Tournament Edition: Vol. 1, Number 2 January 2010
Individual Copy/Newstand Price: $3.95
Jose Capablanca playing a “Simul” in 1921
Blindfold Chess & Simuls:
PHow the Greatest Chess Players
Play Multiple Players and Win
When you play chess you need huge amounts
of brain power, concentration and focus.
Even the best scholastic tournament players
though, barely think compared with top
grandmasters or those chess players that are
the best in the world. At the highest level of
chess are players that can do simultaneous
exhibitions “Simuls” or play large numbers of
players all at the same time.
Imagine a room that looks like a tournament
with 100 chess sets and different players
seated and ready to play with the black pieces.
–(Continued on page 5)–
Churchill not giving up
Churchill shows his “V for victory”
Why Student Chess Players
Should Never Lose Hope
Some of the most famous people in the world who have done
great things in life were able to do them by NOT giving up.
Things that we do that we are proud of like making an
amazing picture, reading a great book, learning a new dance
or karate move, writing a terrific story, can usually only be
done if we take time and energy, have patience and don’t
throw up our hands and walk away. One of the greatest
leaders of England, Winston Churchill who your grandparents
might remember, was famous for saying:
“Never, Never, Never, Give Up”.
When we play chess the same idea is important. According to the rules of chess, one way to end a chess game is if
one side resigns or gives up. A lot of kids know this rule even though it was mostly created to save time for
advanced players. Kids playing in school classes, programs, and especially in a tournament should never use this rule and resign.
If you act like Churchill and never give
up, there is always the chance you could
come back and win. Sometimes, you
know you can’t win but because you can
tie the game in chess, or get a draw,
players should always keep playing in
case you might get stalemated.
–(Continued on page 6)–
The Computer’s Greatest Quest:
Man vs. Machine-Will Computers Always Win Soon?
When you can’t find someone in your family or a friend who can play chess with you, it is fun sometimes to play the
computer. Many of the computer chess games kids play on their home computer, game system or cell phone are
very advanced and have higher levels on them that can beat student players. But did you know that some of the
chess games on your Nintendo Wii, SONY PSP, Nintendo DS, or even iPhone can also beat an advanced master
level player? Computer chess has changed in the last ten years so that advanced players play computers all the time
as a way to improve and some of the simplest least expensive computer chess games can challenge even world
champion level players.
The first chess computers were called automatons and were fakes. One of the most famous self playing machines
from about 200 years ago was called “The Turk” and was a large chess table with an attached large doll that would
make moves against a player. The Turk played with great success. As it turned out, it was a trick because inside the
table was a short man who was actually making the moves.
“The TURK with its “complicated mechanism”
Well today’s computers work differently and really
use the computer’s brain to make moves. About 40
years ago a computer expert named David Levy
who was also a Grandmaster made a bet that in ten
years he could still beat any chess computer. Well
in 1978 he won his bet and beat the best computer
called Chess 4.7. But 11 years later in 1989 a
computer called Deep Thought beat him.
Over the next ten years chess computers got better
and better as universities and companies made
improvements. IBM, one of the largest computer
companies spent millions of dollars to build Deep
Blue a chess computer that could play and they
hoped would beat even the world champion.
In 1996 IBM challenged Gary Kasparov the world
champion to a match against Deep Blue. Kasparov
won the match 4-2 but the computer beat him in
the first game.
One year later, Kasparov agreed to a rematch with Deep Blue and lost 3.5-2.5! Ten years later, just three years ago
in 2006, the world champion Vladimir Kramnik’s also lost to the computer Deep Fritz with a score of 4-2.
Today, some of the best computers with great names
like Shredder, Rybka, and Fritz, are used by world
champion level players to help them learn and improve
their game. They can also be bought by you and are
available to anybody, some for less than $100.
Computers are usually better than humans at blitz or
chess played very quickly in as little as 5
minutes/game. This is because they can analyze very
quickly. Playing very unusual strong moves is actually
not the best way to beat a chess computer. Playing
closed positions can usually help you to get a small
advantage in position which is a better way to go.
–(Continued on page 3)–
3 years ago scientists at the University of Alberta in Canada figured out how to have a computer calculate the best
move in every situation for the game of checkers. Now we know that for checkers a computer can never lose to a
human. Even the game of Go, a very complicated Chinese strategy game using black and white stones is being
played by computers at a high level.
