboard with 64squares arranged in an 88 grid.[1] The game is played by millions of people worldwide.

Each player begins with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each of the six piece types moves differently, with the most powerful being the queen and the least powerful the pawn. The objective is to checkmate[note 1] the opponent’s king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture. To this end, a player’s pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent’s pieces, while supporting each other. In addition to checkmate, the game can be won by voluntary resignation of the opponent, which typically occurs when too much material is lost, or checkmate appears unavoidable. A game can also in several ways end in a draw.

Chess is believed to have originated in India sometime before the 7thcentury, being derived from the Indian game chaturanga, which is also the likely ancestor of the Eastern strategy games xiangqi, janggi, and shogi. (A minority view holds that chess originated in China.) The pieces assumed their current powers in Spain in the late 15thcentury; the rules were finally standardized in the 19thcentury. The first generally recognized World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886. Since 1948, the World Championship has been regulated by FIDE, the game’s international governing body. FIDE also organizes the Women’s World Championship, the World Junior Championship, the World Senior Championship, the Blitz and Rapid World Championships, and the Chess Olympiad, a popular competition among international teams. There is also a Correspondence Chess World Championship and a World Computer Chess Championship. Online chess has opened amateur and professional competition to a wide and varied group of players.

FIDE awards titles to skilled players, the highest of which is grandmaster. Many national chess organizations also have a title system; however, these are not recognized by FIDE.

Until recently, chess was a recognized sport of the International Olympic Committee;[2] some national sporting bodies such as the Spanish Consejo Superior de Deportes also recognize chess as a sport.[3] Chess was included in the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games.

Since the second half of the 20th century, computers have been programmed to play chess with increasing success, to the point where the strongest home computers play at a higher level than the best human players. Since the 1990s, computer analysis has contributed significantly to chess theory, particularly in the endgame. The IBM computer Deep Blue was the first machine to overcome a reigning World Chess Champion in a match when it defeated Garry Kasparov in 1997. The rise of strong computer programs (called “engines”) runnable on hand-held devices has led to increasing concerns about cheating during tournaments.

There are also many chess variants which utilize different rules, pieces, or boards. One of these, Chess960 (originally “Fischerandom”), has gained widespread popularity as well as limited FIDE recognition.

The rules summarized in this section are those published by FIDE (Fdration Internationale des checs), chess’s international governing body, in its Handbook.[4] Rules published by national governing bodies, or by unaffiliated chess organizations, commercial publishers, etc., may differ from these in some ways. FIDE’s rules were most recently revised in 2017.

Initial position, first row: rook, knight, bishop, queen, king, bishop, knight, and rook; second row: pawns

Chess is played on a square board of eight rows (called ranks and denoted with numbers 1 to 8) and eight columns (called files and denoted with letters a to h). The colors of the 64 squares alternate and are referred to as light and dark squares. The chessboard is placed with a light square at the right-hand end of the rank nearest to each player.

By convention, the game pieces are divided into white and black sets, and the players are referred to as White and Black respectively. Each player begins the game with 16 pieces of the specified color, which consist of one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns. The pieces are set out as shown in the diagram and photo, with each queen on a square of its own color, the white queen on a light square and the black queen on a dark.

The player with the white pieces always moves first. After the first move, players alternately move one piece per turn (except for castling, when two pieces are moved). Pieces are moved to either an unoccupied square or one occupied by an opponent’s piece, which is captured and removed from play. With the sole exception of en passant, all pieces capture by moving to the square that the opponent’s piece occupies. A player may not make any move that would put or leave the player’s own king under attack. A player cannot “pass”; at each turn one must make a legal move (this is the basis for the finesse called zugzwang).

If the player to move has no legal move, the game is over; it is either a checkmate (a loss for the player with no legal moves) if the king is under attack, or a stalemate (a draw) if the king is not.

Each chess piece has its own way of moving. In the diagrams, the dots mark the squares where the piece can move if there are no intervening piece(s) of either color.

Once in every game, each king is allowed to make a special move, known as castling. Castling consists of moving the king two squares along the first rank toward a rook (which is on the player’s first rank[note 2]) and then placing the rook on the last square that the king has just crossed. Castling is permissible under the following conditions:[5]

When a pawn advances two squares from its starting position and there is an opponent’s pawn on an adjacent file next to its destination square, then the opponent’s pawn can capture it en passant (in passing), and move to the square the pawn passed over. This can only be done on the very next move, otherwise the right to do so is forfeit. For example, if the black pawn has just advanced two squares from g7 (initial starting position) to g5, then the white pawn on f5 may take it via en passant on g6 (but only on White’s next move).

When a pawn advances to the eighth rank, as a part of the move it is promoted and must be exchanged for the player’s choice of queen, rook, bishop, or knight of the same color. Usually, the pawn is chosen to be promoted to a queen, but in some cases another piece is chosen; this is called underpromotion. In the diagram on the right, the pawn on c7 can be advanced to the eighth rank and be promoted to an allowed piece. There is no restriction placed on the piece that is chosen on promotion, so it is possible to have more pieces of the same type than at the start of the game (for example, two queens).

When a king is under immediate attack by one or two of the opponent’s pieces, it is said to be in check. A response to a check is a legal move if it results in a position where the king is no longer under direct attack (that is, not in check). This can involve capturing the checking piece; interposing a piece between the checking piece and the king (which is possible only if the attacking piece is a queen, rook, or bishop and there is a square between it and the king); or moving the king to a square where it is not under attack. Castling is not a permissible response to a check. The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent; this occurs when the opponent’s king is in check, and there is no legal way to remove it from attack. It is illegal for a player to make a move that would put or leave the player’s own king in check.

In casual games it is common to announce “check” when putting the opponent’s king in check, but this is not required by the rules of the game, and is not usually done in tournaments.

Games can be won in the following ways:

There are several ways games can end in a draw:

Chess games may also be played with a time control. If a player’s time runs out before the game is completed, the game is automatically lost (provided the opponent has enough pieces left to deliver checkmate). The duration of a game ranges from long (or “classical”) games which can take up to seven hours (even longer if adjournments are permitted) to bullet chess (under 3minutes per player for the entire game). Intermediate between these are rapid chess games, lasting between 20minutes and two hours per game, a popular time control in amateur weekend tournaments. Time is controlled using a chess clock that has two displays, one for each player’s remaining time. Analog chess clocks have been largely replaced by digital clocks, which allow for time controls with increments.

Chess games and positions are recorded using a system of notation, most commonly algebraic chess notation.[8] Abbreviated (or short) algebraic notation generally records moves in the format “abbreviation of the piece moved file where it moved rank where it moved”. The pieces are identified by their initials. In English, these are K (King), Q (Queen), R (Rook), B (Bishop), and N (Knight; N is used to avoid confusion with King). For example, Qg5 means “queen moves to the g-file and the 5th rank” (that is, to the square g5). Chess literature published in other languages may use different initials to indicate the pieces, or Figurine Algebraic Notation may be used to avoid language difficulties. To resolve ambiguities, one more letter or number is added to indicate the file or rank from which the piece moved, e.g. Ngf3 means “knight from the g-file moves to the square f3”, and R1e2 means “rook on the first rank moves to e2”. The letter P for a pawn is not used, so that e4 means “pawn moves to the square e4”.

If the piece makes a capture, “x” is inserted before the destination square. Thus Bxf3 means “bishop captures on f3”. When a pawn makes a capture, the file from which the pawn departed is used in place of a piece initial, and ranks may be omitted if unambiguous. For example, exd5 (pawn on the e-file captures the piece on d5) or exd (pawn on the e-file captures a piece somewhere on the d-file). Particularly in Germany, some publications have used “:” rather than “x” to indicate a capture, but this is now rare. Some publications omit the capture symbol altogether, so that exd5 would be rendered simply as “ed”.

If a pawn moves to its last rank, achieving promotion, the piece chosen is indicated after the move, for example e1Q or e1=Q. Castling is indicated by the special notations 0-0 for kingside castling and 0-0-0 for queenside castling. An en passant capture is sometimes marked with the notation “e.p.” A move that places the opponent’s king in check usually has the notation “+” added. (The notation “++” for a double check is considered obsolete.) Checkmate can be indicated by “#”. At the end of the game, “10” means “White won”, “01” means “Black won”, and “” indicates a draw.[9]

Chess moves can be annotated with punctuation marks and other symbols. For example, “!” indicates a good move, “!!” an excellent move, “?” a mistake, “??” a blunder, “!?” an interesting move that may not be best, or “?!” a dubious move not easily refuted.[10]

For example, one variation of a simple trap known as the Scholar’s mate (see animated diagram) can be recorded:

The text-based Portable Game Notation (PGN), which is understood by chess software, is based on short form English language algebraic notation.

Until about 1980, the majority of English language chess publications used a form of descriptive notation. In descriptive notation, files are named according to the piece which occupies the back rank at the start of the game, and each square has two different names depending on whether it is from White’s or Black’s point of view. For example, the square known as “e3” in algebraic notation is “K3” (King’s 3rd) from White’s point of view, and “K6” (King’s 6th) from Black’s point of view. When recording captures, the captured piece is named rather than the square on which it is captured (except to resolve ambiguities). The “Scholar’s mate” is rendered thus in descriptive notation:

A few players still prefer descriptive notation, but it is no longer recognized by FIDE.

Another system is ICCF numeric notation, recognized by the International Correspondence Chess Federation though its use is in decline. Squares are identified by numeric coordinates, for example a1 is “11” and h8 is “88”. Moves are described by the “from” and “to” squares, and captures are not indicated. For example, the opening move 1.e4 is rendered as 1.5254. Castling is described by the king’s move only, for example 5171 for White castling king’s side, 5838 for Black castling queen’s side.

Chess strategy consists of setting and achieving long-term positioning advantages during the game for example, where to place different pieces while tactics concentrate on immediate maneuver. These two parts of the chess-playing process cannot be completely separated, because strategic goals are mostly achieved through tactics, while the tactical opportunities are based on the previous strategy of play. A game of chess is normally divided into three phases: opening, typically the first 10 moves, when players move their pieces to useful positions for the coming battle; then middlegame; and last the endgame, when most of the pieces are gone, kings typically take a more active part in the struggle, and pawn promotion is often decisive.

