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Who Are The 8 Best U.S. Chess Players Ever? – Chess.com

On July 4, the day the United States of America celebrates its independence, let's take a look at the best chess players in American history.

The United States has long produced top chess talent, with some of the game's finest players, authors, and theoreticians calling the U.S. home.

In recent years, the U.S. has been a force on the international chess scene, and its "big three" grandmasters are staples at the world's top tournaments. The United States had a world-championship contender in 2018, with GMFabiano Caruana coming up just short against the world champion, GMMagnus Carlsen.

Caruana obviously makes the list of the best-ever U.S. players, but where does he rank? And who is ahead of him?

There are many ways to make a "best-of-all-time" list. Your selections will be different from mine. I am using peak playing strength as my primary metric, not overall career achievement because I am most interested in the best possible chess produced by each American on this list.

Peak rating: 2763

Gata Kamsky is a true chess prodigy. He became a strong grandmaster at age 16 and reached his peak in the 1990s. His career pinnacle was in the 1996 FIDE world championship bracket, where he made the finals but dropped the championship match against the reigning FIDE world champion, GMAnatoly Karpov.

Kamsky was born in the Soviet Union but moved to the United States early in his career. Kamsky won the U.S. chess championship five times (1991, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014), cementing his status as an American chess legend.

Here is a 22-year-old Kamsky beating the super-GM Nigel Short in 26 moves.

Peak rating: 2768

Even with much recent success, Leinier Dominguez Perez remains an underrated American chess talent.

Dominguez Perez officially became an American chess player less than two years ago, in December 2018, when he transferred federations to the United States. Before that, he was the five-time Cuban chess champion.

His career peak was likely his sole first place in the 2013 FIDE Grand Prix leg in Greece, finishing ahead of 11 other super-GMs, including three others on this list.

Dominguez Perez's attacking prowess was on full display in 2014 when he practically wiped future-compatriot GMWesley So's kingside off the board in this brutal miniature.

Peak rating: 2811 (estimated by Edo)

It's not a stretch to call Paul Morphy the father of American chess.

A true prodigy, Morphy was not just a chess force at an early age. His game was also about 100 years ahead of its time in terms of style and even tactical strength.

GM Bobby Fischer called Morphy "the most accurate player who ever lived," which should tell you something because many chess fans give that title instead to Fischer.

Morphy's game peaked quite early, and the apex was his European tour in 1858 at age 21. Morphy pretty much destroyed every strong player the European continent could throw at him, and by the time he returned to the United States, he was recognized as the unofficial world champion.

Morphy retired from competitive chess a year later to begin his law practice, never returning to the game before his death at age 47.

Morphy is the author of arguably the most famous chess game ever played, an exhibition against the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard at an opera house in Paris. If you're going to show a chess beginner one game, use this one.

Peak rating: 2816

Hikaru Nakamura, while quite a formidable traditional chess force, is truly a chess player of the modern age.

Nakamura has made his mark as unquestionably the best American blitz chess player ever, and also the best American online chess player ever. Since most chess games in 2020 are both played online and at fast time controls, these are fairly important arenas.

Nakamura has also established a tremendous following on the live-streaming site Twitch and was called "the grandmaster who got Twitch hooked on chess" by Wired magazine. On Chess.com, Nakamura has won the two most recent editions of the Speed Chess Championship (2018-2019).

Of course, Nakamura has enjoyed solid over-the-board success as well, winning the U.S. championship five times.

No game quite captures the modern, fun, and online-friendly nature of Nakamura's style like his thorough trolling of the computer engine Crafty back in 2007, when Crafty was one of the world's strongest engines and Nakamura was just 20 years old.

Peak rating: 2822

Wesley So transferred to the United States federation six years ago, and since then he has established himself as one of the world's best players.

So is 26 years old and it's reasonable to think that his chess peak is just getting started. So's style of play is precise and safe, rarely getting himself into trouble. This less-risky approach has been cited (mostly unfairly) as evidence that So is not an exciting chess player.

That argument went right out the window last November when So destroyed the classical world chess champion, Carlsen, in the finals of the first FIDE world Fischer random chess championship. So ran up the score, winning the match 13.5-2.5, putting to rest any doubts of his brilliance and creativity.

In this famous game against the top Chinese GM Ding Liren, So answers any lingering questions you might have about whether three pieces are better than a queen.

Peak rating: 2844

Fabiano Caruana is currently at the top of his career and sits just 28 rating points behind Carlsen on the live list. Caruana and Carlsen are the only players above 2800. The pair fought a close battle in the 2018 world chess championship, with Carlsen needing the tiebreaks to retain his title.

Caruana is still in contention for the next world championship whenever that process resumes, with the American one game off the lead of the 2020 candidates' tournament at the time of its postponement halfway through the schedule.

Caruana's chess highlight reel is too extensive to fully appreciate in this space. He won the U.S. chess championship on his first try in 2016, and he was the four-time Italian chess champion before transferring to the U.S. federation.

Why pick a draw for Caruana's showcase game, when all the other players get wins?

This game against Carlsen in the 2018 world chess championship represents the peak of chess on two levels. On the surface, you have the tremendous underdog Caruana outplaying and pressuring the world champion Carlsen, who was lucky to escape with the draw and maintain an even match.

On a deeper level, there is a beautiful and inscrutable endgame lurking in this game that astounded everyone who analyzed it. The chess super-computer "Sesse" found a forced checkmate for Caruana in 30 moves in real-time, as millions watched the game around the world. The legendary former world champion GMGarry Kasparov said no human could ever spot the win. Yet it was in there, on the board as surely the 64 squares themselves.

I still get goosebumps playing over this endgame.

Peak rating: 2785

Bobby Fischer stands as the most legendary U.S. chess player ever and is universally considered one of the three greatest world champions, along with Carlsen and Kasparov.

Fischer was responsible for a renaissance in American chess in the 1970s as he racked up ridiculous winning streaks on his way to the world title over GMBoris Spassky in 1972. Fischer elevated the game of chess to geopolitical philosophy, representing American individualism against the Soviet chess machine.

The most striking aspect of Fischer's chess was how far ahead he was of his competition. His peak rating of 2785, earned before the considerable rating inflation in the 50 years since would place him near the top of the chess world even today.

Computer studies have confirmed Fischer's strength and accuracy as other-worldly for his time. His style was universal, elegant and above all, accurate. His fierce competitive spirit is something the computer engines can't measure; Fischer had one of the strongest wills to win in chess history.

Fischer's career was cut short by disagreements with chess organizers along with mental and physical health problems. Nonetheless, in the short time he spent at the top of the game, he changed it forever with the millions of American players he inspired.

Almost as a side note, Fischer invented Fischer random chess (chess 960), which is considered one of the most creative chess variants. Fischer also held a patent for a chess clock with an increment, which is the preferred time control today of many players.

The below game, one of the most famous in chess history, shows the stunning chess clarity possessed by Fischer even as young as age 13 when he eviscerated a leading American chess master, Donald Byrne.

Peak rating: 3500+

I can already see the objections in the comment section. But the headline in this article said "chess players," not chess humans, and I am a big fan of non-human chess.

AlphaZero is an artificial intelligence project that plays chess. Given just the rules of the game, AlphaZero taught itself to play chess to superhuman levels in mere hours using machine-learning techniques.

It stormed onto the chess scene in late 2017 when its operators released the results of a 100-game match with Stockfish, the traditional champion chess engine.

AlphaZero plays chess differently from most computers, possessing an almost-intuitive understanding of the game and handling many positions in a beautiful, human-like manner. Of course, AlphaZero is stronger than any human, but if you played through its games you'd think it had a distinct personality. Maybe it does.

AlphaZero inspired a whole wave of neural-network chess engines, including the international open-source project Lc0, which currently sits second behind Stockfish on the computer ratings list. The machine-learning approach pioneered by AlphaZero transformed the scientific basis of computer chess, and it will be the neural-network engines that evolve the game to its next levels, wherever that may be.

Is AlphaZero American? AlphaZero runs on American TPUs. The project's inventor, the AI company DeepMind, is headquartered in the United Kingdom, but the company has been owned by an American corporation (Google/Alphabet) since before there was an AlphaZero.

If George Washington was born a British subject but can still be considered a founding father of the United States, we can extend that same leeway to AlphaZero, especially on the American day of independence from Great Britain.

Of course, there are many other American chess engines, most of them far stronger than the human players on this list, but here they are collectively represented by the intrepid AlphaZero, which changed computer chess forever.

I'll never forget where I was when I saw this game by AlphaZero against the reigning top computer engine Stockfish, and if you care about the evolution of chess, you might not either.

Who do you think are the top chess players in American history? Let us know in the comments.

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Who Are The 8 Best U.S. Chess Players Ever? - Chess.com

An (Infinite) Game Theory strategy for India to be a global power – The Sunday Guardian

The methods India must use to set objectives, design strategies, and forge alliances will shift in approach and urgency.

India is at a unique inflection point. In 2019-20, our GDP was nearly $3tn, catapulting us into the top 5 economies. In terms of purchasing power parity, we are a top 3 economy at $12.6tn, behind China and the US. For the first time this year, due to the economic fallout of COVID-19, India will witness 4% negative growth. The pandemic is realigning the global order and may have forever changed the world. There are generational opportunities here, and the challenge is deciding which goals to pursue.

Here, game theory offers a useful framework for decision-makingto understand the theatre, build alliances and common objectives, formulate strategies to reach milestones, and then make the necessary nearand long-term decision-cascades to execute these strategies. The theory classifies all contests as finite or infinite.

Recent events, especially at the Indo-China border, have demonstrated that a stable economy is a prerequisite for indomitability. With it comes global respect, a shift in attitudes from allies and adversaries, optionality in resource allocation, and a security apparatus that can pre-emptively protect its borders and citizens. A robust economy has tremendous feedforward effectshigh incomes and quality of life, capacity to maintain peace at all costs, and the unrelenting pursuit of excellence. Sustaining a resilient economy in a sovereign nation is an infinite game.

By definition, an infinite game has no beginning or end, can support known and unknown players, must continue with an evolving ruleset, and the only known boundary condition is that the game must be perpetually played. In contrast, finite contests have bounded rules, scores, and playtime. Unlike basketball or chess, players in an infinite game cannot call time on the game after it reaches a pre-agreed result. For example, India cant achieve a $10tn GDP by 2031 and then retire its growth and development. Building a resilient economy can only be defined in terms of intermediate objectives that perpetuate the gamegrow the country to a $5tn GDP by 2026, $10tn by 2031, $20tn by 2041, and beyond.

Having established that India is playing an infinite game, the methods it must use to set objectives, design strategies, and forge alliances will shift in approach and urgency.

More importantly, India must align its decision-making, policy formulation, incentives, and investments toward these goals. With this lens, here are some of the growth drivers India has to pursue to become a dominant player in this infinite game.

URBANIZE SYSTEMATICALLY BUT RAPIDLY

Urbanization concentrates human activity, leading to depth of specialization and irreversible productivity enhancements; crucial to accelerating socio-economic growth. India (34% urban) lags behind the world (55%), China (59%) and the US (82%). Urbanization is critical for Indias growth, as exemplified by these two superpower contenders.

No longer should Indias growth depend only on 10 cities with a combined GDP of $1 trillion (33% of India) and a combined population of 11 crores (8% of India). The next 100 cities must be planned to contribute $1 trillion and house 20 crore people. Another tier of 1,000 towns can be developed for the next $1 trillion. In this manner, we could develop a total of 5,000 census towns all over the country, connect them with high-speed infrastructure, and concentrate resources to develop a tiered and reliable urban engine of growth. An India-wide phenomenon means every citizen can fully participate.

We can do this systematically by incorporating sustainable energy technologies, incentivising job creation and training, urban mobility solutions, and supporting quantum leaps in material reuse and recycling. This distributed growth engine can maintain a value-added agricultural surround system, self-reliant manufacturing ecosystem, increase overall savings and investment, and support human capital development.

LABOUR-INTENSIVE GROWTH

For self-reliance and sustained economic growth, India has to develop high labour-utilization strategies via urbanization, construction, manufacturing and services like tourism. It is the only sustainable way to support wage-growth and mass-upskilling of the 50% of India that is unskilled or low-skilled. After 70 years, agriculture even today employs 43% of the workforce which must quickly reduce to 25%.

The recent migrant crisis has demonstrated that six states in the north have surplus labour that migrates for a living. The Rs 50,000 crore PM-GKRY program has to be dovetailed with creating labour-intensive industries. An incentive program could be worked out where for 1 crore jobs created in specific industries in these six states, the government could pay Rs 2,000/month/worker employed with verifiable social security. With a combined Centre-state program, this will work out to INR 24,000 crores a year for 1 crore jobs; the creation of which will radically transform these states. Moreover, a majority of the 6,844 products we import from China at $65.3Bn can be produced domestically with labour-intensive strategies.

HIGH VALUE-ADDED MANUFACTURING

Labour-intensive manufacturing unlocks opportunities for current economic growth while hi-tech manufacturing unlocks opportunities for the future. Todays frontier technologies are tomorrows growth engines. Electronics design, 3D printing, advanced biotechnology, defence parts, space applications, robotics, and other areas are a formidable value-add to the nation that holds the intellectual property (IP) and manufacturing rights.

The worlds superpowers deploy significant innovation budgets because they have strategized the value of this investment in securing economic growth. While India has an abundance of talent, we have not pursued a perpetuating strategy here. To maintain a resilient economy, decades into the future, we must invest today in deep research, IP creation, and specialized workforces supported by centres of excellence, world-class R&D laboratories, manufacturing facilities and a deepening startup ecosystem. A Rs 50,000 crore PM Hi-Tech Industry Abhiyan is required. The returns on this investment will translate into extensive value-added output and growth.

EXPORT ORIENTATION

The endurance game strategy around export-orientation is evident: if we target only domestic markets, the limit is $3tn. With export-orientation, the market swiftly expands to the $82tn global economya 27x expansion. In a decade, even this would have expanded further at 4% YoY. With export-orientation, all Indian producers have an opportunity to expand their market reach, growth and earnings.

Indias IT industry has proven this value proposition. Three Indian IT companies are in the Top 5 globally, and five in the Top 10. In the early 1990s, if the then-burgeoning IT industry had limited itself to the domestic market, it would have probably died out because the market was limited. By consciously orienting their services toward the global economy, IT companies saw exponential growth and took advantage of the expansive growth opportunities.

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPLY CHAIN EFFICIENCIES

Chinas infrastructure boom has enabled unprecedented delivery and supply chain efficienciesa significant contributor to their ability to produce and deliver high-quality goods at cheap prices. To compete, reducing our supply chain costs from 14% of GDP to 6% is essential.

The introduction of GST, and focus on road and airport development is paying off. In the wake of economic standstill, the administration can consider fast-tracking a National Infrastructure Pipeline 2.0 program, the freight corridor projects, and developing ports throughout the coastlines. We have to match carriage speeds and port turnaround times of China, Singapore and other places to capture export market share.

AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS

India is a fertile, multi-climate country with a strong agricultural base. We are the largest producer of milk, cotton, spices, and second largest in food grains, horticulture, and sugar. We are a major producer of agrochemicals, tea, jute and oilseeds. We have the largest cropland and livestock sector in the world. Despite this, we lag in agricultural exports and value-add due to the lack of a cohesive growth strategy.

A long-term vision to increase value-add in agriculture necessitates export-orientation, building a global India agri-brand, food processing, grading and sorting standardization, large-scale dairy procurement and branding cooperatives, and more. Agriculture will also capitalize on the increased supply chain efficiency to drive output up.

GOVERNANCE AND TAXATION REFORMS

Indias economic growth is heavily weighed down by compliance laws, some dating to the colonial era of the late 1800s. TeamLeases analysis of Indias compliance universe shows the centre and states together have 1,536 Acts, 69,233 compliance paradigms and 6,618 filings for companies and citizens to navigate. This impossibly high compliance burden is a drain on the time and resources of taxpayers, wealth-creators and job-creators, and is antithetical to value creation.