Even solving checkers was a huge accomplishment that took nearly 20 years and analyzing 500 billion, billion
different positions on the board. That is a big number: 500,000,000,000,000,000,000. To do the same for chess
would require looking at 1040 different positions or 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
That is a very big number. Many computer experts see that number as too big to deal with at least for the next few
But chess computers can still beat the best players even if the game has not yet been completely solved. It seems
possibly only a question of time until chess is solved too. If David Levy made a different bet now that in ten years
(2020) the game of chess will not be completely solved or that a computer cannot win every time by 2020, I think
he would lose his bet.
United We Stand:
Pawn Chains, How Pawns Gain Power by Working Together
Think of a fist when you think about how to use pawns during a chess game. Fingers are individually not that
strong and can’t lift much alone. But together, they can become incredibly strong as a fist or as a hand on a karate
master able to split ten boards in half or carry the heaviest grocery bags.
Pawns are like that too and one pawn can be weak but when it acts together with others it can become very strong
and trap even a queen or give checkmate. One of the strongest ways to use pawns is to move them so they line up
with each other diagonally with each one protecting the next. This is called a pawn chain.
How to set up a Pawn Chain
At the start or opening of a game or for three pawns all in starting position (Rank 2 for White, Rank 7 for Black) a
simple pawn chain can be set up in 2 moves by having one pawn as the base and moving the pawn to the left or
right of it one square forward. Next move a simple pawn chain is created by moving a pawn on the same side as
the last one two squares forward. This links all three pawns together diagonally.
How to Break Pawn Chains
To break a pawn chain of the person you are playing, you need to attack one of the pawns in the chain with one of
your pawns and then trade those pawns. This will weaken the chain considerably so your stronger pieces can
come in and mop up the rest of the pawns.
Another thing to consider is what pieces you have that can get past the chain and if they are in a good place on the
board. Knights can go right over a pawn chain, bishops and queens can sometimes go through it and rooks
usually have the toughest time getting past it as they must go around.
–(Continued on page 4)–
Sometimes a real game can have an extra
long pawn chain. Below is a game
between Judit Polgar and Etienne Bacrot
from 11 years ago. Polgar is the strongest
female chessplayer ever, and Bacrot was
one of the youngest ever Grandmasters
(GMs). It is White’s (Polgar) move.
Judit can take the most advanced pawn in
the chain on c2. It appears as though this
is a good move because Black’s d pawn is
pinned and if Black then chooses to
capture her rook on c2, then White can
capture Black’s rook on d8. Can you
figure out why this is losing for White?
This game is also a good example of how
points matter less than position. Here
though Black has fewer points her strong
chain allows her to win. So, try to use
pawn chains when you can. When you
think of pawns, remember what Patrick
Henry one of the famous men who helped
create our country’s first government said
“United we stand, Divided we fall.”
Patrick Henry Giving a Fiery Speech ~1775
Do in a Tournament When A
Player Starts Copying Your
In every tournament at least during a few
games, especially in the K-1 section, a few
players raise their hands and ask for a
tournament director to come right over.
They are always playing White and say
“Hey it’s not fair. He is a copycat and is
just copying all my moves.” Sometimes
they get angry and upset when they hear
the Director’s response that it is not illegal
and the game must continue. Yes, in chess
copying is allowed but it is not good for
Black or whoever is doing the copying
because the copycat always loses.
You should be happy if your opponent is copying your moves because it means that he can never beat you! It also
is a sign that your opponent is probably afraid of playing you and thinks you are a stronger player.
It can be stopped pretty quickly with bad consequences for the copier.
How do you stop copying? Well there is a very simple way.
–(Continued on page 5)–
Do not worry if someone is copying your moves and that is keeping the game even or in a potential draw.
Everything may seem even until that one move where your opponent will not be able to copy… and that’s when
you win. For example, check out the following copycat game:
1 e4 e5; 2 Nf3 Nf6; 3 Nxe5 Nxe4
4 Qe2 Qe7; 5 Qxe4
And as you can see if black continues to copy
with 5… Qxe5 he will lose the queen.
As soon as you check your opponent’s king then
they must stop copying you because they cannot
in the next move check you back the same way.
They must rather get out of check so a check in
almost every case will stop the copying.
So if you start a game as white and another player
who is usually at a lower level, begins to copy
your moves, do not worry. Be flattered he is
copying you and just remember it is actually good
BLINDFOLD CHESS… (– CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 –)
Where are the players who will move the white pieces? Out strolls a single person. Yes, that’s right, he or she will
be playing all of you at the same time or “simultaneously”.
