Saturday, May 28, 2005

Warren Elliott: Planning his next move up the chess ladder

It is widely believed that chess is a game for intellectuals, scholars and even geniuses. But Jamaica's national champion, Warren Elliott, dismisses this, claiming that it is a game for everyone. Read this post in the Jamaica Observer.
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Monday, May 23, 2005

Knight Sight begins

Just completed the Concentric Squares exercise for two weeks. I begin the Knight Sight exercise today.
In the meantime, I am playing two games with ChessSmith and one with Mr. Charles Thayer.
I am trying to register my TASC Chess Tutor software online. However, both their site and email id are non-functional. Can the other Knight Errants please tell me how they registered their software?

Update: Apart from chess, family and consultancy, I have been busy setting up a blog that would help people understand blogging, software and technology - Appliblog. Do check it out.

6th June 2005 - Some of you have been asking me, as to how I use Flickr to upload my chess images. So here it is - You will first need a free Flickr account. Create one and log into the same. Click on the 'Upload Photos' option on the main page. Click on Browse and select the image you want to upload from your hard-disk. Add tags for the image eg. chess. Choose privacy setting as Public and then upload the photo. After the photo has been uploaded, add a Title and Description and click on SAVE. Your image should now appear on Flickr. Click on the image; a new page appears. Scroll down till you see 'See different sizes'. Click on the same. You will see Square, Thumbnail, Small, Medium, Large. Select the size you want. Now scroll down till you see 'Copy and paste this HTML into your webpage'. Cut/Paste this piece of html into you blog template. That's it.
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Friday, May 20, 2005

My First Win

Today I won my first game after the start of the MDLM programme. Here's the game:

First Win

[Event "Casual Game"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2005.05.04"]
[White "prana70"]
[Black "Satish, Talim"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D00"]
[Annotator "Talim,Satish"]

1. d4 d5 2. g3 e5 3. Bg2 exd4 4. Qxd4 {My pawn at d5 is
attacked by his Queen and Bishop - it needs protection. I would have loved to attack his Queen but I feel the exchange that would follow would not be to my advantage.} Nf6 {I think it's better than c6} 5. Nc3 c5 {
Attack is the best form of defence. His Queen is out at the center, very early.
} 6. Qe5+ Be6 {Safeguard my King and protect my d5} 7. Bg5 Nbd7
{Safeguard this Knight and attack his Queen and also safeguard my other Knight}
8. Qf4 d4 9. Ne4 {Queen being over-worked... need to do something} Qa5+ 10.
Nd2 Nd5 {Attack his Queen} 11. Bxd5 Bxd5 12. Ngf3 h6 {Attack the Bishop
} 13. Qf5 Be6 14. Qe4 hxg5 15. Nxg5 Nf6 16. Qxb7 Bd5 {His Queen is trapped.}
17. b4 cxb4 18. Nb3 Bxb7 19. Nxa5 Bxh1 20. f3 Rxh2 21. Kf1
Bg2+ 22. Kg1 Rh1+ 23. Kxg2 Rxa1 0-1

Update: I want to analyse this game in Fritz 8. I would like those Knights using Fritz, to please tell me what's the best approach to do this.
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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Rest of the World vs. Mr CharlesThayer

You can play against Charles Thayer, a USCF Master player. ChessSmith talks at length about this in his blog - "I know from my own experience that this will be a great game and opportunity for improving your game. I've played 18 games against Mr Thayer over the past couple of years..."
Update: The game against the USCF Master started today (21st May). The concept is interesting.
6th June 2005 Mr Thayer has suggested FileLibrary to find games for the London System or players or any other openings.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

10 days over

Just received TASC Chess Tutor (or TCT) in my mail. Completed 10th day of my Concentric Squares today.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

KISS Principle

Last night some of my friends asked me as to how I remember all the various openings/moves while playing Chess.

Frankly, I do not remember any openings or their names too. I follow some basic principles (KISS - Keep it simple, silly) while playing and that with time has helped me to become a better player.

