The basic principle of the game is very simple: in addition to the usual pieces, the two players have joint control of a small rubber duck which acts as a "blocker" (i.e. nothing can move onto or through it), and which must be moved to a new square after every turn. The goal is to successfully capture the opponent's king.
The woman grandmaster title is only for women and requires a lower rating of 2,300.
The commentators were discussing whether Zhu Jiner could become grandmaster, when Mr Smirin said: "She's a woman grandmaster or what?... Why she wants to be like men grandmaster in this case?"
Mr Smirin went on to appear to admit that he had privately said "chess is maybe not for women".
Fellow commentator Fiona Steil-Antoni said to him: "You're saying, you know, 'chess is maybe not for women'," and Mr Smirin replied: "I didn't say it openly... in private, private conversation."
And he also seemed to admit saying another female player - Grandmaster Aleksandra Goryachkin - had been "playing like a man".
"That's true," said Mr Smirin, when questioned about his apparent comments. "She played in Russia super final. Small minus she made, but it was very strong tournament. She also had like 2,600 plus rating."
Challenging him again, Ms Steil-Antoni asked: "What does that have to do with playing like a man, only men can play well?"
"No, no," Mr Smirin responded. "But she's playing in style, positional style... But OK, I'm always curious, why can women play among men but men cannot play with women in women tournaments? Interesting question."
In the days before everyone had computers, if you wanted to play chess, your only option was to play with another person. In the late 1970's Fidelity introduced a series of electronic computer chess games. These early models played rather poorly, but I knew people who bought them just to be able to play and practice whenever they wanted. I managed to borrow a few of these so that I could get a feel for how well they played.
Although the early machines did not play well, things started to improve in the 1980s. There was a golden age of dedicated chess computers that went from 1983 to about 1993. In 1984, I purchased the Novag Super Constellation electronic chess game for what I think was $200, which was quite a bit of money in 1984. The U.S. Chess Federation had given it a rating of 2018, which is better than at least 90% of all adult tournament players. Any rating between 2000 and 2199 is considered to be the skill level of "Expert" and a higher rating of 2200 is considered to be "Master."
Although I am currently rated 2016, at the time I bought the
Novag Super Constellation I was rated just a little over 1700. In a few months, I would reach a rating of 1800 which is considered to be "Class A." Nevertheless, what I remember about the Novag Super Constellation is that it played better than me, which is surprising since it only contains an 8-bit processor running at just 4 MHZ. That is not very fast compared to modern 64-bit processors with multiple cores running at gigahertz speeds.
Over time, I bought a couple of better chess-playing computers and I have fond memories of practicing with all of them. I sold all these machines when I got a desktop computer in the mid-'90s, but I kind of regret it because they all were fun to play with it.
This became an issue when I was researching these old chess-playing computers where I saw many online claims that these computers were not as good as the ratings that had been assigned to them. For example, I saw the claim that the Novag Super Constellation was only about 1750 strength, and two other computers that I owned rated 2100 and 2265 were also claimed to be weaker than their advertised ratings. None of these claims match my experience, since all of the computers played better than I did.
I was so curious about this that I wanted to get my hands on one of the old chess computers, assuming that one can be found, however unlikely, and see how it compares to my current chess ability. Fortunately, I found software that allows me to emulate dozens of old chess computers on my Windows PC.
In my first game against the emulated Novag Super Constellation on level 1, the lowest level, I was able to win by only the slimmest of margins. I tried the same thing on the Fidelity Designer 2100, a slightly better machine, and I lost. I have no doubt that the other computer I owned, the stronger Fidelity Designer 2265, would stomp me like it used to when I played it 30 years ago. I will confirm this eventually.
So I tested a variety of chess computers with a somewhat difficult chess problem..
Based upon my testing, this is how long various chess computers take to solve this chess problem...
It is noteworthy that the Super Constellation solved the problem in roughly 2 minutes, which is within tournament time controls. I am disappointed in Chessmaster on the Super Nintendo because it failed to achieve this. It is running on a similar processor, and it is a port of Chessmaster 2000 written by Dave Kittinger, who also wrote the Super Constellation program!
* The second version of the Constellation 3.6 solves this problem on its top two tournament levels, but the first version moves too quickly to see the answer. It can only solve the problem on its infinite level, even though it takes about the same amount of time to see the solution. The second ROM set is based upon the Novag Expert program.Super Constellation game #1.
I don't believe that Hans cheated. There is very little evidence for it. Hans is a rising star and had the best game of his career and Magnus didn't. If I can lose to players rated 200 (or in my case 500) points below me then so can Magnus.
The story about Hans claiming ahead of time that he was going to win a tournament is interesting. Over 20 years ago I was running a Utah championship tournament when a teenager told me that he was going to beat everybody to prove that he was the best player. I thought that this was a very cocky statement to make, but to my surprise, this is exactly what he did.
5 hours ago (edited)
At this point I'm going for the "should you believe your spouse if they're convicted of murder" ethical dilemma and choosing to believe Hans is innocent. Just because if he really did cheat, then he's getting what he deserves, but if he didn't then this is absolutely horrible for him. I'd rather give a guilty man clemency then an innocent man a death sentence.
0 seconds ago
I think that it is a really big stretch to say that Hans was cheating. It is too hard to pull off and not get caught.
Computer analysis shows that Magnus did not play a perfect game. Neither did Hans Neimann. As long as there are mistakes on the board then in theory either side can win.
Yet Magnus insinuated that he was cheated, and then Hikaru Nakamura came out and said it out loud, and then suddenly the whole Internet jumped on this bandwagon. Then chess.com suspended Niemann's account even though this is not an online tournament.
I think that it would be very hard to cheat in a live tournament and not get caught. They also have safeguards to prevent this.
What is the point of playing if you are not allowed to win?
I believe Niemann when he says that he has done nothing but study chess 12 hours a day for the last two years.
I have been playing, advocating, and teaching 1. Nf3 for a long time. It is atrocious how many times people play 1... Nc6, which might be okay if they know the Chigorin Defense, but they never do, which often gives White a winning position right out of the opening. i.e. 1. Nf3 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. c4 dxc4 4. d5 Nb4?? 6. Qa4+. The move 1. Nf3 gives White the option of playing Queen Pawn or English, and after 1... c5 either 2. c4, 2. d4 or my preference of 2. e4 d6 3. c3.
I thought that I could replace the tactics web pages with a free tactics app, but that is going to take a long time to develop.
Therefore, my tactics web pages may become temporarily unavailable starting around September or October. I have many other tactics problems on blogs that don't cost me anything, so I may just link to those instead.