domenica 21 ottobre 2018

Canon by inversion

Treasure Isle

熊奕韬 (Jeffery Xióng) – Eesha Karavade
5th Isle of Man International Chess Tournament; Douglas, October 20, 2018
Caro-Kann Defence B12

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. Nf3 Bxc5 6. a3 Ne7 7. Bd3 Ng6 8. 0-0 0-0. A recent reference is 8. ... Nc6 9. b4 Bb6 10. Bb2 Nf4 11. c4 Nxd3 12. Qxd3 dxc4 13. Qxc4 Ne7(?) 14. Nc3 Bd7 15. Qg4 Bc6 16. Rad1 Qc7 17. Ng5! with powerful initiative, Karjakin – Topalov, 4th Gashimov Memorial, Şəmkir 2017. 9. Ng5 Be7 10. Qh5 Bxg5 11. Bxg5 Qc7!? It is an improvement over 11. ... Qb6? 12. Be7? (much stronger was 12. Nd2! to be followed by Nd2-f3) 12. ... Re8 13. Bd6 Bd7 14. Nc3 f5 which yet did not lead to anything special for White (who, however, could have done better), Hoolt – Sargsyan, 19th European Women’s Individual Chess Championship, Vysoké Tatry 2018. 12. Nc3 Nc6? If 12. ... Qxe5 then 13. Rae1 eventually followed by Re1-e3-h3 with obvious compensation for the Pawn. From Back’s standpoint, however, that was probably the “best of all possible worlds”. 13. f4! Nd4. If 13. ... h6 then 14. Bxh6! gxh6 15. Nb5 Qb6+ 17. Kh1 Nce7 18. Nd6 with a crushing attack. 14. Rae1! h6

15. Bf6! White brilliantly demolishes his opponent’s card castle. 15. ... gxf6 16. exf6 Nf5. There ain’t no use in this, but 16. ... Qd8 loses as well because of 17. Bxg6 Qxf6 18. Bd3! followed by the Rook lift to e3 or e5. 17. Bxf5 exf5 18. Nxd5 Qc5+ 19. Re3. Finally! 19. ... Rd8 (20. ... Kh7 21. b4!+−) 20. Qxh6 Qf8 21. Ne7+! 1 : 0.

Oh, Edna, your aura is so powerful that just the sight of your phosphorescent dress in the gloom will leave him breathless with shock

Artwork © Tracey

sabato 20 ottobre 2018

It Is Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (centre left) amid a crowd of almost 700,000 people peacefully marching on parliament to demand “people’s vote” on Brexit deal on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. It was the biggest outpouring of public opposition to government policy since the anti-Iraq war protest in 2003. Photo: Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon).

星門 (Stargate)

Deadline Hollywood reports that American entertainment company Lionsgate is likely and willing to proceed with its domestic home entertainment release of Chinese World War II drama film 大轰炸 (Air Strike) next week, despite the cancellation of a Chinese theatrical bow on October 26 due to 范冰冰 (Fàn Bīngbīng)’s tax evasion charges.

范冰冰 (Fàn Bīngbīng) covering Marie Claire Taiwan October 2014 issue. Photo: Marie Claire Taiwan.

C’mon, Edna, don’t take everything so literal! Two years are enough for him to make up a chain-tale that may not make your endless story any easier to start over again

Blowin’ in the Wind

FIDE President Arkady Vladimirovich Dvorkovich (pictured above) held an exhaustive press conference in RIA Novosti on October 12, 2018 in which he answered various questions from the journalists. After expressing his gratitude to the members of his team who helped and supported him — and to the Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, in particular — Dvorkovich remarked how, at the moment, his priority is to fulfil the promises made before the elections. One of the most controversial issues is, of course, the impending 64-player Knockout Women’s World Chess Championship Tournament, to be held from 2–23 November in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia — a “format” which received severe criticism by Dvorkovich himself and that caused four-time Women’s World Chess Champion 侯逸凡 (Hóu Yìfán) to withdraw from women’s chess realm in favour of her university studies. “We began to discuss the possibility of reforming the Women’s World Championship system”, Dvorkovich said. “For now the Women’s World Chess Champion is 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) from China. She won the title in a Women’s World Chess Championship match last spring, but she will have to take part in the November Knockout Women’s World Championship Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk. If 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) won’t defend successfully her title, we’ll have a new World Champion. I think that this alternating format system has produced so many Women’s World Champions that its credibility has been undermined by now. We actually promised to reform the system so as to make it similar to the men’s World Chess Championship system. I guess such a change could be possibly completed within two years. I hope I will be able to announce specific details in the next few weeks”.
One might think that if 居文君 (Jū Wénjūn) were so lucky to escape the “Slavic offensive”, the two-year transition period could shorten itself quite drastically. Whatever it will be like, however, Dvorkovich does not put limits to Providence: “In any event, the new system will feature a Candidates Tournament which will produce a challenger for the reigning Women’s Champion, though I cannot yet say when and how. But one thing is sure: the upcoming Women’s World Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk will be an end and a beginning at the same time”. Photo: Eteri Kublashvili.

