Month: July 2015

Product Review – Pinewood Chess Set

It has been a long time since I wrote a chess set review, but this one is just too good to pass up! A few weeks ago as I was scrounging the internet for stock chess photos to use on this site, I came across the image of an amazing chess set cut from pine wood. When I clicked the image to bring up a larger version, the internet gods redirected me to Etsy where this this one of a kind chess set was for sale! After some haggling with the wife and the unfortunate realization that it was destined to become another maybe for Christmas long shot, I shelled out $150 and ordered it.

Simple Elegance

As longtime readers and friends know, I am a big fan of wooden chess boards. Sometimes its nice to have a novelty set made of metal or other material, but I believe that playing chess on a wooden board with wood pieces really goes back to the historical elegance of the game. I was excited when the package arrived with this new chess set and could not wait to get it inside to open up and run through its first game. It came well packaged with the pieces secured in a plastic container separate from the rest of the board. At first, I was shocked at the size of the individual pieces; they looked much larger than I had envisioned them. The image that inspired me to purchase the set was shot at such an angle that it made the set look much smaller than it actually is. When I finally set it up and got my first chance to really soak in the aura of this incredibly unique set, I realized that the pieces are perfect for establishing the set’s delicate balance.

If there was ever a chess set out there that embodied the spirit and aesthetic feel of Campfire Chess, it is this set! Each chess piece is burned into a wooden coin that is cut from sanded and whitewashed pine. As you can tell from the photos, each of the chess piece images on the coins is carefully burned into the wood to create a one-of-a-kind set. For me, a big plus to this set is the fact that the pieces do not move around very much when I had to pick the board up and move it to a new location. Wood on wood (without fuzzy pads) is a perfect combination for creating a board that is somewhat mobile in the event that whoever is playing the game needs to relocate the board. The chess board itself is quite sturdy and does not have that cheap plywood feeling that comes from many other wooden boards. The colors and contrast are beautifully matched across the entire set, almost as if the set was cut and molded all from the same tree.

This chess set is available for purchase on Etsy from Ty’s Wood Shop, which is run by Tyler Krzeszewski of Saint Charles, Illinois. I reached out to Tyler shortly after my purchase to ask him some questions about how the set was made and whether he makes them regularly or if this was the only set he has ever made. I asked these questions partially for my own chess interest, but also because his Etsy shop only lists 1 available set. Tyler kindly responded and explained that my chess set is only the 2nd that he has produced! The sets are built on demand because of the enormous amount of time and resources required to make them. He said that it can take 13-15 hours to build a single chess set!

It is easy these days to get out on and to purchase a novelty chess set with swords and wizards or civil war heroes, or whatever. Even some wooden and tournament chess sets lack the sense of attention to detail and care that goes into the final product. The love and care that Tyler put into this chess set shows in every piece. There is a special quality about it that goes beyond its aesthetic beauty. It has a presence of peace and of a return to nature. Chess is often called the Game of Kings but it is also a great equalizer. The poorest of the poor man can play chess the same way a King or a Queen can play in their hillside castle. Tyler Krzeszewski’s beautifully hand-crafted chess set is a beautiful product that is worth every penny of the $150 it will set you back because it is the work of someone dedicated to their craft and is a worthy tribute to the game that knows no boundaries.

Name: Handmade Wooden Chess Board Set
Price: $150
Campfire Rating: ♟♟♟♟♟
Purchase from Ty’s Woodshop on Etsy

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.

Three-Way Tie for First in San Antonio

The San Antonio Chess Club hosted its annual city championship tournament from June 27-28 at the Hornbeak Building in San Antonio. This year’s event was a huge success with over 100 players descending on the Alamo city to compete for the coveted title of best chess player in San Antonio. Featured in this year’s tournament was NM Jesse Lozano, NM Curtis Brooks, and the always lovely and engaging WCM Claudia Munoz.

WCM Munoz and others compete for the San Antonio Championship title.

This year, NM Lozano, NM Brooks, and Gregg Stanley shared a three-way tie for first place, but it was Gregg Stanley who took home the title of San Antonio City Champion. Congratulations to Mr. Stanley on his achievement! The complete crosstable for the event is below, courtesy of the United States Chess Federation.

