Saturday, December 29, 2007

Want to see a visual of how computers process chess moves?


I found this page very interesting - it basically shows how the computer processes chess information in a visual manner.

You can click here to visit Thinking Machine 4.

Also some quick site news, I have added a java chess game to www.jrobichess.com so when you visit to look over GM games or tournaments you can have a quick game against the computer.

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Videos and Some News

These are my two recent videos this week from YouTube. Also, I have added tournament databases to the GM database that I am building up on www.jrobichess.com so pop over and take a look. If you would like to see a specific tournament or GM added to the list please email me at jrobichess@gmail.com

Chess Endgame Study: 3vs3 Pawn Breakthrough Technique



Grandmaster Chess Tactics #1: Can you see the line?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Pawn Centres I: Open Centre

Christmas holidays at last, and some spare time for chess & blogs! I read a chapter in Bruce Pandolfini's Weapons of Chess the other day on the topic of pawn centres. I thought I could start a mini-series on the various types of pawn centres, illustrating each with a game of the masters.

The importance of knowing about pawn centres ought to be evident. Pawn centres are an essential -- if not the most important -- factor in determining the course of a game. You probably know what style of play you enjoy (aggressive, tactical, positional, flank attacks, centre attacks, ...) -- but do you also know how to bring about the positions you excel at? This is where knowledge of pawn centres comes in handy!

The open centre, as you might have guessed, favours aggressive, tactical play. The defining feature of an open centre is the absence of pawns: no pawns (or one at most) occupy the central files.


An open centre guarantees free passage for the pieces -- your own and your enemy's -- so speed is paramount. Fast development and an aggressive attack are key. If your opponent offers you a pawn or even an exchange, beware! The time it takes to snatch that pawn could easily give your opponent an opportunity to mate your king on the other side of the board. So don't be materialistic and keep your king safety in mind! Castle early, for a king on an open e-file is a sitting duck.

The game (with annotations) between Spielmann and Tartakower, Munich 1909 illustrates the nature of open centre play very well, I think; both players play aggressively, but in the end Spielmann is one notch faster than his opponent, forcing him into the defence and finishing him off with a powerful attack.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Chess Grandmaster Collection on www.jrobichess.com

I have been slowly building up a grandmaster chess collection on http://www.jrobichess.com. With the viewer you can select whatever match or tournament you want to look at, and mouse wheel functionality is incorporated for better viewing.

Today I added match databases for Anand and Kramnik. If you would like to see a grandmaster on the list, please let me know and I will get it up there and if you haven't signed up for the forums yet, pop on over and sign up. Registration is simple and secure.

Hope your weekend is going great, and Christmas is only 9 days away!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

YouTube and Chess

I was browsing chess videos today, and came across a video made by zgambitz which he posted 3 weeks ago but I just came across today.



I definitely hope his efforts on YouTube helps his chess goals!

I have nothing but completely positive things to say about YouTube and technology in general when it comes to chess, and hopefully many of you out there are finding that to be true for your game as well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Frustration and Chess


On occassion I get a message from a YouTube subscriber or blog visitor asking about frustration at certain development stages in chess. Often the question is along the lines "Is this normal?" or "How long will it last?" and both questions are very legitimate.

From my experience so far, it is very natural, and very healthy to be frustrated as one learns new concepts and skills. Learning new things is always challenging, especially when you consider the complicated and life-long pursuit of chess. What I have noticed since I started exploring chess, is that there is a degree of frustration before reaching a new high in personal skill. It's as if new skills are in place, but not quite settled in yet. Deep down you know they are there, as you learned them and worked on them, but the "magical" switch hasn't turned on yet, which causes the frustration.

Achieving new highs in chess skill seems to happen in subtle yet very noticeable ways. One day you are still in the 1350's range with rating. That rating might have taken some time to work towards, and people rated 1500-1600 seemed to have it all together compared to you. Then, as if by explosion, you start to win consistently against people rated 1400-1450 and your rating increases steadily until yet again it levels out. You can insert any rating here and it will make sense.

From my experience, the frustration comes just before the surge. You know you have new skills, you know you have new abilities, but it's the period in-between learning them and putting them to natural practice which causes the frustration. And if there is one message I would like to put out to everyone is that is completely normal, and to be expected. It's like a race horse ready to start the race but the stupid humans haven't opened the gate yet.

Very Close Poll Results!

