lunedì 21 maggio 2018


吴敏霞 (Wú Mǐnxiá): The smile is the language that most easily makes people get closer each other

– Who do you last remember smiling a most beautiful smile?
– My father at my wedding. He looked into my eyes and smiled. I won’t ever forget it.

– Can you share a story of unforgettable laughter?
– In 2013 we decided to get a dog. So we entered a pet store, and while we were wandering we saw a little Bichon Frise, some months old, which kept sticking its tongue out like it was laughing at us. It was a coup de foudre. We took the puppy home with us and named it Candy.

Double Dancers

Doppio Gioco (Choreography by Alessandra Innocenti). Dancers: Silvia Bertini (pictured above on the right), Olga Calamai, Sofia Nutini (pictured above on the left), Viola Rocchini, and Letizia Rogai. Performed under the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s flag in the 20th International Dance Festival “Vetrina Scuole di Danza AICS” at the Teatro Verdi in Florence on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Photo: Alessandro Botticelli.

Mother Earth

Terramadre (Choreography by Alessandra Innocenti). Dancers: Isabella Ceccatelli, Ester Marra, Letizia Rogai, Arianna Settembrini (pictured above), Giuditta Sottili, and Serena Vinci. Performed under the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s flag in the 20th International Dance Festival “Vetrina Scuole di Danza AICS” at the Teatro Verdi in Florence on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Photo: Alessandro Botticelli.


Emma’s younger brother, Cesare, has not apparently come to the theatre with the only purpose of watching her sister perform.


Blinfolded (Choreography by Chiara Angelini). Dancers: Aurora, Emma, Matilde (pictured above), Maddalena. Performed under the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s flag in the 20th International Dance Festival “Vetrina Scuole di Danza AICS” at the Teatro Verdi in Florence on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Photo: Matteo Bertelli.

domenica 20 maggio 2018

That One Day

I was thinking that the knockout system could be much suitable, for instance, for regulating the manner and procedures used for FIDE presidential elections. Can you imagine how quickly the 64th finals of a fictional knockout Presidents Cup in a Colosseum would get all sold out? And can you figure what would happen to a top seed shocked by an outsider?
Yes, of course you can.
But, just don’t call it “chess politics”. Even fiction has its ethics.

Agartala, India: A man pushes his rickshaw and passenger through a flooded street after heavy rain. Photo: Jayanta Dey/Reuters.

“Facing her a world of silly and arrogant giants”

A woman walks past sculptures by the Chinese artist 岳敏君 (Yuè Mǐnjūn) outside an art museum in 北京 (Beijīng), China. Photo: 王钊 (Wáng Zhāo)/AFP/Getty Images.

After the Ceremony

17th Women’s World Chess Champion 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) and Mrs. 单霞丽 (Dān Xiálì), President of 上海 (Shànghǎi) Chess Academy, enjoying the after coronation ceremony, which consecrated for the first time in Chinese chess history a Queen from 上海 (Shànghǎi). They have, however, only a semester to succeed in keeping the crown in safety until the world is free of FIDE “knockouters”. How will they manage where all earlier Queens have failed? Photo collage: 杨翼 (Yáng Yì).

Mado Flynn for Ballet

Handmade in Italy by Mado Flynn

Okay Edna, it’s time to show ’em how much they mean to you

Artwork © cranberry97

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

中国制造 (Made in China)

And, finally, FIDE President Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov put the final seal on the Women’s World Championship match made in China:

百慕達三角 (Bermuda Triangle)

17th Women’s World Chess Champion 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) posing amidst her two seconds 倪华 (Ní Huá) (right) and 王玥 (Wáng Yuè) (left). Especially 倪华 (Ní Huá) has been 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn)’s personal trainer since 2016, after she expressly asked him for help in making her dream to become Women’s World Champion a reality. Since they both were born and live in 上海 (Shànghǎi), it hasn’t been difficult to set up hard training sessions both at the 上海 (Shànghǎi) Chess Academy and at 倪华 (Ní Huá)’s home. Photo:

sabato 19 maggio 2018

The Secret Wardrobe

As a fitting mark of the coronation ceremony, it didn’t pass unnoticed that the newly Queen 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn), in order not to seem too dogmatic about her sponsor’s rigid formalism, had taken with her even some fresh clothes for her free days. Photos:

Odds and Ends

The awarding ceremony of the “中国移动” (“China Mobile”) plus “莱茵体育杯” (“Lander Sports Cup”) Women’s World Chess Championship was held at the 上邦 (Shàngbāng) International Hot Spring Hotel in 重庆 (Chóngqìng), China on the morning of May 19, 2018. Photo: 樊璐璐 (Fán Lùlù).

And the flowers bloomed into a crown of glory for the elegant lady from 上海 (Shànghǎi) 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) when she took the stage as the new Women’s World Chess Champion. Photo: 樊璐璐 (Fán Lùlù).

杨俊安 (Yáng Jùn’ān) (left) and 叶江川 (Yè Jiāngchuān) (right), respectively President and Vice President of the Chinese Chess Association, awarded 17th Women’s World Chess Champion 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) the non-symbolic prize of 120,000 €uros after taxes. Photo: 樊璐璐 (Fán Lùlù).

