Archive for the ‘skaak’ Category

Bloemfontein [ˈblum.fɔn.ˌtɛi̯n] is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa’s three national capitals – the other two being Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Pretoria, the administrative capital.

Bloemfontein is popularly and poetically known as “the city of roses”, owing to the abundance of these flowers and the annual rose festival held there. The city’s Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning “place of cheetahs”.

Logo – Free State Chess

The South African Women’s Open Chess Championships start tomorrow – 9th August [Women’s day in South Africa too!] in Bloemfontein. The Venue is Kruitberg Primary School. The tournamnent ends on the 12th August. I hope for some results and photos from Chessa, whilst the tournament is on, meanwhile – enjoy some photos of the capital.

Results: SA Women’s Open 2012 -please click on the image for a larger view

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Anand and Gelfand – image: chessdom

Image data: chessbase

It’s again time for the FIDE World Chess Championship – this time Anand vs Gelfand at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Follow the link of the official site to read more.The prize fund is 2.55 million US Dollars. The winner gets $1,530,000 (60%) and the loser $1,020,000 (40%)
Chess FIDE Moscow
Anand vs Gelfand –  Official site here.

The World Chess Championship 2012 is a match between the current world champion Viswanathan Anand of India and Boris Gelfand of Israel, winner of the Candidates tournament. The match started on 10 May and is expected to end on 30 May 2012. It is played in the Engineering Building of the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia and will determine the World Chess Champion. The match is held under the auspices of FIDE, the World Chess Federation. The prize fund is 2.55 million US Dollars.

The defending champion is Anand, having held the title since 2007. He last defended his title by winning the World Chess Championship 2010 against Veselin Topalov. The challenger is Gelfand, who won the tournament of eight-player Candidate Matches.- Wikipedia

Schedule – game 3-12

Image: Tretyakov-Gallery

Tretyakov-Gallery – Image:

The Venue

The State Tretyakov Gallery is the national treasury of the Russian fine art and one of the greatest museums in the world. Founded in 1856 by the Moscovite merchant Pavel Tretyakov, the Gallery was donated to the city of Moscow in 1892. Throughout the years, the Tretyakov Gallery developed into not only an immense museum known around the world, but also an important research center engaged in the preservation, restoration and study of its treasures, as well as raising public awareness of them. Today, the Tretyakov Gallery is home to over 170,000 works of art.

The Tretyakov Gallery Engineering Wing which will host the match is designed for large exhibitions, conferences and other cultural events. Source: chessbase

Anand vs Gelfand 1/2 – game 1

[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]
[Site “Moscow RUS”]
[Date “2012.05.11”]
[EventDate “2012.05.10”]
[Round “1”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[White “Viswanathan Anand”]
[Black “Boris Gelfand”]
[ECO “D85”]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Bb5+ Nc6 9.d5 Qa5 10.Rb1 a6 11.Bxc6+ bxc6 12.O-O Qxa2 13.Rb2 Qa5 14.d6 Ra7 15.Bg5 exd6 16.Qxd6 Rd7 17.Qxc6 Qc7 18.Qxc7 Rxc7 19.Bf4 Rb7 20.Rc2 O-O 21.Bd6 Re8 22.Nd2 f5 23.f3 fxe4 24.Nxe4 Bf5 1/2-1/2

Gelfand vs Anand: Game 2: 1/2-1/2

Anand vs Gelfand Game 3 – 1/2-1/2

Anand vs Gelfand game 3 – photo: Indianews

Gelfand vs Anand – Game 4 – 1/2-1/2

Anand vs Gelfand – Game 5 – 1/2-1/2

Gelfand vs Anand Game 6 – 1/2-1/2

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 a6 6.Qc2 c5 7.cxd5 exd5
8.Be2 Be6 9.O-O Nc6 10.Rd1 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.Rxd4 Bc5 13.Rd1
Qe7 14.Bf3 O-O 15.Nxd5 Bxd5 16.Bxd5 Nxd5 17.Rxd5 Rac8 18.Bd2 Bxe3 19.Bc3 Bb620.Qf5 Qe6 21.Qf3 f6 22.h4 Qc6 23.h5 Rfd8 24.Rxd8+ Rxd8 25.Qxc6 bxc6 26.Re1 Kf7 27.g4 Bd4 28.Rc1 Bxc3 29.Rxc3 Rd4 1/2-1/2

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World Chess Champion, Gary Kasparov is visiting South Africa!! Kasparov was the top rated player for 21 years.  He will be playing some chess on the 12th November. Pres Zuma has recently launched the MOVES FOR LIFE Chess development programme. From the link:

Kasparov comes from Moscow to South Africa on 12 November to form a joint venture with Tshwane/Pretoria based chess educational project Moves for Life (MFL).

