Wednesday, November 30, 2005

BCC Master Lecture Series presents IM Friedel

A 90-minute lecture by IM Joshua Friedel

Attack like a MANIAC!

When: Wednesday, December 14th, 7:00 p.m.
Where: The Boylston Chess Club
Admission: Advance - $3/5 (BCC members/non-members), At the door - $4/6

IM Josh Friedel is perhaps the strongest player ever to come out of New Hampshire. He achieved the National Master rating at age 13 in 2001. He became a Senior Master in 2003, and became an IM in 2005. Josh has an uncompromising, attacking style that is generally rich in tactics. Josh will be talking about his road to the IM title, showing us some of his favorite games, and providing some attacking tips along the way.

Some of Josh's accomplishments:
  • Qualified to play in 2006 U.S. Championship
  • Participated in 2005 U.S. Championship and other national tournaments
  • 1st place in 2001 Pan Am Open, 2003 Queen City Open, and many smaller open tournaments
  • Participated in three US Cadet Championships (2nd place in 2002)
  • Two international events (World Youth and Pan Am Youth)
  • Won a scholarship to UTD by coming in 2nd at the Denker Tournament of High School Champions
Light refreshments will be served.

How did I end up with two white bishops?


Tuesday, November 29, 2005


  1. Globular has announced his return to active chess blogging.

  2. Old friend Logis has started a new blog and is threatening to start posting about chess again.

  3. The Knights are expanding with two new members added in the past week -- Athlumney and Dluzewski (and Salcido returning from hiatus).

  4. As always, there are recent additions to the Other Chess Blogs listings. New ones include Aakaash's Chess Life and Qxh7#.

Caption Contest II

If we both concentrate really hard, we can
make the pieces move without touching them

Leave your caption in the comments.

Source: "Chess master shows no mercy" from the Portsmouth (NH) Herald.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Boston Blitz Trading Card #4

Designed and Produced by Matt Phelps (Globular)

Customer Research

I received an e-mail from a chess retailer interested in my thoughts on what makes for a good chess table. Since I couldn't think of anything more insightful to say than 'four legs and a top', I thought I might give all of you an opportunity to weigh in. So, click the comment link and describe the characteristics of the "perfect chess table."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Just cover your eyes and play

Today's New York Times piece on Sex and Chess is generating a fair bit of activity in the chess blogosphere. Here are some related posts: Daily Dirt - The Kenilworthian - Susan Polgar.

Life is not a game of chess!

Finally, someone takes the other side of this topic:
Granted you have to have some plan, but life isn't a game of chess, it's more like parchessi or even yahtzee if you will. A plan for victory is nice, but you still have to account for that roll of the dice to really judge your final outcome.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The next round is on me

A few weeks back Goran wrote a post about a blog value calculator from Technorati. While it makes for an interesting momentary diversion, a little research will quickly discourage you from spending the money all at once.

How does it work? Well, it starts with the sale of Weblogs Inc. (a blog network) to AOL. The creators of the calculator assumed that the value of a blog was directly proportional to the number of other blogs which link to it (as reported by Technorati). Therefore, they took AOL's purchase price for Weblogs Inc. and divided it by the total number of blogs linking to all the Weblogs Inc. blogs. This resulted in a value of $564.54 per link. So all the calculator does is retrieve the number of blogs which link to your blog and multiply it by this value. In the case of Boylston Chess Club Weblog this is 43 links x $564.54 per link = $24,275.22.

This blog is worth $24,275.22.
How much is your blog worth?

What's wrong with this approach to blog valuation? Several things.

First, there is the "links as a proxy for visits" issue. I addressed this earlier in a post about Blogshares. To summarize, links are important and probably do have some correlation with visits, but they are easily manipulated and overall do not represent an adequate proxy for visitors.

Second, it seems silly to assume that AOL was simply buying Weblogs Inc.'s links (or visitors for that matter). Weblogs Inc. has proprietary technology they developed to support their blogging operations and presumably there must be some value attributable to the Weblogs Inc. brand. Therefore, the calculator almost certainly overvalues the price per link.

