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The Queen’s Gambit Declined, Semi-Grunfeld

We know from chess openings like the Grunfeld Defense (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5) that Black may control the center with pieces instead of pawns. But what about the Grunfeld’s poor cousin, 1.d4 d5 2.c4 g6, clearly a member of this hypermodern family? The first issue of Kamikaze Times (November, 2002) called this line the “Alekhine Defense” against the Queen’s Gambit. Alekhine did play this opening, but the editor correctly notes that Blackburne takes precedence. Unusual and seldom seen, there is not much theory to learn nor many games to consult; those who enjoy offbeat chess openings may investigate further. First we have Blackburne at work:

http://www.chesscentral.com/Chess_Knowledge_Base_a/518.htm

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In the Digital Age, More Chess Prodigies?

Here at ChessCentral, we feel that the growing number of young Grandmasters is the result of access to strong chess computers and chess software used for training. We remember the days of stacks of books, of studying each game page by page, and hoping that our chess analysis was right because there was no way to verify our conclusions.

The question of who is a chess prodigy may need to be rethought because there are many more elite young players than there once were.

At the Reykjavik Open in Iceland, which ended Wednesday, Wei Yi, a 13-year-old from China, completed the requirements for the Grandmaster title. In doing so, he became the fourth-youngest Grandmaster ever.

It is a remarkable accomplishment, but not as remarkable as it once was. After Bobby Fischer became a Grandmaster at 15 in 1958, breaking the old record by three years, it was 1991 before Judit Polgar bettered his mark.

Read more

The Making of Chess Sets

Many people possessed of a creative bent, aspiring craftsmen, have learned how to make chess pieces and chess sets. The artist has a wide choice of medium, some preferring ceramic and resins while others like metal working. Even exotic materials such as bone and rock can be fashioned into beautiful and decorative chess pieces.

Naturally the most popular chess sets are made of wood. Today the majority of chess pieces are mass produced in factories using expensive wood turning equipment, modern tools far beyond the reach of most woodworkers. But really all that is needed to make your own chess set is wood and a sharp knife, right? There is much to be said for primitive methods; forget about fancy electric tools!

At ChessCentral we encourage craftsmanship. If you’d like to make a fine wooden chess set from scratch we recommend the Moroccan Bow Lathe – a must for any basic tool kit. Check out the following amazing chess video to learn more about this important device for making chess pieces:

Chess on Reality TV

The game of chess has seen a number of attempts to make it on television, the best being The Master Game which ran on BBC from 1976 to 1982. Good, solid chess entertainment and instruction. Today we learn of a new TV series called American Chess Star featuring chess bitch Jennifer Shahade among others – a show aiming to compete in the crowded television “reality” genre. Apparently the show’s host will conduct players through several challenges, producing a winner. After watching the trailer below one might think the whole thing a hoax; after all, the atmosphere feels like a cross between Blue’s Clues and Pee Wee’s Playhouse. But the show is produced by the Xtreme Chess Champs, a group which certainly exists on Facebook and Twitter. Make up your own mind, but we rather hope this project confines itself to a series of obscure web episodes, the better to limit the embarrassment of all chess players.

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!

Wilhelm Steinitz

The first world chess champion is generally seen as the first scientific chess player, and is often called the father of modern chess. Steinitz put down in writing and formulated chess principles that the best players had always employed, even if unconsciously, in their own chess games. The guidelines found in modern chess manuals can all be traced back to Steinitz, who himself said that the modern school of chess was introduced in his published annotations and game commentary.

Gathering all the games of Steinitz, along with his notes on chess games, is the motive behind the Collected Works of Wilhelm Steinitz. This CD also includes the books written by Steinitz along with extended extracts from magazines and newspaper columns which he edited. But this collection can never be truely complete, seeing that Wilhelm Steinitz left behind such a vast body of chess literature.
That’s why Wilhelm Steinitz.com was created, where further research and discoveries about Steinitz can be accessed. Those who own the Collected Works CD can now find 10 new Steinitz games plus newly digitized articles by Steinitz “translated” into ChessBase format. Even casual visitors who may know little about Steinitz will discover much of interest – enjoy!

Click here to go to the Wilhelm Steinitz web site

Everyman E-book App for iPad

Have an iPAD? Now you can read Everyman chess e-books and enjoy the same interactivity as you do on your PC. Featuring a full iPad landscape and portrait support, search with autocomplete, support for zip files and full eBook store with inApp purchasing. When you launch your app you will see your book list, which will include the free chess book samples provided by Everyman. Your Book list is categorized into two sections:

1) Books which show eBooks customized by Everyman specifically for this app (including the samples)

2) PGN files which show any .pgn files you may have downloaded from the web or added from your hard drive

To get this great new app go click here

ChessCentral carries over 100 Everyman Chess E-Books. To browse the full line of e-books click here.