sabato 25 febbraio 2017

A Little Time

It’s finally Saturday, and even if Arcovazzi does not intend it, today is the day to play Fischerandom chess at Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”. So don’t miss it and please don’t say Arcovazzi I told you so!

Garfield’s mood
Illustration: Jim Davis

venerdì 24 febbraio 2017

The Fire in the Dust

Ian Aleksandrovich Nepomniachtchi – 李超 (Li Chāo)
World Chess Federation Grand Prix 2017; first stage; Sharjah, February 24, 2017
Russian Defence C42

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. 0-0 0-0 8. c4 c6 9. Nc3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 dxc4 11. Bxc4 Bf5 12. Bg5! Varying from round one’s game Vachier-Lagrave – 李超 (Li Chāo), Sharjah 2017 which went 12. Ne5 Bxe5 13. dxe5 Qe7 14. Re1 Nd7 15. Qf3 g6 16. Qg3 Rfe8 17. Bf4 Qc5 18. Bb3 a5 19. a4 b5 20. h4 Be6 21. Bc2 b4 22. Bd3 b3 23. h5 Nf8 24. Bh6 b2 25. Rab1 Rab8 26. Qf4 Nd7 27. Qg5 Qe7 28. Qxe7 Rxe7 29. Re2 Ree8 30. Rexb2 Rxb2 31. Rxb2 Nxe5 32. Be2 gxh5 33. f3 Nd7 34. Rb7 Nc5 35. Ra7 Nb3 36. g3 Bd5 37. Kf2 Rb8 38. Bf1 Be6 39. Bd3 Bd5 40. Bf5 Re8 41. Bc2 c5 42. Rc7 c4 43. Bf5 Rb8 44. Bd7 f6 45. Bb5 Bf7 46. Rc6 Na1 47. Ra6 Nc2 48. Rxa5 Na3 49. Bc6 Nb1 50. Rb5 1 : 0. 12. ... Qc7 13. Re1 h6 14. Nh4! Bh7 15. Bxh6! Bxh2+. If 15. ... gxh6 there might follow 16. Qg4+ Kh8 17. Nf5 Bxh2+ (clearly not 17. ... Rg8?? on account of 18. Re8+-) 18. Kh1 Bxf5 19. Qxf5 Qf4 20. Qh3 with a powerful initiative for White. 16. Kh1 Bf4. Perhaps Black should have contented himself with 16. ... gxh6 17. Qg4+ Kh8 18. Nf5 Bxf5 20. Qxf5 Qf4 21. Qh5 which leaves White a definite edge, but (maybe) less tactical sharpness.


17. Bxg7! A pretty corollary. 17. ... Kxg7 18. Qg4+ Kh8 19. Nf5 Bxf5 20. Qxf5 Qd6 21. g3! White elegantly makes room for his Rooks on the h-file. 21. ... Bh6 22. Kg2! b5 23. Bb3 Qg6 24. Qxg6 fxg6 25. Re7. Unsurprisingly, even without the Queens White’s attack proves to be irresistible. 25. ... g5 26. Re6 Kg7 27. Rh1 Rh8 28. Re7+ Kg6 29. Bc2+ 1 : 0. For if 29. ... Kh6 then 30. Rhe1 g4 31. R1e6+ Kg5 32. Rg6+ Kh5 33. Re5+ and mate next move.

Ian Aleksandrovich Nepomniachtchi
Photo © Maria Yassakova/Agon Limited

Dance of the Hours

The Will

Dronavalli Harika – 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí)
Knockout Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament; match game 2; Tehran, February 24, 2017
Sicilian Defence B51

“C’mon [Dronavalli Harika]. All the best. Just play chess today & try keep the play going. You have played very well”, 15th World Chess Champion Viswanathan “Vishy” Anand solemnly wished his countrygirl, just before the game started. 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 4. 0-0 Bd7 5. Re1 Nf6 6. c3 a6 7. Bc4 b5 8. Bf1 e5 9. d4. For 9. a4 b4 10. d4 cxd4 11. cxd4 Be7 12. Nbd2 exd4 13. Nb3 0-0 14. Nfxd4 d5 see Cornette – Pap, Schachbundesliga 2015-2016, Erfurt 2016. 9. ... Be7 10. d5 Na7 11. Nbd2 0-0 12. Bd3 Nc8 13. Nf1. As very usually happens, the Rossolimo Sicilian has transposed into a kind of Spanish Game. 13. ... Nb6 14. h3 Qc7 15. Ng3 a5 16. Bg5 Rfe8 17. Qc1 h6 18. Be3 c4 19. Bc2 b4. 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) prepares to sacrifice her c-Pawn for some interesting positional compensation. 20. Qd1 Reb8 21. Nd2 Nh7 22. Qe2 Rc8 23. Bxb6 Qxb6 24. Nxc4 Qc5 25. Bd3 bxc3 26. bxc3 Bg5 27. Rab1 Rab8 28. Nf1 Nf8 29. Kh2


