Posted June 4, 2021 in Blog Updates

Website Code Refresh and Updates

It’s taken a few weeks, but I’m almost finished with the code refresh and cleaning out all of the junk here on Campfire Chess. You’ll notice that quite a few things have changed. Some are subtle and some are not so subtle. I’m still in the process of going through all of the old content to determine its historical merit. Some older content has been removed because the YouTube videos they reference or the websites/products they reference no longer exist. The world of chess is always changing and so will we. Here’s a brief overview of what’s happening so far:

  • More regular updates of news, events, and games from top players as well as local games and events.
  • Completely redesigned the Downloads page. More game collections are on their way.
  • Realigned all 300+ posts since the website opened to make sure they align with proper categories.
  • Removed 10+ posts referencing websites, products, and YouTube videos that no longer exist.

Additionally, I’m working to add some new features to the site as well.

  • Started working on the chess utility. Right now it’s just a board that can be used for quick online analysis. Eventually it’ll include libraries and openings, but it’s just basic at the moment.
  • More interaction and cross-blogging with Chess.com. Campfire Chess is now a Chess.com premium member and I’d eventually like to feature the content on this website alongside their top blogs as well. You can view certain content from this site cross-blogged here.
  • The YouTube channel for this site is dead, but I hope to revive it before the end of the year with some new content. I just have to decide what kind of chess content I’m going to feature.

I’m very excited to be bringing this project back to life and I hope that you’ll continue to take the journey with me. The best way to engage with Campfire Chess is on our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

2021 Complete Chess Summer Camp

Learn chess this summer with San Antonio Chess Champion
National Chess Master
Jesse James Lozano

This summer, Complete Chess will offer a series of five-day chess camps for children of all grade levels and chess skill sets. Each camp, taught by City Champion Jesse James Lozano and experienced chess coaches, will provide a range of chess related activities including chess lessons, puzzle competitions, blitz games, Bughouse chess, game analysis, tactics training and strategy workshops. To keep camp fun, additional activities include Rubik’s Cube, LEGO, Pokémon and movie night.

Camp Hours
Monday thru Friday 
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Early drop off (8am) is available for an additional $10 per day.
Late pick-up (4 p.m.) is available for an additional $10 per day. 

Cost: $200 (five-day camp) OR
$50 (daily pass)

Can’t commit to a full week of camp?
Try out their daily pass.

Find out more by visiting Complete Chess on their website, Facebook, or
contact them at: (210) 393-3056

Posted June 2, 2021 in News, Saint Louis Chess Club, Tournaments

The Grand Chess Tour 2021

June 3rd marks the beginning of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour, which is a collection of the highest rated tournaments in the world forming a pathway leading up to this year’s World Chess Championship. The upcoming events are:

  • June 3-15: Superbet Chess Classic Romania in Bucharest, Romania
  • June 16-23: Paris Rapid and Blitz in Paris, France
  • July 5-12: Croatia Rapid and Blitz in Zagreb, Croatia
  • August 9-16: Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz in Saint Louis, Missouri
  • August 16-28: Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis, Missoui

This year, the total prize fund is approximately $1.25 million US dollars with a chance for the top three tour finishers to earn a share of an additional $175,000! Live coverage of the games will be provided by Chess.com, Chess24, and by a variety of chess streamers on Twitch.

Posted June 1, 2021 in Chess.com, Game Analysis

Game Analysis: Rolling a Troll?

Have you ever set down to play a game against an opponent who seems hell bent on driving you completely insane with irrational moves? Maybe you’ve played against someone who insists on moving every single pawn forward before activating any of their back pieces. Sometimes, we meet an opponent who defies all traditional logic of the game but can be just as deadly as a precision player. I recently played against an opponent who embodied some of those traits. The first few moves of the game were infuriating and it led to a wild game where the balance tipped many times, but I managed to come out on top.

I doubt that the player himself was trolling me, but it certainly felt like it at times, especially in the opening. Of course, this is a very low rated game and sloppy as hell, but I am pleased with the result given the frustration that played out on the board. This was a daily chess rated game with a time control of one move per 24 hours.

Posted in Social Media

Campfire Chess Socials Live Again!

