Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Back in the early 90's I had a six-month consulting assignment in Washington, DC and lived in an apartment in Dupont Circle during the week. I checked out the hustlers in the Circle on many occasions but never mustered the courage to sit down for a game. I've also never played in Harvard Square, though I have watched several times. One might think that I've decided that the best way not to be hustled is not to play hustlers, but perhaps it is more accurate to say that I prefer to be hustled by club members I know (through entry fees) than by strangers....Dinesh D'Souza describes how he got taken for a ride on the streets of San Francisco. Though "no Gary Kasparov," D'Souza is "a decent enough player" who "can usually give the bums a fair game." While playing for $5 he was "measurably ahead" after 15 minutes. " 'I'll be right back,' my opponent excused himself. 'I have to take a [expletive deleted].' He made his way to a nearby hotel visible from the street." Well, a few minutes later one of the spectators pointed out the obvious to D'Souza: The guy wasn't coming back, and D'Souza wasn't getting his five bucks.
He is a Serbian immigrant of immense but uncertain age, and appears to have played chess for his entire life. Over the course of his life, it appears that his wife has become somewhat disillusioned with chess, so for many years he has been playing chess in the middle of the back garden of our house. It doesn't really matter what the weather is (we've seen him there sitting in the snow with a blanket over his head), as he plays there every day that he doesn't spend at a chess tournament....
Monday, August 29, 2005
... film-maker Guy Ritchie's fierce rivalry with close friend and leading man Jason Statham can only be settled one way - with a game of chess.See my related post "A place where everyone knows your..."
Ritchie, 36, has just finished shooting [the] upcoming movie Revolver - his third film with The Transporter star - but they continue to battle it out for supremacy behind the camera.
Ritchie, who is married to Madonna, jokes, "Apart from the fact I don't like him, don't trust him and have no respect for him as a chess player, Jason and I work well together."
Statham adds, "Our relationship exists on competition, whether we're playing chess or beating each other up, we're always trying to get one up on each other.
"But the toughest moment is getting Guy to pay his debts when he loses at chess."
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Saturday, August 27, 2005
GadgetryBlog has a somewhat derogatory post promoting a giant backyard chess set... but as you'll read, the commenters have the last laugh.
See what it's all about here.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Charles was a disabled, double-amputee living in the housing projects in Mission Hill. He loved to play chess but his condition made it difficult for him to come to a club or attend tournaments. At some point in time he contacted the BCC to see if any players would be willing to come to his apartment to play. Over the years several heeded the call, but in particular club member Walter Driscoll was a frequent visitor. I believe Walter was also the driving force behind the Charles Drafts Open. At the beginning and for many years, the tournament was held at Charles' building in Mission Hill so that at least one time a year Charles would have an opportunity to play in a "traditional" chess tournament. Since his death, the tournament has continued at the club as a memorial event.
The introduction of internet chess was obviously a boon to Charles and he was an active player on the ICC. It was, in fact, in the middle of a chess game on the ICC in 1996 when the event occurred which thrust Charles into momentary international prominence:
BOSTON -- A disabled man who became ill while logged on to an Internet chess site reached out to fellow players from around the world for emergency assistance.Sources: New Standard 9-30-96; AtariArchives.org
Charles Drafts, a double amputee who types using a stick in his mouth, was playing chess in cyberspace Saturday on the multi-use World Wide Web site where 159 others also were logged on.
Suddenly, he sent out this message: "i'm having physical illness problems and need help."
"He was starting to have some really bad feelings, shortness of breath and dizziness, and he typed in a message to all our members," said Daniel Sleator, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University near Pittsburgh who founded the Internet Chess Club.
"It took a little while to know whether it was serious or not because there's an awful lot of kidding and bantering that goes on," Mr. Sleator said. "At first, I think some people were thinking it was a joke. But others realized it was a serious thing and started getting the information right away."
Mr. Drafts managed to type in his address.... while several users tried to find out what symptoms Drafts was suffering, Andy McFarland of Owensboro, Kentucky, was calling Boston's emergency medical services on his second phone line. "When he finally got through, he told dispatchers where he was calling from and explained the situation," Howland relates. 'I think I lost them for just a second,' McFarland said. 'It's not something they get every day.'"