There are also discrepancies in taxation laws. Domestic investors pay higher taxes than equivalent overseas investors. Higher capital gains tax is levied on unlisted stock compared to listed, despite the highly variant risk-reward paradigms.

The worlds most productive economies have all deployed vastly-simplified compliance and tax regimes. President Trump has reduced friction by 30% in one term. With Indias pioneering tech-enabled governance, this is a generational opportunity to build transparent compliance and taxation systems that boost Indias productivity multifold. India needs a new movement to free citizens from the tyranny of over-compliance, a PM Zero-Friction Compliance Yojana.

AN ENDURING INDIAN NATION

An enduring nation is borne by a robust economy that continuously unlocks pathways for economic growth. While India has grown admirably since 1991, it has been mostly organic with the lack of a long-term cohesive strategy that every citizen can align behind. By formulating an infinite game perpetuating strategy today, India can become an inclusive growth driver for the whole world.

T.V. Mohandas Pai is Chairman, Aarin Capital Partners, and Nisha Holla is Technology Fellow, C-CAMP.

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An (Infinite) Game Theory strategy for India to be a global power - The Sunday Guardian

Here’s Why NASCAR Racing Is Harder Than Everyone Thinks | HotCars – HotCars

The world of motorsports is a colorful one; filled to the brim with all different types of racing series for each and every individual interest. Here in the United States, our biggest source of automotive racing is that of NASCAR. While Europe has events such the WEC and Formula 1, we've got IMSA, IndyCar, and NASCAR.

NASCAR takes place on predominantly oval racetracks. This, in turn, has led fans of other racing disciplines to call into question the veracity of the sport. More specifically, if driving in NASCAR is even worthy of an 'athlete' designation.

Though it may not look that hard, we can assure you that NASCAR/oval racing is the furthest thing from simple. Besides the car itself, drivers need to stay hyper-focused, in-shape, and always be ready to lay their life down if (that were to happen). The physics of pushing a car so beyond its natural limits will, naturally, lead to push-back, which is what the drivers need to maintain.

Still not convinced? Well, allow us to elaborate on why NASCAR racing is way harder than most people think...

In a majority of the racing scenes around the world, circuits consists of delicately crafted and windy sets of tarmac. Long straightaways, hairpin turns, chicanes, and so on, are just a few types of turns that make up a race track. NASCAR, on the other hand, is far less complex. Here in the States, our cars go in ovals (with the occasional deviation to tracks like Mid Ohio, for example).

Because of this lack of variety in racetracks, NASCAR gets a bad wrap overseas, as well as domestically. A common complaint you may encounter will likely be "all they do is turn left!" To that we say "Yes, they do (usually) only turn left. It sounds boring and mundane to an uninformed observer, but, in reality, few things are as challenging as effectively "just turning left"...

As drivers go around the track, the elevation, offset, and other components of the circuit play a crucial role in how the driver manipulates the throttle, clutch, and brakes. To add to that, the mechanics behind the scenes need to fine-tune their car for every race; setting up the camber, suspension stiffness, toe, etc.

All the prep means nothing, though, if you can't setup a winning strategy. What looks like driving in circles is, actually, an intense chess match taking place in excess of 180 mph. If you want to win, you'll need to manage your fuel, tire wear, position on-track, the cars in front of/behind you, ad infinitum.

As you can see, there's a lot more working behind the curtain than anybody would anticipate at first.

RELATED:People Still Believe These Racing Myths

Thanks in part to the growing prominence of sim-racing, it's become way easier for upcoming drivers to understand the factors mentioned above. What sim-racing can't prepare you for, however, is the sheer power inside these incredibly fast, lightweight race cars.

For a majority of the newer seasons, almost every cars has had ~750-hp, which varies depending on the rules and regulations. In upcoming years, for instance, NASCAR plans to add a boost function using hybrid engines; granting the driver an extra 100-hp than it already had.

Just think about that: a car that's almost 1,000-horsepower, has no driver assists, and is very uncomfortable. Yet, some will still think that taming such a beast would be no issue? To us, the opposite seems to fall underOccam's razor. If it didn't, then driving one of these to the finish line wouldn't require years of practice and experience.

RELATED:Behind The Scenes Of NASCAR: Everything You Didn't Know About America's Number One Motorsport

Even if you discount the driving skill, critical-thinking, and difficulty required to succeed NASCAR, you can't also argue the bravery these drivers showcase every time they get into the car.

Yes, we'll concede that (in the modern era) motor racing isn't nearly as dangerous or fatal as it was decades prior. Nevertheless, it being worse years ago doesn't mean it's 100% safe today. Since 2001, NASCAR has had 15 fatal accidents. Not too bad and, as stated in "NASCAR Safety Improvements Save Lives," Michael Hill says "The range of expected deaths plus or minus one standard deviation would lie between 11 and 19. In fact, if the chances of dying in a NASCAR crash were the same as for all other crashes, the odds of having zero fatalities over that many crashes [220/year] would be more than three million to one."

That statement illustrates the leaps and bounds NASCAR has made to improving safety afterDale Earnhardt's death. Still, the possibility is always there. However infinitesimally small the chance maybe, it could very well be YOU next, so it's important to prepare for such a thing (God forbid it actually happen).

If that doesn't prove NASCAR racing is harder than you may have thought, ask yourself this: "Would you still go to work every day if you knew you could be killed while doing it?" Military service members, firefighters, and police officers need not answer...

NEXT:NASCAR Racers Who Cheated So Well They Deserve To Keep The Trophies

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Here's Why NASCAR Racing Is Harder Than Everyone Thinks | HotCars - HotCars

Who Are The 8 Best U.S. Chess Players Ever? – Chess.com

On July 4, the day the United States of America celebrates its independence, let's take a look at the best chess players in American history.

The United States has long produced top chess talent, with some of the game's finest players, authors, and theoreticians calling the U.S. home.

In recent years, the U.S. has been a force on the international chess scene, and its "big three" grandmasters are staples at the world's top tournaments. The United States had a world-championship contender in 2018, with GMFabiano Caruana coming up just short against the world champion, GMMagnus Carlsen.

Caruana obviously makes the list of the best-ever U.S. players, but where does he rank? And who is ahead of him?

There are many ways to make a "best-of-all-time" list. Your selections will be different from mine. I am using peak playing strength as my primary metric, not overall career achievement because I am most interested in the best possible chess produced by each American on this list.

Peak rating: 2763

Gata Kamsky is a true chess prodigy. He became a strong grandmaster at age 16 and reached his peak in the 1990s. His career pinnacle was in the 1996 FIDE world championship bracket, where he made the finals but dropped the championship match against the reigning FIDE world champion, GMAnatoly Karpov.

Kamsky was born in the Soviet Union but moved to the United States early in his career. Kamsky won the U.S. chess championship five times (1991, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014), cementing his status as an American chess legend.

Here is a 22-year-old Kamsky beating the super-GM Nigel Short in 26 moves.

Peak rating: 2768

Even with much recent success, Leinier Dominguez Perez remains an underrated American chess talent.

Dominguez Perez officially became an American chess player less than two years ago, in December 2018, when he transferred federations to the United States. Before that, he was the five-time Cuban chess champion.

His career peak was likely his sole first place in the 2013 FIDE Grand Prix leg in Greece, finishing ahead of 11 other super-GMs, including three others on this list.

Dominguez Perez's attacking prowess was on full display in 2014 when he practically wiped future-compatriot GMWesley So's kingside off the board in this brutal miniature.

Peak rating: 2811 (estimated by Edo)

It's not a stretch to call Paul Morphy the father of American chess.

A true prodigy, Morphy was not just a chess force at an early age. His game was also about 100 years ahead of its time in terms of style and even tactical strength.

GM Bobby Fischer called Morphy "the most accurate player who ever lived," which should tell you something because many chess fans give that title instead to Fischer.

Morphy's game peaked quite early, and the apex was his European tour in 1858 at age 21. Morphy pretty much destroyed every strong player the European continent could throw at him, and by the time he returned to the United States, he was recognized as the unofficial world champion.

Morphy retired from competitive chess a year later to begin his law practice, never returning to the game before his death at age 47.

Morphy is the author of arguably the most famous chess game ever played, an exhibition against the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard at an opera house in Paris. If you're going to show a chess beginner one game, use this one.

Peak rating: 2816

Hikaru Nakamura, while quite a formidable traditional chess force, is truly a chess player of the modern age.

Nakamura has made his mark as unquestionably the best American blitz chess player ever, and also the best American online chess player ever. Since most chess games in 2020 are both played online and at fast time controls, these are fairly important arenas.

Nakamura has also established a tremendous following on the live-streaming site Twitch and was called "the grandmaster who got Twitch hooked on chess" by Wired magazine. On Chess.com, Nakamura has won the two most recent editions of the Speed Chess Championship (2018-2019).

Of course, Nakamura has enjoyed solid over-the-board success as well, winning the U.S. championship five times.

No game quite captures the modern, fun, and online-friendly nature of Nakamura's style like his thorough trolling of the computer engine Crafty back in 2007, when Crafty was one of the world's strongest engines and Nakamura was just 20 years old.

Peak rating: 2822

Wesley So transferred to the United States federation six years ago, and since then he has established himself as one of the world's best players.

So is 26 years old and it's reasonable to think that his chess peak is just getting started. So's style of play is precise and safe, rarely getting himself into trouble. This less-risky approach has been cited (mostly unfairly) as evidence that So is not an exciting chess player.

That argument went right out the window last November when So destroyed the classical world chess champion, Carlsen, in the finals of the first FIDE world Fischer random chess championship. So ran up the score, winning the match 13.5-2.5, putting to rest any doubts of his brilliance and creativity.

In this famous game against the top Chinese GM Ding Liren, So answers any lingering questions you might have about whether three pieces are better than a queen.

Peak rating: 2844

Fabiano Caruana is currently at the top of his career and sits just 28 rating points behind Carlsen on the live list. Caruana and Carlsen are the only players above 2800. The pair fought a close battle in the 2018 world chess championship, with Carlsen needing the tiebreaks to retain his title.

Caruana is still in contention for the next world championship whenever that process resumes, with the American one game off the lead of the 2020 candidates' tournament at the time of its postponement halfway through the schedule.

Caruana's chess highlight reel is too extensive to fully appreciate in this space. He won the U.S. chess championship on his first try in 2016, and he was the four-time Italian chess champion before transferring to the U.S. federation.

Why pick a draw for Caruana's showcase game, when all the other players get wins?

This game against Carlsen in the 2018 world chess championship represents the peak of chess on two levels. On the surface, you have the tremendous underdog Caruana outplaying and pressuring the world champion Carlsen, who was lucky to escape with the draw and maintain an even match.

On a deeper level, there is a beautiful and inscrutable endgame lurking in this game that astounded everyone who analyzed it. The chess super-computer "Sesse" found a forced checkmate for Caruana in 30 moves in real-time, as millions watched the game around the world. The legendary former world champion GMGarry Kasparov said no human could ever spot the win. Yet it was in there, on the board as surely the 64 squares themselves.

I still get goosebumps playing over this endgame.

Peak rating: 2785

Bobby Fischer stands as the most legendary U.S. chess player ever and is universally considered one of the three greatest world champions, along with Carlsen and Kasparov.

Fischer was responsible for a renaissance in American chess in the 1970s as he racked up ridiculous winning streaks on his way to the world title over GMBoris Spassky in 1972. Fischer elevated the game of chess to geopolitical philosophy, representing American individualism against the Soviet chess machine.

The most striking aspect of Fischer's chess was how far ahead he was of his competition. His peak rating of 2785, earned before the considerable rating inflation in the 50 years since would place him near the top of the chess world even today.

Computer studies have confirmed Fischer's strength and accuracy as other-worldly for his time. His style was universal, elegant and above all, accurate. His fierce competitive spirit is something the computer engines can't measure; Fischer had one of the strongest wills to win in chess history.

Fischer's career was cut short by disagreements with chess organizers along with mental and physical health problems. Nonetheless, in the short time he spent at the top of the game, he changed it forever with the millions of American players he inspired.

Almost as a side note, Fischer invented Fischer random chess (chess 960), which is considered one of the most creative chess variants. Fischer also held a patent for a chess clock with an increment, which is the preferred time control today of many players.

The below game, one of the most famous in chess history, shows the stunning chess clarity possessed by Fischer even as young as age 13 when he eviscerated a leading American chess master, Donald Byrne.

Peak rating: 3500+

I can already see the objections in the comment section. But the headline in this article said "chess players," not chess humans, and I am a big fan of non-human chess.

AlphaZero is an artificial intelligence project that plays chess. Given just the rules of the game, AlphaZero taught itself to play chess to superhuman levels in mere hours using machine-learning techniques.

It stormed onto the chess scene in late 2017 when its operators released the results of a 100-game match with Stockfish, the traditional champion chess engine.

AlphaZero plays chess differently from most computers, possessing an almost-intuitive understanding of the game and handling many positions in a beautiful, human-like manner. Of course, AlphaZero is stronger than any human, but if you played through its games you'd think it had a distinct personality. Maybe it does.

AlphaZero inspired a whole wave of neural-network chess engines, including the international open-source project Lc0, which currently sits second behind Stockfish on the computer ratings list. The machine-learning approach pioneered by AlphaZero transformed the scientific basis of computer chess, and it will be the neural-network engines that evolve the game to its next levels, wherever that may be.

Is AlphaZero American? AlphaZero runs on American TPUs. The project's inventor, the AI company DeepMind, is headquartered in the United Kingdom, but the company has been owned by an American corporation (Google/Alphabet) since before there was an AlphaZero.

If George Washington was born a British subject but can still be considered a founding father of the United States, we can extend that same leeway to AlphaZero, especially on the American day of independence from Great Britain.

Of course, there are many other American chess engines, most of them far stronger than the human players on this list, but here they are collectively represented by the intrepid AlphaZero, which changed computer chess forever.

I'll never forget where I was when I saw this game by AlphaZero against the reigning top computer engine Stockfish, and if you care about the evolution of chess, you might not either.

Who do you think are the top chess players in American history? Let us know in the comments.

Read more from the original source:

Who Are The 8 Best U.S. Chess Players Ever? - Chess.com

An (Infinite) Game Theory strategy for India to be a global power – The Sunday Guardian

The methods India must use to set objectives, design strategies, and forge alliances will shift in approach and urgency.

India is at a unique inflection point. In 2019-20, our GDP was nearly $3tn, catapulting us into the top 5 economies. In terms of purchasing power parity, we are a top 3 economy at $12.6tn, behind China and the US. For the first time this year, due to the economic fallout of COVID-19, India will witness 4% negative growth. The pandemic is realigning the global order and may have forever changed the world. There are generational opportunities here, and the challenge is deciding which goals to pursue.

Here, game theory offers a useful framework for decision-makingto understand the theatre, build alliances and common objectives, formulate strategies to reach milestones, and then make the necessary nearand long-term decision-cascades to execute these strategies. The theory classifies all contests as finite or infinite.

Recent events, especially at the Indo-China border, have demonstrated that a stable economy is a prerequisite for indomitability. With it comes global respect, a shift in attitudes from allies and adversaries, optionality in resource allocation, and a security apparatus that can pre-emptively protect its borders and citizens. A robust economy has tremendous feedforward effectshigh incomes and quality of life, capacity to maintain peace at all costs, and the unrelenting pursuit of excellence. Sustaining a resilient economy in a sovereign nation is an infinite game.

