chess players Posts

US Open Chess Takes Center Stage Beginning this Weekend

What’s your move?

Each year a new chess champion is crowned at the US Open, and 2013 will be no different.  In the 113th edition of the US Open chess tournament, the matches will be held in Madison, Wisconsin, where chess has been growing in popularity and standing amongst the locals.  One player in particular has drawn immense interest to the tournament this upcoming week, and that chess player is Awonder Liang, a local 10-year old who has become the youngest ever American to be officially crowned as a chess master.  Making his first appearance at the US Open (which uses no age restriction) means that Liang will have an opportunity to make chess history! (more…)

Opening Ceremony for the World Chess London 2013 Candidates Tournament

The Regency Chess Company was delighted to receive an invitation to the opening ceremony for the 2013 world chess London candidates tournament. The event took place last week on Thursday March 14th. Regency Chess Company founder Julian Deverell attended as did Darren Whiteman, the freelance web designer responsible for our Industry leading website.

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Sir Patrick Moore Rest In Peace

Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore with his Regency Chess Company chess set

It is with plenty of regret that we have to write that today, Sunday the ninth of December, we were advised of the passing of Sir Patrick Moore. Patrick needs no introduction, he is a familiar face and personality to many generations. His accomplishments in life dwarf that of most celebrities. His most famous achievements related to Astronomy where he pioneered, presented, developed and promoted the world of amateur star gazing.

Patrick died at the age of eighty nine but he was active and working almost until the end. His enthusiasm never ran out, he was still star gazing and sharing his knowledge with others. When you read his entry on wikipedia you will be amazed at how active and prolific Patrick was throughout his life. From playing music with Einstein to being the chairman of a Conservative fringe political party, an RAF bomber navigator, a teacher, world famous broadcaster and TV personality. To many he was one of the last remaining traditionalists, an Englishman through and through.

He was a keen chess player, often playing multiple games in a day. In his later years he complained how his arthritis prevented him from playing chess, he kept knocking the pieces over. His request for an over sized pegged chess set fell on deaf ears until the Astronomy students from King Edwards School in Bath decided that even if such an item didn’t exist, he would have one. We at the Regency Chess Company and the boys from the School created the set which he used regularly until his death.

Patrick shared his birthday (March 4th) with Regency Chess Company owner and founder Julian Deverell. He will be sorely missed by us all.

Are Chess Masters Born or Made?

Chess is an interesting game because the skill level that is involved is completely measurable. In chess, a rating system is used that determines the chances that a certain player will win the game. For example, if two players have equal ratings, each player has a 50% chance of winning the game.  If one player is rated 200 ELO points above the other, he has around a 75% chance of winning the game.

When we encounter a highly rated player it’s natural to wonder how he or she became so good at chess. Two master level players can play a blitz game in a few minutes that resembles a work of art. It’s admirable to watch each of them making beautiful moves in mere seconds. To us mortals we tend to wonder to ourselves: ‘How can I do that?!’ Despite these thoughts, studies have shown that much of what makes up skill is actually a result of continuous practice. Even if someone is born with great talent they still require hours of practice and dedication. It is obvious then that great talent without work ethic is worth little.

A famous psychologist and chess master, Adriaan de Groot showed that master level players were able to recognize patterns of pieces on the chessboard much faster than non-masters. When masters were asked to memorize a pattern of pieces that resembled a real game they did considerably better than non-masters. However, when they were asked to memorize a random assortment of pieces they did no better than the amateurs. He found that masters had thousands of patterns in their head from previous experience. This subconscious database gave them a big edge over lesser skilled players. So how do you build up our chess memory? Study tactical and strategic patterns. As you study these patterns over and over, they will become part of your memory. Then during the course of one of your own games suddenly you will get an idea or inspiration. That’s your previous experience at work. As you learn more patterns, your skill level increases, and then maybe you too will play a game that’s a work of art!

Sooo many chess players….

Here, at the World Open, One thing comes to mind: WOW! So many players!

How many players is a lot?  1225! (and that’s NOT including any of the side events like the Women’s Championship, the Under 13 Championship, the Under 13 Booser or the Senior Amateur Championship).

Over 1200 men, women and children raging in age from six to 86, and from people who are making this their very first chess tournament ever to people who’ve been playing in tournaments for over 70 years!  If that doesn’t show you what a wide-spread game chess is, nothing will!

Players come from all over the world for this tournament.  I’ve heard more languages and accents in the last couple of days (sorry for not posting any blogs from the tournament before this, I’ve been pre-occupied trying to win my games) than I’ve ever heard in one place aside from a trip to Disney World when I was a child.

If the above two paragraphs don’t demonstrate just how widespread the game of chess has become, then I don’t know what does.  All walks of life are represented here, it seems: from the poor to the rich, the young and the old and everything in between, every ethnicity you can imagine, both genders, “nerds” and “jocks” and “emos” and “hippies” and any other stereotype you can think of are represented here.  Every major motion picture WISHES they could reach everyone as the game of chess seems to have as litterally any demographic that exists is represented here.

If I get a chance, I will try to post a photo later of the veritable sea of people that makes up the tournament playing areas (there are 3 large ballrooms filled with people each round).  That will likely come tomorrow if I can pull it off, because tomorrow is when all the game schedules merge together and all players will be in the same place at the same time!

I was curious about how many master players there are, so I checked out the Open section and the Under 2400 section.  There are 27 GM’s (Grand Master) in the Open section, 1 WGM (Woman Grand MAster) in the Open section and another in the Women’s championship tournament, 8 IM’s (International Master) in the Open section and 2 in the U2400 section, and a smattering of FM’s (FIDE Masters) and LM’s (Life Master).

In other words, the talent in this building right now is awe-inspiring!

Of course, there are also many amateur players like yourself… some that have only just learned what chess even is this year that could gain a lot of valuable info from the Chess Noob blogs I usually bring you.

Tomorrow morning, I intend attending a lecture by one of the many Grand Masters here.  I sadly did not attend the one today because I slept in a little bit (I had a long grueling day yesturday).  After the lecture, I’ll be posting a blog that outlines some of the stuff the GM talked about (after all, wouldn’t you rather get a short lesson from one of the best players on the planet rather than a potzer like me?).

I may post one or two of my games on here too, as that might be helpful (including one game where my opponent made a horrendous mistake in the opening, allowing me to capture his queen on move 7… it will be a good lesson in what to look for).

Until then, I need to prepare for the next round…