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Friday, February 25, 2011

Yahoo and Pogo Chess Cheats

I ran across this ad today. I can't believe anybody would actually purchase cheats for these sites!

Chess-Auto Buddy does more than play Yahoo chess™ and Pogo chess™... this chess auto puts you in league with the pros! If you're one of the many chess players who is intimidated by chess, has a low rating, or just wants to learn how to play, then there is a perfect chess bot for you -- Chess-Auto Buddy! Created specifically with you in mind, this chess cheat completes any job; need a Yahoo chess ratings boost, pile of Pogo tokens, or a Pogo chess badge? No problem. With Chess-Auto Buddy, consider it done. Whether you want to use the advanced chess strategy to earn a 2200+ rating in the span of a day, or want something to offer you hints when you need them, this is the chess auto for you. Chess-Auto Buddy is a chess cheat no Pogo chess or Yahoo chess player should be without. Download your free 7-day trial today!

COMPLETELY AND 100% UNDETECTABLE!! Others can only guess if a Pogo cheat or Yahoo cheat is being used, so play with confidence!

Plays Yahoo Chess and Pogo Chess automatically.
Pogo players: Works in Club Pogo and free account Chess rooms.
So powerful, it plays 1-minute games and can hold its own against 2000+ rated players!
Allows users to swap out the default .uci engine with one of their choice.
Includes play hint and show hint features to use during manual play.
Earn thousands of Pogo tokens or Yahoo points while you work or sleep - get Pogo badges and a Yahoo chess ratings boost faster than ever before!
Precise and reliable. This chess auto will not let you down in the middle of an important game or tournament.
Contains quick and easy built-in backdoors to favorite Chess rooms.
Programmed with multiple features and customizable options making this the best Pogo cheat and Yahoo cheat available for Chess.
Free unlimited Chess-Auto Buddy upgrades for a year after purchase
Friendly online technical support.
And *much* MORE - try it today for free!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chess Thinking Systems

      This is a fairly new Blog and one that looks like the author is trying to make a little money selling books. That’s not a bad thing. If I could figure out how to make money from this Blog I’d do it but, seriously, who’s going to buy anything from a Blog?

      What I did find interesting though was the author’s description of the styles of play of such greats as Steinitz, Lasker, Nimzovich and others up to Tahl. Other great players will be added later. Interesting reading.  LINK

Friday, February 18, 2011

Calculation Training Feature in Fritz 12

A complete explanation of Fritz’ “Calculation Feature” can be found at Chessbase.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
      I only discovered this feature the other day while messing around with the program. This feature allows you to take nearly any position and turn it into a kind of problem. After deciding on a position in which to train, you activate the feature.
      When you move a piece it's not actually moved on the screen's board. What you do is mentally calculate variations by moving the pieces in your mind's eye just like in a real game. Of course the program doesn't know what you're thinking so you have to "move" the pieces on the board but they don't actually move; they are just recorded in the program's memory.

      I tried this out but must be missing something because I took the position from the game below (Fun Blitz Game) after 21… Nc5 and tried calculating some variations.
      Although in the initial position White’s supposed to be about 1.5 P’s ahead, I calculated a variation that resulted in equality and received 5 points. So apparently it’s not measuring the worth of the final position, but rather how many errors you made in calculation and/or how serious any gross blunders were. Actually I’m not sure exactly WHAT it’s measuring because next I tried calculating a line where I deliberately made bad moves and finished with an impossible move. It gave me overall score of +1 point…not sure why. I also noticed when I tried making an impossible move it just evaluated up to the point where the impossible move was played.
      Unless I totally missed something I don’t see any value in this feature. Looks like a bell (or maybe it's a whistle...who knows?) that could have been left out.

Houdini and Fritz Settings

Anyone wishing to explore the best settings or most any other questions regarding these issues can visit Ahmed-Chess forums.  Information on making opening books can be found HERE.
Instructional videos on installing, configuring and just about anything else you want to know about Fritz 12 are HERE.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chess World Review

      ChessWorld full membership costs $28.50 US dollars or 22.5 EU Euros or 20 GB Pounds. Free membership offers quite limited access to site benefits but if all you want to do is play chess then lack of other benefits really doesn't matter. They offer only correspondence chess with no variants. Tournament play offered consists of thematic, team and league events, round robin (all-play-all), knockout and pyramids. You can also play individual games if you desire by accepting challenges or issuing your own. They also offer a pretty nice Homepage where you can post all kinds of stuff about yourself or anything you are interested in. You have to be a full member though if you want your picture posted on your home page.