Finally, there simply isn't a liquid market for blogs. In fact, only a few blogs have ever been sold. Therefore, it is unreasonable to assume that blog value follows a linear relationship. Instead, a more reasonable model would probably be something like 99.999% of blogs are worth $0 and just a relatively small number have some value based on the revenue streams they produce.

So what is your blog really worth? In the chess blogosphere, if you are not Mig then I would estimate <=$0. Even for the few that might be earning a penny or two from Adsense, I suspect that if you discount your cashflow and make an honest assessment of your expenses (including your time) you'll find that your blog is actually under water financially. There's nothing wrong with this of course. Few, if any us, play chess for the money either. The rewards from chess blogging (as from playing) come from another side of our lives.

Canadians Rejoice!

Baltimore wins the inaugural US Chess League Championship 3.5-0.5 over Miami. League MVP IM Pascal Charbonneau promises to take the Championship trophy on a tour of all of Canada's provinces.

Links: Official USCL report, Match results, Interview with Pascal Charbonneau

Related Post: USCL Championship Match Postponed

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

New url, same errant content

In case you didn't see Tempo's post on this topic, DutchDefence has changed his blog's url. Those of you who link to him should update your links to point to

The Next Stage

The Cave's Samuel Montgomery-Blinn is ready for a career change:

Chess Boxing appeals to me in the strangest way right now. I mean, come on. I've a black belt in Taekwondo, and I'm not a complete idiot with a chess board. Friends tell me I'm crazy, but I want to join a league as soon as possible.

J'adoube has had similar thoughts.

The King's Paromologia

...a great paromologia, a figure that concedes a point in order to make a stronger one, like sacrificing a pawn in chess.

From "Can’t We Kill the Bike Instead? " at It Figures.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Free Chess Speech

Here's a different kind of chess blog:

...yes it finally happened. We shot our mouths off so much we all got banned from the Game Knot forums.... So we've started our own forum right here where we can shoot off whatever we want.

Check out Pawn Stars Uncut (at your own risk, of course).


Rob Horning explains why chess books are primarily symbolic decorative items:

The fact that they are unreadable - full of chess notation and illustrations and discussions far too abstract for a novice like me without a chessboard in front of me - forces me to resist the temptation of actual[ly] reading the book and makes the book into a pure signifying object, something that can signal my interest in chess without my being led into foolishly wasting time reading about it. The impossibility of my consuming them as books allows me to appreciate them as decorative objects that help illustrate my interior life for others.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Boston Blitz Trading Card #2

Designed and Produced by Matt Phelps (Globular)

More chess variants

The Cup Joke describes a version called "Molly Chess":

Molly used to have a move where the queen would swirl around ... knocking pieces off the board.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

GM Igor Ivanov dead at 58

From KUTV in Salt Lake City, Utah:
Igor Ivanov, a Russian defector who became Utah's greatest chess player, has died in St. George of cancer. He was 58.

Despite his illness, Ivanov tied for first place in the Utah Open tournament just three weeks ago. He was Utah's only grandmaster, the highest rank in chess. In 1979, he defeated then-reigning world champion Anatoly Karpov.

"He was our state champion,'' said John Coffey, vice president of the Utah Chess Association. "He was our best player by far. Nobody else even came close. Serious chess players like having someone of that caliber. He'll be missed for the great player that he was.''

Update #1: Here is a longer piece from The Salt Lake Tribune.

Update #2: Seems I was way behind the rest of the blogosphere on this one. Check out posts from The Chess Mind, Chess News and Events, The Closet Grandmaster and (ChessSmith and I independently ripped the same picture from the net).

Saturday, November 19, 2005

USCL Trading Cards Go International

Check out the newest one from our Canadian subsidiary.

Karpov to move to Florida

At least that is what the people in Palm Beach Gardens would like:
We've gone from recruiting smart people in bunches, to just cherry-picking one, here and there.... "It would be good for the city to say Karpov lives here," said local developer Joel Channing, a board member of the U.S. Chess Federation. At Channing's request, the city is drafting a letter to Karpov, inviting him to visit and explore making Palm Beach Gardens his new home.
What are they going to use to entice the former world champion?
"He loves steaks," Channing said. "We ate steak in Kansas and I said, 'This is nothing.' I would take him for the best steak he ever ate at Spoto's Oakwood Grill."
Read "Porterhouse gambit may lure chess master to Gardens" from the Palm Beach Post.

