Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Knight Moves

New: Old Fart

Returned from hiatus: Mousetrapper

Placed in hiatus: St. Patzer, Smith-Morra

Sent out the search dogs: JavaManIssa, Guru

Local newspaper endorses Chess

...it is Chess Bedsole, 35, a Birmingham attorney, who is the most impressive.... THE DAILY recommends Chess Bedsole for the Republican nomination for auditor.

Read "Janie Baker Clarke and Chess Bedsole for auditor" from The Decatur (AL) Daily.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

An A Player's View in the Open Section, Mass Open 2006

The 2006 Mass Open, which serves as our state's championship, served up a number of interesting chess stories for yours truly (Jason Rihel). As the 2nd lowest player in the Open section, at USCF rating 1903, I certainly wasn't expecting to win any money. In fact, I was just hoping to avoid the inevitable lowest rated- player bye. As you shall see, not only did I avoid the bye (sort of), I ended up with a split of the Under 2150 prize. I also ended up with a new player to publicly excoriate on this blog-- Matthew Davey.

Here is a quick round by round account. I encourage other players to also post their experiences-- it is fun to hear what happened to other people, and more than one lesson can be had.

Round 1: In a back and forth game, I finally secured a drawish endgame against a near-master (2190). My rating finally kicked in, however, as I proceeded to trade into an inferior rook endgame, which I thought was also an easy draw. Wow, that assessment was wrong, and I soon toppled over my own king.

Round 2: I got a second black in a row, only this time I braved my new opening-- 1.e4 c5. I have played this about 5 times, and I was afraid to use it against these strong players. It was clear that both me and my opponent were playing through the fog of fatigue, and many mistakes were made. I finally won when my opponent made a serious tactical error. My quest to avoid a bye lasts another round.

Round 3: I have white against Josh Bakker, rated 2144. Josh ultimately shared the Under 2150 prize with me, in a sort of cosmic justice. After a difficult tactical game, I repeated a position 3 times. As I was moving my piece into position for the 3rd time, I declared, "This is a three fold repetition of the position," and I reached to stop the clock. Josh immediately said, "No, it was only twice," and he immediately played a move to break the repeat. As the clocks were both dipping under 30 seconds, I panicked, looked at my scoresheet, couldn't tell what was going on, and then stupidly made a losing blunder. After the game, Josh admitted he didn't properly know the 3-fold rule-- it applies to the POSITION not the MOVES. He wouldn't have allowed it if he had realized. Of course, I should have just calmly stopped the clock and got a TD. Also, instead of making my move, I should have left the piece in place, stopped the clock and said, "I am about to make this move, which is a 3 fold draw", and grabbed a TD.


Round 4: I catch a strong player in my favorite tricky opening. He is tactically lost by move 10. A little theory can go a long way sometimes, and I was happily sitting at a 2.0 even score.

Round 5: I struggle in a position where I am worse for about 50 moves. I lose a pawn to a 2100, and then he trades down into a Knight and king endgame. I hate games like this one-- losing the whole time, and yet there is a glimmer of hope for a draw that keeps the blood flowing. The end result didn't seem in doubt, but I would bravely fight on to the bitter end. But suddenly, I have a dangerous passed pawn, and now his extra pawn disappears, and now *I* have the winning chances! I think I will analyze this endgame here another time-- I found it very instructive on the power of an active king, and it wasn't clear during the game where my opponent went wrong. In the end, it petered out into a draw, but it was very exciting!

Round 6: Matthew Davey. Matthew Davey! Matthew Davey? He was to be my last round opponent, but he put his tail between his legs and fled, giving me a forfeit win. I guess I got the full point bye after all! Now, this breach of chess morality happens all the time, but Matt Davey put an extra special spin on it. He actually WAITED to see who he was going to play before he left, because he wrote it on the pairing sheet-- FORFEIT. Perhaps to his surprise, he was playing a lowly 1900, who happened to have a better score than he did and would have white. Looking up Mr. Davey, I see he just made 2100 with his results, so I imagine he didn't want to risk his rating to me, but if he had a pairing against a stronger player, then he would have stayed. Oh sure, I was then handed the under 2150 prize, but I would like to earn it. Not only that, a loss to Mr Davey would not have impacted my big rating gain, but a win or a draw would have pushed me very very close to 2000, because of bonus points I would get. If he just would have told the TDs, I would have gotten a new opponent.

