Thursday, January 31, 2008

Answer for the Smothered mate

Lauren here!
Sometimes, you can sacrafice your queen to deliver checkmate! How cool is that?
The answer to the problem below is:
1. Qxh7 Qxh7
2. Nf7 Checkmate!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

smothered mate puzzle

Lauren here! Here's checkmate in two! If want a hint, read the previous blogs.
I really like the solution.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

smothered mate

Knights are special pieces because they are the only ones that can jump over pieces.
Because of this idea, if the enemy king is entirely surrounded by pieces, the knight can checkmate
the king by suffocating him! The king can't move anywhere.
This mate is called smothered mate.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chess Diva #4

Lauren here!
I am editing the newest Chess Diva episode, #4.
It should be on the web at the end of the week.

Chess Diva #2 should be on our website soon.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

chess and tennis; fastest checkmate

Lauren here!
Here is another interesting thing about chess and tennis.
As you probably know, it is very important to control the center in chess.
In tennis, it is the same thing-always try to control the center.
If you watch professional tennis, the players always run back to the center of the court after they hit ball. Why?
They have more coverage of the court. This is the same in chess.
I want to congratulate Novak Djokovic for winning the men's 2008 Australian Open yesterday.

Barbara here!

Good afternoon. What's the fastest checkmate in chess? Can Scholar's mate be the fastest?
I'll answer tomorrow.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

History of chess

Lauren wrote this!
Did you know that the history of chess origanated in India? And there was no queen in the game, probably because
there were no queen rulers in India.
When chess spreaded into Europe, the queen piece came into the game because there were queen rulers in
I find this fact very interesting!!

Congratulations to Maria Sharapova for winning the 2008 Australian tennis Open!!!
She is a sharp tennis player. I remember watching her a couple years ago in Aussie.

Even though tennis is a physical game, there's a lot of strategy to it, like chess. And there's different playing styles too!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Recording your moves

Lauren here!
When you play in a tournament, you are required to record the moves in the game.
It is a very good idea. After the game, then you can look over the game and see what you did.
If you don't write down the moves of the game, then you could get in trouble with the TD (tournament director).

When I first started to play, I would always make my move, then hit the clock, then write down my move.

Now, I make my move, write down my move, and then hit the clock.

How about you? What works for you?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


This is Barbara!


Underpromotion is where a pawn is promoted anything less than a queen on the 8th rank.
Underpromotion is sometimes better than regular promotion.

Do you know any game that has done underpromotion under practical circumstances?
e.g. saving the game by stalemate or winning a lot of material?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

More about time control

Lauren here:
In some tournaments, the time controls forces the game to flow. For example,
There could be a time control that says 30/60. This means that you must complete at least 30 moves in 60 minutes. Otherwise, you will loose on time. After you complete 30 moves in less than 60 minutes, there will probably be a sudden death control, such as game/30. This means that for the rest of the game, you have 30 minutes.

Barbara is here!

One additional comment about time control. If you have less than 5 minutes on your time, recording your moves is optional. I suggest to stop recording your moves at the 5 min. time limit.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

chess clocks

Lauren here!
When you play in a tournament, chess clocks are required.
For shorter time controls, usually both players get 30 minutes each.
That means that the entire game can last 1 hour.
If somebody runs out the time, he or she will loose the game regardless of the position.
(However, under special positions, the game can be a draw.)

In some tournaments, you can use time delay too. This means that every time you push the button on the
clock, the clock adds a couple seconds on your clock. Some people like this and some people don't. I like time delay.

If you go to a big tournament, usually players get 3 hours on their clock, meaning one game can last six hours!
Medium size tournaments games can last about 2-4 hours, since players are given 1 to 2 hours each.

A couple of hours seems like a long time, but when players start to play, then the time goes by very fast!!!

Barbara is better at quicker time controls than me. I'm better at longer time controls.

I will post more information about time controls tommorow.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Chess and other games

Lauren here!

Chess is a fun game that requires a lot of calculations.
Do you like to play other games besides chess too that involve lots of calculations?
What other games require a lot of calculations?
I know that backgammon, poker, checkers, scrabble and risk, involve a lot of strategy and calculation.
There are tournaments for these games too. If you like playing chess, then you probably will like playing these games too.

