Sunday, July 23, 2017 08:39

Archive for April, 2010

Adding the Audio Commentary

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

In today’s game I figured out that is also broadcasting live commentary during the game that one can listen to for free. is run by the Internet Chess Club – I’m sure they’re broadcasting it in the hopes that listeners will become ICC members. And it has the limitation that sometimes the commentators are referring to things going on in their video (and/or ICC) feed. Also, ICC may get the moves more quickly than FICS’ relay, and you hear commentary before the move is made on FICS. But it is still interesting.

The remainder of the World Championship schedule

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

In the last post I described a way to view the World Championship games between Anand and Topalov virtually live, for free. So, the other thing you’d need to know is when the other games are being played.

All remaining games start at 7 a.m. Central Time (14:00 U.T.C. – you can convert to your local time at .) The players continue to play until one player reaches 6.5 points (draws counting as a half point.) Tiebreak games will be played if necessary.

The schedule (player with White in parentheses) is:
Sunday, April 25: Game 2 (Anand)

Tuesday, April 27: Game 3 (Topalov)
Wednesday, April 28: Game 4 (Anand)

Friday, April 30: Game 5 (Topalove)
Saturday, May 1: Game 6 (Anand)

Monday, May 3: Game 7 (Anand)
Tuesday, May 4: Game 8 (Topalov)

Thursday, May 6: Game 9 (Anand)
Friday, May 7: Game 10 (Topalov)

Sunday, May 9: Game 11 (Anand)
Tuesday, May 11: Game 12 (Topalov)

Tiebreaks (if needed) will occur on Thursday, May 13 – may not be at the time of the others.

Speaking of time, the time control for the tournament (except tie breaks) is: moves 1-40 moves in 120 minutes, moves 41-60 in an additional 60 minutes, add 15 minutes at move 61 with the addition of 30 seconds [increment] for each move from them on. If you’re new to time controls, each side gets the amount of time specified. So, this means each side has 3 hours to get to and make their 60th move and with the increment there is no fixed point at which the game must end because of time.

And the net effect of that is that a game could go on for six hours or more. That’s a long time to be a chess spectator! What I will do is follow the game rigorously until one side or the other slows down for a long think. Then I’ll do other things with my computer, coming back to observe the game when I hear the click of a move being made.

Anyway, perhaps I’ll see you at FICS to watch Game 2! :) Until then,

Enjoy your chess!

Watching the World Championship

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

The World Championship is being played in Sofia, Bulgaria right now. I’m watching the first game being relayed live. The players are the current World Champion, Grandmaster Viswanathan (Vishy) Anand, and Grandmaster Vesselin Topalov.

There are lots of good sites that will provide analysis on the games themselves after the fact. (Among others are Dennis Monokroussos’ The Chess Mind and Mig Greengard’s Daily Dirt websites, both at the right.) Although I might post something from the patzer’s point of view, I’d rather share how you, too, can be watching the games live.

There is an official website with a link to observing the game, but as is all too frequent in chess events that will draw a lot of visitors, that link is crashing on me this morning. One can also pay for the Internet Chess Club or and view it there. (In full disclosure, purchasing the premium version of Fritz 12 includes a year’s premium membership to Playchess.) But there is a *free* way to observe the games, and that is through the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS.) And that’s the route I’ve chosen for today.

So, here’s the steps:

1) Go to .
2) If you have Java, and don’t want to download a program to your computer, choose the “Login Now” link, and the Jin program applet will load.
3) Choose “Login as Guest.”
4) The playing environment will start automatically and log you in as a guest.
5) Issue the command “tell relay listgames” and hit enter. The FICS server will respond with something like this:

tell relay listgames
:There are 6 games in the Serbian Womens Chess Championship 2010 - Round 5
:24 WGMChelushkina WIMDrljevic * E72
:164 SandraDjukic WIMMarijaRakic 1/2-1/2 D26
:37 WIMPetrovic WGMAStojanovic * A48
:113 WGMBenderac KatarinaTadic * D04
:234 LenaMiladinovic WFMEric 0-1 D30
:177 KsenijaTomin WFMMladenovic * B19
:There are 1 games in the World Chess Championship 2010 - Round 1
:20 GMTopalov GMAnand * D87

[If it tells you no games are being relayed, you’re probably a little early and the server hasn’t assigned the board number yet….]

What the above output is telling you is the games that the “Relay bot” is currently rebroadcasting. It shows the game number FICS has assigned, the players, the result (if any yet) and the ECO opening code of the game being played. What we’re looking for is the last game, telling us that Game 20 is the live feed of Topalov-Anand Round 1, it is in progress (the “*”), and that it is opening D87.