      What I liked about the site was that I could set my own initial rating and so avoid having to slog through a hundred games against low rated players just to get decent competition. You will play a game against a “welcomer” who will be rated near your rating and who will be willing to answer any questions.
      Well moderated forums consist of chess, book reviews, openings, etc. Also great fun if you are so inclined is the social forum where you can chat with players from all over the world but unfortunately that's a full membership forum.  Full membership offers you a wealth of resources to improve your game…much of it contributed by members. Because the site is located in England, they often have member meet ups so a lot of the players are well known to each and many are FIDE rated with lots of OTB experience.
      If I had to pay for a site this would be the one. In fact I did pay to play there for six years before discovering Queen Alice where I can get decent competition for free. Five stars for this site!

Fun Blitz Game

When I played 5.Bxf7+ in this game the idea was just to have some fun and see if my opponent was any good at defending.  After the game I let Houdini ponder the situation and as it turns out, the move was neither better nor worse than alternatives.  The game quickly developed into a razor sharp position where we both had moments where we played quite well and moments where we made some bad moves.  Fortunately for me in the final position Black used most of his remaining time trying to figure out what to do against my threatened R invasion.  Even though it was as plain as the nose on your face, he somehow managed to overlook the obvious 34…Bd4 blocking the d-file. I thought it was odd because it had been sitting on that square just the move before. In the heat of battle, who knows what we’ll do?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More Nezhmetdinov

I mentioned Nezhmetdinov as a player in the mold as Marshall and Tahl.  You can also download my pdf booklet containing 40 annoFritzed games by Nezhmetdinov HERE and some of his games from Chessgamesdotcom.

Ego and Hypermodern Chess

Kingscrusher, owner of the excellent CC site Chessworld, has produced many videos on Youtube. I just recently watched the following video where he discusses chess player’s egos. The whole series consisting of 31 videos on the evolution of chess can be viewed HERE.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Some Typical Errors

      I recently played 5 online games against a player rated 1700 on the site. I’m not sure what his real strength would be, but he lost all 5 games and made a lot of typical mistakes. They weren’t all tactical though. After losing a couple games to tactical blunders he tried a positional approach but still lost because he made the mistake of allowing me more space and control of the only open file. I thought it would be interesting to see a couple of his typical mistakes.

      In this position which we arrived at after some inaccurate play by both sides, we have a common situation where one side has a B and N vs. a R. The question is always which is better? In the opening the two pieces are normally worth a R and 2P’s while in the ending the superiority of the B and N over the R is less pronounced.

      Here the P’s are equal so things balance out. For example, if you examine an ending with a R vs. B and N, it is a draw. Give the 2 pieces a P and they win. Give the R a P and it’s still a draw. You may want to play around with these positions at the Shredder endgame database.
      In this position White sensed the danger from all of Black’s pieces aimed at his K and realized a sacrifice was in the air so he decided to defend his g-Pawn with: 24.Kh2 but still fell victim to the sacrifice. 24.f4 is a typical defense seen in these types of positions, but it doesn’t work here. After 24…Nxg3 25.Qg2 Qa7 26.Qxg3 Bxf4 White loses because of the double attack and pin on his e-Pawn. 24...Nxg3 Anyway! 25.fxg3 Rh4+ utilizing the pin on the g-Pawn to get the R into the attack. White gets mated because of his weakness on the long diagonal.

      24.Rd1 was best because Black has no immediate win. The reason is because there is no pin on the g-Pawn and so no way to get the R into play on the h-file. Houdini gives Black an advantage of 2 and one half P's here (personally I'm not so sure this is the case), but it will take GM technique to exploit it. If White had not walked into the pin on his g-Pawn then 24...Nxg3 25.fxg3 Rh4 isn't playable because there is no pin.
      Finally…in this position

White tried to launch a K-side attack before completing his development and castling with 8.Qh4 and after 8…h6 he sacrificed a piece with 9.Bxh6 Even backing down with 9.Bf4 fails because his B which is guarding c2 is undefended so after 9…Nb4 he will lose the exchange. 9...Nb4 Capturing the B allows White a perpetual check 10.Be2 Nc2+ 11.Kf1 Nxa1 Black is up the exchange. However it turned out that I actually missed the best line because I could have safely taken the B on move 11 and then capture the a1 R.
      Once again, you need to know tactics, but more than that, you need to realize when they are afoot and when they aren’t! In the first position White did not realize the value of 2 pieces vs. a R and under what circumstances the different combination of pieces are better. In the second position he tried launching an attack before completing his development, disregarded the B on d3 that was left hanging and he did not understand the prerequisites for a successful K-side attack of the type he was trying to conduct.      
      Two books would help:  The Art of Attack in Chess  by Vukovic and Attack with Mikhail Tal.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Keres vs. Euwe Match 1939

I have a new pdf booklet containing the 14 games of this match won by Keres.  LINK

Irving Chernev

      Irving Chernev (1900-1981) was born in Priluku, Ukraine, and in 1904 his family emigrated to Brooklyn, New York.

