Tag: featured

5 draws in 5 games for Carlsen and Caruana in Chess World Championships

World number one and two, Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, played their fifth draw in as many games in London for the world championship series. The 12-game match, organised by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), is being played between 9 and 28 November 2018 and has a prize fund of one million euros.

Carlsen said that “there is serious room for improvement at this point” after the climax of the fifth game on Thursday which saw the score remain tied at 2.5-2.5. The three-and-a-quarter hour match started brightly but ultimately finished in a draw after 34 moves.

His opponent, Caruana, opened which a highly aggressive pawn sacrifice early on which prompted gasps from the crowd. His intention was to create pressure on Carlsen and try to confuse him, forcing errors and leading to a higher chance of victory.

“Well, this line is really interesting and if black is cooperative it can get very exciting,” said Caruana. “But Magnus one the line quite well and I think played in a very logical way.”

Carlsen, on the other hand, was unfazed by his opponents peculiar opening strategy. “To be honest I was pretty happy about the opening. I felt as though after it calmed down, on the black could ever really be better. But I couldn’t find a way to push it.”

It was widely believed that Caruana was under much more pressure than Carlsen to get a win on Thursday with the white pieces. Under the rules of the 12 game series, the colour of the pieces must be reversed at the halfway point. This leads to an interesting pairing of games, six and seven, where both players use the same colours for two consecutive games.

Carlsen, who won the initial drawn, chose to play Game 1 as black. This means that he will play as white in Game 6 and Game 7 on Friday and Sunday. “Of course double black is coming up and this is a quite a serious challenge, but this was always going to happen,” said Caruana. “And whether I win or draw (on Thursday), this was still going to happen. So I wasn’t approaching this game differently than any other.”

“I can only play for a win if I get something and I can only really be disappointed that I missed a chance if I get some sort of chance in the game. And if a game is like this where we both play more or less correctly and neither of us makes a serious mistake, I don’t think that I can really be disappointed.”

World Champion Carlsen seems to be excited for his double-header as white. “It’s like any round-robin tournament,” Carlsen said. “If you have a double black or a double white, you kind of single that out when the tournament starts. That is either your opportunity to strike or when you’re at your most vulnerable. I am looking forward to it, obviously, and we’ll see what happens.

“But most of all I’m just more or less happy with the way things are going with black as it’s clear to the naked eye there is serious room for improvement at this point.”

While the on-board action has been mostly without drama, there has been major off-board controversy. Early on Tuesday morning, a two-minute clip was uploaded to the Saint Louis Chess Club’s Youtube channel before quickly getting taken down. The video contained details of Caruana’s secret preparations for the tournament.

In the brief period of time the video was online for screenshots were taken and widely shared online where chess fans dissected what they saw. The video included shots of a laptop which contained openings supposedly being researched by Caruana for his upcoming series with Carlsen.

There was also the names of three grandmasters contained within the video – Leinier Domínguez, Alejandro Ramírez and Ioan-Cristian Chirila – who could be working with Caruana as second’s in his camp to help the American practice.

When told about the footage in an interview Carlsen said with a smile “well, I’ll have a look and the video and then make up my mind.” Carlsen’s manager, Espen Agdestein did not comment on the video upon its initial release but later admitted that he thought it was a mistake by Caruana’s camp.

Talking to Norwegian chess journalist Tarjei Svensen Agdenstein said “I think this is real. It can happen by mistake, and we’ve been close to making the same mistake. It’s more likely that it was a mistake than that it was staged.”

The video resulted in speculation of this being a deliberate attempt to spread misinformation to Carlsen, prompting him to waste his energy preparing for openings that Caruana has no intention of playing. This has been deemed unlikely by all familiar with Caruana or high-level chess in general as some of the openings shown in the video have already featured in the first few games.

Both Carlsen and Caruana will be hoping to break the deadlock over the weekend and enter next week in a leading position. The 12-game series will be played until November 28th, and is shown for free on the FIDE website.

Mortal Kombat source code leaked

Source codes to several Mortal Kombat games have been leaked on the ‘Retro Games’ imageboard of 4chan, /vr/. The games in question included in the leak, Mortal Kombat 3 (Playstation One, PC) and Mortal Kombat Trilogy N64, contain all files necessary for one to run them, provided you have a computer old enough (for the PC version) or an emulator (PS1, N64). The leak is naturally illegal as it breaches copyright law and as such there will be no links included in this article.

