In the crowd with Max

by Maxim Dlugy
11/21/2016 – During the opening moves of the 7th game of the World Championship match, Maxim Dlugy gets to the scene. The New Yorker melts into the crowd and runs into old chess friends and colleagues like Gennady Nesis, Boris Gulko and Alex Khalifman. Moving on, he meets Henrik Carlsen who is asking about the situation on the board and in the midst of kids wanting an autograph or a photo there is Fabiano Caruana. Melt into the groove with Maxim Dlugy and see what happened...

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What happened while Carlsen and Karjakin were playing game No. 7
By Maxim Dlugy

The 7th game of the World Championship match was yet another peaceful looking draw. I got to the scene during the opening moves and immediately ran into my old chess friends and colleagues Gennady Nesis, Boris Gulko and Alexander Khalifman.

Three candidates for the VIP room

I was happy to see them all, but had to rush to the VIP area where a few of my students got tickets to see the match in style. I was a bit incredulous that a former World  correspondence champion a former World FIDE champion and a former combined U.S and U.S.S.R champion were not invited as VIPs, but it would be too unnerving to understand the inner workings of this part of the organizational process. 

Kids and Blitz

When I got to the VIP area I ran into Henrik Carlsen, who asked me about the position on the board. Instinctively I told him White must be slighty better, as the knight generally does not belong on c6. When Kariakin avoided the principled 11.Qxd8 Rxd8 12a4 b4 13.Nb5 with some serious pressure the danger was over. Henrik and I talked about the role of blitz in retaining kids interest in chess and he seemed to agree that if kids are good enough to play blitz, it would be a good magnet to stay in the game for a long time - perhaps their whole life.

Choosing the 3 minutes format against Caruana

As I wandered on, I saw Fabiano Caruana and Lawrence Trent, his ambassador, in the midst of kids wanting an autograph or a photo. I reached out to Lawrence to inquire whether he would be interested in having some action if Fabiano and I played blitz. Lawrence came up with an interesting proposition: If you play bullet, you have to give him 3 to 1 money odds, but if you play 3 minute, I am willing to give you 3 to 1 odds. I agreed to the 3 minute proposition in a 6 game match, with draws not counting but being replayed. Soon enough Larry got Doug Hirsch, who organizes the annual Sohn Conference and another chess lover to partly back up his wager. 

I picked the White pieces and we were off to the races. After 8 games the score was 2-1 with 5 draws in Fabiano's favor and we decided to stop. I was quite happy to win a little money while getting some experience playing world number 2.  When we stopped, the main game was well underway to be another draw as opposite colored bishops started waving the game adieu. Fabiano was very graceful as he took on Wesley Wang, one of America's most talented juniors ina game of 5 to 1. He won a tough Benko with White. A little later I split two games with Wesley with same odds and when Larry decided to win back his loss from me offering to accept 5 to 2 time odds, I accepted and we split as well. 

I was quite happy to see some exciting games on the board, even if it was my own. After all if you can’t beat them - join them! 

Maxim Dlugy playing Fabiano Caruana during the World Chess Championship in New York City 2016

Michael Shuman, father of Nate Shuman, who is one of Maxim's students and the second highest rated 10 year old in the U.S. captured one of these games on video.

Postscriptum after the match - the World Championship reports by Maxim Dlugy:

Maxim Dlugy was born 1966 in Moscow and in 1977 his family emigrated to the US. In 1985 Dlugy became World Junior Champion and later made a career on Wall Street. He is married with children, lives in New York, and loves to play blitz.


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