OK, so I am speculating a bit on Davey's cowardice. There are other possibilities-- while checking the pairings, he has a massive heart attack, he only has time to write forfeit on the sheet, no time to find the TDs before being rushed to the hospital. Instead of a heart attack, maybe it was a rabid dog attack. If something like this happened, then I take back my hex.

In the end, a very fun tournament for me. GM Ivanov won, Chris Chase recovered from two tough draws on day 1 to take clear 2nd place, and a bunch tied for third in the Open section.

I encourage people from other sections to share their experiences. I *know* there are other stories to be told....

Picture Perfect

Boston Globe Staff Photographer Suzanne Kreiter came by the club and snapped some pictures -- one of which has been included in the Globe's "The City Seen" series. Click here to check out the photo and listen to Suzanne's audio commentary on why she ended up at the club and how she set up the shot.

Special Tactics

From The Sky:

i've been playing chess ... almost every night. My best move ... is still, "uh.. can we start over?"

Friday, May 26, 2006

2006 BCF Championship Cycle To Kickoff

If you are new to the club, you may not realize that the Boylston Chess Foundation has a Championship Cycle. First, we hold the Weaver Adams U1800 Championship. Two winners from the Weaver Adams then qualify to play in the Reubens-Landey U2200 Championship. Two winners from the Reubens-Landey can then play in the BCF Championship along with BCF masters. Only current club members can play in the Championship Cycle, so it is a perfect excuse to join or rejoin if you are not currently a member.

Here are the details for the Weaver Adams:

Weaver Adams U1800 Championship

Monday, June 5, 12, 19, 26
4SS; 40/90, G/30; Open to BCF members rated under 1800. Entry fee: $20. First two winners receive free entry into the Reubens/Landey U2200 BCF Championship. Registration: 6:30 - 6:50 pm Rounds: 7:00 pm.

Who was Weaver Adams?

Weaver Warren Adams was born on April 28, 1901 in Dedham, Massachusetts. He was an American chess master who participated in the U.S. Championship in 1936, 1940, 1944, 1946 and 1948 and won the Massachusetts State Championship in 1937, 1938, 1941 and 1945. Weaver Adams won the 49th U.S. Open, held in Baltimore, in 1948.

In 1939, he wrote a book entitled "White to Play and Win." After publication he played in the U.S. Open at Dallas where he did not win a single game as White (3 losses and 1 draw) and won all his games (4 games) as Black! He also wrote "Simple Chess", "How to Play Chess", and "Absolute Chess."

In May, 1947, Weaver Adams, New England Champion, gave a 16-board simul in San Jose, winning all his games.

Adapted from an e-mail by Bob Oresick

Not even a pawn?

...after being asked to please apply for the chess game so I can be used, I was finally told that none of us will be pieces.

Better luck next time.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Chess takes on dangerous dog law

From Defend-A-Bull Blog:
Ontario's pit bull legislation gets its first major court test Monday....

Catherine Cochrane, who owns a pit bull-type dog named Chess, is the first person to challenge the controversial provincial legislation that took effect last summer....

Ruby will argue in Superior Court that the vast majority of pit bulls are just like Chess – friendly, loving animals....

Cochrane figured Chess was the perfect dog to challenge what she considers a bad law."

I thought she would put a good face to it," Cochrane said. "She's a cute, well-behaved dog and we needed that. We are just one example of lots of pit bull owners."

Chess can't chase balls or play with other dogs in the park now because Cochrane is legally bound to keep her leashed and muzzled anytime the dog is outdoors.

The Shipping News

What is it about chess and cruise ships? First there were the chess cruises with Susan Polgar, Larry Christiansen, et. al. and now this:

America's Foundation for Chess (AF4C) today announced that, together with Holland America Line, it will be hosting an exclusive luncheon on June 11 aboard the ms Westerdam, which will be docked at the Port of Seattle. Attending this first-time-ever event as a guest speaker will be David McEnulty, whose success in teaching inner-city kids chess inspired the A&E movie 'Knights of the South Bronx.' Guests will also witness a blindfolded grandmaster chess match and savor a five-star meal.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

With no winners, isn't everyone a loser?

