Places to Play Chess online, part 7 - Chesscube update

ChessCube Update: A message from the CEO | ChessCube Blog On June 21st, 2011 Chesscube changed their free to play model and now they charge you 15 cubits to play even unrated games. You have to "bet" an amount of cubits to be able to play. I can see this being a negative for people looking for free places to play chess. You can get 5000 cubits for $5 - which do expire slowly if you don't use them or you could use the small amount of free cubits they give you for logging in. Personally I dislike the change - they could have found another way to monetize. Related Posts
Places to Play Chess online
Places to Play Chess online, part 2
Places to Play Chess online, part 3
Places to Play Chess online, part 4
Places to Play Chess online, part 5
Places to Play Chess online, part 6


Puzzle of the Week - 2011 Nov 17

Here is the chess puzzle of the week. This position occurred in a game between O'Kelly de Galway vs Vincenzo Castaldi in 1947.
FEN: 1qbr1rk1/pp2Rp1p/2p3p1/3n2Q1/3P4/1B3N2/PP3PPP/4R1K1 w - - 0 1 Answer for last weeks puzzle Attacking Chess Puzzle of the week - 2011 Nov 10 1.Rxe8+ Bxe8 2.f6 Qc5 3.Qh6 Qxf2+ 4.Kxf2 Bb6+ 5.Kf1 Rcb8 6.Qg7#


Puzzle of the week - 2011 Nov 10

Here is a puzzle for this week - it has been a while since I posted one. Hopefully this one is fun.


Places to play Chess

At work there is now a large number of people who have started playing chess around lunch time. Most of them have not studied much chess but it is very enjoyable to sit and watch them. I have played a few times with them but it is not as fun as watching them play each other. Sometimes trash talking starts and it is even more fun when someone makes a comment while watching a game that ruins it. :) It is a good break to sit and watch some people play chess even if I am not playing. I have been working towards starting my studying again. The past year has been very difficult for personal reasons and I have been too busy to play or study chess very much. Things are finally starting to calm down and I think I am ready to start playing again. Last month I read the book Chess Tactics for the Tournament Player by Lev Alburt and Sam Palatnik. It is a fairly good book and it was nice to study chess again. Just to follow up with the title of the post: Where are some cool places you like to play chess and what are you currently studying?


Studying Chess on Ubuntu Linux - Part 1 Setup

The first thing that you need to do is to setup your programs that are needed for studying. Generally players use a chess engine and a chess database program. Luckily for us someone created SCID an open source database program that works fairly well and is available on all platforms. I use Ubuntu Linux so my guide will be specific for Ubuntu but it should be easy to set this up on any system, including OS X, Windows and Linux.

Another benefit that Chess Players have received from open source is the chess engine Stockfish.
Stockfish is an open-source UCI chess engine based on Glaurung. Stockfish is an alpha-beta searcher and uses a bitboard representation.
Install SCID
  1. sudo apt-get install build-essential - This installs a Linux C++ compiler so that SCID can be built.
  2. sudo apt-get install tcl8.5-dev tk8.5-dev - This installs a runtime in Linux which enables the UI for SCID.
  3. Download SCID and extract to a temp directory.
  4. ./configure
  5. ./make
  6. ./make install

Install Stockfish
  1. Download Stockfish
  2. Download Stockfish Opening Book
  3. Extract Stockfish and run make profile-build ARCH=x86-32 for 32 bit Linux systems. 64 bit Linux systems can use make profile-build ARCH=x86-64
  4. Installation of this is a bit different than SCID.  I copied my executable (the file named stockfish) to ~/bin so I can have a place to save my opening book.
  5. Extract opening book to ~/bin.
Setup Stockfish in SCID
  1. Click on Tools and then Analysis Engine...in the menu
  2. Create a new chess engine by clicking on the New... button.
  3. Type in Stockfish in the name
  4. The command field should contain the executable for Stockfish.  Mine was ~/bin/stockfish
  5. Directory should be set to . to indicate that the directory to use should be the same as the directory that the executable is located in.
  6. Click on Configure UCI Engine.
  7. There are lots of options here - I mainly only change the book file to book.bin and set the Multiple variations to 4.
I will discuss how to use these programs next time I post about studying chess on Linux.


Attacking Chess Puzzle of the Week - 2011-03-17

It has been a while since I posted a puzzle of the week.  I will provide the diagram and a FEN string this week and then provide the answer next week.  Feel free to discuss the problem and talk through it with everyone.  The next week I will provide the answer to the puzzle and then another puzzle to solve.

Studying chess tactics and puzzles is a very important step in learning chess and it will help all levels of players increase their skills and abilities.
White to move
FEN : 3r2k1/pR3p2/2n3pQ/2Bp4/P2P3K/5R1P/4r1q1/8


Chess News of the Week - French Cheating in Chess

Cheating in chess has become a very real problem. Online it has been around for years. People start up their chess computer and make the moves it says just to "win" and get rating points online. What these people don't understand is that it is not really their rating if they are cheating this way. What fun is it to just use a computer to try and win? I do not know what kind of satisfaction someone cheating like this gets from a game of chess. The following article talks about the specific case.

Text Messaging not admitted as evidence in cheating case

The judge ruled:

- Firstly, that “although he is not himself the subscriber to the telephone line [in question], Mr Marzolo enjoys the right to the confidentiality of the correspondence exchanged via this line, since its permanent use had been granted to him by the owner of the line, Ms. Pomian.”
- Secondly, that “no legal provision gave him the authority to waive this confidentiality”, unless the infringement involved “criminal or security matters.”
- Finally, the magistrate judged that “it would be unfair for Mr. Marzolo, Feller and Hauchard (…) to bear the full cost of the proceedings,” and he ruled that the FFE should reimburse part of the fees.

As it announced in a press release on January 27th, the FFE reserves the right to turn to the criminal courts, which could lift the confidentiality of correspondence.

It is a lot easier to cheat in chess tournaments now. Everyone has access to computers, many of the computers are so small they are sitting in our pockets. That is why being on a phone while you have a game going on is against tournament rules. It is easy to call someone else and ask them what move to make. Also, they could enter the moves themselves into a phone and see what move to make next. It is very sad that problems like these have to be brought to light. Hopefully if those players were cheating they are found guilty and the cheating is stopped.