Friday, March 31, 2006

Wilderness Chess


US Amateur Team Championship

There will be a playoff among the four regional winners this Sunday, April 2nd at 1pm EDT on the ICC. The East will be represented by Boylston Chess Club members NM Charles Riordan, NM Alex Cherniack, Lawyer Times and Charlie Mays. Log on and cheer them on!

Related post: Boylston invades New Jersey...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Encounters in Kalmykia

Howard Goldowsky gave me a heads-up to a new book which is coming out soon. Lost Cosmonaut by Daniel Kalder was published recently in the UK and is coming to the States in August. Here is's synopsis:
Lost Cosmonaut documents Daniel Kalder's travels in the bizarre and mysterious worlds of Russia's ethnic republics. Obsessed with a quest he never fully understands, Kalder boldly goes where no man has gone before: in the deserts of Kalmykia, he stumbles upon a city dedicated to chess and a forgotten tribe of Mongols; in Mari El, home to Europe's last pagan nation, he meets the Chief Druid and participates in an ancient rite; while in the bleak industrial badlands of Udmurtia, Kalder looks for Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, and accidentally becomes a TV star. Profane yet wise, utterly honest and yet full of lies, "Lost Cosmonaut" is an eye-opening, blackly comic tour of the most alien planet in our cosmos: Earth.
Howard expressed the hope that "by the time Lost Cosmonaut comes out, Kirsan and Chess City will be history."

Resistance is still futile

Chess, my on-again off-again obsession, is off again after a couple of months of constant playing and studying the game. The last two weeks I have no desire to even look at a chess board, let alone play a competitive game. A part of me hopes that I have gotten chess out of my system for good, it is a game that requires far too much work and eats up way too much of my time when it occupies my attention. I fear this is just wishful thinking though; I have gotten rid of the chess monster before, and sooner or later it always returns.

That's because you've already been assimilated.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


According to Blogger, this is the 1000th post on Boylston Chess Club Weblog. Not much of a post I admit, but certainly a worthy milestone* to celebrate.

* Do Canadians use the term 'kilometerstone' instead?

What's in a name?

From "Bored? Try this chess group at Coastal Carolina" at The Charleston (SC) Post and Courier:
Andrew Incognito, assistant professor of math and statistics, placed seventh in a national chess competition when he was in the ninth grade.
Since then he has played things very low key and now goes totally unnoticed in the chess community.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dawn of the Dead Down Under

The Amazing Human Body Exhibition is currently on display at Sydney Olympic Park until April 2nd. The Exhibition features "more than 20 aesthetically posed whole body specimens, transparent vertical and horizontal body slices together with more than 400 anatomical specimens."

Oz-Blog visited last weekend and provided the following report:

For $20, we got to see plasticized humans in poses like skiing, tennis and archery. Oh, there was also a cadaver playing chess, but he was taking forever to move!

For 24 fans only

  • In chess, Jack Bauer can checkmate you in 1 move.

Wandering Minds

Kansas 4th grader Griffin Jacobson relies on distracted opponents to score points in scholastic tournaments.
"Sometimes people don't notice their moves, and they will just do something when they aren't paying attention," he said. "That's how I won one of my games."
Read "Chess players converge on KU" from the Lawrence Journal-World.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Burdens of Knighthood

Many of the Knights have rightly pointed out that Michael De La Maza was unemployed during the period when he was pursuing his 7 circles training. I suppose it is also worth pointing out that he didn't have blogging as a time sink either. Most of today's Knights Errant don't find themselves under such favorable chess training circumstances, though I'm sure having an income is considered by most to be adequate compensation. Instead, now and again a Knight concludes that Caissa's (or MDLM's) call must be forsaken for other priorities. In the past few days, two such declarations have been made.

Mousetrapper has indicated that life and work preclude him from actively blogging for an indeterminate amount of time. Since he is already an MDLM graduate, I have listed his blog as such on the Other Knights Errant list.