By definition, an infinite game has no beginning or end, can support known and unknown players, must continue with an evolving ruleset, and the only known boundary condition is that the game must be perpetually played. In contrast, finite contests have bounded rules, scores, and playtime. Unlike basketball or chess, players in an infinite game cannot call time on the game after it reaches a pre-agreed result. For example, India cant achieve a $10tn GDP by 2031 and then retire its growth and development. Building a resilient economy can only be defined in terms of intermediate objectives that perpetuate the gamegrow the country to a $5tn GDP by 2026, $10tn by 2031, $20tn by 2041, and beyond.

Having established that India is playing an infinite game, the methods it must use to set objectives, design strategies, and forge alliances will shift in approach and urgency.

More importantly, India must align its decision-making, policy formulation, incentives, and investments toward these goals. With this lens, here are some of the growth drivers India has to pursue to become a dominant player in this infinite game.

URBANIZE SYSTEMATICALLY BUT RAPIDLY

Urbanization concentrates human activity, leading to depth of specialization and irreversible productivity enhancements; crucial to accelerating socio-economic growth. India (34% urban) lags behind the world (55%), China (59%) and the US (82%). Urbanization is critical for Indias growth, as exemplified by these two superpower contenders.

No longer should Indias growth depend only on 10 cities with a combined GDP of $1 trillion (33% of India) and a combined population of 11 crores (8% of India). The next 100 cities must be planned to contribute $1 trillion and house 20 crore people. Another tier of 1,000 towns can be developed for the next $1 trillion. In this manner, we could develop a total of 5,000 census towns all over the country, connect them with high-speed infrastructure, and concentrate resources to develop a tiered and reliable urban engine of growth. An India-wide phenomenon means every citizen can fully participate.

We can do this systematically by incorporating sustainable energy technologies, incentivising job creation and training, urban mobility solutions, and supporting quantum leaps in material reuse and recycling. This distributed growth engine can maintain a value-added agricultural surround system, self-reliant manufacturing ecosystem, increase overall savings and investment, and support human capital development.

LABOUR-INTENSIVE GROWTH

For self-reliance and sustained economic growth, India has to develop high labour-utilization strategies via urbanization, construction, manufacturing and services like tourism. It is the only sustainable way to support wage-growth and mass-upskilling of the 50% of India that is unskilled or low-skilled. After 70 years, agriculture even today employs 43% of the workforce which must quickly reduce to 25%.

The recent migrant crisis has demonstrated that six states in the north have surplus labour that migrates for a living. The Rs 50,000 crore PM-GKRY program has to be dovetailed with creating labour-intensive industries. An incentive program could be worked out where for 1 crore jobs created in specific industries in these six states, the government could pay Rs 2,000/month/worker employed with verifiable social security. With a combined Centre-state program, this will work out to INR 24,000 crores a year for 1 crore jobs; the creation of which will radically transform these states. Moreover, a majority of the 6,844 products we import from China at $65.3Bn can be produced domestically with labour-intensive strategies.

HIGH VALUE-ADDED MANUFACTURING

Labour-intensive manufacturing unlocks opportunities for current economic growth while hi-tech manufacturing unlocks opportunities for the future. Todays frontier technologies are tomorrows growth engines. Electronics design, 3D printing, advanced biotechnology, defence parts, space applications, robotics, and other areas are a formidable value-add to the nation that holds the intellectual property (IP) and manufacturing rights.

The worlds superpowers deploy significant innovation budgets because they have strategized the value of this investment in securing economic growth. While India has an abundance of talent, we have not pursued a perpetuating strategy here. To maintain a resilient economy, decades into the future, we must invest today in deep research, IP creation, and specialized workforces supported by centres of excellence, world-class R&D laboratories, manufacturing facilities and a deepening startup ecosystem. A Rs 50,000 crore PM Hi-Tech Industry Abhiyan is required. The returns on this investment will translate into extensive value-added output and growth.

EXPORT ORIENTATION

The endurance game strategy around export-orientation is evident: if we target only domestic markets, the limit is $3tn. With export-orientation, the market swiftly expands to the $82tn global economya 27x expansion. In a decade, even this would have expanded further at 4% YoY. With export-orientation, all Indian producers have an opportunity to expand their market reach, growth and earnings.

Indias IT industry has proven this value proposition. Three Indian IT companies are in the Top 5 globally, and five in the Top 10. In the early 1990s, if the then-burgeoning IT industry had limited itself to the domestic market, it would have probably died out because the market was limited. By consciously orienting their services toward the global economy, IT companies saw exponential growth and took advantage of the expansive growth opportunities.

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPLY CHAIN EFFICIENCIES

Chinas infrastructure boom has enabled unprecedented delivery and supply chain efficienciesa significant contributor to their ability to produce and deliver high-quality goods at cheap prices. To compete, reducing our supply chain costs from 14% of GDP to 6% is essential.

The introduction of GST, and focus on road and airport development is paying off. In the wake of economic standstill, the administration can consider fast-tracking a National Infrastructure Pipeline 2.0 program, the freight corridor projects, and developing ports throughout the coastlines. We have to match carriage speeds and port turnaround times of China, Singapore and other places to capture export market share.

AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS

India is a fertile, multi-climate country with a strong agricultural base. We are the largest producer of milk, cotton, spices, and second largest in food grains, horticulture, and sugar. We are a major producer of agrochemicals, tea, jute and oilseeds. We have the largest cropland and livestock sector in the world. Despite this, we lag in agricultural exports and value-add due to the lack of a cohesive growth strategy.

A long-term vision to increase value-add in agriculture necessitates export-orientation, building a global India agri-brand, food processing, grading and sorting standardization, large-scale dairy procurement and branding cooperatives, and more. Agriculture will also capitalize on the increased supply chain efficiency to drive output up.

GOVERNANCE AND TAXATION REFORMS

Indias economic growth is heavily weighed down by compliance laws, some dating to the colonial era of the late 1800s. TeamLeases analysis of Indias compliance universe shows the centre and states together have 1,536 Acts, 69,233 compliance paradigms and 6,618 filings for companies and citizens to navigate. This impossibly high compliance burden is a drain on the time and resources of taxpayers, wealth-creators and job-creators, and is antithetical to value creation.

There are also discrepancies in taxation laws. Domestic investors pay higher taxes than equivalent overseas investors. Higher capital gains tax is levied on unlisted stock compared to listed, despite the highly variant risk-reward paradigms.

The worlds most productive economies have all deployed vastly-simplified compliance and tax regimes. President Trump has reduced friction by 30% in one term. With Indias pioneering tech-enabled governance, this is a generational opportunity to build transparent compliance and taxation systems that boost Indias productivity multifold. India needs a new movement to free citizens from the tyranny of over-compliance, a PM Zero-Friction Compliance Yojana.

AN ENDURING INDIAN NATION

An enduring nation is borne by a robust economy that continuously unlocks pathways for economic growth. While India has grown admirably since 1991, it has been mostly organic with the lack of a long-term cohesive strategy that every citizen can align behind. By formulating an infinite game perpetuating strategy today, India can become an inclusive growth driver for the whole world.

T.V. Mohandas Pai is Chairman, Aarin Capital Partners, and Nisha Holla is Technology Fellow, C-CAMP.

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An (Infinite) Game Theory strategy for India to be a global power - The Sunday Guardian

Here’s Why NASCAR Racing Is Harder Than Everyone Thinks | HotCars – HotCars

The world of motorsports is a colorful one; filled to the brim with all different types of racing series for each and every individual interest. Here in the United States, our biggest source of automotive racing is that of NASCAR. While Europe has events such the WEC and Formula 1, we've got IMSA, IndyCar, and NASCAR.

NASCAR takes place on predominantly oval racetracks. This, in turn, has led fans of other racing disciplines to call into question the veracity of the sport. More specifically, if driving in NASCAR is even worthy of an 'athlete' designation.

Though it may not look that hard, we can assure you that NASCAR/oval racing is the furthest thing from simple. Besides the car itself, drivers need to stay hyper-focused, in-shape, and always be ready to lay their life down if (that were to happen). The physics of pushing a car so beyond its natural limits will, naturally, lead to push-back, which is what the drivers need to maintain.

Still not convinced? Well, allow us to elaborate on why NASCAR racing is way harder than most people think...

In a majority of the racing scenes around the world, circuits consists of delicately crafted and windy sets of tarmac. Long straightaways, hairpin turns, chicanes, and so on, are just a few types of turns that make up a race track. NASCAR, on the other hand, is far less complex. Here in the States, our cars go in ovals (with the occasional deviation to tracks like Mid Ohio, for example).

Because of this lack of variety in racetracks, NASCAR gets a bad wrap overseas, as well as domestically. A common complaint you may encounter will likely be "all they do is turn left!" To that we say "Yes, they do (usually) only turn left. It sounds boring and mundane to an uninformed observer, but, in reality, few things are as challenging as effectively "just turning left"...

As drivers go around the track, the elevation, offset, and other components of the circuit play a crucial role in how the driver manipulates the throttle, clutch, and brakes. To add to that, the mechanics behind the scenes need to fine-tune their car for every race; setting up the camber, suspension stiffness, toe, etc.

All the prep means nothing, though, if you can't setup a winning strategy. What looks like driving in circles is, actually, an intense chess match taking place in excess of 180 mph. If you want to win, you'll need to manage your fuel, tire wear, position on-track, the cars in front of/behind you, ad infinitum.

As you can see, there's a lot more working behind the curtain than anybody would anticipate at first.

RELATED:People Still Believe These Racing Myths

Thanks in part to the growing prominence of sim-racing, it's become way easier for upcoming drivers to understand the factors mentioned above. What sim-racing can't prepare you for, however, is the sheer power inside these incredibly fast, lightweight race cars.

For a majority of the newer seasons, almost every cars has had ~750-hp, which varies depending on the rules and regulations. In upcoming years, for instance, NASCAR plans to add a boost function using hybrid engines; granting the driver an extra 100-hp than it already had.

Just think about that: a car that's almost 1,000-horsepower, has no driver assists, and is very uncomfortable. Yet, some will still think that taming such a beast would be no issue? To us, the opposite seems to fall underOccam's razor. If it didn't, then driving one of these to the finish line wouldn't require years of practice and experience.

RELATED:Behind The Scenes Of NASCAR: Everything You Didn't Know About America's Number One Motorsport

Even if you discount the driving skill, critical-thinking, and difficulty required to succeed NASCAR, you can't also argue the bravery these drivers showcase every time they get into the car.

Yes, we'll concede that (in the modern era) motor racing isn't nearly as dangerous or fatal as it was decades prior. Nevertheless, it being worse years ago doesn't mean it's 100% safe today. Since 2001, NASCAR has had 15 fatal accidents. Not too bad and, as stated in "NASCAR Safety Improvements Save Lives," Michael Hill says "The range of expected deaths plus or minus one standard deviation would lie between 11 and 19. In fact, if the chances of dying in a NASCAR crash were the same as for all other crashes, the odds of having zero fatalities over that many crashes [220/year] would be more than three million to one."

That statement illustrates the leaps and bounds NASCAR has made to improving safety afterDale Earnhardt's death. Still, the possibility is always there. However infinitesimally small the chance maybe, it could very well be YOU next, so it's important to prepare for such a thing (God forbid it actually happen).

If that doesn't prove NASCAR racing is harder than you may have thought, ask yourself this: "Would you still go to work every day if you knew you could be killed while doing it?" Military service members, firefighters, and police officers need not answer...

NEXT:NASCAR Racers Who Cheated So Well They Deserve To Keep The Trophies

Hemi Powered SRT Charger Hellcat Rendered With Transparent Hood

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Here's Why NASCAR Racing Is Harder Than Everyone Thinks | HotCars - HotCars

When The Facts Change, We Change Our Minds (Anatomy Of A Sale) – Seeking Alpha

Even before the coronavirus we were not big fans of the airlines business. Planes are expensive. Airlines have to pay for them whether they are fully occupied during normal economic times or when they are half-loaded during recessions. Their other big cost is fuel airlines have little control over it. If they hedge the oil price and it goes up, they are heroes. If they hedge oil and it declines, their unhedged competition will have an economic advantage. It is very difficult to develop competitive advantage; customers usually have very little loyalty and price is the deciding factor for most buying decisions.

Warren Buffett invested in the airlines industry in the 80s, lost money, and swore hed never invest in it again. However, after the Great Financial Crisis the industry went through significant consolidation by mergers and attrition, leaving four carriers controlling the bulk of the market. Fewer competitors made competition more rational and turned these airlines into much better businesses. So Buffett changed his mind and bought a 10% stake in all four of the largest US airlines. For a few years it seemed that he was finally right about the airlines.

Airlines were never our cup of tea. The high fixed-cost structure of the industry and its past history of going bankrupt every other recession made our EQ when it comes to airlines very low. When Buffett bought them, for some value investors, the airlines had been blessed by the high priest. We are agnostic (growing up in Soviet Russia has its rare benefits) and have to own our decisions, so we passed on the airlines without spending much time thinking about them.

Typically, when you go into recession you can look at the rear-view mirror earnings for a cyclical company and that becomes your goalpost for future earnings power within a year or two, max. We dont know how long it will take until well again see the 2019 earnings power of airlines and the travel industry in general. Here is what we know. Though it is hard to imagine this today, the fear of COVID-19 will eventually go away, either because there is a vaccine or a cure, or because the virus is gone, or because we will simply adapt to its existence.

But even in absence of a vaccine or cure, well change our behavior, and that will happen slowly on the margin. After being locked up for a few months, not seeing friends and relatives except on Zoom or Facetime, well timidly visit their houses and sit six feet apart on their porches. (My family did this on Mothers Day.) Then well invite very close friends the ones who stuck religiously to social distancing to our homes for dinner. Then we might chance visiting a restaurant with outdoor seating. Then, on a rainy day, well go inside the restaurant and find that it now has huge spacing between the tables. Well make a lot of small incremental decisions; each will be a tiny compromise that will nudge us out of our fear.

Of course, each time we read about serious virus flareups, well take one step back.

Flying is at one extreme in the spectrum of social distancing. It requires finding your way through airports packed with people and then getting on a plane that, even after the middle seats are removed will still have a higher density than a packed bar on Friday night in Manhattan. Thus flying will require a great many little, incremental, marginal decisions before we overcome the fear of boarding a plane.

Vaccine availability would instantly vanquish fear, and our behavior would come back to normal. Well, almost. There will be scar tissue on the economy trillions in government debt and persistently high unemployment that will take time to clear up. People are not flying today because we are in lockdown; theyll be flying less than they used to after lockdown is over because they are still afraid; and after their fear is gone theyll still be flying less because they cannot afford the flights.

We imagine that when Buffett bought airlines in 2015, he thought the worst case would be a significant recession where plane occupancy would fall from the usual 80-90% to 50-60% (according to the FT, only four airlines out of a few hundred are profitable at 62% occupancy). His thinking was that the airlines would lose some money for a few quarters, but the recession would be anything but an existential crisis for them. Recessions last months and expansion years, and he thought he had bought them cheap on full-cycle (both recession and expansion) earnings.

Despite being the Oracle of Omaha, he did not foresee that one day we might have a different type of recession where 95% of the planes would be grounded, not because people couldnt afford to buy a tickets but because they would be required to stay home by their governments, or would be afraid that close proximity to others would make them sick or even kill them.

Very few businesses can survive when 95% of their revenue goes away for an extended period of time. Even fewer can survive when they have a large fixed-asset base that needs to be paid for whether they are using it or not.

The sad reality is that unless airlines raise new capital, they will go bankrupt. This capital, though it might save them, will reduce the value of their businesses. Equity issuances, especially at todays depressed stock prices, would permanently dilute shareholders, as future earnings will be shared with a much-increased shareholder base.

If the airlines issue debt, it will not be cheap capital, either, and will burden these companies, which already have a lot of fixed costs, with another cost significant interest payments that will substantially reduce their future earnings power. The longer the fear of the virus lingers on, the more money these companies will lose and the greater the damage that will be done to their balance sheets and thus their future earnings power.

