Monday, February 28, 2005

flickr Chess

First there was blogger chess and now flickr chess. Opponents send each other moves by posting photos of the position on flickr (click on the moves to see the pictures). Here is the first game so far:

flickr LogoWhite: Voodoo Zebra
Black: arellis49

1. e4 d6

You can continue to follow the game here.

Get well, Pale

Concerned about Pale Morning Dun after his glue fume induced excursion into the blogosphere's space-time continuum? Here's a gift idea that might help with his recovery. Get your bids in soon.

Chess in Los Angeles

Back in 1997, I was living in Boston but commuting to Los Angeles every week for work. Fairly crazy I know, but as a result I still have a gaggle of frequent flyer miles to use. Anyway, while in L.A. I had a hard time finding out where the chess clubs were. This article would have been of enormous help:
The Santa Monica Bay Chess Club begins its eight-round club championship Monday in Joslyn Park, 633 Kensington Road in Santa Monica. Call Pete Savino at (310) 827-2789 for more information....

For more information about the Arcadia Chess Club, which meets Monday evenings in the Senior Citizens building, 405 S. Santa Anita Ave. in Arcadia, call Fred Brock at (626) 331-1638....

The Pasadena Chess Club runs tournaments at 6:30 p.m. Fridays in Throop Memorial Church, 300 S. Los Robles Ave. in Pasadena.... Call Raymond Boncato at (626) 568-0431 or Randy Hough at (626) 282-7412 for information....

The Exposition Park Chess Club's free monthly tournament will be held next Sunday in the public library, 3665 S. Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles.

The Rialto Chess Club has lost its playing site. To find out the new location, call Dec Cuerdon at (909) 641-4337.
I finally found a place called the Chess Palace and played in a couple of tournaments there. Here's what I wrote about the place in Chess Horizons:
Los Angeles

Well, Los Alamitos to be more accurate, though the initials are the same. The Chess Palace is a rather optimistic moniker for this storefront in a strip mall on Katella Avenue. This palace is small -- the tournament room is the skittles room is the bookstore. This is generally not a problem except when the phone keeps ringing in the middle of the round. Like the Manhattan Club [note: In 1997-98 the Manhattan Chess Club was still in existence on W. 46th St. between 8th and 9th Avenues], the Chess Palace has a bit of a business feel to it. If you forget a pen, you can buy one for $.50; pencils are a bargain at $.25 but fortunately scoresheets are still free. At these prices, it doesn't look like Charles Rostedt, the proprietor and good friend of chess, will be moving to Beverly Hills anytime soon.

So how is it that someone finds out where to play chess in an unfamiliar city? Listen carefully chess club marketers -- the TLA's in Chess Life. While I had heard that their might be a club in Santa Monica and/or Pasadena (which would have been much closer to where I was staying) I couldn't find any tournaments listed in the magazine. On the other hand, about half the listings in Southern California section are for the Chess Palace.

The Chess Palace Wednesday Knights is played not surprisingly on Wednesday nights, with the number of rounds determined by the number of Wednesdays in the month. Unlike most of the other clubs I've played in, the competition here was not as strong -- both months I played, I was either the highest or second-highest rated player in the tournament....

"Nightclubbing - Our man goes forth from Boston, looking for new worlds to conquer" Chess Horizons, July/August 1998
Check out their website for an update on what's been going on at the Chess Palace since I was there.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Diagnose your chess style

Take this simple quiz to "Measure Your Aggressiveness". (Hat Tip: Chewin in the Chung)

Woody Allen's chess humor

As a big fan of Woody Allen (the artist, not the family man -- I still consider "Annie Hall" to be a comedic masterpiece and "Manhattan" is not far behind), I was surprised to learn that in his early days he wrote a piece with a context.

Getting Even, Without Feathers, and Side Effects collect Woody Allen's written humor from the mid 60s through to the late 70s, in 5-year chunks....

Getting Even contains ... "The Gossage-Vardabedian Papers" - a succession of correspondence-chess letters, each one more politely sarcastic and seethingly hostile than the last.

From "Books to Laugh with by Andrew Saikali" at The Millions (A Blog About Books).

Now we finally know, sort of offers some theories and speculation on the origins of chess pie.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

When the Pope plays the Rebbe


Who is Mark Donlan?

I didn't know much about Mark Donlan when he e-mailed me back in October about publishing content from the 2004 Boylston Chess Club Championship blog, except that he was (and still is) the editor of Chess Horizons. This piece by The Cape Codder fills in many details about Mark's varied chess activities.
In addition to teaching at the library and in the Harwich elementary and middle school enrichment programs, Donlan is the editor of both ChessCafé.com and the Chess Horizons, a chess magazine.... Ironically, Donlan didn't learn chess as a child, but picked it up about 15 years ago. "It just clicked and it went forward from there," he explained. He's currently a candidate for grand master in correspondence chess.

Human Chess casting call

Tom from Buffalo had the right idea, just not on a big enough scale.
"Ninjas vs. Pirates" will be just one of [the] showdowns at METROCON'S Anime Human Chess Match, which will take place during the Tampa Bay, Florida-based anime convention, during the weekend human chess gameof June 24-26, 2005, at the Tampa Convention Center in Downtown Tampa, FL.

METROCON 2005 is now accepting applications for a variety of in-costume roles. Interested cosplayers and actors can visit for more details about cast member responsibilities and requirements, as well as images of the anime characters participating in the chess match. Applications are due by Sunday, March 6th, and cast members will be announced shortly afterward.
Read the full press release at

Chess and Music IV

From the song "Chess" by Weezer:
chess is such a difficult game
there are so many pieces
so many squares
where you can go
so few promises
never you mind all the others
anticipating your next move
i know it's hard cause you got a lot to do
street signs and traffic lights ever confusing me it's you
stop left, go
right, no U-turn, where's the goddamn exit
never you mind all the others
influencing your next move
i know it's hard cause you got a lot to prove

Friday, February 25, 2005

Maybe he's putting us on

Could a chess blogger be this out of touch with the world of chess on the net?

