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GM Elshan Moradiabadi in Toronto

July 8 – Simultaneous Exhibition and Chess Lecture

While the 126 mm of torrential rainfall in Toronto on Monday afternoon and evening (beating the one-day record set during Hurricane Hazel) dampens some spirits (and drenches others as it causes flash flooding and power outages around the city) we still have quite a good turnout at the Club to meet with, learn from, and play against our visiting Iranian grandmaster, Elshan Moradiabadi. Thirteen players play in the simultaneous exhibition, and many regulars as well as half a dozen guests join in for the lecture. But before GM Moradi gets started, we are treated to a special presentation (and an urgent plea) by David Bitton.

Before the show – David Bitton’s chessboxing documentary

David Bitton

The evening’s opening act is David Bitton, promoting his documentary, Chessboxing: The King’s Discipline. David is currently using Kickstarter to fund production of the film. If he raises $35 000 before Wednesday July 18, he gets to keep all the pledges. (Note that there are T-shirts and other rewards in return for your donation.) But if not, he gets nothing, the money is refunded, and the film doesn’t get produced – crowdfunding through Kickstarter is all or nothing! Please help him out if you can. Check out the promo video, below!

Elshan’s lecture – “Simple Chess: Capablanca to Carlsen”

Moradi Lecture at ACC - play

The theme of Elshan Moradi’s lecture is “simple chess,” which is a common chess expression used to describe calm, solid moves that simply enhance one’s pieces, creating a stronger, more logical position. Contrary to popular belief, Elshan emphasizes that these “simple chess” moves are not to be played as an alternative to complicated calculations, but rather “simple chess players do have to calculate well – and at a very deep level.” Using Capablanca as the original “simple chess” player, Elshan shows how the “simple chess” tradition is continued through Karpov and Carlsen. He also humbly includes himself in the list of “simple chess players.”

“Capablanca is a very logical player,” he tells us. “His play looks easy.” But not only does it often take a lot of calculation to be able to see that Capablanca’s solid “simple chess” move is playable, it can take a lot of foresight to see where the pieces have to go to create a “simple,” logical position. And then the slight advantages played for by “simple chess players” like Capablanca often require a lot of finesse to convert to a full point.

After establishing the “simple chess” technique in Capablanca’s games, the lecture moves on to examine Karpov’s play. Along with showing Karpov’s strong “simple chess” moves, Elshan jokes about points in his games where Karpov just plays a3 or h3 (or both!), waiting to see what his opponent will do. “a3, h3; a3, h3; … You should see how many games there are where Karpov plays a3 and h3!” But not everything the strongest players do should be imitated. “Karpov can play a3 and h3 because he’s Karpov. I’m not allowed to play like that.”

Elshan is even more full of admiration (and humour) when it comes to Carlsen. Carlsen doesn’t mind, even when he’s playing white, exchanging pieces into a position that looks dead equal. In a few moves, it won’t be equal any more. “Carlsen doesn’t like to play opening theory…. He wins because he’s Carlsen.” Showing a position where Carlsen has gained a very slight advantage, Elshan admits that “it’s not easy to win from this position. But Carlsen just …” At this point Elshan imitates Carlsen putting his hands up, stretching on one side, then on the other, as we all laugh. “Yeah,” he says. “Have you seen Carlsen play? It’s like he’s at a picnic.”

This enjoyable and instructive lecture comes with fully annotated games, which Elshan has promised to provide. We’ll post the notes here.

The Simul – GM Elshan Moradi vs 13 Toronto chess players

GM Elshan Moradiabadi at Adrian Chin's board 12 (Mike Ivanov on 11, Marcus Wilker on 13)
GM Elshan Moradiabadi at Adrian Chin’s board 12
(Mike Ivanov on 11, Marcus Wilker on 13)

With a few more players joining night-of, there are 13 players ready to play. Fourteen boards are set up, including a board with no player, as it turns out to be impossible for Lanting Qian to make it in from Mississauga.

Board Player Result
1 Vlad Nitu 0
2 Manuel de Jesus 0
3 Jeff Back 0
4 Richard Morrison 0
5 Brett Campbell 0
6 Lanting Qian (absent)
7 George Supol 0
8 Rhys Goldstein 0
9 Ted Winick 0
10 Indervir Dhaliwal 0
11 Mike Ivanov ½
12 Adrian Chin 0
13 Marcus Wilker 0
14 Robert Roller ½

At the end of the night, Elshan walks away undefeated, with a +11 -0 =2 record! (Congratulations Mike Ivanov and Robert Roller for holding the GM to a draw!)

Selected games:


6:30 – doors open
7:30 – lecture “Simple Chess: Capablanca to Carlsen”
8:30 – simultaneous exhibition


Click below for .pdf of the original promo flyer

moradiabadi july 8


Today’s episode of the CBC programme, Dispatches, features a segment on chessboxing in London, UK. Click here to listen now.

Chessboxing was invented in 1992 and has been growing rapidly in the last few years.

The game features a 12-minute speed chess game, played in six 4-minute rounds, alternating with five 3-minute boxing rounds. The game is won by knockout, checkmate, flag, or judges’ decision.

And here is a video featuring Andrew McGregor, the founder of the Los Angeles Chessboxing Club.