Brilliant end to the world chess championship

December 7, 2016

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Magnus Carlsen retained his title as world champion in the most spectacular fashion

The end came as commentators were predicting that Magnus was losing the psychological battle. His play had become error-prone as time and again his opponent Serge Karyakin wriggled out from a nearly losing position.

The players had already completed the twelve full-time games, ending at six all.  Time and again the challenger had struggled then secured a draw, as Magnus failed to convert his pressure into a win.  Chess computers were reported as showing a slight advantage for the champion disappearing as several of games reached sixty plus moves.

Then, towards the end of the scheduled twelve games, Magnus played uncharacteristically In a headstrong fashion, drifting towards a loss, recovering, then turning down an obvious forced draw for a risky attempt to win. It all went wrong under cool defense. Karyakin won, and with three games to go was ahead. Magnus needed a win to retain his crown.

Now it seemed unlikely.  People were talking about Ali’s rumble in the jungle.  Magnus had been brilliantly rope a doped. Then another twist. Magnus persisted, almost won, let the win slip, before facing defeat finding a escape and grabbing a win.  All square. Talk turned from Ali to Houdini. At the highest level, Karyakin had been swindled.

The final and twelfth game was a climactic climb-down. Neither player risked all. Spectators witnessed a brief non-combative draw. Commentators were scathing. Watchers who paid high bucks may have felt as swindled as Karyakin in the previous game.

For the first time, the championship would be settled in a contrived tie-breaker. At this stage, there were to be four Rapidplay games. If the result was two games all, there was to be even faster play until a winner emerged.

I missed much of the last evening’s play at a quite different chess event. A popular club member was being sent on his way to his new home across the Pennines with a farewell drink. On returning home, I could have watched a televised football match but the chess was more gripping.

A quickfire draw. I made the blunder of assuming that chess had ended for the night. Then to my horror I turned to BBC’s Newsnight to learn Magnus and Serge were still slugging it out.   hastened back to my PC in time to follow the sensational concluding quick-play game which was to end the contest.

At that stage the commentators of the view that Magnus was psychologically finished. He had drifted from yet another near win to a draw with offered sneak swindle chances for his amazingly resilient opponent.

Then, the astonishing end to the entire match. Magnus, apparently showing signs of repeating the pattern of losing a winning game, spent much of his customary time advantage presumably searching for that elusive knockout blow. Karyakin had penetrated white’s position threatening mate. In what seemed a reckless counter attack.  Except he had seen an astonishing mate in three.

A rook check on the back rank drove black’s king into the Corner where it was cramped but not as secure as it looked. tdeceptively secure. In fact the game was already lost.

His next utterly unexpected move was a queen sacrifice offering black only two moves, two ways of taking the queen. Each led to mate in one move. If the king took, the rook mated behind the king (the corner h8 square). If the pawn took, the other rook mated by taking a pawn on the f7 square, to the side of the powerless king. It is reasonably obvious with a chess board, and if you have been told here is a brilliant move coming up.

“Oh my God” a commentator cried. “It’s all over. Magnus has won. Incredible.” It was. In olde days wealthy spectators would have showered gold on to the board at such a ‘bolt form the blue’.

Unable to sleep, I began capturing the moment, writing down what had jI had just witnessed. It was nearly midnight, six hours after the quick-play games had begun.

See also:

Dramatic end to world chess championship

The move that won the world chess championship


Magnus Carlsen plays a Trump Card

December 6, 2016
 Donad Trump
Magnus Carlsen started his defense of his world chess championship title by playing a move which sent the chess world into a viral debate about a hidden message to Donald Trump
November 2016. The World Championship of chess reaches its conclusion as the world champion sits down to play a twelve game match against his challenger.
Magnus Carlsen, one time wonder kid is now twenty-five years old and arguably approaching his prime.  His scientifically calculated strength puts him at an all-time high.  Stronger than Bobby Fischer.  Stronger than Gary Kasparov. Stronger that his Russian opponent ranked number nine in the world.
The match has been promoted by Acis who have put up a million dollars in  prize money, and moved the marketing and branding of the championship into the twenty-first century.
Amid the razzmatazz of its New York setting, there are virtual reality displays. FIDE (the FIFA of chess) has accepted a twenty-first century speed-up with parallels with changes in other sports such as tennis. In earlier world championships, the match if drawn in games, was awarded to the reigning champion. This time a drawn match leads to more games played at a faster tempo (quick play).  If these do not produce a winner, there is to be one pulsating blitz game known as bullet chess.  There must be a winner by mate, resignation or time loss. Provision is made for the unlikely draw by stalemate.
The first game produced headlines around the chess world, and a few more beyond the chess columns. To understand the story, you need to understand a rather weak pun based on the name an unusual and rather rarely-played opening chosen by the world champion for the first game of the match. Its name is the Trompowski attack, or the Tromp for short.  Yes, you can see what’s coming.
According to NBC

Is the world chess champion a Donald Trump fan? It sure looked that way Friday afternoon in New York City when defending world champion Magnus Carlsen opened his title match against Sergey Karjakin with a series of moves that may have been a nod to President-elect Trump.

