Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chess in the Parks 2010

I took 53 kids today to Chess in the Parks. It was extremely hot, so many kids wore their free t shirts on their heads for shade while playing.  
James Black

Justus Williams, who became the youngest African American master ever, by three years, on Thursday.
 Josh Colas

round five: boards one and two
Abby Marshall

Emmanual Ogunremi
skipping home: Azeez, Rhoda, Zanea, Avery

playing football between rounds (Pobo, Sekou, Markus)
Zanea and Ashe
Zanea, Rhoda, ??, and me
more photos here

Friday, September 24, 2010

Master Justus!

 Congratulations to National Master Justus Williams!!!

I intend to blog again, I do. The start of the school year has got me preoccupied, plus the relationship gives me someone nonanonymous to talk to. I really miss chess, however, and I'm planning to play next weekend at the Marshall and definitely in Philly over thanksgiving.

I'm excited about this school year. The new kids are great: young and eager. Tomorrow we are going to play at Chess in the Parks. I'm teaching less and having them do more stuff -- like CT-Art on the portable laptop cart:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Come to IS 318's Tuesday Night G/30 Tournaments

 These tournaments are great because:
1. They're over by 9:30 so you aren't tired for work
2. Entry fee is just $20/15 and 90% of the money is returned in prizes.
3. They're strong-- This summer GM Michael Rohde and IM yury Lapshun played, along with a number of masters and experts.
4. You're helping chess-loving children strengthen their brains!
Please come! If you can't make this one, come next month: they will be held the last two Tuesdays of each month

2010 Fall Action Tournaments at IS 318
September 21 at 6:00pm - September 28 at 9:30pm

LocationIS 318k - 101 Walton St., Brooklyn, NY

Created By

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

if it slapped him with a silicon spatula in a moose stew pot

A PERSON could know South Korea for a long time without knowing Wanju, an obscure county 112 miles south of Seoul. And, at least until recently, a person could know a lot about Wanju without ever hearing of Cha Sa-soon, a 69-year-old woman who lives alone in the mountain-ringed village of Sinchon.
Now, however, Ms. Cha is an unlikely national celebrity.
This diminutive woman, now known nationwide as “Grandma Cha Sa-soon,” has achieved a record that causes people here to first shake their heads with astonishment and then smile: She failed her driver’s test hundreds of times but never gave up. Finally, she got her license — on her 960th try.

For three years starting in April 2005, she took the test once a day five days a week. After that, her pace slowed, to about twice a week. But she never quit.

Hers is a fame based not only on sheer doggedness, a quality held in high esteem by Koreans, but also on the universal human sympathy for a monumental — and in her case, cheerful — loser.

read the rest of this hilarious article.

also fun:
An extended Vanity Fair article trashing Sarah Palin.

and a rebuttal from a Palin friend. I love it because it kinda starts off reasonable, and then she gets crazier and crazier ("we talked about the gentle touch of a child with Down syndrome that feels almost like the wing of an angel... She spoke from a tender, mother’s heart, one that Mr. Gross wouldn’t know if it slapped him with a silicon spatula in a moose stew pot!")

Endgame Clothing Upset Prize

For the second year in a row, Endgame Clothing is be sponsoring the Upset Prize for the U.S. Chess League. Just two weeks into the season, we already have two HUGE upsets! FM Tom Bartell took down GM Gulko in the first week and IM Florin Felecan won against GM Yury Shulman in the second week.

You can check out the action at the U.S. Chess League website and show some chesslove by picking up a new chess t-shirt from Endgame.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Winning Chess Puzzles for Kids volume 2

I just got Jeff Coakley's newest book, Winning Chess Puzzles for Kids vol 2 (aka the orange book -- compare to the green book, the blue book, and the red book). I've written before about how much I love Coakley's work here and here, and with time my feelings have only deepened.

I was having a conversation with someone many years ago about the pricing of the New York Times Sunday paper, and my friend was saying it was so thick and brought him so much reading pleasure, that he would spend $10-15 dollars on it, if that's what it cost. Coakley's green book, I would probably pay $500 for it, if I had to. Theoretical, obv, but it's saved my life so many times as a chess teacher, it's really a gold mine.
The orange book is a sequel to the red book, with tactics sheets and checkmate problems mixed in with some more unusual types of puzzles. I don't want to repeat myself, so I refer you to my earlier blog post for some preliminary thoughts on some of Jeff's original problems, and why I find them so instructive.

Actually, I will just repeat myself slightly to remind you of the two types of puzzles I love the most: double whammys, which teach the exact beginning thinking method of checkmate planning: "I go there, and then I go there, and that's checkmate!", and switcheroos, which maybe aren't so instructive but are usually very amusing. Because I mention them in the earlier post, I give you two new ones that are more difficult than what I would use in the classroom.
double whammy: White makes two moves in a row to checkmate black. The first move may not be check. Either move may be a capture. Black does not get a turn.

switcheroo: Switch two pieces so that the black king stands in checkmate. Any two pieces can trade places. Colors do not matter. the resulting positon must be legal. No fair putting pawns on the first or last rank or placing both kings in check.