Kings play chess on fiber glass stools

A post-modernist view of medieval entertainment? Jen Shahade's next performance art chess promotion project? A new commercial for Owens Corning home insulation products?

No! It's a mnemonic device for remembering the biological classification system: Kingdom - Phylum - Class - Order - Family - Genus - Species.

Thanks to Bark Bark Woof Woof for the idea.

I am your vigilant reporter

Stung by Don's remark that I was slacking off, I have redoubled my efforts. I guess I can't allow any of the gnomes who do my 24/7 searches to take any vacation.

Today's find is Blue Rook, obviously the first member of a sub-collection of Errant ones to be known going forward as Blue Knight Group.

blue man group

The Big Red Kibitzer


More on Chess and Intelligence

From Odd Times:
LONDON - Darts players are the brightest of all sportsmen, new research shows. According to the study by Britain's National InstituteDarts of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), darts players have an enormous knowledge of world affairs and are eager to learn more....

players and golfers, as expected, are the least bright sportsmen. "Chess and golf is generally speaking for people with little, if any, education," NIESR Director Martin Weale explained.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Dutch Chess (Nederlands Schaak)

A picture of a chess tournament in the Netherlands. Recognize anyone?

Een beeld van een schaaktoernooien in Nederland. Erken iedereen? (Bablefish Dutch)

Chess Lesson, Life Lesson

From Going to the Mat's post "Don't Destroy but Don't Coddle":
A little story from my own childhood may help. My father taught me how to play , a game we still enjoy playing together. However, as a kid, my father, would play to his level, which was more advanced than mine. As a result I would lose, often and regularly. But each time I lost, my dad taught me a lesson, about chess and about life. The chess lesson was easy. The life lesson was usually left unspoken, that no matter how well you do (and I improved over time) you can still fail. Failure is a part of life, what takes courage and real self-esteem is not thinking you are a failure, but realizing that you got beat and you need to learn a lesson and apply that lesson.
Well said.

There's no cheering in chess

A player gets caught up in the moment and loses the match for his team - somewhat reminiscent of the Yankee's third baseman in the ALCS.
Facing the division’s top team, the underdogs had Bermudian Springs on the brink of defeat during the day’s final bout. Scoring one upset victory after another, the two-hour battle culminated with Biglerville’s hopes resting on one last move.

With the score tied at two wins a piece, an uplifting win was within an arms length. Time was running out on Bermudian.

As it turns out, time did run out, as a Bermudian Springs’ player exceeded his time limit.

Thinking that his team had seized triumph, a Biglerville teammate yelled, “Time’s up!”

Penalty. Bermudian was granted a time extension.

Minutes later, checkmate. Final score: Bermudian 3, Biglerville 2.
Read "High school chess players take the game very seriously" from the Gettysburg Times.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

What would Charlton Heston think?


Wednesday's Best of the Knights

Knights Errant Quote of the Day
"Just got my valentines gift from my wife. Nothing says I love you like good chess tactic software." - Takchess
Sancho Pawnza Magic Mushroom Award
"The patterns of the previous 1000+ problems have burned into my mind so sharply, as though a diamond was shot through my brain, that I see them in the back of my eyelids." - J'adoube
Cross-Knight Synthesis Post (I thought that was my job!?) - Temposchlucker's Nicknames of the Knights

Knights Errant Post of the Day - Pale Morning Dun on Pale Morning Dun (check out the new template too!)

Wars are fought over things like this

While FIDE was debating the merits of writing down your move before you play it, the Rock-Paper-Scissors people were struggling with philosophical challenges of their own.

From the World RPS Society FAQ:
7. Does Rock crush Scissors or is Scissors dulled by Rock?

There is no clear answer to that question. Younger and aggressive (or American) players tend to favour the Rock crushing Scissors view. More liberal-minded players take the view that scissors are dulled by the Rock. The World RPS Society created a task force in 1987 with a hope of eventually resolving the issue but it has been locked in debate and we no longer hold much hope of quick resolution.
Hat Tip: A Work In Progress

It's never too early to start chess training

Ruby Magdalena arrived Monday morning, January 31, at 9:40 a.m. She was 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 19 and 3/4 inches long.
Of course, having a newborn in the house poses all sorts of new challenges. But proud papa Raul didn't let that get in the way of starting the child's chess education.
We have also begun working on her chess repertoire, beginning with Alekhine's Defense, a quirky but sound response to 1.e4 (1...Nf6). It's going fairly well considering the circumstances, though I get the feeling I haven't been able to fully convince her that the old Four Pawns Attack is unsound. Nothing a few bloody losses to her old man won't cure, I suppose.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Het verre Oplossen van het Probleem

Dit project ik waarben ingescheept op heeft vele ervaringen verstrekt geen die ik oorspronkelijk zou voorzien hebben. In de loop van de laatste twee dagen heb ik een probleem met deze plaats identificeren en kunnen bevestigen alhoewel ik niet de kwestie op mijn eigen machine kon herhalen. In plaats daarvan, mijn vriend Logis van België, dat het probleem ervoer, en ik werkte de diagnose en de moeilijke situatie door te communiceren uit door posten en commentaren. Het was een echt opmerkelijke ervaring in verre samenwerking die door Internet mogelijk werd gemaakt.

Als teken van mijn appreciatie, eer ik het verzoek van Logis dat ik een post in het Nederlands schrijf. Ik leerde echt het geen Nederlands om dit te doen, maar in plaats daarvan geholpen van de diensten van Bablefish (u zou kunnen verkiezen om het zelfde te doen dit terug naar het Engels omzetten). Ik hoop de vertaling zijn verwachtingen voor vermaak ontmoet.