23. Bh5+

In chess, tactics in general concentrate on short-term actions so short-term that they can be calculated in advance by a human player or by a computer. The possible depth of calculation depends on the player’s ability. In quiet positions with many possibilities on both sides, a deep calculation is more difficult and may not be practical, while in “tactical” positions with a limited number of forced variations, strong players can calculate long sequences of moves.

Simple one-move or two-move tactical actions threats, exchanges of material, and double attacks can be combined into more complicated combinations, sequences of tactical maneuvers that are often forced from the point of view of one or both players.[12] Theoreticians describe many elementary tactical methods and typical maneuvers; for example, pins, forks, skewers, batteries, discovered attacks (especially discovered checks), zwischenzugs, deflections, decoys, sacrifices, underminings, overloadings, and interferences.[13]

A forced variation that involves a sacrifice and usually results in a tangible gain is called a combination.[12] Brilliant combinations such as those in the Immortal Game are considered beautiful and are admired by chess lovers. A common type of chess exercise, aimed at developing players’ skills, is showing players a position where a decisive combination is available and challenging them to find it.[14]

Chess strategy is concerned with evaluation of chess positions and with setting up goals and long-term plans for the future play. During the evaluation, players must take into account numerous factors such as the value of the pieces on the board, control of the center and centralization, the pawn structure, king safety, and the control of key squares or groups of squares (for example, diagonals, open files, and dark or light squares).

The most basic step in evaluating a position is to count the total value of pieces of both sides.[15] The point values used for this purpose are based on experience; usually pawns are considered worth one point, knights and bishops about three points each, rooks about five points (the value difference between a rook and a bishop or knight being known as the exchange), and queens about nine points. The king is more valuable than all of the other pieces combined, since its checkmate loses the game. But in practical terms, in the endgame the king as a fighting piece is generally more powerful than a bishop or knight but less powerful than a rook.[16] These basic values are then modified by other factors like position of the piece (for example, advanced pawns are usually more valuable than those on their initial squares), coordination between pieces (for example, a pair of bishops usually coordinate better than a bishop and a knight), or the type of position (knights are generally better in closed positions with many pawns while bishops are more powerful in open positions).[17]

Black to move

White to move

…and its pawn skeleton (the “Rauzer formation”)

Another important factor in the evaluation of chess positions is the pawn structure (sometimes known as the pawn skeleton), or the configuration of pawns on the chessboard.[19] Since pawns are the least mobile of the chess pieces, the pawn structure is relatively static and largely determines the strategic nature of the position. Weaknesses in the pawn structure, such as isolated, doubled, or backward pawns and holes, once created, are often permanent. Care must therefore be taken to avoid these weaknesses unless they are compensated by another valuable asset (for example, by the possibility of developing an attack).[20]

A chess opening is the group of initial moves of a game (the “opening moves”). Recognized sequences of opening moves are referred to as openings and have been given names such as the Ruy Lopez or Sicilian Defense. They are catalogued in reference works such as the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings. There are dozens of different openings, varying widely in character from quiet positional play (for example, the Rti Opening) to very aggressive (the Latvian Gambit). In some opening lines, the exact sequence considered best for both sides has been worked out to more than 30 moves.[21] Professional players spend years studying openings and continue doing so throughout their careers, as opening theory continues to evolve.

The fundamental strategic aims of most openings are similar:[22]

Most players and theoreticians consider that White, by virtue of the first move, begins the game with a small advantage. This initially gives White the initiative.[23] Black usually strives to neutralize White’s advantage and achieve equality, or to develop dynamic counterplay in an unbalanced position.

The middlegame is the part of the game which starts after the opening. There is no clear line between the opening and the middlegame, but typically the middlegame will start when most pieces have been developed. (Similarly, there is no clear transition from the middlegame to the endgame; see start of the endgame.) Because the opening theory has ended, players have to form plans based on the features of the position, and at the same time take into account the tactical possibilities of the position.[24] The middlegame is the phase in which most combinations occur. Combinations are a series of tactical moves executed to achieve some gain. Middlegame combinations are often connected with an attack against the opponent’s king. Some typical patterns have their own names; for example, the Boden’s Mate or the LaskerBauer combination.[25]

Specific plans or strategic themes will often arise from particular groups of openings which result in a specific type of pawn structure. An example is the minority attack, which is the attack of queenside pawns against an opponent who has more pawns on the queenside. The study of openings is therefore connected to the preparation of plans that are typical of the resulting middlegames.[26]

Another important strategic question in the middlegame is whether and how to reduce material and transition into an endgame (i.e. simplify). Minor material advantages can generally be transformed into victory only in an endgame, and therefore the stronger side must choose an appropriate way to achieve an ending. Not every reduction of material is good for this purpose; for example, if one side keeps a light-squared bishop and the opponent has a dark-squared one, the transformation into a bishops and pawns ending is usually advantageous for the weaker side only, because an endgame with bishops on opposite colors is likely to be a draw, even with an advantage of a pawn, or sometimes even with a two-pawn advantage.[27]

The side having to move is at a disadvantage.

The endgame (also end game or ending) is the stage of the game when there are few pieces left on the board. There are three main strategic differences between earlier stages of the game and the endgame:[28]

Endgames can be classified according to the type of pieces remaining on the board. Basic checkmates are positions in which one side has only a king and the other side has one or two pieces and can checkmate the opposing king, with the pieces working together with their king. For example, king and pawn endgames involve only kings and pawns on one or both sides, and the task of the stronger side is to promote one of the pawns. Other more complicated endings are classified according to pieces on the board other than kings, such as “rook and pawn versus rook” endgames.

Chess is believed to have originated in Eastern India, c. 280550,[29] in the Gupta Empire,[30][31][32][33] where its early form in the 6thcentury was known as chaturaga (Sanskrit: ), literally four divisions [of the military] infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry, represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively. Thence it spread eastward and westward along the Silk Road. The earliest evidence of chess is found in the nearby Sassanid Persia around 600, where the game came to be known by the name chatrang. Chatrang was taken up by the Muslim world after the Islamic conquest of Persia (63344), where it was then named shatranj, with the pieces largely retaining their Persian names. In Spanish “shatranj” was rendered as ajedrez (“al-shatranj”), in Portuguese as xadrez, and in Greek as (zatrikion, which comes directly from the Persian chatrang),[34] but in the rest of Europe it was replaced by versions of the Persian shh (“king”), which was familiar as an exclamation and became the English words “check” and “chess”.[note 4]

The oldest archaeological artifacts, ivory chess pieces, were excavated in ancient Afrasiab, today’s Samarkand, in Uzbekistan, central Asia, and date to about 760, with some of them possibly older. The oldest known chess manual was in Arabic and dates to 840850, written by al-Adli ar-Rumi (800870), a renowned Arab chess player, titled Kitab ash-shatranj (Book of the chess). This is a lost manuscript, but referenced in later works. The eastern migration of chess, into China and Southeast Asia, has even less documentation than its migration west. The first reference to chess, called Xiang Qi, in China comes in the xun gua l (, record of the mysterious and strange) dating to about 800. Alternatively, some contend that chess arose from Chinese chess or one of its predecessors,[35] although this has been contested.[36]

The game reached Western Europe and Russia by at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9thcentury. By the year 1000, it had spread throughout Europe.[37] Introduced into the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors in the 10thcentury, it was described in a famous 13th-century manuscript covering shatranj, backgammon, and dice named the Libro de los juegos.

Around 1200, the rules of shatranj started to be modified in southern Europe, and around 1475, several major changes made the game essentially as it is known today.[37] These modern rules for the basic moves had been adopted in Italy and Spain.[38][39] Pawns gained the option of advancing two squares on their first move, while bishops and queens acquired their modern abilities. The queen replaced the earlier vizier chess piece towards the end of the 10thcentury and by the 15thcentury had become the most powerful piece;[40] consequently modern chess was referred to as “Queen’s Chess” or “Mad Queen Chess”.[41] Castling, derived from the “kings leap” usually in combination with a pawn or rook move to bring the king to safety, was introduced. These new rules quickly spread throughout western Europe. The rules concerning stalemate were finalized in the early 19thcentury. Also in the 19thcentury, the convention that White moves first was established (formerly either White or Black could move first). Finally the rules around castling were standardized variations in the castling rules had persisted in Italy until the late 19thcentury. The resulting standard game is sometimes referred to as Western chess[42] or international chess,[43] particularly in Asia where other games of the chess family such as xiangqi are prevalent. Since the 19thcentury, the only rule changes have been technical in nature, for example establishing the correct procedure for claiming a draw by repetition.

Writings about the theory of how to play chess began to appear in the 15thcentury. The Repeticin de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez (Repetition of Love and the Art of Playing Chess) by Spanish churchman Luis Ramirez de Lucena was published in Salamanca in 1497.[39] Lucena and later masters like Portuguese Pedro Damiano, Italians Giovanni Leonardo Di Bona, Giulio Cesare Polerio and Gioachino Greco, and Spanish bishop Ruy Lpez de Segura developed elements of openings and started to analyze simple endgames.

The romantic era was characterized by opening gambits (sacrificing pawns or even pieces), daring attacks, and brazen sacrifices. Many elaborate and beautiful but unsound move sequences called “combinations” were played by the masters of the time. The game was played more for art than theory. A profound belief that chess merit resided in the players’ genius rather than inherent in the position on the board pervaded chess practice.

