Coordinate Chess

Coordinate Chess

kurtgodden
|
Apr 6, 2010

I think many chess players assume that the ubiquitous Algebraic Notation in use today is a relatively new invention and supplanted the older English or Descriptive Notation that one finds in older chess books.  I believed that myself until I began...

The Language of Chess

The Language of Chess

kurtgodden
|
Mar 31, 2010

All but the most casual chess players are familiar with Algebraic or Standard Notation such as 1. e4  e5  2. Bc4  Nf6 and all serious students of the game are conversant in the Descriptive Notation that is still found in classic chess books:  1.  ...

Chess as a Guide to Life

Chess as a Guide to Life

kurtgodden
|
Mar 20, 2010

While for Bobby Fischer chess may have been life, for most of us it is merely an enjoyable, albeit challenging pastime.  However upon deeper reflection, chess may be seen as an insightful model and guide to life, as appropriate for us as any chess...

The Best Chess Quotes You've Never Seen, part 2

The Best Chess Quotes You've Never Seen, part 2

kurtgodden
|
Mar 6, 2010

Nearly two years ago I posted part one of this blog and since that time I have been collecting new quotations as I encounter them in my readings.  As before, I will offer a small sampling of information with each quotation in the hopes that it wil...

Do You Telegraph Your Moves?

Do You Telegraph Your Moves?

kurtgodden
|
Feb 21, 2010

Given the use of the web that allows individuals to play chess regardless of how far apart they actually live, we may make the following unremarkable claims.  The barrier of space is no longer insurmountable, and each year’s discoveries, by facili...

Who was the Sicilian?

Who was the Sicilian?

kurtgodden
|
Feb 12, 2010

Everyone knows that the Ruy Lopez Opening is named after a Spanish priest; and that the Giuoco Piano is named after a reclusive Italian monk, as I revealed to the world in a previous blog.  But not everyone knows that the Sicilian Opening draws it...

Is the Queen Worth 9.94 Pawns?

Is the Queen Worth 9.94 Pawns?

kurtgodden
|
Feb 2, 2010

Chess players are obsessive creatures.  One player may make it his life’s ambition to become an expert on some arcane opening line, say the Soltis Line of the Yugoslav Attack of the Dragon Variation of the Sicilian Defense.  There is actually a pa...

"Mate in 42"

"Mate in 42"

kurtgodden
|
Jan 20, 2010

When the elderly gentleman with unkempt hair shuffled in to the chess club for his first and only visit, no one paid much attention.  He was dressed in a tweed jacket with what appeared to be a gravy stain on the left sleeve, ill-fitting trousers,...

The Chess Master and the Boy

The Chess Master and the Boy

kurtgodden
|
Jan 9, 2010

“Are you the famous chess master?” the young student reverently inquired. The portly Chess Master smiled indulgently, “Yes.  And you have arrived on time for your first lesson, I see.” “Yes, sir”, the boy remarked in a quiet voice.  “But I have ...

Ruy López on the Ruy López

Ruy López on the Ruy López

kurtgodden
|
Jan 2, 2010

It is triply ironic that the Spanish Opening, which begins 1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5, is often called the Ruy López.  In 1561 the Spanish priest described this opening systematically in his 1561 book, Libro de la invención liberal y arte del ...

Strategy Guides Tactics

Strategy Guides Tactics

kurtgodden
|
Dec 22, 2009

Most chess books advocate developing a plan for your game once you get through the opening.  This plan is your strategy for the middle game, and there are a great number of texts with a wealth of knowledge on the subject of strategy.  A well-found...

Strategy for Perfect Play

Strategy for Perfect Play

kurtgodden
|
Dec 13, 2009

In my previous two blogs I discussed the First Scientific Theory of Chess and Steinitz’ Theory of Perfect Play.  To briefly restate his theory, it is simply that if both players were to play perfectly the natural result of the game would be a draw...

Steinitz’ Theory of Perfect Play

Steinitz’ Theory of Perfect Play

kurtgodden
|
Dec 5, 2009

In my previous blog, I claimed that Wihelm Steinitz’ 1896 Theory of Perfect Play was the first occurrence of a scientific theory of chess, and I speculated that it may be the only scientific theory of chess yet offered.  Indeed, Steinitz’ theory i...