29. ... h5? The Bishop pair and the weakness of the c3-Pawn partially compensated Black for the minus Pawn, but now 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) quite crazily decides to sacrifice another Pawn for something that does not exist. 30. Qxh5 Bf4+ 31. Kg1 Bb5? The postgirl just wants to jump in, both feet into the abyss... 32. Qe2. Simpler seems to be 32. Rxb5! Rxb5 33. g3 Bh6 34. Nxd6 Qxd6 35. Bxb5 Rxc3 36. Rb1 leaving Black in trouble two Pawns down – the analysis is by Georges Bertola from his commentary for Europe Échecs. 32. ... Bxc4 33. Rxb8 Rxb8 34. Bxc4 Qa3 35. Bb5 Qxc3 36. a4 Rc8 37. g3 Bg5 38. Ne3 Qb4. “It was probably necessary to eliminate the White Knight by 38. ... Bxe3!, in spite of the pawn minus, as the Bishops of opposite colour ending is just a chimera”, says Bertola. 39. Nc4 Nd7 40. Nxa5 Rc2 41. Qxc2 Qxe1+ 42. Kg2 Nc5. The alternative – apparently more defensible than the text – was 42. ... Qxa5 43. Bxd7 liquidating to a Queen and opposite coloured Bishops endgame two Pawns down. 43. Nc6! Bd2 44. Bd3. After 44. Nxe5! dxe5 45. Qxc5 Qxe4+ 46. f3 Qd4 47. Qxd4 exd4 48. Kf2 (Bertola’s analysis) not even the Bishops of opposite colours might have saved Black from the too many White Pawns eager to promote. 44. ... g6 45. h4 Bc3 46. Be2 Nxa4 47. Ne7+. Stockfish’s “first thought” 47. Qd3! Nc5 48. Qf3 also appears to be the best thought, carrying serious threats to the Black King. 47. ... Kf8 48. Nc8 Bd4 49. Bf3 Qb4 50. h5 gxh5?? A tremendous blunder for which no explanation is possible. 50. ... Qc5 51. Qxa4 Qxc8 was called for, and good enough to hope for a draw. 51. Qc1? Most certainly it’s a flashy blind spot, and it will not be the last one. 51. Qc7! Qd2 52. Kh3! would have led to a mating attack. 51. ... Bc5? 52. Qh6+? And now Harika misses 52. Qg5!+- Qb7 53. Qd8+ Kg7 54. Ne7 with an easy and ready win. 52. ... Ke8 53. Bxh5 Qxe4+ 54. Bf3 Qg6? Everything is mounted as a tragicomedy of mistakes. 54. ... Qd4! 55. Nxd6+ Bxd6 56. Qxd6 Nc5 would have ensured Black robust drawing chances. 55. Qh4 Kd7 56. Be4? As the show must go on, no matter that 56. Bg4+ Kc7 57. Qe7+ Kb8 58. Qd8 Kb7 59. Qd7+ Kb8 60. Ne7 was devastatingly easy. 56. ... f5 57. Ne7? Just another bid for immortality! Now White misses 57. Qe7+! Kxc8 58. Bd3! and mate in three moves. 57. ... Qf7 58. Bxf5+ Kc7 59. f3 Nb6 60. Be6 Qg7 61. Nf5 Qf8 62. Qh7+ Kb8 63. Ne7 Nc4 64. Nc6+ Ka8 65. Qg8? Now Harika makes the grand offer of exchanging Queens, and this is also the best way to offer her opponent unexpected drawing prospects... 65. ... Qxg8 66. Bxg8 Kb7 67. g4 Be3 68. Nd8+ Kc7 69. Ne6+ Kd7 70. g5 Ke7 71. Bh7 Nb6 72. g6 Nxd5? “72. ... Bh6! must lead to a draw: 73. g7 Bxg7 74. Nxg7 Nxd5 75. Nf5+ Kd7”, writes Bertola. 73. g7 Nf6 74. g8=Q Nxg8 75. Bxg8 Kd7 76. Nf8+ Kc6 77. Ng6 Bg5 78. Kh3 Kc5 79. Kg4 Bd8 80. Nf8 Ba5 81. Ne6+ Kc4 82. Kf5 Kd3 83. Ng5 Kd4 84. Ba2 Bb4 85. Ne6+ Ke3 86. Bd5 Ba5 87. Ng5 Kd4 88. Ke6 Bc7 89. Ne4 Ke3 90. Nxd6 Kf4 91. Be4 Ba5 92. Nb7 Bc3 93. Nc5 Kg5 94. Nd3 Bd2 95. Kxe5 Bc3+ 96. Ke6 Bd2 97. Bc6 Kg6 98. Ke5 Kg5 99. Ke4 Kf6 100. Nf2 Ke6 101. Bd5+ Kd6 102. Ba2 Kd7 103. Ng4 Bg5 104. Ne5+ Kc7 105. Bb3 Bh6 106. Nc4 Bg5 107. Ba4 Kd8 108. Ne3 Kc7 109. Bb5 Kd6 110. Nf5+ Kc5 111. Be8 Kb4 112. Nd4 Bh6 113. Ne2 Kc5 114. Bf7 Bg5 115. Ba2 Bh6 116. f4. Finally, Harika feels ready to demontrate the Bishop and Knight checkmate – actually just a bit too erratically. 116. ... Bxf4 117. Nxf4 Kb4 118. Kd4 Kb5 119. Bd5 Kb4 120. Bc4 Ka3 121. Nd3 Ka4 122. Kc5 Ka3 123. Be6 Ka4 124. Nb4 Ka3 125. Kc4 Kb2 126. Bg4 Kc1 127. Kc3 Kb1 128. Nc2 Ka2 129. Be6+ Kb1 130. Ne3 Ka1 131. Nc4 Kb1 132. Nd2+ Ka1 133. Nb3+ Kb1 134. Bf5+ Ka2 135. Be4 Ka3 136. Bb1 Ka4 137. Nd4 Ka5 138. Kc4 Kb6 139. Bg6 Kc7 140. Kd5 Kd7 141. Nc6 Kc7 142. Kc5 Kd7 143. Bf7 Kc8 144. Be6+ Kc7 145. Ne5 Kb7 146. Bd5+ Kc8 147. Kd6 Kd8 148. Bf7 Kc8 149. Kc6 Kd8 150. Ng6 Kc8 151. Bd5 Kd8 152. Kd6 Ke8 153. Bb3 Kd8 154. Ba4 Kc8 155. Bc6 Kd8 156. Ne5 Kc8 157. Bd7+ Kb7 158. Nc4 Ka6 159. Kc7 Ka7 160. Bb5 Ka8 161. Nb6+ Ka7 162. Nc8+ 1 : 0. All’s well that ends well. The last “gift” the Knockout pageant needed was a worldwide remake of Ushenina – Girya, Women’s Grand Prix 2013–2014, 1st stage, Genève 2013.