Ik bied opnieuw mijn oprechte dank aan Logis voor zijn onschatbare hulp aan. En dankzij iedereen anders wie binnen langs de manier wierp.

Chess Meritocracy

"I failed to make the chess team because of my height." - Woody Allen

(Hat Tip: Screws fall out all the time. The world's an imperfect place.)

Chess pieces never complain

From Nightside's ModBlog:
Pawns are not je[a]lous, they do not whine about their lowly position....Knights do not brag about their ability to [j]ump over other pieces[;] Bishops do not consider themselves in a higher class because they have positions on the right and left of the King and Queen.


What the Lilliputians saw

Consider the pieces perspective.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Chess and Music III

Thanks to A Small Victory for pointing out another song which references . In the post "Friday Night Music Mayhem - Quickie Edition" they list a number of 30 second punk songs including The Vandals' To All The Kids:
To all the kids with
Headgear and braces and freckly faces
Glasses and acne and foster care families
Eating disorders who sit on the corners
Bikes with a basket and pants with elastic
Retards and spastics and Star Trek fanatics
And guys in gymnastics with lives that are tragic
Chess club contenders with speculative genders
Friends they imagine with matching pajamas
(God loves us all)

Lego chess set


Chess as Performance Art

Roman is contemplating some interesting project ideas. Here's one:
Place a chess game in the middle of the main gallery [at CalArts] and see if people start playing.
I've seen perfectly white canvases hanging on the walls of art museums, though I've never been inclined to paint on them. Have you?

The colors of chess


Sunday, February 20, 2005

Another optical chess illusion

Someone throw in the towel

I give up! I long for the good 'ol days when in ten or fifteen minutes I could traverse from Don to Pawn and finally to J'adoube and get my daily fill of the Knights. Now, such a trek through the Errant ones might take an hour.

On the plus side, having more people has led to a broader diversity of content, perspectives and opinions. For example:
Regrettably, it is simply not possible to put together comprehensive reviews of all the Knights anymore. Instead, I'll have to focus on only the most compelling, insightful, touching and/or humorous pieces. Don't despair though; take it as a call to arms to raise the level of your blogging even higher. With that spirit in mind, I offer you Don's recent post "Awoken by Jesus."

Finally, we have some naming of new Knights to complete. I still owe one to King of the Spill and now that I have a better understanding of the meaning of "spill", I shall dub him the Loquacious Knight. Fatboy is easy - the Knight of the Round, not the Round Table. Our first member from the fairer sex, Margriet, deserves a status beyond mere Knight. Since the Empress title has been claimed, I shall call her the Princess Errant. As for Desperate Measures, I dub thee the Knight of Last Resort. And last but not least, Takchess - I know not enough about him yet, so we shall wait a bit before deciding.

P.S. To all the new Knights who are undoubtedly wondering what they have to do to include the list of Knights Errant in their sidebars, these instructions should get you started.

P.P.S. For Don - That same Bill Robertie was the 1975 Boylston Chess Club Champion.

Chess Song

Listen to Classic Chess Problems by the Peruvian band The Metric Mile from their debut CD "How to Beat the SAT."

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Just keep looking at those pretty windmills

My apologies in advance to Margriet, for it is not my intention to make fun of her English which is obviously not her primary language. Just imagine us loud, fat, obnoxious Americans trying to write our blogs in Dutch.
Brave New World
Nevertheless, in a comment on J'adoube, her inadvertent Brave New World reference - "soma chess ambitions" - got me thinking. Unlike modafinil, Huxley's soma is a drug which wouldn't improve your play at all, but instead would make you so happy that you wouldn't care. Legalization and widespread distribution would certainly mark the end of improvement blogs.

Chess Life (not the magazine)

[Life is] like a game of chess, but much much much more complicated. It's funny how I've always thought that I have everything under control in my mind, and that I've planned and forecasted every situation, move and countermove possible! However, life is such an impossible worthy opponent. It has proven to me time after time that it always has its trump card ready to defeat me no matter how many moves I have thought ahead. One day, I shall win. Or maybe and hopefully, one day, it will let me win or at least be in the lead for once.
Read "Life is Chess" from Phu Son Nguyen's Journal and Portfolio.

Pawn structure


Chess Therapy for Philosphers

Ken Younos of Your Meat and Potatoes explains why it is good therapy for philosphers to play :
[Chess is] actually very good therapy for those who regularly immerse themselves in heady ideas and abstract concepts. Chess trains the mind to engage reason with the sense of touch and depth perception; it forces the intellect to posit concrete possibilities through the concentrated use of sight ... and of touch... Moreover, every such executed move consolidates the engagement of our reason to reality; they burn impressions into us by virtue of the success or failure of that move...
Good therapy or not, we've encountered not one, not two, but three chessplayer-blogger-philosophers.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Chess IS a sport

The BCC Weblog enters new territory with the introduction of our first Guest Blogger. Many of you are already familiar with Howard Goldowsky from his pieces in Chess Horizons, ChessCafe, and other chess-related publications. In fact, Howard was the author of the interview with Michael De La Maza which Don posted awhile back.

Now, Howard has agreed to provide occasional posts for us. In his first piece, he challenges Dennis Monokroussos' position on whether is a sport. So, without further ado here's BCC Weblog Guest Blogger Howard Goldowsky:


Chess IS a sport

I would like to thank the kind DG and the Boylston Chess Club for giving me the opportunity to guest blog.

