Rumble in the Fish Market
November 15, 2016 10:48 AM   Subscribe

The World Chess Championship is currently taking place in NYC The current champ is Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, who is a bit of a celebrity. His challenger is Russian wunderkind Sergey Karjakin currently the number 9 ranked player in the world, but winner of the 2016 candidates tournament.

Today is match 4, and it starts at 2pm EST. There is web coverage, that includes, for a price, 360 -degree VR coverage.

Analysis is available at a number of sources as well.


Play has been tentative so far, but there are high hopes for an exciting match.
posted by OHenryPacey (81 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
uh, have the first three games all been draws? how commonplace are draws, in high-level games?
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 11:04 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


uh, have the first three games all been draws? what's the likelihood of that?

Very high. World championship matches usually start with a string of drawn games. Apparantly Carlsen missed a win in the complicated endgame last night, though.
posted by thelonius at 11:10 AM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


!!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:15 AM on November 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Chess is widely believed to be a draw with perfect play and these players are very good.

The most recent World Computer Chess Championships saw five consecutive draws to start out the finals, with Komodo only edging out a win when the time controls were tightened to give the computers only three minutes (plus five seconds per move) for the entire game.
posted by 256 at 11:22 AM on November 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


currently taking place in NYC

One town's very like another when your head's down over your pieces, brother.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:51 AM on November 15, 2016 [24 favorites]


High-level Chess is notoriously drawish, and pessimistic commentators have been predicting for decades that the game will eventually decay into "draw death", in which drawn games will become so common that spectators will eventually lose interest and competitive Chess will fade away as an international sport.

This doesn't appear to actually be happening, but that hasn't stopped people from proposing solutions to the problem. Two of the best-known attempts are World Champion José Raúl Capablanca's variant of the game played on a larger board, and Bobby Fischer's system for randomizing the initial board configuration.

The reasoning behind these efforts is that the high rate of draws is due to centuries of thorough opening analysis and Herculean home preparation efforts by top players, which allow both sides to consistently enter the middlegame with roughly equal positions. Fischer's proposal seems more likely to be successful in the long term at its goal of reducing the influence of advance preparation on the game, and the variant has gained enough traction that it's actually included as an appendix to the official FIDE Laws of Chess. Professional Chess960 tournaments are even held occasionally.
posted by a mirror and an encyclopedia at 11:55 AM on November 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Each game of chess means there's one less variation left to be played.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 12:04 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


In London, he told me that, during his most recent visit to New York, he had gone to Washington Square Park and, unrecognized, played against the chess hustlers, beating them all.
With bonus Liv Tyler content.
posted by Etrigan at 12:34 PM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Each game of chess means there's one less variation left to be played.

"The Shannon number, named after Claude Shannon, is a conservative lower bound (not an estimate) of the game-tree complexity of chess of 10^120, based on an average of about 103 possibilities for a pair of moves consisting of a move for White followed by one for Black, and a typical game lasting about 40 such pairs of moves.

...as a comparison, the number of atoms in the observable universe, to which it is often compared, is estimated to be between 4×10^79 and 4×10^81."
posted by leotrotsky at 12:36 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


With bonus Liv Tyler content.

Is Liv Tyler a chess fan?
posted by leotrotsky at 12:37 PM on November 15, 2016


Is Liv Tyler a chess fan?

No idea, but they work for the same fashion label.
posted by Etrigan at 12:40 PM on November 15, 2016


With bonus Liv Tyler content

"... the movie star... I forget her name..." But still more recognizable than Carlsen.

I'm impressed that the other hustler didn't even flinch when the squirrel jumped on him.
posted by Kabanos at 1:37 PM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Did Carlsen just hang his e pawn after move 27? I must be missing something.
posted by exogenous at 1:45 PM on November 15, 2016


I think that rook on b5 has it covered?
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:50 PM on November 15, 2016


Right you are, thanks. Time pressure for the Russian now!
posted by exogenous at 1:51 PM on November 15, 2016


pressure on that pawn now though
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:52 PM on November 15, 2016


Oh the carnage!
posted by Kabanos at 2:00 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pretty impressive combination just now
posted by exogenous at 2:01 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm a lousy player but if I were playing white, I'd think about pushing the f pawn.
posted by exogenous at 2:05 PM on November 15, 2016


I guess Kajarkin just stopped that for now by threatening the d pawn
posted by exogenous at 2:06 PM on November 15, 2016


rook to e5
posted by Kabanos at 2:07 PM on November 15, 2016


I was thinking pawn to d5
posted by exogenous at 2:10 PM on November 15, 2016




Huh, apparently they get more time after 40 moves, which is pretty close.
posted by exogenous at 2:34 PM on November 15, 2016


