Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Let's go, Eugene! Eugene, let's go!


FIDE Chess in Chicago
reports on the line-up for the Winter Chicago FIDE Invitational (January 9th-13th). The local entry is the Boston Blitz' very own IM Perelshteyn. He'll be looking for 6 points or more out of 9 to secure a GM norm.

I wonder if he'll be stopping by the Herb Healy for a tune-up before heading to the Midwest!?

Bobby Fischer - The Musical

The play takes place during a world chess tournament where Fischer, as usual, fails to show up.

Read more...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Yikes! Adsense

Sorry for the shock.

At the most recent BCF Board Meeting, I raised the option of generating some income for the Foundation through the blog (very small amounts I'm sure). The general sense of the Board was favorable towards this proposal. In addition, at the same meeting, I learned that the BCF webmaster already had a project underway to create a donations page for the website.

For those of you who do not know, The Boylston Chess Foundation is a registered charitable organization (501c3). As such we can accept tax-deductible donations to support our activities. To date, we have focused our charitable efforts on programs which support scholastic and youth chess in the local community. Some of our recent programs have included providing free chess sets to a local school in Somerville, offering free scholastic chess lessons with IM Husari every Wednesday afternoon at the club, and funding a very popular "16 & under play free" policy for a month each summer. The donations page will provide greater details on these and other programs. When it is officially launched I'll provide a link, and if you are inclined to support our chess activities in the Boston area I encourage you to consider making a tax-deductible contribution.

So, back to Adsense -- I've decided that if the blog can generate some incremental income for the Foundation without unduly impairing the experience of the readers, then it's worth doing. I want to assure you that BCC Weblog will not turn into a platform for Ads with occasional chess content (if you are looking for blogs like that, you can find them). And my efforts will continue to be focused on generating interesting and valuable content, not on optimizing the site for revenue generation.

I hope loyal readers of the blog will support this decision. If you do have concerns or other thoughts, please leave a comment below.

The end justifies the means

Kamakazi shares his strategy for winning games at Yahoo! Chess:

...I discovered the easiest way to win at chess, was to simply have your opponent forfeit the game. My strategy is to take the max allotted time for each move. This means I have at least ten minutes between each move, usually by the time I am on move number 3 my opponent offers me a draw, which I promptly decline. By move number 4 they are resigning and giving me yet another victory.

Can puzzles reduce the risk of dementia?

An article in The Herald (UK) suggests that its puzzle page might have therapeutic benefits:
...puzzles such as The Herald's giant crossword published today, chess, the number game Sudoku and IQ tests are today seen as the tools to give users a rigorous mental workout. They can improve mental age by up to 14 years, so the scientists claim.

Scientists have found the neurological equivalent of an untoned body could lead to a drastic dulling of cerebral powers. Most worryingly, an under-stretched mind may put some individuals at increased risk of dementia in later life.
Next time someone asks why you spend so much time on chess, tell them it's a better choice than medication.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Start 2006 off the Traditional Way - Play Chess at the Boylston Chess Foundation's Herb Healy Open House on New Year's Day

Irving Yaffe, long-time patron of the Boylston Chess Club, prepares the food for the 1990 New Year's Open House.

Bill MacLellan and Michael Tomlinson, past-presidents of the Boylston Chess Club, playing chess in the Open House of 1989.


Photos: Steve Stepak

Slightly Askew

Since everyone has been offering their Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday greetings, I thought I'd mention the forgotten cousin of the holiday season -- Happy Boxing Day, all!

Just a reminder that the Annual BCF Herb Healy Open House is less than a week away on New Year's Day. Come work off your hangover with a day of tournament chess competition (chose rated or unrated depending on your post-celebration condition) and free food. Mike Griffin's spread of crabcake canapes, foie gras mousse, and platters of sushi are not to be missed (Legal Disclaimer: specific food selections are not guaranteed; substitutions are highly likely).

Click here for details of the event (note the new time controls), and here for photos from the 2004 Open House.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Steve Stepak photographs the TNIS

Chess photographer Steve Stepak, who has long documented the New England chess world, including the Boylston club, visited the Thursday Illinois Swiss this week.

His photos are here.

At the site you can play, where's the blogger? Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 23, 2005

Traffic Jam

Here's the finish of my game from last night's 3rd round of the December Thursday Night Swiss. I am playing Black and while I'm not claiming that White necessarily put up the best defense, I think you may enjoy the final position.

Position after 22.Re5

22...Bf6 23.Rh5 g6 24.Rh3 Nc3 25.Qd2 Bxe4 26.Qh6 Ne2+ 27.Kh1 (27.Kf1 would have mitigated the back rank mate issues, but White should still have a won game after 27...Nxg3+ and 28...Bxa1) 27...Bxa1 White Resigns


Final Position

White is down a rook and his attack on Black's King is going nowhere since Black's Bishop on a1 controls h8. Black is also threatening mate on the back rank and (what I think makes the position interesting and somewhat amusing is that) White can't create any luft for his King since his pieces block all of his kingside pawns.

Cheating for Dummies

There has been a lot written recently in the chess blogosphere about cheating (see here, here, here and here) ... but not as much about how to do it!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

More bad press coverage for chess

Source

A dominating positional advantage

Lee J. Yatlee from French Polynesia argues that the invasion of Iraq was all about the U.S. Government's pursuit of a policy of world domination. Further, he applauds President George W. Bush for engaging in the pursuit.

The U.S. is on the verge of becoming the first truly dominant world government, and Iraq was a moment to be seized. (Those who play chess can easily understand the stakes. When you can capture your opponent's queen with no risk to your own position, you do it!)

Forbidden Fruit

Comedian Abby Scott talks about how doing something you know is wrong can be really hot!
During chess, I'm going to advance my queen WAY too early. Yeah, baby, I dare you to attack!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Where ya from?