Stories like this just drive me nuts!
There will be no losers in the chess tournament being played at Charles Bejarano Elementary School.

"They're all winners," said Larry Guerrero, their volunteer chess instructor who took over the Chess Club when two previous volunteers' jobs required them to give it up.

"Just by being here playing chess, learning the moves, learning to strategize, think several moves ahead, they're all winning," Guerrero explained. "It's not so important that there be a winner," he continued, "but that they compete, play the game with one another. That's how they learn.

"There won't be any losers. We're rewarding participation."

But there will be a prize, a hand made travelers chess set donated by Guerrero's daughter, Laura Pierce of Las Cruces, NM. It will be awarded to one of the students by way of a drawing. All the club members will have an equal chance of winning it.
Arggh!!

The Pacifist Chess Set

Link

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation
Neither shall they play chess anymore.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Monday, May 22, 2006

Real chess journalism

Robert Huntington, former chess reporter for the Associated Press, has recently started a blog that is providing coverage of the Turin Olympiad. Check out this post for background on Robert's chess and journalistic travails.

For the record, I played Robert several times in the late 70's when I was in high school. I was thinking I might try to dig up the games, though I'm sure the scores would be embarrassing for both of us.

Origins

From John Henderson's column at The Scotsman:

CAISSA, the muse or goddess of chess, was originally a nymph in a poem of that name composed by Sir William Jones in 1763.

Now you know.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Time vs. Material -- An extreme view

Nick Jong discusses Monster Chess.

...a variant in which the white player only has the king and four pawns but can move twice each turn.

Apparently the extra moves may outweigh Black's material advantage.

The naive black player's confidence at having eight pieces and eight pawns to white's one piece and four pawns quickly transmutes into fear of the monster king, which is difficult to checkmate but which can easily mate the black king by itself.

Are you motivated yet?


Hat Tip: The Hungarian Knight (for the link to the Motivational Poster maker)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Please learn the correct name

It's not Dehorsey; it's Deknight!!

Read "Dehorsey wins chess tourney" from the Leominster (MA) Champion.

Chess Equity

Investing in solid companies with short-term woes is a lot like playing chess, says Michael Carmen, manager of Hartford Growth Opportunities. "It's all about figuring out what will be working later in the game," he says.

Read "Stock Picking as Chess."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Caption Contest IX

Give him a hint and I'll kill you!

Post your caption in the comments.

Playing like a dog

Here's the rather amusing opening from an article on reality television shows:

In chess, the endgame is the part where there are only a few pieces left on the board, and the players circle each other warily, like dogs sniffing one another's rear ends.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Rapid Pawn Movement

I hadn't come across a chess dream in awhile...

Last night I dreamt that I lived on top of a hill in the shell of an old stone building. It was full of flies and old black chess pieces.

Truth in advertising?

A little over a month ago GilaChess relaunched his blog as Chess Training, though he hasn't really been living up to the new name:

There is nothing much to report on my training results because there was no plans, and there was no training...

Monday, May 15, 2006

More Dot Points

  • A couple of new multi-media entries in the chess sphere: Video #3 at Chess Talk and The Closet Grandmaster's first podcast.

  • The second issue of Underground Review is now available for download -- a lot of art and philosophy, not so much chess. Is this a good or bad thing? You be the judge.

  • A couple of bloggers have announced their retirements (either temporarily or permanently): Knight Errant Salcido and Qxh7#.

  • Several others have been reclassified as inactive without such fanfare, including previous sidebar residents Loren's Chess Blog, The Patzer's Tale and Ajedrez por Sertal and Knight Errant Funkyfantom.

  • A couple of other Knights, St. Patzer and Smith Morra, have been quiet for awhile. Is the Errant clan going through a shrinking phase?

  • In the opposite direction, Chess Improvement Efforts reemerged with a new title - My Critical Chess Positions - and Schach und nochmal Schach posted again after a long hiatus.

  • Among newer listings, Chess Boxing Club Berlin might be of interest.

A Bloody Mess

Link

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Chess Poetry - Special Edition!

I know that very few of you look forward to new installments in the Chess Poetry series, but this one is special. It is a poem by BCF Member Manus Patrick Fealy entitled "The Boylston Club."
The Boylston Club

A poem

Tea & Honey
played the Paramount
Swiss Systems: not too much.
Honey plays the Center Counter.
Tea sometimes plays the Dutch.
Read more...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Is it permissible to play chess on Shabbat?

