Taxi Chess

From the perspective of a new Belgrade resident

“Mr. Cab Driver/Won’t stop [chess] to let me in” post courtesy of the Real Housewife of Belgrade. RHOB is in Belgrade with her husband who is on a one-year job in Serbian capital.

Taxi drivers in Belgrade are an interesting lot. They often speak good English, but even when they don’t they still like to test an Amerikanka’s Serbian skills. We talk about life in Belgrade, where they’re from, and occasionally, politics.

I wish I knew more chess terminology though because I am dying to know more about the games that erupt along the taxi line on Makedonska (street).

taxi chess 1

Are there some serious experts here? How competitive is it? Do they ignore rides to finish a game? Do they play for glory or dinars? Is chess a big sport in Serbia?

It’s moments like this that make me realize I’ll go back home with more questions than I came here with.

taxi chess 2

Like how you can push taxis down the lane without disrupting the chessboard…

Chess bets gaining speed

Topalov – Anand and Chess Olympiad featured

chess bet

Chess online bets are gaining speed recently. The international betting house PaddyPower is one of the houses offering odds on all major competitions. For the future Topalov – Anand World Chess Championship, the house gives advantage to Anand with 4/7 odds, while Topalov is given 5/4.

PaddyPower goes even further offering bets for the Chess Olympiad. Russia is the favorite with 2/1, Azerbaijan is second with 4/1, ahead of Ukraine 5/1, Armenia 7/1, China 8/1, Israel 10/1, and USA 13/1. India is given the low 25/1, while Italy is 100/1.

Visit PaddyPower chess betting

Chess Utd defeats Levski

Ivanchuk and Carlsen heroes for the chess team, the Ukranian refuses doping test

Chess Utd made the impossible and defeated the many times Bulgarian soccer champion Levski (Sofia) in a dramatic match. The previous encounters between the two teams have been won by Levski, but today the Chess team was victorious.

The event started by an early goal for Levski by the ex Bulgarian national players (who also played for several German Bundesliga teams and scored goals at the World Cup USA 94 finals). The answer from the chess players came a minute later when Dominguez and Carlsen checkmated the defence of Levski after a series of tricky passes and a nice final shot by the Cuban.

Borimirov gave again wings to Levski by scoring 2 goals in 3 minutes. The match for Chess Utd got dramatic when Topalov received a face injury. Thanks to the doctor on the field he returned in play, but with a special face protection mask.

Magnus Carlsen returned one goal after individual attack, but Chess Utd could not find their place on the field and Emil Velev added two more goals to make the score 5-2. This was the moment when the goalkeeper Ivanchuk turned around the events he managed to save five 100% clear goal opportunities and allowed only a goal by another ex national player Bojidar Iskrenov.

Somehow Chess Utd took control of the midfield and started pressuring Levski. This led to an awkward own goal by the current national goal keeper of Bulgaria – Georgi Petkov. This was the moment for Carlsen to show his soccer skills. With 2 assists and 2 goals he made the score 6-6, as the last goal came just seconds before the final whistle.

With the score equal the teams proceeded to penalty shootout. Ivanchuk saved 6 of the 7 penalties and scored the final penalty for Chess Utd to make the score 8-7 and give the victory to the GMs.

After the game the medical staff requested doping test from Ivanchuk, who refused. The case has been filed to the disciplinary commission.

levski chess utd match
levski chess utd match
levski chess utd match

Chess legends

as presented by the Nanjing website

As one of the oldest gaming sports in the world, chess is as famous as the game of go, Chinese chess and Japanese Chess. Chess enjoys general popularity globally. According to statistics collected by the World Chess Federation in 1990s, there were around 300 million chess fans, a lot of whom were elites. Secondly, the pursuit of harmony in this tournament aligns with the city spirit of Nanjing.

According to legendary record, international chess originated in Ancient India. Its earliest documentary record was written in Farsi in the Sassanian Dynasty. It is said that, a great master of Hinduism found the king was boastful and coxcombical, so he decided to give him a lesson.

Legend one:

  The great master recommended an unknown game to the king who was surrounded by a group of flattering ministers all day long at that time and was so bored that he needed to divert himself from the depression through playing games.

  He soon became greatly interested in this fancy game. So he asked the great master to choose a reward for his loyalty. The great master answered, “Please put a grain of wheat on the first square of the chessboard, two on the second square, four on the third and eight on the fourth…. That is to say, double wheat grains for every next square till the 64th square, i.e. the last one. ”

   “All right,” the king laughed and accepted the modest request with generosity.