With BCC Weblog passing its 1st birthday in November, I now have access to over a year's worth of visitor data. For those of you interested in such things, here is a list of the top 15 website referrers to this blog:
  1. Boylston Chess Club Website (21.3%) - No surprise here

  2. The Chess Mind/Dennis M's Chess Site (7.2%) - BCC Weblog is one of a small number of chess blogs which Dennis links to. Combine this with his large audience and a substantial number of visitors is the result

  3. Man de la Maza (6.1%) - Was #2 while Don was still blogging, but still generates traffic to this day

  4. CelticDeath (5.9%) - I've always wondered how many of these visits are from someone other than CelticDeath himself :)

  5. Bloglines (3.9%) - An RSS reader

  6. 2+2 Forums (3.6%) - The premier poker discussion forums on the web -- amazingly, all this traffic is attributable to my post on Bryan Clark's journey to becoming a professional poker player

  7. J'adoube (3.2%) - J'adoube and I have cross-linked posts frequently. It also helps to be at the top of someone's blogroll

  8. DreadPirateJosh (3.1%) - See my comment for CelticDeath

  9. Kenilworth Chess Club (2.5%) - The vast majority from their blog listings page, but also some from links in Michael's posts

  10. Chess News and Events (1.9%) - It doesn't hurt when Goran calls you "the best chess blog"

  11. Sancho Pawnza (1.8%) - Along with Man de la Maza, one of the first blogs that cross-linked here

  12. Susan Polgar (1.6%) - Mostly from when she republishes the Blogshares Chess Industry list

  13. US Chess League (1.5%) - Self-evident to anyone reading this blog during September and October

  14. My Yahoo (1.5%) - RSS subscriptions

  15. Nezha (1.5%) - Suspect his position will fall as he is no longer actively blogging

Others generating 1% or more of website referrals: Temposchluker, The Closet Grandmaster, Logis, Pawn Sensei, and Blue Devil.

Stupid Chess Tricks

Could this be the beginning of a new Late Show segment?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Monday, December 19, 2005

¡Blogs De Ajedrez Aquí!

For those of you who want to practice your language skills, I've added several new chess blogs written in Spanish to the Other Chess Blogs listings.

Faint Praise

Hillsboro High School media specialist Anita Boese says that 'she doesn't mind at all that the library has become a hot spot to play a board game rather than for the more traditional pursuits of research and study':
"I see no harm at all in it."
Read "Chess is becoming the game of choice for a growing number of students at Hillsboro High" from the Hillsboro (KS) Free Press.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Not again!

Now the Wikpedia pinheads are proposing to delete the entry on Chess Blogs.

Related Posts: Pinhead Wiki, Pinhead Wiki - Update

It's making me dizzy

At What, a swallow carrying a coconut!!, a discussion of Woozy Theory...
In its simplest outlines, it is an attempt to describe nature by unifying three separate realms of observation: General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and Scrabble.
...and an explanation of why a similar theory which tried to unify the two branches of physics with chess didn't work out so well:
Woozy also recalled an early game of quantum chess: "After about thirty moves, black was both mated and not mated. It made for terrible arguments."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

What do you like about chess? Part 2

Here is Glenwood Springs, Colorado eighth-grader Garret Brown's answer:
"I just like the sound of me winning."
Source: "Once a-pawn a time: Area chess tourney tradition continues" from the Post Independent.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Don of ChessBoxing

Every great movement gets its start somewhere. For the chess improvement/blogging community (what we all now know as the Knights Errant) everything began with Don and Sancho.

Could this blog be the start of a new community of bloggers dedicated to ChessBoxing training? And what would we call them -- The Gladiators? The Olympian Guard? The Super Soldiers?

Kids chess club killing local businesses

If this group of kids comes by looking for a place to play, don't let them in!
Sarah Etter, who helps organize what she's calling the Hardin County Kids Chess Club, said the group has tried out several places to play - from CiCi's Pizza to Mark's Feed Store to Ryan's Steakhouse. None worked out.

"Almost everywhere we've played has closed down," she said, adding she was thankful her church had a room that the club could use. "If we close down, God, we're in trouble."
Read "For youth chess club, latest move could be the best" from the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader.

Chess Blogger Press

Here's an article about Bill Schulte -- better known in chess blogging circles as Bungalow Bill -- the chess coach at La Salle-Peru Township High School in Illinois. In the piece, Bill talks about the values he is trying to teach students through chess:

"I don't make value judgments but I do demand them to respect one another," said Bill Schulte, L-P chess club coach. Schulte said he aims to teach the students respect, manners and good sportsmanship, all the while having fun.

If only we could transfer these lessons to the few players at the club who could benefit from them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

In my day...

At Bryker Woods Elementary in Austin, Texas the kids have discovered that chess is -- "Fun without technology...":
"I wasn't counting on it to be super fun but it actually kind of is," [seven-year-old] Tristan said.
Read more...

In your face, sucka!

George Washington University chess player John Shindle is looking forward to a time when his school's team will be good enough to compete with local chess powerhouses Howard University and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County:
Competing against schools such as these will allow the GW Chess Club to ... practice etiquette such as 'no trash talking'...
Read "Of pawns and kings: The GW Chess Club" from The GW Hatchet.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A quick tour of the chess-sphere

  1. Ed Galliard has a nice post on recapturing the joys of casual chess.

  2. J'adoube offers the first post in his year-end "Best of J'adoube" series.

  3. This reminded me that I have let the one-year anniversary of BCC Weblog pass without a comment. Perhaps I'll have to follow J'adoube's lead at some point. For now, here are a few of the earliest posts from November 2004: Chess, Personality and Madness; The ultimate sacrifice; An engineer's dream.

  4. More J'adoube -- his letter about GM Larry Evans' assertion that a school in Alabama banned chess was published in Chess Life. Here are the related blog entries: Banned! Revisited; Oak Mountain Intermediate School to GM Larry Evans: You are wrong!; Banned! Revisited Again.


