NJ PRBLEMsm Chess Services

Chess is a great equalizer. It does not require any great expense to participate. The disadvantaged can learn chess on a hand drawn set and board. The privileged can learn on a set and board fit for collectors. Each has an equal chance of winning the game.

Are you unfamiliar with chess but interested in learning? NJ PRBLEMsm. Contact drchip@noproblemcs.com or chesslady@noproblemcs.com to help you get started. We can provide private instruction for beginners of all ages and put you in contact with intermediate and advanced level tutors and coaches as your progress dictates. We can also provide group instruction for beginning adults and put you in contact with those who can provide group instruction for children.

CHESS AS AN ACTIVITY IN SCHOOLS

Chess is gaining wide acceptance both as an after school activity and in school curricula. Children enjoy chess. They have fun. They learn at the same time. They become prepared for life. They will be able to avoid the temptations of teens such as drugs, violence, teen sex, and others, because they will be able to foresee the consequences. It is not enough to say "no". Chess provides something to which you can say "yes". Whether chess is used to teach math, reading, critical thinking, or another subject, it is invaluable in the classroom. There is already a wide network of coaches and teachers that are bringing chess to the schools. That network needs to grow. Volunteers are needed that can help teach teachers to teach chess. If you are interested or know someone who is interested please send e-mail to chesslady@noproblemcs.com.

THE RULES OF CHESS

The rules of chess as played in international competition are documented in "The Laws of Chess", available as a book or online in the Handbook at the website of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). The rules of chess as played in US competition are documented by the US Chess Federation (USCF) in "The US Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess", available as a book which also includes the FIDE Laws of Chess and other related information. Updates to the USCF Official Rules of Chess are maintained on the USCF website. Questions regarding the rules of chess are answered on the Arbiter page. Anyone who has a question about a rule or its interpretation is encouraged to send e-mail to arbiter@noproblemcs.comwith the question. It will be answered by e-mail and included in the Ask the Arbiter page.

PAWN PALS

Correspondence Chess has always been enjoyable as a way to play chess and meet geographically diverse opponents in the process for very little cost. Especially in High School, the pen pal aspect of correspondence chess has always been popular. Today it has become easier to find chess opponents throughout the world. Not only are correspondence games conducted via the postal service, but chess proliferates on the Internet as well. Chess can now be played by mail, by phone (this is great for shut-ins), by e-mail, or over the World Wide Web.

CHESS CLUBS provide good social experiences and a positive alternative for today's youth - and adults.

Have you thought about starting or sponsoring a chess club or implementing chess as an activity in your "Boy's & Girls' Club", scout troop, church or synagogue, "Y", community center, or adult center, but aren't sure what to do or how to do it? NJ PRBLEMsm. Contact drchip@noproblemcs.com or chesslady@noproblemcs.com to help you get started. Visit the United States Chess Federation (USCF) at www.uschess.org for additional help. A brief summary of the basic moves of chess is available in English ("Let's Play Chess") and Spanish ("Juguemos Ajedrez") at no cost from the USCF. Schools, clubs, and other organizations can get them in volume at no cost. Other helpful materials, such as "How to Start a Chess Club" and"A Guide to Scholastic Chess" are also available from USCF.

CHESS EVENTS

There are many types of chess events and they all provide great opportunities for social interaction between people of all ages and backgrounds.

CHESS CHAMPIONSHIPS AND TOURNAMENTS

Chess tournaments range from small events designed to encourage competition and provide ratings to large events designed to offer large prize funds and significant titles. Cities and states often have championship tournaments, both for national rating and just for fun. Sometimes a chess tournament can be part of a fair or festival or convention. Sometimes it can be a serious competition between professional players.

Would you like to hold a chess competition as part of a larger event that you are running or as a separate event? NJ PRBLEMsm. Contact drchip@noproblemcs.com or chesslady@noproblemcs.com for help in organizing the competition or if you need a tournament director or arbiter. We can offer decades of tournament direction experience or you can visit the United States Chess Federation at www.uschess.org for information on how to become a tournament director yourself.

SIMULTANEOUS EXHIBITIONS

A simultaneous exhibition is where one or more strong chessplayers compete against a large number of opponents at the same time. These events are always fun to watch as well as to be a participant. In some cases the player will conduct a "blindfold" exhibition where he or she plays against a number of players simultaneously without looking at any board.

Would you like to draw attention to your shopping mall, store, or celebration by having a player compete against the public in a simultaneous exhibition? NJ PRBLEMsm. Contact drchip@noproblemcs.com or chesslady@noproblemcs.com to explore possibilities.

 SPEED CHESS AND TIME ODDS

The last minute of a speed chess game will often provide more action than a ping pong match to the observer. Each player is allowed five minutes to win the game. If the player has not won the game by the time five minutes has expired, the player loses the game. Time is kept separately, so at no time will both players' clocks be running. Speed chess side events can be found at many major scholastic and adult national tournaments. A popular variant is chess at time odds. This is where the entire game is scheduled to last a specific length of time, usually 30 minutes, with the time apportioned between the players based on rating difference (relative strength). It is not unusual for a beginner to have 28 minutes against a strong player's 2 minutes. Would you like to hold a chess event but have severe time limitations? NJ PRBLEMsm. This may be an answer. Contact drchip@noproblemcs.com or chesslady@noproblemcs.com to evaluate options.