The First Scientific Theory of Chess

The First Scientific Theory of Chess

kurtgodden
|
Nov 30, 2009

After receiving a request from a reader, I originally intended to write on the subject of chess strategy, but after some preparation and gathering of materials, I realized that a discussion of strategy alone would be akin to paddling a canoe in a ...

The Orchid Opening of Robatsch

The Orchid Opening of Robatsch

kurtgodden
|
Nov 26, 2009

Austrian Karl Robatsch (1928-2000) enjoyed playing uncommon opening moves. In one large online openings database, 1…g6 represents less than 2.6% of the responses to White’s 1. e4.  However, Robatsch was fond of that move when he played Black and a...

America's Newest Grandmaster

America's Newest Grandmaster

kurtgodden
|
Nov 12, 2009

Most chess players would be thrilled to be an International Master for 20 years, but I am certain that Ben Finegold was overjoyed to finally drop the IM title after winning his 3rd GM norm at Susan Polgar’s SPICE Cup Invitational in September. Bo...

The Tirolean Spa Had the Chess Boys In It

The Tirolean Spa Had the Chess Boys In It

kurtgodden
|
Nov 8, 2009

Edward Lasker said that “An intriguing phenomenon which links mathematics, music, and chess is the fact that child prodigies have been known in only these three fields.” This wonderful aphorism recently set me to thinking about the intricate conn...

Chess is Life

Chess is Life

kurtgodden
|
Nov 1, 2009

One of Bobby Fischer’s famous utterances is that “Chess is life.” For him that statement may have had a more literal interpretation than for most of us, but metaphorically I do believe that chess is life.  However, life is not a chess game so much...

The Inauspicious Réti

The Inauspicious Réti

kurtgodden
|
Oct 26, 2009

When I studied the life of Richard Réti, I discovered that I have two things in common with him.  First, we both started our chess careers with an “inauspicious” beginning, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.  They were writing about Réti, n...

Chess Jokes:  Practical and Otherwise

Chess Jokes: Practical and Otherwise

kurtgodden
|
Oct 18, 2009

This blog will begin and end with my two favorite practical chess jokes.  In my recent blog, “What’s Inside YOUR Chess Mind?” I presented 10 chess positions discussed by Aagaard in his book that attempts to gain insight into the minds of chess pla...

Pircs and Ponziani Schemes

Pircs and Ponziani Schemes

kurtgodden
|
Oct 11, 2009

The hypermodern Pirc Defense, which begins 1. e4   d6 2. d4   Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 is named after the Slovenian player Vasja Pirc, who was born in Idrija on December 19, 1907.  Pirc had both victory and defeat in the Slovenian capital city of Ljublja...

Chess Shorts

Chess Shorts

kurtgodden
|
Aug 22, 2009

One of my most popular blogs is The Longest Possible Chess Game and I thought it would be interesting to look at the other end of the scale and consider not only the shortest game possible, but also other kinds of chess shorts.There are eight vari...

What's Inside YOUR Chess Mind?

What's Inside YOUR Chess Mind?

kurtgodden
|
Aug 18, 2009

Aagaard’s book Inside the Chess Mind reminds me of my typical game.  It’s brilliant in conception, but falls short in execution.  In this thin text Aagaard presents the reader with the following 10 challenging diagrams:   For all but posi...

What was Philidor Thinking?

What was Philidor Thinking?

kurtgodden
|
Aug 14, 2009

All chess players have heard the famous maxim by François-André Danican Philidor (1726 – 1795) that “Pawns are the soul of chess,” and most are probably familiar with Philidor’s Defense.  But what was he thinking when he suggested 2…d6 instead of ...

Chess Mysteries of Professor Smullyan

Chess Mysteries of Professor Smullyan

kurtgodden
|
Aug 8, 2009

Raymond Smullyan is one of those towering intellects in the tradition of Da Vinci and Godden.  His Wikipedia page describes him as a “mathematician, concert pianist, logician, philosopher and magician,” to which I would add Professor Emeritus of P...

Get Listed