ChessBase Training Enhancements – an April 1st hoax

by ChessBase
4/3/2009 – Yes, yes, everybody recognised it as such within seconds. But since we only published the story in the late afternoon, our readers had ample time to jump to the conclusion that some of the other stories were jokes. Specifically: "Kiss the Queen" by Ivanchuk and the crazy game Hübner-Rogoff. We bring you some new insights and a lot of delightful letters from our readers.

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2009 ChessBase April Fool joke

Our traditional efforts to pull off an April Fool prank get harder by the year. Our readers know there is one coming, on exactly this day, and visit our site with their "okay-which-one-is-it?" glasses on. And there is a second dilemma. It is easy to construct a fake report that nobody can disprove ("Ilyumzhinov plans to move to Switzerland", "ChessBase bought by Google"), but difficult to make them funny. And funny is our main criterion, trumping everything else.

This year we really enjoyed preparing our spoof. "We" is Frederic Friedel and André Schluz from ChessBase, with some assistance from an American expert, Mig Greengard of ChessNinja. But of course in order to make the Training Enhancement story funny we had to make it really easy to detect. Especially by our expectant readers. So we decided to implement a different strategy (this time "we" is just Fred Friedel, probably the most devious of the lot). We would plant some fake April Fool reports.

It worked like a dream, as you can see in the feedback below. The letters came in three waves – actually four, since the late evening report on Ethiopian chess was immediately snapped up by a number of readers who thought the concept of playing a lot of moves out of sequence at the start of the game was just too crazy.

The first big wave came with the Ivanchuk "Kiss the Queen" story, which appeared just after midnight (in Europe) with the April 1st date stamp. Of course the story is perfectly true, Vassily Ivanchuk has invented a new variant and every rule, position and quote in our report was accurate.

The second wave was a reaction to the game we published nine hours later, at the end of the Kenneth Rogoff interview. Professor Rogoff actually was a very strong chess player. He is a full grandmaster, at one time ranked number 33 in the world. We will return to this at a later stage. Needless to say the game against Robert Hübner at the Student Olympiad in Graz 1972 was genuine. This is how Ken Rogoff described it to us:

The Hübner game was certainly a bizarre experience. Robert Hübner, having recently finished second in the Interzonal to Fischer, was playing white. I was having an extremely good tournament (not counting the Hübner game, I ended up with the second highest performance rating and score on first board, after Karpov). But I was hardly expecting an easy game, playing black against one of the best players in the world. Then he shocked me by offering a draw after one move! I should never have accepted, of course, but being a team tournament, and being so inexperienced, I somehow thought I should do so. The tournament director rightly refused the result, and ordered us to replay. Things got more and more bizarre, as Robert began to force me to take his pieces. I did so, but at the same time I did not want to win such a game, so I gave them back in (almost) equal measure. Eventually another draw was agreed. By this time, the whole tournament had effectively stopped and people were standing on the tables watching. As a minor footnote, the tournament director eventually decided to forfeit Hübner when he refused to try a third time to play a real game. We played again at the World Championship Interzonal in Biel in 1976, again with Hübner as White. This time, after a very sharp opening, I emerged with a small advantage in a sharp position. Hübner offered a draw, which of course (!) I refused, after which I was outplayed and lost.

Ken sent us the following photo, showing him at 17 (second from right) with Andy Soltis,
Mike Seinkawicz and Richard Verber at the World Championship under 26 in 1970

We also got the following additional information from IM Larry Kaufman of Potomac, MD, USA:

I was present during the game as a fellow member of the US team, I can tell you the story. Huebner was exhausted from some long adjournment session, and didn't want to play against the US that day. But his captain insisted. So Huebner agreed and offered Rogoff a draw on move one. Rogoff, being Black and lower rated, was glad to accept. However the organizers would not recognize a one move draw, and ordered the players to play another game. So, to protest the foolishness of pretending to play a game when they already agreed to a draw, they played this short silly game to make their point. After this game ended, Huebner spent the rest of the session playing blitz with me (I was not playing that round).

