Tag Archives: Nas

Vinastradamus

Anyway, back to prognosticating. I’ll go out on a limb and say: Anand will win the match (possibly in tiebreaks), he will use both 1.e4 and 1.d4 as white, and will largely use a Nimzo move order of 1…Nf6 and 2…e6 as Black against 1.d4.

– Vinay Bhat, before the Anand-Gelfand World Championship Match in 2012

Not a bad prediction, if I may say so myself. The Nimzo move order didn’t quite come true for much of the match, as he only played it twice as opposed to the Semi-Slav four times in the regular portion. However, Anand did win in tiebreaks, so that’s not so bad.

In that post, I also wrote “Either way, I think this [the Gelfand one] is the last World Championship that Anand can win, so if he has to pass the baton, I’d rather it go to one of those two (Carlsen or Aronian) than to anybody else.”

Some time has passed since then and Anand definitely has been making some improvements in late 2012 and through much of 2013, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to offset Magnus’s simply better form now. So my brain says +2 for Magnus (6.5 – 4.5, over in 11 games), and I have some worries that it’ll be a bit like the Kasparov – Kramnik match from 2000 in that Kasparov made no headway really and was never in the driver’s seat. In fact, Kasparov was somewhat lucky that the score only ended as +2 for Kramnik and didn’t even seem to be fighting in some of the games.

That said, I’ve always been an Anand fan and I’m hoping for a great match. I think there’s a pretty short list of people who – at the height of their powers – could play with Magnus when Magnus is in best form (or whatever 2870 buys you these days). Anand is one of them, and if he can get himself back into physical and mental shape, then who knows.

Some of my colleagues have been asking me more about chess recently  some even showing up to the USCL games at the Mechanics Institute which is just a few blocks from our office. One analogy that I tried to make was that this is a bit like LeBron and Kobe going at it one-on-one now, with Magnus as the younger, stronger, and better player, but Kobe as the aging and wounded “Lion in Winter” who can still put together a brilliant performance but can also turn in a real clunker from the field as well.

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Let Me Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

I haven’t been playing recently, but I have kept up with some of the major events. Unlike the Pearl Spring or Tal Memorial super-tournaments, though, I didn’t get a set of predictions in for the London Chess Classic. There are still two rounds to go, but GM Luke McShane is surprisingly in a tie for first – maybe leaving the vampire-squid on the face of humanity is good for one’s chess?

Anyways, back to my own chess travels, I’ve been trying to enter some of my old games from a pile of scorebooks I have lying around. I’ve got scorebooks dating back to 1993, I think, and while I think I have pretty much all my games from about 1996 onwards, there are lots of missing games in my database from those early days. Along the way, I’ve found some real “gems.” So in this blog, let me wax nostalgic about the old days, back before computers had taken over …

I can’t remember anymore, but this may have been my first win against a master, back in 1994 at the People’s Tournament in Berkeley, CA. In the first round, I was white against Frank Say (2306). I was about 9.5 years old and rated about 1800.

The game started off in typical fashion for me back then – with a sketchy gambit.

(FEN: rnbqkbnr/ppp2ppp/4p3/3p4/3PP3/4B3/PPP2PPP/RN1QKBNR b KQkq - 0 3)

I’m not sure what the exact name of this opening (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Be3) is, but I used to call it the French-Mar-Diemer Gambit. Growing up on a steady diet of Morphy and Anderssen games, gambits were my thing and I rarely hesitated to throw a pawn or two away. Almost all of Richard Shorman’s students play this way (at first, at least), and I was no exception.

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