Monday, June 30, 2008


Daily Tactic June 30, 2008

In yesterday's Daily Tactic, Morphy and Barnes played an exhibition game against Staunton and Owens. Today Morphy takes on his partner from that consultation game: Thomas Wilson Barnes. Mr. Barnes is noted for eight career wins against Paul Morphy and the Barnes Opening and Barnes Defense:
Barnes Defense is named after Thomas Wilson Barnes, an English master who, amazingly, defeated one of the greatest players of the time, Paul Morphy, with it in an offhand game played in London in July 1858

In today's tactic, Barnes will develop his knight to a3 and then Morphy's next two moves are stunning! Can you find them?


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Sunday, June 29, 2008


About a Boy from Uzbekistan

From my inbox:
Subject: About a Boy from Uzbekistan who has won awards in Chess

Hello Mr. Wilson... my name is Debra and I am a Regional Director for a non-profit organization called AYUSA ( I live in Fort Bend County and work with foreign exchange students within a 120 mile radius. One primary responsibility I have is matching volunteer host families with foreign exchange students. These students always come equipped with their own spending money, health insurance and a strong command of the English language. They attend whatever high school their respective volunteer host family is zoned for.

At the moment, I am hoping you can help me network within your circles and spread the word about this fabulous young man from Uzbekistan who will be here on a scholarship. His name is Sanjarbek and he is 16 years old. He will be here from August 2008 thru May 2009 and we are seeking a volunteer host family to house him for that duration. Basically volunteer families provide room/board and integrate them into their normal routines. Perhaps you could put a diddy about him on your blog.

Click "read more" to see the rest of the email...

Our Chess Star "Sanjarbek" is very sporty and makes friends easily. He enjoys playing chess with his father and grandfather, as well as playing sports with his friends. He is a very talented athlete, and has even won awards for Tae Kwon Do and swimming. He has also won awards for his talent in drawing, physics, and chess. The person who interviewed him stated Sanjarbek is very open, honest, and curious. He adapts easily to new situations, and is very sociable, so he should easily make new friends at school. He is excited to meet new friends, form a long lasting relationship with his host family, and hopes to learn how to cook some American meals! Sanjarbek does not have pets of his own at home, but is open to living with a family that has dogs. His English teacher commented that he is a purposeful, conscientious, and responsible student. He already has a good command of the English language, and has a lot of potential in mastering foreign languages. Sanjarbek is unsure of what field he wants to go into. He wants to continue to learn about himself and the world and stay active while he decides his career path. If anyone has any questions about the program or the organization or is perhaps interested in hosting this young man - please contact me directly. Thanks - Debra 281-937-0344 or ayusa4u [at] gmail [dot] com (the non-profit organization's website is
Debra Higginbotham
Regional Director, AYUSA
Email: ayusa4u [at] gmail [dot] com

"Explore the world without leaving your home - host an international foreign exchange student!">


Daily Tactic June 29, 2008

After Morphy's amazing victory at New York, some suggested that a European master should come to America to play him. ... On June 6, 1858, Paul Morphy went to Europe to challenge their best chess players.... He sailed from New York on board the S.S. Arabia. He landed in Liverpool on June 21, 1858.
Bill Wall's Chess Master Profiles - Paul Morphy

In London, 1858, Morphy and Barnes play an exhibition game against Staunton and Owens. Morphy and Barnes are black and play a strong forcing move after white moves 24. Rd1. Do you see the move?

For a more accurate second move in the series (per Fritz) see the comments.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008


Daily Tactic June 28, 2008

Another Morphy game from the the first American Chess Congress. Again, against Paulsen. But today we have a look at a Morphy loss! Morphy (black) moves his rook to attack the e-pawn. Can you see how Paulsen continued?