Since the BCC holds many of its tournaments on Saturdays, this seems like a pertinent question. Here's a response from Ohr Somayach:

Chess is discussed in the Shulchan Aruch. The Rama mentions it as a pastime that is permitted on Shabbat. Some of the Poskim note, though, that in order to differentiate between Shabbat and weekday, some people had special Chess sets made of Silver just for Shabbat play.

Chess clocks are another matter. Chess clocks are two spring-wound clocks attached such that when one player finishes his move he pushes a button, stopping his clock and activating the clock of his opponent. Rabbi Scheinberg, shlita, rules that they cannot be used on Shabbat.

When playing these games a Halachic consideration that should not be overlooked is the prohibition of Borer. Borer is prohibited when you separate something that you don't plan to use immediately, from a pile of other objects. With games that have many different pieces, this is something that can occur when cleaning up. Don't separate the pieces when putting them away.

So to summarize, chess - yes; clocks - no; and don't separate the white and black pieces when putting them away after the game. It's also nice to see no mention of beheading for violating the rules.

Hat Tip: Splasho

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wikipedia and Chess

From "Wikipedia and Me" at Archaeoastronomy:

I don't understand the Wikipedia.

I know that it's an encyclopaedia that anyone can edit and how to look up the codes, but that's a bit like telling someone "The Queen can move as far as it likes in any direction, the Bishops can only move on diagonals..." and then saying they understand Chess.

Sobriety Test

One of Twitch's 6 weird habits:

If I notice that the floor I am walking on is tile, then I walk on the tiles in the manner of a knight in chess. Hence I try not to pay attention to what type of floor I'm walking on.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Where mad scientists come from

We played checkers and chess and made the players mate and all this other stuff. It was quite funny. They had interspecies chess children.

A chess players' guide to stock market profits

From Technically Speaking, Market Analysis and Theory:

An Infectious Diseases specialist who has won one of the rare Infectious Diseases Society of America awards asked me today, "how do you trade the first case of human avian flu in the U.S.?" I think the checkers answer is to buy Gilead or Biocryst, but I think the chess answer might be to sell insurers, retail, and travel stocks.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A solution to GM draws?

News of alleged match-fixing in the final of a major Chinese chess event last week has rocked sports circles in Vietnam...

It happened at the Phuong Trang Cup which wrapped up last Sunday in Ho Chi Minh City when one of the finalists accepted "defeat" though his king was under no threat.

Spectators shouted at Nguyen Vu Quan of Hanoi after he "lost" to Truong A Minh after only 22 moves.

There are allegations that the two players had agreed upon the result beforehand and to equally share the top two prizes totaling VND42 million (US$2,650)....

The organizers have not said if the affair would be referred for police investigation.

It was this last line that got me thinking ... if premature draws, suspected sandbagging, etc. were always referred to the police for investigation and possible prosecution, I suspect we'd see a lot less of them.

Dot Points

Monday, May 08, 2006

No more privacy II

As everyone knows, it is not that hard to find out personal information about just about anybody by searching the web. Sometimes it happens completely by accident.

I was looking at chess-related items from Google Blog Search and came across this post which gives me a pretty good idea about where the blogger behind Chess Dude lives and who his landlord is.

Let's just call it the "Amazing fact of the Day."

The Minor Leagues

Sometimes the elite athletes aren't available:

Jeff has a water balloon fight at the college tomorrow that I plan on going to watch. The teams are Theatre and Art against the Chess Club. It's going to be a great showdown!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Chess Poetry VIII

From the poem "Ignition - Love Is War" at You look like a harlot... Someone I can't have:

Love is like a game of chess with strategy and tactics?
If it's all about the moves you make then maybe you need some practice

An unattended garden fills with weeds

Apparently I'm not the only one who is playing real bad chess right now. Don Q reports that he jumped back into tournament competition after a year long hiatus and achieved the worst performance rating of his life. He played so badly that one of his opponents accused him of sandbagging his rating for future events (ouch!!).

I guess the moral of the story is that you can't just do the circles, walk away and assume that the positive effects on your play will be permanent. Realizing this, Don (having recently completed his weight loss quest) has decided to get back on the saddle and ride again. That's right folks, the Knight of all Knights, the Man de la Maza is back!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Beware the Power of the Blogger

I played in the Quads today at the club; while it was a disastrous experience from a chess playing perspective, I did come back with this story...