When we published the Training Enhancement article, about six hours later, things really heated up. There were two main schools of thought: first the readers who said: wait a minute, has ChessBase gone completely bonkers, did they publish multiple April Fool's jokes? And then the second who said, okaaay, the Training Enhancement stuff is clearly a prank, so the other stories must be... true!

Before we come to the letters a couple of remarks: the message from Nigel Short, at the end of the feedback, is genuine (we checked), but of course ironical. And a number of people remarked on our "coffee" enhancement offer, some asking why we ignored "toe-backo". Which reminded us of a truly hilarious sketch by the immortal Bob Newhart. You can watch it on Youtube – do so, you will not regret!

Readers' Feedback

Once again we find it amazing how many people wrote in, and from how many different continents and countries. Naturally we cannot quote all the feedback messages we receive, so using a semi-automatic process we select around a third. If your message is not included in the ones given below it is not because we thought it inferior to the others, but because our selection script simply skipped it. From the ones retrieved we manually eliminated those that were chaotically written, with caps switched on, or everything in small letters. In our selection we start with readers who were taken in by our April Fool prank. In the letters we quote (also around a third of the ones we received) we have removed the names, feeling that some readers might be embarrassed that they were fooled by us. Everything is roughly in chronological order.

General feedback

Neeraj Sharma, Swansea, UK
I am an Indian chess fan living in Swansea. I can't wait to find out what you are cooking for the annual 1st April fictitious article.

KC, West Lafayette,IN
ChessBase has surpassed itself yet again! Guys, if this is an April's fool joke - you have arranged quite an organization, involving the hilarious (yet venerable) Ivanchuk, Robert Fontaine and various websites! This is clearly the best April's fool ever! Videotaped and exhaustively explained! You have made my day ChessBase!

Robert Coeglin, Uppsala, Sweden
Haha, yea right! Nice try though to put the crazy Chuckys story up at April 1st date and keep this one, one day premature, but alas, we all know Chucky lives on another planet and to be fair, that kissing the queen thing actually seems reasonable... This thing about them playing chess in Africa though!! OMG, hilarious!! No I mean, the rules. The rules were hilarious. Yes, that's the one I meant.

KA, Germany
Once you think, "Those April fools jokes on ChessBase can't possibly get any more sophisticated", you guys still add a new twist in the next year. Thanks for the Ivanchuk joke, and looking forward to 2010!

AM, Ottawa, ON
Ivanchuk's variant is obviously your April Fool, which you guys try every year. Keep up the great work!

LB, Kinston, NC, USA
I saw it coming this time! I knew it was a fake! But it was a really good story, because the chess variant seems fun to try. Well done, this year. Is the rating list fake? You should've Kasparov at the top again, and pretended FIDE let him rejoin. Make up a story about him coming out of retirement. Maybe next year.

THL, Penang, Malaysia
Hah, I've been waiting anxiously for the April Fools news, and Ivanchuk is the story this year. Great try!

VS, Delhi, India
I think the Ivanchuk story certainly is the April Fool's Joke and I think this time i have caught it. Anyway nice variant!

MR, Doha, Qatar
Hilarious! I can't wait to get back from work (where video streaming is blocked) and watch the videos. This is an extremely creative game and too bad it had to be a nice April Fool's joke.

VR, Edmonton, Canada
Kiss the Queen? As always a brilliant April Fool's joke!

VK, Grafton, MA
What! You guys romped in Chucky to deliver this year's Fool's special? Well, he just explained another form of game. So, there is no lie in that. However, naked queen, kissing the queen, etc., sounds too weird to come from Ivanchuk. He should be concentrating on regular chess, especially after his big drop in ratings released today!