A lot of games involve some luck too, such as monopoly and backgammon.
I feel that chess has some luck even though dice isn't involved.
About one year ago, two top grandmasters were playing each other... One of the grandmasters missed an easy checkmate
in one!! I think that's luck.
What do you think?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

down the exchange in chess

Lauren here!
Sometimes you will loose the exchange (e.g: you loose your rook for a knight) for nothing when you play chess.
Even if you are down the exchange, never resign because the game is not over. You still have a slight chance to draw or even win the game.
This has happened to me a couple times. I was down a rook for a knight. (Remember, rooks are generally stronger than knights.) I remember I kept on playing and I ended up drawing the one of the games..
The game is not over when it's not over!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer, world champion, just died at 64 (also the same number of squares on a chess board too).
He was born in Chicago and was became a grandmaster when he was a teenager. To read this more about
his recent death,
click here:
I went over some of this games, I thought his play was very creative.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

pawn promotion

This is Lauren!
One thing about the pawn is it can be promoted to any piece except for the king once it gets to
to end of the board.
Most of the time, the pawn is promoted to the most powerful piece on the board, the queen.
That means that it is possible to have 9 queens at once in your army! (This situation is very rare since all eight pawns and your queen can't be captured)
Do you know any reasonable games where the army has 9 queens? I'm very curious about this.

In tournaments, I have seen players promote their pawns to rooks, knights, and even bishops!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

instant online play

Lauren here!
I'd like to share a website where you can play basic online chess with real people:
They find a game for you and the game is started. It's really simple.
After the game, you can go over it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Chess B**** book written by Jennifer Shahade

Lauren here:
Chess B**** is an interesting book by Jennifer Shahade who is an American
woman grandmaster and chess champ.
She writes about the top women chess players
from all over the world. And she talks about her own chess experiences too.
For more information, you can click on this link.

Monday, January 14, 2008

rating system continued

Lauren here!
When people play in tournaments, sometimes they get very Intimidated by their opponent’s very high or low rating.

They may change their entire playing style because they are scared of their opponent’s rating.
Or, they might underestimate his or her opponent.

I recommend some things to avoid getting intimidating by somebody’s rating.
During pairing time, try to not look at your opponent’s rating. Just play your best… This has helped me a lot.
Never underestimate your opponent.

Also, just have fun playing chess!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Harry Potter movie

Lauren here!
Have you seen the Harry Potter movie where the main characters plays chess?
The chess position was created by an international master, Jeremy Silman. He has wrote many
great books on chess. I recommend reading them.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

USCF rating system

Lauren here!
USCF means "United States Chess Federation".
There are about 90,000 members in the USA. When you play
20 or 25 rated games, you get a national rating.
If you get a rating of 2200 or above, that means you are a master!
2000-2200 means that you are an expert.
The world champ is around 2700-2800.
The average rating in the USA is around 1300.
My sister and me are in class "A", which means that my rating falls between 1800-2000.

How does your rating go up or down. If you loose a tournament game, you loose points. If you when a tournament
game, you gain points.
For example, if your rating is 1500 and you beat a 1515 player, you will gain about 15-20 points!
If you loose against a 1400, then you will loose around 15-20 points.

Some fun facts: did you know that the youngest person who hit master (2200) was ten years old?!
I find that very impressive.
If you hit 2200 or above, you are in the top 1% of the strongest chess players in the USA!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Lauren here!
How do you practice to get better? Do you play 5 minute blitz to get better?
Do you play on the internet?
I often play 5 minute blitz with Barbara. It teaches me to think quickly when I'm in time pressure.

I also like to play on the internet, but this is so much different than OTB tournament chess. I usually play 5, or 10 minute games.

What do you do?

Hello! This is Barbara!

What do you do to improve in chess?

Praciticing tactics and positionally is always good for all levels of plays.

My best advice is to practice everyday or be consistent.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Episode #1 now on You Tube!

