Saturday, July 31, 2010
Interview with IM Daniel Rensch
Interview with IM Daniel Rensch, President of American Chess Events, co-Director of Content for Chess.com and Chesskid.com, and Assistant Manager of the Arizona Scorpions
EV: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us (me). I want to start with talking about your websites, because I’m a big fan. Tell us about your involvement with chess.com and chesskid.com: how long have you been working there and what’s it like?
DR: I have been working for Chess.com -- and by extension ChessKid.com -- since March of 2010. Chess.com has been around for a few years now, and has grown to become the World's #1 Chess Web Site. The extension of ChessKid.com was part of the reason I was hired. IM Pruess was the sole "Director of Content and Professional Relations" -- But now we are "Co" Directors. ChessKid.com was started to create an educational, kid friendly, and most importantly -- SAFE place for kids to learn, play and have fun online with chess.
EV: Was there a particular reason you were hired to do the scholastic bit? Have you had lots of scholastic experience? Or were you brought on to share both tasks?
DR: I have contributed to the site in efficiency -- as now there are two Danny and Davids :) -- But although I don't think I was hired ONLY because of ChessKid.com, it has kind of worked out naturally, because I am more affiliated with the scholastic chess community (via by business American Chess Events LLC) than David is. Nowadays I am spending a significant amount of time trying to make people aware of how wonderful ChessKid.com is, as well as the features and safety functions that separate our site...
EV: Tell us about the safety features. If I’m a sexual predator, how do you stop me? Or is it a no chatting site?
DR: Well, that is EXACTLY the point! Our site is loaded with tons of tools -- videos, articles, tactic trainers, computer play, live play between the kids, etc -- BUT the main thing is that there is no "chat access" with children on our site. No Guardian/Adult account can ever become friends or relate with children that are not his/her own in some way (either because they are the parent or the coach of that child)... Our videos do NOT have comment threads, our articles do not have the ability to post rude notes or even polite compliments, there is no "kibitzing" during live chess play... And those points are huge in regards to a child's safety and learning experience online!
Friday, July 30, 2010
Tarragona, Pan Ams, Chicken/Egg
I am in beautiful Tarragona, spending my days at the beach, walking around the old town, and reading a book I can´t put down, A Fraction of the Whole, by Steve Toltz.
NEW YORK (July 29, 2010) - Chicken & Egg Pictures, the hybrid film fund
and non-profit production company dedicated to supporting women
filmmakers, is proud to announce the grant recipients from the 2010
Spring Open Call.
Now in its fifth year of operation, with over $1.5 million in grants and over
3,000 mentorship hours provided to women filmmakers, Chicken & Egg
Pictures is indeed ''incubating and hatching all at once.''
I BELIEVE IN YOU GRANTS
I Believe in You grants are made at varying stages of the production and
post-production process. They offer a filmmaker the freedom to explore her
vision, kick-off and develop a project, find grace and clarity in creative chaos,
spend time in the edit room or serve as a bridge to her next goal. Films that
received this grant and have recently went on to great success include Monica
and David by Alexandra Codina (Winner of Best Documentary Feature at
Tribeca 2010, forthcoming HBO broadcast) and Wo Ai Ni Mommy by
Stephanie Wang-Breal (Winner of Best Documentary Feature at Silverdocs
2010, forthcoming PBS/POV broadcast).
I Believe in You grantees from the Chicken & Egg Pictures 2010 Spring
Open Call announced today are:
CHESS MOVIE (working title), directed by Katie Dellamaggiore (NYC)
A squat concrete building on an inner-city block, Intermediate School 318 in
Brooklyn, New York may not impress from the outside, but inside Ms. Vicary's
classroom, something special is happening. Here, hundreds of students have
learned to play chess, one of the world's oldest and most complex games.
I.S. 318 boasts the best junior high chess program in the nation, despite a high
percentage of student poverty.This year, chess team members learn that being
the best isn't easy, especially when state and city-wide budget cuts threaten
their beloved afterschool program. (Editing)
help Joshua Colas go to the World Youth!
Joshua Colas is raising money to help fund his trip to the World Youth in Spain. He´s a super- nice, super-talented, very deserving kid. See a video here of him on Fox News.
If you're interested in helping Joshua get to Greece, or to help procure a coach, please send an email to:
You can also make a tax-deductible contribution to a nonprofit. Write checks out to "Foundation for Public Education in White Plains Inc." with this note in the memo line: "Joshua Colas - Chess."
Send checks to:
Foundation for Public Education
c/o 3 Milford Close
White Plains, NY 10606
9Queens Annual Appeal!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
photos from London!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
foodscapes, free money!!
more cool foodscapes
Friday, July 16, 2010
come play chess!
Chess Action Series # 1 (USCF Dual Rated)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 + Tuesday, July 20, 2010
6 Rounds of G/30 (3 rounds each night)
Tuesday July 27, 2010 + Tuesday Aug. 3, 2010
I finish my CLEP tests!
I was quite proud of myself on today's test. While in Dallas for the US Chess School I broke out in a itchy red full body rash: really horrible and I couldn't stop scratching myself. I went to a doctor yesterday and he told me it was an allergic reaction and gave me a steroid injection + pills and took my blood to test it. (I suspect it will turn out to be walnuts, because I've been eating a crazy amount of them lately.) In any case, before it got so bad that I went to the doctor, I had been self-medicating with antihistamines, to try to reduce my body's freak-outy-ness.
Then on the psychology test today, I was asked what a histronic personality disorder is, and I realized "hist" might mean "things that come out of you" and correctly chose the answer of someone who is inappropriately flamboyant, attention seeking, or hypersexual.
