free web tracker Super Friends: March 2005

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Openings

A chess poetry blog (link from Boylston Chess Club)

Upon the horse a deep
abiding affection rode in on
the town monorail. World rocking
would likely commence, like an
erotic and fretful schoolboard.
With an eye towards noodling
wolves at the 5&10, the stategies
were both casablanca and fargo.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

What About the Rest of Us?

Lakdawala, a pro player at the international master level, says having the skills to be a top chess player is something one is born with.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Chess and the Nativity

No need to pack away your nativity scene at the end of the Christmas holidays. Just remove the stable, straw and manger and add more shepherd pawns and another virgin queen from the box. Hand-carved Masonite figures, such as long-eared ass knights, rest on a checkered, tropical cardboard surface to adorn your home during both religious and competitive interludes.

Though the elephant castles look a little out of place crowding the stable and can only move in straight lines, the pious practicality of the unique chessus set is unbeatable. I still recall the response of its craftsman, a Palestinian carpenter and immigrant from Sydney. When I asked if payment should be made with card or cash, Joe replied, “Check, Mate.”

Sunday, March 20, 2005

If Not a Sport, then What?

Dennis Monokroussos argues against chess as sport:

It might at first seem that chess is a sport. First of all, it's clearly a competitive activity, which seems to be a necessary if not sufficient condition for something's being a sport. Second, the same sorts of general mental and physical disciplines needed by the sportsman (e.g. mental toughness, strong self-confidence, endurance, etc.) are required for chess players to succeed. To take a prominent example, Karpov's (then-) frail physique nearly cost him twice in big matches against Korchnoi (one for the world championship, the other in a final candidates match) and quite possibly did cost him the title to Kasparov when he lacked the endurance to finish him off in 1984.

Yet despite the above, I think that chess is not a sport.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Key to a Different Life

Chess, said Thomas-El, forces children to think critically, to be patient and to be problem solvers, and "that is the key to a different life -- learning to make good decisions."

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Archaeological Find

A grubby green cousin of the world's most famous chessmen is puzzling archaeologists.

The little knight on horseback, recently found by an amateur using a metal detector on farmland in north Nottinghamshire, is startlingly similar to chesspieces found hundreds of miles away in 1831, on a beach on the isle of Lewis.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Chess Puzzles from Cappelle la Grande

W.T. Harvey posted some puzzles taken from the chess games of strong players at the Cappelle la Grande tournament in February. Except where noted, it's "White to Move and Win".

a) White Mates in 7. Mark Hebden vs Sebastien Feller, Cappelle la Grande, 2005 2k2br1/4pp2/3qP2p/1Q1b4/1PpP2p­1/2P5/3B2PP/R5K1 w - - 0 1

b) Nicolas Gerard vs Gregory Israel, Cappelle la Grande, 2005 r1b2rk1/ppp2ppp/8/q3B3/2BP2n1/­2P2Q2/P4PPP/1R2R1K1 w - - 0 1

c) White Mates in 6. Davit Shengelia vs Tristan Calistri, Cappelle la Grande, 2005 r4r2/3q1k2/pp1p1n2/2pP1pRp/1PP­1pP1B/P7/1Q4P1/3B2K1 w - - 0 1

d) Petra Schuuman vs Abdel Medghoul, Cappelle la Grande, 2005 r4rk1/p2b1pnp/2p4q/1p3Pp1/3PN1­P1/3B4/PPQ4P/1K1R3R w - - 0 1

e) White Mates in 3. Throstur Thorhallsson vs Sylvain Leburgue, Cappelle la Grande, 2005 b4rk1/5Npp/p3B3/1p6/8/3R4/PP4n­P/6K1 w - - 0 1

You can find the solutions at the top of­l.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Chess Vision Trainer

I found this at An Experiment in Rapid Chess Improvement. Would love to know if it works.

In 2003 I wrote a little Flash application to help do Chess Vision training drills per MDLM. I never really used it much, but if you are in the middle of doing find-the-fork drills I hope it will prove helpful. Been wondering if you found all the possible forking squares? Well wonder no more, just click the handy Next button in the program and see for yourself.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

What Makes a Good Player?

