Saturday, October 29, 2005

Chess Openings - Unusual First Moves

I am so used to playing 1.d4 or 1.e4 that, when an opponent plays say 1.b4 my first reaction is - hey what's this? I decided to search around a bit for Chess Openings - Unusual First Moves when I ran into Mark Week's article by the same name.

1.b4 is also known as the Orangutang, one of the most colorful opening names, and as the Polish. Chess Lab has over two million interactive chess games online. Here's one game from Chess Lab based on the Orangutang.

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1990.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bunk"]
[Black "Wartig, W."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A00"]
[EventDate "1990.??.??"]

1. b4 e5 2. Bb2 Bxb4 3. f4 f6 {Nc6 would have been better?}
4. e3 b6 5. fxe5 fxe5 6. Qh5+ Kf8 7. Qf3+ 1-0

There's also a game there between Hasler and Karpov, that Hasler won using this opening. I better watch out for an opponent trying this opening with me. Any of you have played this opening before? What's been your experience?

On a different note, I was wondering how to set up an engine vs engine match on Fritz that plays this opening only. Any ideas?

Update: (1st Nov.) Jeroen from The Netherlands pointed me to a site dedicated to the Orangutang.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Drinking Chess Tournament

The Monash University Chess Association has decided to host a social chess event, a little Drinking Chess Tournament from 3:30pm onwards, Thursday, October 27th at The Bar, Monash(Clayton). Although technically you need to be a member of the club to join, membership is free and will be available on the day. Entry to the tournament is $5, and the tournament format is king-of-the-hill.

Play will take place on a giant chess set which has been provided to them courtesy of Chess Kids. There are no official time controls, but they expect rousing cries of "hurry up", "stop taking so long", what're you thinking about?" and "we haven't got all day" to provide enough pace to the games to keep the event exciting. The winner of each game, in addition to playing the next challenger, will be awarded a free beer.

What's next in Chess?

Update: Hat Tip: The Chess Wanderer. DG thanks for reminding me of this; it completely skipped my mind.
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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bobby Fischer Vs Paul Morphy Tournament

Bobby Fischer and Paul Morphy are battling it out, in a series of chess matches organised by... If only this would have been reality! Is this possible?

I love to replay the games played by these two great and talented chess players. Fritz has the capability to play out matches and tournaments between different chess engines.

Now, what if we could feed all the games played by Morphy to one engine say Fritz 9 and all the games played by Fischer to another engine say Fruit 2.2, then is it possible for these chess engines to use Artificial Intelligence to learn these two great players' techniques and play out new games for us on Fritz software? Food for thought!
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Saturday, October 22, 2005


The new PC HIARCS 10 experimental prototype is now in testing. It has been two long years since the release of HIARCS 9 for PC. HIARCS chess software has always tried to provide value for money and it's expected that the new version would be at least 40 Elo stronger than its predecessor. Will it be stronger than Fritz 9?
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Monday, October 17, 2005

Chase for chess thrives at three

Chess Champion?
Jamshedpur, Oct. 16: She was nervous while moving the black pieces across the board. The kid was also a bit dazzled by the hustle-bustle accompanying the sixth The Telegrapg Schools' Chess-2005.

At three years, ten months and two days, it took Sonia Varma some time to regain her composure. The youngest participant of the chess meet that is underway at the eastern wing of the JRD Tata Sports Complex. Sonia is fast learning the nitty-gritty of the game. "I am learning chess from my mummy and daddy. I have already learnt some openings," she mumbles. For a full report, refer The Telegraph.
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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Checkmate in 3 moves

Mate in 3 moves
This game played out between champions has the hallmark of simplicity, clarity and energy. Can you find out what White played, and won in three moves? For those interested, I can send you this full classic chess game with annotations.
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Thinking Machine 4

The Knights might have seen this before, but I dug this out from Digg. Want to see a computer think, before moving in a Chess game?

Thinking Machine 4 explores the invisible, elusive nature of thought. Play chess against a transparent intelligence, its evolving thought process visible on the board before you.

The artwork is an artificial intelligence program, ready to play chess with the viewer. If the viewer confronts the program, the computer's thought process is sketched on screen as it plays. A map is created from the traces of literally thousands of possible futures as the program tries to decide its best move. Those traces become a key to the invisible lines of force in the game as well as a window into the spirit of a thinking machine.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fruit Chess Engine

The Fruit 2.2 chess engine has a unique playing style making it a good addition to any chess engine collection. The older version 2.1 of Fruit is already second in several rating lists. Fruit 2.2 is about 70-100 Elo-points stronger than version 2.1 and is right now probably the strongest chess engine in the world on a standard single-processor PC.

