Category : Goldchess

Goldchess on Anand-Gelfand,WCh 2012

Often in my glorious past of heavy partying I would meet confident girls (I love those!) in bars or discotheques and after a few drinks the topic of chess would inevitably come up. Frequently I would get a “I will beat you easily,” or “We should play a game, I’m very good, I beat my sister once when we were 10” to which I would laugh and engage in teasing and further flirting.

Pleasant memories as they may be, these conversations made me think. People who do not have a precise idea what playing professional chess constitues think the game is easy to play and anybody can beat anybody. They are right on the former, playing the game is easy, playing it well is hard and difficult to achieve. They do not grasp the vastness of the gap that exists between professionals and amateurs or novices and the only way for them to understand it is to try and play a professional (in my case a few girls tried, but what followed next is for another type of blog).

Goldchess conducted a very interesting experiment that tried to show the difference between the professionals and the amateurs. To make it even more contrasting, they decided to take the games from the World Championship match between Anand and Gelfand from 2012 and give it to their readers to play out against their computer (rated around 1800). So what we got is the highest level of chess pitted against the level of the regular guy. Here are several examples of what happened:

What we saw here is that the computer really didn’t understand what was important in the position, while the human first improved on Gelfand’s play (impressive!) and then went to win, but not without a hiccup on move 33.

The match was very rich from a theoretical perspective. Several openings were tested, the Slav, the Grunfeld, the Nimzo and the Rossolimo Sicilian. Here’re a few examples from the Slav:

These games show that on the lower levels it is possible to win any kind of position, whether that be a completely symmetrical and equal or a dead-drawn endgame. The better player has a great chance of winning even there.

Amateurs (and not only they, I know a lot of GMs who do that constantly!) love to play for tricks. This is not a bad thing per se, bear in mind that once the great Victor Korchnoi accused Anand of playing “only for tricks!” Take a look at the following example which worked fabulously:

The Grunfeld was Gelfand’s main weapon against 1 d4 and it came as a surprise to Anand. It appeared on the board in the very first game of the match and Anand went for a sideline but it didn’t pose black any problems. Did our players manage to pose problems? Let’s have a look:

We can conclude that play is definitely more exciting when there are more errors. And this goes for every level, even the play of the strong GMs is more exciting and less good than the play of the world championship contenders. Goldchess brought the games of the best players to their readers and let them have fun with them. From what we saw, the plan worked perfectly.


Goldchess Updates

The people behind Goldchess are working hard on improving their products and soon they are releasing no less than 3 new ones!

The first one is called GIG Small and it starts on 10 September. It consists of a 1-day tournament of 5 rounds lasting 1 hour in total. For an entry fee of only $10 you can win a single round and win $100, or you can win the whole tournament and win $1000. The full information is here.

The second one is GIG Big and the concept is similar, the difference being that it lasts half an hour longer while the prizes are bigger – winning a round nets you $250 while winning the tournament wins $2,500. Read the detailed information here.

Their “absolute hit”, however, is the NON-STOP tournament which basically contunues 24/7 until the prize money runs out!

Here’s an excerpt from their own site:

A FAIRY TALE – Wonderful World – is being prepared on the Goldchess website for chess players from all over the world. Currently Goldchess Instant Game – GIG Small is available /once a week, 5 rounds – 5 problems to solve, duration: 1 hour/, with an innovative feature named -Happy End- and a prize pool of $2,000 that can be won in an hour. A similar game is in the pipeline – a GIG BIG tournament with a prize pool of $5,000. We are also working on an absolute hit: a 5-round NON STOP tournament to be available 24/7 until we run out of money for prizes.

Feel invited!


Goldchess – Quest for Beauty

Chess is a beautiful game and that is why we love it. Beauty in chess can take many forms – as I have grown in strength and understanding I find beauty in little moves like h3 or a3 or Carlsen’s endgame technique. But even for me beauty in chess is first and foremost associated with sacrifices and mating attacks.
The idea behind the Goldchess project is to promote beauty in chess in its most widely accepted form, but things do not stop here – there is a very 21st century sweet detail. Apart from delivering a crushing checkmate, what would be the greatest pleasure for any modern chess player? I think, without a doubt, that would be beating a computer! But we all know that this is practically impossible! So where is the catch?
The founders of Goldchess found a solution and their concept is the following. You get to play a computer (called CEEC, which stands for Chess Elite Educational Computer), whose strength is between 1800-1900, from a position where you are given a task. The tasks are something like “White to play and deliver mated on move 24 with a queen from e8” so it’s not that easy to beat the machine! You have to download the CEEC (for free, of course) as its interface is also used for saving and submitting solutions. See here for detailed instructions on how to play.
It is not only beauty that is attractive with Goldchess, there is also quite a lot of cash flying around. The weekly problems can net you $200 while the monthly puzzles can make you richer for several thousand dollars! There are different conditions for different puzzles – sometimes you need to be fastest, sometimes you need to be lucky (to be drawn from the pool of people who have submitted the correct solution) and sometimes you have to beat the author and deliver the mate one move earlier (in which case the prize may become 10 times bigger)!
The best part of the whole idea is that it’s free and you can “cheat” by taking moves back and trying various lines and options against the computer – as long as you eventually solve the task it doesn’t matter how many times you have tried. And in order to play for the really big money there is a licence that can be bought for only $25 and you can fight for the total prize fund of $25,000 – 5 problems with prizes of $5,000 each. Similarly lush, Goldchess has a World Cup with a first prize of $10,000, it is open for registration as you read this and it will take place in 2017.
Here I have grouped the links where you can find more information about the specifics.

Goldchess Zero – no fee required and for amateurs only, $50 weekly prize, the fastest to submit the solution wins.

Independent Chess Department – the fastest one to solve the problem wins (time is measured by the CEEC), weekly puzzles.

Information on the prizes – range from $50 to $50,000. You can also check the list of winners and see the amounts they have won.

Goldchess Express – the latest introduction.

World Cup – with first prize of $10,000 it is definitely worth attending!
It is notable that the whole project is under the patronage of GM Aleksander Mista, triple World Champion in team problem solving. In my opinion this is a very exciting project and I invite you to give it a try. For starters, here’s the position for the month of August (worth $200) to whet your appetite (since for the detailed instructions you will have to visit the official site tomorrow after 5pm CET):

White to play

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