Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dzindzichashvili at the BCC on July 18th

The Boylston Chess Club Master Lecture Series presents:

International Grandmaster
Roman Dzindzichashvili

When: Wednesday, July 18th, 7:00 p.m.
Where: The Boylston Chess Club
Admission: Free to Boylston Chess Foundation members. $10 for non-members.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the experience and insights of GM Roman Dzindzichashvili. He has won the Russian Championship, the World Open, and he has won the US Championship twice. Roman has trained Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. Roman has attained an ICC blitz rating of 3450.

Roman has developed an extraordinary chess DVD program. We plan to have the recently released latest versions available at a discount at the lecture.

For more information contact Paul MacIntyre: (781) 322-7936

Adapted from the event flyer

Friday, June 29, 2007

2nd stage of Championship begins July 9th

Congratulations to the 2007 BCC Weaver Adams U1800 Champion Alexander Paphitis. The final crosstable is now available. As the winner of the event, Alex has qualified to play in the Reubens/Landey U2200 Championship.

Speaking of which ... the Reubens/Landey begins on Monday, July 9th and is open to all BCF members with ratings between 1800-2199. Top scorers have the opportunity to secure a place in this fall's BCC Championship.

Monday, July 9, 16, 23, 30 August 6: Reubens/Landey BCC Qualifier U2200 Championship, 5SS; 40/90, G/20; Open to BCC members rated 2199-1800; EF: $25; Winner receives free entry into the BCC Championship beginning on 9/10. Registration: 6:15 to 6:50; Rounds: 7:00.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Goldowsky Replies

Howard has asked that I post his response to Hisbestfriend's review of "Engaging Pieces." In it, he addresses some poignant issues which were raised, as well as some other topics which he believes prospective readers might be interested in.


June 27, 2007

I appreciate your purchase of my book, and I appreciate your comments. A number of newspaper columnists (Worcester Telegram, Washington Post) have reviewed Engaging Pieces, but you own the first blog to do so. You raise some poignant issues that I'd like to address. Other readers will certainly have similar issues, so I hope you don't mind if this is an open letter.

My main concern about Engaging Pieces was (and is) that all of the interviews, stories, and opinion pieces, save two, were previously published. Why, as you point out, would anyone want to spend their hard earned cash on writing that could be downloaded from the Internet, in a matter of seconds, for free? Good question. There are many answers.

Some middle-tier fiction writers give their writing away for free on the Internet, before it's even published, just to garner some publicity. Cory Doctorow is one of them. He has a Web site where he gives away his stories for free. He claims that some people who like his stuff on his Web site will want to own the actual book. For every person who is Internet savvy, who reads his work online, there is another person who is introduced to his writing online who would like to own the hard-copy. Others just don't like reading on a monitor. Others hate printouts. Others want an addition to their library. Lastly, not everyone has the time or fortitude to go back and find all of my articles, including those published in Chess Life. Even if they did, how would they know when they found them all?

The last reason may sound a little pretentious; however, in my case, I like to think of this pretentiousness as confidence in my writing ability. I understand that there is a fine line between confidence and delusion. Just look at the auditions for American Idol. But I've been writing long enough, have gotten enough feedback, have published in mainstream chess magazines enough and have gotten paid enough for my work, to be certain that I'm not deceiving my readers.

Obviously, most articles in Engaging Pieces are less than timely, so the book must stand on the strength of its writing and on the ideas that this writing conveys. In the literary world, it's not uncommon to see the collected stories, or even movie and book reviews by good writers, published. Martin Amis' War Against Cliche: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000, is cited as an example. Many, many other writers collect their work, too. It's also common for authors to throw in some new material along with their old stuff, and I've done this with Engaging Pieces. My book includes two previously unpublished short stories, edits to almost every article, postscripts updating the reader with new highlights about relevant articles, and, of course, the appendix that lists every major chess novel or anthology published since 1933. You can't find this type of chess fiction bibliography on the Web. You'll find smaller, more confusing lists, but nothing this authoritative. (I've actually purchased or seen every book in the bibliography.) By the way, if you're still trying to get rid of my book, but want to keep the list of chess fiction in the appendix, then I have a two word solution: copy machine. But maybe I'm being presumptuous with this solution. Maybe you're the type of person who prefers to have such a list in bound form, like others might prefer to have the book's articles in bound form. If so, then I've sold you a copy of my book. :)

A few comments about your post:

1. Where do I apologize for my writing style? I tend sometimes to be reflective or philosophical about my writing, but where have I been apologetic?

