Tuesday, February 19, 2008

(Not) The Instapundit of the Chess Blogosphere

I certainly have no chance in hell to match the wide-ranging polymath Prof. Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, but I occasionally get the urge to bring a bunch of items together here for your (and my) entertainment and instruction. It's not a blog carnival, it's an idiosyncratic mishmash!

Blue Devil Knight, as promised, previews his "last post for a long time," a vlog--he's been one of the best and most popular chess bloggers around for a good long time, and he has been missed, but he's having fun with chess and that's what it's all about, people. Meanwhile, his successor as Sec. of Knights, Samurai, is also bowing out and now passes the torch to Glenn Wilson. And for the trifecta, Pale Morning Dun says Farewell for Now.

Edwin Meyer points out an interesting book by FM Charles Hertan, Forcing Chess Moves:

This rich book on chess tactics proposes a revolutionary method for finding winning moves. Charles Hertan has made an astonishing discovery: the failure to consider key moves is often due to human bias. Your brain tends to disregard many winning moves because they are counter-intuitive or look unnatural.

Right! While I'm no big believer that thinking like a computer is the path to success in practical chess play, the fact is we do tend to overlook strong moves that don't "look right." An example, gorckat in the first round of the Tournament of the LEPers:

"I didn't give b4 enough thought, but it's about a pawn better than my Na4, according to Crafty."

And in the comments, LEP himself says: "That move seems unnatural, and I may not have even considered it. The pawn structure looks ugly, the b4 Pawn simply looks more vulnerable, and the Knight loses its protection." Exactly. I too need to open my mind to more unnatural moves. (For the whole game see here at Glenn Wilson's).

Castling Queen Side (here, here, here and here &tc--how about some labels, Polly?), Reassembler and The Kenilworthian all have reports and photos from the US Amateur Team East. Sounds like a blast--we even have at least one person in my town who used to live back there and returns every year just for this event.

Some blogs REALLY worth your time: Temposchlucker has been working with Phaederus, a certified (Dutch) trainer with a lot of great stuff on his blog for us "improving" players. IM Mark Ginsburg has a marvelous bloggy mix of (personal) history plus quality games and annotations. Journalist, organizer, arbiter and all-round chess guy John Hillery is now blogging at Western Chess. Soapstone pointed me to Dana Mackenzie's great blog. These will be added to the blogroll--if you haven't posted since November 1, 2007 I'm afraid you're about to be cut from the roll of honor.

If you don't see your blog on the list at right, and you'd like it to be, leave a comment and I'll be glad to add.

Okay, I'd better quit blothering and go do some things to help me become a stronger player.

(UPDATE 02.20.08: I added the new and great blogs listed but didn't cut anyone. Yet. I'm such a softy).

(UPDATE 2--Chessaholic commented, and it reminded me that he has a great blog that should also be on the sidebar. Sorry it took so long!)


Blue Devil Knight said...

Many thanks for the shout-out. Phaedrus seems to be a veritable hurricane in the chess blogosphere, with great content and wisdom. One of thos rare blogs that is so good it makes me want to jump back into chess with both feet.

Anonymous said...
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gorckat said...

Thanks for the mention!

Phaedrus seems to be a veritable hurricane in the chess blogosphere, with great content and wisdom

So totally agreed! I stumbled on his blog while tooling around with Google Analytics today and was so blown away, I had to step away until I got home!

I hope to be able to grok a few posts tonight- they looked great.

Phaedrus said...

Hello Robert,

Thank you for putting my blog in the spotlights! If it contributes to bringing back Blue Devil Knight to the chess blogosphere only a day sooner than he would have without my postings, I consider it to be an effort worthwhile.

I also came across the adds for FM Charles Hertans, Forcing Chess Moves. I very much doubt that we humans will gain very much trying to learn from chess engines. Within the next two weeks I will try to illustrate my point of view with an example that I saw during IM Willy Hendriks lecture on the centennial celebrations of my chess club. The name of this lecture was: The most beautiful move I (n)ever played! It was a great example of a move no human player will contemplate (he even checked with 2600+ grandmasters) but that is easy to find for computers. The example also started a lively discussion on move selecting.

For now I will leave to stating that I find it already difficult enough to try to learn from the example of strong human players. Bypassing this and trying to learn from systems that differ even more from my brain than the brains of (grand)masters therefor doesn't appear to be a wise learning strategy.

It makes me wonder though about Hertans next project. A book on weightlifting in which he explains what humans can learn from fork-lift trucks?

Anonymous said...

that was awesome! a whole roundup of what's going on, i just have to click on the links to all the good stuff. thanks Wahrheit, you da man now, dog...

Chessaholic said...

Great roundup. This would be an awesome weekly feature :)

Anonymous said...

There are really so many blogs worth going to and not enough time to do so. But I'm going to swing by the ones mentioned here; they are surely worthwhile if they get your recommendation.

Anonymous said...

As the saying goes, please look at the book Forcing Chess Moves before you judge it. At the New In Chess website, you can download sample pages. I think you will find it quite different than you think--it has more to do with a method for helping people overcome their natural biases in calculation over the chessboard--using hundreds of thoroughly commented, beautiful positions from master play, and a new way of categorizing them. Hope you check it out!
Charlie Hertan

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