With all due respect to Dennis Monokroussos, I believe that chess is a sport. In my opinion, the sufficient requirements for any activity to be a sport is its practitioner's reliance on timing and pattern recognition. Most activities that are traditionally labeled as sports, the ones Monokroussos refers to, are physical in nature. But the physicality is only a by-product of the true developed skills, which are timing and pattern recognition. For example, a baseball player must train his brain to train his muscles to hit the pattern of 90 MPH curveball, a basketball player must train his brain to train his hands to dribble past the defensive patterns posed by a defender. In chess, we are constantly training our minds to recognize patterns and to time our moves right. This is what makes chess a sport. Based on this definition, chess can even be classified as a "purer" sport than the ones that require physical activity, because the muscles don't need to act as a "middleman".

A few years ago, I wrote a short story published at ChessCafe, titled, "Chess As a Sport", that includes many of these issues as its theme.

Unfortunately, most people, Monokroussos included, associate sports with some sort of physical exertion. In order to compromise with these people, I like to refer to chess as a "mental sport" or a "mind sport". This qualified definition should make everybody happy.

posted by Howard Goldowsky

Another one enters the fray

I just found another new blogger beginning his quest towards chess improvement.
Having been inspired by the blogs of the ManDe la Maza and the Knights Errant, I to[o] will take up the challenge. Based on the feedback I've seen I'll be using Don's modif[i]ed circle schedule.

I've started this blog as [a] way of motivating myself to stick with the program. Even if nobody ever reads this at least I know it's here. Now for the good part, goals. Currently my USCF rating is an meager 1161. I'm shooting for 1350 by August and 1500 by this time next year.
Check out the 65th Square. Say hello to fatboy and surprise him with how many readers are out there.

Flying Chess

flying chess height=

Apparently it was a classic game somewhere in Asia, sometime in the past. A pretty definitive description, huh?

More Chess Crime

From The Chicago Tribune:
A south suburban school bus company is under fire today after it allegedly hired a convicted child molester to drive Chicago schoolchildren to an out-of-town chess tournament, WGN-Ch. 9 reported.

William McAllister, 60, of Calumet City says his superiors at the Coleman Bus Co. in Dolton knew about his criminal conviction, WGN reported. Police in Channahon, near Joliet, pulled over McAllister's bus Sunday morning after he allegedly made an illegal U-turn.

On board were 29 chess players from Currie, Kelly and Whitney Young High Schools in Chicago, CLTV reported. They were returning from a tournament in Peoria and had stayed in the same motel as the driver.

Need a username and password for The Chicago Tribune? Click here.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Why chess pieces lead miserable lives

Earlier, a piece on how people are like chess pieces; now, some thoughts on how chess pieces are like people:
The thing with is, that all the pieces except the [pawn] are frustrate[d] cause they can't evolve and learn new tricks. The rooks are pissed because they're lab[e]led as meathead[s] ... always attacking things straight on. The bishops are criticized for having no spine - cause they never deal with things head on or directly. They always take some crooked sideways approach to dealing with their problems and no one sees them coming. They're the back stabbers of the game. And the [k]night (horsey) is the pretty boy. He's always dancing ... always dancing. And you're like "QUIT MESSIN' AROUND AND PLAY THE GAME LIKE EVERY OTHER PIECE" ... but Noooo, it just keeps dancing. And the king's pissed cause he's kept on a short leash by his wife, the queen.
From comments on the blog kai was here.

Speed Pontification

The blogosopher is a bit like the blitz player: he has to crank out something good in serious time pressure. - Maverick Philospher

Where's James Taylor when you need him?

I am sitting here (well actually standing) in club typing this entry. I wish some of you ... would post comments. I am lonely! I want blog friends! Don't make me kill myself! Help me!
"People can be so cold. They’ll hurt you and desert you. Well they’ll take your soul if you let them...."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Evolution or Creation?

Dennis Monokroussos doesn't hesitate to take on the big issues. This time it's the age-old question of whether "chess is a sport." His conclusion?

...while is in some significant ways sports-like, and physical and mental training are of great value to ambitious tournament chess players, chess is not a sport...

Read the entire post...

On Chess and Time

From a New York Times Magazine interview with film critic Roger Ebert:
I love playing chess. The two ways you can get away from being conscious of the passage of time are painting or playing .
(Need a user name and password for Click here.)

Might as well stay on politics

A chess blog is no place for a red state vs. blue state debate. However, some of the metaphorical uses of in the political arena are just so pointed. As a consequence, for your reading pleasure - an excerpt of "Deep Blue vs. Homer Simpson" from Wyatt's Torch:
It's no longer that Republicans are playing chess, while Democrats play checkers. It's Republicans playing Six-Tiered Star Trek Chess against John Nash while Democrats keep pumping quarters into a rigged slot machine.

Blogger Chess

OTB Chess. Correspondence Chess. E-mail Chess. Internet Chess. Apparently there are never enough ways to play a game of chess.

Now there's Blogger Chess - a game contested by two different bloggers using a group blog to transmit moves to each other. This particular example seems interesting since neither blogger's posting interest is chess-related; both are political bloggers (of the blue state variety). Playing White is N. Todd Pritsky of Dohiyi Mir while Black will be manned by Guy Andrew Hall of Rook's Rant. They are using the Open Source Politics blog to prosecute the game.

Here is Pritsky's announcement of the game on Dohiyi Mir, and his first move at Open Source Politics.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Why Asia is an emerging chess power


Suburban Legend

Theodicus uses a chess example to explain why city kids ("once they learn the rules, most ... are willing to play within them") are preferable to suburban ones ("[they] don't think they did anything wrong unless they're caught"):
In chess there are some rules that you either call on yourself, or can only be enforced if your opponent catches you ... and appeals to the director. A suburban child breaks such a rule. After the game is over, I suggest to him, politely, that he should learn the rules of the game if he plans to continue playing in tournaments. (I do this for his own good, because there are some folks who play chess who can get very outraged - and outrageous - if you transgress the rules while playing against them....) Indignantly, he tells me he knows the rules. Further, he obviously didn't do anything wrong, because his opponent didn't complain.