We all have our price

Alfred's Best of the Blogosphere offers a special report on chess blogs (starting about halfway through the post):

The center of the chessblogging world is probably the Boylston Chess Club blog. It's quite interesting in its own right--I enjoyed reading about the tribulations of the US Chess League. The BCC Blog also maintains the fullest list of chess blogs, which I recommend checking out if you're at all interested.

Thanks Alfred! You know just what to say to get a link here at BCC Weblog.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blitz by Numbers

In 1996, Bill Parcells, then coach of the New England Patriots, was asked if his 0-3 football team was in fact better than the record indicated. "You are what you are," Parcells shot back, a simple but surprisingly perceptive response. "We may look like a Super Bowl team on paper, but we're playing like an 0-3 team. And that's just not good enough."

This seems like the appropriate perspective to take in evaluating the results of the Boston Blitz's performance in the inaugural season of the US Chess League. Sure, the season started with great optimism, excitement about GM Chritiansen's participation on the team and talk of under-rated players lying in wait to upset higher-rated opponents. But, in the end, the hometown team finished out of the playoffs, in third place in the Eastern Division, with a record of 4-6 (2 wins, 4 draws, 4 losses). "You are what you are."

In keeping with this tautological theme, I thought I'd focus my season wrap-up on the "Numbers" with limited editorial adornment.

Performance Ratings

With the teams so closely matched rating-wise each week, successful teams needed to consistently perform above their official USCL ratings. Unfortunately, only one player on the Blitz was able to do this and a few performed well below. Data Format - [Player Name: Win-Loss Record, Performance Rating, Performance Rating - USCL Rating].

IM Perelshteyn: 2.5-0.5, 2823, +247
NM Riordan: 3-3, 2304, +32
FM Winer: 1-1, 2421, +32
GM Christiansen: 3-1, 2599, +3
Krasik: 3-5, 2094, -29
IM Friedel: 3.5-5.5, 2382, -65
FM MacIntyre: 1.5-2.5, 2229, -88
FM Kelleher: 0.5-3.5, 2108, -275

Full Team: 18-22, 2327, -31

Performance by Board

Given that the Blitz primarily employed a top-heavy line-up strategy throughout the season, the results on Board 2 were particularly problematic. Data Format - [Board #: Number of points scored by Boston (out of 10), Boston rank among USCL teams (out of 8), Top Team].

Board 1: 6, tied 2nd-4th, New York
Board 2: 4, 6th, New York
Board 3: 4, 5th, San Francisco
Board 4: 4, 6th, Philadelphia

Performance by Color

League-wide White had a 54% to 46% advantage over Black. New York had the best record with White (70%). Baltimore and New York shared the honors with Black (58%). Data Format - [Color: Boston % score, Boston rank among USCL teams (out of 8)].

White: 58%, 4th
Black: 33%, 8th

Hat Tip: USCL for the Board and Color stats (even though they have the Board 3 stats for the Blitz wrong)

To each his own

David Bogner of Treppenwitz prefers 'Go':

When we were kids, my dad taught my older sister and I to play both Chess and 'Go', but I can remember that I enjoyed 'Go' much more than I did chess. Instead of one strategic battle going on (as in chess) 'Go' had multiple battles being waged across the board... many of which could spill over into one another creating new strategic possibilities. And unlike chess, there were very few complicated rules to remember. Each piece (stone) placed on the board had the same status as any other... a very egalitarian game as compared with the different powers assigned to the array of chess pieces.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

USCL Championship Match Postponed

...due to lack of interest. Apparently only Canadians are interested in Baltimore-Miami clash.
See the US Chess League homepage for details.

Chess, a better choice for kids than Football

"First, it's available. It's something you can do in any season inside. Second, mothers, especially, needn't be afraid of their child coming home with bruised ribs, broken noses or broken bones."
Just bruised egos...

