Chess Strategy: Developing Outposts in The Middle Game

Here is a great video showing the importance and power of developing outposts for your pieces. Another chess strategy tip for improving your middle game play.

Chess Mating Patterns

Here is a great chess video for beginners relating to recognizing mating patterns in your games.

Chess Strategies and Tactics- The Windmill

Here is a great chess video showing the power of the windmill in chess.

Caro Kann Chess Video

Many new players want a defense to play as black that is fairly easy to learn and play. The Caro Kann is a defense that is quick to learn and has many fans, including former world chess champion, Anatoly Karpov. Here is a video from that helps to explain the opening.

Chess Strategies – Good Bishops vs. Bad Bishops

Here is another great chess video covering good bishops vs. bad bishops.

Answer to Chess Endgame Puzzle #64

The answer is for black to play Q-a4, check. If white moves his king away, black captures the queen. If white plays KxQ, then black plays N-c5 , mate.

I hope you found the answer. Look for another of these challenging chess puzzles in my next post! If you would like to begin having these puzzles sent to you, just add your email address in the “Subscription Options” box and click “Subscribe.”

Chess Endgame Puzzle #64

Here is a chess puzzle where we’re looking for the winning move for black. The answer will appear in my next post. Good luck!

chess-endgame-puzzle #64 p. 1121

The United States Chess Federation and The Internet Chess Club Team Up!

The United States Chess Federation (USCF) and the Internet Chess Club (ICC) have joined forces and have announced the start of USCF online rated tournaments which will be held on the Internet Chess Club site.

To celebrate this new association, USCF members can purchase an ICC membership at a 20% discount on either 1, 3 or 6 year memberships. Click here for details.

These tournaments will be using a newly created, official USCF Online Blitz Rating, which is available to all USCF members.

Marty Grund, Vice-President of the Internet Chess Club said, “This partnership has a positive impact on the value of both memberships. There’s a new member benefit which is real, tangible and it fulfills a market need we know exists. I’m also excited about the social aspect, the competition, the mingling etc.”

To join these new ICC tournaments you will need valid ICC and USCF memberships.

If you don’t have an ICC membership, click here to register.

If you don’t have a USCF membership, click here to register.

Sign Up Now To Play In The World’s First Millionaire Chess Open

Players are signing up now to play in the Millionaire Chess Open, the highest-stakes open chess tournament in history. The tournament will be held October 9-13, 2014 at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. This chess tournament boasts a guaranteed prize fund of $1,000,000.

The open section pays through 50 places with first place receiving $100,000.

The Millionaire Chess Open is different from any other open chess tournament in history and not just because of large amount of guaranteed money. The first seven rounds of every section (time control is 40/2 and G/30) will be qualifying rounds to determine who plays in the finals on Millionaire Monday. Four finalists will move on to play two knock-out rounds to determine who wins the top prize. The last two rounds of the Open section will also be played on Millionaire Monday to determine who wins 5th place and under as well as to give players a chance to acquire norms. In the other sections, the tournament will be officially over by Sunday night, October 12 for players who did not make it to Millionaire Monday.

You can go to Millionaire to sign up now. Players signing up by July 31, 2014 will pay $1,000, those players signing up between August 1 and October 8 will pay $1,500 and those signing up on October 9 through 3:30 p.m. on October 10, 2014 (when the registration closes) will pay a $2,000 entry fee. The following discounts are being offered: Register with a group of 10-24 players and get a 10% discount and register with a group of 25+ and get a 12% discount.

Selecting The Right Chess Board And Chess Set

There are many decisions that need to be made when thinking about buying one of the many chess sets available on the market today. The first and one of the most important is, are you going to be playing chess with it?

This sounds like a crazy question, but believe it or not, knowing whether your new set is for decoration or actual play is important. The reason is because most people find it difficult to play chess when they’re trying to constantly determine which piece is which. For instance, with some of the theme chess sets, (where the pieces might look like Disney or Star Wars characters) you may find that you may have to ask more than once which piece is the king and which is the queen because they look so much alike. Or maybe the pawns are almost the same size as the bishops, making them hard to differentiate. If so, it makes it hard to stay focused on a plan of attack when part of your attention is used to determine which of the chess pieces are which.

If you’re looking for a chess set for decoration, the sky’s the limit when it comes to theme and cost. You can literally get any design and pay any amount depending on the rarity of the chess board and chess pieces as well as the materials used to make them.

If on the other hand, you’re looking for a chess set to play on, then there is only one type of chess set design to buy and that’s Staunton.

Staunton pieces

However, before I bought a Staunton chess set for play, I would ask myself, is it for the home to be used when friends come over or will I be going to chess tournaments and competing with it?

Again, with regard to price, the sky’s the limit for the same reasons previously mentioned. If you want to have a chess set around the house to play with against friends and visitors, you may want to get a nice wooden chess board and some really nice chess pieces. You could pay almost any amount for  Staunton chess sets and chess boards, again determined by the size of the chess pieces and board, what they’re made out of and how intricate the design is.

One thought to keep in mind that can be an issue when buying chess pieces separately from the chess board is making sure the pieces fit properly on the chessboard. If the chess pieces are too big for the squares, it makes playing the game very difficult. Obviously, a chess piece is too big if the base of the chess piece is bigger than the square on the board. However, chess pieces are also too big for a given chess board if the base of the chess piece even takes up much of the entire square on the board.

If you decide you want a chess set for play in competition, then buying expensive chess pieces and a wooden chess board is probably not going to be the best move. Most everyone who plays in chess tournaments has either plastic or inexpensive wooden chess pieces along with roll-up vinyl boards.

Roll up vinyl board

The vinyl chess boards work great because they are easy to pack up for travel. One last thought on roll-up boards. They’re called roll-up boards for a reason, don’t fold them! If you do, they will never lay flat and that’s another possible distraction because the pieces are tilting and looking as if they are going to fall over. Also, roll your vinyl chess boards backwards with the squares on the outside so when you unroll them, they will lay flat.

Throw in a nice chess bag to hold all of your chess pieces and chess board and you’re almost ready to play in your first tournament.

Chess bag with vinyl roll up board

All you need now is the right chess clock. You have basically two choices here, analog or digital. Analog chess clocks have been around a long time. They have two hands like a regular clock and a small flag that drops or falls when someone runs out of time.

Digital clocks have much more versatility than analog chess clocks. They allow you to play all types of time frames including increment (where time is added on every move) and delay, where time runs for a period of time (usually 5 seconds or so) before the actual tournament time begins to run. It would be unusual to see increment play at a tournament, however delay is seen, especially at local clubs.

Analog chess clock

Digital chess clock










If you’re thinking chess gifts for the chess player in your family, then the right chess pieces, chess boards and chess clocks are great ideas whether it’s for a birthday or the holiday season.