2. The quote is "About an hour into the student activity-fair," not "About an hour into the student activity."

3. No, I wasn't trying to be funny in the first sentence. But thanks for the compliment, anyway. This story is based on a true situation that happened when I was an undergrad at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It was written a number of years ago when I was still a bachelor, lamenting the 'girl that got away.' When those two girls walked in and stayed a while, I couldn't believe my eyes. I couldn't figure out why they were there. Some day I knew I would have to write a story to explain the mystery, and I did.

Part of my motivation for writing Engaging Pieces was to bring a form of closure to my interviewing and writing about chess. My son Tyler was born, coincidently, on the release date of the book, and with a bigger family, less time for hobbies, and an itching desire to improve my chess game, I need to spend less time on my writing. Publishing everything I've written about chess was a good way to close the door on one era of my writing life. When the book is behind me, I hope to spend more of my (limited) free time studying chess. At almost 36, I'd like to make an attempt at Expert or even Master before it's too late. I might start a chess blog. I might not. I might start a different writing project. I might not. I might become a Knight Errant. I might not. Lots of stuff is in the air. I don't know where it will fall. One thing is certain, though: I'm going to spend more time improving my chess game. How it is done and how public I'm going to be doing it, is really all that's really in question.

Again, I appreciate your post, and I appreciate my opportunity to get the author's 'backstory' in. If you would like to discuss the book, or have any more questions, I'm happy to discuss things.


Howard Goldowsky

Update: It turns out that Hisbestfriend also posted the letter at his blog, and then he and Howard continued the discussion in the comments.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chessdom Interview Part 2: Trends

Chessdom: You are maintaining an impressive list on your blogroll and bloglines. What are the trends in chess blogosphere?

DG: Well, the first trend is the explosive growth of the chess blogosphere which makes it almost impossible to keep up. As of today (6/11/07), my listings include 259 Active blogs (which have posted at least one item in the last 45 days), 209 Inactive blogs, and another 132 blogs which were Inactive for more than one year, went 404, or were highjacked. In Bloglines, I am subscribed to over 520 chess blog feeds and receive between 100-200 posts per day (of course, Susan Polgar’s blogs account for 10-20% of the daily volume). It’s a lot of skimming to find the small handful posts worth a read, a comment, or that might make good fodder for a post of my own.

And the onslaught continues… I add new blogs every week and could probably do so daily if I wanted to. To make this point, I accepted a bet from About Chess’ Mark Weeks where he challenged me to find 5 chess blogs he had never seen before in two hours. I found about 5 times that many in only one. The good news is that there are many more interesting, unique, high quality chess blogs available to find; the downside, however, is that you have to weed through many mediocre ones, often covering the same old ground, to find them.

Another trend is the increasing use of video in chess blogs – both posting of content found on sites like YouTube and self-produced chess videos. I remember how unique it was when Chris Kilgore posted a homemade video on his blog a couple years back. Now dozens of chess bloggers do it. Chess Vibes has produced a very high quality, “semi-professional” blog largely based around their unique chess video content. There’s even a community site specifically focused on developing and sharing chess videos.

One other trend I might note is the use of advertising on chess blogs. In the early days (you know, 2004-2005!), we used to have long debates about the appropriateness of putting Google ads on chess blogs. Today, that debate is over; almost everyone has them. However, if my experience is a guide (and I think it is) then no one is getting wealthy from them (no one except Google, that is).

You can read the entire interview here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Engaging Reviews

The first review of Howard Goldowsky's new book "Engaging Pieces" that I found comes from the blogosphere (since then, I also happened upon this Worcester Telegram article which is part preview, part review). Hisbestfriend's point of view on the book is... well... decidedly mixed:
Do I recommend it? Hell no! But I read it cover to cover, learned something, and I am having a tough time getting rid of it. Take that however you want.
From another of Hisbestfriend's posts, I learned that the book includes a reference to the Knights Errant and Boylston Chess Club Weblog:
The first chapter is an interview with de la Maza, and in the Postscript on Page 17...

