Wednesday, June 06, 2012

(267) Some Short coincidences

On May 1st 2012  Nigel Short remarked at a Facebook thread that he had just "spanked" his son at Burmese chess. He then mentioned his intent to try out various other forms of the game, listing Chinese Chess (which he had already played with GM Robert Hubner) Shogi, etcetera.
I give an extract from the thread -

spanked his son, Nicholas, at Burmese chess today. It is a lot easier than shogi.
Steve Giddins There is a nice article by Tim Krabbe about Cambodian chess, which is probably similar to Burmese. See http://
Chess in Cambodia
      Chess in Cambodia, the rules of Makruk and a makruk-playing program

    • Steve Giddins I spent some time studying Chinese chess when living in Hong Kong. I also taught it to Matthew Sadler, who got quite interested.
    • But he dropped it, after analysing a chess opening whilst seconding Piket, and failing to spot that PxP was legal, because he was thinking of the Chinese pawn move!

    • Nigel Short I see: Cambodian chess is the same as Thai chess. I am going to try as many of these variants as possible now. I have become intrigued. Chinese chess is an excellent game though. I have played that with Bobby Huebner.
    • Nigel Short I believe he finished 35th in the World Championship on one occasion - which is a lot more than we will ever do...
    • Steve Giddins Certainly is! I remember Matthew saying that, when he complained to Hubner about the shortage of Chinese chess literature in English, Hubner sympathised, and then revealed that he himself could read the Chinese books!
    • Nigel Short I vaguely recall having bought Robert Chinese chess books in the past...
(AND at this point I chipped in with a reference to a form of chess that a London player had told me - over 30 years previously - he had invented)

H. James Plaskett I have played Barasi chess. Invented by David (later Paul) Barasi, pawns may move backwards, pieces can´t. I do not see a great future for it. I once played GO with Les Blackstock. After about half an hour he told me I had lost. I played 3 or 4 games of Shogi with him. In the last he gave me rook odds. We played for a long time and drew via the rare mechanism of penetrating kings, a phenomenon not quite so rare as what Tim Krabbé calls the Steel King in our form of chess. (Ask Dr S. about how he once beat Timman in an Alekhine Defence. He says everybody else does...)

Simon Bibby Shogi is kinda fun, tactics heavy, like kids playing 'exchange' on one board. Many players here in Japan come to chess from Shogi. Simple approach

and very effective for me over numerous games over the years here - queens off ASAP.

    • Peter Long I see that you are moving to playing a different form of chess professionally

    • Michael Chukwuma Mkpadi ‎@peter maybe Nigel can unify chess by becoming grand-world champion of all forms of chess, shogi, Burmese, Western,Chinese,Indian and all variants such as fischer random, bughouse etc.

Within half an hour I received a message from Short at Facebook pointing out something peculiar -
May 2

Hey Jim,
Tell me about this "Barasi chess". Can I find some literature? By the strangest of coincidence I am about to play a match later this month, in Lima, against Julio Granda, with backward-moving pawns.

  • May 2
    H. James Plaskett
  • Now that is ODD! I´ll try to put Barasi himself in touch.
    ...  ...   ...
  • This really is a weird coincidence though. I have never seen anyone playing this game.
  • May 2
      • The coincidence ramifies.
        Having mentioned the beginnings of this coincidence with you to my wife I rebefriended Barasi on Twitter (I had briefly followed him last year). He then began following me again. I told him that you wanted more gen re Barasi chess and then left to go for a run. When I returned from it I saw he had sent me his email details.
      • But just before I left I stood in the main room chatting with Fiona and saw that playing in the background on the Spanish TV Film channel was Splash. Not only that but the precise scene from the film - a brief one - detailed here -
      • At first I was at a loss to think why the coincidence would be drawing me towards THAT example, as, marvellously improbable though it was, I could not see how it fitted with what we had ongoing.Until I saw the name of the character Hanks plays...
      • (His surname is ´Bauer´: ´pawn´ in German.) The clip played at 16:10 hrs, Spanish time.
    • And on May 27th Short confirmed -
    • Nigel Short
      • Hi Jim,
        Just to let you know, we played one exhibition game with backward moving pawns, which I lost. However, rather more importantly, I edged Julio 3.5-2.5 in the rapid match, after I somehow recovered from a dreadful start.
           ...   ...   ...
And then on June 5th 2012 I contributed to a thread started by Maria Yurenok at Facebook.

June 5 via Twitter
Short commented on the picture with the word
I mentioned that at an event in Banja Luka of 1985 I had seen Maia checkmate Nigel Short by playing ...Qf1; a move he had quite overlooked. Writing in a report at the time I had noted that you would have to play through a lot of Short´s games before you saw many blunders like that from him.
The joke was that she had mated him and at f1.
Shortly afterwards Short messaged me thus -
June 5
Jim, try the daily puzzle here
Do you notice anything?

Since 2006 we bring you the latest news about chess with top stories, interviews, video reports, book reviews, columns and discussion.

I was unaware of this site´s existence, but did as I was told and saw that the day´s puzzle was a position from a game which I did not recognise but featuring the very same last move of the game Short-Chigurbanidze from Banja Luka 1985, i.e. black queen from b5 to f1. Checkmate
Just the last move.

Which was odd in that puzzles are normally of at least a two move sequence variety. This was simply the concluding mating move.

I commented to Nigel that I had probably seen no reference to the game of his against Chigurbanidze from the day it was played to this, and certainly none to the final mate. Neither had he.

The following day I consulted this www.chessvibes site again and saw that that day´s puzzle was also one where black executed a one move mate.

And once again it was ...Qf1.

Short - Chigurbanidze Banja Luka 1985 (finale)

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