A Fun Story and Ending.

A few decades ago, before the invention of laptops and chess engines, I used to study chess on a large tournament-sized set.

 
During the warm summer nights California is known for, I would set up a playing board, along with notes and books, in the backyard.

 
This particular night I had just set up the board when I noticed a bright light zigzagging in the night. My eyes followed it and for some strange reason it noticed me. And it sped towards my backyard.

 

 

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I wasn’t frightened, more curious than anything else. It’s not every day a strange, bright, flying, object settles in my backyard.

 

It was small thing and when the door opened a tiny being emerged. It (it could have been a male, female, or animal, or robot) began to talk with me. Now since I’m not a polyglot, nor do I know any extra-terrestrial languages, I didn’t understand everything this otherly-world being was trying to say.

 

But with some hand movements I got a general idea what this entity wanted to know. It (again, I’m sure what gender this being was or if it had a gender) wanted to know what I was doing with the tablecloth (the chessboard), and the little figurines (the pieces).

 
As I am happy to share the game with others, with adults, children, pets, and now aliens, I started to teach the game to it.

 
But this visitor, like so many other beginners, was impatient, and soon fell behind in material, key squares, position, and was on the wrong end of possible checkmates.

 
So here is the diagram which we eventually reached.

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1.Qa1+ Kxa1 (Obviously not 1…Ka3 due to 2.Qc3+ Ka4 3.Bb5+! Kxb5 4.Qc5+ Ka4 5.a8=Q+. My space-traveling friend, being a quick learner, figured this out and avoided it. Besides, there was another point to his move.)

 

2.Kc2 (with the idea of Bd4#) 2…h1=K!

(Whoa! I started to tell him that was an illegal move. To which he replied, “Didn’t you tell me that a pawn reaching the last rank, could become any piece? And I want another king”.

I had to admit he was right. What to do now? If I leave both kings on the board, it would seem likely I would stalemate one of them, and possibly both. I looked at his smug expression. It knew the problems I faced. But then I had moment of inspiration.)

 
3.a8=K! (Now he had at least one move that didn’t result in stalemate.) 3…Kb8 (forced.)

 
4.h7 Ka8 (again forced.)

5.h8=Q mate, mate, mate!

Books I Love

I had a recent discussion with a chess friend of mine. The topic? Chess!, of course.

 

One interesting topic we covered was answering the question, “What is your favorite chess books you ever read?”

 

Well, my friend a Dragon junkie, said any book with the Dragon can’t be bad.

 

I take a slightly different approach about chess books. I love to read and read chess books not so much for instruction, but for enjoyment. So my list is slightly different from most other chess zealots.

 

 

First on the list is 1000 Best Short Games of Chess by Chernev, who, with his annotations, make all the miniatures of his book so joyous. One characteristic of Chernev I hope current and future chess writers would seek to emulate is to keep the text and notes to a minimum and let the reader have some space to actually ENJOY the game.

 

Another book with the same approach is Morphy’s Games of Chess by Sergeant. Notes about the game, and people who played them, are simple and short and they don’t get in the way of the game.

 

1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate by Reinfeld. Isn’t that the preferred goal of playing every game? Also it’s a good primer for Siamese Chess. 

 
Soltis’ Chess to Enjoy, is exactly that. It is at times, hilarious, thought-provoking, and at all times, entertaining.

 

 

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The best periodical, IMHO (for all those who don’t speak Internetse, is short for In My Humble Opinion), are the New In Chess Yearbooks. If you ever want to study an opening, or even a minor variation of an opening, in great detail, then these books are for you! The games covered in each opening are plentiful and there is enough space between the games and the individual moves of the game to keep you from getting yourself a major eye strain.

 

Do you have some favorites in your chess library? Why do you like them? Leave us a message! =)

PETS PLAYING CHESS

Pets are loveably, cute, cuddly, and can play a tough game of chess.

 

You might not believe it, but they actually do play chess. Here are some photos showing what I mean.

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It’s been noted that pets tend to win more than 80% of the games played to completion. Of the 20% that they did not win occurred when the pet got bored with the game when the losing human player didn’t finish the game, and they walked away from the board on all four paws.

 

Remember that next time you hear a stupid pet joke.