Dronavalli Harika vs. 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí)
Photo © David Llada

A Whale Called Bice

Prémanon, France: A child runs past a sculpture of a whale’s tail during a visit to the Paul-Émile Victor Museum, devoted to the Arctic and Antarctic regions, which opened this month. Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images.

Halfway Home

Anna Muzychuk – Alexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk
Knockout Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament; match game 2; Tehran, February 24, 2017
Sicilian Defence B44

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4!? Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Bc5!? For the more probing 6. ... Bb4 7. Nxc6 bxc6 8. Bd3 e5 9. 0-0 Bc5 see Karjakin – Grischuk, 23rd Russian Team Chess Championship, Sochi 2016. 7. Nxc6 bxc6? If Kosteniuk’s aim of revenge was actually founded on the ill-conceived text error, we cannot but conclude that, after yesterday’s débâcle, she did not believe that it was possible to hit back at the will of Caïssa. For 7. ... dxc6 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Bf4 Ke7 10. f3 Rd8 11. g4 Nd7 12. 0-0-0 e5 13. Bg3 f6 14. Be2 Nf8 15. Kb1 Ne6 16. Na4 Bd4 see A. Muzychuk – 孙翼男 (Sūn Yìnán), 16th World Youth Chess Championship Girls Under-12, Oropesa del Mar 2001. 8. e5 Ng8 9. Ne4! According to databases, this is a novelty, but only because – I guess – no one deliberately enters such a position just to lose... 9. ... Qb6. 9. ... Qa5+ 10. Bd2 Bb4 might perhaps be a bit less worse than the text. 10. Nxc5 Qxc5


