Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chess: A Very Exciting Game


Is chess a boring game?


With the proliferation of different apps and games on the Internet, I sometimes wonder whether chess has lost its appeal. I am beginning to think that chess – a game played for centuries – is now relegated to a game that is “boring”. Compared to other games on the Internet, some say that chess is not that “exciting”.

Well, I do not believe so. Chess, once you learned how to play it, will definitely give that “excitement” and “addiction” most online games offer.  Chess is a very addicting game and gives a very different kind of challenge. The enjoyment you would derive from playing chess cannot be equaled by any popular game on the Internet today.

When I attend chess tournaments, I feel glad each time I see a lot of youngsters competing. The huge turn out of children competing in tournaments is an indication that chess has not lost its appeal. 

Once you learned how to play chess, you would definitely fall in love with the game. You will see that is not a “boring” board game.  

What makes the game of chess exciting?

If we look at chess players, all that we can see are nothing but their occasional movements. They hardly move. Yet, if we look at the players - all their energies and concentration are focused on the chessboard.  From the sheer look of their eyes, we can see that something “exciting” is happening on the board.

In a chess game, most of the excitement happens during intense tactical plays where one mistake can mean death or a win. Chess is reduced to a  “battle of nerves” where the first player who commits a mistake loses the game.

There are many games of this nature.  When every move can mean life and death, chess becomes a game full of emotion. What is important is that the player stays calm and focused. Imagine trying to find the best move under time pressure? With the clock winding down, it takes a very solid and well-controlled emotion to handle the intensity of chess.

One of the most exciting chess game ever played is the game between Gary Kasparov and Valesin Topalov in 1999. In this game, Kasparov despite being an exchange down made precise moves in a breathtaking middle game to finally win in the end. 

Take a look at the 36th move made by both players and appreciate the intensity and excitement of the game of chess.


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Online: the new way to play chess



Now all you need to play chess is a gadget and a reliable internet connection. You can play with anyone - even with someone half way around the world. Just open your computer or gadget, visit an online chess site like chess.com and Facebook, sign up or log in and you can play chess anytime of the day or night.

With the advent of the internet, playing chess has never been convenient as before. You can play chess when and where you want. While enjoying your favorite coffee or drink, you can take out your laptop, tablet or cellphone and play chess. Wherever you are - in the safety of your house, in your bedroom, under a tree, in a parking lot or wherever there is internet connection you can enjoy and play chess.

Your opponent is no longer confined to who is available across the street in your neighborhood or at your local chess club. Chess players can challenge absolutely anyone who can be at the far end of the planet on a different time zone. With a worldwide number of available competition chess has reached a very high level of play.

Technology has changed not only our daily life but our “chess life” as well. With technology, the chessboard has literally become “flat” and within reach. All players, whether beginners or masters, have a venue to interact, dicuss issues, gain friends and best of all play chess.  Playing online is slowly becoming the norm. With the internet, busy professionals who love chess can play during their free time.  They need not visit a chess plaza and have someone to play chess with at the other end of the board.  There is no need to meet your opponent face to face.  Without need of traveling, there would be more time to play chess.

Technology has indeed changed the way we play chess.  Perhaps, the future of chess is online. There may come a time that the “physical chess set or chessboard” would be rendered extinct.  Chess - as future generations may know it - is no longer the “board” where there are “carved chess pieces” but the “icons” on the iPad or “chess symbols” in a computer. Perhaps in the very near future, World Championship Chess would be played online where the challenger is somewhere in India and the reigning champion is in Norway. In fact, at this time chess games are viewed in chess sites such as chessbomb.com on computers and other gadgets.

If we talk of a chess game, we usually visualize two chess players across the table glued on their respective chairs. On top of the table is a chessboard and a clock. With their minds focused on maneuvering their sixteen chess pieces, spectators only see the occasional movement of the player.  Today, many see chess as a game played with the use of modern gadgets. A chessboard is no longer the necessary tool to play the game but a gadget and a very reliable internet connection. 

But of course, to be able to physically touch the chess pieces and face your opponent across the board offers a much realistic chess experience compared to playing online.  In playing online chess, psychological factors that affect a chess player is reduced to a minimum. However, with the continuing advancement of technology, online would definitely be the new way to play chess.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Robert James Fischer vs. Miguel Najdorf (Second Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica USA, 1966)


Take a look at the move 26.c5 by Fischer, it literally weakened Black's apparently strong centralized pawns. The move eventually created the winning passed pawn for Fischer. A great game giving good insight on how "proper timing" is essential in winning a chess game. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Rodolfo Tan Cardoso vs. Robert James Fischer (New York, USA; 1957)


International Master Rodolfo Tan Cardoso is the only Filipino to have ever beaten Bobby Fischer. In an International Match held in New York, USA, Cardoso won against Fischer and drew two games. While it was a convincing victory by Fischer with a score of 6 - 2, Cardoso showed his tactical brilliance and mastery of the game.

Here is that win by Cardoso over Fischer in a sharp Sicilian Defense encounter. Cardoso's passing is indeed a great loss to Philippine chess.  He will always be remembered, not only through his games, but also to his valuable contribution to the development of chess itself.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Robert James Fischer vs. Rodolfo Tan Cardoso (New York USA, 1957)


Here is one of the winning game of Fischer against the late Filipino Chess legend Rodolfo Tan Cardoso.

Cardoso is the first Asian International Master and recognized as the only Filipino to defeat Fischer. In 1957, an eight game match was held in New York, USA between the 19 year old Filipino and 14 year old Fisher. The score was 6-2 in favor of Fischer.

We first feature the game won by Fischer.  An instructional way in handling the Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation. Take a look at how Fischer stormed the kingside with 23. Bxg7.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Robert James Fischer v. S Purevzhav (Varna ol prel, 1962)


A lesson in properly and effectively taming the dragon. Take a look at 18. Nf5! A very brilliant and entertaining game in just 22 moves!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Effect of Lack of Sleep in Chess


Chess is a game that requires focus. Player’s attention to the game should always be at a hundred percent (100%). Any slip of focus can be fatal. A winning position can be lost in any moment due to a few seconds of distracted attention.

I think the need for focus and attention in the game of chess cannot be overemphasized.  It is said that in chess, just like in life, opportunity knocks but once. When the opportunity for gaining an advantage appears on the chessboard, a player has to pounce on it immediately. Strike while the iron is hot. Otherwise, the opportunity is lost and it would take another moon for it to reappear.

The ability to render quick and precise judgment is necessary to be successful in a chess game. With the chess clock ticking, the player has to swim through an endless cacophony of variations and choose the best move. Strategy and tactics have to be employed under time pressure. Given these consequences, it is necessary that focus and judgment be not compromised.

While some players deny it, lack or insufficient sleep takes a toll in their ability to play chess.  The lack of sleep according to a study affects judgment and the ability to retain information.  Thus, a chess player’s performance on the chessboard is naturally affected by lack or inadequate sleep. Judgment and recall of prior information is affected.

“In the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.”

It is therefore advisable for chess players, specially those competing in tournaments, to have a complete sleep before engaging in a tiresome battle on the board. A chess tournament usually has at least six (6) to seven (7) grueling rounds. Every round is test of the player’s stamina.  With inadequate or lack of sleep, a player will not be in complete form during the round. Worse, a player may not last to finish the tournament.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Bernardo Wexler v. Robert James Fischer (Mar del Plata, 1960)


A passed pawn must be pushed! A principle shown in this game, where Fischer's "a" Pawn threatened to march down the aisle forcing White's Queen to reinforce the "a file". However, she left the Bishop pinned by Black's Rook. And with 40.__Qf7, Black resigned.

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