That opening series isn’t that commonly used, so it took several minutes for onlookers to identify what the Norwegian grandmaster was up to. The Trompowsky is a way to avoid a series of other openings that are heavily analyzed, echoing Trump’s own refusal to play by the conventional political rule book.

One match commentator noted that Trump had won earlier in the week and now the Norwegian champion was using a similar-sounding method. “It will be known from now on as the Trump-owsky Attack,” one waggish spectator quipped.

Trump raised the hackles of a number of American chess players last month when he incorrectly claimed that the United States does not have any grandmasters, the highest level of players in the royal game.Trump even managed to get the term wrong when he said, while criticizing the difficulty of the nation withdrawing from multi-lateral trade agreements, “you can’t terminate — there’s too many people, you go crazy. It’s like you have to be a grand chess master. And we don’t have any of them.”In fact, the U.S., with 90 grandmasters, has the third largest number of players with that title in the world out of all nations.

Trumpmania
There had been an appetite for Trump stories, building up to his electoral triumph. This one has as little relation to truth as many of the others. Did Magnus chose his chess opening in any way influenced by a ropy pun?
The choice of opening was unexpected (one reason to chose it). But even Magnus, not known for being better prepared in the openings than his closest rivals, would have risked a capricious choice.
Or would he?
To be continued
To the suprise of most commentators, Magnus could make little impact on his opponent who continued to build his repuation as a most tenacious player of current grandmasters. At the half-way stage of the match, all games had been drawn.
Watch out for our next post describing the thrilling last day of the context which will go down in chess history.

BT Openreach franchise to end

November 30, 2016

Discworld Gods Wikipedia

After a lengthy period of negotiations over the structure of Openreach, the Government Communications watchdog OfCom has lost patience with BT, and proposes the establishment of an independent company

LWD has followed this story in earlier posts which examined the case for and against such a move. [See Is it Openreach or overreach? and The divestment of Openreach is not a simple case ]

The Plans

This week the Government announced its plans to deal with what it sees as a failure by BT to address its concerns regarding OpenReach. According to Reuters:

Britain’s telecoms regulator will go to the European Commission to try to force BT to legally separate Openreach, the division that supplies broadband to millions of homes and businesses, in a major reform aimed at spurring investment in the country’s ageing network.

The regulator, which despite Britain’s vote to leave the European Union still needs European Commission support to force through change at Openreach, wants BT Openreach to plough more money into upgrading its copper networks to fibre to catch up some European rivals and the likes of South Korea and Japan.

Ofcom’s decision to up the ante follows the failure to reach a voluntary deal after more than a year of talks. It said it was “disappointed” that BT had not done enough to separate Openreach from the rest of the group. It had ordered the former state monopoly to run the network arm as a legally separate company in July [2016].

The Independent suggests that the announcement is only the start of what might be an extended commercial battle. BT rivals Sky and Talk Talk may make some gains, but BT still retains powerful influence through its monopolistic ownership of the landline monopoly in the UK.

In the dispute, BT has not exactly argued their case convincingly. Their CEO in one radio interview was emphatic about the success of their efforts at upgrading broadband services, and dismissed alternatives as too small. The regulator thinks differently.

Amongst the ironies, is the prospect of the EU passing judgement to permit an improvement in an important advanced-technology industry sector in the soon-to-be departing UK after its Brexit vote is converted into a full EU exit.


Fidel Castro: On evauating a leader’s charisma

November 28, 2016
Fidel Castro
The rules about not speaking ill of the dead are increasingly suspended. Most posthumous remarks about Fidel Castro this week tell us more about the speaker than the Cuban leader. The venom of much of the recent Presidential election remains
A colleague of many years  once told me how Fidel assembled his closest followers into a room shortly after he seized power, and then dished out posts as best he could. I remember it was someone with a passing understanding of finance who had to take control over the central bank.
Top leader
Castro has fascinated me as being one of two cuban leaders whose names appear at the top of lists when charisma is being discussed.  The other is, of course Che  Guevara.
 I wrote a light-hearted piece about The Castro Charismatic Scale,  at the time of the 2015 Labour leadership election. The idea for students of leadership was to show how dubious it is to believe in such league tables.
Jeremy Corbyn
Based on impact on his or her followers, Jeremy Corbyn came somewhere towards the middle of the list, ahead of the other candidates.
Acknowledgement
To Eagle-eyed Susan, the first to spot my bungled spelling of Mr Corbyn (now corrected).

