Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-95), USSR/Russia



The uncompromising patriarch
The sixth world chess champion - 1948-57,1958-60.1961-3. Born in Kuokkala, Russia. When Alexander Alekhine died in 1946, still holding the world championship title, a tournament of the world's best players was organized to establish the new champion. This 1948 event was dominated by Botvinnik, who thereby became the first in a long line of Soviet world champions. He was also a practising engineer, though chess was always his first priority. Along with his title as 'the patriarch of Soviet chess', Botvinnik could also be called the king of the rematch. Twice he was defeated in world championship matches only to come back a year later and demolish his victor. His ability to deeply investigate and prepare for the characteristics of his specific opponents established a new level of rigour and professionalism in chess. The ability to come back and win those rematches required more than tenacity. Botvinnik was able to objectively analyse his own play and repair the weaknesses his opponents had exploited the first time around.
His uncompromising nature persisted until the end of his life. In 1994 we asked him to honour us with his presence at a tournament of rapid chess in Moscow. Botvinnik, then eighty-three, declined, saying, 'Rapid chess is not serious!' We told him that rapid chess was the new fashion and that everyone was playing in this event, even his old rival Vassily Smyslov. He responded:
'I'm used to thinking with my own brain. Even should a hundred people think otherwise, I do not care!'
Botvinnik left professional chess in 1970 to concentrate on coaching : and the new field of computer chess. The Botvinnik school invited the | top junior chess talents from all over the country two or three times a | year and it went on to produce several generations of champions.In the first output, in the early 60s. was the young Anatoly Karpov. In 1973. one  of its students was the ten-year-old Garry Kasparov. By the time the  young Vladimir Kramnik arrived in 1987 it had become the joint ! Botvinnik-Kasparov school - quite an impressive record of champions.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Defensive Tactics in Chess

In Chess, when we first hear the word Tactics, those complicated combinations in attacking come to our minds, in fact tactics are way more expanded.

Our lesson today will focus on the other side of tactics, the defensive tactics.

Let's take an example to illustrate where we could see a tactic in defense.


1...Bb3

In this position, both players had castled their kings to the king side, but clearly White's king is better, since he got free space to escape on h2 in case of any attack from Black. 
Whereas Black's king is in a bad position. the back rang looks weak, and the two white rooks looks intending to checkmate it, doesn't it?

So here Black played 1...Bb3, what do you think of this move? attacking the d1 rook, to deflect it from the dangerous d-file.

2.Qxb3

The response from White was quiet shocking, he played 2.Qxb3, sacrificing his queen.
Can you see the plan of white? It seems that he wants to deflect the Black's queen from the back rank to play 3.Rd8+?, intending the following sequence 3...Rxd8, 4.Rxd8+ followed by checkmate on the next move.


2...Qxb3

Black took the queen, according to the White's plan black is lost now.

So what do you think does Black fell in the trap or maybe he got something different to surprise White with?
Leave your comments below, we will post the answer later.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Educational Value of Chess

