Saturday, September 1, 2007

Chess Blog Carnival – 1

This carnival shows how vibrant the chess community is. A large number of chess web sites have submitted material. A far larger number is active. We hope to hear from them in future carnivals.

This carnival of chess blogs belongs to the larger chess community. Each month it will travel from blog to blog (like the traveling carnivals of old).

Before I begin, I wish to give a very special mention to Susan Polgar of Susan Polgar’s Chess Blog. It was through her blog that I got back into chess after a quarter century hiatus away from it. I met an old friend (Hi, Mike aka “Mulfish”) through it. When my wife came home from her first ever chess tournament, Susan took a break to send a very nice note. (At the time she was recovering from an illness.) Both her and Paul have helped me a lot on different things – and this despite the fact that I have sometimes criticized them – and continue to do so. – See my carnival entry below!

Her blog is one of the very few which talks about promoting the game. Here is an example.

This month:


Have you learned of GMAlexandra Kosteniuk’s Killer Chess Tips? She sent me the index page of her podcasts. Here she analyzes the Paul Morphy’s game at the Paris Opera. You just gotta listen to this!!


Mark Weeks is another go-to guy for chess blogs. This month he submitted Tales of Hoffman from the blog Chess for All Ages. His point: folks may be top writers but when they write about chess, they still need to get the details right.


Boylston Chess Club Weblog is the go-to place for active chess blogs. Here is an essay about the difficulties of keeping on top of the wonderful world of chess blogdom.

This month I’m offering The Executive Board Meeting from my blog. Like it or not, the USCF election was one of the top news stories of 2007. The aftermath was – well, see my statement about Susan above. As a church pastor once said, when a parishioner comes up to him and says, “I am saying this in love . . .” I know to dive behind my desk because something bad is going to be flying at me.

From Steve's Correspondence Chess Adventure comes this USCF / ICCF-US Update. There’s been a lot of talk about the USCF abandoning correspondence chess lately. How much of this is true? See Steve’s update.


Getting to 2000 presents a report on Midstate Open Tournament, Peoria. He gives each one of his games with analysis.

The Billy Colias Memorial Master Invitational Tournament honors his memory and The Knights of Castle Kimbark honors the event with this report: A Young Master Remembered.


Chess Improvement By Effort (Achoo!) presents an interest essay on the general ideas of Endgame play. The money quote:

After 3 month's of middlegame study I formulated that piece activity is the most import in middlegame strategy. After a few months of putting this idea into practice I want to change that in the following maxim: Activate your pieces in order to penetrate in the enemy camp. If I had to summarize the essence of endgame right now it would be: Activate your pieces and king in order to penetrate into the enemy camp. Yet the methods and subgoals are quite different.
Two tutorials/commentary on basic endgames from “likesforests” follow.

In The Endgame Tactician, he covers Rook and Pawn Endgames. This link is to # 2 in the series. Follow his link to #1. In another blog Final Moves, he presents The Curse of the Rook Pawn. The page loads slowly but it is worth the wait as it has all of those interactive diagrams.

We round out this section with two endgame positions analyzed for your pleasure:

Mousetrapper's Chess Log analyzes an endgame position in an attempt to draw the larger morals of endgame strategy in Nailing Down an Endgame Advantage. presents another position to analyze in A Patzer's Approach to the Evaluation of Endgame Positions.


Been to the US Open, lately? Be sure to get paired against Polly Wright after reading US Open Rd 9: One Thing I Hate About Playing in Tournaments in Castling Queen Side. And be sure to show up, too! She ends her piece with some ominous words about “smacking”. -Make that "getting smacked." (Grin!)

Oh, the dangers of blogging! Has the Chess Tyro been outed? Find out at Chess Tyro [.] com. But keep blogging on, CT. We’re all out to get you!

You just got to know that any site titled, hardcore pawnography just is going to be funny. Here is chess outlaw and the consequences of not paying a speeding ticket. Not to mention the failure to capitalize your letters!

And speaking of bad people doing bad things, here’s SonofPearl's Chess Blog with Chess Gamesmanship - a confession...