...firefighters rushed to Draft's home, but no one answered the door. They called McFarland back to verify the address. McFarland told the wire service, "The last thing I heard them say was, `We're going in,' and they hung up." ...a short while later Boston firefighters broke down his door to get inside. They rushed the 48-year-old man to Beth Israel Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition ..., suffering from an undisclosed ailment.
About 20 minutes later, a Boston dispatcher called to tell McFarland that they had found Drafts inside and that he had needed help.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
See also my previous post "Chess and Intelligence."Academics in the UK claim their research shows that men are more intelligent than women....Dr Irwing told The Times the differences "may go some way to explaining the greater numbers of men achieving distinctions of various kinds, such as chess grandmasters, Fields medalists for mathematics, Nobel prize-winners and the like."
I suppose for a change of pace the club could hold a combined Chess/Age of Steam tournament (Age of Steam? I wonder if it has anything to do with those manhole explosions in the North End).
Here's the schedule of chess events.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Tyson: "My favourite move is getting more pieces."
Billy: "I like taking all the pieces."
Master: "The best thing about chess is saying 'checkmate'."
Caleb: "I like traveling."
September: "I like sacrificing a piece."
Ashley: "I like winning."
Clayton: "I like staying in motels."
Read "Chess masters aim to keep calling out 'checkmate'" from Hawkes Bay (New Zealand) Today.
Photos, Problems, Amateur Game Scores, Cool Graphics ... Fantastique!
And for the mono-linguists among us (myself included), Google actually does a half decent job of translating Chess Collector into English.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Those who have been reading this blog may recall that last time I posted, I was bemoaning my many chess losses in recent months, a losing streak in which I lost 9 of 10 games and almost 100 rating points. While it may be premature to say that I have recovered from my slump, my rating at least has climbed to the 2nd highest point ever.
But I am not posting to gloat-- I am posting to inform. Desperate for a clue to my losing woes, I took a long hard look at the last 50 of my recent games. I discovered something that should have been obvious-- almost all of my games were losses due to tactical mistakes. I was getting strategically superior positions, but I was 1) missing tactics that simplified the game to a win, 2) missing my opponents' tactical chances 3) misplaying my own tactical opportunities (e.g. I would see that I have a pin, but I wouldn't properly take advantage). Also, because I was blundering so much, my confidence in my calculations was horrendous, and I would sink into time pressure again and again.
Having been an avid reader of this blog, I was familiar with the De la Maza method that has spawned the Errant Knights group of chess bloggers. The idea is simple-- to improve from a class player to an expert, do 1000 chess problems in 64 days, then start over and do them all in 32 days, then 16 days, etc. until the whole set is completed in one day. When I read about this, I thought that plan for improvement sounds great for a Class C player, but maybe would only offer diminishing returns to a Class A player. After all, I've built up to the A class on my tactical skill, no?
Well, no. First, all those tactical opportunities I had in all those games -- all wasted! Second, I picked up a book, GM Emms' "The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book," with 1001 puzzles, and I started doing the easy section at the front. I was shocked--shocked--shocked-- to discover that I got several wrong out of the first easy pages!!!! Other "easy" ones took me several minutes or more. If I skipped ahead to the harder ones, I couldn't even find the tactical IDEAS to begin solving the puzzle.
I had discovered my problem at last. It wasn't a problem of psychology, not an issue of stamina, not a question of being relaxed or nervous. No! During my last few years of chess study, I have been focusing on opening, middlegame, and endgame play, with signs of improvement there. I was capable of making plans. I knew where to put my knights and how to fight for squares. During all that great and useful and interesting study, my tactical brain had shrunk.
And that is how I have become a Knight. I am still on circle 1, but I have done more than 600 chess problems in the last 3 weeks and am on pace to finish the set in the 64 alloted days. It is a struggle at times, but I can already see the difference in my approach, the depth to which I can calculate, the speed at which I see trapped and hanging pieces.
So, thanks knights.I'll keep updating people on my progress. And to answer the question of the headline-- a class A player CAN benefit from De La Maza's program. Only time will tell as to how much.