by Wendi Fischer
It's not about Kings, Queens, and Rooks, but rather, quadrants and coordinates, thinking strategically and foreseeing consequences. It's about lines and angles, weighing options and making decisions. Chess might just be the perfect teaching and learning tool. Since 2000, America's Foundation for Chess (AF4C) has been working with 2nd and 3rd grade students and their teachers to promote the use of chess as an educational tool. The goal of the First Move™ curriculum is to use the game of chess as a tool, to increase higher level thinking skills, advance math and reading skills, and build self-confidence.
Research shows, there is a strong correlation between learning to play chess and academic achievement. In 2000, a landmark study found that students who received chess instruction scored significantly higher on all measures of academic achievement, including math, spatial analysis, and non-verbal reasoning ability (Smith and Cage, 2000).
While studies have shown chess to have a positive impact on kids in elementary, middle and high school, AF4C targeted second and third graders as the evidence, and certainly our experience, suggests it's the ideal age. Eight and nine year-old minds and thinking skills are developing rapidly, and chess teaches higher level thinking skills such as the ability to visualize, analyze, and think critically.
If you teach an adult to play chess, they quickly comprehend where they should and shouldn't move pieces to capture or avoid capture. Young Kate knew the names of the pieces and how they moved, but initially moved her pieces randomly. Soon she was saying, "If I move my piece here, you could capture it, right? Then I'm not going to move there." You can almost see the mental changes taking place.
Chess has a unique and strong brand attribute, in that it is generally perceived that playing chess and being smart are connected. This can be very positive driver for young children, who, rather than being intimidated as many adults are, embrace the notion. As children get older, a stigma, or nerd factor attaches to "being smart." But in the second and third grade, kids want to be thought of as smart. It is also an important age for developing an attachment to school. If kids associate school and learning with fun, they will most likely develop a stronger attachment to school.
To be referred to as "the perfect teaching tool," chess would have to do much more than be age appropriate, and it does. As our classrooms become increasingly diverse, being able to reach all children becomes increasingly challenging. Chess levels the playing field as it crosses all socio-economic boundaries. It is a universal game, with worldwide rule consistency. Age, gender, ethnic background, religious affiliation, size, shape, color, and language don't matter when playing chess. Everyone is equal on the chessboard. Students who are English language learners find success with chess, because they don't face language barriers on the chessboard. Principal Jeff Newport commented, "We have 34 different languages spoken at our school, and chess is now the one we have in common."
Many schools have after-school chess clubs that create a mix of fun, competition and learning. Predominantly the members are boys. An unintended consequence of these programs is that they often leave some kids behind who are not drawn to the competitive aspect of the game. By integrating chess into the classroom, we are able to reach all children and provide them with the benefits of learning through the game of chess. These benefits include the fact that students who wouldn't have thought to join the chess club on their own, are more apt to join after having been exposed to chess in their classroom. In Philadelphia, where 20 schools have implemented First Move™ during the school day, participation in chess club after-school increased in several schools that already had a chess club, and five schools created a new club in response to student demand.
The First Move™ curriculum was developed by a curriculum professional, and designed specifically to connect with National and State academic standards. For example, while learning about the chessboard, students are taught that each square has a name/location. You can find each square by using coordinates, a set of numbers, letters or a number and a letter, that tell you the exact location of something. On the chessboard, each square is located at the intersection of a file (vertical line) and rank (horizontal line). As they learn, students begin to talk in chess terms, i.e." I am moving my c3 Knight to e4." This helps their chess game, and it also meets the Washington State Standards for math (1.5.1 and 5.3.1). "Chess will never show up on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning [test]" says Kent Ferris, Lafayette Elementary School, "but the confidence, focus, and academic skills our students are gaining through becoming analytical players will pay measurable benefits in the years ahead." Principal Michelle Hartman was concerned about her 3rd grade class because they were considered a "high-risk" group. At the end of the school year she noted, "Chess has really made a difference for these kids, and their test scores help prove it."
In any classroom, there are disparate levels of prior knowledge on any given topic; chess is no different. Teachers find some of their students already know how to play chess. This becomes an opportunity to place those children in leadership roles as teaching assistants for their classmates. The reason isn't clear, but in many interviews with children in the First Move™ program, they express their desire to teach others to play chess. Superintendent Reece Blincoe from Stockdale ISD reported his delight when his family gathered on the living room floor so his 3rd grade daughter could teach them all to play chess, based on the lessons she had learned during the school day in the First Move™ program.
The way chess can incorporate and relate to other core subjects makes it an amazingly powerful tool. In First Move™ Teacher Training Workshops, classroom teachers learn how to develop their core curriculum using chess. Chess is one big science experiment; every time you play a game you are testing hypotheses and learning by trial and error. Chess is rooted in history and can open a door to history knowledge. Our current game of chess developed in the Middle Ages in Western Europe, though it began in India at least 1500 years ago. The King, Queen, Bishops, Knights, Rooks, and Pawns are symbolic of real groups of people in the Middle Ages and studies of them can take children into an understanding of what life was like at that time.
As children play chess, they begin to see the importance of thinking ahead, trying to figure out what their opponent might do next and what their alternatives are too. This ability to anticipate outcomes can transfer to their reading comprehension. Students can predict outcomes, and realize that characters in their stories are interconnected, just as just as they and their opponent, and the pieces on the chessboard are.
In the First Move classroom, kids aren't thinking about the benefits of chess, and how it might help them on their standardized tests, but they are thinking while having fun. Their teachers can see the benefits, however. Julie Doan, teacher at Medina Elementary says:
My students are more focused—chess certainly accounts for this. In math, for instance, students who had studied chess were able to read graphs and work with charts so much more smoothly than the students I had last year, who weren't even able to read a grid prior to the lessons in math class.
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Reference
Smith, J. P. and Cage, B. N. (2000). The effects of chess instruction on the mathematics achievements of southern, rural, black secondary students. Research in the Schools, 7, 19-26.
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About the author
Wendi Fischer is the Scholastic Director of America's Foundation for Chess, a non-profit organization formed in 2000, dedicated to bringing chess into the schools so that all children can have the benefits of its lessons. Wendi becomes "Lady Wendolyn" in the DVD lessons that accompany the First Move chess program produced by the Foundation. Email: wendi@af4c.org