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Friday, June 27, 2008


Daily Puzzles June 27, 2008

Today's tactic is from the First American Chess Congress in New York in 1857.
The first American Chess Congress, organized by Daniel Willard Fiske and held in New York, October 6 to November 10, 1857, was won by Paul Morphy. It was a knockout tournament in which draws did not count. The top sixteen American players were invited. First prize was $300. Morphy refused any money, but accepted a silver service consisting of a pitcher, four goblets, and a tray. Morphy’s prize was given to him by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

In this game Morphy is White and Louis Paulsen is black. After Paulsen moves his rook to safety, how does Morphy put him away quickly?

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Friday Night Action July 4th

Friday July 4th there will be a special Friday Night Action Tournament at the Houston Chess Club! First prize is $100 and second is $50. Four rounds of game/30 starting at 7pm.

And, inspired by:
FIRST: The Canadian Open Chess Championship will be held in Montreal, Quebec (Canada) this year from July 19-27, 2008. Goddesschess has funded a $100.00 CAD "Pawn Promotion Prize." The very first player in the Canadian Open who promotes a pawn will win $100.00 CAD! This is open to all players in all sections.
Supporting Local Chess with $$$

I have donated $50 to support local Houston chess as two additional, special prizes in this event. $25 will go to the first person to promote a pawn in the tournament and $25 will go to the last person to promote a pawn in the tournament.


Thursday, June 26, 2008


Daily Tactic June 26, 2008

Today's tactic is from a simul in New Orleans in 1857. White is Paul Morphy and black is Mr. Hart. In the game position Mr. Hart is about to play 16... Ne7. The game will be over in seven moves. See if you can find Morphy's moves as he finishes the game with surgical precision.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Daily Tactic June 25, 2008

Morphy versus Meek, New Orleans, 1857. Meek will recapture Morhpy's Rook then it is White to move and win. A nice little finish!


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Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Daily Tactic June 24, 2008

Maurian - Morphy, 1854 New Orleans. This is an odds game. White is in check and plays Kf3. Black to move :

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Monday, June 23, 2008


Daily Tactic June 23, 2008

We plan to feature games of Paul Morphy for the next month or so in Daily Tactic. We are going through his games in roughly chronological order. In today's game Rosseau plays d5 attacking Morphy's queen. Twelve year old Morphy plays this brilliantly! After ...d5 it is White to Move:


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Sunday, June 22, 2008


Paul Morphy and Daily Tactic June 22, 2008

Paul Morphy was born in New Orleans on June 22, 1837 (thanks BlunderProne).

Today's Daily Tactic is Paul Morphy against No Name in New Orleans 1849. Morphy is about 12 years old at the time.

No Name plays knight takes d4 with a double attack on Morphy's Queen. When you are in a situation like this, you have to ask, are you feeling lucky? What Would Morphy Do? Or, in this case, what did Morphy do?

Happy Birthday Paul Morphy!

In 1850, when Morphy was twelve, the strong professional Hungarian chess master Johann Löwenthal visited New Orleans. Löwenthal, who had often played and defeated talented youngsters, considered the informal match a waste of time but accepted the offer as a courtesy to the well-to-do judge. When Löwenthal met Morphy, he patted him on the head in a patronizing manner.

By about the twelfth move in the first game, Löwenthal realized he was up against something formidable. Each time Morphy made a good move, Löwenthal's eyebrows shot up in a manner described by Ernest Morphy as "comique". Löwenthal played three games with Morphy during his New Orleans stay, losing all three.wikipedia

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Houston Chess Meetup June 28

The next Houston Chess Meetup is Saturday June 28, starting at 11 am at the China Buffet on Katy Mills Blvd. This is in Katy, on the far west side of town.

For more info see: Houston Chess Meetup.


Saturday, June 21, 2008


Daily Tactic and Coaching Secrets

Elizabeth Vicary is a successful scholastic chess coach, meaning that her students are successful. Impressive results. What are her secrets? How does she do it?

This interview at the USCF site reveals some of her methods.

But I think I have discovered her secret: She cares deeply about her students as you can see in this post about her eighth grade student Angelica Berrios.