I would like to thank Josh from Speedyprep.com, who gave me a free trial of their CLEP prep program. I thought it was quite good. (I wouldn't have spent the 3-4 hours I did with it if it wasn't decent.) For $9.95 for the first month, it's a much better deal than the official CLEP guide (=completely worthless).
The format is a series of fill in the blank questions, which I liked because I think the presentation makes you think more than multiple choice and there were a lot of questions for each test. I did a couple hours and didn't get past 1.5% finished in any of the four subjects I was studying. (Hilariously, I studied for the sociology test and then took the psychology one without realizing it until now. I guess that explains why I thought that study guide was the least effective:))
I only had two complaints: a lot of the fill in the blank questions referring to people give you half a person's name, and that makes it too easy. For example, if a question starts "Emile _____, blah blah," you already know it's either Zola or Durkheim, because who else is there? Or try this one:
George Frideric ____ (1685-1759) was a well known German-born British Baroque composer of opera seria and concerto grossi, such as Dixit Dominus, Messiah, and Rodrigo.
I didn't even read past the first two words. Not all their name-that-person questions do this, however.
My other complaint is that if you know nothing about a subject (it turns out I know nothing about continental European history), it would be nice to have an executive summary somewhere (thank you, wikipedia). Piecing together historical movements and their backlashes from a series of shuffled questions is not easy. (although you can check or uncheck the 'shuffle questions' function) Maybe they could add a "major treaties," "major figures," and "vocabulary" sections. Or have a brief explanation of important ideas: what happens when the Fed buys bonds or lowers interest rates.
But for $9.95, it's great.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
going places no regulatory agency has ever gone
“This is really a redefinition of the law,” said Kenneth Gross, a Washington ethics lawyer who is fielding some of the document requests from ethics investigators. “To pick eight members and say they voted on legislation and political contributions came in around this time is really going places that no regulatory authority has ever gone.”
"Going places no regulatory agency has ever gone?" By this I guess he's refering a regulatory agency that actually investigates things?! Rather than, say, letting the people you are supposed to regulate regulate themselves and then doing lots of crystal meth and having sex with them? I don't even see what there really is to investigate; obviously these Congresspeople are conscienceless scumbags. I miss the days when people at least had the shame to slip money in brown envelopes under airport bathroom doors.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
the Peace Corp needs a chess coordinator in St. Lucia
The Foundation is in need of a PCRV to implement chess communities in the St. Lucian culture in order for each community and family to access the academic and social benefits inherent in the game of chess. The Chess Coordinator will strengthen the existing Chess in Schools program and prepare students for the Chess in Schools National Tournament in July 2011. To achieve this goal, the PCRV will: develop interest in the game of chess in schools and community groups; work closely with the existing Chess in Schools program; prepare for and implement the National Chess in Schools Tournament; train teachers and community facilitators to teach the game; develop an evaluation method and assess the impact of the program; and maintain appropriate records and results.
Ability to play chess at an intermediate level and communicate effectively with adults and children
Familiarity with program evaluation methodologies
Intermediate computer skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook
Ability to negotiate the bus system of a developing country
Experience implementing community events and contests
Excellent communication skills
Public relations and marketing skills
Experience in teaching or training
Understanding of basic tactics and strategies of chess
Familiarity with Microsoft Access or other database systems
Understanding of how community-based organizations work
Familiarity with chess tournaments
CDC report on American health
Some things I learned:
In 2007 there were 302 million U.S. residents, up from 281 million in 2000 and 227 million in 1980.
Between 1991 and 2007, the percentage of high school students who reported attempting suicide ranged between 7% and 9%, and the percentage who reported a suicide attempt that required medical attention ranged between 2% and 3%.
In 2005–2006, 30% of adults often or almost always had trouble sleeping in the past month.
In 2003–2006, almost one-half (47%) of Americans interviewed had at least one drug prescribed in the previous month, compared with 39% in 1988–1994.
In 2007, 8% of people 12 years of age and over reported use of any illicit drugs in the past month.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
be a marrow donor!!
In other news, The Bahamas sent me a birthday email and urged me to return and visit. I think this is genius-- they got my birthday off their immigration forms.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
US Chess School: final pics
front row: Dachey, Tanuj, Jeffrey, Ruifeng, Jonathan
back row: Justus, James. Mika, Jeevan, Sarah
Sarah and Tanuj
Alvin Greene action figures! Magnus Carlsen: fashion model!
A NY Times article details his position on the issues:
ON THE ECONOMY, he wants to produce Alvin M. Greene action figures.
“Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays,” he told a British newspaper, The Guardian. “Little dolls. Me. Like maybe little action dolls. Me in an Army uniform, Air Force uniform, and me in my suit.”
I stole this from Natalia Pogonina's website; I just couldn't help myself.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
US Chess School Dallas, day 4
Results of the blitz tournament:
In other news, an article in the NY Times on the continuing criminal investigation into the Susan Polgar/ Paul Truong/ Gregory Alexander email hacking.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
happy birthday me!!!
more uscs photos
Justus, Dachey, Tanuj
more photos here
At War with Luck
Jenn is in The Economist:
Is poker a game of skill or chance?
Similarly, Garry Kasparov, a chess grandmaster, argues that poker offers lessons on chance and risk management that even his beloved game cannot. He also notes that many chess professionals are moving into poker, not least because the money is better. Jennifer Shahade, who twice won the American Women’s Chess Championship and is now a semi-professional poker player, thinks that chess and poker rely on similar skills—a sort of calculating game-savviness—and that chess players are likely to succeed at poker because “they focus on finding the right moves, rather than having fun or how their ego feels.”
two warm up problems from the US Chess School
white to move
black to move
Be careful: the second one is harder than it looks.