Death By Chess

Someone on Hacker News noted the other day that the chess PGN notation standard includes “death” as a termination tag,

9.8.1: Tag: Termination

This takes a string that describes the reason for the conclusion of the game. While the Result tag gives the result of the game, it does not provide any extra information and so the Termination tag is defined for this purpose.

Strings that may appear as Termination tag values:

. . .

“death”: losing player called to greater things, one hopes.

Which made me wonder . . . just how many people have died while playing chess?

It took just 7 years to reach the one billionth game played on its service. If the average game on takes only 10 minutes, that’s still almost 1,900 collective years spent playing chess. Surely someone (and likely a small multiple of someones) died during that time while playing a chess game online.

This Reddit thread, attempted to document some cases of individuals who died while playing chess, including a handful who were murdered as part of disputes that arose from the chess matches they were engaged in.

At the 2018 U.S. Chess Open, a participant died during the final round.

Lazy Chess

Lazy Chess is a clever chess video game where the game presents the player with the two best moves to choose from.

The board plays as a real chess game would while limiting your selections. In any turn, your options may allow you to defend, progress, capture, or even use special rules such as castling. The moves provided in Lazy Chess can always win the match, but how strong are your decisions?

Lazy Chess is designed to take the stress out of chess. By simplifying the game, players of all levels will be able to play good chess with winning strategies. Those new to chess will learn creative moves and tactics, and those with experience can play with speed against a world-class neural network. Compete against an AI opponent, online with strangers or friends, or with the person next to you!

One-Dimensional Chess Variant

Game designer Doctor Popular has created a one-dimensional chess variant, in which the chessboard is reduced to a single row of 16 squares.

One-Dimensional Chess Variant
One-Dimensional Chess Variant

The rules for the variant are available on Gumroad at a “name a fair price.” The game itself is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC 4.0), so it can be shared and remixed but not sold.

Chess Cheating Scandal

Russian grandmaster Igros Rausis has apparently been cheating his way up the international chess rankings,

Igors Rausis, at 58 the oldest among the world top 100 grandmasters, was last week caught analysing in the toilet during his game in the Strasbourg Open. Rausis later told the Czech newspaper Lidovky: “I signed a statement that I am guilty in full … I completely ruined my name and also destroyed the trust of all my colleagues and friends.”

Rausis’s steady advance up the rankings in his 50s, after many years at the 2500 moderate grandmaster level, was clearly abnormal. He played in smaller events which could not afford the strict anti-cheating measures of major tournaments, and he exploited a rule where a win against an opponent 400 or more rating points lower gains 0.8 of a point. Rausis played many games where the rating difference was much higher, so that the statistical odds favoured him.