13th Chess World Champion, Garry Kasparov, has announced that he wishes to link his Kasparov Chess Foundation to MFL to take the successful MFL formula to other African countries.

He has added that he plans to work with MFL to make Johannesburg the chess capital of Africa

Kasparov stated:. “I was greatly inspired by the words of President Zuma last October, when he spoke so movingly on the many benefits of chess for children – and of his remarkable connection to my beloved game. I am happy to join him and the South African Moves for Life programme in a commitment to bringing chess to schools across the country and for turning Johannesburg into the continental capital for chess.”

Kasparov will be visiting South Africa as the guest of MFL from the 12th – 15th November to promote the Kasparov Chess Foundation link up with the Moves for Life programme.

The Moves for Life programme was launched by President Zuma last year and has since expanded to over 50 schools around the country, resulting in measurable improvement in maths and science performance amongst children

Watu Kobese, Moves for Life trustee and one of South Afriva’s top chess players Operations says: “The game of chess impacts positively on Maths, Science and comprehension abilities while also imparting valuable life skills to children. In learning to play chess, children are mastering a wide range of skills such as pattern recognition, classifying information, reasoning by analogy, following principles, calculating possible sequences of events and critical thinking — which in fact helps with all their academic subjects,”

President Jacob Zuma, is clear that there is a place for chess in South Africa’s education system. When President Zuma launched the MFL initiative in 2010, he highlighted the benefits of chess saying, “We want to convince parents and teachers that chess is one of the most powerful tools available to strengthen and enhance a child’s mind.”

Moves for Life is now training over 6000 children per week and has trained more than 200 educators in 2011 both to teach chess in schools and also as an extra-curricular activity.. According to Kasparov, “The Moves for Life programme is already doing a wonderful job and we expect to cooperate and aid them in developing both their chess and sponsorship efforts. To promote our activities, chess in the media, and to inspire the grassroots, I will personally donate my time, to train South Africa’s most promising young players as well as the country’s elite teams, as I have done in the United States with great success.

The mission of the Kasparov Chess Foundation: Africa will be to bring the many educational benefits of chess to children throughout Africa by providing a complete chess curriculum with associated enrichment programs. The foundation promotes the playing of chess as a cognitive learning tool in classes and in after-school programmes for primary and high schools. The Moves for Life programme has both the South African experience as well as the material developed uniquely for the African situation. Through collaboration both KCF and MFL will be able to optimise all available resources and reach their respective goals.

“Chess is an individual sport, but promoting chess is not. With your support, Johannesburg will take a prominent place alongside New York, Brussels and Sao Paulo,” says Kasparov.

In June this year the Kasparov Chess Foundation launched its European leg, based in Brussels. The Foundation has ambitious plans to develop a programme for the entire European Union. On September 20th, the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe presented its proposal at the Headquarters of the European Union.

Update: Saturday 12/11/2011
 Was really disappointed when reading on CHESSA’s site about MFL, Kasparov, etc. I agree, MFL is a PRIVATE company and HERE is Dr Kemm,  one of the 5 trustees of MFL and hopefully he will do something to get CHESSA also involved in this important visit – a visit our Chess players look forward to.  This is a visit that happens only ONCE in a life time and Chess South Africa is not even fully involved! MFL: You CAN do something about it.

Update [again] – Saturday 19/11/2011

If you are interested to read Mickey’s reaction as a MFL-trustee – you can read his comments in the comments box. It’s sad to know that MFL actually contacted CHESSA and that CHESSA asked MFL to cancel Kasparov’s visit. I think CHESSA needs to ‘grow up’ and show that they are there for the Chess community in South Africa and that they are serious about developing Chess in South Africa. CHESSA’s article is misleading the general public about their role in Kasparov’s visit. CHESSA is obviously not thinking about their international image.

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It’s a long time since I’ve blogged something chessy – so here goes… time is tight! I don’t even have enough time to play a proper chess game. Luckily, it’s almost Easter Hols and then I might have a few spare hours to play a game or two. I do miss playing chess though! I’ve come across this movie-article and thought to share it with you. The movies can’t go without chess! It’s Spring and trees around us are almost covered in blossoms. This flower-pic was taken in August last year. I hate these bees we have here, they are surely not friendly and look quite scary.

In ‘Queen to Play’ Sandrine Bonnaire plays a chambermaid empowered by playing chess.