DutchDefence plans to keep blogging but has concluded that it no longer makes sense to call himself a Knight.
Since i am doing nothing really de la Maza like, as in circlish, concentric squarish things and all that, i really do not see much of a reason for me to stay on.
Back in the day, when a Knight threatened to quit others would rally around and encourage him to continue (J'adoube comes to mind). But times apparently have changed; no one has yet appealed to Edwin to remain a Knight. For now, I have removed him from the list of active Knights and added his blog to the general sidebar.

Damaged Goods

Imagine you are 18 years old and ever since you were in third grade you've won every year's State Championship for your grade. Not only have you never lost a game during this streak, you've never even drawn one! Now imagine in your last Scholastic Championship Tournament it all comes crashing down.

Read the story of Michael Lostritto and watch him crack under the pressure before your very eyes.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Memphis-style dry rub chess

The BBQ Blog argues that tournament chess and competitive barbecue have much in common:

As anyone who has ever played the game of chess more than a few times can attest, it may take 10 or 15 minutes to learn the basics of the game,'s something that might never be mastered after a lifetime of dedication.

The concentration and dedication required are enormous. It's a game that you might be able to win against mediocre players, who haven't played much, but when you're up against more experienced players, it can be very, very humbling and very frustrating....

Competitive barbecue is very similar. It's a grassroots sport that is rewarding and fun, but long term success in the sport is not easy. I know more than a few teams that have been competing for years that have never won a grand championship or a reserve grand championship award. I know other teams that have won a few awards, but when the winning didn't continue, the teams chose to stop competing altogether. I know other teams that have had some success in specific categories here and there, but for whatever reason haven't been able to put together consistent results in all four categories enough to win consistently.

I'm thinking about a combined competition -- rounds of chess interspersed with pork ribs, chicken and brisket. Win or lose, you'll never go home hungry.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Chess Nuts


A paramount Paramount

I'm sure it wasn't the BCC Weblog post, but it may have been Bob Oresick's e-mail ... in any case, we've had a nice turnout for this year's Paramount Double Round Robin tournament. Three 6-player sections are currently running. The first is topped by FM Chris Chase and includes 5 Experts/A-players. The second section is comprised of players rated from 1589 to 1782.

You can follow the results on the BCC News page.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Multi-Purpose Facilities

There is a legal battle shaping up over whether nine Los Angeles bathhouses and sex clubs are subject to new regulations on "commercial sex venues."

We “are not commercial sex venues at all,” nine gay bathhouses and sex clubs said in a lawsuit filed March 3 against Los Angeles County.

“That’s a lie,” said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, who has been pushing county health officials to step up oversight over such businesses. “What are people going [there] to do? Play chess?”

Towards improved Championship blogging

The Patzer's Tale has some recommendations for improving the US Championship, including blogging-related ones:
  • The champblog was a good idea, but needs to be expanded. A couple of interested players could be drafted as featured star bloggers, updating several times a day.

  • Add multimedia content. Have a couple of people taking photos all day, everyday. Post the photos online. Record some audio or video in the skittles after each round and post it to the website (maybe as a podcast). You could even have a video confessional booth like on reality TV shows.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

War of the Roses Quote of the Day

When asked if chess is a male-dominated game, 11-year-old Kao Smith scoffs, "No, it's just overpopulated by boys."
Read "Young female chess champions vanquish foes, take no prisoners" from the East Valley (AZ) Tribune.

Chess Poetry VI

Oriental setting
And the city don't know what the city is getting
The creme de la creme of the chess world in a
Show with everything but Yul Brynner

Time flies doesn't seem a minute
Since the Tyrolean spa has the chess boys in it
All change don't you know that when you
Play at this level there's no ordinary venue

It's Iceland or the Philippines or Hastings or this place

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Defending Chess in Bikinis

Clint Ballard has responded again to complaints about his use of bikini-clad models to promote chess:

Of course, I keep getting flamed for what a horrible person I am for using girls in bikinis to promote chess. The horrors. People who have not even seen the current pictures are saying that I am like a drug deal[er] in adultery. Or that I am just like all the other big TV advertisers (which doesn't seem so bad, until they say it is soft porn) using pretty girls to sell stuff.

