Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Tactic

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving on this side of the pond, but let me take the opportunity nonetheless to thank Jrobi for all he's done for the chess-vlogging world. Can't offer you a turkey, J, but how about a tasty little chess tactic from one of my games, and one which I sadly missed at the time. The position arose from the French advance. White's down in material, and things are beginning to look really bleak now that the knight's been pinned (POSITION A). So I decide to exchange pawns; White takes back and then snatches up my d-pawn up with his bishop (POSITION B). And here I was desperately looking for the finishing blow. There are several good moves, but one's particularly devastating. Can you spot it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day - Lest We Forget

To all the troops, past and present, God bless and thank you for your service, sacrifice, and willingness to give that which is most sacred on earth for our freedom. May the memories live on, and may freedom continue to be the banner that we wrap around our sense of national pride.

"In Flanders Fields" is one of the most famous poems written during the First World War, and has been called "the most popular poem" produced during that period. Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote it on May 3, 1915, after he witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, the day before.

Monday, November 10, 2008

jrobichess Finds First Edition "My 60 Memorable Games" by the late Bobby Fischer in a Thrift Store!

Personally I am amazed. In awe might even be a better description of how I am feeling. There will be a video today posted on YouTube about this, but before I do that I am posting this on the blog while everything is still fresh in my mind.

We went down to the local thrift store to check things out. Generally I end up just browsing in the book corner while the rest of the family browses the other sections. I walked up to the book section and began checking out the shelves. I remember talking to the big guy in the sky saying something along the lines, "Wouldn't it be awesome to come across Bobby Fischer's book?". That book being of course "My 60 Memorable Games" which was printed in 1969. It's considered a rare book now, and catches a fair price on Ebay - not like I would sell it of course.

Regardless, the chances of finding this book were practically non-existent. The town that I live in has less than 15,000 people in it, and there isn't anything for chess here other than what I do. But one can dream right? Yes one can!

So I am looking at the first couple shelves. Most of the books are of a historical nature, a lot to do with war, and of course your standard assortment of fiction books and self-help manuals. I had checked out a couple of the long rows, spine by spine, and was about to pack it in and head off when I thought I would glance to the right of me on the top shelf. The word "Memorable" caught my eyes, and I glanced at it and was completely stunned. Sure enough, at the bottom of the book's spine was the name "Bobby Fischer". Even thought I was stunned and in awe, that didn't stop me from IMMEDIATELY grabbing it!

In my hands I was holding a first printing of Fischer's chess masterpiece! I opened it up right away and noticed some check marks alongside move orders in the first 4 pages, left behind by some unknown chess enthusiast who marked them while exploring his or her passion with the game with Fischer as the guide. The book looked like it was cared for quite well, all things considered. Who knows the journey this particular book has been through on it's road from a passionate chess fan to the shelf of a thrift store, so seeing the relatively good condition was a blessing.

The book itself has undergone many revisions. It must be stated, however, that Fischer himself objected to the revised versions - believing the first edition to be the only real version. The timeless classic is slated to be re-released in algebraic notation - supposedly this time with no changes to Fischer's personal analysis and commentary. I will be picking up the new version, but now I will be able to check to make sure no changes were made to the thoughts and chess ideas of arguably the best chess player in recorded history with this first printing in hand.

For those wondering, I paid $1.00 for the book. Now on to make the YouTube video about this.

EDIT: Here's the video.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Funny Kasparov vs. Short Video

Enjoy and remember to think of the troops (present and past) on the 11th month, 11th day, and 11th hour - Remembrance Day 2008!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Chess Video: Legends of Chess #1: Boris Gulko

This video series focuses on legendary players (both past and present) from the world of chess. The first video in this series talks about Grandmaster Boris Gulko, one of the very few people in the world that holds a positive score against one of the greatest chess champions of all time, Gary Kasparov.

Aside from chess, Boris Gulko has led an extremely interesting life! He won the USSR Chess Championships in 1977. Sadly, as an avid anti-communist living in the USSR, his chess career was put on hold when both Boris and his wife were banned from competitive play due to their political beliefs. During this time he was also arrested and beaten by KGB agents for his political views.

Finally, in 1986, he was allowed to leave Russia and moved to the United States of America. Amazingly, he then went on to win the United States Chess Championship, so along with all of his other trials and successes, he is the only person in history to ever win both the USSR and USA chess championships.

A political activist, a brilliant chess player, and an overall amazing human being, this video takes a look at Grandmaster Boris Gulko, one of the living legends of the Chess world.