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Working Backward to Solve Problems – GM Maurice Ashley

Imagine where you want to be someday. Now, how did you get there? Retrograde analysis is a style of problem solving where you work backwards from the endgame you want. It can help you win at chess — or solve a problem in real life. At TEDYouth 2012, chess grandmaster Maurice Ashley delves into his favorite strategy.

Check out this amazing chess and problem solving video here

Now you know why we encourage you to study the endgame! Ready to get started? We have a fast, fun, and easy way with chess software. Take a look at Endgame Training Software here.


A Paul Morphy Curiosity

This following is “a possible restoration” of an unknown Paul Morphy chess game given by Mr. A.G. Sellman, and appearing in issue #1 of The Internation Chess Magazine (Jan. 1885) edited by Steinitz.


One of the most interesting reminiscences connected with the deceased chess king that has been handed down to posterity, is the following position which occurred in a game played at Paris, between Messrs. Morphy and Delannoy, the former giving the odds of pawn and two moves:


Fischer Random Chess Game in 1875!

Even Bobby’s “Fischer Random”, also known as “Chess960”, is not without precedent in our standard chess. We know that Fischer admires Steinitz, and is well aware of the 1st world champion’s games and writings. As a teenager Fischer was seen reading the International Chess Magazine, while as recently as 1996 he was observed buying a collection of Steinitz games from a chess shop in Argentina. One may guess whether Fischer was aware of the following game, played in the winter of 1875 between Blackburne and Potter – or of others like this one. It would be interesting to collect pre-Fischer examples of Fischer Random, to see if other piece arrangements were practiced.

The game itself is worth reproducing on several counts, beyond being a possible precursor of Fischer Random; for the unusual combat between two strong players, and the commentary by Steinitz are very fine – although the 1st world champion was still discovering his “voice” in this early column in The Field. Unless we are mistaken, a rare slip creeps into his note to Black’s 21st move where the dismissed 21…b6 does NOT lose the Exchange to 22.Ba6+ Kb8. The idea is valid, however, say if White’s Rooks were doubled. Perhaps another strange irregularity in an altogether irregular game.

Steinitz, from The Field (October 1875):

The interesting game published below was played at the West End Chess Club between Messrs. Blackburne and Potter a fortnight ago, for a small prize offered by Mr. Ballard. Both parties agreed to a displacement of the pieces, in order to waive all advantages from the knowledge of the openings, and it was therefore arranged that on both sides the Bishops should be placed on the Knights’ squares, and the Knights on the squares of the Bishops. We have adopted the usual notation, as if the pieces had been placed in the ordinary way.

View the Fisher Random 1875 Chess Game here

The Steinitz Gambit

Check out Kevin Butler’s new chess video introduction to the Steinitz Gambit, covering the important ideas underlying this wild chess opening! After 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 exf4 4.d4 Qh4+ 5.Ke2 the White King is perfectly comfortable behind his strong central pawns, and the monarch even plans on better placement in case of any endgame. Very bold! Kevin’s video explains what’s going on, and shows how you can use the fighting King in your chess openings.


Chess Players – Starting Early, Staying Positive

A group of children in southwest Philadelphia are using chess to stay positive and avoid violence in their city. Will any of them be the next chess prodigies?

Check out this CNN video story where everyone wins:


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

A school where the “cool kids” play chess!

Not only do the cool kids actually play chess, but now they get to have a movie made about them! The new documentary Brooklyn Castle is centered around a Brooklyn school’s championship chess team with over 20 National Championships to its credit.

A few years ago another movie was made about chess called Knights of the South Bronx. Ted Danson stars in the inspiring true story of an inner-city teacher who taught his students to be champions. Danson stars as English teacher David MacEnulty  (who wrote the software program Think Like a King) in this true story of heroism and inspiration. It depicts one man’s struggle to better the lives of underprivileged children from the South Bronx, and by teaching them he transforms their lives and the lives of thousands of other kids, their families, and their neighborhoods.

More details about the Brooklyn Castle documentary to follow!