CHESS VARIATIONS

There are a number of popular variations of chess that are played at clubs and frequently online as well. Among these are:

Bughouse or Double Bughouse - A four player game between two teams of two partners each. One partner plays white on one board and the second partner plays black on the other board. When a player captures a piece it is given to his or her partner on the other board who can put it into play on that board as their own piece. It is normally played at a 5 minute per game time control and is very popular in scholastic tournaments. In fact national scholastic championship tournaments usually include a bughouse tournament as a side event

Crazyhouse - This is essentially a two player version of Bughouse. Pieces captured by one player can be put back on the board as the player's own pieces. Much of the popularity of Bughouse comes from the team or partner factor, which is not present in Crazyhouse. Both can be used for recreation and releasing tension after a serious game. A game similar to Crazyhouse was marketed by 3M as "Neo Chess" a number of years ago. It used cylindrical pieces that were white on one end and black on the other to make the change of sides easy. Recently Crazyhouse has been resurrected in online play, where software can convert the pieces. If played over the board with standard sets it would require two sets.

Giveaway or Suicide - This is not really a chess variant as the objective is different, but it is played with chess pieces. The idea is to deliberately get rid of all of your pieces, including your king. It can increase the player's understanding of how the pieces move, but there are better ways to do that.

Kriegspiel - Literally "War Game" or "War Play", this variation transforms chess into a war game simulation by keeping the opponent's moves concealed. The players can only see their own boards. They are separated from each other. A referee has a third board on which the actual game is documented. The referee will only allow legal moves to be made and provides some useful information to the players (you have captured a piece, you are in check along the long diagonal, etc.). This is a good spectator game because of the unusual positions that arise on the referee's board (the actual game). It can help develop an understanding of positions, especially in the endgame where a king is attempting to avoid checkmate. There are formal and informal versions. The formal version does not use the touch move rule and allows players to try various moves to help deduce the actual position on the board. The informal version enforces the touch move rule and will require that the first legal move attempted be made.

Random Chess - Pal Benko, Arthur Bisguier, and, more recently, Bobby Fischer, are among the Grandmasters that have advocated a form of random chess. The idea is for each player to set up their home row of pieces in non-standard arrangements so that the players are truly competing over the board rather than against each other's libraries.

CHESS PROBLEMS - Chess problems are really puzzles that involve chess positions. Most of them are solved through use of the rules of chess, although some may involve special rules. They are a good way to get started with chess and are very popular even with people that are not chess players. A typical chess problem may show a position with a few pieces on a chessboard diagram and the instructions are to find the moves that will enable white (or black) to win in a specific number of moves (usually two or three). Despite their simplicity, chess problems can be constructed that could take masters hours to solve. Considering that there can be that much of a challenge in a problem where there are only a few pieces on the board, the solver knows who will win and how many moves it will take, think of the real challenge of the game of chess. Each player is confronted with a chess problem after every move. There can be as many as 32 pieces on the board, there is no knowledge of who will win or how many moves it will take, and players are often on restricted time. On the other extreme, simple problems can be constructed that are very instructional and illustrate ideas in chess strategy and tactics. Often these can be solved in less than a minute by people who understand the principle involve. These are frequently used in chess instruction. Chess problems range from being easy for a beginner to solve to being difficult for a master to solve. Most newspapers that have chess columns will also have chess problems.

Chess problems are also very useful in helping develop thinking skills. All require that the problem solver find a specific series of moves (events) that will unavoidably lead to a given result. A special type of chess problem, popularized by Raymond Smullyan, utilizes retrograde analysis, in which the solver must determine how key pieces in a problem got to the squares on which they are shown. This enables the solver to gain experience working backward from a known situation to infer what happened in the past.

ONLINE CHESS

One of the advantages of playing chess online is that you can usually find a wide variety of opponents from all over the world who are ready and willing to play chess with you when you want to play, on a 24 hour per day / 7 day per week basis. Most online sites and chess servers allow chatting and observing as well as playing. Whether you want to play, observe games played by top level players, take chess lessons, or simply discuss chess ideas with others, you should consider going to an online chess site. There are several common types of online chess sites. The first is the chess server, which is a site dedicated to online chess play. An alternative for online play is to go to the games area of a major Internet portal. Chess servers usually attract stronger players and offer many more features and special events than you can find at a portal site. There are also online game sites that include chess that are not really chess servers. Another type of online chess site is the online chess club, normally oriented toward the person with a casual interest in chess for fun. Their primary focus is social interaction between people who share an interest in chess.

Go to CHESS SERVERS for a list and description of several popular chess servers. If you know of any additional chess servers that you like and would like to see added to this list, please contact drchip@noproblemcs.com or chesslady@noproblemcs.com.

ONLINE CHESS CLUBS are places to go to discuss chess and, in some cases play online or by e-mail. There are numerous online chess clubs and they can be found on most Internet portal sites. They differ widely in content and orientation. Yahoo, for example, has many listed and unlisted chess clubs. One of the more popular online chess clubs is the 65th square club on Yahoo, which has its own website.

CHESS RELATED LINKS (Each link contains many more links of its own. Check them out.) Please note that when you follow any link you are no longer on the NJ PRBLEMsm CS site and NJ PRBLEMsm CS has no control over or responsibility for the content of the linked site.

CHESS CAF (Thanks to Hanon Russell for this excellent site)

CHESS FAQ (Thanks to Steven Pribut for maintaining this FAQ)

FIDE (World Chess Federation - Now includes FIDE Handbook, Laws of Chess, lists, and much more- site very much improved)

INSIDE CHESS (GM Yasser Seirawan's popular magazine is now only available online)

KASPAROV CHESS (Formerly Club Kasparov - Garry Kasparov's site)

TWIC (The Week in Chess - A daily update and weekly summary of chess news and games from around the world sponsored by the London Chess Centre. Thanks to Mark Crowther for providing this primary reference.)

USCF (United States Chess Federation)


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Last updated 07/09/01 Rev 6.0