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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Review: KARL International

KARL is a German-language quarterly chess magazine that began publishing in 2001. Starting in 2008, KARL International was introduced as an English-language version. It is my impression that the International edition is an English translation, not an entirely different publication. This review covers the inaugural issue...

For the next week, the review is available at the ChessCafe book review page, and is also permanently archived here.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Nice Video About the University of Texas-Dallas Chess Program


2009 Scholar Chessplayer Award

The USCF has published a press release of interest to high school senior and junior students:


Contact: Jerry Nash
(931)787-1234 ext:145

Reminder! The applications are due on March 1st, 2009, for the 2009 Scholar Chessplayer Awards. These annual scholarships awarded by the USCF and the US Chess Trust, are intended to recognize and encourage high school junior or senior students who promote a positive image of chess. Current USCF members (high school juniors or seniors) who have shown outstanding merit in academics, sportsmanship, and chess are eligible to apply for a National Scholar-Chessplayer Award. Five awards of $1000.00 each (for a total of $5,000.00) in scholarship money are available. The applications are available online. The link to the Scholastic National Invitational Event and Reward Requirements is The link to the application is:


Thursday, February 12, 2009

SuperNationals IV Getting Closer!

April 3 is when the 4th edition of the SuperNationals begins!

What are the SuperNationals? The United States Chess Federation, the governing body for chess in the country, promotes the development of scholastic chess programs and sponsors national competitions. Every four years the three spring national events – elementary, junior high and high school – are hosted in one location.

In April 2005, more than 5,300 students - and approximately 15,000 people in all - gathered in Nashville, Tennessee for the largest scholastic tournament in history. This record will be shattered at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in April of 2009!

Make your plans NOW to be a part of this historic event!

For comprehensive information about this mega-tournament, see the SuperNationals website.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spotlight on Missouri Chess: Margaret Hua

The Winter 2009 issue of the Missouri Chess Bulletin is available online, and it contains my article about ten-year-old Margaret Hua, one of the U.S. participants at the 2008 World Youth Chess Championships in Vietnam.


Review: Let's Play Chess

This second edition of Let’s Play Chess is said to contain about forty percent new material compared to its predecessor, and offers an easy, stress-free peek into what we all know can be an exceedingly complex game.

In describing how each chess piece moves, Pandolfini does a nice job of not complicating matters. He initially avoids en passant captures and pawn promotion, castling, and avoids any real discussion of illegal moves such as moving a king into check, but does cover these topics later in the book. He allows readers to feel a sense of success and lessens the likelihood of frustration setting in any earlier than necessary!

You can read the full review for the next week at the main ChessCafe book review page, and it is also permanently archived here.


Understanding the Philidor Position

Heard of the "Philidor Position" but not really sure how to handle it? It's not terribly difficult - take a look at my February Scholastic Chess column at ChessCafe! I include the main way to handle a Philidor position as well as what Mark Dvoretsky refers to as the "second defensive method." There are a number of traps to avoid along the way, so read and enjoy!

The article is also permanently archived here.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Jennifer Comes to St. Louis!

The wind chill in St. Louis has been below zero in recent days, but the city warmed up Thursday evening with the appearance of Chess Life Online editor WGM Jennifer Shahade. She was in town working on arrangements for the upcoming U.S. Championship, to be held at the sparkling Chess and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, and was kind enough to hold three clock simuls for the local chess crowd.

Out of the 15 games she played against both children and adults, she won 11, drew 2, and lost 2. "The kids were tougher!" she said. Joel Berez, president of the Internet Chess Club, was on hand and provided free World Chess Live memberships to all who were able to draw or defeat Jennifer.

Ten-year-old Michael Yin was one of the talented youngsters to draw Jennifer and is looking forward to his free WCL membership!

A pensive Jennifer

The clock is winding down on Jennifer's young opponent!

Club founder Rex Sinquefield, one of Jennifer's students

ICC President Joel Berez watches in the background

Thumbs down if you lost, thumbs up if you won. Notice there aren't too many thumbs up outside of Jennifer.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Review: How Chess Games Are Won and Lost

Would you pay $30 for a one-hour private lesson with a grandmaster? How about $30 for a couple dozen lessons with a GM? That’s what this book feels like. Lars Bo Hansen has a talent for really relating to the “average” club player.

For my full review of this outstanding book, see the ChessCafe primary book review page (for the next 7 days), or read it in the ChessCafe archives.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Check Out This Game in The Kenilworthian!

Michael Goeller of The Kenilworthian frequently presents and annotates games featuring a variety of openings - this blog is a wonderful site to visit regularly, particularly if you can take the time to review his annotations.

Michael touched a soft spot in his recent annotation titled "An Old Giuoco Worth Repeating," featuring the game Short-Kasimdzanov, Corus B 2009. The Giuoco was a favorite of mine when I was first learning the game.

While I'm not as big a fan of Nigel Short as Michael is, the game he presents really is a beauty. Seeing the old Giuoco hitting the big time again is enjoyable, but I was really impressed with the manner in which Short converted his positional advantage to the full point. It's a beautiful illustration of a good knight vs. semi-bad bishop ending. The Java game presentation, by the way, is very user-friendly. It allows the viewer to easily see the current position while reviewing Michael's annotations. In addition, a la ChessBase, one can also easily view (on the game board) side variations from the annotation notes.


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