My rules for the Opening adopted from various masters are:
1. Open with either the e-pawn or the d-pawn. Get your pieces out into the centre quickly. The opening is a race to see who can get their pieces out first while keeping at least a share of control of the centre. This is the main point to remember; all the other points are just footnotes to this one. Let's talk about this in some more detail. At the start of a game you have eight pieces to develop. In most games -
(a) your Queen and four minor pieces will all move off the back rank;
(b) your Rooks will move to open or semiopen files; and
(c) your King will castle into safety in one of the corners.
You also need to move two Pawns in order to develop the Bishops (one Pawn for each Bishop). This makes a total of 10 developing moves. If you accomplish all of this in the first 12-15 moves, you've done well.
2. Move pieces not pawns, and move them to their best squares in one move if you can, and also try to gain time if you can by aggressive moves. In addition, don't move the same piece twice in the opening without a good reason. Place each piece immediately on the square where it is most effective.
3. Move minor pieces out first, not your Q or RRs which can be attacked and lose time. Do not move any pawns in the opening of a game but the King and Queen pawns. Do not obstruct your pawns by grouping your pieces directly in front of them; pawns and pieces must work together.
4. Get a firm foothold in the centre and don't give it up.
5. Bring out your knights before developing your bishops, especially the Queen's Bishop. Generally move Knights straightaway to f3/c3 or f6/c6.
6. Move your King to safety at the side, by castling King's-side (which also gets your Rook into play).
7. During the first few moves, pay special attention to the vulnerable KB2 square on both sides.
8. Complete your development before moving a piece twice or starting an attack.
9. Keep your Queen safe. Do not bring your queen out too early to the center.
10. Do not pin the adverse King Knight (ie. by Bg5) before your opponent has castled.
11. Don't grab pawns or attack if you haven't completed development.
12. What to do if there is a lead in development - (a) If you are ahead in development, get something going and open up lines for your better pieces, (b) If you are behind in development, don't start anything and keep things closed until you have caught up.

Don't let these guidelines interfere with common sense, which takes priority over all else. For example, when your opponent moves, first look to see how you are threatened. The best way to do this is to pretend it's your opponent's move again and see what damage can be done. If that damage is worse than whatever you had in mind, you must do something about it. Also, your opponent has just made a move that you didn't consider. Remember, just because your opponent is a good player, and just because you didn't see the move before, doesn't mean it's a good move. Always respect your opponent, but never be afraid to follow your own judgement.
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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Loosely coupled Chess group blog via Technorati tags?

Calling Chess bloggers - how about setting up a loosely coupled distributed blogging network type thing, using Technorati's new tagging feature? How about using a virgin tag like ChessBlogs?
Then apply the same tag to our Flickr photos, bookmarks and so on, and hey presto - a new Chess group blog.

Update: Bloggers have been asking me, 'How to put Technorati tags on their posts'. Well, you can check out this blog for full details.
Michael Goeller is the first one who has started using this tag. Check it out.
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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Chess Maxims

Have you heard of Chess Maxims? Here are some, that made sense to me!
  • Bishops are better than Knights in open positions
  • Do not place your Pawns on the color of your Bishop
  • A Knight on the rim is dim / grim
  • Develop Knights before Bishops
  • Every Pawn is a potential Queen
  • A passed Pawn increases in strength as the number of pieces on the board diminishes
  • This one's funny - "Pawns are like buttons, Lose too many and the pants fall down by themselves" (This is credited to George Koltanowski)
  • Attack! Always attack! Attack is the best form of Defence
  • Always assume your opponent will make the correct reply
More such maxims are here.
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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Your Blogshares are being traded!

Did you know that virtual shares of your blog site are being actively traded here? No? Well, go to the link provided and search for your blog in the URL box provided.

BlogShares is a fantasy stock market where weblogs are the companies. Players get to invest a fictional B$500 on shares in blogs. Blogs are valued by their incoming links and add value to other blogs by linking to them. Prices can go up or down based on trading and the underlying value of the blog.

You may be wondering how this post is related to Chess; well not directly. I would suggest that you register on the site and at least claim your blog. What we could do to promote Chess as an industry at BlogShares is, invest in each others shares! I am enjoying BlogShares, along with Chess too!
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

FreeStyle Chess

Last evening I got an email from Ashik in USA, talking about FreeStyle Chess. Here's the gist -

The point of the PAL/CSS Freestyle tournament is that the participants are permitted to use external help. They are allowed to use computers, books, club mates, grandmasters. Get help from Vishy Anand or Fritz, from Karpov or Deep Shredder. Play alone or in a team. The use of computers is not just allowed, it is encouraged. Almost mandatory...

Do you think this would take the fun out of Chess? I still want the challenge of creating my own masterpiece!

I think FreeStyle Chess is just another version of chess like Blindfold, Simultaneous, Blitz, Fisher Random, Baby Chess etc. But only two versions of chess will remain at the center of chess lovers interest in the long run - classical chess and speed chess (blitz).

FreeStyle chess will test a chess players ability to collaborate with other chess mates and chess computers efficiently and choosing the right moves for themselves. A new sort of challenge that may sound interesting. I heard earlier Anand, Kramnik, Kasparov play coupled with computer programs of their own choice. FreeStyle adds human chess helpers as well with that. Not bad as fun!

