Leapfrog (Tandem) chess simul

Tandem SimulOn January 26, I had a chance to do something I thought impossible for me.

With “Mr. G.”, a well-known teacher of Chess, Mathematics and Music in the San Francisco Bay Area, I gave a leapfrog (tandem) simultaneous chess exhibition against 50 opponents at Quinlan Community Center, Cupertino, California. In leapfrog chess, two (or more) people play against several people simultaneously, alternating moves without consulting. In this exhibition, we played White on all boards, I making the odd-numbered (1, 3, 5, …) moves and Mr. G. making the even-numbered (2, 4, 6, …) moves.

Playing simultaneous chess exhibition (called “simul” for brevity) itself is very challenging, having very little time to think and requiring to handle multiple games at a time. Playing tandem simuls are even harder, because the two players may have different styles, may think different plans and may be comfortable with different types of positions and openings. I was not sure whether it is even possible to handle this many games.

We not only played 50 games, but won all of them, with a perfect 100% score! Well, three people had to leave early, and we didn’t have winning advantage in those games. So, it is 47/47 instead of 50/50, but it is still 100%!

Tandem SimulOne challenge we had was, we play completely different opening systems. Mr. G. plays 1. d4, while I have never played any first move other than 1. e4. We sat down to decide a common opening system both are comfortable with, without success. So, finally we decided to open with 1. d4 and use either the Stonewall system or Colle system, both Mr. G. is very familiar with. He gave me a book on these openings, and for the first time in my life, I had to prepare some opening system for a match!

This had some consequences: One of the opponents, Aryan, prepared a gambit line (which I didn’t know) against 1. d4, and I messed up in the opening and our position was ruined after the opening. Our King was lured to the center, with all kinds of attacks around it. Aryan missed several winning chances in the game, and we managed to transform the game into an even Rook and pawn ending. We beat Aryan using our superior understanding of the endgame in 60 moves. This was the best fight in the match. (See Game 2 below)

Tandem SimulMost of the opponents were kids, but some of them were really good. Some adults also were there. To our surprise, Fred, veteran player and director of Koulty Chess Club, San Jose joined in the middle, producing the most complicated and longest (69) game in the match.

Some statistics:

  • We made a total of 1302 moves in 50 games, with an average of around 26 moves (Standard deviation = 13.6) per game. Median = 21, Mode = 18.
  • We took 6 hours 40 minutes. That means 18.4 seconds/move. But we waited in each round at halfway so that the other can catch up on the other side, and we estimated we did such wait for a total of 60 minutes. So we took 400 x 60 – 3600 = 20400 seconds for 1302 moves, means approximately 15.67 seconds per move on average. This includes the time to write down the moves (both our and the opponents’) on the scoresheet.
  • The longest game was against Fred (69 moves). Then comes Aryan (60), Nandit (54), Jeffrey (52), Easwar (48), Rahul (43) and Raghu (42). The shortest game was by Arthur (8 moves), but he withdrew early. Then comes Hari (11), Austin (11), Gavin (13 – withdrew), Vighnesh (13), Kevin (15), Likith (15), Pratham (15). The shortest checkmate was against Vighnesh (13 moves).

Download PDF bookFor some analysis of the games, see this PDF document.

All the games played are given below in a JavaScript chess board. The games are arranged in the order of decreasing quality, so the people who played the games at the bottom blundered pieces away early in the game. A few games in the beginning are worth watching.

വാൽക്കഷണം: റിയാദിന്റെ ഈ പ്ലസ് പോസ്റ്റ് വായിക്കാൻ മറക്കരുതേ :)

ചെസ്സ് (Chess)

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തീവണ്ടി and the girl – ഒരു Valentine വിലാപകാവ്യം

(1992, Bombay, Waiting for a train to go to an interview)
Perhaps if I miss it
I may lose my bread;
But if I rush to get it
It will cost my head.
തീവണ്ടി കിട്ടിയില്ലെന്നാല്‍
ജോലി കിട്ടാതിരുന്നിടാം;
അതു കിട്ടാനോടിയെന്നാല്‍
തല പോയെന്നുമായിടാം.
Perhaps if I miss her
I may lose a wife;
But if I haste to get her
It will cost my life.
കിട്ടാനായി പ്രയത്നിച്ചാല്‍
തടി കേടായി വന്നിടാം.

(1994, Valentine’s day, Bombay)
The train knew my mind
And stopped – oh, how kind!
I achieved my bread
Without losing my head.
മമ മനമറിഞ്ഞിട്ടു തീവണ്ടിയിന്നെന്റെ-
യരികത്തു വന്നു നിന്നല്ലോ
തലയെന്റെ ഗളമതിന്‍ മുകളിലിരിപ്പുണ്ടു
കരതാരില്‍ ജോലി വന്നല്ലോ
The girl saw my heart
And came – oh, how smart!
I achieved my wife
Without losing my life.
അവളെന്റെ ഹൃദയം മിടിക്കുന്ന ശബ്ദത്തില്‍
തരളിതയായി വന്നെത്തി
ഒരു നല്ല ഭാര്യയെക്കിട്ടുമെനിക്കിപ്പോള്‍
ഉയിരുണ്ടു മമ ശരീരത്തില്‍!