Chess in Vietnam

Apparently the scene in Vietnam is on an upswing. The first indicator is this puff piece on the burgeoning chess scene in Hanoi cafes (Hat Tip: Super Friends). Sure, they're talking about Chinese chess, but there's no reason to be parochial about it. And then, just this week the country's news outlets provided a report suggesting that FIDE may be bringing its World Championship knock-out tour of despotic and formerly-despotic nations to Ho Chi Minh City.

Chess and Blog Promotion

This was one of the first articles I read on blog promotion way back when I started my chess blogging experiments (you remember the good old days? August 2004). It was only upon a recent re-read that I rembered that was used for the opening:
In chess, promotion occurs when a pawn reaches the eighth square. At that point, your opponent is challenged because this simple pawn takes on all the powers of a Queen—the deadliest piece on the board. Of course, the pawn may be promoted to bishop, rook, or any other piece but why? This only clues the other player in to your secret plans. That being said, however, promotions to knight can often be strategically useful depending on the situation.

What the beelzebub am I talking about? Let's not get too lost in metaphor. Suffice to say, the circuitous game of promoting one's blog in the blogosphere (without the proper armament) can often seem as difficult and unrewarding as a day-long chess match that ends in a draw. If you play your game right, however, that pawn can hit the big time....
Ugh! What a tortured analogy; what a torture to read and his perspective on underpromotion, please.... You underpromote when it makes sense to do so. Forget about any secret plan which you would be unable to carry out in any case if you have already promoted to a Queen. You can make your own judgements on the value of draws. I have experienced both rewarding and unrewarding ones.

Enough of that - now, here's the good news. The rest of the piece contains lots of good ideas for promoting your blog (particularly if you are using Blogger).

Sunday, February 13, 2005

It's a fact - blogging improves your chess

From Strange Fish Bowl:
A truly amazing thing happened last night. I beat my phone at ! And it wasn't even set on 'VERY EASY', it was on plain old 'EASY'! I guess all I needed to do to win was blog about how I can't beat my phone at chess. It was like magic.


Bartender Chess


Chess and the Bombing of Dresden

From The Independent:
Rudolf Eichner produces a blackened piece from the pocket of a tattered shoulder-bag....

Years after that terrible night, which he spent huddling for shelter from the savage air raid and the firestorm that razed 75 per cent of Dresden and killed 35,000 people, Mr Eichner, now 80, found the chess piece - a knight. It was on the small patch of ground where he had endured the onslaught.

...."My father and I were chess players," he recalled. "My father brought his chess set to the hospital to help me while away the time. When the bombing started, I just thought I must hang on to the chess set."

In the end, only the board was any use - for beating out the flames on his and his companions' heads and, when all their hair had burned, to put out the flames on their clothes and skin.

Read the article...
Hat Tip: Art of Chess

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Timing is everything

It's too bad for us old guys; we were obviously born too soon.
Some high school kids think the image of chess has changed from a game for geeks to one for the intellectually cool.

Adlai E. Stevenson High School Junior and chess aficionado Asher Meyers said, "I was just talking with a couple of friends and the other day they were playing at Starbucks and they actually started picking up girls by playing chess, so I think that pretty much sums it up."
Read "Chess Anyone?" from WHOI-19 News in Illinois.

The mathematically perfect knight's tour

Wadcutter presents a knight's tour which is also a magic square.

Chess People

Lamat Kan describes the different types of people in the world according to their predisposition towards chess pieces:
People who use queens, primarily, are in love with power... People who rely on castles are in love with ideals, and organization; they keep things “contained” as concepts and are constantly conceptualizing ... the world. People who use knights are complex, and are in love with intricacy as well as mystery... People who use bishops are conceptual... People who use pawns are in love with people and organization of people...

Interesting, but it feels like a rather artificial framework to me.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Rabbits! Everywhere Rabbits!

The Knights Errant have certainly been breeding like bunnies as of late and a post by CelticDeath sent me in the literary direction of John Updike (see my comment).
I've been thinking about how the blogging experience of our newest friends differs from that of the old-timers (sort of amazing that having a 4-6 month old blog in this community makes you an old-timer!?). Don and Sancho, do you remember how exciting it was to receive your first few comments from someone other than each other? Nowadays the newcomers are showered with feedback from the beginning. In some ways it's a reverse Ponzi scheme. Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. I just think it's interesting how the point in time in which you join the circle affects your experience and perceptions.

On a related note, I'm interested in what's been driving the explosive growth of the Chess Blogosphere in general and the Knights in particular since the beginning of February. To that end, I have a question for those of you who have joined recently: Did you read the blogs of the Knights and then decide to create your own or did you start your blog and only later discover the existence of the Knights?

For now, let's move on to introductions:
  • Fussy Lizard has been mentioned here before, but now that he has his own blog the designation "Silent Knight" may not be completely appropriate. It seems like we should stick with Don's "dub" unless he thinks otherwise; if for some reason we need to change at a later date one possibility might be the "Cold-Blooded Knight".

  • Next up is Yet Another Patzer, our second knight from outside North America. For our Argentinean friend I'll try another poor attempt at humor - "The International Knight of Mystery."

  • Finally, give a welcome to King of the Spill. I'm all out of good names at the moment (and bad ones, for that matter), so we'll put this responsibility on hold for now (of course, your suggestions are always welcome).
P.S. - I'm now absolutely certain that CelticDeath was given the appropriate appellation. The spell checker wants to change his name to "cultist."

P.P.S. - Another rabbit ... It turns out that Chris Kilgore at Adventures in Georgia Tournament Chess is also a La Mazian.

He thought the Pawn was a Peon

After I read this, I could no longer remember what tournament behavior issues we were talking about at this week's Board Meeting.