Now that’s what I call a creativity workshop

November 23, 2016

The conference organisers of the recent creativity workshop in Potsdam made a short video of the action. It captures nicely the flavour of the workshop. It also shows considerable creative leadership from the editorial team at Creativity and Innovation Management

Dear all,

 

Now it’s almost a month ago that we all gathered in Potsdam but, so much still remains to be done. Jennie and I are working to incorporate all of your great ideas into a new strategic direction for the Creativity and Innovation Management (CIM) journal and we would like to take a moment to thank you all again for taking the time to come to Potsdam and make the 6th CIM Community workshop a wonderful experience.

 

We incorporated some impressions of the workshop in a short video:

Again, thank you for being a wonderful CIM community.

 

Prof. Dr. Katharina Hoelzle, MBA
Chair for Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship
University of Potsdam
Editor-in-chief Creativity & Innovation Management

 

 


Creative Leadership: From Manchester to Moscow in the new Trump era

November 21, 2016

Donad Trump

A scheduled lecture via Skype from Manchester to students in Moscow took place in the week of Donald Trump’s victory in the election campaign. Here are the lecturer’s notes of the lecture content

Professor Gershman developed the course ‘Managing Creativity and Innovation’ for the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK) within the Higher School of Economics, Moscow.

ISSEK is a well-known research and analytical centre in Russia, specializing in science, technology and innovation studies. ISSEK is collaborating closely with the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (Prof. Ian Miles is the head of ISSEK’s Laboratory of Economics of Innovation, Prof. Luke Georghiou is a member of ISSEK Advisory Board).

Monday 6 November 2016

Introductory remarks:What is creativity. Many theories.

My background: A scientist, chemist, studied worked in UK and New York

Creativity background:

The Creative act that had me fired for insolence. When ‘permission was not granted’.

Definitions are ‘contingent not universal‘.

Consensus has formed around creativity as a process generating new, relevant, useful outcomes.

Creativity and Policy:  Not my strong area: My research has been more at level of individual, team.

Educational policy in USA after ‘Sputnik’: the creative initiative 1957, Dawn of space age.

Guilford’s earlier speech to The American Psychological Association: Was said to have drawn attention to the potential in studies of creativity for educational advances (pedagogy). Torrance tests, also later sent into space with other artefacts

Education policy in Venezuala: via Minister of Education to stimulate creativity through De Bono’s models (lateral thinking) Information processing (Cognitive) model. Escape from fixation via contradictions, randomness, fantasy. His work supported by recent neurological studies.

Creativity theories: Support Kahnman’s biases in economic theory.

The technology hotspots model: Richard Florida’s controversial creative city model. Three factors of Talent, Technology, Tolerance, resulting in economic hot spots

Questions:

Creativity ‘past present and future’ [PowerPoint]

Psychological approaches to creativity in Heath service [PowerPoint]

Questions:


Wales v Japan: surrogate revenge against Jones the coach?

November 19, 2016
Wales rugby ball
Today there is a festival of sport to enjoy. One of the highlights in our household is the rugby match at the Millennium Stadium, where Wales take on Japan
 We are a mostly harmonious sport-watching household, with affiliations to Wales, Scotland, and more than a smidgen of affection for Ireland, and New Zealand after a blissful sabbatical at Christchurch, since much battered by dreadful earthquakes.
England v Australia
In far too early a start, the morning [Saturday 19 NOvember 2016] begins as England briefly promise  to rescue a hopeless situation against India, in Cricket. At lunch, as I write this post (6am GMT), they are still tantalizingly close to avoiding the following on (the humiliation forced on a test team outplayed by 200 runs in the first innings battle).
Man U v The Gunners
There are several fixture clashes. The afternoon starts with one of those crunch games in football, this one between Manchester United and Arsenal. A veritable nine pointer. (Sorry, three points to the winner.  Easy to get carried away).
Murray v Raonic v Djokovic  
Then overlapping events. Andy Murray sets out to reach the final of the Tennis World Championships, trying to hold on to his recent status as world No 1 singles player. His brother Jamie achieved to same lofty status, and not for the first time,  just a day ago in doubles. Later, Novak Djokovic also competes to win back his crown.
The battle may be resolved in a monumental clash tomorrow.
Wales v Japan at Rugby
And Wales play Japan at rugby. Until recently, this would have been regarded somewhat patronizingly in the land of my fathers.then there was the World Cup when Japan became everyone’s favourite second team for their courage and skill. Their coach  Eddie Jones was an instant celebrity. Was he Welsh, we wondered, before discerning that his Mum was Japanese. Maybe his Ozzie Dad had some Celtic blood from somewhere, Old rather than than New South Wales, perhaps? We had a captain once called Eddie (Butler).
The Jones boy goes From Hero to Villain
Then the reason for his fall from grace. He left his coaching appointment in Japan to become chief of an ailing England team.  Need I say more?  He began a run which currently stands as ten successive victories.  England are heading for the top in world rugby.  Wales may struggle against Japan.
At least, in the language of the wretched US presidential campaign, we have a surrogate to disapprove of, as the gallant Japanese run on to the green green grass of home.