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Harold’s Cabin hosts Chess Challenge with Charles Lee this Thurs. Feb. 20 – Charleston City Paper

Posted: February 19, 2020 at 2:41 am


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Harold's Cabin hosts Chess Challenge with Charles Lee this Thurs. Feb. 20 Can you defeat a prodigy? Posted by Priscilla Vanartsdalen on Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 10:03 AM Harolds Cabin hosts a Chess Challenge with Charles Lee, a long-time member of the Harolds Cabin family, this Thurs. Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.

Lee never turns down the opportunity to learn from a master or take on a challenger so he is welcoming all lovers of chess this week.

Many customers know Lee, nicknamed Charles in Charge, but do not know that he is a chess prodigy who began playing the game at the age of 11. During the challenge this Thursday Lee will play up to three opponents at once within a 20 minute time limit. Harolds Cabin will award a dinner for two to any player that can beat him.

Those interested in challenging Lee can contact Harolds Cabin at (843) 793-4440 for details on the event.

247 Congress St.

Downtown

Charleston, SC

(843) 793-4440

Mon.-Fri. 4-10 p.m. Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-10p.m. Brunch & dinner

American and Bar

Tags: Harold's Cabin, chess, Charles Lee, chess challenge, chess prodigy, Image

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Harold's Cabin hosts Chess Challenge with Charles Lee this Thurs. Feb. 20 - Charleston City Paper

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February 19th, 2020 at 2:41 am

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UP-APO Patinikan sa Chess begins on February 24 – PhilBoxing.com

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UP-APO Patinikan sa Chess begins on February 24

By Marlon Bernardino PhilBoxing.com Wed, 19 Feb 2020

The biggest chess competition in the Philippines this year - the University of the Philippines-Alpha Phi Omega-Patinikan sa Chess (Invitational Tournament)-gets underway on February 24, 2020 (Monday) at the Magno Hall, UP DMST Ylanan Road, UP Diliman Campus in Quezon City.

This was announced in a statement issued on Tuesday by Project Director Raymond Linsangan.

"We expect this year's competition to be just as successful," Linsangan said, a former director of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).

"University of the Philippines-Alpha Phi Omega-Patinikan sa Chess is a chess cup dedicated to the memory of Brother Francis C. Cantre, 74-C, E Pluribus Batch. Brod Francis was a lawyer and expert level chess player," added tournament director International Master Ronald Bancod.

Coming off a winning performance at the Hong Bao Rating Tournament 2020 (Open division), at the Singapore Chess Federation Conference Room in Bishan, Singapore last January 25 to 27, 2020, Grandmaster Darwin Laylo is looking to follow-up that victory.

He also won the January edition of Asean Chess Academy (ACA) Rapid Chess Tournament last January 5, 2020 at the Bukit Timah Shopping Centre in Singapore.

Laylo, is one of the top players of multi-titled Philippine Army chess team playing under the banner of Usec Lieutenant General, AFP (Ret.) Arthur Tabaquero (AFP Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs) and Col. Dexter Macasaet (Director, SSC, IMCOM, PA).

Other Filipino talents expected for the contest in the Open category include 13-times Philippine Open champion Grandmaster Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr., International Masters Hamed Nouri, Ronald Dableo, Roel Abelgas, Yves Ranola, Rolando Nolte, Chito Garma, Daniel Quizon, Michael Concio and Eric Labog, Fide Masters Alekhine Nouri, Christopher Castellano, Leonardo Carlos and Randy Segarra, National Master Nick Nisperos, United States Chess Master Jojo Aquino and Candidate Master Christopher Rodriguez.

Country's youngest Woman Fide Master Antonella Berthe "Tonelle" Murillo Racasa, 12 year old and a grade 6 pupil of VCIS - Home School Global is heading the list of participants in the women's section.-Marlon Bernardino-

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Marlon Bernardino.

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UP-APO Patinikan sa Chess begins on February 24 - PhilBoxing.com

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February 19th, 2020 at 2:41 am

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Nirvana Travel & Tourism Announced as Sponsor of the 90th International Chess Federation Congress in Abu Dhabi – Al-Bawaba

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Nirvana Travel & Tourism announced today that it has signed on to be a sponsor for the 90th International Chess Federation (FIDE) Congress that will be taking place in Abu Dhabi from February 26 to March 1, 2020.

Mr. Alaa Al Ali, CEO of Nirvana Travel & Tourism stated We are delighted to co-sponsor the 2020 edition of the congress in cooperation with the Asian Chess Federation. As a strategic partner, Nirvana Travel & Tourism will harness its organizing capabilities to catapult this global event to success, while also highlighting the UAEs role in supporting the sport on an international stage.

Al Ali praised the efforts of the Asian Chess Federation headed by Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Shakhbout Al Nahyan for organising the event. He added, I would also like to appreciate the contributions of Dr. Abdullah bin Salem Al Wahshi, CEO of the Asian Chess Federation for arranging a world class sports conference in the capital, as part of a strategy to develop the sport and for facilitating the resources required for its growth.

The event will mark Abu Dhabis debut in hosting a chesscongressofthis scale, one that will bring together delegations from more than 194 countries. The 90th FIDE Congress in Abu Dhabi is a qualitative leap for the future of chess in Asia. Moreover it confirms that Abu Dhabi is transforming into a global destination for sports, festivals, and specialized conferences, a feat attributed to the citys advanced infrastructure, quality services, and characteristically safe environment, concluded Al Ali.

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Nirvana Travel & Tourism Announced as Sponsor of the 90th International Chess Federation Congress in Abu Dhabi - Al-Bawaba

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February 19th, 2020 at 2:41 am

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Chess boxing, eukokanto, street luge, korfbal Have you heard of these sports? – Sportsfinding

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elevenFeb

Chess boxing, eukokanto, kabaddi or street luge are also names of sports disciplines. As rare as their names are, they are practiced by thousands of people throughout the world and although they do not currently make headlines as they do football or tennis, they have something in common with the most media sports: they have innumerable health benefits , hook and also treasure stories that deserve to be told.

Try typing sport on Google. Instantly, you will have almost two billion results. Yes, you are reading well: billions, with b. In the first positions, how could it be otherwise, are in addition to the best known and best positioned sports facilities, the most mediated and practiced disciplines. Soccer, basketball, tennis, athletics, rugby, Formula 1, golf, appear in the top positions with hardly any rivals.

Today there are a large number of disciplines that, despite not being on top of international sport and not having copious hobbies, are practiced in different parts of the world and, in some cases, with great success.