Lauren here!
Episode #1 (the ten minute version)
is now available on You Tube!
Meet the winner and organizer of the 2007 Sojourner Truth all girls'
chess tournament and learn to play the opening better!

Click here to see:

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Lauren here!
Here's an interesting idea:
Do you think you can tell a person's personality by playing them?
For the opening, e4 is more of an aggresive and more tactical opening.

Maybe these people are more of a risk taker personality?
For me, I am an e4 player because I like to attack.

d4 is more conservative. Maybe they just want to keep life simple as possible.
If your oppenent are into gambits, they aren't afraid about risks because they are sacrificing material
for development. The most risk taking gambit is the "Danish Gambit", where you sac two or three pawns for deadly development of the two bishopson the long diagonals.
Personally for me, I'm not into gambits because I don't like taking that risk of sacrificing pawns.
You just need to know what works for you and that takes time...

What do you think?

Barbara here!

I agree with Lauren. In chess, tactics are short-term plans.
Positionally are long term plans. Probably with a
person who plays positionally (opens up with d4, c4) have more long term plans
than people who play tactically. Positionally players are usually more comfortable of what they're doing
in general because of they are sure of themselves.
For me, I am a positionally player and likes to open up with c4.

It takes time to figure out what opening(s) works for you. The most important thing is to be comfortable playing it and of course, have fun.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hi there! This is Barbara.

When you lose a game, avoid being discourage.
Treat losing games as a lesson to be learned.
Go back to your game and see what you can do better.
This can be done with your opponent, books, coach, computer, etc.
After you know what you can do better, you can apply that knowledge and win that next game.
In other words, you will become a better player.

This is Lauren!
I don't like to loose too. When you go over a game, just learn from your mistakes.
So, you don't have to repeat the same mistakes next time!
If you win or draw a game, I would still go over the game too. There might be a quicker win than you did,
or etc...

Monday, January 7, 2008

chess and computers

Lauren here!
I hope everybody had a good weekend.
Do you like playing against a computer or a person?
I like playing against people better than computers.
People have different playing styles and they come up with unique plans.
Did you know that computers do not actually come up with a plan-
all they do is calculate!!
If you are tired of loosing to your computer, try this cool tip:
Try to get a very locked/closed position against the computer.
Since the computer has no plan, the machine will most likely
move pieces back and forth, wasting moves.
This is the time to take advantage of the computer!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Chess as an educational tool

This is Lauren!
A lot of schools teach chess because they realize the educational value.
When you play chess, you need to play with a plan. In life, you got to have a plan too.
Often times, you have to be flexible in life, same as chess.
Focus on your strengths in your position, not your weaknesses. Same in life.
Focus on what you are good at. Don't focus on your weaknesses because it will probably won't help you.
When you see a great move, there might be a better move out there. Same as life.
Think positive and don't be afraid!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chess movies

Lauren here!
There are a couple good chess movies out there.
I believe the most popular one is "Searching for Bobby Fischer".
I saw this one and I thought it was very interesting that it was based on
a true story on Josh Waitzkin. Did you know he is a martial arts world champ too?!!!
He's a very talented guy.
"Fresh" is another chess movie. I haven't seen it yet but I heard it was good.
Have you seen this movie before?

If you know any other good chess movies out, please us know.
Maybe we'll share the list on our next episode of "Chess Diva".

Friday, January 4, 2008

What's your favorite piece?

Hello! This is Barbara. What's your favorite chess piece?

My favorite piece is the pawn. The pawn can be promoted to any piece except the king once it reaches the
8th rank. So, the pawn can go a long way.

This is Lauren. My favorite piece is the queen because it's the most powerful piece.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!

We hope everybody had a great holiday.

In our second episode, we interviewed Daniel Naroditsky. Last month, he won the an international tournament
in Turkey. Check out this link:
Congratulations Daniel!

You can play on giant chess boards around the world. They are often in public downtown places.
The pieces are about two feet high and often attract lots of attention.
There's a giant chess board at the Squaw Valley ski resort village in Lake Tahoe, California.
There's also one in downtown Christchurch, New Zealand.
Barbara and I love playing on giant chess boards.
Do you know of any other places that have giant chess boards?