Grandmaster, the title just won by 12-year-old R Praggnanandhaa, is the highest that a chess player can achieve. There are two ways that chess players can earn the Grandmaster title. One is by winning events such as Women’s World Championship, the World Junior Championship, or the World Senior Championship. For others, the route is by earning enough points in a ranking system and winning enough games in tournaments involving other
Grandmasters. Chess follows a rating system that awards “Elo points” on the basis of their performance across major events. World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway, for example, has an Elo rating of 2,843 as of June. To be crowned a Grandmaster, the primary criterion is to notch up 2,500 Elo points — the player needn’t sustain the points before earning the title — as well as complete three “norms”. A norm is another chess yardstick, which is accomplished on the basis of a player’s performance in a tournament that involves at least three Grandmasters, and in which the Grandmaster candidate wins or draws two or more games against the other Grandmasters after playing at least 27 games in the tournament.
In the World Junior Championship last October, Praggnanandhaa completed the first of his norms, followed by the next two in April and June. In the October event, he finished fourth in an ultra-competitive grid. Had he won the championship, he would have automatically become a Grandmaster, the world’s youngest. Now, he has become India’s youngest and the world’s second youngest, three months older than Ukraine’s Serjei Karjakin, who became a Grandmaster at age 12 years and 7 months. (Sandip G)
Telling Numbers – Half the country’s rabies cases are in West Bengal, Karnataka
West Bengal and Karnataka account for more than half the rabies cases in the country, including deaths, according to the National Health Profile 2018 report released recently. The two states accounted for 110 rabies cases in 2016 and 2017, or 58% of the 190 cases nationwide. West Bengal alone accounted for half the cases in 2016 — 47 out of 93 — followed by 26 out of 97 in 2017, while Karnataka accounted for 22 in 2016 and 15 in 2017. In the two years combined, West Bengal’s 73 was more than 4 times the count of any other state, while Karnataka had more than twice as many cases as any other state. With an incidence rate of 2 per lakh population, India accounts for 36% of all deaths from rabies, the highest in the world. Bites from dogs, mostly stray, are responsible for 96% of the cases.
Tip for Reading List – Complete biography of dinosaurs
At 34, Steve Brusatte has already earned worldwide acclaim as a palaeontologist, having pursued a fascination with dinosaurs since childhood. His interest was first kindled by watching Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993), he told The Verge; in an interview with The Guardian, he credited the film with making many of his generation want to become scientists. Brusatte, an American who is now with the University of Edinburgh, discovered a number of species of vertebrate fossil as a graduate student, has authored a number of scientific papers and popular books including Dinosaurs (2008) as well as the textbook Dinosaur Palaeobiology (2012), and worked as resident palaeontologist and scientific consultant for the film Walking With Dinosaurs (2013).
His latest book is The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of A Lost World, hailed by The Scientific American as “The ultimate dinosaur biography”. It is a narrative history of dinosaurs that spans their evolution, reign and eventual extinction. Brusatte punctuates the “Biography” with his own adventures as a young fossil-hunter. “As a grown-up, Brusatte’s mastery of his field, formidable explanatory powers and engaging style have combined to produce a masterpiece of science writing for the lay reader,” says a glowing review in The Washington Post. The Guardian review describes the book as “a gripping read in the best traditions of popular science” that “sets out to bring the reader up to date with the latest thinking and theories on dinosaurs”. And The New York Times says, “The beauty of this book lies in the details, and in the stories of the scientists who dig them up.” (Promit Chakroborty)