Friday, January 20, 2012

Benefit for Larry Englebretson

Local chess legend Larry Englebretson needs our help. Benefit for Larry.
Larry has given so much and so generously to the local chess community. Now he needs our help and support. Please help if you can.
The Houston Songwriters Association ( and will host a benefit event for Larry Englebretson Sunday, January 29th, 2012. All proceeds will be applied to Mr. Englebretson's short-term living expenses while he convalesces after a serious illness. Mr. Englebreston is an enthusiastic participant in the Houston open mic scene, as it's most frequent acapella performer. He is also the former owner of the Houston Chess Club and was selected as the United States' representative in the senior division of the 2011 World Chess Federation Championship.

The event will be held at JP Hops House, 2317 S. Highway 6. Festivities begin at 3:00pm. Attendees will enjoy live bands, a bake sale, silent auction, and chess demonstrations by members of the Houston Chess Club. A prize will be awarded for "best of show" in the bake sale.

The silent auction features a wide variety of items to suit any budget. Early donations include musical instruments, music instruction, studio recording services, and an impressive assortment of decorative and miscellaneous items of good value. The silent auction concludes at 7:00pm.

Those who cannot attend are encouraged to make online donations at A 3rd party donation will be made for every YouTube view of Larry's music video, posted at the top of the page.
The latest news on his condition is posted at the Houston Chess Club under "Coach Larry Updates."

Update:Sadly, Larry passed away on Jan 28, 2012. Obituary.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


ChessFlash - Initial Diagram Position Option

ChessFlash now includes an option for displaying an initial position other than the starting position. This allows you to show the final position or any particular position that occurs in the game (not in analysis) as the first position. Here is an example using a game of Morphy's. White to play and win (you could use this with the "Board only" option to hide the pgn move / text area).

The changes for this new feature were contributed by Etienne Dupuis.


Thursday, October 29, 2009


World Champion ChessFlash

Alexandra Kosteniuk is the Women's World Chess Champion and a new convert to using ChessFlash on her chessblog. A recent post using ChessFlash is here.


Thursday, September 24, 2009


Another ChessFlash User

I see that another chess "club" has started using ChessFlash:


Perhaps you've heard of them?


Sunday, August 16, 2009


Blunder Prone

George aka Blunder Prone has been outdoing even his high standards the last few months. If you have not been there or have not been there lately you are really missing out. It is one of my favorite Chess Blogs. And, right now, you can help him make a difference.

Blunder Prone

Friday, August 14, 2009


ChessFlash Localization Test

Trying German piece name characters for the moves.

The new (experimental) localized Piece Character Overrides feature is at:


Sunday, August 02, 2009


Ronan Bennett & Daniel King on Chess

During a recent narcissistic pursuit, I ran across this nice online chess column in The Guardian that uses a most excellent chess widget. Some recent columns:

Ronan Bennett and Daniel King on chess: Jansa-Rublevsky, Ostrava 1992. White to play and draw

Ronan Bennett and Daniel King on chess: Greet-Conquest, British Championship 2008

Ronan Bennett and Daniel King on chess: the Scandinavian defence, part 1


Sunday, July 26, 2009


Cyfair Chess Club

Houston's newest chess club, the Cyfair Chess Club is now open! The club web site is Cyfair Chess Club and they also have Cyfair Chess Club Blog.

For other places to play chess in the Houston area click the Venue label.


Sunday, July 05, 2009


$10,000 Houston Open

JULY 24-26, 2008
Houston, Texas

Click here for registration or more information.

Crowne Plaza Hotel Houston North - Greenspoint

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

(b/200 paid entries, $5,000 min. guaranteed)

FREE ENTRY FOR ALL GMs & IMs (EF deducted from winnings)

SCHOLASTIC SECTIONS – (USCF-Rated)ONE DAY ONLY – Saturday, July 25th– 5 Rd. Swiss, G/30

[Scholastic Players may play in both Scholastic and Adult Tournaments if desired by registering for the Scholastic Tournament AND the 3-day Tournament Schedule with a ½-pt. Bye in the 2nd Round of the 3-Day Schedule.]



SIDE EVENTS: CAJUN “KNOCK-OUT” G/5 BLITZ TOURNAMENT (SAT. NIGHT after Round 3) & CAJUN BOUNTY (defeat the top ranked player and win free entry into our next tournament)!

Sunday, May 31, 2009


April 28, 2009

My posting has been very light lately. I have also left very few comments on other blogs in the last month or so. My lame excuse is that on April 28 our home was flooded. We have flood insurance and none of us were hurt but dealing with that does tend to eat up a lot of time.

Here are some photos from the event courtesy of the Houston Chronicle: FLOODING IN HOUSTON: APRIL 28, 2009.

