Archive for Columns

Alan Turing
Saturday, June 23, 2012 18:15
Today exactly 100 years ago, one of the greatest minds of the 20th century was born in London (from where I happen to be writing this article): Alan Turing. He’s famous, of course, for his ‘invention’ of the modern computer and his still very relevant musings on artificial intelligence, as well as for his role in World War II as a cryptanalyst....
The Sherlockian on Sardinia
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Monday, June 11, 2012 23:06
I am spending many an evening of my summer holiday on the beautiful island Sardinia, Italy, re-reading detective stories I devoured as a teenager (Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown, mostly) and not thinking a lot about chess. Because I didn't have internet access for some days, I even missed the rapid climax of the Word Championship match in Moscow...
Why chess will never be popular
Saturday, May 19, 2012 22:02
One of the good things about the Anand-Gelfand World Championship match is that it generates a lot of debate on some essential points: what’s the proper format to determine the best player in the world; should chess always be spectacular; does computer-dominated professional chess have a future; and what’s the market value of chess anyway?...
Boris Gelfand and Vishy Anand shaking hands at the opening ceremony of their 201
Sunday, May 13, 2012 20:00
What’s the best and most unique thing about chess? Of course it’s the fact that we have long lasting world championship matches. The immense tension is not restricted to one or two hours (football, tennis), or a few days at most (cricket, snooker), but lasts several weeks or even months. This is something we should praise, not condemn. Boris...
Nostalgia in Paris
Monday, March 05, 2012 11:28
In Woody Allen’s recent movie Midnight in Paris (2011), a young Hollywood writer named Gil Pender (played by Owen Wilson) is brought back to Paris of the 1920’s. There, to his delight, he meets his heroes Hemmingway and Fitzgerald as well as artists such as Picasso, Dali and Man Ray. For chess players, the movie has just one flaw: Marcel Duchamp...
A visit to the London Chess Classic
Thursday, December 08, 2011 11:23
It's a little known fact that the playing venue of the London Chess Classic is actually not that easy to reach from the City. The office where I work is on the South bank of the Thames, close to London Bridge station, from where it took me no less than 1,5 hours to get to the Olympia Conference Centre, near the Kensington Olympia tube station....
The Greek Queen
Saturday, November 05, 2011 11:56
While reading a very serious op-ed about the developments on the Greek crisis in the Financial Times, I suddenly had the very non-serious realization that there seems to be no such thing as a ‘Greek Opening’ in chess. Everybody knows the Spanish and the Italian, there’s a Portuguese Variation (you should try it one day!), and I also heard of the...
Non-random Fischer Random
Saturday, October 15, 2011 21:44
Watching the 7th game of the Kasparov-Short blitz match last week made me realize once again how radical Fischer’s proposal to shuffle all the pieces on the first rank was and still is. If you want to avoid boring theoretical chess duels, all you have to do is force the players to play an unexplored variation or opening – problem solved. The 2009...
The power of adapting
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 12:53
After becoming a bit depressed this week by reading such chess headlines as Billboard hero Magnus Carlsen blundering and former Soviet hero Mikhail Gorbachev having a friendly meeting with Gadaffi supporter Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, I decided to turn my attention to more interesting news about chess and science. After all, the fact that male behaviour...
Thursday, July 28, 2011 1:16
The chess world is in a crisis. In tournaments like Biel and Dortmund, all the public gets is games full of mistakes. Something must be done to end this situation which is scaring away sponsors, organizers and potential young talents from becoming professional chess players. I am proposing a startling solution. Ronald Reagan: "Mistakes were made...

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