  5. Say hello to funkyfantom, the newest Knight Errant.

  6. Other Chess Blogs discovered recently: ChessTalk (videos), Chess Cat, Glenn's Blog.

A 24th century after dinner treat

I took up DutchDefence's suggestion to find out what my Wu Name is:

Chocolatey Shatner

The origins of the Abu Ghraib scandal

Link

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Dirty Tricks

A father dumps a large cup of coffee into his son's lap in order to get his other son to resign a winning game. How cold (er...hot, to be more accurate)!

Sure he claims the game was about to turn, but they all say that!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

New names, same story

While the chess community continues to bask in the afterglow of A&E's movie "Knights of the South Bronx" (which I finally watched this afternoon with my son), here is essentially the same story playing out with another group of inner city kids:
Salome Thomas-El refused to let his students' inner city neighborhood define who they were or what they could be. In addition to setting high standards for excellence in the classroom, Thomas-El introduced his students to the game of chess - the ultimate mental sport - in an after-school club. Chess is a demanding game that requires complex critical thinking and extensive strategic planning. The students were so willing to learn that by the end of their first year together, The Mighty Bishops had become the best middle school chess team in America. The team went on to win more than a dozen local, state and national chess tournaments. Thomas-El admitted that even he was surprised by his students' accomplishments. He didn't know how far they could go, but he knew it was his responsibility to encourage, support and nurture the potential in each of them.

Just the beginning

John Mscalzi likes the concept of chessboxing:

All the raw intellect of boxing! All the physical violence of chess!

...and check out the post's comments for his readers' ideas on similar sports -- I kind of like "Professional Mahjong Wrestling."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The case for slow time controls

Link

Warrior Feathers

I was initially excited to come across the new blog IndianChessNews -- finally, coverage of a unique and under-discussed area of the chess world.

Would they have annotations of games by International Master Crazy Knight or up and coming scholastic player Little Pawn; the chess exploits of class players of Lakota, Navajo and Iroquois descent; chess problems with themes like King hunts reminiscent of the forced migration of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia to Oklahoma; insider coverage of the Foxwoods Open and local events at Native American Bingo halls across the country?

Alas, I was disappointed.

Fire on Board Part III

blurredbrain is looking for some online chess opponents. Apparently he has some extra time on his hands while he's waiting for the skin grafts to heal.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

If only it were this easy

From "Deadly Way to Get Better At Anything" at Promise Picture Proof Push:
I play chess. And everytime I lose, I pinpoint my worst move or two, document and make sure I don't make that same mistake.

Does this work?

Yes.

Over time I've seen stronger and stronger play, losing less and winning more.
I'm sure this helps, but significant sustained improvement must require more.

Darn it!

What do you say when you lose a tough game? Hip-hop producer Rza (aka Robert Diggs) has his own unique phrase as you'll read in this article from contactmusic.com.

WARNING: Partially-disguised adult language

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Microbial Chess

Queen of the Bean contends that a continuous chess game is going on inside of us every day:

The human body is constantly being bombarded by pathogens day in and day out and as such has evolved a number of defences to help protect it....The body's first line of defence is a physical one ... mainly consists of skin ... and mucous.... The body's second line of defence is the non-specific phagocytic cells (white blood cells).... The third line of defence is the specific humoral response and cell mediated response.

If you link the second and third lines of defence it's sort of like a game of chess. The second line of defence are the pawns, they just go where you tell them to and haven't got much of a range of things they can do. The third line of defence is like [the] back row that has all the other fancy pieces in it. When they're called out to battle you know the fate of the fight will be decided because they're the last hope. Like with the rules of chess, there are only certain things that they are allowed to do, but they each do their thing and sometimes pull out surprising little tactics...

What is this?

Link

Monday, December 05, 2005

Return of the Smoking Man

User X offers "The truth about Chess Live" through his website and associated blog. Not surprisingly, a shadowy representative of the entrenched powers has shot back with "The Anti User X perspective."

My high school wasn't like this

jmaegrl15 describes what it takes to be cool at Canton High:

You wanna know what us canton kids do in study hall? ... we play CHESS. If you do not know how to play chess at canton high school, you have no chance at a good social life or ever being considered cool. the stoners and punk and goth kids play chess its awesome!

Things have sure changed in the last thirty years.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Under Construction

Template face lift in process -- consider this an open thread for feedback and comments.

Update (12/5): Thanks to everyone for their comments. For now I've returned to the original background though I'm inclined to stick with the new blue color scheme (unless you all really hate it! -- let me know). I'd still like to find a more interesting background that isn't distracting, so there may be additional experiments in the future.

In the meantime, let's get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

...and the pursuit of chess happiness

At Delightful Dishes, witchcats throws down the gauntlet:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one person to dissolve the chess bands that have connected her with constant losing, and to assume the powers of checkmate, the separate and equal station of pawns to which the laws of Kasparov entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the chess match.

We hold these truths to be self evident: That all pawns are created equal; that they are endowed by their opponent with certain unalienable rights; among these not being taken, not killing the Queen, and no checkmate in under two moves.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Hide and Seek

Occasionally, web surfers find their way to BCC Weblog through searches which seem far removed from the world of chess. Here's a recent favorite:

On November 18th, a reader arrived through an MSN search for the phrase fat women of crossville.

Boston Blitz Trading Card #5


Designed and Produced by Matt Phelps (Globular)

Program your TIVO

I promised some folks at the club last night that I would look this up for them and post it on the blog: "Knights of the South Bronx", the story of chess coach David McEnulty, premieres on Tuesday, December 6th at 8pm EST on the A&E Network.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

No chess players allowed

Here's a story to remind us that this country still has a long way to go in fighting discrimination (on Rosa Parks Day, no less):

Chess players who have battled over the boards for years in the food court at the former Irondequoit Mall in suburban Rochester are getting booted out by the mall's new owners, and they're none too happy.

