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Chess Champion Faces Off With New Computer

In 1809 in Vienna, Napoleon played chess at Schönbrunn Castle against the Turk, a turbaned mannequin that was heralded as the world's first chess-playing automaton. Napoleon suspected that a human chess master was hidden inside, and he reportedly tried to interfere with the master's view of the board by wrapping a shawl around the Turk's head and torso. But the blindfolded Turk still moved the chessmen quickly, in a jerky, mechanical fashion. Napoleon lost the game and angrily knocked the pieces to the floor. It took him several months to regain his concentration at the chessboard, and he continued to...

A Crystal Ball for Your Chess Future

If someone offered you a crystal ball that could show you your chess future, would you be willing to peer into it? You may not like what you see ... This article is my version of a crystal ball for your chess future. It's a collection of "signs" that tell whether you're destined to become a stronger player. Don't get depressed if you aspire to be a strong player and you don't like what the crystal ball shows you. Your chess fate is in your own hands but you may have to make some changes to achieve your goals. Player:...

Prototype for a Personalized Chess Book

A large chess library can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help. With such an embarrassment of riches, you'll probably find yourself hopping from one book to the next without getting full value from any one of them. On the other hand, if you had only one book, gettting full value from it would be easier but you'd miss out on what the other books can offer. What I want is a single chess book that meets nearly all my study needs. It'd be the book I'd pull from my shelf if I had a whole month to...

A Peek Inside Fischer

If the strongest chess player who ever lived told you how he studied to become a strong player, would you listen? "Of course!" you say. "I'd hang on every word!" Well, I don't believe you. I claim that, if you're like most chess players, you would completely ignore the priceless lesson, preferring instead to argue over the merits of his opinions. Don't believe me? I can prove it. The Winter issue of Chess Life reprinted Bobby Fischer's The Ten Greatest Masters in History, which originally appeared in 1964 when Fischer had just turned 20. Fischer's list: Morphy, Staunton, Steinitz, Tarrasch,...

Hieroglyphics, Fractions, and the Best Move Myth

We each have a set of chess beliefs that directs how we play and study the game. The right set of beliefs can lead to good results and steady improvement. The wrong set, where we latch on to beliefs and hold them to be true when in fact they aren't, can stagnate our play. Regardless of whether our chess beliefs are right or wrong, I think frequent re-examination of them is healthy, and is good for getting our creative chess juices flowing. Let's do just that, starting with a list of some popular beliefs. Belief #1: Always play the best...

A Guide to Misguided Opening Study

This is certainly an understandable sentiment. Leave the theory to the chess professionals. It's just not practical for a non-professional to compete in the theory arena, right? I think this comment is misguided for several reasons. Opening theory consists of what strong players have played before, and nobody can absorb much of it. Consider an opponent who knows opening theory better than you do. If he's a strong player his strongest weapon is his overall playing ability, not what he knows about book moves. If he's a weak player, good, all you have to do is out-debate a parrot. Don't...

Kings and Pawns in Soviet Russia by Olaf Ulvestad

July 19, 1946, That was a red-letter day in my life! It was then that the seven top ranking American Chess masters voted me on the team to represent the U.S.A. in the coming September ten-man chess-team march with Soviet Russia at Moscow The mere thought of this good fortune gave me thrills of anticipation. Aside from the international chess competition, I was to get first-hand glimpses of a country which was at once the subject of considerable criticism. My feelings were naturally heightened when I thought of the barriers which the USSR had raised to foreign visitors. We, moreover,...

Washington Chess Letter summaries - April to June 1953

As is very common for many many issues of WCL April 1953 issue finds Dan Wade of Seattle as Editor of an 18 page issue. Assistant Editors are John Nourse of Port Blakely, F.W. Weaver , O.W. Manney, E. Zemglais and Ken Mulford all of Seattle. Washington Chess Federation President was O.W. Manney. There is a full page announcement for 1953 Tourney for Women to be held May 17, 1953, $1.00 entry fee. All entries fees will go the winner. Tournament was to be held at site of Seattle Chess Club, 616 Madison St, Seattle, the basement of Knickerbocker Hotel...

Washington Chess Letter summaries - July to September 1953

A 20 page issue had Daniel Wade as Editor as usual. The Assistant Editors were John Nourse, W.H. Weaver, O. Manney, Ollie LaFreniere, J. Sheets, Mrs. Wade and W. Couturs plus R.R. Merk for circulation and Postal Director. Mr. Greene was a top the postal rating list of 49 players. I believe the only players on this list still alive today and Ken Mulford and Don Kendall. Editor Wade reports: “Chess paraded up 4th Ave. in Seattle, Friday eve. July 31st! The occasion was the annual Seattle Seafair. Our game was represented by three decorated cars with signs advertising the...

Washington Chess Letter summaries - October to December 1953

Greene and Mulford were still the top postal players on the rating list. Victor Pupols makes his first appearance in WASHINGTON CHESS LETTER. It was reported he downed Vernon Holmes in a match 7-5. He played for the Tacoma CC team in Puget Sound League match against Seattle Y. He and Russ Vellias on board one drew two games. Pupols' USCF rating was listed as 1947 and he last lived in Lincoln Nebraska. With Jim McCormick as reporter, the about 35 member Renton High School Club activities were reported. The 1954 Washington Championship will be held Nov 14-15. The invited...