It is the case of minority sports that respond to such unpronounceable names as eukokanto, kabaddi, street luge, extreme ironing or chess boxing. If you want to discover them and, incidentally, climb a step in sports culture, check out the list of rarer sports we have prepared for the occasion. Who knows if, in addition to discovering who came up with it, how is the field where it is practiced or what its game rules consist of, in the end you end up getting hooked.

The asphalt sled or street luge is a variant of the Olympic winter Luge. In this case, the sleds are replaced by a scooter and snow, by asphalt. He was born in southern California, in the heat of other widely practiced disciplines, such as skateboarding or surfing. In 1975 street luge became an official practice, although it was not until the 1990s when it had its own rules and even federation. It is considered a high-risk sport and to practice it you need an elongated board or skateboard (measures around 2.40 m.). The skateboarder lies on his back and can reach speeds of over 100 km / h. The world record is held by Roger Hickey, who with 58 years managed to reach 161.4 km / h.

Of Hindu origin, it has more than 4,000 years old, hence it is considered one of the oldest known sports. It is currently very popular in Southeast Asia. In fact, in Bangladesh it is considered the national sport. With very simple rules, its practice is reminiscent of traditional games like pilla pilla or catches the flag. In order to play, there is no lack of many means. The pitch is a rectangle divided in half. In it two teams face, with seven players each. A single player must try to cross to the other side. The most important? He has to do it holding his breath and shouting kabaddi.

This sport combines chess with boxing. Its inventor was the French filmmaker and cartoonist Enki Bilal, who drew it in the comic Froid quateur, although it became a reality in 2003. Each game has 11 rounds, six chess (four minutes) and five boxing (three minutes). Whoever wins the victory in any of the two disciplines wins, but must endure both in the ring and on the board. One of his curiosities is that to participate you must be under 35 years old and you must have participated as a boxer in at least 20 matches. The first World Cup was held in Amsterdam in 2004.

Also known as carrying the wife is a sport in which participants compete running with a woman. The objective is to cross an obstacle course of 253.5 meters in the shortest possible time. The minimum weight of the wife is 49 kg. If it weighs less, the rules force you to carry a backpack on your back until you complete the missing load. There is only one category in their world championships and their roots go back to the local history of the Finnish municipality of Sonkajrvi, where there was a custom of wooing women running to their village, taking them and escaping with them in tow. The only equipment allowed in the case of men is a belt and in the case of the participants, a helmet. It is very popular in Finland, its country of origin, but also in Sweden, Estonia and the United States. In addition, it has its own category in the Guinnes Book of records.

It is, as its name implies, a mixture between cycling and football and was invented by the German-American Nicholas E. Kaufmann in 1893. Its operation is very simple: each player has to score the opposing team on a special bicycle. Fixed pinion with a particular geometry. The field, whose measurements are 1411 meters, is of hard ground similar to those of futsal. The ball, which weighs between 500 and 600 grams and measures between 17 and 18 centimeters in diameter, can only be thrown with the front wheel of the bicycle. Despite its uniqueness, it is widespread in Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Austria or Belgium and since 1929 has been holding world championships.

It is another of the oldest, although its name does not sound familiar. Also known as kick volleyball, its origin dates back to the time of the Sultanate of Malacca, in the 16th century, in Southeast Asia. Its operation is similar to that of volleyball, although in this one a rattan ball is used, a kind of cane, which can only be touched with the head and feet. At present, it is played with one with a better boat and that causes fewer injuries than the old one. It is widespread in Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Burma, Vietnam or Indonesia, where it adopts different names. At present, it is governed internationally by the International Federation of Sepak Takraw (ISTAF) and its World Cup is celebrated every damage in Thailand. It aspires to be an Olympic sport, although since the Beijing Asian Games in 1990 it has its own category.

Also known as extreme ironing is a discipline that was born in Leicester, England, in 1997, in which its participants take ironing boards to remote locations. Once there, they place the household utensil and are dedicated to iron clothes. Its creator was Phil Shaw, an employee of a knitwear factory. One day when he had several pending tasks, including ironing his shirts, he decided to do it while climbing, one of his favorite sports. It was thus that he combined both activities giving rise to a new extreme sport that has an international group inspiring, in passing, other activities such as that of the extreme Cello.

With certain similarities with basketball, korfbal or also known as balonkorf is a sport that is played in mixed teams consisting of eight players, four men and four women. Born in the early twentieth century, its operation is to make a ball in a special wicker or plastic basket that is attached to a tall stick. The court is divided into two halves called zones. During the game, which lasts an hour, two men and two women from each team are in one area and the others in the other. As a peculiarity, during the game you cannot change the zone. This practice has an international federation that organizes a world cup every four years since 1978.

Although these are just some of the most unknown and curious, in the world there are endless sports full of deeds and curiosities to discover. They say that there is a sport for every type of person.

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Chess boxing, eukokanto, street luge, korfbal Have you heard of these sports? - Sportsfinding

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February 19th, 2020 at 2:41 am

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‘Nonchalant lowlifes’ – Thames Water accused of releasing sewage into River Chess – Bucks Free Press

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The River Chess Association is urging people to avoid the river downstream of the sewage treatment works in Chesham.

The Association believe that Thames Water have 'yet again' released sewage into the river from the sewage treatment works.

They stated that they received no notification from the company and are receiving limited information from them about whether a discharge event occurred.

Thames Water responded to the association and according to the group said: "We believe we discharged storm flows from site yesterday early morning [Sunday] and for some hours.

"We are not discharging storm flows this morning, but our storm tanks are full."

The group were frustrated that they couldn't advise people to avoid the river.

READ MORE: Coronavirus - Wycombe Hospital and Stoke Mandeville Hospital set up isolation pods

They've now advised dog walkers, volunteers, and the public to do so.

One Facebook user said: "I believe last year Thames Water were fined a huge amount of money for doing this, the Environment Agency should be notified and our local councillors should start to put pressure on Thames Water to stop this disgusting release happening.

"Is there no other hygienic method that they could install? This is a real health hazard."

Another commenter was also unhappy with the alleged incident, they said: "Thames Water should be fined and made to sort it all out. Nonchalant low-lifes."

Thames Water have responded, in a statement they said:The volume of sustained heavy rainfall meant that in order to prevent flooding to peoples homes, and once all our storage capacity at the works was filled, some heavily diluted wastewater was allowed to overflow into the river system.

"Of course this is undesirable, but we only do so when there is no other alternative.

"It is the way the system is designed to operate and is permitted by the Environment Agency under these circumstances.