In the 18th century, the center of European chess life moved from the Southern European countries to France. The two most important French masters were Franois-Andr Danican Philidor, a musician by profession, who discovered the importance of pawns for chess strategy, and later Louis-Charles Mah de La Bourdonnais, who won a famous series of matches with the Irish master Alexander McDonnell in 1834.[44] Centers of chess activity in this period were coffee houses in big European cities like Caf de la Rgence in Paris and Simpson’s Divan in London.[45][46]

As the 19th century progressed, chess organization developed quickly. Many chess clubs, chess books, and chess journals appeared. There were correspondence matches between cities; for example, the London Chess Club played against the Edinburgh Chess Club in 1824.[47]Chess problems became a regular part of 19th-century newspapers; Bernhard Horwitz, Josef Kling, and Samuel Loyd composed some of the most influential problems. In 1843, von der Lasa published his and Bilguer’s Handbuch des Schachspiels (Handbook of Chess), the first comprehensive manual of chess theory.

The first modern chess tournament was organized by Howard Staunton, a leading English chess player, and was held in London in 1851. It was won by the German Adolf Anderssen, who was hailed as the leading chess master. His brilliant, energetic attacking style was typical for the time.[48][49] Sparkling games like Anderssen’s Immortal game and Evergreen game or Morphy’s Opera game were regarded as the highest possible summit of the chess art.[50]

Deeper insight into the nature of chess came with two younger players. American Paul Morphy, an extraordinary chess prodigy, won against all important competitors (except Howard Staunton, who refused to play), including Anderssen, during his short chess career between 1857 and 1863. Morphy’s success stemmed from a combination of brilliant attacks and sound strategy; he intuitively knew how to prepare attacks.[51]

Prague-born Wilhelm Steinitz beginning in 1873 described how to avoid weaknesses in one’s own position and how to create and exploit such weaknesses in the opponent’s position.[52] The scientific approach and positional understanding of Steinitz revolutionized the game. Steinitz was the first to break a position down into its components.[53] Before Steinitz, players brought their queen out early, did not completely develop their other pieces, and mounted a quick attack on the opposing king, which either succeeded or failed. The level of defense was poor and players did not form any deep plan.[54] In addition to his theoretical achievements, Steinitz founded an important tradition: his triumph over the leading German master Johannes Zukertort in 1886 is regarded as the first official World Chess Championship. Steinitz lost his crown in 1894 to a much younger player, the German mathematician Emanuel Lasker, who maintained this title for 27years, the longest tenure of all World Champions.[55]

After the end of the 19th century, the number of master tournaments and matches held annually quickly grew. Some sources state that in 1914 the title of chess Grandmaster was first formally conferred by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia to Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch, and Marshall, but this is a disputed claim.[note 5] The tradition of awarding such titles was continued by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), founded in 1924 in Paris. In 1927, the Women’s World Chess Championship was established; the first to hold the title was Czech-English master Vera Menchik.[56]

It took a prodigy from Cuba, Jos Ral Capablanca (World Champion 19211927), who loved simple positions and endgames, to end the German-speaking dominance in chess; he was undefeated in tournament play for eight years, until 1924. His successor was Russian-French Alexander Alekhine, a strong attacking player who died as the World champion in 1946. He briefly lost the title to Dutch player Max Euwe in 1935 and regained it two years later.[57]

Between the world wars, chess was revolutionized by the new theoretical school of so-called hypermodernists like Aron Nimzowitsch and Richard Rti. They advocated controlling the center of the board with distant pieces rather than with pawns, which invited opponents to occupy the center with pawns, which become objects of attack.[58]

After the death of Alekhine, a new World Champion was sought. FIDE, which has controlled the title since then (except for one interruption), ran a tournament of elite players. The winner of the 1948 tournament, Russian Mikhail Botvinnik, started an era of Soviet dominance in the chess world. Until the end of the Soviet Union, there was only one non-Soviet champion, American Bobby Fischer (champion 19721975).[59] Botvinnik revolutionized opening theory. Previously Black strove for equality, to neutralize White’s first-move advantage. As Black, Botvinnik strove for the initiative from the beginning.[60] In the previous informal system of World Championships, the current champion decided which challenger he would play for the title and the challenger was forced to seek sponsors for the match. FIDE set up a new system of qualifying tournaments and matches. The world’s strongest players were seeded into Interzonal tournaments, where they were joined by players who had qualified from Zonal tournaments. The leading finishers in these Interzonals would go on the “Candidates” stage, which was initially a tournament, and later a series of knockout matches. The winner of the Candidates would then play the reigning champion for the title. A champion defeated in a match had a right to play a rematch a year later. This system operated on a three-year cycle. Botvinnik participated in championship matches over a period of fifteen years. He won the world championship tournament in 1948 and retained the title in tied matches in 1951 and 1954. In 1957, he lost to Vasily Smyslov, but regained the title in a rematch in 1958. In 1960, he lost the title to the 23-year-old Latvian prodigy Mikhail Tal, an accomplished tactician and attacking player. Botvinnik again regained the title in a rematch in 1961.

Following the 1961 event, FIDE abolished the automatic right of a deposed champion to a rematch, and the next champion, Armenian Tigran Petrosian, a player renowned for his defensive and positional skills, held the title for two cycles, 19631969. His successor, Boris Spassky from Russia (champion 19691972), won games in both positional and sharp tactical style.[61] The next championship, the so-called Match of the Century, saw the first non-Soviet challenger since World War II, American Bobby Fischer, who defeated his Candidates opponents by unheard-of margins and clearly won the world championship match. In 1975, however, Fischer refused to defend his title against Soviet Anatoly Karpov when FIDE did not meet his demands, and Karpov obtained the title by default.[62] Fischer modernized many aspects of chess, especially by extensively preparing openings.[63]

Karpov defended his title twice against Viktor Korchnoi and dominated the 1970s and early 1980s with a string of tournament successes.[64] Karpov’s reign finally ended in 1985 at the hands of Garry Kasparov, another Soviet player from Baku, Azerbaijan. Kasparov and Karpov contested five world title matches between 1984 and 1990; Karpov never won his title back.[65] In 1993, Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short broke with FIDE to organize their own match for the title and formed a competing Professional Chess Association (PCA). From then until 2006, there were two simultaneous World Champions and World Championships: the PCA or Classical champion extending the Steinitzian tradition in which the current champion plays a challenger in a series of many games, and the other following FIDE’s new format of many players competing in a tournament to determine the champion. Kasparov lost his Classical title in 2000 to Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.[66] The World Chess Championship 2006, in which Kramnik beat the FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov, reunified the titles and made Kramnik the undisputed World Chess Champion.[67] In September 2007, he lost the title to Viswanathan Anand of India, who won the championship tournament in Mexico City. Anand defended his title in the revenge match of 2008,[68] 2010 and 2012. In 2013, Magnus Carlsen beat Anand in the 2013 World Chess Championship.[69] He defended his title the following year, again against Anand, and is the reigning world champion.

Chess remains a highly popular pastime among the general populace. A 2012 survey found that “chess players now make up one of the largest communities in the world: 605million adults play chess regularly”. Chess is played at least once a year by 12% of British people, 15% of Americans, 23% of Germans, 43% of Russians, and 70% of Indian people.[70]

Chess was once the subject of a moral panic.[71][72]

In the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, chess was a part of noble culture; it was used to teach war strategy and was dubbed the “King’s Game”.[73] Gentlemen are “to be meanly seene in the play at Chestes”, says the overview at the beginning of Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier (1528, English 1561 by Sir Thomas Hoby), but chess should not be a gentleman’s main passion. Castiglione explains it further:

And what say you to the game at chestes? It is truely an honest kynde of enterteynmente and wittie, quoth Syr Friderick. But me think it hath a fault, whiche is, that a man may be to couning at it, for who ever will be excellent in the playe of chestes, I beleave he must beestowe much tyme about it, and applie it with so much study, that a man may assoone learne some noble scyence, or compase any other matter of importaunce, and yet in the ende in beestowing all that laboure, he knoweth no more but a game. Therfore in this I beleave there happeneth a very rare thing, namely, that the meane is more commendable, then the excellency.[74]

Many of the elaborate chess sets used by the aristocracy have been lost, but others partially survive, such as the Lewis chessmen.

Chess was often used as a basis of sermons on morality. An example is Liber de moribus hominum et officiis nobilium sive super ludo scacchorum (‘Book of the customs of men and the duties of nobles or the Book of Chess’), written by an Italian Dominican monk Jacobus de Cessolis c. 1300. This book was one of the most popular of the Middle Ages.[75] The work was translated into many other languages (the first printed edition was published at Utrecht in 1473) and was the basis for William Caxton’s The Game and Playe of the Chesse (1474), one of the first books printed in English.[76] Different chess pieces were used as metaphors for different classes of people, and human duties were derived from the rules of the game or from visual properties of the chess pieces:[77]

The knyght ought to be made alle armed upon an hors in suche wyse that he haue an helme on his heed and a spere in his ryght hande/ and coueryd wyth his sheld/ a swerde and a mace on his lyft syde/ Cladd wyth an hawberk and plates to fore his breste/ legge harnoys on his legges/ Spores on his heelis on his handes his gauntelettes/ his hors well broken and taught and apte to bataylle and couerid with his armes/ whan the knyghtes ben maad they ben bayned or bathed/ that is the signe that they shold lede a newe lyf and newe maners/ also they wake alle the nyght in prayers and orysons vnto god that he wylle gyue hem grace that they may gete that thynge that they may not gete by nature/ The kynge or prynce gyrdeth a boute them a swerde in signe/ that they shold abyde and kepe hym of whom they take theyr dispenses and dignyte.[78]

Known in the circles of clerics, students, and merchants, chess entered into the popular culture of Middle Ages. An example is the 209th song of Carmina Burana from the 13thcentury, which starts with the names of chess pieces, Roch, pedites, regina…[79]

During the Age of Enlightenment, chess was viewed as a means of self-improvement. Benjamin Franklin, in his article “The Morals of Chess” (1750), wrote:

The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then, we may learn:

I. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action […]

II. Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations […]

III. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily […][80]

With these or similar views, chess is taught to children in schools around the world today. Many schools host chess clubs, and there are many scholastic tournaments specifically for children. Tournaments are held regularly in many countries, hosted by organizations such as the United States Chess Federation and the National Scholastic Chess Foundation.[81]

Chess is often depicted in the arts; significant works where chess plays a key role range from Thomas Middleton’s A Game at Chess to Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, to Vladimir Nabokov’s The Defense, to The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig. Chess is featured in films like Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and Satyajit Ray’s The Chess Players.