Sigh. Flipping through late night TV, I go from a gun shootout on a street, fist fight that ends when crowbar cuts through skull and lodges in brain, some sort of "comedy" that portrays women as mindless inflated barbie dolls, slasher movie where slasher suddenly slashes slashees, etc. Sound familiar? That's what seems to be on 24/7. Would girls in bikinis teaching chess really be such a bad thing compared to all that? I think not.

I don't know if I really buy this argument or not. It sounds like one my kids justifying their actions by pointing out that their friends behave even worse. Besides, how can you tell what's "on 24/7" based on "late night TV"? Many of the more recent pictures are too risque for me to even consider reposting here -- chess rarely comes to mind when I'm looking at them (which is not to say that I don't enjoy them).


Boston Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo reacting to the news that he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds:
"[Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein and I] were pretty close. Probably as close as you can get to a GM as a player, but you know, the game is business, man, that's what it's about. It doesn't matter how you feel personally about somebody. You just make the best move. It's like playing a chess match, man. Just pieces on the freaking board."

Monday, March 20, 2006

So much anger about lunch meat

Alan is ranting about spam:
What is it about spam? We can put a man on the moon, split the atom, clone a sheep, build a computer that can beat the world's greatest chess player, but we can't track down and arrest the handful of idiots who continually deluge the world's email systems with spam.

This sounds fun

From Renovak's Live Journal:
After a sit-in at McDonalds (eating fries with a McFlurry is not weird, goddamn it), went off with Angers and Qian to buy slinkies and then play around in the Science Centre playground like the mature 5 year olds we are. Suicide chess with half-life sized chess figures. My soul is so owned by the concept. XD. Ang took black and I took white and we dashed around screaming "eat my pawn!!" while Qian took photos. We, most obviously, have no brains.

Pluming their feathers

If it were any other team, I'd probably say they should focus more energy on their game than their logo. But since we are talking about last year's US Chess League Champion Baltimore Kingfishers, it's hard to complain. The Kingfishers recently unveiled their new logo (right) for the upcoming 2006 season.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

For the groupies

Sophomore Jeremy Penna, president of the University of Delaware's Blue Hen Chess Club explains the benefits of playing chess:
"I play it to impress girls."
Read "Short-handed UD chess team takes top spot" from the UD Daily.

Shut Up!

Not only do you need put up with distractions from opponents and members of the gallery, but now there are chess sets that talk back to you (using profanity, no less):
...for the first time ever, [Barbara Kruger] has produced a chess set that talks. Every time a move is made, tiny concealed speakers in each piece utter forth a phrase, sentence, or statement, ranging from "Give me a break!" or, "This is SO over!" to a series of expletives.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Boylston player wins Nigerian Championship

About a year ago or so, former BCC member Chikwere Onyekwere played in several of our tournaments -- defeating some of the club's best players and taking several first place prizes. Now, Nigeria Chess Players Forum reports that Chikwere has won the Nigerian Chess Championship. In addition, he will be representing Nigeria in the upcoming Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy.

In a separate post, they list his chess accomplishments from 1999-2006 (including his successes at the Boylston Chess Club).

Congratulations, Chikwere!

Friday, March 17, 2006

New secret to chess improvement revealed

Forget about studying tactics, openings or endgames; instead, have someone hit you in the head with a hammer right before the game starts. Don't believe me? Just read what Dr. Richard Petty has to say about playing chess while unconscious:

There is evidence that while most chess players spend virtually all of their time trying to calculate, strong players rely on unconscious process for most of the game, and only calculate for short periods when their unconscious tells them too. There is even evidence from brain imaging studies that average players activate all the cognitive areas of the frontal lobes while playing, with some temporal lobe activity as they try to remember their lessons. By contrast, a chess master uses many regions of his brain at once, and only occasionally activates parts of his frontal lobes when calculation is required.

Blogging like a chess player

At Music an Stuff, a moment of uncertainty:

Why do i even have a blog?!? They are as boring as BEING STUCK UP AT YOUR GRANDPARENTS HOUSE PLAYIN CHESS ALL WEEK!!!!!

