Press "Enter" to skip to content

Month: April 2016

Chess, Chess Everywhere in San Antonio!

For chess players and fans across South Texas, San Antonio is the place to be this weekend and throughout the next few weeks. Aw, who am I kidding? San Antonio is the place to be, period. This weekend, Trinity University and the Jesse James Chess Academy is hosting a tournament at their main campus in downtown. You can read more about that tournament here on Campfire Chess or visit the official website to register. Yours truly is registered and will be playing in the rated section.

sanantoniochamps

Rackspace, the cloud company that converted the abandoned Westgate Mall into their technological metropolis, is hosting its annual Rackspace Chess Scholastic Tournament on April 30 (tomorrow) beginning at 0730 CST. There is no entry fee and the tournament is open for K-1 through High School Seniors. Visit the Rackspace website to see more about the tournament. Note that all participants must have a parent with them.

sachesslogoAs if that was not enough, the 2016 San Antonio Chess Club Championship begins this coming Thursday, May 5 at 7pm. The tournament is played at the Lions Field Center, which is the same location that my church, Mission Vineyard Church, meets on Sunday mornings at 10am (hint hint). Entry is free, but is closed to members of the SA Chess Club. Club officers will be on hand at Lions Field before the tournament to start a new membership or renew an existing membership. First place is a championship trophy and free entry into the upcoming San Antonio City Championship. Time controls are G75+5, but are subject to change based on availability of the Lions Field Center for late night play. Visit the club on Facebook and RSVP if you would like to participate.

Finally, the San Antonio City Chess Championship is also fast approaching and will be held from July 30-31. Exact times, location, and other details are forthcoming. I will post more details on that tournament when I know they have been solidified. I am also examining the possibility of conducting some live commentary for that tournament. At the very least, I intend to offer a daily tournament report, photos, and possibly some interviews. More to come.

In the meantime, enjoy the amazing amount of chess on the horizon in the Alamo City!

Comments closed

Caruana and Paikidze are 2016 US Chess Champions!

GM Hikaru Nakmura and GM Irina Krush entered into the 2016 US Chess Championship carrying the same hopes and dreams of their competition but with much more at stake: the defense of their 2015 championship titles. Nakamura, who is a mainstay on my beloved Chess.com, has won the US Chess Championship in 2005, 2009, 2012 and in 2015. Krush began the 2016 event looking for her fifth consecutive win, but was stopped short by US #2, GM Nazi Paikidze.

Coming Back to America

Just a few short years ago, I would have considered it insanity to believe that GM Fabiano Caruana would be a member of the US Chess Federation and go from playing for the Italian Chess Federation to winning the 2016 US Chess Championship. Yet, that very thing happened yesterday when Caruana edged out his opponents with a win against IM Akshat Chandra, who is widely known for his monumental propulsion into the stratosphere of chess ability. Chandra, who is considered to be one of the brightest rising stars in chess, finished the tournament in last place with 1.5/11, scoring draws against Jeffery Xiong, Alexander Shabalov, and Nakamura.

gmfabiano

Caruana owned a slight edge over his opponents entering in to the final round, but showed impeccable drive and determination to win the final round despite being given the black pieces. After his victory, GM Wesley So drew against GM Aleksandr Lenderman and Nakamura drew against GM Ray Robson, earning them the second and third finishing positions respectively.

A New Face for United States Women’s Chess

I like to think that GM Nazi Paikidze, the new US Women’s Chess Champion is representative of the new wave of chess champions that are set to emerge in the next few years. Although her name might be new to some people, she has an extensive social media presence where she has advocated for chess, health, and fitness for quite some time. Paikidze’s Instagram and Twitter accounts are regularly updated, which shows that she has found a way to balance the demands of professional chess, staying healthy, and maintaining connection to family, friends, and her fans.