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'Nonchalant lowlifes' - Thames Water accused of releasing sewage into River Chess - Bucks Free Press

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February 19th, 2020 at 2:41 am

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Game changer: Volunteer creates chess club that gives kids all the right moves – NWAOnline

Posted: February 16, 2020 at 6:46 am


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Brothers Aaron and Abram Burnett are usually the first two to arrive at CPR Chess Club -- the CPR standing for Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, Reading -- which meets from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesdays at Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas in southwest Little Rock. They are in the advanced class.

A recent Tuesday finds Aaron, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at Scholarmade Achievement Place in Little Rock -- wearing multiple medals around his neck ... medals won in chess tournaments, which he's showing visitors. He has been part of the club for about five years.

"At first, I wasn't really interested" in chess, he says. Aaron's grandfather signed him up for it. "And then I just started coming and then I started to get interested in it. You know how in school some people don't really focus? It basically challenges you" to focus, he says.

CPR Chess Club member Aaron Burnett displays some of the medals he has won in chess tournaments. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)

Aaron got his first medal at his very first chess tournament.

"I just kept on doing chess tournaments. Like, the people that I play ... sometimes I used to hope that [beating them] would be easy. But then -- what's the point of playing 'em if you're just going to beat 'em? Usually when I play people ... that makes me better because I kinda see their strategies, and next time I know how to prevent it or use it against somebody."

Abram Burnett, 9, is in third grade.

"It's like life," he says of the game. "You have to strategize, out-think your opponent."

Tony Davis, nine-time Arkansas state chess champion, uses a hanging chess demonstration board to teach the movement of different chess pieces to young members of the CPR Chess Club. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)

In another classroom, nine-time state chess champion Tony Davis, a volunteer coach for the club, is teaching beginning players. He uses a vertical cloth chessboard with pockets to hold the pieces.

"The Queen always goes on the same color as her dress," he tells the students. "So the white queen goes on white. Black queen goes on black. ... Whoever has white always moves first."

Davis shows off a knight game piece.

"This is everybody's favorite piece. He's shaped like a horse, and he jumps over other pieces. He's the only piece that can do that. And when he makes his move, he makes a little L ... he can move over two and up one, or back two and over one. It can be a backwards L, a sideways L, an upside-down L ... Once you master how a knight moves, all the other pieces are easy because all the other pieces move in a straight line."

Davis demonstrates how the other pieces move ... pawn, rook, bishop, queen, king. In chess, the main goal is to capture, or checkmate, the opponent's king, so the direction in which each piece can legally move is vital to winning the game.

Going back and forth to make sure everything runs smoothly is Georgia Morris, the club's founder, who, ironically, doesn't play chess.

Georgia Morris, founder of CPR Chess Club, makes a few practice moves on the board with club member Hansika Ulaganathan, 7, a third-grader at Williams Magnet Elementary School. The club, which also has a Pine Bluff chapter, is a vehicle by which a diverse group of students learns life skills via chess. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Pradeep Parmer)

Morris, an Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield retiree, started CPR Chess Club in August 2013. Her idea for the club was born of a similar but simpler game: Morris' father, who raised her and her seven siblings as a single parent, showed them all how to play checkers.

As he taught, he was "telling [us] all this life-skills stuff, but I didn't really know it was life skills then," Morris says.

A dedicated community volunteer, Morris was pondering ways to work with youth when she met Davis at her former church, Hoover United Methodist. Davis' chess club, the Urban Knights, met across from Central High School. Morris visited the club gatherings to learn how to play. She never mastered the game but learned the basics and was intrigued by it.

"I started Googling, seeing how good [chess] was for kids," she says. "I know it was good for all this critical thinking and focusing and planning ahead -- everything that a child would need to kind of keep them on track," as well as help them in school. "So I decided that I was going to start a chess club."

Morris wanted the club to be near a church so that if the club kids wanted to go to church, they'd be within walking distance. That's what brought her to Mosaic, where she eventually became a part of the congregation. She asked church officials if they'd be open to hosting the chess club, and got a yes.

Morris asked for help from Davis, who did a youth program at Hoover and has worked with young people at several schools. "I've heard people for years talk about how they would [like to] learn to play chess and how they would like to do stuff like what [Morris is] doing," Davis says. "She's the first one I ran into that actually followed through."

She has done outstanding work, says Mark DeYmaz, founding pastor of Mosaic Church -- work "born out of Georgia's passion for young people and our community."

Morris' idea for the program fits in nicely with the church's mission, which was established not just to put on Sunday services but to "empower and free our members" to go after their callings during certain seasons of their life, he says.

"What might seem to be a limitation wasn't a limitation for her. It wasn't really about chess; it was about young people. Chess was a vehicle for their minds and their hearts."

This is evident on this particular Tuesday.

Tessa Vocque considers which chess piece to move during a meeting of the CPR Chess Club at Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas in Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)

Settling at a table across from the Burnett brothers and three other boys is Tessa Vocque, a 7-year-old first-grader at Forest Heights STEM Academy. She has been coming to the club about four months.

She likes the fact that "it doesn't exactly matter who wins and loses," at chess, she says. Here, one doesn't lose. One learns.

"I also like that it's just fun to play," Tessa adds.

Her mother, Cindy Vocque of Little Rock, is just outside the classroom.

When she found out about the club, she felt it would be the perfect outlet for her daughter, Vocque says. "I thought this [would] be great to help her learn some self-control, planning skills, sitting still and just how to use strategies -- not only in a game, but ... in her community and her life."

She sees her strong-willed daughter learning to "self-regulate her emotions," Vocque adds.

Teaching the advanced class is Nate Martin, an architect with WD&D Architects in Little Rock and another of the club's volunteer coaches. Martin became involved with the club more than two years ago when he saw a segment about it on the evening news. He has been playing casually since he was a child.

"What I enjoy the most is when I see something click with a student," Martin says. "One minute they didn't grasp something, and another minute, they grasp it. ... And you see them build on that week after week.

"It's fun just watching the kids ... make some crazy moves and [seeing] what happens."

Darius McCree Sr. of Little Rock, a teacher and the chess coach at Dunbar Middle School, has been plugged into CPR as a coach for about two years. When his students graduated from middle school, he sought a way to keep them together despite them going on to a handful of different high schools. He got in touch with Morris and his former Dunbar students began to visit CPR, becoming members of the club's high-school team.

He uses chess to teach students about life, McCree says. "If you [want to] teach a kid discipline and maturity, chess is the greatest way I know to do that."

KenDrell Collins, a trial attorney at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Arkansas, coaches young chess enthusiasts during a weekly meeting of the CPR Chess Club. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)

When he first came to CPR, McCree says, he was amazed at what he saw.

