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.