Best chess writing: 2014

I was paying attention when Fabiano Caruana tore through the star-studded field at the Sinquefeld Cup (including world champion Magnus Carlsen), but no, it wasn’t exactly viral. So I agree with the premise of this Slate piece, and I highly recommend it for passages like this: There are a few things you should probably know about FIDE—or the Federation Internationale des Echecs, if you’re feeling continental. FIDE is, by all accounts, comically corrupt, in the vein of other fishy global sporting bodies like FIFA and the IOC. Its Russian president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who has hunkered in office for nearly two … Continue reading Best chess writing: 2014

I’m back – what’d I miss?

My hand is out of a splint after three weeks, though my typing speed is still diminished by a bit of tape on my two still-aching fingers. I may need to put my goalkeeping career on hold for a while. I’m also relatively not sick. I have no idea how I’ve had waves of sinus and throat problems through the most mild summer of my lifetime, but a doctor has assured me she’ll figure it out. I got back from vacation to find Northern Virginia had become a sauna to start September, and after leading a couple of youth soccer … Continue reading I’m back – what’d I miss?

Monday Myriad, Aug. 4: Flip and fight

Starting with a few bits of news: – Both U.S. teams won their first matches at the 2014 Chess Olympiad, then faltered today against high seeds. The U.S. open team lost 2.5-1.5 to the Netherlands, while the U.S. women lost 3-1 to China. Only eight rounds to go. – The U.S. women’s volleyball team had a disappointing 1-2 start in the monthlong World Grand Prix, righting the ship against Japan. The #USAVWNT (@usavolleyball) defeated Japan at the #FIVBGrandPrix: http://t.co/OcJwYcy8ak — NBC OlympicTalk (@NBCOlympicTalk) August 3, 2014 – Nothing else happened. Seriously. It’s a slow week. Thank goodness two UFC fighters decided … Continue reading Monday Myriad, Aug. 4: Flip and fight

Monday Myriad, March 31: Figure this

We’re in that lull with winter sports wrapping up and not many summer sports in full swing yet. Good news for those of us who want to follow our teams in college basketball … oh … hey, cricket’s on! Best and worst of the week … Best good news/bad news: Nick Zaccardi summed up the USA’s performance in the World Figure Skating Championships: No Americans won medals in any discipline at the World Championships for the first time since 1994. But the U.S. earned three spots for women’s, men’s and ice dance at the 2015 World Championships, a feat it hadn’t … Continue reading Monday Myriad, March 31: Figure this

At Ozy.com: Magnus Carlsen, hoops freshmen, curling

If you haven’t checked out Ozy.com yet, please do. It’s a terrific site capturing the next wave of what’s important, what’s interesting and what’s cool. And I’m not just saying that because they’ve given me the opportunity to write three terrific pieces: – Magnus Carlsen, the new face of chess (written before he won the world title) – College basketball’s big freshmen: Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Andrew Wiggins – Curling: From the Olympics to Arizona, it’s catching on. Can the USA harness that interest and build better teams? The medal projections here at SportsMyriad are ongoing. Freestyle skiing just takes … Continue reading At Ozy.com: Magnus Carlsen, hoops freshmen, curling

Diskerud vs. Carlsen: Analysis

Give Mix Diskerud credit for challenging the best chess player of this or possibly any age, Magnus Carlsen. Here’s the video and a quick analysis: Diskerud is given 7 minutes to play. Carlsen has 1. Even for a grandmaster, that’s not much time. And Diskerud tries to take advantage of that with some passive play and counterattacking. Maybe that’s what we should expect from a Norwegian/American soccer player, though Jurgen Klinsmann might not approve. Still, such tactics could work over the chessboard in a situation like this. So Diskerud’s tentative early move of a3 (the pawn all the way to … Continue reading Diskerud vs. Carlsen: Analysis

No Monday Myriad this week

Check the Twitter feed to get up to speed on world championships in speedskating and women’s curling. Maybe X Games Tignes as well. Then here are a couple of things you should be / could be following this week: – Soccer: U.S. men at Mexico, 10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, ESPN. No pressure. – Chess: Candidates’ Tournament. Winner plays Vishy Anand for the world championship this fall. Is it Magnus Carlsen’s time already? Standings/webcasts/etc. And keep an eye out for NWSL preseason news. Continue reading No Monday Myriad this week

What is a sport? Chess? Figure skating? Modern dance?

Via Susan Polgar’s blog and featuring her Webster University chess team: Based on a dictionary definition, the filmmakers boil it down to three aspects: 1. Athleticism 2. Skill 3. Competition Chess fits the last two with ease. The “athleticism” argument is weaker. They argue that it’s draining — elite players lose weight in world championship competition. But is that essential? Other Olympic sports have all three elements. Figure skating is perhaps the most questionable, with the “competition” aspect only coming into the mix through judging that is still partially subjective. Modern dance, like figure skating, requires athleticism and skill. Just … Continue reading What is a sport? Chess? Figure skating? Modern dance?

Monday Myriad: Old Norway, overcome with joy

From the chessboard to the cross-country ski trails, Norway had a very good weekend. Tora Berger was a mild surprise. She’s one of the world’s best biathletes, with a handful of Olympic and World Championship gold medals to prove it. But biathletes typically don’t win three races in the same weekend, which is exactly what she did in neighboring Sweden. Marit Bjoergen, on the other hand, does this sort of thing on occasion. She won most of the cross-country skiing events contested the 2010 Olympics and 2011 World Championships. She, like Berger, took the natural hat trick this weekend. But for … Continue reading Monday Myriad: Old Norway, overcome with joy