mercoledì 29 marzo 2017

Ascent to the Absolute

“Mountain Climbing”

I really do not understand
Why so many people
Like to go mountain climbing

If I ever went climbing
It might be only
To climb to the peak
And jump me off

任航 (Rèn Háng), January 2, 2016

The Count of Monte Cristo

Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov named the names of the “coup plotters”: Nigel Freeman and Georgios Makropoulos. See

With due respect for such insurrectionists, there must be someone else too.

martedì 28 marzo 2017

Words I Never Said

Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov: “The meaning of my words is the following: ‘I am ready to leave the position of FIDE President if this is necessary for FIDE’”. For further details, see



Jon Ludvig Nilssen Hammer (SK Rockaden) – Baadur Jobava (Malmö AS)
Swedish Élite League 2016/2017; Västerås, March 25, 2017
Grünfeld Defence D94

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 d5 4. e3 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Bd3 0-0 7. 0-0 Na6 8. a3 Nc7 9. h3. 9. Qc2 Be6 10. cxd5 Nfxd5 11. h3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 c5 transposes into O. Bernstein – Alekhine, 7th Russian Chess Championship, Vilnius 1912. 9. ... Bf5 10. cxd5 Ncxd5 11. Na4 Qc8 12. Re1 Bxd3 13. Qxd3 Rd8 14. Qc2 Nb6 15. Nc5 Nfd7 16. Nd3 c5! 17. dxc5 Nxc5! 18. Qxc5. On 18. Nxc5 Nd7 Black regains the Knight with very comfortable play. 18. ... Rxd3 19. Qxe7 Qc6 20. Ne5 Bxe5 21. Qxe5 Re8 22. Qg5 Nc4 23. b4 Rd5 24. Qh4 Rh5 25. Qd4 Ne5. In his commentary to the game, Grandmaster Rafael Duailibe Leitão assesses that Black has enough compensation for the Pawn. 26. f4

26. ... Nf3+! As usual, Jobava is able to create complications out of nothing. The effect on Hammer is quite upsetting. 27. gxf3 Qxf3 28. Ra2 Rxh3 29. Rg2 Qh5 30. Bb2 Rh1+ 31. Kf2 Qh4+ 32. Kf3? A tremendous blunder. Leitão recommends 32. Rg3 as after 32. ... Rh2+ 33. Kf3 Qh5+ 34. Rg4 Rxb2 35. Qxb2 f5 36. Qg2 White should be able to hold his own. 32. ... Rh3+ 33. Ke2 Rhxe3+ 0 : 1.

Power and Magic

Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov: “It looks like a power struggle of some kind, there is something not very clean behind this”. See

“The opponents of FIDE President Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov are leading an unethical struggle for power inside the organization”, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s Committee on International Affairs and 12th World Chess Champion Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov told TASS on March 28, 2017. “It all started when Kirsan Nikolayevich was blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury; he temporarily suspended all operations and transactions, but since then the queue began to push. It looks like a power struggle of some kind, there is something not very clean behind this”.

Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov playing a simultaneous chess exhibition. Photo: Game Wiki.


北京 (Běijīng), China: A model presents a creation from the Chantel Gōng collection by Chinese designer 龚航宇 (Gōng Hángyǔ) during the Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week. Photo: How Hwee Young/EPA.

In the House of Chess

FIDE President Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov (pictured above on the right) and Russian Chess Federation President as well as FIDE Vice President Andrey Vasilievich Filatov (pictured above on the left) gave today a joint press conference at the Central House of Chess in Moscow, Russia regarding the “FIDE affaire”. Mr. Filatov began with a clear premise: “The Russian Chess Federation wholly supports Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov and is satisfied with his work as FIDE President”. Then Mr. Ilyumzhinov spoke, admitting that what he read yesterday on FIDE’s web site “sounded like a bomb” to him. He didn’t hide that he was urged to resign by the Athens Presidential Board meeting, but he strongly denied ever having signed any resignation letter. He objected that only a FIDE general assembly – and not a Presidential Board meeting, neither ordinary nor extraordinary – can legitimately “impeach” and remove a President from office, so “I’ll keep working as FIDE President until next elections in 2018”, he said. “I do my duty as FIDE President no matter what”, Ilyumzhinov said, “I don’t like intrigues and I won’t do what they did”. Finally, he lamented that FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos turned off his cell phone for all yesterday, refusing to accept his calls. As they say, gratitude is a heavy burden. Photo: Russian Chess Federation (@ruchess).

