Posted May 23, 2022 in Blog Updates

Eight Years Around the Campfire!

It’s been quite a ride so far as Campfire Chess celebrates its eighth birthday today! I started writing this blog shortly after closing an astronomy blog I had run for about 10 years called nightShifted Astronomy. Throughout its time, this site has covered world championships, local events, personal struggles, and a variety of topics throughout the chess world.

Campfire Chess began in May 2014 as Off My Chess and has taken many forms throughout the years. I am proud of the work done here and look forward to continuing as I keep playing chess and work to help others get to know the joy of the world’s greatest game.

Happy Birthday, Campfire Chess – A Personal Chess Journey!

Posted April 21, 2022 in Game Analysis, My Chess Journey

Game Analysis – The Missile!

I’ve played some of the best chess of my entire life over the past few months. There were nerve-wrecking wins and heartbreaking losses, but all of them were wonderful opportunities to hone my skills and keep getting better. I chose to analyze and comment on this game because I felt that it is an important instructional moment. My opponent played solid chess until about midway through the game when he made a critical error and allowed me full access to his defenses. I hope you enjoy!

Following this victory, my online rating sits at an astounding (for me) 1340!

Game on, campers!
Ex

Posted April 15, 2022 in Blog Updates, Technology

An Appeal to WordPress

Dear WordPress,

For the love of God, please stop destroying your platform. Campfire Chess runs on a nearly 10-year old WordPress installation and for many years it was unbeatable as a blogging and content management system. More recently it seems that every time I log into my site to make an entry I am confronted with some unnecessary and extremely destructive redesign of basic features. At first it was the Gutenberg editor that divides paragraphs into blocks. Fortunately, there is a plugin to remove that nonsense and return to the classic editor.

And now it’s widgets. The small blocks of interactivity on the right side of Campfire Chess are done with WordPress widgets and until recently, it was a very easy and basic function of site management. Now it’s received its own Gutenberg upgrade an it literally destroyed my sidebar. Fortunately, there is a plugin to remove that nonsense and return to the classic widgets…

Are you noticing the pattern yet?

Come on, guys. Stop ruining a good thing. When the top plugins on your platform are designed to remove some of your most recent added features…take a freakin’ hint.

Non-chess rant over!

Game on, campers!
Ex

Posted April 11, 2022 in My Chess Journey

My Best Rating Improvement Ever!

Pretty much everything in my life over the last year has been a whirlwind, and chess was not exempt from that chaos. It had been a long time since I played chess regularly when I started playing again in May of 2021. So many times before I would dive headfirst into chess with an massively unrealistic set of goals and expectations. Eventually I’d realize that those goals were unachievable and give up chess for a while.

This time, things have been different…

Focusing heavily on Daily (e-correspondence) chess, I’ve seen a massive improvement in the quality of my gameplay and my overall rating. What was typically a 50-100 point increase had jumped threefold over the past twelve months with a monumental jump from 800 to 1300 ELO!

There have been bumps in the road along the way, but the quality of my play and my confidence has gradually increased throughout the year. It was only recently that I took time to pull up my stats on Chess.com and see how much I have actually improved. But what exactly has changed from before?

Well, for starters, I’ve switched to much slower forms of chess. I’ve realized that my PTSD does not give me the focus and response time necessary to play blitz and bullet chess for serious rating. They’re okay for fun, but they’re often brutally messy and not nearly as positive an outcome as the more classical variants and daily chess. In addition, I’ve been regularly watching YouTube chess videos and reading through games of my favorite players (Morphy, Fischer, Larsen, etc.). Occasionally I’ll recognize a position or tactic in one of my games that I’ve seen in those books, but mostly reading keeps me in the mode and focused on playing the game.

Here’s a perfect example of recent play that I’m very proud of. This particular game was rough and ended with a beautiful tactic to win my opponent’s queen:

There’s still so much to learn and so much to do! I recognize that it takes hard work to play this game and I don’t expect to ever play at a master level. I also recognize that I’ll face slumps and dips, but I am reaching a point where I feel confident enough that I can continue to play and improve in a way that is reasonable and reachable.

Game on, Campers!
Ex

Posted December 10, 2021 in Campfire Digest

Campfire Digest – December 10, 2021

Good Morning, campers! Welcome to Campfire Chess Digest for Friday, December 10, 2021! The World Chess Championship 2021 is still underway and it has certainly had a share of ups and downs, breathtaking and disappointing moments. There’s still much more chess to come before the year is done!

