Do you recognize the guy in the picture? No? Well, don't worry. He is a Tai Chi Chuan push hands champion nowadays and you haven't certainly played him in recent chess tournaments. But in childhood he was a chess prodigy and the american (chess) community hoped he would have become the new Bobby Fischer. Yes, this guy is Josh Waitzkin, subject of the book and movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (in which you can find famous Hollywood stars such as Joe Mantegna, Ben Kingsley, Laurence Fishburne, William H. Macy, Laura Linney and others). Josh walked away from chess about seven years ago, when he was 24, becoming very interested in learning about Buddhist, Taoist philosophies and Tai Chi. In the last years he was also busy writing his first non-chess book, "The art of learning", which will be released by Simon and Schuster's Free Press on May 8. In this book "Waitzkin looks back at his accomplishments, revealing how he managed to become an iconic figure in two very different fields of competition—one for the mind and one for the body"; he also "explains the principles of learning and concentration that have propelled him through so many daunting contests". You can find more informations on Josh's official site, http://www.joshwaitzkin.com.
Coming back to chess arguments, yesterday there were really tough battles at "Amber" tourney in Monte Carlo. After blundering a lot in the first part of the event, Vishy Anand is now playing at his best and in round 8 he didn't give any chance to Spanish Francisco Vallejo, winning both blindfold and rapid games. He is now in second place with 10.5 points out of 16, but Vladimir Kramnik, who is 1 point and a half ahead, keeps being clear favourite for the title. The most interesting match played yesterday was the one between Vassily Ivanchuk and young Norwegian star Magnus Carlsen. Less than one month ago Carlsen won both his games with Chuky in Morelia/Linares and result hasn't changed too much: their first game in Monaco was drawn, but Magnus crushed his opponent in the second with a nice exchange sacrifice. Here is the game: note that 16...Bf6 is a big mistake: 16...Bxd6 would have led to an unclear position.
Carlsen,M (2690)-Ivanchuk,V (2750) [E15], Melody Amber (Rapid) 25.03.2007
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. Qc2 c5 6. d5 exd5 7. cxd5 Bb7 8. Bg2 Nxd5 9. O-O Be7 10. Rd1 Nc6 11. Qf5 Nf6 12. e4 g6 13. Qf4 O-O 14. e5 Nh5 15. Qg4 d5 16. exd6 Bf6 17. Nc3 Nd4 18. Nxd4 Bxg2 19. Nf5 Bc6 20. d7 Qc7 21. Nd5 Bxd5 22. Rxd5 Rfd8 23. Be3 Bxb2 24. Nh6+ Kf8 25. Rad1 Bg7 26. Rxh5 gxh5 27. Qf5 1-0