In our thinking about the virus we have three timelines, or eras: BC before coronavirus, DC during coronavirus (now), and AC after coronavirus (the virus is completely gone, or there is a vaccine or effective treatment). The longer the DC era lasts the more impact it has on the AC era. The DC era comes with high unemployment and enormous government spending larger deficits and an ever-growing debt pile that is no longer counted in billions but in trillions.

The future of the airlines is path-dependent, and they have little control over that path; it is controlled by the virus (or the fear of the virus).

We dont own airlines, so why am I spending so much time talking about them? There are several reasons. First, because they are companies that are antithetical to our portfolio philosophy. Charlie Munger says, Tell me where I am going to die so I wont go there. So its worth having a clear picture of the types of businesses you dont want to own.

Second, we wanted to point out Buffetts ability to change his mind. Interestingly, Buffett, who was already the largest shareholder of US airlines, bought more airline stocks a few weeks before he sold them. We did something similar this quarter, too: We increased our position in Melrose Industries (OTC:MLSPF), just to sell the full position two weeks later. (More about Melrose to follow).

Third, like Buffett, we were playing traditional chess, not realizing that the game had changed to Fischer random chess. We were following the normal recession handbook (mental models) but then realized that this is anything but a normal recession. We have to be incredibly careful about using our past mental models today; they were built in a very different environment. Today, past experience is not useless, but if relied on blindly it can be dangerous. Some things will play out in the future as they have in the past, but many wont.

We needed to start using a first-principles approach a concept we shamelessly borrowed from physics. We took out a blank piece of paper, assumed we knew nothing, and instead of continuing to think by analogy, started questioning every assumption we make in our analysis.

Our decision to sell Melrose Industries is very similar to Buffetts sale of the airlines. We sold Melrose before the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. It was a difficult decision, not because we cemented a loss but because we parted with a business we really liked, that was run by good management, and that was significantly undervalued when we bought it.

When we were buying Melrose we stress-tested it for a severe recession; however, the decline that Melrose is probably experiencing today did not occur to us in our wildest imagination. Melrose is a very strong player in two industries that have been impacted tremendously: the airlines space (it makes parts that go into planes and engines) and car parts (it is one of the largest makers of transmissions for cars). We talked to the company. It has credit lines and cash to give it immediate liquidity, but we are not sure if it will be enough.

We had applied the traditional recession mental model to our analysis, and we were wrong. Given the world we are looking at now, we should have sold it sooner.

Buying new planes is the last thing on airlines minds today. Also, only 20% of Melroses business comes from replacement parts. Melroses auto parts business (ironically, the business we worried about the most when we bought the stock) may be okay; it may even generate some profit; but we are not sure it will be able to sustain the company. We simply dont know what the losses are going to be in the airlines space and for how long. We have a tremendous respect for the Melrose management team theyre a big reason why we bought the stock but at this point the problem that Melrose is facing is bigger than them.

If you look carefully through your portfolio, youll see that weve positioned it to the opposite side of spectrum from the airlines. Most of our holdings are concentrated in four industries: defense, healthcare, tobacco (where we are permitted by clients), and telecommunications. These industries have one thing in common: They will not be structurally impacted by the virus.

Consumption of goods and services in the four industries is completely insensitive to the virus. These companies all have very stable cash flows and pricing power in the event of deflation theyll maintain their prices, while during inflation theyll raise them.

And one more thing

I am not a journalist or reporter; I am an investor who thinks through writing. This and other investment articles are just my thinking at the point they were written. However, investment research is not static, it is fluid. New information comes our way and we continue to do research, which may lead us to tweak and modify assumptions and thus to change our minds.

We are long-term investors and often hold stocks for years, but as luck may or may not have it, by the time you read this article we may have already sold the stock. I may or may not write about this company ever again. Think of this and other articles as learning and thinking frameworks. But they are not investment recommendations. The bottom line is this. If this article piques your interest in the company Ive mentioned, great. This should be the beginning, not the end, of your research.

Originally published on ContrarianEdge.com

Editor's Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.

Editor's Note: This article discusses one or more securities that do not trade on a major U.S. exchange. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.

Excerpt from:

When The Facts Change, We Change Our Minds (Anatomy Of A Sale) - Seeking Alpha

Artificial Intelligence: The Promises of An Avatar in 2020 – Universal News

Imagine a day you wake up, and your entire day is scheduled. A virtual associate is assisting you throughout the day, from Making a medical appointment, booking a cab, ordering your favourite food according to your present mood, making a call when youre thinking about a particular person after listening to your thoughts. A day where you no longer have to utter a word, but your virtual assistant can listen to your thoughts and make your mind real in a matter of time?? This can be true in the near future.

A term coined by John McCarthy in 1956 turned to an avatar by the dawn of 21 st century.

Buildings an intelligent machine will not address the idea of artificial intelligence. The real question arises when the core of the matter is analyzed.

Approaching the concept of intelligence involves two aspects.Rationality and humanity. Brilliance without rationality is a mere memory, which cannot be called intelligent.

To move, to nod, to fidget, to scratch your head, to move your eyeballs An average human being makes 16000 decisions a day involuntarily. The human brain is a shell of wonders and billions of neurons swimming across the body, transmitting information in a fraction of seconds. Emulation of the human brain or making a computer digitally conscious is the primary objective of artificial intelligence.

The idea of AI can be simplified as the mimicking of the human thought process by a computer which makes the intelligence more flexible & cheap compared to the complex neural network of the human brain along with the fundamental characteristics of humans, such as the ability to reason, knowledge representation, planning, learning, movement, manipulation, to develop perception, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from experience and the toughest of all social and emotional intelligence. There are two distinct methods involved in the present development of AI.

SymbolicConnectionistAccording to the standard definition from Britannica it can be defined as

At the beginning of the creation of AI, it was the symbolic approach. Mere object recognition from enormous data in the database. Algorithms use the existing rules like grammar and syntax for predicting. The existing coding and programming trend demanded more clarity and advancement, which eventually popularized the mainstream of Artificial Intelligence called machine learning (ML).

The preexisted computer programming technique modified prior to AI is machine learning. The development from pattern recognition to Morphing of multiple data sets into a single data, ML helps in bringing advancement in every aspect of humankind. Later in the spectrum of AI, to respond more with humans, an artificial stress system is induced to the machine via Virtual neurotransmitters, which paved the way for Affective computing to achieve Enhancement in human-machine relationships.

Apart from the usual pattern identification, AI is now searching for all kinds of texture that humans cannot create within the scope of our biological capability. Like the creation of Adam in the bible, experts are in search of the living breath that can provide dexterity or subtle control of the thoughts to the machines, which is the most tedious task in the AI.

One of the major questions ever raised regarding AI was, are they huge robots who will take over the world someday, as seen in the movies and series?? The way sci-fi portrays AI as an enemy and a mistake committed by science wrong. This is a major misconception. AI is not only about creating huge robots but also the minute changes that can work on its own from a sensor to the software.

Narrow AIs are presently in use and service. The voice, face, fingerprint recognition and Siri, Alexa, and Cortana kind of virtual assistants in our mobile phones and other gadgets are the simple examples of the narrow Artificial Intelligence. The vision recognition in automated cars, self-driving cars, google glass are the advanced level of the narrow AI.

The intention behind the designing of these smart search engines and decision-making systems are for serving the purpose of complimenting and augment human abilities. Undoubtedly narrow Artificial Intelligence contributes a lot to the improvisation in our modern lifestyle. But unreaching the majority of human traits, it remains as mere machines operating with fed data.

Every advancement in the field of AI is analyzed based on the test run, followed by every stage. The final tests must meet the following criteria to take the program into further steps, like application and implementation.

Observing the behaviour of the system when a new input is introducedWeighing and adjusting of the input in the newly introduced system.

These steps are repeated an n number of times until the criterion matches else terminated. The involvement from never-ending algorithms to deep learning is not an overnight miracle. The progressive learning algorithm is a method where the algorithm can teach itself how to play chess; it can teach itself what product to recommend next online. And the models adapt when given new data.

When the system becomes self-sufficient, it can become an intellectual property. According to Oliver Schabenberger, SAS Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, machines can never replace humans; they can only mimic the human brain and thoughts to become the smartest machines from smarter machines.

The major challenge involved with Artificial Intelligence is data. There is no other practical way to incorporate data other than spoon-feeding the system. The large databases from different sects are clubbed to make a parent data pool is the theoretically existing solution. Considering the complexity and the practicality of such massive incorporation, researchers are still searching for better options.

The subsequent problem evolving from data deficiency is that the particular Artificial Intelligence is created for a particular task; this specialization limits it to the particular set they are designed for.

According to Russell and Noverg in the introduction to artificial intelligence agents, the specific characteristics of symbolic AI are characterized as A typical AI that analyzes its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success. Thats the reason for the success of a computer system in the games when playing against a human. This computational analysis featured with the help of statistical methods. When a human plays not to lose, a computer compares the game with all possible outcomes but is not driven by the spirit to win. This is where the emergence of NLP begins.

Natural language processing (NLP) is a drastic addition to AI. The ability of computers to analyze, understand, and generate human language, including speech is called natural language processing. PEPPER (affection bot) and SOPHIA (robot) are a few examples of the natural language processing systems. The present challenge is making NLP more emotionally stimulant.

An example for the emotional bot of the AI system is that when the AI robot SOPHIA was interviewed she said someday she would like to have kids and family, even though that statement was from the data set she was fed with, the choice of making that emotional statement shaken the whole world. Another similar occurrence was when she asked her creator, why did you create me?? None of the statements made were her direct choice of words but efficient programming that set her neural algorithms.

Artificial Intelligence, like electricity, is a general-purpose technology. The transparency offered by Artificial Intelligence is the most promising feature of this system. The introduction of AI in international relations and politics is a milestone. As a beginning, AI is introduced as an intern in international politics. Chatbot Design virtual agent AI system to understand and translate into human behaviour to support human experience and Robotic process automation (RPA) An application to function on repetitive commands of users without human interruption. Its essential to cognize the dilemma of the subjects when automated decision-making systems (ADS) is implemented into the public sphere for the institutions and democratic setups that are already existing on the virtue of peoples money (taxes, donations)

Even after the induction of the neurotransmitters and the artificial hormones, what is still lacking is the human-machine interface. There are still miles to go in the development of AI systems. From object recognitions to the Democratization of all essentials. Upon the transparency promised, Machine learning still complicates the field; whereas the ADS changes the game. As our research suggests, this is a source of anxiety for the general public and we dont even know half of the story. The illiteracy about the topic confuses the public and stuck in the shadow of doubts, this can hinder the whole growth of the AI. people should understand the ethical implications of using AI in everyday life to public interests, including politics.

AI stands as a promise of tomorrow when the whole nature goes against humankind, hoping that the technology we gave birth might stand for us. Maybe thats the promise of this avatar.

Also Read: New Invention of Artificial intelligence in Medicine with Stem Cells by WCM-Q

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Artificial Intelligence: The Promises of An Avatar in 2020 - Universal News

Self-Supervised Learning The Third-Wave in Cybersecurity AI – Security Boulevard

The relationship between modern cybersecurity solutions and AI has become inextricable. The reality is that even the most talented and responsive SecOps teams would be unable to manually catch every threat posed to the sprawling, hybrid networks on which todays organizations rely.

Forward-looking organizations know they need to bring AI security tools onboard. As they begin looking into their options, the challenge becomes deciding what security companies truly mean when they make claims about AI.

All too often, so-called AI solutions require a great deal of human input, negating much of these platforms promised convenience and efficiency. Todays complex network security threats cannot be adequately addressed with outdated cybersecurity solutions. AI Advancements, especially in the field of self-supervised learning, play a central role in effective, real-time network security.

The concept of AI might bring to mind science fiction novels or movies set in the far future. In fact, rudimentary forms of AI have played a role in the development of computer technology since at least the 1940s, and historical records reaching back into the 1300s reveal humankinds fascination with the concepts of thinking and learning.

Between the late 50s and mid 70s, early computer programmers took advantage of computer advances like onboard storage to apply machine-learning algorithms to various processes. Early applications included teaching computers how to play games like checkers and chess.

More recent examples of first-wave AI are tax preparation software and features like recommendation engines. First-wave AI adds automation to repetitive, narrowly defined tasks, but cant perform functions beyond these limitations.

First-wave AI is purpose-built to solve specific problems. While it was an incredible advance in its day, first-wave AI is no match for the vulnerabilities inherent to the sprawling, distributed networks of today.

When Amazon recommends an almost eerie product suggestion, thats second-wave AI in action. The mega-retailer is constantly analyzing its customers buying patterns to arrive at spot-on recommendations. Second-wave AI relies on labeled data to come up with predictions about how well behave next and which products well find the most appealing.

Second-wave AI is more sophisticated in its application versus first-wave AI, but is capable of very little reasoning capability. IBMs Watson, for example, can provide information and even answer questions, but without context. Watson is unable to explain how it arrives at its conclusions.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) cybersecurity platforms typically rely on second-wave AI. These security solutions are a benefit to organizations in that they add some level of automation to network monitoring processes. However, they require a great deal of ongoing human interaction and constant guidance. Worse, SIEM platforms rely almost solely on past behavior to determine present and future risks.

The result is a security system prone to false-positive alarm triggers at a rate SecOps teams can rarely analyze fast enough. Recent studies reveal that security analysts are spending 25 percent of their workdays on threat hunting and batting down false positives. This time could be spent on more worthwhile pursuits, but the opportunity cost can be even higher when the time spent chasing false positives leads to missed true positives.

Not only are the majority of SIEM platforms not up to the challenge of catching sophisticated modern threats, they are also far too dependent on historical data. Todays networks are dynamic, constantly adjusting to both internal and external changes. SIEM platforms that lack the ability to understand the context of a given behavior are unable to respond quickly enough to be of much use in the real world.

Third-wave AI leverages generative, self-supervised machine learning to create an accurate baseline based on a normal network traffic analysis in real-time to better predict future network behavior.

Self-supervised learning is a major leap forward from first and second-wave AI because it is context-aware. Cybersecurity is greatly enhanced by systems that can look beyond anomalous activity and labeled data sets to predict future outcomes.

One recent example of the wide gap between second and third wave AI is the workforce response to the Coronavirus pandemic that swept across the globe in early 2020. Almost overnight, a huge percent of the worlds workforce switched from working onsite through company intranets to telecommuting from home. Third-wave AI adjusts to a new normal seamlessly, learning very quickly that while unexpected, this shift in how network data was accessed was not actually anomalous.

Todays network security threats require modern solutions that go beyond the limitations of second-wave AI-enhanced cybersecurity. Malicious actors are more sophisticated than ever and have long cracked the code when it comes to infiltrating and retraining label-dependent networks to exploit vulnerabilities.Third-wave, self-supervised learning platforms change the way organizations handle event management in powerful, fundamental ways. Learn more about the MixMode third-wave self-supervised solution.

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Self-Supervised Learning The Third-Wave in Cybersecurity AI - Security Boulevard

Kerbal Space Program Gets A New Update With Real Space Missions – Bleeding Cool News

Kerbal Space Program is getting a new cool update in July as the game will be getting real space missions from the ESA. For clarification, this ESA is the European Space Agency, which have partnered with Private Division to include a number of their real-life programs and missions into the new update, which is being called Shared Horizons. According to the info released about the update, Shared Horizons features all the stages, engines, and systems of Europe's Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Which will give you the chance to construct a perfect replica, recombine stages in whatever creative way you see fit, or build an imaginary hybrid to shoot yourself into space. From there, you'll do what the ESA has been doing for a while now, which is exploring our own solar system and getting a better understanding of what's in our neighborhood. The update will be added on July 1st, 2020. In the meantime, here are a couple quotes from the ESA about the partnership.