As the final round of the women’s section was about to begin, it looked as though WGM Tatev Abrahamyan was set to win, but her 16-year old opponent WIM Ashritha Eswaran shocked everyone by outplaying her opponent and scoring a devastating win.

gmnazi

Paikidze played exceptional chess throughout the event with five draws and six wins. In what could be considered a Cinderella event, Paikidze’s final victory coming against last year’s champion, Irina Krush.

Congratulations to GM’s Fabiano Caruana and Nazi Paikidze for their victory in this year’s United States Chess Championship!

Comments closed

Spinning Wheels at the Bottom

Another week, another loss. There is no other way to say it: the month of April itself is a loss for me. After watching my online ELO plummet 200 points I have consistently put zeros on the board for every game I have played OTB in the past 30 days. It is easy to get frustrated and want to give up, but these are the kind of times when the true test of resilience presents itself. As Rocky likes to say, it ain’t about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep going. And now, full analysis of my game from Wednesday’s tournament at Methodist Hospital. Enjoy!

Comments closed

Trinity University Chess Tournament on May 1

Attention, South Texas chess players! Trinity University in San Antonio is preparing to host its first chess tournament on May 1st at 1300 CST. This tournament is the first in what Tournament Directors Bob Le and Jesse Lozano hope will become a regular event hosted at the university to unite students, faculty, staff, and chess players from around the city to play our game.

trinity

An unrated section will be free for all students, faculty, and staff at Trinity or other colleges across the San Antonio area.

A rated section will be open to US Chess Federation members for $25 with guaranteed cash prizes. Both sections consist of 15-minute games with a 5-second delayed time control.

For more information, visit http://www.sascholastic.com/ or contact the TD’s listed on the leaflet above.

Comments closed

Feeling Nostalgic about nightShifted Astronomy

Starting this blog back in 2014 was not the first time I had journeyed into the world of blogging. In 2006 I started a nonprofit astronomy education blog and outreach program called nightShifted Astronomy that ran successfully from 2006-2014 when I retired the website and decided to focus my attention on chess. The featured image on this post was the header image for the blog for over half of the eight years that nightShifted Astronomy existed.

A few days ago I was browsing through some archived design files and found the Photoshop PSD files for the header image and wondered if there was any trace of nightShifted Astronomy out there after all of these years. Imagine my surprise when I found out that my pride and joy for all that time remains in some places forever immortalized!

The archived edition I was able to recover includes a cool mini-press release for when I was asked to write astronomy and philosophy articles for a metaphysical magazine. Although the publication did not last very long, it was an exceptional experience.

Click here to view the full-sized archive (6 MB).

Comments closed

Karjakin Withdraws from Norway Chess 2016

Interesting…

GM Sergey Karjakin, who is the current challenger for the title of World Chess Champion against Magnus Carlsen in New York City later this year, has withdrawn from the Altibox Norway Chess tournament and provoked the rage of the tournament’s organizers.

Chessdom and Susan Polgar have posted a series of responses from the tournament organizers that explain in clear terms that Karjakin’s withdrawal from the tournament is disrespectful:

  • Karjakin has a signed contract with us and it does not state that he can withdraw from the tournament if he qualifies for the World Championship in November, states Jøran Aulin-Jansson.
  • This action feels disrespectful to us as the organizers of the event as well as the other players in the tournament, not to mention the entire chess world that were looking forward to the dress rehearsal for the World Championship match between Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen, says Aulin-Jansson.
  • Sergey Karjakin is a great chess player and he is still welcome as a participant in Altibox Norway Chess 2016. He has, after all, won both times he has participated, says Aulin-Jansson.
  • Karjakin obviously has a lot of nerves before his first World Championship match, however, we truly wish Karjakin and his advisors understand that one can not just run away from agreements because it suddenly does not fit in preparation for a match that does not start until about half a year later.