The company that owns the Mortal Kombat intellectual property, Warner Bros, will undoubted by looking to find the person behind these leaks, especially given their recent releases of games in the franchise. The anonymous nature of the 4chan imageboards should have made that task particularly difficult but fortunately for them, the author of the 4chan post wrote a short statement to accompany the files in which they state how they “got these from the original developer”.

“I am about to undertake the preservation of stuff. Important stuff. Before we go and preserve it publicly, I wanted to make sure it’s quietly available elsewhere so if we burn to death, it’s not gone forever.”

The 900mb compressed series of files not only includes the release versions of the aforementioned games but, if one looks closely, beta builds in which the game is noticeably different. An example of this is with the MK Trilogy for the N64. There is a build of the game from May 1996 when the final version of the game was released in November 1996.

Among the files are also progress report updates and messages between the developers in readme files such as the following: “Ed, this build contains all the fixes from you last memo except for the Aggressor Shadow Effect. I am working on that today. Please take a look at the brutality move for kung lao as well as the brutality work effect. Also the duck kicks as well as the combos should be fixed. I believe I found the problems and have corrected them. Also, any progress on locating the axe frames for nightwolf? David”

But perhaps most interesting of all, included in the MK Trilogy files are bits of text from Doom 64. Doom 64 is a game that the original company Midway Games developed and was released a whole year later. The fact that the two games were intertwined in such a way is fascinating.

Looking through the code is fun but the main question is, what will happen as a result of this leak? Having the source code for games like these can help massively with the development of two things: home-brew games and emulators. Fans of the original games can use the framework of these games to change move-sets, properties, or even add brand new characters.

For the developers of emulators, which are pieces of software that allow users to make one computer system behave like another (think playing PS1 games on a PC for example), this leak will allow them to potentially see techniques to work around hardware limitations or quirks that were not previously known. The fact that there are several console versions of the same game makes this more useful still.

No matter how hard Warner Bro’s try, they will be unsuccessful in removing these files from the internet. Anyone who has an interest for them most likely possesses the knowledge of where to look in order to find them. It is worth keeping an eye out, however, to see what the gaming community will find and make with this piece of history.

Women-only motorsport series: “Oppression masquerading as opportunity is still oppression”

The decision to create a women-only motorsport series has been branded a “sad day for motorsport” by British Indycar driver Pippa Mann. The W Series will start in 2019 and hopes to have 20 of the world’s best female drivers competing over six races for a $1.5 million prize pot.

The competition is free for drivers to enter and the final 20 will be chosen through an intensive program that will test the abilities of the candidates. The overall winner will receive a third of the total prize pot, $500,000, to be used to break into competitions such as Formula 1.

“What a sad day for motorsport,” said Mann, adding: “Those with funding to help female racers are choosing to segregate them as opposed to supporting them. I am deeply disappointed to see such a historic step backwards take place in my lifetime. For the record, I stand WITH those who feel forced into this as their only opportunity to race. I stand AGAINST those who are forcing the above-mentioned racers into this position as their only solution to find the funding to race.”

On the website for the W Series they state “there are no biological or hormonal impediments” to a women’s ability to compete with the best male F1 drivers, and that they “expect that the best graduates from W Series will be able to compete in Formula 1 on level terms.” This begs the question if the best graduates from the series should be able to compete on level terms with the likes of Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel then why is a women-only series needed? Matt Bishop, Communications Director for the W Series, said that “we don’t have the resources. Would that we did.”

“That’s why we’ve chosen to create what we hope will be a sustainable business that uses commercial sponsorship to create a series for women to race in, some of whom wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to race at all.”

Michele Mouton, president of the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission, is dismissive of the W Series. “One of the objectives of the commission is to help ensure females have equal opportunities to compete at the highest level of the sport. We know from our recent driver-assessment programme that there is a pool of very talented women drivers who deserve the chance to do this. As competitors, they want to be the best and the only way for them to benchmark their performance is to compete in a mixed environment, which they are already doing.

“While this new series is obviously giving an opportunity for women to showcase their talent in a female-only environment, our objective is to have more of them competing alongside men and demonstrating they have the same ability and potential to succeed in top-level FIA championships.”