Event ID:        201506282842
Location:        SAN ANTONIO TX 78229
Event Dates:     2015-06-27 - 2015-06-28
Stats:           2 Sections, 113 Players, 253 Games
Affiliate:       A5011779 SAN ANTONIO CHESS CLUB 
Chief TD:        10399289 JOHN PAUL HYLTIN
Asst Chief TD:   12755968 ROSS EVAN JOHNSON
Other TDs:       15166820 EDGAR MUNOZ

Section:         1 OPEN
Section Dates:   2015-06-27 - 2015-06-28
Sec Chief TD:    12755968 ROSS EVAN JOHNSON
Sec Asst Chf TD: 15166820 EDGAR MUNOZ
Stats:           5 Rounds, 111 Players, 252 Games, Swiss
Rating Stats:    Regular Ratings Full K
Dates:           Received: 2015-06-28, Entered: 2015-06-28, Rated: 2015-06-28
Re-Rated:        2015-07-07
 USCF ID PAIR       NAME        ST PRERATE PSTRATE   1     2     3     4     5   TOTAL
-------- ---- ----------------- -- ------- ------- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
10400481    1 STANLEY, GREGG    TX 2176*   2186*   W--57 W---8 W--65 D--15 W--13  4.5 
12767972    2 BROOKS, CURTIS    TX 2220*   2224*   W--47 W--23 W--68 D--14 W--16  4.5 
12937011    3 LOZANO, JESSE JAM TX 2256*   2264*   W--53 W--63 D--13 W--17 W--15  4.5 
12857760    4 VASQUEZ, SIMON, I TX 2115*   2132*   W--40 W--26 D--45 D---5 W--35  4.0 
15428404    5 RODRIGUEZ, DANIEL TX 2338*   2331*   W--25 D--17 W--20 D---4 W--14  4.0 
12722825    6 GUERRA, ANTHONY   TX 2138*   2130*   W--28 W--24 L--14 W--36 W--37  4.0 
10293472    7 MCCUE, MARK E     TX 1919*   1944*   W--31 D--19 H---0 W--33 W--27  4.0 
15166820    8 MUNOZ, EDGAR      TX 1813*   1849*   W--34 L---1 W--88 W--65 W--23  4.0 
12715176    9 LOYOLA, EDUARDO   TX 2064*   2072*   W--44 L--45 W--52 W--53 W--24  4.0 
13942060   10 NGUYEN, KHOA MINH TX 1991*   1979*   L--29 W--58 W--94 W--26 W--25  4.0 
11406751   11 FLOURNOY, DONALD  TX 2014*   2030*   W--62 H---0 W--69 D--45 W--30  4.0 
14793255   12 WANG, YANKE       TX 1952*   1956*   H---0 W--51 D--64 W--48 W--32  4.0 
13481236   13 MUNOZ, CLAUDIA E  TX 2064*   2085*   W--96 W--46 D---3 W--18 L---1  3.5 
15224818   14 CARLL, GARRETT B  TX 1429*   1581*   W-109 W--31 W---6 D---2 L---5  3.5 
12029800   15 HUDDLESTON, JAMES TX 2114*   2115*   W--41 W--50 W--27 D---1 L---3  3.5 
13517950   16 MALAZARTE, ERNEST TX 2130*   2123*   W--33 W--29 D--18 W--21 L---2  3.5 
13942054   17 NGUYEN, DUY MINH  TX 2075*   2081*   X-110 D---5 W--49 L---3 W--47  3.5 
15757280   18 VIDJEACOUMAR, SIN TX 1586/03 1824/08 W--83 W--34 D--16 L--13 W--51  3.5 
10070759   19 MOORE, BOBBY G, J TX 2200*   2200*   W--36 D---7 H---0 D--47 W--28  3.5 
14509898   20 LOPEZ, LUKE       TX 1864*   1885*   H---0 W--22 L---5 W--69 W--49  3.5 
14450427   21 YU, RAY           TX 1917*   1918*   H---0 W--55 W--71 L--16 W--50  3.5 
14502963   22 FAN, WILLIAM G    TX 1931*   1922*   H---0 L--20 W--98 W--74 W--54  3.5 
10399831   23 SMITH, ANDREW I   TX 2032*   2015*   W--39 L---2 W--58 W--42 L---8  3.0 
12430764   24 TAYLOR, BRYAN WES TX 1918*   1914*   W--73 L---6 W--76 W--29 L---9  3.0 
13510941   25 FLORES, BRANDON M TX 1797*   1794*   L---5 W--43 W--87 W--56 L--10  3.0 
15585988   26 BULGER, JAMES     TX 1469*   1516*   W--30 L---4 W--99 L--10 W--74  3.0 
15757295   27 RAVINDRAN, MAGESH TX 1300/03 1586/08 W--97 W--73 L--15 W--39 L---7  3.0 
12777105   28 VISWANATH, LAKSHM TX 1657*   1696*   L---6 W--75 W--97 W--38 L--19  3.0 
14783745   29 HERRERA, BLAKE    TX 1632*   1662*   W--10 L--16 W-102 L--24 W--65  3.0 
14605830   30 BANDI, ROHIT CHOU TX 1819*   1794*   L--26 W--94 W--60 W--68 L--11  3.0 
