Showing posts with label Trivia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trivia. Show all posts

September 16, 2011

Why does White move first in chess?

Have you ever asked yourself why is White the one to make the first move on the board? I never seriously thought about it before, not until today. I don't even know what strange connections or associations took place in my head to come up with this question. Rules are rules and we don't really bother to wonder why they are there in the first place. But just like when you cannot remember a word, a name, and you are struggling with it the whole day long to bring it into memory, so this question gave me no peace until I started to look out for the answer. And it's pretty interesting!

February 10, 2011

Grandmasters are humans too

Two days ago I was asking you if the famous queen "sacrifice" looks familiar...of course, we also have our "highlights", but somehow, we expect that such kind of terrible blackouts don't occur in the games of strong Grandmasters. 
But, as you will see in a few following samples, blunders and bad days don't avoid the top players. We should maybe stop blaming ourselves and our brains when these kind of mistakes appear on our boards as happens!

February 8, 2011

Historical chess blunders

Time is indeed "flying", as one of my friends likes to repeat over and over again:) I was in Holland this morning and now I am back home to my parents, in Roumania. And, as usual, I had a book to keep me company while flying.
This is how I re-discovered that even the best of the best, the chess gurus, the greatest Grandmasters ever, they are all humans. So...yes, they make terrible blunders as well.

My question for you is: Which top player "forgot" that his queen is under attack and played, in the following position, Ng5?

If you like the idea, we can start today the: Top 10 historical chess blunders.
The position given above is my suggestion. If you know other astonishing moments like this one, with famous chess players of course, don't hesitate to share them! 

January 23, 2011

Tata Steel Chess - 8th round

A few days ago I was asking you:
Do you recognize the position on the board?

We can see the poster everywhere in Wijk aan Zee, it's part of the entire image change. The position was not randomly chosen. It is a beautiful game from 1999

January 14, 2011

Tata Steel - Opening Ceremony for the A and B groups

The tent seen from outside; commentaries
will be given here later on.
Today, at 16 o'clock, the drawing of lots for the A and B groups took place in the same tent as usual. But this time, the red colour from Corus was replaced with the blue theme of Tata Steel Company.
You are here, in Wijk aan Zee, a seaside village, kind of windy and rainy but than you enter this big chess house: you are immediately surrounded by the blue colour, suggesting the sea and the peace before the storm. The peace before the tournament starts!

Tata Steel Chess - Photo Report

Wijk aan Zee! A small town on the coast of the North Sea, in the municipality of Beverwijk, with the broadest beach of the North-Holland, Wijk is once again the heart of the chess world! The prestigious chess tournament Tata Steel Chess, formerly called Corus or Hoogovens, takes place here at the beginning of every year!

December 17, 2010

Chess Trivia - Solution

Trivia: The chess legends: Philidor, Taimanov and Smyslov could have been famous doing something else than playing chess...what exactly?

Answer: As you already mentioned on facebook/email/comments all three of them shared the same passion: music. And it was not just a hobby, but they were very good at it! 

Francois-Andre Danican Philidor:

For a time Philidor was among the leading opera composers in France, but when he felt he was being surpassed by other composers, he decided to concentrate on chess, particularly as a better means of supporting his family.

I created the following video about Philidor's chess and musical career, hope you will enjoy it:)


Vasily Smyslov:

Smyslov was a fine baritone singer, who only positively decided upon a chess career after a failed audition with the  Bolshoi Theatre in 1950. He once said, "I have always lived between chess and music." On the occasion of a game against Mikhail Botvinnik, he sang to an audience of thousands. He occasionally gave recitals during chess tournaments, often accompanied by fellow Grandmaster and concert pianist Mark Taimanov. Smyslov once wrote that he tried to achieve harmony on the chess board, with each piece assisting the others.

Smyslov singing, Tilburg, 1981:

Mark Taimanov:

With his wife, Lyubov Bruk, he formed a piano duo, some of whose recordings were included in the Philips and Steinway series Great Pianists of the 20th century.
They met at the age of 12 at the Leningrad Conservatory and their teacher Savshinsky had the idea of supplementing the solo repertoire with two pianos. It is to their teacher's great insight that they owe their wonderful career.They were both different in temperament. Lyubov had a tender, lyrical nature with refined delicate touch and Mark had a more expansive repertoire, suited to Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky concerts. However they both worked together to create a unique sound, using their differences to give music a more contrasted timbre. The idea of the two different personalities was the key to their music making. They began touring throughout eastern Europe very successfully and these recordings are a legacy.
He remarried late in life and became the father of twins at an advanced age.

Two more famous chess players and singers:

Lajos Portisch is also well known as an opera singer, but I couldn't find a video. Maybe someone can help?!