  However, when the wheat was ripe, the king found out all wheat of India could not fill half of the squares on the chessboard based on the agreement he made with the great master. The required quantity was actually astronomical.

  Many chess learners attributed chess to the Indians, which stemmed from an article “Indian Chess” published on Asian Studies, written by a British man, William Jones in 1790. Most western scholars agree to his point of view because British culture was the world culture then.

  There’s another interesting story about the origin of chess. It is said that 2000 years ago, there was a very tyrannical king in India who did things only according to his own will. One of his favorite ministers wanted to give him advice of “A king cannot exist without his people” but was afraid of saying it openly. So he figured out a way to provide a hint: On a wooden chessboard, two troops composed of bone made pieces are fighting with each other. On each side, there is a chief – king, and four arms of services – rooks, knights, bishops and pawns. The king is the most important piece. Once it died, the battle is over. In the meantime, the king is weak, which can only rely on the protection of its comrades-in-arms, i.e. stronger pieces in the game. All those pieces must make concerted efforts to protect the king during the whole battle. Pawns are even weaker than the king. But when directed well, pawns can go deep into the enemy’s field and reach its bottom square. By that time, pawns become the strongest pieces. That is how the first game of chess was generated. After that it spread out quickly. This game was introduced to Persia, Arabia and Europe on one hand and transformed into modern chess; on the other hand it spread eastward to Burma, Southeast Asia and China.

Legend Two:

People’s understanding didn’t change until after 1970s. Joseph Needham, famous British scholar definitely put forward in his Science and Civilization in China that chess is invented by Chinese. He analyzed the connection of the Chinese ancient game – Six-throwing-chopstick Board Game Set, to astronomy, anthroposcopy and mathematics. He said, “Only in China, rudiment of chess was impelled by the prevalence of yin and yang theory; divining with astronomic characters was invented and later developed into a game with martial connotation.” Consequently, some soviet scholars published articles to criticize the theory of Indian Origin. In 1972, a Yugoslavian historian asserted in his monograph, Chess – the Symbol of the Universe that chess firstly appeared in 569 A.D. in China as Xiangxi. Then it gradually spread out.

  In 1984, a researcher of Far East Institute of Soviet Academy of Sciences published an article on Soviet Chess Skills, January Issue. According to his research, chess originated from the ideology of The Book of Changes: 64 squares are in line with 64 divinatory symbols while black and white is matching yin and yang (the two opposing principles in nature).

By far, we haven’t seen any contradictory articles by experts or scholars. So the viewpoint of “chess originated from the ideology of The Book of Changes” can be said of tenable worldwide.

  At least before 5000 years B.C or so, there were 8×8 line charts in China (ancient painted pottery chart unearthed in Yuanyang Pond site, Yongchang, Gansu). It is concluded that the ancient chess – Six-throwing-chopstick Board Game Set emerged before the 10th century B.C and was transformed into “Saixi” in the 5th century B.C. Confucius (551-476 B.C.) remarked, “It is really a bad case when a man simply eats his full meals without applying his mind to anything at all during the whole day. Are there not such things as gambling and games of skill? To do one of those things even is better than to do nothing at all.” (extracted from The Analects of Confucius). Here, games of skill refers to Six-throwing-chopstick Board Game Set and the game of go. Historical materials show that “Xiangxi” (569 A.D.) invented by Emperor Wu of the Northern Zhou Dynasty (late Southern and Northern Dynasties) is almost the same with unearthed “Baibao Chess” of the Tang Dynasty: a board of 8×8 (64 squares), solid pieces laid on squares – the pattern of modern chess.

  At the latest late 6th century and early 7th century A.D, chess was brought to India (it is possible that earlier games like “Six-throwing-chopstick Board Game”, “Saixi” and “Semi-Xiangxi” had been introduced to India), forming into “Chatrang”. It became ‘Shatranj” after being introduced to the Middle East. Both names can be translated into “Sise Chess” in Chinese. Archeological evidence shows that India did not have “Sise Chess” until after the 8th century. The earliest recordation of “Sise Chess” by characters is in a Kashmir epic of the 9th century. “Shatranj” later evolved into “Persian Chess” and reached Europe. In about 15th century, it took the shape of modern game.

