India's first chess features print magazine published quarterly from Lucknow since 2004 by Aspire Welfare Society.

Friday, May 29, 2020

GM Grivas Message of Hope before World Stars Sharjah Chess June 12-13


GM-FST-IA-IO Efstratios Grivas is living in United Arab Emirates for the past 15 months, operating as the Director of the Sharjah International Chess Academy and General Coordinator of the Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club. He will also be the Official Commentator of the World Starts tournament.

What do you think about the new reality in the chess world caused by Covid-19?
Some three months ago players were enthusiastic on the new online reality, but they soon understood that the thieves were multiple and unstoppable! There is no point to explain further what has been already seen in various publications, but for nowadays we need to play online as there is no real alternative. But after the end of the pandemic, we will go back to normal life. The online chess platforms weren’t ready for it and although they ‘solved’ somehow the necessity of playing, they created more problems and drove many players to feel disgusted about the online chess - nearly everybody can tell a nasty story! If the online cheating is not ‘cured’ online chess will step back and at the best it will go in a bit worst scale that it was before the pandemic.

How did the organizers make the decision to organize online tournament of such a high level as the World Stars Sharjah Online International Chess Championship 2020?
The Sharjah Cultural & Chess Club is a historical chess club of nearly 40 years and the biggest in the world. It has organised various and plenty of tournaments from beginners to World Class players, as multiple FIDE Grand Prixes. Earlier this year we had to cancel our annual Sharjah Masters Tournament due to the CV-19, where more than 60 GM had been registered, but we couldn’t do without ‘active’ chess life. Since March middle we have organized various online tournaments as the Ramadan Masters and the Future Stars, as well as seven matches with foreigner clubs and academies. Here I have to note that we are also running a daily 7-hour online training program (via Chess Evolution platform) with top-trainers, for our players and the Arab Chess Federation, all for free! As the Coordinator, I am proud of our motto: Because We Care!

Why do you think people should follow your commentaries during the tournament?
Well, because they will not be in the dark during the games, they will have fun and they can learn something! My CV is a good proof of the above.

Who do you think is a favorite in the tournament with the format 10min+3sec?
Unpredictable. Shorter time controls usually doesn't favour the strongest in rating. This fact promises an interesting and fighting tournament, where everything is possible.

When do you think the Sharjah Masters will be organized? Is there a hope chess will be back to normal?
Chess is related to life; life will come back soon and chess will follow - no alternative to talk about. I have some hopes that we might organize the Sharjah Masters later this year, but we still need some time to check all data and make the necessary procedures. Of course, do not take anything for granted, as this CV-19 is unpredictable as well!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Escape from Covid to Chess Planet: Play with CCBW

No stopping the chess, but parents must counsel kids to not go overboard and stay safe online, writes Shilpa Mehra

Lucknow: While the world shut down, the chess community went berserk. The world's top chess websites saw traffic treble in just a few hours.

The scene here in Lucknow on first day of lockdown: We quickly created a WhatsApp group, set up an online page, pinged our friends at chess clubs in Dehradun, Chennai, Madrid and London, got zoom meeting app going and life was set.



By 5 pm a serious tournament with Anna Nagar Chess Academy (ANCA) Chennai was on. Right after that at 7 pm the gang headed to the Etlantis Club Dehradun blitz evening practice session and midnight was for show of strength in Mexico City at the Ajedrez en lĂ­nea event. The gang included 6-70 year olds with Silentman and Lizzyosmond leading the boys and girls charge.

For once, no school, no work and we could play into forever.

While the rest of the world wondered what to do with tension, fear and questions, we had escaped to another planet under the guidance of idiamin100!

Arbiter and professional chess trainer, Naveen Karthikeyan would know: "As a chess trainer I can tell you, every single chess kid is happy right now anywhere in the world. We study chess professionally in Chennai even during school days but this is full steam ahead. We are practicing and studying almost round the clock and with chess players of all strengths across the world."

Karthikeyan says, "The best part is our kids at the ANCA and CCBW are not only competing among themselves and with kids in other cities, but are also getting a chance now to grab games with Grandmasters and International Masters who are all also playing online in lockdown."

The schedule is set.
CCBW friend, journalist and chess player from Chandigarh, Jupinderjit Singh, tunes in via zoom for banter blitz of crazy fun with kids shouting out moves to his opponents on video chat. Banter blitz is when a senior player takes on one opponent at a time and plays while explaining his thought processes aloud as a chess teaching method.


International Master Nubairshah Sheikh tunes in from Mumbai for serious chess study with intermediate students of CCBW even though it's fasting time in Ramzan. Just 21 with GM norms, Nubair is sure to be Grandmaster as soon as mortar-n-brick venue tournaments resume. The children already call him GM!
Tiger201, aka Rohit Rana, holds our place at the evening blitz at Etlantis Chess Club in Dehradun. Our in-house organiser, Resistiré scourges the net for chess events on the hour. There are tournaments of varying time controls happening every minute. We don't want to sleep.

Yet, it's an online world so quick tips to stay safe:
- keep security settings safe in WhatsApp group so as not to be added automatically to random chess groups mushrooming all around
- be careful about playing tournaments with entry fee as online payment gateway needs to be used; plenty of great free tournaments around though
- discuss with your coach how and what chess activities to join in as there's a boom in choices
- discuss time controls and specific events with your trainer lest you catch an online playing addiction
- discuss all privacy issues with your kid about online behaviour including not divulging private and contact details to strangers online
- rationing online time and checking eye strain
- draw up specific schedule for eating, sleeping and exercise otherwise this may get a tad out of hand
- online cheating is a reality, face it without anger. Choose to hang out with the right people as real chess lovers don't cheat. If you suspect someone of cheating, submit their name to the website online moderator for evaluation

Meanwhile, this Sunday 8 pm we are at the Ajedrez con Cabeza Club in Madrid on a special invitation by Pedro M. Vincente to compete with chess teams from Spanish-speaking countries Cuba, Argentina, Spain, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Mexico. After the 5 +2 one hour tourney, we will do a ten minute zoom session to cheer everyone and plan to meet in person when the magic returns to the real world.



Want to join Chess Club Black and White team for the Sunday tournament?

Join here on lichess and send real name to resistire in lichess for approval.
https://lichess.org/team/chess-club-black-and-white-ccbw-lucknow

The tourney link will be sent to you after Id approval.

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