Tuesday, January 18, 2011

February 4th Chess Improvement Blog Carnival

The second monthly Chess Improvement Blog Carnival will be hosted at Brooklyn64. It is a great blog, incidentally, as I found out in last month's carnival. Reminds me of the chess club blogs of yore such as BCC.

The official call for submissions is here.

Or, go ahead and make your submissions here, and remember you can submit other people's work in addition to your own. Submit by February 1.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Chess improvement blog carnival #1!

Step right up

Welcome to the first chess improvement blog carnival!

We got lots of great submissions, there is a lot of excellent chess content in the blogosphere, a lot of people sharing their hard-won knowledge of the game and how to get better at it.

The topics are as assorted as a carnival freak show: humor, tactics, instructional posts, openings, books, software, and some that were simply hard to categorize. I put them in semi-random order rather than organized by topic. We'll see how that goes. This was to recreate the feeling of a carnival, the nonlinear nature of exploring the blogosphere where you will hit on random topics from blog to blog.

The only links I didn't accept involved sites with multiple submissions, and I wanted to keep it to one per site.

If there is something that should be here, leave it in the comments, and more importantly be sure to submit your work for the next Carnival, which will be February 4, 2011 (deadline February 1). Submit your suggestions here. Someone has volunteered to host it, I will let you know soon where to find it, and generally I'll be sure to post each time there is a new carnival, and call for submissions each month.

The Carnival
Wang, the inimitable all-star of chess blogging, wrote a selfless and helpful comparison of two popular tactics programs: CT-Art 4 and Chess Tactics for Beginners.

Denver High provides a living reminder that chess writing does not have to be sucked of life and authenticity in his wonderful essay My Time at San Quentin Prison.

Derek Slater provokes the cheapskate in me with The $200 chess budget challenge. Similar to the desert island question, but you are financially rather than geographically stranded. He follows up with his own answer to the challenge here.

Linux Guy has a great article rich with chess improvement suggestions in his tersely titled post Books II. It should be titled 'chess improvemant bonanza', especially once you read the comments which blow the place up with wisdom from multiple celebrity bloggers.

Prodigal Pawn has a helpful analysis of those ever-subtle Knight versus Bishop position. I wonder if I will ever feel like I have a decent grasp of the ins-and-outs of such positions...

Temposchlucker's piece outlining different aspects of chess strategy is a very nice overview that taught me a thing or two.

The enigmatic Katar writes an illuminating review of the book 'Play the London System.'

Liquid Egg Product gives the tournament player some helpful tidbits on How to beat women at chess. For instance, a great discussion of the 'two centers' a positional concept I hadn't quite understood before.

When I asked where to play online, the David Foster Wallace of chess blogging, DK Transform responded with a classic DK post, chock full of details, statistics, entertaining asides and footnotes. Post is titled Letters to a not so young blue devil knight. Thanks, DK!

Castling Queen Side offers some great advice, easy to give, hard to actually do, in one of her characteristically entertaining posts Get over it!.

My blog's best post is probably this one on the often overlooked social dimension of chess improvement. Meeting with real people, going over variations, arguing, smelling them, grabbing pieces. These things are underrated in the modern computer era.

Blunderprone continued his foray into pawn structures starting with A Historical Perspective on the study of Pawn formations, a wonderful introductory post in a 6 part article series. They used to call me PBS-Knight, but I think Blunderprone has taken over that one. The other five posts in the series can be found at the following links:
[2], [3], [4], [5], [6]

Mark Weeks at chessforallages presents An Olympiad Bind does some heavy positional analysis, with a really good description of a position, arguing that this type of bind is better to examine positionally, conceptually, rather than crunching through variations like a computer.

An Unemployed Fellow, Vinay Baht, shares a A teachable moment with us, providing an analysis of a species of the ever-perplexing genus, the Rook and Pawn endgame.

Did you know they sometimes cover chess at the Huffington Post? Neither did I. GM Lubomir Kavalek analyzes some compositions in A Vodka Escape. Some people think puzzles are useless for practical chess improvement, others think they are useful for illustrating the core of an idea that you might use someday. I tend toward the latter, but I'm not here to editorialize :)

Brooklyn64 gives a thorough, well-written, and illuminating book review in an obscure line of the sicilian, 2 a3, reviewing the book Challenging the Sicilian with 2.a3!? (yes, the '!?' is in the book title). A thorough and helpful review. I don't know how I missed this blogger, he is one to watch.

Top ten chess lightly annotates an instructive game between Karjakin and Kramnik here.

Dana McKenzie shows his usual flair in his Why not not nuke the Caro?, an examination of a rare line to try against the Caro Kann, in which white sacrifices a queen on move 6! That Dana, he can't be accused of being overly materialistic! A good case study of activity versus material.

A Chess Dad submits a nugget of wisdom that I often need to remember when going against higher-rated players, in What are you afraid of?? The submitter asked if this was appropriate for the carnival, and it is exactly right for this carnival!!!

Empirical Rabbit has a very interesting post that was a great reminder of some of the debates we used to have about the Tactical Circles in his Introducing expanding repetitions.

Drive home safely!
That concludes this first edition of the Chess Improvement Blog Carnival. I hope you have enjoyed the variety and quality of work that the blogosphere produced in 2010, and here's to a great ratings boost in 2011! Please keep this going by submitting your blog article to the next edition using our carnival submission form.

Please let me know if any links are broken in this carnival, I will fix them ASAP.

Thanks for stopping by, folks.