Why I love both Chess and Baseball and how they are alike.

Baseball is a game that requires complete focus, the ability to anticipate where the pitcher is going to throw the ball and planning ahead. All this sounds a lot like another sport we’re all well aware of – Chess! Chess and baseball have a lot more in common than you know. Both these are sports are beloved pass times enjoyed by players and spectators through the world. One would wonder how baseball which is a physical sport can have something in common with Chess which is a sport that relied on mental fitness. Read on and find out!

Both Require Concentration

First and Foremost, both Chess and Baseball require the players to be completely focused on the game. If you get distracted once that means the entire game is over. Getting distracted in Baseball can easily mean a strike whereas getting distracted in Chess can easily result in one of your important pieces being retired or also known as a blunderfest. Both of these sports require complete focus and concentration if you want a shot at winning.

Thinking Ahead

When you’re playing baseball you need to take into account the other players as well and then determine how you’re going to hit the ball so that everyone can get to next base without being “out”. Playing chess without anticipating what move your opponent will make only results in a quick loss. Baseball and Chess both require high levels of concentration that is if you want to win.

The Thrill

If you’ve ever seen a chess competition you’ll know just how thrilling chess tournaments can be. Baseball is one of the most well-known pass times for a reason. The thrill you get when you watch the ball fly out of the park, or a player slams up against the wall to catch it or throws it as he’s falling down really does make baseball a lot more thrilling and for me Chess manages to replicate this exact feeling.

Chess and baseball are both great sports that are more alike than many people realize. SO, if you’re a fan of baseball or Chess giving the other a shot might just be worth your time. Hope you are enjoying my blog 🙂

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Magnus Carlsen in Paris GCT 2017 – Leuven next!

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while but I’ve been super busy so here it is!!! The tournament in Paris was very unpredictable. In the first game that took place on Sunday, Carlsen started off with a loss. On the other hand, Hikaru Nakamura was the dominant player in the first games which made me super happy 😀 I do like Carlsen also though.

The tournament was a combination of Blitz and rapid games. The participants were Wesley So, Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk, Mamedyarov Shakhriyar, Vachier-Lagrave, Bacrot Etienne, Caruana Fabiano, Topalov Veselin and Karjakin Sergey.

After losing 4 games, Magnus scored 3 points less but managed to pull himself together in time and defeated Wesley So in the final game.

The following were the final standings

Position Name Fed Rating Points
1 Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2832 14
2 Grischuk, Alexander RUS 2761 13
3 Nakamura, Hikaru USA 2785 12
4 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE 2800 11
5 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime FRA 2796 11
6 So, Wesley USA 2812 9
7 Karjakin, Sergey RUS 2781 8
8 Topalov, Veselin BUL 2749 5
9 Bacrot, Etienne FRA 2708 4
10 Caruana, Fabiano USA 2808 3

About Magnus Carlsen

Carlsen is a Norwegian grandmaster who earned his grandmaster title at the age of 13. He was the world champion in 2014 and 2015. His Paris success increased his Fide rating to 2900. Three years ago, Carlsen was considered stronger than the legends Garry Kasparov and Bobby Fischer. You may also like https://www.chessable.com/blog/2016/12/10/openings-magnus-carlsen/

Why Women’s Chess Titles Should Be Eliminated

The question of women’s titles keeps coming up again and again so I thought I’d pitch in. Historically, Chess is considered as a men’s game. The game has been played by men for more than 100 years while women started considering it as a profession in the late 1980’s.

it seems as if by nature, men can easily focus on one thing in life while women can manage everything at once. For instance, a woman can form a family, study chess and be successful at Chess competitions. This is a very hard task since it requires lots of sacrifices.

Compared to women, men have great physical strength and ability to concentrate for long hours and this is the main reason why men always show great results in Chess.

The small percentage of women in the top 100 is a clear fact that women need encouragement for their effort in order to stimulate the progress. It is almost clear that women’s titles are not enough, or there would be more women in the top 100! They need better rewards or else they will stop trying to perform at their best.