How do they do it? Well, for them it’s almost like playing Blitz chess where you have to move right away. They
have to go from board to board and move almost immediately. Since Grandmasters play a lot of Blitz they are
used to it.
An even more difficult skill is playing blindfold chess, or on several boards at once (a Simul) with a blindfold on.
This must be done all from memory and using chess notation. The blindfolded player can’t see so all moves are
given to him using chess notation and he must keep track of all prior moves, current moves, all while keeping each
game separate -all in his brain. Truly an amazing feat.
Many famous chess players became even bigger celebrities when they did simuls and even Blindfold Chess.
Capablanca, the star Cuban world champion from 1921-1927, became famous for giving Simuls at a young age.
He went on a special tour of the United States in 1909 visiting 27 cities when he was 21 and played a total of 602
games and won 96.4% or 580 of them.
Geoge Koltanowski who died 12 years ago at the age of 96, was an expert in simuls and blindfold chess. He still
holds the record of playing 56 games blindfolded in 1960. Not only was he allowed only 10 sec/move, but he had
no losses and was able to win 50 and draw 6 of the games. So remember, the next time you beat someone in a
creative game and say to yourself, “I am soooooo good at chess. I am amazing.” Don’t forget there are always
higher levels to learn and practice.. . like blindfold chess. Hey, at least in your game you played only one person
and could see the board.
RESIGNATION… NEVER GIVE UP (– CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 –)
In fact, about 30% of K-1 beginner players will stalemate their opponents when trying to give checkmate at the
end of the game.
Sometimes, players who are losing but never give up thought they were going to lose, but get a draw because of
the fifty move rule. This happens in the endgame if after 50 moves by the weaker side, there have been no
captures and no pawn moves. It usually takes place when all pawns are captured or stuck and it is tough or
impossible to have a checkmate. For example, if all that remains is White having a king, knight, and bishop and
Black having only a King, it is possible for White to force a checkmate but is very difficult to do. If White is
trying to checkmate Black in this situation, but can’t do it, after 50 moves it is a draw or tie game.
Now if Black had resigned or given up, as soon as he was left with only a king, he would never have gotten a
draw (worth 0.5 points in a tournament), and instead would get zero points and lose the game. Because
checkmate with a Knight and a Bishop is so difficult to force, it would be a big mistake for Black to resign here.
Besides, players come back all the time from losing positions, or being way behind in material. All it takes is one
blunder by your opponent and you are back in the game. This happens all the time even in tournaments, so
remember nobody ever won a game by resigning. Stick it out in chess and life and good things will happen!
THE CHESS EXCHANGE PUZZLERS (Solutions in the next issue!)
White to Move: Mate in One
White to Move: Mate in One
White to Move: Mate in Two
White to Move: Mate in Two
TRI-STATE CHESS INTRODUCES GRAND PRIX PRIZES:
Huge Bonus Certificate ($1,350 TOTAL) Prizes for Top Tournament Winners
To promote tournament chess in the New York City area, Tri-State Chess will introduce new “Grand Prix” prizes where top 5 finishers in ALL sections of Tri-State Chess tournament receive special “Grand Prix” points. At the end of the season players can turn their Grand Prix points into prizes as if they were cash at Tri-State’s concession stands at tournaments or at the Chess Exchange store at 288 3rd Avenue (Between Carroll and President Street) in Park Slope Brooklyn (718) 645-5896.
For every section of each tournament the top five finishers will get the following “Grand Prix” points:
|Section Rank (Finish)||Grand Prix Points Awarded/Tournament|
If players are tied in rank they will evenly split the total points for the tied finish.
For example, three players tied for first would split the total points for 1st-3rd place (20) and each would get 6.7 points.
Top 25 Grand Prix point leaders will be listed in each newsletter. Grand Prix Point Standings can always be found online at our website. At the end of the season, the top five players with the most Grand Prix points will be presented with:
GIANT $$-CASH-$$ certificates to be used at Tri-State stores in the amounts of:
1st $500 BONUS Certificate
2nd $350 BONUS Certificate
3rd $250 BONUS Certificate
4th $150 BONUS Certificate
5th $100 BONUS Certificate
A special personalized Grand Prix engraved plaque
Plaques and a book prize of the players choice also will be awarded for 6th -1Oth place finishers
These awards will be presented at the first 2010-11 tournament
So if you are finishing in the top 5 of your section keep track of those Grand Prix points. They add up quickly and might become serious cash to get you some great chess stuff at the end of the season!!
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