Urschel Talks Retirement; CryptoCurrency 'Chesscoin' Anyone?
All-time chart for Chesscoin. | Image: Coinmarketcap.com.

Urschel Talks Retirement; CryptoCurrency 'Chesscoin' Anyone?

MikeKlein
FM MikeKlein
Feb 20, 2018, 12:52 AM |
31 | Misc

The ex-NFL lineman John Urschel mostly wanted his recent retirement news to pass through the media glare quietly and quickly. Recently, he opened up about his reasoning to Sports Illustrated, and then another feature on Huffington Post talked about the chances of becoming a chess master.

Other topics of this long-overdue edition of "In Other News" include a cryptocurrency named after the royal game, a Fischer classic set to music, GM Viswanathan Anand's budding poker career, and more!

Why Did John Urschel Choose Math Over Football?

“I really, really, really wanted to retire quietly,” Urschel told Sports Illustrated. “No one notice. Just retire and everything keeps on going, without a single story. Like one little byline, and that’s it. And then there’s nothing else, just ride off into the sunset.”

Well, here comes that single story he feared. The frequent Chess.com live show host (follow his Twitch channel here!) blew his cover a few months after announcing his retirement. Read on to see why he wore an MIT jersey (of Tim the Beaver!) instead of a Ravens jersey this past fall.

Will Urschel Make Master?

The veritable media floodgates must have opened within Urschel, as he gave another interview, this time with Huffington Post. This second deep-dive into his retirement focuses more on his chess talents.

You will also get more insight into the bromance between Urschel and Chess.com's own IM Danny Rensch, who predicted that the math whiz will clear the master threshold within five years.

Who Will Win The Candidates' Tournament?

Another major media outlet wrote about chess recently, but alas, not about Urschel. Oliver Roeder, the chess beat writer for fivethirtyeight.com, ran a simulation about which of the octet of players will likely win the Candidates' next month.

Aronian

Seen here after winning in Gibraltar earlier this month, there may be no hotter player on the planet right now than GM Levon Aronian. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The site is famous for its number crunching, but it also likes to factor in other circumstances to many of its predictions. Still, for this one, ratings were the only parameter—nothing was included about past performance head-to-head, psychology, who's been hot recently, etc.

After one million iterations, GM Levon Aronian came out on top with a little better than one-in-five chance, with GMs Fabiano Caruana and GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov coming in at about one in six.

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Screenshot via fivethirtyeight.com.

Calculations based only on ratings may seem overly simplistic, but in an ongoing member poll on Chess.com that would seemingly price in all the extenuating factors, the results are essentially the same. Aronian leads, Caruana and Mamedyarov are basically tied for second, with GM Sergey Karjkain also factoring in to second-favorite consideration. (The Azeri's voting percentages, however, more than doubled after his great performance at Tata Steel.)

Here are the results at the time of this writing:

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Does "In Other News" Usually Have a Musical Interlude?

No, but we do this time! Here's Bobby Fischer's "Game of the Century" set to music.

Do You Have "Chesscoin" In Your Portfolio?

With the massive price increases and wild fluctuations of popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, you might be wondering how to get in on the action but without thousands of dollars to buy even a single coin (though for most cryptocurrencies, you can buy fractions of a coin).

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Enter "Chesscoin," which is currently trading at the very affordable price of about one penny for one coin. You could theoretically buy every single coin for about $500,000 USD if you want to corner the chessboard, ahem, the market. 

(But no, you can't buy a Chess.com premium membership with them!)

*This author does not have any investment in Chesscoin.

Is Anand Having A Career Renaissance?

At 48, GM Viswanathan Anand is slated to surely become the strongest active 50-year-old in history. He just won the 2017 World Rapid Championship and finished third in the blitz, and he's branching out from there.

Anand

GM Viswanathan Anand, 48, after winning the world rapid championship. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Anand just played in his first-ever (known) games on Chess.com, competing in the PRO Chess League. Here are his thoughts on that debut.

And what else do the kids do besides online chess? They play poker, and it seems Anand now plays too. He commented on the similarities between chess and poker in this article that explains how he will be the new "brand ambassador" for an Indian poker league.

Did You Quit Chess After Reaching Your Peak Rating?

If you did, apparently, you're in common company. It seems chess players consistently do this, even though we tend to play better chess on the way to reaching a threshold!

But you made it to the end of this long article, so there's that.

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