"We're not bothering anyone," David Worl, a retired school psychologist, said in Thursday's Democrat and Chronicle. "I really feel we've gotten jilted," echoed another 70-year-old, retired salesman Ray Licata....

[Mall owner Adam] Bersin put up a sign last week announcing a ban on chess or card games beginning Thursday...

It might be time to join the skateboarders and create our own bumper sticker --

Playing Chess Is Not A Crime!

Is Poker's popularity good for Chess?

On its face, one might think that the popularity of poker would draw people away from an interest in chess. However, in Pulaski County, Virginia -- where the revival of a Championship-level scholastic chess program is taking place -- math teacher and chess club organizer Debra Farley offers an alternative view:
"With... poker being so popular, I think games are coming back in a way," Farley said.

Not a great night of chess entertainment

The Boston Globe was less than enamored with the Merrimack Repertory Theatre's world premiere of "The Art of Sacrifice":

In "The Art of Sacrifice," receiving its world premiere at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Anthony Clarvoe uses chess as the generational battleground, and if you think chess isn't the most dramatic way to illustrate father-son problems, you're absolutely right....

Certainly, Clarvoe has metaphors on his mind when he brings out the chessboard. A chess move illustrating the art of sacrifice foretells what happens in the plot, though given the title of the play, this is not a particularly shocking development....

Clarvoe showed far more promise with "Ambition Facing West," a play about the immigrant experience, staged at Trinity Repertory Company in 1997. "The Art of Sacrifice" is ambition unrealized.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

BCC Master Lecture Series presents IM Friedel

A 90-minute lecture by IM Joshua Friedel

Attack like a MANIAC!


When: Wednesday, December 14th, 7:00 p.m.
Where: The Boylston Chess Club
Admission: Advance - $3/5 (BCC members/non-members), At the door - $4/6

IM Josh Friedel is perhaps the strongest player ever to come out of New Hampshire. He achieved the National Master rating at age 13 in 2001. He became a Senior Master in 2003, and became an IM in 2005. Josh has an uncompromising, attacking style that is generally rich in tactics. Josh will be talking about his road to the IM title, showing us some of his favorite games, and providing some attacking tips along the way.

Some of Josh's accomplishments:
  • Qualified to play in 2006 U.S. Championship
  • Participated in 2005 U.S. Championship and other national tournaments
  • 1st place in 2001 Pan Am Open, 2003 Queen City Open, and many smaller open tournaments
  • Participated in three US Cadet Championships (2nd place in 2002)
  • Two international events (World Youth and Pan Am Youth)
  • Won a scholarship to UTD by coming in 2nd at the Denker Tournament of High School Champions
Light refreshments will be served.

How did I end up with two white bishops?

Link

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sightings

  1. Globular has announced his return to active chess blogging.

  2. Old friend Logis has started a new blog and is threatening to start posting about chess again.

  3. The Knights are expanding with two new members added in the past week -- Athlumney and Dluzewski (and Salcido returning from hiatus).

  4. As always, there are recent additions to the Other Chess Blogs listings. New ones include Aakaash's Chess Life and Qxh7#.

Caption Contest II

If we both concentrate really hard, we can
make the pieces move without touching them


Leave your caption in the comments.

Source: "Chess master shows no mercy" from the Portsmouth (NH) Herald.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Boston Blitz Trading Card #4


Designed and Produced by Matt Phelps (Globular)

Customer Research

I received an e-mail from a chess retailer interested in my thoughts on what makes for a good chess table. Since I couldn't think of anything more insightful to say than 'four legs and a top', I thought I might give all of you an opportunity to weigh in. So, click the comment link and describe the characteristics of the "perfect chess table."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Just cover your eyes and play

Today's New York Times piece on Sex and Chess is generating a fair bit of activity in the chess blogosphere. Here are some related posts: Daily Dirt - The Kenilworthian - Susan Polgar.

Life is not a game of chess!

Finally, someone takes the other side of this topic:
Granted you have to have some plan, but life isn't a game of chess, it's more like parchessi or even yahtzee if you will. A plan for victory is nice, but you still have to account for that roll of the dice to really judge your final outcome.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The next round is on me

A few weeks back Goran wrote a post about a blog value calculator from Technorati. While it makes for an interesting momentary diversion, a little research will quickly discourage you from spending the money all at once.

How does it work? Well, it starts with the sale of Weblogs Inc. (a blog network) to AOL. The creators of the calculator assumed that the value of a blog was directly proportional to the number of other blogs which link to it (as reported by Technorati). Therefore, they took AOL's purchase price for Weblogs Inc. and divided it by the total number of blogs linking to all the Weblogs Inc. blogs. This resulted in a value of $564.54 per link. So all the calculator does is retrieve the number of blogs which link to your blog and multiply it by this value. In the case of Boylston Chess Club Weblog this is 43 links x $564.54 per link = $24,275.22.


This blog is worth $24,275.22.
How much is your blog worth?


What's wrong with this approach to blog valuation? Several things.

First, there is the "links as a proxy for visits" issue. I addressed this earlier in a post about Blogshares. To summarize, links are important and probably do have some correlation with visits, but they are easily manipulated and overall do not represent an adequate proxy for visitors.

Second, it seems silly to assume that AOL was simply buying Weblogs Inc.'s links (or visitors for that matter). Weblogs Inc. has proprietary technology they developed to support their blogging operations and presumably there must be some value attributable to the Weblogs Inc. brand. Therefore, the calculator almost certainly overvalues the price per link.

Finally, there simply isn't a liquid market for blogs. In fact, only a few blogs have ever been sold. Therefore, it is unreasonable to assume that blog value follows a linear relationship. Instead, a more reasonable model would probably be something like 99.999% of blogs are worth $0 and just a relatively small number have some value based on the revenue streams they produce.