  The theory of “Indian Origin” was generated from the British so it’s better to have the British to deny it. The 1984 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica still says that chess originated either in India or China and makes more introduction of Indian origin. But in the English version of The Chinese School of Chess, published in Britain in 2003, the first sentence of the brief introduction written by an editor from the biggest British publish group is, “Although some earliest forms of chess were found in ancient China”. It is really not easy to make British scholars change their views.

  Today, when talking about the origin of chess, people come to various conclusions by legends, hypotheses, archeology and logic. Hypotheses demonstrate directions of archeological proof; legends compensate the deficiency of archeological logic. After all, chess came into being very long ago. To truly reproduce it will take a long time, just like the most archaic history. However, if viewed holistically, two points regarding the origin have been acknowledged in the world: 1. International chess originated in Asia and was introduced to Europe later. 2. Initially, who makes a move first is decided by shooting dice.

  Moreover, scholars seem to have reached some consensus in terms of the logic of origin: Firstly, chess is artificial. Its essential is model. Secondly, chess materialized human ideas and consciousness. Thirdly, modern chess is the result of continuous evolvement of ancient chess. Fourthly, its evolvement is affected by many aspects (including the impact of various board games one another). Fifthly, the pattern of evolvement consists of gradual change and sudden change. Sixthly, evolvement and continuity coexist. Seventhly, the study on origin should proceed with three structural elements of chess – chessboard, pieces and rules. Eighthly, in terms of origin, evolvement and finalizing of chess, chessboard, pieces and rules take on different roles. Ninthly, chessboard, pieces and rules do not always come together. Tenthly, there’s no “initial inventor”. It can be explained as follows: in the real world, time is irreversible. So time can create history or exterminate it. Based on such kind of logic, we will never be able to find the “initial inventor”. So we cannot help but to settle for “social outcome and essence of wisdom”. As a matter of fact, chess is more like motion picture in many aspects.

You know you are a chess addict if…

You bump into someone or something and say J’adoube.

You calculate 8×8 faster than 7×7.

You have more chess clocks than watches.

You buy the biggest, fastest, most expensive computer just to play chess on it or use it as a database.

You have more PGN than DOC files on your computer.

You take a chess set and book to the bathroom… and forget to go to the bathroom.

You meet someone, your first question is, “What’s your rating?”

You buy a newspaper only if it has a chess column in it.

You think that Lennox Lewis plays in knockout chess tournaments.

You believe that Dmitri Mendeleev periodically played chess.

You have more chess books than any other book or magazine combined.

You believe that the Olympics are every two years.

You spot the chessboard set up wrong in every movie with a chess scene.

Your favorite snack is Pepperidge Farm’s Chessmen cookies.

You have the “Chessplayers make better mates” bumper sticker on your car or briefcase.

You know what BCO, ECO, MCO, NCO, PCO all mean and have all these books.

You ask girl if she plays chess before you ask her out for a date.

You drop everything and quickly spin around if you hear someone say, “Hi, Bobby” at a chess tournament.

You take a test, and 5 minutes before you run out of time, you mentally tell yourself that your flag is about to fall

You go to any Barnes and Noble in the world and know exactly where all the chess books are located.

When the cashier says, “Check?” you wink and say “mate”.

You know that mate, mating positions, exposed bishops, and forking the queen have nothing to do with sex.

You have a chess logo on your letterhead or shirt.

You try to play cards blindfolded.

You have a chess coffee mug.

You know that a Bishop scandal is someone who puts his Bishop on the wrong colored diagonal.

Fantasize of also beating Mr Spock in 3-D chess.

Still think Kasparov is world champion and has always been world champion since beating Karpov in 1985.

Going to a chess tournament and can’t wait in saying “Look at those chess nuts boasting by an open foyer.”

Preparing for a GOOD CHESS match requires cleaning the mouse and checking it’s working order.

Reasons for losing a chess game: disconnect, pizza man, power outage.

You look for three other friends to play bug-house.

You have used any of these aliases while on the Internet: Bottvinik, Caissa, Gata, Bobby Fischer, IvanCheck, Polgar, Jadoube, Kapablanca, KnightStalker, KibitzandBlitz, KnightRider, Pawnographer, Philidork, Queenforker, Rookie Player, Ruy Lopez, TarraschCan, Zukertort, KillerMate.

You have played the ghost of Geza Maroczy.

You own a Harry Potter or Civil War chess set.

You are sure that Chuck Norris gets his kicks from chess.