So now I issue the command “observe 20″ to observe Game 20. Voila! A window opens showing the game in progress. I watch it until it’s done. Then I use the “exit” command to leave / close the browser windows.

There are a few other commands that are useful while observing the game. First, there is always a lot of chatter in games like this. I don’t like most of it, personally. So I’ll issue the command “set kiblevel 2000,” so that I only see comments from players rated 2000 or above. (I’ll play with that a little. Sometimes I’ll set it to 1800, sometimes 2200.) The point is to be able to watch the game without a lot of chatter. I’ll also issue the following commands:
set shout 0
set cshout 0
set seek 0
-ch 50
(These commands remove the ability to see shouts, chess shouts, channel 50 tells, and removes all notifications from people seeking games. This also frees up the clutter in the command line.) More on using FICS can be found in their quick start guide, and more on the Jin interface can be found here.

There are a couple of caveats to watching games via FICS. First is, FICS takes donations but is completely free and run by volunteers. This means a few things: Moves are relayed as soon as possible, but not always immediately. Technical problems can occur – rare, but they happen. The chatter level can be disconcerting sometimes. On the other hand, you haven’t paid anything to be able to watch the moves of the world championship live.

Edited to add: The other thing about FICS is that if you spend one hour without doing anything in the interface, you will be logged off for inactivity. What I do is issue a null command every 45 minutes or so. “finger LaughingVulcan” would work, for example. The server just wants to know you are still actively involved with it, to avoid wasted bandwidth by keeping a link open that you’re not using.

Eventually, if you enjoy using FICS, you’ll want to create an account (free!) and download a client (likewise free!) I recommend BabasChess, the most popular interface. It is available here.

It looks like Topalov is clearly winning the first game, and it’s time for me to get back to watching it. But watching major chess events for free is one way that I enjoy my chess, and I hope by doing so you will be able to

Enjoy your Chess!

New spamming policy

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

I haven’t updated in awhile, but since April 8th I have been tagged with 913 spams.

So, I hate to do this, but if your comment is placed into spam by my spam filter, it is now deleted without reading it. The filter is very good – most every one I’ve seen has been from someone using links to things like viagra, insurance, etc. And there is a separate holding area for posts that are not auto-approved but not known spam.

I hope this doesn’t affect any legitimate commenters, but I already have trouble keeping this blog updated – I don’t need to spend hours looking at comment messages to see if they’re spam or not.

World championship starts tomorrow! If I have time later I’ll post about it… :)

Thinking About Correspondence

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Not of the casual variety, but Correspondence Chess.

For those unfamiliar, Correspondence Chess is a form of playing chess by postal mail or email. Typically the time control for games is ten moves for every thirty days. (It comes out to forty moves per quarter year and sixty in a half year – games can go on for quite some time. ;) ) In days before computer chess databases becoming popular and economical, it was common to use devices called “Post-A-Logs” to record games. Pre post-it notes, it has laminated board sheets with adhesive paper ‘pieces’ to indicate board position. In fact, I still have one – though I’d expect to use ChessBase to store any new games.

With the advent of online “live” chess servers many believe that correspondence chess is less popular today than in days past. The possibility of cheating is also out there – there are organizations like the USCF where use of computer analysis engines is forbidden but it is difficult at best to enforce the rule on anything but an honor system. Not to mention that while there are still postal mail correspondence players out there, with postcard rates now at 44 Cents per postcard, one can spend $20.00 every three months or less in postage per game.

But there are still reasons to play. Correspondence is often the most technically precise form of the game. This is because of both the long reflection time allowed, and because other resources like books, magazines, and game collection databases are allowed. It is a form of chess that can wait on one’s having time to consider and make a move – there is often ways to get ahead on timing which allow for thorough analysis of key positions / a little time away as it is needed.

There are several organizations which have correspondence play. Among them are the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) and USCF. and others also offer play, and I read earlier this evening in Chess Life that now there are Facebook applications as well which offer correspondence play. I find it interesting that even as the popularity of correspondence may be declining a little that there are more opportunities out there than ever to play it.

I haven’t made a final decision yet if it’s something I’ll actually do. For myself personally, I do remember and recognize that it is a time commitment – nobody likes to be in the middle of the game only to have a player stop making moves without resigning. And I seem to have enough trouble of late just having an OTB life. But it is a way to enjoy one’s chess on a slower schedule. However you choose to play, I hope that you can still

Enjoy your Chess!