Chess is also present in contemporary popular culture. For example, the characters in Star Trek play a futuristic version of the game called “Tri-Dimensional Chess”. “Wizard’s Chess” is featured in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter plays. The hero of Searching for Bobby Fischer struggles against adopting the aggressive and misanthropic views of a world chess champion.[82] Chess is used as the core theme in the musical Chess by Tim Rice, Bjrn Ulvaeus, and Benny Andersson. The thriller film Knight Moves is about a chess grandmaster who is accused of being a serial killer. Pawn Sacrifice, starring Tobey Maguire as Bobby Fischer and Liev Schreiber as Boris Spassky, depicts the drama surrounding the 1972 World Chess Championship in Iceland during the Cold War.[83]

Chess composition is the art of creating chess problems (also called chess compositions). The creator is known as a chess composer.[84] There are many types of chess problems; the two most important are:

Chess composition is a distinct branch of chess sport, and tournaments exist for both the composition and solving of chess problems.[87]

This is one of the most famous chess studies; it was published by Richard Rti 4 December 1921. It seems impossible to catch the advanced black pawn, while the black king can easily stop the white pawn. The solution is a diagonal advance, which brings the king to both pawns simultaneously:

Contemporary chess is an organized sport with structured international and national leagues, tournaments, and congresses. Chess’s international governing body is FIDE (Fdration Internationale des checs). Most countries have a national chess organization as well (such as the US Chess Federation and English Chess Federation) which in turn is a member of FIDE. FIDE is a member of the International Olympic Committee,[89] but the game of chess has never been part of the Olympic Games; chess does have its own Olympiad, held every two years as a team event.

The current World Chess Champion is Magnus Carlsen of Norway.[90] The reigning Women’s World Champion is Hou Yifan from China.[91] The world’s highest rated female player, Judit Polgr, has never participated in the Women’s World Chess Championship, instead preferring to compete with the leading men and maintaining a ranking among the top male players.[92]

Other competitions for individuals include the World Junior Chess Championship, the European Individual Chess Championship, and the National Chess Championships. Invitation-only tournaments regularly attract the world’s strongest players. Examples include Spain’s Linares event, Monte Carlo’s Melody Amber tournament, the Dortmund Sparkassen meeting, Sofia’s M-tel Masters, and Wijk aan Zee’s Tata Steel tournament.

Regular team chess events include the Chess Olympiad and the European Team Chess Championship. The World Chess Solving Championship and World Correspondence Chess Championships include both team and individual events.

Besides these prestigious competitions, there are thousands of other chess tournaments, matches, and festivals held around the world every year catering to players of all levels. Chess is promoted as a “mind sport” by the Mind Sports Organisation, alongside other mental-skill games such as Contract Bridge, Go, and Scrabble.

The best players can be awarded specific lifetime titles by the world chess organization FIDE:[93]

All the titles are open to men and women. Separate women-only titles, such as Woman Grandmaster (WGM), are available. Beginning with Nona Gaprindashvili in 1978, a number of women have earned the GM title, and most of the top ten women in 2006 hold the unrestricted GM title.[note 6]

As of August 2011, there are 1363 active grandmasters and 3153 international masters in the world. Top three countries with the largest numbers of grandmasters are Russia, Ukraine, and Germany, with 208, 78, and 76. The country with most grandmasters per capita is Iceland, with 11 GMs and 13 IMs among the population of 310,000.[94]

International titles are awarded to composers and solvers of chess problems and to correspondence chess players (by the International Correspondence Chess Federation). National chess organizations may also award titles, usually to the advanced players still under the level needed for international titles; an example is the Chess expert title used in the United States.

In order to rank players, FIDE, ICCF, and national chess organizations use the Elo rating system developed by Arpad Elo. Elo is a statistical system based on the assumption that the chess performance of each player in his or her games is a random variable. Arpad Elo thought of a player’s true skill as the average of that player’s performance random variable, and showed how to estimate the average from results of player’s games. The US Chess Federation implemented Elo’s suggestions in 1960, and the system quickly gained recognition as being both fairer and more accurate than older systems; it was adopted by FIDE in 1970.[note 7] The highest FIDE rating of all time, 2881, was achieved by Magnus Carlsen on the March 2014 FIDE rating list.[95]

Chess has a very extensive literature. In 1913, the chess historian H.J.R. Murray estimated the total number of books, magazines, and chess columns in newspapers to be about 5,000.[96][97]B.H. Wood estimated the number, as of 1949, to be about 20,000.[97]David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld write that, “Since then there has been a steady increase year by year of the number of new chess publications. No one knows how many have been printed.”[97] There are two significant public chess libraries: the John G. White Chess and Checkers Collection at Cleveland Public Library, with over 32,000 chess books and over 6,000 bound volumes of chess periodicals;[98] and the Chess & Draughts collection at the National Library of the Netherlands, with about 30,000 books.[99]Grandmaster Lothar Schmid owned the world’s largest private collection of chess books and memorabilia.[100] David DeLucia’s chess library contains 7,000 to 8,000 chess books, a similar number of autographs (letters, score sheets, manuscripts), and about 1,000 items of “ephemera”.[101]Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam opines that DeLucia’s collection “is arguably the finest chess collection in the world”.[102]

The game structure and nature of chess are related to several branches of mathematics. Many combinatorical and topological problems connected to chess have been known for hundreds of years.

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Chess – Wikipedia

Keeping Our Human Edge In A Machine-Dominated World – Forbes Middle East

Annet Aris

Am I alone in thinking that it is a shame we can fix fewer things by ourselves these days? Personally, I always drew great satisfaction from fixing a broken piece of equipment. I enjoyed opening it against the manufacturers warnings to discover how it actually worked, and then fix it using superglue or a paperclip.

We are increasingly denied this feeling of being in control. It started with simple, loose parts being replaced by horrendously expensive integrated parts. The shift from mechanical to mostly-machine and electronic parts was even more drastic. Now car engines are largely computer-controlled and a spanner often does more harm than good.

Technology has become a sort of black box opaque, unknowable whilst being ever-present.

As computers control more and more everyday objects, our own inventiveness is increasingly being replaced by electronic intelligence.

In mathematics, the abacus and a sliding rule were first supplanted by the calculator (I still have one), then by the PC, and now by our telephones. Our paper maps first gave way to GPS navigation devices, now our phones (again) and, perhaps in the not-too-distant future, self-driving cars.

Even in our personal lives artificial intelligence is taking over.

Recent research by David Stillwell (Cambridge) and Michal Kosinski (Stanford) shows that Facebook is better able to describe someones personality (based on his or her likes) than even the persons best friends.

The shift to artificial intelligence is thus undeniably underway. Within this shift, there are two possible outcomes, as described in Walter Isaacsons book The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.

One scenario describes machines that will become more intelligent than people. Consider IBMs supercomputers Deep Blue and Watson, which respectively beat the top players at chess and the American gameshow Jeopardy!

Augmentation instead of automation

The other possibility is for artificial intelligence to be more like an extension of our brains, making them more agile and effective, just as cars make us more mobile than our legs, and pistols, deadlier than our fists.

Beyond ethical questions surrounding automation and AI, we must ask ourselves: What will the added value of people be in the future? What will we still do ourselves and what will we delegate to machines based on them being quicker, more logical and increasingly objective?

Rationally, it might be hard for us to win a place in a world of machines.

An interesting question is what role our irrational side will play in the future: Is it simply a useless remnant of prehistoric times, or rather something which will determine our unique value?

Humans make many illogical decisions every day. For example, we pick a job that the job test advises us not to take. We fall in love with the wrong person. We put our own interests aside to help others and gain nothing from it.

These irrational decisions can, of course, cause us a great deal of trouble, but oftentimes they also lead to unforeseen progress and add color to our existence.

The more brilliant machines become, the more we humans should allow ourselves to become playful and experimental. In this sense, both possible futures seen by Isaacson are incorrect.

Intelligent machines may (in the broadest sense) replace us or enable us to perform tasks more effectively. Instead of being characterized by an increasing dependency on computers, the role of humans will be to critically review the insights of the algorithms and sometimes wholeheartedly ignore them.

We will still need to reach for the screwdriver and, against the intention of the manufacturer, open things up and discover what lies within.

Annet Aris is an Adjunct Professor of Strategy at INSEAD business school. She was named one of the 50 most inspirational women in the European technology sector for 2016.

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Keeping Our Human Edge In A Machine-Dominated World – Forbes Middle East

ET Recommendations: Get Google Daydream View for Rs 6499 – Economic Times

Virtual Reality (VR) has been around for a few years now. However, what made VR accessible to everyone was Googles Cardboard, a budget solution that gave everyone a taste of what VR could do. When Google announced its Pixel phone last year, it also launched the Daydream View, a premium VR headset for those who want a more immersive experience.

One of the things that make the Daydream View stand out is build quality. Google has used a breathable fabric for the outer body which is surprisingly well-cushioned: this makes the headset comfortable to wear for long durations.

Daydream View comes with a handheld remote control with a built-in accelerometer, trackpad, volume control, select and home button. The controller works seamlessly with VR apps for viewing content or playing games. Having a handheld controller improves the experience by a big margin. Once you are done using the headset, the controller can be tucked inside the headset so that you dont lose it very thoughtful.

Setting up the Daydream View takes a couple of minutes via onscreen instructions in the app.

Then the app shows a tiled interface for recommended apps: YouTube VR, Play Store, settings and your installed apps. You can install new apps without removing the headset, which makes things easier from a users perspective.

The VR experience with the Daydream View is unparalleled. We have used a number of VR headsets, but the visual quality, smooth interface, navigation and ease of control we got with this is mind-blowing. The audio from the headsets speakers is loud enough for personal use and adds to the overall immersiveness.

