Wesley So needed just two games on Monday to clinch a 4.5:1.5 victory and take the Chess.com Global Championship title and $200,000. 18-year-old Indian prodigy Nihal Sarin won $100,000, by far the biggest prize of his career so far, but despite having some chances in the penultimate game he was unable to land any blows against the 3-time US Champion.

Nihal Sarin beat Rauf MamedovVladimir KramnikDing LirenSam Sevian and Anish Giri on the way to the Chess.com Global Championship final, but Wesley So was finally the one star name he couldn’t overcome.

Wesley himself had beaten Denis LazavikVasyl IvanchukJeffery XiongDmitry Andreikin and Hikaru Nakamura, and especially in Toronto had only really looked vulnerable in the very first game, when he was on the verge of defeat against Dmitry Andreikin and then missed mate-in-2.

Going into the 2nd day of the final the score was 3:1 in Wesley’s favour, so that he knew he needed three draws, or a win and a draw, to seal the match. He admitted the proximity of his goal made him “very nervous”, which helped Nihal Sarin’s offbeat opening become a success.

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Jan 03, 2017

Garry Kasparov’s Oxford lecture on human performance and artificial intelligence

“You will go down in history as the first person to be beaten by a machine in an intellectual pursuit where you were the most advanced member of our species,” says American author, philosopher, and neuroscientist in this extraordinary podcast interview with Garry Kasparov. After discussing the current world political situation they go on to the subject of machine intelligence. Kasparov also announced a book called Deep Thinking that is due for release in May.

The Sam Harris podcast with Garry Kasparov is 1½ hours long and was conducted on Skype. The bulk of it is devoted to the recent US election, the Russian influence on this process, the problem of waning American power, the rise of Putin, and the coming presidency of Donald Trump. Chess colleagues who have a much deeper understanding of international politics than Kasparov and Sam Harris can ignore this section. They must, however, concede that the level of discourse is very high and the eloquence and verbal skills Kasparov has achieved in his second language are quite remarkable.

In any case if you are so inclined you can fast forward to part on computer chess and the future of intelligent machines, where the opinion of 13th World Champion is undoubtedly relevant. As Sam Harris puts it to Kasparov: “You will go down in history as the first person to be beaten by a machine in an intellectual pursuit where you were the most advanced member of our species. You will have a special place in history, even if that history is written by robot overlords.”

The section on Artificial Intelligence, on which Sam Harris has spoken and written about very convincingly in the past, begins at 1 hour 16:20 min into the Kasparov podcast. Harris initiates the discussion with an important point: “Chess is this a quintessential intellectual activity, but it is actually a fairly simple one, similar to the way that music and mathematics can be simple. This is one of the reasons why you have child prodigies in these areas, and you don’t have child prodigies in novel writing or political debates or other areas that are different in an intellectual sense. This is one of the reasons why chess was one of the first things to fall to Artificial Intelligence.” He goes on to quiz Kasparov about his experiences in the past decades, and Kasparov reveals that he is working on a new book on the subject, Deep Thinking, that is coming out in May 2017, the 20th anniversary of his second match against Deep Blue. Sam announces that there will be a second podcast when it appears, one that we can all look forward to.

Kasparov says [at 1:17:40] that after he beat the computer in 1996 and then lost to it in 1997 he was quite upset that IBM didn’t want to play a rubber match [the decider]. “It’s a painful story, since I will be entering history as the chess champion who represented humanity in an intellectual pursuit and was beaten by the machine. But the reason I wrote the book is not to settle old scores or give my version of the match, but to say that we should not be paralyzed by a dystopian vision of the future – worrying about killer AI and super-intelligent robots, which is like worrying about overcrowding on Mars.

Garry Kasparov’s Oxford lecture on human performance and artificial intelligence:

Even more remarkable is that Kasparov [1:19:10] has had a change of heart: “While writing the book I did a lot of research – analysing the games with modern computers, also soul-searching – and I changed my conclusions. I am not writing any love letters to IBM, by my respect for the Deep Blue team went up, and my opinion of my own play, and Deep Blue’s play, went down. [1:21:55] Today you can buy a chess engine for your laptop that will beat Deep Blue quite easily.”

Kasparov concedes that he would not stand a chance against today’s computer. He says [1:22.25]: “The problems that humans are facing is that we are not consistent, we cannot play under great pressure. Our games are marked by good and bad moves – not blunders, just inaccuracies. They remain unnoticed in human chess, but are very damaging when you are facing a machine.” He has a very interesting analogy: 90% accuracy is good enough for translating a news article, but 90% accuracy for driving a car, or even 99%, is a bad day on the road.

