Sunday, March 25, 2007

Critical Positions

Dan Heisman, a chess teacher from Philadelphia, writes a great column for Chess Cafe called "Novice Nook". It is not always for novices, but can benefit any player. He has a great column this month -- it is about how to recognize "critical" positions in a game. Once you recognize a critical position, you should spend more time on it, because its... uh... critical.

Anyway, the link will go away in a few weeks, but you can read the article now, here.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

New Jersey Knockouts

The United States Chess League (USCL) will be starting its third season in the fall. It is an online league - all games are played over the internet on the Internet Chess Club.

One of the two new expansion teams is the New Jersey Knockouts (NJKO). I have volunteered to write for the team. Stay tuned for updates!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Brad Delp: A Lonely Soul

Apparently, sources report that Brad Delp's suicide note called himself a "lonely soul".

These days, there are so many things about public figures that we just do not know. One's public face rarely matches one's inner life. This seems to be the case with Brad.

Friday, March 09, 2007

RIP, Brad Delp of Boston

Brad Delp, lead singer of the amazing band Boston, died today. You can read about it here. He was 55.

As many of you know, I was and am a Boston devotee, a member of the fan email list since 1997. I attended the fan-email-list get-together, "Bostock", in the summer of 1998, driving all the way from New York City to Mt. Gilead, Ohio (about 550 miles, I think). I met a lot of fun people there - people who were just as (and many of them more) fanatical about Boston than I was. I can't imagine how this news might hit some of them. I think mostly about Becky Asbury, who hosted the party that weekend; I had never met anyone who was so utterly devoted to a band, and who spoke many times that Boston had pulled her through the bad times. I met her again at a Boston concert in 2003, and she was friendly and remembered me. My thoughts are with you, Becky. Boston can pull you through again.

I never had the opportunity to meet Brad, but from all accounts, he was an exceptionally warm and accessible person. Boston's official website just changed tonight, to a single sentence, "We've just lost the nicest guy in rock and roll."

My condolences to your family and friends and all the fans around the world who loved your voice and music.

Rest in peace, Brad.

UPDATE 15 Mar 2007

Brad's death was a suicide. What a tragic and shocking turn of events. He apparently left two notes, for his fiancee and family, and killed himself through carbon monoxide.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Killer Asteroids

According to this story, NASA doesn't have the cash to track killer asteroids. It's only a billion dollars. Will we regret not spending it?

Monday, March 05, 2007

The King and Pawn Endgame, Part II

In the post a couple of days ago (access it here), I presented a king and pawn endgame. It was determined that white must draw the ending - white cannot win. In that diagram, I played 1. h5 and instead of taking on h5 (i.e., 1... gxh5) and then eating the rook pawn (and ultimately drawing), my opponent pushed the pawn, leaving the position diagrammed here. The only reason, the my opponent must have pushed the pawn was that s/he knew I had about 12 seconds on the clock, and would probably lose on time.

Given this new position, with White to move, now what is the outcome?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

King's Gambit: Kasparov Variation

Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion and likely the best chess player to have ever lived, retired from chess in 2005. Since then, he has spent time trying his hand at Russian politics. He is not a big fan of Putin, and back in April 2005, was bashed over the head with a chess board. Its not clear why someone did it, but it happened.

Yesterday, he led a protest in St. Petersburg. A bold gambit from Garry K. Read about it here.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Another Pawn Ending

Here's another pawn ending from a 5-minute game I played on ICC today. I ran out of time, and I had about 15 seconds left at this point. It is white to move. Can white win or is it a draw? Post any comments.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Is this Life's Instruction Manual?

A book he wanted to get. Given the way I play, it shouldn't be too hard.