Friday, June 30, 2006

Caption Contest XI

A modified version of the scrum is
used in the new sport of ChessRugby

Post your caption in the comments.


Chess Telestrator

Ken Ho brought another chess diagram maker to my attention -- DiagTransfer. It looks like it gives you significant flexibility in highlighting specific squares and placing arrows on the board. You may want to check it out.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


It has been the conventional wisdom in the West for some time now that Soviet era chess players colluded during major international tournaments in order to sway their outcome. Now, in the spirit of Steven Levitt's "Freakonomics", economists Charles Moule and John Nye attempt to prove the case.

Hat Tip: Marginal Revolution

Get paid to study chess

The University of Amsterdam is seeking a PhD candidate to study "Development of cognitive expertise in chess."
The appointment will be for a period of four years (one year plus a further three years after a positive evaluation) and should lead to a dissertation. The gross monthly salary will be in accordance with the University regulations for academic personnel. It will range from 1,933 Euros (first year) up to a maximum of 2,472 Euros (fourth year) gross per month. The envisaged starting date is 1 September 2006.
Get your application in soon.

Hat Tip: Temposchlucker

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hone your insults

Oscar Madison discusses one of the benefits of e-mail chess:

Another up side, of course, is the trash talking. In regular face-to-face chess games, unless you're playing speed chess or a pick-up game in Washington Square Park, trash talking is discouraged. The tradition in chess has always been the non-verbal psych out.

But it was never considered rude to trash talk in postal chess.

Under Bright Lights

Chessville puts the United States Chess League spotlight on GM Larry Christiansen of the Boston Blitz.
Larry Christiansen is a Southern California native who now resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, Natasha. One of the greatest attacking players in the history of the United States, Larry was a star of the Bundesliga (a German league of chess teams) and was U.S. Champion in 1980, 1983, and 2002...
Of course, we always like to point out that both Larry and Natasha are members of the Boylston Chess Foundation.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Game Inside The Game

As reported during NESN's Saturday broadcast of the Red Sox-Phillies game, Boston's rookie closer Jonathan Papelbon passes the time in the bullpen during the early innings playing board games, including scrabble and chess.

Weaver Adams: In his own words

This week the 2006 Weaver Adams U1800 Championship finishes up at the club. In an e-mail providing the current standings and the tentative pairings for the last round, Bob Oresick also republished an autobiography of Weaver Adams which he found in an old Massachusetts State Chess Association publication. Here it is in its entirety:
Weaver W. Adams -- An Autobiography

Massachusetts State Chess Association, 1949,
Robert W. Reddy (Ed.) p. 6-8

I was born on April 28th, 1901 to Frank H. Adams, native of Dedham, Mass., salesman for many years for Bellantine Breweries and later (after prohibition) for Ceresota Flour, and Ethel Weaver Adams, native of Newmarket, NH and graduate of Wellesley College. I am not directly related to the Presidents, John and John Quincy Adams, although the Adams's in and about Massachusetts are mostly of the same family, deriving from a Henry Adams who landed in Braintree in 1644. The family is quite famous and boasts of many statesmen, writers, historians, judges, preachers, etc. Footing the list comes a national chess champion. In the old days he would have surely been branded as a black sheep for wasting his time at so idle a pastime, and perhaps by many even today.

My schooling was conventional, Dedham Public schools and Dedham High School, but then they tried to make an engineer out of me by sending me to Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The result was not too good. During the first year a half dozen of us, after playing a few games at Walker Memorial in Cambridge, would regularly trek across the bridge to Ye Olde Boston Chess Club on Ashburton Place or to various dives in the West End, not the least attractive of which was the Lighted Lamp operated by Boston's famous Ambrose Gring. Those were really the balmy days of chess in Boston. Well I remember listening to tales told many times over by John Barry, Will Miller, George Babbitt, and a host of others most of whom are no longer living. I seemed to have been a favorite with John Barry because I would talk chess and analyze with him until 4 A. M. in the morning after everybody else had either gone home or turned to a bridge game. At any rate I believe I learned most of my chess from Mr. Barry, and in 1922 attained to the club championship.