NZ, Singapore
Ivanchuk's new game is very interesting, but surely there is one fatal flaw. In regular chess you have something called the queen sacrifice. In Kiss the Queen you cannot sacrifice either the queen or the king! This is surely unrealistic given that on some occasions the king might want to sacrifice himself to save the queen (who then marries the king's brother, but that's neither here nor there). So you should introduce the rule that the king can sacrifice himself when that would ensure the queen survives (for the next 1 move). – Oh and this is obviously the April Fool's item – the other one is too prosaic and far-fetched. Although I am still searching for a rational explanation for the Hubner-Rogoff game.

Tony Dowden, Launceston, Australia
How can you be unaware that the notorious Student Olympiad game Hubner-Rogoff was in fact a pioneering (albeit poorly appreciated) example of 'Kiss the Queen'? It being the Ides of April, Ivanchuk might even volunteer that he drew his inspiration for his new game from this truly grandmasterly display of satire.

ZM, Petah Tiqwa, Israel
Incredible April 1st game by Rogoff!

VB, Manipal, India
Ha! For about 25 minutes i was scratching my head at this obnoxious game. Was cursing myself for not understanding any of the moves. Only then realised the date. Very innovative!

Joseph, New London
That was funny, after the bishops started making those dumb moves I started thinking of why ChessBase would have so many mistakes, then I realized it was April 1st. Great site and thanks for being on top of things.

UB, Cary, NC
Alright, you almost got me thinking about this "new" chess game till the end. Then suddenly I remembered the date! A very good prank :)

JP, Fair Grove, MO, USA
I almost forgot that today was April 1! When I replayed the "game" between the economist and "one of the world's leading grandmasters of the time" I couldn't believe what was going on! Glad to accept the offer of a draw! Incredibly deep Queen sacrifice indeed! SOMETHING is incredibly deep, that's for certain. Thanks for the chuckle and good job.

JP, Fair Grove, MO, USA
I should have read this before sending the previous message. We get a 2 for 1 special on jokes today, considering the spoof economist's game with the double queen sacrifices and the doping article. Thanks...

RA, San Diego
April Fool! That game is a pretty flimsy April Fool's hoax. Try harder!

Around this time the "Training Supplement" article appeared.

SM, Mumbai, India
You guys are amazing!! THREE brilliant April 1st pranks!! Thanks, and looking forward to next year!

Alessandro Jones, Lugano, Switzerland
You mean the Ivanchuk variant is for real, or is this, along with the Rogoff game, a triple-whammy of April's fools bonanza?! In any case, this year you've been keeping me on my toes all day!

Joe, NY, USA
Very funny articles for this great occasion. Starting from the piece on the Anti-Rogoff Sicilian to the chess supplements. Good job.

Royce Campbell, Tulsa, OK, USA
FIDE doping!! I was way off last year, but I KNOW (lol) I'm right this time. You had some nice swerves this year, especially the Huebner-Rogoff game. But I remember playing a skittles game where captures are forced. This had to be the rule here! Chucky invents "Kiss the Queen?" You saved this one for April 1st as a dodge, huh? Sigh. Now I gotta wait a whole 'nother year. Sigh.

VS, Serres, Greece
Although this year you posted quite a few news on April 1st, it is obvious that the new ChessBase products and Rogoff's game are fake. You have quite an imagination, although it was not believable at all.

AS, Mumbai, India
Are you crazy or what? Is this a full fool's day show.

Johannes Kindler, Zürich, Switzerland
"Training Enhancement": the April hoax at last! This year you very cleverly misled us with Ivanchuk's "Queen Kiss" and Rogoff's "jewel of a game". If you had only published one of those stories, I without hesitation would have regarded it as the hoax. Well done, thanks!

Devangshu, Delhi, India
Good medicine! Nice of you to obfuscate the traditional April Fool story with several weird but true items. Your new product line can be accessorised with hair-gel for the curly beast from Baku clones, filter coffee cups to feed the South Indian coffee addiction and cigarette holders for the Big Vlad clones. Incidentally the guy on stage with Anand is a big, big giveaway.

Richard Reich, Fitchburg, WI, USA
Nice touch to publish the arranged game between Huebner and Rogoff as a mock April Fools' joke. Of course, the drug enhancers story was the real joke. As I recall, the blunderfest was a protest game, perhaps against an early game start? Look forward to next year's installment.