"I tell people all the time that I've been playing this game for 30 years but, I learned from a 5-year-old here. He was 5 when I met him but ... he talked like he was, like, 54."

Fellow coach KenDrell Collins of Little Rock also enjoys seeing the students learn life through chess. A federal public defender, Collins thought he was just going to be helping out here and there with the club. But now, he's teaching a beginner's class, populated primarily with children kindergarten age through second grade.

"In chess, if you make a wrong move ... it has consequences. You might lose that piece," he says. "I deal with people every day who made a lapse in judgment or ... didn't strategically think about an action, and then there was a consequence. So we kind of teach that on a small level, a micro level, to the kids."

Racquel Green of Little Rock is not only the mother of CPR member and trophy winner Kenneth Clay III, a 10-year-old fourth-grader at Pulaski Heights Elementary School, but she's also a volunteer parent.

Davis, Green says, recruited her son to come over and play chess, which he began doing in late 2018. "And ever since, he's been right over here. He does not miss a Tuesday ... If he's had a stressful week, he's looking forward to Tuesday ... 'I have got to go and take this strategy out on chess.' So I like to hear that."

The club has coaxed the once-introverted Kenneth out of his shell, Green adds. "Now, he's more sociable. Now, he's more outgoing. Now, he's more ... proud of himself."

And Green is impressed that Georgia "just knew what God wanted for her to do."

"She didn't wonder how she was going to get the resources. She didn't wonder who was going to support her. She didn't wonder if she was going to have a kid. She just did it."

And Morris was instrumental in getting the Little Rock School District to change its rules about chess.

The district hosts chess tournaments, but these were once open only to the schools that had chess clubs.

Siblings Mert and Nur Korkmaz learn the game of life while play chess during a Tuesday-evening meeting of the CPR Chess Club. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)

Most of the school-based chess clubs were under the schools' gifted and talented programs. On several occasions, Morris went to the district's former fund and budget coordinator and pleaded with him to allow her club members to participate in these tournaments. He finally relented. The club went to the tournament for the first time in 2017.

"She was doing something that was virtually undone -- in fact, not just virtually undone here, but virtually undone anywhere in the country," Davis says.

Today, CPR's teams are the only community-based teams that can compete in Little Rock School District tournaments. On Feb. 8, more than 20 children from the club participated in the district chess tournament. Members have racked up numerous medals and team trophies; the club itself has garnered such honors as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award, KARK Pay It 4 Ward Award, and the Dunbar Community Award.

CPR didn't just grow bigger; it expanded outside Little Rock. Laverne Tyler of Pine Bluff is over the CPR Chess Club's Pine Bluff branch. Open to anybody and free of charge, it meets from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursdays -- and has an in-house tournament -- at the Trinity Annex Building, 2900 W. Sixth Ave. in Pine Bluff. The chapter currently has nearly 20 members ranging from first grade to junior high school. These children also participated in the Feb. 8 Little Rock School District chess tournament.

A member and past master with Cornerstone Lodge No. 1601, Prince Hall Masons in Pine Bluff, Tyler also coaches three youth football teams and shepherds a group of Junior Masons. Determined after a visit to a CPR meeting to take the program back to his own youth, he rounded up some of his football players, and invited a few more, to play chess. "They had never seen chess," Tyler says. "And probably about a month after that, they were playing chess like they'd been playing all their lives."

The game, he explains, "raised up their confidence level. All their teachers [are] saying their grades have come up, their attitudes have gotten better ... And then they're learning to work through difficulties."

CPR-Pine Bluff recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. "We've been competing and winning," Tyler says.

"For me to see them sitting and thinking -- it showed me the potential that exists within them."

Volunteers and donations are welcome at both CPR clubs (Tyler especially seeks male volunteers, whether or not they're chess players). Little Rock donations should go through Vine & Village, vineandvillage.org with the CPR Chess Program indicated. For more information, contact Morris at (501) 416-5348 or gmmorris.cpr55@att.net. For Pine Bluff, contact Tyler at (870) 329-4398 or lavernetyler1975@yahoo.com.

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Game changer: Volunteer creates chess club that gives kids all the right moves - NWAOnline

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February 16th, 2020 at 6:46 am

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Chess: Guildford extend unbeaten run to 83 matches over nearly eight years – The Guardian

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This is a variant from the game Nana Dzagnidze v Valentina Gunina, Cairns Cup, St Louis 2020. Black has the brutal threat of Rh8, Qxh2+ and Rxh2 mate. Can you find Whites only move to escape?

Guildfords stranglehold on Britains Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) is set to continue for an eighth consecutive season as the Surrey club steamrollered two more opponents at Daventry last weekend, while their sponsored rivals from Yorkshire and the Isle of of Man lost ground on the leaders. Guildford last lost a match, 3.5-4.5 to White Rose, on 5 May 2012, since when the teams unbeaten run stretches to 81 wins and two draws.

Each of two sections qualifies four teams for the championship pool. Guildford lead the A group with 8/8 ahead of Chessable White Rose and Wood Green 6/8. The B group has Chess.com Manx Liberty 8/8, Grantham 7/8 and Guildford B 6/8. Guildford have won all four matches by at least 7-1 so are already well ahead on game points.

A mix of experienced English and French Olympiad grandmasters form Guildfords core and it was a specially good weekend for Michael Adams. The seven-time British champion is aged 48 and has recently struggled to hold on to the England No 1 spot against his younger rivals Luke McShane, Gawain Jones and David Howell. But Howell had a form dip at Hastings while Jones has been held back by draws, whereas in the last few weeks Adams scored an unbeaten 7/10 at Gibraltar, then defeated GMs Stephen Gordon and Jon Speelman at the 4NCL.

The Cornishman has now recovered not only his England No 1 position but also a 2700 elite rating and is the second oldest 2700+ after Indias former world champion Vishy Anand. Matthew Sadler, the England No 2 four rating points behind Adams, is co-author of Game Changer, the acclaimed AlphaZero book, and an amateur GM who plays little apart from the 4NCL yet hardly ever loses. In his game against 3Cs Sadler won what he later described as his most AlphaZero-like game yet.

It was also interesting that Guildford fielded the Leicester GM Mark Hebden on bottom board. Hebden, who will be 62 on Saturday, played a key, though understated, role in the 1970s and 80s boom when England for a few years became the No 2 chess nation after the Soviet Union. Many opening novelties worked out then were developed on the weekend circuit where few games were published and where Hebden evolved a purpose-built repertoire which made him a prolific prize winner.