An autobiography is supposed to contain a statement as to when one learned chess, although it's not clear as to why this is so important. However, for the sake of the record, I began playing at the age of about twelve. An older brother of a friend next door taught the two of us to play, and would play us both simultaneously blindfold at Queen odds. What I do think is important, however, is the time when he took us to Boston once to visit the Boston Chess Club which at that time was located in an alley off Boylston Street. I shall never forget the thrill it was to me to see for the first time the large club size pieces in action. Instinctively I seemed to feel that that was me. A friend of mine tells me that he had a similar experience on first visiting a stock exchange and seeing the ticker tapes in action. Curiously, all the rest of his life has been spent in the stock market.

My chess activities , of course, did not have a good effect on my marks at M.I.T., and, due redness of my report card at the half year, I was politely asked to take a vacation. This I was quite agreeable too, since it afforded me additional time for chess playing. A year went by before my parents inveigled me into attending a military school in northern Vermont, and, six months later, re-entering my class at M.I.T. All knowledge is useful, and it is always futile to look back and say if we had done so and so, life would have been better. It is completely impossible to foresee the over all plan. We can live but a day at a time.

To continue my story, about 1924 Harold Morton had just won the championship of the Providence, R. I., chess club, and a purse was gotten up for a match to take place between Mr. Morton and myself for the championship of New England. Up to that time John Barry had been unofficially recognized as the strongest player in N. E., so, with his consent and approval it was logical that the winner of the match should hold that title. Thus, in 1924 I became the NE Champion and held the title until 1929 when Morton beat me in a succeeding match. Another match between us did not take place until about 1938 which Morton again won. After his death in 1939 the title came under the control of the N. E. Chess Association and has been decided by an annual tournament (usually held over Labor Day weekend) ever since, which is all to the good, since I am strongly opposed to the awarding of titles through private matches. The tournament method is pre-eminently fair and much more attractive to both the players and the public.

Thereby closes the local chapter in my chess career. At this time – say 1936 - I think that both Morton and myself - I know I did - thought that we were pretty good chess players. We were in for a rude awakening. In that year (1936) was held the first tournament for the Chess Championship of the United States, due to the retirement of Frank J. Marshall. I recall that after the first few rounds I kept figuring that I might still win the tournament, provided I won all of the remainder of my games. In fact, this went on for several rounds, before I finally gave up hope of first prize. After nine rounds I was relatively proud of my score, since I had three wins and six losses, while Morton had nine goose eggs in a row. However, we finished in a tie for last place, since in the remaining six rounds Morton got six draws, and it was my turn for goose eggs. I mention this experience in order to caution the reader that unless he happens to play regularly in the chess clubs of New York City, he shouldn't put too much store by his showing in the chess clubs of other cities. There is really a difference.

In a considerable sense I feel that my serious chess playing did not begin until after 1936. Hundreds of hours I spent on opening analysis, with the result that there began forming in my mind the idea that by means of precise play White could perhaps emerge from the opening with just enough edge to win. Thus developed a small volume published in 1959 by the David McKay Co. of Philadelphia entitled "White to Play and Win", by Weaver W. Adams. Forthwith, in a tournament at Dallas, Texas in 1940 I proceeded to lose all of my games playing white and win all of my games playing black! However, I still stick to my theory, and even under the handicap of bucking my own analysis (most writers sedulously avoid playing a move which they have recommended as best, because of fear of having to play against a line which their opponent has prepared against it) and despite the hours which I am advised that many of my opponents spend in trying to discover mistakes in my published variations in "Simple Chess," I nevertheless lost but a single half point with the white pieces in the Open Tournament at Baltimore in 1948. And it wasn't because the boys didn't try. There were my moves open for all to see in "Simple Chess." They could select any one of a hundred different opening variations and I would play the exact moves as published. Is this not just a little significant that white can win? And, if so, why is my favorite opening the Vienna, so damned by faint praise, and so shunned by all the celebrities? You answer that one. I can't.