"50 extra minutes at move 40"
But I have to go home!
posted by Kabanos at 2:38 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Christ, just reading these moves makes me feel stupid. It's no fun being an amoeba.
posted by constantinescharity at 2:41 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was surprised that Svidler and Hansen maintain such a low opinion of the white's queenside pawns (particularly b2) but I think I see it now. Sort of.
posted by exogenous at 2:44 PM on November 15, 2016


> Christ, just reading these moves makes me feel stupid. It's no fun being an amoeba.

That's why this amoeba over here thought the game yesterday was fun... Apparently it's possible for Carlson to make a mistake that can at least be successfully explained to lower life forms...
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 2:49 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


looks like 61...Bd3? threw away Black's advantage but 62 Nh3? restored it...the computers say 62 Nxd3 was dead equal
posted by thelonius at 4:32 PM on November 15, 2016


They're still going?!?
posted by Kabanos at 5:19 PM on November 15, 2016


Draw!
posted by jasper411 at 5:25 PM on November 15, 2016


Just now declared a draw. Magnus had him, but Sergey plays rope-a-dope really well.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:25 PM on November 15, 2016


Karjakin defends so well!
posted by thelonius at 5:27 PM on November 15, 2016


shouldn't he be playing caruana? the opposition in these champ matches are puzzling
posted by jcruelty at 7:50 PM on November 15, 2016


There was a play-in tournament that Karjakin won.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:42 PM on November 15, 2016


Chess is on the front pages in Norway at the moment, with Carlsen being Norwegian and all.

That being said, I'm (pleasantly) surprised that there is such a thing as a chess hustler. Seems to me an unlikely way to make a living.
posted by Harald74 at 11:54 PM on November 15, 2016


If somebody suggested to me that i play him at chess for money, i'd tell him to get stuffed. I would just assume that anyone who even suggests a wager is bound to be better than me. Who gets hustled at chess? Apparently the hustlers... woo, this is beginning to sound like a Watchmen quote.
posted by trif at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


If somebody suggested to me that i play him at chess for money, i'd tell him to get stuffed. I would just assume that anyone who even suggests a wager is bound to be better than me. Who gets hustled at chess? Apparently the hustlers... woo, this is beginning to sound like a Watchmen quote.

I mean I suspect a lot of people are not really planning to win - they're just willing to fork over a few bucks for the experience.
posted by atoxyl at 1:30 PM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would just assume that anyone who even suggests a wager is bound to be better than me.

Also it's usually speed chess so there's definitely opportunity for straight-up cheating. "Street chess" is kinda what you think it would be but that's fun to people.
posted by atoxyl at 1:37 PM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Check out the first linked video in this FPP where a chess hustler unknowingly plays a GM (and tries to cheat).
posted by exogenous at 3:31 PM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Who else was a chess hustler? Stanley Kubrick.
posted by Devonian at 4:58 PM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I mean I suspect a lot of people are not really planning to win - they're just willing to fork over a few bucks for the experience.

Jude Acers in New Orleans probably makes most of his living off of this - he's local color, he's in a tourist area, he seemingly knows how to make people feel OK about losing $5 to him.
posted by thelonius at 4:08 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Game 5 is today at 2pm EST
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:45 AM on November 17, 2016


This is really surprising. You don't see the Italian Game much at the top levels of chess.
posted by thelonius at 12:27 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Karjakin wins game 8 - the first decisive game of the match - and with the Black pieces no less.

I looked in on the game about an hour in, and it looked like a pretty balanced opening. When I looked again a few hours later, Karjakin was heading into the endgame with connected passed pawns on the queenside and I was hooked for the rest of the game. I'll have to go back over the part I missed to see how they got from A to B.