So competing with computers in chess is “about our ability to play high-quality moves for many hours. Human psychology works against us. If I have a computer, even a very weak one, at my side, the tables could be turned, and I or some strong GM would be able to beat a very powerful computer, because I can guide the machine and definitely eliminate blunders, the very root of human weakness when facing the computer. That is why I am promoting the idea of combining our forces.”

Kasparov is referring to Advanced and Freestyle Chess, where humans are allowed to use computers during their games, a form of play he invented and promoted. “The future belongs to human and computer cooperation,” he believes, “man plus machine decision making. We are entering a new era, and there is nothing definite about it – the outcome is not already decided. In the last few decades we have moved from utopian sci-fi to dystopian sci-fi, with machines like the Matrix and Terminator. It could be, but it very much depends on us, on our attitude and our ability to come up with new ideas. It’s up to us to prove that we are not redundant.”

article by Frederic Friedel, source chessbase

Nov 21, 2016

Carlsen-Karjakin, Game 7: New move, same result

A dramatic moment in the match! After getting nowhere with 1.e4 in three games with White Sergey Karjakin switched to 1.d4. Were we about to witness a turning point? Not exactly… Once again World Champion Magnus Carlsen proved to be better prepared, though what followed was something of a comedy of errors that saw the players stumble to a 7th draw in a row. Only five games now remain before potential tiebreaks on Magnus Carlsen’s 26th birthday.

What happened in the intervening few moves? Well, first Magnus rushed 15…0-0 without seriously considering what appeared to be the very serious option of 15…f5, later shrugging that move off with an irritated “dunno” in the press conference…


Apr 18, 2017

2017 GRENKE Chess Classic in Karlsruhe

This was the last round of the 2017 GRENKE Chess Classic to be held in Karlsruhe, and it didn’t disappoint. “In such a position it’s about surviving one move at a time”, said World Champion Magnus Carlsen after staring defeat in the face against women’s no. 1 Hou Yifan. Once again that was the only draw, as Levon Aronian beat Maxime Vachier-Lagrave with astonishing ease, Fabiano Caruana crashed home in style against Georg Meier and Arkadij Naiditsch won his second game with Black to continue the baptism of fire for 19-year-old Matthias Bluebaum.
Enjoy live comment of the GRENKE Chess Classic 2017 on chess24. On the commentator board is GM Peter Leko, GM Jan Gustafson, IM Lawrence Trent and GM Klaus Bischoff.

The Easter holidays are a festive season for the German chess fans. From 15th to 22nd April the GRENKE Chess Classic 2017 will be held. This is a grandmaster tournament in a class of its own.. World Champion Magnus Carlsen will participate in the tournament. He won the last run of the GRENKE Chess Classic 2015 and wants to defend his title.

His strongest competitors are the top ten players Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Levon Aronian. Arkadij Naiditsch also wants to join in the race for the tournament victory again. The grandmaster competing for Azerbaijan stood up brilliantly to the World Champion two years ago. In a legendary final he fought against Carlsen in the tiebreak for the tournament victory, which the Norwegian only ensured in a final Armageddon match.
The organizers take great pleasure in announcing the participation of the strongest female chess player of the world, Hou Yifan. The team of eight players is complemented by the German national player Matthias Blübaum and Georg Meier. For the 19-year-old Blübaum it is the first participation in a grandmaster tournament of this category and a great test. He qualified through his victory at the GRENKE Chess Open 2016 over many strong grandmasters.
The following eight grandmasters are going to compete against each other in one round at the GRENKE Chess Classic 2017 (Elo-ratings according to the list of 1st March 2017)

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen comes to Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden to defend his title of the GRENKE Chess Classic 2017.
Top chess grandmasters such as Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Levon Aronian, Arkadij Naiditsch, Hou Yifan, Matthias Blübaum and Georg Meier are participating in the German grand slam of chess.
GRENKE Chess Open: 13th – 17th of April: Karlsruhe Schwarzwaldhalle

GRENKE Chess Classic: 15th – 17th of April: Karlsruhe Schwarzwaldhalle 18th – 22th of April: Baden-Baden Event-Akademie.

See also:

  • Official website
  • All the games with computer analysis on chess24
  • GRENKE Classic 1: Caruana and MVL toppled
  • GRENKE Classic 2: Magnus-Lev thriller | 100% Hou Yifan