I don't wish to take up space by tournament records. All in all, they could be a lot better, except perhaps locally, inasmuch as I have won every City of Boston, Massachusetts State, and New England tournament in which I have taken part since 1936 - some dozen or more altogether. I will merely say that having played in eighteen national tournaments, including U. S. National, U. S. Open, Ventnor City, and the Pan American in Los Angeles in 1945, I feel that this experience should mean something, and I hope eventually to demonstrate that it is possible to play chess with consistent scientific accuracy.

The following is an example of such a game. It is one of five which I have thus far played with similar accuracy for the Log Cabin Chess Team of West Orange, New Jersey, of which I have recently become a member. It was played at Elizabethtown, New York, vs. a Montreal Team, and was part of the coast to coast 1949 match between Canada and the U. S.

Adams,W - Guze [B72]

US v Canada, 1940

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.h3 Bg7 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 a6 9.g4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 0-0 11.0-0-0 b5 12.Bg2 Bb7 13.f4 Qc7 14.Rhe1 Rfd8 15.Qf2 Nd7 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.exd5 Nb6 19.f5 Nc4 20.g5 gxf5 21.Qxf5 Qd7 22.Qf4 Rac8 23.Be4 Rc5 24.b4 Rc7 25.Bf5 Qe8 26.Qd4+ Kg8 27.Qh4 e5 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qf6+ Kf8 31.Re4 1-0

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Meeting Little Mr. Grown Up

After once again destroying my chances to advance in the annual club championship (note to self: do not move rook to where it can be pinned to queen by enemy bishop), I made a bathroom pit stop before heading home.

As I stood at the sink washing my rating points down the drain, Little Mr. Grown Up came in. I had had a few brief exchanges earlier with this young man in the side room, and had been impressed by his maturity. He was polite and straightforward, and not shy with adults whom he hadn't previously met. At least he'd never met me previously. I soon learned how sophisticated Little Mr. Grown Up was. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: "So, what's your rating?"

Him: "What's your rating?"
(Little Mr. Grown Up plays his cards close to his chest.)

Me: "1700-something."

Him: "Mine is 1600-something. What was your opponent's rating?"
(Little Mr. Grown Up knew I had lost my game, and inquires what rating of player can take me down.)

Me: "1500-something. How long have you been playing?"

Him: "4 years. How long have you been playing?"

Me, after briefly reminiscing mentally about long-gone glory days: "About 20 years."

(interlude, while we take care of our respective business)

Him, as he's leaving: "Are you on your way up?"
(What an interesting, unexpected question from this young man!)

Me, with a wry smile borne of self-awareness of weakening chess powers: "No, I'm on my way down."

Little Mr. Grown Up, thank you for a highly entertaining, if brief, conversation. It was an amusing end to a chess-wise disappointing evening. I must tell you now that I was incorrect in what I said. I am not on my way down. I just received my latest rating, and I have (again) hit my floor of 1700, so it's only up from here!

Friday, June 23, 2006

When the child surpasses the parent

What does it say about the chess world, that Chessboxing is getting better exposure than chess itself? The Magazine is currently promoting a feature entitled "Chessboxing: By Hook or By Rook." The piece includes a 5-minute highly produced video including interviews with chessboxers and action from the recent European Chessboxing Championship.

Seeing Double

It takes a little longer for news to reach the Midwest, but finally The Detroit Free Press has weighed in on the Arianne Caoili story:
A few months ago, we had an item on Alexandra Kosteniuk, a Russian woman described as the Anna Kournikova of chess.