Tratama Noordeen, Jakarta, Indonesia
I was ready this year and almost thought that Ivanchuk's Kissing The Queen was this year's 1st April prank. Then I saw your doping story. Bingo! Unless you have two pranks this year!?

Martin Hansen, Copenhagen
Hmm... wonder if Igor N. Stein is somehow related to Frank? Talayahuasca sounds Aztec to me, so I would expect this plant to be found in Mexico rather than the Amazon forest. Your April fools joke is quite funny this time (as always), but maybe it's a little too obvious?

Gregory Muhammad, Milwaukee, WI USA
This was ChessBases' best April Fool's story yet!!! I was half way through the article until I realized that I had been snooked!!! The fact that I was reading the article with great interest tells the state of my game. I was looking for some help! Very good. Very, very good!

Desmond Rooplal, Durban, South Africa
Brilliant guys!! Well done, very creative. Much better than the Qxd7 sac Rogoff.

Robert Ratsch, Brazil
Very Funny April 1st joke, this year!! Had a lot of laughs!

Alex Shaffer, Texas, USA
Lots of laughs! Nice try on such a fine day. Perhaps you should add something to smoke in your product line for some tension relief. This would enhance a players' concentration at the board!

Brian, Ireland
You have got to be kidding, right? A pity you've already run out of stock, I could do with a boost of my embarrassingly low levels of "Kasparovastic acid" (or whatever it is your "April Fool wonks" are calling it) in my chess metabolic system. I would buy it if only it was available. Guess I'll have to just invest more time and sweat to improve.

Carlos Sirgado, Lisbon, Portugal
Congratulations! Your joke about training enhancement is excellent! When the world is falling, with this crisis, it's good to read, on the ChessBase site, that you have there happy guys with capacity to make us smile! You told us that Capa formula is out of stock!? You know if there is someone selling it in the black market?

Rachid Boutchicha, Algeria
Nice Joke, as we say in French: poisson d'avril. My question is: I'm interested to have all the items, so what happens if I combine all of them in once?

Geoff Marchant, London, England
What's this stuff "coffee"? Doesn't sound much good to me. I'd like 100 capsules of Sizifit though, please, as soon as possible!

Neeraj Sharma, Swansea, UK
There you are! My anticipation has ended. Nice one, but I thought last year's joke about Fischer was better. Keep it coming guys. Really enjoy them! How many orders have you had so far?

Alex B., Montreal
This has got to be one of your worst April Fool's jokes ever.

Gordon McIsaac, Canada
Thanks, I needed a good laugh today!

Andrew Plunkett, Orillia, Ontario, Canada
I have got to say that for about three seconds you had me fooled, until I remembered it was April Fool's day. Now where can I get those supplements again! Chessbase is losing its knack for a good April Fool's joke.

Paul Martin, Laporte, USA
The Training Enhancement article was a nice fit into the current news environment: it took me at least three seconds to connect it to April Fool's Day.

Anas, Malaysia
This year April Fool was the hardest to spot. Anyway, Rx Gene Formula was a good idea too. Good job ChessBase.

Christopher Wong, Douglaston, New York
Sorry, I did not get fooled this time. You forgot to add that the Capablanca formula would have also turned its recipients into good tennis players and chess players who can see everything at one glance of the chessboard – and no more!

Zak Smith, Houston, Tx.
Lot's of fun, great laughs. Not as good as last year, however. I think the ploy was more easily believable, and actually had me on the hook for awhile. Quick Suggestion: if you had some actual coffee in stock, you might be able to make a quick buck from those who were disappointed in the other products "availability".

Vishal Lama, Los Angeles, USA
This year's April Fool's joke isn't a great one, in the sense that one knew right from the start that the Training Enhancement thing was just a bunch of rubbish, though I enjoyed the humor part of it!

Brian Esler, Portland, Oregon
Definitely the best April Fools prank so far. Very clever, guys!