11. Qd6! It certainly was not difficult to find it. Black will be left packed and inexorably undeveloped. 11. ... Qxd6 12. exd6 a5 13. b3 Nf6 14. f3 0-0 15. Be3 Ne8 16. 0-0-0 e5 17. Bd3 g6. The maybe previoulsly planned 17. ... f5 would have been effectively met by 18. Rhe1 Nxd6 19. Bc5 Rf6 20. Rxe5 Nb7 21. Re8+ Kf7 22. Rf8+ Kg6 23. Rxf6+ Kxf6 24. Bd4+ Kg6 25. g4+-, as shown by Georges Bertola in his commentary for Europe Échecs. 18. Bh6 Ng7 19. Rhe1 f6 20. f4! “Very sad position for Alexandra Kosteniuk... Her next best moves would be to propose draw and let Anna Muzychuk fly to the final”, reads the tweet of Europe Échecs, but 12th Women’s World Chess Champion quite proudly decides to drink the bitter chalice to the end. 20. ... Re8 21. fxe5 fxe5 22. Rd2 Re6 23. c5 Ba6 24. Bxa6 Rxa6 25. Bxg7 Kxg7 26. Rde2 Kf6 27. Rf1+ Kg7 28. Ref2 e4. Also 28. ... Ra7 is met by 29. Rf7+ Kh6 30. Re7. 29. Rf7+ Kh6 30. Re7 1 : 0.

Anna Muzychuk vs. Alexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk
Photo © David Llada

Broadcast delay


In his final appearance at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montréal, Canada, Italy’s Klaus Dibiasi, the man known as “The Chairman” of the diving board claims another Olympic gold as the upcoming Greg Louganis from the U.S. claims silver. Dibiasi won a silver medal in platform diving at the Olympic Games in 1964, and went on to win gold in the same event at the next three editions of the Games (1968, 1972, 1976). He is the only Olympic diver to have won three successive gold medals, and he is the only diver to have won medals at four editions of the Olympic Games.

The Importance of Not Being Arcovazzi’s Wife

Ho avuto
trentasei amanti
più IVA.

I’ve had
thirty-six lovers
plus tax.

Alda Merini

English translation by Susan Stewart

Artwork © dmaabsta

Miss Clarabelle Cow

Verden an der Aller, Germany: A cow is prepared for its portrait during a dairy beauty pageant. About 200 cows compete in 18 different categories. Photo: Carmen Jaspersen/AFP/Getty Images.

giovedì 23 febbraio 2017

Dancing with the Wind

Scheveningen, Netherlands: Blown away – a woman battles the wind during a stormy day at the beach. Photo: Remko de Waal/EPA.

To be, or not to be

 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/23/pope-francis-better-to-be-atheist-than-hypocritical-catholic
Pope Francis meeting with the late Cuban President Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba on September 20, 2015. Photo: Reuters.

A Fight to a Better End

Alexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk – Anna Muzychuk
Knockout Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament; match game 1; Tehran, February 23, 2017
French Defence C07

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. dxc5 Nf6 6. Ngf3 Bxc5 7. Bc4 Qc6 8. Qe2 O-O 9. Nb3 Bd6 10. Nbd4!? For 10. Bg5 Nbd7 11. 0-0-0 h6 12. Nbd4 Qe4 13. Be3 Bf4 see Vallejo Pons – E. Hansen, World Rapid Chess Championship, Berlin 2015. 10. ... Qc7 11. Nb5 Qa5+ 12. Bd2 Bb4 13. c3 Be7 14. Bf4. “Kosteniuk could go 14. b4 instead of 14. Bf4 and then Bd2-f4 with pleasant advantage for White”, Grandmaster Teimour Radjabov tweeted. 14. ... a6 15. b4? A dubious intermezzo with respect to the planned 15. Nc7 Ra7 16. Nxe6! which, however, might have happened once more! 15. ... Qa4? “After 15. b4? Black could play 15. ... Bxb4! 16. cxb4 Qxb4+ 17. Bd2 Qb2! 18. 0-0 axb5 19. Rfb1 Qc2 20. Rxb5 Rd8!? for example and Black is safe and even little better”, says Radjabov. 16. Nc7 Ra7