For our new friends down the hall

The Massachusetts Go Association is just down the hall from the Boylston Chess Club. On New Year's Day, they were kind enough to let us use their space to accommodate overflow from our event. In their honor, here is a site dedicated to art based on the game of Go.


Chess Crime

For those of you who have complained about the tournament organizers in your area, it can always be worse.
This was my first experience with Cajun Chess, and I wasn't sure at first if the tournament would even take place. The former owner, Richard Crespo, was recently arrested by a SWAT team for kidnapping a woman he had met at one of his chess tournaments.
Read "$10,000 Georgian Peach Open" from Adventures in Georgia Tournament Chess.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Is counterplay preferable to equality?

"'Getting ground down' is one of the principal causes of 'death' in chess today!... A sound, but passive position is a good starting point to find reasons for your losing the game! You will never catch Kasparov in a sound but passive position ... he would much prefer an inferior position with some little counterplay! In fact, studying Kasparov's games is a good lesson in the importance of counterplay."

Stay away from passive but solid positions. Think dynamically! Be prepared to play positionally inferior positions that offer some chances of counterplay.
Read "How player can become master" by Knight Mysterious from The Standard. (Hat Tip: Blog do Xadrez)

Chess Poetry

Poetry from a broken soul

Life's chess game laid out with kings and pawns.
So what of the knights in the fray?
We can not live if chivalry is dead,
so our castles and queens can be free.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Chess at Knight


Does chess have a story?

At render, a discussion of the role of stories/context in videogame design led to this point:
You can, I suppose, consider games (videogames and otherwise) as having two different elements: the story (or context), and the gameplay. Take checkers, for instance. No story, pure game. Chess doesn't have a story, but it does take place in the subtle context of abstracted medieval conflict. Chess's complex game design, which requires a great deal more thought and strategy, is probably more compelling than checkers from a gameplay standpoint. But I'd also argue that chess's various characters - the powerful queen, the capable knight, etc. - make the game more interesting.
I definitely agree that chess is more compelling than checkers and that this is probably somewhat attributable to the fact that there are different types of pieces with different characteristics. However, Go has only one type of piece and many consider it even more compelling than chess. As to "the subtle context of abstracted medieval conflict", the effect must be very subtle and subliminal indeed. I can't ever recall thinking about its medieval context while playing a game of chess.

Yet another Knight

It sure feels as if February 1st marked a significant (dare I say, historic) event in the development of our little on-line chess community. I'm unsure what the specific precipitating developments were (possible hypotheses include: The Boston Globe article; chess personality Dennis Monokroussos starting a blog; just the accumulated impact of all of our linking, posting, commenting, etc.; others?), but this week visits have reached new peaks and chess blogs are appearing everywhere.

Today, for the second straight day, we introduce a new Knight Errant. Give a big BCC Weblog welcome to Temposchlucker from the Netherlands. I have a couple of thoughts for naming this knight, so consider the following suggestions and let me know what you think. First, as one who has a penchant for "schlucking" tempos I thought about the "knight who steps behind." Second, as our first European member I'm considering "IKOP" - the International Knight of Pancakes.

Also, check out this post by Don for information about Fussy Lizard - the silent knight (or the knight with the invisible blog).

Contact all your chess friends in Melbourne

That would be Australia, not Florida.
The Monash University Chess Association is in a spot of bother. They need twenty people from Monash Uni to sign up in order to remain associated with Clubs & Societies. If the Association losses this relationship with C&S, it'll not have a free venue at the university to conduct it activities. Strangely enough, the activities of the club are primarily member meet-ups so that much Chess playing can be had.

So, pass the word 'round the Melbourne blogosphere. Tell 'em Chess helps your logical thinking skills and'll help you become a better lawyer.
Read "Monash University Chess Association needs members" from mechanical turk.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Chess is next to Godliness

While my chess joke about Anglicans didn't have any legs, Dennis' post on whether Christians can play chess has taken off - particularly in the Christian blogosphere. Personally, I feel ill-equipped to enter the discussion in a significant way. However, having read several posts and the comments on Dennis' site it seems to me that the discussion resembles the chess as art vs. sport debate. To the extent that one plays chess for its beauty and creativity it is consistent with religious values; however, as cut-throat competition it is not.

If this is true, can one then conclude that those who play for their livelihood (typically GMs and other highly-rated players) are on the wrong side of good, while those who play purely for enjoyment (typically amateurs, though not all amateurs) exemplify high ideals? This might explain why Dennis, a master, argues the un-Christian side while the "woodpushers" counter. Perhaps if the masters let us class players beat them more often they would feel better about themselves!? :)

In the meantime, here is a selection of links referencing Dennis' post:

Imago Dei: Chess and the Christian
Pruitt Communications: Can Christians Compete?
Dangerous Idea: C. S. Lewis, Chess, and Pride
SmartChristian Blog: Is Chess a Discipleship Tool?
JollyBlogger: Jolly Digest 2-7-05 Chess Anyone...
Rakshasas: On the count of three, everyone philosophize...

An invitation to knighthood

After a short campaign, a new blog has been invited to join the Knights Errant. Greetings to CelticDeath. Given his rather ominous moniker, I will dub him the "dark knight". In anticipation of his acceptance I have added a link to his blog in the Knights sidebar.

Speaking of links, I've moved Logis from other chess blogs to the sidebar. While relatively new, he has already been actively contributing to our chess blog community. And besides, he was kind enough to kickoff his blog with a link to BCC Weblog. "Give and thou shalt receive" seems to be a key operating principle embraced by all of us within this little corner of the blogosphere (except perhaps for Mig, but maybe he'll come around). Here's a game annotated by Logis.

More chessboxing?


Chess Rapper

Over at Creepy bald men are following me, John is having some trouble writing a rap song about Ali:
...all I can come up with is, "The best thing about this interesting chess game is when what's his name takes his king when he's castling," and that has nothing to do with Ali and also doesn't make much sense.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Paintings of Samuel Bak

From Poliart:
Chess pieces are a favorite symbol that is used again and again throughout his paintings. In fact, more than two hundred of Bak's paintings contain chess pieces but never a complete set or complete board. The completion of a chess set or its figures would add validity to the idea that there are rules in life or war, when in reality there are no rules. Rules are for games not the works of artists.


From Cervantes' pen

Of course everyone recognizes that the Knights Errant bloggers are thematically descended from Cervantes' Don Quixote (if this is news to you, you may want to re-read this recent post).

For those whose reading tastes are limited to chess blogs, chess books and Star-Trek novels, Pawn Sensei was kind enough to dig up the original source material:
"A man who could look back upon an ancestry of genuine knights-errant extending from well-nigh the time of Pelayo to the siege of Granada was likely to have a strong feeling on the subject of the sham chivalry of the romances."

"....or with eyes brimming over with merriment gazing at one of those preposterous portraits of a knight-errant in outrageous panoply and plumes with which the publishers of chivalry romances loved to embellish the title-pages of their folios."

Where's the best place for Superbowl coverage?

Google can be kind of quirky on occasion. It turns out that someone found this site this morning by searching for "is Bill Belichick a slav." Boylston Chess Club Weblog is the one and only result!

Update (7:30pm) - There are now 3 results. If this continues to grow exponentially, look out!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Like spitting into the wind

A chess analogy I really like:
Although I am afraid that pointing out your errors in your latest [article] ... would be an exercise in futility comparable to recommending chess openings to a chimpanzee, I will do so anyhow.
Read "On Michael Ignatieff's latest NY Times Magazine article" at Unrepentant Marxist.

Some spelling mistakes are funnier than others


You might want to get some ointment for that...

Chess, Religion and Humor

I was initially hesitant to post a religious joke, even if it is chess-related. However, since Dennis Monokroussos has established the precedent with his serious piece "Can Christians Play Chess?", I now feel like I'm on firmer ground.

From Katolik Shinja:
Q. Why can't Anglicans play chess?

A. Because they can't tell a Bishop from a Queen.

Chess Movie

Indian Director Raja Bundela Comes To The U.S. To Direct "That Game of Chess", a New Romantic Dramedy About Love Abroad.

(PRWEB) January 28, 2005 -- "That Game of Chess" is the story of Rahul, an East Indian who travels from his motherland, to the land of opportunities, America, to pursue his dreams of being successful career man. Other than a few cultural adjustments in his new country, his smart and intelligent demeanor, his friendly, kind and easy-going nature help him adapt well with the new surroundings. The going is good for him, but life has something else in store. His life takes a new turn, when he falls deeply in love with an American girl. The film follows Rahul on this roller coaster ride. As the story unfolds, it also bares the harshness of life for an Indian immigrant in America.

Check out for more information.
Hat Tip: XTV World Media Junction

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Chess Bag


Big outdoor chess... film noir black and white.

Not as easy at it looks

Tim runs into more trouble with the chessboard project:
I finished the glue up of the 8 strips. Then went to cut them to 2 inches plus about one-eighth, so that I could stack plane them to exactly 2 inches all as 1 operation (precision). Well, my temporary roommate was looking over my shoulder, stuck his nose in, made some comments. To get him to shut up I made a modification to the setup and mis-measured. Then I started cutting strips. After 4 (of 8) it was clear that I would run out of material. The strips were too wide. Got mad, screwed up one, and was left with 6 good ones. Now I have to mill all new pieces from rough stock to make up the difference.
See also "How to build a chessboard".

Friday, February 04, 2005

Catching Up #3 - Femi Oyekan

Femi Oyekan never fails to be provocative. In his most recent essay on chess style, he makes the claim that amateur and GM-level chess are fundamentally different games:
The fact that the ability to compete [in chess] is independent of skill level leads not only to some very interesting pairings, but really, also to different games being played, often in the same tournament hall. I do not mean simply different individual games of chess but literally different games, the way that Monopoly is different from say, Clue. This may seem strange and maybe even a little over the top, but I do not feel that the fact that a certain set of rules for an activity are adhered to outweighs the level of expertise and the perspectives of the participants when determining what the activity in question truly is. In other words, the fact that both Kasparov and I are not allowed to castle through check seems less important in determining what we are playing than the fact that I usually play sipping on brew cursing at my computer screen (or live opponent) over blunders, while he (Kasparov) creates lucent, inspiring works of art that will endure for generations.
This time, I do think that Femi is stretching a bit too far. I think it is fair to say that the quality of the individual games, the experience of playing them over, and the thought processes of the players during the contest are all different. But the game itself remains the same. Is a steak dinner from Bern's fundamentally different from the same steak cooked at home? The restaurant version may taste better and certainly will cost you more, but in both cases you're eating a heated slab of cow flesh. Is the Broadway version of "Hello Dolly" something completely different from the Community Theatre version I was in (hard to believe I know, but I have a videotape to prove it!)? The Broadway show may have been more professional and even more enjoyable for the audience, but again these are measures of quality not substance.

To summarize, I think Femi is equating differences in quality with differences in essence. In Platonic terms the thing in itself remains constant (I'm sure the Maverick Philosopher will take me to task if I've used Plato inappropriately).

Even More Chess and Football

From A Patzer's Tale:
Mike Vick is to football what Paul Morphy was to chess. Vick makes people look silly and inferior, just what Paul Morphy did in his time.

Of course, Morphy went mad and Vick will be watching this year's Superbowl on television.

A shining city upon a hill

BCF member Hal Fishbein spoke passionately about the BCC prior to last night's first round of the February TNS:
"The club is very important to social outcasts like us, who have nothing better to do on a Thursday night."
I couldn't have said it better.

