Master of Improvisation

August 11, 2018

Master of Business Administration, Master of Chess, … All of these titles describe Mike Splane, but I would like to add a new one to them: Master of Improvisation. Mike sent around an e-mail yesterday with a game he had just played at the Kolty Club on Thursday night. It obviously had to be something […]

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Matrix Redux

August 2, 2018

I’ve posted here many times before about my training method called “Matrix chess,” which is the only useful way I’ve ever found of training against a computer. (Well, of course you can use computers to study openings, but that’s different. Here I’m talking about trying to use the computer to improve your chess skills.) In […]

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Sacrificing Your Opponent’s Pieces

July 28, 2018

Almost two weeks ago, Mike Splane hosted his latest chess party. This one was a special occasion, because we had a chance to welcome back Steven Zierk, whom Mike introduced as “the first GM ever from the Kolty Chess Club.” It’s a bit of a stretch, but Steven did go to the Kolty Club in […]

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Disappointing Finale

July 21, 2018

Before I started playing in the Tuesday Night Marathon, I told myself that I wouldn’t care too much about my result. The goal was simply to get back into form after two years of no tournament chess, and I didn’t really know how I would do. For the first seven weeks, I felt as if […]

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July 10 Fireworks

July 11, 2018

After six rounds of the Tuesday Night Marathon at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco, I realized something kind of odd. I hadn’t played a single sacrifice in any of my first five games (in one round I took a half-point bye, so obviously no sacrifices in that game). Well, of course sacrifices aren’t always […]

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A New Sheriff Comes to Town!

July 9, 2018

Last Friday I got a really surprising message on Facebook. “Hi Dana!” it started. “I hope that everything is going well. I just moved to Santa Cruz…” and it was signed Steven Zierk. My regular readers will remember that I just wrote a blog post about Steven a couple of weeks ago (The GM Factory […]

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A Million and Two Reasons

July 7, 2018

For poker players, this is one of the biggest weeks of the year — the week of the “Main Event” at the World Series of Poker. And even though there are a million reasons why I don’t play poker, I thought it would be fun to catch up on some former (and current) chess players […]

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Missed Opportunities

July 4, 2018

Round six of the Tuesday Night Marathon at the Mechanics Institute was another hard-fought draw. I really don’t mind draws, even against lower-rated players, as long as good chess was played on both sides. In this game, my opponent made a really strange mistake on move 7 and I thought that the game might just […]

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Simple Chess

June 27, 2018

Last night at the Tuesday Night Marathon I played a thrilling draw against Greg Sarafian, a high class-A player. As you’ll see, this was a game where all three results were possible. In the immediate aftermath I was very relieved because I felt I had escaped from very serious trouble. But with a calmer look […]

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Winning (Again) with the Mike Splane Question

June 20, 2018

Last night I played my fourth round in the Tuesday Night Marathon at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club in San Francisco. I won a nice game against a very friendly class-A player named Jonathan Mendoza. That brought my score to 3-1, with two wins, a draw and a half-point bye. To me the most interesting […]

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