Also In The News, August 2015

Also In The News, August 2015

| 20 | Chess Event Coverage

Sure, we're midway into September, but it's not too late to look back on all the news we missed in August. Blame the Sinquefield Cup, the ongoing World Cup, and all the events in between.

August had many events worthy of a mention, and below you'll see a quick overview of chess news and potpourri in popular media. Just as we did in July, the compilation should keep you busy clicking and reading:

Top German Chess Player Transfers to Azerbaijan

With all of the focus on GM Fabiano Caruana transferring to the U.S. recently, it was easy to forget that Azerbaijan nabbed its own world-class player. GM Arkadij Naiditsch, an on-again, off-again 2700, officially transferred from Germany to Azerbaijan. Naiditsch was born in Latvia.

GM Arkadij Naiditsch, from Latvia to Azerbaijan by way of Germany.

The switch represents a (pretty strong!) consolation prize for the Azeris, who were trying to recruit Caruana, as he confirmed to while at the Sinquefield Cup -- "I sort of had some interest from Azerbaijan, but this was never going to happen. I have no ties to Azerbaijan."

Naiditsch is now the presumptive third board for his new country, behind GMs Teimour Radjabov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. The loss will certainly be felt by Germany -- Naiditsch had played board one for them in four of the last five Olympiads.

GM Nigel Short Only Passenger on Commerical Flight

Being a former world champion candidate does not get you access to private planes, or does it? Recently GM Nigel Short, the globe-trotting professional who is even number one on the Thai blitz ratings list, recently boarded a flight without any seatmates.

Who needs a personal plane when apparently an Air Zimbabwe 737 will take you where you want to go? (photo: Wikimedia Commons)
His plane flew from Johannesburg, South Africa to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe with one occupied seat and 104 empty chairs. "I was amazed they didn't cancel it," Short was quoted as saying. He said the pilot's informational announcements were directed only at him and prefaced by "Mr. Short".
This reporter's trip to Victoria Falls in 2009 was far less luxurious. Windhoek, Namibia to Livingstone, Zambia by bus was about 19 hours.

First Chess Book Written in Local Language

Staying in the same part of the world, seven million South African speakers of the Xhosa language now have a chess book written in their native tongue. The Xhosa language involves clicking, although uses the Latin alphabet to represent the various clicks. Here's an example of how it sounds when spoken.

Here's FIDE Trainer IM Watu Kobese explaining how the book will help expand chess in the Eastern Cape of South Africa:

Quirk in Ratings Yields Youngest 2600 in History

Ahh, the joys of youth, or it is the joys of a K-factor of 40? In the latest case of a strong junior rising to a stratospheric ratings after a few good results, 13-year-old American FM John Michael Burke is now 2601. His K-factor should now be reduced to 10 since his rating is firmly above 2400.

FM John Michael Burke (FIDE: 2601) at the 2015 U.S. Open. Maybe the secret is in the water?

Burke broke GM Wei Yi's record for youngest 2600 in history. He also became number one in the world on the under-14 list.

His amazing summer included a 65-point gain at the Washington D.C. International, and a few days later a 120-point gain at the World Open in Virginia. Fast forward another few weeks and he banked 95 points at the New York International, then he returned to the Potomac for 63 more points at the 2015 U.S. Cadet in Maryland. That's 343 rating points in a little more than one month without ever leaving the mid-Atlantic area of the U.S.

World Chess Solving Championship Contested in Poland

Being the best at chess puzzle solving is a bit like mixed doubles in tennis. It takes many of the same skills but somehow doesn't get the attention.

Held early in August in Ostroda, Poland, Russian GM Anatoly Mukoseev (he's an FM over the board!) won the open individual championship. In the team competition, Poland's A Team took top honors, with GM Kacper Piorun leading the way.

Feeling like you'd like to have a shot? Here are the puzzles from the event ("#2" signifies White to move and mate in two, while "+" means White to move and win and "=" means White to move and draw). Can't stand the torture? Here are the answers!

Nakamura Best Tennis Player in America?

An intriguing interview with top U.S. player GM Hikaru Nakamura revealed a lot about the player's background and outside interests, but also contained the biggest editorial mistake of the month. Although the article has been edited since publication, for at least 24 hours, a glaring error remained. See if you can spot the mistake:

Kasparov Hints at New Book

During an extended interview and commentary session at the 2015 Sinquefield Cup, former World Champion GM Garry Kasparov briefly discussed his new book. "Winter is Coming" will hit store shelves in October.

The polemic against Russian President Vladimir Putin is his first publication since his extremely thorough "My Great Predecessors" series and his first non-theory book since "How Life Imitates Chess" from 2008.

Duchamp's Nude Chess, Revisited

In a true case of art imitating life (or is it the other way around?), artist/chess player Marcel Duchamp was once the subject of an art piece. He played the white pieces while a black-haired nude woman sat opposite him.

WGM Jennifer Shahade, co-author of a book on Marcel Duchamp's chess career, reverses the clothing roles.

Recently a gallery in San Francisco juxtaposed the wall art with performance art -- a cigar-smoking Duchamp doppleganger playing chess with an actual nude woman. It's not clear if the 2-D and 3-D versions had the exact same chess position -- judge for yourself.

Yoko Ono's Various Chess Sets

Yoko Ono, the widow of Beatles frontman John Lennon, has been tied to chess in several ways recently. She was the past benefactor of the "Imagine Tournament" at the Museum of Natural History in New York City (which this reporter attended several times). Recently, she unveiled two new unique chess sets.

The first features all 32 pieces the same shade of white -- players must remember whose pieces are whose! The "White Chess Set" was on display at MOMA in Manhattan.

Imagine there's no colors: Yoko Ono's "Play it By Trust" from 2002 (image courtesy: World Chess Hall of Fame).

This follows a past creation of Ono's -- an app whereby all the pieces are dogs. Apparently the app also allows for an animated version of the "White Chess Set" called "Play it By Trust" which is meant to show the futility of war.

New Book Examines Old Chess Mystery

Where did the Lewis Chessmen come from? The world's most famous and most misunderstood chess pieces are examined in "Ivory Vikings" by Nancy Marie Brown.

Found in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis, the pieces are made from walrus ivory and whale teeth. According to Brown's research, the set may have originated in present day Norway, Iceland, or Scotland's Outer Hebrides Islands.

Some of the Lewis Chessmen seen from this reporter's trip to the National Museum of Scotland.

Gambling Revenue Pays for Local Chess Club

In the U.S., many state lotteries support local public schools, but in Australia, gambling revenue is used partly to fund chess.

The town of Alice Springs, which lies at the geographic center of the world's third least densely populated country, has had the thermometer go as high as 120F (49C), so chess seems like a natural fit!

Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia -- not on most travelers' itineraries! (Photo: Wikipedia).

Polgar Sisters Reunite in Italy

Judit, Susan and Sofia Polgar got the band back together in August at the Hungarian Pavilion of "Expo Milano 2015". All three played a 10-board simul and the three sisters were also joined by their parents.

Sofia, Judit and Susan Polgar in a rare group appearance (photo courtesy Italian Chess Federation).

More from FM MikeKlein
Ian Nepomniachtchi On The World Chess Championship

Ian Nepomniachtchi On The World Chess Championship

New ChessKid Adventure App Released

New ChessKid Adventure App Released