venerdì 19 ottobre 2018

Saturday People

First of all, my sincere thanks to my friend Niccolò (pictured above) for his support in interpreting the campaign in favour of the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s hip hop classes! But tomorrow’s Saturday, and it’s the day of our Fischerandom chess meeting, so don’t allow Arcovazzi to cheat you with his ranting and raving about his super team dietary requirements, but just be punctual and on time at 16,00 as usual.

C’mon, Edna, let ’em rot in their own horror reality show and spread your wings to fly away to the wide world!


Quem recitas meus est, o Fidentine, libellus:
sed male cum recitas, incipit esse tuus.

That verse is mine, you know, which you’re
Reciting. But you quote it
So execrably, that I believe
I let you say you wrote it.

I versi che tu reciti, o Fidentino, son miei;

ma siccome li reciti male, ecco diventano tuoi.

Martial, Epigrams, Book 1, XXXVIII
English translation by Dorothea Wender
Italian translation by Holden Caulfield

A woman speaks with the android robot “totto”, which replicates Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, one of the country’s top TV stars, at the World Robot Summit in Tokyo, Japan on October 18, 2018. Photo: Behrouz Mehri/AFP.

The most important things rarely happen behind closed doors

A woman practices her dance moves in a park outside the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Photo: AFP/Mladen Antonov.

The Way Back

After returning to the capital, Chinese movie star 范冰冰 (Fàn Bīngbīng) appeared again in public on October 19, 2018 wearing a blue beret and sunglasses as walking next to her mother on their way to the actress’s studio in 三里屯 (Sānlǐtún), 朝阳区 (Cháoyáng District), 北京 (Běijīng), China where they stayed about five hours, to finally get up at evening. Photo:

Cosmo Clock 21

Italy’s women’s volleyball team wins a thriller five-setter semi-final match against China at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan on October 19, 2018 to enter the final of the 18th FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship.

Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights

October is drifting into November and Arcovazzi is already eager to close all windows and turn off the lights, but the skies will brighten and winter will be over if more and more of you will join the “Associazione Culturale Il Delta della Luna”’s contemporary dance classes and workshops! Pictured from left to right are Serena Vinci and Arianna Settembrini performing at the Associazione Culturale “Il Delta della Luna”’s last summer’s show. Photo: Stefano Marmino.

Sky Lines

Birds fly over on an unique 1,000 m long spider-web covering the road beside the Lake Vistonida, in Porto Lagos, Xanthi regional unit, Greece. Photo: AFP/Sakis Mitrolidis.

giovedì 18 ottobre 2018

Plus and Minus

王皓 (Wáng Hào) – Vladimir Alekseevich Potkin
34th European Chess Club Cup; Porto Carras, October 18, 2018
4brk1/R1p1r1p1/1p1p1q1p/3P1p2/1PP1p3/2R1P1PP/3Q1PB1/6K1 w - - 0 29

Position after 28. ... Bd7-e8

In the end the Italian team “Obiettivo Risarcimento Padua” had to be content with a honourable fourth place, despite of the splendid parade of Daniele Vocaturo (who defeated Mikhail Aleksandrovich Antipov) and the stubborn tenacity of Chinese Grandmaster 王皓 (Wáng Hào), who today succeeded in pursuing a win from a sharply balanced game: 29. c5!? bxc5 30. bxc5 Bf7 31. Bf1 Qe5 32. Qc1 Bxd5 33. cxd6 cxd6?? And here comes Potkin’s irreparable blunder, which loses a clear piece on the spot. Correct was 33. ... Qxd6 34. Rcxc7 Rc7 35. Rxc7 Rf7 with approximate equality. 34. Ra5 Rb8 35. Rxd5 Qxd5. One piece was enough for 王皓 (Wáng Hào), but Potkin concedes even more than that, falling onto a deadly skewer of Queen and King on the a2-g8 diagonal. 36. Bc4 1 : 0.