Si duo dicunt idem non est idem

Dmitry Sergeyevich Peskov, Chairman of the Russian Chess Federation’s Board of Trustees as well as spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, told TASS on Monday that “We believe that everything possible must be done to avoid any possible disruption in the organization (of upcoming international tournaments) and most importantly to evade all barriers in the direction of further development and popularization of the sport of chess”.
On the other hand, FIDE’s Greek junta, through its Press Officer Anastasiya Karlovich, confirmed in an email to Bloomberg News the statement of Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov’s resignation, but declined to provide further details.
Ilyumzhinov’s Executive Assistant Berik Tuktybekovich Balgabaev, for his part, trumply called FIDE’s statement “fake news”. Yes, Ilyumzhinov attended the Athens Presidential Board meeting on 25 and 26 March, Balgabaev told Bloomberg News, “but he never gave any resignation, and he never intends to do so”.
And, finally, Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov, the President, who in a March 27 interview with Russian news agency TASS, said that “This intrigue has been whipped up by the U.S. Chess Federation and its allies, and this attempt is the latest among many. They tried to raise the issue of my resignation during the session in Athens, but it failed. In general, I sometimes receive threats demanding that I resign”. Yesterday Ilyumzhinov sent FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman a vehement letter of denial regarding his alleged resignation.
And today came FIDE’s reply, yet addressed to Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov as President:

Meanwhile in elsewhere, life goes on.

Not at Home

“My love”

My love
Is gone

And then
Came back once more
But I was not at home

任航 (Rèn Háng), January 2, 2016

lunedì 27 marzo 2017

Rebel Without a Cause
Why is there no lobby for 韦奕 (Wéi Yì)?, wonders Stefan Löffler. The Chinese wonder boy, 17, one of the world’s top 30 players, didn’t yet get almost no inviatation in high-class tournaments, neither abroad nor at home. The question is not trivial. Probably 韦奕 (Wéi Yì) is not supported by a “lobby” like that – let’s say – of 丁立人 (Dīng Lìrén), but maybe the real reason for the “embargo” (especially abroad) lies in his young age. I’d not exclude that Chinese officials may fear exposing such a young boy to the “bad” influences of his Western peers. Don’t think I’m joking.

韦奕 (Wéi Yì)

The Frog Prince

王皓 (Wáng Hào) – Raunak Sadhwani
1st Sharjah Masters International Chess Championship; Sharjah, March 26, 2017
King’s Indian Defence E81

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 0-0 6. Be3 c5 7. dxc5 dxc5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. Bxc5 Nc6 10. Be3 b6 11. Rc1 Ba6. 11. ... Nd7 12. Nh3 Nc5 is here more usual; for instance: 13. Nf4 Ba6 14. Nfd5 e6 15. Nc7 Rac8 16. Nxa6 Nxa6 17. f4 Nc5 18. e5 g5 19. g3 gxf4 20. gxf4 f6 21. exf6 Bxf6 22. Be2 Nd4 23. b3 Nf5 24. Bf2 Kf7 25. 0-0 Rd2 26. Rfe1 Rg8+ 27. Kf1 Bd4 28. Bh5+ Kf6 29. Re2 Bxf2 30. Rxd2 Be3 31. Rcd1 Rg1+ 32. Ke2 Rg2+ 33. Ke1 Rg1+ 34. Ke2 Rg2+ 35. Ke1 Rg1+ ½ : ½ Édouard – Shyam, 49th International Master Open, Biel/Bienne 2016. 12. Nh3 Rac8 13. Nf2 e6!? Sadhwani’s new one. For 13. ... Nd7 14. Be2 Nd4 15. b3 Ne5 see Kroll – Søgaard, Aarhusmesterskabet, Aarhus 1991. 14. Be2 Nb4. I don’t like this move, which shows really bad judgment. The immediate 14. ... Nd7 seems more to the point. 15. b3 Nd7 16. 0-0