15121826   31 RAMESH, SREENEVAS TX 1735*   1710*   L---7 L--14 W--86 W--82 W--84  3.0 
12596133   32 DELEON, JOSE      TX 1774*   1771*   L--45 W--70 W--78 W--66 L--12  3.0 
12430464   33 ECKERT, ALLEN     TX 1700*   1701*   L--16 W--87 W--67 L---7 W--68  3.0 
11289258   34 RIMPEL, LOUIS H   TX 1680*   1668*   L---8 L--18 W--85 W--97 W--64  3.0 
12283310   35 MINSKEY, CHARLES  TX 1869*   1849*   D--48 D--52 W--80 W--84 L---4  3.0 
14714240   36 ROMO, BENJAMIN    TX 1747*   1752*   L--19 W--78 W--90 L---6 W--70  3.0 
11346600   37 HERNANDEZ, JULIAN TX 1853*   1843*   H---0 D--48 W--72 W--64 L---6  3.0 
12871427   38 DIAZ, ADRIAN      TX 2039*   2010*   H---0 D--49 W--70 L--28 W--55  3.0 
12424200   39 MALCOLM, BARRINGT TX 1674*   1660*   L--23 W--82 W--89 L--27 W--78  3.0 
12620982   40 CARRIZALES, JUAN, TX 1634*   1683*   L---4 W-106 F--56 W--87 W--63  3.0 
14750730   41 BATTULA, RAHUL    TX 1778*   1765*   L--15 D--64 H---0 W--75 W--72  3.0 
15187722   42 QIN, ANDREW       TX 1651*   1649*   L--63 W--67 W--79 L--23 W--66  3.0 
11476791   43 BURKLOW, FREDDY R TX 1418*   1431*   W--66 L--25 L--63 W-101 W--79  3.0 
14793323   44 THOMAS, MICHAEL D TX 1655*   1627*   L---9 L--68 W--95 X-106 W--76  3.0 
12839764   45 DE JESUS, JEFFREY TX 2306*   2301*   W--32 W---9 D---4 D--11 U---0  3.0 
12730225   46 GITHORO, MBUGUA B TX 2262*   2252*   W--54 L--13 W--59 W--63 U---0  3.0 
13156795   47 MCDONALD, GABRIEL TX 1774*   1785*   L---2 W--60 W--75 D--19 L--17  2.5 
12498848   48 GRILLO, RAYMOND A TX 1610*   1618*   D--35 D--37 W--81 L--12 D--60  2.5 
14987180   49 DELEON, CARLOS DA TX 1484*   1571*   W--80 D--38 L--17 W--57 L--20  2.5 
12755968   50 JOHNSON, ROSS EVA TX 1520*   1539*   W--61 L--15 H---0 W--59 L--21  2.5 
14484332   51 ORTIZ, MATTHEW    TX 1784*   1759*   D--52 L--12 W--93 W--71 L--18  2.5 
13731991   52 PACHECO, DAVID, I TX 1577*   1589*   D--51 D--35 L---9 D--67 W--89  2.5 
15506010   53 MURALIDHARAN, SAN TX 1746*   1746*   L---3 W--88 W--82 L---9 H---0  2.5 
12561407   54 DAVIS, CHARLES R  TX 1735*   1731*   L--46 W--72 W-106 H---0 L--22  2.5 
14998896   55 CASAS, MICHAEL    TX 1562*   1549*   D--59 L--21 W--91 W--92 L--38  2.5 
15004804   56 AKELLA, NITIN SRI TX 1260*   1267*   L--58 W--86 X--40 L--25 D--61  2.5 
13467667   57 MILLS, WILLIAM RI TX 1781*   1746*   L---1 D--71 W--77 L--49 W--90  2.5 
12703789   58 PUTNAM, BILL HOWA TX 1463*   1466*   W--56 L--10 L--23 D--89 W--93  2.5 
15585601   59 KANG, ZHILING     TX 1228*   1324*   D--55 W--93 L--46 L--50 W--88  2.5 
15052858   60 AUNG, CHRISTOPHER TX 1357*   1371*   W--98 L--47 L--30 W-103 D--48  2.5 
12773482   61 REA, JONATHAN     TX 1488*   1437*   L--50 L--74 W-108 W--83 D--56  2.5 
12625674   62 ESTRADA, JAIME    TX 1665*   1633*   L--11 L--65 H---0 W-100 W--92  2.5 
13997116   63 MCNIECE, BRIAN    TX 1904*   1884*   W--42 L---3 W--43 L--46 L--40  2.0 
15166312   64 POTHIREDDY, VAMSH TX 1284*   1337*   W--77 D--41 D--12 L--37 L--34  2.0 
15197776   65 MALCOLM, MATTHEW  TX 1264/11 1321/15 X-111 W--62 L---1 L---8 L--29  2.0 
15348463   66 ALEXIS, FREWIN    TX 1177*   1216*   L--43 W-104 W--96 L--32 L--42  2.0 
15606662   67 CORREA, RAMON     TX 1296*   1338*   W--81 L--42 L--33 D--52 D--73  2.0 
15105036   68 YELLAMRAJU, AMBIC TX 1271*   1312*   W-108 W--44 L---2 L--30 L--33  2.0 
15196107   69 ALVAREZ CARRIZALE TM 1443*   1415*   D--89 W--91 L--11 L--20 D--77  2.0 
15461241   70 MIELES, ANTONIO W TX 1421*   1420*   W-101 L--32 L--38 W-102 L--36  2.0 
14908373   71 GUNDAM, ROHIT RED TX 1364*   1369*   W--99 D--57 L--21 L--51 D--81  2.0 
