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Winning Chess Moves: Palatnik vs. Geller, 1980

Ukraine has long been a source of great chess and great chess players. As such, many famous chess games have been an all Ukrainian affair. Tonight’s winning chess move comes from one such game. Ukrainian-American chess Grandmaster Sam Palatnik played a beautiful winning move over fellow Odessa native Grandmaster Efim Geller at the URS TeamContinue reading “Winning Chess Moves: Palatnik vs. Geller, 1980”

Chess Position Worth Sharing 144

Some games are just too good not to share so tonight’s puzzle comes with the entire game as an added bonus. “Too good” is actually quite an understatement. In fact, if I had to demonstrate Paul Morphy’s greatness in just one game, I might choose this one even over the more famous Opera Game. EspeciallyContinue reading “Chess Position Worth Sharing 144”

Chess Position Worth Sharing 143

The 1927 World Championship Match was a fiercely contested clash of chess styles. Jose Raul Capablanca had a straightforward playing style which, combined with his famously precise endgame play, was his recipe for success. Alexander Alekhine, on the other hand, preferred creating complexities and oftentimes employed risky attacks in route to his victories. Capablanca wasContinue reading “Chess Position Worth Sharing 143”

Chess Position Worth Sharing 141

“A popularly held theory about Paul Morphy is that if he returned to the chess world today and played our best contemporary players, he would come out the loser. Nothing is further from the truth. In a set match, Morphy would beat anybody alive today… Morphy was perhaps the most accurate chess player who everContinue reading “Chess Position Worth Sharing 141”

Winning Chess Moves: Koltanowski vs. Tholfsen, 1928

GM George Koltanowski, simply known as Kolty to his many friends, was the most passionate chess player I have ever met. He was always sharing his love for chess through his daily San Francisco chess column that ran for over five decades straight. His blindfold simultaneous exhibitions set world records and many new chess fansContinue reading “Winning Chess Moves: Koltanowski vs. Tholfsen, 1928”

Some Coffee and a Danish Gambit

I felt as though I was following in the footsteps of Dr. Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn by playing the Danish Gambit at Rook-odds. However, Lindehn played without his queen’s rook while I did without my king’s. Additionally, instead of playing at the Café de la Régence, I was playing at Peet’s Coffee. Still it makesContinue reading “Some Coffee and a Danish Gambit”

A Perfect Equilibrium of Attack and Defense in Chess

We will never have be able to witness the greatest chess players from different historic eras playing matches against each other but that doesn’t stop me from musing about such matchups. Just imagine Paul Morphy launching an all out attack against the great defender Tigran Petrosian. I like to believe that, at least for oneContinue reading “A Perfect Equilibrium of Attack and Defense in Chess”

Chess Grandmaster Yuri Averbakh Turns 100!

Out of the nearly 8 billion people in the world, there are only about 300,000 who are living centenarians (someone who has lived for at least 100 years.) Since 1950, FIDE (the world chess organization) has awarded less than 2000 Grandmaster titles in total. So, its not surprising that centenarian chess grandmasters are rare. InContinue reading “Chess Grandmaster Yuri Averbakh Turns 100!”

Winning Chess Moves: Ehlvest vs. Kasparov, 1977

The remarkable career of Garry Kasparov makes him one of the most influential chess players of the twentieth century. Kasparov, who views chess as both a sport and and art has stated that “Chess is one of the few arts where composition takes place simultaneously with performance.” His style of neatly combining the art andContinue reading “Winning Chess Moves: Ehlvest vs. Kasparov, 1977”

Winning Chess Moves: Carlsen vs Harestad, 7/23/2003

Future generations of chess enthusiasts will undoubtedly treasure the early games of Magnus Carlsen in the same manner we honor Paul Morphy’s first brilliances. Of course, comparing players from different eras is difficult but there is an argument to be made that Magnus may very well be the greatest chess prodigy ever. For evidence onContinue reading “Winning Chess Moves: Carlsen vs Harestad, 7/23/2003”

So I was just playing a game of #chess and then this happened! 43

National Chess Day is celebrated in the United States on the second Saturday in October. The 38th U.S. President Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. declared National Chess Day on October 9th, 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebration. Today, the day honors chess’ lengthy history and the role it has played in uniting people fromContinue reading “So I was just playing a game of #chess and then this happened! 43”

Winning Chess Moves: Borisenko-Belova vs Nakhimovskaya, 1968

During her illustrious career, WGM Valentina M Borisenko-Belova (1/28/1920-3/6/1993) won the Women’s Soviet Championship five times (a record she shares with Nona Gaprindashvili.) Zara Nakhimovskaya was a formidable chess player who won the Latvian Chess Championship for Women four times. In our feature position, Valentina M Borisenko-Belova is playing with the white pieces against ZaraContinue reading “Winning Chess Moves: Borisenko-Belova vs Nakhimovskaya, 1968”

Winning Chess Moves: Mieses vs Von Bardeleben, 1905

Curt von Bardeleben was a most interesting chess personality and managed to lose in some of the most beautiful ways possible. Of course, many students of chess are quite familiar with the triumph Wilhelm Steinitz played over Curt Carl Alfred von Bardeleben at Hastings in 1895, but also of note is Jacques Mieses exciting victoryContinue reading “Winning Chess Moves: Mieses vs Von Bardeleben, 1905”

GM Yuri Averbakh is Checkmating Covid

At age 99, Yuri Averbakh has spent the better part of of his life checkmating opponents but off the board, it appears that he used his famous chess stubbornness to checkmate COVID.

Today is Paul Keres’ Birthday

Happy birthday to Paul Keres, who was born on January 7, 1916. From 1935, when he debuted as a sensational nineteen-year-old at the Sixth World Chess Olympiad in Warsaw, Paul Keres was one of the top five players in the world before his untimely death from a heart attack on an international airplane flight fromContinue reading “Today is Paul Keres’ Birthday”

Alex Trebek (July 22, 1940 – Nov. 8, 2020)

Today, we lost the beloved host of the television game show Jeopardy to cancer. I have many fond memories of watching Jeopardy during his thirty-seven years as the host. However, I thought it would be particularly fitting for this blog to share the Double Jeopardy category from Show # 5651 – Monday, March 16th, 2009.Continue reading “Alex Trebek (July 22, 1940 – Nov. 8, 2020)”

How did Morphy and Alekhine get so good at chess?

Question: How did chess players like Morphy/Alekhine get good at tactics without the computers, books, and databases that we have today? Paul Morphy and Alexander Alekhine Answer: Both Morphy and Alekhine were born wealthy in a household that valued chess. Paul Morphy learned chess at an early age by watching games between his uncle andContinue reading “How did Morphy and Alekhine get so good at chess?”

Do strong chess players today possess different qualities than their predecessors in the 1800’s?

Question: Given the increase in chess theory, are different kinds of people likely to be strong chess players now than in the 1800s or earlier (e.g., people with greater memory)? Answer: It’s also important to realize that brute memorization is not a very important factor in chess success. The important factors that the 19th centuryContinue reading “Do strong chess players today possess different qualities than their predecessors in the 1800’s?”