"Here at ESA, many of our engineers and scientists are very familiar with the Kerbal Space Program," commented Gnther Hasinger, ESA's Director of Science. "Both Rosetta and BepiColombo are highly complex missions which have specific challenges but prove to be very rewarding for ESA and the global scientific community. Because of this, I am very happy that these ground-breaking science missions can be experienced on Kerbin as well as on Earth."

"Kerbal Space Program has already been an inspiration for an entire generation of future engineers and scientists, so introducing this level of realism will really take it to the next level," added Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA's Director of Space Transportation. "And the creative element of being able to build so freely is such a fantastic aspect. I really look forward to seeing the innovative ways in which players will approach designing their new space transportation services."

Gavin has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.

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Kerbal Space Program Gets A New Update With Real Space Missions - Bleeding Cool News

It is easier to succeed if you have failed 55 quotes from Indian startup journeys – YourStory

Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a weekly feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our articles of this past week (see the previous post here). Share these 55 gems and insights from the week of May 11-17 with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights. See also our special compilation of quotes related to Indias coronavirus responses here.

The best businesses are not about the best product or service, but the best customer experience. - Jagat Iyer, Vidphon

Customers want to experience and connect with the brand on a higher level than just purchasing products. - Toranj Mehta, Forevermark India

The focus is on more than selling and making revenue, it is to inspire people and add beautiful experiences to people's lives. - Surbhi Gupta, Kalakar Gift Studio

One way that groups cohere is through storytelling. - Daniel Pink, 'When'

The art of storytelling is an important attribute for a successful founder. - Shekhar Kirani, Accel

Reliability is the bedrock of any successful corporate relationship, and benefits businesses at every phase of their operations. - Pranshu Kacholia, ClickPost

Active involvement in your own learning has long been recognised as more effective than a more passive, spoon-fed approach. - Dorothy Leonard et al, 'Critical Knowledge Transfer'

The top athletes say they have achieved what they have because of their mind, this is the perfect testament to mind skills training. - S Badrinath, MFORE

Poker is a mind sport. Its more complex than chess. - Muskan Sethi

Traffic, pollution, safety concerns are all leading parents to prefer at-home solutions that are more convenient and cost-effective. - Sumedha Khoche, KinderPass

Even today, the food supply chain to a large extent is still manual and subjective. - Milan Sharma, Intello Labs

Most manufacturers have zero visibility across secondary and tertiary sales. They are totally dependent on third-party logistic service providers and distributors for product movement visibility. - Shreyans Sipani, O4S

The key to planning a wedding is patience, the ability to multitask, the ability to gauge and balance individual emotions, and having access to a large network of supportive suppliers from the industry. - Divya Chadha, A Klass Apart

With the ongoing pandemic, virtual happy hours have replaced stepping out, but that does not mean one cannot be their own bartender and make themselves a cocktail from the comfort of their homes.- Asmani Subramanian, DIAGEO

We will start seeing far more higher-end whiskies inside cocktail menus, as well as more refined Indian-produced whisky. - Brandon Toborg, DIAGEO

Communities and people are far more conscious about what they eat today. Supporting local farmers by eating local produce and farm-to-table meals are becoming a popular choice. - Vicky Ratnani, Vickypedia

While the fancy quinoa chips and avocados pinch the pocket, the other section of fad foods is even worse because of the hidden harmful ingredients lost in marketing communication done in the front of the pack. - Ridhima Arora, Namhya Foods

Connectivity is the lubricant for the engines of community, content, commerce, currency, and capital. - Sanchit Vir Gogia, Greyhound Research

It is important to create data points and insights with the technology you build. - Nitin Gupta, Milkbasket

Data-driven decision making is the critical need to impact the quality of learning outcomes. - Abhinav Tripathi, 22bate7

Every business - big or small - needs HQ images and videos to sell their products and services online. - Sanjay Kumar, Spyne

The unstructured data lying in the form of text and images within multiple sources is like raw cotton. - Rajit Bhattacharya, Data Sutram

For a marketing campaign which has a toll-free number component involved, one of the things you need to ensure the success of the campaign is a number that is easy to remember. - Karan Syal, WEBozINDIA

There is something called the consumerisation of the enterprise. This is largely led because everything is becoming digital. - Avnish Bajaj, Matrix Partners India

As innovation is the need of the hour, the requirement of digital clocks is more, especially in hospitals and companies. - Jayesh Shah, Sonam Clocks

Thousands of SMEs cannot afford ERP systems. - Ashwani Rathore, SpiderG

Today, the SME segment lacks capital finance and credit, infrastructure, technology, and marketing strategies. - Arjun Sethi, Tribe Capital

Property owners are not completely aware of all the properties in their preferred locations that are up for sale. - Yogesh Jaiswal, Le Classique Realty

We need 10 times the number of agritech startups that we currently have. - Siddharth Dialani, BharatAgri

While pharma companies spend a huge amount to market physicians in the traditional way, they are not able to tap the vast potential of the digital medium to grow their businesses. - Harshit Jain, Doceree

People suffering from chronic illnesses such as Alzheimers, cancer, stroke and asthma require a lot of care and attention. - Sridhar Pillalamarri, Ubiqare Health

Our society needs more heroes who are scientists, researchers, and engineers. We need to celebrate and reward the people who cure diseases, expand our understanding of humanity and work to improve peoples lives. - Mark Zuckerberg

Close to 70 percent of the rural population does not access the internet. This will further contribute to an increase in the overall internet population over the next few years. - IAMAI-Nielsen

India is one of the biggest leather manufacturers in the world, but all the top quality leather is imported because Indian makers dont have the pockets to spend so much. - Ambud Sharma, Escaro Royale

India is one of the top coffee-producing countries globally, with a vast variety available. It also is the fifth-largest exporter of coffee in the world. - Jai Ganesh Ramnath, Lavazza India

Coworking spaces can grow more than 10x in volume over the next five years. - Ashish Goenka, Redbrick Offices

Electricity continues to remain a problem in several villages and districts in India. People also face problems such as frequent load shedding, unstable power and high charges. - Akshay Gupta, AP Solar Works

India's wisdom and its independent voice will provide a much-needed balance in world politics. India will need to work towards specific goals in order to achieve the status of a world power. - Vamsi T Mohun, IFITRF

The work of an architect is all around us shopping malls, apartments, and the offices they work in. - Minal Dubey, Spaciux

A green space that is of significance to a whole city is very valuable, especially in a city with a population of several million. - Ratish Nanda, Aga Khan Trust for Culture

There is a perception that green buildings are expensive, and difficult to maintain. - Vijayadurga Koppisetti, Architude

The move from misuse to reuse of plastic can make a positive difference in all spheres of life. - Ujwal Desai, Lucro Plastecycle

Homes, and especially bed spaces, are meant to be created and cared for with the utmost love. - Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Wakefit.co

Freelancers and soloists are the future of work. - Naman Sarawagi, Refrens

Harnessing the incredible talents and potential of women will create a stronger economy and a more peaceful, healthier, sustainable world for all. - Cherie Blair

If you are starting a business with other partners, it is advisable to make a founding agreement that has details of the roles and responsibilities of each founder. - Shonottra Kumar

Bootstrapping with your own money is quite important. It also signals to the investor that you're serious about your business. - Mudasar Mohamed, Ezyhaul

Embrace change, be metric-driven, test often and use innovation to stand out from the crowd. - Trish Kunath, Technopolis

There is an art to prioritising, sequencing, and deciding how well a certain task/component of the solution needs to be done. - Thiag Loganathan, Cardinality.ai

Don't lend your ears to rejection, follow your gut feeling, and you will get the results. - Chinnmaye Praveen, GeWinn Wachstum

Running a business is an art, like any other, which one masters only with time. - Monaz Irani, Plate & Pint

Patience is the road to wisdom. - Kao Kalia Yang

Work hard. There is no shortcut to success. - Mahavir Verma, Ethnic Rhythm

Ups and downs in life are very important to keep us going, because a straight line even in an E.C.G means we are not alive. - Ratan Tata

It is easier to succeed if you have failed. - Sanjay Kumar, Elior India

YourStory has also published the pocketbook Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

How has the coronavirus outbreak disrupted your life? And how are you dealing with it? Write to us or send us a video with subject line 'Coronavirus Disruption' to editorial@yourstory.com

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It is easier to succeed if you have failed 55 quotes from Indian startup journeys - YourStory

China pips US in world chess at a time their ties are at a nadir – Economic Times

United States, step aside please. China has arrived. And it has taken the top spot in the world. Well, at least in the chess world.

At a time when few sports events are taking place because of the pandemic-driven lockdown across the world, chess appears to be thriving, mostly because it does not involve physical contact, can be played online, and can be followed online by its dedicated viewership. So when the rest of the sporting world is on ice, FIDE, the world chess federation, managed to pull off an online Nations Cup that ended in cybersphere on Sunday with China winning title after a 2-2 tie against the United States in the final despite having lost to the U.S in the earlier league phase because it had topped the round-robin tables.

A few observations about the Nations Cup and current chess world: Clearly, China has eclipsed Russia as the new chess superpower, although Russia remains in the top league, finishing fourth behind third-placed Europe. India, a new entrant to the chess high-table, finished fifth, and a Rest of the World team, created to accommodate brilliant players such as Irans Alireza Firouja and Azerbaijans Teimour Radjabov, whose countries do not have the kind of bench strength/depth to throw up an ELO 2600+ plus team, finished last.

The fact that the United States itself is a top contender is both a surprise and not a surprise. Thank immigration and immigrants for this. The US does not produce too many home-grown Bobby Fishers. The top US players are mostly of foreign origin: Its top-ranked player is Miami-born Fabiano Caruana, who is an Italian-American dual citizen, followed by Philippines-born Wesley So, and Japan-born Hiraku Nakamura. Youve to wonder if this robbed the title scrap with China with some of the needle of the kind that existed during Fishers clash with Boris Spassky in Reykjavik at the height of the Cold War. The fact that China pipped US to the title at a time ties between the two countries are at a nadir should chuff Beijing and irk Washington, except for the fact that few people in Trumps America cares squat about chess. They are out to make America great again in other spheres, by other means.

The surprise package, afaiac, is India. It is only in recent years that the land in which chess was born has become a major chess force, having grown from one Grandmaster in the late 1980s (the affable Vishy Anand) to 65 Grandmasters now fifth behind Russia, Germany, Ukraine, and United States. But its power is uneven and top-heavy, as was demonstrated at the Nations Cup, where it should have finished higher on the strength of Vishy Anands brilliance but for the sub-par performance of the promising younger stars, notably Vidit Gujarathi, Indias third-ranked player (Vidit himself recognized this in an apologetic tweet).

What can one say about Vishy Anand? His is now a remarkable story, and not just because he is a former five-time, multi-format world champion. He turned in an incredible performance, remaining undefeated against several players RANKED ABOVE HIM in world standings. Two things to note here: Anand is now officially ranked 15th in the world, and some think his best days are behind him. Also, Anand is now 50 and is considered over the hill by some. The current chess world is dominated by players in their 20s and 30s, and even teens such as Irans Alireza Firouja are seen as rising stars and future world champions. To draw a comparison (admittedly somewhat unfair), imagine Sunil Gavaskar or Kapil Dev playing alongside Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the current Indian cricket team.

Sure, chess is largely a mental game, but it also calls on immense reserves of physical stamina, not to speak of technology now, what with players taking recourse to computer engines in their preparations. But as the Nations Cup showed, Anand is a canny old fox, still at the top of his game, and you could not get a better demonstration of this than his brilliant 17-move skewering of Russias Ian Nepomniachtchi, ranked 5th in the world (ten places above Anand) and 20 years younger than him. Anand also defeated Azerbaijans Radjabov (ranked 11th and playing for the Rest of the World team) and drew with world #3 Chinas Ding Liren and world # 7 Frances Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. It is an incredible result for the chess worlds senior statesman, although the overall Indian performance was disappointing to those who aimed higher.

Anands game against Nepomniachtchi is currently scorching the chess world and is seen as something of a masterpiece. I will let the chess pundits describe it in comments, along with a most insightful commentary by Anand himself. Bravo maestro!

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.

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China pips US in world chess at a time their ties are at a nadir - Economic Times

With new rules and a new normal, NASCAR set to return this weekend – ESPN

It was a month ago when Kerry Tharp's phone rang. The area code was a familiar one: 386, as in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The man known throughout the racing world as "The Commander" is in his fifth year as president of Darlington Raceway, NASCAR's old-school equivalent to Fenway Park or Lambeau Field and a facility that, as of last fall, is owned by the sanctioning body itself. Before that, Tharp spent more than a decade in NASCAR's communications department. So, when the phone rings from 386 and NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach, Tharp has always known it is never an unimportant call.

But this one was the biggest he has ever answered.

"They said, 'Could Darlington be ready to host a Cup Series race on May 17?'" Tharp recalls. "I said, 'Well, I don't seem to have anything on my calendar for that day -- or anything on my calendar for any other day, either. So yeah, let's do it.'"

The Commander laughs as he tells the story, then quickly cuts those chuckles short.

"For a month I had been just like everyone else in the United States," he said. "I was at home, on my couch, doing whatever I could around the house and wondering when we were going to get sports back. But as soon as I got that phone call, I called the Darlington Raceway staff and said, 'See you back in the office tomorrow morning. We've got a few weeks to do a few months' worth of work.'"

2 Related

On Sunday at Darlington, NASCAR will return to the racetrack for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced it to pack up and abandon Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 13, as teams were preparing their cars for the weekend's first practice session ahead of what was supposed to be the season's fifth race.

Now that fifth race will be run two months later and at an entirely different racetrack. It will be held with no fans in the grandstand and no laps having been turned in practice or qualifying. Teams will do their work in unusually small groups, restricted to 16 crew members, including the driver. Big organizations routinely have three times that many people on their credential rosters, from mechanics and engine tuners to team owners and family members.

Those crew members will be the subject of a health screening prior to entering the racetrack, a check of temperature and vital signs, to be compared with health notes already supplied to on-site medical teams. As one Darlington Raceway official described it, "It'll look like the TSA airport screening line, but with thermometers." Anyone showing signs of fever or other symptoms, or exhibiting in-person deviations from the paperwork provided, will be sent for "heavy screening" by physicians in the newly erected medical center.

When they go to work inside the track, they will be subject to random light screenings throughout the day and thermal cameras will monitor their temperatures as they work. There will not be COVID-19 testing as of yet, in part because the tests take days to process and because NASCAR has said it does not want to take tests away from the general public.

Anyone who does not comply with these new unprecedented safety measures and rules -- say, a refusal to wear a mask -- will be ejected from the garage and hit with massive fines. In the garage, there will also be no tolerance for handshakes or hugging it out with friends. There will be no contact with anyone outside of one's group, every team confined to designated work areas and walking to those areas via precisely marked footpaths.

The path that NASCAR has traveled during the 65 days between Atlanta and Darlington has been anything but precise, a constantly redrawn road map that, even here on the eve of stock car racing's return, remains written in pencil, ready to react to anything that goes right or wrong at Darlington.

"The conversations and decisions that have been made during this time are no different than the decisions that have to be made by everyone right now, in every corner of society," said Eric Nyquist, NASCAR senior vice president and chief communications officer. "The news and what we know about the virus and the pandemic, it all seems to change on an hourly basis, especially during those critical first days after Atlanta. So, we have always had to be willing to react to that. And that flexibility won't stop when racing starts at Darlington. Far from it."

Those critical first days Nyquist speaks of were spent by the highest-ranking members of NASCAR's management team hunkered down in an expansive meeting space in the sanctioning body's HQ facility, located across the street from Daytona International Speedway. They have been in that room nearly nonstop over the past two months, but in the beginning, it was a strange juxtaposition, to say the least.

