What Happens at Chess Club

I attended the Chess club Thursday night at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. Because of my age and having only recently sufficiently recovered from illness I informed the TD I would be willing to act as a “filler” in the event there were an odd number of players and would only play in the first two rounds.

Having attended the previous week, the first time I had made it in some time, a few new players were noticed, which the gentleman who runs the club attributed to the recently finished match for the Human World Chess Championship. Most, if not all, of the players who attend are so hungry for a game they play “skittles” games before the G/15 event begins. There was a “newby” who caught my eye because he was wearing sandals during winter. He looked as though he would have fit in at Woodstock in 1969, so I spoke to the young man, saying, “You gotta like a guy who refuses to give in to winter.” His name was Dawson and he was ready to play, someone…anyone, so we sat down for a game after introductions. I had the white pieces and opened with 1 e4. He responded with the French move of 1…e6. After playing the standard 2 d4 he answered with 2…d5, whereupon I advanced my pawn to e5 on my third move. My opponent stopped to cogitate a few moments before playing 3…Nc6 with obvious trepidation, which showed when he kept his finger on the Knight after placing it gingerly on the square. As he did so I took a good look at him while thinking he appeared about the same age as I was when first visiting an official Chess club. He finally removed his finger from the Knight. I continued looking at the young man, wondering if I should say anything…Before speaking a particular scene from one of my favorite movies flashed in my mind:

When he looked up from the board I said, “At the Chess Club we do not, ever, hold our finger on a piece. When you decide upon your move, make it like you mean it and place it firmly on the square with deliberation, and immediately remove your fingers from the piece.”

The young fellow was somewhat taken aback, but gathered himself quickly and nodded in assent. I continued, “Are you playing in the tournament?” He said he was not. “Then I suggest you spend some time watching these gentlemen play, paying particular attention to how they move their pieces.” Again, he nodded. I did not have to mention it again.

Granted, I am no longer the player I was earlier in my life, and having played over many of the games from the recent World Senior Chess Championship,
(http://www.wscc2018.european-chessacademy.com/index.php/en/) I realize how much of a decline there is for an old(er) player, especially in the 65+ section, which is now my category. That said, the young fellow played a decent game, developing his pieces in the opening without any extraneous pawn moves or outright blunders. We arrived at about an even position in the early middle game, before he made a mistake, moving his a-pawn aggressively, but weakening his b-pawn in the process. I secured my b-pawn by playing a3, then picked off his undefended b-pawn. A few moves later there was a tactical skirmish in which I came out a piece ahead, and he sort of went downhill from there. The game ended in mate by my newly minted Queen protected by a lone Knight.

“You played very well, young man,” I said. There were a couple of players watching the game and they seconded my remark. He said graciously, “I appreciate your saying that, sir.” We talked and I learned he was twenty years old, the same age as was I when I first went to the Atlanta Chess club. He mentioned coming because he was beating the players with whom he had been playing and wanted better competition. Wondering how he could play such a decent game I asked if he read any Chess books. “Not really,” he said. “But I’ve been on Chess.com and watched many YouTube videos.”

The tournament began and I was not needed, fortunately. This gave me an opportunity to watch some of the action, talk with some of those who come and play without playing in the tourney, and those who come to simply “hang-out.” It was immensely enjoyable. I watched Dawson play one of the young players who is not a member of the USCF (“It costs $30!”) but comes to play skittles. Dawson was a piece down but came back to win the game.

After becoming a Senior I began staying home at night for a reason. Although exhausted after being at the Chess Club I was unable to sleep soundly and the next day, Friday, was not one of my better days, so I took it easy and relaxed, spending much time reading, and listening to programs via the internet.

Fortunately, Saturday was a totally different story. I read while having my first cuppa joe. After breakfast the web was surfed. Chess is usually saved for last and one of the sites I visit every day is GM Kevin Spraggett’s

website (http://www.spraggettonchess.com/). He has a “Chess News” scroll, “What is Happening Today?” I clicked on the ones new to me and began reading. I read every article and there were many on AlphaZero. I even read an editorial by Garry Kasparov

in Science magazine. (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6419/1087) Then I clicked on to read Mastering board games, by Murray Campbell.

I had intended on watching several videos by GM Matthew Sadler concerning the recent World Human Chess Championship games, but discovered videos at Chess24 in the article, AlphaZero really is that good (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/alphazero-really-is-that-good). I watched every video contained in the article superbly elucidated by GM Sadler. I was had by hook, line and sinker, after watching the first one, All-in Defence, “A true Najdorf brawl.”

The Najdorf was my first love. Like many others I played it because Bobby Fischer played the opening. With Bobby the Najdorf was an offensive defense.

While watching the Najdorf “brawl” I noticed another Sadler video over on the right and it looked like the position could have emanated from the Leningrad Dutch, my “second love.” I clicked on and, sure enough, it was a Leningrad! I was compelled to watch.

As if that were not enough I noticed a video by GM Ben Finegold, who married a woman in my home city of Atlanta and they opened the new Atlanta Chess Club & Scholastic Center. (https://atlchessclub.com/) The video is Capablanca Endgames with GM Ben Finegold.

I enjoyed Ben’s commentary while thinking, “I wish the internet existed in 1970.” How can young players, and even older players, not be far superior to those of my generation with tools like this, and the best players giving great advice away for practically nothing? Why would anyone pay someone to teach Chess?

In an email to Karen I wrote, “I did surf over to Twitch the other day to listen to the lonely Ben comment on the game. I was thinking it must be very difficult to do it alone for a long period of time…Ben the Maytag repairman…”

Karen replied, ” I don’t think he gets lonely streaming …. he seems to enjoy it and likes to talk a lot so it works out.” Ben talks a lot because he has something useful to say. He is like the old EF Hutton TV commercial. “When EF Hutton talks, people listen.”