Now we see a story on Arianne Caoili, 19, an Australian player who the Aussie media say is the Anna Kournikova of chess. How many Annas are there in chess? What goes on in those chess clubs?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A platform optimized for chess bloggers

Most chess blogs (including this one) are built on general purpose blogging platforms like Blogger, WordPress or TypePad. When we want to display games or positions we need to turn to chess tools like ChessViewer, ChessPad, ChessBase or the recently launched web-based ChessUp and figure out how to integrate the appropriate html code into our posts. Sometimes this is relatively easy, other times not (of course, the technical savvy of the blogger plays an important role).

Martin Villwock of Germany offers his solution to this problem --, a blogging platform specifically designed to share chess games. Now, it's as simple as pasting in "... PGN files and see[ing] the games visualized instantly". In the bottom left hand corner of the his home page are links to several blogs that you can check out.

While I find the platform intriguing, I'm struggling with whether the sites it creates should properly be classified as blogs. The archives do provide a chronological list of entries, but the homepage of each site seems more reminiscent of pre-blogging personal game pages people used to create (still do?). The platform does allow comments but does not currently allow you to create sidebar links. I'd be interested in others' views on whether these sites ought to be thought of as blogs.

Blogs or not, is an interesting platform which some of you may find useful.

The crazy old cat lady and friends

Every few weeks or so there is a story like this about a house full of sick or dying cats, but I never expected to hear about a guy who is hoarding chess sets. If any of the sets have been mistreated, I hope they put him away for a long time (presumably, in a rosewood box).

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Games to kill by

I got scooped by ChessBase on this one, but some stories are worth repeating... MosNews reports on the “Crazy Chess Player” Serial Killer:

A serial killer detained in Moscow has confessed to killing 61 people of the 64 he was planning to kill — one murder for each of the chessboard checks.

Alexander Pichushkin, 32, a shop assistant, has claimed to be the notorious Bitsa Park serial killer, who Moscow police have been tracking down for more than half a year, Kommersant daily reports.

Pichushkin, who has already been nicknamed “Crazy Chess Player”, said he had initially planned to commit 64 murders, one for each of the chessboard checks. He also said there were three checks vacant, thus admitting to have killed 61.

Size doesn't matter

Awhile back I posted about the controversial proposal to install a giant chess board in Mill Valley, California's Lytton Square. Months later and things are still far from settled, but in a recent move to find a compromise, Mill Valley civic leader John Cuttler has proposed reducing the size of the board from 16 x 16 to 10 x 10. Unfortunately, his proposal was met with swift denunciation by the critics of the plan.

"If it's not broken, don't fix it," said Elaine Gentile, a leading opponent who dismissed the new proposal.... "This is like a sacred historical spot," she said.

Like a sacred spot? Lytton Square? ... I think you can find it listed right after The Temple on the Mount and the Birthplace of Jesus.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Scott Didham tops a strong field to win the H. Bird tournament

It came down to the final round - Jason Spector (2109) vs Scott Didham (1955) in Saturday's Legends: H. Bird tournament at the Boylston club.

Scott prevailed and won clear first ($100) with 4 points in a strong field. Jason had to settle for a group tie along with FM Chris Chase, Matt Klegon (2067), and Evan Sonkin (1814).

Other strong players included NM Alex Cherniack, NM Chris Williams, Andrew Wang, Kyle Clayton, NM Lawyer Times, Natasha Christiansen and Edmund Staples.

Winston Huang took the U1800 prize. Posted by Picasa

Checking out the bar scene

Who needs chess clubs and community centers?
Jillian's, a bar in downtown Albany, N.Y., known for its big-screen TVs tuned to sports channels, dance club, pool hall and video arcade, is about to experiment with a little cross-marketing: it will host a chess tournament this summer....

Players will match up against five opponents in a series of 10-minute games. A no-talking rule has been waived and good-natured "trash talking" will be allowed.
Read "Albany bar to host chess tournament" from The Business Review.

Monday, June 19, 2006

How not to sell chess software

At BBHub - The Blackberry Weblog a post announcing chess software for the Blackberry platform includes this screenshot:

I have a couple of questions -
  1. How come the White pieces look black and the Black pieces gold?