As you might have noticed, Campfire Chess is slowly roaring back to life after an extended hiatus. The return not only includes some refinements to the design, a code refresh, a complete redesign of the Downloads page, and a few other tweaks…but it also includes the return of our social media accounts. I am doing my best to build a content system where I can consistently update them, but for now, the accounts are active and slowly coming back to life along with the site. If you’re into the social media scene, check us out:

Facebook: Campfire Chess
Twitter: @CampfireChess
Instagram: @CampfireChess

Posted May 31, 2021 in Famous Players, News, Tournaments

Carlsen Wins the FTX Crypto Cup

After struggling a bit in the early rounds, Magnus Carlsen has emerged victorious in the FTX Crypto Cup online tournament. Overall, it was an exciting tournament to follow with many twists and turns. The initial round was filled with close scores and a large number of ties among the players. This eventually whittled down to four players who faced each other over the last two days for a share of the tournament prize. Wesley So battled it out against Magnus in a series of rapid events which ended in a tie between the players. This prompted a blitz playoff that was filled with some interesting and nail biting moments.

Throughout the past couple of days it was apparent that Magnus was struggling with a lack of motivation or from an illness that kept his performance below what we’ve come to expect from the world champion. He even went as far as to mention that he felt like shit during a postgame interview with Chess24 yesterday, which contributed to some of his mistakes on the board. In any case, Carlsen took the crown for this event and took home a $60,000 chunk of the prize fund and 0.6 bitcoin (about $22,000 as of this posting).

For an exceptional analysis of the games in the final matchups, check out this video from Gotham Chess:

Carlsen and many of the familiar GMs on this circuit will reunite on June 26th for the 2021 Grand Prix.

Posted May 28, 2021 in News, Tournaments

FTX Crypto Cup Semis Start Today

In trying to get back into chess regularly, I’ve spent my days at work with the Chess.com streaming broadcast of the FTX Crypto Cup. The games in this tournament so far have ranged from inspiring to head scratching. The roster itself is a who’s who of the best in chess from around the world. Carlsen, Nakamura, So, Giri, and Caruana are just some of the big names rounding out this Champions Chess Tour event. Each player is competing for a chance to participate in the tour’s finale starting on September 25th.

The preliminary round of the FTX Crypto Cup was quite an experience. Magnus Carlsen struggled through much of the round while Fabiano Caruana, who made it a point to tell everyone that he hadn’t played a game of online chess all year, absolutely dominated with a score of 10/15! Carlsen eventually managed to squeak by with a score of 8.5.

The projected Semifinals pairings are Carlsen-Radjabov and Nepomniachtchi-So. I was originally cheering for Nakamura or Caruana but since they’ve been eliminated from the tournament, my money’s on Carlsen.

The Quarter Finals began on May 26th and lasted for two days. Carlsen and Nakamura traded blows back and forth but it was ultimately Magnus that will advance to the Semifinals, which begin later today.

You can watch the games with commentary on ChessTV or the official broadcast on Chess24.

Posted May 25, 2021 in Community, News

The Chess in Slums – Africa Program

Chess is the land of the underdog. It is a world of balance and equity in which a nine year old kid can win against a sixty-five year old adult. Chess knows no age, no religion, no race, no socioeconomic background, or any of the social or political barriers that tend to divide people. When at the chess board, the outcome of the game relies solely on your drive, determination, and your skill. This is why the chess world is filled with stories, books, and movies about people from traditionally underprivileged areas of the world overcoming incredible obstacles and rising to chess greatness. In my opinion, the fact that many of these stories are true and are happening in real time in today’s world is one of the greatest parts of the game as a cultural institution.

A recently established nonprofit called Chess in Slums – Africa, is one such story that is playing out right under our noses and deserves as much attention and support as we can possibly give. Babatunde Onakoya founded Chess in Slums in 2018 as a way of helping impoverished kids improve their education and their lives through hard work and chess. It was chess that helped Babatunde escape the unimaginably grim conditions of the slums in Lagos, Nigeria.

As recently as 2020, Chess.com announced a partnership with Chess in Slums – Africa to help Babatunde promote chess among the slums of Lagos. It is his hope that by learning the game, the children being raised in the squalor of floating homes and debris will gain self confidence and critical thinking skills that can help to further their education and affect overall change in the impoverished areas of the Lagos community.

Are you interesting in contributing to the growing chess community in Lagos? Check out the Chess in Slums – Africa project on its social media accounts or via the email information below.