And, finally, 宋泓 (Sòng Hóng) (left), member of the Standing Committee of CPC 九龙坡 (Jiǔlóngpō District) Committee and Deputy Head of People’s Government of 九龙坡 (Jiǔlóngpō District), and 王霓 (Wáng Ní) (right), member of the Party Committee and inspector of 重庆 (Chóngqìng) Municipal Bureau of Sports, awarded 16th Women’s World Chess Champion 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) the consolation prize of 80,000 €uros after taxes. Photo: 樊璐璐 (Fán Lùlù).

Via Isola delle Stinche

A group of young dancers from the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna” come out from the artists entrance in Via Isola delle Stinche, after rehearsing for their show in the 20th International Dance Festival “Vetrina Scuole di Danza AICS”, to be held at the Teatro Verdi, Via Ghibellina, 99, 50122 Florence, Italy on Sunday, May 20, 2018, starting at 20,00.

Seven Plus

Pictured above (from left to right and from top to bottom) are the six Chinese wonder Women’s World Chess Champions: 谢军 (Xiè Jūn), 诸宸 (Zhū Chén), 许昱华 (Xǔ Yùhuá), 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán), 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí), and 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn). Photo collage:

A Company of Swans

Dancers dressed as swans perform during the Sanja Festival (三社祭) in Asakusa district, Taitō, Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images.

A diva knows how to keep her composure even when the media coverage is not up to her level of charm

Rascal, quite undisputably the most famous Chinese crested dog of the world, keeps rowdy fans at bay and photographers in line while walking the red carpet to the entrance of the artists entrance of the theatre. Photo: Dane Andrew.

Do not be always so pessimistic, Edna; someone will come for sure!

Artwork © WandererRiha

Speaking clock

In the meantime, four-time Women’s World Chess Champion 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán), who abdicated two years ago in protest against the Women’s World Chess Championship system format, starts over again from square two. After being awarded the Rhodes Scholarship, and being included by TIME in its list of Next Generation Leaders, she is currently housed in the Silicon Valley, where she is applying for an internship at the science initiative Breakthrough Listen.
Chess has apparently ended up at a lower spot in her agenda of priorities, but probably only to a certain extent. Whatever it is, in the evening of Tuesday, May 22, 2018 she will held a meeting with all the interested people at the Mechanics’ Institute Library & Chess Room in San Francisco, California, United States. For further details, visit

Millennial Reign

Tonight is a happy night for 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn), who is celebrating her new self with the Queen’s crown on her head, but happiness doesn’t last forever. Actually, FIDE has already started the countdown for the expiry date of her title, and her reign, indeed, might be very brief – one of the most brief of chess history – as the next Knockout Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament is to be held within six months in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia from 1 to 25 November 2018. Whoever believed that the showing of a fictional narrative would have evoked a debate (even if only electoral) about the legitimacy of such a crowning raffle, must have now understood that Gens una sunt simply do not debate. Not even fictionally.

居文君 (Jū Wénjūn). Photo: 谷笑冰 (Gǔ Xiàobīng).

venerdì 18 maggio 2018

Forget Me Not

Today’s post-match press conference has been exceptionally attended by the Deputy Director of the Chess & Cards Sports Management Centre of the National Sports Bureau 叶江川 (Yè Jiāngchuān) (right), who euphorically joined the press attaché 谷笑冰 (Gǔ Xiàobīng) (left), the newly former Women’s World Chess Champion 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) (centre left) and the new Women’s World Chess Champion 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn). 上海宝贝 (Shànghǎi baby), 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn), began thanking her supporters and helpers, including two super-Grandmasters: “Thanks to the 上海 (Shànghǎi) Chess Academy, and particularly to my seconds 倪华 (Ní Huá) and 王玥 (Wáng Yuè). Such a match is mostly a test of will power, and I feel happy of having won it. Under the given circumstances, I’m also quite satisfied with my performance play”.
谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí), too, thanked her supporters and sponsors, with a special mention to her second: “Thanks to everyone who helped me logistically and financially, and a special thank to my second 周唯奇 (Zhōu Wéiqí). I made too many mistakes during the first half in 上海 (Shànghǎi), finding myself out of rhythm. After returning to 重庆 (Chóngqìng), I found back myself and I almost came back, but just not enough”.
Asked about the alternate systems and formats of the Women’s World Chess Championship, 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) answered frankly: “A match requires high physical capability, and it can even be exhausting, but it’s a very fortunate experience. If it’s between match and knockout tournament, I decidedly prefer the match”. 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí), even understandably, stands on the opposite side of the board: “During the match I often felt hollowed out. I would have desired to be happier. I like more the knockout tournament as it produces more surprise for the audience: an exciting combination of classic, rapid and blitz chess”.
Finally, fashion gossip. Reporters emphasized that 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) flaunted a variety of outfits every day, whilst 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) always showed off her bureaucratic uniform. “Actually, I should put a little more time on my make-up, but such a dress appeared to me more formal. Indeed, my sponsor gave me ample variety of choice: I still have another white-coloured blouse to spare, if ever the match should have ended in a tie-break tomorrow”, 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) said, triggering general laughter.
On her turn, 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) gives the solution of her formula ten outfits = ten games: “It’s all a question of mood. After all, it’s summer and I have to change my clothing anyway. But I wore the same coat. I too don’t put too much time on my make-up: just a couple of minutes a day to apply lipstick”. Then she joked with her opponent: “Oh, yes, 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) tells she felt good in her formal uniform, but two days ago I found out that she wore a make-up!”.
In the end, they cheered each other with words of praise and hope. Of course, a Queen knows how to leave the stage on top: “Congratulations on my friend’s win”, 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) said. “We don’t play chess the same way. For her isn’t a job as for me: it’s a passion. So that’s what I should do. I hope in the future to reduce tournaments’s quantity in favour of play’s quality, and to be able to continue my career”. Photo:

