2020-08-05

Get Free Coffee at Panera Bread

I've been getting free coffee for about 3 weeks.  I need to cancel the coffee subscription by the end of September in order not to be charged.


2020-08-02

George R.R. Martin

On this day in 1996, George R.R. Martin published A Game of Thrones. Did you know he is a USCF life member and earned his living as a tournament director in the early 70s? Working on weekends 2 days a week gave him 5 days a week to write!  




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2020-07-29

Magnus Carlsen is back in the ring | Titled Arena

This is really fun to watch.

The world champion plays this online tournament as "Dr. Nykterstein".  This is an "arena" tournament, which is like a "Battle Royal" to see who can get the most points over a two hour period.  The tournament is mostly Grandmasters, making the level of play high.  It looks like Magnus Carlsen may have started late but then slowly moved up the standings until he was on top.

What is amazing is that this is a "bullet" tournament, where each player only has 1 minute to make all their moves. The players are averaging 1 to 2 seconds per move.  It is all I can do to keep up the games.  I get the impression that Magnus Carlsen's moves are at least equal to what I can do with two hours at my disposal.  It is amazing and instructive to watch.

The video gets off to a slow start but gets really entertaining 3 to 4 minutes into it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtGG1szv4d0

2020-06-15

I had to share this crazy and funny chess problem.



Much to my surprise, Stockfish gets it right away.  I figured that it would be too deep or too obscure.

2020-06-07

Cheaters on chess.com

I got a notice from chess.com that one of my opponents had violated the Fair Play Policy, and therefore they were adding 16 points to my rating, which doesn't matter that much because chess.com ratings are always changing.  They didn't tell me which opponent was the culprit, but I was extremely curious as to who it was, so I looked to see which one of my previous opponents had his account suspended.  

It was from an online tournament that I was playing, which makes me wonder if they only check tournaments for cheating.  It seems to me that it would take way too much computer power to check the millions of games that are played daily on chess.com.

Oddly enough, this was a game that I lost because my Comcast Internet went down in the middle of my game and stayed down for a couple of hours.   What I heard was that the service was down for the entire midwest.   This was particularly painful because my opponent was only rated 600.

One way they determine if someone is cheating is to look at the accuracy of their moves with computer analysis.  Anything over 98% is probably suspicious, especially if a low rated player does it on multiple games.  

The accuracy of my games tends to vary from 60% to 99%, with many games over 90% and the vast majority over 80%.  I have a few occasional games that are 98 to 99% accurate and I am sure that chess masters do too.  I hope that if I were to have a really good day that they would not think that I was cheating.

I read that cheating on backgammon web sites has mostly been eliminated by checking the games with computer analysis.

Maybe ideally they would use webcams to watch everyone as they play.  It is pretty hard to cheat if they are watching you, or even if just your opponent can see you.  It's not very private, but they do this for some online matches with top-level players.


2020-06-01

Greenwood chess club five year anniversary today. Online play tonight. Future reopen date.

I started the Greenwood Chess Club five years ago today.


On Monday, February 1st, 2016 we moved the club to the Kroger on South Emmerson.


The Columbus Chess Club will open again on June 18th.  However, I plan to wait till July 6th to reopen the Greenwood Chess Club.  I want to wait and see what is going to happen with the COVID-19 pandemic.  I also have to check with the Kroger on South Emmerson to see if it is still okay for us to meet there.

Meanwhile, on Mondays, I will be available from 5 to 9:30 to play online at this page on chess .com:  https://www.chess.com/club/greenwood-chess-club23   

This is a page that you can join.
We usually get between 2 to 5 players.  I suggest trying to rotate players.  You can use the "Members" link to see who is online and challenge them.  It is helpful to become friends with other members so as to see their games and more easily challenge them.

On Thursday nights a few of us meet here:  https://www.chess.com/club/columbus-chess-club

I hope that everyone is healthy and safe.

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2020-05-18

Happy with my accuracy on chess.com in ten minute games

Overall I am pleased with my accuracy on 5+5 (or G/10) games.  I played 17 games tonight.  I lost two.  According to the chess.com analysis feature,
I had 9 games with over 90% accuracy, with my best two games scoring 99%.  I have five games in the '80s.  Two games in the '70s and my worst game was 61.%

I feel like I am playing more accurately than I have in the past.  I'm obviously not perfect, and I do have some bad games.  However, the games are almost speed chess.   I would be happy to get these percentages in longer games. 

I think that the chess.com accuracy numbers might be arbitrary.  I also think that if I played tougher competition that I would be more likely to make mistakes because really strong players have ways of pressuring their opponents into making errors.  (Imagine playing a pro football team.  No matter how good you are, they are going to make you look bad.)

My rating on chess.com has been hovering in the 1900's when it was previously in the mid to high 1800's.  Compared to US Chess Federation ratings, I think that this would be equal to somewhere between 2000 and 2150 (Expert) because I have always thought that chess.com ratings were low.  I can't be sure though.


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2020-05-02

English Analysis

Somebody on Facebook was looking for advice on how to play against the English.   The first 9 moves is pretty much what I play, and everything after that is very speculative using computer analysis that I just did.

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2020.05.02"]
[Round "?"]
[White "English"]
[Black "Analysis"]
[Result "*"]
[PlyCount "40"]
[TimeControl "720+3"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 c6 4. Bg2 d5 5. cxd5
cxd5 {Black might be slightly better. Now if ...} 6. Qb3 Nc6 7. Nxd5 (7. Bxd5 Nd4 8. Bxf7+
Ke7 9. Qc4 b5 10. Nxb5 Nxb5 11. Qxb5 Kxf7) 7... Nd4 8. Nxf6+ Qxf6 9. Qd3 {
Black has slight compensation for his pawn. For example, we can get into some
wild lines after...} Be7 10. e3 (10. Qc3 Bd7 11. Bxb7 Rb8 12. Bd5 Rc8 13. Bc4
O-O 14. b3 Bc6 15. f3 Bb4 16. Qb2 e4) 10... Nc6 11. Ne2 Nb4 12. Qb1 Qa6 13. Be4
f5 14. a3 fxe4 15. axb4 Qc4 16. b3 Qf7 17. Qxe4 O-O 18. f4 (18. O-O Bh3) 18...
exf4 19. Nxf4 (19. Qxf4 Bf6 (19... Qxb3) 20. Ra2 Bh3 (20... b5) (20... Qxb3)) (
19. Rf1 f3 20. Nd4 f2+ 21. Ke2 Bh3) 19... g5 20. Nd5 Bd6 *  

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2020-01-25

P vs. NP - The Biggest Unsolved Problem in Computer Science

https://youtu.be/EHp4FPyajKQ

A crude chess program in order to look 10 half moves ahead would take the hypothetical 25 moves possible and do roughly 25 to the 10nth power calculations, which would take a very long time. However, the alpha-beta algorithm eliminates mathematically unnecessary calculations making this more like 5 or 6 to the tenth power, which is a huge difference.

What surprises me is that program Stockfish reduces this to more like 2 to the N power, which is considerably less. Exactly how it does this I'm not sure, although I have some idea.

I would contend that looking deeper in chess will always involve an exponential increase, by definition. To not be exponential means that we could look infinitely far ahead and completely solve chess. This is kind of the point of the video.