Also In The News, July 2015

Also In The News, July 2015

| 21 | Chess Event Coverage

The news team focusus mostly on big events and announcements on these pages, and we don't always have time to mention other chess news stories.

Today we bring you some of the chess-related events and news items of the past month -- some serious, some lighthearted, some inspirational. Let us know what you think in the comments and if you would like to see this monthly compilation become a regular feature on

Legalized Online Poker Would Mean More Funding For Russian National Chess Team

Legislation is up for discussion in Russia that would open the door for online poker and state-run lotteries. Part of the monies collected would go to sponsoring the Russian National Chess Teams according to this report. The amount mentioned that would be funneled toward chess is 12 million Swiss Francs, which is about 12.4 million in U.S. Dollars.

Russian GM Alexander Grischuk at the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event (photo courtesy

The Russian open team has not won an Olympiad since 2002 but the women's team has won three consecutive Olympiad golds.

As a purely speculative exercise, averaging the top four current Russian mens players (the traditional method of Olympiad country seeding) would net a 2765 mark. Thanks to recent transfers of GMs Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana, the average of the top four on the U.S. squad is currently 2770.25, meaning for the first time in recent memory Russian may not go in as the top-ranked squad. The Olympiad is of course still one year away.

Fabiano Caruana Named Visiting Grandmaster Of Science Center

Speaking of Caruana, he was just named to a post that few, if any, grandmasters have had before -- the visiting GM at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ. The center is just across the Hudson River from Manhattan and has as its president and CEO a longtime chess player and writer, Paul Hoffman.

The Liberty Science Center in New Jersey (photo courtesy official site).

Hoffman is the author of King's Gambit, a memoire of playing chess with his father and more recent experiences in the international chess world. He had this to say about appointing Caruana to the post: "Fabiano is the very embodiment of the LSC's 'genius' brand, and shares our goal of unlocking the genius within every child."

Caruana's had a busy month. Besides the work at the Liberty Science Center, he's also been seen playing lots of bughouse at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. Here's a video of him against local FM Doug Eckert with commentary and videography by GM Ben Finegold.

Stabbing Outside Of Chess Club In London

The area outside the South Norwood Chess Club became a crime scene earlier this month when three men were stabbed. There is no indication about what happened leading up to the incident. The club is about eight miles south of the center of London.

GM Zhu Chen Moves Back To China

According to this report former Women's World Champion GM Zhu Chen has moved to Beijing. It appears this move is mostly to assist in training Chinese chess players. In the comments to the article, she says her family is still in Doha, Qatar (she is married to Qatari GM Mohamed Al-Modiakhi). On FIDE's web site, her federation is still listed as Qatar.

GM Zhu Chen, the ninth women to be world champion (photo courtesy Peter Doggers).

WGM Tania Sachdev Plays Battle For The Queen

On July 22, WGM Tania Sachdev, a Red Bull Athlete (like GM Hikaru Nakamura) played a crowdsourced chess match via Twitter. Dubbed Battle For The Queen, she promptly dispatched the world.

WGM Tania Sachdev (photo courtesy

"It was fun to see the world come closer, without a fixed strategy, to play good game against me," Sachdev was quoted as saying.

The "world team" comprised 31 countries and 582 tweets. Opponent moves were made by popular vote and the game last three hours.

Sachdev made more news this month: GM Maurice Ashley announced yesterday via his Facebook page that she will be a commentator at this year's Millionaire Chess Open along with GM Robert Hess and IM Lawrence Trent. Even Millionaire Chess made more news -- IM Providence Oatlhotse of Botswana won a satellite event to the Las Vegas tournament.

Two Chess Power Couples Wed

There have been many titled players who have tied the knot over the years, and two more celebrated weddings in July.

Dutch GM Anish Giri and Georgian IM/WGM Sopiko Guaramishvili exchanged vows July 18 in Mtskheta, Georgia. Many chess glitterati were in attendence.

The happy couple -- IM/WGM Sopiko Guramishvili and GM Anish Giri (photo courtesy Guramishvili's Facebook page).

Also getting married this month was Polish GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Russian IM/WGM Alina Kashlinskaya. Their ceremony was July 8 in Moscow, after which Wojtaszek didn't have much time to prepare for Biel but nearly won it anyway.

GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek and IM/WGM Alina Kashlinskaya in an all-white affair (photo courtesy Russian Chess Federation).

In case you're wondering who the "bigger" power couple is (and we know you are!), the Giri/Guramishvili duo have an average rating of 2582. Wojtaszek/Kashlinskaya edge them at 2587.

Strong Reviews For St. Louis Chess-Themed Restaurant

Directly beside the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is the new Kingside Diner (it opened the day after the 2015 U.S. Championships concluded). The Riverfront Times, a community newspaper that covers arts, music, food and local events, gave this resounding recommendation. It doesn't hurt that the diner's chef also fronts one of chess club founder Rex Sinquefield's favored other restaurants!

The Kingside Diner will also host daily commentary, an autograph session, and other events at the 2015 Sinquefield Cup later in August.

You may want to try it out on Fridays, when you can order "Fischer's Fish and Chips". The restaurant and chess club actually share a wall and a door was cut out to allow direct pass through from one to the other!

Which Players Plays Most Like A Computer?

Are you curious how often a super-GM's moves line up with the strongest computer recommendations? A recent statistical analysis yielded some very surprising results (note the remark that this list is not intended to be evidence of any cheating).

That guy GM Magnus Carlsen? There are 156 other players that play more machine-like than he does. In fact, none of the world's top 15 players is among even the top 30 of computer play. Who's the most binary human chess player out there? That would be GM Ni Hua -- probably not your first guess!

According to the analysis, among the world's elite players (top 15), GM Wesley So is the best at playing the computer's choices.

FIDE Introduces Online Titles

Struggling to make CM or FM? FIDE recently launched a way for chess hoi polloi to get a title by their names. They intend to award the titles of "Arena GM"; "Arena IM"; "Arena FM"; and "Arena CM" to those who play online.

The benchmarks are considerably lower than over-the-board Elo. Arena GM requires a 2000 rating instead of 2500; Arena IM is 1700 instead of 2400; Arena FM is 1400 instead of 2300; and Arena CM is 1100 instead of 2200. Here's the full breakdown of their titling requirements.

How Many Chess Positions Are Really Possible?

The research may not be new here, but this mathematician goes into detail describing the popular statement that there are more chess positions than atoms in the known universe. Was Claude Shannon right when he estimated his number as a "1" with 120 zeroes after it?

The video mentions another estimate by mathematician G.H. Hardy, who took into account actual moves of pieces and the length of possible games when accounting for the 50-move rule (according to the video, each side can make 5900 moves before the game must end!). Here are the two estimates side-by-side:

Whatever the true answer is, it's clear Hardy didn't care for chess like most of you reading this do. He was once quoted as saying, "A chess problem is genuine mathematics, but it is in some way trivial mathematics. However ingenious and intricate, however original and surprising the moves, there is something essentially lacking. Chess problems are unimportant."

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