17. Nd4? A half step. Stockfish’s attacking line 17. Nxe6! Bxe6 18. Bxe6 fxe6 19. Qxe6+ Kh8 20. Bxb8 Rxb8 21. Ne5 appears to be very promising and, from a human point of view, nearly winning. 17. ... Nc6! 18. Nc2! Making a necessity of virtue. White threatens of trapping the Black Queen by Bc4-b3. 18. ... Nb8? After very long thought, Muzychuk does not dare to play 18. ... Nxb4! 19. cxb4 Bxb4+ 20. Nxb4 (even worse would be 20. Kf1 Bc3 followed by ... b7-b5) 20. ... Qxb4+ 21. Bd2 Qd6 when Black regains the piece with an extra Pawn. 19. Nxa6! bxa6. Not 19. ... Nxa6?? 20. Bb5 winning the Black Queen. 20. Bxb8 Ra8 21. Be5 Bb7. Muzychuk is quite dramatically already short of time, and Kosteniuk attempts to exploit this element with the most “raw” possible moves. 22. Nd4 Bd5. Not 22. ... Bxg2?? 23. Rg1 Bb7 24. Qe3 with an overwhelming attack. 23. Bb3 Bxb3 24. Nxb3 Rfc8 25. 0-0 Qb5 26. Qe1. Kosteniuk boldly refuses to exchange Queens. 26. ... Rc4 27. Nd2 Rc6 28. a4 Qd3 29. Nf3 Rac8 30. Bd4 Nd7 31. Rd1 Qf5 32. Qe2 Rc4. The drama of Zeitnot. 33. Kh1. Kosteniuk will probably regret of playing a bit too much on her opponent’s lack of time. Here 33. Bc5! Bxc5 34. bxc5 Qxc5 35. Rxd7 seems to win quite easily. 33. ... R4c6 34. Rd3 g6 35. Rfd1 R6c7 36. h3 h5 37. Re3 Bf6 38. Bxf6 Nxf6 39. Nd4 Qg5 40. Rg3. Kosteniuk is happy enough with her extra Pawn, and probably wrongly she decided to delay cashing in the second one: 40. Qxa6! (20. ... Rxc3? 41. Nxe6!+-). 40. ... Qh4. Muzychuk finally reached time control, certainly not well, but still alive! 41. Nxe6! Rxc3. Not 41. ... fxe6? because of 42. Qxe6+ Kg7 43. Rd4 Ng4 44. Rd7+ Kh6 45. Rd6 Qg5 46. f4! and wins. 42. Rxc3 Rxc3 43. Nd4? After losing too much time and nerve on an almost won game, it’s understandable that Kosteniuk didn’t notice 43. Kg1! fxe6 44. Qe5!+- (44. ... Rc2 45. g3) – that’s Stockfish’s tricky stuff. 43. ... Rc8 44. Nf3 Qxb4 45. Qxa6 Qc3 46. Qb7 Re8 47. Kg1 Qc2 48. Ra1 Qc3 49. Rb1 Kg7 50. g3 Qa5 51. Rb4 Rd8 52. Qb5 Qa8 53. Qe2 Re8 54. Qd1 Ne4 55. Qd4+ Kg8 56. Ne5?? Too much concerned, or not too concerned, or not at all concerned about the threat of ... Ne4xg3, Kosteniuk seems not notice the other, more serious Black’s threat (... Ne4-g5), and makes an irreparable blunder. If nothing else, something like 56. Kh2 would have left White a not too meaningful Pawn ahead in a not so clearly winnable situation. 56. ... Ng5! Turning tables! The deadly threat is ... Re8xe5. 57. Rb3 Nxh3+ 58. Kh2 Nxf2. Again threatening ... Rxe5. 59. Qxf2 Rxe5 60. Qb2 Qxa4 61. Rf3 Qb5 62. Qc3 Re2+ 63. Kg1 Qb1+ 64. Rf1 Qb6+ 0 : 1. For after 65. Kh1 Qe6 66. Kg1 Qh3 the win is easy to demonstrate. A dramatic derby between two great Slav talents! We can be sure that the return game will be eagerly awaited.

