Midweek Myriad: Mind games

You may have noticed from the last post that Sports Myriad has a new contributor from across the pond. Carrie Dunn was part of the legendary crew of Guardian minute-by-minute and over-by-over commentators, though she’s more charitable to Americans than most of them. She’ll write about a lot of sports — darts, cricket, women’s sports — that I’ve wanted to cover at Sports Myriad but haven’t had much of a chance to cover because I’m just not quite as plugged into those sports as I am elsewhere.

We’re also expecting a rugby preview from another contributor soon.

All of which means you should be adding Sports Myriad to your RSS readers if you haven’t already.

A couple of items of interest so far this week, starting with games played with the head rather than hands or feet:

Chess: Vishy Anand has retained the world title, but the man to watch is 19-year-old Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen. He is already No. 1 on FIDE’s rating list and is gaining on Garry Kasparov’s all-time high. NYT blogger Dylan Loeb McClain tells us he wins with creativity rather than encyclopedic knowledge of familiar openings. And he already has some celebrity appeal, joining Liv Tyler for some sort of fashion shoot this week.

Another youngster, 22-year-old Czech grandmaster Viktor Laznicka won the World Open, a top U.S. event. Lubomir Kavalek takes us through a wide-open game Laznicka won with black.

Poker: Daniel Alaei won the pot-limit Omaha world title for his third World Series of Poker bracelet. (Not this year — only Frank Kassela, who win Player of the Year honors unless one of his pursuers can reach the November Nine, has two bracelets this summer.)

Pros and semi-pros (Kassela is considered semi-pro) have won most of the events this year, but one of the last event winners before the Main Event is a Dutch physicist named Marcel Vonk. Good week for the Netherlands.

Day 1A of the Main Event (the tournament is so large that players start on four different days — 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D) featured Chris Moneymaker, the amateur who helped launch the poker boom with his unlikely Main Event win a few years ago, and cross-country skier Petter Northug, perhaps the only World Series of Poker participant whom I saw in a press conference tent in Whistler this year.

My former USA TODAY colleague Gary Mihoces has landed in Vegas and tells us Ray Romano has busted out. He also has details on Phil Hellmuth’s planned MMA-style entrance, featuring Wanderlei Silva, King Mo and the man himself, Bruce Buffer.

ESPN has a video interview with one of its own, former baseball pitcher Orel Hershiser, who comes up with some clever analogies between baseball and poker:


Cycling: One day after the cobblestones rattled Lance Armstrong and others, we had a much less eventful day at the Tour de France and the usual first-week sprint finish.

Soccer: Hey, there’s a game on.

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Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

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