Only one month earlier, the racetrack across the street had hosted thousands of people as they watched Denny Hamlin win the Daytona 500 and Ryan Newman survive one of the most frightening crashes in the 62-year history of the Great American Race. Now the track, and the highways around it, were silent, as NASCAR's brass, led by president Steve Phelps, took their seats in the meeting space -- so spread apart via social distancing some had to raise their voices to deliver their talking points from one side of the room to the other.

NASCAR also was on every pandemic-related conference call that involved America's major sports leagues, including those conducted by the White House.

Over the past three weeks, ESPN.com talked with people from every corner of NASCAR, from the sanctioning body and competitors to racetrack executives and crew members, to see how they have prepared for the sport's return.

Auto racing was widely considered a leading candidate to become the first sport to return, thanks to the lack of physical contact between competitors and an already existing emphasis on safety. It is the only sport in which competitors -- drivers and pit crews -- have long plied their trades on Sunday afternoons wearing gloves, face coverings and helmets.

Because of the dangerous nature of auto racing, NASCAR's file of medical experts was already extensive. Those contacts drove NASCAR toward Dr. Celine Gounder, clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Gounder has been on the coronavirus front lines at New York City's Bellevue Hospital Center and on the executive committee of the NYC COVID-19 Rapid Response Coalition.

"This physician had been on the ground with Ebola. What was beneficial was to have access to info that put us a few weeks ahead in terms of how we needed to respond," said John Bobo, NASCAR vice president of racing operations. "We also talked with local health care providers of where we're going, and we get buy-in from those folks. As we talked to emergency room physicians in different cities, we got a better understanding of how the virus was reacting. We were trying to find a lot of different data points.

Ryan McGee explains why this could be another turning-point moment for NASCAR, and gives host Mina Kimes and other casual racing fans one good reason to love the sport. Listen to ESPN Daily

"We wanted to go into a community that was not in crisis. We must have an advanced life support helicopter on hand, and we always have to work closely with health care providers. We treasure our local relationships with health care providers, and we always tour trauma centers before and after races. So, we relied upon relationships we already had."

Every bit of that data gathering was done with the express goal of returning as soon as possible, wherever and whenever it made the most sense. When NASCAR's list of postponed events grew from three (Atlanta, Homestead-Miami and Texas Motor Speedway in March) to eight (adding Bristol, Richmond, Talladega in April and Dover and Martinsville in early May), the target date for the sport's return became May 24, with the traditional Memorial Day weekend "crown jewel" event, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"The attraction to Charlotte was pretty obvious once we realized that the schedule changes were going to slide into April and looking toward May," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "It's home. Most teams can drive there in minutes, so there's no air travel and no hotel rooms. It's also the same type of racetrack [a 1.5-mile intermediate oval vs. two-plus-mile superspeedways, winding road courses or half-mile short tracks] as the races we had to postpone at Atlanta, Homestead and Texas, so race teams should have the inventory of cars and engines for that type of racetrack ready to go."

1:02

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson explains what it will be like showing up to race at Darlington without practicing and shares how simulations on iRacing have helped him get a feel for the track.

Even as the idea of a Charlotte return started to make the rounds, it did not deter government officials, particularly state governors, from lobbying NASCAR to pick a facility in their state to be the sure-to-be-ballyhooed comeback track. The leader of that charge was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was in contact with Phelps nearly the instant that the Atlanta event had been shuttered, assuring NASCAR it could continue to do its work in Daytona and also looking for some assurance that his state's racetracks -- Homestead-Miami and Daytona -- would still host their scheduled events, whether it be sooner or later than originally scheduled.

At one point or another, NASCAR talked to the leaders from each of the 23 states that host one of NASCAR's national series events, all with varying calendars and policies when it comes to both "return to work" and "stay at home." When asked to describe the experience, Bobo speaks of three-dimensional chess.

"This is like 18 boards," he said. "We're dealing with a tremendous number of governor's offices in a variety of states. We're looking at trends, and we know things are dynamic in communities. We have to work with our TV partners and other vendors, how are they doing and what can they do?"

For example, Toyota's race teams -- including Joe Gibbs Racing, current powerhouse of the sport -- receive their engines from Toyota Racing Development. Unlike Ford and Chevy, who build their engines in North Carolina, TRD ships them to race teams from a factory in Costa Mesa, California, where work restrictions and stay-at-home measures are still much tighter. Were they going to be able to get engines to their teams? Thankfully, enough had been delivered before the shutdown, and as of Tuesday, the TRD office in California was opening back up.

Making the restart even more difficult is the fluidity that comes with the global pandemic.

"Can Goodyear provide tires? Can we get fuel? It's incredibly complicated," Bodo said. "We're on version 65, maybe version 70, of the plan. We do have pivot plans. Frankly, there's been days of the week where things have changed by the hour."

Not surprisingly, the governor's office that NASCAR talked with most was that of Roy Cooper of North Carolina. The majority of NASCAR teams, drivers and suppliers are located in the Charlotte area, as are a pair of NASCAR's secondary headquarters, its Research and Development Center in Concord and the NASCAR Tower in Uptown Charlotte, home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

On April 23, Cooper designated NASCAR race shops as essential businesses, meaning that race teams could go back to work in small numbers and employing social distancing rules. But Cooper also has been among the most methodical of Southern governors when it comes to reopening plans, moving a little slower than others in the region, particularly his border neighbors in South Carolina.

That's how Darlington came into play, some 3 months ahead of its traditional Labor Day weekend race date. With sponsors, broadcast partner Fox and team owners all pushing NASCAR to get back to the track sooner than later, the weekend prior to the Charlotte return began to look more and more attractive.

Working with Dr. Gounder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Charlotte Motor Speedway executives and local health officials already partnered with the racetrack, NASCAR submitted a lengthy "How we're going to do this" plan to Cooper in late April. He sent it back with additional suggestions and changes from North Carolina state health officials. That same plan, but with a Darlington twist, was sent to South Carolina's governor, Henry McMaster, a longtime NASCAR fan and perhaps second only to DeSantis in his constant contact with NASCAR officials to try to bring the sport back in his state. It too was approved.

On April 30, NASCAR officially announced its plans to return on May 17, kicking off seven events in 11 days at Darlington and then Charlotte Motor Speedway, four of those being Cup Series races.

"Here's how fluid this whole thing was," Tharp said. "It wasn't until a few days after we'd agreed to the first race back that we found out we would also have a second Cup race four days later. And I found about the Xfinity Series race that we're going to run in between those Cup races on a conference call right before the schedule announcement went out. I'm not complaining at all. We will host as much racing as they want. But that's how much all of this changes that fast."

It has only moved faster in the weeks since.

NASCAR teams received the list of rules and regulations for Darlington shortly before they were announced to the public.

No fans.

Team rosters will be 16 people, including the driver.

Cloth face masks are required. Anyone who does not wear one will be removed from the facility immediately and face up to $50,000 in fines.

Teams' work areas in the garage will be spread out to comply with social distancing guidelines, as will be the spotters, who normally are shoulder to shoulder atop the press box/tower.

Competitors' motor homes will be allowed in the racetrack infield, but instead of occupying one enclosed area, they will be spread out throughout the infield.

Over-the-wall pit crew members will use face screens or neck socks in addition to their normal gear of firesuits, helmets and gloves.

Teams must closely monitor the health of their employees before, during and after each event, including filling out medical forms that will be reviewed by medical personnel prior to track admission during a prerace screening that will include temperature checks.

There will be random temperature checks of everyone working in the garage area. Anyone determined to be symptomatic will be checked via an outside care center. If they are determined to be a potential virus threat, they will be replaced with another crew member.

Everyone is required to maintain a contact tracing log, manually and then via digital logging. If a worker shows symptoms, that person and those he was in contact with will need to self-isolate.

Teams already had the Darlington-Charlotte schedule in hand before it was made public, as well as a tentative schedule through the middle of summer. Now, with the health regulations in place, they could get back to work.

"I have literally not left my house since this whole thing started," said Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus, who currently oversees the cars of William Byron but won 83 races and seven Cup Series titles calling the shots for Jimmie Johnson.

Knaus is a notorious workaholic, known to sleep in his office at the height of his success with Johnson. But for two months, he has had to balance that work from home, alongside his 20-month-old son and his wife, who is expecting another child this summer.

"We have two distinctly separate groups working on our race cars," Knaus said. "There have been people at the race shop for a couple of weeks, preparing the cars for Darlington, Charlotte and beyond, but I will not see them unless it's on video. I am with the group who does not go to the shop but will go to the racetrack."

The shop team will load two race cars -- a primary and a backup -- into the team's 18-wheel mobile HQ. The team's truck driver will arrive, entering through a door where he sees no one else, and make the 105-mile drive to Darlington on Saturday. Normally, the 40 team trucks are packed into a small space, fitted together tighter than Tetris blocks. At Darlington they will be spread out. After scrubbing down every flat surface in the hauler's work areas, the hauler driver will take on his Sunday pit crew duties with the road crew having had no contact with the shop crew.

Because of the close proximity of the track, no one will be spending the night, especially not the race car drivers -- but they will have their motor coaches on site, where they live with their families during non-pandemic weekends. On Sunday, the drivers will be alone in those RVs, purposely isolated and waiting to be called to their cars for the green flag. Those motor coaches will be wheeled into the racetrack on Saturday and spread throughout the spectator-free infield. The rigs then with get a deep clean before the racers move in the following day.

"I will be totally on my own," said Johnson, reminding that, like any other athletes, racers have a support system of people, from PR reps to agents to cooks. "I am in charge of my gear, hydration system and nutrition. That includes my primary stuff and backups. Fire suits, shoes, gloves, ear molds, helmets, head and neck restraints, and so on. When the race is over, I'm responsible for cleaning and sanitizing everything for the next race.

"When they tell me it's time to get to the race car, I will head out. And I will absolutely be following whatever direction they tell me to walk."

On Tuesday night, Tharp was in the Darlington Raceway infield helping to ensure that Johnson and everyone else is clear on where to walk. NASCAR and track operation officials have been laying down what feels like miles of red tape, marking off workspace borders for teams in the garage, walkways that connect those workspaces to the teams' big rig and even who can use which bathroom. Spotter spacing and parking spaces also are being marked.

Outside the racetrack, a medical screening area is being constructed where there normally would be hospitality tents and tailgaters. Everyone who arrives will be asked for their ID so the medical questionnaires they have previously filled out can be called up on a tablet computer by a medical professional. There, outside their vehicles, each person entering the track must appear on a roster turned in by their team, and then they will receive an on-the-spot medical screening.

And while there will not be COVID-19 testing as of yet, the possibility of future testing is on the table should the need arise. There is concern about someone who comes up symptomatic having passed it on to others. It happened in the F1 paddock during that same March weekend the Atlanta race was canceled. It happened last weekend in UFC. That's why the NASCAR contact logs will be kept. And it's yet another reason why the overall plan continues to be written in pencil. If there's an outbreak that starts to push toward a lack of control, the plug on the season can and will be pulled again.

"I relate it to my military days," said Tom Bryant, NASCAR's senior racing communications director, who has worked closely with Bobo on at-track logistics. Bryant served 20 years in the Army, including special operations and multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan. "You've done your mission brief, you've checked your weapons and you're waiting on the pickup -- and the 'what-ifs' start to race through your mind. You need to trust your team of people who have worked together to build this comprehensive plan that has been reviewed by a number of experts and trust that the talented people you work with will be able to perform.

"I'm not sleeping well, but I have a lot of faith in our team, and we have a very solid group of professionals who are ready to face things and make decisions."

Also located outside the track is a new "outfield medical center" set up in addition to the regular infield medical center, which will remain reserved for race-related medical situations (post-crash examinations, etc.). The outfield center is where anyone who shows any signs of illness will be sent for further examination.

Patrolling those areas -- as well as every parking lot and gate of Darlington Raceway -- will be dozens of law enforcement officers, from the Darlington County Sheriff's Office, South Carolina Highway Patrol and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the state's investigative law enforcement agency. They will be on the lookout for anyone who tries to find their way into the racetrack or tries to turn Sunday's race into a protest opportunity or worse.

Darlington Raceway officials already have learned of large gatherings planned in the immediate area of the track, which they have politely worked to discourage. On Wednesday, a local man was arrested for calling the racetrack and leaving threatening messages, explained in the Darlington County Sheriff's arrest warrant as: "describing a possible explosive device and the results it may create to further his cause."

While the police presence might appear larger than normal, every other group will be much smaller. During a full race weekend that involves all three NASCAR national series -- Cup, Xfinity and Trucks -- there can be as many as 3,700 credentialed personnel in the racetrack infield, including competitors, NASCAR employees, track workers, support industry personnel and media members. On Sunday, that number will be less than 900.

The press box will have only four occupants, working as pool reporters for the media not in attendance. Motor Racing Network also will use a small team of radio personnel, made up only of those who live in the Carolinas and can make the drive. Fox will be working with a crew half the normal size to broadcast the race, utilizing only one reporter on pit road and moving production work such as replays and graphics to its studios in Charlotte. That's also where the broadcast booth will be, with Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon watching on monitors from separate studios, as they have throughout the network's broadcasting of iRacing over the past two months.

It would be naive to believe that the surprising success of eNASCAR broadcasts (roughly 1 million viewers per week) hasn't fed into NASCAR's desire to get back to the live track as soon as possible. Phelps has never disputed that. Much of the motivation behind all of the phone conversations, the politics, the education on pandemics and the laying out of the rules that will be so heavily enforced at Darlington and Charlotte has been to be the only live sport on television on Sunday afternoons for the foreseeable future.

If one were to receive a commission for every time the name of the 1979 Daytona 500 has been invoked over the past few weeks, he or she would not have to go back to work. That's when CBS aired its first live, flag-to-flag coverage of NASCAR's biggest race, on a Sunday when nothing else was on and much of the East Coast was socked in by a snowstorm. Those people stuck in their homes were gifted with perhaps the greatest finish in the history of motorsports, when Richard Petty held off Darrell Waltrip and A.J. Foyt, as Cale Yarborough had a fistfight with the Alabama Gang after crashing out of the lead on the final lap. NASCAR's three decades of growth started that day.

These days, it has been stuck in neutral. But now, so is the American sports-viewing public. Check that ... so is the entirety of sports, period. They will all be watching on Sunday to see if the road back to normal does indeed run through Darlington, South Carolina.

"I have no idea how it's going to feel when the green flag finally waves because this has been so different getting there," Knaus said. "I really hope that when we get some laps in, we have settled in, and it'll be like, 'OK, this feels normal.' If it does, it'll be the first time something has felt normal in a really long time. And that's really all anyone wants right now, isn't it?"

Tharp agreed.

"I've heard from a lot of people who work in a lot of different sports," said Tharp, who before joining NASCAR spent 20 years as the media relations director for the South Carolina Gamecocks, working with the likes of Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier. "They all want to see if all of this we are doing to make this race happen works. They are all hoping that it does.

"We make this work, and we will, then sports are back. And other sports can hopefully take what we learn from this and they can get back soon too."

ESPN feature producer Tracy Wholf contributed to this report.

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With new rules and a new normal, NASCAR set to return this weekend - ESPN

"Chess makes me happy": An interview with Boris Gelfand – Chessbase News

4/23/2020 For decades Boris Gelfand has been one of the best chess players in the world. He is known for his deep analyses, his passion for chess and his admiration for Akiba Rubinstein. In an interview with ChessBase Gelfand talks about the Candidates, why modern players study the classics and why chess makes him happy. | Photo: Russian Chess Federation

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Dear Boris, the Candidates Tournament 2020 in Yekaterinburg was the last live-tournament before the corona lockdown. Unfortunately, it was postponed after the first seven rounds. But how did you like the chess so far? Is there any game that particularly impressed you?

In the first seven rounds we saw quite a few interesting games. Ian Nepomniachtchi's ending against Anish Giri in round 1 and Nepo's win against Wang Hao were the most memorable games for me.

