Sunday, May 25, 2014

Data-driven Look at the Evolution of Chess

Somebody had to do this. This guy crunched up thousands of chess games from 1850 onwards to paint a picture of how chess has evolved since the middle of the nineteenth century. While some of these conclusions are to be expected, at least now we have some fancy graphs to go with them!

First Move Advantage

Draws Now More Common

For those who like yapping on about ratings, he also has a post on tournament games and ELO ratings.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Aussie Chess Behind Kasparov

Looks like ex-world champion Garry Kasparov's charm offensive on Aussie shores worked. In the latest news bulletin from the Australian Chess Fed, we read this: "The ACF decided at its May meeting that the ACF supports the candidacy for the FIDE Presidency of former World Champion GM Garry Kasparov. A week later Australia was one of 20 federations to formally nominate the Kasparov ticket (another three nominations were submitted for an earlier version of the Kasparov ticket.) With 54 nominations already, the incumbent President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has the early lead in declared voting for this election."

Friday, May 23, 2014

Chess is Really Bad For You

From Scientific American, 1859:

Persons engaged in sedentary occupations should never practice this cheerless game; they require out-door exercises for recreation — not the sort of mental gladiatorship. Those who are engaged in mental pursuits should avoid a chess-board as they would an adder’s nest, because chess misdirects and exhausts their intellectual energies. Rather let them dance, sing, play ball, perform gymnastics, roam in the woods or by the seashore, than play chess. 

Cited in Why Chess Will Destroy Your Mind.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Norway Olympiad To Be Cancelled?

What is this, German calmness in the face of adversity? Chessbase reports that the upcoming Olympiad in Norway is underfunded by a whopping US$2.5m! Worse is that the organisers have apparently aired the possibility that the whole thing may not happen at all. Yet, Chessbase can manage to ask if we should be worried.

Well, shit yeah!

But at any rate, it sounds like the Norwegian Olympiad organisers are just playing a game of chicken with their own government. The real question now is: who will blink first?