So what is your blog really worth? In the chess blogosphere, if you are not Mig then I would estimate <=$0. Even for the few that might be earning a penny or two from Adsense, I suspect that if you discount your cashflow and make an honest assessment of your expenses (including your time) you'll find that your blog is actually under water financially. There's nothing wrong with this of course. Few, if any us, play chess for the money either. The rewards from chess blogging (as from playing) come from another side of our lives.

Canadians Rejoice!

Baltimore wins the inaugural US Chess League Championship 3.5-0.5 over Miami. League MVP IM Pascal Charbonneau promises to take the Championship trophy on a tour of all of Canada's provinces.

Links: Official USCL report, Match results, Interview with Pascal Charbonneau

Related Post: USCL Championship Match Postponed

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

New url, same errant content

In case you didn't see Tempo's post on this topic, DutchDefence has changed his blog's url. Those of you who link to him should update your links to point to http://www.lrci.blogspot.com/.

The Next Stage

The Cave's Samuel Montgomery-Blinn is ready for a career change:

Chess Boxing appeals to me in the strangest way right now. I mean, come on. I've a black belt in Taekwondo, and I'm not a complete idiot with a chess board. Friends tell me I'm crazy, but I want to join a league as soon as possible.

J'adoube has had similar thoughts.

The King's Paromologia

...a great paromologia, a figure that concedes a point in order to make a stronger one, like sacrificing a pawn in chess.

From "Can’t We Kill the Bike Instead? " at It Figures.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Free Chess Speech

Here's a different kind of chess blog:

...yes it finally happened. We shot our mouths off so much we all got banned from the Game Knot forums.... So we've started our own forum right here where we can shoot off whatever we want.

Check out Pawn Stars Uncut (at your own risk, of course).

Knick-Knacks

Rob Horning explains why chess books are primarily symbolic decorative items:

The fact that they are unreadable - full of chess notation and illustrations and discussions far too abstract for a novice like me without a chessboard in front of me - forces me to resist the temptation of actual[ly] reading the book and makes the book into a pure signifying object, something that can signal my interest in chess without my being led into foolishly wasting time reading about it. The impossibility of my consuming them as books allows me to appreciate them as decorative objects that help illustrate my interior life for others.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Boston Blitz Trading Card #2


Designed and Produced by Matt Phelps (Globular)

More chess variants

The Cup Joke describes a version called "Molly Chess":

Molly used to have a move where the queen would swirl around ... knocking pieces off the board.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

GM Igor Ivanov dead at 58

From KUTV in Salt Lake City, Utah:
Igor Ivanov, a Russian defector who became Utah's greatest chess player, has died in St. George of cancer. He was 58.

Despite his illness, Ivanov tied for first place in the Utah Open tournament just three weeks ago. He was Utah's only grandmaster, the highest rank in chess. In 1979, he defeated then-reigning world champion Anatoly Karpov.

"He was our state champion,'' said John Coffey, vice president of the Utah Chess Association. "He was our best player by far. Nobody else even came close. Serious chess players like having someone of that caliber. He'll be missed for the great player that he was.''
Read more...

Update #1: Here is a longer piece from The Salt Lake Tribune.

Update #2: Seems I was way behind the rest of the blogosphere on this one. Check out posts from The Chess Mind, Chess News and Events, The Closet Grandmaster and Onlinechess.ca (ChessSmith and I independently ripped the same picture from the net).

Saturday, November 19, 2005

USCL Trading Cards Go International

Check out the newest one from our Canadian subsidiary.

Karpov to move to Florida

At least that is what the people in Palm Beach Gardens would like:
We've gone from recruiting smart people in bunches, to just cherry-picking one, here and there.... "It would be good for the city to say Karpov lives here," said local developer Joel Channing, a board member of the U.S. Chess Federation. At Channing's request, the city is drafting a letter to Karpov, inviting him to visit and explore making Palm Beach Gardens his new home.
What are they going to use to entice the former world champion?
"He loves steaks," Channing said. "We ate steak in Kansas and I said, 'This is nothing.' I would take him for the best steak he ever ate at Spoto's Oakwood Grill."
Read "Porterhouse gambit may lure chess master to Gardens" from the Palm Beach Post.

We all have our price

Alfred's Best of the Blogosphere offers a special report on chess blogs (starting about halfway through the post):

The center of the chessblogging world is probably the Boylston Chess Club blog. It's quite interesting in its own right--I enjoyed reading about the tribulations of the US Chess League. The BCC Blog also maintains the fullest list of chess blogs, which I recommend checking out if you're at all interested.

Thanks Alfred! You know just what to say to get a link here at BCC Weblog.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blitz by Numbers

In 1996, Bill Parcells, then coach of the New England Patriots, was asked if his 0-3 football team was in fact better than the record indicated. "You are what you are," Parcells shot back, a simple but surprisingly perceptive response. "We may look like a Super Bowl team on paper, but we're playing like an 0-3 team. And that's just not good enough."

This seems like the appropriate perspective to take in evaluating the results of the Boston Blitz's performance in the inaugural season of the US Chess League. Sure, the season started with great optimism, excitement about GM Chritiansen's participation on the team and talk of under-rated players lying in wait to upset higher-rated opponents. But, in the end, the hometown team finished out of the playoffs, in third place in the Eastern Division, with a record of 4-6 (2 wins, 4 draws, 4 losses). "You are what you are."

In keeping with this tautological theme, I thought I'd focus my season wrap-up on the "Numbers" with limited editorial adornment.

Performance Ratings

With the teams so closely matched rating-wise each week, successful teams needed to consistently perform above their official USCL ratings. Unfortunately, only one player on the Blitz was able to do this and a few performed well below. Data Format - [Player Name: Win-Loss Record, Performance Rating, Performance Rating - USCL Rating].