  2. If Black's 2nd move was 2.f7-f6, then what was his first move?

Never mind FIDE, we need FEMA

For the usual reasons (family, work, etc.) I've not been able to play much at the club over the past couple of months. So, having a few free hours on Saturday I decided to stop by and check out the Legends of Chess event. Little did I realize that in the intervening weeks the club had been moved to New Orleans!

Well not really, but it sure seemed that way. Apparently we have been experiencing rather significant flooding issues in our basement location. Eastern Massachusetts has had one of the wettest springs on record this year with several bouts of flooding along local rivers. In fact, some claim to have seen various species of rats and mice lining up in pairs along Holland St. While Davis Square isn't in the flood plain, the local water table has reached a level where additional rainstorms cause water to seep up through the foundation into the basement of our building. As a result, the carpeting in the club has been soaked through several times.

On Saturday, the space seemed serviceable enough but far from ideal. Only one or two spots in the main playing room were really wet and the backroom seemed fine. On the other hand, the musty smell of wet carpeting was omnipresent. Given the heat of the day, I suppose the moisture offered some relief, though in a wet, clammy sort of way.

The activities of the club are continuing on schedule and Saturday's event had a normal turnout. Nonetheless, the situation is obviously in need of a remedy. I'm sure it will be a major topic of discussion at this week's BCF Board meeting.

Friday, June 16, 2006

So that explains the parquet floor

What is former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird's favorite opening as White? Why 1.f4, of course!

Learn about this and much more in this article about Chess-savvy NBA stars.

Rihel on Chess Life and the US Championship

I thought Jason's comment on the Chess Life item was worthy of its own post. At the very least, consider this an open thread to complain about or compliment the format of this year's US Championship.

I personally like the new redesign of the Chess Life, although the problems in Soltis's column should not be blue boards on a blue field!

I strongly disagree with comparing NIC to Chess Life -- I feel they have different target audiences. For example, I think Chess Life is not designed as a place for the stronger players to learn about the newest theory or the latest relevant game to their favorite openings. Chess Life, as I have always seen it, is there to showcase American chess and is more generally geared to players in the B-E classes. The changes to the design seem to strengthen that view.

The other redesign of Chess Life is the new focus on web content, where Chess Life has been way behind other places. It remains to be seen how good the web redesign is, but they clearly have the vision to relocate much Chess Life content to the web, which will hopefully enhance both the magazine and the website.

Now, Paul's complaint about our team getting snubbed in coverage in Chess Life is a big-big problem. As I said, Chess Life should FOCUS on American events. Growing up in the South, I always cherished my Chess Life to tell me about the local heroes from around the country. For example, they should do much more coverage of all (or many) the state championships (and Am. Team events!), as they once did fairly well. I do hope they begin to focus on that again.

Finally, the US Championship needs a complete rehaul of its format. This should be discussed in Chess Life, and on this blog, and we should protest for major changes.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Playing in traffic

I had a dream about this group of people who did performance art while driving....

...they were playing "road chess". Their cars were covered with these incredibly tall and beautifully built structures that made them look like chess pieces, and they would move around the "board" by speeding up, slowing down, or changing lanes.

It's Everywhere

You never know where you're going find chess blog related material. Consider this piece from ELLE girl magazine entitled "From Singapore With Love" (June/July pg. 102):
A pool shark and former chess champion pens our favorite blog this month. See the world from Angelique's perspective at

In high school, [Angelique] joined her chess club and rocked it. She wound up competing for Singapore in a tournament against Malaysia. Still, she insists she's not that good. "It was just a fun intellectual exercise," she says. "People pour money into coaches and training; it's a career for them. Chess is really frightening."
So I know what you're thinking ... "hey DG, how long have you been reading magazines for teenage girls and have you discussed this behavior with your therapist?"

Actually, things went down more like this ... "hey Dad, check out this article in my magazine. It's about blogging and chess. Maybe you can use it in your stupid chess blog."