Do you have any other information on this?
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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Two days gone

Finished the second day of Concentric Squares using the black rook, black bishop and black queen. I realised that I had overlooked many fork positions yesterday. Today it took me a total of 90 minutes to complete the exercise. I want to confirm this with the other Knights Errant - For the black rook there are 105 fork and 63 skewer positions; for the black bishop 198 fork and 63 skewer positions; for the black queen 0 fork and 63 skewer positions - is this correct?
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Monday, May 09, 2005

One Day Down

Finished the first day of Concentric Squares using the black rook, black bishop and black queen. I will integrate the knight concentric exercise into my knight sight drills. It took me 15 minutes with the black rook to figure out 20 fork positions and 63 skewer positions; 5 minutes with the black bishop for 26 fork positions and 63 skewer positions and 3 minutes with the black queen for 0 fork positions and 63 skewer positions. A total of 23 minutes. Have I got the figures for the forks and skewers correct?
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Sunday, May 08, 2005

MDLM Programme Kick Off

Just got back from a brief vacation. As mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I am starting off on the MDLM programme from 9th May 2005.

I have been trying to get hold of Maza's 'Rapid Chess Improvement' book in Pune, India but without any success. It's available on Amazon but the price is a stiff US $16. Also, it would take them about three weeks to deliver the book to me. I can't wait to get started. I have Maza's article on '400 Points in 400 Days' and Ed Gaillard mentioned to me that 'all the actual improvement techniques are in the article, so you don't really need the book'.

I start off with 'Concentric Squares' tomorrow.

I need to be prepared for the next stage and based on Eric E. Thomson's blog, I have placed an on-line order for 'TASC Chess CD'. Another US $35.

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Quick Game

I remember a game I played recently where the opponent did not follow the KISS principle, I try and follow this principle for opening play (more on this, after I come back from my 3 days vacation). Here's the game:


[Event "April 2005 Member Main #1 Tournament"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2005.04.01"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Satish, Talim"]
[Black "Opponent"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 {Develop my Knight and attack his Pawn} Nc6 {Defending his Pawn
} 3. Bc4 {Developing my Bishop and attacking his vulnerable King Pawn} h6 {
Trying to protect g5} 4. d4 {Double attack his Pawn at e5} f6 {
Trying to protect his Pawn at e5 but opening up his King diagnol} 5. Nh4 Bb4+ {
He's not protecting his King side} 6. c3 Ba5 {Moving the Bishop twice} 7. Qh5+
{The opponent resigned, because 7...g6 8. Qxg6+ Ke7 9. Nf5+ Kf8 10. Qg7+ Ke8 11. Bf7= } 1-0

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Chess Bloggers Index

ChessBloggers is an index of bloggers from all over the world that have a blog dedicated to Chess. I had been toying with this idea for long and finally I got down to creating the same. This will only be successful if you can help me out.

Please go to the link provided above and give me some details of your blog. Looking forward to hearing from you all.

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Links for free PGN files

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Chess Forums

Two of the best Chess Forums I have found and use is The Chess Exchange Forum and About Chess Forum. Which one do you use?

The Greatest Chess Master?

Who do you think is the Greatest Chess Master - Paul Morphy, Bobby Fischer, B. Larsen... ?

Bobby Fischer's List of ... "The Ten Greatest." (1964)
1. Paul Morphy - "In a set match, Morphy would beat anyone alive today."
2. Howard Staunton - "One of the most profound players and analysts of all time."
3. Wilhelm Steinitz - "A genius, and the Father of the Positional School of chess."
4. Siegbert Tarrasch - "A magnificent player, his play was often razor-sharp."
5. Mikhail Tchigorin - "The last of the romantics, and the first great Russian player."
6. Alexander Alekhine - "A player that I have never really understood."
7. Jose R. Capablanca - "The glamour-boy of the chess world.", "Among the greats", "His simplicity is a myth", "Brilliance ... in the middle-game"
8. Boris Spassky - "A truly great player, with a dynamic, individual style."
(These words were penned 2-3 years before Spassky became World Champion!)
9. Mikhail Tal - "A fantastic player ... speculative sac's ... he frightens everyone."
10.Samuel Reshevsky - "For a period of at least ten years - 1946 to 1956 - Reshevsky was probably the best chess player in the world. I feel sure that had he played a match with Botvinnik during that time, he would have won and been champion."
*** "He is like a machine, calculating every variation."
*** "He can see more variations, in a shorter period of time, than most players who ever lived."
I personnaly have been influenced by the games played out by Paul Morphy and am a great fan of his. Before Morphy, sacrifices in chess were made without any rhyme or reason. Morphy moves were scrupulously conceived and executed, though some may argue that he played to the gallery. Another equally great player of his time was Adolph Anderssen.