IM Perelshteyn: 2.5-0.5, 2823, +247
----------
NM Riordan: 3-3, 2304, +32
FM Winer: 1-1, 2421, +32
GM Christiansen: 3-1, 2599, +3
Krasik: 3-5, 2094, -29
----------
IM Friedel: 3.5-5.5, 2382, -65
FM MacIntyre: 1.5-2.5, 2229, -88
FM Kelleher: 0.5-3.5, 2108, -275

Full Team: 18-22, 2327, -31

Performance by Board

Given that the Blitz primarily employed a top-heavy line-up strategy throughout the season, the results on Board 2 were particularly problematic. Data Format - [Board #: Number of points scored by Boston (out of 10), Boston rank among USCL teams (out of 8), Top Team].

Board 1: 6, tied 2nd-4th, New York
Board 2: 4, 6th, New York
Board 3: 4, 5th, San Francisco
Board 4: 4, 6th, Philadelphia

Performance by Color

League-wide White had a 54% to 46% advantage over Black. New York had the best record with White (70%). Baltimore and New York shared the honors with Black (58%). Data Format - [Color: Boston % score, Boston rank among USCL teams (out of 8)].

White: 58%, 4th
Black: 33%, 8th

Hat Tip: USCL for the Board and Color stats (even though they have the Board 3 stats for the Blitz wrong)

To each his own

David Bogner of Treppenwitz prefers 'Go':

When we were kids, my dad taught my older sister and I to play both Chess and 'Go', but I can remember that I enjoyed 'Go' much more than I did chess. Instead of one strategic battle going on (as in chess) 'Go' had multiple battles being waged across the board... many of which could spill over into one another creating new strategic possibilities. And unlike chess, there were very few complicated rules to remember. Each piece (stone) placed on the board had the same status as any other... a very egalitarian game as compared with the different powers assigned to the array of chess pieces.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

USCL Championship Match Postponed

...due to lack of interest. Apparently only Canadians are interested in Baltimore-Miami clash.
smiley
See the US Chess League homepage for details.

Chess, a better choice for kids than Football

"First, it's available. It's something you can do in any season inside. Second, mothers, especially, needn't be afraid of their child coming home with bruised ribs, broken noses or broken bones."
Just bruised egos...

Read "Chess gaining popularity in south suburban schools" from The Star.

Championship Games

Games from the 2005 Boylston Chess Club Championship are now available for replay on the BCC Games page of the website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

More Flying Chess

Link

Related Post: Flying Chess

Chess is Dead

From "Two accidents leave two dead" at the Miami Herald:

The man, identified as William Chess, 61, a City of Hollywood employee, died after his red Jeep Cherokee flipped over on his way to work.

Witnesses said Chess, of Margate, was passing several cars around 6:10 a.m. when he lost control of his SUV and struck a retaining wall, flipping over several times. He was thrown from the vehicle and died when he hit the ground, Ferrell said.

Chess was not wearing a seat belt, Ferrell said.

At the next BCF Board meeting I'll be recommending that restraining devices (lap and shoulder belts) be installed at all boards in the main playing room.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Say it isn't so

An unnamed participant in the World Chess Championship in San Luis, Argentina, has accused Chess King Bulgarian Vesselin Topalov of using unallowed measures to win the title, index.hu reported.... It is not clear who has raised the allegations against the Chess King, but this man claims that during several games aide Ivan Cheparinov and manager Silvio Danailov have helped Topalov. The site reports that after each move of Topalov, Cheparinov has used computer analysis of the game and has then secretly signaled the chess king for the next move.
Source: "World Chess Champ Topalov 'Fraudster'" from the Sofia News Agency.

Spy vs. Spy

At Rice's Ruminations they explain why Intelligence (of the CIA/MI-5/Mossad variety) is a tough business:

It is a game of emotions, masked motivation, ideology, obfuscated psychology, and manipulation. It is like playing blind chess, without anyone telling you what the board looks like.

When the Genie wants to play chess

Link

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Journey to the Center of US Chess

The US Chess League has certainly shown that there are good players and exciting chess to be discovered in cities all across the country. And even little Lindsborg, KS can draw GMs and World Champions into the heartland. Nevertheless, it is hard to argue with the notion that the center of Chess in the United States is in New York City (shame on all you who thought I was going to say Crossville, Tennessee). New York is home to the largest collection of titled players, the venerable Manhattan Club, Washington Square Park and too many other clubs, chess stores and outdoor playing locations to mention. In how many places can a 2200-rated master find himself in the bottom-half of the pairings at a local G/30?

Beyond this, New York seems to be competing for the Chess Art world title as well. This fall, the following exhibits are on display:

  • The Art of Chess, October 28th - December 23rd at Luhring Augustine, 531 West 24th Street

  • The Imagery of Chess Revisited, October 21, 2005 - March 5, 2006 at The Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard) in Long Island City

  • Glenn Kaino’s show "Of Passed Pawns and Communicating Rooks", November 10th - December 22nd at Projectile, 37 West 57th Street

  • Gabriel Orozco’s current exhibition featuring a suite of his geometric paintings, the patterns of which are purported to be based on the knight’s move, October 6th - November 12th at Marian Goodman Gallery, 24 West 57th Street
Hat Tip (for the Chess Art links): Moogy Friends and artnet Magazine News

Yawn!

The first round of the USCL playoffs was scheduled to be played last night, but as parochial Bostonians we don't really care since our team isn't in it. If you really want to know what happened, I'm sure you can find out at the official site.

By the way, is the World Series over yet?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Life as a chess game, again

From "Feelings" at Life Of Music:

Living life is just like playing a lifelong game of chess. In the process, we may be stuck. stumped by our opponents. unsure of the next step ahead. just like life. we encounter lots of different problems in between. and sometimes, these problems may be advantages. they may help us grow stronger, build characters in us. as in chess, if we make a wrong move, we'll be able to be more careful for the rest of the game....