Since the publication of Michael de la Maza's book, Rapid Chess Improvement (Everyman Chess, 2003) there has been a growing cohort of de la Maza disciples populating the Internet (many of them listed at the Boylston Chess Club Weblog:
Unread, that's enough for me to heartily endorse it. :)

More CJA fun, politics, dissent

It couldn't be happening to a nicer group of guys...

Here is a website advocating a Paris Hilton write-in campaign against Jerry Hanken for the presidency of the Chess Journalists of America.
By the way, it just occurred to me that this post will probably drive a lot of traffic to the blog from those searching Google for "Paris Hilton playing chess" or "Learn to play chess with Paris Hilton." I can't wait to watch the visitor counts roll in!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Move over Staunton

It's the Transformers chess set...

Do it for the kids

Sunday's Boston Globe Magazine has a lengthy article on several top scholastic players in Massachusetts, all of whom we've seen from time to time at the Boylston Chess Club. The profiled players include Andrew Wang, James Lung, Zaroug Jaleel and Winston Huang. The article also includes quotes from GM Larry Christiansen and, local MetroWest Chess Club player, Derek Slater.

At one point the author discusses the many reasons why these scholastic players often give up chess before reaching their full potential:
...there is peril in predicting whether a great young chess player will become a great adult chess player, especially in America. Chess is not a money sport here, even though there is a professional league.... There’s also the threat of puberty, which can change a young chess player’s dreams from grandmaster to girls practically overnight.
Read "Young Knights" soon, before the Boston Globe website archives it (registration may be required).

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wamala seeks support for speedy trial

Disclaimer: Here at BCC Weblog, we have covered the news regarding the Wamala case since the story originally broke. For the record, it is important to note that neither the Boylston Chess Foundation, Boylston Chess Club nor Boylston Chess Club Weblog has taken any position on the guilt or innocence of Mr. Wamala in this matter.

Severine Wamala sent a letter to the Boylston Chess Foundation expressing his desire for a speedy trial, and his wish that people go to his hearing tomorrow to support his cause of stopping further postponements and getting on with the trial. Out of respect for his plea, we present below his letter to the BCF dated June 11, 2007:
Dear Boylston Chess Foundation Friends:

Today marks exactly nine months since my arrest on 9/11/2006. I have been held in jail at $1,000,000 cash bail for a crime or crimes I did not commit.

All along I have claimed my innocence and I am innocent. I have asked the court to bring me to trial so that I can be vindicated. My trial has been continued twice, first from March 2007 to June 2007 and now the June 2007 trial has also been continued.

In every instance I have asserted my right to a speedy trial, but the court has continued the case against my own objection and my lawyer's objections. I will be again in court on 6/25/07 for motions.

I should not be held in jail indefinitely without a trial. This is United States that is "supposed" to have a fair justice system NOT some third world country where people are kept in jail indefinitely without a trial.

Clearly the Hillsborough County and State of New Hampshire are violating those fundamental conceptions of justice which lie at the base of the American civil and political institutions, and which define the community's sense of fair play and decency on which the great American Constitution was founded.

My Constitutional rights are being violated. The sixth and fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States and Article 14 Part 1 of the New Hampshire Constitution guarantee the right to speedy trial. Nine months have passed by. No trial yet.

As a concerned citizen, I am kindly asking you and anyone you know (pass along the information at chess) who stands for justice to come to Nashua N.H. Superior Court on 6/25/2007 at 1:00 p.m. in support of justice.

I am hopeful that if a lot of people show up, the Court will feel the pressure to get my case to trial. If you recall, I organized chess in New England for six years, spent over half a million dollars, subsidized hotel rooms for players to stay overnight and when water ran out I physically went to hotel kitchens, lifted containers and filled the ones in the tournament room. I always try to meet people's needs. The need at hand is justice. Imagine if this was you detained for nine months for something you did not do or it was a member of your family or a loved one.

In case law, United States V. Marion 404 U.S. 307(1971) the Supreme Court articulated the concerns underlying the right to a speedy trial. It stated, "...arrest is a public act that may seriously interfere with the defendant's liberty, ... and that may disrupt his employment, drain his financial resources, curtail his associations, subject him to public obloquy and create anxiety in him, his family and friends." This is what I have been experiencing the last nine months. Please do something for justice's sake.