Image Credit: Daily Sabah, FIDE, Reuters

Posted May 24, 2021 in News, US Chess

US Chess Updates Membership Structure

Reposted from USChess.org

During the Special Delegates Meeting in August 2020, US Chess Delegates adopted a simplified membership structure to reflect changing member preferences and for ease of administration. Before adopting these changes, which take effect on June 1, 2021, US Chess offered more than 25 distinct membership types. After the changes are implemented, the number of membership types will be reduced to 15, which includes options for one- and two-year memberships.

The US Chess Delegates approved a structure that recognizes the following age-level memberships:

  • Adult (25 – 64 years)
  • Young Adult (19 – 24 years)
  • Youth (≤ 18 years)
  • Senior (65 years and older)

US Chess Executive Board Secretary Ryan Velez sees the changes in a positive light. He notes, “The simplification of our membership structure is important to attracting first time members.”

In addition, printed copies of Chess Life or Chess Life Kids will be an add-on to any Adult, Young Adult or Youth membership. Your membership entitles you to purchase one or both at the member rate, set at no more than 105% of printing and mailing costs. For the fiscal year beginning June 1, 2021, the annual subscription cost for Chess Life is $9.35/year (12 issues) and for Chess Life Kids, $4.75/year (6 issues). Current premium members will continue to receive their print magazines; only when you renew your membership will you need to select the add-on option to continue receiving your print magazine.

The digital versions of both magazines remain available to all members, at no additional cost. With changing preferences for how members access published content, the Executive Board and Delegates affirmed those preferences with the new membership structure. Only Life Memberships continue to come with a printed magazine, unless the member has elected otherwise.

Further, the US Chess Newsletter, mailed to Regular Members who opted in to receive it, and the US Chess Scholastic Newsletter, mailed to Regular Scholastic Members who opted in to receive it, will no longer be produced as the “Regular” category will no longer exist.

According to Mike Hoffpauir, US Chess President, “Having run many tournaments over the years, a more-simple membership structure helps with the administration of selling memberships at tournament sites. The “pay-as-you-go” approach for the magazine will give us good data to see who “really” wants the magazine.” Memberships processed before June 1, 2021 will remain with the terms under which they were sold until their date of expiration. That is, all premium memberships sold will continue to receive the printed magazine until that membership expires.

New membership rates are as follows:

  • Adult: $45/one year; $87/two years
  • Senior: $40/one year; $77/two years
  • Young Adult: $27/one year; $51/two years
  • Youth: $20/one year; $37/two years
  • Family Plan 1 (parents and children under age 19, may include college age students up to age 24): $85/one year
  • Family Plan 2 (all children, under age 19 living in a household at same address): $55/one year
Posted October 22, 2020 in Blog Updates

Campfire Chess: A Brief Update

Greetings campers!

It’s hard to believe that we’ve gone almost completely through 2020 without a blog entry here on Campfire Chess. There are many reasons and excuses that I could list, but I’m not sure that any of you are interested in those. If there’s anyone out there still reading the site, then you might be wondering: where the hell is the new content? Well, the truth of the future is much more complicated than I would like to admit. Suffice to say that I have the funds and resources to continue to maintain the site and will do so for as long as I can. I have no intention of taking Campfire Chess off-line anytime soon. In fact, I would love the opportunity to begin writing again regularly. It’s my hope and dream that I’ll be able to do that relatively soon.

In the meantime, to slowly restore site operations and to get myself back into the habit of writing and playing chess regularly, I’ve gone through the campfire chess social media accounts with a fine tooth comb and cleaned out a lot of the junk that has accumulated over the past few years. Hopefully by focusing on the social media accounts to begin with, I’ll be able to work up enough of a content catalog to begin writing again with some relative consistency.

The first order of business here on the website is for me to finally finish the updated downloads page that I’ve been working on for the last year and a half. No, that doesn’t mean that the downloads page is going to be some incredible and earth shattering project. What it really means is that it’s a small update designed to make accessing the information on the page much easier that has taken far longer than I would ever have expected for something of that size. With that in mind, I’m not going to set a date for the possible release of an updated downloads page or any changes to the site because I’m not sure if I’m able to keep those deadlines at this time.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Campfire Chess throughout the years. Your love and support has not gone unnoticed and is deeply appreciated. I still share a passion for chess although my life’s responsibilities and interests have taken me elsewhere. The site will continue to live on and new content is coming. I can only hope that I’m able to produce said content within a reasonable span of time. Until then, please continue to enjoy the archived content that is still posted here on the site and take advantage of the materials available in the downloads page. I look forward to journeying ahead with you all.

Sincerely, Wesley