Category: Publications Page 1 of 3

Saying Farewell to Campfire Magazine

Back in 2014 when I started this blog I decided to start compiling some of my favorite and most popular posts into a PDF publication called *Off My Chess Quarterly*. Eventually that publication evolved into *Campfire Chess Magazine*. Recently I retooled the publication to eliminate the PDF publication and move to a an interactive format combination of JavaScript and HTML5. However, maintaining the blog and a publication like *Campfire Chess Magazine* creates too much demand for productivity in various directions. In turn quality suffers on both ends, so I have decided to cease publication of *Campfire Chess Magazine* to devote more time to focusing on the blog and other elements of the site.

Instead, I invite you to check out Campfire Chess on Facebook, Twitter, and now a curated magazine on Flipboard.

Campfire Stories #6

As I mentioned in my post from earlier this week, I am more than happy to see August become a distant memory. As if my 9 wins during the month wasn’t bad enough, the stress of other things caused me to stop writing my recaps for the Sinquefield Cup mid-tournament. Fortunately, only six days into September and my record is already showing signs of recovery. So far, September has blessed me with 5 wins out of 7 games including an excellent victory last night that I will probably have to annotate for a future edition of Campfire Magazine since it put me back over the 1000 ELO mark for the first time since middle of the Summer.

I am also anxiously awaiting the worldwide release of Pawn Sacrifice in a couple of weeks and remaining hopeful that it will arrive at one of the many theaters here in San Antonio. If not, it might be worth driving to a nearby city to see it.

Its Here! Campfire Chess Magazine #6

I am pleased to announce that the latest edition of Campfire Chess Magazine has been published here on the site! In last quarter’s edition I transitioned the magazine from its traditional PDF format to an HTML/JavaScript combination format that added interactivity and better scalability to the product as a whole. CM06 shows the refinements and advancements I have made to the format over the last few months including graphics improvements and support for Apple’s retina displays. In addition, this is one of the largest volumes of Campfire Chess Magazine ever published!

In addition to the articles and product review features, Campfire Chess Magazine features interactive chess boards with game commentary and PGN collections for three of the last major tournaments including:

  • Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival
  • Norway Chess 2015
  • FIDE Women’s World Championship 2015

View Campfire Chess Magazine #6 here or visit the publications archive to view magazine back issues.

Campfire Stories #5

I am very excited that the Sinquefield Cup is in full swing at this very moment! It is one of my favorite tournaments throughout the year! Unfortunately, my own chess games have taken a dramatic turn for the worse in recent weeks. This accounts for my lack of blogging activity as I have largely returned to the books and to working on tactics puzzles to help me solve some of the problems I have been having. As you will see in the game below, I have struggled to maintain adherence to basic chess principles when faced with tough decisions over the board. This is something that takes time and practice. To help myself understand these difficulties a little better, I annotated the following game move-by-move to analyze what went wrong and what could have gone right.

As you can see, there were many opportunities during the game for me to successfully convert sacrifices into gains but I was just not able to think that fast on my feet. Much of it has to do with mental exhaustion and distraction I have felt lately due to some work stress. Now that much of that is subsiding and I have spent some time in the books, I am hoping that things will start to return to the positive for me in my chess.

Campfire Stories #4

Next weekend marks the beginning of the 2015 Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis! As you might recall, last year’s event was dominated by Fabiano Caruana in his 7-game winning streak that crushed his opponents, including World Champion Magnus Carlsen. This year’s event brings some changes to the playing field that should add some interesting dynamics to the competition.

Magnus Carlsen returns to challenge opponents in Saint Louis
  • Magnus Carlsen (ELO 2863)
  • Fabiano Caruana (ELO 2802)
  • Hikaru Nakamura (ELO 2798)
  • Veselin Topalov (ELO 2798)
  • Alexander Grischuk (ELO 2794)
  • Viswanathan Anand (ELO 2791)
  • Anish Giri (ELO 2790)
  • Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (ELO 2762)
  • Levon Aronian (ELO 2770)
  • Wesley So (ELO 2778)

It is very exciting that for the first time in history, the United States will have 3 players from the FIDE Top 10 represented! If you are in the Saint Louis area from August 22 to September 4, I highly encourage you to stop by the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis to catch some of the greatest chess players of our time battling it out in what has become a highly prestigious American tournament. In the meantime, take a moment to enjoy the games from the 2014 Sinquefield Cup and relive the exciting battles before the players arrive in Saint Louis!

In addition to the festivities of the Sinquefield Cup, the American premier of Pawn Sacrifice will take place at the Chase Park Plaza in Saint Louis on September 3rd with a private VIP party featuring the players immediately following the film’s premier. For details, check out the official event page.

Campfire Stories #3

This has been an incredible whirlwind of a week! Unfortunately, very little of the week involved chess because I was promoted this week and spend much of my time preparing for the ceremony honoring the event. However, I did manage to keep up occasionally with the Biel Chess Festival in Switzerland where GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won in elegant style against GM Richard Rapport.