In the last round I was scheduled to play FM Chris Chase. We decided to try and start the game about 20 minutes early in order to shorten our day. However, we were having difficulty getting everyone in the main playing room to quiet down so we could begin. In particular, a couple of Michaels (Griffin and Derazhne) were loudly analyzing their game from the previous round.

Finally Chris shouted out, "Hey Mike! If you guys don't quiet down, the blogger is going to write about you. Then you'll be in big trouble!"

"That's right", I piped in. "Chess players from all over the Netherlands will hear about your actions. If you show up at Corus next year, they probably won't pair you."

"Show up?", added Chris. "They won't even let you into the country."

Friday, May 05, 2006

Flank Attack

Sugiero describes driving a car in India:
Do we drive on the left or right of the road? The answer is "both". Basically you start on the left of the road, unless it is occupied. In that case, go to the right, unless that is also occupied. Then proceed by occupying the next available gap, as in chess.

To be honest, I really don't know what "occupying the next available gap" means from a chess point of view. Do you?

Hey buddy, can you spare a pawn?

A variant which will test your crowd control and social work skills, as well as your chess knowledge -- Human Chess with the Homeless.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Art of Creation

"As chess players or writers or mystics know, the pursuit of insight takes you deep into [the] forest. Days were I'd just gaze at the steam rising from my coffee, or stains on the wall, or a locked door. Days were I'd find the key in the steam or the stains or the door." - David Mitchell (Ghostwritten)

Work or Play

Here's the company we should all be working for:

Chess is a large part of the culture at Benecard, a Lawrenceville, N.J., company that processes and administers prescription drug and vision programs for health plans. Benecard's 50 employees can take the occasional introductory class over lunch, which includes a free set. Clients were once invited to a reception at which grandmaster Jude Acers took on all comers. Marshall even used to set up a chessboard in the Benecard booth at trade shows...

Company chess isn't mandatory by any means, but the game is encouraged around the office and the number of regular players is growing...

Hat Tip: Drawing The Line

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

For those lacking fighting spirit

Have you ever played non-competitive chess:

...where there is an odd number of people in a group and everyone takes turns moving for each side so everyone is competing against everyone including themselves rendering a competitive spirit null and void.

No one has ever won a game by resigning

Sometimes life does feel like this...

Have you ever played chess and been in a situation where you know defeat is inevitable, but for whatever reason, it's taking the opponent awhile to finish you off? That's what life feels like to me. I wish life would either finish me off or "make a mistake" allowing me to get back in the game!

...but often Prozac helps.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Singing star accused of evading Chess taxes

The Swedish tax authority is demanding nearly $11.6 million in back taxes, fees and interest rates from Bjorn Ulvaeus on royalties from ABBA's hits.

According to the Swedish tax agency, Ulvaeus signed a series of contracts before moving to England in 1984. The contracts were meant to hand over the rights to his royalties from ABBA songs and the musical Chess to different companies.

But the agency claimed in a decision made in December that the deals were sham contracts and that Ulvaeus still had access to the money and should include them as his personal income.

Down and out chess

Wayan offers a slice of life in the form of a chess bum in D.C.'s McPherson Square.

Now available on DVD

The Chess Players - A film by Satyajit Ray

Monday, May 01, 2006

Chess champ pitches his way to the top

From an article on the North Carolina Tar Heels pitching staff:

Miller and Bard are power pitchers coming from different sides while Woodard uses more finesse to get hitters out. A former state chess champ, he has the background for staying a pitch or two ahead of opponents.

"When you play chess, you try to prepare to exploit weaknesses, and it's kind of the same in baseball,'' he said. "It's all about preparation and knowing your opponent, but at the same time looking ahead.''

May Day

Ten blogs have been moved into Inactive status in order to start off the new month with a clean slate. Included are a few "brand" names: Jim Eade's Chess Journal, Duveltje's Schaakweb, GM Gata Kamsky's Chess In Life, Satish Talim's Online Chess Blog and King's Gambit.

In an unrelated note, I wanted to assure folks on both sides of the issue that BCC Weblog is open for business today, though no illegal aliens will be posting.