Sunday, August 29, 2010

Reasons for Playing Chess

In a time of growing uncertainty, I have recently pondered my own motivations for playing chess. After delving to the edge of human knowledge (just kidding!), I have come to better appreciate the royal game we play. The reasons one plays chess is often difficult to explain, particularly to those who do not share our passion. I have tried to break down this reasoning scientifically.

Click here to see the article "Reasons for Playing Chess". Note that the clearly inferior article "Why Play Chess" has now become a 'subset' of this piece.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yes, chess is a sport

Of course chess is a sport, what were you worried about? It is easy to argue chess as a mind sport, but people are often doubtful to call chess a full-fledged sport. However, the skeptics can be silenced when you flamboyantly proclaim that chess is a recognised sport of the International Olympic Committee. Whilst the IOC does approve of chess, it does not feature in the Olympics. Presumably, this is because it is too difficult to arrange - anyway, we already have a World Championship, World Cup and World Teams Olympiad! Any addition of a further world-class tournament would just be confusing.

Here is the visual evidence, from Wikipedia:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A new elusive chess engine

A new free chess engine called Houdini (version 1.03a) has purportedly overtaken Deep Rybka 4 in playing strength! The IPON rating list places Houdini first in front of several big names like Rybka, Stockfish and Naum. Houdini borrows many ideas from the source codes of Ippolit/Robbolito, Stockfish and Crafty, and is hence released as free software.

Click here to visit the Houdini website.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Age is no barrier!

I recently read this paragraph that English Grandmaster Nigel Davies (aged 50) wrote: "Perhaps this... has led to the belief that it is impossible for someone to improve their chess after a certain age. Frankly, I believe this view is total poppycock; players can improve their chess at any age as long as they adopt an effective approach." I think this is sufficient evidence to justify that the excuse of old age has been busted.

On a separate note, I have expanded the Building a chess repertoire article with two new sections: How to learn an opening (coincidentally also based on recommendations from Nigel Davies) and a tip on studying complete games (adapted from English International Master Andrew Martin).