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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

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.

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

Chess Fractals

If you are not familiar with the chess work of Mark Weeks, you should be. We have known Mark since the beginning of the Internet when he started a web site called World Chess Championship. Check out the copyright date at the bottom of the site!

Next, we caught up with Mark when he became chess guide for About.com. He was one of the few volunteer writers that kept the world informed about the events happening in chess. he did a marvelous job for years and was sorely missed when he retired from that position.

Now we have just come across his blog called Chess for all Ages where he covers a plethora of chess topics.

This leads to the title of this blog post. Check out what Mark found. Chess Fractals. These images are in the spirit of Escher and will boggle the mind. Enjoy!

Thanks Mark for your tireless years of dedication to the world of chess.

Maurice Ashley What does it take to play top-level chess?

Think Big
Grandmaster Maurice Ashley

Maurice Ashley has to be one of the most recognizable chess names in the world today. The first African-American International Grandmaster, Ashley went on to become the chess commentator for ESPN and the author of the best selling book  “Chess for Success: Using an Old Game to Build New Strengths in Children and Teens”. In the recent RAW World Chess Challenge with Magus Carlsen, Ashley provided entertaining commentary during the match. GM Ashley’s successful chess software DVD The Secret to Chess a Fritz Trainer from ChessBase has been a top seller at ChessCentral since its release.

In a recent wide-ranging interview, GM Maurice Ashley makes an excellent case for the beneficial effects of chess. In a presentation of some 24 minutes GM Ashley points out that chess is a discipline (like many others) that one gets better at through training and hard work. The American Grandmaster speaks with authority and also notes the chess applications to business and general life skills.

Check out the video interview here.

ChessCentral congratulates winner of 2010 North Carolina Grand Prix

ChessCentral, the leader in cutting-edge chess, was a proud sponsor of this year’s North Carolina Grand Prix. Players earned Grand Prix points by competing successfully in tournaments sponsored by the North Carolina Chess Association, with the year’s events culminating with the North Carolina Open (held Labor Day weekend in Charlotte, NC).

When the smoke cleared at the end of the weekend, the 2010 Grand Prix winner was Ronald Simpson. Mr. Simpson’s prizes were the Templar Chess Set and the matching Wenge and Maple board, both furnished by ChessCentral.

Tournament organizer Gary Newsom characterized the North Carolina Open as featuring “an aggressive new format which combines a very reasonable entry fee with $10,000 in guaranteed cash prizes”. The event was pure excitement right up to the final round in which IM Bryan Smith won as Black against Jon Schroer to take clear first and a $1,200 cash prize.

ChessCentral has announced that they will again sponsor the North Carolina Grand Prix in 2011.

All of us at ChessCentral extend our congratulations to this year’s Grand Prix winner Ronald Simpson as well as to IM Smith. Well done, gentlemen!

Have fun! — Steve