Chess Myths – True or False?

Checkmate is a topic that many discuss and speculate

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about. Superficial knowledge is often the foundation of prejudice and stereotypes that are spread in public. Therefore, Chessimo will get to the bottom of those myths about chess today and will clarify.

Chess Myths

True or False?

1. Chess is an age-old board game

As a matter of fact, the Persians invented a game called “Chaturanga” in 450 AD, which many consider the precursor of today’s checkmate. The game was played on a board with 64 squares but without the recognizable checkmate pattern. The pieces were King, Counselor, Wagon, Elephant, Knight, and Soldier. Unfortunately, we do not know how the game came to Europe and when it was introduced to our ancestors. In 13th century, chess was already one of the Seven Virtues of knights all over Europe and a reformation of the rule set followed in the 15th century in Spain. Ever since, with only little changes, the game has been played accordingly.

Conclusion: Ancient game, but not centuries old.

2. One has to have an extraordinarily high IQ to successfully play chess

The University of Graz confirmed two interesting facts about this particular topic:

Chess players have a higher IQ (113) than the average human (100). Whether playing chess contributes to a higher IQ (read about the personal abilities you can improve through chess here) or intelligent people are simply more attracted by the game, as they trust their capabilities, remains uncertain. Undoubtedly, there are chess grandmasters of both, average IQ and high IQ of 130 and above. Interesting is also the result of Doll and Mayr’s test in 1987: Players of IQs below average (85 to 90) are able to reach ELO-ratings of up to 2000 points. 2200 points and more were reached by players whose IQ levels ranged at 110, which is only slightly above average. The key to a good performance on the chess board is practice and intensive study of the game over a long period of time. A person of average intelligence is by all means capable of standing out with practice and knowledge. If a highly gifted player misses those two, he will certainly not be able to make up for it with his intelligence.

Conclusion: Practice makes the master. A high IQ level is advantageous but not a necessity.

3. Women are not a good as men

In the history of chess there has not once been a female Chess World Champion. Amongst the Top 100 chess players of the world ranks only one woman, Judith Polgár on rank 39. Due to such numbers, many believe that women generally perform worse at chess than men. A few years back, Merim Bilalic, teacher at the University of Oxford and the University of Tübingen, dealt with this statement and evaluated data of the German Chess Federation. The result: Women are equally good at playing chess as men. Unfortunately, and this supports the misbelieving, there are significantly fewer women (7,013) than men (113,386) competing in this sport so that the ratio of players (assuming equal performance of women and men) in theoretical calculations is consistent with the real value of 96 percent.

Conclusion: The difference in gender of 96% can be explained statistically, and thus the male dominance in the world rankings and the number of world championship titles. It is statistical fact that a majority group is more likely to deliver excellent performances than minority groups.

4. No human is better at chess than a computer

In 2003 it was yet to be proven. Back then, Garri Kasparov competed against the world’s best chess computing system of that time. “Deep Juniorwon one of the five matches, so did Garri Kasparov. The remaining three ended in draws.

Today’s best chess computer is Houdini and so far no human was able to prevail over it. While a person can only calculate one positioning per second, Houdini manages to calculate up to 300,000. In the meanwhile, there have been contests among those computing programs to measure their performances. Even their ELO can be measured today. The Top 10 chess programs have ELO-rating ranging from 2954 to 3168 points, which should not be compared to real players’ ELOs as the ranking was generated only from duels between computers.

Conclusion: True. Computers have definitely surpassed humans in matters of chess.

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship 2014

Magnus CarlsenStage of this year’s FIDE World Championship of Rapid and Blitz Chess was Dubai; Scheduled from June 15th to 20th and with 126 participants from 44 countries. Amongst them were Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, Vishy Anand, Hikaru Nakamura, Alexander Grischuk, Sergej Karjakin, Peter Svidler, Boris Gelfand, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. tadalafil To mention only a few of the world class participants. Carlsen is certainly the top of the list in the classical rankings of the FIDE, but the number one in matters of Rapid and Blitz Chess is another player: Hikaru Nakamura. Shortly after the event’s opening ceremony on Sunday evening Carlsen admitted: “It is a strange feeling not be seeded first: It bothers me a little and I will change it!”

Rapid Chess (15 minutes plus 10sec/move) was played Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Blitz Chess (3 minutes plus 2sec/move) Thursday and Friday.

