Winning the Queenside Battle, Winning the Kingside War

July 12, 2020

Have you ever had a game that you won and you didn’t understand why? I call it a Billy Preston game, in honor of the singer who had a #1 hit in the 1970s called “Will It Go Round in Circles.” The lyrics go: “I’ve got a story ain’t got no moral / Let the […]

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The Audacity of Hope, 2020 Version

July 5, 2020

Going off-topic today, with apologies to my chess fans. I. Last night Kay and I had movie night, a family tradition every Friday. Sad to say, I can’t tell you what movie we watched last week, or the week before that, but I can tell you that last night we watched Hamilton and it was […]

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Back in Business!

June 30, 2020

My computer issues have been taken care of, thanks to one of my readers, Marshall Polaris. Marshall is a Kolty Club member, a fan of this blog, and was also a participant on the Kolty Club team in the U.S. Amateur Team West tournament back in February. (Back in the long-ago days when you could […]

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A Weird and Wonderful Game

June 18, 2020

Just when I think I’m wasting my time playing so many games against the computer, along comes a game like this one! I’ll show you the end first. FEN: 2kr4/ppp5/6p1/2Q3P1/4PP2/5KN1/PPp4q/R4B1r b – – 0 23 I’m playing Black against Fritz, with its rating set at 2025. What would you do? If you want a little […]

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Computer Issues (Alas)

June 16, 2020

I just heard from Mike Splane that there was a comment on my last post that did not display when he clicked on the link. Here is what the comment said, from Larry Smith: “A great post! I can only imagine how much time went into putting this together. Here are several comments: First, when […]

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A Notorious Endgame

June 14, 2020

In the past I’ve mentioned the “Four Endgames of the Apocalypse,” the four supposedly “elementary” yet ferociously difficult endgames that even grandmasters screw up sometimes: K+Q versus K+R; K+B+N versus K; K+R+B versus K+R; and K+Q+RP versus K+Q. I’ve encountered each of these in my chess career, some of them more than once. But there […]

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De-Chessification

May 31, 2020

There will be a short-lived pause (which you won’t even notice) in this blog as I de-chessify. The reason is that I’ve gotten entirely too much sucked into playing against Fritz on my computer. My wife finally said enough is enough, and took away my laptop for a week! Let me hasten to add that […]

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The Computer Gets Ridonkulous

May 23, 2020

I’m glad that I got a couple of comments on my last post, “What’s the Best Move?”, saying that my readers found the positions just as hard as I did. It makes me feel better, because most of them were positions where I was playing against the computer and messed up. So now I feel […]

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What’s the Best Move?

May 9, 2020

Old-timers like me can remember when every issue of Chess Life came with a Larry Evans column called “What’s the Best Move?” Evans would give you positions with three choices of possible moves. The idea, I think, came from a book of the same name that he wrote in 1973. I’m actually not too fond […]

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3 Variations on a Theme

April 27, 2020

Here’s a challenge of a kind I haven’t seen before. I’m going to show you three very similar positions. In the first, it’s Black to play and win. In the second, Black has to play exactly the same first two moves, and you have to show that the game is a draw. In the third, […]

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