Chess as a Slow Dance of Seduction


Published: March 31, 2011

Caroline Bottaro’s tangy comic bonbon, “Queen to Play,” plucks the game of chess out of the metaphorical realm of spy thrillers and reimagines it as a fable about relationships and upward mobility. Adapted from Bertina Henrichs’s novel “The Chess Player,” this slight but captivating movie (Ms. Bottaro’s directorial debut) compares the strategies of chess to the erotic maneuvers in a flirtatious pas de deux that may be more satisfying than actual sex. At the same time, a woman’s winning the game symbolizes female empowerment in a man’s world and ascent from working-class drudgery to the bourgeoisie.

Hélène (Sandrine Bonnaire), the movie’s sly, middle-aged Cinderella, is an attractive chambermaid at a luxury hotel in Corsica. While going about her chores, she observes a chess game being played by a sexy American couple (Jennifer Beals and Dominic Gould) on the balcony of their suite. Stealthy moves accompanied by insinuating eye contact culminate with the woman’s defeating the man and flashing Hélène a smile of conspiratorial glee.

Hélène takes the hint, and at a birthday party for her husband, a handsome dockworker named Ange (Francis Renaud), she presents him with an electronic chess set in the hopes of reigniting the spark in their marriage. Ange is mystified and vaguely annoyed by the gift. When he expresses no interest in learning the game, Hélène begins teaching herself to play and quickly becomes obsessed.

“Queen to Play” is a lighthearted, grown-up fairy tale in which chess consumes Hélène’s imagination and transforms her life. As she mops a black-and-white checkered floor, it becomes a surreal dreamscape. At a restaurant she makes chess pieces out of crumbled bread and pushes them around the squares of the red-and-white tablecloth.

The intimate looks exchanged by the characters as they compete for advantage in a game in which the queen is the most powerful piece tell us as much about them as anything they say. Sometimes chess even suggests a mental striptease in which the players shed their defenses as they exchange glances and dare each other to go forward. At other times it conjures a war between the sexes, with Hélène the feminist upstart challenging male dominance.

Avid to learn more, she discovers a chess set in the house of Dr. Kröger (Kevin Kline, in his first entirely French-speaking role), a widowed American professor for whom she works as a part-time housecleaner. She volunteers to clean his place in exchange for weekly chess lessons. A mysterious figure suffering from an unidentified lung ailment, Kröger agrees. When, after only a few lessons, she is regularly beating him, he urges her to enter a local tournament.

In small but significant ways, “Queen to Play” defies expectations. It dangles the possibility of an affair between Hélène and Kröger in games that the film likens to courtship rituals in a classic screwball comedy. But their flirtation is never physically consummated.

Hélène’s relationships with her husband and rebellious teenage daughter, Lisa (Alexandra Gentil), undergo surprising transformations. Ange, initially threatened by Hélène’s passion, which keeps her out late and distracts her from housework, is initially so suspicious that he follows her to a lesson and spies on her. But once he realizes that she has a gift, his jealousy turns to admiration, and the flame of desire is rekindled. Lisa, who is so ashamed and contemptuous of her parents for being “poor” that she refuses to invite boyfriends to the house, becomes her mother’s fervent champion.

Ms. Bonnaire’s Hélène subtly evolves from a harried, resentful domestic wearing a perpetually hurt expression into a woman who discovers her power. Mr. Kline, as the haughty, secretive professor with a kind heart under a prickly exterior gives one of his finest screen performances, executed with minute fluctuations in his body language.

In their most delicious scene Hélène and Kröger play an imaginary game of chess away from the board. Gazing into each other’s eyes, they engage in what has the ring of intellectual pillow talk. Although the conversation is entirely chaste, in the intensity with which they study each other’s signals, they might as well be newlyweds.


Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Directed by Caroline Bottaro; written by Ms. Bottaro and Caroline Maly, based on the novel “The Chess Player,” by Bertina Henrichs; director of photography, Jean-Claude Larrieu; edited by Tina Baz Le Gal; music by Nicola Piovani; set design by Emmanuel de Chauvigny; costumes by Dorothée Guiraud; produced by Dominique Besneard and Michel Feller; released by Zeitgeist Films. In French, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Sandrine Bonnaire (Hélène), Kevin Kline (Dr. Kröger), Francis Renaud (Ange), Jennifer Beals (the American Woman), Dominic Gould (the American Man), Valérie Lagrange (Maria) and Alexandra Gentil (Lisa).

A version of this review appeared in print on April 1, 2011, on page C8 of the New York edition..

Source: http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/04/01/movies/kevin-kline-in-caroline-bottaros-queen-to-play-review.html

Time is tight – enjoy!

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Click on the image for a larger view

I had no intention to blog about what you’re going to read in this post. My intention was to blog about the type of chess player you might be – do you see yourself in one of the photos in the above image? –  and to put the question to you: What kind of chess player are you? Do you think carefully about your move…do you make the move instantly?…Are you a careless player? There are many more questions I could have asked you – I think you know them all. Maybe the picture ties in- in some way – with what I’ve found and which I want to share with you.

