Chess-Playing Robot; RIP Kupreichik, Tatai; Other News

Chess-Playing Robot; RIP Kupreichik, Tatai; Other News

| 15 | Chess Event Coverage

A robot playing chess without a DGT board, inmates playing online chess, and the passing of GM Viktor Kupreichik and IM Stefano Tatai. These are some of the topics of this month's other news update.

Image courtesy Daily Mail.

Prisoners Play Online Chess

Chess simuls in prisons are not completely out of the ordinary. GM Anatoly Karpov has done it many times, and recently WIM Arianne Caoili gave one as well in Armenia. Less common is an online match between players detained in two prisons.

The FIDE report called it a "historic international match," held on May 17 between prisoners from jails in Cook County in Chicago, Illinois and Viana, Espírito Santo, Brazil.


Image courtesy FIDE.

Teams of four faced each other in an online match that was won 4.5-3.5 by the Cook County inmates.

The match was part of the "Chess That Gives Freedom" project, which started in 2008. In 2012 it won the "Spirit of Sports," the International Sports Award of Best Social Project by Sportaccord.

16th Century Chess Piece Discovered In Moscow

The Moscow City Hall announced in early May that a chess piece from the times of Ivan the Terrible was found during ongoing roadworks in Moscow. The piece, which clearly has the shape of a bishop, was filled with ten silver coins. 


The chess piece with the coins, which have been minted between 1530 and 1540. | Image courtesy Moscow City Hall.

Dating from the 16th century, the bishop is hollow inside and consists of three parts held together by a thread. Although the total amount of the coins is five cents, one coin alone could buy a goose in those days, according to Alexei Yemelyanov, head of Moscow's cultural heritage department.

Chess-Playing Robot With "Supervision"

We've seen chess robots before, such as "Kuka" playing in a Moscow park vs Alexander Grischuk. However, strictly speaking Kuka was playing "blindfold," since it was a DGT board that was "feeding" it the moves, position and probably even the clock times. This week a chess-playing robot with actual vision was demonstrated at a tech fair in Taiwan, as the Daily Mail reports.

At the annual Computex trade show in Taipei, a man-shaped and full size robot using "intelligent vision" to recognize the position on the board made moves based on the information that it saw and processed.


The chess-playing (and coffee filling!) robot. | Image IDG.TV.

Playing chess was only intended to demonstrate the possibilities of robots equipped with actual vision. Another example demonstrated at the tech fair was the robot's ability to fill coffee at various fill levels while the coffee cup is at random locations.

2018 World Championship in London?

As always when Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is involved, it's sensible to take this news with a grain of salt. But since it's London, many chess fans would like it to be true, right?

The FIDE president stated recently that the U.K. capital is a possible host city for the next world championship match, scheduled for November 2018. 


"I have arrived to England on Tuesday, where I met with businessmen and lawyers who said they were ready to assist in holding the world chess crown match in London," Ilyumzhinov was quoted by TASS. The Russian news agency added that so far, Japan, South Korea and Singapore have also announced interest in hosting the match—not including Oslo, which has shown interest as well.

Viktor Kupreichik (1949-2017)

Sad news in the last week of May, as the chess world lost two famous players. The first was Viktor Kupreichik, a very strong grandmaster from Belarus. He won the national championship twice and was awarded the grandmaster title in 1980. 

In his youth he wanted to become a football player, but eventually the field became black and white, as this report on the Russian Chess Federation's website notes. He was a big fighter at the chess board, had an aggressive style and was a very creative mind.


Viktor Kupreichik. | Photo courtesy Russian Chess Federation.

Kupreichik's name will live on in chess opening theory. A few sidelines have been attributed to him, most notably the Classical Sicilian starting with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bd7.

Kupreichik died aged 68, and was still an active chess player. The last game in the database is from February 2017, played at the Bronstein Memorial in Minsk. Before that, his last (recorded) tournament was the Butnorius Open in Kaunas, Lithuania 2016. One of his wins was scored in his own variation, against another well-known player from the old days: Heikki Westerinen.

Don't miss Arne Moll's blog A patzer's tribute to Viktor Kupreichik (1938-2017)

IM Stefano Tatai (1938-2017)

Yesterday was informed by the Italian Chess Federation that its legendary player IM Stefano Tatai had died at the age of 79. He won the Italian championship 12 times, and played for Italy nine times at the Olympiad, six times on top board.


Stefano Tatai. | Photo Italian Chess Federation.

Tatai was known as a theoretician and contributed to many articles in several chess magazines. However, he'll mostly be remembered as one of the strongest players of the 1960s, 70s and 80s that never became a grandmaster. He came really close, and defeated some the world's best players. Here's an example:

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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