The Importance of Not Being Arcovazzi

A plea to our younger ones: Saturday is really the final day of the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s youth chess tournament – in both classical and 960 format – so please be on time on your seat at the scheduled hour (16,00)!

Credit: Tom Faranda

妈祖 (Māzǔ)

居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) – 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí)
Women’s World Chess Championship match game 10; 重庆 (Chóngqìng), May 18, 2018
Modern Defence B06

1. d4 g6 2. Nf3 Bg7 3. e4 d6 4. Bc4 e6 5. 0-0 Ne7 6. a4 Nd7. For her (possibly) last parade as Women’s World Champion, 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) retorts to the Hippopotamus formation, which consists in placing her Pawns along the third (sixth) rank. It may offer no targets for White (in the best of hypothesis), but also zero winning prospects for Black. Probably 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) was already resigned to her fate. 7. c3 a5 8. Re1 b6 9. Na3 h6 10. Bd3!? On her (possibly) last apparition as a challenger, 上海 (Shànghǎi)’s girl plays very confidently, without erring into digressive theory: 10. h3 Bb7 11. Bf4 g5 12. Bg3 Ng6 13. Qd2 Nf6 14. Bd3 Nh5 15. Bh2 Nhf4 16. Bb5+ Kf8 17. Bf1 Qf6 which seemed like the best Black could hope for, Huss – Romanov, 6th Zürich Chess Challenge (Kortschnoi Open), Zürich 2017. 10. ... Bb7 11. Nc4 0-0 12. Qe2 e5 13. dxe5 dxe5 14. b3 Qb8 15. Ba3 c5 16. Rad1 Rd8 17. Bc1 Bc6 18. Bc2 Qc7 19. Na3

19. ... g5? Quite curiously, it’s the g-Pawn that marks the doom of the last game of the Women’s World Championship match. Objectively speaking, however, 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) had to invent something in order to turn a situation that hadn’t gone well. In the position of the diagram, indeed, White already enjoyed a crystal clear spatial and positional advantage, and probably there was no longer a way up for Black. 20. h4! g4 21. Nh2 h5 22. f3 gxf3 23. Qxf3 Ng6 24. Bg5 f6 25. Qxh5 Ndf8 26. Be3 Be8 27. Qg4 Bd7 28. Qh5. 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn), although being in a totally won position, is happy to nobly concede her opponent a draw by repetition. 28. ... Be6. No, 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) says. 29. Nb5 Qe7 30. Ng4 Rxd1 31. Rxd1 Rd8 32. Rxd8 Qxd8 33. Nh6+ Bxh6 34. Bxh6 Bf7 35. Qg4 Be6 36. Qg3 Kh7 37. Be3 Qd7 38. Qf2 Qe7 39. g3 Bg4 40. Qd2 Ne6 41. Kh2 Ng7 42. Nd6 Qd7 43. Nc4 Qf7 44. Nd6 Qg8 45. Qf2 Qd8 46. Qd2 Nh5 47. Nf5 Qg8 48. Qd5 Qf8 49. Bh6 Qe8 50. Qb7+ Kg8 51. Ng7. 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) just doesn’t want to win (after 51. Qxb6 White simply gobbles up all of Black’s Pawns on the Queenside), and, indeed, she will succeed in composing a draw position which will be unrefusable even for the proud 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí). 51. ... Qe7 52. Qxe7 Nxe7 53. Nxh5 Bxh5 54. Kg2 Kf7 55. Kf2 Nc8 56. Bd2 Nd6 57. b4 Ke7 58. bxa5 bxa5 59. Be3 Nb7 60. Bb3 Kd6 61. Bc4 Nd8 62. Be2 Be8 63. Bd1 Bg6 64. Kf3 Ne6 65. g4 Bf7 66. Bc2 Kc6 67. Kg3 c4 68. h5 Ng5 69. Bxg5 fxg5 70. Kf3 ½ : ½

居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) (left) vs. 谭中怡 (Tán Zhōngyí) (right). Photo:

居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) is the 17th Women’s World Champion in chess history and China’s sixth Women’s World Champion. Photo: