Acceleration chess

There are times when you write a blog and you struggle for something to write. Then there are times when you happen to be online when something catches your attention and you thank your lucky stars you were in position to catch one of those stars, because it is so good you do not even consider whether or not you have already posted that day, you just start punching & poking. This is one of those times…
While researching an article, “The Machine: Stage set for Kasparov v Deep Blue chess thriller” on the BBC News page (, I also found the article after doing a search on at ( It was while at Silobreaker I noticed an article entitled ‘Acceleration Chess’ Published 8 mins ago by Marginal Revolution. Naturally, my interest piqued, I had to click on the link. This is what I found:
Acceleration chess
by Tyler Cowen on May 31, 2013 at 2:33 pm in Games | Permalink
White moves first, but then Black gets to move twice. Then White gets to move three times in a row, then Black four times in a row, then White five times in a row, and so on, with continuing escalation as the game proceeds. You cannot move your King through a check or play another move while your King is in check. If, in the middle of your sequence, you give check, you lose any remaining moves in your sequence and your opponent moves and enjoys his full sequence.
Here are a few observations:
1. Games will end rather quickly.
2. 1.d4 appears to be a stronger opening move than 1.e4; can you see why? For one thing, White is threatening to start his next threesome with Bg5, for another his King has some breathing space against some possible checks on f2. (If Black plays d5 and Nf6 in turn, consider the counter of e4, e5, and Bb5+. With the next “fivesome” of White he is threatening to advance pawns to e6 and g6 and take on f7. Qd3 and then Qf5 is another possible threat sequence.)
3. It is often good to give check on the last move of your sequence, if only to tie the hands of your opponent for one move.
4. Sometimes a more exposed King gives you a stronger position, because then the approach toward your King creates a check and ends the sequence of your opponent.
“Acceleration chess” is my phrase, though I suspect someone else has given this game a different name. And for the dedicated foursome there is “accelerated Bughouse.”
I thank several individuals at Jane St. Capital for relevant observations on this game plus a bit of play.
Seven minutes after Tyler posted this was this comment was left. As of now it is the only comment, and the odds are it will be the only one made.
MarkMay 31, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Bobby Fischer 60 More Memorable Games

Bobby Fischer 60 More Memorable Games By Paul Powell

I found this book while checking out the books in the previous post. I use the term “book” loosely, since it comes only in digits in a machine called a “Kindle edition.” E-readers are the newest new thing, and everyone “must” have one. Not me though, because I am a “square.” It happens if one is lucky enough to live to be considered “old.” I was never one to follow the herd anyway. It seemed to me many of those that chose to run with the herd sometimes got trampled.
I will admit the machines with digits are useful for old(er) people in that the digits can be enlarged. On the other hand, how does a reader know the digits being downloaded were the ones actually written by the author? Totalitarian regimes would have had a field day with these machines. I am not certain how much written about the past is true, but I know what will be written in the future will be blowing with the winds of change. When Thad Rogers, the owner of the Atlanta Chess & Game Center (the official name; it was called many things at different times) would bring a box of new books up from Macon to the House of Pain, David Spinks would nab one and sniff it, giving it the ol’ smell test. Like one of the most famous movie quotes of all time by Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, played by the excellent actor Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, who said, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” Mr. Spinks loved the smell of a new book any time of the day.
Who is Paul Powell you ask? From the Book Description provided on the Gorilla website:
National Master and Top Selling Amazon author Paul Powell explores the games of Bobby Fischer from a unique point of view. Focusing on his own personal journey and taking up the mission statement of his bestselling book “Chess Patzer to Master – How an Everyday Joe Does it” he continues the battle to help the average player become a chess master. What’s truly unique about these sixty games is they are the games he came back to over and over as a young man studying the games of Bobby Fischer and they are presented with the be wonderment and lessons that he learned on the road from Patzer to Master. The author’s goal is to instruct, entertain and deliver the tools that you can use to grow into a future chess master.


A fresh look at Fischer’s games
Character illustrations of famous chess players
Over 90 additional games from Fischer’s opponents
Geared towards helping you think about chess not memorize it
Concepts to challenge your perceptions Theory of “Diminishing and Increasing Values”
And more…
Show less

