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Heya everyone and welcome to this week's recap of Pardon our Blunders,which aired at 11 AM Pacific/2 PM Eastern/7 PM London time and was open to Platinum/Diamond members.
Today's show consisted of 10 topics plus a Blunder of the Week, but since there wasn't any candidate for BOTW, the Blunder goes on Danny and David for not preparing one. Shame on the both of you. Go to the corner for 5 minutes and you get no TV, ice cream or cookies.
OK. Sorry. Just got distracted. Anyways, here is the topic list for today's show minus the non-existent BOTW. Hopefully this new format and look won't mess up the recaps. All links will be given in the actual recap of the topic. Some topics may have multiple links:
Topic #1: In the recent Chessbase article, Gelfand gives about a 5-minute interview discussing the upcoming match vs. Anand in the month of May. I also wrote a blog about this a few days ago as well. Gelfand could easily shake things up with a win against Anand, who hasn't done much in competitive chess since the win against Topalov back in 2010. These two players have faced off 70+ times since 1989 and the question is, who wants it more? I would have to say Gelfand, as of right now, looks to be more motivated than the nearly-silent Champion. Gelfand said that this match will be one of the greatest matches in history and also said that nobody's invincible and nobody's immune to mistakes. Obviously, he's throwing that at Anand. The sky won't fall if Anand beats Gelfand and there won't be any heavenly voices coming from the clouds. But if Boris beats Anand...we might see our little pink oinker friends fly.
Topic #2: We've all heard of fantasy sports leagues: baseball, football, hockey, etc. What about chess? Is this the next big thing in chess or is it a way of "Americanizing" chess in comparison to other sports? I must admit it definitely intrigues me on some level, especially since I run a very in-depth Chessmaster 10 league on my computer. The prizes for the USCF Fantasy League are pretty decent as well. I mean, who wouldn't want a luxury chess table or a lesson with GM Ben Finegold? But does this demean or lower chess internationally with the USCF doing this? Or does it peak interest with the younger generation for which these types of fantasy leagues are popular? Is it better to just watch the real deal without having to worry about "gambling" on who's going to win for your fantasy team? Danny pretty much thinks this is ridiculous and David sees a future for it (fantasy chess), but it's poorly implemented by the USCF. He's even considering running a fantasy league based on the upcoming USCL season. I definitely don't think you'll see fantasy chess leagues in today's school system unless, of course, those schools have chess clubs.
Topic #3: Nakamura and Twitter. A match seemingly made in heaven. Sorta like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and his obssession with the social media site. I personally think Naka plays in tournaments just so he can tweet about it. Here's a recent entry on Naka's account:
"Good first round win in the Grand Pacific Open, and fabulous weather here in Victoria, British Columbia!"
Will Naka be entering these lesser Swiss/Open tournaments just for elo points, beating down lower elo-rated players and feeding his "chess rockstar" image? Personally, I think he just needs attention.
Topic #4: Is youngin' IM Darwin Yang on the verge of claiming his first GM norm at the 2nd St. Louis Invitational? In his recent and first Chess.comblog, he recounts his performance at the 28th North American Masters tourney. Currently the 2448 elo-rated IM has a 2699 Performance rating and seems to be on pace to claim the elusive GM norm with a +1/=2/-0 record so far. He would need a 6/9 to claim that and with two rounds per day, does he have enough in the gas tank to keep his performance and spirit up? Here is the official site to keep track of this tournament. Yang has matured greatly in the past 6 months or so and is playing at a new level in his chess according to the guys, and Danny even goes further to say he'll get two GM norms by the end of the year, the first one being at the 2nd St. Louis Invitational. Hoepfully it will happen because of his recent breakthrough; he deserves it.
Topic #5: Is Hou Yifan's "golden streak" over with? Yes, she is the 17-year-old Women's World Champion, but she suffered with a miserable performance at the Chinese Chess Championships and lost to the weakest players in the event. She's had a great streak of 2700+ performances, but this showing knocked her off the pedastal quite a bit. A little bit of burnout setting in? We all get it in all aspects of life, not just chess. She's allowed. She's the youngest Women's World Champion in history and only 17. She's going to have more of these types of outings in her career, for sure. One bump shouldn't wreck the car.
Topic #6: So, if you've never played an OTB tourney before, what do you need to get ready for? A beating by an 8-year-old, for starters. Danny said that there are 9-year-olds in China that can wreck him. You must throw your ego aside and accept you're going to take a beating from a kid perhaps twice or three times younger than you. Their advice: Just go to the tournament and do it, as long as you have the basics down of actual "move recording" and use of clocks (especially if you've been playing online for a year or so, since computers do everything for you now.) All you really need is to get over the fear of taking a beating from someone young enough to be your son or daughter.