Consider this item which was all over the local news in Boston last night and the papers this morning:
Officials Probe Homeless Terror Threat
The federal government is investigating whether terrorists could be posing as homeless.
...the cause for concern developed in Somerville after a homeless man was seen hanging around in Davis Square and an MBTA station. Police said they became concerned when they saw him walking back and forth in front of the Social Security Building in Davis Square and looking in the windows.
"A false address was given, the address was to a restaurant in Davis Square. When asked for identification, the police were given an expired passport to a country on the FBI's list of interest," said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone.
Was anyone else, on seeing that all the Oompa-Loompas are played by Deep Roy, filled with urge to shout ‘Speed Chess!’ whenever they appeared on screen?
Monday, August 22, 2005
This 1,000 square foot exhibit will follow a five-decade-long chronological plan, from the theoretical foundations developed by such computing pioneers as Alan Turing and Claude Shannon, to the development of PC chess software and the drama of IBM's chess-playing supercomputer, Deep Blue.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Since one and a half week we have been on office in the pauses for playing chess; we heus Competence Center - Customer Care Center have set up tournament! Were in the beginning, however, were just as get used; already complete, but after a couple parties no longer have long played (2x loss, 1 x remise) now nevertheless also won! Be now nevertheless entirely into Chess and weerga themselves but again be absorbed in the tactic!
Saturday, August 20, 2005
- I added The Closet Grandmaster and Ginsta's Chess Blog -- both as a result of the "give a link, get a link" rule. I would certainly encourage you to make The Closet Grandmaster a frequent read. It is definitely one of the better new chess blogs I have come across recently (you've probably noticed that I've linked to it frequently over the past few weeks). Ginsta also looks interesting, though he hasn't posted since the end of July. Here's hoping he starts posting again so his stay on the sidebar isn't short.
- GM Maurice Ashley's blog lost its place -- he's simply not posting often enough. You can now find him under Other Chess Blogs.
- Among the Knights, Vic seems to have disappeared in a permanent (404) way. And while I didn't make any changes today, I am concerned about Knightwiz, Sliver Dragon and Zeon - The Paradoxical Knight who have all been quiet for awhile. Are you guys out there?
- On the structural side, I've turned Classic Chess Blogs into a post rather than a separate sidebar section. I also added an Essential Chess Links section, mostly for my own benefit since I visit these sites frequently (though, I'm certain many of you do too).
Friday, August 19, 2005
When: Wednesday, August 24th, 7:00 p.m.
Admission: Advance–$3/5 (BCC members/non-members), At the door– $4/6
Drawing from his freshly-published work on the openings for Black, IM Eugene Perelshteyn will present an overview of topical openings and their usage, provide some pointers on how to study openings, and give us the inside story of the writing of the book.
Perelshteyn faces GM Joel Benjamin at last year's U.S. Championship
Eugene now holds two GM norms and a FIDE rating of 2507. His other past accomplishments include 1st at the Generation Chess International (over GM Ehlvest, GM Christiansen, et. al. in 2003), U.S. Junior Champion (1999), New England Champion (1997), and Massachusetts State Champion (1996).
Light refreshments will be served.
Adapted from the August 15th BCC Newsletter and the Event Flyer (Paul MacIntyre)
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
BEAUTY AND THE GEEK IS CASTING FOR A
Are you a beautiful woman and think you can help a geek? Are you a geek and want to help a beauty?
The WB is currently seeking...
· Beautiful, sexy, social-savvy women who can turn a geek into a stud
· Intellectually endowed but socially stunted men who can turn a shopper into a scholar
· Beauties and Geeks willing to work together and compete for the opportunity to win a substantial cash prize!!
We will be outside the AU BON PAIN restaurant meeting chess players and their friends, this Saturday, August 20th between 3:30PM and 5:30PM. Hope to see you there!
