Category Archives: Delaware Chess Review

2017 Delaware State Open Championship

A State Championship Event

20 Grand Prix Points

Mar 11 – 12, 2017

Online Registration Here

Delaware State Open Championship

Newark, DE

Hilton Wilmington/Christiana Hotel, 100 Continental Dr., Newark, DE 19713 (off I-95).
Ask for special price to reserve room for the chess tournament. 302-454-1500. 6-SS Open, 5-SS U1600, G/90 d5.

Open: $600, $300, $150, U2200 $150, U2000 $150, U1800 $150, $ prizes b/40

U1600: $400, $240, $140, U1400 $140, U1200 $140, U1000 $140. $ prizes b/40

Special DE Resident Prizes: Delaware State Champion = Trophy + Free EF to next year’s event, Top Delaware Junior = Trophy, Delaware Women’s State Champion = Trophy + Free EF to next year’s event – may be in Open or U1600 section).

Reg.: Advanced Reg online Here.
By Mail: Delaware Chess Association, 2400 N. Broom St., Apt. 203, Wilmington, DE 19802.
Call 302-893-9519 for info.
On Site: 8am – 9am.

EF: Free entry to GM’s and IM’s ($50 deducted from prizes). $65 by 3/07. On site: $70.

Rds.: Sat.10, 2, 6.
Sun.9, 1, (5, open only).

Half point Byes: 2 available.

$ prizes b/40 in each section.

Email: .

The information shown above is based on information in US Chess records prior to publication of the TLA in Chess Life (or Chess Life Kids.)
As such, the information shown above is subject to change and any URLS may not yet be activated or may refer to other events.
Please check the TLA in Chess Life (or Chess Life Kids) for any corrections, updates or other changes.
In special cases, changes that are made after the publication of Chess Life may be found on the Tournament Listings by State page.
Sponsoring Affiliate: T6007774, DELAWARE CHESS ASSOCIATION.

Tell the TD you heard about this event via TLA Mail or saw it on the US chess website. TLA ID: 17718

New Book Reviews

Dr. Ira Lee Riddle has reviewed several more books for our Delaware Chess readers.  These books include Secrets of Opening Surprises Vol 10, Winning Chess Middlegames, The Black Lion, and Play 1. b3!.  So head on over to http://www.delawarechess.org/chessviewer/bookreviews.html and click on “Review 2” to read Ira’s thoughts on these books.  Be sure to check back later for more reviews to come!

Book Reviews

Dr. Ira Lee Riddle has reviewed several books for our Delaware Chess readers.  These books include American Grandmaster, Practical Endgame Play – Mastering the Basics, and Play 1. b4!, among others.  These are short reviews to give you an overview of these and several other books.  So click on over to http://www.delawarechess.org/chessviewer/bookreviews.html and read Ira’s thoughts on these books and be sure to check back later for more reviews to come!

Delaware Chess Review

As promised, here is the review on the second of our turn-based sites. As you may recall from the previous review, playing turn-based chess means you sign onto a site and challenge someone. Then you can make your move, sign off, and come back later to see if they have moved and then you move again. Basically, it is like correspondence chess but over the internet. You may also recall that last time I recommended that you checkout Itsyourturn.com where you can play chess and other strategy games.

In this review I want to introduce you to another site that is for chess fans only – Chess.ac. I’ll cut right to the chase, Chess.ac is a better site for playing turn-based chess. Why? Mostly the interface but Chess.ac also offers some other nice features.

So first, the interface. When you visit chess.ac for the first time you may find the interface a bit intimidating – I did, and I do quite a bit with computers. But you will quickly get used to it and appreciate the available features. When viewing a game you can see your other games, you can take notes in a window right on that screen and you can see your entire chat with that player. On itsyourturn.com you would have to go through many mouse clicks and page loads to get that same information. Moreover, on the game screen you can also replay the game very quickly. This is a huge deal when you consider that you may be playing 10-20 games at once and the other player may not have moved in that particular game for several days. If you are like me you really need to replay a few moves to get your head back in the game and chess.ac makes that fast and easy. A quick word of advice on leaving yourself game notes – the game notes entry box and the chat entry box are near one another and more than one player has accidentally typed game plans into the wrong box and sent them off to their opponent! So just be sure you click in the right box. 🙂

