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ChessCentral’s Free Chess Area

One of the great things about chess is is the amount of free online chess that’s available to anyone. ChessCentral has always been at the front of free chess for all – see the Chess Exchange  our free online forum and our extensive online Chess KnowledgeBase of tips and helps for chess players. Even the ChessCentral FAQ  pages offers free chess technical support. In other words, if you want to learn how to play a chess game or improve your chess playing skills for free, then ChessCentral is here to help!

By far ChessCentral’s most in-depth free chess source is the Free Chess Area, which not only offers plenty of free chess to the casual visitor but makes available a special Member’s Area – free to join,  naturally. A quick look around reveals a host of free chess software programs, free online chess game collections, chess art and free chess articles. Chess players can download free chess e-books or browse through chess lessons for improving players. Any chess player of whatever strength will find free chess information to help learn more about the game of chess.

In addition to ever expanding free chess content, all Members of the Free Chess Area receive the Weekend Warrior chess newsletter, telling of the latest updates, new chess products, and amazing discounts on everyone’s favorite chess stuff. If you’re not a Member yet why not try the best in free chess? It’s only a matter of clicking here  to join now, and get your login details by email in moments. The internet’s top spot for free chess is the Free Chess Area – and remember, it’s absolutely free!

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Queen to Play

Queen to play: A film about Chess

Oscar winner Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda) and the luminous Sandrine Bonnaire (Vagabond) square off in this stylish and sophisticated dramedy of new-found passions and mid-life triumphs, set on the postcard-perfect isle of Corsica.

Lovely, repressed and quietly intelligent, French chambermaid Hélène (Bonnaire) discovers she has a knack for chess. This obsession—much to the chagrin of her husband and teen aged daughter—leads her to seek the clandestine tutelage of a reclusive American doctor (Kline, in his first French-speaking role)—a liaison that radically transforms both of their lackluster lives.

Starts April 1, 2011.

This unique film is in French with English subtitles. You can check out the opening schedules here:

Stay turned. ChessCentral is working with Zeitgeist Films for poster giveaways.

Finding What You Want this Holiday Season

It’s official, the holiday season is here: everyone’s had turkey, Black Friday is behind us and Cyber Monday is at hand. Millions of internet shoppers are looking to fill grandpa’s stocking or get the perfect surprise gift for a favorite nephew. Traditional games always top the buying list, and many new web shoppers will want chess gifts for their family and friends. But how to find the right chess product for that special loved one? A simple search for “chess” on Google yields about 35.5 million results – hardly a list anyone can hope to manage.

The trick to successful shopping is getting a narrowed down search result with targeted key words. You might end up, for example, with “silk chess tie” if you already have the exact present in mind – but to gather ideas then searching Google for “chess gifts” might be better.

Today if you search Google for “chess software”  the return is a list of over 750,000 – but type in “chess software for kids”  and the search results come down to about 250,000. That’s probably the best to be hoped for, unless you know the exact product name. But there’s no need to scan all those pages because one of the first several links will have what you want.

Savvy users of search engines will know, however, that the first 3 or 4 results are shaded differently or somehow stand out. That’s because those companies paid to be at the very top, just like those cheaper ads on the far right of every page. Paying for certain choice search words is obviously not a bad thing, but shopping preference might be given to those who appear on the list naturally and organically.

Another example is the obvious search for “chess set”  which gets you almost 1.5 million returns, whereas “plastic tournament chess set” cuts that number to less than half a million. From there simply click the link closest to what you had in mind, usually one of the top few on the first page.

The world of Google searching is not ideal, but with a little practice you can find the gift you’re looking for. And if you stick with a reliable company that’s always near the top of any search for chess goods, you’ll have a happy holiday season indeed!

Earn Customer Rewards at ChessCentral!