I don't know ... as long as Grandma can give you a good game, I don't see the problem.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Run-On Chess Quote of the Day

"Chess to me is like an ex-girlfriend I haven't seen for years and suddenly when I got to see her, I couldn't help asking about all of what she had been through since the last time we stayed together, and couldn't leave as soon as I got stuck on her again." - ZZzone

Pocket Chess

Vicott has created a set of 11 chess themes for the Pocket PC.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Topalov Envy

Seoul Hero takes Chessbase to task for their Topalov-heavy coverage of Linares. He makes the case that Radjabov's performance was the real story.

New Knight, Old Knight?

Happened upon a new Knight this week ... well, sort of. Dragonslayer is authored by the same blogger who previously abandoned A Dragon's Quest. Now he's back for more CT-Art punishment. Why a new blog instead of continuing the old one? He hasn't said. Perhaps he forgot his Blogger password.

In more listing news:
  • Ilanchess and the French blog ChessLand went 404.
  • Twelve other blogs have been relisted as Inactive. The most notable is probably Rocky Kasparov, which I thought had great potential as the only blog covering Chessboxing training.
  • I finally got around to translating Chess Collector again and discovered that the most recent post announced its end. A real disappointment, but I decided to make it an instant Classic. I did the same with the 2006 Champblog, now that the US Championship is over.
  • Plenty of new listings including Chesswitch (another female chess blogger), NM Jeff Ashton's Chess Training Blog, and Kirk's Chess Odyssey (the "K" in all the C vs. K games posted at C's Chess).
  • And, as has been mentioned elsewhere (here and here), two GMs have recently joined the blogosphere and earned a spot on the sidebar. Pascal Charbonneau's blog shows great potential; on the other hand, Gata Kamsky has posted only once and I wouldn't be surprised if he makes a quick exit for the Inactive list.

Why chessplayers rarely date

At MuNdAnE-mUsInGs, a list of thirteen ways in which sex and chess are similar -- here are my favorites:

9. The King has limited powers.

10. The Queen has phenomenal powers.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Take your chess to new heights

I don't know why, but I suddenly have the urge to play chess on my rooftop... Best part's not like it's FLAT or anything.

More amusing than fiction

Of course when I mentioned that the USCL expansion team from Seattle (managed by Clint Ballard) would have the best looking cheerleaders, I was making a joke. However, when Clint is involved nothing should be taken for granted. This is from his post on the new team:

It is a great honor to head up the Seattle Sluggers. I will try to get the Slugfest7 girls there to cheer the team on in a publicly visible location to build awareness of the team.

You can try to make this stuff up (like I did), but apparently there is no need to.

In other US Chess League news, the logos have been introduced for the Sluggers and the now named Tennessee Tempo.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The breaking point

It might be time for Cameron Porter to seek some counseling:

i had the worst dream the other night it was about a rabbit... it was a cute rabbit nice and playful and i liked it a lot then all of a sudden it attacked me biting me numerous times before choking to death on a chess piece.

Buy stock in

Keep reading chess blogs and you just might find that you've spent all your money on chess books:

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Chess geek loses

Howard Goldowsky reports on the end of the road for Joe Block on "Beauty and The Geek:"
Joe Block didn't win [Thursday] night, but they did have a 4-5 minute segment devoted to chess. Joe taught his partner, Brittany, how to play chess on a life-sized board (somewhere near a beach), and then they showed Joe playing blitz with a local. Joe won the game, but it looked staged.

Unrelated Note to the Blue Devil Knight: I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to predict a winner (we all know how that turns out sometimes), but I suspect the team from The Heights -- the new kids on the ACC block -- are giving the old boys on Tobacco Road a case of indigestion.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Chess Poetry V

From bittrsweetmstry's poem "im still not sorry":
...know,that i am freed of you
and this chess game for
once all have been tossed away, you
will need those pawns
like myself, that you, so carelessly wasted.
to protect the shadow of
a worthless queen, better identified
as yourself....