With any wins at all being hard to come by, will a single win be enough to give the crown to Karjakin? The pressure is on Carlsen now - look for him to play more aggressively.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:19 PM on November 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you want to see the immense amount of internal pressure and anxiety these maniacs feel, just watch Carlsen's face as he's waiting for the press conference to start before bolting.
posted by Think_Long at 6:56 AM on November 22, 2016


Magnus wins game 10 to tie it up at 5!
I'm not sure exactly why Karjakin resigned there, but he's a grandmaster and I don't play organized chess, so I trust his judgement.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:56 PM on November 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure exactly why Karjakin resigned there

White will move his King to chase the black Rook away from defending the pawn on the next turn, then capture the pawn, and win easily by pushing the two White pawns and promoting one of them to a Queen.
posted by thelonius at 6:18 PM on November 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


With the match tied at 5.5-5.5, the final game at the full time control takes place today. Carlsen has White. Winner of the game wins the championship. If the game is drawn, they move to a series of tie-breakers, all on Nov. 30:

1. A match of 4 rapid games (25 minutes + 10s increment)
2-6. Up to five matches of 2 games each of blitz chess (5 minutes + 3s increment) [first decisive match determines the championship]
7. One "Armageddon" game — White gets 5 minutes, Black gets 4 minutes, but a draw gives the championship to Black. Both sides get a 3s increment starting with move 61. Winner of a draw for lots has the choice of color.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:45 AM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


7. One "Armageddon" game — White gets 5 minutes, Black gets 4 minutes, but a draw gives the championship to Black.

I can't tell whether this would be better served by a Chris Rock reference or a Wesley Snipes reference.
posted by Etrigan at 8:07 AM on November 28, 2016


Never much cared for the "Armageddon" concept. At some point you may as well play a game of Risk or something to decide the winner.
posted by thelonius at 9:12 AM on November 28, 2016


Never much cared for the "Armageddon" concept. At some point you may as well play a game of Risk or something to decide the winner.

Well, with the blitz games you're very nearly at that point anyway. The "Armageddon" game as a final decisive game has only been a thing in World Championship matches since 2008, and hopefully there are enough blitz matches ahead of it that it would never come down to it — I agree it would be a bit unsatisfying, but there has to be some way to determine a champion. In the (admittedly few) championships since that tiebreak has been put into place, it's never gone beyond the first 4-game rapid match. (Anand-Gelfand 2012). I see it as kind of like a coin toss being the 13th or whatever tiebreaker for seeding the NFL playoffs; you have to have something there.

Before that, world championship matches have dealt with the potential for overall draws in various ways:
* First player to a certain number of wins earns the championship, with draws not counting. Although the theory is that draws not counting would encourage the competitors to try harder for a win, that seemed not to be the case in practice, and the potentially unlimited number of games is problematic. (See especially Karpov-Kasparov 1984-1985, with the championship going to the first player with 6 wins; it was aborted by FIDE President Florencio Campomanes after 48(!) games, citing the health of the players, and Karpov leading 5-3 at the time.)
* The defending champion retains the championship if the score is tied after the prescribed number of games. Perhaps the most commonly used method over the history of the World Chess Championship, but seen by some as giving too much of an advantage to the defending champion, especially with the increasing number of draws
* Similar to the current system, a series of tiebreakers, culminating in 2-game blitz matches; but with an unlimited number of blitz matches until a decisive result is achieved.

I think I might slightly prefer the unlimited number of blitz matches, although in practice I doubt the result is likely to differ from the up-to-five-blitz-matches-followed-by-Armageddon method; I don't see five blitz matches all ending 1-1. (I could be eating my words on Wednesday.) If you do end with Armageddon, I think I'd prefer a slight modification where the defending champion gets the choice of color, rather than the player winning a coin toss getting choice of color, a bit of a nod to the older "defending champion retains the title in case of a tie" method. But I tend to be averse to methods where a coin toss results in too much of an advantage. (My "sealed bid for field position" option for determining first possession in an NFL overtime has not gotten much traction, unfortunately.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:26 AM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Game 12 drawn in under an hour. Wow. Not that I disagree with the draw, looking at the final position, but I thought they might at least take more time to get there.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:07 PM on November 28, 2016


Trying to win entails risk, and losing game 12 means you are out. I'm not surprised that they both prefer to take their chances in the rapid/blitz/armageddon playoff.
posted by thelonius at 12:19 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wonder what this match would look like if the format were simply the World Champion is the first player to win a game as white and a game as black?

Styles make fights, of course, and for these two black can only win if white is aggressive, but white can only win if white is aggressive, so it would favor aggression rather than passively playing for draws...
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:14 PM on November 28, 2016


wonder what this match would look like if the format were simply the World Champion is the first player to win a game as white and a game as black?