Over the past few weeks I have stopped playing regular blitz on and focused more on 15 minute standard games with 10-second increments. The results of these games have been much more fulfilling than the countless blitz games that I lost miserably or won through time troubles or fundamental mistakes by my opponents. In addition to focusing more on my standard time control chess, I have also been working on some projects to create a fully Mac chess experience. As I have written about numerous times in the past, finding good chess software for the OS X platform can be a daunting task. One such project is a distributable OS X edition of the Tarrasch Chess GUI.

Tarrasch Chess GUI running on OS X

This simple little program has been popular with Windows users for years and has been ported by other OS X and Linux users, according to the site’s development blog. My goal is to create a distributable package for OS X where users can download the file from Campfire Chess or other websites without having to go through the tedious process of installing a wine skinner, finding appropriate themes and settings, and hoping that everything works OK. I hope to have it available for download in the coming weeks.

Your Greed Will Find You

The following game was played with standard 15|10 time controls on in July. My opponent was rated about 100 points lower than me, but it was quite a struggle between the two of us. I chose Your Greed Will Find You as the headline for this game commentary because the endgame demonstrates the peril of always wanting to capture a piece that appears unguarded.

Campfire Stories #2

In the last few weeks I have been working to clear out a lot of the clutter that I have accumulated in the last few years. Much of that clutter involves duplicate copies of chess books and magazines along with duplicated folders on my hard drives. I keep one database for annotating games for Campfire Chess Magazine and the new Campfire Stories column. I was surprised when I began sorting through the 2015 entries in that database and noticed a game labeled Perelshteyn – NN 0-1. The game itself is pretty dramatic and according to its PGN metadata was played in April of 2014. However, I was not able to find any reference to it in the Megabase or online. I checked 365 Chess and, but there is no reference to it in any of those databases as well. Therefore, if anyone finds out who this game really belongs to, please let me know at wesley at campfire chess dot com.

Campfire Stories #1

On most Sunday mornings throughout 2014 I posted a weekly update where I annotated some games and gave a brief overview of coming chess events or recaps of past events. These weekly updates accounted for a bulk of the material posted on the site throughout 2014 and also a large portion of the content in the 2014 Yearbook. After allowing the column to be defunct for much of the year, I have decided to resurrent the weekly update in the form of Campfire Stories. These posts will contain a variety of independent content, but also link up to the other ongoing projects such as the reformatting of Campfire Chess Magazine and the continuing growth of the downloads section. And now, for Campfire Stories #1:

A lot happened this week both in the professional world of chess and in my own isolated world of amateur chess. For me, the biggest heartbreak was having my chess crush Sopiko Guramishvili tie the knot with GM Anish Giri. I am curious if her column on Chess24 with Anna Rudolf will change from Miss Strategy vs. Miss Tactics to Miss Strategy vs. Mrs. Tactics

Mr. and Mrs. Giri are now the most powerful chess couple in the world.

In other news, I discarded a plan to terminate my premium account in favor of downgrading the account from diamond to gold. The crux of this change is the simple fact that I no longer feel comfortable paying upwards of $100 a year to play chess online when alternatives such as the Internet Chess Club and the Free Internet Chess Server growing more competitive. I intend to maintain my premium account on and to maintain some of the aggregated blog posts on the site as well.

The following game was played last night on against a player rated 1097 at the time. He made some unusual moves in familiar places, so I have to wonder if he was distracted or trying out new ideas on me.

Campfire Chess Magazine #5 now available!

Back in early June of this year I wrote an entry explaining that the quarterly edition of Campfire Chess Magazine was going to be delayed until July. Today is July 1st and true to my word, the completely redesigned and interactive spring (June 2015) edition of the magazine is now available. Regular readers will notice an immediate difference because I will no longer be publishing the magazine in PDF format. Instead, the magazine will now work to exploit the abilities of advanced web technologies like HTML5 and JavaScript to create a more user-friendly and interactive experience.

In addition, the way that Campfire Chess Magazine is published is also changing. Individual issues will still be available in the publication archives. Although the archives are not fully online as of this post, I am working to retool each of the previous magazine publications into the new HTML format for interactivity.

I hope that you enjoy the new Campfire Chess Magazine and if there is anyone out there wanting to contribute an article, product review, or game commentary, please email it to magazine at campfire


Spring Campfire Chess Magazine Delayed

I make every effort to publish Campfire Chess Magazine four times a year: January, June, September, and December. The January 2014 edition was the first issue to bear the logo, style, and content of the site’s new namesake. Unfortunately, because this website and the magazine are part of my chess hobby, there is not always a guarantee that I will have the time and resources available to complete the magazine as I intended. I think that these times will be few and far between. In the case of the magazine’s spring edition, some life events caused me to fall behind both in maintaining the site and preparing to publish the quarterly magazine. The June 2015 edition of Campfire Chess Magazine will be released on July 1.

In the meantime, please consider visiting the publications page to browse through the complete magazine back-catalogue.

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