Today's Daily Tactic is from a game of Angelica's. White has just played Rg5 attacking the Queen. What to do?(You can click the board to make Black's moves).

Bonus Game! This full game of Angelica's is annotated by Elizabeth. (When variations pop up to the side of the board you can click them to play them on the board or you can click in the text of any variation to play through it on the board).

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Friday, June 20, 2008


Daily Tactic June 20, 2008

Paul Morphy in 1849 New Orleans. His opponent does not put up the best defense but, I guess, the pain is over quicker that way and it makes for a prettier finish. Black to move.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008


2008 U.S. Class Championships

JULY 18-20, 2008 -- Houston, Texas

5-Round Swiss, G/120 – 3-day or 2-day Schedule Available

Open Section will be FIDE Rated

$10,500 PRIZE FUND - 70% Guaranteed

More information and register online at CajunChess (click on "Upcoming Tournaments").

Daily Tactic June 19, 2008

Today's tactic is from a game of Bobby Fischer's played in the 1955 USA Under 18 Championship. First we have the featured tactic, followed by the full game so you can see it in context.
Black (Fischer) to move:

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Daily Tactic June 18, 2008

I came across this puzzle at the excellent Streatham & Brixton Chess Club. This was their June 15 Sunday Puzzle.
This problem, inspired by Reti, is taken from Ian D. Mullen's chapter on endings in Master Chess: A Course in 21 Lessons (Pergamon Press, 1985).

White's position looks hopeless. It appears that he can't force his pawn through to queen and that he can't stop black's pawn. Yet, it is white to move and draw...

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008


ChessFlash 1.0 Released

Today, ChessFlash 1.0 is available. ChessFlash is a full-featured, customizable, embeddable Chess PGN Viewer that runs in your browser. It has a long way to go to complete the vision of a complete chess authoring tool and delivery platform but it is on the way.

I want to thank everyone that helped, especially those brave bloggers who displayed their chess games in their blogs with early version of the viewer.

The Endgame Tactician
Haunted Knight Chess Blog
Liquid Egg Product
Mike Serovey On Chess
Castling Queen Side



Daily Puzzles June 17, 2008

This is a mate in 4 problem inspired by a position that arose in one of my games last night at the Houston Chess Meetup.

White to Move:

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Monday, June 16, 2008


2008 U.S. Junior Cadet & Closed Championships

Gregory Young Leads US Junior

2008 U.S. Junior Cadet & Closed Championships

We'll post Houstonian Brad Sawyer's Round 3 win over Tyler Hughes shortly.
Here we go:


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Daily Tactics June 16, 2008

In both of these it is White to Move. You can enter White's moves by clicking the board. Need help? Press the right arrow button under the board and it will make the next move for you.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008


Carlsen - Nisipeanu Foros 2008 Round 7

Hot off the press! Carlsen wins in Round 7 and adds to his lead.

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Houston Chess Meetup

The next Houston Chess Meetup is Monday June 16, 7 pm at the West Gray Cafe.

For more info see: Houston Chess Meetup.
Come join us at the Houston Chess Meetup for good food, good company and good chess! We'll start at 7pm and there is usually someone playing until around 11pm.



Carlsen - Shirov Foros 2008

Carlsen is off to a great start at Foros 2008. Here is his round 5 win against Shirov.


See all six of Carlsen's first half games from Foros 2008 at ChessFlash.

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Daily Tactic June 15, 2008

This is a famous position from Fischer-Mjagmasuren, Sousse 1967.
White to move.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008


Similar Positions, Different Evaluations

Dan Heisman's Novice Nook column at this month is excellent! As usual.
I have noticed that many players make one of two mistakes:
  • They either don’t recognize similar positions where the evaluations are quite different, or

  • Just quickly assume that analogous positions have similar evaluations, when this may or may not be true.
Or, in the immortal words of Lewis McClary: "Things that are different, are not the same!"