Alexandra Konstantinovna Kosteniuk vs. Anna Muzychuk
Photo © David Llada

The Postgirl

谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) – Dronavalli Harika
Knockout Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament; match game 1; Tehran, February 23, 2017
Nimzo-Indian Defence E54

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 0-0 5. Bd3 c5 6. Nf3 d5 7. 0-0 cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6 10. Bg5 Bb7 11. Qe2 Bxc3 12. bxc3 Nbd7 13. Bd3 Qc7 14. Rac1 Ng4. For 14. ... Rfe8 15. Rfe1 h6 16. Bd2 Rad8 see 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) – Gunina, Russia–China Match, Moscow 2016. 15. Be4 Rfe8. For 15. ... Bxe4 16. Qxe4 Ngf6 17. Qe2 Rac8 18. c4 h6 19. Bh4 Qb7 20. Rfe1 Rfe8 see Radjabov – Kramnik, World Championship Candidates, London 2013. 16. h3!? Bxe4 17. Qxe4 Ngf6 18. Qe2 Rac8 19. c4 Qb7 20. Rfe1 Qa6 21. Ne5 Nxe5


22. dxe5! The most difficult move of the game. By retaking with the Pawn, 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) shows her aggressive intentions, and thanks to some silent Rooks-and-Queen maneuvers (really in Karpov’s grand style!) she will manage to create an attack seemingly out of nothing. 22. ... Nd7 23. Qg4 Kh8 24. Qh5 Kg8 25. Qg4 Kh8 26. Re4 Qa3 27. Rd1 Nf8 28. h4 Qc3. Harika cannot yet believe that she will find herself to defend from an attack. 28. ... h6 29. Qh5 Nh7 30. Bc1 Qa4 was probably a bit sounder. 29. h5! (Δ h5-h6) 29. ... h6 30. Bh4 Rc7 31. Red4! A powerful interference by which White threatens Bh4-f6. 31. ... Qc2. In order to met 32. Bf6?? by 32. ... gxf6 33. exf6 Qh7, but... 32. R1d3! Here is another interference! 32. ... Rc5. A rejoinder that may hasten the end, but by now Black had no good moves. 33. Rg3? A half step behind. Very much stronger seems 33. Kh2! Rxe5 (what else?) 34. Rd8 Rxd8 35. Rxd8 Kg8 36. Bf6 winning immediately. 33. ... Qh7 34. Rf4 Rc7 35. Qf3 Nd7 36. Qe2 Rf8? And finally Harika cracks under the pressure and responsibility of her historical mission. Stockfish’s “best (rescue) line” 36. ... Qb1+ 37. Kh2 Qb4 38. Rxf7 Rxc4 39. Bf6 gxf6 40. Rxd7 Rh4+ 41. Rh3 Qf4+ 42. g3 Qg4 43. Qxg4 Rxg4 44. exf6 Rf8 seems instead to offer quite certain drawing chances. 37. Be7 Rg8 38. Bd6 Rcc8 39. Rxf7 Qb1+ 40. Kh2 Nc5 41. Qe3 Qh7 42. Rg6. Totally crushed! 42. ... a5 43. Be7 Rc7 44. Rxh6! 1 : 0. A fantastic game by the most veiled of the Chinese pretenders!

谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) vs. Dronavalli Harika
Photo © David Llada

Anti-GPS Tracking System

London, England: The Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, leaves his home in north London. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images.

Raising the Flag

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/22/russian-replica-to-give-children-chance-to-storm-the-reichstag
Defence minister says model will allow re-enactment of Red Army’s capture of Berlin in 1945 – a patriotic rallying point for Putin

The Russian defence ministry is constructing a replica of the Reichstag at a military theme park on the outskirts of Moscow, to allow patriotic Russian children to recreate the storming of the building during the Soviet capture of Berlin in 1945. [Read more].
Raising a flag over the Reichstag is a historic World War II picture, taken by Yevgeny Anan’evich Khaldei during the Battle of Berlin on 2 May 1945. It shows Meliton Varlamis dze Kantaria and Mikhail Alekseevich Yegorov raising the flag of the Soviet Union atop the Reichstag building. The picture was reprinted in thousands of publications and came to be regarded around the world as a symbol of the Soviet victory over nazi-fascism. Photo: SVF2/UIG/Getty Images.

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Vatican City: Pope Francis attends a circus performance during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images.

