(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 opponent into having to move his queen (by this point, lethally electrically charged,) and, when, given the necessary information, resigned, avoiding his opponent’s death. Unfortunately, (and, believe me, I have tried,) the full board is incomprehensible.
But wait! Don’t leave now! This is a chess blog! As a palate-cleanser from that wordy paragraph, most likely of interest only to me, here is some truly bad chess. I have no explanation for this game. If anyone does, please let me know.
greenpawn34–SwissGambit RHP 2008
Next, I’m introducing a new segment. It will be called Tactics With Top Players. No top players will in fact be involved, however. There will simply be easy problems taken from their games.
Problem 1 (Hikaru Nakamura–Fabiano Caruana Ultimate Blitz Challenge 2016.)
White to move.
Problem 2 (Fabiano Caruana–Wesley So Ultimate Blitz Challenge 2016.)
White to move.
Problem 3 (Wesley So–Garry Kasparov Ultimate Blitz Challenge 2o16.)
White to move.
The problems will get harder than this, hopefully, if I find good ones. Nakamura eventually won the tournament these problems were taken from with 11/18, So was a point behind on 10, Kasparov acquainted himself well with 9.5/18, just .5 back of So, and Caruana had what fans might consider a poor performance on 5.5/18. (This being rather more acceptable when I realized that his blitz rating is, incredibly, only (4/29/2016) 2665.)
Qualification for the tournament was maintained as follows: The top three players from the U. S. Championship played an 18-game round-robin blitz tournament against Garry Kasparov. Caruana won the U. S. Championship, his first, with 8.5/11, an undefeated performance. On the women’s side, IM Nazi Paikidze surprised the field, winning with 8.5/11. Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih, clear rating favorites, got off to a slow start. However, Krush lost to Carissa Yip, and Zatonskih to Jennifer Yu, in the tenth rounds, despite being heavily favored to win, and the title was no longer in reach for either.
Carissa Yip–Irina Krush US Women’s Championship 2016
51. Rg7+ Kh6 52. Rxh1 Bxh1 53. Rg5 sealed the game for Yip.
Jennifer Yu–Anna Zatonskih US Women’s Championship 2016
Zatonskih blundered a rook with 49…Rxe5 50. Bc6 Re3 51. Rxe3 Qd6 52. Rf3, and Yu accepted this gift, converting the won game easily.
Finally, this video purports to be Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame and Macauley Peterson (chess journalist) performing Godspell in high school (This is a Macauley channel, and LMM, at least, definitely did, so I think this is real!)
–Aid Knish Hour