Harvey Patterson, Canada
You guys get weirder every year.

Pete B, Nottingham, England
The best April Fool's story so far! Thanks for making me laugh so hard. Well done, I look forward to next years story.

Alistair Chew, Singapore
Ha, April 1st is made that much more pleasurable by looking out for your creative instincts. In this case, creative extracts and other 'useful' training aids...

Zaki N., Fresno, USA
I have to admit that for a split second I believed it. You guys are doing an amazing job. You got me a few years back with the players playing against each where once side can only see the pieces of the other side. But not this time. Furthermore, even the link to the products was very well done. To the untrained eye, they look very realistic. Way to go ChessBase team. Keep up the good work on all news deliveries. Thanks

Phil Dixon, Peshtigo, WI
I presume this is an April Fools joke as are the rest of them. I do not particularly find this amusing and would be vociferously against any enhancements of this type.

Angelo Mattiello, Veracruz, Mexico
Amazing new products, people! I am a little worried about the side effects, though. If you would please be so kind as to inform me (and the general public, for that matter) what effects do the new supplements have on the "hippothingy"?PS: The copy of "Kimo" I ordered never arrived... That's just how long I've been reading your site. Anyway, keep up the good humor!

Andrea Robert, Bergamo, Italy
Great enhancements, and great April Fool's day too (but not as the Rogoff one. I was about to trust you, but I recovered in time!) Would you sell the enhancements if you have the opportunity?

Wallace Hannum, Menlo Park, CA
I always enjoy your annual April Fool's jokes, but this year's was a bit flat. While I enjoyed reading the write-ups on the different 'enhancement' drugs, it was not as clever (or convincing) as in previous years. And while I do appreciate poking fun at FIDE's insane drug policy (what ARE they testing for?) it was not exactly Swiftian. That said, the coffee bit did make me laugh! PS: Of course, Kramnik DNA from 1993 would be the same as DNA from 1983 or 2023.

Anis Chabchoub, Meppen, Germany
I did not click the Link "order now"!! How many did? Any stats? Good joke! Thx for the daily news update, continue the good work!

Richard Kramer, Oud-Beijerland, The Netherlands
Nice, funny joke!!! Especially pills to improve a particular opening are great! Well done.

Zi Jing, Wong, University of Cambridge, UK
As much as I respect your effort in creating so many 'articles' today, this particular hoax about chess training supplements is just too shallow. You can probably only trick little kids with that. And no doubt there is something very fishy about the Playchess lecture with the theme of Albert Einstein, due to the strange timing. However, bravo for digging out the 'classic' game of Prof. Kenneth Rogoff!! I actually believed you that it really happened, but I thought it was a friendly game or something like that, until I asked my best friend (aka Google) to make a search for verification. Anyway, the truth is: really lightens up every April fool's day of mine. Thanks.

Hoang Nghia Le, Warsaw, Poland
Not difficult to find out. This is a 1/4 joke. The Fischer's last year was (in my opionion) more shocking. However, this one is funny and slightly beneficial for players

Igor Freiberger, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Strangely, ChessBase always publishes curious news when April begins. Coincidence, for sure. I suppose a 2010 interview say something like "Nowadays almost 70% of ChessBase revenue comes from our training supplements. This number could be even greater if we don't have to face huge piracy of Mattosteron, sold illegally through the Web." Personally, I'd be grateful if you release a drug to avoid 'game sacrifices' and 'uncombinations'. Hope a supplement with this purpose would be available soon.

Shiva Sundaram
Ohh man! Nice try, very, very nice! I smelled something fishy, especially when you did not mention who the famous personality standing next to Anand was (Dhoni, captain of our cricket team). You unfailingly identify all people in photos. Next April 1st you need to make the articles more professional, to hide your evil designs of wasting more of our time (oh please do, I am just kidding).

Andrew Pankhurst, East Midlands, UK
At first, I thought it was real, but then it dawned on me, and gave me a small chuckle. The best April Fools is trying to convince someone that the day isn't actually April Fools Day, and seeing their reactions once they check and realise you've just tricked them.