Sanitation in the City of Bice

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/22/transgender-students-bathroom-trump-obama
U.S. withdrew guidance stating federal law requires transgender students to have unfettered access to bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity

The Trump administration has withdrawn a piece of federal guidance requiring transgender students to have unfettered access to bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity, in a move that could embolden many schools to restrict trans rights. [Read more].
Artwork © ShearRayne

Anti-GPS Tracking System

鄭州 (Zhèngzhōu), China: Hundreds of abandoned bikes at 郑州大学 (Zhèngzhōu University). They were collected from the campus after the spring festival break. Photo: AFP/Getty Images.

mercoledì 22 febbraio 2017

A Star In The Desert

Milan, Italy: Doggy street fashion outside the Gucci show. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images.

Swords of Damocles

 https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/feb/22/sergei-polunin-documentary-dancer-steven-cantor
Steven Cantor’s intimate film about the rebellious dancer exposes the pressures heaped on young prodigies – and has vital lessons for the industry. [Read more].

Pen to Paper

Michael Adams – Jon Ludvig Nilssen Hammer
World Chess Federation Grand Prix 2017; first stage; Sharjah, February 22, 2017
Giuoco Piano C50

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. 0-0 Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. c3 d6 7. a4 0-0 8. Re1 Kh8 9. h3 h6 10. Na3 Bxa3 11. Rxa3 Be6. It’s almost incredible – from an amateur’s point of view – that Black’s last two moves may rise to the dignity of a strategy. Computers changed the world too much. 12. Bxe6 fxe6 13. d4. White already enjoys a safe and lasting advantage, and given the lack of counterplay Black can only hope for a miracle. It won’t happen. 13. ... Qe8 14. dxe5 Nxe5 15. Nxe5 dxe5 16. a5 Rd8 17. Qe2 Qc6 18. Rb3 Rd7 19. Rb4 Rfd8 20. Be3 Kg8 21. Qc4 Rd1 22. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 23. Kh2 Qxc4 24. Rxc4 c6 25. Rb4 Rd7 26. Kg3 Kf7 27. Kf3 g5 28. Ba7! Ng8 29. h4! gxh4 30. Kg4 Ne7 31. Be3 Ng8 32. Kxh4 Ke8 33. Rb3 Rg7 34. g4 Rf7 35. c4 Rd7 36. Ba7 Nf6 37. f3 Rf7 38. Bb8 Nd7 39. Bd6 Kd8 40. Kh5 Rf6 41. Rd3! Black is so much in Zugzwang that he would like not to move!


41. ... Ke8 42. Bb4! Intending Bb4-d2xh6. 42. ... c5 43. Bd2 Rf7 44. Bxh6 Nf6+ 45. Kg6 Ng8 46. Bg5 1 : 0. Looking and finding the amazing Spider-Man!

Michael Adams
Photo © Maria Yassakova/Agon Limited

Skies of Jupiter

South pole, Jupiter: An image from NASA’s Juno spacecraft taken directly over Jupiter’s south pole from an altitude of about 62,800 miles. This enhanced colour version highlights the bright high clouds and numerous meandering oval storms. Photo: NASA/AFP/Getty Images.

The Four Seasons

Dronavalli Harika – Nana Dzagnidze
Knockout Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament; match game 1; Tehran, February 20, 2017
French Defence C03

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 a6 4. Ngf3 c5 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. exd5 exd5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. 0-0 Bg4 9. Nb3 Bd6 10. h3 Bh5 11. c3 Nge7 12. Re1 Qc7 13. Be3 Ne5 14. Be2 Nc4


