Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Chess in Foxtrot

Found this nice strip about chess from Foxtrot, one of my favorite comic strips.  They feature chess from time to time, but I had a chuckle with this one.  Click on the pic to get to the site and enjoy it yourself. Read More......

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Beginner Chess Mistakes to Avoid

I never thought I'd see the day when I will be linking to a Yahoo! article, but here's a decently written article on how to avoid beginner chess mistakes.  Click the pic for the link. Read More......

Monday, July 04, 2011

Chess is Child's Play

Well, not really.  But my 5-year-old son has started playing chess.  He's been interested in the game since last year, but it was only this year that I could get him to sit still and listen to me so I can teach him the basic stuff.  My wife was telling me "good luck" when I unfurled my vinyl chess board and started setting up the pieces while my son is looking, ready to start.  With a board full of pieces, I began to wonder: how can he start learning the moves without getting all confused?

Then, I had an idea.  I removed all the pieces except the white knight, and started spacing black pawns across the board.  Then I started teaching him how the knight moves.  Luckily, he found it very amusing and interesting, and he started capturing the pawns.  At first the pawns were spaced such that each capture will allow him to capture the next pawn. Then we started spicing it up a bit, so that he would need to make two to three moves before he can capture the next piece (placing the pawns side by side would normally do the trick).  

By the next day, he is still getting used to it, but he is ready to be taught how the other pieces move.  I was surprised that in less than an hour, we were able to go through the movements of the other pieces.  Then it's off to a couple of games to further clarify the moves, like the fact that the king can move in any direction but only one square at a time, as compared to the queen.  It took us more than a week of playing before I introduced the concept of castling, pass pawn, and pawn promotion.

Strategy is something I'm teaching very slowly, as I would want him to discover things for himself.  Mostly I just guide him on the relative value of the pieces, the need to mobilize all of them, not using the queen too early,  and checking the board first before making a move.

His younger sister (4 years old) also joined in the games, and he's teaching her the rules and the moves.  Playing games almost everyday has become a fun family affair for us, with the uncles and the aunties and the grandparents joining in as well.  It has also rekindled my love for the game, as I am back in my correspondence chess games and brushing up on my tactics and strategies.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chess in Movies: GI Joe: The Rise of the Cobra

There was this part in the movie inside the gym/recreation center of the Joes where Breaker was hunched over a chessboard, but it wasn't clear if there was an opponent on the other side. The board seems to be crowded, although a number of pieces have already been move, indicating that it's some time into the opening or maybe it's already in the middle game.

It's it a bit predictable that Breaker, the resident nerd, would be the one in front of the board. Even more telling is that he doesn't have anyone else to play with. Not that he is the only one that may be considered brainy in the team, with Scarlett being an academic super-achiever herself. Still, I wonder if there was any reason for having that episode of chess in the movie.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shell National Youth Active Chess Championship

Chanced upon this on my way for lunch at Megamall after church. It was being held at the event center of Megamall. I guess it was the finals already, as some of the participants I saw have the word Finalist at the back of their event shirts. Looking at the schedule from the event's website (click pic at left), it was indeed the finals and it had been going on since June. Either I've been too busy or they were hiding this event from plain sight :)

It's good to know that they chose the Rapid Chess format for the event, with the game to be finished in 25 minutes or less. The speed of the game can help in keeping the audience interested, as longer time controls can really get boring especially for those that are not really into the game yet.

It was nice seeing all those game tables and youngsters drooling over the pieces. And it is good that my young ones seem interested as well. Hopefully one of these days we can be watching events like this together. Or better, they can be battling it out in one of those tables.

Got a chess event that you know of, especially in the Philippines? Do let me know so we can feature it here.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ChessJam - Online Chess with an Attitude

This is one chess site that I found through an ad in Facebook. It features itself as online chess with an attitude. How's that I don't know. Why? Because they require you to download a program through which you can play the game, and I haven't done so, so far. If there is one factor that would significantly limit the popularity of this site, it would be the need to download something. Not only are people nowadays wary of downloading stuff, it also limits the opportunities one has to access the game. It may not always be possible to download the program whenever one has access to the Internet, as in the case when you are using a computer at work where such download (and install) activity is not allowed. Same case when accessing the Internet from public computers, such as internet cafes or a library.

It was also indicated in the website that they are now integrated with Facebook. However, I think it still require downloading and installing the program first, as described above.

But i just might give this site a try some time. If you, however, have been playing chess in ChessJam, do let us know and give some feedback.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chess on Facebook and

Been away for some time from playing chess in Facebook that I didn't found out until recently that Chess on Facebook is now fully integrated with Which is good since I now have access to the community of without having to create a separate account. It also means there is the potential to play with others that may not have a Facebook account. I've yet to try the new Chess on Facebook, and hopefully the integration will be seamless.

What still needs to be done, as I mentioned in a previous post, is to drum up interest in the game by regular advertisement. Despite the integration, one would hardly know that you can play chess in Facebook. I think that even a short-term advertisement campaign can significantly increase the players, and even possibly bring chess to the mainstream.

I'll update on this as I get back in the game.
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