You have a lot of experience with the Candidates. In 1991 you qualified for the first time for the Candidate Matches, in 2013 you played in the Candidates Tournament in London. What makes Candidates Tournaments and what made Candidates Matches special and in how far are they different to other top tournaments in which the stakes are high?

I have always thought that the Candidates Tournament is the most important tournament in the calendar. When I was young I immensely enjoyed reading the books about the Candidates tournament or matches in 1959, 1962, 1965 and 1968.

A young Boris Gelfand

I always wanted to qualify and do well in these events, it was more important to me than keeping or improving my rating. Thats what was missing in the years 1996-2006 and it badly affected my performance in this period. The difference between the Candidates and a regular tournament is that only victory counts, one cannot be satisfied with being second. There is no "good performance", there is only the winner.

What does it take to win in the Candidates and to become a World Championship Challenger?

It needs a combination of factors: the ability to fight under the highest pressure, to be well prepared chess-wise, physically and mentally. And you need luck as well, as usual.

How do the players prepare for such an important event?

I always arranged a couple of training sessions and invited some colleagues to join my trainer Alexander Khuzman and me during such training camps.

Lets go back in time. Do you still remember how it felt to qualify for and to play in the Candidates Matches in 1991?

Yes, I do remember. I was just 22 and had unlimited confidence. So I considered myself as one of the strongest players in the World and thought that my qualification was very natural.

And how did it feel to play in the Candidates Tournament in 2013 as a former World Championship Challenger who almost became World Champion in 2012 you had to fight against the younger generation of top players?

I was very motivated to win London and to qualify for another match. I was familiar with all the players and tried my best. The tournament was not successful but my preparation paid off in the following events. I believe that in 2013 I played the best chess of my career.

From 1991 to 2013 you played in seven World Championship cycles. Do you have any memories of these events that are particularly fond to you?

Yes, sure. I am proud of my play in the Candidates match vs Vladimir Kramnik in 1994 and in the World Championship Tournament in 2007 in Mexico, where I shared second and third place with Vladimir Kramnik. I was excellently prepared and played well. However, between 1998 and 2007 I had almost no invitations to top events and this prevented me from playing more confidently and I missed number of opportunities.

How do you think chess has changed in the last 30 years and how did you experience this change?

Many things have changed. Nowadays everyone has access to huge databases. A lot of high level chess has been played in these 30 years and it helped to reassess a lot of positions. Engines have become an important part of chess and helped to open the boundaries of chess game.

30 years ago it was important to get information. Nowadays we are overloaded with it. It is much more important to analyze it and to my make correct conclusions. However, the key factors to success are the same: talent, work ethic, a strong character and believing in ones vision of chess.

You are a great admirer and fan of Akiba Rubinstein. Did you see the influence of Rubinstein (or another classical player) in any of the games that have been played so far in the Candidates or is "Modern Chess" completely modern now, with no regard to the classics?

It is a very rare to see that a modern game copies the exact same idea or maneuver from a classical game. But the absolute majority of top players have studied classical games well and it has influenced their chess. Magnus Carlsen is the best example. When he quotes a game like Flohr-Goldberg, played in 1949, in his press-conference no further comment is needed.

Your books Dynamic Decision Making in Chess and Positional Decision Making in Chess appeared in 2015 and 2016 but are already considered as classics. In these books you give deep insights into the mind of a top grandmaster but what I found even more fascinating is your seemingly unlimited enthusiasm for analyses and your love and passion for chess that shines through virtually every page of the book. What kindled this passion and what has kept it going throughout your long and illustrious career?

I am amazed with the richness of chess and I am happy to start my day with chess and finish it with chess. It makes me happy.

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"Chess makes me happy": An interview with Boris Gelfand - Chessbase News

6 best software to analyze chess games in 2020 – WindowsReport.com

SCID stands for Shanes Chess Information Database, and is an open-source application useful in Windows, for viewing and maintaining huge databases of chess games, with features comparable to popular commercial chess software.

This powerful chess analysis software has many features like interfacing with XBoard engines including Crafty and GNU chess, and UCI engines like Fruit, Rybka and Stockfish. You can play against human opponents or computer opponents, plus its database features include a Move Tree with statistics, General searches for endings, positions or players, and player information and photos.

SCID has a database of 1.4 million games, and it is fast because it stores chess games in its own compact database format but also supports portable game notation.

This tool is an open app to view, edit and manage collections of chess games, and is a multi-platform software that can run on Windows and other operating systems.

Get SCID chess software

Did your favorite chess analysis software make the list? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below.

Although all of the products on our list do a great job of analyzing your chess games, weve decided that DecodeChess and Shredder Classic are two of the best ones out there.

You might not be able to do it on your own, except if youre a professional player or a grandmaster. We suggest checking our list and picking one of the specialized chess analysis software solutions we recommended.

Not likely, AlphaZero has already beaten one of the most chess engines (Stockfish) after learning chess in a mindblowing amount of time 4 hours.

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6 best software to analyze chess games in 2020 - WindowsReport.com

Chess greats face off online, webcams, arbiters to watch moves – The Indian Express

Written by Shivani Naik, Sandip G | Mumbai, New Delhi | Updated: April 24, 2020 5:46:34 pm Viswanathan Anand, Gary Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik are set to play in the Online Nations Cup

A well-lit room, smartly-placed roving Webcams, a Screen-share setting on Skype, an arbiter sitting remotely while accessing the players computer and alert to any out-of-place ambient sound, and oodles of trust in the top respected names of the game: Those are the logistics of the Online Nations Cup in chess, perhaps the highest profile sporting action thatll take place between May 5-10 at multiple venues coinciding with chess famous residential addresses.

A set of arbiters will also monitor every move (speed of reactions and patterns), vetting them on anti-cheating software to look for engine aids.

Six teams Russia, the USA, China, India, best of Europe and Rest of the world, will go up against each other in a double round robin, blitz 25-minute team format, as the cerebral sport mainstreams playing arenas hitherto frequented by amateurs which will now be headlined by the pros: online chess rooms sitting at home. This was necessitated by a world cornered into restrictive lockdowns forced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While players and fans are happy that atleast chess can stay afloat while global travel is at a standstill and all sporting action has paused, the biggest test for the organisers and those overseeing the competition fashioned to be like chesss Ryder Cup will be to ensure that the online setting leaves no doubts about fair play, and cheating is completely ruled out.

It is an elite event. Only the best players in the world. They would never risk their reputation, says David Llada of FIDE, while adding that the world body will do everything technology permits to guarantee that conditions for the event cannot be corrupted by anyone participating. With names like Gary Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Indias Viswanathan Anand set to be involved in playing and guiding capacities, FIDE is banking on reputations to ensure nothing silly is indulged in.

However the online setting will keep everyone on their toes, given the sheer scope for manipulations. The players will be playing from home. They are required to have a couple of webcams, so the arbiters can see their room and their computer screen. These will be rapid games, so there are no toilet breaks which would pose a challenge. Chess.com also has some anti-cheating systems that are able to track, with a high degree of reliability, when a player is making too may moves that coincide with the engines recommendations. All things combine we can guarantee the conditions for the event to be considered safe, Llada adds.

Online chess is not a novelty and FIDE says an estimated 16 million games were played online since the lockdown began. But this will be the biggest event to take off on an online platform. Prof Anantharam, one of Indias leading arbiters whos also on the FIDE panel says that backroom work for arbiters will now include tracking every move and tallying it with engine databases in forensic ways.

At this high level, players wont take risks. But as a governing body, we have to take all precautions. There are a couple of checking tools a fast one which flags a move for the fair play team if the software suggests the players analysis could be engine-aided within seconds and then detailed checks monitoring the next moves in a match. Noone is naive to think cheating doesnt happen in online chess.

READ | Georgian Grandmaster caught cheating

Just that technology catches it, he says, adding that cash prizes upto Rs 10000 were withdrawn after some lower-rung amateurs were found cheating. Both chess.com and the other popular website lichess.com have developed anti-cheating provisions now.

Magnus Carlsen, the biggest name in chess, is currently hosting another online tournament, and besides the livestreams and live commentary, the emphasis is on a 360 degree monitoring of the rooms via webcams. The sport is not immune to mischief with an IM using the pretext of a weak bladder to take help from his phone hidden in a dustbin in face to face chess to win an Abu Dhabi tournament. The professor, one of the sharpest arbiters in the country once caught a player in Kochi using some kind of transmissions through a Bluetooth device.

Itll be best if cameras used for the FIDE event have audio feeds. As an arbiter of online games, one would need to observe players movements to see if they are checking tools as well as their computer screens to make it footproof, he says. While reiterating that cheating is unlikely at this level, Prof Anantharam maintains that as arbiters theyll need to be on their toes nevertheless. Someone holding a placard but not in cameras view is not a stunt anyone will try, but after a GM recently found intrepid new ways of cheating, FIDE wont take any chances. One person will need to keep watching the player, he says.

GM Dibyendu Barua, while stressing that no top players will attempt cheating, adds that safety measures are important so that no one can blame anyone later.

Keeping the webcam on for the whole duration, a well lit room and supervision will happen ofcourse, he says adding that hes heard of mobile devices being used for cheating at lower rungs. Itll be exciting to watch mixed teams (1 woman out of 4 players mandatory) and besides watching strong chess countries like China, interest will be high in certain matchups. Just seeing Anand match wits with Kasparov again for the younger generation, or Kasparov-captaining against the young Iranian sensation Alireza. Mischief wont be on top of anyones mind, but we dont want exceptions, he says.

Chennai-based RB Ramesh, a former player and current coach, says that the shorter time controls (25 minute rapid) dont lend themselves to any hanky-panky. With technology, cheating can be curtailed in blitz games. But if its longer formats with 300-400 playing, its tough to monitor. But its why online tournaments are not rated officially and FIDE has software like the plagiarism tracker so to some extent you can mitigate cheating, he says.

Captaining a FIDE age-group team once, he insists that both video and audio cameras need to be live, to erase suspicion of someone standing off camera and suggesting moves. One cant obviously say definitively that cheating doesnt happen online, just the chances here are very low, he says.

While FIDE has reacted quickly to the dramatically altered sporting scene globally,concerns of fair play remain at the back of their mind. 50 years ago there was this big USSR vs Rest of the World that was really massive: Now, the world is differentIndia, China they are claiming their place not only in the chess board, but also as superpowers. India is rubbing shoulders with the US, Russia and Europe, Llada says, adding top players were all a bit worried about having all the over to beard tournaments cancelled. But they were relieved to see that chess organizers, including FIDE, reacted very quickly and are now holding all top-level competitions online.

The last word of wisdom are reserved for Viswanathan Anand, who stresses that due caution will need to be taken. Logistics is easier, but they should do some testing. Like some anti-cheating measures because you are after all playing at home.

The idea is you will share your screen with arbiters. In Skye you have a setting, screen-share, you can do that. The arbiter will have access to your computer and know what you are doing. He knows whats happening in the room. The best would be if we didnt have a lockdown, you could arrange a chess player to go to everyones house as an arbiter and make sure that nothing is going on. But right now I think every once in a while they will look around the room and something like that, he explains.

The multiple world champion from India offers an insight into the future saying online chess simplifies a lot of things for the organisers: travel and venue and other minor practical aspects, while hoping online is not forced into becoming the norm. Its turned out very useful in this situation. Having said that, the whole world hopes that we are not living with Corona for the next 10 years. Hope it would not become necessary to play online all the time. For the moment, it keeps us going.

While stressing that online chess has been around for ages and the world neednt act as if its a new thing invented now, he reckons trust in fellow players is the key.

I think its a question of trust. I think chess players trust each other. If someone is caught, its the end of his career, so everyone will hope it wont happen. If they are obsessed with checking every single thing, it will get unpleasant very fast, he says of the mild irritants thatll be so crucial to maintain fair play in the taut-nerved sport.

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Chess greats face off online, webcams, arbiters to watch moves - The Indian Express

The 7 Best Chess Moments Of 2019 – Chess.com

2019 was a great year for chess.

While many chess fans are ready to jump right into 2020 and the world championship drama, let's take a moment on this last day of 2019 to appreciate the best chess had to offer this year.

For much of 2019, the world's top chess players battled to qualify for the 2020 Candidates' Tournament, and it came down to the wire for the full field to emerge. The championship cycle is now set for 2020 and chess fans can hardly wait.

There were some exciting developments in computer chess (a personal favorite), including the ascent of neural-network chess engines like Lc0 to the top of the pack.

The year also saw another big leap forward for online chess coverage, with more in-person tournaments and online events streamed and professionally broadcast by the Chess.com mega-hype team.

A living chess legend, Vladimir Kramnik, proposed an exciting rule change to chess. And in the last days of 2019, the current world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen, continued his dominance of the year (and decade, and century...) by holding all three major world chess championships: classical, rapid and blitz.

So how do all these great things stack up?

Here's our ranking of the sevenbest chess moments of 2019:

When: May 2019

What happened:

Led by the super-GM and 2020 world championship candidate Fabiano Caruana, the Arch Bishops claimed their second PRO Chess League title in three years with a dominating win over the Baden-Baden Snowballs.

The Arch Bishops played the live semifinals and finals in San Francisco with strength from top-to-bottom boards, but it was Caruana's scorching 7.5/8 score for the weekend that sealed the victory.

Further reading:

When: November 2019

What happened:

Vladimir Kramnik, one of the greatest world chess champions of all time, retired from competitive chess in 2019. But he wasn't done making chess headlines.

Last month, Kramnik proposed an elegant and simple solution to boring draws and repetitive openings in top-level chess: Get rid of castling.

Kramnik tested his rule change with another chess legend, the neural-network chess engineAlphaZero. Kramnik and AlphaZero ownerDeepMind collaborated to produce beautiful sample games where the artificial intelligence chess project played itself without castling allowed.

Further reading:

When:2019, ongoing

What happened:

The Chess.com Speed Chess Championship expanded to include women's and junior events in addition to its main bracket of the world's top speed chess players.

The biggest underdog in the field, GM Elina Danielian, ran through the women's bracket to claim the title. And it would be an understatement to call Wei Yi a rising star, since he already is star (full stop), but the Chinese prodigy won the Junior Speed Chess Championship all the same.

The main Speed Chess Championship bracket had its share of upsets and brilliancies, highlighted by the 21-year-old Vladislav Artemievdispatching two speed chess legendsAlexander Grischuk and Levon Aronianby the same dominating score of 16-9, before falling in the semifinals to Wesley So.

At press time, three super-grandmasters remain in the Speed Chess field. So is through to the finals, while the reigning champion Hikaru Nakamura will need to get past Ian Nepomniachtchiin their semifinal match before he can defend his title against So.

Nakamura vs. Nepomniachtchi is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 5 at 8.am PST on Chess.com/TV.

Further reading:

When:April 2019

What happened:

Was it any surprise?

Hikaru Nakamura, already the long-reigning Speed Chess Champion, added another online chess title to his resume with a win in the first Chess.com Bullet Chess Championship.

Nakamura, the heavy favorite going into the tournament, defeated Oleksandr Bortnyk to clinch the championship. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave finished in third place in the loaded championship field.

Further reading:

When:April 2019

What happened:

Lc0, an open-source project using machine learning to train a neural-network chess engine, rose to the top of the computer chess world by defeating the champion Stockfish in the Chess.com Computer Chess Championship.

It marked the first time a neural-network engine had beaten Stockfish in a championship event, proving that artificial-intelligence-based chess engines could play better than the traditional engines, which had been the kings of chess for the past two decades.

Stockfish, though, soon took back the championship from Lc0, and these two engines will battle with many others in the coming decade to determine the best chess-playing entity in the world.