I will state it again, all I am asking for is to be brought to trial. Come to Nashua N.H. Superior Court on 6/25/07 at 1:00 p.m. (30 Spring Street). Your presence should make a difference.

Yours in search of justice,
Severine Wamala

Playing by the Rules - UPDATE

After an impressive 42 comments on my clock episode at the BCC, I thought I should follow up with news.

My opponent in that game decided not to withdraw from the tournament after all. Instead he chose to return the following Thursday to protest some more. Inexplicably, he was trying to insist that the night's pairings were all wrong because it lists our game as a win for me (Jason), and now his tournament is all messed up. (Note: It turns out that he was paired with a 2200 player who had an upset loss last week. No wonder he was so adamant about the "bad" pairings!)

I also understand the BCC has to form some kind of protest committee to hear the merits of the situation and make a ruling.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Chessdom Interview Part 1: BCC Weblog

Chessdom: At the beginning, can you tell us what topics are of interest for Boylston Chess Club Weblog?

DG: BCC Weblog is ultimately the synthesis of two perspectives – 1) what am I (and the other occasional posters) interested in writing about and 2) what do the readers respond to. I’ve experimented with a variety of different types of content and have had varied results. For example, coverage of the Knights Errant and the US Chess League has been very well received. So has the series of Caption Contests. On the other hand, when I tried to invite the blog readership to participate in a correspondence game the club was playing there was very little interest at all. Posts touching on the lighter side of chess in the news sometimes work and sometimes don’t.

Content specifically about the club, its events, its players, etc. has been a bit of an enigma. Going in to this effort, I certainly thought that this would be a major component of the blog. But frankly, people only seem interested if there is some controversy attached. It became clear to me early on, that the vast majority of the readership were not going to be club members and that therefore cross tables listing the names of people they’ve never heard of wasn’t likely to be of much interest. I still get complaints from time to time from members who feel that more club-specific content should be posted. My response is always the same, “Sign up as a poster and do it yourself.” Unfortunately, far too few take me up on the offer.

From an overall thematic perspective, I decided after a few months of blogging that BCC Weblog’s unique positioning would revolve around coverage of the chess blogosphere itself. There was no point in competing with Mig on International Chess coverage (I don’t have the contacts he has) or Dennis on Chess Analysis (I don’t have his skills or aptitude for the game). Maintaining a comprehensive listing of chess blogs is part of this, as is bringing interesting posts of others to the attention of readers. Where I can, I enjoy trying to find (sometimes esoteric) connections among the writings of different bloggers. There has also been pretty good response to my series of articles on Measuring the Chess Blogosphere.

It was certainly flattering when Michael Goeller wrote that BCC Weblog was "...the center of the chess blogging universe...", but in fact, from a marketing perspective, that was exactly the unique positioning I was trying to claim.

You can read the entire interview here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Financial Mismanagement at the CJA?

The following "Policy Statements" (accusations?) are posted on Daren Dillinger's campaign website for Secretary/Treasurer of the Chess Journalists of America (CJA):
Our Treasurer should be the custodian of our financial records. His duty is to preserve them, so other officers (and regular members too, should be okay) can look at them and verify what has made money and what has not.

The entire CJA Executive Board should have year round access to the records as they plan throughout the year.

The Treasurer should NOT seek to hide the records from all officers and all members. . . as is being done now. . . with the support of the CJA President.

Having this hidden records policy, just after the current Treasurer going EIGHT YEARS without any financial statements, is an additional black mark. Proof of this violation of our Constitution and By-laws is contained in the PDF files of the Chess Journalist magazine posted at the CJA website.

You will note only an annual balance, no financial statement of any kind. Thankfully after eight years, statements were started up in 2006. . . although with a lot of errors!

Let us improve and move forward!

Daren Dillinger
Not being a member of the CJA, I have no idea about the veracity of any of Daren's statements. Perhaps some of our readers, who are also CJA members, can shed some light on these matters.

Of course, what I'm really wondering about, is what role the lady in the red dress played in all of this?
Hat Tip: Paid Advertisement in The Chessville Weekly Newsletter, Volume 6, Issue 22

Monday, June 18, 2007

This and $1.50 will buy me a cup of coffee

Chessdom has just published an interview with my favorite chess blogger. Me!