Monday, July 27, 2015

The future of the decisions you make in the present

(How Life Imitates Chess - Kasparov)
The strategist starts with a goal in the distant future and works backwards to the present. A Grandmaster makes the best moves because they are based on what he wants the board to look like ten or twenty moves in the future. This doesn't require the calculation of countless twenty-move variations. He evaluates where his fortunes lie in the position and establishes objectives. Then he works out the step-by-step moves to accomplish those aims. These intermediate objectives are essential. They are the ingredients necessary to create conditions favorable to our strategy. Without them we're trying to build a house starting with the roof. Too often we set a goal and head straight for it without considering all the steps that will be required to achieve it. What conditions must be true for our strategy to succeed? What sacrifices will be required? What must change and what can we do to induce or enable those changes?
My instincts or analysis tell me that in a given position there is potential for me to attack my opponent's king. Next, instead throwing my forces at the king, I search for objectives I must achieve in order to do this successfully, for example, to weaken the protection around the opponent's king by exchanging a key defending piece. I first must understand which strategic objectives will help me accomplish my goal of attacking the king and only then do I begin to plan exactly how to achieve them and to look at the specific moves that will lead to successful implementation. Failing to do this leads to
simplistic, single-minded plans with little hope of success.
In the second round of the 2001 Corus tournament in the Netherlands I faced one of the
tournament underdogs, Alexei Fedorov of Belarus. This was the strongest tournament he had ever played in, and the first time we had met at the board. He quickly made it clear that he did not intend to show too much respect for the august surroundings, or for his opponent.
Fedorov quickly abandoned standard opening play. If what he played against me had a name it might be called the 'Kitchen Sink Attack'. Ignoring the rest of the board he launched all his available pawns and pieces at my king right from the start. I knew that such a wild, ill-prepared attack could only succeed if I blundered. I kept an eye on my king and countered on the other side, or wing, and in the centre of the board, a critical area where he had completely ignored his development. It was soon apparent that his attack was entirely superficial and he resigned the game after only twenty-five moves.
I admit I didn't have to do anything special to score this easy victory. My opponent had played without a sound strategy and eventually reached a dead end. What Fedorov failed to do was to ask himself early on what conditions would need to be fulfilled for his attack to succeed. He decided he wanted to cross the river and walked right into the water instead of looking for a bridge. It's also worth noting that relying on the competition to make a serious mistake is not a viable strategy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Work for a Fork

Fork Puzzle
White to move and make a fork
White to move

Sometimes you need to work for a fork, can you see the pattern here?