The Grand Prix, Barry and 150 Attacks were his weapons, with easy to understand strategies which attracted a host of followers and are still popular among online blitz players. Hebden was at it again last weekend, where his opponent seemed unfamiliar with the 150 Attack and was crushed in short order.

Blacks 7 a6? (better c6 to secure d5 for the f6 knight) was far too slow and could already have been met by 8 e5!, but Hebden preferred the classical plan of switching his queen to boost his K-side attack. Then 12Nbd7? put Blacks minor pieces in a tangle, and the position fell apart.

Mark Hebden v Aisha Benhamida (Guildford v 3Cs)

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 g6 3 e4 d6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Be3 0-0 6 Qd2 Nbd7 7 Bh6 a6? 8 0-0-0 Nb6 9 h3 Be6 10 Qg5 c6 11 Qh4 Qc7 12 Ng5 Nbd7? 13 f4 Rfe8 14 Bxg7 Kxg7 15 e5 Nh5 16 g4 h6 17 Nxe6+ fxe6 18 gxh5 1-0

When Manx unleashed Hungarys world No 14, Richard Rapport, against Guildford in last seasons final match, it seemed this might be a foretaste of a sustained title challenge. This has not happened yet, as both Manx and White Rose have relied on their pre-sponsor squads. The challenging pair are expected to make their effort at the final league weekend in May when they will probably bring in some overseas heavyweights, but it will be a slim chance. White Rose have already lost a match while Guildford are already virtually assured of superior game points.

Irelands Gonzaga, newly promoted from Division Two, and Scotlands Alba, newly relegated from Division One, are both effectively national teams, though far from full strength. Both have the same basic problem.Their squads are expert level with a sprinkling of masters, and this formula is insufficient for consistent survival in the top division, so both may be in a pattern of yo-yoing between divisions.

A former world champion in action in Division Two is a rare sight. Chinas Tan Zhongyi, fresh from winning the 20,000 womens first prize at Gibraltar, played No 1 for Kings Head, the London chess pub team, and won two smooth strategic games.

On the international front,the central action this week is at the Prague Masters including six GMs from the world top 30. Chess fans will be watching Alireza Firouzja,16, in his second elite tournament following Wijk aan Zee, where he was wiped out 5-0 by the super-elite but scored well against others.

3658 1 cxb4! draws. If Rh8 2 Qc6+! Kg7 3 Qc3+! Kg6 4 Qd3+! when Black must repeat by 4..Kg7 since 4f5? loses to 5 Qd6+! when the BK must self-block by Kh5 or be mated. The Cairns Cup of 10 top women players is the female version of the elite Sinquefield Cup, and its final rounds can be watched free and live online this weekend.

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Chess: Guildford extend unbeaten run to 83 matches over nearly eight years - The Guardian

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2/13/2020 In Vienna, chess is back in the public space. People play on streets and squares, in the Main Library, and even in coffeehouses where chess once was very popular. The driving force behind this movement is the Dutch chess activist Kineke Mulder. Who is very active indeed.

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The coffeehouse is the cradle of European chess club culture. A lot of clubs were founded in coffeehouses and the coffeehouses in Vienna arguably provided the archetype of a cultivated atmosphere that came with a cup of coffee, intellectual conversations and a few games of chess. Coffeehouses also offered an opportunity to play chess for money and to enter heated debates about the best move while analysing.

But in the last decades the classical chess coffeehouse has been on the decline. However, in Vienna, formerly a stronghold of the game and coffeehouse culture, chess is in the process of reconquering public space. Driving force behind this development is a woman: Kineke Mulder. Who hails from the Netherlands, from Groningen, another stronghold of chess. Which is fitting because in its heyday the chess culture in Vienna was also very international.

The idea was born in 2015/16, at a time when many people had fled their homes,were travelling around Europe and were looking for a place to stay. Many stranded in Vienna, did not know where to go and were literally living on the street. Kineke Mulder saw this and came up with the idea to give them at least an occupation: chess. Chess is easy to learn and connects people. Even if you do not speak a common language, you can quickly play a game of chess with each other. "We are all equal when we play," is Kineke Mulder's motto.

Soon Kineke Mulder found supporters and the project grew. Chess is now played regularly just like that on the squares and streets of Vienna and at street festivals. But not only there. The Main Library is also regularly imbued with coffee house atmosphere during the monthly chess tournament.

In the Vienna Main Library

Chess is also played at the junk goods market 48-Tandler. The blitz-tournament even attracted almost the entire women's national team of 1996, that is WIM Helene Mira, WFM Jutta Borek and WFM Maria Horvath.

The trio

Christian Hursky, president of the Austrian Chess Federation and member of the Austrian Landtag took part in the simul. Incidentally, this year the Austrian Chess Federation celebrates its 100th birthday.

And it is even back in its old stronghold the coffeehouses. Not in each and every one but nevertheless getting more and more popular.

Schachcaf

E.g. with the "Chess Unlimited Krampusturnier" in the Caf Ritter, with sociable Dieter Chmelar (journalist, TV host, cabaret artist), Nikolo and Alma Zadic, minister of justice.

Prominent people at the Krampusturnier

The house was packed...

...the games exciting.

With Kineke Mulder and her friends chess in Vienna has also become more feminine, and thus more sociable. There is even a women's chess club in Vienna, for a few years now. For all women who want to start with chess, but don't quite dare to make the move, comrade-in-arms Eva Husar has a tip from woman to woman: chess can be crocheted first.

Photos:Little hussar chrochet. P.S: All materials are recycled. The little extra: the board is also the bag for the pieces.

As a trained advertising designer Kineke Mulder is also able to show what she and her chess friends do and recently she published a brochure (PDF) with the chess events of the last year. There were plenty of them.

Meanwhile, chess columns, e.g. Ruf & Ehn in the Standard, have noticed this new chess culture in Vienna and expressed their joy in a number of articles.

There's also a video about the new chess movement:

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer

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The new chess culture in Vienna - Chessbase News

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In 1843 Andrei Alexandrovich Ascharin was born in the Estonian coastal town of Prnu. His parents were of mixed origins: Alexander, of Russian extraction and Louise, of German extraction. This was common among the Baltic people at the time. His family moved from Prnu to Dorpat 80 miles due east. He went to the Dorpat High School and attended the Universitt Dorpat, now the University of Tartu, where he studied law, until 1874. After graduation he moved to St. Petersburg as a journalist for the German language newspaper Sankt Petersburger Heroldand then for it's competitor Sankt Petersburger Zeitung.