Maybe those last two guys should run into one another in a dark alley in the middle of the night somewhere. Just my luck, I’d be the homeless bum crawling out of my cardboard box and find myself in the middle of them!


Here’s a psychological look at developing chess ability from The Chess Journey, titled “Without error there can be no brilliancy." – Emanuel Lasker. Interesting technique, using a quote as a title.

Rook Van Winkle's Chess Blog submitted Chess Improvement Plan - Part One: Goals. This kind of goal-driven planning should serve as a foundation for any chess training program. Nice job!

The Back Rank presents Chess Tactics Server Thoughts. I’ve not used this myself as I’m still trying to get through CT-ART. I wonder how the Server compares to tactics software? The question is probably just a quibble. As long as we’re training on SOME tactics program, we’re making progress.


Questions, questions . . .

What’s the point of the opening? Robert Pearson's Chess Blog (the one with the hands!) offers Opening Study: Some Diverse Opinions, Part III. His money quote sums up his thesis:

The purpose of studying the opening is to, as often as possible, reach a good middlegame position without using a lot of clock time and mental effort, thus reserving your time and energy for improving that good middlegame position.

Meanwhile, Online Chess Blog asks, “How does one remember the plethora of chess openings?” in a short piece called Winning Chess Opening Moves. This is the old percentage analysis. This may not be the best. An opening line may have been played successfully a thousand times until someone comes up with a refutation. Then it stops getting played. The percentages would still show 1,000 wins and 1 loss.

P.S. Don’t mind my nasty editorials. Susan Polgar doesn’t listen to me either. And she’s a GM and the USCF Chairman, to boot. So don’t feel bad when I pan something.


Confessions of a Chess Novice asks Are You Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? Clever title. When studying tactical puzzles, he concentrates on pattern recognition of solutions rather than analysis of the positions. Good points, though I just KNOW that I need all the analytical practice that I can get.

Which is where Reassembler comes in. He presents Calculation Exercise 1.

Problem analysis or solution recognition? Chess Novice vs. Reassembler. My verdict: draw. We need both points of view.


This month’s entry is is more of a statistical analysis of bullet games versus blitz and longer time controls. Thanks, Chess Improvement for The Wealth of Bullets, part 2 of a series.

WRAPPING UP - - - - - -

One last question. Which blog do you think contributed the best article in this Carnival?

There are many chess blogs and many valued chess sites that weren’t listed above. Here’s a couple of favorites of mine.

World Chess Hall of Fame
FIDE The World Chess Federation
World Championship Tournament This is being played this month
The United States Chess Federation This is a temporary link as they are changing their website.
The Daily Dirt Chess Blog Well, you just have to judge this one for yourself!
ChessBase News

Look for the next edition of the Chess Blog Carnival October 1. You can find out more about it at That also gives a link where bloggers can submit their posts for inclusion in the next blog.


Tom Panelas said...


Well done. There's some really good stuff here. Thanks for getting this moving and pulling it all together.

Derek Slater said...

Hi Jack - thanks. I found your carnival through Robert Pearl's note and was a bit skeptical, having never heard of a blog carnival before. But this is nicely done and I appreciate the time you must have put into reading entries and doing the writeup.
Derek Slater

Sciurus said...

Hi Jack,
thanks for all the work you must have put into this! Even though I follow a large number of blogs, I still found many new ones through the carnival.

likesforests said...

Jack, thanks for putting it together. I never heard of a 'blog carnival' before this, but I like the concept.

Samuraipawn said...


Thank you! I really enjoyed the Carnival and found some great new resources to add to my favourites.


Satish Talim said...

Thanks for putting together this Chess Carnival. Good stuff.

steve carroll said...

Hi Jack,
here is our Australian contribution under CHESS AND EDUCATION

steve carroll

Waldemar said...

Hi Jack,

Nice carnival!
I started my own chessblog recently and was wondering where and when there will be a new chess carnival.
I would like to submit an article.
Have you got a tip for me?

Kind regards,