Hackers Gonna Hack, Hack, Hack, Hack, Hack And Other News

Hackers Gonna Hack, Hack, Hack, Hack, Hack And Other News

| 14 | Misc

Heated action in Norway and St. Louis hasn't slowed down chess news in the rest of the world. Chess stories just keep rolling in, and we're here to keep you up to date with a quick tour of chess happenings around the world!

Hackers Strike!

The recent actions by Agon to restrict access to live game scores at the 2016 Candidates' tournament led to much general frustration in the chess and digital community. Agon's actions also seems to have inspired at least two hackers to engage in a denial of service (AKA DOS or DDOS) attack on the servers. Such actions have often been undertaken by high level hacking groups (such as the hacktivists Anonymous) to vent their frustrations.

One might assume that some serious digital damnation was descending upon Agon; however, in many cases, the requisite skill required to conduct a DDOS attack is quite low as tools exist to make such attacks simple for hackers. Naturally, one wonders if future attacks will occur during the world championship in November.

Nothing says "hacker" like a backlit keyboard!

GM Bill Lombardy Battling Eviction

Sad news arrives of the legendary GM Bill Lombardy facing eviction from his New York apartment in Stuyvesant near the East Village, home of the Marshall Chess Club and Washington Square Park. Proceedings have been underway against Lombardy for some time, and it appears as if legal recourse has been exhausted. Lombardy has stated that he may move to Kansas.

Lombardy is perhaps best-known for his work coaching Fischer. In fact, he was Fischer's coach in the Portoroz Interzonal, in which Fischer garnered the grandmaster title at the age of 15 -- a record that stood for 33 years until Judit Polgar broke the record in 1991. Lombardy also seconded Fischer in his 1972 match against Boris Spassky, and many believe that Fischer would not have played the match where it not for Lombardy's support and friendship.

It would be unjust to speak of Lombardy only in terms of his role in Fischer's life. Lombardy was an incredibly talented player himself. Before entering semi-retirement to become a priest, he managed a perfect score to claim the title of world junior champion in Toronto in 1957. Here is a pleasant peccadillo from the third round of that tournament.

Lombardy coaching Fischer while Jack Collins looks on.

Kasparov: Not A Bernie Bro?!

For those who have been eagerly awaiting GM Garry Kasparov's presidential endorsement, it appears that Bernie Sanders will not be receiving the ex-world champion's blessing. 

While Kasparov states that he respects Sanders as "a charismatic speaker and a passionate believer in his cause," he drew heavily on his experiences in the Soviet Union to decry Sanders' socialist leanings. Amidst his criticisms, Kasparov did acknowledge that Sanders' ideal system resembles that of many Scandinavian countries and is not remotely like the Soviet Union.

Kasparov's political outspokenness, espoused in a speech at Westminister College and on various internet platforms, has gone viral and reached millions. Kasparov again wading into political waters will not surprise those who have been following his post-chess career. Kasparov ran for president of Russia in 2007. In 2012 he was arrested and beaten in a protest at the trial for the band Pussy Riot.

Those wishing for further enlightenment regarding Kasparov's political convictions can read his new book, "Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped."

Here's hoping the addition of glasses brings Kasparov better political fortune than Rick Perry.

Queen City Chess Classic Encourages Kids

The 15th annual Queen City Chess Classic featured a melding of young minds as scholastic players converged on the Paul Brown stadium, home of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals. Some 700 players from around the country competed in the tournament. A further select few had the opportunity to play GM Maurice Ashley, GM Gregory Kaidanov, GM Irina Krush, and Russel Wilson (the Ohioan NM, not that other guy who can't complete a pass on the one yard line. I keed, I keed...) in simultaneous displays.

The tournament and simuls provide a neat opportunity for young chess players to see chess celebrated with the vigor and enthusiasm of America's stadium sports.

The event is funded by the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund which is dedicated to "empower(ing) children by fostering self-esteem, sportsmanship, and critical thinking through the game of chess." While Cris Collinsworth is not known as a chess player, he is making efforts to bring the human mind to bear on his own game, football. Collinsworth owns the company Pro Football Focus, a company dedicated to improved statistical analysis of player, team, and unit performances.

With a capacity of 65,515, the Paul Brown stadium could just hold all of the US Chess Federation members at the time of the Fischer boom. Today, another 20,000 seats would be needed!

Texas States Nears Record Attendance

Texas has been on an absolute tear scholastically as the state has given funding to chess in school districts across the state. Top U.S. junior talents such as GM Jeffrey Xiong, IM Ruifeng Liu, and IM Darwin Yang are emerging from Texas.

It's no surprise then that the Texas State Scholastics are a massive event. This year a near-record 1,730 students turned out to compete for the individual grade championships.

This year's primary, elementary, middle, and high school victors were respectively John Capocyan and Vedant Patil, Yanke Wang and Ganesh Kumarappan, NM Emily Nguyen, and NM Bovey Liu. A strong second-place finisher in the high school section was popular Twitter user Claudia Munoz (~3,000 followers) who tallied 6.0/7.'s own Mike Klein (AKA FunMasterMike) and JD Cannon help analyze games on-site in Brownsville, TX.

Lessons From Chess To Go

In the wake of AlphaGo's stunning victory over Lee Sedol, go players have been looking to chess for consolation or inspiration in dealing with the coming digital onslaught. Some have opined that the differences between chess and go are so large that there is no comparison between Sedol's defeat and that of Kasparov 20 years previously.

Others have noted that in many ways engines have deepened our understanding of chess. Engines may do the same for go. Many go amateurs (me included) may be relieved by this as go has long been dominated by a mysticism that is resistant to practical explanations of a move's strength and purpose.

At least go players respect our clocks.  Also, we both see things in terms of black and white.

Part 2 of Sam's Other News stories will be posted soon!

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