Miracle on the chessboard: USA topples Russia

A general rule of thumb at the Chess Olympiad: The winner uses an alphabet we Westerners struggle to read. So when the USA, having drawn three and won five of its first eight matches, turned up against first-place Russia today in Istanbul, the odds weren’t on the USA’s side. And then just look at the Russian lineup. Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, ranked No. 3 in the world today, on Board 1. Perennial contender Alexander Grischuk, one of the world’s best blitz (speed chess) players and someone unlikely to crack under time pressure or the strain of a long tournament, … Continue reading Miracle on the chessboard: USA topples Russia

Monday Myriad: Trash-talking backfires in chess; order restored to Giro?

Starting with CHESS today for the worst case of trash-talking blowing up in one’s face since the Kids in the Hall bar-fight sketch … Defending U.S. chess champ Hikaru Nakamura couldn’t have made it more obvious that he saw a weak link in the 2010 championships’ final four. Via the St. Louis Chess Club Twitter feed: “Pretty much when me, Gata and Alex play each other we play solid, and we all try to beat Yury.” That would be Yury Shulman, who turned around and beat Nakamura the next day. His match with Gata Kamsky this afternoon, which you can … Continue reading Monday Myriad: Trash-talking backfires in chess; order restored to Giro?

Monday Myriad: Sparkling play in WPS, short-sighted decision in Italy

We’re starting with WPS for a highlight that probably didn’t make SportsCenter (correct me if it did) but should have. It’s Abby Wambach’s back-heel, throwing off three defenders and setting up the Washington Freedom’s first goal against the run of play as the Atlanta Beat once again looked wonderful but couldn’t finish. If you want to skip ahead to it, go to the 1:17 mark: Wambach’s header wasn’t bad, either, which is why she gets my Player of the Week vote ahead of Marta. Granted, if I could see Marta’s video highlights, that would help. The full week (home teams … Continue reading Monday Myriad: Sparkling play in WPS, short-sighted decision in Italy

After alleged world title ‘blunderfest,’ chess world turns to St. Louis

The fun thing about watching chess in the Internet age is that you have no shortage of ideas about what’s going on. Yesterday, around move 40 of the 12th and final game in the World Chess Championship, defending champion Vishy Anand had either all but officially retained his title, blundered away his advantage, come up with some diabolical plan or run off to a corner to sing Carry On My Wayward Son in a fetal position. Former world’s women champion Susan Polgar was among those who thought Anand had blown it on move 40, which was the last move before … Continue reading After alleged world title ‘blunderfest,’ chess world turns to St. Louis