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36

Dummy Pawns Today, it is little known that for forty years at the height of the British Empire, Dummy Pawns were the scourge of tournament play, and even grandmasters ran scared. (Possible exaggeration here.) The heresy raged from 1862-1904. See Eminent Victorian Chess Players: Ten Biographies by Tim Harding. Timeline of known events (+/- indicate ...


35

Edward Winter cites Owen J. Clarkin (Ottawa, Canada) who quotes from The Modern Chess Instructor by W. Steinitz (New York, 1889) which in turn cites this example from Lowenthal's Book of the London Chess Congress, 1862: [Title "Dummy pawn motivation"] [fen "r/1Pp5/2P3p1/8/6pb/4p1kB/4P1p1/6K1 w - - 0 1"] [StartFlipped "0"] 1.bxa8=Q gxh3 If 1 bxa8 and White ...


33

No. The vast majority of club level players still play like the vast majority of club level players always did. Changes in knowledge about chess mostly apply to high levels of play; the kind of mistakes class A players make were already known to be mistakes for ages, and opening theory doesn't help much if your opponent deviates from theory at move 5 anyway. ...


32

In my opinion, it's almost impossible to say that a game is perfect if you include the opening. If you take the first few moves as a given (for example 1. e4 e5), then it is possible to say that a series of moves is perfect. One example of a so-called perfect game is the Immortal Draw. Carl Hamppe and Philipp Meitner played to a draw in 1872, and in the ...


31

Stalemate is a draw in classical chess yet there are other chess variants both historical and modern where stalemate is not a draw. Very early versions of Chess, such as Shatranj Chess (props to Andrew Latham) declare the player causing stalemate the winner and even today there are callings to return to that rule. for example: Larry Kaufman Chess Life ...


27

There is nothing in principle preventing players from long tournaments. Or maybe yes if they are way too long, like the first Karpov - Kasparov match (had to be postponed for health reasons), but these cases are far from the norm. If we stick to the elite games, I would say that the main reasons why tournaments have become shorter is that there are many ...


25

Wikipedia claims that In early Sanskrit chess (c. 500–700) the king could be captured and this ended the game. The Persians (c. 700–800) introduced the idea of warning that the king was under attack (announcing check in modern terminology). This was done to avoid the early and accidental end of a game. Later the Persians added the additional rule that a ...


22

Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine is a decent enough documentary on the subject. The coverage does kind of imply that Kasparov was grasping at straws abit. Like a typical World championship match there was a lot of behind the scenes tactics going on from both sides. My feeling is that you only have to look at the ascent of Anand and other chess players ...


22

As Totero notes, changing stalemate in this fashion would drastically change endgame play. Currently, one must learn how to recognize different King/Pawn endings, and how other pieces interact with these endings. Opposite- vs same-color Bishops, Knight/Pawn vs Knight, Rook/Pawn vs Rook, and other basic variations. Changing stalemate to a win would throw ...


20

Here are a few openings that seem to be played more often in the last decade than previously. This is just based on my recollection, so please correct any errors or add any other openings. Catalan Opening The last few major matches have all featured the Catalan: Anand-Topalov, as well as the candidates matches leading up to the World Championship 2012. The ...


19

I am surprised that the paper "Intrinsic Chess Ratings" by Ken Regan and Guy Haworth hasn't been posted yet. It is exactly what's asked for, serious research into rating inflation. PDF Basically they got games from three periods (1976-1979, 1991-1994, 2006-2009), in several rating ranges (e.g. both players within 10 points of 2200, within 10 points of 2300, ...


19

I disagree with all answers treating the gnat and elephant as allegory for players of varying skill level. Rather, the actions of the gnat and elephant are the main point. Chess as a game with rules is not very broad. There are only six types of piece. Half the actual number of pieces are identical and have moves that are almost as simple as it is possible ...


18

Perhaps another factor is that transport and communications were so much more limited in the 19th century, that a short tournament would not have justified lengthy travel, particularly for transatlantic professionals visiting Europe. At an amateur level in Britain, the burgeoning train network allowed evening visits from one provincial town to a neighbouring ...


18

Was playing with both hands ever allowed in chess? Yes, before 1997. Hence in 1995 Kasparov was not breaking the rules. The key article in the the FIDE Laws of Chess is: Article 4: The act of moving the pieces 4.1 Each move must be made with one hand only. This first appeared in the 1997 edition of the FIDE Laws of Chess. The previous edition, ...


17

I think stalemate is a draw for the same reason that dropping the white ball when potting black is a loss in 8-ball pool - it gives the losing player a granule of hope until the very end, and it ensures that the winner must be clinical in securing his win. With regards to whether this flows logically from the other rules of the game - chess is, after all, a ...