Since the first F1 series in 1950, there have been over 900 drivers, of which only two have been women. Maria Teresa de Filippis started three races in 1958/9 and fellow Italian Lella Lombardi competed in 12 races between 1974 and 1976, yet despite several more female drivers being on the fringe of F1, none have managed to break into the starting grid.

This was not helped by Bernie Ecclestone, former Chief Executive of the Formula One Group, being dismissive of women driving in F1 saying that they “would not be taken seriously”. He has also said multiple times in interviews that women “should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances.”  Ecclestone left his position in 2017 and many are hopeful that this could represent a turning point for female involvement in the sport.

With the recent news that 21-year-old Ann Carrasco has become the first female rider to win a motorbike world championship in the World Supersport 300, it seems that the only thing holding women back from excelling in top motorsport competition is opportunity, not skill. So does the W Series offer that opportunity? Whilst there has been a lot of criticism, especially from prominent female drivers, there has been praise for the competition too.

Former F1 driver David Coulthard believes that men and women could compete equally but the current structure for finding female talent has “not worked”. He said “if you want a fundamental change in the outcome, you need a fundamental change in the process. W is a fundamental change in creating an opportunity to bring through female talent to the highest possible level.”

Interestingly this is not the first time a women-only racing series has been attempted. ITV presented ‘Formula Woman’ to viewers in 2004 in an attempt to boost the female audience of the sport and bring more women drivers to the major competitions. There was not a happy ending for the series as the main sponsor, Mazda, pulled out at the end of the first season and within three years it was axed.

Only time will tell what the impact of this new competition will be, but every female drive that enters the W Series will be hoping to use it as a stepping stone to greater things. “As female racers we are racers first, and our gender comes second. We grew up dreaming of winning races and winning championships, against everyone – the same as every male racer does. We did not grow up dreaming of being segregated and winning the girl’s only cup.”

Deontay Wilder apologises after “breaking mascot’s jaw” live on tv

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has apologised on Instagram after punching a mascot live on US television. There are reports that the American broke the jaw of the mascot as part of a segment on ESPN to promote his upcoming fight on December 1st against Tyson Fury.

The mascot, wearing a sombrero and moustache, received a full-strength blow to the head as the presenters looked on shocked.

Some media reports suggested that Wilder did not know there was someone inside the costume. This is something he denies saying on Instagram: “anything headlining I didn’t know a “Human Being” was in there is just straight “Click Baiting”. Like come on now, I guess the Mascot rolled out there. Show some respect!”

He added “I sincerely apologize to the brave man that was injured (if this is true). I have the utmost high respect for him, his participation, willingness and courage. If this is true ESPN I personally would like to invite him to my Dec.1 fight. Word Is Bond”

Wilder will fight Fury in Los Angeles to defend his WBC heavyweight belt.

Conor McGregor loses to Khabib Nurmagomedov in an event marred by post-fight violence

UFC 229 was the subject of a mass brawl after Khabib Nurmagomedov beat Conor McGregor in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. The Russian won in the fourth round through submission before jumping over the cage and diving towards McGregor’s team with his entourage soon following.

Dana White, UFC president, said: “Police officers were getting punched, security guys were getting punched. I actually think police and security did an incredible job. Khabib jumped over the cage like one of those parkour guys. What are you expected to do?”

While the brawl outside the cage took place two of Khabib’s team climbed in and started attacking McGregor. First one came from the front and shortly after another sucker punched him from behind. British boxer Tony Bellew said that there is “not a chance in the world he deserves to be attacked by two men! One in front and one from behind!”

“Both bare knuckle after he’s just been fighting for 20 minutes anyway. It’s a disgrace. The coward jumping the cage is a disgrace. UFC have to deal with this.” According to White, Nurmagomedov’s fight payment has been withheld until further notice while the Nevada State Commission, who originally sanctioned the fight, investigate the events.

Three members of Nurmagomedov’s team were arrested as a result of their post-match actions but were later released. White said that McGregor had refused to press any charges.

Once the brawls were broken up each fighter was individually escorted away surrounded by a mass of security guards and police officers. McGregor went first and looked amazed at what had happened, both during the fight and after. Nurmagomedov left second but not before demanding his belt from White.

“I know if we put the belt on him in the octagon there’ll be things thrown,” White said. “I just said let’s try and get him out of here.” It turned out that the Irish fans would throw things regardless of whether the belt was handed over or not and Nurmagomedov was bombarded with objects as he left the arena.