16. ... Bxc3? Here is the (radically bad) corollary to the previous idea: Black gives up the Bishop pair, weakens the dark squares around the King, and uncoordinates his Knights on the Queenside for the sake of a mere Pawn. After 16. ... Nc5(!) Black’s position seems perfectly tenable. 17. Rxc3 Nxa2 18. Rc2 Nb4 19. Rd2 Nc5 20. Rfd1 Re8? This is a gross blunder, but after 20. ... Rxd2 21. Bxd2 Nc2 22. b4 Nb3 23. b5 Ncd4 24. Bf1 Bb7 25. Bg5 Kg7 26. Ng4 White stands very much better and should win anyway. 21. Ng4 Kg7 22. Bh6+ Kh8 23. Nf6. The Black Rook has any good square. 23. ... Nc6 24. Nxe8 Rxe8 25. b4 Nb3 26. Rd6 Ncd4 27. R6xd4 Nxd4 28. Rxd4 1 : 0.

王皓 (Wáng Hào) vs. Raunak Sadhwani
Photo: Maria Emelianova


Andrey Vasilievich Filatov, President of the Russian Chess Federation and Vice President of FIDE, told TASS correspondent Andrei Kartashov that the rumours surrounding the resignation of Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov as FIDE President are groundless. “It’s the first time I heard about it”, Filatov said. “And yet I am FIDE Vice President”.

Andrey Vasilievich Filatov
Photo © Nina Zotina/TASS

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

It looks like Dr. Strangelove’s war room. Pictured above is the screenshot from the FIDE web site. There we read, “Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced his resignation as FIDE President”.
The news itself is quite astonishing, but even more amazing is the official statement of the “resigning” President:

“I don’t know from where the news came”, Ilyumzhinov told Oleg Bogatov of “It seems like a joke, or maybe it is only one’s wish”. Photo: RIA Novosti/Vladimir Fedorenko.

Ring road

重庆 (Chóngqìng), China: Women present 旗袍 (qípáo), a traditional Chinese dress, on a plank road built along a vertical cliff of 金佛山 (Golden Buddha Mountain). Photo: 新华通讯社 (Xīnhuá News Agency)/Barcroft Images.

Blueberry Juice

With respect to their “Safe Driving Campaign”, Ester Marra (right forefront), virtuoso dancer of Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”, even on behalf of her fellow dancer Isabella Ceccatelli (right background), passionately swears they drank nothing else but analcholic blueberry juice, with Alessandra (left forefront) and Giuditta (left background) jointly endorsing her version. Photo courtesy of Ester Marra.

The Royal Summit

From 4 to 10 April 2017 in 深圳 (Shēnzhèn), China, four-time Women’s World Chess Champion 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán) will take on Ukrainian Grandmaster and current World Rapid Chess Champion Vassily Mykhaylovych Ivanchuk in the four game “Chess King and Queen Summit Match”, organised by the Chinese Chess Association and 龙岗区 (Lónggǎng District) People’s Government of 深圳 (Shēnzhèn) Municipality. Time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an addition of 30 seconds per move. The prize money for the winner is $18,000 dollars, while the loser will be content with $12,000 dollars. Taxes excluded.