Now, on to the added features of chess.ac that I think make it a better chess playing site than itsyourturn.com. In the game screen you can switch to an ‘analyze mode’ where you can freely move pieces around the board to play ‘what-if’ scenarios. This is a nice feature. I know, I know, the chess purists would say “Hey, you shouldn’t be able to touch the pieces, you should have to calculate in your head.” But again, this is the beauty of this type of chess, you can take your time and you can play with the pieces. Another really neat feature of chess.ac is the ability to form teams. You may form your own team or join other already established teams. The teams can then challenge one another to a given number of ‘boards’ just like two clubs who are in the same town. I setup a team for my school club and I think this would be a great way for schools from across the US to play against one another. For that matter, I suppose you could play any school in the world. You do not have to belong to any team but if you do join a team you may not join another team until you quit your original one. In other words, you can only be on one team at any given time. Finally, another feature on chess.ac is the ability to play live games via thier flash interface. This interface certainly isn’t as polished as the high end chess servers but it certainly is sufficient if you feel like fitting in a few games of live chess while you are waiting for your opponents to move. There are some other nifty things that go on at chess.ac and some neat features they seem to be working on, but I’ll leave you to find them as you explore the site. So go on over to chess.ac and checkout the site and what it has to offer. Again, I think it is better than itsyourturn.com for playing chess. But chess is the only game chess.ac offers while itsyourturn.com has other cool games to play.

The beauty of this whole thing is that both sites are FREE so there is no reason to not be a member of both! What a nice place this internet is. 🙂

When you get setup feel free to send me a challenge (docfleetwood) or challenge my team (Charter School).

In the meanwhile, head on over to our chess forum and give us your opinion on the best places to play online.

I hope to see you online!

Until next time….

Tom Fleetwood

Delaware Chess Review

Inspired by a post over on the Delaware Chess Forums by Empire1 we have not one, but two sites for you to check out! Empire1 basically asked about playing correspondence chess and the best way to do that. Email was suggested but then Phil Simpkins mentioned some online places to play turn-based chess. This inspired me to test out several sites and report back two that I think are the best.

First up is one of Phil’s suggestions, Itsyourturn.com. Itsyourturn is a very cool site to play turn-based chess.

What is turn-based chess? Turn-based chess basically means that you sign on to the site and make a move on an actual graphical board and then you go about your daily business – not like I play at work or anything. 🙂 Later you sign back on and see if your opponent has moved and then take your turn again. At first I thought gee, that’s nice, but kinda boring since it will take soooo long to finish a game. Boy was I wrong! It turns out that it is very exciting and way better than playing on the chess servers (unless you feel like blasting out a number of blitz games). The beauty of this method is that you don’t feel any great pressure and you can take time to THINK about your moves. And this is exactly what you should be doing to get better at chess – playing SLOW games! It feels so good to be able to study a position, walk away for a while and come back to look at it again. Hopefully by the second or third time you will see something brilliant, but at the very least you are way less likely to make significant blunders. The other thing that keeps this method of play exciting is that you can play more than one game at once. I am currently playing twenty games at the same time. That more than makes up for the lack of instantaneous feedback from your opponent.

So now that I sold you on the potential of turn-based chess lets get back to the sites.

Itsyourturn.com has a nice clean interface and layout. Membership comes in two versions: free and a paid version at $29.95 for one year. Free membership limits the number of games you can play to twenty and the number of moves you can make in a day to fifteen. Those limits are fine for most people but if you like to play a lot of games then you will quickly become frustrated at the limits. If you enjoy playing there then it is worth the $29.95 to not have any real limits. The site also hosts tournaments and a ladder system to keep you busy. Another nice feature is that the site keeps a pgn record of your game that you can copy and paste into your computer playing program afterward for analysis. But the best part about itsyourturn.com is that it offers more games than just chess! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love chess but there are a good number of other strategy games on the site also and they are all turn-based. Games like Checkers, Backgammon, Connect4, Battleship, Stratego and Go among others. It is like the candyland of strategy games and you can play them all for free! By now you can probably see how you would run out of your daily 15 move limit – I did, many times – so now I am a member. Of course, you can also ‘chat’ with your opponent while you play, which is a nice way to meet new people and make new friends across the nation and world.

What is the downside of itsyourturn.com? Well, for starters, the limits on games and moves. The other issue is the interface. While it is clean and easy and requires no special software (flash, java etc…) it is mildly annoying. Each time you click on a piece to move it you have to wait for the page to reload and then click on the square you want it to go to and the page reloads again. It is generally quite fast but annoying none-the-less. The other issue is with the chat function. You can associate a message with a move. The problem is that it is hard to remember what you said the last time (remember, you may be playing many games at once) and it is time consuming to get back to each message. But the truth is that these are minor annoyances for a very cool site that can give you much enjoyment and improve your chess. I highly recommend you check it out!