Read "Chess gaining popularity in south suburban schools" from The Star.

Championship Games

Games from the 2005 Boylston Chess Club Championship are now available for replay on the BCC Games page of the website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

More Flying Chess


Related Post: Flying Chess

Chess is Dead

From "Two accidents leave two dead" at the Miami Herald:

The man, identified as William Chess, 61, a City of Hollywood employee, died after his red Jeep Cherokee flipped over on his way to work.

Witnesses said Chess, of Margate, was passing several cars around 6:10 a.m. when he lost control of his SUV and struck a retaining wall, flipping over several times. He was thrown from the vehicle and died when he hit the ground, Ferrell said.

Chess was not wearing a seat belt, Ferrell said.

At the next BCF Board meeting I'll be recommending that restraining devices (lap and shoulder belts) be installed at all boards in the main playing room.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Say it isn't so

An unnamed participant in the World Chess Championship in San Luis, Argentina, has accused Chess King Bulgarian Vesselin Topalov of using unallowed measures to win the title, reported.... It is not clear who has raised the allegations against the Chess King, but this man claims that during several games aide Ivan Cheparinov and manager Silvio Danailov have helped Topalov. The site reports that after each move of Topalov, Cheparinov has used computer analysis of the game and has then secretly signaled the chess king for the next move.
Source: "World Chess Champ Topalov 'Fraudster'" from the Sofia News Agency.

Spy vs. Spy

At Rice's Ruminations they explain why Intelligence (of the CIA/MI-5/Mossad variety) is a tough business:

It is a game of emotions, masked motivation, ideology, obfuscated psychology, and manipulation. It is like playing blind chess, without anyone telling you what the board looks like.

When the Genie wants to play chess


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Journey to the Center of US Chess

The US Chess League has certainly shown that there are good players and exciting chess to be discovered in cities all across the country. And even little Lindsborg, KS can draw GMs and World Champions into the heartland. Nevertheless, it is hard to argue with the notion that the center of Chess in the United States is in New York City (shame on all you who thought I was going to say Crossville, Tennessee). New York is home to the largest collection of titled players, the venerable Manhattan Club, Washington Square Park and too many other clubs, chess stores and outdoor playing locations to mention. In how many places can a 2200-rated master find himself in the bottom-half of the pairings at a local G/30?

Beyond this, New York seems to be competing for the Chess Art world title as well. This fall, the following exhibits are on display:

  • The Art of Chess, October 28th - December 23rd at Luhring Augustine, 531 West 24th Street

  • The Imagery of Chess Revisited, October 21, 2005 - March 5, 2006 at The Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard) in Long Island City

  • Glenn Kaino’s show "Of Passed Pawns and Communicating Rooks", November 10th - December 22nd at Projectile, 37 West 57th Street

  • Gabriel Orozco’s current exhibition featuring a suite of his geometric paintings, the patterns of which are purported to be based on the knight’s move, October 6th - November 12th at Marian Goodman Gallery, 24 West 57th Street
Hat Tip (for the Chess Art links): Moogy Friends and artnet Magazine News


The first round of the USCL playoffs was scheduled to be played last night, but as parochial Bostonians we don't really care since our team isn't in it. If you really want to know what happened, I'm sure you can find out at the official site.

By the way, is the World Series over yet?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Life as a chess game, again

From "Feelings" at Life Of Music:

Living life is just like playing a lifelong game of chess. In the process, we may be stuck. stumped by our opponents. unsure of the next step ahead. just like life. we encounter lots of different problems in between. and sometimes, these problems may be advantages. they may help us grow stronger, build characters in us. as in chess, if we make a wrong move, we'll be able to be more careful for the rest of the game....

If we make a certain wrong move in chess, it could be such a grave mistake that it'll affect our performance in the rest of the game. worse still, it could even los[e] us the WHOLE game. Similarly in life, sometimes a LITTLE mistake may just cause a BIG BIG problem that could affect the rest of your life.

