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Dr.Dave's Brain Sharpening Kit

Sorry if that sounds a bit alarming!  What I mean is, after the summer break, you might find that your usual tactical sharpness has gone a bit rusty. 

To get back to your normal diamond-honed sharpness, you just need you get your eye back in with some practice.

Some things to practice are:

Towards a self-explanatory chess set

I had a cheerful exchange recently with a correspondent, who wanted to teach her daughter how to play chess, and was attracted to the Children's Chess Set (from Devon's very own House of Marbles).  I like that set a lot, and in a similar vein you can still get hold

Kriegspiel

We were on display last Sunday at CCANW [ http://www.ccanw.co.uk/ ], and one of the things I thought to show the crowds was Kriegspiel - one form of chess that might count as a spectator sport. It's a sort of a cross between chess and battleships. We had a go on Tuesday night with Jeremy, Charlie and Jon.

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PPPPPPPP
RNBQKBNR

White looking North

rnbqkbnr
pppppppp
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PPPPPPPP
RNBQKBNR

Umpire

Black looking South

rnbqkbnr
pppppppp
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The way it works is this:

Endgame study

Two things to think about today: a study by Dierdle and a game by Capa. We did each as an exercise, trying to work out the best moves for each side.

[Event "K+P vs K+P"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1921.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "NN"]
[Black "NN"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Annotator "Dierdle"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/6k1/8/8/p7/8/1PK5/8 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "12"]

*

[pgn]
[Event "Havana"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1913.??.??"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Capablanca, Jose"]
[Black "Kupchik, Abraham"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C49"]
[PlyCount "135"]
[EventDate "1913.??.??"]

Opening Workshop 2012

Two open gambits

Richard was interested in the Urusoff Gambit and Eddie in the Scotch Gambit.
Gambits offer a pawn for fast development and/or control of the centre. I approve very much of this way of playing, and it's the first thing I offer juniors as an alternative to playing Old Stodge with both White and Black in every game.

Here's a starter for each:
[pgn]
[Event "Urusov Gambit"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2012.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "White"]
[Black "Black"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "A00"]
[PlyCount "19"]

Isolated Queen's Pawns - another go

Isolated Queen's Pawns - another go.

If you have an Isolated Queen's Pawn, you have outposts on c5 and e5, a half-open e-file, more space, more mobility, and more chances of attacking - on either side, I guess, but the e5 outpost suggests the King's-side. On a good day, it works like this:

Botvinnik-Vidmar 1936

Eton ruffles

A report of the visit of the Devon County U18 Chess Team to compete in the English Junior County Championships.

National report: http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=3777&hilit=eton&start=15#p...
Local Report : http://www.chessdevon.co.uk/HTML/News/TBGS/base.htm and PHOTO http://www.chessdevon.co.uk/DSCN2758.JPG
Results: http://www.bjca.org.uk/results.php?eid=1716

Every mistake has two sides

In making notes on games, I've probably explained lots of chess mistakes, and why they were mistakes. I might say, this Black move is a mistake, because White now plays A, and this works because if B then C and if D then E. (Or, White should have played A, etc.)

But there is another side to each mistake, which I can't tell anything about, but which perhaps you can, and you should try. A mistake in a chess move is also a mistake in thinking.

Storm on a chessboard

A few years ago I was interested in David Pritchard's account of an original
French game (Tempête sur l'échiquier) in his book of chess variants. I found
the artwork a delight, and was curious recently to try and discover what had
been made of it since - in particular, if there is now an English version.
Indeed there is, released by Steve Jackson games:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knightmare_Chess

And it has a fan page:

http://knightmarechess.tripod.com/thegame_r.html.

The team at Chess Variants led by the indefatigable Hans Bodlaender give

Endgame workout

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Chess Quotes

(after 1 d4, Nf6; 2 c4, g6; 3 Nf3, Bg7; 4 g3, O-O; 5 Bg2, d6; 6 O-O, c5; 7 Nc3, Nc6; 8 d5, Na5)
"Many are of the opinion that the Knight on QR4(a5) does not participate fully in the struggle, while others hold that, on the contrary, in view of Black's coming Q-side pawn advance and pressure against White's QB4(c4), his position is quite satisfactory. These debates are futile. The important thing is to see clearly what is positive and what is negative in the position of the Knight, and act accordingly when choosing a strategic plan."
— MAROVIC and SUSIC