World Chess Championship, Game 10: To boldly go where no hip young chess bro has gone before

Posted: November 22, 2018 in chess
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Magnus Carlsen and Fabriano Caruana took serious chances in today’s game. At one point, U.S. Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura said Carlsen was about to go “true caveman” against Caruana’s king. “I don’t see how this could possibly be drawn,” he said.

It was. The players mixed sulfur, potassium nitrate, and charcoal in bamboo tubes and fired diamonds at each other and still, nobody won.

This was exciting, fabulous chess. Both of these boys like to control the board. They don’t like surprises. That’s not what we got today. “I don’t know where the ball is going to go,” Crash Davis, the catcher, admitted to the batter after Nuke LaLoosh uncorked another wild pitch. “I could have lost it in the end,” Mag Wheels said during the postgame show. Everyone in Norway fainted.

I should note here that the final position of a draw between masters at this level might look to the amateur like there’s plenty of play left:

Game 10 final

True, the computer says that Fabio, playing white, had a better chance of winning than Mag Wheels. That doesn’t mean Fabio could actually win, it just means the computer fancies him. Don’t get a swelled head, kid, the computer is fickle.

Seven hundreds years of chess practice (ever since the pawns were given the powers we know today) have taught us that this position is a draw. Black can block white forever so long as he or she refuses to trade rooks. The only way you can win this one is by voter fraud.

Two amateurs arriving at this position would keep playing (I speak from personal experience) until somebody blundered. Or maybe, after another 30 moves, they’d agree to a draw after all. Chess in Asgard is not like chess at my level.

At today’s press conference, the players were asked if a woman would ever play for the world chess championship.

“Right now, the current crop of players, it’s hard to imagine,” Carlsen said. “But in the future I don’t see why not.”

“In the future it’s possible but right now there don’t seem to be any players currently,” Caruana said. “So maybe not in my time, but certainly one day.”

This is an improvement over Bobby Fischer’s assessment, almost 50 years ago: “Women are weakies.”

And now, for everyone who has asked me about chess-themed songs. I found one!

Now that my eyes have been opened, I see that Juga is all over YouTube. Get over there now and check out her song about Capablanca, which she performed at the Marshall Chess Club in New York.

  1. Wm Seabrook says:

    Surely three pawns against two (none of them isolated Juba) must be an advantage. Well maybe not to players of this level. My father once told me a story about two Grandmasters – white opened with P-K4 and black after studying the position for 15 minutes offered a draw that was accepted.

    Full marks for finding a chess-themed song, young Steve. Your next task (should you decide to accept it) – give a convincing argument for the existence of dark matter.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      I suspect your father’s story is apocryphal, or a metaphor for chess at the master level. In a tournament, both sides have to make a certain number of moves before you can agree to a draw.

      The dark matter case is easy. All I have to do is introduce you to a couple of my former bosses.

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