Head-to-head race in Rapid Chess

On Wednesday evening the chess world knew that Carlsen’s words were not only an empty threat: The Norwegian obtained 11 out of 15 points. He was therefore awarded with the gold medal, 40,000 USD prize money and the title World clomid online Champion in Rapid Chess. Only half a point short were Caruana, Anand, Aronian, and Morozevich who rank in this exact order. All of them got their share of 24,000 USD out of the total amount of 400,000 USD prize money.

Last, not least

The Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi gave Magnus Carlsen a hard time in Blitz Chess. Until the very last (21st) round the two fought a tough battle for 1st place. In the end, Carlsen prevailed with a one point advantage (16 points) and secured his second title. The former Blitz Chess World Champion Hikaru Nakamura also scored 15 points and ranked 3rd. Vishy Anand, who has the honor of challenging Magnus Carlsen sildenafil cost per pill in the World Championship duel of classical chess, collected only 12.5 points and completed the tournament on rank 6.

Carlsen once again managed to continue his sequence of successes. He impressed the world of chess but not himself – he expects no less than the very best of himself. Carlsen states he is capable of accomplishing anything. And right now he is on the right path of convincing us of his brilliance.


written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

How Do I Improve My Ability To Concentrate?

Part 3: Effective exercises for everyday life

According to Wikipedia, concentration is defined as focusing all attention on one particular activity, reaching a short-term goal, or solving an assigned problem. It is no surprise then, that concentration in chess tournaments is one of the essential keys to success.

KonzentrationIt’s all about not getting distracted, about concentrating on the given positioning for up to six hours, about calculating, estimating, and maneuvering without straying from the subject. As this requires high intellectual effort, many players (even professionals) face problems in the persistence and continuity of keeping up concentration during such long periods of time. Even players like the grandmaster Jan Gustafsson report headaches and difficulties in concentrating after five hours.

The capability to concentrate depends on several influential factors which we will be discussing in the three parts of this month’s column: The body, the mind, and the practice.

Today, in Part 3, Chessimo will introduce you to a few effective exercises that can easily be practiced during everyday life and help you raise your concentration level.

Who sticks to the following recommendations will be able to significantly improve their concentration in practice and at tournaments.

Outdoor Exercises

1. Look at the windows up on house fronts and imagine they were chess fields. Then try to imagine how to move the Knight in order to touch each and every window once. This can easily be practiced in rooms with tiles on walls and floors also.

2. If you have bad sense for direction or lack spatial perception, the following exercises might be helpful (the also help develop an intuitive sense for positioning on the board):

  • Imagine rooms, buildings, and ways that you have passed, maybe on your way to work or home, or whilst shopping), from a bird perspective. Try to sketch a ground plan in your head.
  • Look at objects in your surrounding and imagine they were folded from a single piece of paper. Try to figure out how you would have to unfold the object and what the sheet of paper would look like.

3. When going to work or the local supermarket look for small stops on the way, such as the next massive tree, bus stop or other things that you pass on the way. When you start walking count your steps from one to five. Then begin again, counting from one to six. Then from one to seven, and so on. Once you’ve reached one of your predetermined stops start from the beginning. Also count your steps while climbing stairs or every third step when running.

4. Whilst driving: Read the license tag of the car in front of you and build a sentence from its letters. Example: PC3 – I47F ‘Playing Checkmate Is Fun’

Indoor Exercises

1. Focus on counting a certain letter while reading a newspaper article, an online blog, or anything else. Advancers can focus on two or three different letters without losing track or being distracted from comprehending the content.

2. Whilst listening to the radio or watching television reduce the volume so that you are only able to understand what is said in a state of high concentration. Begin with only a short period of time, just a few minutes, as this is extremely exhaustive. Over time you will be able to stretch this period of concentrated listening.

3. Pick a word that is often said on the radio or television (with, and, but, ..). Take fifteen minutes of your time and count how often this particular word is said.

Exercises With A Partner

1. You have a nice colleague with whom you are often stuck in long meetings? Team up and use this time to work on your concentration capabilities while having fun! Sit across from your partner and make a small gesture, such as scratching your ear, folding your arms, or tapping on your coffee mug. You partner will then repeat your gesture and ass another. You take turns repeating the previous gestures and adding new ones.