Pablo Pena, CA
The problem with having April fools' jokes is that everybody is ready for them on April 1st. Maybe you could try doing it on April 10th or 3rd next time.

Konstantin Orfenov, Horley, UK
Well done guys – this must be the funniest April's fool joke I have seen for a few years...

Frank, Canada
Loved it guys! Keep up the good work.

Ugur Yuvarlak, Istanbul, Turkey
I thought "hmm... ChessBase seems to be exploiting every profitable development in chess..." But after that my tired brain remembered it's the 1st of April.

Vladimir Skavysh, Martinsville, USA
Hey, what's wrong with you this year? Rx gene therapy? Dragon Variation in a pill? The Rogoff interview was funnier than this!

V.D. Cupertino CA
April Fools!! It was well executed, although in light of last years, this one paled. Still THANK YOU for getting my day off to a GREAT START

Joao Ricardo de Freitas Oliveira, Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil
I miss the computer-pill that, after one swallows it, one's brain start receiving Rybka first-option moves. I loved the Talayahuasca photo over the chessboard! So stimulating! Kramnik, Kasparov and Anand photos are hilarious! Thanks for making me laugh.

Paolo Quiesin, Cerro Gordo Chile Grande, Apodaca, Mexico
Can you tell me when can I have these products? I have a 1350 rating and want to improve. I have read like 300 books but it has not worked!

Denis Bucher, Sydney, Australia
Ok, I don't expect anyone older than three to fall for this Year April fool's day. I'm I correct?

Krishneel Nair, Nausori, Fiji
Nice April 1st prank dudes. This one really caught me. It made me laugh for about 35 minutes.

T.S. Randall, Angels Camp, USA
I look forward to your early April report every year now. Applause!

Matt, Australia
Please tell me this is a sick April fools joke!

V. Dibescu, Bucharest, Romania
Sorry, you guys are Germans, you can't expect to be funny.

Johan Hasselgren, Uppsala, Sweden
I am confused by the decision of FIDE to abandon efforts to become an Olympic sport. I have always dreamt of the day when proud players of chess as well as checkers, go, backgammon, monopoly as well as tic tac toe would join the big happy Olympic family. Break the elitist preoccupation with physical fitness! Give some hope for not that well trained middle aged people like me!

Parag Samant, Mumbai, India
This time around, the heading itself gave away the April fool joke. But before hitting the feedback link, out of curiosity, I clicked on the FIDE announcement link to find out if you somehow got FIDE to participate in the joke. But no, the link just goes to FIDE.COM where there is no mention of any such announcement.

Deepak Gupta, New Delhi, India
I am extremely excited about this new line of drugs. I have never been a great chess player, but thanks to this new line, I have decided to take up chess as a career option and order the samples of Anand, Kasparov and Kramnik. All of them. I understand that due to high demand, they are currently out of stock. But I am willing to wait, for as long as it takes.

Demetris Gatziolis, Portland Oregon USA
April 1st joke. You need to polish them a bit better; they are obvious the last few years.

Soren Riis, Oxford
This is great news. Do you have medicine that will also help playing "kiss the queen"? I would also like to order pharmaceuticals would help me better appreciate the game between Huebner,Robert (2590) and Rogoff,Kenneth (2430) you published the 1st of April 2009.

Romeo Bayot, California, USA
Very good try for an April fool's day, ChessBase. This one gave me a good and hearty laugh after reading your very enticing story! I'm sure there will be a lot of orders from people out there gullible enough to believe this. A DNA extracted from Anand?!!! Kramnik too!!! And of course from Kasparov. Hope you would do a better one next year. One that will really make somebody guess and second guess himself or herself if your article is true or not. Thank you and keep it coming!

Mike, Wales
April fool! I liked this drug one, nicely done.

Nkekere Tommy, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
This joke is on FIDE! They should appreciate how silly this sounds!

Shahram Mohseni, Stanford, California
Nice try, it was totally obvious though.