In my SEARCH  I came across this link and thought to add the information- for readers who haven’t read it before or haven’t read something similar on my blog before. The next question is: Have you got what it takes to be a chess player? [a serious chess player – I might add] Even children sometimes turn up in large groups very eager to play/learn and then discover that chess is actually not for them – or not what they thought it is all about. At the bottom of this entry you’ll find a link to an entry on my blog about Chess Personalities and a link to Brunel University about research they’ve done. Enjoy the reading from the above link quoted:

Traits of a Good Chessplayer
Quote of the Month: Not all highly intelligent people play chess well, and not everyone who plays chess well is highly intelligent (although if you ask them…!) A beginner often wonders if he has what it takes to become proficient at the Royal Game. The answer is that there are many aspects of intelligence and personality that correlate with the potential to become a good chess player. Almost everyone realizes that a lot of hard work will be necessary to climb the ladder of chess success, and few want to put in many hours of work with little prospects for reward. Knowing that you have some of the requisite talents is always helpful in keeping up your spirits. Several lists of applicable chess traits have been published, so I thought it would be fun to give it a Novice Nook spin. I have separated the traits into four groups:
“IQ” Aspects
Physical Traits
Personality Traits
Emotional Traits
…but there is quite a bit of overlap, so these are really just rough groupings. “IQ” Aspects
Memory – The ability to remember things is certainly a “no-brainer”, insofar as being helpful for chess. First there is the obvious ability to retain more chess patterns and what you know about them, including opening and endgame knowledge, tactical positions and ideas, positional maneuvers. In addition, there is also everything else you “know” about chess – including guidelines, how to handle a six-hour World Open game, and the information in Novice Nook. The better the memory, the better you can store the information and retrieve it quickly and accurately. It is also well documented that memory is not as sharp when you get older, so age does degrade this ability. Note: “Knowledge” is not an ability, but it is the information you retain better with a good memory. It is also worth noting that knowledge is not correlated one-to-one with your playing strength; for example, a player who reads more books and retains more knowledge is not always better than one who has read much less. As one of my chess friends once said, “Never confuse ignorance with stupidity” – the corollary being “Never confuse knowledge with intelligence.”

Spatial Relationships – I call the special vision which enables one to
understand what is happening on a chessboard “Board Vision”. But the
general ability to process spatial relationships is more than just that chessspecific skill; it is the capability to see and/or imagine what is happening in two or three dimensions. An example of how this is tested would be the type of IQ test question where they show you an unfolded cube and you are asked to fold it in your head and select which of four folded cubes could be created from the fold. The ability to visualize geometric patterns is valuable in chess when you are trying to look ahead and imagine a possibly occurring position. An example of an error using this ability would be a “retained image” – when you fail to see that a piece has moved off its square and you visualize it doing something on a later move when, in fact, if that line were actually played that piece would no longer be there!

Deductive Logic – This is the “If A implies B and B implies C, then A
implies C” type of logic. In chess you need deductive logic to figure out what
is forced and what is not. For example, during analysis of a position you need to be able to look at a move and deduce something like “Because of so-and so, if my opponent does not stop my killer move (or whatever), then I can do this, so he must make move A or move B to prevent it or else I win.” A common deductive error would be assuming your opponent will make a move that you think is forced when in fact another move is better. Of all the skills in chess, I believe that this one is perhaps the most popularly recognized by the general public. Your deductive logic is another part of the thinking process that slows as you get older.

Physical Traits
Concentration – Playing chess correctly requires a lot of thought(!) The
better able you are to concentrate and focus your thoughts on the task at hand, the better. If your mind is wandering – even thinking about a mistake you made earlier in the game – that can only hurt you. Lack of concentration
detracts from your ability to perform from the task at hand, which is usually
finding the best move in the current position within the given time available.

Stamina – This is the physical ability to sit and play without excessive
tiredness or fatigue throughout not just a long game, but possibly even a long series of games in a tournament or match. One of the problems older players have is lack of stamina; they get tired more easily. You can increase your stamina by eating and drinking correctly before and during a long game, getting proper rest, and entering the event in good shape. That is why it is helpful to have an aerobic sport, like tennis, jogging, or swimming, to
augment your chess lifestyle – these are beneficial for your non-chess
welfare, too!

Nerves – In the course of chess history, it has been stated about several toplevel grandmasters that were not serious World Champion candidates because they did not have the nerves for top-level play. Playing chess for fun is one thing, but playing for your livelihood – or your place in history – is quite another. It requires strong nerves to play chess at the highest level, but having “bad nerves” affects your play negatively at any level.