Most of Morphy's games are very instructive. Please use this link to check out a game played by him way back in 1858.

The debate continues. There's an interesting article here on The Greatest Player of all Time.

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Monday, May 02, 2005

My Current Chess Status

Before I start on Maza's (MDLM) programme, I thought I should start afresh. I decided to start playing slow Chess games on LetsPlayChess. They have a good interface, and many, many people to play Chess with.
Player information for IndianGuru:
Rating: 1400
Games Completed: 0
Abandoned Games: 0
Wins: 0
Losses: 0
Draws: 0
I will start on MDLM's plan from 10th May, when I come back from a vacation with my family. Like I said before, time will be a constraint and I will have to balance my Chess life with my real life, which includes wife, kids a daytime job and the likes.

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Boylston Chess Club Weblog - Thanks

Feels good to see that the Boylston Chess Club Weblog has my Chess site listed on their Chess Weblogs. Thanks.

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Rapid Chess Improvement - My Summary

Ed Gaillard mentioned to me that even if I go thro' Maza's articles, I need not buy his book - Rapid Chess Improvement, by Michael de la Maza (Everyman Chess, 2002), 126 pp. Okay, last night I did go thro' the two articles and here is the jist of the same.

Maza mentions that Chess Players who spend their time on openings, middle-game strategy, and endgames are doing an excellent job of increasing their chess knowledge, but they are not increasing their chess ability. A Class player's chess ability is limited first and foremost by a lack of tactical ability. Based on his experience, Maza says that a Class D player can become a Class B player in one year without knowing the Sicilian or the Gruenfeld or the Ruy Lopez.

He argues that, there are many positional concepts in vogue today. For example, "Castle early". If you know the tactics of mating a King in 10 different ways, then you would be able to take advantage in a situation where the opponent does not mate early. Positional understanding requires tactical understanding.

Having understood the importance of studying tactics, Maza suggests a three-step plan for improving your tactical ability.

Step 1. Do repeatitive exercises that pound very simple tactical notions into the brain. This will improve one's Chess Vision. The exercises last 28 days. During the first 14 days one practices simple forks and skewers using the 'Concentric Square' exercise. The next 14 days, one focuses on the Knight and how it moves using the 'Knight Sight' and 'Minimal Path' exercises. At the end of the 28 day period, one's ability to spot combinations and to calculate Knight moves will have greatly improved.

Step 2. 'Seven Circles' - To go thro' a set of about 1000 tactical problems seven times over the course of 127 days. He suggests, to buy the CT-Art 3.0 software from Convekta for this. At the end of this period, there would be a vast improvement in one's calculation and pattern recognition ability. This Step requires you to spend a lot of time on your part and Maza suggests a shortcut but insists on sticking to the overall structure of the Seven Circles.

Step 3. Learn how to think and integrate one's new found tactical ability into your chess play, using the suggested eight-step procedure.

All three steps require dedication. One should study everyday, even if one is sick, travelling or playing in a tournament. Also, one should keep in mind that in a Chess game if one has the material, one rule and this can happen if one goes thro' Maza's advise as formulated in this book.

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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Towards Knighthood?

Today being a Sunday, I have started reading Michael de la Maza's article on '400 Points in 400 Days'. I am still unable to locate the book 'Rapid Chess Improvement' by Michael de la Maza, in my city. Finding time to devote to Maza's suggested techniques is going to be tough, but hopefully I will find time in the future to post here my improvements, as I move forward.

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Fritz 8

I use Fritz 8 for practicing, analyzing and storing my games ONCE THEY'RE DONE. Using a chess playing program while playing (for example, to tell you what move to make) is, in my opinion, cheating. For those interested, this link explains the various ways one can use this software to improve one's own game.
I have not used other software programs much. Have you? What is your opinion?

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Best Chess Books

Here's a list of some of the best chess books ever written, in no particular order. I know that some of you would disagree with this list and I would like you to suggest your own lists.

1. How To Re-Assess Your Chess by IM J. Silman

2. The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings by GM Ruben Fine
3. Pawn Structure Chess by GM Andy Soltis
4. The Complete Chess Player by Reinfeld
5. Logical Chess, Move-By-Move by Irving Chernev
6. The Game of Chess by GM Siegbert Tarrasch
7. Chess Fundamentals by Capablanca
8. The Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy by IM John Watson
9. The Art of Chess Analysis by GM Jan Timman
10.My System by Aaron Nimzovich
11.Think Like A GM by GM Alexander Kotov
12.The Chess Struggle in Practice by GM David Bronstein
13.My Sixty Memorable Chess Games by Bobby Fischer

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