Topic #7: This following topic revolves around the chaos of the Candidates tournament and where it was going to be held, at what time of year, politics, this and that, yadda yadda. Anyone who has been keeping up with this knows about the American businessman, Andrew Paulson, living in Russia, buying the rights to the WCC cycle and wanting to hold it a month or so before the prestigious December London Chess Classic. It's now going to be held in early 2013 in London, but by using some Azerbiajiani money, which enabled Teimour Radjabov to be eligible to participate in the tournament.
Part A) Should countries be able to buy their players' participation in events like this?
Absolutely yes! If countries add money to the prize purse, allow the platform for them to participate, and a stipulation is that their #1 player plays in the tournament? There's nothing wrong with it. Yes, other players may gripe about this, seeing as they earned their spot and didn't rely on money to buy their way into a Candidates tournament. ESPECIALLY a Candidates tournament. It's better than not having a chess tournament.
Part B & C) Should the "great cities of the world" be able to come up with the money? and will Radjabov's play be affected by this?
Originally, the tournament was to be held in Azerbiajian, but a top Candidate named Levon Aronian, the GM from Armenia, refused to play there. To avoid having the #2 player in the world NOT be in the tournament (like Magnus back in 2010), other plans needed to be made. Radja is ranked 5th in the world and that alone makes him deserving of a spot in the Candidates. And no I don't think his play is going to be bothered by this but other players may resent him being there because of how he got there.
Topic #7: Why can't Fabiano Caruana sit still for more than 3 days without playing in a tournament? Simple. He wants to play chess and he enjoys it. He has the energy and despite his Harry Potter appearance, David said he's actually quite strong, he likes interesting challenges and enjoys seeing all the different tournaments out there. He wants to see the cities, wants to keep playing and better his knowledge of chess. Danny said he's at the stage in his career where he values experience and he's taking action to increase his strength and image in chess to become part of the chess elite. He realizes the gap between himself and the higher-echelon players, and he wants to close that gap and gain the experiences needed so he's ready for those times when it comes. Carlsen is Caruana's Voldemort and he's going to try to chase him down.
Topic #8: So was Susan Polgar's decision to move her SPICE program from Texas Tech to Webster University in St. Louis (the USA's Chess "Mecca" it seems) going to affect the world of chess in this country or how the rest of the world views her move? Is it going to do a lot for chess and the attention that it's getting? Probably. Maybe. Not really. It's really unknown what the reverb of her decision will be. But when it's seen on sites like Yahoo and in articles on ESPN.com, it's pretty big news.
It could be seen as a bigger deal since the players are going to be moving with her. Susan herself said that St. Louis is the center of chess in this country, bankrolled by Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis president Rex Sinquefield. Only time will tell what the backlash will be. Chess doesn't need any more negative media attention but it could thrive with more positive feedback.
Topic #10: OK. Who brings their queen out relatively early in a game? *raises hand* Well, that's the topic here: bringing out the Queen too early. Now from a coach point of view, David uses the Scotch for example here and tries to show them the difference between 1. e4 e5, 2. d4 and then the queen to d4 after pawn takes pawn or 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 then the pawns and knights trade and the Queen moves to d4. See below for the two diagrams.
In both cases, the Queen comes to d4 in the exact same pawn structure. In one case it's a failure for White, and in the other, a huge success and the difference is "is there a productive way to gain time off of the Queen's position?" That's the main principle on whether or not to bring your Queen out early. In one case it's good so that Nc6 can be played and gains time because White has to move the Queen.
Anyways I hope I explained that well enough. I never said I was really good at chess. For the full version, watch the replay if you're a Platinum/Diamond member and fast forward to about 61 minutes in and see for yourself.
OK I think that's enough for today. I hope you all enjoyed the recaps and hopefully we'll get some good feedback coming from them.
Have a great night everyone and don't forget the BIG Show on tomorrow at 11 AM Pacific/2 PM Eastern/7 PM London time, open to everyone!
Wow, that was a lot of work, Mark! I know how exhausted you were, but pushed to do it. It's hard to tell if anyone read them, seeing as there's no comments, but I hope so. Otherwise, I think maybe just listing the topic headings is enough. No sense in so much effort! The premium members can see the headings and go into "On Demand" and catch it :)