Another Chess Puzzle

2 grandmasters played five games of chess. Each won the same number of games and lost the same number of games, there were no draws in any of the games. How could this be so?
Stumped? Click here for the answer (under puzzle #3) -- not yet! Think about it first.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Unbelievable! Startling! Amazing!

Here's a video from NBC-17 News in North Carolina's research triangle -- Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill -- about scholastic chess clubs in the area. It's particularly amusing the level of surprise the newscaster expresses when she says, "Believe it or not, the game of chess is catching on - among elementary school students..."

For those of you who might be multimedia-challenged, here's a link to a text version of the story.

Save it for someone who cares

Participating in a post-mortem of your game (or even someone else's) is generally considered a worthwhile, entertaining and educational endeavor. However, Fiona at Gamblers Responsible Weblog argues that this is not the case in the Poker world:

There are only 2 places in the world where post-mortem should be done: the chess arena and the funeral parlor/morgue.... if you really have to narrate your highly exciting and memorable moves/plays/experiences [at the poker table]...WRITE A BOOK.

Order of Magnitude

From Google Earth - the largest natural chess board (in Northern Idaho).

Monday, November 07, 2005

Coffee House Chess

Hat Tip: CapaKaspa.


Two items metaphorically associated with the idea of rising from the ashes:

The first is an e-mail I received from Jean Troendle, the proprietor of Cajun Chess in New Orleans. The 64 Square Jungle interviewed her shortly after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city taking out their warehouse and business operations. Now, Jean reports that Cajun Chess is back in business, one more small step in the recovery and rebuilding process. Check out the Cajun Chess website.

The second item comes from Pawn In The Game's Jens Madsen. He was looking for Rihel's e-mail address to let him know about the new Chess Club he is forming in Morgantown, West Virginia (Aside to Jason: your old e-mail address is no longer valid; you may want to contact us with a new one). It seems that Morgantown has been without a club for quite some time. In fact, the last club closed up shop many years ago when its former president, Jason Rihel, left the state. It's a small world after all!

Supreme Court Chess

Many in the media are saying that the Harriet Miers nomination was a huge mistake for Bush. But was it? Is George W. Bush a political chess player on the order of Gary Kasparov?
Read "The Harriet Miers Gambit" from The Conservative Voice.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Swan Song

The Boston Blitz failed to come through when it didn't count, losing 2.5-1.5 to the Baltimore Kingfishers in US Chess League Week 10 action. Since Baltimore locked up the second playoff spot in the East last week, this match was for bragging rights only and the Kingfishers showed that their position in the final regular season standings was well deserved. For the Blitz, there is now plenty of time to ponder what went wrong in this inaugural season and prepare for the 2006 campaign.

On Board 1, IM Charbonneau consistently outplayed IM Friedel in a Semi-Slav and found a very nice combination to breakthrough and finish off the game. Dennis Monokroussos liked the combination so much that he made it an exercise for the readers of his blog.

On Board 2, FM Winer played the risky and unnecessary 14.Kf1 in response to a check from Black's Queen and suffered mightily in trying to complete his development for much of the rest of the game. In the time it took him to unravel, FM Enkhbat managed to push his queenside majority down the board. A passed a-pawn eventually cost Winer a piece and ultimately the game.

FM MacIntyre scored the only win of the night for the Blitz (and his only full point of the season). Paul sacrificed a pawn in what is generally considered a dubious line for Black in the Ruy Lopez - Exchange Variation. While MacIntyre's compensation looked negligible at first, imprecise play by IM Kaufman led to a strong attack for Black. A few precise maneuvers at the end spun a mating net from which White's King could not escape.

On Board 4, NM Riordan must have felt like he was running while standing still. In the first half of the game, his knights took extended tours on his side board always finding themselves on the third rank at the end. Then he made the inaccurate move 20.Bc4-d3 which after a pawn push by NM Kaufman was followed by 21.Bd3-c4. Black seemed to have the better of it in the middlegame, but ultimately a Queen ending ensued in which both players had opportunities for perpetual check. Kaufman chose to split the point when Riordan threatened to queen a pawn.

