Complete Chess Scholastic Tournament

Complete Chess in San Antonio is holding an online tournament for scholastic chess players (K-12) from any state on Friday, June 25th and Saturday, June 26th. Registration is limited to 50 people, so hurry now to register if you’re interested. See the release below from Complete Chess for details:

Complete Chess Scholastic Tournament – Saturday, June 26th

This is an unrated chess tournament open to all students(K-12) in San Antonio and nearby areas. We will play on Saturday at 10a.m. until finish (usually around 1p.m). Registration online only, no registration on site. Registration ends at 8:00pm on Friday.

FREE TOURNAMENT – LIMIT 50 PEOPLE FOR THIS EVENT.

Register Here

Complete Chess Grand Prix Tournament – Friday, June 25th

This is our weekly online rated Swiss Scholastic arena tournament on Lichess. The tournament will run on Friday, June 25th and the first round will start promptly at 5:15 pm CST. Any K-12 players from any state are allowed to participate in the tournament. By the end of the tournament, a running total of points will be collected, based on the number of wins/draws, and it will be recorded on the website. The 2021 Complete Chess Summer Season will continue to have weekly tournaments until the second week of August. By the end of the Season, the top 10 players with the most points will each receive an individual trophy.

Entry fee: $15 if received by June 24th, and $25 on tournament day.

Register Here

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 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 December 5, 2019 in Computer Chess, Other, Tournaments, US Chess

A Discussion About Electronic Notation Devices

Strange things are afoot in the chess world…

In March of this year, I had an opportunity to test and review the ChessNoteR, an electronic notation device (END) for chess tournaments created by independent developer Black Mirror Studio. I really liked the device and I have used it in several games. However, ChessNoteR is at the heart of a growing discussion in the chess world about the future of the game and how ENDs fit into the equation.

The Churning Volcano

The US Chess Federation published its reviewed electronic device policy on their website back in September with little deviation from previously understood policies. In general, electronic devices are forbidden from use in tournaments to include music players, cell phones, computers, and others. Only certified devices are authorized. However, the policy grants wide freedom to individual tournament organizers to set additional rules for END use.

ChessNoteR

The ChessNoteR electronic notation device.

On November 1st of this year, the Continental Chess Association elected to modify their tournament rules and outright ban use of the ChessNoteR device in its tournaments.

> Electronic Scoresheets are usually permitted if approved by USCF or FIDE. However, effective 12/26/19, use of the device ChessNoteR is not allowed. Any player using this device must discontinue use upon request, in which case, assuming no evidence of cheating, there is no penalty.

I have looked and there does not seem to be any specific incident mentioned in forums and in the official USCF groups that explains why this decision was made by CCA other than an arbitrary desire to eliminate ChessNoteR use from their tournaments. As I previously mentioned, this is in line with the revised US Chess END policy. Unfortunately, there is no need for TDs to explain why they enacted a restriction.

My biggest issue with the ban is the arbitrary decision to ban only the ChessNoteR device. I believe that US Chess should clarify in its ruleset that TDs can authorize or forbid use of any END in a tournament. In my opinion, the banning of specific devices and manufacturers sounds suspect.

The Heated Argument

In my opinion, the growing discussion goes much deeper than the perception of security vulnerabilities in ChessNoteR. Instead, I think that this speaks to a larger challenge within the chess community. It is a discussion that has brought strife to nearly every sport, hobby, and human activity throughout history: the old vs. the new.

Plycounter - No longer available

The Plycounter – a discontinued electronic notation device.

There are many people out there with exaggerated perceptions of the dangers of using electronic devices. In chess, using almost any type of electronic device during a game, whether its approved or not, is bound to raise a few eyebrows. That is because the only time these devices are mentioned by chess media is when they are used for nefarious purposes. Whether it is the GM in the bathroom using Stockfish or the absurd accusations of a playing hiding a chess engine in her lipstick, the general (and older) chess population appear to be hesitant on allowing technology to replace traditional pen and paper.

ChessNoteR remains certified by US Chess, and I do not see that changing anytime soon. Not all TDs may agree with the use of ENDs, but US Chess is right in certifying and promoting these devices. Players and TDs should be given a choice over the use of these devices. Restriction at a national level would be an arbitrary rejection of progress for the game as a whole. While the process remains somewhat clunky, I believe that technology will eventually evolve to where use of ENDs is more convenient and encouraged than traditional methods, but that is just my personal opinion.

A Compromise Solution?

Regardless of the way forward, I believe that US Chess must approach future END endeavors thoughtfully and strategically. I support the right of individual tournaments to ban the use of these devices, but I believe that US Chess should consider:

  • Promoting and encouraging the use of these devices where appropriate. ENDs can be very beneficial for people with disabilities.
  • Forbidding the arbitrary ban of specific devices and manufacturers. TDs should be restricted to authorizing or forbidding all ENDs from their tournaments.