Personality Traits
Carefulness – Of all the traits that make for a good chess player, one of the
most important is the ability to take your time on each move and try to find
the best one. And of the personality traits that support this ability, being
careful is the key trait. Interestingly, one can be too careful and, in that case,
you may even be afraid to move for fear of making a mistake. This fear
inevitably leads to time trouble, requiring fast moves and resulting in even
bigger mistakes than the ones you had been avoiding by taking 12 minutes
instead of 6. Therefore, the best chess players are the ones that are careful, but not pathologically so. It should be noted that players who are not naturally careful in life can learn to be careful in chess! I have seen several players who were able to overcome their natural tendencies, but of course to do so one has to feel strongly that it is worth the special effort!

Caring – This trait is different than carefulness, and is actually more closely
related to some of the emotional traits below. You want to care about your
move, your result, your rating, and your reputation, but not too much. If you don’t care at all, you won’t work to improve it/them, and if you take these too personally then chess becomes too involved with your personal image and you will find it hard to take the necessary risks to play and improve.

Determination – This is one area in which I score well. I will not stop at
something until I get it right. My wife thinks I am a little nutty because I once took almost a year on the same tough cryptogram – I would not skip it or take a hint or look up the answer. She is right, of course, but that same
determination paid me good dividends when I wanted to become an expert, a master, and get my FIDE rating (back in the days when you had to have a
FIDE rating of at least 2205 to get one). One should differentiate game-time
determination to obtain the maximal outcome (“will to win” or “fighting
spirit”) with the longer-term career goal determination to do whatever it takes to become the best player you can. During a simultaneous exhibition at a local high school, I once met a student who, when he found out I was a chess master, said “Really? Wow! That’s cool. I live for chess.” I was a little
amazed by this pronouncement, so I said, “If you live for chess, then why
don’t you play in tournaments? For example, come a few miles down the road and play in some of the big events at the Adam’s Mark Hotel.” His
disappointing reply, “Oh no! I couldn’t possibly do that!” I guess that makes
him like a kid who lives for baseball but cannot possibly think of playing in
Little League! His answer was not a mark of determination!
Note: “Killer-instinct” is not the same as “fighting spirit”. Killer-instinct is an
intense desire to either beat down the opponent, or at least finish off a won
game. Good chess players seem to have either one of two special traits: killer
instinct or expert problem solvers. Without one of those two traits it is hard to have the determination and perseverance to play hard each move, game after game. I am more the problem solver type – I want to find the best move each and every time and I am not trying to wound my opponent’s ego.

Perseverance – This trait is similar to determination, but it represents not the will to do well, but the ability to carry on that will despite whatever
roadblocks are presented: lack of time to play and study, unexpected and
unnerving losses, the skepticism of others, etc. Again, there is short-term
game-time perseverance and the more common long-term career goal
perseverance. Surprisingly, I find a lot of students who have the
determination (otherwise they would not hire me as their chess coach), but
lack the perseverance – they want quicker results than is possible, get
discouraged at the inevitable setbacks, and cannot maintain their chess
determination for the years that are required to reach their lofty goals. Since
extensive chess progress can only be measured in years, it is not surprising
that many players cannot persevere in what it takes to maintain improvement over that time period. Note: I did not forget “Willpower”, but it is mostly contained within determination and perseverance.

Capability to overcome natural shortcomings for the good of your chess
play – This is a special type of trait which enables you to not dwell or be held
back by any shortcomings you have, but to be able to rise above them due to your strong desire to play well and improve. Almost every player thinks, “I’m not this or I am not that.” Everyone has shortcomings in one area or
another. No one has a great memory and great deductive logic and great
nerves and everything else – even the Fischers and Kasparovs are not perfect (but they are a lot closer than the rest of us!) However, some players let their concern about these shortcomings hold them back. Further, in some cases, these shortcomings can mostly be overcome by will. For example, suppose you are naturally impatient or not very careful. It still may be possible, when sitting down at the chessboard, to say to yourself, “OK, I am naturally impatient (or not careful), but if I am going to play good chess I have to take my time on every move and be very careful on every move or else I can let the game slip away just by that one bad move.” If you are able to say this to yourself, you may be able to overcome your natural impatience for the good of your game. Once you get in the habit of consistently practicing correctly, then it becomes easier and easier, despite any natural tendencies otherwise.