      In the 1930s, Chernev won several very strong rapid transit chess tournaments at the Marshall Chess Club and in 1942 played in the U.S. Championship, won by Isaac Kashdan, finishing with +4 -7 =4 to tie for 10th-11th place out of 15. In 1944, he played in the U.S. Championship, won by Arnold Denker, but had a poor result of +1 -11 =3 and finished 16th out of 18. He played in played in numerous New York state championships, authored of 20 chess books and one checkers book. In his younger days, Chernev was considered a master in both chess and checkers
      In the 1930’s, Chernev was a major figure in the New York City chess world, rubbing shoulders with players like Fine, Reshevsky, Kashdan, Horowitz,and Denker. During that time he wrote articles for Horowitz’s new Chess Review magazine, and published his first books, Chess Strategy and Tactics, with Reinfeld, and An Invitation to Chess, with Kenneth Harkness. In the early forties, Chernev had become, in Denker’s words, "a solid master." If chessplayers earned ELO points for appreciating chess, for caring deeply about it, then Chernev would have been a Grandmaster. He never went anywhere without five or six little black notebooks which were kept for recording games or fantastic combinations, problems or amusing anecdotes. Chernev could be quirky, obstinate, naïve, and even dead wrong. Some of his anecdotes weren’t actually very factual. In his books the principles he expounded are simplistic generalizations, superficial axioms that lead to rote, mechanical play rather than original, creative, and independent thinking. But it must be remembered he was writing mostly for beginners.
      Denker said that in the 1930’s and 40’s Chernev worked at a series of menial jobs in the paper industry. However, in 1968 he retired from Marquardt & Company in New York City and moved to San Francisco.
      Marquard was an aeronautical engineering company that was involved in the development of the ramjet engine. The ramjet never became a major design and the company turned to other fields in the 1970s but eventually went bankrupt in the 1990’s. Chernev died of cancer in San Francisco on September 29, 1981 at the age of 81.
      Chernev wrote that he "probably read more about chess, and played more games than any man in history." His most famous book is Logical Chess: Move by Move, where he took 33 classic games from 1889 to 1952, and explained them in an manner instructive for beginners.
      In 1976, Chernev listed his choice of the 12 greatest players: Capablanca, Alekhine, Lasker, Fischer, Botvinnik, Petrosian, Tal, Spassky, Bronstein, Rubinstein, and Nimzovich.
      He also listed the 10 best chess books: My Best Games of Chess, 1908-1923, Alekhine, Masters of the Chessboard, Reti, My 60 Memorable Games, Fischer, My Chess Career, Capablanca, One Hundred Selected Games, Botvinnik, My System, Nimzovich, The Book of the International Chess Tournament 1924, Alekhine, Das Internationale Schachmeisterturnier in Karlsbad 1907, Marco, IV Internationales Schachmeisterturnier – Karlsbad 1929, Manual of Chess, Emanuel Lasker

In the following game he defeats NM Harry Baker in the 1942 US Championship.

US Chess Hall of Fame

I was doing some research on this organization and, believe it or not, they don’t have a website! Well, they do, but it does not contain anything…just one page containing the list of names of the directors and some links to stuff having nothing to do with chess. All other references to it that I found are broken links. Fortunately Chess Links Worldwide has a small section devoted to members but even there many links do not work. Here are the members of the US Chess Hall of Fame:

Lev Alburt, Kenneth Harkness, Hans Berliner, Hermann Helms, Pal Benko, I.A. Horowitz, Arthur Bisguier, Isaac Kashdan, Walter Browne, Lubomir Kavalek, Donald Byrne, George Koltanowski, Robert Byrne, Sam Loyd, John Collins, George Mackenzie, Arthur Dake, Frank Marshall, Arnold Denker, Edmar Mednis, Ed Edmondson, Paul Morphy, Arpad Elo, Victor Palciauskas, Larry Evans, Harry Pillsbury, Reuben Fine, Fred Reinfeld, Robert Fischer, Sammy Reshevsky, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Wilhelm Steinitz, Gisela Gresser, Milan Vukcevich

I find it unfortunate that there is almost nothing available on this project because I envisioned a nice website with lots of information filled with photos of memorabilia, etc. on the members but it doesn't exist. What a shame.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chess Hero

No, this post is not about a favorite chessplayer.

It’s about a free “guess the next move program.” The program comes with the Toga engine but you can add any engine in your arsenal (either XBoard and UCI engine protocols) and it has positions from small databases consisting of the Evans Gambit, OGD Orthodox Defense, Morozevich games and Reinfeld’s 1001 Brilliant Sacirifices or you can customize the program to include pgn files of, say, master games, your own games, tactical positions from different collections or games of your favorite player. You do that by copying them to the hard drive location where the program is stored. The interface itself is highly customizable with a nice selection of pieces, etc.