15. Bg5! f6. Not 15. ... Nxb2? because of 16. Bxe7!! Nxd1 17. Bb5+! axb5 18. Bxd6+ winning material – that’s why computers are kept under lock and key when two human beings play each other. 16. Bc1 0-0 17. Nfd4 Bf7 18. Bg4 Kh8 19. Ne6 Bxe6 20. Bxe6. The Bishop pair implies a somewhat better position for White, but it does not seem easy to transform the better into the best. 20. ... Rad8 21. Nd4 Nc6 22. b3 Nxd4 23. cxd4 Na5 24. Bb2 Nc6 25. Bg4 Qa5 26. a3 Bb8 27. Qd3 Rfe8 28. b4 Qc7 29. g3 Ba7 30. h4 g6 31. Rxe8+ Rxe8 32. Bf3 Qd6 33. Kg2 Kg7 34. Bc3. Woman Grandmaster Tania Sachdev, commenting her countrygirl’s game for ChessBase.com, regards 34. h5 as a better way of putting pressure on Black’s shoulders; for instance: 34. ... f5 35. hxg6 hxg6 36. Rh1 Rh8 37. Rxh8 Kxh8 38. b5 “With too many weaknesses in blacks position”. 34. ... Rc8 35. Re1 Ne7 36. Bb2 Rc4 37. Qe2 Nf5 38. Bg4 Bxd4 39. Bxf5 gxf5?? A dramatic blunder by Dzagnidze, likely due to time trouble. Simply 39. ... Bxb2 40. Bd3 Rc1 was good enough to survive. 40. Qe8! Bxb2 41. Re7+ Qxe7. No other way to avoid mate. 42. Qxe7+ Kg6 43. Qe8+ Kg7 44. Qd7+ Kg6 45. h5+ Kh6 46. Qxd5 Rc2. Surrender. 47. Qb3! 1 : 0. Then, after losing the 2nd game, Harika deservedly got through the tie-break and will play 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) in the semifinals.

Dronavalli Harika
Photo: Anastasiya Karlovich

Oblivious to the danger who was so close by...

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – Michael Adams
World Chess Federation Grand Prix 2017; first stage; Sharjah, February 21, 2017
Queen’s Gambit Declined D35

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 Be7 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. Nge2 Nh5 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. Qd2 Nb6 12. f3. For 12. 0-0 0-0 13. f3 Be6 14. b3 Rac8 15. Rac1 c5 see Hillarp Persson – Merriman, 7th London Chess Classic Open, London 2015. 12. ... Bd7 13. 0-0 0-0 14. g4! Oblivious to the danger who was so close by... On the other hand, 14. e4 dxe4 15. fxe4 c5! (Leitão’s analysis) would not worry Black. 14. ... Nf6 15. Ng3 Ne8 16. Rae1 Nd6


17. e4! Mamedyarov daringly sacrifices the g-Pawn to start a vehement attack on the Kingside. 17. ... dxe4 18. fxe4 Ndc4. If 18. ... Bxg4 then 19. e5 Ndc4 20. Qg2 and White’s initiative more than compensates for the Pawn (Leitão’s analysis). 19. Qc1! Bxg4 20. b3 Rad8. Of course after 20. ... Nd6 21. e5 White’s attack would easily spread its wings. 21. Nf5. Alternatively, a good way to consolidate might have been 21. bxc4 Rxd4 22. Be2± (Leitão’s analysis). 21. ... Bxf5 22. exf5 Qf6 23. Bxc4 Nxc4 24. bxc4 Qxd4+ 25. Kh1 Rfe8 26. f6! Rxe1 27. Qxe1 Qxc4 28. fxg7 Rd6 29. Rg1? Very natural, but, as Stockfish argues, 29. Qe8+! Kg7 30. Qe5+ Kg8 31. Rf3! seems to promise much more. 29. ... Rg6 30. Qe5. 30. Rxg6 fxg6 31. Kg2 Kxg7 32. Qe7+ Qf7 would lead to a kind of dynamic balance. 30. ... Qe6. Better seems 30. ... Qd3! (Leitão) in order to answer 31. Rxg6 by 31. ... Qf1+ 32. Rg1 Qf3+ with perpetual check. 31. Qb8+ Kxg7 32. Qxa7 Qc4 33. Qe3 b5 34. a3 c5 35. Ne4 f5? Here is when Adams makes his true mistake. After 35. ... b4! White very probably could not have won the game. 36. Rxg6+ Kxg6 37. Nxc5+- Qd5+ 38. Kg1 Qd1+ 39. Kg2 Qd5+ 40. Kh3 Qd1 41. Qe8+ Kf6 42. Nd7+ Kg5 43. Qg8+ 1 : 0. For if 43. ... Kf4 then 44. Qg3+ Ke4 45. Nf6+ Kd4 46. Qd6+.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs. Michael Adams
Photo © Maria Yassakova/Agon Limited

Fama volat

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/22/chinese-internet-giant-weibo-gags-donald-trumps-feminist-critics
李麦子 (Li Màizi), a Chinese feminist, protests against 新浪微博 (Sina Wēibó) suspending a popular account after it criticised Donald Trump. Photo: 李麦子 (Li Màizi).