Ascharin learned to play chess while attending high school in Dorpat. There, his chief rival was his classmateHermann Clemenz who would himself become a strong player. His other chess friends included Friedrich Eisenschmidt, G. Vogt and Friedrich Amelung.

Here's a couple youthful games between Ascharin-Vogt and Ascharin-Clemenz. The mistakes (even blunders) show how far they needed to go but the ideas evidenced their potentials. It also demonstrates that Ascharin wasn't yet standing out from his classmates. Vogt was a talented blindfold player. Herr Stud of Dorpat had written in a letter published in the Neue Berliner Schachzeitung in 1866 which said "The talent of my friend Vogt in blind-playing has often given us the opportunity to watch such a production with six, seven and eight simultaneous opponents. Calmness, clarity of combinations and a lively presentation are very much in his mind."

As can be seen in the above 1892 photograph of Ascharin with Mikhail Tschigorin, our subject was a man of small stature. He also spend most of his life in somewhat poor health which eventually led to his premature death at age 53. In 1878 he married Alwine Runge. Together they had three children: a son, Fredja, born in early 1887 but who died from the dreaded scarlet fever on March 24, 1892, a son, Andreas, born Sept. 13, 1889 and a daughter, Lydia, born Dec. 30, 1891.

While in St. Petersburg, Ascharin was exposed to some of the great Russian players of the day such as Emanuel Schiffers, Ilya Shumoff and Mikhail Tschigorin. In fact in November of 1876 --Tschigorin had already started editing his chess paper, the Shakhmatnyy listok-- Ascharin, Tschigorin, Schiffers and Shumoff held a small tournament in the Caf Dominic. This knock-out tournament was won by Ascharin (two days after the completion of that small tournament, an even smaller one was held between Tschigorin, Schiffers and Shumoff).

A game from that event:

Between October and December of the next year another tournament was held, this time with more contestants and the venue was a restaurant/caf operated by a Mr. Prader. The competitors were:Ascharin, Schiffers, Tshigorin, Clementz (who had only arrived in St. Petersburg 4 weeks earlier) and Semyon Alapin. Tschigorin won this event (and the 15 rubles prize), followed by Schiffers, Ascharin, Clementz and Alapin.

Below is a game between Ascharin and Alapin from 1877, also at the Caf Prader, but several months prior to the tournament played there:

The Baltische Schachbltter of 1891 published an 1878 letter from Friedrich Amelung which gives a sense of the chess situation in Russia at the time, :

...in the course of the last year 1877 three new strong Russian chess players became known, namely: Mr. Solowzow [Alexander Vladimirovich Solovtsov] in Moscow, who successfully played against Messrs. Urussov [Prince Sergey Urusov], Drosdow [Alexander Dmitrievich Drozdov (1838-1904)],and Schmidt [Dr. Eugen von Schmidt, an Estonia who moved to Moscow], also Mr. Alapin in Petersburg and Mr. Hellwig in Dorpat [A. Hellwig eventually moved to Moscow for at least a time]. In my chess report No. 1, 1877, I named strongest chess players of Russia: Mr. Winawer in Warsaw, Messrs Schiffers, Shumoff, Tschigorin, Asharin in Petersburg, Messrs. Drosdow, Urussow and Schmidt in Moscow, finally the provincial players Messrs. Clemenz, Chardin [Andrey Nikolaevich Chardin, a lawyer who moved to Samara in 1878. He lost a tightly contested match to Schiffers in 1874. A young Vladmir Lenin worked as his legal assistant in 1893. They were known to have played many games together] and V. Knorre [Viktor Knorre, the Russian astronomer, was originally from Dorpat, then moved to Berlin], i.e. a total of 11 chess players of the first rank along with several players of the second rank, to which we now add the three named players, and we are thus getting a handsome majority of strong chess players in Russia, like no other European or non-European country may be, except in Germany and England alone.

A game between Tschigorin and Viktor Knorre in 1874:

In 1877, after his little victory (1876) in St. Petersburg, Ascharin lost a close 9 game match to his chess mentor, Friedrich Amelung, 5-4. By 1879, Tschigorin had risen tremendously, winning the St. Petersburg tournament (after a play-off with Alapin) while Ascharin languished in 6th place out of the 9 contestants. When he secured a position teaching German literature and language at the Alexander High School for Men and the Lomonosov High School for Women in 1879, Ascharin and his wife, who also hailed from Prnu, moved back to the Balkins but this time to the Latvian city of Riga where they would live out their lives.

Riga provided a whole new chess frontier for Ascharin.

In 1880 there were no first class players in Riga other than Ascharin himself. His arrival seemed to spark interest in the game. Ascharin joined the Schachclub des Gewerbevereins, the trade association chess club which met at the Hotel Deutsches Haus and where he could give their best players knight odds. Bored with that poorly attended venue, he seldom frequented it himself, preferring the coffeehouses where chess was commonly played. The chief among these was the Caf Krpsch which had the reputation as being Riga's Caf de la Rgence. He also played visiting masters. The three columns below indicate "win, lose draw."

Below is one of the games between Emil Schallopp and Ascharin in 1890:

The above game was played in 1890. This was a hallmark year for Riga chess for this was when Ascharin organized the Riga Chess Club, which in turn elevated Riga into a first rate chess locale.

Before delving into that, three Riga chess enthusiasts are worth mentioning: the Behting brothers, Johann, Carl and Robert. All three were problemists, Though Carl and Johann were the most successful in that area. Robert, on the other hand won the 1st Baltic Championship (the Baltic Chess Union Congress) in April, 1899. Carl and Robert were also strong correspondence players.

The first discussions concerning the establishment of the Rigaer Schachverein (the Riga Chess Club) took place in March 1890 at a meeting which included Mr. Ascharin, Dr. Alex Helling, and Pastor N. Hugenberger (ironically, the latter two mentioned both died the following year). With C.arl von Reisner and Paul Kerkovius added to the commission, the Grand Opening took place on Dec. 4, 1890, A letter written by Ascharin dated Oct. 17, 1890 gives some insight:

Dear friend! - Our chess club is blooming mightily! We are already 50 members. We have rented a nice big restaurant consisting of two, large nicely furnished halls and a room for the deliberations of the bard . The cost [for the venue] for two game nights a week is 200 rubles annually. However, we receive 100 rubles a year from the Rigaer Tageblatt, a local newspaper, for the chess number [the chess column] that appears every two weeks. It is edited by three members of the chess club, P. Kerkovius, Ellinson and Carl Behting, the problem artist, under my supervision and, as can be seen from the magazines, receives many good reviews. The board consists of 5 members and 2 substitutes. President: Asharin, Vice President: Dr. med. Helling, Secretary: C. v. Reisner, treasurer: Kerkovius, archivist: Pastor Hugenberger. . . . The annual membership fee is 5 rubles and 1 ruble registration fee. . . . As a result of donations, our library already consists of around 40 chess books. We hold the German weekly chess, published by Schallopp, Heyde and Hlsen, and the Petersburg Schachmaty. It goes without saying that we bought the two issues of your latest chess opus.

