Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Neil McDonald Book

I've enjoyed the Neil McDonald's books I've read so far, so I will probably buy his new one as well.(it'll be out March 4th) Making a coherent plan is something that I still find challenging at times, so I hope this book will offer some pearls of wisdom :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fun Puzzle

Here’s a fun little puzzle from Tim KrabbĂ©'s site. Think this position can’t be legal? Here’s the proof (too lazy to put it into Chesspublisher right now):

1.d3 h6 2.Bxh6 f5 3.Qd2 f4 4.Qxf4 a5 5.Qxc7 Kf7 6.g3 Kg6 7.Bg2 Kh5 8.Bxb7 Kg4 9.Nf3 Kh3 10.Bxc8 e5 11.Bxg7 e4 12.Kd2 e3+ 13.Kxe3 Kg2 14.Ng1 Kf1 15.Kf3 Ke1 16.Qxa5+ Bb4 17.Nc3+ Kd2 18.Rf1 Rh3 19.Bxd7 Nh6 20.Nd1 Kc1 21.Bxh6+ Kb1 22.Bc1 Na6 23.Kg2 Rc8 24.Bxh3 Rc3 25.Nxc3+ Ka1 26.Nb1 Nc5 27.Rd1 Be1 28.Qxe1 Ne4 29.Kf1 Nd2+ 30.Rxd2 Qd5 31.Qd1 Qg2+ 32.Ke1 Qf1+ 33.Bxf1

Copy & paste into this PGN viewer to replay.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Samurai's post made me reflect on my current habits. It's really a little crazy how much time I spend on chess compared to other stuff. First off, I have so many chess books that I could probably spend every single minute of the next 10 years reading and studying them and still not finish. Whether it's tactics puzzles, game collections, strategy stuff, openings - if I'm going somewhere and I know I'll have a few minutes of spare time, a chess book goes with me. Then there's ICC - blitz, long games, tournaments. Lots of time spent on all that. And let's not forget the time spent on bloggin and reading blogs. Add to that time spent at my local chess club and on study sessions with buddies, plus OTB tournaments. Oh, and lately, I’ve killed way too much time with Chessbase and related software. I could easily sit in front of Chessbase all day long exploring stuff; the amount of information at your fingertips is just mind-boggling. I also just received my first copy of the Chessbase Magazine (which comes on a disc). It has tons of fun stuff in CB format (tactics training, opening analysis, endgame videos by GM Karsten Mueller, a video analysis by Shirov of one of his games, a couple of recent tournaments, and much more). Then I am going through a couple Chessbase Training DVD’s like Daniel King’s PowerPlay series and Andrew Martin on the Benko and the Trompowsky.

Ok, so tell me that doesn’t sound crazy? I mean, if I didn’t have to work for a living, I could literally do nothing but chess all day. I really love spending time like that, and probably will continue to do so. But honestly, if looked at from 30,000 feet, it’s kinda ridiculous. Chess is one heck of a vortex. Chess is crack. [ Thanks BDK. That assessment is a lot more accurate :) ]

Samurai Moves On

Another one of my favorite chess bloggers calls it quits. Best of luck to you, Samurai.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Soap Opera

It’s a shame that chess in the US is so screwed up. I mean, just look at this article, and the comments to the article in particular. So many screwed-up personalities, politics etc. It’s really sad to see that the USCF resembles a soap opera more than anything else. Which reminds me, I want to read Evans’ new book.

US chess players can only dream of an environment like, for example, in Germany. Everything is well organized and professionally managed; there are many sponsors and a large number of very good tournaments, an extraordinary chess league (with players such as Anand, Shirov, Carlsen, Svidler etc), very strong and traditional chess clubs, etc. Must be nice…

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cheap Shot

It's so much easier to pull off little tactical shots in blitz games than in longer games. This is a typical example: had the guy thought for a few seconds, he probably would've seen this. But he moved to fast. He's white and just moved Rfc1. I play Ba5, and without much thought he takes the Bishop with his Queen. Well, greed kills. He resigned after the obvious Rxc1+, Rxc1, Qxa5. Heh.

Topalov vs Kamsky

The games continue...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Heavy Hitters

Morelia/Linares will start end of next week. A great lineup (including Corus winners Carlsen and Aronian) should make for a bunch of great games.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Land of the Samurai

I just got back from a week in Japan, which was hella fun. I didn’t play any chess whatsoever but I had a million other things to keep me busy and entertained. I ate some really cool stuff (like Takoyaki or the infamous Fugu, which can literally kill you) and had a blast with some of the funky Japanese technology (I’m talking seriously high-tech bathrooms and stuff). I experienced first hand what it feels like to be squeezed to death like a sardine in the Tokyo subways, where it feels like there are about 100 people too many on each subway car. Here’s a nice little clip to illustrate what I mean.

Anyways, also saw some very cool temples and shrines, and this little fella.

I could go on but I think you get the idea… a blend of old and new, modern life mixed with ancient traditions, and so much history. One thing I have to say – the Japanese people are, as expected, outrageously friendly and welcoming. I will definitely go again.

Now back to regular chess craziness…