Other articles read:

AlphaZero: Shedding new light on the grand games of chess, shogi and Go
https://deepmind.com/blog/alphazero-shedding-new-light-grand-games-chess-shogi-and-go/

Updated AlphaZero Crushes Stockfish In New 1,000-Game Match
https://www.chess.com/news/view/updated-alphazero-crushes-stockfish-in-new-1-000-game-match

Inside the (deep) mind of AlphaZero
by Albert Silver
https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-full-alphazero-paper-is-published-at-long-last

Three new articles were found before writing this post at Spaggett On Chess and I intend on reading them later today, even the one by discredited economist and former GM Ken Rogoff:

Commentary: Where is the fun of playing chess against a robot? by Kenneth Rogoff
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/why-human-classic-chess-survives-even-with-technology-chess-ai-10980248

Saudi Arabia calls Israel’s bluff
If Saudis do not feel like welcoming Israelis on their lands, they are perfectly right


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Image Credit: AFP

Published: December 08, 2018 16:39 Tariq A. Al Maeena, Special to Gulf News
https://gulfnews.com/opinion/op-eds/saudi-arabia-calls-israels-bluff-1.60805086

Chess Is An Important Part Of Russian Soft Power
by Joseph Hammond December 3, 2018

https://tsarizm.com/analysis/2018/12/03/chess-part-russia-soft-power/

Chess and Go Made Fun

One of the things a reader of this blog can do is leave a comment. Another is to “like” a particular post. Fortunately there is no way to “hate” the AW, at least not on the site. I have received a few quite nasty emails, though…Fortunately these have been far outweighed by the favorable emails and “likes.” When someone “likes” the AW I am notified by email. For example this was received today:

Warren White liked your post on Armchair Warrior

They thought An Epidemic of Loneliness was pretty awesome.

You should go see what they’re up to. Maybe you’ll like their blog as much as they liked yours!

I did and I do.

Chess Made Fun
A laboratory for learning awaits us here.

October 12, 2014 Yvonne

Marietta and Kennesaw Chess Family Fun

Our first Chess Square One, designed for absolute beginners, children and their (grand)parents.

“I think our society would benefit in many ways if parents spent the time to teach their children chess. The bonding experience alone is amazing and the skills kids get from the game will help them in life. Plus their immediate schooling would be enhanced,” Laura Sherman, Tampa, FL, author of Chess is Child’s Play.

Chess Square One idea is this, it provides (grand)parents – even those who are not familiar with chess yet – with a simple and effective method (I developed for Kennesaw State University) for teaching their kids, plus free counseling and mentoring down the road!

This is a great way everybody spends some quality time together, family bonding and having fun. Think Family Game Night! Leave your digital devices alone for a short while and have some real good time together.

Tell your family and friends about this great (and free) opportunity to learn the basics of chess, the best game ever invented.

The Chess Square One opens up next Tuesday, October 21, at 6:30 pm, at Barnes & Noble, Town Center Prado, 50 Barrett Pkwy, Marietta, GA 30066.

To promote chess and make it accessible to more people, we will be rotating places and times, covering north and northwest of metro Atlanta: Marietta, Kennesaw, Smyrna, Vinnings, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Roswell, Alpharetta (let me know if you may have in mind a specific place and time for organizing Chess Square One in your neighborhood!).

Good chess to you all!

coach Momir

http://www.iplayoochess.com

Published by Yvonne


Yvonne & Warren White

I started playing chess in 2008 and found a passion in the game to fight against cognitive dysfunction and memory loss especially in aging communities. With attention to strong family bonds, I have worked to build a presence that I truly hope will bring lasting partnerships with aging communities in multi-generational living settings commonly called the “sandwich generation” of baby boomers. Chess Made Fun has networked with chess educators and enthusiasts to better understand product applications, and developed programs that build on what groups can do naturally. Some of our opportunities have included Compassionate Care Hospice, Medford Care Center and Rachel’s Wish Foundation. If you see potential here, or have interest in holistic therapies, I stay active in recreation therapy, educational psychology and geriatrics. Find me at local chess tournaments, disc golf, ball outings or playing chess outside at my favorite park. ♟

https://chessmadefun.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/marietta-and-kennesaw-chess-family-fun/

This caused me to reflect on an article found on the American Go E-Journal:

Baum prizes a hit at congress

Friday July 27, 2018

“Can you help me find an old person who is around my rank?” and “is that guy really old?” have become popular questions at congress this year as kids compete for the new Baum prizes. Adults are enjoying the games too, and finding young folk ready and willing to play – all very much in the spirit that Leonard Baum would have wanted to encourage with the endowment in his honor. Kids must be under 16, and adults at least 40 years older than the kid. Games must be submitted Saturday afternoon by the end of the Youth Pizza party, results can be left in the box, or given to Paul Barchilon or Neil Ritter. Please remember to circle the winner, many slips have come in without the winner indicated. With 30 games played so far here are the current standings:
The Badger ( Youth under 12 who plays the largest number of adults)

24008 Duc Minh Vo with 7 games

The Grasshopper (Youth age 12 to 15 who plays the largest number of adults)

Maya Boerner with 6 games
Seowoo Wang with 6 games

The Elder Slayer (Young player who beats the largest number of adults)

Duc Minh Vo with 6 games

The Dan Destroyer (Young player who beats the largest number of dan level adults)

Seowoo Wang with 4 victories over dan players
Duc Minh Vo with 4 victories over dan players

The Old Hand (Adult who plays the most games)

Don Karns with 7 games

The Encourager (Adult who loses the most games)

Don Karns with at least 3 losses (4 games with no winner identified!)

The Teacher (Adult who gives the most 9 stone (or higher) teaching games)

Don Karns with 3 nine stone games

Story and photo by Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor: Current leader Duc Minh Vo 1d, age 10, plays former AGA President Mike Lash 4k

http://www.usgo.org/news/2018/07/baum-prizes-a-hit-at-congress/

South Carolina Senior Chess Championship

Mr. Gene Nix is the President of the Greenville, South Carolina, Chess Club included the AW in his latest mailing even though I was unable to participate in the tournament much to my regret. I asked if it could be used by the AW and I got a kick out of his reply:

Good afternoon Michael!
Certainly! That is, I mean you may use it.
Gene

There is nothing the AW can add to Gene’s report, so, without further adieu, the complete newsletter:

Greenville Chess Club: http://www.greenvillechessclub.org

December 20, 2017

Happy first week of winter, Greenville chess mongers of all ages, venerable and otherwise! Did you know the SC Senior Open happened this past weekend?! Here’s what happened:

9th Annual South Carolina Senior Open, December 16-17, 2017
Nineteen venerable gentlemen from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Virginia converged on the Hampton Inn at I-385 in Greenville, SC, to resolve the matter of senior dominance at the chess board in South Carolina!
Accelerated pairings left only two perfect 2-0 scores going into the Sunday rounds, setting the pieces for a Master-level showdown in the final round between leader Life Master Peter Bereolos of Tennessee, and South Carolina legend Life Master Klaus Pohl. The Tennessee Master finally prevailed for the tournament win, while Daniel Quigley won a ratings upset over past NC Senior Champion Michael Kliber two boards down to take the SC Senior Championship trophy and title, and to share second & third places with Dr. Clark Brown of Georgia! The U1600 leaders finished with a five-way tie at 2-2, with Michael Meekins taking the SC U1600 Senior trophy, which award was established on-site and which object is on order for delivery forthwith! The contending field included also from South Carolina John Haymond (returning to competition this year after a too long break), Lee Marinelli and Dean Creech; and from North Carolina Michael Matson, Joseph Quinlan, Wayne Spon, Bruce Roth, Debs Pedigo, Mike Eberhardinger, and Harold Zeltner; and Ray Downs from Alabama; and Steven Boshears from Georgia, and from Virginia was Rob Mahan, a fellow organizer of Senior tournaments!
South Carolina Senior Champion Daniel Quigley will receive an invitation and a stipend to compete in the Tournament of Senior State Champions next July in Madison, Wisconsin, alongside the US Open, to include a half-off entry into the US Open itself afterward. The development of this new event derives from SCCA President David Grimaud’s work as the US Chess Senior Committee President!
Warmest thanks go to the staff of the Hampton Inn for their responsive service, and to Business Manager Ms. Jessica Dillard for her close management of guest room matters. Special thanks go to Mr. Grimaud and Precision Tune Auto Care for their generous sponsorship of this and other SC tournaments, and to some unnamed, anonymous, and undisclosed donors who added funds to augment the U1600 prizes, to include an Under-1600 SC trophy! Local TD Gene Nix organized and officiated.

This week, Thursday: Rated Blitz, G/3, +2, starting 7:45 PM at Barnes & Noble on Haywood Road. Double or single RR in sections as applicable and useful. Pleeeeeeeaaaaassssse: be there in time to enter so we start on time!

Children’s chess – please note the change: Alternating Wednesdays, 6-7:30 – Boardwalk!! Next meeting Wednesday, January 3, 2018!
Mr. Doug Peterson moderates chess gatherings of young players on alternating Wednesdays at various sites in the area (mostly Boardwalk game store near Haywood Mall, but occasionally Barnes & Noble on Haywood, or Pelham Rd Library). If you’re interested, please contact me and I will put you in contact! Or just show up!

We’re a much better behaved chess mob of late, for which I am personally grateful. We must please continue to:

1. Respect the other paying customers’ right to tables. We must also be paying customers – buy a coffee and/or donut, or anything.
2. Please bring sets and clocks.
3. Please supervise your children. We have been too loud in the past.
4. Store regulations do not permit outside food and drinks. Obvious exceptions would be infant food and medically prescribed items.

Your next best moves, in the local area:
Jan 13: GSSM January Open, Hartsville, SC
Jan 20: CCCSA Reverse Angle 80
Jan 26-28: Land of the Sky XXXI, Asheville, NC
Feb 3: CCCSA G/60 Action
Feb 17: CCCSA Reverse Angle 81
Mar 24: CCCSA Reverse Angle 82
Apr 7:CCCSA G/60 Action
Apr 21: CCCSA Reverse Angle 83
Disclaimer: Please verify the tournament before you travel, as schedules do change.

The Spartanburg Chess Club meets Tuesday evenings, 7-10PM, at Spartanburg Community College’s Tyger River campus. Monthly rated G/15 first Tuesdays, and other events elsewhen. Contact: Will Brown, will@willandhelen.org

The Clemson Chess Club meets Tuesdays, 7-10PM, at the Calhoun Court commons basement on campus. POC: Eric Zuberi, ezuberi@g.clemson.edu

The Charlotte Chess Club meets every Wednesday evening at McAlister’s Deli, presided by National Master Leland Fuerstman: http://www.charlottechess.com .

Boiling Springs CC meets Saturdays, 10AM, at the Boiling Springs library. POC: Jack Adamo, jacka@jackadamo.com

Find us online!
Greenville Chess Club: http://www.greenvillechessclub.org/index.html
(Send in your memorable games for posting!)
Facebook: Greenville Chess Club – SC
SC Chess Association: http://www.scchess.org
NC Chess Association: http://www.ncchess.org/index.html
Georgia Chess Association: http://www.georgiachess.org
USCF: uschess.org

“Life like chess is about knowing to do the right move at the right time.” – Kaleb Rivera

Gene Nix
President, Greenville Chess Club
Treasurer, SC Chess Association
Life Member, USCF
864-905-2406; eenixjr@yahoo.com

‘Mr. Kentucky Chess’ Found Beaten and Stabbed to Death

Stephen Dillard, 55, was found beaten and stabbed to death Friday in his Jeffersontown, Kentucky, home, and police charged one of his former foster kids with murder. (http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/crime/2015/03/14/mr-kentucky-chess-found-stabbed-jtown/24771833/)

Police said around 11 a.m., Ronshai Jenefor beat and stabbed to death a man at his home on Thelma Lane. Jeffersontown investigators found Jenefor walking in the rain, not far from the scene, two hours after the body of the Carrithers Middle School teacher was discovered in the home. Police said Jenefor confessed to the killing and had lived there. (http://www.whas11.com/story/news/crime/2015/03/13/20-year-old-faces-murder-charge-after-teacher-killed-in-jeffersontown/70310244/)

Even in confirming the death of 55-year-old Dillard, police disclosed scant details about the events leading up to Dillard’s homicide and the arrest of Ronshai Jenefor, 21, a foster son who had lived with Dillard for several months. (http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2015/03/15/community-mourns-slain-chess-mentor-teacher/24820687/)

These are the basic facts as they are known at this time. Having lived in Louisville and having known the man everyone called Steve, I was obviously shocked upon learning of his death in such a brutal fashion. I cannot stop thinking about something former Georgia Chess Champion Michael Decker, a native of Louisville, used to say so frequently it became almost a mantra, “No good dead goes unpunished.”

During one of my first visits to the quick-play tournament Steve directed at a big box store, called Monday at Meijer’s, Steve introduced me to a woman seeking a chess teacher for her son. I did not know then, but now know, why Steve knew so much about the boy, who had been expelled from school. Before his brutal demise all I knew about Steve was that he was a school teacher. Because I tried to teach this boy for about two years, I have a practical understanding of why Fernand Gobet & Guillermo Campitelli wrote in Educational benefits of chess instruction: A critical review (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/chess-offers-low-level-gains-for-society/) “…compulsory instruction is not to be recommended, as it seems to lead to motivational problems.” Steve also gave me what turned out to be prophetic advice on a personal matter which I, being the recalcitrant type, did not take, to my detriment.

Steve and I met over the board only once, with that being a quick-play game at a Barnes & Noble. I had the black pieces and played the Dutch. We reached a locked-up position and he offered a draw, which I refused. After losing, Steve asked me why I had turned down his draw offer, and laughed uproariously when I said, “Because I play to WIN!” I did not understand his laughter then, but after reading the following, I can better understand why he laughed.

“Wow. I am stunned.

A story about Steve, as remembered nearly 30 years later:

I still tell this one from time to time. Steve told it to us during my High School days (back in the 1980s) when someone directing a tournament (Geoff McAuliffe?) ejected Steve from the tournament floor because Steve simply could not stop laughing.

What triggered that laughing fit? A rated game Steve was playing against Don Ifill, where Don had checked Steve … with his own king … and punched the clock.”

Russ Billings (http://kcachess.webs.com/apps/forums/topics/show/13151200-steve-dillard-has-passed?page=2)

For the first time in years I went to the Kentucky Chess Association website to read about the death, bringing back memories of some of those writing on the forum. Nothing better exemplifies why Steve Dillard was known as ‘Mr. Kentucky Chess’ than this:

“Steve paid for my first membership and encouraged me to get involved with KCA politics. He believed that I could be a positive figure in that process. The last time I spoke to him I was worried that my chess play would suffer because of my KCA board involvement. He reassured me that I could still achieve my master rating while being president.

Without Steve I wouldn’t know anyone on this thread. I probably wouldn’t even be involved in chess if Steve hadn’t left that chess club flyer at my second job in 2002. It’s funny how things turn out sometimes.

This is truly a sad day in chess.

R.I.P Steve. You will be missed.

Randas Burns

KCA President”
(http://kcachess.webs.com/apps/forums/topics/show/13151200-steve-dillard-has-passed?page=1)

In an article on the USCF website, Chess Community Loses Great Ambassador, Steve Dillard, Frank Niro writes, “He was known for his “Steve Dillard rule” where he allowed players to deduct five minutes from their clocks and not keep score, as a way to encourage new players.” (http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12989/806/)

The rule transmogrified into any player being able to deduct five minutes from their clocks and not keep score , in contravention to USCF rules, but the chess community allowed it because of the stature held by Steve Dillard. Few reach a point when they are above the rules, but Steve Dillard had obviously reached that point in USCF. Steve had as much gravitas in the chess community as anyone has ever had in any local chess community. Steve Dillard was, first and foremost, a chess player. It is said that, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” From some of the comments on the Chess Affiliate thread concerning “threats and accusations” it is obvious the internecine war in Kentucky chess has begun, and this before Steve has been laid to rest. From what little I know about Steve Dillard it is obvious he would be appalled at some of what has been written. We can only hope the chess community in Derby City can use this tragic event to come together, not pull apart. Before they write, say, or do anything, they could ask, “What would Steve do?”

My condolences to the family, and the Kentucky chess family, of Steve Dillard. May he rest in peace.

Here is a link to Steve’s obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/louisville/obituary.aspx?n=stephen-p-dillard&pid=174427909&fhid=4753

Can You Handle the Truth?

Yesterday Mike Murray started a new thread in the “All Things Chess” section of the USCF Forum. The title of his thread is a question, “Does chess develop transferable skills ?” (http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=21185&sid=fc8aa899349128eec2cc1414646786be) Mike begins his post answering the question by writing, “Evidently, not so much.” He then quotes from this blog by copying something I copied verbatim:

“…recent research into expertise has clearly indicated that, the higher the level of expertise in a domain, the more limited the transfer [of skills to other fields] will be… Moreover, reaching a high level of skill in domains such as chess, music or mathematics requires large amounts of practice to acquire the domain specific knowledge which determines expert performance. Inevitably, the time spent in developing such skills will impair the acquisition of other skills.”

Mr. Murray then gives a link to my post, and adds a link with which I was unfamiliar:
“see also” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4126200/

I would like to express my thanks to Mike Murray for drawing my attention to this paper.

Before deciding to write about what is currently known in regard to the question of whether or not chess is beneficial for children I took the time to read several papers pertaining to what has been learned by those who study these types of questions. These are the papers:

Facing facts about deliberate practice

David Z. Hambrick1*, Erik M. Altmann1, Frederick L. Oswald2, Elizabeth J. Meinz3 and Fernand Gobet4
1 Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
2 Department ofPsychology, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA
3 Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL, USA
4 InstituteofPsychology, Health, and Society, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
*Correspondence: hambric3@msu.edu
Editedby:
Michael H. Connors, Macquarie University, Australia
Reviewed by:
Lena Rachel Quinto, Macquarie University, Australia
Michael H. Connors, Macquarie University, Australia

The Role of Domain-Specific Practice, Handedness, and Starting Age in Chess

Fernand Gobet and Guillermo Campitelli
Brunel University

The genetics of music accomplishment: Evidence for gene–environment correlation and interaction

David Z. Hambrick & Elliot M. Tucker-Drob

Accounting for expert performance: The devil is in the details

David Z. Hambrick a,⁎, Erik M. Altmann a, Frederick L. Oswald b, Elizabeth J. Meinz c, Fernand Gobet d, Guillermo Campitelli e
a Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, United States
b Department of Psychology, Rice University, United States
c Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, United States
d Institute of Psychology, Health, and Society, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
e School of Psychology and Social Science, Edith Cowan University, Australia

Does high-level intellectual performance depend on practice alone? Debunking the Polgar sisters case

Robert W. Howard∗
School of Education, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia

Longitudinal Effects of Different Types of Practice on the Development of Chess Expertise

ROBERT W. HOWARD*
University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Deliberate Practice and Performance in Music, Games, Sports, Education, and Professions: A Meta-Analysis

Psychological Science published online 1 July 2014
Brooke N. Macnamara, David Z. Hambrick and Frederick L. Oswald
DOI: 10.1177/0956797614535810

Intelligence and chess

Fernand Gobet, & Guillermo Campitelli

Educational benefits of chess instruction: A critical review

Fernand Gobet & Guillermo Campitelli
University of Nottingham

What put me on this path was the flap over what Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book. “In Gladwell’s bestselling “Outliers” he discusses the “10,000-hour rule”: If you practice the necessary 10,000 hours you can reach the zenith of your field.” (http://www.salon.com/2014/07/15/is_malcolm_gladwell_wrong_scientists_debate_the_10000_hour_rule/)

In the same article Zach answers, “We found that, yes, practice is important, and of course it’s absolutely necessary to achieve expertise,” Hambrick told the Times. “But it’s not as important as many people have been saying.”

The article, Is Malcolm Gladwell wrong? Scientists debate the “10,000-hour rule: The argument between talent versus practices deepens with the release of a new study, by Sarah Gray, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. This particular article begins:

“A new study, published in the journal Psychological Science, is fueling the practice-versus-talent debate. The study was co-authored by Zach Hambrick, of Michigan State University, Brooke Macnamara, who is currently at Case Western Reserve University, and Rice University’s Frederick Oswald. According to the New York Times, this study is the “most comprehensive review of relevant research to date.”

“The paper, which looked at 88 different studies, covering a wide range of activities, from chess to music to sports, found that only 20 to 25 percent of a person’s ability — in music, sports and chess — came from practice. In academics, the Times reports, it is even lower; only 4 percent of a person’s academic ability came from practice. However, the authors note that academic skill was more difficult to measure, because it was tough to gauge how much people knew beforehand.”

The book by Malcolm Gladwell was a best-seller and the author, no doubt, made much money. Unfortunately for him, his theory has been refuted. Even so, their are many people who have not gotten the word. For example, I was sitting at a table in a Barnes & Noble with a chess board in front of me while reading a copy of the best chess magazine in the world, New In Chess, when an older fellow walked up and asked, “Putting in your 10,000 hours?” I asked if he were referring to Gladwell’s book and he answered in the affirmative. As he took a seat I told him Gladwell’s theory had been refuted. Having read the book, he was in disbelief. “The man would not have written the book if it were not true,” he said. Nothing I said could disabuse him of his belief. Fortunately, someone whom he knew arrived and he took his leave, but not before telling his friend that I was a “party pooper.” I have been called far worse…

This kind of thing happens all the time in our society. An example would be what the Bushwhackers said happened to Private First Class Jessica Dawn Lynch during the invasion of Iraq. Initial reports by the Bushwhackers said that before being captured and brutalized, PFC Lynch, in her best Rambo imitation, fired all the rounds in her weapon until the weapon was so hot it burned her hands, but still she continued, in great pain, to hold onto the weapon, using it to club Iraqi soldiers until there were so many of them she could no longer swing said weapon…or some such. I will admit to paraphrasing here, but you get the idea. The truth came out later, and I quote, “Initial official reports on Lynch’s capture and rescue in Iraq were incorrect. On April 24, 2007, she testified in front of Congress that she had never fired her weapon, her M16 rifle jammed, and that she had been knocked unconscious when her vehicle crashed. Lynch has been outspoken in her criticism of the original stories reported regarding her combat experience. When asked about her heroine status, she stated “That wasn’t me. I’m not about to take credit for something I didn’t do… I’m just a survivor.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Lynch#Further_reading) See The authorized biography, I Am A Soldier Too: The Jessica Lynch Story, by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg.” See also, “The truth about Jessica.” (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/may/15/iraq.usa2) People can still be found who will tell you all about the brave woman during the invasion of Iraq who made Rambo look like a wuss…

The lies the Bushwhackers told about former NFL star Pat Tillman are even more egregious, and the truth still has not been told to WE THE PEOPLE. I do not mean to single out the Bushwhackers. “Presidential aide Arthur Schlesinger has written that President Kennedy said just days before the assassination that Johnson was a man “incapable of telling the truth.” (See Robert F. Kennedy and His Times, page 655. I have taken this from the masterful work by Douglas P. Horne, Chief Analyst for Military Records, Assassination Records Review Board, “Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government’s Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK – Volume 5.”)