深圳龙岗区 (Shēnzhèn Lónggǎng District) City Hall Square

The Cucumber Queen

“Five with a plus”. Evgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov sums up both his match as well as the tournament in Jūrmala (pictures, games). See

A merciless Sveshnikov closed his friendly six game Rapid chess match against Gaprindashvili by a score of 5 to 1. “Nona Terentevna played interesting chess”, Sveshnikov afterwards argued. “She only lacked that extra bit of energy. But strangely, after two days of play I feel tired, while she is fresh like a cucumber. I am admired!”.

Evgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov – Nona Terentevna Gaprindashvili
Exhibition Rapid chess match game 6; Jūrmala, March 26, 2017
Owen Defence B00

1. e4 b6 2. d4 Bb7 3. Nd2 e6 4. Ngf3 g6 5. Bd3 Bg7 6. h4!? A novelty but no fundamentally new concept. On the other hand, the position after Black’s 5th move may be well regarded as a theoretical tabiya with respect to Gaprindashvili’s opening repertoire. Here is just one reference: 6. c3 d6 7. Nf1 Nd7 8. Ng3 Ne7 9. h4 h6 10. Bd2 a6 11. b4 c5 12. Rb1 Qc7 13. a4 e5 14. bxc5 bxc5 15. h5 g5 16. d5 c4 17. Bc2 a5 18. Be3 Ba6 19. 0-0 Nc5 20. Nh2 0-0 21. Ng4 Rfb8 22. Qf3 Bc8 23. Nf6+ Kf8 24. Nh7+ Kg8 25. Nf6+ Kf8 26. Nh7+ Kg8 ½ : ½ Jonkman – Gaprindashvili, 1st BDO Chess Tournament, Haarlem 2005. 6. ... h6 7. Nf1 d6 8. Ng3 c5 9. c3 Ne7 10. Be3 Nd7 11. Qd2 Qc7 12. 0-0 Nf6 13. e5!? dxe5 14. Nxe5 Nfd5 15. Bb5+ Nc6. 15. ... Kf8 was also possible, and maybe even better. 16. Bf4 Nxf4 17. Qxf4 Rc8? I think that she should have first played 17. ... 0-0(!) in order to unpin the Knight. 18. Ne4! Now this is possible, and may become quite annoying. 18. ... 0-0 19. Bxc6 Bxc6 20. Nf6+ Kh8? Gaprindashvili had, by now, lost the match, so maybe it was worth trying 20. ... Bxf6 21. Qxf6 Qd8 22. Qf4 g5!? (22. ... Qd5 23. f3).

21. g4! Now White launches a vehement attack on the Kingside, that between ups and downs arrives at its destination. 21. ... cxd4 22. cxd4 Qe7 23. g5 Rfd8 24. Rac1 Bb7 25. Nfg4. Even stronger seems 25. d5!+− for if 25. ... exd5 then 26. Rfe1 Rxc1 27. Rxc1 (Δ Rc1-c7) 27. ... Rc8 28. Re1 finis. 25. ... Kg8. It is not a panacea, but 25. ... Kh7 26. Rxc8 Rxc8 27. gxh6 Qxh4 28. f3 Bxe5 29. dxe5 Kh8 30. Qf6+ Qxf6 31. Nxf6 Rc2 32. Rf2 (Stockfish) is only good to hold on just a while longer – the White Knight paralyses Black’s Kingside. 26. gxh6 Bxe5? Gaprindashvili should, at any cost, have tried 26. ... Rxc1 27. Rxc1 Rxd4! 28. Qxd4 Qxh4 forcing her opponent to find 29. Kf1! – in fact the only potentially winning move. 27. dxe5. Stronger was 27. Qxe5 Qf8 (or 27. ... f5 28. Nf6+ Kf7 29. Nh7!+−) 28. Nf6+ Kh8 29. Nd7+ f6 30. Nxf6 Qxh6 31. Ne8+ Kg8 32. Qxe6+ Kf8 33. Nd6+−, but Sveshnikov is content with playing the cat and mouse game. 27. ... Ba6 28. Rxc8 Bxc8 29. Rc1 Bb7 30. Qg5 1 : 0.