Further reading:

When:November 2019

What happened:

Wesley So became the first officially-recognized champion of Fischer Random chess, beating the classical chess world championMagnus Carlsen in the finals of a groundbreaking event played both online on Chess.com and in-person in Norway under the FIDE (World Chess Federation) banner.

So pulled off the upset of the heavily-favored Carlsen in a shocking runaway, winning 13.5 to 2.5, ending the match early before the scheduled blitz games.

The tournament was a fan-favorite for its energetic games and exciting starting positions, showing that Fischer Random chess will have a bright future in the 2020s.

Further reading:

When:December 2019

What happened:

The reigning classical world chess champion Magnus Carlsen won both the world rapid and blitz championships at the end of the year to once again hold all three major titles in a tremendous feat of chess dominance.

Carlsen is now the world champion in the three most important forms of chess (and he just missed a fourth, finishing second to Wesley So in the Fischer Random championship). With the wins, Carlsen further secured his legacy as one of the greatest chess players ever.

With another title defense in the 2020 world chess championship, Carlsen could finally shed that "one of" clause and become simply the greatest of all timeif he is not already.

Further reading:

Let us know your favorite chess moments of the year in the comments.

And before you sign off for the year, take a look at some more of our best-of-2019 content:

Read more:

The 7 Best Chess Moments Of 2019 - Chess.com

Koneru Humpy: Back to the forefront – Deccan Herald

It is ironical that despite shattering many chess records and being the strongest and the highest-rated women chess player (Judit Polgar is the highest-rated player ever but played only in Open section) for many years, a World title proved elusive for 32-year-old Koneru Humpy. Incredibly, it came her way at Moscow when she triumphed in the Womens World Rapid Chess Championship last week after starting as the 13th seed.

The youngest ever to win a World junior title at 14 years, the youngest woman in the world to earn the GM title at that time, Asian Champion, British Womens Champion and numerous titles in Age Categories, none doubted that winning the Womens World Championship would be a natural transgression for Humpy. One of her best performances was at the North Urals Cup, Russia which featured the top ten women players of that time.

Her troubled equation with AICF (Indian chess federation) resulted in her missing a few prestigious events. In fact, in 2015 AICF moved the FIDE Ethics Commission to ban Humpy and take necessary action against her and strip her of the GM and other titles after she withdrew midway through the Commonwealth Championship. It was the Association of Chess Professionals which stood strongly behind Humpy and asked FIDE for a fair enquiry.

Always calm, shy and soft spoken, Humpy always keeps a low profile off-board but once at the chequered board, her personality undergoes a dramatic transformation.

Her brand of fighting chess, dislike for any short draws, made her a feared opponent. Returningbackto chess after two years, after the birth of her daughter, her recent triumph might just spur her on to settle some unfinished business -- that of winning the Womens World Chess Championship. Excerpts...

Your thoughts on this Womans World Rapid chess title?

To be honest, I didnt think that a gold medal and title would come my way when I started the event. I had modest expectations of a medal of any hue. It is no secret that I am more a classical player and the shorter time control formats have never really been my cup of tea. After glancing at the final 12thround pairings, I realised that I had an opportunity to secure silver if I beat Tan Zhongyi. I had the advantage of the White pieces and refused a draw offer and went on to win the game to force a tie for top place. At this point I realised that I had a golden opportunity though it would not be too easy. Adapting to the Blitz format was not easy and I ended up losing the first tie-break because of slow play, that too with the White pieces. I opted for the Modern Defence and tried to complicate as the pressure was high to score a win and stay in the hunt for the title. This was literally a game where I gambled! After winning the game and forcing a tie, the Armageddon too was taxing but by then I was comfortable with the time and position both! It was just my day. After so many years of hard work, finally a World Champion title as a reward. I was so happy and relieved to finally, finally have the tag of World Champion.

Did you make any specific preparation for the World Championship?

I hardly had time as I played the Grand Prix at Monaco where I finished second. There was a 10-day break in between but I played the European Club Cup. With so manybacktobackevents, it was difficult to specifically prepare for this event.

Your father Ashok has been your only coach. Does he still continue to be so?

It has been a while since we stopped working at the board as for the last few years I am preparing on my own. He is more of a mentor and guide now. We discuss strategy for the tournament and things like which opening to play and other things. The fundamentals ingrained by my father have been very strong and have stood the test of time.

From 2007 you were practically the highest rated woman player for a few years, yet the World title eluded you. Do you wonder why?

Yes, I do think it really appears strange. On hindsight, I feel like I played my best chess ever in World championships but the title never came my way and the best I managed was a bronze. I kept getting knocked out. Maybe I was unlucky. We dont know what life will throw at us in the future. We can only focus on doing our job to the best of our ability and see what comes our way.

How much time do you devote to chess?

It used to be a tough, disciplined grind of 8 to 10 hours every day without a break -- even on Sunday. I would spend half a day working on chess. Now I spend about three to four hours every day. After the arrival of my daughter, things have changed. I no longer work on festivals and few other days. I have to do a balancing act but I never miss any opportunity that I can spend working on chess.

How much had chess changed after your comeback?

There are a lot of changes. I realised that most of the preparation I had done a couple of yearsbackor earlier was not at all useful or had become redundant. With powerful engines, chess has changed. Younger generation play the best possible opening. When I became a GM, we did not have such exposure to technology. These days if you dont become a GM by 12 or 13 years then there is virtually no future for you as a chess player.

How do you look at the current crop of youngsters?

When I made a comeback at Gibraltar, I met a few of them, most of them just 15 or 16 years old and already enjoying an Elo 2500 to 2600 rating. Frankly, I am overawed and sometimes I feel that I am already a veteran!

Which are your next events and are you expecting invitations to niche events?

Nothing is planned yet but maybe February or March. I have received a few invitations but I have become a bit choosy now. I cannot play all events but play in all official FIDE events. This title has sort of rekindled my hunger for winning a World Womens title.

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Koneru Humpy: Back to the forefront - Deccan Herald

Christmas puzzle: What were the previous moves? – Chessbase News

12/26/2019 Christmas Puzzle week, which we bring you for the twentieth year in succession, is time for unusual and entertaining puzzles tasks that are not amenable to computer assistance, but require human ingenuity. Try, for instance, to imagine how the position in the picture could have possibly arisen. Determining that needs lateral thinking. One of the foremost composers of chess problems "out of the box" sent us some highly entertaining examples. At least one of them looks quite impossible. Merry Boxing Day!

ChessBase 15 - Mega package

Find the right combination! ChessBase 15 program + new Mega Database 2020 with 8 million games and more than 80,000 master analyses. Plus ChessBase Magazine (DVD + magazine) and CB Premium membership for 1 year!

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During the Christmas puzzle week, which we bring you for the twentieth year in succession, you need to be prepared for puzzles that cannot be easily solved with a computer (the point of this endeavour). We give you tasks which require you to think all by yourself. But unlike in the past we will not be giving you a separate instalment every single day between Christmas and New Year. Just occasional entertainment during the holiday season.

Today we bring you a special puzzle by Werner Keym, who is one of the most creative problemists I know. He specializes in problems involving castling, en passant captures and pawn promotion. For many years I have enjoyed his problems, which I often encountered. Many have the advantage of not being prone to instant solution by chess engines. They force you tothink.His most recent English language book, "Chess Problems out of the box," is going to keep me busy for a long time to come. It is one of the most entertaining works I have ever encountered (and it is competing with Loyd, Dawson, Fabel, Smullyan and co.). You canget yourself a copy here(12/US $12 + postage 2/4).

And now without further ado here is a Christmas puzzle Werner Keym sent me:

It looks impossible: Black can always escape White's attacks, at least for three moves, e.g. 1.xf5+ xc7 2.g7+ f7+ 3.xf7+ b8 6.b7+; or 1.g7 xc8 2.xf5+ d7 3.d6 xf5 4.g8#.

The only way to mate in three seems to be after capturing en passant on f6. But in chess problems that is only allowed if you can conclusively prove that Black's last move can only have been a double-step of the pawn: f7-f5. You must show that it was the only possible move, i.e. that any other Black move previous to the position above was not possible.

Let us make it absolutely clear: you need to find a position in which Black and White played one legal move each, and then in the diagram position Black played f7-f5, allowing White to play 1.e5xf6 e.p. and deliver mate on his third move. Can you find the previous two moves?

If you are getting a feel for this kind of problem, here are a few more. The following two are real classics you see them everywhere. They are also fairly easy. The first is by Dr Niels Heg from 1916, the second by Raymond Smullyan in 1980. In each case the question is what could have been the previous move or moves, how could these positions have occurred?

How did this happen what were the last moves?

The next two are harder but very pleasing to solve:

How did this happen what were the last moves?

In the first diagram (by Werner Keym, Die Schwalbe 1979) Black is in check. What were the previous moves? In the second diagram (by Niels Heg, Skakbladet 1924) the question is how could that position have arisen? You must find a legal position that can lead to the above diagram in three moves.

The solution to these problems will appear here, not in a separate article, later this week.

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Christmas puzzle: What were the previous moves? - Chessbase News

Top FritzTrainers of the year – Chessbase News

In 2019, we redesignedChessBase Magazine adding a new more accessible layout, and revamped theMega Database 2020 layout as well. Then there's the new Fritz 17 with multiple engines including Fat Fritz, arguably the strongest chess playing entity on the planet as we head into the new year.

We've implemented several improvements to the FritzTrainer line of instructional videos, notably adding Mac compatibility to our flagship releases. An independent iPad version is also available. Now we've asked prolific reviewer Davide Nastasio, who's probably spent more time with the FritzTrainers than just about anyone, for his top picks of the year. Here are ten video series not to be missed!

For coaches and chess teachers the series of FritzTrainers by Pert on typical mistakes is fundamental in Nastasio's opinion.

Within the video series there are several chapters, and each chapter comprises a theme for games played between players rated between 1000-1600. Several games are explained and then there are many interactive examples for the viewer to have a go at themselves.

In every game of chess, there comes a moment when one is confronted with the question: what should I do now? Often, the solution involves more than finding just one single move, and you are rather challenged to work out a complete plan instead. In order to make an effective plan, one needs to delve deeper into the position just determining which pieces are good and bad normally is not enough to find your way.

Five key elements of positional play are discussed which help you formulate the right plan:

After going through the 12 examples from the theoretical section, its time for you to get actively involved! The author has collected no less than 50 instructive examples with multiple questions to test your positional understanding. On top of that, another 50+ examples have been added in a separate database, while there is also a new feature in the Fritz app to play out various positions.

The current World No.2, being a 1.e4 player his entire life, has shared his deep knowledge about the Ruy Lopez in a 3-DVD series, acclaimed by amateurs and professionals alike. In 2018, Fabiano Caruana achieved one of the most prestigious honours in the history of the game: he qualified for a match for the World Chess Championship. He lost, but left many surprised as to how he out-prepared and out-played Magnus in the classical portion of the match.Read the review.

Navigating the Ruy Lopez Vol.1-3

The Ruy Lopez is one of the oldest openings which continues to enjoy high popularity from club level to the absolute world top. In this video series, American super GM Fabiano Caruana, talking to IM Oliver Reeh, presents a complete repertoire for White.

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The London System with 2.Bf4 Reloaded

Over the last couple of years nearly all the worlds elite grandmasters have been employing the London System, and on this DVD Simon Williams shows what we can learn from their practice. The Ginger GM takes a look at all the latest developments whilst t

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Why bother learning hundreds of complex variations when you can play a simple yet deadly opening the London System with 2.Bf4. Over the last couple of years nearly all the worlds elite grandmasters have been employing the London System, and on this DVD Simon Williams shows what we can learn from their practice. The Ginger GM takes a look at all the latest developments whilst teaching you all the basics that you need to know in order to play this opening with success.

Following his first bestseller on the London System, Williams new work not only updates previous analyses but is also packed with new and original ideas which can be used even at the highest level - a must for players who want results, yet do not have much time on their hands. If youre not a practitioner of the London System yet, in fact the only question remains: Why Not?

The London System is becoming increasingly popular, both at grandmaster and club level. The theory of the opening is developing quickly, with new things being tested all the time. This, in return, gives rises to fresh tactical ideas which should belong to the basic arsenal of any London devotee after all, tactics remains the be-all and end-all of the game. On this DVD, Simon Williams shows all the complications in the London System one has to know as White, giving you the tactical tools for a successful practice the player who knows the typical motifs has an advantage over the board. Using the interactive FritzTrainer format which invites the viewer to answer questions by entering the moves on the screen, the Ginger GM, intensively and systematically, makes your familiar with a multitude of typical tactical finesses in positions of the London System. Of course, those who dont yet have this opening in their repertoire can also profit after all, a sharp combinatorial vision is always useful in chess.

Of course Black has something to say about the opening as well. In this FritzTrainer, GM Yannick Pelletier offers Black a repertoire against the London System that you can employ no matter which opening (Systems with d5, systems with g6, Queens Indian, Queens Gambit, Benoni, Benko, Dutch) you usually play against 1.d4 followed by 2.c4. Thematic games explain and illustrate the theory and ideas of the repertoire Pelletier proposes. At the end of the DVD you are invited to test your knowledge. The author pauses at key moments and asks you to find and to play the best move, after which he gives feedback. A database with carefully selected and annotated games helps you to understand and play the opening better and to counter the London System with success.

Is Bird's opening an audacious attempt by chess mavericks? Or a slightly offbeat way for White to get an advantage in today's hyper-engine-analyzed opening landscape? Can the Bird's be a way to disorient our opponents using a lesser-known opening? The Bird's is an opening for players who are free spirits. IM Lawrence Trent in his latest work addresses this need, covering all of Black's answers, and proudly finding new moves in old lines. If you are a club or a tournament player, searching for a surprise weapon, the Bird's can give a boost to your wins! Read the review.

Always wanted to play like a World Champion? Search no further! With Magnus Carlsen using the Sveshnikov variation as his weapon of choice in the World Championship match against Fabiano Caruana, this DVD could not be better timed. The Dutch grandmaster Erwin LAmi (former second of Veselin Topalov and currently seconding Anish Giri), guides you through this dynamic opening variation. The DVD offers a complete overview of this fascinating opening that has inspired generations of chess players!

See also:Fast and Furious: The Sveshnikov surge

Nastasio noticed a flaw in many chess biographies of world champions. They all have an index for the opponents, they have an index for the openings, but there is no index for the interesting endgames. Often we find a 400 or 500 page biography with tons of games, yet no idea how to find typical middlegame themes or endgames to learn from. In the latest FritzTrainer from GM Karsten Mueller, however, you'll find the world champions' best endgames, each deconstructed using Mueller's great endgame insight and teaching experience.Read the review.

In Master Class Vol.11: Vladimir Kramnik,Dr. Karsten Mller, Mihail Marin, Oliver Reeh and Yannick Pelletiershowyou how to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess, how to successfully organise your games strategically, how to keep your opponent permanently under pressure and how to bring your games to a successful conclusion with accurate technical endgame play. Through Vladimir Kramniks games it is possible, moreover, to follow the history and development of numerous popular openings and thus obtain a better understanding of the ideas behind them.

Master Class Vol.11: Vladimir Kramnik

This DVD allows you to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess and from the explanations of the authors (Pelletier, Marin, Mller and Reeh) how to successfully organise your games strategically, consequently how to keep y

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For a player who wants to learn a wide range of different middlegame positions, the English should definitely be high on the list. Flexibility in move orders can mean the difference between quiet or aggressive play.Marin, who previously authored one of the biggest literary works on the English opening and has now brought his experience to the video format in a new, updated repertoire. Glimpse his deep knowledge, acquired through years of practice, in order to gain confidence in this new opening weapon suitable in every type of setting, from long time control tournaments to online blitz.Read the review.

Looking for a holiday gift for your chess-fan friend or relative? We've got you covered! You'll find all these and much more in the ChessBase Shop!

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Top FritzTrainers of the year - Chessbase News


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