Friday, July 10, 2015

الصراع الروسي الاميركي ابان الحرب الباردة


سيطر الروس على لعبة الشطرنج منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية واستُخدمت الشطرنج كأداة سياسية لإقناع الجماهير أنّ النظام الشيوعي هو الأنسب والأقدر على إنتاج رجال مفكرين. وشهد عالم الشطرنج في عام 1972 ما لم يشهده من قبل أو بعد حيث أنّ طرفي النهائي كانا الاتحاد السوفيتي ممثلا بببوريس سباسكي والولايات المتحدة الأمريكية ممثلة ببوبي فيشر مما خلق صخباً إعلامياً هائلاً. خاصة حينما نجح فيشر في تحطيم أسطورة سباسكي ومن خلفه مدرسة الشطرنج الروسية في مباراة درامية لعب فيها العامل النفسي دوراً كبيراً.
فيشر
  • ولد عام 1943م في الولايات المتحدة وتعلّم الشطرنج في سنّ السادسة على يد أخته.
  • فاز في عام 1958 ببطولة الولايات المتحدة وصار أصغر لاعب يفوز بها.
  • على الرغم من كون أمّه يهودية إلا أنّه كان يكره اليهود. سأله أحد الصحفيين يوما:(هل أنت معاد للسامية؟)، فأجاب: (لا. فأنا لا أكره العرب). مما سبب حنق اليهود عليه.
  • في عام 1965م، قرر عدم المشاركة في تصفيات بطولة العالم بسبب سخطه على الوضع التنظيمي للبطولة.
  • في عام 1969م، قرر الاشتراك في تصفيات بطولة العالم ولكنّه لم يكن قد اشترك في بطولة الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية المؤهلة لتلك التصفيات مما جعل المسؤولين الأمريكيين يبذلون قصارى جهدهم لإشراكه بدلا من أحد اللاعبين وهو ما تمّ بالفعل. وبالرغم من اشتراكه في اللحظات الأخيرة إلا أنّ أداءه كان أسطورياً وفريداً من نوعه. فقد فاز على لارسن بنتيجة كاسحة (6-0). وفاز على تيمانوف بنفس النتيجة. وفي آخر دور فاز على بطل العالم السابق تيجران بتروسيان فصار المُتحدّي الرسمي لبطل العالم بوريس سباسكي.
  • في عام1972 التقى فيشر مع بوريس سباسكى في آيسلندا، تمّت هذه المباراة في أوج الحرب الباردة بين أمريكا والاتحاد السوفيتي مما جعل العالم يترقبها بشغف عظيم. اعترض فيشر على كل شيء وعلى الجائزة وحتى على قاعة اللعب والإضاءة وعلى وجود الصحفيين، وخسر الدور الأول في 56 نقلة. وفي الدور رقم2 غادر فيشر صالة اللعب إلى غرفته بسبب وجود كاميرا بجواره كان لها صوت أثناء تسجيل المباراة، مما أدى إلى خسارته الدور الثاني قانوناً لتصير النتيجة 2-0، ورغم هذه الأجواء فاز فيشر على سباسكى بنتيجة 12.5/8.5 ليصبح أول أمريكي يفوز ببطولة العالم في الشطرنج.
  • في عام 1975 تأهل الروسي كاربوف لملاقاة فيشر وكان مقررا أن تقام هذه المباراة في الفيليبين. رفض فيشر الدفاع عن لقبه لعدم موافقة إتحاد الشطرنج الدولي على بعض شروطه ومن بينها عدم احتساب أي نقاط للتعادلات. كان كبار لاعبي الشطرنج في روسيا يتهامسون قبل المباراة بفرص كاربوف الضئيله أمام فيشر، حتى أنّ كاربوف صرّح لاحقا أنّ فرصه كانت تتراوح ما بين عشرين إلى ثلاثين بالمئة. بعد عام1975 أصبح فيشر في عزلة تامة.
