Three World Cup Brackets

Hello everyone, and welcome to Hikaru Junction, the only chess blog on the internet whose castles stand upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand.

Today, I’ll be previewing each matchup in the second round of the world cup for the first three sections of the bracket, some more in-depth, some less so. I’ll cover several more tomorrow, and try to finish the day afterwards. Let’s get started, as I’m writing this between the tiebreaks finishing and the next game starting one day later. A final note: I’ll be listing players in the following format: Player(seed, pre-tournament rating.)

Section One

Magnus Carlsen (1, 2822) vs Aleksey Dreev (64, 2648)
This appears to be an easy win for the World Champion given the large rating disparity between the two players. Dreev has previously com...

Blitz vs Standard Chess with Radars

Hello, and welcome to Hikaru Junction, the only chess blog on the internet whose author supports a team in the twelfth tier of English football. Today we’ll be examining the differences between blitz and regular chess using my new favorite analysis tool, the radar graph.

To accomplish that aim, I’ve done radars for three players from one tournament: the 2009 Tal Memorial, a round-robin also with nine rounds, similar to the Norway Blitz tournament. (Vladimir Kramnik (6/9,) Magnus Carlsen (5.5/9,) and Viswanathan Anand (5/9.))

Let’s now take a representative player from the Norway Chess blitz tournament. For a decent representative we want someone who had a good tournament, as we would expect the results to be generally better in longer chess than in blitz chess. However, we don’t w...

Preliminary Chess Radars

Hello everyone,

welcome to Hikaru Junction, the only chess blog on the internet with an opinion on white chocolate. (1. disgusting, 2. not chocolate)

I've made a new chess visualization comparing players to each other in the same tournament. (Here, specifically, the Norway Chess blitz tournament this year.)

The categories measured:
Point % (from possible points...

New Chess Visualization

Hello everyone–
This is a story all about how my blog got flipped–turned upside down: I have a post, with something I hope will be interesting (I’ve been working on it for a while.) Despite that, though, this will be a quick read as I have been quite busy. (I don’t know how greenpawn does it.)

I have been working to develop a visualization on how different chess players approach the game. To this end, here is an example demonstrating the different play styles of Karjakin and Carlsen.

Title here

(I'm sorry. I've tried, and I can't make it bigger. I know, I know....

Halfway in the Chess Olympiad

The danger of writing blog posts about current news (and especially chess news) is that they tend to become outdated quickly. However, there’s one thing that I don’t think will change anytime soon, and that is the sadness and frustration of Aaron the a-pawn. Here he is.

Aaron the a-pawn.

Why is Aaron sad? The answer is that tickets are still not on sale for the World Chess Championship. This makes him worried, because the poor organization to this point might make a championship difficult.

However, his compatriot Beaufort is more excited. ...

A Response to Radio Jan and My Thoughts on World Chess

Radio Jan’s commentary at the wrap-up of the Sinquefield Cup last week was very entertaining, and, as several have pointed out, true in sentiment. It is undeniable that many top players don’t necessarily begin their games against other Super-GMs aiming to win them, or go into tournaments with the intention of providing entertaining spectacle for the fans. The commentary, by the way, is below.


However, several of Radio Jan’s claims are false, from his assertion about Nakamura (“Now look at him: he’s playing the Catalan…” ) to his claim that Anish Giri “ have to play a lot of draws to get those forty rating points back and I don’t see it happening.”

So let’s start out by taking a look at the percentage of Catalans Nakamura has played in the last eight years. ...

Measuring Improvement

Today I’d like to talk about improvement, and how it is possible. For all of us. Not only is it possible, but, especially in chess, there are measurable results. Not only in terms of rating, as is clear, but in terms of tangible performance in games against the same opponents. I’d like to examine four games to discuss how I improved from one to another, and what yardsticks we may use to determine whether we feel success has been achieved. To that end, here is the first– it started with a Two Knights, but I’ve skipped a little ways in, as the opening wasn’t anything special. I played this opponent when he was six, one of the best in the U. S. for his age, I believe.

HikaruShindo–L. F-Y. Anderson CK 2014

20. Kg1 {Forced– it’s double check, and Kh1 would be immediately mated with...

What to do When Losing

In this blog, we’ll try to uncover ideas to use when we are losing. What can we do? We can try to make the game difficult for our opponent, rather than giving them the game. We can set problems for them, even if they are not objectively the best moves. And we can keep creating mating threats with the hope that they may stumble.

We must not resign needlessly, as below.

copiryght–dermpa RHP 2010
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 {White plays it like a true gambit, letting Black keep the pawn.} b5 4. Nb1c3 a6 5. Ng1f3 Bc8g4 6. Bf1e2 e6 7. O-O Bg4xf3 {This exchange is unforced, and is worse for Black. Why give up the bishop for the knight?} 8. Be2xf3 Ng8f6 {A weak move: White misses a chance to either pin the piece with 9. Bg5, or, after …h6 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. d5, develop a strong attack. Why...

Grandmasters and Cryptographers

To begin the blog, I’d like to note two interesting coincidences. First of all, while reviewing one of Anish Giri’s games, I remembered greenpawn’s four-name grandmasters: Reti, Giri, Euwe, and Fine. What results did they have when they played each other?

Well, Reti, Giri, and Fine, in this respective triangle, never played. The only players which played against each other were Reti against Euwe, and Euwe against Fine. Each of these matches finished, excluding draws, 2-2.

If we take the names of the three grandmasters which never played, Reti, Giri, and Fine, and we anagram them, we can jumble up these letters to get several possibilities, including the following: If tieing, I err.

Unfortunately, Giri didn’t have any games against any of the others. However, if we take some of ...
I have not gotten my letter posted with the RHP stamp back from the Postal Service. Thus I have some difficult problems because I didn’t know how to start the blog. So I thought perhaps I would start with another example of chess from one of my favorite television programs, Doctor Who.

Live Chess

(EXTREMELY MINOR SPOILERS, although for an episode having aired several years ago.) In one episode, The Doctor (the protagonist, an alien who travels through space and time) plays “Live Chess” against a very minor character to gain information. “Live Chess,” in this context, was an illegal variant of chess in which the voltage coursing through each (metal) piece increased with every time it was moved. Thus The Doctor tricked his op...
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    13 Dec '18
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    27 Mar '15