sábado, junho 01, 2002

Me vs. Karjakin: "Schachnovelle" by Stefan Zweig

(Original Review from the German and English editions, 2002-06-01)

My lichens rating has gone down the proverbial toilet. I went from 1800 to 1600. Been losing simple games. I hate it when I get ahead and then lose. The other day I even managed to fuck up w text book draw with opposite bishops. I think of myself as a club level Karjakin but Sergey appears in my dreams and asks me to stop sullying his good name.

All players go thru the game yips from time to time, they suck while they're happening but just go with the current flow, don't get irritated and down on yourself; they will pass. I'd avoid playing rated hustlers too; I lost near 300 FIDE points back in '10, it was my first experience of the yips, know better now for sure. I seriously feel for the top dudes and dudettes, their yips are so public.

I’m sure Sergey would be proud of me; he's a real player who loves chess. He ain't one of the players I think have reached undeserved heights; defense is a great offence in the right hands; he has real game.

'Why not just play tic-tac-toe against Karjakin,' says I? (Karjakin anwers: 'Because you know I'd kick your arse. Why don’t you play against me??')

'Karjakin, my middle game in noughts and crosses ('tic tac toe??' please!) is unbeatable! You’ll never see my moves coming...' (Karjakin: 'Because it lacks the required intellectual challenge or permutations of chess. However I can see why you consider it to be so difficult and a real intellectual challenge.')

'Yes, but have you played against the computer Deep Noughts and Crosses? Until then you will remain the uncrowned King...') (Karjakin: I beat WOPR, obvs, and continued to beat its successors right through the 90s; but yeah, I confess, I've not beaten any of the "deep" series...')

'I’ll give you a hint Karjakin. Whoever goes first wins if they select the corners. Surely most kids learn this while they're still in "elementary school" '. (Karjakin: 'Not true. But if you start from the corner there is only one move for your opponent to avoid a forced loss: unfortunately it is the obvious one. Whereas if you start from the middle there are four forced wins and four probable draws depending on your opponent’s response, so I prefer to start from the corner because it increases my odds.'

'At this stage tic-tac-toe is more likely to produce a winner than chess,' I keep on fighting. (Karjakin: 'and there lies the reason for the death of chess. FIDE should be sued for not changing things (i.e. the rules in some format) many years back. Even football which is prehistoric in terms of changing rules has done it a few times for the betterment of the game.'

'Sue FIDE for what? Millions of people have tried tweaking the rules of chess. None of them have gained popularity because they are inferior to the current version. Typically because they introduce an element of luck. If you want randomness watch the Risk World Championship.' (Karjakin: 'I like to intimidate my opponents during midgame by throwing in a "B". Their resolve crumbles when they see the word "BOO" in front of them. We should play sometime. I won’t play tic-tac-toe because it's a solved game with a tiny state space. Its real name isn't Tic-Tac-Toe, btw. It's Zero-X.)'

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