Friday, March 10, 2006

Multi-sport stars

Imagine how embarrassing it would be if the Boylston Chess Club challenged an Army team to a game of soccer (or baseball, football, basketball or any other physical sport -- except maybe curling). Apparently in Nepal either their chessplayers are accomplished sportsmen or their soldiers are wimps:
Knight Chess Club of Jhapa surprised top-flight Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) with a 3-2 victory in the Fourth Aaha Gold Cup football tournament Thursday at the Pokhara Stadium.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Winning is its own reward

In 1979, my high school chess team won the Massachusetts and New England High School Team Championships and tied for 4th at the Nationals. Of course the rest of the school couldn't have cared less. So, it's not surprising that this story resonates with me:
For the first time in its 10-year history, [Stanwood High School]'s chess team placed No. 1 in the Wesco league, beating 10 other schools in the county. The team is undefeated for the season, with players recording 38 wins, six losses and one draw.

What does that mean?

"To the rest of the school? Not much," said Tristan Hiegler, 17, a junior. "To us, it's pretty cool.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

USCL announces expansion plans

The US Chess League has announced plans to add two new teams for their second season of competition.

The first will be in Seattle and will be managed by Slugfest's Clint Ballard. Players committed to the team include GM Gregory Serper, IM Giorgi Orlov and IM Eric Tangborn. I don't know how strong they will be, but there is no doubt that they will have the best looking cheerleaders!
The second team will hail from Tennessee, and like the Carolina Cobras will represent an entire state rather than a single city (I guess to be technical, Carolina actually covers two states -- not that there's anything wrong with that ... we have the New England Patriots after all). Tennessee will feature IM Ron Burnett, blogger FM Peter Bereolos, and FM Todd Andrews (who is also team manager).

As for team names, say hello to the Seattle Sluggers. Slugfest...Sluggers, get it? Given my previous post on USCL expansion plans (which you will need to read now in order to get the attempted humor which immediately follows), I was hoping they might have gone with the Seattle Sablefish. The other expansion team has yet to choose a name; I'll be pulling for the Tennessee Tzimmes.

Chess Hardware

Photos of a chess set made entirely from nuts, bolts, washers and other common hardware items.

Hat Tip: diy:Happy

Monday, March 06, 2006

Thank You

The Boylston Chess Foundation would like to thank The Chess House for making a generous contribution of chess equipment (sets, boards and clocks) to support our programs.

The Chess House has been serving the chess community since 1972. Check out their great prices on Club Chess Sets.

By the way, The Chess House also has their own blog. Here's a recent post on choosing the right plastic chess set.

Why strain yourself?

This guy actually found the need to dumb-down drinking chess:

...tonight after work we are having a checkers tournament with my shot glass chess set...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Never mind "chess on ice"

With the Olympics over, we can forget about curling and instead learn the sport they're calling "chess with muscles."

Champblog II

Mig's Champblog has returned for the 2006 edition of the U.S. Championship -- "direct and unfiltered" commentary from the players.

Here's what The Kenilworthian had to say about the inaugural 2005 Champblog:
They set up a computer at the championship and lured everyone to make an entry and post their picture. Not a bad "stunt" to help promote the championship, but it could have been so much more.
This year's innovation -- players can post via e-mail.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Competitive Fashion II

Here's a follow-up to my post on competitive fashion -- at the U.S. Championship, no less.
After the players greeted each other at the start, they tended to avoid eye contact. It was hard to say where the eyes of Dmitry Schneider, 18, were, however. His opponent, 27-year-old Kelly Cottrell, wore an eye-popping top that caused a small stir among players and tournament officials.

Was it a strategy to distract her opponent? There was no way to tell for sure, Tanner said, but some female players have used alluring attire as a means of distraction before.
Ben Finegold might want to take a break from his preparation to keep an eye on his wife between rounds. :)

Have you ever played in the Paramount?

It is an increasingly rare kind of opportunity to play opponents who you know in advance with both the black and white pieces in a slow time control. In addition to the pleasure of the game, at $2.20 / $1.70 per rated game, it is a great chess bargain -- and this year there will even be prizes.

Monday, March 6 - May 8: 7th Annual Paramount, 10 Rounds, 2RR, Players divided into six player sections by rating; 40/2, G/60; Entry fee: $22, $17 to BCC members; Prizes: This year there will be prizes determined by the Tournament Committee. Registration: 6:00 to 6:45 PM, Rounds at 7PM.