Ah, the joys of parenthood...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Secret Chinese chess training techniques

At age 14, Yi Song received the women's master title and that year was ranked the 10th best woman chess player in China. Today, she is a graduate student at the University of Delaware. In addition to her studies, she coaches kids on UD's College School chess team. However, she has learned that she can't simply replicate the techniques of her former coach in China.
"There's a cultural difference between American and Chinese kids," Song said. "When I was with my coach, he often made me cry but you can't do that here."
Read "Grad student chess champion in China and Delaware" from UDaily.

Chess Life, New Life

Those of you who have received the latest issue of Chess Life are probably aware of the recent changes in format and content. I did my usual skim but still found no reason to spend more than about 10 minutes with the issue (no change there). To be honest, I wouldn't subscribe to Chess Life except that it is a "benefit" of USCF membership. I do pay to receive New in Chess and spend many hours with each issue.

Given my views on Chess Life, I didn't think it made much sense for me to review the recent changes. Instead, I offer the perspectives of a couple of my fellow bloggers:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Warming up with chess

Grandmasters have concluded that staying in good physical shape is critical to performing at the top level of the chess world. As a result, many run, swim, play tennis, etc. But have you ever considered whether playing chess would benefit physical athletes?

The Basketball Player Development & Human Performance Enhancement blog shares an excerpt from a Sports Illustrated story about a competitive Tennis player who uses chess as his cross-training activity.

Hat Tip: Rocky Rook

P.S. Perhaps we can ask Mate in Three if chess helps with his cycling.

More chess blog thievery

Not a highjacking this time, but I did come across this blog which seems to be "borrowing" quite liberally from Dennis Monokroussos' The Chess Mind.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The best thing for chess since Bobby Fischer?!

Chess rarely breaks out into mainstream consciousness, but obviously the dance floor dust-up over WIM Arianne Caoili at the Turin Olympiad was just what the average person on the street was looking for. The story has cut across the blogosphere as well, with many non-chess related blogs covering and commenting on it. I was thinking about listing these blog references, but there are now far too many. Instead, I'll let the search engines do the work:

Just trying to stay afloat

From "Old is the New" at Chicken...what? Do you expect a cow or something?:

...I quit chess last year due to nerdish puns made. I'm that low down on the food chain [that] I don't need chess to place me even lower.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Advanced Chess for Amateurs

At my top hat they describe a person who plays a variant that I guess you would call "mindless chess."

Well, he doesn't really play chess... when it's his turn to move he goes to the Hint option where a faint red arrow suggests which piece to move where, every time.

Every time it's his turn to move "Menu -> Hint".

You can never begin too early

While there are exceptions, most future Grandmasters start their chess training when they are young. It seems that the Chess Boxing community believes that the same principle holds true for their sport. Check out these photos from Chess Boxing Club Berlin.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

You boys must really get around

From the Herald Sun (emphasis is mine):
THE heart of an Australian chess queen at the centre of a dance-floor brawl between two grandmasters appears to have been captured by one of the errant knights.
Fess up ... which one of you was involved in the Aronian-Caoili-Gormally tryst?

Pattern Recognition

Apparently everything in life can be boiled down into a 2x2 matrix, at least according to 4-Block World's Tom McMahon. Here's 4-Block Chess; check out his archives for other 4-Block concepts.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


  • It's all over the mainstream press and the blogosphere, so I was trying to think of something unique to say about L'affaire Gormally. How about this?
Lev Aronian and the Armenian team faced many challenges on the way to winning the Chess Olympiad in Turin, including a new variation of the English Attack.
  • Rocky Rook has launched a dedicated chess blog through which he has joined the Knights Errant clan. Welcome Sir Rocky Rook.

Three strikes and you're out

Luke Leong points out that times are not so good for Russian sports fans:

...what do maria sharapova, the russian national soccer team and the russian chess olympiad team have in common?

the tennis pin-up girl was just eliminated from the ongoing french open, guus hiddink's new charges failed to qualify for germany 2006 and the hot favourites for the recently concluded chess olympiad in turin fizzled out and eventually finished a dismal 6th.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

They Evolved, They Rebelled

Before everyone becomes enamored with Joshua - The Chess Playing Robot, consider how things could go very wrong.