  • في عام 1992 فاجأ فيشر العالم بعودته للعب في مباراة مع منافسه القديم بوريس سباسكي وتمت هذه المباراة في يوغوسلافيا التي كانت تحت العقوبات الدولية مما سبب مشاكل رهيبة لفيشر الذي حصل على مبلغ 3 ملايين دولار ونصف جراء فوزه. في هذا اللقاء أكد فيشر على تفوقه وفاز على بوريس سباسكي وتوقف بعدها عن لعب الشطرنج.
  • بعد أحداث 11 سبتمبر 2001 فاجئ فيشر العالم بتأييده لتلك الأحداث قائلا إنّ الظلم الذي مارسته الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية في العالم بدأ يرتد عليها، وأعلن في لقاء إذاعي أنّه يتمنى أن تُمحى الولايات المتحدة من الخارطة. علاقة فيشر مع وطنه الأم ظلت دائما مثارا للتساؤلات والتعجب. حيث يفسر هجومه اللاذع على حكومة بلاده بإهمالها له بعد أن إقتنص بطولة العالم من أنياب الاتحاد السوفيتي. شعر فيشر "بطل الحرب الباردة" أنّه استُخدم لأغراض سياسية ورُمِيَ به جانبا بعد إنجازه اللافت.
  • في عام 2004 أعتُقل فيشر في اليابان، بسبب استعماله جواز سفره الملغي أصلا من قبل سلطات بلاده، ولمدة ستة أشهر مما شكل صدمة لمحبي الشطرنج في العالم وظهرت منظمات خاصة تطالب بإطلاق سراحه. وحتى المنافس القديم لفيشر بوريس سباسكي لم يتوانَ أن يُرسل رسالة إلى الرئيس الأمريكي بوش كتب فيها: "لقد فعلت نفس ما فعله بوبى فيشر ولعبت في يوغوسلافيا، ولكنّ قانون بلدي لم يمنع ذلك. فأرجوك اما أن تُطلق سراح فيشر أو أن تعتقلني معه في نفس السجن، ولكن أعطنا رقعة شطرنج". تحت تأثير الضغوط العالمية، وبعد قبول آيسلندا إعطائه حق اللجوء السياسي، قررت اليابان إطلاق سراح فيشر.
  • سافر فيشر إلى ايسلندا واستقبل استقبال الأبطال من قبل آلاف الايسلنديين. وفي يوم الخميس الموافق 17/1/2008 توفي روبرت فيشر عن عمر ناهز ال64 في مستشفىً في ايسلندا بسبب فشل كلوي.
حيثيات مباراة القرن: سباسكي- فيشر
كما ذكرنا سابقا لقد استطاع فيشر في رحلة التصفيات هزيمة الأساتذة الكبار تيمنوف ولارسن وأخيرا بيتروسيان. وهذا ما لفت إليه أنظار العالم بشكل عام، و ليس عالم الشطرنج بخاصة؛ فقد كانت تلك أول مرٌة ينجح لاعب من المعسكر الغربي، بمفرده، في كسر جدار الصف المنيع و المتراص لأعتد الأساتذة الكبار لروسيا والذين أمسكوا في الماضي بيد من حديد على اللقب الأعلى في الشطرنج وعلى بيئته المحيطة، و ذلك منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية.
انطلقت المقابلة بين فيشر و سباسكي يوم السبت، وكان من بين الحضور رئيس دولة إيسلندا ورئيس الاتحاد الدولي للشطرنج إلى جانب عدد آخر من السفراء وكبار الموظفين. غير أن أحد الكراسي ظلّ شاغرا مع ذلك، كرسي بالقرب من سباسكي إنه كرسي فيشر.