(Some time later…)
The train went forward
Before I could catch;
I fell down in dirt
And scattered into pieces.
കേറിപ്പിടിക്കുന്നതിന്റെ മുമ്പയ്യയ്യോ
തീവണ്ടിയെന്നെയും വിട്ടുപോയേ…
നാറുന്ന ചേറില്‍ പതിച്ചു ഞാനന്നേരം
ആയിരം പീസുപീസായിപ്പോയേ..
(താനാരോ… തെന്നാരോ…)
The girl
I could
Love her.
My life
Lost its
And rhyme
കഴിയുന്നതിനു മുമ്പു്
അവള്‍ പോയി.
എന്റെ ജീവിതം

സമര്‍പ്പണം: ബൂലോഗത്തിലെ നിരാശാകാമുകനും ഏറ്റവും പുതിയ യുവ-ആധുനിക-കവിയുമായ പച്ചാളത്തിനു്.

ആക്ഷേപഹാസ്യം (satire)

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ഒരു പ്രണയഗീതം

ഈ പ്രണയദിനത്തില്‍ പത്തു കൊല്ലം മുമ്പു ഞാനെഴുതിയ ഒരു പ്രണയകവിത (rhyme എന്നു വിളിക്കുകയാണു ഭേദം) പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിക്കട്ടേ.

They say many a…

They say many a door
    Is there wide apart ;
But I found only one
    Which is through your heart.

They say many a music
    Will hold me for long ;
But I would be deaf
    Without your song.

They say many a dazzling
    Thing is around ;
But apart from your smile
    None I have found.

They say many a light
    Will guide me in the haze ;
But I found only two
    Which are under your brows.

They say many a dream
    Is worth for a view ;
But for me all are full of
    You, only you !


Comments (22)


We are two…

The idea – as well as certain metaphors – of this poem, written in 1994, was stolen from a little-known Russian poem, the details of which I forgot.

We are two legs galloping forward,
     We are two eyes beholding the moon,
We are two lips containing a kiss,
     And we are two ears enjoying a tune.

We are two hands that stretch a bow
     And set an arrow to hit an aim,
We are two partners in a mixed doubles,
     Working together to win a game.

We are two sides of a Mobius strip
     Which are the same but still distinct,
We are two lids of a beautiful eye
     Which know to be one when they do want to wink.

We are like childish and matured lives,
     (When one ends and the other begins?)
We are like friendship and love all mixed,
     (Where one transforms to other and wins!).

We are like you and me, my girl,
Two wonderful lives with a common soul!

കവിതകള്‍ (My poems)

Comments (5)


The sea and the shore

A poem I wrote in 1994:

I am the sea – no, in fact I am the ocean
     Which you felt terrific;
I often seem to be in power and motion
     But inside cool, pacific.

You are the land – no, in fact are the shore
     On which I budged my lips;
I rose to your forehead but then ebbed to your feet,
     And you never felt my kiss.

You’re very strong and firm in the core
     Peaceful, cool and calm;
But on your surface, you have many pebbles
     Always restless, warm.

They stamped on you, threw dirt on you,
     Making you so sore,
You gave them all the shells you have
     And asked then, “Want some more?”

I always came to give new shells
     To add more glues to you,
I always cared to clean the wounds
     On you, as I withdrew.

In day, you got so hot, I touched
     To keep you cool and calm;
In night, you shivered in cold, I hugged
     To guard you with my warmth.

I absorb anything always slow
     To hold it for a long –
Whether it’s heat or whether it’s love
     Or whether it’s just a song.

I’m not the water that surrounds you,
     But you encircle me,
You’re the shore and my soul and my dream
     On all my sides I see.

Where is the end of of me, you know –
     The last drop you can feel;
Where is the end of you, I know –
     The last pebble I can heel.

My life is not in vain, my friend,
     When I sing for thee,
My song is not waste, when it lends
     Thy lovely lips a glee!

The last stanza is a distant translation of a stanza by the Malayalam poet Sugathakumari. See this post.

കവിതകള്‍ (My poems)

Comments (6)


The optimist and the pessimist

A poem I wrote during two different moods. The left part was written in 1987, while the right part was written in 1992.

Knock not at my door, my friend,
     Let me calmly sleep,
I haven’t miles to go for hunt,
     Nor any promise to keep.

Knock please at my door, my friend,
     I know when I should sleep,
I have a lot to go in front,
     And many a promise to keep.

I sought the words of learned men,
     But I was always wrong,
I felt like in a tiger’s den,
     I could not stand that long.

Don’t make me drink from another’s well,
     Let me choose my path,
Whether it leads to heaven or hell,
     To no one I have wrath.

Whatever I did want to learn —
     I was never taught;
Whatever I did long to earn —
     I have never got;

Whatever I do want to learn —
     I seek its rule and line;
Whatever I do long to earn —
     I snatch and make it mine;

Whenever I did fall to sin,
     I was always caught;
Whenever I was examined,
     They proved that I am naught;

Whenever am I caught for sin,
     I take it candidly;
Whenever am I examined,
     I take it sportively.

I always looked down, only found
     The bitter part of life;
The duties stroke me down to ground
     I could not stand that strife.

I always look up, only find
     The better part of life;
I learned to enjoy do my work,
     I don’t call it strife.

കവിതകള്‍ (My poems)

Comments (3)