Below is a game between Ascharin and fellow club founder, Pastor N. Hugenburger. Hugenberger taught Religion at Lomonosov High School. One can see the apparent skill disparity. Another founder, Dr. Alexander Helling had received his degree from Dorpat University in 1884. He set up practice in Riga in 1885 where he also operated a boarding school. He was known in the Riga music circles as a cellist. He died from pneumonia on May 14th 1892 at age 36. Paul Kerkovius (1868-1940) was the publisher of Riga's main newspaper, the Rigaer Stadtbltter. Between 1896 and 1916 Kerkovius was one of those involved in a famous series of correspondence games played between Riga and various foreign chess clubs such as Orel, Moscow, Stockholm and Berlin during an extended period of time. At the conclusion, although delayed by the war, a book was published by Helms and Cassel (both of whom owned and edited the extraordinaryAmerican Chess Bulletin). Due to the Riga's reputation for analyzing and compiling data, these matches, as well as the analyses, were considered very important at the time. The "Riga Defense," also referred to as the "Bohl Variation" was elevated from relative obscurity into prominence thanks to this series of games.

Above you can see Paul Kerkovius, Carl and Robert Behting in 1916.

Here is a game demonstrating Carl Behting's skill as a correspondence player:

And here are the two games from the 1896 Riga vs. Orel correspondence match:

The Riga Chess Club was already developing a reputation in 1892. That along with Ascharin's connections convinced a handful of world-class masters to visit the club. The club rented rooms in Riga's impressive Grossen Gilde or Great Guild, one of the oldest building in the Baltics.

Mikhail Tschigorin visited in September 1882. He conducted a 30 board simul (against 40 opponents since 10 played in consultation) that lasted almost 6 hours, non-stop. Tschigorin won 28, lost 2. He also played Ascharin in a 3 game match, winning all three. Ascharin compared their duel to that between Hektor and Achilles, with Ascharin as the doomed Hektor and Tschigoin as the invincble Achilles.

In March 1893, Emil Schallopp who had been to Riga on two previous occasions, gave a 21 board simul, winning 20 and losing one to Carl Behting. The simul lasted from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Ascharin played Schallopp in a three-game match, winning all three games.

Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch visited the club inNovember 1893. He also held a 30 board simul that lasted 6 hours. Of these he won 25, drew 4 and lost one to Carl Behting. On the second evening he gave a 6 board blind-simul, winning all the games. On the third evening Tarrasch was scheduled to play a mini-match with Ascharin but Ascharin was ill and had to forego that which he had probably been keenly anticipating. Instead, a hasty simul was arranged with mostly different players. Initially set up to be a 15 board event to lighten Tarrasch's load,, there were so many complaints that it was expanded to 30. The exhausted Tarrasch rushed through this second simul in 4 hours winning 22, losing 5 and drawing 3. Those beating Tarrasch were Messrs. H. Ehlert, R. Behting, Kandaurow, and the lawyers Wittram and Henrichson.

September of 1894 saw Emanuel Schiffers arriving in Riga where he played a 23 board simul against selected opponents. He won 14, lost 4 and drew 5. It was observed that Schiffers didn't take the battles as seriously and other masters. the simul lasted 5.5 hrs.

William Steinitz came to Riga in February 1896. the first evening, Feb. 10, he played a two game match at the CafKrpsch against Carl Behting, giving him Knight-odds, each winning a game. On Feb. 11 he gave a 30 board simul. Steinitz won 29 and drew one after 6 hours. A match between Steinitz and Ascharin had been scheduled for Feb. 15 but Ascharin was too ill to play. Instead, a consultation game between the team of P. Bohl, M. Ellinson and K. Kupfler (playing white) and Steinitz was hastily arranged. Steinitz won. A banquet following the game.

Tschigorin paid the Riga Chess Club a second visit in September 1897. Yet another 30 board simul was held. Tschigorin won 22, lost 4 and drew 4. It was noted that all 30 of the boards were in consultation. During the banquet in his honor, Tschigorin raised a toast to the departed Andreas Ascharin (who had died in December 1896)..

Having played against various masters, comparisons of their styles and conduct was inevitable.

(below are, in some cases, somewhat liberal translations using Google )

Tschigorin: Tschigorin is of medium height, slim, black, the bronze-colored face that reddened under the exertion of the brain, narrow, not too thin, the look friendly, harmless, but also penetratingly sharp. The whole appearance gives the impression of restlessness. . . . If Tschigorin does not finish a combination quickly enough, he gnaws on his thumbnail, or nervously runs his forefinger through his mustache or small full beard, or taps with the same index finger in quick succession, (calculating the variations). Of course, he doesn't have the unpleasant habit of speaking during the game. With the exception of a few brief replies, the five hours were almost silent.

Schallopp: The dark-eyed, brunette, hot-blooded Russian (Tschigorin), as he showed himself in the same lower rooms of our great guild in his 30 simultaneous games, plays violently, as a falcon quickly strikes and captures its prey; the bright-eyed, blond, cold-blooded German (Schallopp) follows his game calmly, evenly, indifferently removing the small obstacles, carefully clearing them out of the way before he makes the surprising ingenious advance; that is to say: he does not scorn a seemingly insignificant pawn who covers his dominion with his body, but quietly captures it in before he dares the main attack. Yet Mr. Schallopp still smiles mildly and kindly, like a man of gentle temper- while Mr. Tschigorin did not smile in the course of his nearly five-hour game. And while the latter face gradually reddened and his forehead shone in the sweat of effort, Mr. Schallopp remained chastely white and only at the last his cheeks shimmered in redness.

Tarrasch: Tschigorin plays like a hawk, sharp, hot and bold; Schallopp - like an armored dove, gentle, smiling, but greedy for food; Tarrasch - like a raven, looking wise, very deliberate, prey promptly before he attacks.

Schiffers: ...Schiffers is not attached to the game with body and soul, and still pursues physical interests: Tschigorin and Dr. Tarrasch did not smoke at all, Schallopp smoked coldly on a cigar, Schiffers smoked almost 25 cigarettes during the 5 hour game and drank a glass of beer, which his predecessors also carefully avoided. From all of the chess masters who have been seen here can be observed: they all boast enviable, thick hair, which, like Mr. Schiffers, has a mane-like appearance and gives his head a somewhat artistic appearance. How can one explain this phenomenon? Apparently, excessive thinking does not cause baldness, as some people want to believe.