The following video shows the Grandmaster Emil Sutovsky singing at the closing ceremony of the Poikovsky, 2007.

I am sure that there are many more Grandmasters gifted with a different talent than the one for chess...

December 16, 2010

Chess Trivia!

We all heard about the famous chess players Philidor, Taimanov or Smyslov. But what maybe not everybody knows is that they all shared the same passion, besides chess.

Trivia: The chess legends: Philidor, Taimanov and Smyslov could have been famous doing something else than playing chess...what exactly?

December 2, 2010

Chess Trivia - Solution

As Michael mentioned in his comment, the famous swimmer is: Kramnik, preparing for the world championship match against Kasparov, in 2000.
Maybe this helped because he won the match.

We all know how important it is to have a decent physical condition. The following pictures speak for themselves, showing us once again not to underestimate the pshysical training. All of the photos were taken before the match against Kasparov.

Kramnik before his match against Kasparov
Bored, relaxed, meditating...?
Or worried about his dinner?

That looks difficult...
...playing tennis

Chess Trivia

Because it's Thursday and I promised to be back with a new Trivia question, this week I chose another picture:
TRIVIA: Do you recognize the strong chess player swimming, in his physical preparation before an important event?


Solution from the previous trivia: Do you recognize the chess players?

From left to right: Robert Ris, Erwin l'Ami, Anish Giri, Daniele Vocaturo, Axel Rombaldoni, Daniyyl Dvirnyy, Andrea Stella, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Venkatachalam Saravanan, Negi Parimarjan.

November 18, 2010

This week's Trivia...

It's time for another picture:) Do you recognize the chessplayers?

Trivia - Solution from last week

Previous week, on 11th November, I posted the following Trivia question: In Amsterdam, very close to Max Euwe Plein (Square), there is a bridge...After whom is the bridge named?
Jan Hein Donner

The obvious answer would have been...Max Euwe?!:) Maybe there is also another bridge in Amsterdam, named after the Dutch World Champion, but it's not the one I was asking about:)
How's that bridge called than?! Of course it is named after another famous Dutch Grandmaster: Jan Hein Donner!

Johannes Hendrikus (Hein) Donner (July 6, 1927 – November 27, 1988) was a Dutch Chess Grandmaster and writer. Donner was born in The Hague and won the Dutch Championship in 1954, 1957, and 1958. FIDE awarded him the GM title in 1959. He was the uncle of the current Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Piet Hein Donner.
On August 24, 1983 Donner suffered a stroke, which he wrote happened "just in time, because when you are 56 you do not play chess as well as you did when you were 26". After surviving the stroke, he went to live in Vreugdehof, which he described as "a kind of nursing-home". He was unable to walk, but had learned to type with one finger, and wrote for NRC Handelsblad and Schaaknieuws.
Donner was also a chess columnist and writer. He was famous for his outspoken and often outrageous columns about subjects such as women, politics, and fellow Dutch Grandmaster Lodewijk Prins, whom Donner claimed "cannot tell a kinght from a bishop".
In 1987, the book De Koning ("The King") was published, which contained 162 of his chess columns, all but the last written between 1950 and 1983. Also in 1987, Donner received the Henriette Roland-Holst Prize, one of the Netherlands' most prestigious literary awards, for Na mijn dood geschreven ("Written after my death"), a selection from the mini-columns he had written for NRC Handelsblad. In 2006, New in Chess published an English translation of De Koning, entitled The King: Chess Pieces.
Quotes from Donner:
  • "I love all positions. Give me a difficult positional game, I'll play it. Give me a bad position, I'll defend it. Openings, endgames, complicated positions, and dull, drawn positions, I love them all and will give my best efforts. But totally winning positions I cannot stand."
  • Writing of Lodewijk Prins, after Prins had won the Dutch Championship: "He hasn't got a clue. He is the worst player in the whole wide world. ... Dear Lodewijk. ... You've won the title and I want to congratulate you. But I think you cannot tell a knight from a bishop and I'm prepared to prove it, too. ... We'll play a match." Prins declined Donner's match offer.
  • "After I resigned this game with perfect self-control and solemnly shook hands with my opponent in the best of Anglo-Saxon traditions, I rushed home, where I threw myself onto my bed, howling and screaming, and pulled the blankets over my face."
  • Donner's remark about winning from a dead-lost position: "I couldn't resist saying something that I had never said before after winning a game of chess. I may have thought it, but I had never said it. I said, 'Sorry.'"
  • "Chess is and will always be a game of chance."
  • "It is mainly the irreparability of a mistake that distinguishes chess from other sports. A whole game long and there is only one point to score. Just one mistake and the battle is lost, even though the fight may go on for hours. ... That's why a mistake hits so hard in chess."
  • On playing the Black pieces against the move 1.e4: "I don't like this move. And they know it." Donner, The Master Game, BBC2
  • "How different is chess in the United States. The game of chess has never been held in great esteem by the North Americans. Their culture is steeped in deeply anti-intellectual tendencies. They pride themselves in having created the game of poker. It is their national game, springing from a tradition of westward expansion, of gun-slinging skirt chasers who slept with cows and horses. They distrust chess as a game of Central European immigrants with a homesick longing for clandestine conspiracies in quiet coffee houses. Their deepest conviction is that bluff and escalation will achieve more than scheming and patience (witness their foreign policy)."
  • "... it doesn't take much insight into human nature to predict that Fischer will not be world champion for long. His quirks, moods and whims will turn against him at the moment when he has reached the top. He'll hit out hard, but at nothing but thin air."
  • "The difference between the sexes is remarkable in chess, but not any more so, to my mind, than in any other field of cultural activity. Women cannot play chess, but they cannot paint either, or write, or philosophize. In fact, women have never thought or made anything worth considering."