Confidence – Like many of these other traits, either extreme is bad: too much confidence is overconfidence, which often leads to carelessness, or lack of respect for the opponent. On the other hand, if you play with lack of
confidence your results will surely suffer. Chess is a mental sport, and one’s
lack of confidence often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let me augment
this observation with a brief story: As a teenager I had a friend who played
regularly and studied chess diligently. For example, in the openings he
learned the English and the Caro-Kann. But in tournaments his low rated
opponents did not play into his study lines and he suffered from very poor
results, getting an 1100 rating based on several events. He then quit playing.
Ten years later he had not played nor picked up a chess book, but asked to
play in one of my invitational round robin tournaments, filled with players
rated 1300-1500. Despite not having played in a decade and being the lowest rated player, he finished in second place with a performance rating of almost 1700. I asked him how this was possible. He said that maturity made the difference – he no longer worried about what his opponents were doing and just enjoyed playing. Whereas before he doubted his ability and was affected by his opponent’s weird play, now he was confident that he could just play well and do the best he can. So the extra 500 points or so of playing strength was almost all due to his new-found confidence and lack of worry.

Awareness – A player who can keep his awareness and be cognizant of what
is important has a big advantage. For example, when an experienced player
starts to realize that the time is running short and time management is
becoming a bigger and bigger part of the play, he has an advantage over an
opponent who either is not as aware of the importance of this change, or is so but does not change his priorities. Similarly, being aware of possibilities, such as unexpected opponent blunders, or sudden changes in the phase of the game, is a distinct asset.

Flexibility – In a similar manner to awareness, flexibility of plan and action is a big asset. If you are not flexible enough to adapt to the change in state, then being aware of that state is not much use. It is also very important to be
flexible in your learning. This flexibility is related to the next trait, openmindedness.
Open-Mindedness – The ability to listen and to consider new ideas (or
realize that the old ones you have are at least somewhat misbegotten), is very important. It is very difficult to learn if you “know” you are right or not open to new ideas, or possibilities of what you are doing wrong. A brilliant,
stubborn beginner probably will never get past the beginner stage since it will be very difficult to learn from his mistakes, even (or especially!) if they are pointed out to him. The good news is that in chess if you are not very openminded you tend to retard your own progress. Therefore, if you can recognize the cause of this lack of progress, it may jar you out of your complacency.

Emotional Traits
Ability to deal with losses as a learning tool – This is a very important
indicator of how good a chess player someone is going to become. Suppose a player take losses so hard and personally that you can’t speak to them and they don’t want to review or think about the game. Then not only will they not be able to optimally learn from those losses, but eventually the realization that they are going to lose thousands of games in order to become a good player will wear them down. At the other extreme we have someone who doesn’t care at all if they lose – they, like the tough loser, will also not review their games, because “it is just a game” and why should they spend effort to avoid repetition of their cause of defeat if it does not matter? These players are doomed to repeat their mistakes over and over and never get much better. The best outlook is somewhat in between: you cannot take your losses too personally but you have to be the type who vows never to lose the same way twice. A player who takes great interest in their shortcomings and studies them in such a way as to minimize the chance of recurrence will usually be much better than the players who are at each extreme.

Pride in your moves and your reputation – I think this trait is a little
underrated. Players who take pride in each move have an advantage over players who are don’t care that much about each move. These latter players are often surprised when I ask them about what considerations went into a particular move, as if to say “Why should you care? It is not that important to me” or “This is just a medium speed internet game – why should I try my best?” But almost all strong players share the concern that they put in the proper effort on each move (time permitting) and try to reach the correct decision, or at least do the best they can. Can you imagine Garry Kasparov annotating one of his games and writing, “I made this move without much thought – I really didn’t care if it was a good one or not”?!
Ability to deal with setbacks, bad moves – This is different than
perseverance, which enables you to maintain your will after setbacks of any type. Perseverance is therefore part of this trait, but not the only part. For example, the ability to maintain equanimity – not lose your cool – when things have gone wrong, is important. Players who get upset and let previous moves affect their judgment of the current move, or even think about the previous move instead the current move, are almost making a big mistake. Playing chess is fun – This is the most common trait shared by chess players. Humans who lack this trait may become good scientists, doctors, lawyers, engineers, golfers, bridge players, video game champions, businessmen, or whatever, but they won’t become good chess players. Studying chess is fun – This is the flip side of the previous trait: take random chess players at a chess club and hand them Capablanca’s Best Games and ask them to read it, a certain percentage will decline and the rest will gladly accept. The ones that accept almost always find that doing chess work is fun. Assuming they have not already read this book and that no extraneous factors are at work, the ones that decline usually like to play chess, but find the studying side tedious. When I work with beginning chess players of all ages, this is one of the first things I notice: everyone wants to get better, but only the ones who find doing the “work” side fun will ever have a chance of getting anywhere. No matter how much the others are determined to get better, they can never overcome the fact that doing the “unfun” work on a hobby like chess cannot last very long.