17

If you really mean "dubious", then no one really fits this description since Steinitz, who liked to, for example, go for walks with his King when playing the King's Gambit as White. But people didn't really know better back then. If you're willing to relax "dubious" to "offbeat", the first player that comes to mind is Bent Larsen, one of the strongest ...


16

From Wikipedia: Allowing the en passant capture is one of the last major rule changes in European chess that occurred between 1200 and 1600, together with the introduction of the two-square first move for pawns, castling, and the unlimited range for queens and bishops (Davidson 1949:14,16,57). Spanish master Ruy López de Segura gives the rule in his 1561 ...


16

In pretty much any endeavor that requires one to develop or acquire complex sets of skills, be it chiefly intellectual or chiefly physical, starting young will generally be a huge boon simply because of the fact that younger brains are more plastic than older brains; they can more readily adapt to new sorts of tasks and information. Because of that fact, ...


16

Magnus Carlsen drops out of World Championship cycle (contemporaneous chessbase.com article) Largely he didn't like the format (knockout matches rather than round-robin tournament). Carlsen wrote a letter to FIDE explaining why he skipped the Candidates Matches, quoted in part below: After careful consideration I’ve reached the conclusion that the ...


16

It is basically just a shortcut that cuts the game short by one move once the outcome is obvious. According to Wikipedia, "In early Sanskrit chess (c. 500–700) the king could be captured and this ended the game. The Persians (c. 700–800) introduced the idea of warning that the king was under attack (announcing check in modern terminology). This was done to ...


16

Practically speaking, if the king were any more powerful, checkmate or capture would be impossible. The Queen originated as the Advisor. The Advisor was powerful, but not as powerful as the modern Queen, however. Why did the Advisor become the Queen? Having more than one Queen per side would debase the game, and there are two each of the other pieces. ...


15

In the original form of the game from which chess probably derived, chaturanga, there was no piece named "Queen". The Queen of modern chess probably derived from a piece named "General": in the beginning this piece could move 1 square only diagonally, then its movenemt became more and more similar to the modern Queen. But there's more: in chaturanga there ...


15

There have been some shorter ones, for instance Kasparov-Kramnik (2000), game 7, draw in 11 moves. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1252046 Kasparov-Anand (1995), game 18, draw in 12 moves. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1241980 Karpov-Kasparov (1984), game 29, draw in 13 moves. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=...


15

From this Chess.com Discussion In terms of games played, it would be Tal with 95 games (46 wins, 49 draws) from October 23, 1973 to October 16, 1974. He also has the second longest streak of 84 games (47 wins, 39 draws) from July 1972 to April 1973. In terms of time, Capablanca was undefeated for 63 games (40 wins, 23 draws from February 10, 1916 to ...


15

Chess as an activity is not appealing to many women. Because there are so few women in open tournaments, it can be quite intimidating for a girl or woman to start playing the game. Imagine being one of the 1-3% of female players at a large open tournament. They receive constant attention and stares (it is much worse if they are conventionally attractive). ...


15

In Claude Shannon's paper of 1949, he quotes those values as part of his evaluation function: Most of the maxims and principles of correct play are really assertions about evaluating positions, for example: - (1) The relative values of queen, rook, bishop, knight and pawn are about 9, 5, 3, 3, 1, respectively. Thus other things being equal (!) if we ...


15

Today we get tournaments such as: Chess World Cup 2005 - 128 players Chess World Cup 2007 - 128 players Chess World Cup 2009 - 128 players Chess World Cup 2011 - 128 players Chess World Cup 2013 - 128 players Chess World Cup 2015 - 128 players Chess World Cup 2017 - 128 players Chess World Cup 2019 - 128 players Of course these tournaments only last ...


14

The game Alekhine-Nimzowitsch immediately comes to mind; a great example of both a zugzwang in a position full of pieces and the infamous "Alekhine's Gun" (the tripled major pieces on the c-file): [FEN ""] [White "Alexander Alekhine"] [Black "Aron Nimzowitsch"] [Result "1-0"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. Bd2 Ne7 6. Nb5 Bxd2+ 7. Qxd2 O-O 8. c3 ...


13

Chess historian Edward Winter has a page listing the earliest known occurrences of various chess terms in English, relying mostly on citations from the OED, though for these two terms he has slight improvements on those. For Zwischenzug the earliest known use is in Chess Strategy and Tactics, by Fred Reinfeld and Irving Chernev from 1933. For Zugzwang the ...


13

In a game at the 1954 Olympiad in Amsterdam, Botvinnik had the white pieces against Nikolay Minev of Bulgaria, and reached the following position after 57. Qxe6: [FEN "8/8/4Q3/k6K/8/6P1/8/q7 w - - 0 1"] [StartFlipped "0"] In Half a Century of Chess, Botvinnik writes, Ten years prior to this game I had such an ending against G. Ravinsky ... There I did ...


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