November 11, 2010

Thursday, it started to be my favourite day:)

Trivia Day!

Yesterday evening Erwin gave a chess lecture in Max Euwe Center in Amsterdam, about the match between Anand and Topalov 2010. The Chess Center is located in the Max Euwe Plein (Square), definitely a must see for chess visitors!
Max Euwe
Once through the entrance we find ourselves in the museum. Panels with texts and photographs show an outline of the development of chess and Max Euwe's career. Glass cases display various objects from Euwe's chess inheritance. Chess sets from all over the world give an indication of the variety in chessmen through the ages.
MEC's attention for the history of chess finds expression in its videotheque as well. In the meeting room adjacent to the museum a dvd-player and monitor have been set up. MEC has obtained dvd's of the earliest chess films; visual material of rare, historical value; recordings of a more recent date are also available.
The walls of the meeting room have been fitted with a portrait gallery of female and male world champions. Under the watchful eyes of these celebrities you can play a game of chess. A splendid sight!

As mentioned before, Max Euwe Center is located on a beautiful square named after Holland's only chess world champion. On the square you will find a huge chess set next to a statue of the champion. The giant pieces are used day and night by enthusiastic chess fans. 

Erwin told me that now, in the night, it is even more beautiful, with a lot of lights from the Christmas decorations. And they are not regular ones, but in shape of chess pieces!

After visiting the Center, you turn right towards the Holland Casino. But as we know, gambling is bad, so you continue your journey by crossing a bridge...

Trivia: After whom is the bridge named?

Good luck in searching the answer:) Although...I am sure the Dutch people know:)

Solution from last week's Trivia! UPDATED with Videos

The question was: What do Kasparov, Karpov, Korchnoi and Capablanca have in common, besides chess?
I think this time it was not an easy task to find the answer:) Unfortuantely Capablanca's name starts with a "C" and not with a "K":) But for sure, after you will see the solution, you will be curious for more. Here's why:

Answer: Besides being famous chess players, they all have been actors as well!

1. Kasparov: was a guest in the TV series: "WEBNATION", episode 8, season 1, in 2007.
2. Karpov: played his own role, as Anatoly Karpov, in the movie "ZUGZWANG", drama, 1989. I couldn't find  the storyline on IMDB. On I found the following review: After falling in with a sinister group of people which include gangsters and gamblers, a former pianist loses his wife and child and ends up taking the rap for a murder he didn't commit. 

3. Korchnoi: "GROSSMEYSTER" drama, 1972. Summary: Chess Grandmaster Sergei Khlebnikov is a highly talented and unusual person, living in the 1970s Soviet Union. His is obsessed with making a beautiful game. But his emotional and irrational way is the reason why he never won a major competition. At last his moment comes and he wins the Tournament of Contenders for the World Championship. Next he has to play against the World Champion...

Also, all three of them were present in the russian documentary: "VREMYA LYUBIT I VREMYA NENAVIDET", 1994. Unfortunately I don't speak russian and I couldn't find an english review. 

4. Capablanca: was a world champion also on the screen: "SHAKHMATNAYA GORYACHKA" (1925). In English it is translated as "Chess Fever". The movie is a short comedy. Storyline: With an international chess tournament in progress, a young man becomes completely obsessed with the game. His fiancée has no interest in it, and becomes frustrated and depressed by his neglect of her, but wherever she goes she finds that she cannot escape chess. On the brink of giving up, she meets the world champion, Capablanca himself, with interesting results. Underneath you can see the video, it's really good!

