Long-Lost Fischer Game; How To Become An IM In 72 Hours

Long-Lost Fischer Game; How To Become An IM In 72 Hours

| 36 | Chess Players

This month's "Also in the News" features a bevy of various chess stories you likely missed. One is a story of Bobby Fischer you surely haven't read about, unless you happen to read New Orleans community newspapers or were there in March, 1964!

Besides this never-before-printed Fischer game, we also have news of how quickly untrained computers are using new techniques to master chess, trees falling on chess players, and everything in between. Fill up your coffee, scroll on, and enjoy!

Four Days With Fischer

For anyone that's been to the French Quarter of New Orleans, you've likely seen the man in the red beret. Jude Acers has been playing all comers for decades, and is still there after returning from a Hurricane Katrina displacement.

Jude Acers teaches kids at the New Orleans Chess Fest in 2014 (photo courtesy Cecilia Tisserand).

Here you can read about Bobby Fischer's 74-board simul from the memory of Acers, only one year Fischer's junior. The event lasted until nearly 3 a.m., although one could argue that's when some things get started in New Orleans.

This was only one stop on Fischer's 40-city tour, and according to IM John Donaldson's book "A Legend on the Road", Fischer played more than 2,000 games. The article's author, Michael Tisserand, tracked down one of the games from the New Orleans leg. As far as we know, this game has never before seen the light of day in a chess publication!

The 16-year-old David Levin resisted the temptation to show off his personal gem for more than 50 years, but we present it here:

Forget Deep Blue; Deep Learning Became An IM In Three Days

You've heard the stats before about computations per second in man vs. machine matches -- millions and millions every time the carbon-based life form analyzes two. Now programmers are upping their game by reducing the amount of "thought".

Throwing Moore's Law aside, this new computer program, "Giraffe", professes to analyze "much more like humans" according to the article and acheived IM strength in 72 hours. The secret? "Deep neural networks" that are also used in such processes as face and handwriting recognition.

Giraffes are now better than most humans.

Read on to learn how the main programmer saves processing power this way. As he explains it:

"Unlike most chess engines in existence today, Giraffe derives its playing strength not from being able to see very far ahead, but from being able to evaluate tricky positions accurately, and understanding complicated positional concepts that are intuitive to humans, but have been elusive to chess engines for a long time."

Even More Chess in Movies

Already been to see "Pawn Sacrifice" 15 times? Fear not, there's plenty more chess movies, and chess in movies, to satiate your auteur appetite.

First, our own GM Robert Hess wrote this intriguing article for the site FiveThirtyEight where he recreates and analyzes famous chess scenes from movies as varied as "X-Men" and "Blazing Saddles".

Then, there's also this new movie about scholastic chess called "Endgame". The game plays more than an ancillary role and is based on the true story of how chess transformed a local school district in South Texas. The city of Brownsville, right on the Texas-Mexico border, remains a powerhouse in scholastic chess to this day.

The lead actor, Rico Rodriguez, is better known to audiences as "Manny" in "Modern Family" (the preview also shows that one of the teachers is "Pedro" from "Napoleon Dynamite"!).

And that's still not all! A documentary 10 years in the making about the world champion will be making its way to festivals soon. "Magnus" had its rights acquired last month. According to the producer, the style is unique in that it documents a public figure in the course of his dominance rather than in retrospect.

"The Super Bowl of Elementary School Chess"

Is long-form nonfiction more to your taste? Every year thousands of youngsters gather for a national championship (this reporter's been a part of this springtime ritual nearly every year of his life).

The Elementary Nationals is a sea of little humanity (photo: Christine Vancott).

Here the author follows a handful of top-enders and rank-and-file aspirants and their coaches. If you've never seen 5,000 kids playing at the quadrennial Supernationals, book your ticket to Nashville in 2017 for the next one!

3D Printed Chess Set

In a sign of the inevitable, chess sets are now being created on 3D printers. This playful take on a Marcel Duchamp creation combined one of the sets he designed with a famous work where he "improved" on the "Mona Lisa". The result? Chess pieces with moustaches of course!

