Advent calendar: December 12

by Vera Jürgens
12/12/2016 – From December 1 to December 24 we invite our readers every day to open a door in our advent calendar. Click and enjoy a little chess treat. Advent calendar, door 12.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


The three-year old who plays blitz with Karpov

With this three-year old child you do not need Sofia rules. In November he demonstrated his chess skills in a Russian TV show in which he had to face Anatoly Karpov over the board.

Michael Osipov appears to be shy before the camera but his smile wins the hearts of the audience. The TV show "You Are the Best" focuses on children between the age of three and twelve who have extraordinary talents and the three-year old Mischa is invited to demonstrate his skill on the chessboard. 

The little boy shows self-confidence. He declines the offered help and manages to climb the stairs to the stage all by himself. "You are quite independent", remarks showmaster Maxim Galkin and asks Mischa to tell the audience which is his greatest hobby. "Chess", is Mischa's prompt answer. He does not know that soon he has to demonstrate his chess skills. When he hears that his challenger is no other than the 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov he remains calm. He shakes the hand of the star and addresses him in a formal way.

Karpov: "I have never before played against such a young opponent"

The game begins. Mischa has the white pieces and ten minutes on the clock, Karpov plays with two minutes. It quickly becomes apparent how well Mischa knows the opening. Asked by Karpov which opening they just do have on the board, Mischa correctly replies "Nimzowitsch", before confidently making his next move.
"Anatoly, what is the little one trying to do?", the showmaster wants to know.
"To outplay me", answers Karpov which causes cheerful laughter among the audience. "I have never before played against such a young opponent", Karpov adds, before concentrating on the complicated position on the board.
"Psychological weapons are used against you", the showmaster throws in. 
"True, he looks at me like I used to look at my opponents. You want to know what they feel, how much your opponents trusts and likes the position on the board.

The showmaster reveals that the little boy already has a strength of about 1500 to 1600 Elo.  
But in the game Mischa is gradually running out of time. When both players have about the same time left on the clock, Karpov offers a draw. But Mischa declines.

"You will lose on time", Karpov warns but the boy does not care. He is here to play chess. Mischa also declines the second draw offer and then happens what had to happen: the boy oversteps the time and loses. At first, Mischa is calm but he then gradually loses the fight against the tears.

Mischa's mother: "Karpov did everything right"

Exercises that were solved quickly: three times mate in three


Fortunately, Mischa's mother is nearby to console her son. Mischa calms down and says he is ready to solve the following three three-movers:

White to move - mate in three


White to move - mate in three


White to move - mate in three

Mischa solves all three tasks without problems. Afterwards Xenia, Mischa's mother, says: 

"Karpov did everything right. It would have been wrong to lose on purpose. What kind of grandmaster loses to a three-year-old? Tis would neither be good for Mischa. Now my son is even more motivated to focus on chess. He wants to become grandmaster."

Xenia reveals that Mischa started to get interested in chess when he was two years old after he had seen his dad and his grandfather at the board. He first only played at home but when he was two years and eight months old, his parents introduced him to a chess trainer.

"Recently, he is interested in playing on the internet. He thinks it is fantastic to play with chessplayers from all over the world, e.g. from Malaysia."   

(The Russian website:

Nh6+, Ng5+ and Bf6

The door to the office of the CEO

Vera Jürgens is a German-Bulgarian chess grandmaster, book author, translator and psychologist. She is a double German champion in rapid and blitz. As a Bulgarian and later German national player, she participated in many European and world championships as well as three Chess Olympiads.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register