The second site? Well, this review turned out a little longer than I thought so I am going to save that for next time 😉 That will also give you a chance to check out itsyourturn for free and get a feel for the site so you will better be able to compare. So go on over to itsyourturn.com and play some games – but don’t pay quite yet until you see the other site I am recommending. It’ll be soon, really. 🙂

Until next time….

Tom Fleetwood

Delaware Chess Review

You may remember the two ‘plays’ written by Alex Shternshain in a previous Delaware Chess Review. Well, it seems he has been taking another break from his job as an electronic engineer and instead put himself into the mind of a game piece. What does it feel like to be a pawn in chess? Alex addresses this question with another brilliant story about chess, family, growing up, life changes and the emotions each brings. You should definitely click on over to

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2601

and read this wonderful new story by a very imaginative fellow.

Until next time…

Tom Fleetwood

Delaware Chess Review

My, how times have changed! The first chess book I worked through was “A Complete Chess Course” by Fred Reinfeld. I just checked www.amazon.com and … it’s still in print, descriptive notation and all! My advice is to avoid it – it is now pretty much obsolete.

How I wish I had “A World Champion’s Guide to Chess” by Susan Polgar back then! It’s designed to take you from near-beginner to competent tournament player. My guess is that if you diligently work through this book once or twice, there is very little else you would need to do to become a 500-600 USCF rated player. (Of course playing and taking notation would be two other things!).

Her book is divided into 4 major sections, with a prelude and a couple of supplements. The prelude is a set of tutorials that teaches how the pieces move, how to win or draw a chess game, how to take notation, and so forth. The last section (Basic Principles of Chess, 2 pages) should be read by everyone, and then you are ready for the meat of the book.

Section I (almost 200 pages) is a gem that is divided into eighteen chapters. This is her lesson on tactics and covers over half the book – highlighting the importance of tactical practice to the improving chess player. She already demonstrates how practical a book this is in the first 3 chapters: “Checkmate in One Move with Each of the Pieces”, “Capturing Pieces”, and “Getting Out of Check”. These kinds of “pre-tactics” are usually skipped over by others and it’s good to see them included here. They also serve to introduce us to the format of this section: a brief description of the goal and a set of 20 problems to practice on and learn from. The first chapter is a minor exception since there are 5 different pieces that can checkmate – a total of 100 problems in that chapter. In later chapters there will be 16 ‘easy’ problems (one move), 3 ‘harder’ problems (2 moves), and a ‘hardest’ problem (but still doable!).

The next 6 chapters cover what we know as basic tactics: forks, pins, skewers, discovered attacks, and the ultimate killer move – double checks. Even here she introduces some originality, with a chapter on “Making Pins” and a separate one on “Using Pins”.

To jump to the end for a moment – many might wonder what a world champion brings to a “beginner’s book” – even after reading another classic “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess”. In Susan’s case she brings the memory of a training program that was incredibly successful, the knowledge of exactly how that program helped her in her journey to world-class, and the experience of transporting that program to another culture (ours) and perfecting it with children who may not desire to be world champions. There are lots of grandmaster biographies out there – each with their own individual insights. This book is special in that the program is proven to work – with three Hungarian sisters and with 100s of kids in the United States.

Back to tactics! The second half of this section continues to delight with quite a few surprises: “Trapping Pieces”. “The Back Rank”, “Intermediate Moves”, “Castling, Underpromotion, En Passant”, “Stalemate”, “Perpetual Check” (in case the purists start jumping up and down, she has already made clear in the tutorial that perpetual check only leads to a draw by repetition of position or agreement), “Proper Defensive Choices” (a very well done chapter on picking the best alternative of several), “Defending by Check or Pin”, and finally “Pattern Recognition”. This last chapter gives improving students an insight into further study – working from a simple tactic to positions where that tactic is 1 or 2 moves away.

Section II devotes thirty plus pages to 32 key endgame positions. World Champions from the beginning have recommended studying tactics and endgames for two reasons. First – they allow you to win games. Second – you learn how pieces cooperate with each other. In this section, Susan covers basic mates (even K+B+N vs K), the basic K+P vs K positions, and some multi-pawn endgames with recurring themes, basic queen (or rook) and pawn endgames (one of which occurred in one of the games at the September Slugfest tournament yesterday!), and characteristic positions for a bishops of opposite color endgame, a bishops of same color endgame, and a knight and pawn endgame.