Coachability – Despite some fiction to the contrary, no one becomes really good at chess in isolation. Many factors, including some of the above, can contribute to this trait. A player might have many reasons they are less coachable: bad listening skills, stubbornness, know-it-all, doesn’t care enough, lack of maturity, or just believes that books alone can make him a great player. In any case, coachable players obviously have an advantage in the long run.

Next time you run into someone who says, “So-and-so is really smart – he would make a good chess player”, consider how well that person fits some of the above, “non-IQ” criteria. And how well did you score? If you were above average on most of the critical requirements, that may mean that you have a promising career ahead – assuming you are not damagingly low on a couple of others! A player is usually only as good as his weakest link will allow him to be.

Click HERE to read about Chess Personalities and research done by Brunel University. The link will open in a new window.

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Benjamin Franklin playing chess…’And lastly, we learn by chess the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs; the habit of hoping for a favorable chance, and that of preserving in the search of resources.’ -Benjamin Franklin, ‘The Morals of Chess’


I like playing chess on  chesscube for a couple of reasons…I always find someone to play a quick realtime game -my time is little and I’m not anymore interested in playing games going on for ages – I like the interface and the colours. This first game was played today and I was just on time to win this game…as I’m always in a hurry…I try to think fast, move fast – and sometimes end up with fast blunders too. My opponent spent 7 minutes before he decided to sacrifice his Queen -and in the process I did the same and won his Bishop. I have the pgn-file for you to follow if interested.

Click on the image for a clearer view

B01 -Scandinavian (center counter) 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qd8 4. Bc4 e6 5. Nf3 Bd7 6. d3 h6 7. O-O Bc6 8. Bf4 Nf6 9. Nb5 Bxb5 10. Bxb5+ c6 11. Bc4 Nbd7 12. a3 Bc5 13. b4 Bb6 14. Ne5 O-O 15. Nxd7 Qxd7 16. Be5 Bd4 17. Bxf6 Bxf6 18. Rb1 Bd4 19. Qg4 Rad8 20. Kh1 Qd6 21. f4 a6 22. f5 Bb6 23. fxe6 Bc7 24. g3 Kh8 25. exf7 b5 26. Bb3 c5 27. bxc5 Qc6+ 28. Kg1 Qxc5+ 29. Kg2 a5 30. Rf5 Qc6+ 31. Kh3 a4 32. Qe4 Qxe4 33. dxe4 axb3 34. cxb3 Bd6 35. b4 Bc7 36. e5 Rd3 37. e6 Bd6 38. Re1 Be7 39. Ree5 Rxa3 40. Rxb5 Ra7 41. Rbd5 Bf6 42. b5 Rb7 43. Rd1 Be7 44. Rd7 Rb6 45. Rxe7 g6 46. Re8 Kg7 47. Rf1 Rxe6 48. Rxf8 Rf6 49. Rxf6 Kxf6 50. b6 Ke7 51. b7 Kxf8 52. b8=Q+ Kxf7 53. Qc7+ Kf6 54. Qd6+ Kf7 55. Qd5+ Kf6 56. Qd6+ Kf7 57. Qe5 g5 58. Qf5+ Kg7 59. Qe6 Kf8 0-1


Mmmm…I always keep my Knights as long as I can…wonder if you can spot in this next game why…I have some of the colours of chesscube on this image too. Very visual for someone like me…This player resigned the game.

Click on the image for a clearer view

C41 – Philidor’s Defence -1. e4  e5 2. Nf3  d6 3. Nc3  Bg4 4. Bb5+  c6 5. Bc4  Bxf3 6. Qxf3  Qe7 7. d3  h6 8. O-O  Nd7 9. b4  Ngf6 10. b5  c5 11. Nd5  Qd8 12. Nxf6+  Nxf6 13. Bd5  Rb8 14. c4  Be7 15. Rb1  O-O 16. a4  b6 17. Bd2  Ne8 18. Ra1  Bf6 19. a5  Kh8 20. Bc6  Nc7 21. axb6  axb6 22. Qf5  Ne6 23. Bd5  Nd4 24. Qg4  Nb3 25. Ra2  Nd4 26. Bc3  Nb3 27. Bc6  Be7 28. f4  f6 29. fxe5  dxe5 30. Ra3  Nd4 31. Qd7  Qxd7 32. Bxd7  Rbd8 33. Ra7  Ne2+ 34. Kh1  Nxc3 35. Bf5  Bd6 36. Rb7  Ne2 37. Rxb6  Nf4 38. Rf3  Bc7 39. Rc6  Bd6 40. g3  Ne2 41. b6  Nd4 42. Rxd6  Rxd6 43. Rf1  Rxb6  0-1