If we make a certain wrong move in chess, it could be such a grave mistake that it'll affect our performance in the rest of the game. worse still, it could even los[e] us the WHOLE game. Similarly in life, sometimes a LITTLE mistake may just cause a BIG BIG problem that could affect the rest of your life.

Another Chess Puzzle

2 grandmasters played five games of chess. Each won the same number of games and lost the same number of games, there were no draws in any of the games. How could this be so?
Stumped? Click here for the answer (under puzzle #3) -- not yet! Think about it first.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Unbelievable! Startling! Amazing!

Here's a video from NBC-17 News in North Carolina's research triangle -- Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill -- about scholastic chess clubs in the area. It's particularly amusing the level of surprise the newscaster expresses when she says, "Believe it or not, the game of chess is catching on - among elementary school students..."

For those of you who might be multimedia-challenged, here's a link to a text version of the story.

Save it for someone who cares

Participating in a post-mortem of your game (or even someone else's) is generally considered a worthwhile, entertaining and educational endeavor. However, Fiona at Gamblers Responsible Weblog argues that this is not the case in the Poker world:

There are only 2 places in the world where post-mortem should be done: the chess arena and the funeral parlor/morgue.... if you really have to narrate your highly exciting and memorable moves/plays/experiences [at the poker table]...WRITE A BOOK.

Order of Magnitude

From Google Earth - the largest natural chess board (in Northern Idaho).

Monday, November 07, 2005

Coffee House Chess

Hat Tip: CapaKaspa.

Phoenix

Two items metaphorically associated with the idea of rising from the ashes:

The first is an e-mail I received from Jean Troendle, the proprietor of Cajun Chess in New Orleans. The 64 Square Jungle interviewed her shortly after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city taking out their warehouse and business operations. Now, Jean reports that Cajun Chess is back in business, one more small step in the recovery and rebuilding process. Check out the Cajun Chess website.

The second item comes from Pawn In The Game's Jens Madsen. He was looking for Rihel's e-mail address to let him know about the new Chess Club he is forming in Morgantown, West Virginia (Aside to Jason: your old e-mail address is no longer valid; you may want to contact us with a new one). It seems that Morgantown has been without a club for quite some time. In fact, the last club closed up shop many years ago when its former president, Jason Rihel, left the state. It's a small world after all!

Supreme Court Chess

Many in the media are saying that the Harriet Miers nomination was a huge mistake for Bush. But was it? Is George W. Bush a political chess player on the order of Gary Kasparov?
Read "The Harriet Miers Gambit" from The Conservative Voice.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Swan Song

The Boston Blitz failed to come through when it didn't count, losing 2.5-1.5 to the Baltimore Kingfishers in US Chess League Week 10 action. Since Baltimore locked up the second playoff spot in the East last week, this match was for bragging rights only and the Kingfishers showed that their position in the final regular season standings was well deserved. For the Blitz, there is now plenty of time to ponder what went wrong in this inaugural season and prepare for the 2006 campaign.

On Board 1, IM Charbonneau consistently outplayed IM Friedel in a Semi-Slav and found a very nice combination to breakthrough and finish off the game. Dennis Monokroussos liked the combination so much that he made it an exercise for the readers of his blog.

On Board 2, FM Winer played the risky and unnecessary 14.Kf1 in response to a check from Black's Queen and suffered mightily in trying to complete his development for much of the rest of the game. In the time it took him to unravel, FM Enkhbat managed to push his queenside majority down the board. A passed a-pawn eventually cost Winer a piece and ultimately the game.

FM MacIntyre scored the only win of the night for the Blitz (and his only full point of the season). Paul sacrificed a pawn in what is generally considered a dubious line for Black in the Ruy Lopez - Exchange Variation. While MacIntyre's compensation looked negligible at first, imprecise play by IM Kaufman led to a strong attack for Black. A few precise maneuvers at the end spun a mating net from which White's King could not escape.

On Board 4, NM Riordan must have felt like he was running while standing still. In the first half of the game, his knights took extended tours on his side board always finding themselves on the third rank at the end. Then he made the inaccurate move 20.Bc4-d3 which after a pawn push by NM Kaufman was followed by 21.Bd3-c4. Black seemed to have the better of it in the middlegame, but ultimately a Queen ending ensued in which both players had opportunities for perpetual check. Kaufman chose to split the point when Riordan threatened to queen a pawn.

Later on, I'll be doing a wrap-up post on the Boston Blitz' first season in the USCL. In the interim, I'll leave you with League Commissioner Greg Shahade's perspective:

Boston ... is likely disappointed with their result this season. Hopes were high as Boston had quite a few highly ranked players on their roster, yet things just never seemed to break right for the Blitz, as they lost and drew many matches that they should have won. With the talent they have in the New England area, you can be sure that the Blitz will be back strong next season.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Must See TV

Today's Evel Squirrel Episode

"Chess Kidding!"

A diplomatic incident in Helsinki results in Roody facing a Russian grandmaster while Evel Squirrel tracks down an old girlfriend. Gary Kasparov guest stars.

From Evel Squirrel's ATTITUDE CENTRAL.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Red, Chess and Blue

Link

And the winner is...

Congratulations to our new Boylston Chess Club Champion NM Charles Riordan. Charles scored 4.5/6.0 in the annual round robin event. NM Vadim Martirosov secured 2nd place with 4 points.

The Hauptturnier ended in a tie for first between former Boston Herald chess columnist Mike Henroid and last year's co-winner Bob Fuhro, each with 6.0 /7.0.

Final crosstables are currently posted in the BCC News section of the website.

Send this kid an invite to the club

A family in Jamaica Plain (a neighborhood of Boston) is planning next year's birthday party.