After the success of Fruit in the World Chess Computer Championship 2005 in Reykjavik some people called Fruit a "sceptical program" in the sense that it does not "believe" in dynamic advantages which are in fact not there. This was especially visible in the games against Junior and Shredder where Fruit refuted an (unsound) attack and went on to win. It is certainly true Fruit does not play speculative or unsound attacks but one can hardly describe the playing style of Fruit "sceptical". Fruit can definitely go to attacking mode if necessary as demonstrated in its game against The Baron in WCCC 05, but it will also play a fine positional maneuvering like in the game against Jonny if necessary.

Fruit 2.2 is not free, however Fruit 2.1 is available for free download.

Has anyone here, tried out a match between the Fritz 8 and Fruit 2.2 or 2.1 chess engines, on Fritz?
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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Major Defensive Blunder

ChessGames is a fascinating resource. When time permits, I try and find here, short games of the great masters and run through their moves. I then try to find the one major defensive blunder. Here are two very similar games - Caro-Kann Defense: Two Knights Attack.These one's are very easy. Can you spot that one move - a major defensive blunder?
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Chess Trivia

Here are a couple of tidbits to ponder. Did you know that:
  • Ashtapada is a 64-square uncheckered gaming board used in India as early as the 2nd century B.C. and borrowed for chess.
  • In India, chessplayers in the 10th century wagered their fingers in a game of chess. The loser had to cut off his finger with a dagger and plunge his hand in a boiling ointment that cauterized the wound. The 1982 Ladies Championship of India, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place were all won by three sisters, the Khadilkars from Pune (where I live !).
  • Alladin was the strongest chessplayer at the end of the 14th century. He was also known as Ali Shatrangi (Ali the Chessplayer). He could successfully give odds to all other leading players. He was Chinese and a lawyer.
  • Bobby Fischer, Barbra Streissand, and Grandmaster/murderer Raymond Weinstein all went to Eramus High School together?
  • Humphrey Bogart hustled strangers at 5-minute chess for 50 cents a game at chess parlors in New York Times Square?
You can read this and a lot more, from the free eBook "Off the Wall Chess Trivia" by Bill Wall. This is available from Chess Central.
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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Chess Problem

Chess Problem
I have been going through the eBook - 700 Chess Problems - Selected from the Compositions of Mrs. W. J. Baird [1902]. She says "The Chess Problems contained in this volume are the product of the labour and recreation of some fourteen years. I say "labour," because I am not such a Chess enthusiast as to believe that a collection such as this can be produced without persistent application partaking of the nature of work; and "recreation," because the work has been a pleasure - how great a pleasure only a composer can fully realize".

The Chess Problem shown here is from the Morning Post dated June 30th, 1888 - White to move and mate in two moves. Any takers?

My Chess friend ChessSmith talks about this post here and here.
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Franklin Crowe, Street Vendor / Chess Player

The Gothamist, a website about New York talks about Franklin Crowe. a sidewalk comic-book salesman, who will play you a round of chess. An interesting read.
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Friday, October 07, 2005

World Chess Beauty Contest

The MDLM programme can be quite strenous at times. One form of relaxation for me is to browse the net. That's when I ran into the World Chess Beauty Contest. This seems to be the title of a new Chess "tournament". They have set up a research site to find the most beautiful female chess players on the planet! After Chess Boxing now comes Chess Beauties.
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Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Grandmaster Peter Svidler - Russian Champion 1994, 1995, 1997, 2003 says that "Bookup is simply the best way to study chess and it is incredibly useful in chess openings preparation. Bookup is one of the most user-friendly programs I've seen, written by the most user-friendly programmers I've ever met. It's great stuff!"

Bookup claims that it can make you a stronger player in as little as two weeks! No harm trying. I have downloaded their free software and I hope that this, along with the MDLM programme would make me a better player. Thank you Mike Leahy.
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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Aladdin Brings Chess to Life

Aladdin Brings Chess to Life. In Disney's Aladdin Chess Adventures, releasing on the 4th of November 2005 on PC CDROM, the chessboard becomes a magic portal to an enchanting, interactive world where kids can journey through Aladdin's magical world while learning the classic game of chess.

This fascinating chess program teaches kids the ancient game of strategy, making it immensely fun and easy-to-understand. This will build their skills and engage them for countless hours, as they help Aladdin and his friends on their journeys. Along the way, they will solve intriguing puzzles, earn chess pieces and magic tokens, and explore a colorful world of magic and adventure.

System Requirements
Windows 98/2000/XP
Pentium III
500 MHz
128 MB RAM
16 MB Video Card supporting Direct 3D and DirectX 9.0

Update (5th Oct.):
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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Chess Boxing

Juergen H. talks about a new sport Chess Boxing. Yes you read it right - Chess Boxing. The basic idea in chessboxing is to combine the no.1 thinking sport and the no.1 fighting sport into a hybrid that demands the most of its competitors - both mentally and physically. In a chessboxing fight two opponents play alternating rounds of chess and boxing. The contest starts with a round of chess, followed by a boxing round, followed by another round of chess and so on. Juergen went to watch the first chess boxing heavyweight European championship in Berlin on 1st Oct. 2005.

For all the details, check out ChessBoxing.
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