Caption Contest X

Lee regretted the fact that he had forgotten to pick up
his new eyeglass prescription before the tournament.

Post your caption in the comments.

Monday, June 05, 2006

How I know there is a God

At, readers have rated Sanja Dedijer of Bosnia Herzegovina the most attractive player at the Turin Olympiad (much higher than Alexandra herself). I couldn't agree more!

We'll always have Paris

I dreamt we were in Paris, dancing on chess-boards and thinning ourselves out between the wooden kings and queens.

Unfair Game

"Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don't find out til too late that he's been playing with two queens all along." - Terry Pratchett

Hat Tip: woodyzone

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Should Forfeiters Lose Rating Points?

Because of my recent experience at the 2006 Mass Open (see my previous post), I am wondering what might be done about last round forfeiters. Should forfeited games count by the USCF as a rated game, and would that cut down on forfeits?

I have examined both the Marshall Chess Club and the Boylston Chess Club's last 6 months of tournaments in order to estimate the prevalence of last round forfeits. For the BCC, there were 3 forfeits out of 19 tournaments so far this year, which means 15% of all events have a forfeit. For the Marshall Chess Club, the rate was similar -- 9 last round forfeits in 45 tournaments (20%). This means that a player is getting robbed of a last round game once every 5 events. This may seem like a small number to some, but considering that this kind of forfeit results only from the rudeness of players -- if a TD were told about it, they would simply be withdrawn from the event -- I was rather surprised at how common this was. When you consider that these are the rates for well established clubs, with many many regular players, this is outrageous!

Let me address one concern -- is it right to rate a game that went unplayed? I say, "Yes," because we have no problem rating a game if our opponents resigned after a few moves, or offered a draw on move 2. If a player walked out of a game after the moves 1.e4 c5 showed up, this would count as a full point, but that is hardly a real game. In both cases, one player has to sit and wait, wasting time and life for nothing.

The real question is -- would rating their unplayed game lead to fewer forfeits? I suspect it will, but I welcome comment. If it wouldn't, then there is no point in rating the game. But if it would lead to more repairings then I think it is worthy of consideration. I suppose other options include sanctioning or banning players who forfeit games from club play.

Friday, June 02, 2006

NA Chess blog hijacked?

When FIDE Chess in Chicago evolved into the North American Chess Association, a post on their blog pointed readers to the new North American Chess Association blog. During the recent Spring FIDE Invitational tournament, posts on the new blog were frequent. However, if you go to today, you'll find that it is now a spam blog entitled my names is Tyler Wright (WARNING: some of the links are definitely not family friendly).

Did North American Chess abandon its blog voluntarily or have sploggers figured out how to steal existing blogs? Whatever the answer, if you have a link to the NA Chess blog on your site, I recommend removing it.

Update: Sevan confirms the highjacking and reports that the blog can now be found at

The Diplomacy Game

The Financial Times suggests that Washington has "lost touch with the style of Iranian diplomacy, in which ambiguity is a vital part of the process." The article continues:
Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, described the difference in approaches on a trip to Armenia in February. "Americans really love American football, the main aim of which is attack," he said. "But we have a cultural preference for chess and we approach problems calmly, taking account of all the circumstances."
Perhaps we should simply take on the Mullahs in a chess match in order to settle our differences.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's a breeze

Move. Counter-move.

Attack. Defend.

Competing on the same side. Attacking on opposite wings.

That's right, we're talking about ... Sailing -- Like chess only wetter.

Efim Bogoljubow Quotes

When asked how many moves he thought ahead, Bogoljubow pondered for a second, flashed his teeth and said "Just one. The best".

Commenting on a recent run of victories, he said "When I play white I win because I play white. When I play black I win because I am Bogoljubow."

Hat Tip: Confused of Calcutta