Teaching kids to play chess

A perspective from the Baby Blues comic strip.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Another chess dream

Just a small piece of a very bizarre dream from But You and I, We Live and Die:
that's when the evil double of her appeared. i knew she was evil, but she was very convincing - i almost fell under her spell. but suddenly, i grabbed her arm and hurled her body over the balcony!

it flew in slow motion, and before hitting the ground, a giant chess board formed in the center of the opera house and her body splashed [in a rubber-like way] onto the board and took the form of a queen-piece.

moving by itself, it took the first position on the board.
the clear realm disappeared, and me and my friend instinctively knew that we had to throw the evil doubles off the balcony in order to make it out alive.

Read the entire dream...
I don't know about you, but my chess dreams seem to be limited to variations of the French Defense.

See also "Chess Dream".

BCF-Donchenko after move 9

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nc6 5. Nf3 a6 6. Bf4 f5 7. Ng3 Nf6 8. c3 Be7 9. Bd3 Nd5 *
BCC-Donchenko after move 9
Vote for White's next move now.

Carpe Diem

Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.

Ralph Charell

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Who says it's not all about winning?

From ShellBug's 100 pointless facts about me:
95. I beat my husband at every board game we play except chess (which of course is why we never play chess).

Ephraim Kishon 1924-2005

Pawn In The Game provides a eulogy from Caissa's perspective:
He is best known within the chess world for the miraculous story of how chess saved him from perishing in a Nazi work camp. His life was spared by the Commander of the camp, who was an eager player himself and appreciated having a challenging opponent.

Chess and Music II

Tuning Spork mentioned "Your Move" by Yes as a song with chess-related lyrics:
Take a straight and stronger course to the corner of your life.
Make the white queen run so fast she hasn't got time to make you a wife.

'Cause it's time, it's time in time with your time and its news is captured
For the queen to use.
Move me on to any black square,
Use me any time you want,
Just remember that the goal
Is for us all to capture all we want
(Move me on to any black square)
Yea, yea, yea.

Don't surround yourself with yourself,
Move on back two squares,
Send an Instant Karma to me,
Initial it with loving care
Don't surround

The Pope is a chessplayer

Given the news of the day, this makes a timely background piece:

Chess Spectator posted two games by Pope John Paul II (prior to his election presumably). It takes the concept of 'praying that your opponent makes a mistake' to a whole new level.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

How do I join this club?

From the Yale Daily News:
As the only female player on Yale's club chess team, Kathryn Au '08 has learned to hold her own.

"I'm really comfortabl[e] around the guys," Au said. "My confidence has gone up, so it's not intimidating anymore. I like to try to intimidate the guys -- And it's a great way for me to meet guys."

Though Au has not mated, so to speak, with any members of the team, the camaraderie of the members has certainly increased over the course of this year.


The ever expanding chess blogosphere

Dennis Monokroussos has joined the blogosphere!

Dennis does a weekly show on the Chessbase PlayChess Server covering "Great Games in Chess History." I've tuned in a number of times and have always found it entertaining and worthwhile.

On his blog, Dennis plans to provide "information on how to access both live and archive shows, ... show blurbs in advance of ChessBase's posting, [and] a list of past games and resources for further study."

Check out Dennis M's Chess Site.

All BCC, all the time

From the January 31, 2005 Boston Globe:
CHESS NOTES by Harold Dondis and Patrick Wolff - Globe Correspondents

In 2003, the Boylston Chess Club was in a difficult situation as the Boston YWCA decided it needed space for expansion. At a critical meeting, club members turned out en masse in a remarkable show of interest to choose a new site. By a narrow vote, they opted against a site in Dedham for one in Somerville. The president of the Boylston Club, in a report to members, said that after nearly one year in the new location, the move is a success.

The club is faring well, with tournaments almost every weekend and several days a week - including the Boylston Chess Championship - and regular instruction by Kent Leung for novices.

The club's open house was held as usual on New Year's Day. The overflow of players used the neighboring Japanese Go office for extra playing space. The winners of the rated section (Game 30 minutes apiece) were [FM] Bill Kelleher and Lawyer Times. Those who did not put their rating on the line saw [FM] Christopher Chase, [NM] Charles Riordan and [NM] Alex Cherniack tie for [the] top spot. Another new club project, the College Beanpot of Chess, held in October, was carried away easily by the University of Massachusetts at Boston against opponents at Northeastern, MIT, Harvard, and Tufts.

The club received financial support by obtaining moving expenses from the Y, and it receives income from trusts in its favor. Its financial fortunes are thus looking up. The club was incorporated as the Boylston Chess Foundation and is using that name on its website. Boylston hopes to receive a favorable charitable tax ruling to enhance its economic fortunes.

The club has added a blog site, which can be found at or by hitting The site is just starting but has varied information, including a posting that discusses where Bill Paschall is now (in Europe) and a report from a blogger who is using the tactical exercises recommended by Michael De La Maza's book "Rapid Chess Improvement." Members can post to the website on application, and a nonmember can be invited to participate.

Grandmaster Patrick Wolff, a two-time US Champion, offers chess exercises and more at
While the gist of the story about the BCC's move to Somerville is correct, a few details warrant clarification just in case a chess historian uses this source to the write the "History of the BCF/BCC" one hundred years from now:
  • The YWCA expansion involved renovating several floors (including the 8th where the BCC resided) in order to create additional low income housing.

  • The Special Members' Meeting was called at the request of several members in accordance with the Club's constitution. The purpose of the meeting was not to choose between sites in Dedham and Somerville, but instead to overturn a decision by the Board to move the club to Dedham.

  • The Board's decision was in fact overturned by the narrowest of margins (one vote more than the two-thirds majority required).

  • A couple of months after the meeting, a new Board identified and secured the Somerville location.