15472194   72 PULLABHOTLA, VENK TX 1377*   1375*   W-102 L--54 L--37 W--98 L--41  2.0 
12575888   73 DUGAN, DON        TX 1646*   1598*   L--24 L--27 W-104 D--90 D--67  2.0 
13306488   74 JOHNSON, LUKAS DA TX 1039*   1133*   D--76 W--61 H---0 L--22 L--26  2.0 
14830707   75 PEREZ, ETHAN HUNT TX 1336*   1334*   W-100 L--28 L--47 L--41 W--99  2.0 
15352433   76 LEONARD, FAUSTIN  TX 1331*   1314*   D--74 D--89 L--24 W--99 L--44  2.0 
15349870   77 SUDARSHAN, ANIRUD TX  942*   1009*   L--64 D--83 L--57 W--95 D--69  2.0 
15184345   78 ZOU, ERIC         TX 1347*   1337*   W-103 L--36 L--32 X--96 L--39  2.0 
15258881   79 CRANE, JAKE RYAN  TX 1038*   1081*   L--88 W-107 L--42 W--80 L--43  2.0 
14512488   80 AYALA JR, PAUL, J TX 1429*   1391*   L--49 W-100 L--35 L--79 W--97  2.0 
15759684   81 CRANE, JUDE BARTO TX 1008/03 1171/08 L--67 W-101 L--48 D--88 D--71  2.0 
15531337   82 GURUNG, KRISHNA   TX 1271*   1268*   W-107 L--39 L--53 L--31 W-103  2.0 
15460247   83 GUTZ, JOSHUA ALLE TX 1313*   1286*   L--18 D--77 H---0 L--61 W-100  2.0 
14140920   84 DETCHEVERRY, MIKE TX 1321*   1297*   D--91 W--95 H---0 L--35 L--31  2.0 
15667341   85 RAJENDRA, AFREN   TX  826/19  879/24 L-106 L--92 L--34 W-108 W--98  2.0 
15643412   86 GONZALEZ, ENRIQUE TX  992/23 1012*   L--87 L--56 L--31 W-107 W-101  2.0 
14989604   87 WAN, AUDREY X     TX 1317*   1328*   W--86 L--33 L--25 L--40 D--96  1.5 
12542411   88 BOURGEOIS, LANE M TX 1459*   1415*   W--79 L--53 L---8 D--81 L--59  1.5 
13769254   89 GONZALEZ ORTIZ, A TM 1253*   1268*   D--69 D--76 L--39 D--58 L--52  1.5 
15281604   90 MARRAPU, DHANVI   TX 1365*   1362*   W-105 L--96 L--36 D--73 L--57  1.5 
15424093   91 MARRAPU, SAKETH   TX  834*    876*   D--84 L--69 L--55 L--93 W-104  1.5 
13306494   92 JOHNSON, AARON CO TX 1176*   1165*   L--94 W--85 H---0 L--55 L--62  1.5 
12228820   93 SHORT, WALLACE B  TX 1229*   1207*   H---0 L--59 L--51 W--91 L--58  1.5 
12454484   94 GRAW, JOHN H, JR  TX 1387*   1391*   W--92 L--30 L--10 H---0 U---0  1.5 
15351451   95 BAO, EDWARD MING  TX  761*    746*   H---0 L--84 L--44 L--77 X-108  1.5 
12560128   96 SALINAS, GUILLERM TX 1687*   1644*   L--13 W--90 L--66 F--78 D--87  1.5 
15184963   97 LUO, ANDREW       TX 1255*   1236*   L--27 W-103 L--28 L--34 L--80  1.0 
15353573   98 LUO, HELEN HANQI  TX  959*    925*   L--60 W-109 L--22 L--72 L--85  1.0 
15105042   99 YELLAMRAJU, APARN TX  993*    976*   L--71 W-105 L--26 L--76 L--75  1.0 
15071377  100 ZHAO, EASON YICHE TX  959*    947*   L--75 L--80 W-105 L--62 L--83  1.0 
12503749  101 FRAY, RICHARD     TX 1156*   1090*   L--70 L--81 W-107 L--43 L--86  1.0 
12667389  102 CHACON, THOMAS ED TX 1108/20 1094/24 L--72 W-108 L--29 L--70 U---0  1.0 
15426895  103 WANG, JEFFREY     TX  971*    943*   L--78 L--97 X-109 L--60 L--82  1.0 
15127606  104 TAYLOR, JACKSON   TX  775*    763*   U---0 L--66 L--73 W-105 L--91  1.0 
15725984  105 MARTINEZ, ABEL    TX  541/10  553/15 L--90 L--99 L-100 L-104 W-107  1.0 
15745773  106 MEDRANO, DAVID    TX 1327/12 1320/15 W--85 L--40 L--54 F--44 U---0  1.0 
15725990  107 OVIEDO, MATTHEW   TX  679/10  624/15 L--82 L--79 L-101 L--86 L-105  0.0 
15336077  108 GEDALA, AARAV     TX  708*    685*   L--68 L-102 L--61 L--85 F--95  0.0 
15741214  109 TURNER, MARK CHRI TX 1300/00  539/02 L--14 L--98 F-103 U---0 U---0  0.0 
13181604  110 MONTAZERI, EBRAHI TX 1689*   1689*   F--17 U---0 U---0 U---0 U---0  0.0 
15726003  111 ACUNA, ROCKY      TX  155/10  155/10 F--65 U---0 U---0 U---0 U---0  0.0 

