Monday, October 31, 2005

Thinking Machine IV

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

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

Paper faces on parade

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

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

Halloween Chess


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pillsbury at the Boylston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BU Open

The Boston University Chess Club
the 11th annual

Boston University Open Chess Tournament

4-SS, G/60

3 Sections

9:00 - 9:45 am

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

Entry Fee:
$15…for BU students (BUID)

$15… if check received
by Fri. Nov. 4

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

$25… for all others at site

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

based on Entry Fees

Open section
1st & 2nd
Top under 2200

U1900 section
1st & 2nd

U1600 section
1st & 2nd
Top under 1200

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

Bring sets and clocks!

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

Saturday, Nov. 5

Boston University
George Sherman Union
775 Commonwealth Ave. Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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

for more info contact: or or 617-794-1200

11th annual BU Open

The Boston University Open is the BU Chess Club's premier event. The idea of having an inexpensive convenient rated event was suggested by the club President Allan Ong to promote playing serious tournament chess among college players, though all chess players are welcomed. Since the first BU Open in 1995, players ranging from beginners in their first rated tournament (e.g. the club advisor Robert Oresick) to strong players from around the East Coast (and in the Frenklach years, from California) have tried their hand at winning the top prize (including former US Chess Champions GM Joel Benjamin, GM Alexander Ivanov and former US Women's Champion WIM Esther Epstein (who works at Boston University).

After 10 years, the BU Open is still inexpensive, convenient, and competitive. The BU Open is an all-day with four rounds of non-stop chess action. From the first round at 10AM to the end of the last game at around 7-PM each player gets a full day of exciting chess action. There is no elimination. In the Swiss tournament system each person plays all four games – pairings at each round are based on results, so as one wins one plays against others also having a good day. One of the delights of a rated chess event is that competition is fierce, especially during the latter rounds. No quarter is given or offered between those in contention of the top prize. Not only does the winner receive cash (usually around $300 based on entries) for his efforts, but s/he is immortalized (!?) by having his/her name inscribed on the perpetual plaque. (This tournament has received media coverage in the Boston Globe and in Chess Horizons, published by the Massachusetts Chess Association.)

The first BU Open was held on November 18, 1995 and was won by Prof. Timothy Sage of Northeastern University, outscoring FM Bill Paschall who was a BU student and BUCC member at the time.

Then, in 1996, the four-way tie included Daniel Bartley, Andrey Shlyakhter, Ray Sayers, and Mike Henroid of Boston College.

In 1997 Harvard student NM Jacob Chudnovsky won.

The 1998 tournament honors were shared by FM Bill Kelleher and National Master (NM) Klaus Pohl. FM Kelleher's win was a milestone in itself as it marked him as the first BU (graduate) student to win the tournament.

The 1999 BU Open was to date, the largest in the tournament's history. A record 93 players attended, including former US Champion GM Alexander Ivanov, current US Champion GM Joel Benjamin,and former US Women's Champion WIM Esther Epstein, and FM Bill Kelleher (a BU alum) who scored 4 points and won a clear first place and $350, helped by the drawn result when the two GMs faced one-another. Ivanov and Benjamin shared 2nd place, and they each received $90.

In year 2000, the new millennium marked the return of IM "Buccaneer Bill" Paschall to the BU Open, as he cruised to a perfect 4-0 to finish clear first.

Three persons shared the top spot in 2001, New York's FM Ronald Young tied with local masters FM William Kelleher and NM Alex Cherniak. FM Ron Young was also the first player outside of MA to win the tournament.

In 2002 FM Ronald Young of New York and expert Niman Kenkre shared top honors.

In 2003 GM Alexander Ivanov took the first place prize of $300, after some very exciting games, including a tense, time-pressured match with IM Bill Paschall

In 2004 GM Ivanov won four games rather easily for a repeat. [Crosstables are available at the]

We cordially invite you to consider playing this year.

Can Christians blog about chess?

Some of you may recall Dennis Monokroussos' posts on whether Christians can play chess. Whatever the resolution of this theological debate, many do. Here is a new chess blog written by some of them -- Faith Hope Love Chess Clan.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Caissa's Poker Chips

VARoadstter posted this link to pictures of his complete set of chess-themed poker chips.

Good luck, but not enough of it

Last night in US Chess League Week 9 action, the Boston Blitz defeated the Philadelphia Masterminds 3-1 in a match which easily could have gone the other way. On several boards Caissa chose to look favorably on the Blitz. In the end, however, her kindness was not unlimited as Baltimore upset Eastern Division Champions New York thereby eliminating Boston's post- season hopes.

The match started normally enough with GM Christiansen defeating FM Rogers rather straightforwardly. He won a pawn and then traded down to a winning King and Pawn endgame. Meanwhile on Board 3, NM Riordan was taking his Rook on an interesting tour of the center of the board. At one point it found itself on e5 "protected" by its own pawn on d4. Surely it was suffering from a case of Knight-envy.

The game continued; some pieces were traded off. Then in an ostensibly equal position (it's possible one side or the other had some advantage, but no one was clearly winning), NM Wilson had a mouseslip leaving his Bishop to be taken on b3 rather than reaching his intended c2. Riordan snapped the piece off and while the game continued on for awhile, the outcome was never in doubt.

"No takeback", you ask, like the Friedel incident in Week 3? Apparently not. On the ICC, Commissioner Shahade noted that Philadelphia as a team had decided that they would neither offer nor ask for mouseslip takebacks regardless of the circumstances. According to Greg, in an earlier match the Masterminds refused to offer a takeback in a case which was obviously unintentional. This time they paid the price for a similar mistake. If nothing else, you have to give them credit for being consistent.

At the same time, this incident highlights an issue that the league will need to address before next season. It doesn't seem appropriate that individual teams can establish their own (different) rules related to mouseslips. There ought to be a uniform policy set down by the league. Whether it's no takebacks at any time or takebacks allowed under certain verifiable conditions, I'm not sure. But it ought to be a league rule, not a team/individual decision.

The Blitz won the match on Board 4 when FM Baczynskyj completely imploded in what had to be a clearly winning position against Ilya Krasik. Within just a few moves, Baczynskyj went from up an exchange with an attack on Krasik's open King to resignation. Caissa's presence next to Black was unmistakable, though Krasik's 41...Qf3+! was a nice shot that many of us might have missed.

In the last game to finish, IM Friedel lost to IM Costigan. Josh went pawn grabbing on b2 with his Queen and almost got it trapped when Costigan sacrificed a piece. However, Josh found a counter-sacrifice to save her Majesty. In the next tactical skirmish, Black played a capture which superficially looked like it would win two pieces for a Rook. But White had some further tactics which resulted in a position with Costigan having the exchange for two passed pawns. It certainly didn't seem that Josh should lose the ensuing endgame (in fact, he might have had winning chances with the passers), but he did. Costigan's technique at the end wasn't as sharp as possible (some commenters had a little fun when Fritz pointed out that Richard missed a mate in 23), but it was sufficient.

A good win for the Blitz, but unfortunately the team's celebratory mood was somewhat diminished when they learned of Baltimore's win. While there was disappointment over losing their chance to make the playoffs, there was also recognition that they had not played well enough all season to expect another outcome. As Ilya Krasik said (paraphrasing) "A team that only wins two matches doesn't deserve to make the playoffs."

Next week the Blitz will be playing for pride and for giving Baltimore a taste of what they are in for next season.

The Chess Monster of Tompkins Square

Daniel Wallace of The Villager spends some time with Lewis Taylor, a.k.a. the Chess Monster, and learns about true happiness.

"....As corny as it sounds, if someone were to offer me all the money in the world, but said I had to give up chess, I wouldn't do it. I'd say, nope, no thanks. You know, I feel sorry for people. I knew guys in New Rochelle who had everything society had to offer, a house, a car, a family. But they just — weren't — happy."

He shook his head. "Chess has opened up a whole new world to me. I have found my happiness."

And looking at him, a big jovial man smiling in the autumn sunlight, I had to agree. Chess is certainly happy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The votes are in

The Annual Meeting of the Boylston Chess Foundation took place on Tuesday, October 25, the primary business being the election of the Officers and Board of Directors for the coming year. As I've mentioned in the past, BCF elections have little resemblance to the National, State and Local government elections we have in the United States. Here are the results:

The Officers:
Paul MacIntyre, President
Bernardo Iglesias, Vice President
Robert Oresick, Treasurer
Ed Foye, Clerk

Board of Directors:
Rachel Dillon, Jon Lee, Michael Nagle, Charles Riordan, Alex Cherniack, Mike Griffin, Natasha Christiansen, David Glickman

There is no change among the officers from this year, but a couple of new faces on the Board.

In memoriam

The topics for blogs are as varied as life itself. This one was created to remember the life of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols. Among many accomplishments, it turns out that...

She was a ranked chess player in the early 1970s, reaching Master status.

Rest in peace, Michele.

1967 all over again?

If the oddsmakers have it right, the Boston Blitz's improbable run towards a US Chess League playoff berth will continue tonight. They favor both the Blitz over the Philadelphia Masterminds and the New York Knights over Baltimore. In Boston's individual matchups, GM Christiansen is a prohibitive favorite on Board 1 and IM Friedel is also favored on Board 2. Board 3 is essentially a toss-up; only on Board 4 are the Blitz considered an underdog.

Dream, the impossible dream...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


The Japanese Shogi Federation is struggling with the use of computers in their game.

An official FIDE championship must be next

Drinking chess has always had a following in places like college dorm rooms, but never before have I seen an official tournament. Check out the flyer for the Monash University Chess Association's event.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Live on FOX

Apparently they are televising chess to a national audience.

Opening Study

An often debated topic among the Knights is when one should start focusing on their opening repertoire and how much time they should devote to it. A key question to consider is how much of a relationship is there between your rating and the state of your opening repertoire. Consider Ted Wong's experience:

For the past five years (2000 to 2005), my chess ranking has stopped rising. It just keep decreasing, I simply play too badly. Sometimes I play irregular chess openings and got punished. Recently I tried e4 c5 Ke2! and f3 e5 Kf2! in two tournament games.

Another Proud Chess Dad

Dr. Jennie Louise Johnson, a daughter of Ellen and Michael Johnson of York, Pa., was married last evening to Tom Edward Byrne, the son of Robert Byrne of Scarborough, N.Y., and the late Florence Byrne....

The bridegroom, 34, is an associate with French & Rafter, a law firm in New York.... His father, who won the United States chess championship in 1972, is the chess columnist for The New York Times.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

$10 Open at the Boylston

The $10 Open is one of the most popular events at the Boylston --

at $2.50/game it is almost cheaper than the coffee it takes to fuel it.

Scott Didham and young Seth Neel battled in a tense, time-pressured game,

much to the enjoyment of all.

Elkherj and Murayev seem to have a meeting of the minds.

Thursday Night Illinois Swiss at the club

Now that Jason Rihel's work has brought him back from NY to a post-doc at Harvard researching genetic control of sleep, he can play at the BCC again.

LM Eric Godin who has been playing (and for many years TDing) the TNS for decades is still dominant. Posted by Picasa

Zaroug Jaleel -- boy on the way up

Zaroug Jaleel won the BCC Oct. Sunday Scholastic with 3 points. Alexander Sun (2), Nick Trieu (2.5), Freddie Law (2.5), Anthony Zheng (1), and Max Wiegand (1) joined in the fun.

Zaroug had a rating on May 2 of 100. He played a few tournaments and by August 21 it was 625. His October Supplement rating was 769, but he had already reached 1125 before he did so well in the Scholastic. Zaroug has improved his rating 10 fold in six months. Michael de la Maza eat your heart out. Zaroug, excelsior! Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2005

To boldly go where no man has gone before talking about how no one really likes the original Star Trek series:

...when the terribly nerdy get together to talk Trek, late at night in seedy chess bars, few stand up to defend the series that started it all...

Where does one find these seedy chess bars?

Playing through the pain

Why is everyone making such a big deal about Tedy Bruschi's return to the football field? Consider this story:

It's our 2nd round chess match, and we are already behind 0-1 (of 6), from a game played early.... Robert (our 2nd best player and a close friend) calls me up last night and says he just left the hospital due to some neck muscle injury. I told him to stay home and get better, but being one of our more dedicated players, he says he'll come anyway as long as it isn't in any way health risky. In other words, the guy will be doped up, riding in a cab for an hour, and in a lot of pain, but still plans to play. A man after my own heart. Also an idiot.

UK arbiter dies

Day three of the 31st Guernsey International Chess Festival at the Cobo Bay Hotel was tinged with sadness as news filtered through of the death of the tournament's highly-respected arbiter Steve Boniface.
Read "Sad times at the festival" from The Guernsey Press and Star.

Update: Here is an obituary from the British Chess Federation site.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Women's Chess - Japanese Style

A story for the updated second edition of Jen Shahade's "Chess Bitch?"
Japan's fickle world of shogi, a local derivative of chess, has long been open to ridicule. But, thanks to some prominent knockers, women's shogi in particular is now undergoing something of a boom in popularity, according to Shukan Post.

Prattling away on the taxpayer funded NHK network in the earthy but friendly Kansai dialect of Japanese, diminutive but busty 24-year-old Shinobu Iwane is keeping growing numbers of Japanese abreast of the happenings in the world of women's shogi, aided ably by her ample bosom.

Read "Busty shogi queen helps pad Japanese chess fan base" from Mainichi Daily News.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Blitz unveil "Secret Weapon"

Pre-Match Comments:

As Team Captain Paul MacIntyre hinted awhile back, the Boston Blitz introduce the newest member of their team in tonight's match vs. the Dallas Destiny. FM Steven Winer arrives sporting a rating of 2389 -- just perfect for slotting into Board 3 in their top heavy line-up. As a result, the Blitz will be fielding one of their strongest teams of the year against the Destiny -- IM Perelshteyn, IM Friedel, FM Winer and Ilya Krasik (average rating of 2391). This will make for some very balanced competition with Dallas across all four boards, at least on paper. Perelshteyn actually takes in an 11 point rating advantage against GM Ramirez (Editor's Note: Ramirez became available for the Destiny after his other team, the Boston Red Sox, failed to get out of the first round of the MLB playoffs), while Boards 2 & 3 are a virtual ratings wash. That leaves Board 4 where Krasik should have the advantage against lower rated expert Andres Suarez. All in all, it looks like a night where the Blitz should have good chances of securing a "W."

The odds-makers at Pinnacle Sports have the Blitz as a slight favorite (-115/+105). In the individual games they favor Perelshteyn (-121/+111), Winer (-111/+101) and Krasik (-112/+102) but have Friedel (+106/-116) as an underdog.


Post-Match Comments:

It turned out to be a tough and interesting match for the Blitz and in the end Boston's "Secret Weapon" came through. The result: a 2-2 Draw (See Greg Shahade's official report here).

On Board 1, Perelshteyn and GM Ramirez played a relatively short but complex game in the French Winawer. Ramirez gave up the exchange for a couple of pawns, but Eugene seemed to neutralize Black's activity. Just when it looked like White might be turning tables by winning back one of the pawns, the Grandmaster found a perpetual check combination to secure the draw.

The next game to finish was Board 4. As Black, Krasik sacrificed a pawn in order to trap his opponents Bishop behind enemy lines. Unfortunately, this allowed White to push forward in the center and simultaneously take advantage of the position of Black's Queen on g6. What ensued was a hail of tactics which brought Dallas a win. I'm not certain whether the initial pawn sac was unsound or if the losing move occurred later. In any case, this game is probably worth running through Fritz since some of the combinations might make good tactical exercises for the Knights Errant.

Next up was Friedel's game vs. IM Vavrak. This one was up-and-down the whole way through. Vavrak allowed his queenside pawn structure to be crippled for kingside attacking chances. At first, things looked scary as White continued to bring pieces over to the kingside while Josh's Knights were stuck on the queenside; but, Friedel's position stayed solid and he managed to neutralize White's threats. Then it looked like Black might be able to take advantage of the weak queenside pawns in the ending, but White's two bishops seemed to hold the balance (during the game I was wondering if there was anything to 31...Rf8 [instead of 31...Na4] pinning the f5 bishop to White's King. Maybe I'll look at it later). Somewhere along the way Josh gave up the exchange for a few pawns. Ultimately, all the pawns came off the board and a draw was agreed in the position K+R vs. K+N.

So, the final result rested on the shoulders of newcomer Steven Winer. His Board 3 game was one of those maneuvering affairs with few fireworks early on. When he retreated his Bishop on h6 back to e3, I thought Black had probably equalized. However, from that point forward Winer seemed to consistently outplay his opponent. Fernandez defended well enough to stave off immediate defeat and kept extending the game, but Winer successfully ground him down in 78 moves. No doubt Blitz fans will be looking forward to seeing more of Steven's games in the final two weeks of the season.

The drawn match would have eliminated Boston from the playoff chase if not for the bizarre occurrences on Board 1 of the Baltimore-Carolina Match. The Kingfishers were well on their way to a win when FM Enkhbat blundered away a completely winning position. He was then unable to compose himself and take advantage of reasonable drawing chances. A few moves later he was forced to resign, handing the match to the Cobras. As a result, the Blitz retain a narrow path to the post season which involves winning their remaining two matches against Philadelphia and Baltimore and hoping that Baltimore falls to New York next week.

Stay tuned as the USCL goes down to the wire.

Hollywood Chess II

Chess plays a prominent role in the opening shots of the trailer for the soon to be released movie "Stay." (Quicktime required)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chess or Poker?

Tommy Trouble explains why he prefers chess to poker:

Bizarrely, chess is unbelievably unpopular. Okay it is popular, but not popular enough....Poker is unbelievably popular, as is the lottery. The lottery is completely based on luck, and you can never say, with any confidence, that the best player will win. Poker also relies on luck, although there is some skill. However, I reckon I could beat (and be beaten by) anybody in the world. I could not say the same for chess. Maybe this is why people like poker, because everybody has a chance to win. Me, I prefer the honesty of chess. If you are bad at chess, no amount of Aces will help you to beat somebody significantly better than yourself. If you want a reliable challenge of mental ability, play chess.

Just a few thoughts -- while luck does play a role in poker, skill obviously is a very important component. How else can you explain the frequency with which the same top players (e.g., Ivey, Hansen, Hellmuth, Greenstein, etc.) reach final tables? On the other hand, these massively large tournaments like the Main Event at the WSOP do seem to be evolving into crap shoots with amateurs winning year after year. Chess probably does reward the better player more often (with wins, not money), though upsets do still occur.

Boston Blitz in Action #2

From the US Chess League 2nd round match vs. the Philadelphia Masterminds. Click on the pictures to enlarge. (Photos by Matt Phelps)

GM Larry Christiansen

It looks like IM Josh Friedel chose
to hide out in another room

FM Paul MacIntyre

MacIntyre shares his
thoughts on his position

Ilya Krasik refuels during the game

Monday, October 17, 2005

Go ask Alice

Plutonianshore is reading Lewis Carroll and thinking about chess:

"It's too late to correct it," said the Red Queen: "when you've once said a thing, that fixes it, and you must take the consequences." - Through The Looking Glass, L. Carroll

As in chess, as in life.

Championship Crosstables

Crosstables for the 2005 BCC Championship and Hauptturnier are now available in the News section of the BCC website. They are at least a week out of date at this point, but do give a reasonable sense of how things are progressing. NM Charles Riordan appears to be running away with the Championship; A-players Bob Fuhro and Mike Henroid are tied with B-player Bernardo Iglesias at the top of the Haup.

The Championship schedule still bears the scars of the chaos which ensued at the beginning. As you will see, Round 1 is scheduled to be played tonight, "logically" sandwiched between Rounds 5 and 7. Round 6? Beats me.

Chess Shoes

Hypebeast introduces us to a new product concept from Adidas - sneakers with Chinese words laser engraved into the heel. What are those words?
...some rules and tips for Chinese Chess...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Chess, Drugs, and Rock-n-Roll

Well, no mention of illegal substances actually, but here are two articles about chess playing rockstars Ryan Adams and The Strokes: "Ryan Adams and The Strokes Form Chess Club" from and "The Strokes And Ryan Adams' Chess Challenge" from

Location, Location, Location

Are you a high-rated expert or barely a master with a long-held dream to win a state championship?

Move to Wyoming.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

BCC George Makenzie Octads

What better way to spend another rainy day than play in octads G/90. NM Riordan, FM Chase, almost master (so close) Lawyer Times, expert Eric Hernandez and strong A player Scott Didham.

Fine job of TDing by Bernardo Iglesias, of course. Posted by Picasa

Badly Outnumbered


Friday, October 14, 2005


GM Chabanon reports that Peruvian GM Julio Granda Zuniga has gone missing. Here is an article about his disappearance from (in Spanish).

The Fat Lady has finished her warm-ups

The Boston Blitz have seen their slim playoff hopes all but disappear with a 2.5-1.5 loss to the Eastern Division leading New York Knights. Since I didn't get a chance to watch the match this week, I'll refer you to Greg Shahade's official report for the details. In an otherwise disappointing night, Greg notes two bright spots for the Blitz -- Krasik's first win of the season capped off by a very nice back rank mate tactic and Friedel's "almost-win" with Black against GM Stripunsky.

These interesting games notwithstanding, Greg points out that Boston's inability to field their strongest possible team for the second week in a row compromised their chances. One might wonder why this seems to be more of an issue for the Blitz than many other teams in the league (though the loss of IM Foygel for the season may be a contributing factor).

Hollywood Chess

At Delusions Of Adequacy, they are not looking forward to seeing the new movie "In Her Shoes":
We need another hackneyed [Cameron] Diaz vehicle like the president of the chess club needs a cold sore on prom night.
O.K., this actually has nothing to do with chess, but it was a good excuse to post the picture.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wisdom in traffic

From Mixxing Culture's Bumper Stickers about Life:
When you're finally holding all the cards,
why does everyone else decide to play chess?

When was the last time you won...

...a National Championship?

A few days ago Knight Errant Guru mentioned that she had won the National Ladies Championship in Barbados. Now, The Barbados Advocate has filed a report on her accomplishment.

Congratulations to the first National Champion Knight. Who's next?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

New Blog Listings

The last few weeks have been rather productive in terms of finding new chess blogs to list. Here are some of the recent additions:

Hot Rock Teamchess Teams - Follows the adventures of The Hot Rock teams which play in the FICS leagues. Knights will be happy to hear that in T28, "The Hot Rock didn't start so well, losing the first round with De la Maza U2000 by 1:3."

Fooblog - Blogger Foobob describes himself as a "Patzer at just about everything."

Consultation Game - Just what it sounds like -- currently on move 13. Seems to have some association with GameKnot.

Winward Chess Club Forum - Covers chess events in Hawaii and links to the Hawaiian Knight, Pawn Sensei.

Coffeehouse Chess Monster - Master painter Lee Gordon Seebach's chess blog.

Nigeria Chess Player Forum - Covers the chess exploits of Nigerian players.

Central Oregon Chess Journal - Chess in and around Bend, Oregon.

はむれっとのチェス日記 - A Japanese chess blog. The Google translation to English is somewhat readable, though I'm not sure about the significance of all the "rabbit" references.

White to move


Chess in the background

Here is an addition to Goran's posts (1, 2) on chess-related computer backgrounds -- a blogger creates his own chess-themed wallpaper (larger image).

Sunday, October 09, 2005

US Chess League Announces 2006 Line-Up

After two days of intensive meetings, Commissioner Greg Shahade and DG's Mother-in-law emerged from US Chess League Headquarters in New York City to report to the media on plans for the 2006 USCL Season. Here is a transcript of their press conference.

Greg Shahade: I would like to thank all of you for coming. Today, we'd like to announce the team lineup and division structure for the 2006 USCL season. While the league will remain the same size next year, we wanted to provide opportunities for some new cities to participate. As a result, some very difficult decisions needed to be made. Now, here are next year's teams --

Eastern Division

Boston Blintzes
New York Bagels
Carolina Kreplach
Miami Matzo Balls

Western Division

Chicago Chubs
Kansas City Knishes
Houston Challah
Los Angeles Latkes

I'm sure there will be some questions about the 2005 teams which are not on the list, so let's cover each of them in turn. First, in the Eastern Division, the Baltimore Bialys...

DG's Mother-in-law: What is a Bialy anyway? Some sort of bastard cousin to the bagel. Oops, can I say that Greg?

Greg Shahade: I think it's ok.

DG's Mother-in-law: There really is nothing better than a New York Bagel. Bagels and Bialys just would have been too confusing.

Greg Shahade: I'm sure you can begin to see some of the hard bargaining and tough decision-making we've gone through over the past two days. Let's move on to the Philadelphia Perogies.

DG's Mother-in-law: From the old country sure, but so associated with a single country.

Greg Shahade: And after we decided to put a team in Chicago, we didn't want to do anything that might split the loyalties of a portion of their fan base.

DG's Mother-in-law: They did offer an alternative name, but Philadelphia Pastrami really doesn't roll off the tongue that well.

Greg Shahade: Who goes to Philadelphia for a pastrami sandwich anyways? ... Ok, before we move on are there any other questions about the Eastern Division? ... PETA?

DG's Mother-in-law: They're asking if we're concerned about PETA disrupting the matches in Miami?

Greg Shahade: Oh ok, I can handle this one... I had extensive discussions with Miami team officials. They assured me that they work exclusively with farms that raise free-range Matzos and that use only the most humane removal methods... Let's move on to the Western Division. Dallas...

DG's Mother-in-law: To be perfectly honest, until I got involved in this process I didn't even realize that Texas was part of the United States. In any case, the Dallas Donuts really wasn't on point at all. Hopefully they'll send their marketing people to a couple of Hadassah meetings before next year's selection process.

Greg Shahade: Next up is the San Francisco Sissel Bread.

DG's Mother-in-law: Bagels, Bialys, Challah, Sissel and then there was the late entry from Rochester.

Greg Shahade: Oh right, the Rye Toast.

DG's Mother-in-law: Why they didn't go with Rugelach, I'll never know. No matter, but in this day and age of low-carb dieting, how much bread can you really put on the table?

Greg Shahade: We couldn't really have two teams from California ... Well, sure, San Francisco has the longer chess history, but wait 'til you taste these latkes -- crisp, fried potato pancakes with a dollop of applesauce. Absolutely delicious!

DG's Mother-in-law: I made him an extra batch to take home.

Greg Shahade: Other teams that didn't make the cut? ... Well, there were actually two different proposals from Chicago. A group from the North side of the city put together the bid for the Chubs; meanwhile, South Siders were looking to form a separate team, the Whitefish.

DG's Mother-in-law: Of course, we couldn't have two teams in Chicago. Can you imagine how much confusion would have been created distinguishing Whitefish from Chubs? We had to line up both proposals side-by-side in order to make a final decision.

Greg Shahade: The Whitefish were definitely easier to eat, but the Chubs had so much more flavor.

DG's Mother-in-law: There was also the Lincoln Lox. But, between you and me, I bet you can't find half-a-dozen people in all of Nebraska who can explain the difference between a piece of Scottish Salmon and a slice of Nova.

Greg Shahade: We also had some preliminary discussions about 2007. We're considering allowing smaller cities and towns to combine forces. Two cities in Washington State -- Kennewick and Vancouver -- have already started talking in anticipation of this opportunity.

DG's Mother-in-law: The Kennewick/Vancouver Kasha Varnishkes -- alone each is nothing special, but together they are a tasty combination.

Greg Shahade: Well, I think we'll wrap it up there. The buffet tables up-front are now open. Everyone dig in!

DG's Mother-in-law: Be sure to try both the blueberry and the cheese blintzes and don't forget the sour cream.

Greg Shahade: In the meantime, I'll be heading back upstairs to attend to an acute personal bloating issue.

DG's Mother-in-law: Isn't he cute? Someday, he's going to make a wonderful husband for some very lucky girl ... You are going to want to put those directly into your soup, dear...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Lemon Chess Gooey Butter Cake

Bottom layer:

1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted


2 large lemons
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
2 tablespoons white or yellow cornmeal
3- 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Prepare bottom layer as directed for Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake.

To make filling, rinse and dry the lemons. Grate the zest and set aside; you should have about 2 teaspoons. Cut the lemons in half, and squeeze juice into a small bowl; you should have about 6 tablespoons.

Place the cream cheese in the same mixing bowl you used to make the crust, and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, melted butter and cornmeal; beat on medium speed 1 minute.

Stop the machine and add the confectioners' sugar. Beat on medium speed until the sugar is well incorporated, 1 minute more.

Pour the filling over the crust, spreading with a rubber spatula so it covers the surface and reaches the sides of the pan. Bake until cake is browned but the center still jiggles when you shake the pan, about 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes before cutting. Makes 16 servings.

Courtesy of The Huntsville Times.

Chess, an easier sell than Comics

Which is the bigger draw for passersby, the comics or the chess?
The chess. Unfortunately, the chess. They come to watch a good match. People stand and watch and wait to play. I used to charge a dollar, then went to a tip jar...but it'’s better if I don'’t charge. I'd rather people bought a comic. Sometimes you get a big crowd of people just watching a good chess match.
Read an interview with Franklin Crowe, sidewalk comic book salesman/chess player, from the Gothamist.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Queen for a day

A chess riddle from The Mind of Jeffrey Stapleton.

Develop your zalduns before your strelecs

BCC Championship - Round 3 Games

[Event "2005 BCC Championship"] [Site "Somerville, MA"] [Date "2005.09.26"] [Round "3"] [White "Theil"] [Black "Christiansen,N"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteELO "1991"] [BlackELO "1810"] [ECO "B27"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5 Nc6 6.Qa4 Nd5 7.Qe4 Nc7 8.Nc3 Bg7 9.Bg5 b6 10.Rd1 Bb7 11.Qe3 h5 12.a3 0-0 13.Bc4 b5 14.Bb3 Qc8 15.0-0 Ne6 16.Rfe1 Nxg5 17.Qxg5 a6 18.Qxg6 Na5 19.Ng5 1-0

[Event "2005 BCC Championship"] [Site "Somerville, MA"] [Date "2005.09.26"] [Round "3"] [White "Riordan"] [Black "MacIntyre"] [Result "1/2"] [WhiteELO "2283"] [BlackELO "2315"] [ECO "E68"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 Nbd7 7.Qc2 c6 8.Rd1 Re8 9.Nc3 Qc7 10.e4 e5 11.h3 exd4 12.Nxd4 Nc5 13.Bf4 Nfd7 14.Be3 a5 15.b3 Nf8 16.Rac1 h5 17.Qd2 Nh7 18.Nde2 Bf8 19.Bf4 Re6 ½-½

[Event "2005 BCC Championship"] [Site "Somerville, MA"] [Date "2005.09.26"] [Round "3"] [White "Cherniack"] [Black "Clayton"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteELO "2279"] [BlackELO "1888"] [ECO "A86"]

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nh3 d6 6.d5 a5 7.Nf4 0-0 8.Nc3 Na6 9.Be3 Qe8 10.0-0 Bd7 11.Bd4 g5 12.Nh3 Qh5 13.f4 h6 14.Qd2 g4 15.Nf2 Qg6 16.Rae1 Nc5 17.e4 Nfxe4 18.Ncxe4 Bxd4 19.Qxd4 e5 20.fxe5 Nxe4 21.e6 Nxf2 22.Rxf2 Rae8 23.Ref1 Bc8 24.Qd3 Qg7 25.Rxf5 Rxf5 26.Qxf5 Rf8 27.Qe4 h5 28.Rf4 b6 29.Bf1 Qxb2

30.e7 Rxf4 31.Qxf4 Bd7 32.Qf8+ Kh7 33.Bd3+ 1-0

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Weighty Thoughts

Sir Chubalot shares his indisputable proof "that chess makes you fat."

Sharks bite down on Blitz

The Boston Blitz had a tough time in Round 6 of the US Chess League losing to the Miami Sharks 3-1. This loss, combined with wins by New York and Baltimore, leaves but a small flicker left in the Blitz' playoff hopes.

The evening started out quietly enough as FM Kelleher drew FM Martinez by three-fold repetition in a Bird's Variation of the Ruy Lopez. The game itself was relatively short and not particularly interesting as Queens came off early and after Black moved his rook to the 7th, White had little choice but to oppose it wherever it moved.

Things went downhill for the Blitz when FM MacIntyre blundered his Rook to a simple Knight fork and was forced to resign. While he certainly wasn't winning prior to this error, his position seemed playable enough. Time pressure must have played a role in this oversight; Paul doesn't allow these kinds of tactics when he is playing me.

Next to fall was IM Friedel, but he surely made it interesting. Josh sacrificed his Queen for a Rook, Knight and advanced passed c-pawn. Perhaps the ensuing complications would have been a problem for a lesser player, but GM Becerra played precisely and notched up a win for Miami.

On Board 4, NM Riordan had his hands full with Jorge Diaz. Charles didn't seem to get much going against what, to me, seemed like a fairly strange opening. The resulting position had elements of the Nimzo-Indian (White's doubled c-pawns) and the Dutch Leningrad (Black pawns on f5 and g6) -- though Black's fianchettoed Bishop had already left the board. Eventually the position took on a rather drawish character with double rooks and bishops of opposite color, but Riordan pushed forward looking for winning chances. One of the ICC kibitzers suggested 40.b5 (instead of 40.c5) as a winning try, but I'm not so sure.

From about move 35 on Diaz made draw offers on four or five consecutive moves. In my view, these repeated draw offers were not appropriate, and potentially annoying to the opponent. I'm sure Charles knew that Jorge was willing to take a draw after his first offer (and certainly after his second one). In any case, Riordan finally concluded that he little hope of creating winning chances and offered the draw himself on move 43.

Next week, the Blitz face the New York Knights for the second time this season in a must win match if they hope to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Boston drew their previous encounter with New York 2-2.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Next Stop: Paparazzi

The Dean of New England chess journalism, Harold Dondis, was kind enough to make BCC Weblog the topic of his Chess Notes column in Monday's edition of The Boston Globe. Here is the article (hyperlinks and notes in italics are mine):
Monday, October 3, 2005

Chess Notes
By Harold Dondis and Patrick Wolff
Globe Correspondents

Readers who connect with the Boylston weblog ( are in for a treat. The blogmaster for the Boylston Club is DG, a regular player there. He has developed a sensible reportage of goings-on in the local chess arenas and also keeps tabs on national developments. The blog spot so far is thankfully free of much of the rancor that exists in many partisan blogs on the Internet.

A recent rundown of the blog shows a number of subjects. For example, the Boylston Championship has commenced with the following participants: Paul MacIntyre, Charles Riordan, Alex Cherniack, Vadim Martirosov, and Kyle Clayton. Matt Klegon withdrew after entry. Missing this year is one of the past year [champions], Chris Chase. [Click here for an updated list of participants.] Withdrawal, if it occurs during the tournament, is one of the problems with these long-term championships, as it prevents an accurate score. After Round 1 MacIntyre, Riordan, and Martirosov had one point apiece. DG's coverage includes games and chess positions.

Another event going on is the US Chess League in which major cities are having a go at one another with chess teams of equivalent ratings. The Boston Blitzes, waging a parallel competition to the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, faced a nemesis in the New York Knights and drew their match. A similar draw followed against the Philadelphia Masterminds. The team players for the Blitzes include Larry Christiansen, Bill Kelleher, Josh Friedel and Ilya Krasik. At last reporting, the Blitzes came up with a 2.5-1.5 victory over the Carolina Cobras, thus upstaging the New England Patriots in their game against the Carolina Panthers. But, as the Red Sox struggled with the Baltimore Orioles, the Blitzes bowed to the Baltimore Kingfishers 3.5-.5.

An unusual occurrence arose in the game between Friedel and International Master Shroer of the Cobras. Friedel had the better position and moved his Queen en prise, which was happily taken by a pawn. It turns out that the move was a slip of the mouse, in short, an unintended move. After negotiation, the position was restored and the proper Queen move was made. Friedel went on to win.

One of the services of the Boylston blog is to bring readers up to speed on other blogs. Apparently the most popular chess blog is the Daily Dirt Chess Blog, which receives about 5,000 postings a day [actually, Mig reports ~5,000 unique visitors a day]. Chess players [who are members of the Boylston Chess Foundation] can apply for the right to post on the Boylston blog. One report covers an AOL lawsuit that nailed chess spammers who hijacked an AOL address and used it for unsolicited e-mail.

Chess players often play in a vacuum, not knowing what is going on in their chess world. All in all, the Boylston chess blog is a welcome local addition to the local chess tradition.
As I'm sure you noticed, Harold referred to the Boston Blitz as the Blitzes throughout the article. When my mother-in-law, who unsurprisingly is not a frequent reader of The Boston Globe chess column, finished the article she asked, "Why is the team from Boston named the Blintzes?"

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Surprise! Surprise!

I really thought that FIDE would cave to the players on the issue of writing your moves down before you play them. However, it seems that they stuck by their guns and the players blinked first.

From Guert Gijssen's most recent "An Arbiter's Notebook" column at

In other news from Dresden: The Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) agreed with the new article that players may not record the moves in advance...

Now we just need to wait another 40 or 50 years for USCF to get on board.

Jason reports on the Boston Open at U-Mass Boston

Boston area chessfans! Jason Rihel here with a report on the Boston Open, which took place Oct 1 - 2 at the U-Mass Boston beautiful new campus center.

First, it must be said that the turnout for this event was horrible-- there were a total of 8 players in the Open section, and the other sections had between 4-12 players each. While, I suspect that the beautiful weather, coupled with the Red Sox-- Yankees rivalry did much to keep people away, the relatively poor advertising for the event and the already low chess turnout these days could not have helped.

Also, while the harbor view is gorgeous, and the RedLine a free bus ride away, U-Mass Boston is too isolated for a good tournament. On Saturday, the only food option was a snack bar with some cold sandwiches and salads. On Sunday, there were NO food options at all! After a tough 4.5 hour scrape of a win in Round 3, I had to eat chips and pretzels out of a snack machine in preparation for my game against 2300-rated Avraam Pismennyy! I personally will not attend another weekend tournament held at U-Mass Boston, or will at least bring my own meals. If I had only been told about it.....

The low turnout led to some interesting outcomes for the Open section. After I defeted Matt Klegon in the first round, he withdrew, leaving just 7 players in the Open section battling it out for 5 prizes!! The lowest rated member of the group, Azaivier Davis (Just rated below your humble reporter), actually won 3rd prize outright after receiving a FULL POINT BYE in the last round. Going into the last round, Chris Williams and Davis had 1.5 points, Jared Becker had 1 point from an earlier full point bye he received, and I had 2 points. This left Chris Williams to play a 2100 player, Leonid Tkach, and it left me to play the top-rated Pismennyy. Meanwhile, Davis, at the bottom of the rating and score list, leapfrogged us in the standings with his bye!! Chris and I went down to defeat to co-winners Pismennyy and Tkach, leaving Davis sole possessor of 3rd place at 2.5 points (actually, he received the under 2200 prize, which was worth slightly more). Jared Becker (boosted with a full point bye), and I split the 3rd place and under 2100 prize, and Chris Williams, who had to play four tough rounds, was left out of the money.

In the other sections, Stephen Brudno and Philip Nutzman won the Under 2000 section with 3 points, Thomas Sifter was the sole winner of the Under 1700 section with a 3.5 score, and Mark Huston scored 3.0 to win the Under 1400 prize.

They also had a one day event, which was won by 1700 rated Felix Yang with a perfect 4.0 score. In the side Scholastic Events, Frederick Law won the K-6 event with a 4.0 score, and Nicholas Zhang scored 4.0 to win the K-3 section.

So, the lingering question remains-- how do we increase interest in the local area chess competitions? Was this a fluke of Red Sox Mania? Can regular Internet reports about local activity boost interest? I'm guessing it can, which is why I am writing this piece. I encourage all the Boston chess players to write up their own chess experiences here on this BCC blog, and maybe chess publicity can generate chess interest.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Lost in translation

The German company Springer unveiled their new logo:There is a certain logic in it since the Knight is called a Springer in German. However, their marketing people must have been using one of those web-based translation programs when they put up this press release on their English site. "The horse chess piece..."?

Analytics vs. Intuition

As a fairly analytical person myself, I found Michael Lewis' book "Moneyball" to be a revelation. Lewis chronicles the Oakland Athletics' use of baseball statistics in forming their team and making day-to-day decisions on the field. His underlying thesis is that General Manager Billy Beane's embrace of a statistical approach to baseball has allowed the Althletics to compete year in and year out with teams that have much greater resources at their disposal. Along the way, Lewis discusses the tension that was created between old-time baseball people who primarily used intuitive and emotional approaches to decision-making (e.g., identifying five tool players, going with gut instincts, staying with the hot bat, etc.) and the new-breed of statistical geeks (e.g., OBP, previous head-to-head matchups, ignoring pitchers' save numbers and won-loss records in favor of different performance measures, etc.).

