I just wanted to briefly check-in and let people know some of what we've got going on these days, and some of what goes on in my job.
Over the past 3 weeks, Danny and I have been working as chess consultants on a feature film in L.A.-- which included two weeks on-set. The producers got in touch with me somewhat randomly (while I happened to be visiting Danny), and 3 days later... we were roadtripping to L.A. together.
Our job included:
- Teach the actors how to play chess
- Show the actors what it looks like when experienced chess players play each other
- Design games and game-segments to match the drama of the script.
- Error-check the script for things that are *too* implausible.
- Get the actors to remember chess games/sequences of moves
- Sit next to the director during the filming of chess scenes, and tell him which takes were more convincing and which rang false.
- Coach some of the actors on some of the chess bits.
- Make sure all the boards were set up right ;-)
Some cool things about the experience: we learned what a tight machine the people on a movie are. They each have their role and they execute it quickly and efficiently, and together produce something that noone on their own could hope to do. The actors all had great attitudes and were very friendly. They also all *loved* chess, and were very excited to play with each other, and to ask Danny and I about the chess world.
Tonight we are doing live coverage of the first round of the US Chess League playoffs. The shows for this have been open to all members throughout the season. Now there are three weeks of playoffs to determine the winning team. Don't miss the exciting action, it's going to be lots of fun, with tons of great players and games.
Tonight it's the Western Division semifinals, pitting the season-long #1 Dallas Destiny and GM Conrad Holt against the Seattle Sluggers with GM Varuzhan Akobian, and the surprise of the season #2 St. Louis Archbishops with MVP Kannappan take on the Arizona Scorpions. The show should last about 4 hours, from 5:45 pm pacific until 10 pm pacific.
Tomorrow, there is a course in Chess.com University, which you can still register for. Chess.com University allows you to learn terrific material, with live interaction with a top coach, with a much reduced price, because there is a group studying with you. Information on tomorrow's course here: http://www.chess.com/news/chess-242-draw-alert-part-1---endgame-drawing-techniques-reminder-5850
Furthermore, you can keep up with all course postings as they come up here:
This Friday, Magnus Carlsen will be in the Bay Area, giving his time to help promote chess for kids in schools. He'll be giving an interview, answering questions, playing some local kids, and discussing the games. We will record all that action and bring it to you soon. Meanwhile, if you have any really awesome question I should be asking him, let me know here in the comments, and I might get you an answer!!
At the same time, I have been working with my best bud the PinkHamster on redesigning our kids' site Chesskid.com. The new site should be ready soon, but it's been crunch time working on it the last two weeks.
As you can see, things are pretty busy for us here on Chess.com!