For more information, contact:
Jøran Aulin-Jansson
Board Member
Phone: +47 913 32 242
joran@norwaychess.com

Comments closed

Product Review – Kindle Voyage

Note: As of the date of this post, Amazon.com is offering a temporary discount for Amazon Prime customers on the entire line of Kindle e-readers. $30 off Kindle makes it $49.99, $30 off Kindle Paperwhite makes it $89.99, and $50 off Kindle Voyage makes it $149.99

Chess is a double-edged sword for book lovers. There are countless chess fanatics out there whose personal book collections rival some of the greatest libraries around the world and that assessment often does not include the assessment and inventory of digital materials storage on hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, and cloud servers. My personal collections straddles the line somewhere between print and digital with most of my collection belonging to the Kindle family of e-readers and Chessbase. As kind of a present to myself for completing my Masters Degree in March, I decided to finally retire my Kindle Paperwhite that has served me faithfully for many years and replace it with a Kindle Voyage, which is the most recent edition of Amazon’s e-reader.

The King of Electronic Books

It is hard to argue that Apple is the undisputed king of technology, Netflix is the king of streaming media, and Amazon.com is the king of digital books. The original Kindle device was high-priced, low memory, and low on production count. It sold out in record time and remained unavaialable due to inventory problems for months! Fast forward from 2007 to 2016 and the current edition of Amazon’s high-end Kindle is called the Kindle Voyage and it is much more than anyone could ever have expected in a digital book experience.

voyage01

Kindle Voyage showing a Capablanca game (Credit: Campfire Chess)

Kindle vs. Kindle Voyage: How Far We Have Come

The original Kindle sold on Amazon.com for $400 and came with a whopping 250MB of onboard storage capacity, but that capacity could be upgraded using an expandable SD-card slot. On a sidenote, László Polgár’s epic Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games clocks in at a whopping 292MB in its Kindle edition, which would eat up around 97% of the storage capacity on the first edition.

In contrast, the Kindle Voyage comes with 4GB of onboard storage, which allows for László’s work to sit comfortably on the device without limiting the amount of other material that can be carried along with it. For chess players whose libraries grow almost daily, this is excellent because the increased storage space means more room for chess more chess books! Personally, I liked the almost nondescript design of the Kindle Paperwhite, which is one of the reasons that it stuck with me as a personal reading device for so long. However, the Kindle Voyage takes the engineering advancements of the Paperwhite to create a near-perfect reading experience.

voyage02

Crisp, high-definition e-ink display. (Credit: Campfire Chess)

As you can see from the screenshot above, the text is incredibly crisp and has a much clearer contrast than the Paperwhite. In addition to the traditional touchscreen controls introduced in the Kindle Touch, the device comes with buttons on each side of the screen for turning the page. Before the device arrived and I was able to start using it, these were one of the design features that made me nervous. However, these controls are something that have to be used to be appreciated. Although they are not buttons in the traditional sense, pressing on them creates a brief vibration in the device before turning the page. This haptic feedback sensation is unusual at first, but became comfortable very quickly and I think it is an excellent feat of engineering because it helps to reduce fingerprint buildup on the screen over time and also gives the user a real sense of control of the content as the book progresses.

voyage03

I hope she’s reading Campfire Chess… (Credit: Amazon.com)

Although I highly recommend it, the Kindle Voyage is more of a luxury device tailored to avid readers or people who need a larger amount of storage space on their Kindle. For chess readers, it is a perfect device because the crisp display, long battery life, and large storage space combine to create a space to build an extensive portable chess library without having to lug a laptop around or depend on the limited battery life of an iPad, iPhone, or other tablet device. The Kindle Voyage currently runs for $199 on Amazon.com, although recent discounts and promotions seem to indicate that the Kindle line is mere days away from being refreshed.

Additional Reading:

  • Fans to Amazon: Leave Perfect Kindle Alone! (link)
  • Kindle Voyage vs. Kindle Paperwhite: Which Amazon e-reader should you buy? (link)
Comments closed