Steinitz: Steinitz observes a deliberate, never rushing, downright relentless style of playing.... The big man is as small as possible in figure, round, stocky, the large, moderately hairy head with the reddish full head seated deep between his shoulders, his little nose is set apart only by his bulging nostrils, the forehead high and square, the small eyes as if protected from an overhanging hawk skin, the gently reddened, full face usually shines with a jovial smile. Beautifully soft; the hands with the pointed fingers are small and delicate, which old master Steinitz sometimes drums lightly on the table during play or makes an innocent fist, depending on the case. Otherwise he will not reveal any trace of nervousness.

Due to failing health, Ascharin resigned his position as president of the Riga Chess Club in 1895. Ottomar von Haken (Otomrs fon Hkens 1854-1929) was elected in his place. and served until 1899Paul Kerkovius took over.

In 1894 Ascharin published a little collection of his anecdotes, originally released in supplements (feuilleton) in theRiga Tageblatt, in a book entitled Schach-Humoresken.

During his life Ascharin had over a dozen other books published, mostly involving translations of Russian poetry into German. However, he also published a book of his own poetry in 1878,Gedichte von Andreas Ascharin. Below is an example of his writing (with English translation assistance kindly provided to my own interpretation by chess.com member @white_castle27)

An Unsterblichkeit zu glauben, Bringt unzweifelhaft Gewinn, Keinem will den Trost ich rauben. Da ich selbst unsterblich bin.

Deine Augen geben Kunde Von der Liebe Himmelreich, Und ein Ku von deinem Munde Machet mich den Gttern gleich.

Believing in immortality Undoubtedly yields profit I don't want to rob anyone of solace. Since I am immortal myself.

Your eyes give honor From the love of heaven, And a kiss from your mouth Makes me like the gods.

Upon his death on Christmas Day 1896, the Baltische Schachblatter was filled with memorials celebrating his life, his legacy but even more so his gentleness, kindness and generosity.

[While Wikipedia and several other places online list his death as Dec. 24, Jeremy Gage, as well as most contemporary reports tell us it was Dec. 25]

and we finish up with a strange, but fun, little odds game:

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Ascharin and Other Things - Chess.com

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2/10/2020 Chess compositions have been around for over a thousand years, and composers aim to tap not only the practical but also the aesthetic sense of solvers. Recently AZLAN IQBAL has investigated the potential of fully-computer-generated chess problems, and here he presents some conclusions about what passes the threshold of beauty.

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Perhaps the earliest recorded chess problems were by al-Adli who was reputedly the author of the first book about chess (or rather, an earlier but still recognizable form of the game) and lived in the 9th century CE. He is also said to have played it in the presence of one named, al-Mutawakkil, and therefore was not likely just or even primarily a composer of problems [1]. In the 21st century, however, composing original chess problems is no longer something that only humans can do autonomously. Chesthetica, a program I developed, has been doing so for years now with no end in sight. It composes, quite literally, like a machine. Also, it does not use any kind of machine learning but a totally different approach I call the Digital Synaptic Neural Substrate or DSNS, for short. There is, in fact, no learning going on at all despite having the word neural in it (related books on the subject can be found here).

The feedback I have received over the years about these compositions from the general chess-playing community has been largely positive. However, among master or even grandmaster composers, less so. This is despite some of Chestheticas compositions being intriguing enough for publication in a chess problem magazine [2]. Perhaps the first ever to publish compositions composed entirely and autonomously by a computer program.

Personally, I lack the necessary experience (and frankly interest or inclination) to be able to appreciate all the intricacies of traditional chess problems, which apparently put them on a higher aesthetic level than anything Chesthetica has produced so far. I suppose the same could be said for other artificial intelligence (AI) systems even with far more resources behind them that generate things like paintings and music. The best human painters and musicians are still better. Perhaps they always will be as far as humans are concerned.

Regardless, in this article I wanted to share with readers what the general global chess community, not just master players and composers, apparently find appealing when it comes to chess problems. For that purpose, I exported the post data from the Chesthetica Facebook page between May 26th and November 21st 2019 (Facebook only allows up to the last 180 days). This showed various statistics regarding all the chess problems published there within that period. Pundits may prefer to just call them constructs, a type of chess problem, since the expression of themes (in particular) is not a critical component. I had been sharing these problems composed by Chesthetica to a selection of large chess problem/puzzle communities that are also on Facebook. Each post there can potentially reach tens of thousands of people. None of these posts were ever boosted by me, by the way (e.g. with money to Facebook or requested assistance from anyone).

Since every few weeks Chesthetica composes far too many problems for any one person to go through in detail individually, for the purpose of online publication (and with the help of more filtering tools I have programmed into Chesthetica), I am able to choose some and reject others based on certain criteria. The process undoubtedly means I would have rejected some problems that others would likely have found appealing and this cannot be helped. To be fair, some problems are also just bad, weak, too weird or make no sense in my view and rejected for those reasons too. The information of primary interest to me in the exported data was what Facebook calls lifetime engaged users which they define as, the number of unique people who engaged in certain ways with your page post, for example by commenting on, liking, sharing, or clicking upon particular elements of the post.

For the given period mentioned earlier there were 87 posts that included mates in 3, 4, 5, and study-like constructs. Even the main line of the solution was selected by Chesthetica. After ranking them in terms of lifetime engaged users, I could contrast the top 5 compositions by Chesthetica versus the bottom 5 which presumably reflects what most people like (and dislike) about these compositions. Here they are (with the Chesthetica version number that produced them):

Tip: You can play against each diagram to checkmate!

It should be noted that aesthetics is a significant but not the only aspect that attracts people to chess problems. My experience working in this area for over a decade (with chess as the primary domain of investigation) suggests that, rather obviously, different people tend to like different things. Even so, there are still clearly bad compositions and clearly good ones that most of us (i.e. with a working knowledge of the game or better) would generally agree on if we are not told in advance what to look for. Perhaps in a thousand years some of Chestheticas compositions would also have survived and be marvelled upon, if not for their aesthetics then maybe due to the fact that a computer program back then could compose original chess problems autonomously at all.

Having said all that, do you, dear reader, agree with the ranking of a sampling of the general global chess community as shown above or would you arrange the compositions in a different order?

Let us know in the comments!

Want to learn more?

The top 5 and bottom 5 problems shown above (click or tap a game in the list to switch)

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