One issue with the headset is that it is compatible with only select Android phones; support for other phones will be added over time. Another problem is that most of the good VR apps in Play Store are paid and the app ecosystem is overall still limited. Apart from this, the Daydream View is one of the best headsets for VR save for the high-end HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. By Karan Bajaj

ET Chess Moves: Game for iOS and Android

So you want to play a game of chess? Obviously, you have got your smartphone; no need to carry the board. There are hundreds of free chess apps available, so why are we writing about this one? Three big reasons. One, its adfree.

Two: all features are free, including undo, resume game and online play. Three, it has a nice two-player mode in which two people can play simultaneously on the same phone. You have a board facing you while your opponent has a board facing the other direction.

Your board automatically scales up in size when its your turn a smart way to overcome the limitations of small screens! And the developer (Asim Pereira) is using the Stockfish 8 engine for the single-player mode one of the best open-source chess engines that scales well to mobile and desktop platforms.

There are 10 levels, different board designs/colours and you can share your game once it is over. Try it out if you need to brush up on your skills. By Hitesh Raj Bhagat

Rheo : App for iOS; Get It For: Free You can always head to YouTube when you need to be entertained.

But what if you want to learn something new or just have a laugh? How long will you keep browsing aimlessly? Plus, there are other video platforms, you know? Rheo presents a steady stream of curated videos and the cool thing is that it pre-buffers the next video so when you swipe to the next one, it instantly starts playing. If you want a change of mood, you can switch from default to laugh, inform, learn, taste, spark, move or chill. You dont need to sign up to use it but if you do, you can record your reactions to videos, and your friends can see these reactions when they watch the same video.

Favourite what you like and Rheo will pick up on your taste and show you more like that. It’s cool enough to take a place along with Hyper, another of our favourite video apps on iOS. By Hitesh Raj Bhagat

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ET Recommendations: Get Google Daydream View for Rs 6499 – Economic Times

Worry about people, not jobs: Garry Kasparov – Economic Times

Over the last 12 years, Russian chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov has been a writer, human rights and democracy activist and a sometime chess-coach-cum adviser to top players. For an earlier generation, Kasparov is a superstar, probably the greatest ever chess player, a World Champion at the age of 22 in 1985 and a flag-bearer for human intelligence in matches against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue (Kasparov won the first match in 1996 but lost the re-match in 1997). Twenty years later, Kasparov has written a book on the match, Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins. In an email interview with Suman Layak, New York-based Kasparov shares his views on chess, AI, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Edited excerpts:

On why the book has come 20 years after the match The approach of the 20th anniversary of the 1997 rematch was the catalyst, but I wouldnt have written Deep Thinking if I hadnt felt ready. It was still painful to look back at that catastrophe, but enough time had passed to be objective, to find the truth, even if it was unpleasant. The other factor was that I had a lot more to say about intelligent machines and human-machine relationship. I felt that this could be an important message for others as well.

On whether he would do it again No, the strength of todays chess machines makes me quite happy Im retired! A free app on your smartphone is stronger than Deep Blue ever was. And a top engine on a decent laptop is likely unbeatable by even the best human on a good day. Engines dont play perfectly, but they dont make enough mistakes of the magnitude required for a human to beat them. Draw, yes, but probably not win. It was my blessing and curse to be the World Champion during the period in which chess computers went from laughably weak to practically unbeatable. It was a fascinating moment in my life, but in the historical perspective its a tiny blip.

On whether computers can take up human jobs, replace chess coaches Job loss to intelligent automation is a critical topic, but one of the reasons I wrote Deep Thinking was because we are looking at it the wrong way, with dangerous repercussions. Worry about people, not jobs, not professions. The evolution of human civilisation is the replacement of human labour by technology. Thats progress. Its essential, and makes our lives better, longer, more comfortable and productive. We should be concerned about what people will do if their tasks are taken over by machines, yes, but that problem will only get worse if we slow down instead of speed up automation and the development of new technology. Industries that automate also expand, leading to the creation of better jobs, even new industries. We need to focus on how to train people who are being displaced, how to keep them active. The good news is that smarter tools are also easier to use with less training. Computers are already teaching kids to play chess! But there will always be a place for human coaches and teachers, to help kids reach their potential and not only in chess. With an infinite amount of information at everyones fingertips, its ridiculous to preserve the old teacher-student relationship. Teachers today should focus on teaching kids how to learn, not what to learn. Training methods and critical thinking are still essential.

On opponents Anatoly Karpov, Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik Enjoyed isnt really the way to put it! In a professional game, especially in a World Championship match, its a life or death struggle, and even the thrill of victory leaves you exhausted. But I always felt a special surge of energy when facing Karpov who was, of course, my great rival over five World Championship matches.

Even in less consequential games later in our careers, I had a feeling like against no other opponent. We knew each other so well, and public interest was always high when we met. To answer more selfishly, my record against Anand was far better than against Karpov or Kramnik, so I suppose those games were more enjoyable in that way. Vishy was a formidable opponent so he inspired me to play my best, and more often than not it went my way.

On challenging current players They are very strong, with Magnus Carlsen still a step above everyone else. But I havent been gone so long! I played many games against several of the players still near the top, especially Kramnik and Anand. Of the young generation, they are often very good technically and still need to show their fire and dedication. One reason Im impressed with Wesley So is how hard he works. He has other chessboard talents as well, but his ability to focus and prepare is tremendous. I have no interest in big chess challenges. Top-level chess, especially classical chess, requires concentration and dedication. I have a million other things in my life today, from young children to books and politics. Its not compatible with professional chess and Im quite happy with my life.

On US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin Putin long ago decided that the US was his enemy. It is the worlds most powerful nation and so it is a potential threat to his uncontested power as the dictator of Russia. And he cant stay quiet since he needs international conflict to justify his power at home. More conflict was inevitable, but this scandal with Trump is a huge wildcard.

Why does he praise Putin, a brutal dictator who attacked the US election? Why does Russian propaganda attack the US constantly, but never say anything negative about Trump himself? So far, most of the known contacts are with Trumps team, which has more Russian connections than Aeroflot. Trump may not be intelligent enough to be part of a grand conspiracy himself, but he may end up being prosecuted for trying to interfere in the investigation of his administration and allies, like Michael Flynn.

On the dichotomy of Edward Snowden finding sanctuary in Russia Its only a dichotomy if he wasnt already working with Russian intelligence, either willingly or as a pawn. I have no special knowledge of Snowdens activities, but his path afterwards, his welcome in Putins Russia and his willingness to allow himself to be used as a tool of Putins propaganda arent in his favour as a mere whistleblower or misguided zealot. You can be happy that what he exposed was exposed and still suspect he was an agent or traitor.

On democracy in Russia There isnt any democratic politics in Russia, only that approved by the Putin regime. The balance of power is between various camps of Putins allies, pushing and pulling for influence and cash, usually behind the scenes. You cant speak of democracy or sully the word election by talking about Russia. Its a joke, a show to distract people, nothing more. Russia is a dictatorship and anyone who posed any sort of real challenge to Putins grip on power would be dead, in jail, or exiled.

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Worry about people, not jobs: Garry Kasparov – Economic Times

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is About Empowering People, Not The Rise Of The Machines – Forbes

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is About Empowering People, Not The Rise Of The Machines
Even the creators of artificial chess-playing machines acknowledge that the best chess player is actually a team of both human and machine. … Railroad locomotives are powered by massive, highly complex electrical engines that cost millions of dollars.

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is About Empowering People, Not The Rise Of The Machines – Forbes

Ditmas Park’s City Council Candidates Debate Major Issues – BKLYNER

(Photos by Liena Zagare/BKLYNER)

On June 5, City Council Candidates for District 40 (Ditmas Park, Flatbush, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens) held a debate on the most pressing issues facing our district.

In case you missed it, check out this comprehensive review of the issues that matter most, before heading over to the third debate tonight (with candidates from District 45 and the Brooklyn district attorney race).

Interest in political engagement is at a high in Brooklyn, and with a total of five candidates in play, the event was packed. (Thanks to neighbors who organized the event Seth Kaplan, Calista De Jesus with support from Cheryl Sealey, Brenda Edwards, Emily Leshner, and BKLYN Commons.)

Only one chair was empty for the first part of the debate, the one reserved for incumbent Councilmember Mathieu Eugene, who arrived late (had was with a police officer who was in a coma, he said later). When he did arrive, he referred to the other candidates as his opponents throughout the evening.

The organizers reached out to local political rockstar Duane Joseph and asked him to play moderator. Duane Joseph is a long-time resident of Flatbush via the Caribbeanand describes himself as a concerned resident looking to bridge the information gap.

You can watch the entire, 2-hour debate here, or read our edited synopsis below:

While waiting for Eugene to arrive, each candidate introduced themselves and their goals.

Brian Cunningham, who announced his candidacy last May, focused on his experience in government. I am running because I have seen a lot of changes in the last ten years, he said. I love this community, I was born and raised in this community and after this race is over, my commitment to public service will not be over.

Pia Raymond, who we interview in February, emphasized her work with economic engines along Nostrand Avenue and on the board of CB9. My story is part of your story, she said. I know what it means for a business to be displaced. Raymond reiterated what would become some of the ongoing themes of the night: changes, rent costs, and young people in need to engage. But she also focused on crime. in the midst of all the things happening here, we are still dealing the persistent crime problem.

Jen Berkely focused on an issue she has worked on for the last decade. I am here because our community is in a housing crisis. It not being addressed. How do I know its not being addressed? she asked out loud. Because I looked to see the how many affordable units we had when the City Councilmember took office. We have 15,000 less affordable units than we did when he took office.

Rose St Albord explained she is a masterpiece and a work in progressrunning because it is time for us to re-invent ourselves. Her objectives focused on our need to makes homes affordable, schools accountable, our streets safer for all residents.

Then, the questions began.

Given the importance of transportation as it provides access to getting an education and to economic opportunity. How would you improve it?

Brian Cunningham:Many simply cannot afford the cost of the subway, he said. Cunningham was the only candidate to suggest a solution, citing the 1700 people who use the Church Avenue train station between 6 and 9am every weekday morning: He believes we should mimic what the both the subway in the West Coast and the Metro North here do, make off-peak hours cheaper.