Dan goes on to give a number of instructive examples of small differences in positions that make a big difference in evaluation. Read the whole thing: Similar Positions, Different Evaluations.

Daily Tactic

A pretty little study by H. Rinck from 1907. To win, White needs to promote one of the pawns, but how? The first move may be obvious -- save the g-pawn.

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Friday, June 13, 2008


Daily Tactic

Black to Move. Make Black's moves by clicking on the board.

What do you think of this "Puzzle Mode" of the ChessFlash PGN Viewer?

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Warren Harper Wins TX State Championship

Congratulations to Houstonian Warren Harper, one of the youngest TX State Champions ever! Here are some games from the 2008 TX Championship.




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Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Sneak Peek

Here are sneak peeks at: Puzzle Mode and Study Mode.

These will be very limited features in the first version.

I'll write more about them later today....

Update:In both the Puzzle Mode and Study Mode, the Viewer plays one side and you play the other. The Viewer is not "thinking", it is just following the PGN file and playing the next move in sequence after you move. The Puzzle Mode and Study mode are basically just slight variations of the same mode. There is only one line that you can play against the Viewer for each variation, but the Viewer can play multiple variations (see the Opening Example).

You can enter your moves by clicking the from and to squares on the board with the mouse (in any order and with other clicks in-between --- it is very lenient). If you prefer, instead of entering the move, you can press the "play" button (right arrow under the board) and the Viewer will make your move too.....

The puzzles have a FEN string embedded in the HTML so the viewer knows what initial position to show before loading the PGN file. The Study example could also do that if needed. It could even be an end game position to study...


Monday, June 09, 2008


Smarter Scrolling, Tab Mode Change, Focus Change

Updated June 23 to use the latest version of the viewer.
Some changes based on BDKs feedback: a) The focus button now goes *around* the button instead of obscuring it, b) scrolling is smarter (both forwards and backwards) and c) the start button's appearance is improved.

Also, now in single board mode with the variations tab enabled, the main line shows up as a tab. Don't know what that means? Play through this game to move 8 and then move 9. See the "variation tabs" to the top right of the board? Try clicking them and see what happens...

Download PGN

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Saturday, June 07, 2008



Updated July 8 to use the latest version of the viewer.
This is an interesting game I played against Master Mansour "Mick" Bighamian in 2002. I played quite well, until I started winning....

The game is shown in the ChessFlash PGN Viewer with two boards and tabbed variations on the second board. Click the arrow keys below the boards to navigate. Or, an arrow with the "focus" (yellow box) can be played by pressing the space bar. When primary variations are encountered they will appear as tabs on the second board. Click the tab to view the variation(s) on the second board.

Download PGN | Enlarge Viewer

Update: Publishing with width=100% and height=100% (was w=100%, h=500 pixels). That did not work at all in IE7 (viewer did not display) but worked well in FireFox 3. Ok, now trying w=100% and h=90%. About the same result. Trying...width=100% and height=550 seems to be the biggest I can make the viewer that works for me in both IE7 and FF3 on my laptop and still have the viewer fit in a single screen.

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Friday, June 06, 2008


Welcome Sir Banatt!

Welcome out newest (and youngest?) Knight: Sir Banatt!

From a recent post of his:
I am a 729 rated scholastic player. I recently went to the National Junior High Chess Championship in Dallas, Texas.
Good luck!


Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Beta Users / Beta Testers Wanted

Updated July 8 to use the latest version.
I've been working on creating a tool that can be embedded in blogs to display chess PGN files. The tool and the supporting web site are now in beta testing. I'm looking for a few brave bloggers to try it out and give feedback.

Update: Here's one brave blogger.

Ideally, you already have a blog or a web site, play chess and already know what a PGN file is.

If you're interested, you can sign up at

Here is my game against Rocky Rook in the recent LEPer tournament. Another one is starting soon, see for details.


And, a big thanks to likesforests who has already done some great testing and provided some great feedback.

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