We discussed BCC Weblog, the Chess Blogosphere, the Knights Errant, Chess Clubs in the States, the US Chess League, and much more.
Chessdom: What are the motives behind one's decision to start a chess blog?

DG: One things for sure, it’s not for the money or the girls....
Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be reposting some of the questions and answers here.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Chess Bloggers Exposed

dk has already fired a couple of warning shots (see the last part of this post and the first part of this one). He's planning a tell-all series on the lives of 15 chess bloggers. What dirt has he dug up? Whose reputations will be damaged and destroyed? How will readers respond once they learn about the dark underbelly of the chess blogosphere? It's all supposed to begin as soon as Tuesday.

Watch out fellow bloggers!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Playing by the Rules

During this week's Thursday Night BCC tournament, I was involved in a dispute over rules vs. "fair play". I would love to hear comments about this situation, especially how other people would have handled it.

Here is what happened:

At the start of the game, my opponent was about 10 minutes late. I was White, and I started my opponent's clock. He finally arrives, and he stops the clock and gets the TD. I was following an old rulebook, and I didn't make White's first move. After looking up the rule, we learn that I was in error, and that this rule now states that White should make the the first move. We reset the clocks and started play. Please remember who set the rulebook tone for this match.

Fast forward to a cliffhanger position. I had sacked two pawns for the initiative, but now, with 15 seconds vs. 40 seconds, my attack was slowed, and I was still down a pawn. With two moves to play for the first time control, my opponent inexplicbly stops the clock for a rule clarification. With the seconds ticking, I found this break to be most annoying and distracting. A little rude.

He wants to know what happens if time runs out, but neither of us have a complete scoresheet. He is told that, in order to claim a win on time, the player must have a complete score, missing up to three moves. So, if both sides have stopped taking score, then the clock will advance to the next time control, with neither side able to claim a flag. During this discussion, I looked down at my scoresheet, and I realized that I was missing 5 or 6 moves. I WAITED UNTIL HIS CLOCK WAS RESTARTED, and then I quickly filled in the missing moves, and watched as my opponent inexplicibly let his time run out, perhaps thinking that we both still had incomplete scores.... So I claimed a win on time.

He was very angry about this and claimed that the TD had misled him, that he was told the time didn't matter, even though another witness supported the account of the TD. He complained about this for about 30 minutes, when the TD finally said that this is his ruling. He also said that we could keep playing, but it was my choice. I was tired, this argument ran the game very late now, and so I claimed my win. I pointed out that he may have misunderstood the rule somehow, but he wasn't very shy about implementing the letter of the law at the start of the game. I thought it only fair to the TD, who would have to stay past midnight, and to the rule-laden spirit of this encounter, to take the gift win and go home.

He tried to shame me for this cheapo, and I do feel a little bad about the win. But didn't he, in a way, start it? What do other people think?


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Art of Chess War

Brian Roche sent me a copy of the following article he wrote for Chess Life Magazine back in the 80's. According to Brian, "It's basically a translation of The Art of War by Sun Tzu (500 B.C.), geared for chess players." Do any of the ideas resonate with you?


Strategies for Chessplayers and Other Warriors
by Brian Roche
(From “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, 500 B.C.)


Each new position should be assessed quickly in terms of: 1. Development, 2. Mobility, 3. Material superiority, 4. Tempo and 5. Space.
Strategy consists of shaping some advantage in terms of these five points. Whichever side wins more “points” in these areas will probably win the game.

The Art of Deceit

When able, seem to be unable.
When close, seem to be far off.
If opponent is seeking an advantage, entice them toward it.
If opponent is in disorder, attack.
If opponent is strong, prepare your defense.
Attack undefended, unprepared areas.
Never attack fortresses.
Develop in unexpected ways (i.e. change move order).


Make moves as quickly as possible. “I have heard of foolish haste, but I have yet to see a case of cleverly dragging on hostilities.”
Learn to assess positions quickly and use clock time only when you need it.


“It is best to keep one’s own side intact; to crush the opponent’s position is only second best. The highest excellence is to subdue the attacker without fighting at all.”