A Call to Silence


Hundreds of protesters have been detained by riot police in cities across Russia, as some of the largest anti-government protests in years swept the country on Sunday, March 26, 2017. A monitoring group said at least 700 people were detained in Moscow alone, including the opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Anatolievich Navalny. Photo: Anya Litvinenko‏ (@Litvinenko_aa1).

domenica 26 marzo 2017

Safe Driving Campaign

Needless to say, the 2nd edition of the Charity Dance Festival “Dedicato a...” was a great success both in terms of spectators and program, so we’re happy for all the families bereaved by road traffic accidents. Great merit must be credited, however, to Ester Marra and Isabella Ceccatelli, virtuoso dancers of Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”, who, as always, commendably penetrated the spirit of safe driving campaign. Photo courtesy of Isabella Ceccatelli.

Four cartoonists about the undeclared Third World War

Today, while spending the afternoon at the Teatro Puccini waiting for the dance show to begin, I was happy to find out that the theatre was hosting a free exhibition of original drawings by Altan, Ellekappa, Sergio Staino, and Vauro wholly dedicated to how migrants are welcomed in Italy.

The drawings exhibition is titled “Migrants and Robbers”, and subtitled “Four cartoonists about the undeclared Third World War”. Started on March 25, 2017 it will end on April 28, 2017. The entrance is free during the opening hours of the theatre.

Through satire, the four cartoonists undoubtedly succeed in displaying migrants’ experience of racism and discrimination in Italy. Here we smile, but there is nothing to laugh about.

Luminous Orchid

“Orchidea Luminosa” ™ © Mado Flynn

Handmade in Italy by Mado Flynn

In the Driver’s Seat

The Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna” will participate in the 2nd edition of the Charity Dance Festival “Dedicato a...” to be held today at the Teatro Puccini, Via delle Cascine, 41, 50144 Florence, starting at 17,00.
The event is organized by the dance school DeM Club Danza e Movimento.
Proceeds will be donated to entities and associations which offer support to road traffic fatalities victims and their families.

A dancer of Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna” performing in the 2nd edition of the ballet festival “Le ali della danza” at the Teatro Aurora in Scandicci, Florence on January 27, 2017. Photo: Stefano Marmino

Measure for Pleasure

“I really do get a lot of pleasure out of it!”. Evgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov cracked down on Nona Terentevna Gaprindashvili (pictures, games). See

Evgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov is actually leading 2½–½ after the first three games of his exhibition six game Rapid chess match with Nona Terentevna Gaprindashvili, which started yesterday in Jūrmala, Latvia. The five-time Women’s World Chess Champion almost invariably suffered her opponent’s deeper theoretical preparation, even though in the second game she missed a great chance to win the whole point:

Evgeny Ellinovich Sveshnikov – Nona Terentevna Gaprindashvili
Exhibition Rapid chess match game 2; Jūrmala, March 25, 2017
2r2k2/1r2pp2/p4bp1/1p1P2Np/1B3Pnn/3B4/PP2RP1P/4R1K1 w - - 10 29