This week's poll question was: Josh Waitzkin's claim that end-game study trumps all other forms of study when it comes to improving chess is definitely sound advice for aspiring chess amateurs.

The results were very close - one of the closest polls ever on the blog:

Yes (55%)
No (45%)

Make sure to check in on this week's poll: More attention should be given to current Grandmasters (Anand, Kramnik, Carlsen, etc) as opposed to people mainly focusing on the legends of chess (Fischer, Alekhine, Kasparov, etc).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kasparov on Making Mistakes and Winning at Chess

Here is a great video from YouTube in which Kasparov talks about how it is essential to analyse not only other people's games but your own.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

New Video: Chess Endgame Study: Lucena Position



A video that explores the Lucena Position, one of the most important endgame techniques for any serious chess player to learn. This video includes the basics of the Lucena position, along with variations including black moving first, and how black can work towards a draw if the Lucena Position has the pawn on the A or H file.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jingle Bell Chess

In the spirit of the season, here's some Jingle Bell Chess from YouTube! Don't forget to send me your picture for the Christmas project I am working on in case you haven't yet. Just email them to jrobichess@gmail.com with the first names of the people in the picture!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Russian Elections Over - Kasparov Released from Jail


Putin's government apperantly had a major victory, and Gary Kasparov finished his 5 day sentence in jail and was released. For more information about his release, please visit CNN which posted the article.

There can be no doubt that Kasparov tried his best to bring about change, and that since his accomplishments in the chess world he has been trying hard to make the world around him better through giving his time and energy to other people.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Voters Sound Off!

This week's question was: If Bobby Fischer, due to his health problems, were to pass on, what would he be remembered by most in future generations?

The blog community voted the following on the question:

His amazing chess ability (85%)
His racial comments (0%)
How he let chess down (5%)
How people let him down (0%)
Wont be talked about much (10%)

Thanks for contributing to the voting, and make sure to cast your vote on this week's question: Josh Waitzkin's claim that end-game study trumps all other forms of study when it comes to improving chess is definitely sound advice for aspiring chess amateurs.

New Video: Chess Match: onlyone (1910) vs. jrobi (1445)



This match has me playing against the Alekhine's Defence. As my opponent was rated significantly higher than me I tried something a little risky in the beginning with a bishop sack. My opponent probably should have been able to win, but I think the sack through him off guard and probably made him feel like this would be an easy win, which caused him to make some positional mistakes that I was able to capitalize on.

The video also has a new intro I have been playing around with.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Youth and Technology - Do they get it?

Here is an interesting video showing how younger people these days have unprecedented access to amazing technological tools, but struggle to utilize them for anything productive in a learning capacity. Teaching professionals as well struggle to incorporate technology into their teaching practices. Instead, young people are reporting that they use technology almost exclusively for the purpose of socializing.

As a person who started their chess journey with technology, I know how powerful and helpful it can be. I am often asked at how I have progressed so quickly since July of this past summer, and the meat and bones of my answer is always technology. Whether it is going over grandmaster games on my computer, playing chess online, making chess videos, using Fritz or Chessbase, or researching opening lines amongst a variety of other technology-related chess resources, the fact of the matter is that I have used tools that people in previous generations did not have access to, and it has been extremely helpful!

But I am just slightly older than your standard high school or college student (okay fine ... by a decade and a small bit!) so to me technology is a tool to use to achieve things. That being said, I also find it a useful social tool. However, the new generations seem to emphasize the social aspects almost to the exclusion of the other benefits of technology.

I hope you find this video interesting, and am looking forward to your thoughts on the issue of technology and how it is being used. Moreover, what needs to change when it comes to the implementation of technology by professional educators?

Does this video highlight the need for students themselves to make changes with how they use technology, or does it emphasize the fact that schools of all levels need to do better in helping students understand just how to make their technology do more things for their education.

Email Pictures to Me!

I have something I am working on for Christmas, and would like to have some pictures of all you out there in the spirit of the season! Send me your picture to jrobichess@gmail.com and include the first name of the people in the photograph. I would like to have them before December 14th at the latest.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas and Chess


I have started a thread on the forums about "Christmas and Chess" here for a place to post good chess christmas ideas. I know a lot of visitors have kids, and I am also looking at getting something chess-related for my son so if you have any cool ideas or come across something you can post a link in the thread. Hope your weekend was great!