We got about a foot of water throughout the first floor; more in the sunken living room. There was about 4 feet of water in the street in front of our house. We live near a bayou (aka stream or creek) but the flooding came from the street. The volume and rate of rainfall was freakishly high (over 4 inches in 1 hour; over 6 inches in 2 hours) and just overwhelmed the storm drainage system. At least, that is the City of Houston version.

The cats are enjoying their ability to take shortcuts from room to room (the drywall is removed for the first couple feet). Carpet is gone and we are still trying to decide what should go in its place. Furniture is in storage to be out of the way for construction and to avoid further damage. It will probably be a few months before things return to normal.

In the meantime, we will be fine "camping out" upstairs with air conditioning, internet and cable TV.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


One Year of ChessFlash : Top Ten Blogs

The Top Ten ChessFlash Blogs:
  1. Castling Queen Side

  2. The Endgame Tactician


  4. Haunted Knight Chess Blog

  5. Blue Devil Knight Chess Confessions

  6. Diamondback Chess

  7. Chessaholic

  8. Katar Blog

  9. Chessgasm

  10. Chess on the Borderline

ChessFlash was started just about one year ago and it has been an exciting year. Thanks to all of the early adopters that tried ChessFlash in it's infancy. A special thanks to likeforests (The Endgame Tactician in the above list) who was a great help early on as a ChessFlash tester.

The new simplified publishing should make ChessFlash available to even more chess blogs in the coming year.


Sunday, April 12, 2009


YAT (Yet Another Test)

In this case we are embedding the pgn data within the post itself instead of getting it from a pgn file on the server.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Tactical Motifs

Great examples and descriptions of common tactical motifs can be found at ChessTempo's Tactical Motifs.


Sunday, March 29, 2009


Testing Diagram Mode

A test of ChessFlash diagram mode; I just fixed a bug to not display the initial board covering "Click to Play" as there is no PGN to download and no moves to play.


Sunday, March 22, 2009


ChessTempo adds Endgames

Richard over at ChessTempo has added endgames. There are two modes: Theory and Practice. I prefer the practice. It looks to be a great way to practice your endgame tactics. The number of problems you can tackle per day is limited by your membership level:
Basic members receive an initial 10 problems and are then limited to 2 endgame problems a day. Silver members receive 20 problems a day and Gold members can do an unlimited number of endgame problems each day.
A good deal at any level but it did prompt me to upgrade my silver membership to gold.

Update: Something that I knew but that these problems demonstrate is that I am lousy at Queen vs. Rook endgames. It is not uncommon in practice and four of my misses have been in that category out of, I think, five attempts. Here is a screenshot with my current (but temporary) position atop the new Practice category at ChessTempo.


Sunday, March 15, 2009


Fishing about in a simple position

In Planning Exercise (1) BDK shows a position and asks about planning in such a position. There are many useful ideas in the comments.

The position is pretty drawish and White has many moves that leave the position drawish. If White is happy with a draw here there are many simple options.

But how should one approach playing for a win in such an even and simple position? Simple is a relative term. What two GMs consider a simple draw may be very complicated to me. What I think is a simple technical draw may be winnable against a Class D player.

To win a game of chess your opponent must make a mistake (generally believed but not proven). That is true from the beginning position and it is true from any "drawn" or "even" position. So, when playing for a win the goal is to induce a mistake in your opponent without making a fatal error yourself.

Is a simple threat the right way to proceed? If your opponent misses it you win, but what if he or she sees and counters the threat? You have to consider what the position would be if your opponent plays well. As always. You should not play assuming your opponent will make a mistake but you may play in a manner that makes it more likely that they will. In other words, seeking to complicate the position while still maintaining the balance is a reasonable approach but an unsound sacrifice (hoping your opponent misplays it) is not. Creating pressure or long term threats is another way to induce errors.

On the other hand, what if the situation is that you must win the game at any cost? Then there may come a time when the only way to avoid a dead draw is to take greater risk. There may be a point at which they only rational way to continue to play for a win is to play unsoundly.

Although many say that you should play the position and not the opponent when you have a choice of plans then knowledge of your opponent and his or her strengths and weaknesses is very valuable. Knowledge of self is also crucial.

Back to BDK's position, the plan I hit upon involved moving "my" rook off the d-file to keep more material on, to better keep the opportunity to complicate later. I like giving up the d-file to my opponent as it seems non-orthodox and may be a surprising "retreat" but there is little value to the d-file. Some others found different plans to their liking.

What, if anything, do the various plans tell us about their authors and their approach to the game? How would various GMs proceed here (or in a suitably more complicated position to make it of more interest to them)? What does that tell us about their approach to the game? Would a Tal and a Capablanca approach the question the same? Would they arrive at different plans or would they agree on a "best" move / plan? Is there a right way to think about such positions?