One Knight Only

Pyotr Veniaminovich Svidler – Magnus Carlsen
34th European Chess Club Cup; Porto Carras, October 18, 2018
Caro-Kann Defence B15

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6. The Tartakower Variation — tremendously drawish, even if White’s ending must probably be regarded as symbolically a little easier. 6. c3 Bd6 7. Bd3 0-0 8. Qc2 Re8+ 9. Be3. If 9. Ne2 Black can reply with 9. ... Kh8 and then, for instance, 10. Be3 (“Of course Black intended to answer 10. Bxh7 with 10. ... g6”, Emanuel Lasker wrote in his tournament book) 10. ... Nd7 11. 0-0-0 Nf8 12. Kb1 Be6 13. Nf4? (“This costs a Pawn. Far better was 13. Nc1 for, should White succeed in defending himself, he would have good chances of winning the ending”, Lasker writes) Bxf4 14. Bxf4 Qd5 15. b3 Qxg2 16. Rhg1 Qf3 17. Be3 Bg4 18. Rde1 Bh5 19. Rg3 Qd5 20. f4 Re7 21. Reg1 Rae8 22. c4 Qd6 23. Qf2 g6 24. d5? (“White changes his tactics, by attacking suddenly on the Queenside. Thereby he abandons the point e5 and c5 to his opponent. He should, instead, have fixed Black’s f6-Pawn by 24. f5 to be followed by Be3-c1-b2”, Lasker suggests) 24. ... Nd7 25. Bd4 Re2! 26. Be5 Qxe5 0 : 1 Forgács – Duras, International Chess Congress, Saint Petersburg 1909. 9. ... h6 10. Ne2 Na6 11. 0-0 Nc7 12. c4 Bg4. An earlier qualified reference is 12. ... Ne6 13. Qd2 Qc7 14. c5 Bf8 15. Ng3 Qd8 16. Bc2 Nc7 17. h4 f5 18. h5 Qf6 19. Rae1 Be6 20. Bf4 Nd5 21. Be5 Qh4 22. Nxf5 Bxf5 23. Bxf5 Qxh5 24. Be4 Qg5 25. Qc2 Nf6 26. Bxf6 Qxf6 27. d5 cxd5 28. Bxd5 Rxe1 29. Rxe1 Rc8 30. b4 b6 31. Bb7 Rc7 32. c6 g6 33. Qa4 Bd6 34. b5 Re7 35. Rf1 Qe5 36. g3 Qg5 37. Qb3 h5 38. Rd1 Bc7 39. Rd5 Qc1+ 40. Kg2 h4 41. Rd7 h3+ 42. Kh2 Rxd7 43. cxd7 Qd2 44. Kxh3 Qxd7+ 45. Kg2 Qe7 46. Qc4 Kg7 47. Bd5 ½ : ½ J. Polgár – J. Bellin, 29th Women’s Chess Olympiad, Novi Sad 1990. 13. h3!?TN Bxe2 14. Bxe2 Ne6 15. Rad1 Qc7 16. Bg4 Rad8 17. Rfe1 Bf4 18. Bxf4 Nxf4 19. Rxe8+ Rxe8 20. h4 Qa5 21. g3 f5 22. Bf3 Re1+ 23. Kh2 Rxd1 24. Qxd1 Ng6 25. a3 f4 26. Be4 fxg3+ 27. fxg3 Nf8 28. d5 cxd5 29. Qxd5 Qxd5 30. Bxd5 b6 31. b4 Nd7 32. Kg2 Kf8 33. Kf2 Nf6 34. Bf3 Ke7 35. Ke3 Kd6 36. Kd4. Svidler is obviously hoping in the theoretical strength of the Bishop to support (and eventually realise) his Queenside Pawn majority, but Black’s next elegant Knight’s move clears up any doubts as to the outcome:

36. ... Ng8! 37. c5+. 37. Bd5 Ne7 doesn’t make any difference. 37. ... bxc5+ 38. bxc5+ Kc7 39. Bd5 Ne7 40. Ke5. Some commentators criticised this, but also after 40. Bxf7 Nf5+ 41. Ke5 Nxg3 Black draws handily. 40. ... Nxd5 41. Kxd5 h5! 42. c6 a6! 43. a4 a5 44. Kc5 f6 45. Kd5 g5 46. Ke6 Kxc6 47. Kxf6 gxh4 48. gxh4 Kd6 49. Kg5 Ke5 50. Kxh5 Kf5 51. Kh6 Kf6 52. h5 Kf7 53. Kg5 Kg7 54. h6+ Kh7 55. Kh5 Kh8 56. Kg6 Kg8 57. h7+ Kh8 58. Kh6 ½ : ½. And thus, in the end, 16th World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen retained his well-deserved No. 1 world ranking spot!

Magnus Carlsen (seated first from left) is probably thinking about how to bring the sun to London. Photo © Niki Riga.


A giant inflatable sculpture of E. coli (Escherichia coli) by Luke Jerram is installed at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in Oxford, United Kingdom as the showpiece of its new exhibition on bacteria. Photo: Tracey Jones/PA.