Playing through GM games and covering up the moves then figuring out what was played next is an excellent way to improve. C.J.S. Purdy said in his book Fine Art of Chess Annotation that all great players played over lots of master games and the best way to do this is to cover the moves and figure out the moves yourself. As I have pointed out in previous posts, I did this many years ago using Informants and kept track of my percentages just to make it interesting. The improvement astonished me. Technically I guess you could to this with any engine as long as you avoid cheating by peeking at the engine output, but this little program makes it easy…especially the part about keeping track of your success rate.

What the program does is pick a random position from the PGN files and then asks you to guess the best move computed by the engine. On every attempt you are given a penalty, told your move is correct or, on a couple of rare occasions I was told my move was better than the initial engine evaluation. Today I played 41 positions and correctly solved 32 for a 78% score.

After you've made your move it tells you how you scored compared to the text move and you gain or lose points (based on the engine’s evaluation). Then the engine analyzes the position and comes up with its own best move. Again, I suppose you could to this with any program but the real advantage with this little program is that it keeps your statistics so you can see your improvement. Another advantage that it has over tactics servers is that, just like in a real game, you may be presented with a position where there isn’t a tactical shot so you have to realize there isn’t a brilliant sacrifice in the position and what is needed is a good positional move. Bottom line: Worth looking at.  Link to Chess Hero.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jon Ostriker, Correspondence Grandmaster

Jon Ostriker recently earned the title of Correspondence Grand Master to become the 10th US player to receive the title. Ostiker was interviewed in this month’s Chess Life magazine and freely admits to being a centaur. That’s a term, often derogatory, for a player than uses an engine, but as I have pointed out in previous posts, these days it includes many players at the top of most Internet sites and all official titled players playing for the ICCF. Officially a centaur is described as a player who uses both chess engine input and his own strategic knowledge. It’s that last part, uses his own strategic knowledge, that distinguishes a centaur from a pure engine user.
      In the article Ostriker explained the necessity of using engines at his level of play and also explained some of the dangers in letting engine be the final judge of what move should be played…at least at his level of play.
      Ostriker emphasizes a point I have made many times when he said, “If a mid-level player had a fast chess computer and …always followed the recommendation of his chess engine, he would probably finish last in an ICCF candidates tournament.”
      The reason, as he pointed out, is that engines don’t always correctly evaluate a position and they do poorly, for example, at recognizing a fortress, where, for example, one side may be down a piece, but the other side is unable to force a win using his material advantage. In order to be successful at his level of play a centaur must use his judgment to determine how much he can rely on the engine in each position.
      He said that very often he has to ignore the engine’s top or second recommendation because the engine’s ply horizon is not deep enough to correctly evaluate key lines. As a result they will often miss the strategic importance of certain themes: positional sacs of the exchange, fortresses, Zugzwang and very deep sacrificial attacks. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I have noticed a tendency of engine evaluations to be in disagreement with GM evaluations in positions with material imbalances. I also opined that I will rely on the GM’s judgment over the engines in every case.
      As Ostiker points out, engines are just another tool at the international level. You have to include a lot of other tools (mentioned in previous posts) in your arsenal. He mentions one key point to knowing when to start looking deeper into the position and questioning its evaluation is when you see evaluations fluctuating. Also, as I previously mentioned, he says CC at that level requires skills most of us don’t have: research, patience and excellent positional judgment.
      In the interview Ostiker also commented that to him the first CC world champion, C.S. Purdy, remains a chess hero and he recommends the book How Purdy Won. Purdy wrote that in many complex chess positions strategy is almost irrelevant. What matters is finding the right tactical stroke.

An even better source for Purdy material is probably Bob Long's site:      The Chess Museum

20 Annotated GM Games

I have a new pdf book of 20 games very well annotated by GM’s explaining the moves primarily in words rather than just giving variations.  Annotators include Walter Browne, Bronstein, Shamkovich, etc.  DOWNLOAD

Monday, February 7, 2011

pdf Chess Documents

I have just discovered a site called Findtoyou which contains 220 pages of pdf chess material.  Some of these are pdf’s from various websites and range from one page chess ads, excerpts by publishers, pdf booklets like mine, technical chess papers published by researchers, newsletters, etc.  In short, just about anything on the Internet that is a pdf file about chess.  You’ll have to do a lot of browsing, but who knows what you may find?!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Plastic Bishop Review

Plastic Bishop is a good site for beginners. I had some correspondence with the site’s owner, a fellow named “Ste” and he seems to be a pretty good guy who mostly runs the site for the love of it more than the money. Based on some of the questions I saw in the forums I doubt their highest rated players a much above 1600 or so.
      As well as being able to play in standard games you can also join tournaments or multi-game matches. Tournaments can be set up to only allow players of a certain skill level to join, or you can allow anyone join.
       If you choose to become a subscribed member you will be able to create teams and invite other members to join you. As a team, with up to ten members, you can play games against other members or against other teams
      Site subscriptions are for about $12-13 per year. This gives you access to everything the site has to offer and all proceeds support its continued growth. Actually, “everything” doesn’t include much though. If you don't want to subscribe then you can use the site free with no advertising, but you will be limited to having a maximum of 10 games at once and some other features will be limited or unavailable.
      Ratings start out at 1000. My record there was +14 -0 =0, including this gem against a 1300: 1.g4 d5 2.Bg2 Bxg4 3.c4 Be6 4.Qb3 dxc4 5.Qxb7 1-0 See what I mean about it being a good beginners site?!