Pia Raymond:cited her experience increasing transportation options along the Nostrand business strip, like the select bus service, and a metro card to encourage shopping along the Nostrand strip. Raymond also cited her role in helping to create bike lanes and bike parking options to encourage business and travel options. Obesity is the number one health issue in Brooklyn, she said, with a commitment to simplify walking and biking options.

Jen Berkely:highlighted repeated fare increases when the service has been getting worse and worse and worse. She felt strongly that we need to send the message that we wont continue to foot the bill as service gets worse. She will do whatever she can to make sure the service gets better.

Rose St Albord:suggested a discount for families and for older straphangers. She also agreed that select buses were a great idea, but that select busses have angered some residents who see multiple select buses pass by while regular service seems to be suffering. This comment appeared to have hit a nerve and triggered a round of applause.

How Do You See Yourself Being An Advocate For Safer Streets?

Pia Raymond:said encouraging walking is a path toward safer streets, especially for seniors. She discussed her work in getting Citibike to come to her areaand wants more benches and bus shelters to encourage more outdoor activity.

Jen Berkley:said the current bike lanes are a great idea but painted lanes on the street force you to take your life into your hands. Its a delicate balance to increase foot traffic and other forms of transportation, she said, and intends to conduct a survey on it.

Rose St Albord:believes it takes a village we have to increase accountability for both bikers and walkers. We cannot look only at our side. People are reckless when they ride, people are reckless when they walk while texting.

Brian Cunningham:complemented the Mayor on the success of Vision Zero and cited the need for protected bike lanes. There are parts of the city where there is a row of parked cars or other dividers insulating the bike lanes.

Explain Your Plan for Tackling the Housing Crisis

Jen Berkely:given the high numbers of property violations against landlords, she would create a registry of the worst violators and aggressively fine them. She cited her work as a fighter for victims of landlords looking to push people out of their homes.

Rose St Albord:cited landlords who refuse to make repairs to inspire non-payment for which they can evict. Albord would make all landlords fill out a form of what kind of maintenance they would be expected to keep up and force them to either make repairs or forfeit the rent. She would also provide more pro bono legal help in fighting for tenants rights.

Pia Raymond:cited continued work with Impact Brooklyn and Brooklyn Legal Services, and the Flatbush Tenant Coalition. She will use her platform at City Council to educate the public and support these groups.

Brian Cunningham:feels strongly about land and tax abatements. We need to use the possibility of canceling them as a tool, he said. If you take city dollars you have responsibilities to uphold.

Councilmember Eugene:Housing is one of the biggest crises in the nation, he said, citing funding he gave tonon-profitsand testimony he gave before the DOB against raising rents.

What Are Your Plans To Push For a Fair Property Tax Program (because many taxes are going up to cover the new values because of buildings that are getting abatements)?

Rose St Albord: Property taxes are already high. Her goal will be to work to find ways to make new developments pay for the new costs to cover older residents raises in costs.

Brian Cunnigham:said that the 421A tax abatementneeds to be killed outright because any tax abatement is a zero sum effect. He would like to downzone, to disincentivize 421A. Cunningham also cited specifics numbers regarding the percentage of affordable housing being delivered for tax breaks.

Pia Raymond: Shared the commitment to downzoning. She cited her history on CB9 for support for downzoning.

Councilmember Eugene: said he voted to downzone Victorian Flatbush. He also said we need to lower the tax cost for retirees. It is very complicated, there is no one answer.

Jen Berkeley: Downzoning is only one answer to the problem. She says the Community Boards play a big role in downzoning and believes that City Council can play a bigger role in negotiating with developers.

What is your position on Charter Schools and the effect they have on public schools?

Councilmember Eugene: We have to invest in [public] education. But if there are other schools, we should support them.

Brian Cunningham: It is the citys responsibility to take care of the public schools first. He cited an example of how a school got a 501C3 attached to their school to allow them to pursue outside funding. He also cited the difference between Capital funding and other monies, saying we need to generate funding for both.

Pia Raymond:served as a program director in a public school and feels its critical to support public schools, college preparation, and fighting the digital divide. She would also support existing charter programs but not focus on new ones for the future.

Jen Berkely:Our city is one of the wealthiest in the world and the schools and should not have to hold bake sales to pay the bills. She also called out our low graduation rate in nyc as a particular issue she would address.

Rose St. Albord:said many kids arent learning but rather are taught to memorize She feels that many school problems need to be dealt with by instituting accountability for our school leadership and not just throwing money at problems.

Councilmember Eugene: Explained that he gives money to every school, supporting chess programs and other special events.

Joseph then switched gears and called on audience questions, like: How would you intervene in gang violence? (Create more community centers and vocational training, said Albord; raising rates of summer jobs, said Eugene; expand interest-based social development programs, said Raymond; make every school a beacon instead of creating new spaces, said Cunningham.)

What can you do to help the small businesses keep up with the rising cost of rent?

(specialized commercial rent control, saidBerkeley;encourage the SBA to take over a percentage of the store rent, saidSt. Albord; more programs like shop local supported by city council, and a separate stream to help preschools, said Raymond; explore landmarking small businesses integral to the cultural landscape, said Cunningham. Everyone who comes to Brooklyn wants to go to Juniors Cheesecake. We have places that could have that kind of draw.)

The last question was a personal one for Joseph and the immediate community. Since we are in the area covered by CB9 can you tell us what you would do to make it more functional. This question got applause and clearly was important to this room.

Pia Raymond, the only candidate onCB9, said, Unfortunately we have had a lot of discord and changes in leadership which has held up voting on things like liquor licenses. But she said we have new leadership and expressed confidence that things would go smoother this year.

Cunningham called for a more formal application process and training for Community Board leadership. He also felt strongly that there should be term limits on Community Board service. This last point received applause from the audience.

Learn more about each candidate, with videos, here.


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Ditmas Park’s City Council Candidates Debate Major Issues – BKLYNER

Literature, Films on Chess Captivates Enthusiasts – High on Sports (blog)

Chess is a game which has more books on it than any other books in the world combined. The field of chess literature is so vast that one can go on and on and still not find a way out. The history of books on chess go down to many centuries ago. Even in the seventeenth century when it was played in Europe, the players relied on different books on the sport for strategies. The first world champion, Wilhem Stenietz also created his own collection of books. The book My System by Aron Nimzowitzch has sold millions of copies. It is now considered a treasure to have an original copy of his book.

So, why are chess books so popular? What are some of the recent books on the game which have become popular? The answers to these two questions are in fact quite simple. The chess books are immense in the content that they offer. They are full of details which can be easily understood by the player. In fact, there are different levels of books on the game.

One of the greatest series is authored by none other than the world champion Garry Kasparov called My Great Predecessors. It is a five volume book and talks about Kasparovs greatest predecessors and has their games annotated by the champion himself. This series has been read by most of the worlds top grandmasters and even novices looking to make it big in the sport. Reading chess books makes the player sharper and makes him develop his game. It also helps him analyse various games of the past. Another classic example of a chess book is the book by Bobby Fischer, My Sixty Memorable Games. It shows sixty of his best games and helps the reader understand the logic behind his moves. The reader can enjoy each of Fischers games with relative ease as it is written in a pure and natural text.

These two books are just small examples from the large world of chess books. There are other books on chess which talk about psychology and the mindset of the players during games. One such book is How Life Imitates Chess by Kasparov. It talks about how Kasparov thinks life and chess are co-related. He talks about his life as a chess player and what it meant to be a world champion. He gives insights into his grueling schedule before world championship matches and also his thoughts on what chess meant to him. It is a must read for every book worm whether playing or not.

Chess Books are a great way to improve your game. The biggest advantage with these are that they are self explanatory. One can easily read and understand them. They are the best ways to practice, and books are able to tell the player something that even the worlds best engines cannot say. In fact, a book gives insight knowledge by another human who has been on the same stage earlier and has done his research. Simply relying on computers has never been an effective way to grow and even the worlds best players still rely on these books for enhancing themselves. Thus, chess literature has a whole new future ahead.

Chess in films has risen in the past two decades. One of the earliest films that I can recall seeing was Searching for Bobby Fischer, based on the true life story of International Master Josh Waitzkin. This film is based on the book of the same name by Fred Waitzkin, Joshs father. It showcases the world of a chess player and how the role of a parent is crucial for a childs development in the early part of his or her career. The movie tells Joshs story in such a powerful manner that even a grandmaster can learn a lot by watching it.

A recent film on the game was directed by the acclaimed director Mira Nair called Queen of Katwe. The film has inspired millions of people across the globe, including the world champion, Magnus Carlsen. What makes this film unique is the fact that a young girl from an extremely poor background rises up the ladder and becomes the first player from her country -Uganda- to participate in the Olympiad. All of sixteen, this girl wins the heart of millions by her never say die attitude. She was none other than Phiona Mutesi, who along with her coach, Robert Katende, made the game popular in an area where the people were so stricken with poverty that they had no place to stay in even in the worst conditions. The film showcases how to overcome extreme hardships in life with a positive mind frame.

Another amazing film on chess was Magnus. A film by a Norwegian debutant director Benjamin Ree, this film has the live footage of several important moments in the world no.1s career. It shows how he became a grandmaster at thirteen and how his quest for becoming a world champion came true in 2013. The documentary draws on the experiences of the entire Carlsen family and how they, as a unit, helped the reigning world champion become a phenomenon that he is today.

The above examples are just a few from the world of chess literature and films. It is rightly said that chess is an ocean full of treasures. It not only ignites the mind, but it also helps to develop oneself holistically. The game of chess is not only a sport, it is an art, a science, and a philosophical sea. One can only reap the benefits from this beautiful game.

Image courtesy: The Seventh Seal (Movie)

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Literature, Films on Chess Captivates Enthusiasts – High on Sports (blog)

TCEC – Thoresen Chess Engines Competition – Home – Facebook

Game 17 of the Superfinal has ended with a TB position win for white. The fact that the 50 moves rule would have entered in effect has caused considerable debate on the topic.

Both engine authors have submitted their opinion to the TCEC team. Multiple experts have also given their thoughts on the topic.