Section:         2 SIDE
Section Dates:   2015-06-27 - 2015-06-28
Sec Chief TD:    10399289 JOHN PAUL HYLTIN
Sec Asst Chf TD:  
Stats:           1 Round, 2 Players, 1 Game, Swiss
Rating Stats:    Regular Ratings Full K
Dates:           Received: 2015-06-28, Entered: 2015-06-28, Rated: 2015-06-28
Re-Rated:        2015-07-07
-------- ---- ----------------- -- ------- ------- ----- -----
12228820    1 SHORT, WALLACE B  TX 1207*   1183*   D---2  0.5 
15351451    2 BAO, EDWARD MING  TX  746*    777*   D---1  0.5

Happy Independence Day!

On this day in 1776, fifty-six men representing thirteen colonies in the new world signed the Declaration of Independence, which established the United States of America. At the time, the colonies were under control of Great Britain’s King George III, but war was raging and Britain’s grip on the colonies was finally starting to crumble. The declaration was written in response to new tax laws levied on the colonies by the British government. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, which ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States.

Since that time, the core of what the United States has stood for is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These tenets comprise the basic beliefs of the Founding Fathers that all men have certain rights that cannot be compromised. Though I spend much of my time these days watching in disappointment as many of those tenets are undermined by the efforts of overzealous government, I praise God that I was born into a country that has enabled so many to pursue their dreams to the fullest. I blog about chess because it is a love of mine, but there are places in the world where playing chess is a decadent activity punishable by death.

On this day, Americans everywhere take time not just to remember the sacrifices of service members, but to be thankful for the men and women who had the vision of a nation dedicated to the justified treatment of all people under God. Happy Birthday to the United States of America. Every year I hope and pray that it is not the last.

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


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