Paul Morphy Street and Paul Morphy Cigars

"I propose the health of Paul Morphy, the world's chess champion. His peaceful battles have helped to achieve a new revolution; his youthful triumphs have added a new clause to the declaration of American independence." ----Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1859

      Paul Morphy's influence was so widespread that baseball clubs, cigars, and a top chess opponent's daughter were named after him. Morphy was the first sports figure to issue a commercial endorsement when he said some good things about a watch. He even had a baseball club named after him in 1859: a Brooklyn baseball team - The Morphy Baseball Club - was named in his honor.

Upon returning to the United States in 1859, Morphy toured most of the country's major cities where he was greeted as an American hero, with several cities planning celebrations of his accomplishments. He was sought after for product endorsements, received a generous salary to write a chess column in the New York Ledger. Morphy also has a street named after him in New Orleans.

Morphy Street in  New Orleans

Queen Alice Site Review

Click to enlarge
Nowadays Queen Alice is my site of choice for playing CC.

Time Controls
There are two main types of time controls available:
Per move: Each player is assigned a maximum of reflection time per move. Options: 1, 3, 7 and 14 days per move.
Per game: Each player is assigned a maximum of reflection time for the whole game. Options: 10, 30, 60 and 90 days per game per player.
      The ratings for the players are updated immediately after the game ends. During the first 25 games ratings are provisional. If both players are unrated, the winner gets 1500 points and the loser 1100. If the game ended in a draw then both players get 1300 points. Players with established ratings will have their ratings protected when playing against unrated or provisional players. A protected rating can remain the same or go up, but never go down, even when the player loses the game. Special rule: if the opponent is rated 400 or more points below or above, then the rating will not be affected no matter the outcome.
    Player pairings in tournaments are generated by the server, players cannot choose who to play against.
Double Round Robin Tournaments:  In a Double Round Robin tournament each participant plays two games against each of the players in the group with alternating colors. Tournament scores are computed for each player in the following way: 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss. After all the games in a round are completed, the players with the highest scores in each group advance to the next round.
Swiss System TournamentsFor each round the system will divide the participants in groups according to their current scores and as much as possible will try to pair players out of the same score group. As with Double Round Robin tournaments, a win is worth 2 points, a draw is worth 1 point, and no points are given for a loss. Points earned are accumulated from round to round.  The server automatically generates the pairings in a random fashion.

In addition to tournament play you can also play individual games by posting or accepting a challenge in the open games section. Looking back I see my first game there was a win against a 1200 in an open challenge and I had an initial rating of 1500. My second game was another open challenge win against an 1839 giving me a rating after only two games of 1870, so one nice thing about this site is that if you are a decent player, you don’t have to slog through a hundred games to find good competition.
      They also have various forums related to chess. While the forums aren’t particularly interesting one thing I do like is that the moderator does not allow spamming, profanity or other such nastiness that you frequently find on server sites. The site is in English as are most of the posts but I have noticed a lot of Brazilian players on the site, so posts in Portuguese are not unusual.
      All of you games are archived so you can always go back and look at them.

For free, this site is the best. In fact I found it equal to another site where I was paying about $30 per year for membership. Highly recommended.

Chess Museum

This interesting site is from the bi-annual meeting of the German CC section from the 8th to the 10th of October, 2010 and has some nice photos of old chess sets and clocks. Fun browsing!  LINK

Lechenicher SchachServer Server

Click to enlarge
 I have mentioned Lechenicher ScachServer (LSS) on this Blog before so thought I would do a review on it as well as perhaps other CC servers I have experience with.

      After returning to chess in 2004 after a 12 year hiatus one of the first servers I played on was IECG but they stopped operations on 31st December, 2010. The reason given was there was a great decline in the popularity of e-mail chess. That was how all games were played…you got e-mails from your opponents. Most of us downloaded and used a special program that automatically did the paperwork: thing like recording moves, times and such. Some time before they ceased operations everything was transferred to Lechenicher SchachServer Server (LSS). You get an e-mail when your opponent has moved and all you have to do there is log on and go to your homepage which has all your information on the server. The server has an excellent performance, a powerful communication system, and supports several languages. It also covers a full range of Tournaments. The organization is run by a person named Dr. Ortwin Paetzold, who was one of the IECG founders.
      As you know, ICCF, the official world CC organization, allows computer use. They decided not to make any rule on this topic because a non-enforceable rule is worse that no rule at all. Both IECG and LSS have adopted the same policy. The ICCF is recognized by FIDE as the world governing body for correspondence chess: ICCF makes rules, awards titles and runs the most comprehensive and authoritative CC rating list. Normally you have to pay entry fees to enter ICCF events but LSS play is totally free.
      Most tournaments at LSS are 30 days for 10 moves (plus 45 days vacation) so games can take a LONG time. For me though, this is no worse than it was back in the old post card says. However, I must admit, it can be annoying when a player has built up his time and has 60 or 70 days remaining in his time bank. That means he could take 60-70 days on one move. They do have other time limits though. Occasionally they offer “no engine” tournaments where it is presumed nobody will use one. LSS runs its own championship tournaments and awards titles, but I don’t think anyone takes them seriously.