You played in chess tournaments all year long and have almost made $1,000 (but you spent $2,000 earning that).

you have read all of this :)

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The initial list of addiction signs was started by Bill Wall

Chess records

General Chess records

Longest game

Nikolic – Arsovic, Belgrade 1989. It lasted for 269 moves and finished draw. Later on was introduced the fifty move rule and this record is unlikely to be broken. The longest chess game with a winner is 193 moves when Yedael Stepak beat Yaakov Mashian in the Israel Championship seminfinals in 1980. It is also the longest game in time, lasting 24 hours and 30 minutes.

Shortest game

There are many games which fiished before they started with the result agreed beforehand. Considering a non short draws rule (as the Sofia rule) the shortest game ever played is the two moves Fool’s mate. (1.g4 e5 2.f3?? Qh4#)

Latest first capture

Filipowicz and Smederevac (Polanica Zdroj 1966), lasted 70 moves without a single capture.

Longest series of checks

In 1995 in the Czech Republic, a game between Rebickova and Voracova ended with 74 checks by the black Queen.

Most moves in a chess game

The longest chess game is 269 moves between Ivan Nikolic vs. Goran Arsovic, Belgrade, 1989. The game ended in a draw. The game lasted over 20 hours.

Greatest number of checks

In Wegner – Johnson, Gausdal 1991, there were 141 checks in the game. White had 100 checks and Black had 41 checks. The game lasted 200 moves.

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World Chess Championship records

Shortest world championship win

In 1872, Steinitz defeated Zukertort in 19 moves.

Most world championship games

Botvinnik played 157 world championship games. He won 36, lost 39, and drew 82.

Most world championship career wins

Lasker had 52 career wins in world championship play.

The longest world championship match

The longest world championship match was the 1984-85 Karpov-Kasparov match. It lasted 48 games and 159 days.

Best world championship record

Vera Menchik-Stevenson (1906-1944) was World Women’s Chess Champion from 1927 to 1944. She defended her title 6 times. In world championship play, she won 78 games, drew 4 games, and only lost once.

Youngest world chess champion

Ruslan Ponomariov, born October 11, 1983, became the youngest world chess champion on January 23, 2002 at the age of 18 years, 104 days. Maya Chiburdanidze, born January 17, 1961, became the youngest women’s world chess champion in 1978 at the age of 17.

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Tournament records

Largest chess tournament

In 1935-36, the USSR Trade Unions chess championship was held. It had 700,000 entrants, the largest of any chess tournament.

Largest Olympiad

The 35th Chess Olympiad in Bled in 2002 had 136 men’s teams and 92 women’s teams, the large Olympiad ever.

Largest ETCC

The largest European Team Chess Championship was in Crete, Greece. 39 countries sent their delegations

Most Grandmasters in one tournament

In 1989, the Belgrade Grandmaster’s Association had 98 grandmasters participating, the most grandmasters in one tournament.

Biggest simultaneous chess event

14000 is the number of players who had appeared in in Mexico City, in 2005.

Strongest chess tournament.

The 1996 Las Palmas tournament was a Category 21 tournament with the average rating of 2756, making it the strongest tournament ever. The event took place from December 9 through Decmber 21, 1996. The six best players in the world participated in a double round event. The event was won by Kasparov (2785), followed by Anand (2735), Kramnik (2765), Topalov (2750), Karpov (2775), and Ivanchuk (2730). Five of the six have been world champions.

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Chess players records

Youngest grandmaster

Sergey Karjakin, born in 1990, became a grandmaster at the age of 12 years, 7 months. On August 20, 2002 he fulfilled his 3rd and final GM norm at the international tournament in Sudak. The youngest American grandmaster is Hikaru Namamura, who earned the title at the age of 15 years, 2 months. The youngest female grandmaster is Koneru Humpy, who became a grandmaster at the age of 15 years, 1 month, and 27 days.

Players that became GMs before age 15: Sergey Karjakin, Parimarjan Negi, Magnus Carlsen, Bu Xiangzhi, Teimour Radjabov, Ruslan Ponomariov, Etienne Bacrot, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Peter Leko, Yuriy Kuzubov, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, Fabiano Caruana

Youngest FIDE master

Etienne Bacrot, born in 1983, became the youngest FIDE master a the age of 10.

Most tournaments won

Anatoly Karpov has won over 160 chess tournaments, more than anyone else in history.

Highest Elo rating

In the July 1999 and the January 2000 FIDE rating list, Garry Kasparov had an Elo rating of 2851. In July 2005, Judit Polgar had an Elo rating of 2735, the highest for any woman.

Most drawing Grandmaster

Ulf Andersson of Sweden has drawn 74% of his games against top-level opposition, winning 10%, and losing 16%.