Having role models of the same sex is also a major factor that makes Chess very attractive as a profession. For instance, a boy can say, I would love to become a Chess grandmaster like Robert James “Bobby” Fischer.

A girl however has to settle with a more average chess player (compared to Fischer!), I would like to be Chess grandmaster like Irina Krush“. Now it would be different if Irina was a top 10 chess player, but she isn’t (no disrespect to her amazing achievements).

Later on after reaching the level of Irina Krush, the girl can go higher and probably set a goal of being among the top five female Champions worldwide, but there are no role models there.

In many countries, Chess is not considered as a serious profession and this is a further reason why many women might be put off by it. We should change this.

With all that in mind, we should take our time to congratulate and reward every female who plays chess and offer them more opportunities to reach the top, including titles that are the same for men and women, lets stop the distinction, its the same ELO rating after all, isn’t it?

How Hikaru Lost the World’s Strongest Chess Tournament

Historically, Hikaru Nakamura has been a great and recognized Chess player. He has won many games and has lost few. He always fights for a win, and as you may know and gather by now, he is my favorite chess player!

Being a four-time United States Chess Champion made him one of the favorites to win the Norway Chess Tournament 2017.

In the first round that took place on 6th June, Hikaru showed perfect technique and managed to defeat Anish Giri. After the first round, Hikaru was the sole lead. The second round that took place on 7th June illustrated that even the world’s best players make mistakes. During the second round, Aronian tried his best to break through Hakaru’s defense without success. They eventually reached an endgame where both of them had two rooks and a knight each. Finally, the players reached a dead draw position and withdrew the game.

In the third round, Hikaru chose a rarely seen variation while Carsen went for a calm approach. The game ended after 40 moves with a threefold repetition.

The fourth round suggested that Hikaru must have had a good day off. This is because he chose Nd5 followed by an expansion on the queenside while Vachier Lagrave chose a kingside attack. Hikaru had everything in control, and he finally won the game.

Round 5 was indeed an interesting battle for Nakamura against Kramnik. They exchanged queens, and resulting positions seemed pretty equal. On the 20th move, the players repeated the position twice, and Kramnik managed to get a pawn up, but that was not enough for a win. After the 5th round, Hikaru was still leading with 3.5 points while Kramnik and Aronian were half a point behind.

In the sixth round, Hikaru tried all he can against a resilient Karjakin who defended perfectly. After 54 moves, the players withdrew the game.

In the seventh round, the game started with a quick a4 position. Anand got a spacious advantage in the centre but later went for complications with 20 e6. The players agreed to withdraw after 46 moves.

In the eighth round, Nakamura had a great edge since his pieces were better placed, but Wesley So found a great way to exchange the pieces. The game finally ended after 35 moves.

In the ninth round, Hikaru spent most of his time in the opening while Caruana seemed very comfortable with the position. Later on, Hikaru had to give the knight back, and Caruana took solid advantage being a pawn up. Hikaru finally resigned on move 59. Taking the tournament away from him and leaving him with nothing and Levon Aronian as the winner (upsetting Magnus Carlsen who was deemed hot favourite to retain the title).

While I am sad he did not manage to win this awesome tournament, the strongest this year, he had a great performance, and I enjoyed writing over every step and misstep he took. In other chess news, I’ve been doing my repetitions on Chessable and playing some games on Lichess.org, but not much else. I missed the Grand Chess Tour Paris but will try and catch the Leuven one. Until next time 🙂

So I was wrong.. Hikaru didn’t win the Chess Grand Prix in Moscow :(

Recently I wrote about why I thought Hikaru was going to come away with a victory in Moscow… but it turns out I was wrong.. 😦 Ding Liren won and Hikaru wasn’t far behind but he didn’t win. Ah, maybe next time!!!

I follow a few games on chess24 and really enjoyed it; better luck next time, awesome chess tournament!