LSS offers:
      Tournament offerings cover the full range of IECG Server Tournaments (Server Tournaments with 40days/10 moves time control, Rapid Tournaments with a 10days+1day/move control) but also Open Groups without Rating Restrictions (mainly for new players, 20days+2 days/move Time Control) and Two-Game-Matches (also at 20days+2days/move) and once a year the Lechenicher SchachServer Anniversary (30days+2days/move). Information, Rules, etc. can be displayed in several languages. Only the communication between players during a game cannot be translated.
      Unlike most servers, you play under your real name there and when you register, you will be asked to provide a starting rating from another organization. If you don’t have one you will be assigned a rating of only 800 so it’s unlikely at that rating you will be playing engine users, I would think. One bad thing I have noticed is that it often takes a long time for tournament sections to fill up. On the other hand games start as soon as at least two people are registered. Why would you want to play there? You probably don’t unless you want to test your skills in computer assisted chess or you have an engine you want to try out.

Lechenicher ScachServer Link

Friday, February 4, 2011

Non-Chess Post

      This Blog is about chess and I have every intention of keeping it that way. I can only remember one other post I made that was not about chess, but today something stuck in my craw so bad I simply must comment on it.
      TV dinners. I am not a fan of them, but I do find some tolerable: Swanson and Stouffer’s have a few that aren’t bad and I can tolerate them if I have to but a couple of weeks ago we bought two dinners (stuffed pepper and a pepper steak) made by a company called Michelina’s as a “test” to see if we might like them.
      Earlier this week I put one in my wife’s lunch and she advised me not to do it again; she heated it up at work, took one bite and threw it out. This afternoon I microwaved the pepper steak for lunch and have to tell you the gag factor of this “stuff” (I hate to call it food) is off the charts. I managed two bites before dispatching it to where it belonged in the first place…the garbage can. Beware: I don’t care how good the sale price is or how tasty the picture on the box looks, don’t buy this crap.

Fedir Bohatirchuk

Fedir Bohatirchuk (born 14 November 1892 in Kiev, Ukraine - died 4 September 1984, Ottawa, Canada) was an International Master in both OTB and Correspondence Chess. He was also a medical doctor (radiologist), political activist and chess writer. As a youth, he occasionally traveled to tournaments with Chigorin who strongly influenced his style and openings.
     In 1911, he won at Kiev then in February 1914, he lost an exhibition game against Capablanca at Kiev and then finished 3rd in the tournament. In July/August 1914, he tied for 6th–10th at Mannheim. It was at this event that Bohatirchuk, along with 10 other "Russian" players from the interrupted Mannheım tournament, was interned by Germany after the declaration of war against Russia at the outbreak of World War I. In September 1914, Bohatirchuk, Saburov, and Koppelman were freed and allowed to return home.
     Bohatirchuk played in six USSR Chess Championships: 1923, 1924, 1927, 1931, 1933, and 1934. In 1923, he tied for 3rd–5th at Petrograd, the 2nd USSR Championship. In 1924, he took 2nd, behind Vilner, at Kiev and in 1924, he tied for 3rd–4th at Moscow at the 3rd USSR Championship.
     In 1925, he took 11th of 21 at Moscow. This great tournament was won by Bogoljubov, followed by Lasker, Capablanca, and Marshall. According to Chessmetrics.com. Bohatirchuk scored a 2628 performance at this event.
     Other notable successes were:

1927, won at Kiev and tied for 1st–2nd with Romanovsky at Moscow (5th USSR Ch.)
1929, won at Kiev.
1931, tied for 3rd–6th at Moscow (7th USSR Ch.
1933, 1st in the Moscow (Quadrangular)
1933 8th at Leningrad (8th USSR Ch.)
1934/1935, tied for 3rd–4th at Leningrad (9th USSR Ch.)
1935, tied for 16th–17th at Moscow. This event was won by Botvinnik and Flohr, but Bohatirchuk beat Botvinnik in their individual game. Bohatirchuk wrote in his autobiography that after this game the head of the Soviet chess delegation, Minister of Justice Nikolai Krylenko, told him, "You will never beat Botvinnik again.” Bohatirchuk never played Botvinnik again, and had a record of 3 =1 –0 against Botvinnik. Because of this incident he was not invited to the Moscow International the following year. He also had problems in Kiev in 1937 also because some young gifted chess players, Konstantinopolsky, Pogrebyssky and Polyak published an article against Bohatirchuk in a main Ukrainian newspaper Communist of Ukraine. The main point of the article was that Bohatirchuk, being a head of Ukrainian chess organization, spent too much money building the city chess club, but spent little time "working with youth", etc. As a result he did not engage in much chess activity and concentrated on his medical research.