Barry Adams, Homer, MI
Great! I'll take two of each.

Bibek Shrestha, Kathmandu, Nepal
You should make an April fool's joke only after a few years' interval. Maybe then you'll catch people by surprise.

Albert Frank, Brussels, Belgium
I really hope it's a 1st April joke! (We never know, with all the new absurdities)

Michael Lin, San Francisco, CA 94116
Oh no, you don't have enough! When will you have more of these products stocked? I have the Foxwoods open next week and I need to take as many of these as I can before hand, because I haven't had the time to study my tactics as usual. Kasparov's DNA will surely help. Thanks for your help.

GM Nigel Short, from Pattaya, Thailand
Brilliant April Fool! Topalov being rated 29 points above everyone else? That was hilarious! By the way, can you send me some of those new drugs you've got?

Previous ChessBase April 1st pranks

  • Just uncovered – Fischer's Electronic Archives
    01.04.2008 – Two and a half months after the death of the great chess legend Bobby Fischer, the examination of his legal estate has yielded some intriguing information, gleaned from the hard disk of his notebook computer. Apparently the reclusive former World Champion followed the chess activities of his colleagues quite closely, and in fact corresponded with a few of them. Today we received copies of his letters. Retractions.

  • Fritz trainer: Emanuel Lasker, New York 1924
    01.04.2007 – After winning the 1924 New York tournament Dr Emanuel Lasker, who was passionately interested in new technologies, recorded his comments on the games using the fledgling new technology of talking movies. The film material was recently recovered and digitally remastered. We have turned it into a Fritz Trainer DVD with twelve video lessons. You can order it now. Retractions.

  • ChessBase: no more April Fool's jokes
    01.04.2006 – In the past years our web site has published a series of elaborate April Fool's stories. Not this year, and not any more. An international watchdog group which calls itself League for Truth and Veracity, is threatening news services as well as private pranksters all over the world with lawsuits for publishing false information. This unfortunate activity spells the end of an old tradition. Reactions.

  • Amber: Bareev beats Anand 2-0 in first round Kriegspiel
    01.04.2005 – After the Blindfold and Rapid tournaments in Monaco, on April 1st 2005 the Kriegspiel section started. The main point about this variant of chess is that players only get to see their own pieces, not those of their opponents. They also do not know what moves the other side has made, so they have to guess where the opponent's pieces are. Only the referee knows exactly the real position of both sets of pieces. GM Evgeny Bareev started with a stunning 2-0 victory over Vishy Anand. How the prank was perpetrated.

Alexei Shirov during a Kriegspiel game

  • Kimo – an 'intelligent' approach to chess
    01.04.2004 – On April 1st 2004 we announced that a new chess program named Kimo was due for release. It worked with chess knowledge derived from 20,000 master games, which had been extensively analysed by the program, which drew heuristic conclusions on the principles of chess: the value of the pieces in different positions, their strengths and weaknesses, attacking and defensive motifs, etc. Although it examined just two positions per second (as opposed to millions in a traditional brute force search) it was able to hold its own against the world's strongest programs. The story was modified in the article Kimo – the full truth.

  • The bionic chess interface
    01.04.2003 – On April 1st 2003 we reported that the Brutus FPGA hardware project that ChessBase was engaged in had been taken up by the US National Science Foundation and other US defence agencies who had been working on a project to interface the brain directly with computer equipment. The scientists working on the project decided that the hippocampus, a portion of the temporal lobe, was the ideal location for a "bionic interface". There was a vigorous reaction from our readers ('Please don't touch my hippothingy!').

    Laboratory rat with a chess bionic interface

  • New Fischer move: the retractor
    01.04.2002 – On April 1st 2002 we reported that the reclusive ex-world champion Bobby Fischer has introduced a number of important innovations into the game. After the Fischer Clock and Fischer Random Chess he is now proposing a further change, the "Fischer move". It was presented to FIDE and will come up for a vote at the Executive Council meeting in Dubai. Reactions.

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