Another example would be the prosecutor who, while the defandant is on the stand, looks the jury in the eye and says, “The defendant is obviously a scurrilous scumbag!” The public defender then leaps to his feet saying, “Your Honor, I most strenuously object.” At which time the judge says to the prosecutor, “The objection is sustained. Mr. Prosecutor. I cannot believe a man with your credentials would would say such a thing.” To which the prosecutor says, “Yes Your Honor. Forgive me. It will not happen again.” The judge then say, “That last remark will be stricken from the record and the jury will disregard the comment made by the esteemed prosecutor.”
When the trial ends and the jury is marched into chambers to decide the fate of the accused, the only question to be decided is which one will be chosen foreman. Once a foreman is chosen he will say, “Do we really need to spend any time voting? It is more than a little obvious the defendant is a scurrilous scumbag.”
Someone will mention the judge said to disregard the remark and will be turned on by the rest of the pack while the foreman says forcefully, “What the hell do you mean? The ESTEEMED prosecutor said the defendant was a scurrilous scumbag, and he would not have said it if it were not true!” Meanwhile the rest of the pack will nod in agreement, saying, “Uh huh, uh huh, right on, right on, right on.” The poor defendant will be lucky to have a show of hands before being declared guilty.

The Cost of Chess Magazines

The Legendary Georgia Ironman loves “Chess Monthly” (http://www.chess.co.uk/). He takes it with him to lessons and pontificates at length about the good qualities of the magazine. He does this while there are copies of the best chess magazine in the world, “New in Chess” (http://www.newinchess.com/), sitting unopened, still in cellophane, in the apartment. The Barnes & Noble in Buckhead carries “Chess Monthly” and “Chess Life” but not “New in Chess.” An advertisement in the 2014/3 issue of NiC shows ten places it is sold and one of them is The Book Tavern in Augusta, Georgia, yet I have been unable to find it in any bookstore or newsstand in the largest city and the capital of the state, Atlanta.
I have purchased “Chess Monthly” at the B&N when found. This means it comes irregularly, so the Ironman is missing some issues. We usually split the cost. One time Tim received a B&N gift card and he gave it to me to use and it covered the cost of two issues. We hit the jackpot when Greg Yanez of chess4less.com (http://www.chess4less.com/) was here for the National children’s something or other at the downtown Hyatt. Greg had back issues on sale for only five dollars, and they went fast. The last July issue sold before the Ironman was able to nab one. Meanwhile the issues of NiC, which cost more, did not sell well. Everyone wants a deal. Still, I would rather have a NiC at ten dollars than a CM for five.
I was in the B&N the other day and, as luck would have it, so was the July issue of “Chess Monthly.” I had a buck or two left on the aforementioned B&N gift card, so I nabbed a copy and took it to the checkout counter. My billfold was out when I heard the clerk say, “That will be eighteen something.”
“Pardon me?” I said. Having tinnitus means I do not hear as well as I used too, what with the constant ringing in the brain.
“That will be eighteen something,” he repeated. The last one I purchased was “eleven something.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. He showed me the price attached to a price tag that covered the one on the magazine, and, sure ’nuff, it showed a price of $16.99 US. Include tax and, wah-lah, “eighteen something.”
As I was putting my billfold back into my pocket I said, “Wow…Last time I purchased a copy it was only eleven plus; that is a dramatic increase.” He gave me a blank stare. The clerk at the next register, who had been watching this unfold, gave me a look and sort of shrugged his shoulders as if to silently say, “What’cha gonna do?”
I started to grab the magazine, telling the young man I would put it back, but he jerked it out of my hand saying, “We will do that!” I was stunned, thinking, “I did not even get a chance to peruse the mag…”
I went to the coffee shop where one of the Starbucks employees is a fellow who used to come to the House of Pain and trade genuine Starbucks coffee for a membership, etc. And now everyone knows the secret of why the House had the best coffee of any chess club. I told him my tale of woe while awaiting my cuppa joe. Back in the adjoining bookstore an empty table was located, where I broke out my chess board and latest copy of the best chess magazine in the universe, “New in Chess.” I am behind with the NiC, having only recently received issues 2014/2 & 3. The subscription ended and times are tough, with the current situation being in a state of, shall we say, flux. I purchased the issues from Amazon. The Gorilla recently raised the amount for free shipping from $25 to $35, and since the price of a NiC is a little over $10, I have included it to meet the new requirement. Unfortunately, the Gorilla cannot produce an issue in a timely fashion. For example, check out the dates of the two NiC’s I have on order:
Not yet shipped
Track Package
Delivery estimate: Friday, October 10, 2014 – Wednesday, October 15, 2014 by 8:00pm
New In Chess Magazine 2014/4
Guezendam, Dirk Jan ten
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
Delivery estimate: Thursday, October 9, 2014 – Tuesday, October 14, 2014 by 8:00pm
New In Chess magazine 2014/5
ten Geuzendam, Dirk Jan
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
That’s right, the Gorilla has the issue out now set to ship before the previous issue! I believe 2014/4 was published in June. I have been sending emails to the Gorilla about this, but maybe I expect too much from a Gorilla…It is obvious there must be a better way.
Back at the B&N with my cuppa joe, I opened NiC 2014/3 and thought about what GM Jonathan Rowson wrote about taking his new issue of NiC to the coffee shop as soon as it arrived…Then I began to read. I discovered a letter by one Evan Katz, of “New York, NY, USA.” Seems Mr. Katz is disappointed in the price of the best chess magazine, ever, in the recorded history of the human race. NiC is truly “cheap at twice the price,” but not to Evan.
At this point I began to ponder the reason for the dramatic increase in the price of “Chess Monthly,” so I decided to ask the manager. When I mentioned the amount of the price increase she was obviously shocked. “That is a huge increase,” she said. The nice woman went on to tell me B&N had nothing to do with the price of magazines because a distributor handled it, going on to inform me that beginning in July B&N had a new distributor. I told her that explained things, and thanked her for the information, and her time.
In putting this together I did discover that chess4less.com not only provides a yearly subscription for $70, but has individual issues for sale for $7.95. The Ironman and I have not seen the May, June, July, and August issues. Even with shipping charges one can purchase two for the price of one from chess4less in comparison to B&N. Goodbye Barnes & Noble, hello chess4less!

Elton John perfoms Benny and The Jets on Soul Train

Chess Mess

I played a USCF rated game several weeks ago for the first time since the latter part of December 2012 when I played in the very first Thursday Throwdown. I played only one game, that being in the first round as a “filler.” My opponent was a young girl and although I “held the advantage” according to the Legendary Georgia Ironman, it was on the board and not on the clock. With difficulty I managed to draw. I may play again this coming Thursday night, if needed. The turnout has dwindled to the point of the possibility of this being the last Throwdown. I decided to offer my services because I well remember the painful look on the face of the players who had received a bye by being the odd man out while working at the House of Pain. The Ironman sprung for a three month membership in order for me to become the “houseman.” At my age there are worse things to be, I suppose…I opened the mail yesterday to find an envelope from the USCF in which was enclosed a nice plastic card, like a Barnes & Noble membership card, in which it is written, “W Michael Bacon is a member in good standing with the US Chess Federation.”
I made it to the “Chess Mess” for the meeting on the first Tuesday of the month, held at one of the most venerated bars in Atlanta, Manuel’s Tavern. When one of the officers of the GCA, Frank Johnson, came in he grinned, saying, “The infamous Mike Bacon!” Startled, I responded, “You could have said that to a mirror, Frank!” Good-natured laughter ensued. Then Frank said, “I meant because of the Armchair Warrior blog, which, by the way, I follow, and it is sent directly into my email inbox as soon as it is published.” I made a mental note to move Frank up in my book…Frank played in the World Amateur in Singapore recently, scoring seven points according to the FIDE website. He mentioned beating the player who finished first, the only blemish on his score. I had arrived early, hoping to be able to talk with Frank, while delivering flyers for the Ironman and his “Throwdown.” Former Georgia Senior Champ Mark Couvillion came early to set up the boards and I was able to talk with him while having my first beer in who knows when. It turned out to be a mistake as I had to leave early before playing even one game. Frank mentioned something about my not playing any chess, only writing about the game, and, although I felt bad about having to leave, the fact is I had eaten a rather large meal at one of my favorite places, “Eats.” It habitually wins an award in the category of “best cheap eats” in Atlanta. Besides, I had been on the go all day and missed my nap. At least that is my excuse, and I am sticking with it…
Earlier that day I had played a game of chess at a Barnes & Noble. I was minding my business, reading the Science section of the Tuesday NY Times and drinking my drink of choice, coffee, before breaking out the set and new copy of Chess Monthly. Before I could get the pieces set up, two young boys who had been sitting with their father, quietly reading, rushed up. “You gonna play chess?!” they asked excitedly. They looked crushed when I told them I had planned on maybe playing over a game or two from the magazine. Their father walked over smiling and we talked briefly before he took them back to the table. I learned they were home schooled and had played in the recent scholastic tournament at the Hyatt in downtown Atlanta, and that they are named “Bomar.”
I could not get into the magazine, thinking about how thrilled they had been, so I walked over and told the father I would be happy to play the boys after using the mens room and purchasing a refill. “Play ME!” said the youngest. “No. PLAY ME!” yelled the eldest. I offered to let them battle it out for the right to play, but the father said they would only be there about another half hour. “Besides,” he said, they have already played today.” I asked who won and learned the game had been drawn. “Who had Black?” I asked. The older one said his brother played Black. “Then he was the winner because it is more difficult to win with or draw with the black pieces.” The younger Bomar vehemently agreed with that! Fortunately the father determined I would play the oldest because the youngest one is the most aggressive. The young boy then went into a rap about how aggressive is his chess, but piped down when his father said he meant that the young one was the most aggressive when it came to getting older players to play.
The young fellow pushed hi d-pawn forward two squares while continuing to talk about how they had studied all the openings and he was ready for anything, until I played f5, when he said, “Except the Dutch.” Nevertheless, he played a fine opening, castling on the queenside, while I castled on the opposite side. It was looking like a game in which both sides would attack on opposite sides, which he did prematurely, losing first a pawn, then allowing me to take his bishop, forking his King & Queen, bringing down the house. We discussed the game and when he mentioned something about “Attacking in the direction your pawns are pointing,” I asked who was teaching him. He responded it was his father, so I asked him, learning he is not a chess player, but had read some chess books so as to be able to teach his sons. I also learned they have a house in the Glorious Mountains of Western North Carolina and have been to the Rocky Mountain Chess Club, “held in a bookstore.” He was shocked to learn I have been to the gathering of the Dixie Chess Confederacy at the Blue Ridge Book Store on Thursday afternoons, and knew all of the players he mentioned, and one I mentioned, my friend Bruce Goodwin. It is truly a small chess world.
I have been following the Chicago Open online the past few days. In particular the games of the Frisco Kid. That would be NM Richard Francisco, a “product” of the scholastic movement in Georgia of the past decades. Richard is a personable gentlemen whom I admire greatly, and I always follow his progress in any tournament. I would like to share a couple of games he has played while carrying the colors of our Great State while in the land of the North. First I would like to mention a game annotated by the Frisco Kid on the new Georgia Chess News, an online magazine. The game is, Francisco, R – Baghwat, N USATS (Round 2), and can be found here: (http://georgiachessnews.com/category/topboard/games/).