Here’s some of the best chess action we’ve seen this week:

Magnus Carlsen is…once again…World Chess Champion

https://www.chess.com/news/view/fide-world-chess-championship-2021-game-11
Magnus Carlsen cruised to defend his World Championship title for the fifth time this week against Ian Nepomniachtchi. It was one of the most lopsided and unusual championships I can recall. Ian just couldn’t capitalize on several opportunities presented to him by Magnus. And for another two years, Norway is king of world chess.

A World Record at the World Chess Championship

https://en.chessbase.com/post/world-championship-2021-g6
Magnus Carlsen came out on top of an incredible 136 move game that set a world record for the longest chess game played in a world championship. The previous title was held by Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi in the 1978 World Chess Championship.

A Century of Chess: Karlsbad 1907

https://www.chess.com/blog/kahns/a-century-of-chess-karlsbad-1907
Long before the Soviet Empire dominated the professional chess world, the German Empire’s elite held firmly to the title of the world’s best chess players. This exceptional article from Chess.com (a rarity these days) explores Akiba Rubinstine’s rise to prominence in the early part of the twentieth century.

World Rapid and Blitz Coming to Warsaw

https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-world-rapid-and-blitz-championships-will-take-place-in-warsaw
The FIDE World Rapid and Blitz tournament will soon be making its way to Warsaw beginning on Christmas Day and running through December 31st.

Posted December 3, 2021 in Campfire Digest

Campfire Digest – December 3, 2021

Good Morning, campers! Welcome to Campfire Chess Digest for Friday, December 3, 2021! As you read this, the 2021 World Chess Championship rages (if you can call it that) in Dubai between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi. There’s no clear leader at this point but Nepo certainly put Magnus on the ropes a few times going into Thursday’s rest day.

Here’s some of the best chess action we’ve seen this week:

Anish Giri Annotates WCC 2021 Game 5

https://en.chessbase.com/post/world-championship-2021-g5-expert-annotations
After the sleeper draw that was Game 5 of the World Chess Championship, GM Anish Giri published a very nice annotated game outlining some of the missed opportunities for both players.

Hikaru Nakamura Departs the FIDE World Ranking List

https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-new-fide-world-ranking-list-december-2021
GM Hikaru Nakamura was nowhere to be found on the newly published FIDE World Ranking List because he has not been active in international tournament play for quite some time. He’s mostly traded those commitments for a life on Twitch these days.

Chess.com Remains Undisputed Clickbait Article Champion

https://www.chess.com/article/view/chess-coms-holiday-gift-buying-guide
Ten ways to mate your opponent in five moves… Ten streamers you wouldn’t want to play blitz with… and the list goes on and on. Maybe we could start making a list of Chess.com’s most click-baity articles. In any case, this year’s “Buying Guide” for the holidays is no better than the website’s recent forays into Bitcoin, PogChamps, and other nonsensical stuff.

Levon Aronian Joins the US Chess Federation

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/levon-aronian-completes-transfer-to-usa
The United States continues to build an impressive roster of players with the recent addition of GM Levon Aronian. He joins the ranks of recent additions such as GMs Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana.

The World Chess Championship 2021 continues today in Dubai live via Chess24’s YouTube channel. Chess.com has a stream with GMs Hess and Caruana, but I recommend the Chess24 stream as its less headache-inducing.

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.

Posted June 1, 2021 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 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

Posted January 15, 2019 in Blog Updates

Cleaning Out the Dust!

Whew! This place is dusty! There are spider webs all over the place and it is obvious that the power went out at some point on this website because there is a funky green mold growing in… Oh, nevermind. Greetings, Campers! Welcome back to Campfire Chess, an amateur chess blog that has seen better days. Seriously.

So, today you might have noticed (or not) the first official blog post since May 2018 and the first significant visual upgrades since 2017. Well, I decided to re-open the site’s core this morning and I was shocked to see how neglected it had become. At one point, Campfire Chess was my crowning (pun intended) achievement! It was heartbreaking to see how much the challenges of the past year had allowed it to decay.

Fear not, however! I have cleaned out the dirt, busted the spider webs, and made some minor upgrades to the site’s visuals and operational elements. It is my hope over the next few months to get back to regular chess blogging. Before I do that, I have to get back to regular chess playing, which is something sorely lacking for me these days.

I am working on that! I promise! In the meantime, continue to check back here for new content or follow Campfire Chess on any of its social media platforms using the navigation menu above.

See you on the board!