2. Use a cozy evening in front of the TV for some brain jogging. While watching a movie together, add all the numbers that are mentioned in your head and compare results afterwards.

3. Completing each other’s sentences is not only power of soul mates. Play a game with your partner, child, colleague, or friend in which you take turns saying words that must add up to an adequate sentence. Ideal would be the creation of a small story.

Exercises On Paper

1. Take pen and paper and write down the shopping list with your left hand (left-handed people must use their right hand) or learn a new font, such as Old German or Old English. This process requires a high amount of concentration.

2. Take a handful of spaghetti and let them fall onto the table like Mikado Sticks. Then draw this formation from any perspective and try to catch all the lines and angles in the right dimensions. Soon you will be able to do this while talking to a client on the phone.

3. Write short notes, for example at work, I mirror writing. With a little practice you’ll be able to even do it while phoning a customer.

Exercises With Your Body

Who wants to improve the interaction of the two hemispheres of the brain, is best advised to do this with crisscross exercises.

1. Touch your right knee with your left elbow and then your left knee with your right elbow. The classical Jumping Jack is also good practice.

2. Crisscross exercises work perfectly behind the back too: Touch your left foot with your right hand and the other way around.

3. It draws less attention if you do small crisscross exercises, for example at work. Try making small and subtle crisscross moves with your fingers and hands, or with your feet underneath your desk. Tracing the lines of an 8 with your eyes is also an effective exercise that strengthens your memory.

4. Who recognizes a decrease in concentration abilities (fatigue, exhaustion) in tournaments or other moments in life can regain energy with the stimulation of several different acupressure points. Take your earlobes between index fingers and thumbs and slightly pull on them. Work your way up to the tips of your ears and gently pull them to the sides. Repeat this massage two or three times.

To conclude, we can also recommend practicing particular sports and learning methods of muscle relaxation that have severe impact on one’s concentration capabilities. Some of these are Yoga, Tai-Chi, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation.

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe

The World’s Five Most Expensive Chess Boards

Jewel Royale Chess Set

1 This chess set was manufactured in 2005 by the order of the British Jewelry Company Boodles, and with its estimated value of 9.8 million US Dollars it is currently the most expensive chess set in the world. Next to gold and platinum are gemstones, such as diamonds, rubies, pearls, and sapphires materials used in this masterpiece. Only the King is decorated with 146 diamonds and 73 rubies. Unfortunately, nobody has expressed their interest in buying the unique set until now. Luckily, the company had only ordered for the king produced so far. The price was reduced to 1.7 million US Dollars and in case a buyer is finally found the rest of the set will be manufactured and delivered within 4 months’ time.

Art of War Chess Set

2A luxurious set made of gold, rhodium, and gemstones. The manufacturer offers to individually design the ‘clothes’ of the pieces and to embellish them with gemstones. The golden feet upon which the board is standing is formed like real feet. On his website, the seller describes this set as an incredible gift for a special person. This is definitely the case, as its price amounts to 750,000 US Dollars.

Charles Hollander Diamond Chess Set

3Not only the materials, but also the handicraft of this 500,000 US Dollar chess set are remarkable. Bernard Maquin produced this breathtaking board in 2005. Thirty workers spent 4,500 hours of their precious time on this little piece of art that holds 1,186.75 grams white gold (14 carat) and black and white diamonds of almost 186.09 carat in more than 9,000 individual parts.

Carolingi XVI

4This chess set was designed by Piero Benzoni. The pieces are made from gold and silver and were fashioned in detail and represent the Turks and their enemies, the Karolinger, in the 9th century. With the help of the war horses, watch towers, and warriors equipped with shields and weapons you can easily recreate war scenes – if you are ready to spend 113,600 US Dollars first. This set can also be an eye-catching and decadent accessory in the salon of every rich person, even if they are incapable of playing checkmate.

Renault F1 Team Collection Chess Set

5The cheapest of the expensive chess sets: For 42,000 US Dollars a Formula 1 fan amongst us can become proud owner of this exceptional chess board. We admit: This idea is quite creative: All pieces were made from a Renault Formula 1 race car. Materials like stainless steel, aluminum, titan, and carbon fiber and the extraordinary and modern design make this this set so exclusive.

written by Sarah, translated by Birthe