I suspect that similar approaches (and tensions) are applicable in the US Chess League as well. In a previous post I discussed how analytics might play a role in team formation; but, I think over time, the search for an extra edge will lead to additional applications. For example, in determining the line-up each week previous head-to-head matchups might be considered. The historical success of your player against the typical opening repetoire of the expected opponent might also be factor. And with the existence and accessibility of large scale chess game databases, these types of analyses are reasonably easy to perform.

Today, I want to take a look at another potentially useful measure. Five weeks into the season, we can begin to look at the performance ratings of the various players. This measure can be thought of as the chess equivalent of a batter's OBP or a pitcher's ERA. By comparing a player's performance rating to their actual rating, we can assess how well each player is performing for the team relative to the expectation implied in their official USCL rating. Since the USCL imposes a rating cap each week, the overall success of a team is largely driven by the individual players' ability to perform above rating expectations.

So let's take a look at the relative performance ratings of the Boston Blitz through week 5. The format of the data is as follows -- Player Name (# of games played) - USCL Rating, Performance Rating, Performance Rating-USCL Rating. I have sorted the players by relative over/under-performance:

IM Perelshteyn (2) - 2576, 2953, +377
NM Riordan (2) - 2272, 2400, +128
IM Friedel (4) - 2447, 2520, +73
GM Christiansen (3) - 2596, 2562, -34
Krasik (5) - 2123, 1979, -144
FM MacIntyre (2) - 2316, 2137, -179
FM Kelleher (2) - 2383, 1992, -392

Of course the sample sizes are fairly small, so you need to be careful about reading too much into these numbers (especially for those players who have played only two games). Nevertheless, they do reflect the actual performance of the players under USCL playing conditions.

The first thing to notice is that the team as a whole has just slightly underperformed by -33/game. As such it is not surprising that the Blitz' record through week 5 is right at .500 (2.5-2.5). This data can also be used to assess the validity of statements like "player x is on the team because he/she is actually stronger than their published rating." These claims of 'under-ratedness' can now be evaluated in the light of day.

The last use of performance rating information which I would like to discuss today is its application to the week-to-week team selection process. It definitely should not be used as the only input (that would be equivalent to riding the hot batter regardless of other mitigating factors), but I think it can be a useful source of information in selecting the line-up with the best chance of winning each week.

While not the best example to illustrate this point, let's take a look at the line-ups for this week's match against the Miami Sharks:

IM Josh Friedel (2477) vs. GM Julio Becerra (2622)
FM William Kelleher (2383) vs. FM Marcel Martinez (2469)
FM Paul MacIntyre (2316) vs. NM Miguel Espino (2272)
NM Charles Riordan (2272) vs. FM Javier Torres (2231)

Notice that the Blitz' line-up includes two over-performing players and two under-performing ones. This in itself is not remarkable; the Blitz don't really have the option of fielding all over-performing players at this point in time. However, I don't particularly like this line-up because one of the over-performing players (Friedel) is facing a major rating deficit on Board 1. As such, there is a reasonable chance that his relatively strong play won't result in any points for the team. In the middle of the line-up, Boston's under-performing players face a small rating deficit on Board 2 and a minor advantage on Board 3. Only on Board 4 does the team have both a rating advantage and an over-performing player. Of course, anything can happen in the games when they are played on Wednesday, but my pre-match assessment is that a 2-2 draw is the best the Blitz can reasonably expect from this line-up (Friedel 0, Kelleher 0 or 1/2, MacIntyre 1/2, Riordan 1).

Let's look at a couple of other options the Blitz might have considered (and, for all I know maybe they did -- e.g., IM Foygel may still be unavailable due to family issues and IM Perelshteyn may not have been able to play for some other reason). The first option would be to replace IM Friedel with IM Perelshteyn on Board 1. This doesn't change the mix of over and under-performing players, but does put a player on Board 1 with a much smaller rating deficit vs. his opponent. In addition, Eugene has already demonstrated an ability to successfully take on GMs in this league.

The second option is to go with the lineup -- Foygel, Friedel, MacIntyre, Riordan. Certainly Igor would have a hard time on Board 1, but in compensation the Blitz would have had rating advantages on the remaining three boards (two of the three with over-performing players). Had this option been feasible (and as mentioned earlier, it may very well have not been), it would have been my first choice.

For now, we'll wait for Wednesday and see what happens. As for BCC Weblog coverage of this week's match, I may do something a bit lighter on Wednesday night or just a post-match wrap-up. We'll see how much energy I have left after watching another round of San Luis.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

ChessBoxing Action

Juergen at Random Good Stuff attended the European ChessBoxing Heavyweight Championship in Berlin. His report on the event is particularly noteworthy since it includes a couple of video clips of the action -- the first "live" ChessBoxing action I've seen.

I thought that NFL Europe had helped pull Berliners out of the middle ages of sports entertainment, but I guess we need to introduce them to baseball too.

Speaking of strange sports, in Arkansas they seem to have created their own form of chess-related competition:
A lot of people showed up here Friday night to watch Prairie Grove and Shiloh Christian meet in a chess match played on a green, grassy 100-yard gameboard.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

For someone who has everything

What does dead_mike want for his birthday?

I don't care if anyone gets anything for me as long as you are all there and I get some chess action.

Chess is for the Birds

Here's a less than obvious combination of afternoon activities:

Tomorrow, noon to 4 p.m., a "Falconry Extravaganza," with winged visitors in the East Meadow, Fifth Avenue and East 99th Street. Information: 311. Sunday at 10 a.m., the Annual Youth Chess Tournament, open to kindergarteners to eighth graders, at Chess and Checkers House, midpark, south of 65th Street; registration: (212) 338-5350.
...brings new meaning to the idea of a "Kingside attack."