Move Over, AlphaZero: There's a new girl in town

Move Over, AlphaZero: There's a new girl in town

GM smurfo
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12 days ago

By now, you've probably heard of AlphaZero, Google's incredible chess project. Last year, it took the chess world by storm. Using 'artificial intelligence'  - at least that's what the news articles claimed - AlphaZero taught itself chess in l...

Hottest 100 picks, 2017

Hottest 100 picks, 2017

GM smurfo
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Jan 17, 2018

It's that time of the year again when Australia hosts the world's largest online music poll. The publicly-funded radio station Triple J is known as the nation's left-leaning, youth-centred, commercial-free station for cool tunes, with the main gen...

2018 Resolutions - A New Hope

2018 Resolutions - A New Hope

GM smurfo
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Jan 13, 2018

2017 was a pretty big year for me: A wedding, a degree, a new country, a new job, then a new continent... Looking back on all the changes, I was moderately successful with my major 2017 New Year's resolutions (such as "working out which country to...

Self-Serving Patronage

Self-Serving Patronage

GM smurfo
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Jan 2, 2018

Over the past few months, I've had to ask myself a lot of tough questions about my chess. Am I past my peak? Is my priority performance or enjoyment? Should I keep working on trying to stay above 2500? Is it even worth trying to improve now? And i...

The Secret of Chess?

The Secret of Chess?

GM smurfo
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Dec 2, 2017

A couple of months ago, I received a curious email:   Hello, Mr. Smerdon, I recently published an innovative book on chess knowledge/evaluation, 'The Secret of Chess'.  It is written very much in the vein of Nimzovich's and Kmoch's ...

A swindle that never was

A swindle that never was

GM smurfo
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Sep 18, 2017

I've started collecting chess swindles for a new book [so if you have any good ones, please send them to me!]. Over the weekend, I visited a great little weekender on the Gold Coast and saw first-hand a fantastic swindle take place - or, rather, n...

Charlie Changes Everything

Charlie Changes Everything

GM smurfo
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Aug 31, 2017

I don't know how I ended up becoming a chess book reviewer in my spare time, but it's certainly a fun hobby. It's gotten to the point that every now and then, I randomly receive a new chess book in the mail to take a look at - which, as any che...

Perverse Incentives

Perverse Incentives

GM smurfo
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Aug 11, 2017

(Note: I often post about all sorts of things on my own blog, www.davidsmerdon.com, which gets cross-posted here. This is a non-chess post.) One of the cool things about studying economics is that it teaches a new and exciting way o...

All boxed up

All boxed up

GM smurfo
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Aug 1, 2017

When you play often enough on an online chess server, you start to see the same usernames popping up as your opponents. It makes for a weird social network. I recall a story where some Australian chess players met the famous Hikaru Nakamura at a t...

The strangest dream

The strangest dream

GM smurfo
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Jul 29, 2017

I'm a dreamer. Literally; I dream almost every night, and I recall them vividly. They are often bizarrely creative, including the odd chess dream, though occasionally, during stressful work periods, more boring topics sneak in. But last night's ha...

Chess, age and Roger Federer

Chess, age and Roger Federer

GM smurfo
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Jul 22, 2017

In the provocatively titled "Can Anand Be The Federer Of Chess?", Chess.com's Mike Klein brings up the question of whether chess players can really keep performing at the top level as they age. Proponents of this view typically note that chess is ...

Just winging it

Just winging it

GM smurfo
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Jul 11, 2017

These days, the extent of my chess career seems to be the odd blitz game on the net during my lunch break. It's more virtual escapism than serious training of course, but I get to try out some fun openings. One I've been enjoying a lot lately is t...

King of kings

King of kings

GM smurfo
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Jun 24, 2017

The King’s Indian Defence is to chess what the piano is to music. It’s complex, rich and all the pros end up playing it eventually. Fischer, Tal and Kasparov are probably the Chopin, Beethoven and Mozarts of the opening, but other big ...

Why I didn't write

Why I didn't write

GM smurfo
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Jun 18, 2017

So, I finally wrote a post on my site to explain (sort of) my 8-month writing break. No chess content, but some insights into the weird world of economics academia: http://www.davidsmerdon.com/?p=1903

Bad tie-breaks

Bad tie-breaks

GM smurfo
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Nov 8, 2016

The recent strong chess open in the German town of Bad Wiessee was won by my Werder Bremen teammate, the Ukrainian GM Alexander Areshchenko. Areshchenko is perhaps best known as being currently the world's best expert on playing the Najd...

Boycott Iranian Chess? A Reply

Boycott Iranian Chess? A Reply

GM smurfo
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Oct 4, 2016

EDIT: Nigel Short responded with an addendum that “the Iran bid was not mentioned in the FIDE General Assembly Agenda. It was sprung on Delegates as a surprise.” This procedural anomaly is worth mentioning in light of my shielding FIDE...

A guide to the chess Olympiad – Part II

A guide to the chess Olympiad – Part II

GM smurfo
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Aug 21, 2016

Foar Part 1, click here.     In the last article I described the basics of the chess Olympiad, and mentioned that it used to be dominated – almost tediously so – by the USSR. But the chess world is different now an...

A guide to the chess Olympiad – Part I

A guide to the chess Olympiad – Part I

GM smurfo
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Aug 19, 2016

NOTE:  This was supposed to be a small note, but once I assembled all the questions I’ve been asked over the years, it quickly turned into quite a long article. So I’ve broken it up into two parts, vaguely along the li...

Book Review: Insanity, Passion and Addiction

Book Review: Insanity, Passion and Addiction

GM smurfo
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Jul 21, 2016

BOOK REVIEW:  “Insanity, Passion and Addiction: A year inside the chess world” (Danny Gormally)   Most chess books are more or less the same. An opening treatise, an instructional book on endgames or middlegames, a t...

Arbitrary achievements

Arbitrary achievements

GM smurfo
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May 27, 2016

How many seconds have you been alive in your life? Seriously, take a guess. Just pick the closest number that feels right. What did you think? One million? Ten million? A hundred million?! This question is hard. As humans, we're not used...

German gems

German gems

GM smurfo
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Apr 26, 2016

No, I'm not talking about my girlfriend (though she also counts). Last weekend was the final installment of the German chess league, which is the strongest in the world. After each weekend I can't resist quickly going through the 64 games (which i...

When I'm not playing chess...

When I'm not playing chess...

GM smurfo
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Apr 15, 2016

Recently someone asked me what I did "when you're not playing chess." I found the question quite comical because I'm not playing chess the vast majority of the time. Still, occasionally I get mistaken for a professional player (albeit a weak one)....

The rhythm of the knight

The rhythm of the knight

GM smurfo
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Apr 11, 2016

Here's a quick little chess coincidence from the weekend. As I was strolling around to look at the other games in the German Bundesliga matches in Mulheim, I noticed a cute endgame finish in the Dortmund-Emsdetten clash. Black seemed to be holding...

Candidates Wrap: Top 5 moments of the final day

Candidates Wrap: Top 5 moments of the final day

GM smurfo
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Mar 29, 2016

The World Chess Candidates tournament was awesome. Action-packed, drama-filled, and suspense-ridden right up until the end. I've read a lot of reports from the chess side, and naturally about Karjakin's fabulous win. But I haven't read anything ab...

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