1936, 3rd at Kiev (8th Ukrainian SSR Ch.)
1937, 1st at Kiev (the 9th Ukrainian Championship
1938, 2nd at Kiev (USSR Ch. semi-final)

During the Russian Civil War Bohatirchuck was employed by a military hospital, and was a professor of anatomy at the Institute of Physical Education and Sport in Kiev.  As a doctor in 1940, Bohatirchuk was sent to a German medical research facility when Kiev fell to the Nazis in September 1941. During World War 2 he was a head of the Ukrainian Red Cross.
     While working with the Red Cross Bohatyrchuk did a lot to help the Soviet prisoners of war kept in the German camps in extremely harsh conditions. These activities irritated the Germans, and in February 1942 Bohatirchuk was arrested and spent about a month in a Gestapo detention centre in Kiev. There is some evidence that during that time he provided a cover to a Jewish female employee (a sister of the Kiev chess player Boris Ratner), thereby saving her from execution or deportation to a ghetto. At a later stage of the War, though, Bohatirchuk became a Nazi collaborator and when the Soviet army forced the Germans from Kiev, Bohatirchuk and his family fled to Cracow then Prague in 1944.
     There he joined the Committee for Freedom of Peoples in Russia, a Nazi-sponsored, semi-military organization headed by the Nazi collaborationist Russian general Vlasov who’s troops participated on the German side. He was also the leader of a Nazi-sponsored project called the Ukrainian National Council. As a result of these activities, Bohatirchuk was persona non grata in the Soviet Union and they removed many of his games from their official records.

1944, 2nd, behind Bogoljubow at Raom and drew a match against Stephan Popel.  I have done a post on Popel HERE.
1944, played an 8-game training series against local players (including the well known names of Kottnauer, Pachman and Podgorny) scoring +7 =1 –0.

     After WW2, as the German armies were retreating, Bohatirchuk moved to a number of cities before finally ending up in the American controlled city of Bayreuth in May, 1945. For a time he lived in Muncih and played in a number of German tournaments under as assumed name in order to avoid repatriation to the USSR.

1946, he won the Klaus Junge Memorial at Regensburg ahead of Elmars Zemgalis and Unzicker.
1947, 3rd at Kirchheim-Teck and finished 4th a Stuttgart
     After the end of WW2, the USA, UK, and Canada chose to give asylum to numerous Nazi collaborators from Eastern Europe with Canada accepting many Ukrainian collaborators. The reason for offering asylum to many of the people was because they had advanced scientific knowledge which was of interest to the western powers.
     While living in Canada he played in three Canadian championships. In 1949, he took 2nd at Arvida ahead of the strong Canadian players, Abe Yanofsky, Frank Anderson and Povilas Vaitonis.
1951, tied for 3rd-4th places at Vancouver
1954, represented Canada at the Chess Olympics
1955, tied for 3rd–5th at Ottawa

     In 1954 FIDE awarded him the title of IM. His earlier achievements were sufficient for the GM title but the Soviets blocked this for political reasons and he was awarded the IM title as a compromise.
     In his seventies he took up CC and won the Canadian CC championship twice as well as playing 1st board for the Canadian CC team in the Correspondence Chess Olympiad from 1962–1965. He was awarded the CC IM title in 1967 by the ICCF. He continued to play correspondence chess until age 85.
     Chess historian Edward Winter has a very interesting article on chess and politics about Bohatirchuck and Ludek Pachman HERERalph Marconi has also written an interesting brief bio of Bohatirchuck HERE.
     Here is a link to a viewable game with Bohatirchuck’s notes of the game he won from Botvinnik at Moscow in 1935:  LINK

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why I Lack a Correspondence Chess Title

"It is much easier to play like Kasparov or Alekhine in correspondence chess. One has plenty of time, days and weeks; and one can move the pieces on the board, check and recheck ... it was a great pleasure for me to calculate the lines over and over again." — Dr. Eugene Martinovsky, US Master (otb) and strong CC player.