At ChessCentral, we appreciate our loyal customers. And we’re going to prove it…

Starting immediately, your chess purchases made at ChessCentral earn instant Reward Points for you. Every ten dollars you spend with us earns 10 Reward Points, and 100 Reward Points equals $10 worth of credit. What does that mean in plain non-mathematical English? It’s simple: each $10 of your purchase price earns you $1 worth of ChessCentral Reward Points to use as you please toward ChessCentral products.

In short, 10% of your purchase price is rewarded back to you as our way of saying “Thanks!” for your loyalty. We appreciate your business and hope you’ll keep coming back to ChessCentral for all your chess needs: chess pieces, chess boards, chess sets, electronic chess computers, chess software, chess books, and chess downloads. The more you shop ChessCentral, the more Reward Points you’ll earn.

And, for first time customers, you start earning Reward Points with your very first purchase from ChessCentral.

Thanks again for your support and patronage! Stop by and shop ChessCentral today!

Have fun! — Steve

ChessBase 11 video now playing!

You can get a sneak peek at the new ChessBase 11! Check out our video (narrated by Steve Lopez, host of ChessBase Workshop):

ChessBase 11 preview video

And don’t forget — ChessBase 11 is available for pre-order now, with a free bonus CD added to sweeten the deal, plus free online tech support from the aforementioned ChessBase guru Steve Lopez:

ChessBase 11 Starter

ChessBase 11 Mega

ChessBase 11 Premium

ChessBase 11 upgrade from ChessBase 10

ChessBase 11 is on the way!

ChessBase GmbH has announced that the new version of the world’s best-selling chess database software, ChessBase 11, will be released in mid-October. ChessCentral, the leader in cutting-edge chess, is now accepting pre-orders. Order NOW and get a pre-order bonus, Chess Sampler II, FREE (a $49.95 value) with your ChessBase 11 purchase, plus free online USA technical support from ChessBase tech guru Steve Lopez.

Read more about the new ChessBase 11 features here!

ChessBase 11 chess database software from ChessCentral

Buy ChessBase 11 Starter Package
Buy ChessBase 11 Mega Package
Buy ChessBase 11 Premium Package
Buy ChessBase 11 Upgrade

Chess Sets as Collectible Art

Chess is one of the oldest games of skill in the world – and likely has more collectible items than any other game. Chess seems to have spread from India into ancient Persia in the 6th century, but did not arrive in Britain until the 12th century. The famous Isle of Lewis chess set is the earliest known chess set, dating from the 1100s.

Originally, four military divisions defended the monarch: the infantry, cavalry, elephants and chariots – as seen in ChessCentral’s Charlemagne chess set. Over time the pieces were changed to fit the British feudal system and they became pawns, Knights, Bishops and Rooks.

It wasn’t until the release of the Staunton chess set design in 1849 by sports and games maker Jaques of London that chess pieces became known in the form we recognize today.

Staunton Chess Set from Jaques of London

Luke Honey, chess consultant for the London auction house Bonhams, states that Knights are the most important figures to scrutinize when assessing a set. Their shape means that they cannot be turned by machine, but require a skilled craftsman.

Luke says, “One of the great attractions of chess is there is such a variety of styles and ages from which to choose. Always go for the rarest and finest carved pieces you can afford, making sure to do your homework before buying.”

Antique Style Chess Set

A carved chess set should also be judged by the quality of the pawns. A master carver usually focused on the King and Queen, and the Knights, Bishops and Rooks were made by experienced workers. Pawns were often polished off by apprentices. Therefore, if you come across a superbly made pawn it indicates that the master carver may have completed the whole set.

He believes that 19th century chess sets are a great place to start collecting. Popular patterns such as Washington, the Edinburgh Upright, Calvert and Dublin are all available from $1,500 if complete and in good condition.

The Staunton chess sets are ideal for modern players because they are so recognizable. They were named after the 19th Century English chess pioneer Howard Staunton, and fine sets start at about $450 – but can sell for more than $3,500 in top condition.

Visit ChessCentral for collectible chess sets. You will find limited edition Jaques of London chess sets unique chess sets as well as themed chess sets.