The victory for the Russian means he is now unbeaten in 27 MMA fights, the longest ongoing undefeated streak in UFC, however, if it not yet clear for how long he will be suspended. “He is going to get suspended so maybe you give him four to six months,” said White. “If Nevada puts a suspension on him everyone will put a suspension on him. We are not going to go around the athletic commission in this country to put on a fight.

When asked whether he will keep the belt White said “he absolutely keeps his title. They’re talking about keeping his purse. I do not think that should happen. You should not be able to keep his whole purse. I think they should take £250,000 from him.”

Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap, announced that he will punish his son more severely than whatever the UFC gives out. “I warned him. For me, discipline comes first. You do whatever you want in the Octagon, (but) outside, this is the border of civilians, where there are children, women, strangers.”

England’s first One Day International against Sri Lanka abandoned after heavy rain

England’s first cricket match since their 4-1 Test series win against India was abandoned after 15 overs due to heavy rain. The one-day international, played in the town of Dambulla, was called off mid-afternoon due to a sodden outfield.

Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to field but the England team looked eager to get started. In the 15 overs that were played England managed to reach a score of 92-2. Johnny Bairstow and Jason Roy were the openers and managed to reach 25 and 24 respectively before getting caught out.

The first wicket came as a delivery from fast-medium bowler Nuwan Pradeep was edged by Bairstow and comfortably caught behind the stumps. Five balls later Roy completely misjudged a ball from Akila Dananjaya to get caught at mid-off.

Third and fourth at the crease were Joe Root and Eoin Morgan who picked up runs quickly, reaching 25 and 14 respectively before the game was called off.

Talking to BBC Sport about the match Morgan said “It has been a little bit frustrating but there is plenty of energy in the camp, we’re excited about being here and getting into the series. This has halted that energy a bit but we’re hoping to get a full game in for the second match, especially with the reserve day. Only time will tell if we’ve had enough preparation but we certainly will be fresh.”

The second ODI will also take place in Dambulla, in the centre of Sri Lanka, on Saturday, with a reserve day on Sunday in case rain becomes an issue again.

After the five-match series of ODI’s concludes on October 23rd there is a one-off T20 game on the 27th followed by a three-match Test series to finish the year. In January 2019 the English team will begin a 3-month tour of the West Indies with a similar format to this tour of Sri Lanka except featuring three T20 games instead of one.

Mo Farah wins his first marathon in Chicago setting a new European record

In only his third attempt Great Britain’s Mo Farah has won his first marathon in Chicago. The four-time Olympic gold medalist previously competed in London in 2014 finishing eighth, and again in London this April where he finished third and set a new British record of 2 hours, 6 minutes and 21 seconds.

This time Farah’s clock stopped at 2 hours, 5 minutes and 11 seconds shaving a massive 70 seconds on his previous attempt. He became the first British athlete to win the event since Paul Evans in 1996.

After retiring from the track in August 2017 to focus on road racing, Farah has won his record fifth successive Great North Run last month as well as proving himself as a force to be reckoned with over the full 26.2 mile distance.

Talking about the race Farah said: “The conditions weren’t great and everyone was thinking about conditions rather than time, but towards the end we picked it up. I felt good towards the end of the race. At the beginning I felt a bit sluggish but overall I’m very happy with it.”

In the wet conditions Farah looked strong for much of the race, however he wasn’t alone. It wasn’t until the final half-mile that he began distancing himself from Mosinet Geremew. A strong runner in his own right, Geremew became the first person to win twice at the Yangzhou Jianzhen International Half Marathon with back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016, setting the fastest ever half marathon time in a Chinese race.

The 26-year-old had to settle for second place in Illinois though as Farah crossed the line 13 seconds clear of the Ethiopian. Farah’s win means that he receives the mantle of victor from his former training partner Galen Rupp with whom he competed in three Olympics.

Elsewhere in the other Chicago races, Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei won the women’s race with a time of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds, and Manuela Schar won the women’s wheelchair race in 1 hour, 41 minutes and 38 seconds. Six-time Paralympic gold medalist David Weir had to settle for third in the men’s wheelchair races as American Daniel Romanchuk took home the victory with a time of 1 hour, 31 minutes and 34 seconds.