    Jerry Meyers, a top level US CC player, had some things to say about his method. He searches hard for opening innovations in almost every game. He does this by immersing himself in a main sub-variation of his openings and carefully examining databases and periodicals.
    One problem with databases is they frequently lack players’ notes and ideas so he prefers to experiment with real chess pieces. By going through lots of games, especially old ones, the new move reflects a lot of chess “history” which helps him to better understand the idea behind it.
    Jon Edwards, another very strong CC player, says he uses a large chess library consisting of about 1,500 books and he also relies heavily on periodicals as well as databases.
    For endgames he uses a database in order to find all endgames similar to the ones he is playing and said that once you play through 200 or so games with a similar theme, the positional ideas become much more clear. For the middle game he also uses a database to search for all games with similar pawn structures, material balances, etc. and says it’s important to have complete games so that he can see positions in which specific maneuvers work as well as positions where they don't work. He prefers using a database because he can play through the games much faster.
    He claims that at his level of play in the ICCF computer use, while not illegal, is not of much help. He explained an engine might see 5-6 moves ahead but a good CC player frequently sees 15-20 ahead. Some players say they use engine to guard against blunders but Edwards said he feels he is quite unlikely to hang stuff after looking at the position for 10 hours.
    When it comes to play in the ICCF he stated that it is not easy to reach 2450. Edwards gives the following scenario:
    Player X thinks that Rd1 is the best move, but the computer, after a day's thought, prefers Rc1. The computer says that Rc1 is +39.
    So, what does Player X do? He plugs in Rd1. After another day's thought, the computer says that Rd1 is +33. So what move does Player X play? Will playing the computer's recommendation result in a 2450 rating?
    Edwards states that he prefers CC chess because in over the board chess he makes mistakes, throws away advantages, and gets distracted. In CC, he can plan to his heart's content, and every now and again, he can play an error-free game
    So it appears that if you want a title with the ICCF you are going to need, in addition to the best software available, a large library, lots of time to do research and some real understanding of the game. You’ll also need a huge amount of time patience!
    A few years back I wanted to try my luck playing some “serious” correspondence chess and entered some events at Lechenicher Schach Server at my official US CC rating (2060).  An old, slow computer, an outdated version of Fritz, a lack of patience and a huge lack of talent lead to a result (after 30 games or so) of +1 and a loss of well over 200 points. So, it's not that easy! I have to be content with my piddling official US CC rating because I think that in order to get over 2200 I’m going to have to play like Jerry Meyers and Jon Edwards and the truth is I don’t have the hardware, software, books, patience or talent. That’s why I Blog. Those who can, do and those who can’t…Blog!

New Blog - Chessview

I’ve added a new Blog to the list on the right column. It’s called Chessview. According to the author: "My personal blog about chess and everything what is related to this sport. Here you will find only subjective articles. There are no news from chess worlds. No scores, no analysis."

It does not have a lot of posts yet, but the articles are interesting and I recommend paying it a visit if for no other reason than to offer encouragement to a new Blogger!

Snatching the b-Pawn

We have all read about the dangers in snatching the b-Pawn. In the following Internet 15-minute game my opponent did exactly that. Some time ago, writing in Chess Life magazine, GM Robert Byrne said the Budapest Gambit was better than its reputation and GM Arthur Bisguier has used it on occasion.

Occasionally I have used it with varying degrees of success and it was my intention to do so in this game. When White played 2. Nc3 instead of 2.c4 I decided to play 2…e5 anyway…sort of a Faux Budapest Gambit.

I’ve run into a lot of White players who like to play Qd5 against the Budapest in order to hold on to the P and when White played it in this game I wasn’t surprised but the move seems a little risky because with his next move 10.Bd2 he severely limited retreat squares for his Q. Grabbing the b-Pawn wasn’t actually bad, but unfortunately for White, he didn’t realized the danger his Q was in and it got trapped right in the center of the board.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oldrich Duras

Oldrich Duras (30 October 1882, Pchery, Bohemia, then Austria-Hungary – 5 January 1957, Prague, then Czechoslovakia) was a leading Czech chess master of the early 20th century. FIDE awarded him the title of International Grandmaster in 1950, when the title was first introduced, in recognition of his achievements in the early twentieth century.

He was not only a leading player of his day but also a successful composer. During his early years Duras served the Austrio - Hungarian army in World War I. He participated in many major tournaments and was the Czech Champion for three years in 1905, 1909 and 1911. He also won the German Championship in 1912. His most noted international tournament successes were Bremen (1905), Prague (1908), Vienna (1908) and Breslau (1912) in which he tied for first in all four!
In 1914 Duras married a rich wife and shortly withdrew from competition. During his retirement, he turned to problem composition, where he ranked among the very best. He published many fine studies in the years between the wars.
In 1942, as a tribute to Duras' 60th birthday, a tournament was held in Prague, where Alekhine and Klaus Junge tied for first. He was also a spectator at the 1946 Prague tournament.
His style of play according to one source was that he was particularly strong in tactics and was a 'pure-calculator.’ On the other hand Harry Golombek wrote, “His years as a player characterized him as a clear positional player against whom tactical adventures were always fraught with risk.” Who are we to believe?!

500 of his games can be downloaded HERE.

In the following game Duras’ play is most impressive in the way he carried out his attack while his own K was threatened with disaster.