2022-09-30

Pinkamena (1535) vs V. Khoroshun (1703). Chess Fight Night.

I always love it when little kids can play chess well. At first, I thought that she played the opening a little inaccurately, but when she won the knight on e4 I was thinking, "Holy Crap!".  Her opponent paused because he realized that he was getting his butt kicked by a little girl, and then she proceeded to play very well afterward. Good for her!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y-6QmL05lw

Ilya Smirin: Chess commentator sacked for sexist comments during match - BBC News

All chess players - men and women - can become grandmasters, which is the highest title a chess player can attain, if they have a rating of 2,500 and above.* The very top female chess players have this title.

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."


* Reaching a rating of 2500 is not the only requirement for becoming a Grandmaster.

Chess is dominated by men, maybe because it is a highly competitive (and egotistical) game.  Men tend to prefer competition whereas women tend to prefer cooperation.

2022-09-29

The most incriminating evidence against Hans Niemann


I understood what she was saying, but her French accent made it difficult.  Closed captioning is helpful, but it is done by a computer and often yields incorrect words in the speech recognition.

The bottom line is that not even the top players, playing at their best, perform at the same level as the top chess computer engines.   An average Grandmasters would match computers roughly 50% of the time, which is how Hans Nieman plays most of the time.  However, he has several games that are 100%, which is unheard of, and a few others that were in the 90s.

I was on Hans Nieman's side, viewing him as an up-and-coming 19-year-old.  He is either occasionally playing like a genius or is occasionally cheating.  It would make sense that he would not cheat all the time because that would be too obvious.  

I hope that this is not true.  

It is possible to play a perfect game if your opponent plays a bad game because it makes the choices more obvious.  Against really terrible opponents I played perfect games according to the computer, but I didn't have to think very hard.

Yesterday, I studied one of Han's better games because it is very instructive.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCJ0uIAlreA)  The youtube chess personality stated that he didn't think that Hans was cheating, because the moves were the kind that a good player could find.  This may be true, but if a player has too many aberrant results then it looks suspicious.

In this long video, Hikaru Nakamura gave his opinion on the first video, comparing the results to his own games:


This is a shorter video doing an analysis that is worth watching:



Testing old chess computers through emulation

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..



Most serious chess players have seen this problem already and know the answer. However, if they were not familiar with it, the solution might be difficult for them to find in a real game. There is the more direct solution of 6. Nxe5 Bxd1 7. Bxf7+ Ke7 8. Nd5# (checkmate). However, for a computer to see the solution it also has to see 6... Nxe5 7. Qxh5 Nxc4 8. Qb5+ c6 9. Qxc4. There is also 7... Nf6 8. Qe2 Nxc4 9. Qxc4. Either way, that is 7 half-moves deep, which is pretty deep for ancient chess computers to look.

Based upon my testing, this is how long various chess computers take to solve this chess problem...



# Model Year Processor Speed ROM Time Depth Nodes/S
1.
Fidelity Chess Challenger 10
1978
Z80
4 MHZ
4K
Fails
2.
Fidelity Chess Challenger 7
1979
Z80
4 MHZ
4K
12 hours
3.
Novag Savant
1981
Z80
6 MHZ
24K
12:40m
4.
Novag Savant II
1982
Z80
6 MHZ
32K
12:33m
5.
Novag Constellation
1983
6502
2 MHZ
16K
6:46m
6.
Constellation 3.6 ROM set 1
1984
6502
3.6 MHZ
16K
3:30m*
7.
Constellation 3.6 ROM set 2
1986
6502
3.6 MHZ
16K
3:33m*
5 ply
8.
Novag Super Constellation
1984
6502
4 MHZ
56K
2:10m
5 ply
9.
Constellation Expert
1985
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
1:54m
5 ply
10.
Novag Forte A
1986
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
2:15m
5 ply
~1000
11.
Novag Forte B
1986
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
1:58m
5 ply
~1000
12.
Novag Super Forte
1987
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
1:13m
5 ply
~1350
13.
Novag Super Expert A
1987
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
1:00m
5 ply
~1100
14.
Novag Super Forte B
1989
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
30s
5 ply
~1400
15.
Novag Super Expert B
1989
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
19s
5 ply
~1375
16.
Novag Super Forte C
1990
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
11s
5 ply
~1500
17.
Novag Super Nova
1990
HD6301Y
4 MHZ
32KK
10s
4 ply
18.
Novag Super Expert C
1990
65C02
5 MHZ
64K
6s
5 ply
~1050
19.
Novag Scorpio 68000
1990
68000
16 MHZ
98K
9s
20.
Novag Diablo 68000
1990
68000
16 MHZ
98K
9s
21.
Fidelity Excellence
1985
65C02
3 MHZ
16K
2:16m
5 ply
22.
Fidelity Excellence
1985
65C02
4 MHZ
16K
2:00m
5 ply
23.
Fidelity Designer Display 2000
1989
65C02
3 MHZ
32K
1:45m
5 ply
~81
24.
Fidelity Par Excellence
1986
65C02
5 MHZ
32K
1:22m
5 ply
25.
Fidelity Designer Display 2100
1988
65C02
6 MHZ
64K
54s
5 ply
~180
26.
Fidelity Designer Display 2265
1989
68000
16 MHZ
64K
5s
3 ply
27.
Fidelity Designer Display 2325
1991
68020
20 MHZ
64K
3s
4 ply
28.
Chessmaster NES
1990
6502
1.79 MHZ
48K
7:00m
5 ply
29.
Chessmaster Super Nintendo
1991
65816
3.58 MHZ
110K
4:43m
5 ply
30.
Chessmaster 2000 (DOS)
1986
?
?
NA
1:33m
31.
Chessmaster 3000 (DOS)
1991
?
?
NA
4s
4 ply
32.
Stockfish 14.1 2017-iMac
2022
i5
3.4 GHZ One Core
NA
<1s
<12 ply
~880,000