Marcel Duchamp's "L.H.O.O.Q.", the inspiration behind the chess set.

Tennis Upset Explained With Chess Ratings

Can we say for sure if Roberta Vinci's upset of Serena Williams in the 2015 U.S. Open is the most improbable in history? According to this analysis, Serena's failure to win the semifinal match en route to a yearly Grand Slam amounted to a whopping 652-point upset on the ELO scale.

The gap is tantamount to a candidate master taking out Magnus Carlsen. It's also nearly 100 points greater than the previous bigest upset, a Martina Navratilova loss to Helena Sukova in 1984.

If a Pawn is Hung in the Park, Does It Still Count as a Blunder?

Staying in New York City, there's this: a tree fell in midtown Manhattan's Bryant Park, injuring several. Many chess players and chess teachers were engaged in their games nearby.

Bryant Park, where this reporter watched a giant screening of "Footloose" this summer near the carousel where the tree fell (photo Jean-Christophe Benoist, used under Wikimedia Commons 3.0 license).

"They are lucky they were not killed when they were enjoying their game," said one of the chess players. The article closes by explaining what we all know. An engrossing game of chess cannot be disturbed, even by mother nature: "Some players never left their seats despite the commotion...and the games resumed in short order."

Chess Reinvented as "Drunken" App

We're not even sure where to start with this one. Last month we brought you Yoko Ono's chess pieces as dogs app, and this month there's a chess app where you must learn the rules of the unrecognizable pieces as you go.

Here's a primer of "Chesh" which is out soon for iOS devices:

Youngest Master in U.S. Chess History

In a straight news story, congratulates nine-year-old Max Lu in becoming the youngest master ever in the U.S. He barely edged out the old record-holder, Awonder Liang (of course, at this age, it's hard to beat the record by anything more than a few days anyway!).

NM Max Lu, left, playing in the World Youth Championship (photo courtesy Reint Dykema).

The USCF is now US Chess, and you can follow this story from their blog here.

Community Uses Chess to Help Rebuild

The town of Ferguson, Missouri suffered a tragedy not borne from high winds or raging water, but from the shooting death of Michael Brown and the riots that followed. Now Ferguson is in the news for a more positive reason -- chess programs are beginning at 20 area schools.

A large healthcare system and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis have joined forces to bring the royal game to local kids. GM Maurice Ashley helped kick off the initiative, explaining how chess has opened up many doors for him. Ashley was joined by GMs Yasser Seirawan and Alejandro Ramirez.

GM Maurice Ashley revisited the St. Louis area, this time for kids. Here he looks more law enforcement than grandmaster.

Chess Players Have Biological Differences in Their Brains

Much was made this summer about whether men's and women's brains were functionally different, but this article postulates that chess players and non chess players have differences. Specifically, most readers of this article with use more of their frontal cortex and parietal cortex.

The most surprising finding? Elite players have smaller brains overall than non-elite players, which apparently is a benefit due to increased efficiency. 

We close this news wrapup with some Quick Hits:

Boxing Champion Manny Pacquiao continues to sponsor chess events...but not chessboxing events. phpfCo1l0.png The retired GM Judit Polgar is remaining active as an organizer and promoter...her Global Chess Festival on October 17, 2015 includes events in Hungary, Chile, USA, Serbia, Romania, Australia and New Zealand. phpfCo1l0.png Have an idea to be a "social innovator" in the field of chess? Budding entrepeneurs from the European Union were eligible to apply for one of six stipends for their idea. phpfCo1l0.png Longtime and member Stephen Eisenhauer combined his two loves and his social activism last month as the fundraising "Chess Jawa"...He raised nearly $500 for charity while going undefeated and also starting the Tatooine Planetary Chess Federation. phpfCo1l0.png What do you get when you combine chess and poetry, blindfold the master and make her play with loud construction in the background? You get thisphpfCo1l0.png

The chess-playing Jawa, undefeated at this year's DragonCon. Jawa's mom, Peggy Eisenhauer, shills for her scavenger rodent son. (Photo courtesy Peggy Eisenhauer's Facebook page.)

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