Francisco, Richard (2263) – Kovalyov, Anton (2636)
23rd Chicago Open Wheeling, IL (1.2), 2014.05.22

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bc4 Qb6 8.Bb3 e6 9.Qd2 Be7 10.O-O-O Nc5 11.Rhe1 h6 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Kb1 Bd7 14.f4 Qc7 15.g4 Rc8 16.h4 Bxh4 17.Rh1 Be7 18.g5 b5 19.a3 Qb7 20.Qg2 a5 21.gxh6 gxh6 22.Rxh6 Rf8 23.f5 b4 24.axb4 axb4 25.Nd5 Nxb3 26.Nxe7 Kxe7 27.Nxb3 Ke8 28.f6 Qc7 29.Rh2 Ba4 30.Qg7 Kd7 31.Rhd2 Bxb3 32.cxb3 Qc5 33.Rxd6+ Qxd6 34.Qg1 Qxd1+ 35.Qxd1+ Kc6 36.Qd4 Rfd8 37.Qc4+ Kd6 38.Qd4+ Kc6 39.Qc4+ Kd6 40.Qd4+ Kc6 ½-½

After going over at a game I go to the new Chessbase database (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/onlinedb/), and/or (http://www.365chess.com/) to see where the players have varied from the “book.” These are the sources I used to find the additional games.

Ootes, Lars (2340)
Burg, Twan (2462)
Event: TCh-NED Meesterklasse 2011-12
Site: Netherlands NED Date: 12/17/2011
Round: 4.4 Score: ½-½
ECO: B94 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.Bg5

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. Bc4 Qb6 8. Bb3 e6 9. Qd2 Be7 10. O-O-O Nc5 11. Rhe1 h6 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. f4 Bd7 14. Kb1 Qc7 15. Nf3 O-O-O 16. e5 dxe5 17. Nxe5 Be8 18. Qe3 Rxd1+ 19. Rxd1 g5 20. g3 gxf4 21. gxf4 Rg8 22. Ne4 Be7 23. Nxc5 Qxc5 24. Rd4 Kb8 25. a3 Ka7 26. Qe4 Qa5 27. Rd1 Bf6 28. Qd4+ Ka8 29. Qd6 Bxe5 30. fxe5 Bc6 31. Qe7 Qxe5 32. Qxf7 Re8 33. Qf2 Qc7 34. Qh4 e5 35. Qxh6 e4 36. Re1 Qe5 37. Qe3 Qxh2 38. Re2 Qh1+ 39. Re1 Qf3 40. Bc4 Rd8 41. Ka2 Qf6 1/2-1/2

Richard could well have won that game, and the same could be said for the next, heart breaking, game. It is possible in chess to play well and have little, or nothing, to show for it.

Richard T Francisco 2263 vs IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy 2436
Chicago Open 2014 Rd 6 CK (B12)
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.a3 Bxc5 6.Qg4 Kf8 7.b4 Bb6 8.Nf3 f6 9.Bb2 Nc6 10.Bd3 Bc7 11.Qf4 g5 12.Qe3 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14.Bxe5 fxe5 15.Qxe5 Qf6 16.Qd6+ Ne7 17.Ra2 Kf7 18.0–0 e5 19.Qc7 e4 20.Be2 Qf4 21.Bh5+ Kf6 22.Qc3+ Qe5 23.f3 e3 24.Qxe5+ Kxe5 25.c3 Nf5 26.Re1 Ng7 27.Rxe3+ Kd6 28.Bg4 Bxg4 29.fxg4 Rhe8 30.Rae2 Rxe3 31.Rxe3 a5 32.Nd2 axb4 33.axb4 Ne6 34.Nb3 Ra3 35.Nd4 Nxd4 36.cxd4 Rxe3 0-1

Shaposhnikov,Evgeny (2543) vs Kornev, Alexei (2558)
Event: Tsiolkovsky mem op
Site: Kaluga Date: 2003 CK (B12)
Round: 6 Score: 0-1
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. a3 Bxc5 6. Qg4 Kf8 7. Bd3 f5 8. Qg3 Nc6 9. Nf3 Nge7 10. O-O h6 11. b4 Bb6 12. c4 dxc4 13. Bxc4 g5 14. Nc3 Ng6 15. Rd1 Qe7 16. Bb2 g4 17. Nb5 h5 18. Nfd4 h4 19. Qb3 g3 20. h3 gxf2+ 21. Kh1 Qg5 22. Rf1 a6 23. Rxf2 axb5 24. Bxe6 f4 25. Bxc8 Nxd4 26. Qd5 Rxc8 27. Qd6+ Qe7 28. Qxg6 Ne6 29. Rxf4+ Nxf4 30. Qf5+ Ke8 31. Qxc8+ Bd8 32. Rd1 Ne6 33. Qc2 Rg8 34. Qe2 Rg7 35. Bc1 Nc7 36. Qe4 Qe6 37. Qxb7 Qc4 38. Bh6 Rd7 39. Rc1 Qd5 40. Qb6 Qe6 41. Qe3 Nd5 42. Qd2 Ne7 43. Qg5 Nf5 44. Qh5+ Qf7 45. Qxf7+ Kxf7 46. Bf4 Rd4 47. Rf1 Ke6 48. Kh2 Bc7 49. g3 hxg3+ 50. Bxg3 Rd2+ 51. Rf2 Nxg3 0-1

CK (B12)
White player Karen Asrian ARM
Black player Sarunas Sulskis LTU
Plovdiv ch-EUR 2008 (0)

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.a3 xc5 6.g4 f8 7.f3 c6 8.d3 f6 9.b4 b6 10.b2 f5 11.g3 h6 12.bd2 d7 13.c4 e7 14.O-O e8 15.ac1 g6 16.c5 c7 17.d4 xg3 18.hxg3 g5 19.b5 f7 20.f4 h5 21.2f3 g8 22.c6 bxc6 23.bxc6 c8 24.b5 b6+ 25.d4 gxf4 26.gxf4 g4 27.xb6 axb6 28.fd4 a4 29.e2 g3 30.xh5 e3 31.fd1 h6 32.d6 axa3 33.c2 1-0