Section III is 45 pages of practice! Fifty checkmates-in-one, 50 checkmates-in-two, and 20 checkmates-in-three.

Section IV consists of some general tips on strategy in each phase of the game, and two full games of Susan’s where each move is annotated in the style of “Logical Chess: Move by Move” (one of the most recommended chess books ever).

The book closes with two supplements of advice – one to players and the other to parents and coaches.

Well – what’s missing when you compare it to the Reinfeld book I had 4 decades ago? There is no opening survey – but I don’t think that’s appropriate for a beginner book anyway. There are lots of good ones out, but they should only be read after a bunch of games have already been played (I used to think that if you explained general opening principles and showed kids a couple of “real” games that they would just emulate them. I think we all have a genetic tendency to play 1.a4 and until we lose like that all the advice in the world won’t help!).

There was one typo that I found (on page 107). One could argue that some simple deflection exercises should have been included – but you have to draw the line somewhere. She is working on another volume with more advanced exercises in it – I can’t wait!

All in all I highly recommend this book – I think the approach is refreshing and will be successful, and it has lots of nice touches to it. The tactical section is more complete and thorough than any I remember seeing in a beginner’s book. If you are serious about your chess, and just thinking about playing for your school club or in a tournament – read this book!

Let me also mention that Susan’s father wrote an excellent book if you’d like further practice: Chess: 5,334 Problems, Combinations, and Games, by Laszlo Polgar. It’s an incredible collection of problems!

And remember – feedback of any kind is always encouraged and appreciated!

Yours for chess, Bob

Delaware Chess Review

This week’s review finds two wonderful chess plays. Yes, you read correctly, chess plays, as in the theater. Now these aren’t really in the theater, of course, but I could just envision the actors on stage and the laughter from the geeky chess crowd. They are not only funny but quite insightful.

So click on over to the Chessbase site and read the brilliant one-act play by Alex Shternshain. The url is…

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2457

The play combines humor and the sad truth of the battle that goes on in one’s head while playing – it is very witty.

Then read his other one-act play called Club-2700. The link for that is…

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2307

I hope you have as much fun reading these as I did – I literally laughed out loud more than once 🙂

Until next time…

Tom Fleetwood

Delaware Chess Review

This week’s review is about Chess Tactics Art 3.0, a program based on work by Russian GM Maxim Blokh. Much like the previously reviewed Intensive Course Tactics by Renko, this software program presents you with a variety of positions to solve. The positions involve a number of tactical motifs: distraction, decoys, clearance and more. There is also a whole section of combinational motifs to practice combination play. But more than that, this program deals with ideas in chess, such as winning a tempo, destroying a pawn shelter or playing for stalemate. It would take much more space and time to go into depth on the wealth of information available in this program so I am jut going to point out a few items – but trust me, there is more.

There are many nice features built into the program for helping you practice. First, you have the choice of ‘practice’ mode or ‘test’ mode, within a given tactical category. Once you start the position, if you choose the wrong move the program will show you why it was wrong and how the opponent could refute your attempt – that is nice. If you guess wrong again it will give you hints as to what piece to move. The next stage of help is a very cool feature – if you guess wrong again the program will load another window with a simplified position so you can review the particular tactic you are striving to achieve. I personally think this multi-level help approach is the best way to go because it continually makes you THINK about the position and the ideas involved in the position without just telling you the answer. And, as we all know, the program can’t tell you the answers while you are playing in a tournament somewhere – you need to find them yourself! Another great feature is that many of the positions can be played from both the white and black perspective. As is often the case in real life, the game changes dramatically based on whose turn it is. So, after you solve for the white position, the board will flip around and reset and ask you what black should do if it were their turn instead. This is like getting two puzzles for every one and is truly a nice addition to the learning experience.

All in all, there are over 1,200 practice problems in the software – more than enough to make you a much better player. The program claims to be for players rated 1600 – 2300 but I personally see no reason why lower rated players would not benefit from its lessons. The positions can also be practiced by difficulty level so yo can build up your confidence. Finally, another really nice feature is that the program keeps statistics for each user that you can view and find your strengths and weaknesses. The program will also estimate your elo rating after you solve a given number of positions.

All in all, I highly recommend this software for all levels of players and I thank Bob Wilder for pointing it out to me originally. And unlike many of the Chessbase products, this software is entirely self-contained – you don’t need any other software installed to run it (although, to be fair, Chessbase does usually include the reader software necessary to run their software for free).

Until next time…

Tom Fleetwood