The score of game 17 is now under investigation and the final decision by Anton Mihailov will come next week. The decision is taking time, as the primary goal as usual is th…e fairness and equal conditions for the participating engines.

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TCEC – Thoresen Chess Engines Competition – Home – Facebook

Carlsen-Nakamura Norway Clash Ends In Draw – Chess.com

Magnus Carlsen vs Hikaru Nakamura was a great fight that ended in a draw, the same result as the other four games in round three of theAltibox Norway Chess tournament. Friday is the first rest day.

The start of Carlsen vs Nakamura. | Photo Maria Emelianova.

In November 2013, when Anand was struggling in his match with Carlsen, Nakamura tweeted the following famous tweet. Ever since a clash between him and the world champion is something special.

After 12 losses and 18 draws, only in Bilbao 2016, Nakamura managed to win his first classical game against Carlsen. After that, they played the 2016 Chess.com Blitz Battle and one blitz game in December in Qatar, but today’s game in Stavanger was their first classical game in a year. Itdidn’t disappoint.

Via a different move order compared to last year, the players reached a g3-Dragon and again Carlsen played b2-b3 early on. This time, Nakamura was well prepared for it.

For a change, Carlsen arrived early at the game, several minutes before Nakamura. | Photo Maria Emelianova.

Carlsen was “ashamed” of 11.b3 as he “didn’t grasp Hikaru’s idea at all.” That idea was to simply swap pieces on d4, which normally gives White a pleasant space advantagebut not here.

Happy with his position, Nakamura decided to play actively with 21…f5, the start of “insanely risky” play according to Carlsen.

However, the world champ didn’t make the most of his chances. A key position was this:

Carlsen was unhappy with 24.Rc6, the best moves according to the engines but not very practical. 24.b5 would have been tougher to meet. A knight appearing on c5 will just be taken off the board.

Carlsen:”With this time control you need to play for the initiative…” Nigel Short: “…and prevent his.” Carlsen: “Exactly.I have no clue what he is going to do…”

In the game, Nakamura sacrificed a pawn to create an active play, and in a phase where Carlsen missed several of his opponent’s moves, he was almost lucky not to get in trouble.

Hikaru Nakamura correctly judged that he would have enough counterplay.| Photo Maria Emelianova.

Interestingly, after the game, it turned out that both players had been optimistic about their chances. In that sense, a draw was a good result.

Carlsen joins the TV2 live show every day right after he finishes. | Photo Maria Emelianova.

Levon Aronian vs Anish Giri was a great fight as well, which started slowly though, compared to the other games. While Karjakin and Anand had already drawn, and others reached endgames, these players were still in their early middlegame. That was mostly because of Aronian using a lot of time: almost 20 minutes on 13.0-0, 19 minutes on 16.Qb3, 13 minutes on 19.Bc1 and 18.5 minutes on 20.dxe5.

Giri in deep thought.In the post-mortem, he said that during the game he realized that Aronian probably looked at this opening for Black in preparation for his second round game against Nakamura. | Photo Maria Emelianova.

That last move was right afterGiri had put the board on fire as he pushed the g-pawn in front of his king two squares.A tactical sequence followed and the chess board became a mess, but more important was Aronian’s horrendous time trouble. He needed to make 12 moves in less than 2 minutes.

Giri: “What we didn’t take into account here is that Levon had like a couple of minutes for 12 moves. The objective evaluation of the position is absolutely irrelevant.”

“This time control is very strange. You’re playing the classical control and then you have 20 minutes less. It’s weird. Takes time to adjust,” said Aronian, who was kind of lucky that an endgame was reached where he had a number of simple moves.

Giri is impressed by the “cheapo artist,” as Short called Aronian the other day. | Photo Maria Emelianova.

Aronian is not the only player having difficulty adjusting to the time control in Stavanger (which is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move 61).

Today Vladimir Kramnik, who drew a long game with Wesley So, revealed that he got it wrong initially. He assumed 2 hours for 40 moves and was wondering why he was getting so low on time during the first round. Then, at the start of round two, he noticed the clocks saying 1:40:00, and thought it was a mistake!

Despite attending the players meeting, Kramnik got the time control wrong during the first round. | Photo Maria Emelianova.

The first game to end today was Sergey Karjakin vs Viswanathan Anand. It only took about 1.5 hours, but there was a nice story behind it.

First, Karjakin admitted that the line he played against the Berlin wasn’t anything special, but Black needs to know what he is doing. Then Anand revealed how his memory had worked: at some point, early in the game, he remembered the position with 21…Bd7. From that point onwards he was trying to figure out how to reach it!

Karjakin vs Anand. The latter “won” the opening battle as he managed to remember his analysis. | Photo Maria Emelianova.

Anand vividly remembered the conversation with one of his seconds, who suggested that 21…Bd7 move. “I almost fell off my chair,” Anand said. But Black is fine there, his second told him, and today he could show it in the game.

Both Kramnik-So and MVL-Caruana can be found in the PGN file.

2017 Altibox Norway Chess | Round 3 Standings

In the evening a group of grandmasters joined in the hotel lobby. Guess what they were doing?

Friday is a rest day. The pairings for round four on Saturday are Aronian-Carlsen, Nakamura-MVL, Giri-Anand, Caruana-Kramnik, and So-Karjakin.

You can follow the games in Live Chess each day starting at 4 p.m. local time (7 a.m. Pacific, 10 a.m. Eastern).We’re providing on-site coverage on Chess.com/News and on our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels.

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Carlsen-Nakamura Norway Clash Ends In Draw – Chess.com

Rouhani should play chess where Trump is playing the fool – Trend News Agency

By Chris Cook, for Trend

Obama’s Smart Energy Strategy

On taking office in January 2009, President Barak Obama inherited a failed energy policy from the George W. Bush administration which had attempted to secure Middle East oil & gas resources by military means through creating client states and imposing one-sided contractual terms favouring US International Oil Companies (IOCs). However, China’s threat in 2007 to pull the plug on the US financial system forced the US to back off in Iraq, in the same way that the US threat in 1956 to pull the plug on sterling forced the UK to pull out of Suez.

Consequently, the 2008 US financial meltdown obliged the incoming Obama administration to take a very different approach to US energy security. There were two major objectives of Obama’s resource resilience energy strategy: firstly, to rid the US for good of their historic reliance on Saudi oil, and secondly, to make a transition through gas as a bridging fuel to a low carbon economy.

The first objective was achieved by Obama’s investment bank collaborators who used Saudi/GCC petrodollars to inflate the oil price from its low of $35/barrel in 2009 by manipulating the Brent/BFOE benchmark oil price. The price was then maintained in a range between a collar under oil prices of $80/barrel and a US gasoline price cap at levels which would not threaten Obama’s 2012 re-election chances.

The effect of these artificially high prices were firstly, to fund indiscriminate lending to US shale oil and gas developers and secondly, to finance renewable energy such as wind and solar which substituted for fossil fuels. Finally, high prices led to massive investment in energy savings such as in more efficient car engines. As a result the US increased oil production by 5m barrels per day, and made oil product savings of maybe 2m bpd. When added to new high cost global sources of oil such as Canadian tar sands, and global renewable energy and efficiency, particularly in the EU, this led by 2014 to a substantial global surplus of oil production, which has now become structurally embedded.

The increasing surplus of oil supply led as I forecast it would in 2011 to a collapse in the oil price to $45 to $50/bbl in late 2014 after the financial Quantitative Easing (QE) pump of Federal Reserve Bank dollars was finally turned off.

Obama’s Energy Doctrine

Obama’s strategy executed through Hilary Clinton’s State/CIA power nexus was for Caspian and Qatari gas to supply Europe, displacing crude oil and oil products and competing with Russia. Resource nationalism particularly in Turkey and Syria – stood in the way of this. Meanwhile the massive US base at Al Udeid has effectively come to secure Qatari gas production and an effective position of Qatar as a US proxy in the MENA region acting against resource nationalism by promoting Islamism.

The US strategy was therefore to create a new wave of non-nationalist Sunni Islamism such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere, and Gulenism in Turkey. The outcome desired by the US was Balkanisation of the region to create a Kurdish Petro State (which would be tolerated by a Gulenist regime in Turkey) with Islamist territories elsewhere acting as conduits for Qatari gas transit to Europe by pipeline.

However, Obama’s smart energy policy was so successful that the accompanying wave of new smart technology and investment led to an irreversible tipping point in the global economy of Peak Demand the effect of which is to cap the global oil price at or around $50 per barrel.

Current Events

Saudi Arabia has clearly learnt the truth of Yamani’s dictum that the Oil Age is not ending for lack of oil, since they would not conduct the Aramco IPO if the future oil price trajectory were upwards. Clearly, Saudi Arabia is now casting covetous eyes on Qatari gas, since this will enable them to free crude oil for export, particularly in the summer. In other words, Qatari gas will act as a bridging fuel while their ambitious (and in my view unimplementable) Energy 2030 programme progresses. Such a Saudi gas for oil swap is unlikely to take place on favourable terms for Qatar.

So President Trump has now turned away from the Obama doctrine at least in part due to his personal antagonism to anything Obama was able to achieve in office. Unfortunately, as with his similar rejection of COP 21 and Obama’s domestic US energy policy he has no constructive Plan B.

As a result of Trump’s impulsive action, Saudi Arabia has now been permitted to take extraordinary measures, with the full support of the US, which essentially constitute war on Qatar by economic means. Moreover, Qatar has been presented with a detailed ultimatum including a draconian prohibition in dealings with Iran and the scope for rapid escalation is clear.

Today’s events in Tehran an attack on the Majlis and an unprecedented suicide bombing at the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini provide a grave challenge to President Hassan Rouhani and his colleagues in Iran’s government. Trump’s top military/security team is extremely antagonistic to Iran, and clearly hope and expect that Iran will act stupidly and aggressively in response to this provocation.

What is Iran’s Smart Move in this difficult position?