Youngest gold medallist

Judit Polgar won a gold medal in the 1988 Saloniki chess olympiad at the age of 11. In 2000, Alexander Grischuk won a gold medal at the age of 17 in the Istanbul Olympiad. In 1992, Vladimir Kramnik won a gold medal at the age of 17 in Manila Olympiad.

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Fun chess records

Oldest movie with a chess scene

In 1903, R.W. Paul (Paul’s Animatograph Works of England) made a silent movie called A Chess Dispute. It featured two men playing chess, then getting into a fight over a disputed move.


Bill Wall


Onda opened a chess theme venue in Sofia

The CEO of Onda, Ty Lowry, played a game with Topalov

Now at the central location of Bulgaria’s biggest coffee shop chain “Onda Coffee Break” you can get much more experience with your coffee. Along with your favorite tall, ice or decaf drink you can PLAY A GAME OF CHESS!!!

In honour of the great and noble game, the organizers had prepared special “chess tables” where the visitors of “Onda Coffee Break” can play. In case that a chess fan does not find an opponent, Ty Lowry, the CEO of Onda, highlited that the venue offers free WiFi, so that nothing stands in the way of chess enthusiasts.

Onda Chess Topalov Demonstration

Topalov played with the journalists for a warm up

Onda Chess

The organizers had prepared special “chess tables” where the visitors of “Onda Coffee Break” can play. In case that a chess fan does not find an opponent, Ty Lowry, the CEO of Onda, stipulated that the venue offers free WiFi, so that nothing stands in the way of chess enthusiasts.

Onda Chess Topalov Lowry

The game begins

Onda Chess Topalov Lowry 2

The players and the audience having fun.

Onda Chess Topalov Lowry 3

Topalov says, “It is a difficult position, let’s come back finish it some other day” :)

Onda Chess Topalov Lowry 3

Warmly applauded, Veselin Topalov and Ty Lowry inagurated the chess season at “Onda”

Breaking News

Scandal occurred after the chess-football exhibition


Our reporter from the Grand Hotel Sofia has just received breaking news! A new scandal is rocking the chess world, but this time it spreads and will have impact on the soccer world as well. Chess United has filed an official complaint against the dubious decisions during the match against Levski. There Ivan Cheparinov scored a spectacular goal at the moment the referee gave the end of the game.

Football Adams

The final decision of the Appealse Committee is the game to be replayed! The event will happen on May 13, 2008. We got in touch with the managers of the two teams, but they do not want to reveal what changes they will make in the lineup.

Gold plated icon for the winner

It is already a tradition at Mtel Masters: the winner receives an icon. The last two years Topalov won the “Entering Jerusalem” and “Saint George the Winner”. This year the prize is “Four Saints – Warriors”.


Georgios Makropoulos

The vice president of FIDE, Georgios Makropoulos, will arrive in Sofia today. He will be special guest of the closing ceremony of Mtel Masters 2007.

Play like Topalov

The American mathematician Jason Judith is the leader in the game Play like Topalov. Jason plays under the nickname NimzoCapa. He believes the secret of his success is that he is growing a beard and looks a little bit like Topalov.

Jason has guessed 152 move so far and is close to the record of Alex Brunetti.

Chess takes on Soccer

Prominent players of each sport will engage in a soccer and a chess event.


The organizers of M-tel Masters surprise us pleasantly with a promotional event that would connect chess with the most popular sport in Europe – football/soccer. To elaborate, there are to be formed two teams – one will consist of soccer stars of the local football team and current champion Levski Sofia, and the other one will see Sasikiran, Topalov, Adams, Kamsky, Mamedyarov and Nisipeanu. Teams are named “Soccer Utd” and “Chess Utd”, respectively. For the “Soccer United team” we will see the Bulgarian national team player Hristo Iovov, however the coach Stanimir Stoilov (current national team manager) is reluctant to reveal the rest of the lineup.

Chess vs. Soccer is going to be a two part event: For the soccer part, there will be a soccer game on “Georgi Asparuhov” stadium and the winners are awarded prizes from the sponsors: the mobile operator M-tel and insurance company Bulstrad. Thereafter, the second part will take place as a chess match between the captain of “Chess Utd” and Hristo Iovov.

This interesting and exciting event will take on the 15th of May at 12:30. The entrance on the stadium is free. Chessdom will soon put online instructions how to arrive at the stadium.

Levski Stadium

google satellite image