Later on, I'll be doing a wrap-up post on the Boston Blitz' first season in the USCL. In the interim, I'll leave you with League Commissioner Greg Shahade's perspective:

Boston ... is likely disappointed with their result this season. Hopes were high as Boston had quite a few highly ranked players on their roster, yet things just never seemed to break right for the Blitz, as they lost and drew many matches that they should have won. With the talent they have in the New England area, you can be sure that the Blitz will be back strong next season.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Must See TV

Today's Evel Squirrel Episode

"Chess Kidding!"

A diplomatic incident in Helsinki results in Roody facing a Russian grandmaster while Evel Squirrel tracks down an old girlfriend. Gary Kasparov guest stars.

From Evel Squirrel's ATTITUDE CENTRAL.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Red, Chess and Blue


And the winner is...

Congratulations to our new Boylston Chess Club Champion NM Charles Riordan. Charles scored 4.5/6.0 in the annual round robin event. NM Vadim Martirosov secured 2nd place with 4 points.

The Hauptturnier ended in a tie for first between former Boston Herald chess columnist Mike Henroid and last year's co-winner Bob Fuhro, each with 6.0 /7.0.

Final crosstables are currently posted in the BCC News section of the website.

Send this kid an invite to the club

A family in Jamaica Plain (a neighborhood of Boston) is planning next year's birthday party.

This morning Sumner told me that he wants to invite 32, no 34, people to his birthday party, which is in March. What theme does this fun loving 6-year-old want to have? A chess party. Why does he want to invite 34 people? He wants for 32 of them to dress as live chess pieces and he wants for two of them to actually play chess with the live chess pieces in our front yard. That will be a sight. He said that Ramona's friends can be the pawns.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Equal chess rights for all

Somewhat surprisingly, chess made an appearance in Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's eulogy of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks:
"We will all say today that the greatest tribute that we could pay to our improbable warrior is to continue battling and to do so in a way that honors her life. And I, like you, imagine a day when the war will be won, when a brilliant 8-year-old chess player has the same chances in life, whether she lives in Lavonia, or off of Livernois."
It reminded me of the day Martin Luther King rose up on a podium in Washington, DC and addressed a similar set of concerns. I think it went something like this:
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all scholastic chess players are created equal.' I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former masters and the sons of former c-players will be able to sit down together at a chess table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a chess-less state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of the sixty-four squares. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by how many times they receive the white pieces in a 5-round swiss but by the number of games that they win or lose. I have a dream today."
Some day, my friends. Some day soon.

It all depends on the opposition

From "Turner's skills stood out at early age — even in chess" at
Everything's always come easy for Barry Turner.... He was a standout in whatever he tried: football, basketball, baseball, even chess. When he was in middle school, Barry would go to the local nursing home and play residents in chess.
Well, I suppose it is possible that he might have run into a hidden Master at the Tennessee nursing home, but otherwise I would imagine that we could all have been standouts by beating up on a few senior citizens.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Save the Mill Valley Chess Board!!

An organization of old bags in Marin County, California are fighting the installation of a giant chess board.

The proposed giant chess board for Mill Valley's downtown Lytton Square is in trouble. Talk of checkmating the idea, unthinkable and unmentioned until yesterday, has surfaced.

Members of the city's 100-year-old Outdoor Art Club launched a campaign yesterday to get the Mill Valley Arts and Recreation Commission - which approved the huge chess board a year ago - to reopen the issue because they believe the board and giant chess pieces are antithetical to the artistic aura of the picturesque square.

"We question the appropriateness of having that much space turned over to a giant chess set," said Caroline Robinson, a member of the Civics and Conservation Committee of the arts club.

Chessplayers everywhere, descend on Mill Valley. Take to the streets. Picket in front of Ms. Robinson's house. Save the Chess Board!!

Chess Camp


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Caption Contest

Scientists in Detroit are studying the effects
of chess on catatonic post-encephalitis patients

Share your caption for the picture in the comments.

Source: "Weekly chess games bridge age gap" from The Detroit News.

Chess Prayers

Sweet Miss Mae shares Children's Letters to God:

Dear God,
If you give me genie lamp like Aladdin I will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set.