The Smart Move

In my view, the smart, and unexpected, policy for Iran would be to propose a constructive regional initiative based upon energy/resource co-operation and resilience. This may perhaps commence with a humanitarian offer to Qatar of essential supplies through international waters.

What appears to be a unilateral US-backed resource grab by Saudi Arabia creates an opportunity for Russia, Iran & Qatar (who between them possess more than 60% of global gas reserves) to collaborate in launching a networked physical and financial global market in natural gas based upon a new settlement between gas producers and consumers.

The market in Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) is key to such a new settlement. While historically the global natural gas market has been fragmented and largely bilateral due to deliveries via static pipelines, the last five years has seen massive new production and infrastructure for liquidising and decompressing Liquid Natural Gas (LNG). The combination of diversity of supply, flexibility of delivery and homogeneity of gas (there are many grades and qualities of oil, but CH4 is CH4) has now led to an over-supplied global ‘buyer’s market’ in natural gas. The emergence and convergence of a global LNG price is strikingly illustrated by this chart.

I believe based upon my experience of implementing the UK Natural Gas Balancing Point Futures contract in 1995 as a Director of what is now ICE Europe that the potential now exists for a global gas ‘Balancing Point’ physical gas market price based upon the price at which LNG is delivered into and out of global LNG infrastructure. This could enable financial energy credit instruments (not derivatives) based upon this price which are issued, traded, cleared and settled within a global energy clearing union.

The EU, which is fuming at Trump’s America First antics, as well as China, India and Turkey (whose President Erdogan has offered to intermediate), could be expected to support a new global gas market settlement, while neutral countries like Norway and Switzerland could be expected to facilitate it.

So my advice to President Rouhani is to play chess where Trump is playing the fool, and to begin a process of depoliticised energy diplomacy based upon competition for quality of energy as a service and cooperation to reduce energy costs within a new natural gas global market paradigm.

Chris Cook is a former director of the International Petroleum Exchange. He is now a strategic market consultant, entrepreneur and a commentator.

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Rouhani should play chess where Trump is playing the fool – Trend News Agency

Detonation; Enthusiastic Racing – TruckTrend Network

As a fan of things that go fast, I have drag racing near the top of my must-watch motorsports list. I have been fortunate enough to attend some Outlaw Diesel Super Series events, and Ive noticed that Im definitely not the only one enjoying the thrill of the drags. The number of people who come out to spectate continues to grow, as does the total count of competitors who enter each event. More and more diesel jockeys are eager to see what they and their rigs can do on the strip. This ever-increasing enthusiasm for diesel drag racing is amazing to witness, and its definitely growing the sportin both popularity and competiveness.

In April 2017, I attended the Rudys Diesel Performance season-opening event at Piedmont Raceway in Julian, North Carolina. It was a great two days of diesel madness, highlighted by the Outlaw Diesel Super Series drawing 165 competitors to the venue to wage war in six different drag-racing classes. The category with the largest turnout was our own (well, ours and ATS Diesel Performances) 7.70 Index Class, with 62 truckers reporting to the staging lanes for the first round of eliminations. For every race across all classes, the stands were packed to near capacity with cheering spectators watching vehicles roar down the eighth-mile.

As the enthusiasm continues to increase for this type of drag racing and the competition gets more heated, drivers willingness and desire to push themselves and their vehicles to the next level will rise. Competitive people want to winthey will not voluntarily let themselves sit idly or settle for second best. Their free time is spent at the track testing and racing, or in the garage prepping and building.

It is not an easy endeavor to put the right combination of components together. The engine alone has so many different ways it can be manipulated for power. Combine that with the complexity of the rest of the drivetrain, and you have a lot to get right. Getting everything to sync together and perform at its peak is a chess game. One move can take you forward or set you back. But that desire to be on top pushes people to keep trying and experimenting with new ideas.

Ingenuity and creativity are the things that really push motorsport technology forward. The guy or gal who can really think outside the box and bring something completely different to the table may have the key to winning. I understand there are rules in many classes that limit what can be done to an engine or vehicle, but he or she who has an ability to apply new concepts to the sport (a mechanical principle or technology that is not normally associated) could gain an advantage, and any edge, even a slight one, can be rewarded with a spot on the podium.

Racing has traditionally been the cornerstone for research and development of performance parts. That need and desire to go faster and win has stirred the creativity in many an individual and opened their eyes to ways of creating more power, speed, or efficiency from what is many times the simplest concept. Most ideas or theories have to be proven through trial and error. But, in the end, the sacrifice of time and energy (and money) proves it could definitely be worth it.

There is a reason auto and truck builders around the world support racing in one form or another and why they pump money into research and development. Racing is where a lot of new technology is born and where that technology is proven. Many of the advances made in competition will make it into what is driven on the road. The fastest production cars in the world owe much of their performance ability to peoples desire to race and win.

Even the new high-powered diesel pickup trucks on the market today owe much of their torque and power to racers and enthusiasts desires to improve their engines. Manufacturers pay attention to what is being done to the powerplants they produce, and then analyze what works and what doesnt perform as expected.

As more people continue to enjoy the excitement of racing diesels, the more the technology will develop, which will continue to push the industry and racing to new levels. Im waiting to see what the next big step forward is and where it comes from. Never count the little guy out.

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Detonation; Enthusiastic Racing – TruckTrend Network

Download free chess engines – Komodo 10, Houdini

Chess engine is the unique software which is built into the program shell (e.g. “Fritz”, “Arena”, “Shredder”) thus multiplying the force of the game shell. For example, “Kasparov Chess” is very good and clever shell. The maximum rating which can be set in it is 2600. And the rating of the chess engines reaches 3000-3200. That is why the chess engines are so popular. Where do the chess engines originate from and who makes them? This question is not trivial, vice versa it is quite actual, so it is worth talking about.

The first record of the chess engine was made about 20 years ago. That was just the time when the UCI standard was developed – the universal chess interface, allowing the chess engine to be connected to the graphic interface of the program shell. The engine made to this standard can be easily connected to any chess program. The standard was worked out by Stephan Meyer-Kahlen, German programmer, who was born in 1968 in Dusseldorf. He is also the founder of one of the most famous chess programs – Shredder, which is the 12-times world champion among chess machines. The UCI standard was presented to the world by Rudolf Huber. The standard has great advantages. For example, if the engine does not save the database of the games played (although it is better if this task is performed by the engine), then one can easily manage this database by UCI. As the UCI protocol is absolutely free, it gives it the advantage over the other protocols. It can be used for private purposes and as the open-source as well. This protocol was used by only a few programs until Chessbase Company (producing Fritz) began to support this protocol in 2002. Nowadays, this protocol is used by about 100 chess programs.

The majority of the chess engines are made very thoroughly and published in the net absolutely free of charge. In Russia there are the developers making engines, as well. E.g. SmarThink developed by Sergey Markov, GreKo developed by Vladimir Medvedev, Strelka developed by Yuri Osipov. These engines, as well as many others, can be downloaded from our website. As the number of the chess engines is growing, we chose the best ones, as there is simply no possibility to present all of them here.

Komodo 10 2016 – Developer Mark Lefler. Version for Android, Linux, OSX, Windows ALL.

Houdini – Developer Robert Blow (Belgium). 5.01 UCI Chess Engines [Full]

Komodo 8 – Champions 2015 – Developer Mark Lefler. Version for Android, Linux, OSX, Windows 7, 8 (32/64).

Houdini 4 PRO – Developer Robert Blow (Belgium). Version 4 PRO.

Houdini 2.0 – Developer Robert Blow (Belgium). Version 2.0. To date, the best engine. And you can Download Houdini 2.0 for a direct link.

Deep Rybka 4 – developer Vas Rajlich. Version 4 (w32)

Stockfish – Developers Tord Romstad, Marco Kostalba Kiiski and Joon. Version 2.11

Critter – Developer Richard Vida. Version 1.1.37

Naum – Developer Alexander Naumov (Canada). Version 4.2

Spark – Version 1.0

WildCat – Developer Igor Korshunov (Belarus). Version 8.0

SmarThink – Developer Sergei Markov (Russia). Version 0.17a

SOS – Designer Rudolf Huber (Germany). Version 11.99

Zchess – Designer Franck Zibi (France). Version 2.22

Gromit – Developers Frank Schneider and Kai Skibbe (Germany). Version 3.0

Ufim – Developer Niaz Hasanov (Russia). Version 8.2

Mustang – Developer Alex Korneichuk (Belarus). Version 4.97

GreKo – Developer Vladimir Medvedev (Russia). Version 8.2 + sour

Kaissa2 – Developer Vladimir Elin (Belarus). Version 1.8a

Adamant – Developer George Varentsov (Russia). Version 1.7

Booot – Developer of Alexei Morozov (Ukraine). Version 5.1.0 + sources

Eeyore – Developer Meidel Anton (Russia). Version 1.52 (32 & 64bit)

Zeus – Developer Vadim Bykov (Russia). Version 1.29

Arics – Developer Vladimir Fadeev (Belarus). Version 0.95a

Anechka – Developer Sergey Nefedov (Russia). Version 0.08

Patriot – Developer Vladimir Elin (Belarus). Version 2006

AlChess – Developer Alex Lobanov (Russia). Version 1.5b

OBender – Designer Evgeny Kornilov (Russia). Version 3.2.4x

Counter – Developer Vadim Chizhov (Russia). Version 1.2

Strelka – Designer Yuri Osipov (Russia). Version 2.0B + sources

Belka – Developers Yuri Osipov, Igor Korshunov (Russia – Belarus). Version 1.8.20

Ifrit – Developer Brenkman Andrew (Russia). Version 4.4 + source

Bison – Developer Ivan Bonkin (Russia). Version 9.11 + sour

Uralochka – Developer Ivan Maklyakov (Russia). Version 1.1b

Marginal – Designer Alexander Turikov (Russia). Version 0.1

Chess – Designer Evgeny Kornilov (Russia). Version 3

Woodpecker – Designer Evgeny Kornilov (Russia). Version 2

Gull – Developer Vadim Demishev (Russia). Version 1.2

Continued here:

Download free chess engines – Komodo 10, Houdini