If you can’t make it this Saturday and are interested in auditioning while we are in Boston, please contact:
Send us a 5-minute VHS tape showing us why you should be on this show. Start with your name, age and hometown. Make it as personal as possible and tell us what sets you apart from other people. We want to see you in action. Make sure we can see and hear you clearly, mark your tape and send it to:
BEAUTY AND THE GEEK
P.O. BOX 578
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
For more information, go to http://www.thewb.com/ or call 310-727-3337
Snafu, Inc., 3 Ball Productions, Inc., Katalyst Films, Inc., Flashlight 21 (collectively, “Producer’), and The WB Network (“Network”) make no guarantee that applicants will be selected for participation in the audition process and/or the program presently-entitled “Beauty and the Geek” (the “Program”). Producer is under no obligation to conduct auditions and/or to produce the Program. By submitting your application, you acknowledge and agree that: (i) Producer has no obligation to produce the Program, and, if produced, neither Producer nor Network has any obligation to broadcast the Program, even if produced; (ii) all decisions by Producer and/or the Network concerning selection of the contestants for the Program are final and not subject to challenge or appeal for any reason; and (iii) Producer has no obligation to return any materials submitted by any applicant as part of the application process, whether or not such applicant is auditioned and/or selected as a contestant. Any material provided to Producer (including, without limitation, videotapes, photographs, etc.) and all material that Producer creates as part of the application and contestant selection process shall remain the sole property of and shall be freely assignable by Producer. If you submit an application and/or any materials for consideration as a contestant on the Program, whether or not you are selected for any further consideration as a contestant on the Program, Producer shall have the right to use your name, voice, likeness, appearance, biographical information, any information or material provided by you to Producer, and any motion or still pictures or recordings Producer may make of you, in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide in perpetuity, and you hereby release Producer from any and claims, actions, damages, liabilities, losses, costs and/or expenses arising out of or resulting from Producer’s exercise of its rights hereunder. Your rights and remedies against Producer shall be limited to the right, if any, to recover money damages in an action at law, and you shall not be entitled to terminate or rescind any agreement between you and Producer or any of the rights you grant to Producer, or to enjoin or restrain the development, production, distribution, advertising or other exploitation of the Program or any rights therein.
So yesterday I was playing around with "World Map" and noticed that in my last 100 visitors I had one from Iran and one from Egypt. Of course, both these countries have well developed network infrastructures so it is certainly no surprise that people are surfing the web there. Nevertheless, I could probably count on one hand the number of hits those two countries have generated over the entire life of this weblog. So I thought I might dig a little deeper and that's when things just got weird.
It turns out that both visits came from the same referral source - an MSN search for "DG". It's interesting enough that BCC Weblog makes the first page of results for this search (it doesn't on Google or Yahoo!). It's even more interesting to note that before this no visitor had ever come to the site through this keyword. Just what were these people searching for -– Data General?, Deutsche Grammophon?, Dollar General?, DG Systems? -– and why did they both choose to click the link for BCC Weblog?
Now I generally consider myself to be a fairly rational person. While it's true that Iran is a primary sponsor of international terrorism and that Al Qaeda's Ayman Al-Zawahiri comes from Egypt, I realize that the vast majority of people in both countries have nothing to do with these activities. While it's true that some Shiite leaders have insisted that chess is forbidden, it's hard to imagine that they are collecting information on individual chess bloggers. Nevertheless, in this case, I've decided to err on the side of irrational paranoia.
So just in case something untoward occurs, please point the authorities to this post. And if they say it was accident, don't believe them!
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The games will be played at the MetroWest Chess Club, where team manager Matt Phelps will be handling the necessary computer hookups. Visit the site and follow the action. Go
Monday, August 15, 2005
It's sort of like Halley's comet -- catch it now, or wait years for the next opportunity.
A 4 1/2-story, half-block-long leaping muskie monument is an obvious "hook" in Wisconsin....The hand-sculpted muskie "Shrine to Anglers" is at the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis.... As sports hall attractions go, few can compare to that muskie, inside of which is a museum and an observation platform that can fit 20 in the open fish's mouth....I particularly like the Hall Director's marketing pitch:
"Not everybody plays baseball or football or bowls, but there's darn few people who haven't fished," Brown said.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Friday, August 12, 2005
Thursday, August 11, 2005
My acceptance speech -- well, it's going to have to wait.
Chess Horizons Editor Mark Donlan submitted my article "2004 Boylston Chess Club Championship" (based on content from my blog of the same name) in the Best Magazine Tournament Report category. The bad news is that I was beat out by articles written by Mig and Tim Redman; the good news is that I received an Honorable Mention (see category 14).