Types of Attack

1. Attacking opponent’s strategy
2. Attacking a menacing combination
3. Attacking individual pieces
4. Attacking a strong point

Of these four, the first is the most effective, the fourth is the least. Resort to attacking a strong point only when there is no other choice. Do not attack until pieces are aligned (supporting each other) and ready (developed). Similarly, do not retreat from a good position. Always ask what each piece (on both sides) is “doing.”

Strategic Positions

Make your own position invincible, then look for opponent’s vulnerable spots. You can always fortify your position; you cannot guarantee an opponent’s vulnerability. “The battle of the expert is seldom an exceptional victory. The expert only enters battles that are already won!.”
Practice playing with and without an advantage. Understand both perspectives. Practice offensive and defensive play, according to circumstances.
Use surprise and straightforward operations. “When used in combination, they provide inexhaustible possibilities.”
One must always adapt to changing circumstances, “There are no fixed strategic advantages or invariable positions.”

Strong and Weak Points

Attack areas where the opponent must hasten to defend.
“Against the expert of attack, the opponent does not know where to defend. Against the expert of defense, the opponent doesn’t know where to attack.”
“To be prepared everywhere is to be weak everywhere. One is weak while making preparations; strong while forcing the opponent to prepare.”

General Strategies

Strive for a “formless” position. A winning position more often arises from “no-form” than from an obvious strategy.
Out and out attack is always difficult and dangerous. Try luring your opponent into easy gains (gambits), thereby anticipating the position.
It is a great advantage to secure and fortify squares that are precisely important points in your opponent’s strategy.
“Do not depend on your opponent not attacking; depend rather on having a position that can’t be attacked.”
It is when your opponent is not attacking or changing position that you must be cautious.
Material inferiority is not necessarily a disadvantage. Advance carefully, consolidate pieces and anticipate attacks.
Always look at the advantage and disadvantages of every move (on both sides).
Try to use opponent’s pieces and position to your advantage.
“Command of a position involves wisdom, integrity, humanity, courage and discipline.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Blast from the Past

With the Weaver Adams U1800 Championship underway at the club, it's worth pointing out that the Boylston Chess Club website contains a selection of Adams' games played in the 1940's against BCC legend Harry Lyman.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Kings of NY, The Crazy Bishop of MA

I got a chance to read Michael Weinreb's "The Kings of New York" about a month ago. The book is about the Murrow School scholastic chess dynasty and their quest for yet another US High School Chess Championship. I'm not inclined to write a full review since there already are many available in print, traditional chess websites and chess blogs. Instead, here are a few impressions and a Boylston Chess Club connection.

First, while all the reviews I've read have been glowingly positive, I must admit that the book got off to a slow start for me. Through the first seven or so chapters, I kept reading because I wanted to like this book about chess culture, but frankly I found all the pages dedicated to background stories to be a bit tedious. However, things really turned around once the boys from Murrow started participating in tournaments. Suddenly the story started to sparkle, the tension grew, and I felt like I was back in the middle of my scholastic tournament days. From that point on I was hooked and thoroughly enjoyed the read until the end.

Second, there isn't actually that much chess in the book (e.g., positions, game scores or analysis) which shouldn't come as much of a surprise since it really is a story written for a broad audience (not specifically for chess players). I found that when Michael was describing key chess concepts he almost always got them right, but sometimes stated things a bit imprecisely. Several times I felt like saying, "Well, that's technically correct, but I wouldn't exactly say it that way." My guess is that this is to be expected when a non-chess playing author is writing for a non-chess playing readership. That said, he deserves kudos for not getting it completely and utterly wrong, which can often be the case in these situations.

Next, do any of you know Sal Bercys? This poor kid comes across as a complete jerk in the book and I was wondering how much of the portrait is actually true. I bet he wasn't happy to see what was written about him, assuming he even bothered to read the book.

Finally, the BCC gets an implicit mention in Chapter 14 when one of the Murrow boys plays our very own Chris Williams. Michael's description of Chris is less than flattering, but that will come as no surprise to those of us who know him:
...Willy's playing Christopher Williams, a 2049 from Massachusetts, in Round Two. What could Willy possibly do against a 2000?