Don’t forget! Anand-vs-Topalov – Sofia 21st April


Image: Official site…Playing Hall – Central Military Club, Sofia

Schedule: Anand vs Topalov – click on the image for a larger view

The scene where Anand and Topalov will play – image: chessdom

Here’s a song from Elton John to enjoy…Your Song

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zee skaak3

zee skaak2

These two images were posted on Zee’s blog about a year ago. Her husband helped his boss with a project for his daughter – in Primary School. He made this lovely chess set for her!  Unfortunately, he didn’t get the highest marks as it wasn’t made by the girl herself. [hehe–stoute kabouter!] I think next time she will think twice before asking uncle Zee to do her school project. [*wink]

Connie is one of my online chess-friends – and keen blogreader – and we had some good chats about his 8year old twins. They are both keen chess players and even advised him about his moves against me. He was also informed by them that he didn’t stand a chance in our last game…[guess what, he wasn’t impressed with their prediction, hehe] …two clever girls if you ask me. They took part in a tournament during August – in the Northern Cape region and have been selected to take part in the national Junior Chess Championships which takes place in December. Congrats to him and his family, I know the girls will do well. He’s sent me the tourney details and photos a while ago, but busy me, didn’t have the time to do a proper entry about them. So, here goes! I’ve quoted Connie’s comments here – in Afrikaans.  His twins took the first two places. Enjoy the photos. If you don’t know the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, it is a vast area. You easily travel 400km from one town to another and that makes it difficult for all children to take part in chess activities in the Province, although some parents club together and share the travel costs. There were 7 rounds but u/8 played only 5 rounds and the remaining 3 rounds were only friendlies.

North Cape Chess – u/8 – 21 & 22 AUGUST – DE AAR

Results after round 5

No Name               Score
1 BERNIZE            5.0         

2 MARILIZE         4.0 

3 STETHEN           2.5

4 JESSICA             2.0 

5 CHRISSIE           1.0 

6 ALBERT               0.5

Die doel was om die spelers wat by die ander toernooie goed gevaar het verder uit te sif vir die spanne vir die SA Juniors. O/8 is egter heel oopgestel omdat daar nie genoeg spelers was nie soos ek jou vertel het. Daar was omtrent 180 spelers almal saam, dis nou van o/8 tot seniors. O/8 was daar 8. Een het kort voor die begin ontrek en ‘n ander moes o/10 deelneem omdat hy in voor Des. verjaar. Die ses wat oorgebly het is nou almal in die o/8 span wat gaan deelneem in Des.(4 spelers en 2 reserwes). Daar was 7 rondtes vir alle ouderdomme maar vir die o/8 het net die eerste 5 getel. Die ander 2 was net vriendskaplike spelle.

Hulle het elke spel Wit begin met e4 en swart e5. Daarna was dit of Bc4 of Nf3. Dieselfde patroon ook met swart. Party spelle het hulle sommer Bc4 gevolg met 3. Df3 ( wat ek juis vir hulle gese het nie om te doen nie!) Dit het gevolg dat 2 van hulle 14 spelle nie eens 3 minute geduur het nie.(Scholars mate) Jy sal sien op een van die fotos, toe ek bo by die gallery kom om hulle af te neem, was Marelize reeds klaar. Bernize was in die foto nog besig om teen Stethen te speel.

Die was hulle 4de Amptelike toernooi. Daar was ook ‘n paar vriendskaplike spelle tussen hulle skool, Newton Laerskool, en Kimberley Junior. In hulle skoolspan is hulle nommer 1 en 2. Nommer 3 Ryno Annandale, is die een wat ontrek het by De Aar.

Hulle altwee se gunsteling kleur is wit, Bernize beweer hier dis nie so nie maar haar kwaadgeid as sy swart moet speel vertel ‘n ander storie… Daar is ongelukkig nie voor Desember nog ‘n amptelike toernooi nie. Dorpe in die Noord-Kaap is baie ver uitmekaar. Die 3 groot dorpe is almal omtrent 400 kilos uitmekaar wat die reelings en vervoer nogal duur maak. Noord Kaap skaak beoog wel informele toernooie vir oefening sowel as fondsinsameling. As ek moet skat speel die 2 ongeveer tussen 6 en 8 ure skaak per week. Partykeer minder, partykeer meer. Hulle oefen ook nou op die o/12 juffrou se aandrang saam met die o/12’s.


Please click on the images for a large, clearer view


Connie’s twins can be seen left and rigt at the end-table busy having serious chess-discussions with the boys.


Hmm…shall I move my bishop to D5 or….


Chess tournaments can be very exhausting for any 7-8 year old and the dads were clever to know that…or was it the mums!

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