Jay’s Kevin Pillar suspended, just as well!

 

Toronto is a big city that has been well known for its cultural diversity as it continues to draw major sports events, and we should keep it that way. It is the home to Toronto Blue Jays, a baseball team of the major League. The city is represented in six major league sports with teams in  National Hockey League,  Baseball League, Canadian Football League, Canadian Women’s Hockey League, National Basketball Association and the Major League Soccer.

We’ve hosted many National League  games at the Rogers Centre between 2008 and 2013 and was home to International Bowl, an NCAA post season football game as from 2007 to 2010. We have to preserve this by making sure incidents like this do not repeat and we remain one of the go to places for the sports we all love. I guess this is a reason I like chess, this kind of stuff never happens in chess (or so it seems!).

Toronto Blue Jays suspended Kevin Pillar two games for using anti gay slur on Wednesday during a game against the Atlanta Braves. The incident occurred on Wednesday during night’s game against Atlanta Braves where Kevin Pillar struck out swinging to the end the seventh inning after he was quick pitched by Jason Motte, a Braves pitcher.

The Blue Jays announced the unpaid suspension on Thursday shortly after pillar apologized saying he was utterly embarrassed by his actions toward the pitcher. In his statement, he said that he used inappropriate language and has extended a word that has no place in baseball or anywhere in society today.

Open mindedness and acceptance of differences between people and fans can definitely help show respect and appreciate unique characteristics of people and their ways of life. By treating every person with respect and kindness, we would be more understanding and willing to accept differences in others. If every player can have such kind of tolerance, there would be more peace and harmony than there is in the world of sports.

Why Hikaru Nakamura will win 2017 FIDE Grand Prix (12th-21st May Moscow, Russia)

Lately I’ve been distracted from studying this free book by John Bartholomew on the 1.d4 opening by the FIDE Grand Prix, after all, one of my favorite players is taking part so I am trying to watch most games. Hikaru!!!

Hikaru Nakamura is an American chess grandmaster who has been ranked among the top two players worldwide by FIDE, and happens to be one of my favorite players. He was born on 9th December 1987 in Hirakata, Japan. When he was two years old, he moved with his mother and his brother to the United States where he began playing chess at the age of 7.

In January 2011, Hikaru won the prestigious Tata Steel Invitational in Netherlands. From the date he earned his grandmaster title, he has been a regular participant in many chess tournaments around the world. He has posted victories against Grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and grandmaster Viswanathan Anand of India.

In short, Hikaru is well known as the best blitz player as well as the best at bullet chess. He is simply awesome. In 2009, he defeated Magnus Carlsen in a four game match during the finals of BNBank Blitz challenge which took place in Oslo.

He is a four time United States champion having won the title in 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2015.

The fact that he is rated number one in the United States and number two worldwide gives him high probability of winning 2017 FIDE Grand Prix.

For now though, Hou Yifan a female player from China leads after winning the first round of the FIDE Grand Prix by defeating Ian Nepomniachtchi with the black pieces. The following are standings after round one. Come on Hikaru, you can do it! 🙂

Name

FED

Ratings

Points

1. Hou Yifan CHN 2652 1,0
2. Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2795 0,5
 3. Nakamura Hikaru USA 2786 0,5
 4. Giri Anish NED 2785 0,5
 5. Ding Liren CHN 2773 0,5
 6. Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2772 0,5
 7. Svidler Peter RUS 2755 0,5
 8. Grischuk Alexander RUS 2750 0,5
 9. Harikrishna P. IND 2750 0,5
 10. Adams Michael ENG 2747 0,5
 11. Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2727 0,5
 12. Gelfand Boris ISR 2724 0,5
 13. Radjabov Teimour AZE 2710 0,5
 14. Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2710 0,5
 15. Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2696 0,5
 16. Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2633 0,5
 17. Hammer Jon Ludvig NOR 2621 0,5
18 Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2751 0,0