TDs will be Bernardo Iglesias and Robert Oresick.

Previous Paramount Crosstables: 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000

Women's Chess (Blogging)

Just like in the world of chess playing, there appear to be very few female chess bloggers -- at least only a couple who overtly claim to be so (for all I know, you might all be girls posing online as male chessplayers!). There was Margriet - The Princess Errant and the long inactive blog Sonja's Chess Journey. I suppose you could consider Susan Polgar's blogs to be in this category, although there is much speculation about whether they are ghost written -- possibly by a man (gasp!). GM Alexandra Kosteniuk's podcasts might also qualify. That's about it ... until now!

I recently discovered Perceptual Pawn, a chess blog written by Cecilia from Sweden. If her picture is any indication, I suspect she'd be one of those incredibly distracting OTB opponents that Howard Goldowsky was talking about.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Not that there's anything wrong with that


Competitive Fashion

From Poker Player Blog:
In chess, some top grandmasters wear eye-blinding pendants or neon shirts to distract [their] opponent, can you imagine prohibiting them from wearing these things because "psyching" out the competition is not courageous?
Have you ever been distracted by your opponent's attire? Have you ever chosen to wear distracting fashion to gain a competitive advantage?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Boylston invades New Jersey...

... and emerges victorious.

This year's Amateur Team East tournament was won by the team of Boylston players Charles Riordan, Alex Cherniack, Lawyer Times, and Charlie Mays. Moreover, Boylston's fearless leader Paul MacIntyre held U.S. Champ Hikaru Nakamura to a draw with black in an impressive game. Other notable results included Cherniack's prize for the best overall score on board 2 (5.5 from 6) and Ilya Krasik's perfect 6-0 score playing as his team's third board.

The victorious Boylston Chess Club Team (on right)

Photo: Globular

(The Amateur Team East is an annual event held in Parsippany, New Jersey. Teams of four players are formed with a mean rating cutoff of 2200. This year's event featured 276 teams.)

How they did MDLM before laptops

It's snowing like mad outside right now, the shop here in sugarhouse is just about empty, save me and two old guys....

[One of the] old guy[s] has brought a rollout chess game and is teaching himself to play from a book. Nobody to play with, no matter. He sets up a theoretical chess situation and proceeds to ponder it for a few minutes. He stands up and stares out the window at the passing traffic, still thinking about the puzzle on his table, then it comes to him and [he] sort of jumps to make his next move. After a few minutes of that, he gathers up his things and moves to a comfy armchair to nestle down for a little nap.
Read "another coffee shop anecdote..." from Kim's Live Journal.

That moment of terror

From burnforme's Live Journal:

i have that feeling, like the one you get when youre playing chess and you realize just a second too late that youve made a fatal move. i couldnt pinpoint the move, or the error, or hell even what game i envision myself to be playing. but apparently i suck at it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Which Chess World Champion Are You?

Here's my result (though I doubt my play has ever been confused with Tal's):

[ PICTURE: Tal ]

You're Mikhail Tal! 8th World Champion at the age of 23, your extraordinary, pyrotechnic play was often intuitive and got you into trouble as often as not. Yet your genius for unexpected sacrifices and complicated attacks made you a tactical master to be feared and respected. Sadly your lifelong ill-health eventually robbed the chess world of a great hero.

Take the Quiz: Which Chess World Champion Are You? -- brought to you by Quizilla

Hat Tip: Dave Hinton's Live Journal

One step forward, one step back

I am continually fascinated by the fact that new Knights always appear in waves, rather than equally spaced out over time. What does it mean? Beats me. In any case, we have the second introduction of the week -- stop by and say hello to Mate in Three.

The step back? After much contemplation, I have decided to defrock Satish Talim. As I indicated previously, he has not posted in almost two months and hasn't discussed chess improvement, MDLM, etc. for much longer than that. I thought I might get more feedback from the Knights on what to do with his listing, but none that I received argued against removing him. Therefore, his On Line Chess Blog can now be found in the inactive listings.