Sunday, 31 May 2020

Now this is a hack

There is something deeply unsatisfying about falling victim to a basic hack. So much so that I am pretty sure I've already written a blog post about this. So rather than repeat myself, I will just give you another Super GM example to chew on. (BTW Black's last move is very nice)

Ding,Liren (2836) - Dubov,Daniil (2770) [A11]
Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge Final 8 Online (6.4), 29.05.2020

Friday, 29 May 2020

This is silly

For players who thinks 60 seconds is too much time for an entire game of chess. Each player started with 30 seconds.

smithvillavo (1577) - harrypress1 (2316) [B01]
Hourly HyperBullet Arena, 29.05.2020

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

The Ultimate Misclick

I do not know if this is a common occurrence, but I have now seen it happen at least twice in the last two weeks. In a drawn position in online games, I have seen players resign for no obvious reason. I can only assume that they meant to offer a draw, but clicked the resign flag instead.
While the obvious response is "they should have been more careful" I wonder if a UI redesign is called for. As Stewart Rueben once said to me "If more than 1 person doesn't understand what a phrase means, then it is worth looking at fixing it up"

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Another strong open source chess engine

If you are looking to understand the inner workings of chess engines (especially the Alpha/Beta kind) then the Ethereal Chess Engine looks like a good resource. Of course you do need to be able to read code (in this case C), but it is well laid out and well commented. It contains some interesting technical information in the comments, including how many elo points a specific search feature is worth (eg Null move proving is worth around 93 rating points in strength when turned on).
You can find the source code at and while I have yet to compile and install it myself, based on the CCRL list is is very very strong.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Faster then slower

A number of years ago GM Yasser Seirawan suggested that best way to make chess a spectator sport was to broadcast blitz events. The idea was to attract viewers who only wanted to watch quick, high intensity games, rather than longer more drawn out contests. However, once this happened, he suggested that spectators might gravitate to watching (and playing) slower games, where the ideas and strategies aren't lost in the flurry of hand movements and clock bashing.
It turns out we are pretty much at the first stage of this now. Almost all of the big online events taking place at the moment are being played with fast time controls. And while this is good for the platforms chess is currently be played on, I hope it isn't going to be the case when face to face chess resumes.
One reason why is the game I am showing below. It is a crushing win by Magnus Carlsen over Wesley So, and involves Carlsen winning a pieces v queen middlegame. But ultimately it was decided by one bad move by So, a move he would not have played with more thinking time available.

Carlsen,Magnus (2881) - So,Wesley (2741) [E21]
Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge Final 8 (1.4), 24.05.2020

Saturday, 23 May 2020

One of my favourite poker scenes

This scene from The Sting is one of my favourite poker scenes in any movie. Unfortunately it doesn't include the next scene where Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw) says "What was I supposed to do - call him for cheating better than me, in front of the others?"

Friday, 22 May 2020

Schools chess is starting again

Some good news for chess coaches who may have been missing out on work over the last 2 months. It looks as though schools are restarting their chess coaching programs again. At least in the ACT anyway.
I've been contacted by a couple of schools that the ACT Junior Chess League running coaching programs at, and have been given some start dates for this term. Coaches still have to conform to the social distancing regulations (minimum distances, washing of hands, equipment and contact points), but at least the classes will be up an running again.