Posted by David Miller as Classic Board Games
Games 5-8 certainly added some drama to the World Chess Championship! Reigning champion Viswanathan Anand and challenger Magnus Carlsen had played the first four games to draws, resulting in a tie score of 2-2.
The next two games, however, saw Carlsen outwit his opponent, grabbing two wins, and taking a lead of 4-2. Anand’s play was more conservative, while Carlsen continued to prod and push for a win even in situations where conventional wisdom suggested that he should be satisfied with a draw.
Game 5 was long and hard-fought with no clear leader for most of it. Yet Anand faltered in the end-game and resigned after 5½ hours and 58 moves. In game 6, Anand started strong as white and appeared to be winning for much of the game. Again though, his end-game failed after 5 hours of play and 67 moves. “Today is a heavy blow; I won’t pretend otherwise,” Anand admitted after the game.
With half the match over and the champion two points behind, most observers expected Anand to push harder for wins in games 7 and 8. Both, however, unfolded without much excitement—that is, during the games themselves. Game 7, in fact, was almost called for Anand by default. Carlsen only arrived at the board with 14 seconds to spare!
Once game 7 was underway though, the two rivals seemed to be playing lines they had well prepared, and the result was a fifth draw. As Carlsen explained in the press conference afterwards, “What happened in the game was just drawish.”
Game 8 saw balanced positions on each side. The resulting draw after 1¼ hours and 33 moves could only be described as boring. As commentator Lawrence Trent put it, “All very interesting stuff, except that it wasn’t… If you’re in the United States, please go back to bed. If you got up early and you’re in Europe, I apologize for that. It was a rather damn squid.” Said Anand, “It was my job to liven it up. I guess I’ll try it in the next game.”
He’ll have to do that if he intends to catch up. Only four more games remain (barring tie-breaks) and the current score has Anand trailing Carlsen 5-3.
[images with permission by Paul Truong via Susan Polgar]
This Saturday and Sunday is the Chicago Toy & Game Fair, where among 100 exhibitors and numerous events, members of the family can have fun playing with demonstrations of Goliath Games’ life-sized holograms and Bananagrams’ giant letter tiles, participating in a Star Wars character lunch and a Guinness world record clapping game, or competing in a Top Trumps tournament and the Illinois State Yo-Yo Contest.
The Women in Toys organization is partnering with Walmart on a special pitch session at New York Toy Fair. Following a morning presentation and panel discussion, women-owned business will have the opportunity to pitch their toy and game products to Walmart buyers.
Dozens of products pitched at a similar session last year are now being sold in Walmart stores.
Meetings will be by-appointment only. Applications are available at the Women in Toys website.
Paizo’s The Great Golem Sale includes over 900 game products in all categories.
Among other Lego products, various Lego Legends of Chima sets are on-sale at Toys “R” Us. For example, Gorzan’s Gorilla Striker is only $40.
Asmodee is celebrating the appearance of Takenoko on Tabletop by giving away a signed copy of the game via Facebook.
Eagle and Gryphon Games is offering some of it’s Reiner Knizia games for 50% off.
The Staffordshire Newsletter (UK) is giving away Terra Mystica.
Fab Frugal Mama is giving away Boom Boom Balloon from Spin Master.
Click is giving away the Trailer Park Boys Board Game.
Smassh.me is a new web service for sharing your gaming moments. What does that mean exactly? It basically lets you track your game collection and plays, in a very user-friendly manner.
The site is in Beta right now, though that really doesn’t mean much nowadays.
Taking a look around the site really quick showed me that more than half of my games aren’t in their database yet, and the system for adding new games is basically sending them an email
Right now I can’t really recommend the site, as other sites perform the same functionality better. You never know, though. It may take off if they can create something new and exciting to draw in players.
Posted by Randy Snyder as Card Games
On November 7th, FFG announced how they will be using a recently acquired printing facility. It turns out they will be cranking out random packs for two successful living card games, Androind:Netrunner, and A Game of Thrones. Randomized? What is this all about?
That’s right, random packs for a special drafting format. One popularized by magic players, as well as other CCGs.
It will be interesting to see how this is put into practice, and what the reaction of the fan-base will be. Many of us have embraced the LCG format as a way to control, or at least plan out, our spending. This new format will work directly against that, as FFG seeks to grab a larger share of the customer’s wallet.
In addition to the players, we would hope that FFG worked with the Friendly Local Game Store to find a slot for this. While players can draft at home and in dorm rooms, traditionally game stores have been the nexus for community drafting, allowing players who would otherwise never cross paths to come together at a specific place and time to scratch their itch. Successful planning across metropolitan areas, creates opportunities to draft on many different nights, not just at Friday Night magic events. Will stores be able to carve out time for two more drafting events, between all the magic events already on the schedule, the minis players, boardgamers, and roleplayers?
I’ll be watching. Until draft packs start hitting the street, check out FFG’s official announcement here.
At $19.99, it’s a pretty sweet deal if you need a place to store all your cards.
At the World Chess Championship in Chennai, India the first four games have all ended in a draw. Yet getting there has been much more interesting than that record would suggest! In fact, I’d say that the games represent well the extended competition of a 12 game match.
Ending after only an hour-and-a-half and 16 moves, game 1 was a warm-up—Anand and Carlsen feeling each other out and positioning themselves psychologically for the remaining 11 games. Carlsen, taking the lead as white, played a pretty standard game. Anand, too, decided to forgo any radical approaches and let the game play to a draw based on repeated moves.
The second game extended to 25 moves. However it finished even quicker, ending after only an hour and 10 minutes, and again in a forced draw. By the speed of his turns, it appeared that most of the moves played had been prepared and studied in advance by Carlsen.
Game 3 was much more interesting. At one point, Anand was up two bishops to Carlsen’s one, while Carlsen’s queen was stuck in the H1 corner. The Norwegian also ran pretty close to the first time control. Anand’s advantage didn’t hold, though. At move 40, he offered a draw, which Carlsen rejected. Yet the draw couldn’t be avoided and was eventually called at move 51.
For game 4, the intensity of play ramped up even further. Over the 6 hour, 64 move game advantage was traded several times between the players and spectators were treated to a number of interesting developments—including the trading of queens before move 10, Carlsen taking Anand’s A2 pawn with his bishop, Anand almost running out of time twice, and careful rook positioning in the endgame by both players.
After a one day rest break, game 5 starts Friday afternoon at 3:00 India-time. Even if you don’t have the time for a whole game or the schedule to see it live, I highly recommend watching at least some of the video feed. The team of official commenters does a great job of explaining the players’ strategic options and providing background on the tournament.