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.

Classic difficult chess problem. White to play and win


2022-09-26

MAGNUS CARLSEN: "I Believe Hans Niemann CHEATED"


Good video.  

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.  

Shit happens.  Twenty years ago I got a draw against Grandmaster Igor Ivanov.  About the same time, I watched a B player friend of mine beat Grandmaster Susan Polgar in a speed tournament.



P.S.  The Babe Ruth story is misunderstood. He was pointing to people he knew in the stands, but the myth remains.

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.

2022-09-20

My Chess Tactics

https://www.entertainmentjourney.com/1w.htm


The one-move chess problems on my website were constructed deliberately to be the "vocabulary" of chess tactics.  I have long felt that learning chess is a bit like learning a new language.  In these problems, you can find every motif like pins, forks, skewers, removing the defender, and mates.

I attribute the 1, 2, and 3 move problems by themselves to raising my rating from 1800 to 1900.   Since I played a great deal of speed chess, my goal was to be able to see the tactical motifs as quickly as possible.  Because I did these problems repeatedly, I got some criticism from one of my friends who said that I wasn't doing tactical problems, but I was memorizing them.  This was partly true.  My counter was that I could not memorize all the problems, but I could memorize the tactical themes.  When I do the problem now, the tactical themes become quickly apparent.  Likewise, I see tactics quickly in speed chess games.

A bit of history...

When I moved to Utah in 1993, I was around a 2000-rated player.  

However, at that time the ratings seemed to work differently in Utah.  Salt Lake City and the Wasatch mountain range are hundreds of miles from the nearest major metropolitan areas.  It felt like the pool of rated chess players was isolated from other players by distance.  When I started playing in tournaments in Utah, I saw my rating decline to 1800.  Also, those players who would go to out-of-state tournaments, such as in Vegas, reported doing very well against similarly rated players from California.

I think that whatever difference there may have been balanced out some over time.  There was nationwide rating inflation that happened in the 80s which my rating benefited from.  This was due to the USCF tinkering with the rating system in the 80s and then reversing course in the 90s causing a noticeable rating deflation.

I constructed my online tactical problems around 1995 to 1998.  

I don't remember exactly when I started studying the following materials:

Sharpen Your Tactics
Chess Pocket Training Book:  300 most important positions
Practical Chess Exercises
The 1000 problems on the Shredder iPhone app.

I spent 10 minutes every night for a year without fail studying the Chess Pocket Training Book, and then afterward had one of my greatest chess tournament results ever.  This was 20 years ago.

So I attribute these materials to raising my rating from 1900 to 2000.  Once again, I did a great deal of repetition.  The goal has always been to make hard things intuitive.  For me, this feels like learning a language.





Did Hans Niemann Cheat: The Evidence! with IM Ken Regan

INSANE Chess Cheating Scandal Update


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

Alana
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.


John Coffey
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. 

If I can lose to players rated 200 points below me then why can't Magnus? What is the point of playing if you are not allowed to win?  

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.

2022-09-07

Hans Niemann

I feel that this latest controversy over Grandmaster Hans Niemann beating Magnus Carlsen is overblown. Niemann is a 19 year old rising star, and if I can lose to people rated 200 points below me then so can Magnus.

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.


Best wishes,

John Coffey