Sunday, February 22, 2009


This is a test

I am testing a new ChessFlash option intended to allow web masters to host ChessFlash and the games it displays on their site instead of on the ChessFlash site. This instance of the ChessFlash.swf is on this ( site as is the game being displayed.


Thursday, February 19, 2009


Open Source ChessFlash

As I just posted at I intend to make the source code available for the ChessFlash Viewer available under an open source license. I need to research some different open source licenses and consider a few other issues but I plan to do this fairly soon.

Part of my motivation is a relative lack of time for customization and new features. I wrote ChessFlash while not otherwise employed last year but I have started back working at a "real job." I've had some customization requests that would make the ChessFlash Viewer better and more widely used.

Does anyone have thoughts / advice / words of wisdom on the matter?


Sunday, January 11, 2009


Passing the Scepter

I joined the Knight's Errant in August 2007 and became the Secretary Knight in February 2008.

I had been doing circles-like chess exercises for many years before joining the Knights and have continued since becoming a Knight although my blogging about same has been decreasing. I intend to continue on as a Knight Errant (assuming I blog frequently enough to not be kicked out) but I feel the group will benefit from a Secretary who is blogging more frequently and with more enthusiasm from his or her current chess journey and discovery.

It is my privilege to pass the Secretary of the Knight's Errant title on to Likes Forests, The Endgame Tactician.

What are the Knight's Errant, you ask? You can start with the FAQ and Likes Forests recent post Who are the Knight's Errant?

All hail the new Secretary of the Knight's Errant!


Sunday, December 28, 2008


Working Knights

It's been a while since we've dropped in on recent blogs from other Knight's Errant.
So I played in a small tournament this weekend, my first tournament in quite a while. I was afraid I was going to be rusty, but I did OK. It was a four round Swiss (G/60), but I had a bye in the first round so I only got to play three games. In those three games I went +2 =1 which I am happy with, even though I should have won that drawn game as I had a slightly better position in the endgame. I will post that game shortly with some analysis.

Himalayan Knight:
I played good against Daniel, was 2 pawns and then learnt some psychological aspects of the game in the process! how to never stop calculating the situations and fear not the tactical positions. Daniel saw great tactics at the end which I didnt in my clouded euphoric state and engraved my doom with a cute checkmate.. Heres the very interesting game.

Likes Forests:
fter my first coaching session, I spent an evening going through 50 positions in Hertan's Forcing Moves, while focusing on checks - captures - threats. Also I avoided a lay-off, renewed my commitment to fitness and lost four pounds, and started taking DHA supplements to boost my chess concentration. A busy time.

I then turned in this miserable performance:

Sir Banatt
my new reason for studying [$50,000 in cash Scholarships]

Special Bonus Section! Knight's Alumni with Recent Posts:
Blue Devil Knight:
When I first learned what a 'weak square' was, I was so concerned with them that I actually gave away a Bishop rather than capture his attacking piece with a pawn, so as not to create weaknesses in my pawn structure. Needless to say, such play is abysmal and reflects a misunderstanding of the relative importance of evaluation factors in chess.

As preparation I have read a lot about positional play. I intended to do some positional exercises too, but every exercise raised so much questions that I ended up reading in stead of exercising. So I don't feel quite ready, but I am in the best shape to learn something (with a lot of buzzing questions in my head and half-formulated answers).

I skipped the opening preparation totally, which is quite liberating.

From a real blitz game I played. My opponent was rated 200 points higher, but I guess he hadn't done the Circles of Death. Black just took my Bishop on d3 and to him it looked very bad for me.

His most resourceful moment was in round 20 against Jose Capablanca. Yates had the white side of a Ruy Lopez . Capablanca managed to grab a strong central defender in the middle game which caused a lot of problems for Yates as Black’s bishops pinned pieces and limited his mobility. Yates sends off a desperado in this position and manages a draw a few moves later with a perpetual check.

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and success in all of your endeavors!


Friday, November 21, 2008


HCC Happy New Years Tourney

HCC Happy New Years Tourney
Friday Night January 3rd 2009
1st $200.00, 2nd $100.00 1st under 1900 $100.00
4 rounds of game 45 starting at 7 p.m.

Houston Chess Club

Sign Up Sheet at club. Sign up and pay before December 27. Details at club.

Houston Chess Club


Sunday, October 26, 2008


Himalayan Knight

Welcome our newest knight: Himalayan Knight. From email:
I am working on CTART3.0 My strategy is little different from Michales Mazas circles.
I plan to redo each level problems until i achieve 90%. Also I dont plan to do the very tough problems in the end...
So my circles would be of about 850 problems (level 4 or 5 i think)
Please visit and welcome the Himalayan Knight.


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