The Invisibles

萧锋 (Xiāo Fēng), director of 大轰炸 (Air Strike), featuring 范冰冰 (Fàn Bīngbīng), declared on Wednesday that the film’s release has been canceled in the wake of the actress’s forced disappearance and conviction on tax evasion charges. The World War II drama film, also starring Bruce Willis and Adrien Brody, was to have been released October 26, 2018.

劉勃麟 (Liú Bólín), United Nations, 2013. Artwork & Photo © 劉勃麟 (Liú Bólín).

Everything is not Enough

Sure, Edna, I don’t doubt you’ll find, sooner or later, the most suitable soundtrack for another Opera Game

Alternate Future

So, if it happens to be in bad mood, it’s worthwhile to wish good luck to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Socialist Democratic candidate for New York’s Fourteenth Congressional District. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP.

The Importance of Not Being Arcovazzi

Daniele Vocaturo – Pavel Vladimirovich Eljanov
34th European Chess Club Cup; Porto Carras, October 17, 2018
Spanish Game C67

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. 0-0 Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5 8. Rxe5 0-0 9. d4 Bf6 10. Re1 Re8 11. Rxe8+ Nxe8 12. d5 d6 13. Nd2 c6 14. Nc4!? A new note in an old song, as 14. Ne4 Be5 15. Ng5 Nf6 16. dxc6 bxc6 17. Nf3 Bg4 shouldn’t worry Black too much, 万云国 (Wàn Yúnguó) – 马群 (Mǎ Qún), 11th “映美杯” (“Yìng Měi Cup”) Chinese Chess League, 杭州 (Hángzhōu) 2015. 14. ... cxd5 15. Qxd5 Qc7 16. c3 Be6 17. Qd3 d5 18. Ne3 Be5 19. g3 Nf6 20. Nc2 Qd7 21. Nd4 Bh3 22. Bg5 Bxf1 23. Rxf1 h6 24. Bxf6 Bxf6 25. Rd1 Qa4 26. a3 Rd8 27. Kg2

27. ... a6? Eljanov badly mixes up his priorities. The immediate 27. ... g6(!) seems perfectly playable for Black. 28. Nf5 g6? But now it’s too late! 28. ... Qc6 was probably the less worst, though after 29. Qf3 Kf8 30. h4 White enjoys a definite edge. 29. Nxh6+ Kg7 30. Qf3! Bg5. After 30. ... Kxh6 31. Qxf6 Qxd1 32. Qxd8 Kg7 33. Qb6 White gains a second Pawn with a relatively easy won endgame. The text does not offer anything better, and Vocaturo very convincingly brings home the point. 31. Ng4 f5 32. Ne5 Qe4 33. Nd3 d4 34. c4 Rc8 35. c5 Re8 36. b4 Kf6 37. h4 Bh6 38. Re1 Qxf3+ 39. Kxf3 Rxe1 40. Nxe1 Ke5 41. Ke2 Kd5 42. Kd3 Bc1 43. Nc2 Bb2 44. f3 Bc1 45. g4 fxg4 46. fxg4 Bb2 47. h5 gxh5 48. gxh5 Bc1 49. Na1 Ke6 50. a4 Kd5 1 : 0.

Pictured seated, from left, are Julio Ernesto Granda Zúñiga, Daniele Vocaturo, and Sabino Brunello, who, together with Alberto David, Danyyil Dvirnyy, Péter Lékó, Francisco Vallejo Pons, and 王皓 (Wáng Hào) are representing — in the most cosmopolitan form — the Italian team “Obiettivo Risarcimento Padua” at the 34th European Chess Club Cup in Greece. Photo © Niki Riga.

mercoledì 17 ottobre 2018

Realpolitik in the Eastern Mediterranean

Krishnan Sasikiran – Daniele Vocaturo
34th European Chess Club Cup; Porto Carras, October 17, 2018
8/R4Rpk/6qp/4p3/p7/5PP1/5KP1/8 w - - 0 39

The Italian team “Obiettivo Risarcimento Padua” is still striving for first place in the 34th European Chess Club Cup, thanks to today’s draw against the Czech team “AVE Nový Bor”. The equaliser was scored in extremis by Grandmaster Daniele Vocaturo — who looks in very good form — only thanks to an inexplicable and awful blunder by his opponent, who threw away a clear draw and condemned his team to defeat — needless to say, the whole thing caused some harsh comments from the chess “netizens” here and there: 39. Rxg7+?? Qxg7 40. Rxa4 h5 41. g4 h4 42. Kg1 Qd7 43. Re4 Qd2 44. Kf1 Qc1+ 45. Re1 Qf4 46. Re4 Qg3 47. g5 h3 0 : 1.

And yet, Edna, you’d warned them that everything depends only on your mood!