New chess table to ensure security

by Frederic Friedel
4/1/2022 – Two years ago, to the day, we reported that Garry Kasparov had launched a project called "Corochess", introducing a new chess table that would enforce full social distancing during the pandemic. Now a Russian leader has taken it a step further. His table is designed to ensure that he cannot be physically attacked during a game. Take a look at what his future mastches will look like.

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As we reported two years ago, to the day, that in light of the corona pandemic Garry Kasparov had launched a project called "Corochess". It introduced a new chess table (picture above) that would enforce full social distancing in championship matches. The board was Alexa or Google Assistant driven: you spoke the moves that were automatically executed on the board in the middle of the table.

This April 1st jest seemed, at the time, a little inappropriate – unless you agreed with experts who told us that it was important (including for our immune system) to keep our spirits up during the global pandemic crisis. The background was described in this big Covid-19 report.

Today we take a step further into the realm of tastelessness, and describe a new wartime development. Here is the chess table designed by a Russian leader Vladimir Putin (click to enlarge)

The inventor is apparently worried about his safety, and fears possible physical attacks by his opponents. The idea is to keep as much distance between the players during the games.

To illustrate his general concerns: here is how he confers with his closest staff and advisors

As I have said before, April Fool pranks have become progressively more difficult over the years. Of course it is easy to fool people with some unverifiable made up report ("Blitz Chess banned in Russia"), but it misses an essential ingredient: the joke needs to be funny. However, even if you succeed in constructing a genuinely funny fake story, our friends at Google make it possible to detect the hoax within minutes. So we have given up trying to fool anybody. Just provide some outrageous story for the this auspicious day.

Here are some examples of past pranks – which actually worked very well at the time.

Some previous April Fools pranks

The April Fools' prank that was and wasn't
4/4/2013 – In 2013 we gave it our best shot to fool readers, with one fake April Fools' report (an appeal filed for Sainthood for Bobby Fischer – perfectly true) appearing during the day, and then the real one: FIDE April 2013 ratings – and reform plans.

Breaking news: World Championship 2014 in Norway
4/1/2014 – They waited to see who would be the challenger. When it became clear that it was Anand the Norwegian government made an express bid to FIDE to stage the event in World Champion Magnus Carlsen's home country. The dates are not fixed, but the venue is – and it is spectacular: the match will be played on oil rig in the North Sea! We have an interview with the Norwegian Oil and Energy minister.

On an oil rig? You gotta be kidding!
4/4/2014 – Indeed we were, in the traditional spirit of April Fool (or "April Fish", as the French call it). The announcement that the Carlsen-Anand 2014 World Championship match would be held in the middle of the North Sea was a carefully faked hoax by a ChessBase editor.

Google Tooth – the latest in wearables
4/1/2015 – Everyone is doing it: after the iPhone and Android we are now confronted with Google Glass, Apple Watch, the Pebble. Computers are getting smaller and can be built to accompany you wherever you go. Now Google X, the semi-secret facility run by the search giant, is working on a dental computer. Why do we tell you this? Because Google Tooth comes bundled with a chess app.

April Fool: it was the Trump problem
4/3/2016 – Our two fake April Fool's stories – Benko's bafflers and Karjakin's BMW – were perfectly legit and true in every respect. And most of the Hillary report: she did appear on a show seeking to identify the real Irina Krush; Bernie Saunders did play in a simul; and Ted Cruz did send the picture of a badly set up chessboard to Senator Mike Lee. Only Trumps four-move composition – that was made up.

Malcolm Pein not running for FIDE President
4/3/2017 – It was an April Fools' prank, as most of our readers quickly recognized. Pein, a harsh critic of the current FIDE leadership, had no role in the power struggle that is taking place in Athens. And no intention of running for FIDE President, as was claimed in the wholly invented interview we published on April 1st. Although: the idea is not completely out of hand. With his connections and organisational skill... But that is just a dream.

The April Fool's tradition
4/2/2018 – We have decided to abandon the twenty-year tradition (this time really!) and stick to straight and truthful news. But we will look back at some of the pranks we have perpetrated in the past — just to prove we have not lost our sense of humour: The bionic chess interface; Kimo – an 'intelligent' approach to chess; Bareev beats Anand in first round Kriegspiel.

April 1st entertainment
4/1/2019 – Last year we decided to abandon our decades-long tradition of tricking our readers with fake stories on April 1st. Instead, we said, we are going to stick to straight and truthful news. For those who are disappointed by this decision we bring you a really fun (and fully genuine) task proposed by Pal Benko for this auspicious day, and also take a look back at an historic prank we perpetrated in the past: No more April Fool's jokes (4/1/2006) 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.

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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