For once, Willy gets lucky. Willy happens to be playing a 2000 who allegedly lost his first-round game to a boy he hates, and because of that, this particular 2000 has allegedly ceased caring, and has figured he might as well take a dive in this game as well. So he plays fast, and shifts all his pieces to the queen's side of the board, and Willy, playing an opening called the closed Sicilian (a 2000 should know how to counter this), attacks from the king's side, and before you know it, in under an hour, the game's over. Two games, and Willy has two points. "To me," Willy says, "I think he wanted to lose."

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Not one, but two items involving beavers and chess:
  • "CBS Cancels Plans for Series on Chess Playing Beaver"

  • Our friends from Rozerem, makers of a highly publicized prescription sleep medication, have put together a website where you can play chess against their spokesbeaver. During the game, the beaver will harangue you for moving too slowly and offer you congratulations when you make good moves. I particularly like it when you win material and the beaver says, "oh, didn't see that coming." Unfortunately, even in advanced mode, the beaver is a fish; so while it might be fun to crush him a few times while practicing your new tactical skills, the experience is ultimately rather boring. Then again, maybe that's the idea -- to help put you to sleep. (Hat Tip: Chess Corner)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Holiday Chess

I have no doubt that most chess bloggers took a moment or two over the Memorial Day holiday to think about the many heroes who have given their lives in the defense of freedom. That being said, there was still plenty of time to play chess during the long weekend.

The best Memorial Day weekend chess report comes from chessloser at Hardcore Pawnography. He attended his first OTB tournament -- the US Amateur West Championship in Tucson, Arizona. Now, before you click on the link, I must warn you that chessloser's posts often contain not-ready-for-primetime language. He did title his blog "Hardcore", after all. If you think you're going to be offended by reading the f-word several times, then don't read his post. Consider yourself warned!

For those who opt not to read the entire post, here are some high points:
somehow, the kid goofs, i end up pushing a pawn and i mate him. holy crap. i think i won. yep, i won.... outside, i thank him. i tell his mom and coach he played really well, i got lucky. his mom is angry at him, his coach is angry at him. his mom says “you didn’t get lucky, he played bad and let you get lucky.” i thank her and quickly back away. poor kid....

i walk around handing out HARDCORE PAWNOGRAPHY stickers, pimping out my chess blog. turns out lots of chess players don’t know about chess blogs. also turns out lots of parents think i am trying to sell porn or something. only a few people laugh at the title and realize it’s about chess without explanation. some, with explanation, still think it’s about porn....

i learn that there is a rule that says black gets to choose what side the clock goes on. YOU GOTTA BE ... KIDDING ME! you mean that there has to be a rule for that?!?!?! are chess players that socially retarded that two adults can’t come to an agreement on what side a clock is on without it being in the rules? wow....

my opponent is another 10 year old asian kid. rated 1204. i’m black and i’m aggressive, he is up on material shortly, and he is mated shortly. my nickname for this tournament should be SARS, as i am deadly against the asian kids....
Here are some other bloggers who spent their holiday over the sixty-four:

Saturday, June 02, 2007

It's Championship Season Again

The previous Boylston Chess Club Championship finished up last November, and already it's time to start again. The BCC Championship cycle comprises four separate events starting in June of each year.

First up is the Weaver Adams Under 1800 Championship. This four round swiss is open to all BCF members with ratings under 1800.

The top finisher in the Weaver Adams qualifies for the Reubens/Landey Under 2200 Championship -- a five round swiss beginning in July. Other than the qualifier, members must be rated between 1800-2199 to participate.

A nice run in the Reubens/Landey might qualify you to play in the BCC Championship. This round robin tournament, starting in September, is open to all BCF members who have achieved Master's ratings. Concurrent with the Championship is the Hauptturnier, a round robin for the top players who do not qualify for the senior circuit.

Everything kicks off on Monday with the first round of the Weaver Adams, so if you're rated under 1800, it's time to get on board. If you are not currently a member of the BCF, don't fret. You can join at the site.

Monday, June 4, 11, 18, 25: Weaver Adams U1800 BCC Championship 4SS; 30/90 G/20; Open to BCF members rated under 1800; Entry fee: $20: Winner receives free entry into the Reubens/Landey U2200 BCC Championship beginning on 7/1. Registration: 6:00 to 6:45 pm; Rounds: 7:00 pm.

Weaver Adams