Position after 28. ... Bd4-f6

29. d6! A quite interesting Exchange sacrifice in the breathlessly time scramble. 29. ... Bxg5 30. fxg5 Nf3+ 31. Kf1 Nxe1 32. dxe7+? Going astray. After 32. Rxe1 exd6 33. h3 Nxf2 34. Kxf2 White remains with Rook, two Bishops (even though two Pawns down) against two Rooks, but – by far more important – with a much better position. 32. ... Ke8 33. Rxe1 Rd7 34. Be2 Ne5 35. f4? I guess Sveshnikov should have played, for bad or for good, 35. Bxb5 Nc6 36. Bxa6 Ra8 37. Bb5 Nxb4 38. Rd1 Ra7 39. a3 Na6 40. Rxd7 Rxd7 41. Bxd7+ (or even 41. Bxa6) trying to make the opponent’s task harder (and possibly harder and harder). 35. ... Nd3 36. Bxd3 Rxd3. Now White is (should be) finished. 37. Re2 Rd4 38. Bc3 Rxf4+ 39. Ke1 Rxc3. There is nothing wrong about it, except that 39. ... Rc6! (intending ... Rc6-e6) would have been infinitely simpler. 40. bxc3 Rc4. You’d think that she had given back the Exchange just to play 40. ... Rg4! without fearing the ghost-Bishop going to f6, but rapid chess is not an exact science. 41. Kd2 Rc7. 41. ... Rg4! was still the simplest way to do the job. 42. Re4 Rxe7? The last careless inaccuracy that indeed throws away the win. It took just an intermediate check: 42. ... Rd7+! 43. Kc2 Rxe7 44. Rb4 Re2+ and Black must win. 43. Rb4 Kd7 44. a4! Kc6 45. axb5+ axb5 46. c4! bxc4 47. Rxc4+ Kd5. After all, it has remained on the board only a drawish 3 vs. 2 same side Pawn ending. 48. Rf4 Ke5 49. Ke3 Ra7 50. Rf6 Ra3+ 51. Kf2 Ra7 52. h4 Ra4 53. Kg3 Rg4+ 54. Kh3 Rf4 55. Ra6 Rf3+ 56. Kg2 Rd3 57. Rf6 Rd4 58. Kg3 Rg4+ 59. Kh3 Rf4 60. Ra6 f6 61. gxf6 Rxf6 62. Ra5+ Kf4 63. Rg5 Ra6 64. Rg3 Kf5 65. Rg5+ Kf6 66. Rb5 Ra3+ 67. Kg2 Ra4 68. Kg3 Rg4+ 69. Kh3 Re4 70. Rg5 Re5 71. Rg3 Rb5 72. Rf3+ Rf5 73. Rg3 Kg7 74. Ra3 Kh6 75. Ra7 Rf3+ 76. Kg2 Rb3 77. Rc7 ½ : ½.

sabato 25 marzo 2017

The Wedding March


If the rain is under heaven
What type of umbrella do we need?

任航 (Rèn Háng), February 8, 2009

The Golden Salamander

王皓 (Wáng Hào) – Sethuraman Panayappan Sethuraman
1st Sharjah Masters International Chess Championship; Sharjah, March 25, 2017
Spanish Game C88

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 0-0 8. a4 Bb7 9. d3 d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nbd2 f6! 12. axb5 axb5 13. Rxa8 Bxa8 14. c4!?? White goes for tricky adventures (which will soon imply a Pawn sacrifice), since otherwise Black seems to have completely equalised (for instance: 14. Ne4 Na5 15. Ba2 c5=). 14. ... bxc4 15. Nxc4 Kh8 16. d4 Bb4 17. Re4. This was 王皓 (Wáng Hào)’s idea, heading for Black’s King. 17. ... Nde7 18. Rh4 Nf5. Clearly not 18. ... exd4?? on account of 19. Ng5! winning immediately. 19. Rh3 Ncxd4 20. Nxd4 exd4. All White’s hopes vanish: 20. ... Nxd4? 21. Nxe5! fxe5?? 22. Rxh7+ Kxh7 23. Qh5 mate. 21. Qg4. Yet believing. After 21. Qh5 Black gives back his extra Pawn by 21. ... Nh6 22. Bxh6 gxh6 23. Qxh6 Qe7 for securing a clear advantage. 21. ... Nh6?? And a miracle happens! Had Black played 21. ... Qd5! it would almost certainly have been another story. 22. Bxh6 gxh6 23. Rg3 Rg8

24. Nd6!! 1 : 0. For after 24. ... Rxg4 25. Nf7+ Kg7 26. Rxg4+ Kf8 27. Nxd8 White remains a Rook ahead.

王皓 (Wáng Hào) (R.) vs. Sethuraman Panayappan Sethuraman
Photo: Maria Emelianova