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Chess for blood.
23 June 2006
  Marketing chess as violence.
ESPN has coverage of ChessBoxing, with a video. If you "view page source" you can download the 26-megabyte video file in .FLV (flash video) format. Who thought chess could be so metuhl?
\m/

The Kenilworthian blog has discussed the possibility of marketing chess as art. ChessBoxing presents a very real alternative-- marketing chess as a violent, competitive sport. I believe chess can only benefit from this association. Chess as art does not challenge the unhip (and generally false) stereotypes that chess is a game for StarTrek fans, computer programmers, and other assorted nerds. Chess as violence directly challenges this misconception and forces people to reconsider the game in a new, less dismissive way.

credit: Boylston Chess Club from which I stole the link.
prequel: related post
 
18 June 2006
  Crack addict blitz binge.
Last weekend I played internet blitz for a few hours-- very addicting indeed. Overall, it was an experience only slightly more productive than a heroin binge, but I did salvage a few tasty miniatures. After sobering up, I uninstalled both the FICS client and the ICC client so I will not be tempted again. There is nothing instructive about games like these, but you know what, I think they are pretty entertaining. I must admit that I was on the losing end of equally lopsided games, but let's leave that aside for now.
 
10 June 2006
  Book choice
I have enough Amazon.com credit for one more free book. I wouldn't be able to touch it for a few months, but I must expend my credit soon or I lose it. I've narrowed it down to a few choices:

Why Lasker Matters - Andrew Soltis. This review has nearly sold me.

Grandmaster Chess Move by Move - John Nunn. Nunn annotates his own games. He has a very direct and super-aggressive style, as I would wish to play eventually. (Sample pdf)

Chess Exam and Training Guide - Igor Khmelnitsky. Supposedly the best book for sheer improvement, according to a Master at the local club.

Art of Attack - Vladimir Vukovic. Classic, but I don't think I'd have the patience for it.

Any advice/recommendations?
 
06 June 2006
  Hey Lev, try the punch.
This news is everywhere, but it is too hilarious for me not to mention. Also, I would not miss an opportunity to post the photo at left. The short version: a British grandmaster, Danny Gormally, punched another grandmaster (Lev Aronian) over Arianne Caoili, the 19-year-old chessplaying genius/hottie on the left. All three were participating in an international chess tournament. Miss Caoili has more eye candy posted at her personal website, which I suspect will soon exceed its bandwidth allotment.

From the London Times:
Mr Gormally, 30, a professional player, declined to comment from his home, where he lives with his parents.
"But Arianne, I have my own room and my parents have to knock before they come in!"

Am I too cruel? Probably yes. I propose that Gormally and Aronian settle this like gentlemen.

Credit to Kenilworthian from which I stole the links and first learned of this news.
 
03 June 2006
  Visualization example.
Black to move & mate in 2.
It's hard to believe Black can force mate with so few pieces and White's king in the center. The key, I think, is visualizing the "death squares" around the white king. When I was ten I played Dragon Warrior and square tiles marked a certain color would kill you if you stepped on them. This reminds me of that. Use your own visualization-- Minesweeper, Tic Tac Toe, Dragon Warrior, whatever... It's difficult to describe, so looky at this graphic:
More specifically, look at the 3x3 grid (like tic-tac-toe) around the king.
Aha. Qd7+ gives the white king only two squares. The dearth of options makes calculation easy. First, if his majesty taketh the gallant knight:
'Tis mate. Second, if his majesty is too chicken:
'Tis also mate. Those red squares might as well be a brick wall, holes in the ground, or landmines.

Now go back to the top and try to see all this in the black and white diagram. Do not think of variations or even words, but see vectors, shapes, and colors. More seeing, less thinking.

FEN:
8/P6k/1Bp5/5Kp1/4n3/1P2Q3/3q4/8 b - - 0 1

Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy was played during the writing of this post. (love it)
 
26 May 2006
  What do Janet Jackson and MDLM have in common?
400 points in 400 days (pdf #1 #2). 60 pounds in 4 months. This is very relevant. (I am actually not joking at all.)

No way would I ever buy that trashy magazine, but I am certain that Janet's prescribed method vaguely resembles the ritualistic format of the de la Maza chess plan. Any personal goal-- chess-related or not-- can be accomplished with a daily menu and workout secrets.

I believe (if she wanted to) Janet could apply that same discipline to become a chess expert. Seriously. Or a chess expert could apply that discipline to accomplish any number of things. The missing ingredient is a passion for the journey, not just the destination.

In a related story, I'm now biking to the gym at 6 a.m. thrice per week and I have gained 20 pounds of muscle in the last 2 months. My numbers are not on pace with Janet's, though.
 
24 May 2006
  Skandinavian 2...Nf6 repertoire for CPT
If anyone is interested, I uploaded my complete Black repertoire against 1.e4-- the 2...Nf6 Skandinavian, arbitrarily spelt "Sk-" to distinguish from the stodgy Qa5 mainline. It's in ChessPositionTrainer format, so you'll need that software installed to view the repertoire. This is a flexible repertoire that gives you the option to play aggressively solid, reckless gambits, or in a hypermodern style with the Nxd5 lines. In retrospect, many lines are overly detailed, but it is what it is.

I've never bought a chess DVD (chess is on DVD!?) but the tagline of Roman's Lab DVD volume 17 says:
"The Scandinavian ...Nf6 - A forgotten opening, solid and a great surprise weapon. This opening according to Roman is as good as the French, Caro-Kann, and some variations of the Sicilian."
I play 1.e4 and I'm not sure I'd go that far. But, it is what it is. :)
 
  Milner-Barry tactic
From an Advance French, Milner-Barry gambit. This tactic is great because all four white pieces are essential in the execution.
(I'm trying out the pretty colors in SCID. This program always surprises me!)
NOTE: The SCID website has been updated after a 2-year period of inactivity!
 
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Marketing chess as violence.
Crack addict blitz binge.
Book choice
Hey Lev, try the punch.
Visualization example.
What do Janet Jackson and MDLM have in common?
Skandinavian 2...Nf6 repertoire for CPT
Milner-Barry tactic
Tactical blind spots and the need to be flexible.
The Albin is your friend & other repertoire choices.

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