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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Review: Secret Weapons of the Champions

Here's a brief excerpt from my ChessCafe review of this ChessBase DVD:

In this four-hour DVD, Mikhalchishin demonstrates the second approach, that of observing patterns of great players from the past. Following the introduction, there are four video segments covering Mikhail Botvinnik, two videos discussing the little-known Soviet GM Vladimir Makogonov, five video chapters about Mikhail Tal, and four video lectures concerning Tigran Petrosian.

For the entire review, click here.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

GM Joel Benjamin and Chess Dropouts

In his latest "GM Joel" column at Chess Life Online, GM Joel Benjamin shares his thoughts concerning the not uncommon occurrence of kids giving up chess, particularly around 5th or 6th grade.

To summarize his thoughts, he lists three primary reasons why kids often drop out of chess:

1) Many school chess programs are available for children in earlier grades, but fewer exist for the middle school kids. Without organized programs, the kids will naturally gravitate toward other pursuits.

2) As raw beginners, kids can play and enjoy chess with little real effort. As they begin advancing a bit, though, in order to be competitive, more work is required. This necessitates a committment they may be unwilling to make.

3) Especially as kids reach middle school age, sports and social activities become more important and leave less time, if any, for chess.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Challenging Chess Problems

In this month's "The Instructor" column at ChessCafe, Mark Dvoretsky includes twenty compositions from Alois Wotawa. To give you a taste, here is the first problem, with White to move:

For the rest of the problems, and the solutions, click here.


Controversial Chess Instruction

On Sunday, October 14, television station KHOU in Houston aired a report blasting a local school district for spending $129,000 to instruct district teachers how to incorporate chess instruction into their classrooms. The instruction, provided by America's Foundation for Chess, had as its goal increased standardized test scores by district pupils.

A major sticking point, and understandable from a taxpayer standpoint, is that at least a portion of the AF4C instruction came aboard a Carribean cruise, courtesy of Houston taxpayers.

You can view the TV report here. A transcript of the report is available here.


Monday, October 15, 2007

USCF Website

The remodeled USCF website has now been online for about a month. It's still a work in progress, but it's easy to access the latest information.

If you want to go directly to the Chess Life Online page, click here. As of this writing, some of the latest articles include:

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

New Scholastic Chess ChessCafe column online!

My October Scholastic Chess column is now online at ChessCafe. You can read about the wonderful Right Move program in New York.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Multiple Annotated Games from 2007 U.S. Women's Championship

Chess Life Online has posted an extensive article by Chris Bird covering the 2007 U.S. Women's Championship. It's a bit after the fact (the tournament took place this past July), but the article contains quite a few well-annotated games from the event.


Keene on Chess

GM Raymond Keene notes that "Traditionally, the title of world champion is decided by a mano a mano battle between the world’s two top players...The sole exception to this rule hitherto was 1948 when Alekhine’s death as incumbent caused an interregnum which necessitated a five-man match tournament to decide the destination of the title."

In his latest "Keene on Chess" column at Chessville, Keene annotates the game Botvinnik-Euwe from this 1948 championship, and also annotates the round two game Kramnik – Morozevich from the recently completed 2007 championship in Mexico City.


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