Thursday, April 17, 2008


The Saavedra Position

The Saavedra position is one of my favorite endgame studies. It is simple, exciting and has a few unexpected surprises.

I'm experimenting with the tools used to create this video, hosting it outside of my website and embedding it into my blog with an idea towards creating a chess-specific tool and service to make this available to other chess blogs and websites. I used camtasia to create this but I'm wondering how much interest there is among chessplayers for chess-specific tools to easily create videos from pgn files with or without the ability to add audio and other effects (draw lines, highlights, etc). Any feedback is welcome. I'm hosting this video from

And, how did you like the video itself? Did it display ok for you?

It does requires JavaScript to be enabled and the latest version of the Macromedia Flash Player available here.

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I watched the video just fine ... saw it and heard it. I enjoyed the presentation and actually learned something!

I don't use tools like these much ... I'm on the other end (the learning side as opposed to the teaching side). So the only tool I need is the ability to post games.
Rocky: Thanks for the feedback. The tool I am contemplating would include the ability to easily embed games in your blog just using pgn. That is the most basic functionality which, if I do anything at all, is probably where I would start.
That's a nifty little video. I learned something there. That's a very nice explanation of that sequence.
Nice vid. However, I don't know if I like the new layout of your site ;)
This is excellent. The sound and video quality is clear. While I was not specifically looking for a PGN -> video tool, it would be surprising if at least some people didn't use it.

Now, that was your voice, yes? For some reason, it was not what I expected.

The lesson and presentation were superb. I will be sure to forget it under time pressure next tournament.
Addendum: Unlike YouTube, your video was not blocked by the filter at work.
polly: Glad you liked it.

nemo: I wanted to go back to a standard blogger template to fix some issues. I'll probably start dinking with the template / layout pretty soon.

liquidegg: Yes, that is me. The goal is not exactly pgn -> video (although that is what I said in the post) but more a pgn -> flash gameviewer...ultimately with the ability to add voice etc.

My number one goal in creating any such tool is to have fun. My number two goal is to learn some new technology -- like flash; I have never programmed flash. My third goal, of course, is world domination. :)
Some interesting trivia I wrote about the position long ago:

"This is actually the Barbier,Saavedra 1895 position. Barbier created this position where White could force promotion via 1.c7 Rd6+ 2.Kb5! Rd5+ 3.Kb4 Rd4+ 4.Kb3 Rd3+ 5. Kc2 and published it in the newspaper as a puzzle. Could players figure that out and find a hidden drawing resource for Black? His solution was 5...Rd4! 6.c8=Q Rc4+ 7.Qxc4 1/2-1/2. These moves are interesting, but not particularly hard to find. I happened upon them myself when I first saw the puzzle. However, Saavedra, unlike all the other readers, came up with the ingenious 6.c8=R!! Ra4 7.Kb3 Kb1 8.Kxa4 and White wins."

I think your presentation of the position is excellent. You spoke clearly, you covered key sidelines, and you moved at a good pace.
This rocks. Very cool tool, and very cool presentation on your part. You chose a really interesting endgame for your first installment - I hope there are more to come :)
Very nice video!
The voice is older than I expected! lol

I learned something, and it's very cool and fun the way you teach, post more soon! =]

Greetings from Brazil! =]
That was great! Made for a nice afternoon on my porch break.

likesforests: Yes, the history of the position is interesting. By your later comment I see you found my older post?

chessaholic: I plan to make more possibly with a yet-to-be-created tool.

sir augusto: That is not age you hear. It is wisdom. :)

blunderprone: Glad you liked it.
Dude, that is awesome. A great commentary, fun position, and it would be a great tool.

You have a great speaking voice, like one of those guys doing voice for the Nature shows. I can totally see you saying "And the young cub finally steps out on her own, the lioness feigning disinterest in this, her last progeny. What is in store for the young cub? Tune in next week to find out."

I, on the other hand, sound like a freakin' stroke victim.
BDK: Thanks for the comments.

While I think this video is fun and slightly instructive I'm sure there are others who can do better if they had good task-specific tools.
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