I like the “Show less” coming as it does right after “And more…” Maybe “No mas” would have been more appropriate. I did some research on Mr. Powell, finding a Paul J Powell Jr at the MSA page on the USCF website. I found “There are a total of 15 events for this player since late 1991.” He is rated, or should I say, was rated, 2218 in his last event regular rated event back in 1994. He did play in a quick rated event in 2003 and another in 2010, in which his rating took a nose dive, going from 2181 to 2083. Could this possibly be the very same Paul Powell who is now writing chess E-books? I say books because his first book, Chess Patzer to Master, is called “bestselling” on the website. Thinking back to the Cold War I decided to “Trust, but verify,” finding the bestselling book ranked #30,998. And I thought a book had to be in the top 30,000 to be considered a best seller…By the way, I did a search of the term “trust but verify” on and found this on Wikipedia: “Trust, but verify is a form of advice given which recommends that while a source of information might be considered reliable, one should perform additional research to verify that such information is accurate, or trustworthy. The original Russian proverb is a short rhyme which states, Доверяй, но проверяй (doveryai, no proveryai).
Suzanne Massie, a writer on Russia advised President Ronald Reagan, “The Russians like to talk in proverbs. It would be nice of you to know a few. You are an actor – you can learn them very quickly”.[1] The proverb was adopted as a signature phrase by Reagan, who subsequently used it frequently when discussing U.S. relations with the Soviet Union.
After Reagan used the phrase at the signing of the INF Treaty, his counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev responded: “You repeat that at every meeting,” to which Reagan answered “I like it.”[2]
1. ^ Suzanne Massie speaking on the 22nd Episode of the television documentary, Cold War (TV series).
2. ^ “Remarks on Signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty”, 1987-12-8. Retrieved on 2009-4-8.”

There you go again, Ronnie! I miss Gorby playing straight man to Raygun. Those were the daze! Speaking of the old Soviet Union, the old hot-bed of chess “back in the day,” I will tell you that a book like either one of these would have had less chance of being published there than an escape from the gulag! And I am certain that Ronnie Raygun would have backed me up, before his brain turned into a sponge during his first debate with Walter Mondale, when I say that is the thing that makes our country, as Tony the Tiger would say, Greatttttttttttt! There are chess books being written and published by players who never made it to class ’B’ here in America. Do you think some chumpy-lumpy could have had his book published in the Soviet Union “back in the day?” Hell no! If one of these so-called “writers” had the chutzpah to even try and have his book published he would have been lucky to have only been laughed into the gulag! But here in America anyone who can punch and poke long enough can become a “best-selling” chess author. Is this a great country, or what?

A New Method for Discovering The Strongest Move

This is a tale of two new chess books I found on the Gorilla (it is good for something). The first is: Best Play: A New Method For Discovering The Strongest Move by Alexander Shashin. This is what it says about the book:
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
“Have you ever wished for a “formula” to help you decide what move to make in any given chess position? In this ambitious and groundbreaking work, physicist and chess master Alexander Shashin presents the fruit of three decades of research into the elements of the game. He breaks down the position into mathematical ratios that compare the fundamental factors of material, mobility, safety, and space for each side, leading you to the proper plan and the mental attitude to adopt in light of what’s happening on the board.

Relying on the games of three world champions with distinctive playing styles – Tal, Capablanca, and Petrosian – and backed up by personal and computer-aided analysis, Best Play explains how Shashin’s approach works in practice to guide your decisions in all kinds of situations, including those too wild and murky to provide clear-cut conclusions. Some 125 high-level examples are followed by 125 exercises with solutions to help you learn the method.

Not just a textbook for the chess scientist to ponder in the lab, Best Play offers a fully formed philosophy of the game to prepare the chess warrior for any kind of battle.”

Although I may have seen other chess books with a “formula” I cannot recall one, and I do not believe I have ever heard of a book breaking down the position into mathematical ratios. I did, though, read a book, and listen to a lecture via DVD, by Berkeley professor Elwyn Berlekamp, breaking down a Go board into four quadrants and using math to play better Go. I believe his theories are now being used with computer Go programs. Check it out at, Mathematical Go:

The Gorilla informs that this book and another book are “Frequently Bought Together.” The other book is, “Master the grand art of Chess Calculation: Improve your chess now by Accurate visualization & analysis by Mr William Friend.”
I kid you not…Having never heard of the fellow I did a search on I was unable to learn about the author, so I surfed on over to the USCF website but found no William Friend. During the course of my life I have developed rules to live by, such as Rule #1; No Married Women! Rule # 222 is, Never Purchase a Chess Book by an unknown writer. The Gorilla does inform me that, “The author holds concurrent Bsc-degrees in both Mathematics and Geology and chess is his passion.” Make of it what you will, but I must tell you that the book is written for, I cannot make this up, “…beginners as well as players right up to grandmaster level.” Guess one could say it is a book for EVERYBODY!
Here is the Book Description:

Publication Date: April 30, 2013

The 3 golden pillars of winning chess are undoubtedly TACTICAL sharpness, STRATEGICAL insight, and CALCULATION accuracy. This book dedicates 320 pages exclusively to developing the students ability to calculate accurately. Visualising future positions accurately is fundamental to playing winning chess. STEP by STEP methodology is combined with playing through 94 marvelous games starting with Morphy-> Capablanca-> Fischer-> Kasparov-> working up towards modern day grandmaster games. (from 1 move ahead[two 1/2 moves] to 10 moves ahead [twenty 1/2 moves] ). Thus the book is written for beginners as well as players right up to grandmaster level. If the student is serious about developing his/her calculation accuracy, then this book is a MUST HAVE. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. In this extraordinary book, the author also recognises the importance of ethics BEYOND the chess board {chapter 8}.

Wonder who is recommending the book so highly? Don’t know about you, but I do not feel like I must have it.