في ذلك الوقت، كان فيشر لا يزال بنيويورك وتخلف عن الحضور بسبب عدم تلبية بعض شروطه لإجراء المقابلة. في ذات الوقت تقدم الوفد الروسي بطلب لإقرار خسارة فيشر للمقابلة الأولى بناءا على تغيٌبه. و في خطوة خارقة للقوانين، أقدم رئيس الاتحاد الدولي و بطل العالم السابق ماكس إيوي على تأجيل انطلاق المقابلة الأولى بيومين و أمهل فيشر تاريخا نهائيا للظهور: و هو زوال يوم الرابع من يوليو، بتوقيت ريكجافيك.
تصدر الشطرنج عناوين الأخبار الدولية وسيطرت الأحداث المحيطة باللقاء على اهتمام الصحافة العالمية، وألقت بالمواضيع السياسية البالغة الحساسية مثل حرب الفيتنام و الانتخابات الرئاسية الأمريكية إلى درجة أدنى من الإهتمام. بدا آنذاك أن ليس ثمة أمل في حضور فيشر للّعب. غير أنه و بتاريخ 3 يوليو، عند أولى فترات الزوال، بادر وزير الخارجية الأمريكي هنري كيسنجر إلى مهاتفة فيشر قائلا: "بصفتي أحد أسوأ لاعبيْن اثنين للشطرنج في العالم أتجرأ بالكلام مع اللاعب الأفضل على الإطلاق. إنّ أمريكا تريدك أن تذهب هنالك وتهزم الروس." كان محامو فيشر حاضرين لحظة حصول المكالمة وكانوا يحاولون إقناعه –دون جدوى- بالحضور لإيسلندا  بيد أن مهاتفة كيسينجر له وتمنّيه عليه الذهاب لمنازلة الروس جعل ملامح وجهه تتغيٌر. بدا كشاب مقاتل مُقبل على معركة، فقال:"سأذهب لقتال الروس".
في يوم 4 يوليو أقلّت سيارة فيشر إلى مطار جون كينيدي. ثم نُقل سرٌا من المطار عبر مركبة صغيرة للمسافرين تابعة للخطوط الجوية الإيسلندية. أقلعت الطائرة من مطار جون كينيدي عند الساعة العاشرة و أربع دقائق ليلا، بتأخير ثلاثة ساعات تقريبا عن الوقت المحدد. أوقف فيشر حركة العالم و قبض أنفاسه لهذه المدة الطويلة، مرغما جميع المسافرين الآخرين على الانتظار، بل إنّ بعضهم تخلٌى عن مقعده في آخر لحظة من أجل إفساح المجال لمرافقي فيشر.
علمت موسكو بخبر سفر فيشر وتأخره عن الموعد وهددت بقطع علاقاتها مع الولايات المتحدة اذا لعبت المباراة وكذلك هددت بالقيام بخطوات تصعيدية.. تأخّر  فيشر عن الموعد ولكن رئيس الاتحاد الدولي قبل بإقامة المباراة إذا وافق سباسكي وكان هذا الأخير رجلا محترما من الطراز الأول فقام بوساطة بين حكومته وقال لهم بأنه سوف يفوز على فيشر ولا داعي لهكذا تصريحات..
قامت المباراة الأولى وكان فيشر قد إعترض على اقامتها في قاعة كبيرة فقال بأن الجمهور يشوش عليه وجاء إعتراضه هذا بعد ما كان سباسكي قد أحرز تفوقا كبيرا أثناء المباراة في وضعية اللعب وبدا بأنّ المباراة الاولى في متناول يده. نقلت المباراة إلى غرفة صغيرة في الفندق فاعترض فيشر على الكرسي فأحضر له المنظمون كرسيا آخرا فلم يعجبه أيضا. فتأجلت المباراة الى اليوم التالي حيث قام البيت الأبيض بارسال 100 كرسي لينتقي فيشر واحدا منهم. مع ذلك قام فيشر بمغادرة المباراة الثانية بسبب وضعهم آلة تسجيل للمباراة حيث قال بأن صوتها يزعجه. أثارت هذه التصرفات غضب سباسكي وقلّلت من تركيزه وكان فيشر في كل مباراة يقوم ويتجول أثناءها وهذا ما أثّر على أداء سباسكي أيضا.
لقد كان فيشر أحد أفضل لاعبي العالم وعاد إلى امريكا وهو بطل للعالم وهو أول وآخر أمريكي يحصل على هذا اللقب.