I can imagine the judges reviewing the submissions: "Mig, Redman, Heisman, uh huh; Kavalek, Shabazz, Nunn, sure; DG...who the heck is this guy?"
Further down the list, you'll see that our occasional Guest Blogger Howard Goldowsky won the award for Best Editorial. Congratulations!
This leads me to a bit of editorializing of my own. Two years ago the CJA finally caught up with the new media trend by introducing internet-based award categories. This was certainly a major step forward in recognizing the role the web is playing in communicating chess-related information. In fact, I would be inclined to argue that web-based chess journalism far exceeds print at this point in time (at least in quantity, if not quality).
The BCC connection? In the article they used the picture of Eric and his Dad (chessdad64) which I took when they visited the club this month. Regrettably, the BCC didn't get a mention nor the photo a credit. Oh well, that's life in the Wild West Web.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Top 10 Overheard Things Freshmen at Georgia Tech Say9. "I can't believe it. This is where Hochtuey Sheshmed went to school before he became northwest Nepal semi-regional chess champ. I-have-arrived!"
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
It's good to have black belt karate masters as friends. Oh yeah, I edited out his humor indications to make him sound more fierce.Well, just remember that DG is our homeboy.... Mess with him and you'll have a bunch of Knights tilting at you...
When Stephen Chess sells the last commercial condo in Union City's Chess Commerce Center, his legacy will remain in the abstract form of a king, queen and pawn splayed across a chess board.Read "Chess pieces helped make him a player in commercial condos" from the San Jose Business Journal.
Although he says it was a "dog-and-pony show" to meet Union City's requirements for public art, Mr. Chess has become quite attached to the 6-foot-tall display visible to all who drive down Kohoutek Way. Even if the 19 new owners decide to change the name of the three-acre development, he's pleased to note that those three chess pieces that mark the entrance aren't going anywhere.
"This leaves my name here forever," said Mr. Chess...
Monday, August 08, 2005
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Tomorrow we conclude the Reubens Landey with the following match-ups in a tight race:
Reubens Landey Round 5 (final) pairings
Theil (3.0) v Warfield (2.5)
Newman (2.5) v Didham (2.5)
Clayton (2) v Paphitis (2)
Gupta (2) v Slive (1.5)
Nutzman (1.5) v Oresick (1.0)
1/2 pt. bye - Glickman (3 /5),
late, great Dean of New England Chess Harry Lyman
See also my previous post "How did you find out about the Club?".
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Friday, August 05, 2005
The Jewel Royale (Chess Set) Company Limited and jewelry partner Boodles is currently finalizing the commissioning of the design and production of The Jewel Royale Chess Set - a gold and platinum gem encrusted chess set and board valued at some US$9 million. Constructed in gold and platinum, this single chess set will be set with diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and pearls.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
A 15-year-old detainee at Shuman Juvenile Detention Center tried to escape Tuesday by punching through the ceiling plaster of his room with a smuggled wooden chess piece....Read "Detainee, 15, tries to escape from Shuman Center" from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In Tuesday's attempt, [Raemon] Thomas stood on a sink and used a king from a chess set to punch his way through the ceiling, Wilson said, adding that he thought the effort took place over the course of several days.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Monday, August 01, 2005
Maybe it's something about the internal solitary experience of playing chess; or, maybe it's the overly competitive attitude which comes from the unwavering effort to "kill" the opponent. In any case, it seems that chess players are often extremely skilled at making their points in ways which are unlikely to endear them to others.
Our "friend", Quandoman, is no exception. As a result of my post mentioning his anti-De La Maza rant, several readers have left comments on his blog. In response to a comment from Blue Devil Knight, Quandoman points out that:
- He follows a chess improvement program which is superior to De La Maza's, but which he needs to keep a secret so his potential opponents can't use that knowledge against him [DG: What percentage of games between Class B players do you suppose are won/lost due to opponent research?].
- While doing tactics is part of the program, unlike De La Maza's, his program doesn't make the mistake of actually having you solve the problems.
- He is so brilliant that his coach sought him out and doesn't make him pay for lessons [DG: Presumably the prestige which comes from having Quandoman as a student is more valuable than mere money].