I should also mention the movie: "SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER" comedy/drama 1993, where GM Joel Benjamin, GM Roman Dzindzichasvili and IM Kamran Shirazi played their own role as chess players. 
Storyline: Josh Waitzkin is just a typical American boy interested in baseball when one day he challenges his father at chess and wins. Showing unusual precocity at the outdoor matches at Washington Square in New York City, he quickly makes friends with a hustler named Vinnie who teaches him speed chess. Josh's parents hire a renowned chess coach, Bruce, who teaches Josh the usefulness of measured planning. Along the way Josh becomes tired of Bruce's system and chess in general and purposely throws a match, leaving the prospects of winning a national championship in serious jeopardy.

You have now some ideas for a Movie Night:) As about me, I know what I will watch next time:) 

November 4, 2010

New Trivia!

Today's Trivia:
What do Kasparov, Korchnoi, Karpov and Capablanca have in common, besides chess?


The answer from last week's Trivia:

A. In which game did this position arise?
B. What was the result?
C. How should White proceed?

A. It's a game between Torre - Parker, New York, 1924.
B. White resigned!
C. The lines given by Alan Benson (Malthrope) are good:)

1.Rd6! (Torre missed this chance!) 1...Rxd6
2.g8Q+ Kd7 (2...Rd8 3.Qxd8+ Kxd8 4.f7 promoting queen +-)
3.Qxh7+ Kc6
4.Qe4+ Kb6 (4...Kd7 5. Qe7+ Kc6 6.Qxd6+ and again promoting queen)
5.Qb4 followed by the same idea of sacrificing the queen for a Black rook and promoting queen afterwards
Black is lost.

How many times did you hear a chessplayer saying: "I had such a winning position and I lost!"?! It happens...

October 28, 2010

Thursday! Trivia Day, what else?!

This week's Trivia:
White to move
A. In which game did this position arise?
B. What was the result?
C. How should White proceed?


And the answer from last week's question:
Name, from left to right, the five chess personalities you recognize in the following picture:
Bonus question: During which tournament was the picture taken?

1. Botwinnik
2. Euwe
3. Smyslov
4. Keres
5. Reshevsky

Bonus question: Drawing of lots, World Championship, 1948. The tournament was played partly in The Hague (from March 2-25), and partly in Moscow (from April 11 to May 17).

As mentioned in his comment, Alan Benson successfully recognized them all and even more. You can try to answer his question by checking last week's Trivia comments.

October 21, 2010

It is Thursday: Trivia day!

As I promised last week, when I published the question: "What do Bobby Fischer and Barbra Streisand have in common?", here I am with the answer. As you have already mentioned: Poekie (wikipedia), Brother in law (jewish origin) and Brian (same Erasmus Highschool), that's the correct answer. They both have a jewish origin, although Fischer made occasional hostile comments towards Jews from at least the early 1960s, and they both finished the same Erasmus Highschool in New York. 
What you maybe don't know:
Raymond Weinstein (born 25 april, 1941), International Fide Master (title awarded in 1962), attented the same Erasmus Highschool, where he was two grades ahead of Bobby Fischer. Weinstein defeated many top players such as: Reshevsky, Pal Benko, Arthur Bisguier and Robert Byrne, drew with Fischer, but his best result came in 1960-61. He finished 3rd in the US Championship, after Fischer and Lombardy, which gave him the opportunity to play in the Interzonal Tournament, held in Stockholm 1962, though neither he nor Lombardy played.
He had a degree in Psychology, was fluent in many languages and had a very good memory. He travelled to Amsterdam to take his master degree, where he was arrested for assault. Dutch chess author Tim Krabbe has identified the victim as the Dutch psychology professor and International Master Johan Barendregt. Because of this incident he was deported back to United States.
In 1964 he killed an 83-year old man in a nursing home with a razor. Raymond went to trial and was judged menatlly ill. He was confined to a psychiatric hospital in Manhattan's Ward Island, where he remains to this day.

Now, today's Trivia question! Name, from left to right, the five chess personalities you recognize in the following picture:

Bonus question: During which tournament was the picture taken?

October 14, 2010

Every Thursday: Chess Trivia day!

Last few days i discovered, over internet and my husband's books, interesting facts about chess and chess players. So why not to share them with you? Which means that from now on, i will post every Thursday a chess question and you are more than welcome to reply. The answer will be written after one week, when i will post the new question.
Also, if you know other intersting topics related to chess and chess players, don't hesitate to write me and i will post them on my blog. Thanks! And ENJOY!

The first Trivia question: What do Bobby Fischer and Barbra Streisand have in common?