I am saddened by the ChessNoteR ban from CCA events, but I understand it. At the end of the day, CCA is following the rules set out by US Chess, which I believe are fair and broad enough to allow TDs to effectively manage the use of these devices. However, as I said before, I believe that these bans should not target specific devices or manufacturers as it sets a bad precedent.

Posted April 1, 2019 in Famous Players, Tournaments, US Chess

Nakamura and Yu are US Champions!

Another US Chess Championship has come and gone with GM Hikaru Nakamura claiming his 5th national championship title! There was a last minute push by former champion GM Fabiano Caruana, but he was unable to hold off a draw with GM Sam Shankland. Going into the tournament final, Nakamura and Caruana were tied with Leinier Dominguez for first place, but Nakamura was able to pound out a fine win to reclaim the title.

I was impressed with Nakamura’s performance considering that he also streamed regularly on his Twitch channel during the competition!

Just two days prior, 17-year old Jennifer Yu improved over her 2018 6.5/11 result to claim the title of 2019 US Women’s Chess Champion. Yu’s play was as solid as anything we’ve ever seen from her; solidifying her place among the great modern female chess players.

Congratulations to both players for a job well done! Read more on the official press releases (Nakamura)(Yu) on the official US Chess website.

Posted February 12, 2019 in San Antonio Chess Club, Texas, US Chess

San Antonio Chess Club Announces New Officers

A new year is fully underway and the San Antonio Chess Club has elected new officers for its executive board.

  • President: Rosalinda Romo
  • Vice President: Joel Salinas
  • Treasurer: Juan Carrizales
  • Director-At-Large: JP Hyltin
  • Webmaster: Martin Gordon

Founded in 1888, the San Antonio Chess Club is the oldest chess club in the state of Texas. They currently meet at the Lions Field Center on Broadway from 1730-2100 every Thursday (except holidays). They are also the official governing body for US Chess activities and tournaments in the greater San Antonio area.

The club is currently exploring ways to expand chess activities in scholastic and amateur arenas across the city. If you’re interest in joining or would like more information, check out their official website for details.

Posted January 15, 2019 in Computer Chess, US Chess

Time for New Annotations?

This month’s edition of Chess Life has an interesting article advocating for changes to the way that we annotate chess games. The author, GM Andy Soltis, presents his argument on the basis that engines have changed the way games are analyzed in such a way that statements like White has a slight advantage are no longer relevant. I think that he raises some interesting points, but I am not sure that the changes to evaluations brought on by engine analysis warrant such a complete and drastic overhaul.

Humanity’s Slight Advantage

One of the key points in the discussion is the idea that in many situations, X color has a slight advantage can hinge on whether the player does not blunder. Therefore, the annotation is more realistic as X color has a slight advantage as long as they play perfectly according to this analysis. GM Soltis believes that the precision of chess engines allows us more accurately present lines as White wins with X move or Black wins in 37 moves with X.

This precision is compounded with the growing prevalence of tablebases. Recently, lichess.org has started offering an incredible seven (7) piece tablebase. Technological advancement only promises a future where we could surpass a ten (10) piece tablebase. That accuracy lends some credence to GM Soltis’s argument.

Despite these advances and despite my passion for technology, I believe that there are artistic and strategic elements in chess that computers might never understand or utilize. Stockfish can analyze millions of combinations in hindsight and state unequivocally that white can win in 37 moves without a blunder, but humans are not capable of that kind of analysis. With humanity, there is always a chance of blunder, mistake, or other factor that can affect a game’s outcome.

Room to Grow

GM Soltis makes some excellent suggestions with regards to these engine analysis comments, however. Specifically, using ~ versus !? because it more accurately reflects the nearly infinite possibilities presented in post-game analysis by a strong chess engine. Such a change might take some time to catch on, but it would make reading an in-depth analysis easier for newer generations that have grown up in the age of the hashtag, markdown format, and other digital mediums.

As a medical professional who spends his time pouring over spreadsheets and other electronic data, it would be nice to see more of the standard notations from large data sets and relational databases make their way into chess annotation because, curiously, it’s more in line with what is increasingly becoming a common language in the digital age.

Posted October 14, 2017 in Community, Fun Stuff, US Chess

Today is National Chess Day!

Good morning, Campers! Today is National Chess Day in the United States! Established in 1976, the holiday recognizes the benefits of chess to mental and social development as well as it’s links to improved quality of life. Clubs and individuals across the country will be setting up their boards to play the royal game in celebration of its national recognition.

 

Here are just a few things you can do today to participate:

  • US Chess Events: A comprehensive list of all US Chess sponsored events throughout the nation.
  • In Dallas, the Dallas Chess Club is hosting its 2017 National Chess Day FIDE Weekend Open Tournament.
  • In Dayton, Ohio (my hometown), the Dayton Chess Club is hosting the 5th Annual Wright Brothers Open.

In addition to these events and the myriad of chess activities available on lichess.org, Chess.com and others, I have curated a small playlist of chess videos for you to enjoy on YouTube. Check out the Campfire Chess YouTube Channel for more information.