Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blitzed

Today I was going to review The Winner Is, NBC's hybrid of talent contest and game show. But I'll get to that tomorrow. Instead I'll go outside traditional game shows in another area...top-level chess. I've been there before, as readers of the blog might remember.

The super grandmasters are now in Moscow for the annual Tal Memorial. Mikhail Tal was a legendary Latvian master who enjoyed a brief stint as world champ in the 1960s. Tal was quite a character, as endless stories attest. He also loved blitz chess, that high-speed contest of wits which spectators enjoy.

So the Tal Memorial kicked things off today with a blitz tourney to determine the seedings for the classical chess starting tomorrow. Chess.tv covered the blitz online, though only in Russian. But even if your Russian, like mine, is mostly confined to da and nyet, you can still watch the games.

Wouldn't you know, in an event honoring the mercurial Tal, the mercurial American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura won the blitz tournament. Nakamura is America's best hope for the world championship, but his results are hugely uneven. He played superbly today but might crash to last in the classical contest. Still, the "blitz king" is fun to watch in the super-fast games.

UPDATE: Sure enough, Nakamura lost his first game in the classical tournament today (June 13). Oh well, he's got eight more games to play.

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