What makes a good chess player? Typically, players with analytical minds make good player. Former world champion Max Euwe was a mathematician, and Mikhail Botvinnik was an electrical engineer. Is that it? No.

Talent – Talent is innate, but can be improved.
Knowledge – Openings, tricks, endgames, tactics. Many of these are learned. How often you seen them depends on your talent.
Time Management – Time pressure can cause blunders and lose games.
Clear Head – You need to be in the right frame of mind to play.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Einstein and Chess

Although Albert Einstein played chess, his public position on the game was that it was a waste of time:

I do not play any games. There is no time for it. When I get through work I don't want anything which requires the working of the mind.

Chess grips its exponent, shackling the mind and brain so that the inner freedom and independence of even the strongest character cannot remain unaffected.

I always dislike the fierce competitive spirit embodied in [chess].

Einstein was a good friend of Dr. Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941). Lasker thought Einstein's theory of relativity was wrong and that the speed of light was limited due to particles in space. Lasker did not think there was a perfect vacuum.

Einstein knew Edward Lasker (1885-1981). On one occasion, Edward Lasker visited Einstein at Princeton and gave him an autographed copy of his book Go and Gomoku, written in 1934. Einstein, in return, gave Edward Lasker an autographed copy of one of his papers on relativity. The book given to Einstein later showed up in a Baltimore used bookstore. When someone told Edward Lasker about this, Lasker replied, "That's all right. I left his relativity paper on the subway."

Einstein thanked Edward Lasker for his book, but then asked, "You are obviously an intelligent man; clearly a great deal of work went into this book. But why for such a trivial and unimportant topic?" Edward Lasker replied, "A friend of mine recently said the following, and I must say I agree with it: 'We are born and we die, and in between these two events of a lifetime, there is a lot of time that must be wasted. Now, whether it is wasted by doing mathematics, practicing law, or playing games, it is really quite insignificant.'"

Thursday, March 10, 2005

World Chess Beauty Contest

There is nothing wrong with making chess sexier by highlighting the hip, interesting players who participate. But I find the World Chess Beauty contest project misguided and juvenile and would be embarrassed to be a part of it.

Find the rest of Jen Shahade's account of her invitation to this novel chess event.

And ChessBase News offers even more details.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Found this in The Edmonton Journal:

Marketers of live theatre, newspapers, chess, classical music and curling share the same challenge -- their audiences are too old.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ghetto Chess

Team Rating Rises

We're up to 40th place on the GameKnot Team Tables with a team rating of 1338. Excellent work!

Monday, March 07, 2005

What Makes a Master?

What makes a strong chess player? One hypothesis is that people who become chess masters have exceptional intelligence or memory, but there is little evidence to support this view. Most researchers have found minimal correlations between measures of IQ and official chess ratings. On the other hand, many chess masters appear to have a phenomenal memory. They can recall games played years ago, move by move, and when shown an unfamiliar chess position for only a few seconds, they can reproduce it virtually without error on a new board and set. The catch, however, is that this feat is only possible when they are given positions taken from actual games. When the position is random, the master does only about as well as the amateur. General intelligence and memory by themselves do not appear to distinguish great chess players from ordinary ones.

Read the rest of the article from J. Corey Butler

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Opening Don'ts

ModBlog offers some quick and easy rules for chess game openings:

1) Don't move the same piece twice (without serious justification).

2) Don't waste time on prophylactic moves with the rook pawns (developing the pieces faster is more important).

3) Don't bring the queen out to early (choosing the right place for the queen is a crucial task).

4) Don't be rushed into a premature, unprepared attack.

5) Don't go in for pawn-hunting ( especially in open positions where a lead in development makes an immense difference).

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Chess & Dating

ChessNinja surveys players on how chess has affected their relationships:

If I recall, there were four married couples playing in the 2003 US Championship. Does the couple that analyzes the Queen's Gambit together stay together? Or should chess be avoided in a relationship between two competitive players? You have to have something else to talk about, right? (Please say yes.) Or should your romantic life be an escape from chess?