That is interesting. It could still become a death march of drawn games, I think. Suppose both players won a game with White. Then they'd have no incentive to push very hard with White for the rest of the match, and it would be very difficult to ever score with Black in the match. This level of chess player can more or less make a draw with White at will.
posted by thelonius at 12:31 PM on November 29, 2016


First game is a draw. I wonder if the tie-breaker games tend to be played much more conservatively given the stakes and the time-limit.
posted by Think_Long at 12:21 PM on November 30, 2016


I thought Carlsen might play 34... d5 rather than 34... dxe5 to get a passed pawn. However, I am nowhere near a good enough player to know if 34... dxe5 is just Carlsen playing conservatively, or if there's some reason I am unable to see that makes 34... d5 a bad move. (Also, I'm watching the board but not following any of the online commentary.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:49 PM on November 30, 2016


Uneven (or at least asymmetric) material in game 2 now: Carlsen has two bishops for a rook and a pawn. This could be interesting.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:53 PM on November 30, 2016


And Karjakin in time trouble.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:54 PM on November 30, 2016


Yeah there is a huge time asymmetry now. Carlsen has a lot of power left too.
posted by Think_Long at 1:03 PM on November 30, 2016


Uneven (or at least asymmetric) material in game 2 now: Carlsen has two bishops for a rook and a pawn. This could be interesting.

that may favor the 2 bishops but it depends....
posted by thelonius at 1:08 PM on November 30, 2016


Sad trombone.
posted by Think_Long at 1:23 PM on November 30, 2016


Another draw, but at least it was an interesting endgame. Karjakin gives up the exchange to get a drawn position. And a stalemate with an en passant capture on the last move must be a bit of a rarity.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:30 PM on November 30, 2016


I know they both talk like this is no big deal, but it has to be hard to switch over from long, classical time control chess, to rapid chess, to speed chess.
posted by thelonius at 1:33 PM on November 30, 2016


Carlsen wins game 3 with Black!
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:36 PM on November 30, 2016


Karjakin opens game 4 with a Sicilian, the first of the tournament — fitting since he has to win with Black to stay alive.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:52 PM on November 30, 2016


Karajakin breaking out the Sicilian now
posted by thelonius at 2:53 PM on November 30, 2016


[chess teachers] don't push pawns in the opening, don't bring the Queen out early.....I don't care what happened in the WC tiebreaks
posted by thelonius at 2:55 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


If anyone's still reading this, try Tal Baron's
stream
He is a young Israeli gm and one of the most enthusiastic and original streamers right now.
posted by tirutiru at 3:08 PM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Young? He's 23. An old man GM, by today's standards.
posted by thelonius at 3:11 PM on November 30, 2016


If anyone's still reading this, try Tal Baron's stream

In contemplating Carlsen's possible psychological strategy, Baron just imitated Bruce Lee. So yeah, I'll stick with this stream!
posted by Kabanos at 3:19 PM on November 30, 2016


Speaking of age, today is Carlsen's 26th birthday.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:30 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Russia might have won the US election, but I think it will lose the chess championship.
posted by exogenous at 3:44 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


What an ending!
posted by exogenous at 3:45 PM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wow, that was a brutal finish
posted by thelonius at 3:46 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dueling mating threats. Nice.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:46 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


48...Qf2??
Nothing wrong with threatening mate in 1!
49 Rc8+
Oops!

looks like Karjakan didn't see the Queen sac at all and ran up to h7 to avoid
49. Rc8+ Bf8 50. Rxf8+ Kxf8 51. Rxf7+ Ke8 52. Rf8+ Kd7 53. Qf5+ Kc6 54. Rc8+ Kb7 55. Qd7+ Ka6 56. Ra8#

which Stockfish gives as the main variation
posted by thelonius at 3:58 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


but, with 30 seconds, and 2 moves to get out of check (not counting 49..Bd8 50 Rxd8+), I guess you play the second one as soon as you see the first loses
posted by thelonius at 4:03 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Im not going to pretend like I even understood much of the chess nerdery in this thread but did feel compelled to chime in that we were enjoying dinner out last night when much commotion began and people started pouring into the restaurant. Apparently one of Magnus Carlsen's fans or management were throwing him a birthday party there which had (luckily for them I suppose) also turned into a victory party for his tiebreak win.

the staff at the restaurant seemed totally confused that the hubbub was for a chess player, and the man himself seemed kind of overwhelmed also (he got sprayed down with a bottle of champagne when he arrived and there were people - guests at his party - lining up to take iphone photos with him). Needless to say this topped seeing a guy pull a 6 week old puppy out of his thriller-style red leather jacket on the subway as the strangest/most NYC thing to happen to me yesterday.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 6:29 AM on December 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


Magnus Carlsen on the win.
posted by Kabanos at 12:20 PM on December 6, 2016


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