This morning Sumner told me that he wants to invite 32, no 34, people to his birthday party, which is in March. What theme does this fun loving 6-year-old want to have? A chess party. Why does he want to invite 34 people? He wants for 32 of them to dress as live chess pieces and he wants for two of them to actually play chess with the live chess pieces in our front yard. That will be a sight. He said that Ramona's friends can be the pawns.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Equal chess rights for all

Somewhat surprisingly, chess made an appearance in Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's eulogy of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks:
"We will all say today that the greatest tribute that we could pay to our improbable warrior is to continue battling and to do so in a way that honors her life. And I, like you, imagine a day when the war will be won, when a brilliant 8-year-old chess player has the same chances in life, whether she lives in Lavonia, or off of Livernois."
It reminded me of the day Martin Luther King rose up on a podium in Washington, DC and addressed a similar set of concerns. I think it went something like this:
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all scholastic chess players are created equal.' I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former masters and the sons of former c-players will be able to sit down together at a chess table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a chess-less state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of the sixty-four squares. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by how many times they receive the white pieces in a 5-round swiss but by the number of games that they win or lose. I have a dream today."
Some day, my friends. Some day soon.

It all depends on the opposition

From "Turner's skills stood out at early age — even in chess" at Huskerextra.com:
Everything's always come easy for Barry Turner.... He was a standout in whatever he tried: football, basketball, baseball, even chess. When he was in middle school, Barry would go to the local nursing home and play residents in chess.
Well, I suppose it is possible that he might have run into a hidden Master at the Tennessee nursing home, but otherwise I would imagine that we could all have been standouts by beating up on a few senior citizens.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Save the Mill Valley Chess Board!!

An organization of old bags in Marin County, California are fighting the installation of a giant chess board.

The proposed giant chess board for Mill Valley's downtown Lytton Square is in trouble. Talk of checkmating the idea, unthinkable and unmentioned until yesterday, has surfaced.

Members of the city's 100-year-old Outdoor Art Club launched a campaign yesterday to get the Mill Valley Arts and Recreation Commission - which approved the huge chess board a year ago - to reopen the issue because they believe the board and giant chess pieces are antithetical to the artistic aura of the picturesque square.

"We question the appropriateness of having that much space turned over to a giant chess set," said Caroline Robinson, a member of the Civics and Conservation Committee of the arts club.

Chessplayers everywhere, descend on Mill Valley. Take to the streets. Picket in front of Ms. Robinson's house. Save the Chess Board!!

Chess Camp

Link

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Caption Contest

Scientists in Detroit are studying the effects
of chess on catatonic post-encephalitis patients

Share your caption for the picture in the comments.

Source: "Weekly chess games bridge age gap" from The Detroit News.

Chess Prayers

Sweet Miss Mae shares Children's Letters to God:

Dear God,
If you give me genie lamp like Aladdin I will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Thinking Machine IV

My friend sent me this link to what I can only describe as Interactive Art:

http://www.turbulence.org/spotlight/thinking/gallery.html

The chess engine is very, very weak, but the visualization of its thinking process is splendid.

Paper faces on parade

The NYPD closed down an illegal poker den masquerading as the Ace Point Backgammon and Chess Studio.

[Cultural bonus points for identifying the connection between the title and the post (without using Google, of course)]

Halloween Chess

Link

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pillsbury at the Boylston

Starting in the 1850s the Boston Young Men's Christian Union maintained a small room for chess; John F. Barry, Harry Nelson Pillsbury, C.F. Burille, Franklin K. Young and Walcott frequented it in the 1890s.

The club was formally organized on August 27, 1919 at the YMCU at 48 Boylston Street in Boston. There were 22 charter members, and Augustus Seaver was elected as the first club President.

In its history, many leading chess figures have been Club President, including Master Emeritus Harry Lyman.

In 1989, facing sharply increased rent and deteriorating facilities, the Boylston Chess Club moved to the 8th floor of the YWCA at 140 Clarendon St.

January 16, 1945 the club was chartered as affiliate #51 of the United States Chess Federation, itself founded in 1939.

Since 1991 the Boylston has organized more than 815 rated chess tournaments. The club was incorporated as a Massachusetts non-profit corporation in 1995.

In December 2003 the YWCA's building renovation plans forced the Club to move to a new home in Davis Square, Somerville (140 Elm Street) -- all the easier for the spirit of Harry Nelson Pillsbury to frequent this incarnation of the club once again --- (re-incorporated in the body of chess teacher Joe Perl?)

In 2005 the BCC became reorganized as the Boylston Chess Foundation.

BU Open


The Boston University Chess Club
presents
the 11th annual

Boston University Open Chess Tournament

4-SS, G/60

3 Sections
Open
U1900
U1600

Registration:
9:00 - 9:45 am

Rounds:
10:00, 12:30, 2:45, 5:00

Entry Fee:
$15…for BU students (BUID)

$15… if check received
by Fri. Nov. 4

$20… by web or email
by Thurs., Nov. 3
email-registrants must
check in with the TD
by 9:45 to be paired

$25… for all others at site


No Computers, No Smoking
Wheelchair accessible
Parking in
adjacent lot $6/day



Prizes
based on Entry Fees

Open section
1st & 2nd
Top under 2200

U1900 section
1st & 2nd

U1600 section
1st & 2nd
Top under 1200

Trophies
for 3-player teams:
Top college
Top high school
Top elementary / middle school


Bring sets and clocks!

(Because prize checks will be mailed by Boston University, winner must provide home address & social security number to receive a check.)



Saturday, Nov. 5

Boston University
George Sherman Union
Backcourt
775 Commonwealth Ave. Boston


Mail entries to BU Open Entries, c/o Robert Oresick
Boston University
871 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215
Please include:
  • check payable to BU Chess Club

  • your name ………………………………………………………………………

  • section desired: ( Open ( Under 1900 ( Under 1600

  • USCF ID ………………………………………………………………………

  • your school, if any: ………………………………………………………………………

  • your email address: ………………………………………………………………………

for more info contact: http://buchess.org/ or oresick@bu.edu or 617-794-1200